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Medieval and early post-medieval settlement remains 570m west of Jubilee Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Gayton, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.7458 / 52°44'44"N

Longitude: 0.5457 / 0°32'44"E

OS Eastings: 571931.440192

OS Northings: 319505.863179

OS Grid: TF719195

Mapcode National: GBR P58.SXS

Mapcode Global: WHKQF.C73T

Entry Name: Medieval and early post-medieval settlement remains 570m west of Jubilee Farm

Scheduled Date: 1 June 1979

Last Amended: 9 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019330

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30582

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Gayton

Built-Up Area: Gayton

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk


The monument, which is located at the western end of Gayton village, 650m west
of the parish church of St Nicholas and north of the Lynn Road, includes
earthworks and buried remains thought to represent the site of a manor house
with an associated formal garden and enclosures bordering what was at one time
the northern edge of Gayton Common. The common was enclosed by Act of
Parliament in 1810.

On the southern side the earthworks are bounded by the remains of an east-west
ditch which marks the edge of the common as shown on a map of Gayton made in
1726. This ditch is visible as a slightly curving linear depression
approximately 6m wide on average and up to 0.5m deep, and the northern edge of
the eastern part is bordered by a slight bank. The most prominent earthworks
occupy the central area of the monument, and the middle part of a field
boundary on the eastern side of that area appears to follow the line of a
boundary relating to the house and garden. From the ditch bordering the former
common a sunken feature about 14m wide, interpreted as the remains of a formal
driveway or avenue, runs northwards for a distance of about 68m. The eastern
edge of this feature is defined by a scarp up to 1m in height and the western
edge by a lesser scarp of about 0.75m, and between the two runs a central,
crowned ridge about 4m wide which displays some evidence of later disturbance.
The areas to either side of this avenue are each subdivided by a slight
east-west ditch into rectangular enclosures which probably represent garden
plots, and towards the southern edge of the northern and larger of the two
enclosures to the east is a rectangular depression about 10m in length which
may be the remains of a small pond. Running eastwards from the northern end of
the avenue and forming the north and west boundaries of the northern of the
two enclosures on its western side, are the remains of a large, T-shaped pond
which has the appearance of an ornamental water feature of a kind often found
in early formal gardens associated with high-status dwellings. The stem of the
T, aligned east-west, is a rectangular, flat-bottomed depression about 1m
deep, 8m wide and 44m in length, and the cross of the T, which still contains
water, measures approximately 18m in width and 58m in length. The remains of a
drain run westwards from the southern end of the latter into a field drain to
the west. The surface of the area to the north of the avenue and flanking
enclosures is uneven, and in the eastern part includes a cluster of low mounds
or platforms which are considered to mark the sites of buildings. No other
evidence of the buildings can be seen at ground level, but the partial
outlines of a house and one or more outbuildings were visible from the air
during the summer of the drought year 1976 and are recorded on aerial
photographs. The northern boundary of the house and garden area is defined by
slight ditches up to about 0.3m in depth and the discontinuous remains of an
inner bank. To the north of the building platforms the boundary is marked by a
ditch and slight bank which run westwards from a slight offset in the eastern
boundary of the central field for a distance of about 70m, continues SSW as a
double ditch for about 28m, and then westwards again as a single bank and
ditch. To the north of this there is evidence of former cultivation in the
form of very slight, parallel ridges running north-south and perhaps
representing the remains of poorly developed ridge and furrow. To the east of
the central area the principal feature visible is a small rectangular
enclosure adjoining the garden earthworks. This measures about 20m square,
bounded by a ditch up to 5m wide and 0.5m deep, and may have formed part of
the garden or have contained an associated structure such as a dovecote. A
shallow, sinuous depression measuring from 5m to 8m in width, possibly
representing the remains of a sunken track, runs north eastwards from the
north east corner of this enclosure. To the west of the central area the ditch
and bank which mark the northern boundary of the garden continue westwards on
the same line for a further 78m and then southwards to the edge of the former
common, defining a rectangular enclosure measuring approximately 88m north-
south. This enclosure is divided by a narrower east-west ditch, shallow but
clearly defined, which continues beyond the western boundary and which may be
of different date.

The site had been abandoned by the early 18th century, and the map of 1726
shows field boundaries which survive to the present day, except on the south
side where a strip of the former common was subsequently taken in. The eastern
of the three fields is named on the map as West Hall Close and, from the
details of ownership given on the map and in an accompanying field book, it is
known that this and the central field belonged to West Hall manor, although
the western field was at that time in different ownership. West Hall manor is
recorded under that name from at least the mid-16th century onwards. It was
held by the Thursby family until it passed by marriage to Richard Nickson in
1640, and in a tax assessment of 1524 Thomas Thursby Esq is listed as the
wealthiest landowner in Gayton. There is a reference in the record of a
lawsuit in the Court of Star Chamber during the reign of Henry VIII to Thomas
Thursby's `mansion place' in Gayton, and it is possible that the earthworks
represent the house in question, although the house now known as West Hall
lies some 550m to the south east.

All modern field gates and fences are excluded from the scheduling, although
the ground beneath these features is included.

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 last 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the Wash sub-Province of the South-eastern Province, an
area which can be divided into two parts. The western part is the fenlands
with associated marshlands, siltlands and islands, with villages, hamlets and
bands of farmsteads and cottages clinging to the slight islands and dykes
above land once seasonally flooded. The eastern part embraces the sands and
loams of west Norfolk, studded with ancient villages and hamlets, some of them
depopulated. To the south lie the Brecklands, an elevated, thinly-settled
The East Norfolk local region was characterised by numerous medieval villages
and hamlets, rather than the isolated halls and scattered farmsteads that
dominated other regions of Norfolk. Archaeological evidence indicates that
this has been a prosperous farming area since Roman times, and its woodland
may have been largely cleared long before the Norman Conquest.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities at the centre of a
parish or township, sharing resources such as arable land, meadow and
woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but where they survive as
earthworks their most distinguishing features include roads and minor tracks,
platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, and
enclosed crofts and small paddocks. They frequently included the parish
church within their boundaries and, as part of the manorial system, most
villages include one or more manorial centres which may also survive as
visible remains as well as buried deposits. In the West Norfolk region
villages are a characteristic feature of the pattern of rural settlement, and
their archaeological remains are an important source of understanding about
rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest.

The medieval village of Gayton included the parish church and at least four
manorial centres, three of which were located within or adjacent to the main
cluster of farmsteads and tenements. The earthworks 570m west of Jubilee Farm
include evidence for a house and garden with characteristics indicative of a
high status dwelling and are thought to mark the remains of one of the
manorial centres, the physical evidence being supported by limited historical
documentation. The earthworks survive well and the building platforms and
other earthworks will contain archaeological information concerning the
construction of the house, associated buildings and garden features and their
occupation and use during the medieval and early post-medieval periods.
Further information will be provided by organic materials, including evidence
for the local environment in the past, which are likely to be preserved in
waterlogged deposits in the pond. The monument has additional interest in
relation to two other sites of medieval date which survive Gayton, a moated
site relating to one of the other manors, and an area of medieval settlement,
both of which are the subject of separate schedulings.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Blomefield, F, An Essay towards a Topographical History of Norfolk , (1808), 430
Cutting, W A, Gleanings about Gayton in the Olden Time, (1889)
Edwards, D, NAU TF 7119/C/AFY9, (1976)
NRO Ref BIR 190 398x, Field book, (1726)
Title: Map of Gayton
Source Date: 1726
NRO Ref BL41/4

Source: Historic England

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