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Site of Beaufoe's manor, 180m south east of St Mary's Church

A Scheduled Monument in South Creake, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.8908 / 52°53'26"N

Longitude: 0.7588 / 0°45'31"E

OS Eastings: 585694.924968

OS Northings: 336156.454576

OS Grid: TF856361

Mapcode National: GBR R6G.LPV

Mapcode Global: WHKPR.MLKQ

Entry Name: Site of Beaufoe's manor, 180m south east of St Mary's Church

Scheduled Date: 27 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018018

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30537

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: South Creake

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Creake South St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes the medieval site of Beaufoe's manor, identified as such
on a map made in about 1630, and is situated in a meadow within the village of
South Creake, on either side of a former channel of the River Burn which now
runs in a modern channel bordering the road along the eastern side of the
site. The present Manor House is some 225m to the north. The visible remains
include the foundations of the former manor house, together with earthworks
characteristic of a late medieval formal garden and remains of the manorial
fishponds. The manor was granted to Ralph de Beaufoe by Henry I in the early
12th century and remained in the possession of that family until the 16th
century. The original site of the manor house had evidently been abandoned
before the 17th century map of the village was made.

The largely turf covered wall footings of the house stand between 0.3m and
0.6m in height on the northern side of the field, to the west of centre, and
reveal the outline, more clearly visible on aerial photographs, of an `H'-plan
building comprising a central section, probably representing a hall, with
cross wings which would have contained private apartments and service rooms on
the east and west sides. The building has overall dimensions of approximately
27m east-west by 13m and the masonry of the wall footings, where exposed on
the surface, is of mortared flint rubble.

The remains of the garden can be seen to the south of the site of the house,
separated from it by an east-west ditch which carries the overflow from a
large pond to the west. This pond, which is not included in the scheduling, is
probably comparatively recent in date, since it is not recorded on the 17th
century map, but the ditch appears to overlie remnants of an earlier and wider
water feature opposite the house. The garden area to the south of this is
divided into two sub-rectangular enclosures arranged symmetrically to either
side of a broad, level central alley aligned south-north towards the central
part of the house. The enclosure to the west of the alley is partly obscured
by the later pond, but is approximately 56m in length north-south and defined
on the east and south sides by a well-defined bank approximately 0.6m high and
3m wide at the top which probably carried a raised walkway. The enclosure to
the east is approximately 60m in length and 33m in width at the broader,
southern end, and is surrounded by a similar bank on the west, south and east
sides, although on the east side the bank is less pronounced. At the northern
end of the bank on the west side is a sub-circular earthen mound approximately
0.75m in height and up to 9m in diameter, considered to be the remains of a
prospect mound from which this part of the garden could be viewed and which
may have supported an arbour or summer house. At the north eastern corner of
the enclosure, opposite, there is a rectangular hollow which was perhaps an
ornamental pond. The embanked enclosures and the central alley are bounded on
the south side by an east-west ditch approximately 4m wide and open to a depth
of up to 0.5m. Opposite the centre of the southern end of the western
enclosure this ditch is interrupted by a causeway which extends south
eastwards as a broad, raised bank up to 0.4m high towards the south western
corner of the field. The principal feature visible in the southern part of the
field to the east of the causeway is a rectangular platform, raised up to 0.5m
above the surrounding level and measuring approximately 16m north west-south
east by 9m, which originally supported a building.

The fishponds and associated water management features occupy the area of the
meadow to the east of the house and garden, to either side of the former
channel of the river which is shown on the 17th century map and remains partly
visible as a slight, sinuous depression approximately 0.25m deep and running
south west-north east. To the west of this is a more clearly defined straight
channel, embanked along the west side, which was perhaps constructed as a leat
to supply and drain the fishponds to the west of it. Between this and the site
of the house are the slight earthwork remains of an east-west array of three
small, rectangular ponds which were probably breeding tanks, visible as
hollows up to 0.3m in depth though more clearly defined on aerial photographs.

To the south of these and between the gardens and the embanked channel there
are two larger, trapezoidal ponds arranged end to end on a north west-south
east axis. These are surrounded by the remains of banks which survive in
places to a height of up to 0.6m. The northern of the two measures
approximately 42m in length and 12m in width at the wider, southern end. The
southern pond is approximately 32m in length and slightly narrower in width.
The north eastern part of the meadow, to the east of the old, sinuous water
course, is occupied by a much greater fishpond, visible as a shallow,
trapezoidal hollow with maximum dimensions of approximately 108m north-south
by 55m across the northern end, enclosed by the remains of a retaining bank up
to 1m in height.

Service poles near the northern boundary of the site and a stand pipe and
water tank are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them
is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval manor houses functioned as administrative centres within the manorial
system of land tenure, and as the centres of manorial estates, in addition to
being residences for the lord of the manor and his household, or for the
lord's representative.

The remains of Beaufoe's manor survive well and display a variety of features
which illustrate the social status and domestic economy of the manor house in
the context of a nucleated village. The wall footings and buried foundations
of the house and deposits within it will contain archaeological information
concerning the date of its construction and the manner and duration of its
occupation, and beneath them may be preserved evidence for earlier buildings
on the site. Formal gardens constructed primarily for recreation and enjoyment
and associated with the houses of high status are well documented in the
medieval period, but relatively few are known to survive in recognizable
form, and this example, within the context of a manorial complex, is therefore
of particular interest.

The system of fishponds is representative of a type usually associated with
manors, monasteries and similar high status sites and constructed during the
medieval period for the purpose of breeding and storing fish to provide a
constant and sustainable supply of food. The principal elements of the system
are clearly defined by the surviving earthworks, which will retain further
evidence for the sluices and other water management features which controlled
the flow of water through and between the ponds, and the lower fills of the
ponds are likely to include waterlogged deposits in which organic materials
will be preserved. The area to the south of the gardens and fishponds, which
contains at least one building platform, will retain additional information
relating to the agricultural activities and services associated with the

Source: Historic England


Cushion, B, South Creake, SMR 1017, (1994)
Norfolk Archaeological Unit, TF 8536/B/AAN5; TF 8536/Y/DUH9; TF 8536/S/YW5,
Norfolk R O: BL 35, Plott of the east parte of South Creake, (1630)
Ordnance Survey, Antiquity Model TF 83 NE 35, (1979)
Ordnance Survey, Antiquity Model TF 83 NE 35, (1979)
Rose, E, 1017: West Norfolk, South Creake, (1977)

Source: Historic England

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