Record Details

NHER Number:7266
Type of record:Monument
Name:Little Bittering deserted medieval village


The site of the medieval village of Little Bittering is visible as earthworks. These include at least one moat, a row of village properties (tofts), drainage ditches and possible ridge and furrow. Excavations and fieldwork have uncovered evidence of a prehistoric burnt mound (pot boilers), prehistoric flint artefacts, part of a lava quern stone and prehistoric, Roman, Middle Saxon, medieval and post medieval pottery.


  • The island of a medieval moat close to SS Peter and Paul's Church, Bittering  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
  • The earthworks of the deserted medieval village of Bittering  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TF 9372 1766
Map Sheet:TF91NW

Full description

Little Bittering is a small deserted village. The present east-west road through the village forms an extension of a V-shaped piece of common land shown on Faden's map of Norfolk (S1), and it seems to follow the line of the medieval village street. On the south side is a moat adjacent to a small, now little used, church. To the east of the moat were earthworks of an outer enclosure for the moat, with an entrance on the east side. This earthwork has been levelled in recent years. Traces of a flint track are visible in the ploughsoil running between the entrance to this enclosure and the causeway across the moat.

On the north side of the road is a row of possibly six tofts which have been cut through in places by later drainage ditches. A square ditched feature within one of the tofts may be a small moated site. Adjacent to Manor Farm House is another moat which has been levelled and ploughed. This is recorded separately (NHER 1055).
Information from (S2).
A. Cattermole (NLA), 13 December 2007.

May 1973. Moat at TF 936 176 surveyed during Ministry of Public Buildings and Works funded rapid moat survey.
See sketch plan (S3) in file.
J. Allen (NLA), 15 August 2001.

January and July 1981. Fieldwalking either side of church drive.
Medieval to post medieval sherds.
A. Rogerson (NAU), October 1981.

August 1981.
Casual find of lava quern fragment at TF 9380 1760.
A. Rogerson (NAU), October 1981.

1981. Trial Trenching.
Excavation of eleven trial trenches in eastern area of meadow.
Several ditches were recorded, some of which contained finds including early medieval pottery and animal bones, and a single possible posthole was also noted. Some of these features were also visible as earthworks beyond the extent of the trial trenches.
Other finds recovered during this work included prehistoric and medieval pottery sherds, prehistoric flints and pot boilers.
See report (S4) for further details.
E. Rose (NAU), 10 August 1983.

1991. Fieldwalking in areas of proposed gravel extraction.
Finds recovered included prehistoric, Roman, medieval, and post medieval pottery sherds, a fragment of medieval roof tile, prehistoric worked flint and a medieval openwork mount.
See (S5) for further details.
A. Cattermole (NLA), 13 December 2007.

Before 31 January 2002. Context 2.
2 fragments of medieval roofing tile found in area of moat or eastern enclosure.
See description in file.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 14 December 2001.

Earthwork survey published (S7).
D. Robertson (NLA), 29 July 2005.

August 2007. Norfolk NMP.
Earthworks and cropmarks of Little Bittering deserted medieval village are visible on aerial photographs (S8-S18). The area of the site has been extended to the north to include further cropmarks relating to the settlement. A trapezoidal water-filled moat is present to the south of the east to west road that passes through this site. It was obscured by trees on the available aerial photographs and the mapping of this feature may not reflect the true width of its ditch. To the southwest of the moat are cropmarks of field boundaries. One of these was still extant in 1946 (S18) but it has been mapped as its alignment is similar to other parts of the settlement remains to its north.

