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Medieval settlement remains immediately west of All Saints' Church

A Scheduled Monument in Shouldham, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.6517 / 52°39'6"N

Longitude: 0.4819 / 0°28'54"E

OS Eastings: 567985.050192

OS Northings: 308885.618777

OS Grid: TF679088

Mapcode National: GBR P6B.NNN

Mapcode Global: WHKQS.CMQ0

Entry Name: Medieval settlement remains immediately west of All Saints' Church

Scheduled Date: 11 February 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020446

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30601

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Shouldham

Built-Up Area: Shouldham

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Shouldham All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes earthworks and buried remains of an area of medieval
settlement situated on a west-facing slope on the east side of the village of
Shouldham, immediately to the west of All Saints' Church and occupying an area
to the north, east and south east of Colt's Hall. The earthworks are thought
to include remains of tofts (homestead enclosures) and associated crofts,
although the most conspicuous of them appear to be the result of late medieval
or 16th century garden landscaping. The site is recorded in a field book of
1633, from which it is clear that the majority of the earthworks, if not all
of them, are of earlier date.

The relevant part of the field book describes a series of enclosures and
tenements running southward from the site of Shouldham Priory (the subject of
a separate scheduling) some 600m to the north of the monument. One of the
reference points is `the church lane called the Beerway' the location of
which, as described, corresponds to that of a slightly raised causeway, shown
as a track on early 19th century maps and still marked as a public footpath.
This footpath runs from Eastgate Street eastwards along the northern boundary
of the grounds of Colt's Hall and beyond it for a distance of about 165m, then
south towards the church along the western boundary of a modern churchyard
extension. A linear hollow, up to 10m wide running along the southern side of
this causeway, could be the remains of an earlier hollow way.

In the area to the north of this feature and immediately east of Eastgate
Street, there are at least four small, rectangular enclosures defined by the
remains of ditches which are visible as intersecting linear hollows of varying
depth and width. The first of these enclosures, adjoining the path, measures
approximately 87m east-west by 25m, although the eastern end is occupied by
the modern village hall and is not included in the scheduling. Adjoining this
along the north side are three smaller enclosures about 37m in width running
in line eastwards back from the street. The ditch which forms the eastern
boundary of the enclosures is open to a depth of approximately 0.6m, but the
others are slighter in character. To the north of the enclosures and close to
the street is a rectilinear hollow up to 1m deep, surrounding two sides of a
sub-rectangular platform which may have supported a building. Slightly further
to the north are various irregular hollows which are probably the result of
quarrying. To the north east of the enclosures and about 100m back from the
street is a low north-south ridge which may be the remains of a boundary
feature. The enclosures are considered to represent at least two tofts and
associated yards or gardens. The field which contains them corresponds to the
greater part of a close of just over nine acres named in the 17th century
field book as Batchelors and described as to the north of the Beerway, east of
the street and west of the Abbey churchway. The Abbey churchway was, on the
evidence of early 19th century maps, a track running southward from Abbey Farm
towards the church. No adjoining cottages or tenements are mentioned in the
field book, and it is evident that the site had already ceased to be occupied
when it was compiled.

The area due east of Colt's Hall and to the south of the path identified as
the Beerway is divided into two roughly rectangular enclosures by the slight
remains of a north-south ditch, the southern boundary of the enclosures being
marked by a pronounced, south-facing scarp up to 2m in height. The eastern
half of the scarp marks the northern edge of a broad linear depression about
20m wide with a crowned central ridge or walkway about 5m wide and 1m high. At
the eastern end this feature terminates in a stepped slope rising about 3m
towards the churchyard south of the church. On the slope to the south of the
walkway are three rectangular terraces, each measuring approximately 115m in
length north-south and 38m in width, rising eastwards in scarps between 1m and
2m in height with slight linear hollows along the foot of the scarps between
the lower and middle terrace and the middle and upper terrace. Along the
northern edge of the lower, western terrace, bordering the avenue, is a slight
bank, and on the eastern side, towards the southern end, are two slightly
raised, sub-rectangular platforms of a type which often supported buildings.
The middle terrace is divided into two unequal enclosures by the slight
remains of an east-west ditch bordered on the south side by a bank. The
surface of the smaller, northern enclosure, which measures approximately 20m
north-south, is uneven, with two possible building platforms and, to the west
of these, further irregularities which may mark the site of another building.
At the southern end of the adjacent larger enclosure is another slightly
raised platform and, running northwards from this alongside the slight ditch
on the eastern side of the terrace, a bank about 0.5m in height. The surface
of the upper terrace shows no irregularities. The scarps marking the southern
edge of the terraces rise up to 2.5m above an irregular linear hollow about 8m
wide. In the area to the south of this, bounded on the south side by the
Norwich Road and on the east side by the modern Church Road, there are traces
of east-west ridges thought to be the result of cultivation, with a narrow
enclosure to the west, defined on the eastern side by a slight ditch and on
the western side by a low scarp. The ground to the west of the terraces and
the enclosures to the south of them is low lying and very damp in the southern
part. The slightly dryer part to the north contains two contiguous enclosures
defined to the north and south by slight east-west ditches and on the east
side by a low, west-facing scarp. The ditches may be the remains of drainage
features. In the south west corner, bordering the road, is a low,
sub-rectangular platform measuring about 38m WNW-ESE by 28m which corresponds
to the site of a pound, used for confining stray animals, marked on the
Ordnance Survey map of 1883.

