|Town or city||Cley next the Sea, Norfolk|
Blakeney Chapel is a ruined building on the coast of North Norfolk, England. Despite its name, it was probably not a chapel, nor is it in the adjoining village of Blakeney, but rather in the parish of Cley next the Sea. The building stood on a raised mound or "eye" on the seaward end of the coastal marshes, less than 200 m (220 yd) from the sea and just to the north of the current channel of the River Glaven where it turns to run parallel to the shoreline. It consisted of two rectangular rooms of unequal size, and appears to be intact in a 1586 map, but is shown as ruins in later charts. Only the foundations and part of a wall still remain. Three archaeological investigations between 1998 and 2005 provided more detail of the construction, and showed two distinct periods of active use. Although it is described as a chapel on several maps, there is no documentary or archaeological evidence to suggest that it had any religious function. A small hearth, probably used for smelting iron, is the only evidence of a specific activity on the site.
Much of the structural material was long ago carried off for reuse in buildings in Cley and Blakeney. The surviving ruins are protected as a scheduled monument and Grade II listed building because of their historical importance, but there is no active management. The ever-present threat from the encroaching sea is likely to increase following a realignment of the Glaven's course through the marshes, and lead to the loss of the ruins.
The Blakeney Chapel ruins consist of an east–west rectangular structure (S1) 18 m × 7 m (59 ft × 23 ft) in size with a smaller rectangular building (S2), 13 m × 5 m (43 ft × 16 ft) built onto the southern side of the main room. Most of the structure is buried; only a 6 m (20 ft) length of a flint and mortar wall was exposed to a height of 0.3 m (1 ft) prior to the excavation of 2004–05. The ruins stand on the highest point of Blakeney Eye at about 2 m (7 ft) above sea level. The Eye is a sandy mound in the marshes that is located inside the sea wall at the point where the River Glaven turns westward towards the sheltered inlet of Blakeney Haven. Cley Eye is a similar raised area on the east bank of the river. Despite the name, Blakeney Eye, like most of the northern part of the marshes in this area, is actually part of the parish of Cley next the Sea.
The land on which the building stands was owned by the Calthorpe family until its purchase by banker Charles Rothschild in 1912. Rothschild gave the property to the National Trust, which has managed it since.There is no public access to the site.
The ruins are protected as a scheduled monument and Grade II listed building because of their historical importance. 7,700-hectare (19,000-acre) North Norfolk Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because of its internationally important wildlife value. The SSSI is now additionally protected through Natura 2000, Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar listings, and is part of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).These listings do not cover the land around them, but the whole of the marsh forms part of the
The building was first shown on a 1586 map of the Blakeney and Cley area, apparently drawn to be used in evidence in a legal case regarding the rights to "wreck and salvage", the outcome of which is unknown. The original map disappeared in the 19th century, but a number of copies still exist.In this map, the building on the Eye is shown as intact and roofed, but it has no name. A map by the Cranefields from 1769 has the building as "Eye House", but by 1797 cartographer William Faden's map of Norfolk shows the "chapel ruins", a description that was then consistently used from the 19th century onwards. Some maps, including Faden's, show a second ruined chapel across the Glaven on Cley Eye, but no other documentation exists for that building.
The medieval churches of St Nicholas, Blakeney and St Margaret's, Cley, and the now ruined Blakeney friary, were not the first religious buildings in the area. An early church was recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book at Esnuterle ("Snitterley" was a former name for Blakeney, the current name first appearing in 1340), but the 11th-century church's location is unknown, and there is no reason to think that it is on the site of the 'chapel'.
An anonymous booklet on Blakeney published in 1929 states that there was a "chapel of ease" on the marshes, served by a friar from the Convent, but the document on which this seems to be based, a Calendar of Patent Rolls dated 20 April 1343, simply notes that a local hermit was given permission to seek alms in "divers parts of the realms". There is no evidence of a dedication of any religious building on the marshes, and no mention of a chapel in any surviving medieval documents.
The first investigation of the chapel ruins, supported by the National Trust, was conducted by the local history group in the winter of 1998–99. This survey was conducted under a licence from English Heritage that allowed access but did not permit excavation, so it relied on height measurements, geophysics (resistivity, and magnetometry) and molehill sampling. The area surveyed was 100 m long and 40 m wide (109 yd by 44 yd). The magnetometry failed to detect the subterranean features of the chapel, but did show an unexpected linear anomaly, related to buried ironwork from wartime defences. The resistivity survey clearly showed the larger room, but barely detected the smaller, suggesting that it had less substantial foundations, was probably less well-constructed, and possibly later in date.
