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Remains of medieval settlement 400m east of Church Farm, Arminghall

A Scheduled Monument in Bixley, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.5918 / 52°35'30"N

Longitude: 1.3268 / 1°19'36"E

OS Eastings: 625432.48972

OS Northings: 304526.704899

OS Grid: TG254045

Mapcode National: GBR WJ6.D9D

Mapcode Global: WHMTV.C31X

Entry Name: Remains of medieval settlement 400m east of Church Farm, Arminghall

Scheduled Date: 20 August 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018179

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30544

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Bixley

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Arminghall St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of part of the
medieval and post-medieval village of Arminghall, located to the north and
east of the modern village and west of the modern Bungay Road, which was
created at the beginning of the 19th century. The earthworks extend across the
former boundary between the parishes of Arminghall and Bixley, towards those
of the medieval village of Bixley which are visible to the north east, some
450m east of Bungay Road, and are the subject of a separate scheduling.

The visible remains, which are contained within four adjoining fields, include
tofts (homestead enclosures) and ditches defining other small enclosures and
rectilinear fields, associated with a branching system of roads represented by
well developed hollow ways. One hollow way, up to 1.5m deep at the northern
end, follows the line of the old parish boundary north-south across the
northernmost field, branching west and south eastwards near its southern
boundary. Along the west side of this is a rectangular enclosure, bounded on
the west side by a low bank and ditch and across the northern end by a low,
north facing scarp in which a slight depression marks the site of an opening
into a second, adjoining enclosure. A third enclosure to the west of these is
defined by a low, curving bank or causeway approximately 6m wide, bordered in
part by a ditch which diverges south westwards towards the southern end, and
adjoining this ditch on the west side there are features thought to be the
remains of a small enclosure which was perhaps a toft.

According to a map made in 1769, the eastward branch of the hollow way
extended to the western boundary of the modern field, along the approximate
line of the southern boundary, although much of the western part is no longer
visible. At the western end of the more clearly defined eastern part is the
junction with another hollow way, approximately 10m wide and up to 2m deep,
which runs in a curving line south and south westwards across the north
western modern field towards the site of a former green or common which is
shown on 18th century maps between the site of Arminghall Old Hall (which is
not included in the scheduling) and a plot to the north of St Mary's Church.
In the area between this hollow way and the eastern field boundary, which
follows the line of the former parish boundary, there are three enclosures
divided by slight east-west ditches and marked as`pightles'(small enclosed
fields) on 18th century maps. Between the hollow way and the western
boundaries of the two southern pightles there are earthworks showing some
evidence of modern disturbance (probably relating to a filter bed to the
north, which is totally excluded from the scheduling) but defining parts of a
toft with an entrance from the hollow way at the south western corner and, on
the east side, a sub-rectangular raised platform which is thought to have
supported a building, possibly one of two or more which are shown in this
location on the 18th century maps and on the enclosure map of 1800. Adjoining
this toft on the south side is part of another enclosure containing a slightly
raised platform, which is marked as a garden on a map compiled in 1779 and as
a stackyard on the map of 1800. Opposite this, on the west side of the hollow
way, are the remains of a further enclosure, defined on the north and north
west sides by a wide ditch which corresponds to a boundary on the map of 1800,
and to the west of this again and north of the site of the hall is a slight
ditch marking the eastern boundary of an area which is marked as part of the
garden of the old hall and an orchard on the maps of 1779 and 1800

The south eastward branch of the hollow way in the northern field is visible
as a relatively shallow linear hollow approximately 10m wide, running towards
the boundary between the field and the gardens of Meadow Cottages to the
south. Just to the south of this point it branches again, east and southwards,
although the junction has been obscured by later activity in the gardens,
which are excluded from the scheduling. The eastward branch, which leads
towards the site of the medieval village of Bixley, is visible to the east of
the garden area, extending alongside the northern boundary of the south
eastern modern field up to Bungay Road, the line to the east of the road
continuing as a track which remains in use. The southward branch is visible to
the south of the cottage gardens, where it is up to 2m deep and 15m wide, and
runs SSE towards the south eastern corner of the field, although the southern
half is shallower and less well defined, with evidence of later disturbance.

