Record Details

NHER Number:6280
Type of record:Monument
Name:Undated possible iron extraction pits


A large dispersed group of earthwork pits, interpreted as iron procurement pits dating from the Late Saxon to medieval period. Smelting may have also been carried out in the area, as quantities of iron slag have been found over the years.


  • Excavation of the ironworking pits between Weybourne and Runton.  © Norfolk County Council


Grid Reference:TG 1147 4162
Map Sheet:TG14SW

Full description

'Thousands' of pits dug into greensand possibly for haematite beds on high ground south of Midland and Great Northern railway.

H. Harrod thought that the holes by Sandy Hill Lane were deliberately faced with stones and used as pit dwellings. (No not deliberately faced; later note by R. R. Clarke (NCM)).

2.4m to 6m (8 to 20 feet) in diameter, 60cm to 1.8m (2 to 6 feet) deep; 3.6m by 90cm (12 feet by 3 feet) commonest. Several excavated by Harrod in 1852, assisted by Spurrell. No associated finds, 'for iron smelting?'; R. R. Clarke (S1) (S2) H. Harrod; survey by W.J.J. Bolding, see Bolding notebook for details of his excavations which found slag and a 'Roman' sherd.
E. Rose (NAU).

(S3) reports querns found there some years before, probably 1848.

See NHER 6662.
E. Rose (NAU).

(S4), (S5), (S6), (S7), (S8), (S9). Reverend A.R. Abbott (S10), in a lecture to Norwich Geological Society, regarded these as the remains of early British iron working for iron oxide in gravel. He found iron slag (S11).
R. R. Clarke (NCM).

1965. Iron smelting site at TG 1134 4168. Debris 1.2m by 1.2m (4 feet by 4 feet), at least 1.2m (4 feet) deep. Twenty six pits seen. (Sample in Museum). 502m (550 yards) southwest of Weybourne Station.

1964. On ridge overlooking Weybourne village, 365m (400 yards) west of Station.
Much iron slag bulldozed out.
Information from informants [1] and [2].
E. B. Green (NCM).

1986. Field Observation.
Large swathe found to have been cut through easy end of this area of ?ironworking pits by owner of caravan site to west. Difficult to accurately locate on map due to changes in topography. See rough plan in file.
J. J. Wmyer (NAU), March 1986.

May 2004. Norfolk NMP.
No definite pits were identified on aerial photographs as part of the Norfolk NMP mapping, due to ground and tree cover. A large dispersed group of earthwork pits were mapped to the east which would appear to correspond with NHER 6281 to 2, see NHER 38640 for details.
S. Massey (NMP), 28 May 2004.

February 2008. Site visit during the removal of leaf litter from two of the iron working pits.
No archaeological deposits or finds were revealed, disturbed or removed during the work.
See (S10).
D. Robertson (NLA), 20 March 2008.

Monument Types

  • IRON WORKING SITE (Unknown date)
  • PIT (Unknown date)
  • QUARRY (Unknown date)

Associated Finds

  • QUERN (Undated)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Serial: 1956. Council for British Archaeology Group 7 Bulletin of Archaeological Discoveries. No 3. p 5.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 14 SW 15 [2].
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Record Card: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Miscellaneous. Weybourne [2].
<S1>Article in Monograph: Sainty, J. E. 1935. Norfolk Prehistory. Report of the Annual Meeting, 1935. Norwich, September 4-11. British Association for the Advancement of Science. Appendix pp 60-71. p 66.
<S2>Article in Serial: Harrod, H. 1852. On the Weybourne Pits. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol III pp 232-240. pp 232-240.
<S3>Serial: 1850. Norwich Mercury.
<S4>Article in Serial: Manning, C. R. 1872. Grimes Graves, Weeting. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol VII pp 169-177. p 170.
<S5>Monograph: 1901. The Victoria History of Norfolk. The Victoria History of the Counties of England. Vol 1. p 263.
<S6>Publication: Clarke, W. G. 1922. Our Homeland Prehistoric Antiquities: and how to study them. p 92.
<S7>Article in Serial: 1920. Summary of Proceedings. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia. Vol III Pt II (for 1919-20) pp 315-322. pp 320-321.
<S8>Monograph: Windle, B.C.A.. 1897. Life in Early Britain.. p 224.
<S9>Article in Serial: Spurrell, F. C. J. 1883. On Some Large Collections of Shallow Pits in Norfolk and Elsewhere. The Archaeological Journal. Vol XL pp 281-295. pp 283, 285.
<S10>Unpublished Document: Robertson, D.A.. 2008. Kelling Heath Holiday Park: Site Visit Notes from 27th February 2008.

Related records

38640Part of: Late Saxon to medieval earthwork pits (Monument)
6281Related to: Undated possible iron extraction pits (Monument)
38346Related to: World War Two pits and trenches (Monument)

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2024 Norfolk Historic Environment Service