Site of Beaufoe's manor, 180m south east of St Mary's Church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018018

Date first listed: 27-Apr-1998


Ordnance survey map of Site of Beaufoe's manor, 180m south east of St Mary's Church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Norfolk

District: King's Lynn and West Norfolk (District Authority)

Parish: South Creake

National Grid Reference: TF 85694 36162


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Medieval manor houses functioned as administrative centres within the manorial system of land tenure, and as the centres of manorial estates, in addition to being residences for the lord of the manor and his household, or for the lord's representative.

The remains of Beaufoe's manor survive well and display a variety of features which illustrate the social status and domestic economy of the manor house in the context of a nucleated village. The wall footings and buried foundations of the house and deposits within it will contain archaeological information concerning the date of its construction and the manner and duration of its occupation, and beneath them may be preserved evidence for earlier buildings on the site. Formal gardens constructed primarily for recreation and enjoyment and associated with the houses of high status are well documented in the medieval period, but relatively few are known to survive in recognizable form, and this example, within the context of a manorial complex, is therefore of particular interest.

The system of fishponds is representative of a type usually associated with manors, monasteries and similar high status sites and constructed during the medieval period for the purpose of breeding and storing fish to provide a constant and sustainable supply of food. The principal elements of the system are clearly defined by the surviving earthworks, which will retain further evidence for the sluices and other water management features which controlled the flow of water through and between the ponds, and the lower fills of the ponds are likely to include waterlogged deposits in which organic materials will be preserved. The area to the south of the gardens and fishponds, which contains at least one building platform, will retain additional information relating to the agricultural activities and services associated with the manor.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the medieval site of Beaufoe's manor, identified as such on a map made in about 1630, and is situated in a meadow within the village of South Creake, on either side of a former channel of the River Burn which now runs in a modern channel bordering the road along the eastern side of the site. The present Manor House is some 225m to the north. The visible remains include the foundations of the former manor house, together with earthworks characteristic of a late medieval formal garden and remains of the manorial fishponds. The manor was granted to Ralph de Beaufoe by Henry I in the early 12th century and remained in the possession of that family until the 16th century. The original site of the manor house had evidently been abandoned before the 17th century map of the village was made.

The largely turf covered wall footings of the house stand between 0.3m and 0.6m in height on the northern side of the field, to the west of centre, and reveal the outline, more clearly visible on aerial photographs, of an `H'-plan building comprising a central section, probably representing a hall, with cross wings which would have contained private apartments and service rooms on the east and west sides. The building has overall dimensions of approximately 27m east-west by 13m and the masonry of the wall footings, where exposed on the surface, is of mortared flint rubble.

The remains of the garden can be seen to the south of the site of the house, separated from it by an east-west ditch which carries the overflow from a large pond to the west. This pond, which is not included in the scheduling, is probably comparatively recent in date, since it is not recorded on the 17th century map, but the ditch appears to overlie remnants of an earlier and wider water feature opposite the house. The garden area to the south of this is divided into two sub-rectangular enclosures arranged symmetrically to either side of a broad, level central alley aligned south-north towards the central part of the house. The enclosure to the west of the alley is partly obscured by the later pond, but is approximately 56m in length north-south and defined on the east and south sides by a well-defined bank approximately 0.6m high and 3m wide at the top which probably carried a raised walkway. The enclosure to the east is approximately 60m in length and 33m in width at the broader, southern end, and is surrounded by a similar bank on the west, south and east sides, although on the east side the bank is less pronounced. At the northern end of the bank on the west side is a sub-circular earthen mound approximately 0.75m in height and up to 9m in diameter, considered to be the remains of a prospect mound from which this part of the garden could be viewed and which may have supported an arbour or summer house. At the north eastern corner of the enclosure, opposite, there is a rectangular hollow which was perhaps an ornamental pond. The embanked enclosures and the central alley are bounded on the south side by an east-west ditch approximately 4m wide and open to a depth of up to 0.5m. Opposite the centre of the southern end of the western enclosure this ditch is interrupted by a causeway which extends south eastwards as a broad, raised bank up to 0.4m high towards the south western corner of the field. The principal feature visible in the southern part of the field to the east of the causeway is a rectangular platform, raised up to 0.5m above the surrounding level and measuring approximately 16m north west-south east by 9m, which originally supported a building.

The fishponds and associated water management features occupy the area of the meadow to the east of the house and garden, to either side of the former channel of the river which is shown on the 17th century map and remains partly visible as a slight, sinuous depression approximately 0.25m deep and running south west-north east. To the west of this is a more clearly defined straight channel, embanked along the west side, which was perhaps constructed as a leat to supply and drain the fishponds to the west of it. Between this and the site of the house are the slight earthwork remains of an east-west array of three small, rectangular ponds which were probably breeding tanks, visible as hollows up to 0.3m in depth though more clearly defined on aerial photographs.

To the south of these and between the gardens and the embanked channel there are two larger, trapezoidal ponds arranged end to end on a north west-south east axis. These are surrounded by the remains of banks which survive in places to a height of up to 0.6m. The northern of the two measures approximately 42m in length and 12m in width at the wider, southern end. The southern pond is approximately 32m in length and slightly narrower in width. The north eastern part of the meadow, to the east of the old, sinuous water course, is occupied by a much greater fishpond, visible as a shallow, trapezoidal hollow with maximum dimensions of approximately 108m north-south by 55m across the northern end, enclosed by the remains of a retaining bank up to 1m in height.

Service poles near the northern boundary of the site and a stand pipe and water tank are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 30537

Legacy System: RSM


Cushion, B, South Creake, SMR 1017, (1994)
Norfolk Archaeological Unit, TF 8536/B/AAN5; TF 8536/Y/DUH9; TF 8536/S/YW5,
Norfolk R O: BL 35, Plott of the east parte of South Creake, (1630)
Ordnance Survey, Antiquity Model TF 83 NE 35, (1979)
Ordnance Survey, Antiquity Model TF 83 NE 35, (1979)
Rose, E, 1017: West Norfolk, South Creake, (1977)

End of official listing