Denton Archaeology

An Introduction

This item has been developed from the Denton "Parish Summary" from the Norfolk Heritage Explorer website. The entry contains a mass of fascinating information about the history of the village including local archeological finds, buildings etc. More than 60 items are recorded, some in great detail.

Very little research has been carried out on Denton's early history and almost no excavation is recorded so the evidence for the pre-Norman period is very sketchy. However, as the NHE commentary points out, "The lack of archaeological records from the earlier periods does not necessarily represent a lack of activity, but simply a lack of archaeological research."

The earliest finds from the village are: a Mesolithic or Neolithic flint axe-head and a later Neolithic axe-head, a Neolithic scraper and two Neolithic to Bronze Age mace-heads. These were found at several different sites which indicates that, as elsewhere in the Waveney valley, there was significant prehistoric activity in the area. A late Iron Age copper alloy coin minted on the continent and found at what is regarded as a possible Roman settlement indicates continuing activity in the parish.

A selection of Roman pottery, coins and brooches along with a complete Roman copper alloy vessel and other items have been found at this settlement site. Unfortunately the NHE entry does not reveal its exact location. There is more evidence of the Roman period in the parish, including Roman pottery and two Roman coins. These finds were made along the north side of the beck to the north of the church. A lot of Roman pottery remains including querns and Samian ware has been found in the field to the west of the Castle.

There is very little firm evidence for Saxon activity in the parish though the entry in the Norman Domesday Book indicates it was a well established settlement. As noted elsewhere, Denton Castle was probably built just after the Norman Conquest by the D'Albini family although it might be later. The original round tower of St Mary's Church is also Norman.

There is evidence for several medieval moats within the parish and detailed analysis of the buildings at East Hall on Middle Road has suggested that this was an early medieval manor. Later it appears that this manorial site was moved to the north to Hall Farm Barns. The earthworks at Great Green suggest there was a smaller complex here – perhaps a medieval toft adjoining the common. The medieval aisled hall at Pear Tree Farm at Misery Corner is now hidden under a much more modern exterior. There have also been several finds of medieval pottery and medieval metal objects around the parish.

The Norfolk Heritage Explorer Website contains a lot more details and is well worth a visit. It also records details of some of the later buildings in the village including Denton House, the Congregational Chapel and several other timber framed buildings.

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