Plans for a realignment of the Glaven channel meant that the Eye would be left unprotected to the north of the river, and would eventually be destroyed by coastal change. It was decided that the only practical course of action was to investigate the site while it still existed, and a preliminary evaluation was carried out in 2003 in preparation for a full survey in 2004–05. ha (25 acres), significantly more than the 0.4 ha (1 acre) of the 1998 investigations. 50 trenches were excavated in a herringbone pattern outside the buildings, each 50 m long and 1.8 m wide (164 ft by 6 ft), and six trenches of varying dimensions were created inside the chapel. These equated in total area to two of the standard trenches. The geology was investigated with eight boreholes, and geophysics (magnetometry and metal detection) were used to locate subsurface anomalies.The surveyed area covered 10
The major excavation of the site in the winter of 2004–05 concentrated on the building and a 10 m (33 ft) zone surrounding it. The results indicated that there were a number of phases of occupation. The remains of the building were reburied after excavation, so nothing is now visible at the surface.
The earliest evidence of permanent occupation is a series of ditches of 11th or 12th century date which are believed to have formed an enclosure, the south east corner of which lies below the "chapel". Evidence for any buildings within the enclosure has either been lost to the Glaven or is buried outside the survey area. Few finds were associated with the ditches, although some fragments of Roman or earlier pottery and three Henry III pennies were found nearby. km (10 mi) further east on the Norfolk coast. The main ore in this area is the iron-rich local carrstone.As elsewhere on the site, there is little evidence to link the old pottery to its location when found. By the time of the construction of the main building, some time in the 14th century, the ditches had filled with sand. A small hearth was built at ground level, shortly before or during the erection of S1. It appears to have had fairly light use, but the presence of slag suggests that it was intended for smelting iron, perhaps by a smith. There was evidence for a number of small fires elsewhere in S1 at a similar date to the hearth, but whether they were related to the smelting is unknown. At this time, hearths could not melt metallic iron, but produced a 'bloom' (a mixture of iron and slag) which could be converted to wrought iron by repeated heating and hammering. Another, even earlier, smelting hearth is known from West Runton, 17
The larger north building was built without deep foundation trenches, but was nevertheless a solid, well-built flint and mortar construction. The building had "substantial time and money spent on it" in the opinion of the principal archaeologist.The flints were selected to decrease in size as the walls rose, and the internal corners were decorated with limestone blocks set as quoins. Seashells were recovered, with a distribution suggesting that they were once part of the fabric of the building as galleting (strengthening for the mortar). There were entrances in the west and northeast walls, and some evidence that there were once windows in the northwest and south walls. The floor was compacted soil, and the original roof material is unknown, but the presence of a few glazed floor tiles and Flemish pantiles of a somewhat later date is consistent with a higher-status appearance. There was no internal wall at this date, but there may have been an external wooden extension to the southwest corner.
The medieval building was eventually abandoned, and much of the structural material was taken for reuse in Blakeney and Cley villages.A stone archway in Cley is traditionally believed to have come from the chapel, and would fit the western entrance, although it could have been brought from elsewhere such as the ruined Blakeney friary. The 'chapel' building was deserted around 1600, but whether the collapse of its east end was the cause or a consequence of its disuse is unknown. The main building seems to have suffered a major fire at some stage, and no wooden structures have been found. The site was flooded at least three times, subsequent to the building's collapse. At some stage, part of the western wall was lost, the steep slope where it stood suggesting that it may have been taken by the sea.
Most of the pottery found within the larger room was 14th to 16th century; nearly a third of this was imported from the continent,reflecting the Glaven ports' importance in international trade at that time. The pottery appeared to be mainly domestic in nature, including jugs and cooking vessels.
The 17th-century room, S2, used the south wall of the existing structure as its own north wall, and was largely built using materials salvaged from S1, although the standard of the work was poorer. The new room had a double fireplace, but there was no evidence of a dividing wall between the two hearths. Limestone blocks, identical to the quoins in S1, were used as structural and decorative features in the fireplace. In addition to the pantiles taken from S1, there were Cornish slate roof tiles. Whether they formed part of the roof of S2 or were associated with the possible wooden extension is unclear.
