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Hazel Hurn moated site, fishponds and associated features

A Scheduled Monument in Cranworth, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.5877 / 52°35'15"N

Longitude: 0.9196 / 0°55'10"E

OS Eastings: 597873.080293

OS Northings: 302882.635848

OS Grid: TF978028

Mapcode National: GBR SCN.R9Q

Mapcode Global: WHLSJ.3740

Entry Name: Hazel Hurn moated site, fishponds and associated features

Scheduled Date: 18 September 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020337

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35053

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Cranworth

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Woodrising St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


The monument, which is in two separate areas of protection, includes the
remains of a medieval moated site, fishponds and associated features in Hazel
Hurn Wood, approximately 0.9km south west of Church Farm, Woodrising. The moat
lies at the south western edge of the former Woodrising parish, now part of
Cranworth. In 1086 land in Woodrising, previously in the possession of Alveva,
was held by William of Warenne. A family, taking the name de Rising, held the
land under Earl Warren and in the latter part of the 15th century it passed to
the Southwells who, during the 16th century, established their seat at
Woodrising Hall, approximately 1.3km to the east.

The moated platform, or island, is sub-rectangular in plan, measuring
approximately 40m north west - south east by 30m, and is surrounded by a
water-filled moat measuring up to 6m in width. The island stands approximately
0.3m above the surrounding ground level with a low internal bank alongside the
north east arm of the moat. A slightly raised platform, measuring about 8m in
width, at the northern corner of the island appears to mark the site of a
building. A roughly circular hollow, measuring approximately 4m in width,
located at the eastern corner of the island, is thought to be the remains of a
pond. Low external banks, measuring up to 0.2m in height and 3m and 1.5m in
width respectively, border the north western arm of the moat and part of the
south western arm. Two depressions, one each on the inner and outer edges of
the north eastern arm of the moat, indicate the position of a causeway which
formerly provided access to the island and which is shown on early editions of
the Ordnance Survey maps. A channel leading northward from the eastern corner
of the moat and a further channel leading eastward from the south east arm of
the moat represent part of the former water management system. The ends of the
channels adjoining the moat are included in the scheduling.

An L-shaped depression, thought to be the remains of a line of fishponds
associated with the moated site, is located 200m east of the moat in a second
area of protection. The depression measures approximately 70m north west -
south east with an arm, about 25m in length, extending southward from the
north west end. It measures up to 6m in width and 1m deep and is water-filled
in places. The long axis appears to be sub-divided, by low baulks, to form a
series of ponds probably connected by sluices to control the flow of water
between them. A roughly circular hollow, measuring about 4m in width, located
in the south east angle formed by the L-shaped pond, is thought to mark the
site of an infilled pond which will survive as a buried feature.

Two channels, forming part of the water management system, are associated with
the fishponds. At the south east end of the fishpond is a channel, aligned
north east - south west, at right angles to the pond. The channel, measuring
3m wide and 0.75m deep and visible for a distance of about 20m, is included in
the scheduling. A further channel, measuring 4m in width and up to 1m deep,
leads to the south east from the southern tip of the L-shaped pond. A 10m
length of this channel, adjacent to the pond, is included in the scheduling.

An earthen mound is located in the north western angle formed by the long axis
of the L-shaped fishpond and the channel aligned north east - south west at
its eastern end. The mound is square in plan, measuring approximately 12m in
width and standing up to 2m in height. There is a circular depression, about
5m in diameter, located centrally at the top of the mound. The mound is
thought to have been constructed to support a dovecote. The association of the
moated site with the fishpond and dovecote suggests that these features were
part of a manorial complex.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches,
often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more
islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some
cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites
served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the
provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical
military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was
between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in
central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built
throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and
exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a
significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding
of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples
provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

A fishpond is an artificially created pool of slow moving freshwater
constructed for the purpose of cultivating, breeding and storing fish to
provide a constant and sustainable food supply. Groups of up to twelve ponds
variously arranged in a single line or in a cluster and joined by leats have
been recorded. The ponds may be of the same size or of several different sizes
with each pond being stocked with different species or ages of fish. Fishponds
were maintained by a water management system which included inlet and outlet

Dovecotes are specialised structures designed for the breeding and keeping of
doves as a source of food. They were generally free standing structures,
square or circular in plan and normally of brick or stone, with nesting boxes
built into the internal wall. Some dovecotes were situated on a mound raising
the interior floor level above that of the exterior ground level.

The medieval moated site, fishponds and dovecote in Hazel Hurn Wood survive
well as a series of earthworks and buried deposits. The central platform of
the moated site and the dovecote mound will retain valuable archaeological
information concerning the buildings which stood upon them, and their
occupation and use during the medieval period. Waterlogged deposits in the
moat and fishpond will preserve organic remains (such as timber, leather, and
seeds) which will give an insight into domestic and economic activity on the
site and the local environment in the past. In addition, deposits sealed
beneath the artificially raised ground of the moated island and dovecote mound
will contain evidence of the land use prior to their construction. The
association of the various features in Hazel Hurn Wood will contribute to an
understanding of the way in which the components of the medieval landscape
developed and interrelated.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Blomefield, F, Essay Towards a Topographical History of Norfolk Volume 10, (1809)
Brown, P (ed), Doomsday Book: Norfolk, (1984)
Brown, P (ed), Domesday book: Norfolk, (1984)
Blomefield, F, 'A topographical history of the county of Norfolk' in A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 10, (1809)
Title: Woodrising Tithe Apportionment and Map, DN/TA 71
Source Date: 1839

Title: Woodrising Tithe Apportionment and Map, DN/TA 71
Source Date: 1839

Source: Historic England

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