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Historic England Research Records

Bishops Manor House

Hob Uid: 358933
Location :
Norfolk
Breckland
North Elmham
Grid Ref : TF9886021641
Summary : The ruins and buried remains of a medieval church, converted in the last quarter of the 14th century into a fortified manor house with surrounding earthworks. The church is thought to have been built by Bishop Herbert de Losinga (1091-1119) on the site of the Anglo-Saxon Cathedral of Elmham. It was converted by Bishop Despencer in the late 14th century. In addition there are also the underlying remains of part of a Late Saxon/Norman cemetery. The ruins of the medieval church and manor house stand on a rectangular, ditched platform in the south west corner of a larger rectangular enclosure surrounded by a dry moat, to the east of which are remains of an adjoining outer enclosure. The church had a western tower with a semicircular stair turret, an aisleless nave, continuous transept with armpit towers and an apse. There is evidence for an ashlar dressed tower and west transept arches, north and south nave doorways and entrances into armpit towers. The 14th century work includes a semicircular tower base matching the original stair turret and several masonry partitions with brick dressings. The site is surrounded by 14the century earthworks.
More information : (TF 98812160) Saxon Cathedral & Bishop's Manor House (NR) (Remains of)

(TF 98832165) Tower Hills (NR) (1)

See attached pamphlet. (2)

The Saxon Cathedral lies within a later moated enclosure, and owes its survival to its subsequent use as a medieval manor house. Since nothing of the present structure appears to pre-date the early 10th century it must be presumed that the earliest church lay elsewhere on the site. (3)

Two interpretations of the site. (4)

Construction date derived from North Elmham well AD 794 +/- 1. (5)

Additional references. (6-7)

The Church is thought to have been built by Bishop Herbert de Losinga (1091-1119) on the site of the Anglo-Saxon Cathedral of Elmham. It was converted by Bishop Despencer in the late 14th century. Built from a local, dark brown conglomerate with a flint core and ashlar dressings, there are brick dressings to the 14th century work. The church is roofless and has a western tower with a semicircular stair turret, an aisleless nave, continuous transept with armpit towers and an apse. There is evidence for an ashlar dressed tower and west transept arches, north and south nave doorways and entrances into armpit towers. The 14th century work includes a semicircular tower base matching the original stair turret and several masonry partitions with brick dressings. The site is surrounded by 14the century earthworks. (8)

The ruins and buried remains of a medieval church, converted in the last quarter of the 14th century into a fortified manor house with surrounding earthworks. In addition there are also the underlying remains of what is believed to have been the Saxon cathedral church of Elmham and part of a Late Saxon/Norman cemetery. The ruins of the medieval church and manor house stand on a rectangular, ditched platform in the south west corner of a larger rectangular enclosure surrounded by a dry moat, to the east of which are remains of an adjoining outer enclosure. (9)

Additional information (10-11)

Listed by Cathcart King. (12)

The licence to crenellate formerly thought to have been for South Elmham Hall in 1387 is in fact the licence for North Elmham Bishop's Palace. (13)

Listed as North Elman [North Elmham Bishop's Castle]. (14)

1387, Dec. 29. Westminster. Licence for the King's kinsman, Henry, Bishop of Norwich, to crenellate his manors of North Elmam and Gaywode, co. Norwich. (15)

Additional information. (16)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1958
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 2
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : DOE North Elmham Saxon Cathedral (SE Rigold)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Medieval religious houses in England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 425,472
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : Castellarium anglicanum : an index and bibliography of the castles in England, Wales and the islands. Volume I : Anglesey - Montgomery
Source details :
Page(s) : 308
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 13
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : E-mail comment to PastScape from Mr Philip Davis, 16-OCT-2006
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Source Number : 14
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : http://homepage.mac.com/philipdavis/Indexs/Locindex.html
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 15
Source : Calendar of Patent Rolls
Source details : Richard II, 1385-89, membrane 2
Page(s) : 381
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : III
Source Number : 16
Source : Heritage Unlocked: Guide to free sites in the East of England
Source details :
Page(s) : 70-71
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : A guide to Anglo-Saxon sites
Source details : N and M Kerr, London [illustrated]
Page(s) : 126-7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Archaeologia : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : 1980, S Rigold and S Heywood
Page(s) : 137-9
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 5
Source Number : 5
Source : Norfolk archaeology : a journal of archaeology and local history
Source details : (J Fletcher)
Page(s) : 192
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 38 part 2 1982
Source Number : 6
Source : Journal of the British Archaeological Association
Source details : Illustrated (S Heywood)
Page(s) : 01-Oct
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 135, 1982
Source Number : 7
Source : The origins of Norfolk
Source details :
Page(s) : 143-54
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Breckland, 29-Aug-1984
Page(s) : 21
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 206
Source Number : 9
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 28-Sep-98
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 10
Source : The English Heritage visitors' handbook 1998-99
Source details :
Page(s) : 117
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : 650-1091
Monument End Date : 850
Monument Start Date : 650
Monument Type : Cathedral, Timber Framed Building
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Rebuilt 1091-1119
Monument End Date : 1119
Monument Start Date : 1091
Monument Type : Cathedral
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Converted to bishop's manor
Monument End Date : 1400
Monument Start Date : 1367
Monument Type : Moat, Bishops Palace, Fortified Manor House
Evidence : Earthwork, Ruined Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : NF 96
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 21445
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Norfolk)
External Cross Reference Number : 1014
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Norfolk)
External Cross Reference Number : 1013
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 220698
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : EH Property Number
External Cross Reference Number : 36
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1342523
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1017911
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TF 92 SE 3
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 391726
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1531902
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, CATHEDRAL
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1870-01-01
End Date : 1879-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CATHEDRAL
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1951-01-01
End Date : 1955-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CATHEDRAL
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1954-01-01
End Date : 1954-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, NORTH ELMHAM PARK
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1967-01-01
End Date : 1967-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, NORTH ELMHAM PARK
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1967-01-01
End Date : 1972-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TF 92 SE 3
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1973-01-04
End Date : 1973-01-04