Medieval and early post-medieval settlement remains 570m west of Jubilee Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019330

Date first listed: 01-Jun-1979

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Nov-2000


Ordnance survey map of Medieval and early post-medieval settlement remains 570m west of Jubilee Farm
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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: Gayton

National Grid Reference: TF 71931 19535


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

Reasons for Designation

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the last 1500 years or more. This monument lies in the Wash sub-Province of the South-eastern Province, an area which can be divided into two parts. The western part is the fenlands with associated marshlands, siltlands and islands, with villages, hamlets and bands of farmsteads and cottages clinging to the slight islands and dykes above land once seasonally flooded. The eastern part embraces the sands and loams of west Norfolk, studded with ancient villages and hamlets, some of them depopulated. To the south lie the Brecklands, an elevated, thinly-settled region. The East Norfolk local region was characterised by numerous medieval villages and hamlets, rather than the isolated halls and scattered farmsteads that dominated other regions of Norfolk. Archaeological evidence indicates that this has been a prosperous farming area since Roman times, and its woodland may have been largely cleared long before the Norman Conquest.

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 village of Gayton included the parish church and at least four manorial centres, three of which were located within or adjacent to the main cluster of farmsteads and tenements. The earthworks 570m west of Jubilee Farm include evidence for a house and garden with characteristics indicative of a high status dwelling and are thought to mark the remains of one of the manorial centres, the physical evidence being supported by limited historical documentation. The earthworks survive well and the building platforms and other earthworks will contain archaeological information concerning the construction of the house, associated buildings and garden features and their occupation and use during the medieval and early post-medieval periods. Further information will be provided by organic materials, including evidence for the local environment in the past, which are likely to be preserved in waterlogged deposits in the pond. The monument has additional interest in relation to two other sites of medieval date which survive Gayton, a moated site relating to one of the other manors, and an area of medieval settlement, both of which are the subject of separate schedulings.


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


The monument, which is located at the western end of Gayton village, 650m west of the parish church of St Nicholas and north of the Lynn Road, includes earthworks and buried remains thought to represent the site of a manor house with an associated formal garden and enclosures bordering what was at one time the northern edge of Gayton Common. The common was enclosed by Act of Parliament in 1810.

On the southern side the earthworks are bounded by the remains of an east-west ditch which marks the edge of the common as shown on a map of Gayton made in 1726. This ditch is visible as a slightly curving linear depression approximately 6m wide on average and up to 0.5m deep, and the northern edge of the eastern part is bordered by a slight bank. The most prominent earthworks occupy the central area of the monument, and the middle part of a field boundary on the eastern side of that area appears to follow the line of a boundary relating to the house and garden. From the ditch bordering the former common a sunken feature about 14m wide, interpreted as the remains of a formal driveway or avenue, runs northwards for a distance of about 68m. The eastern edge of this feature is defined by a scarp up to 1m in height and the western edge by a lesser scarp of about 0.75m, and between the two runs a central, crowned ridge about 4m wide which displays some evidence of later disturbance. The areas to either side of this avenue are each subdivided by a slight east-west ditch into rectangular enclosures which probably represent garden plots, and towards the southern edge of the northern and larger of the two enclosures to the east is a rectangular depression about 10m in length which may be the remains of a small pond. Running eastwards from the northern end of the avenue and forming the north and west boundaries of the northern of the two enclosures on its western side, are the remains of a large, T-shaped pond which has the appearance of an ornamental water feature of a kind often found in early formal gardens associated with high-status dwellings. The stem of the T, aligned east-west, is a rectangular, flat-bottomed depression about 1m deep, 8m wide and 44m in length, and the cross of the T, which still contains water, measures approximately 18m in width and 58m in length. The remains of a drain run westwards from the southern end of the latter into a field drain to the west. The surface of the area to the north of the avenue and flanking enclosures is uneven, and in the eastern part includes a cluster of low mounds or platforms which are considered to mark the sites of buildings. No other evidence of the buildings can be seen at ground level, but the partial outlines of a house and one or more outbuildings were visible from the air during the summer of the drought year 1976 and are recorded on aerial photographs. The northern boundary of the house and garden area is defined by slight ditches up to about 0.3m in depth and the discontinuous remains of an inner bank. To the north of the building platforms the boundary is marked by a ditch and slight bank which run westwards from a slight offset in the eastern boundary of the central field for a distance of about 70m, continues SSW as a double ditch for about 28m, and then westwards again as a single bank and ditch. To the north of this there is evidence of former cultivation in the form of very slight, parallel ridges running north-south and perhaps representing the remains of poorly developed ridge and furrow. To the east of the central area the principal feature visible is a small rectangular enclosure adjoining the garden earthworks. This measures about 20m square, bounded by a ditch up to 5m wide and 0.5m deep, and may have formed part of the garden or have contained an associated structure such as a dovecote. A shallow, sinuous depression measuring from 5m to 8m in width, possibly representing the remains of a sunken track, runs north eastwards from the north east corner of this enclosure. To the west of the central area the ditch and bank which mark the northern boundary of the garden continue westwards on the same line for a further 78m and then southwards to the edge of the former common, defining a rectangular enclosure measuring approximately 88m north- south. This enclosure is divided by a narrower east-west ditch, shallow but clearly defined, which continues beyond the western boundary and which may be of different date.

The site had been abandoned by the early 18th century, and the map of 1726 shows field boundaries which survive to the present day, except on the south side where a strip of the former common was subsequently taken in. The eastern of the three fields is named on the map as West Hall Close and, from the details of ownership given on the map and in an accompanying field book, it is known that this and the central field belonged to West Hall manor, although the western field was at that time in different ownership. West Hall manor is recorded under that name from at least the mid-16th century onwards. It was held by the Thursby family until it passed by marriage to Richard Nickson in 1640, and in a tax assessment of 1524 Thomas Thursby Esq is listed as the wealthiest landowner in Gayton. There is a reference in the record of a lawsuit in the Court of Star Chamber during the reign of Henry VIII to Thomas Thursby's `mansion place' in Gayton, and it is possible that the earthworks represent the house in question, although the house now known as West Hall lies some 550m to the south east.

All modern field gates and fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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: 30582

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Blomefield, F, An Essay towards a Topographical History of Norfolk , (1808), 430
Cutting, W A, Gleanings about Gayton in the Olden Time, (1889)
Edwards, D, NAU TF 7119/C/AFY9, (1976)
NRO Ref BIR 190 398x, Field book, (1726)
Title: Map of Gayton Source Date: 1726 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: NRO Ref BL41/4

End of official listing