The early 17th century field book describes `a capitall messuage' (manor
house) and a close called Colt's to the south of the Beerway and east of the
street and market place. The area of this `capitall messuage' and close is
given as six acres, which corresponds closely to the combined area of the
grounds of Colt's Hall as shown on early 19th century maps, the earthwork
enclosures due east of it and the walkway along the south side of the
enclosures. The field book goes on to list four tenements with yards along the
east side of the village green south of Colts, an alder carr of nearly seven
acres (2.8ha) to the east of these tenements and a wooded close of five acres
(2ha) called Appletons to the east of the alder carr. The terraces and the
ground to the south of them correspond in location and area to Appletons, and
the low lying area to the west, together with an adjoining plantation,
correspond to the alder carr. The terraces and the walkway have the character
of late medieval or early post-medieval formal garden earthworks such as might
have been associated with Colt's Hall when it was occupied as a manor house,
and are unlikely to be later than the mid-16th century. (In 1633 Colts was
occupied by a tenant farmer and the alder carr and Appletons were in the
tenure of two others). The subsiduary earthworks on the terraces, if not the
remains of garden features, may relate to a period of occupation following the
abandonment of the garden or to the later history of Colt's farm which, by the
early 19th century included the whole area of the monument, as shown on an
estate map of 1811-1818. In the Tithe Apportionment of 1843 the area to the
east and south east of Colt's Hall is named as the homestall of the farm, and
the field to the north (Batchelors) as Further Homestall.

There were three principal manors in Shouldham. Colt's manor, also known as
Trussbutt's, was held by the Trussbutt family in the 14th and 15th centuries
and passed by marriage to Thomas Colt. In 1587 it was sold by George Colt to
Thomas Shouldham who shortly afterwards sold it to Judge Gawdy, who also
acquired Shouldham Priory manor. Through Gawdy's grand-daughter the united
manors passed to the Earl of Warwick and ultimately, in 1632, to Sir John Hare
of Stowe Bardolph.

Modern fences, gates and service poles 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 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 remains immediately west of All Saints' Church are an example of
an area of settlement which has been abandoned within a surviving village. The
earthworks survive well, displaying little evidence of disturbance since the
site was abandoned, and the monument, which is closely associated with one of
the medieval manors in the parish and includes a variety of characteristic
components, will contain archaeological evidence concerning the social and
domestic organisation of the community in the medieval and early post-medieval
periods. The documentary evidence which relates to the site in the early 17th
century gives the monument additional interest, as does the likelihood that
some of the earthworks relate to a late medieval or 16th century garden
associated with Colt's Hall.

Gardens of medieval and early post-medieval date take a variety of forms. Some
involved significant water management works to create elaborate water gardens
which could include a series of ponds and even ornamental canal systems. At
other sites flower gardens were favoured, with planting in elaborately shaped
and often geometrically laid out beds. Planting arrangements were often
complemented with urns, statues and other garden furniture. Such sites were
often provided with walkways, terraces or prospect mounds which provided a
vantage point from which the garden design could be seen and fully
appreciated. Gardens were probably a common accompaniment to high-status
houses in the medieval and early post-medieval periods and provide a valuable
insight into contemporary aesthetics and views about how the landscape could
be modified to enhance the surroundings of a house and symbolise the social
hierarchy, but fewer than 500 surviving examples of all types have been
identified. In view of the rarity of surviving examples, the great variety of
form, and the importance for understanding high-status houses and their
occupants, all examples of early date retaining well-preserved earthworks or
significant buried remains will be identified as nationally important.

The terraces and walkway, which have the appearance of ornamental garden
landscape features, are of particular interest as a probable example of late
medieval or early post-medieval garden remains associated with a manor house.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Blomefield, F, An Essay towards a Topographical History of Norfolk, (1807)
Smallwood, J, 'Council for British Archaeology Group 6: Bulletin' in Council for British Archaeology Group 6: Bulletin, , Vol. 26, (1981), 14
Edwards, D, TF6808/E; TF 6808/F, (1978)
NF 4290 St Margaret's Church, Shouldham,
NRO Ref. Hare 2495, Field Book, (1633)
Title: Map of Estates of Sir Thomas Hare
Source Date: 1811
NRO Ref. Hare 6832
Title: Map of Estates of Sir Thomas Hare
Source Date: 1811
NRO Ref. Hare 6832
Title: Map of the County of Norfolk
Source Date: 1998
Edn published 1998 by Larks Press

Source: Historic England

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