Ancient Monuments

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Medieval settlement remains north of Kenwick Farm house

A Scheduled Monument in Tilney All Saints, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.7462 / 52°44'46"N

Longitude: 0.324 / 0°19'26"E

OS Eastings: 556969.817055

OS Northings: 319042.449328

OS Grid: TF569190

Mapcode National: GBR N3M.YHQ

Mapcode Global: WHJP5.Y7GJ

Entry Name: Medieval settlement remains north of Kenwick Farm house

Scheduled Date: 21 December 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009986

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20823

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Tilney All Saints

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Tilney All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument, which is located in a paddock on the south side
of the modern A17 and to the north of Kenwick Farm house, includes
a hollow way with associated ditched enclosures, identified as
crofts and tofts of a medieval settlement bordering the north
side of Mear Green. The site lies on silts which post-date the
Roman period.

The hollow way runs east-west and is visible as a pronounced
linear depression approximately 8m wide and 0.75m deep in the
ground surface. Immediately adjoining this to the south are at
least two rectangular enclosures, measuring approximately 40m and
50m in width respectively and defined on their east and west sides
by three ditches which run southwards from the hollow way. The
ditches have become largely infilled, but they survive as buried
features, and are visible as slighter hollows measuring 4m-7m
in width and approximately 0.3m deep. A second hollow way,
approximately 9m wide and 0.7m deep, runs north-south to meet
the eastern end of the first. South east of this junction is another
rectilinear enclosure defined by ditches and hollow ways between
4m and 9m wide, and having maximum internal dimensions of
approximately 55m north east - south west by 50m north west - south east.
A smaller enclosure at the southern end of this measures 24m north east -
south west by 38m north west - south east internally and contains
two low platforms, raised approximately 0.3m above the surrounding
surface, which have been identified as the sites of buildings.
Bordering the ditch on the west side of these last two enclosures
is a slight external bank, broadening at its southern end into another
low platform.

At the western end of the site, immediately beyond the end of the
east-west hollow way, are several narrow ditches approximately 3m wide,
defining parts of two additional rectilinear enclosures.

Mear Green, on the south side of the site, was an area of common
land of approximately 30ha and was a focus of settlement in
the medieval period, particularly during the 13th and 14th centuries.

All boundary fences and field gates are excluded from the scheduling.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The settlement, comprising a small group of houses with gardens, yards,
streets and paddocks, often with a green, a manor and a church, and with a
community devoted primarily to agriculture, was a significant component of the
rural landscape in most areas of medieval England. Such settlements provided
some services to the local community and acted as the main focal point of
ecclesiastical, and often of manorial, administration within each parish.
The development of medieval settlements in the Fens and on the Fen edge
reflected the distinctive but variable character of the geography and economy
of the region. During the medieval period, particularly in the 13th century,
settlement in the Marshland area of the Fens in north west Norfolk expanded
greatly as large tracts of the siltlands were reclaimed. By the 14th century,
the district, with the neighbouring town of Kings Lynn, was assessed as one of
the 20 most prosperous in England. The medieval settlement landscape of
Marshland was characterised in the north and west by a network of large and
small greens, linked by trackways. These greens are thought to have been
established in the later Saxon period, before the Conquest, as areas of common
land associated with occupation on nearby roddons (extinct waterways) and
other areas of raised ground. They became a focus of settlement themselves in
the 12th and 13th centuries, as the lands surrounding them were reclaimed and
enclosed. Elsewhere in the area, the pattern of settlement developed in linear
fashion, along either side of the droves which were created to give access to
the grazing lands of the freshwater fen to the south. The sites of these
settlements have, for the most part, been occupied continuously up to the
present day, and where they are not obscured by later occupation, the medieval
remains have generally been disturbed by later agriculture. Identifiable,
upstanding earthwork remains of medieval houses and associated enclosures are
very rare in the Fenland. All will retain valuable information about the
nature of medieval settlement and the farming economy of this part of the
Fens, and are therefore considered to merit protection.

The settlement earthworks north of Kenwick Farm house survive well and are
identifiable as remains of one of the few medieval settlements in Marshland
which has decreased significantly in size since the 14th century. The
hollow way, ditched enclosures and house plots will contain important
archaeological information concerning the arrangement and function of the
settlement, and evidence of an earlier land surface will be preserved beneath
the raised platforms. The relationship of the earthworks to the adjacent
medieval green, whose outline is still discernible in the modern field
boundaries, gives the monument additional interest.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Leah, M, Mathews, M, Fenland Evaluation Project: Norfolk, (1990)
Silverster, R J, 'East Anglian Archaeology' in The Fenland Project 3: Norfolk Survey, Marshland and Nar Valley, , Vol. 45, (), 49 - 52

Source: Historic England

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