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CHER Number:03827
Type of record:Monument
Name:Morton's Leam

Summary

An artificial course of the River Nene from the Back River to Wisbech, c 1490. Most of its length was replaced in the C17 by a parallel course, still in use today.

Grid Reference:TF 312 004
Parish:Elm, Fenland, Cambridgeshire
Whittlesey, Fenland, Cambridgeshire

Monument Type(s):

Associated Events:

  • Field observations, March Farmers to Ring's End, 2000
  • Earthworks survey, Morton's Leam, 2000

Protected Status:

  • SHINE: Morton's Leam, an artificial course of the River Nene from the Back River to Wisbech dated c1490 and is still in use toady. To the north there is a set of cropmarks showing Roman enclosures and track ways

Full description

1. Moreton's Leam. An artificial course of the River Nene from the Back River to Wisbech, c 1490. Most of its length was replaced in the C17 by the parallel present course (Cambs 11 NW 1) but between Guyhirn and Wisbech its course is still occupied by the river. From Wisbech N to the Lincolnshire border it was extended, 1636, and from the border to The Wash, ... (These extensions probably represent successive reclamations of the Fens).
2. Morton's Leam. Cut c 1486.
The spelling of this should be "Morton's Leam".
3. Morton's Leam was dug between 1478 and 1490 under the direction of Bishop Morton of Ely. It was modified again during the 17th century when Vermuyden was employed to drain the Bedford Levels. By 1642 several new works had been initiated, including a bank on the S side of Morton's Leam and a sluice at Stanground.


Davis, R. J., 2001, An unclassified earthworks monument on the Nene Washes, North Cambridgeshire (Unpublished report). SCB17558.


<1> Fowler, G., 1946, Fenland Waterways Past and Present (Bibliographic reference). SCB5839.


<2> OS Revision ONB (Bibliographic reference). SCB9655.


<3> Kitchin, C., 2000, An archaeological survey of the Nene Washlands, Cambridgeshire (Unpublished report). SCB17559.

Sources and further reading

---Unpublished report: Davis, R. J.. 2001. An unclassified earthworks monument on the Nene Washes, North Cambridgeshire.
<1>Bibliographic reference: Fowler, G.. 1946. Fenland Waterways Past and Present.
<2>Bibliographic reference: OS Revision ONB.
<3>Unpublished report: Kitchin, C.. 2000. An archaeological survey of the Nene Washlands, Cambridgeshire.