At the same time that S2 was built, a dividing wall, again of inferior quality, was built across S1 to create a western room.There were no molehills within the smaller building, which had suggested that, unlike its neighbour, it has a buried solid floor, and this was confirmed by excavation. The floor was originally made of mortar, relaid at least once, but then covered with a layer of flint cobbles, suggesting that it was a working area. The old hearth was not covered, so it may have still been used. A new fireplace was also added, apparently of a domestic design, although the context makes that function improbable. A well-marked track led southwest down the slope from S1, and a large midden was close to the path. It has been suggested that a "clean" pit north of S1 was a well, with fresh water floating above the saltwater below, a phenomenon known from Blakeney Point and elsewhere on the Norfolk coast.
There is only limited evidence for use after the 17th-century desertion, including a 19th-century tobacco pipe and some Victorian glassware.A wartime barbed wire fence ran through the ruins, and was detected by excavation and magnetometry. Other modern finds included a gin trap, bullets and other small metal objects.
Blakeney Eye has a long history of occupation, with many finds from the Neolithic, but few from Roman or Anglo-Saxon dates,although a gold bracteate was a rare and significant 6th-century find. Animal and plant finds showed that both domesticated species, such as goats, and locally available prey such as curlews were eaten; rabbit and canid remains may reflect the use of fur from these mammals. Evidence of cereal processing and storage is difficult to date, but may be medieval.
The buildings were abandoned during the 17th century, and their uses, which may have been varied over the long period of occupation, remain unknown. The east–west orientation and superior workmanship of S1 would not preclude religious use, but there is no other evidence, archaeological or documentary, to support that possibility.The limited number of finds, even of material which could not have been reused, have suggested that any medieval habitation must have been very limited in numbers of people and time. Other plausible uses have been suggested, such as a custom house or a warrener's house, but again there is nothing to support these speculations.
Realignment of the River Glaven means the ruins are now to the north of the river embankment, and essentially unprotected from coastal erosion, since the advancing shingle will no longer be swept away by the stream. The chapel will be buried by a ridge of shingle as the spit continues to move south, and then lost to the sea, years.perhaps within 20–30
The ridge of shingle runs west from Weybourne along the Norfolk coast, before becoming a spit extending into the sea at Blakeney. Saltmarshes can develop behind the ridge, but the sea attacks the spit through tidal and storm action. The amount of shingle moved by a single storm can be "spectacular";the spit has sometimes been breached, becoming an island for a time, and this may happen again. The northernmost part of Snitterley village was lost to the sea in the early Middle Ages, probably due to a storm.
In the last two hundred years, the maps have been accurate enough for the distance from the ruins to the sea to be measured. The 400 m (440 yd) in 1817 had become 320 m (350 yd) by 1835, 275 m (300 yd) in 1907, and 195 m (215 yd) by the end of the 20th century. The spit is moving towards the mainland at about 1 m (1 yd) per year; and several raised islands or "eyes" have already been lost to the sea as the beach has rolled over the saltmarsh. Landward movement of the shingle meant that the channel of the Glaven, itself excavated in 1922 because an earlier, more northerly course was overwhelmed between Blakeney and Cley, was becoming blocked increasingly often. This led to flooding of Cley village and the environmentally important freshwater marshes. The Environment Agency considered a number of remedial options. Attempting to hold back the shingle or breaching the spit to create a new outlet for the Glaven would be expensive and probably ineffective, and doing nothing would be environmentally damaging. The Agency decided to create a new route for the river to the south of its original line, and work to realign a 550 m (600 yd) stretch of river 200 m (220 yd) further south was completed in 2007 at a cost of about £1.5 million.
Managed retreat is likely to be the long-term solution to rising sea levels along much of the North Norfolk coast.It has already been implemented at other important sites like Titchwell Marsh.
Blakeney is a coastal village and civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. Blakeney lies within the Norfolk Coast AONB and the North Norfolk Heritage Coast. The North Norfolk Coastal Path travels along its quayside. The village is 21.1 mi (34.0 km) north west of Norwich, 4.6 mi (7.4 km) NNW of the larger settlement of Holt, 11.5 mi (18.5 km) west of Cromer and 112 mi (180 km) NNE of London.
Cley next the Sea, is a village and civil parish on the River Glaven in Norfolk, England, 4 mi (6 km) north-west of Holt and east of Blakeney. The main A149 coast road runs through the centre of the village, causing congestion in the summer months due to the tight, narrow streets. It lies within the Norfolk Coast AONB and the North Norfolk Heritage Coast. In 2011 its population was 437.
