Denton and Alburgh

The claylands of south Norfolk are always an interesting place to visit on a sunny spring afternoon, and the parishes of Denton and Alburgh next to the River Waveney are full of things for landscape historians to explore.

We explored Denton Castle, a small motte and bailey raised by the d’Albini family in the late 11th century. The site of the castle was later covered by Darrow Wood, and rediscovered when the wood was felled in the 1860s. Today, the castle is owned by the National Trust, and can be accessed via a short footpath from the road.

The motte itself is covered in nettles, but the earthworks of the motte and bailey are easy to trace. Less easy to spot on the ground are the slight earthworks of a rectangular enclosure. The origins and purpose of this are not entirely clear, although it has been interpreted as a possible deer enclosure.

There is an earthwork plan of the site in ‘Earthworks of Norfolk’ by Brian Cushion and Alan Davison (2003), part of the East Anglian Archaeology series.

We also visited St Mary’s Church in Denton, which has an interesting red brick tower that was built in the 18th century when the original round tower collapsed.

Near All Saints Church in Alburgh are the earthworks of post medieval boundaries along the edge of the former common. Some of the earthworks correspond to boundaries shown on the Tithe map (c1840).

The Tithe map, the Ordnance Survey 6 inch map and aerial photographs of the site (as well as everywhere else in Norfolk) are accessible through E-Map Explorer –

http://www.historic-maps.norfolk.gov.uk

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Author: UEA Landscape History

Landscape historians based in the School of History at the University of East Anglia.

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