Ancient Monuments

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A Roman roadside settlement 150m south-west of Billingford Hall

A Scheduled Monument in Billingford, Norfolk

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Latitude: 52.7413 / 52°44'28"N

Longitude: 0.9738 / 0°58'25"E

OS Eastings: 600842.226769

OS Northings: 320105.987113

OS Grid: TG008201

Mapcode National: GBR SB0.11T

Mapcode Global: WHLRR.XCWB

Entry Name: A Roman roadside settlement 150m south-west of Billingford Hall

Scheduled Date: 8 July 2010

Last Amended: 27 June 2012

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021458

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35557

County: Norfolk

Civil Parish: Billingford

Traditional County: Norfolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Norfolk

Church of England Parish: Billingford St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Norwich


A Roman small town or roadside settlement occupied between the C1AD and c.750AD.

Source: Historic England


The monument includes the buried remains of a Roman roadside settlement or small town to the east of the River Wensum, to the west of the village of Billingford and to the south of the road between Billingford and North Elmham. The settlement lies to the north and south of the Roman road that runs between the small town of Brampton (scheduled as NF 383) to the east and Denver to the west, where the road joins the Fen Causeway to the Roman town of Durobrivae, south-west of Peterborough.

Aerial photographs indicate pre-Roman settlement in the form of a clearly defined co-axial field system, apparently truncated by the 1940s quarry to the south. To the north of this field system parallel ditches follow the projected line of the Roman Brampton to Denver road, which travels west towards a possible crossing point over the River Wensum. Although the full extent of the settlement is not well defined, the evidence from surface finds and metal detecting indicates a focus to the north and south of this road, west of the point where the road from Brampton branches north to North Elmham. There are relatively few finds to the north of this (also the line of the modern North Elmham road) but to the south the density, number and range of finds provide evidence of a civilian settlement continuously occupied from the early C1AD until c750. Including material found in the course of the 1991-92 excavations, finds are dominated by a large quantity of coins, about 1500 altogether, but also include articles of personal adornment and dress. Pottery consists mainly of local grey wares, predominantly from the kilns at Brampton, but also includes fine wares. The nature of the finds suggests that activity within the town was mainly commercial. No building materials, stone, tile or tesserae have been found, indicating that the buildings were constructed of timber and thatch.

The scheduled area encompasses the core of the small town to the north, bounded on the north by the North Elmham to Billingford road, to the west by the field boundary, to the east by the track, excluding a small rectangle of land to the south-west corner, where buried archaeology will have been disturbed or destroyed by the pigsties that previously occupied this area. The south boundary crosses the site from east to west just north of the quarry bank.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 01/11/2012

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Billingford Roman Settlement is designated for the following principal reasons:
* Documentation: the settlement is well documented archaeologically, with evidence from field walking, metal detecting and excavation.
* Rarity: The continuity of settlement into the early Anglo-Saxon period seen here is rare.
* Group Value: The settlement is associated with a network of Roman settlement and small towns in Norfolk, and is immediately connected to Roman roads and to Swanton Morley fort to the south. The continuity of settlement into the early Anglo-Saxon period and its association with the early see at North Elmham is also significant.
* Survival : The survival of features in similar soil conditions beyond the scheduled area has been demonstrated by excavation. The presence and survival of a large and diverse quantity of finds indicates that similar features will survive within the scheduled area.
* Potential: The scheduled area potentially contains the evidence for domestic, commercial and other structures, as well as details of the social and economic life of the settlement, and can contribute to our understanding of the hierarchy of settlement in Roman Britain.
* Vulnerability: Buried archaeology is vulnerable to plough damage and other ground breaking activity.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Wallis, H, Romano-British and Saxon Occupation at Billingford, Central Norfolk. East Anglian Archaeology 135, (2011)

Source: Historic England

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