The main area of settlement remains is located to the north of the moat and road. This comprised a large pasture field bisected by a west to east aligned drainage ditch in 1946 (S18). The northern half of this field had been ploughed and the earthworks levelled by 1978 (S16). The earthworks consist of a series of rectilinear enclosures and platforms divided by ditches and possible hollow ways. Two parallel ditch earthworks appear to continue the line of the modern road to the northeast of Dairy Farm from TF 9400 1777. It is likely that they define an earlier course of the road through part of the settlement. The pattern of earthworks at the site is slightly confused by post medieval drainage ditches. Possible ridge and furrow had previously been recorded at the site, but no clear evidence of this was visible on the aerial photographs examined. The Bittering Parva tithe map of 1839 shows that part of the area of the earthworks, to the north of the road between the moat and just east of Dairy Farm, was covered by woodland (S19).
Also see (S20)
J. Albone (NMP), 23 August 2007.#

Monument Types

  • BURNT MOUND (Prehistoric - 1000000 BC to 42 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Lower Palaeolithic to Roman - 1000000 BC to 409 AD)
  • DESERTED SETTLEMENT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ENCLOSURE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FIELD BOUNDARY (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FINDSPOT (Medieval to 19th Century - 1066 AD to 1900 AD)
  • HOLLOW WAY (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • MOAT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • PLATFORM (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • RIDGE AND FURROW? (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROAD (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • TOFT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • DRAINAGE DITCH (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 BOILER (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • SCRAPER (TOOL) (Lower Palaeolithic to Late Iron Age - 500000 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Late Prehistoric - 4000 BC to 42 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • FURNITURE FITTING (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)
  • ROOF TILE (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • ROOF TILE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Scheduled Monument

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 91 NW 16 [2].
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Medieval. Beeston with Bittering [2].
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
---Designation: Department Of The Environment. 1882-1984?. Department of the Environment Scheduling Notification. Notification. DNF457.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Miscellaneous. Beeston with Bittering [2].
<S1>Publication: Faden, W. and Barringer, J. C. 1989. Faden's Map of Norfolk in 1797.
<S2>Article in Monograph: Wade-Martins, P., Fenner, G. and Davison, A. 1982. Some Deserted Village Sites in Norfolk: IX. Little Bittering. Trowse, Horning, Deserted Medieval Villages. East Anglian Arch. No 14. pp 94-99. pp 94-95.
<S3>Illustration: Rogerson, A. and Mauser, J.. 1973. Rapid Moat Survey Sketch Plan.
<S4>Unpublished Document: Rogerson, A.. 1982. Site 7266. Notes on trial trenches, October - November 1981..
<S5>Unpublished Document: NAU. 1991. Tarmac Gravel Extraction Proposal - Fieldwalking Results..
<S6>Designation: [Various]. Scheduling and/or Listing Correspondence. Correspondence. DNF457.
<S7>Monograph: Cushion, B. and Davison, A. 2003. Earthworks of Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology. No 104. p 52.
<S8>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1988. NHER TF 9317AA (NLA 197/DRP15) 17-MAR-1988.
<S9>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1988. NHER TF 9317AB-AD (NLA 197/DRQ1-3) 17-MAR-1988.
<S10>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1988. NHER TF 9317AF-AK (NLA 197/DRQ5-9) 17-MAR-1988.
<S11>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1988. NHER TF 9317AL-AN (NLA 198/DWR7-9) 18-MAR-1988.
<S12>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1988. NHER TF 9317AP-AQ (NLA 198/DPQ1-2) 18-MAR-1988.
<S13>Oblique Aerial Photograph: CUCAP. 1973. NHER TF 9317D (CUCAP BLP12) 31-JAN-1973.
<S14>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1980. NHER TF 9317F (NLA 86/APA5) 27-JUN-1980.
<S15>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1975. NHER TF 9317A-B (NLA 17/ADN51-2) 21-JUL-1975.
<S16>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Unknown. 1978. NHER TF 9317C (207) 1978.
<S17>Oblique Aerial Photograph: Edwards, D.A. (NLA). 1985. NHER TF 9317U-V (NLA 164/AZA24-5) 10-JUL-1985.
<S18>Vertical Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1946. RAF 3G/TUD/UK51 5048-9 31-JAN-1946 (NHER TF 9317A-B).
<S19>Map: Bird, B.. 1839. Map of Little Bittering in the County of Norfolk (Tithe Map).
<S20>Article in Serial: Horlock, S., Albone, J. and Tremlett, S. 2008. The Archaeology of Norfolk's Aggregate Landscape: Results of the National Mapping Programme. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLV Pt III pp 337-348.

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