In the south western part of the eastern field, to the east of the old parish
boundary, there are slight ditches up to 4m wide, scarps and banks which
define two narrow, sub-rectangular enclosures aligned roughly parallel to the
old boundary and probably representing crofts or smallholdings. These
enclosures are depicted on the map of 1769 with buildings at their southern
ends fronting Arminghall Lane. A continuation of the line of the eastern
boundary of the western of the two enclosures can be traced across the
northern part of the field, also. In the south eastern part of the western
enclosure, adjoining its eastern boundary, two much smaller rectangular
internal enclosures are defined by low scarps, the northern of the two being
bounded on the eastern side by a slight bank, also, with a gap marking an

To the west of this, at the southern end of the south western field and
immediately to the north of cottages fronting Arminghall Lane, can be seen the
rear parts of up to three adjoining tofts defined by ditches up to 6m wide and
0.5m deep, and in the westernmost of these there are low mounds which perhaps
mark the sites of buildings.

The evidence of the early maps shows that some of the surviving features may
be of post-medieval date and others of those which are thought to be medieval
in origin, including a large part of the system of hollow ways, remained in
use until a relatively late date. The abandonment of settlement in this part
of Arminghall was a therefore a gradual process, continuing into the early
19th century.

All field fences and gates, the surface of a track giving access to Meadow
Cottages, service poles and a transformer near the southern boundary are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is
included. The filter bed is totally excluded from the scheduling.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the past 1500 years or more.
The monument lies in the Anglian sub-Province of the south eastern Province, a
low rolling plateau, drift-covered and dissected, which is characterised by
significantly lower densities of hamlets, villages and market towns than the
Midlands. It is notable for the consistent presence of medium to very high
densities of dispersed settlements - isolated halls, large farmsteads and
churches - in landscapes possessing large numbers of moated sites and loosely
structured hamlets bearing `green' names. All were formerly associated with
long chains of roadside commons linking together the larger blocks of common
land. This is an ancient, intricate landscape.
High Norfolk and Suffolk, along with Mid-Suffolk, form a rather featureless
plateau made of boulder clay overlying chalk. Broad, undulating valleys wind
eastwards towards the coast. Scattered farmsteads and halls are abundant, many
with moats, together with straggling hamlets bearing the name `green'. Mid-
Suffolk is characterised by even higher concentrations of moated farmsteads
and `greens'.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, sited at the centre
of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and
woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but when they survive as
earthworks their most distinguishing features include roads and minor tracks,
platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed
crofts and small enclosed paddocks. They frequently included the parish
church within their boundaries and, as part of the manorial system, most
villages included one or more manorial centres which may also survive as
visible remains as well as buried deposits. During the medieval and post-
medieval periods, parts of villages were sometimes abandoned as the community
decreased in size or the centre of occupation shifted. In the High Norfolk
region of East Anglia villages are one of the characteristic features of the
pattern of medieval settlement, and their archaeological remains are an
important source of understanding of life in the five or more centuries
following the Norman Conquest.

Arminghall is a good example of a village in which the area occupied by
dwellings, buildings in use and associated features has contracted in size,
leaving remains of an abandoned area of earlier settlement. These remains
400m east of Church Farm include a variety of the elements characteristic of a
medieval and early post-medieval village, and will retain archaeological
information concerning the medieval and post-medieval village organisation and
economy and the lives of its inhabitants, as well as the process of shifting

Source: Historic England


Edwards, D, TG 2504/AN-AP, (1993)
Edwards, D, TG 2504/J, K, (1977)
Norfolk RO DCN 127/22, Bird, B, Plan of the parish of Arminghall in Norfolk, (1800)
Title: A Copy of Sundry Plans of the Town of Armingale
Source Date: 1779
Norfolk RO DCN 127/6
Title: Plan of an estate lying in Bixley
Source Date: 1769

Source: Historic England

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