Medieval Mulbarton

Medieval Mulbarton

The fields behind the houses on the Norwich Road have been particularly rich in Medieval finds. More than fifty have been positively identified and dated - and these are just those found with a metal detector. Many more finds that are too corroded or partial to identify for certain probably date from that period between the arrival of the Normans (1066) and the end of the 15th century, when the Tudors had gained the throne. 

This collection of finds by Jim Bratton in field 2 of Paddock Farm (map on ORIGINS page) is fairly representative.. The field lies north of the junction of the B1113 with Catfield Lane:-

Item 1 may be late Saxon, but 2 to 11 are Medieval and the others from the 16th century:
1. Stirrup strap terminal
2. Pair of Medieval casket mounts, c.1200
3. King Edward III silver penny, 1327-1377
4. Medieval strap end
5. Medieval gilded buckle plate
6. Medieval buckle plate fragment
7. Medieval buckle plate
10. Nurembourg jeton 1480-1490
11. Medieval spoon end showing Virgin and Child.
13. French jeton 1497-1547
14. Copper alloy buckles 1500 - 1600
15. Lead 4-ounce weight with crown and arms of Norwich
21. Acorn harness mount
22. Nuremburg jeton 1562 - 1635

Here are personal items (coins and buckles); household items (from a casket and a spoon); and lots of pieces of buckles and straps that most probably came from the harness of horses. The jetons were purpose-made tokens, copied from those first created in Nuremburg or France but manufactured in England. They were mainly used as reckoning counters on a grid (the equivalent to counters on an abacus) but also used as gaming pieces.

The north end of the same field yielded medieval pot menders and broken pieces of metal pots and a cast copper suspension ring that once held such pots over a fire. And some of the other photos on pages in this section show more Medieval finds.

It seems that by 1500, the houses of Mulbarton clustered along what is still the main street north from the church, although there may have been outlying settlements to the south of the Common where there are a few older Victorian and Edwardian houses today. But so far there is no evidence from archaeological finds to prove what was there.

From field 6, now part of the Humbleyard Vineyard:
1 - 3 are Saxon items (part of a brooch; a stud; a buckle fragment).
4. King Edward II silver penny 1307-1327
5. King Edward III silver half groat (= 2 old pence) 1327-1377
6. Medieval casket mount terminal
7. Medieval buckle plate
8. Medieval sword pommel (which fitted into the top of the handle)
9. Medieval purse frame
11. Pottery shard 1400 - 1500
14. From a much later period - King William III silver sixpence 1695-1701