Remains of a medieval ringwork castle known as Crabb's Castle, 680m north east of Crabb's Castle Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Remains of a medieval ringwork castle known as Crabb's Castle, 680m north east of Crabb's Castle Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 12-Nov-2019 at 17:10:34.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North Norfolk (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TF 91479 39796

Reasons for Designation

Ringworks are medieval fortifications built and occupied from the late Anglo-Saxon period to the later 12th century. They comprised a small defended area containing buildings which was surrounded or partly surrounded by a substantial ditch and a bank surmounted by a timber palisade or, rarely, a stone wall. Occasionally a more lightly defended embanked enclosure, the bailey, adjoined the ringwork. Ringworks acted as strongholds for military operations and in some cases as defended aristocratic or manorial settlements. They are rare nationally with only 200 recorded examples and less than 60 with baileys. As such, and as one of a limited number and very restricted range of Anglo-Saxon and Norman fortifications, ringworks are of particular significance to our understanding of the period.

The ringwork known as Crabb's Castle is one of only a small number to have been identified in Norfolk and its location, commanding a view of the surrounding area and the road to the south, is characteristic of this form of earthwork. Although reduced by ploughing, it will retain archaeological information concerning the date of its construction and the manner and duration of its use, and the evidence for a substantial building within the enclosure, probably of later date than the original construction of the earthwork and suggesting continued use as a form of moated site, gives the monument additional interest.


The monument includes the buried remains of a circular enclosure believed to be a small medieval ringwork, situated on top of a low rise 200m to the north of and overlooking a minor road between Wighton and North Creake.

The enclosure has an overall diameter of approximately 61m and is defined by a single ditch which has become infilled but which produces variations in crop growth visible from the air and recorded on aerial photographs. Access was provided by a causeway across the ditch on the north east side. In the 18th century, when the earthworks were still visible, it was described as a fortification with a double ditch, but it is possible that the illusion of a second, outer ditch was produced by the presence of a counterscarp bank around the first. Although the earthworks have now been reduced by ploughing, the site remains visible as a low, circular mound approximately 0.5m in height and is marked on the surface by a concentration of building materials in the ploughsoil, chiefly flints, mortar and fragments of medieval clay roof tile which are evidence for a building constructed within the enclosure, probably in the later medieval period.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

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Books and journals
Blomefield, F, An Essay towards a Topographical History of Norfolk, (1807), 205
Title: Map of Crabb's Castle Farm Source Date: 1841 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Norfolk R O Hayes & Storr 185/17


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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