Sedgeford Hall Bowling Green


In 1913 Holcombe Ingleby installed a bowling green about 150 yards to the north west of Sedgeford Hall. In his book The Charm of a Village (1920) he states that during the construction of the green he “discovered that the workmen were turning up pieces of British and Roman pottery” (p.27). He then describes how he went on to ?nd quantities of pottery in various parts of the Sedgeford Valley, but he does not specify where precisely he dug.


Ingleby certainly found a large quantity of pottery; the picture shows tables in the village hall covered in his pottery ?nds. Unfortunately the pottery does not survive: local folklore has it that it was crushed and used in the hard core of the road between Sedgeford and Snettisham. Apart from the brief references in The Charm of a Village, Ingleby’s discoveries were not systematically recorded or published.


During the 2000 season a small team of diggers was deployed to the old bowling green site, aiming to discover what Ingleby had found and assess whether any of the deposits have survived. The bowling green has not been in use for at least half a century and has been planted with trees. However, the position of the rectangular green is still evident, with slight banks to the north west and south east, a more de?ned bank to the north east and a drop towards the Heacham river to the south west.


A ?ve metre trench was placed across the north east bank, and test pits were positioned off the green to the north east, south west and north west. The sequences discovered and pro?les surveyed on and off the bowling green suggest that the green was constructed by cutting into the natural slope to create an appropriately sized ?at surface. The material removed appears to have been deposited fairly evenly to the north east, building up the bank. Few ?nds were recovered by hand from this material, but when the spoil was sieved, numerous small sherds of Iron Age and later pottery were recovered. It seems that when Ingleby’s workmen excavated the bowling green they missed these small sherds, just as we did when excavating by hand.


We concluded that the construction of the bowling green had removed the archaeological deposits containing the Iron Age and Roman pottery that Ingleby found. However, the quantities of pottery recovered do suggest there is an Iron Age site somewhere in the vicinity and a programme of investigation into the Iron Age at Sedgeford has been initiated.

The full report on the excavation can be accessed here