Record Details

NHER Number:7225
Type of record:Monument
Name:Gramston or Grenstein deserted village


The site of a village, seemingly inhabited from the Late Saxon period until it was abandoned in the 16th century. The site was partially destroyed by agriculture in the late 1950s, but excavation work in 1965-6 showed a linear settlement with tofts, a farm, trackways and a pond. Large quantities of pottery fragments and other objects have been recovered from the area. The outlines of features can still be seen from the air.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TF 9072 1995
Map Sheet:TF91NW

Full description

1963. Surface finds.
Late 12th to 14th century pottery, fragment of Mayen lava quern. Quartzite spindle whorl from Kurtlinga; much Niedermendig lava reported.
(Copy of NCM card; material not seen).

1965/6. Excavation.
P. Wade-Martins excavated the upper layer of the largest croft for M.P.B.W., revealing a layout of buildings and yards after earthworks bulldozed 1959. The pound and street were also excavated.
The croft (140 ft. by 150 ft.) was approached by a bridge which was over a deep ditch, which lied between the row of crofts and the street. The entrance led into a flint farmyard (I) surrounded by outbuildings and gave access to a smaller yard which had further outbuildings. Behind this yard there was a living area which contained a house and two pits for water and rubbish. The buildings were probably built either with clay blocks or wattle-and-daub. The ploughing in the area had been so severe that there are often few traces of the building survived.
The house was 30 ft. by 25 ft. and was divided into two parts. The front, which was probably the main part of the house, was itself divided into two and in one room there were traces of four hearths. On the north side of yard there was a long building about 20 ft. wide, between the yard and the croft ditch, possibly extending from a front part, which ran parallel to the street, to the rear of the yard. On the other side of the croft entrance was a building (18 ft. by c. 25 ft.) of which only a trace of the north wall had survived.
Finds include a Coin of Edward I, Ipswich ware, Medieval wares and also metalwork etc. There are little post medieval finds. Scatter of Thetford ware to north indicated southward migration of village. Area of village includes site of Callis's Manor east of green. Cropmarks of converging trackways to southeast and northeast.
Excavation showed desertion in 16th century rather than 13th/14th century suggested by (S1) and (S2), see (S10) for further information.
E. Rose (NAU) amended by M. Langham-Lopez (HES), 29 April 2013.

12 August 1972. Ordnance Survey air photography.
Positive cropmarks.
Deserted medieval village.
D. Voisey (NLA), 22 September 1995.

Sherds collected from arable at four points in Back Lane Field
1. Five medieval unglazed body sherds. One thumbed base glazed Grimston (no glaze present).
2. Unmodified primary flake, patinated, some edge damage. Undatable prehistoric. One body sherd Glazed Grimston.
3. One Glazed Grimston body sherd.
4. One rim unglazed Grimston bowl. One flange fragment from large bowl, medieval unglazed.
Lava quern fragments at TF 9080 1988 and TF 9113 1953.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 27 May 1999.

Photographs (S3), finds illustrations (S4), reports (S5) to (S7), press cuttings (S8) and correspondence (S9) in file.

Monument Types

  • FINDSPOT (Prehistoric - 1000000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • DESERTED SETTLEMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MANOR (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POND (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROAD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOFT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TRACKWAY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Finds

  • FLAKE (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • LITHIC IMPLEMENT (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Middle Saxon - 651 AD to 850 AD)
  • POT (Late Saxon - 851 AD to 1065 AD)
  • COIN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • QUERN (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • SPINDLE WHORL (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status


Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: OS 76.019.002-3 NNAC APs 1933, TF9019ABQ-ABS, TF9119Z,G,Y,AA,AH.
---Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1972. OS 72-300-174.
---Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1972. OS 72-300-106.
---Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1972. OS 72-300-107.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 91 NW 1 [3].
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Network Archaeology. 2002. Bacton to Kings Lynn Proposed Gas Pipeline. Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment. Network Archaeology. 179.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Tittleshall [4].
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Newspaper Article: 1965. [Articles on the excavation to uncover Grenstein deserted village].
<S1>Publication: Beresford, St. Joseph, J.K.S.. 1958. Medieval England - An Aerial Survey. p.111-3 figs 42a, b. pp 111-113; Figs 42a, 42b.
<S2>Monograph: Wade-Martins, P. 1980. Fieldwork and Excavation on Village Sites in Launditch Hundred, Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 10.
<S3>Photograph: Various.
<S4>Illustration: Finds Illustrations.
<S5>Unpublished Document: Wade-Martins, P.. 1965. Grenstein, Norfolk. A Deserted medieval Village. Interim Report 1965..
<S6>Unpublished Document: Poole, E.. A Report of the local geology.
<S7>Unpublished Document: Yaxley, D.. Documentary Evidence.
<S8>Newspaper Article: The Journal. 1965. Abandoned village emerges from the past. 8 October.
<S9>Correspondence: Various.
<S10>Article in Serial: Wilson, D. M. and Hurst, D. G. 1967. Medieval Britain in 1965. Medieval Archaeology. Vol X pp 168-219. pp 212-214.

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