Holkham National Nature Reserve is England's largest national nature reserve (NNR). It is on the Norfolk coast between Burnham Overy Staithe and Blakeney, and is managed by Natural England with the cooperation of the Holkham Estate. Its 3,900 hectares comprise a wide range of habitats, including grazing marsh, woodland, salt marsh, sand dunes and foreshore. The reserve is part of the North Norfolk Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest, and the larger area is additionally protected through Natura 2000, Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar listings, and is part of both an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and a World Biosphere Reserve. Holkham NNR is important for its wintering wildfowl, especially pink-footed geese, Eurasian wigeon and brant geese, but it also has breeding waders, and attracts many migrating birds in autumn. A number of scarce invertebrates and plants can be found in the dunes, and the reserve is one of the only two sites in the UK to have an antlion colony.
The Norfolk Coast Path is a long-distance footpath in Norfolk, running 83 miles (133.5 km) from Hunstanton to Hopton-on-Sea. It was opened in 1986 and covers the North Norfolk Coast AONB.
Titchwell Marsh is an English nature reserve owned and managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Located on the north coast of the county of Norfolk, between the villages of Titchwell and Thornham, about 8 km (5.0 mi) east of the seaside resort of Hunstanton, its 171 hectares include reed beds, saltmarshes, a freshwater lagoon and sandy beach, with a small woodland area near the car park. This internationally important reserve is part of the North Norfolk Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and is also protected through Natura 2000, Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar listings.
North Norfolk is a local government district in Norfolk, England. Its council is based in Cromer. The population at the 2011 Census was 101,149.
RSPB Minsmere is a nature reserve owned and managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) at Minsmere, Suffolk. The 1,000-hectare (2,500-acre) site has been managed by the RSPB since 1947 and covers areas of reed bed, lowland heath, acid grassland, wet grassland, woodland and shingle vegetation. It lies within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Suffolk Heritage Coast area. It is conserved as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area and Ramsar site.
Stiffkey is a village and civil parish on the north coast of the English county of Norfolk. It is situated on the A149 coast road, some 6 km (3.7 mi) east of Wells-next-the-Sea, 6 km (3.7 mi) west of Blakeney, and 40 km (25 mi) north-west of the city of Norwich. The civil parish has an area of 14.55 km2 (5.62 sq mi) and in the 2001 census had a population of 223 in 105 households, the population falling to 209 at the 2011 Census.
Minsmere is a place in the English county of Suffolk. It is located on the North Sea coast around 3.5 miles (5.6 km) north of Leiston and 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south-east of Westleton within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB. It is the site of the Minsmere RSPB reserve and the original site of Leiston Abbey.
Beeston Regis is a village and civil parish in the North Norfolk district of Norfolk, England. It is about a mile (2 km) east of Sheringham, Norfolk and near the coast. The village is 2 miles (3 km) west of Cromer and 16 miles (26 km) north of the city of Norwich. According to the 2011 census it had a population of 1,062. There is a frequent bus service on the coast road A149 and a rail service from the nearby stations of Sheringham to the west and West Runton to the east, where the Bittern Line runs a frequent service between Norwich, Cromer and Sheringham. The nearest airport is Norwich International Airport.
Wiveton is a village and civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. It is situated on the west bank of the River Glaven, 3 km (1.9 mi) inland from the coast and directly across the river from the village of Cley next the Sea. The larger village of Blakeney is 2 km (1.2 mi) to the west, the town of Cromer is 20 km (12 mi) to the east, and the city of Norwich is 40 km (25 mi) to the south-east.
Blakeney Point is a national nature reserve situated near to the villages of Blakeney, Morston and Cley next the Sea on the north coast of Norfolk, England. Its main feature is a 6.4 km (4 mi) spit of shingle and sand dunes, but the reserve also includes salt marshes, tidal mudflats and reclaimed farmland. It has been managed by the National Trust since 1912, and lies within the North Norfolk Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest, which is additionally protected through Natura 2000, Special Protection Area (SPA), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Ramsar listings. The reserve is part of both an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and a World Biosphere Reserve. The Point has been studied for more than a century, following pioneering ecological studies by botanist Francis Wall Oliver and a bird ringing programme initiated by ornithologist Emma Turner.
Scolt Head Island is an offshore barrier island between Brancaster and Wells-next-the-Sea in north Norfolk. It is in the parish of Burnham Norton and is accessed by a seasonal ferry from the village of Overy Staithe. The shingle and sand island appears to have originated from a former spit extending from the coast, and longshore drift means that it is slowly moving to the west and inshore.
The A149 is commonly known as "The Coast Road" to local residents and tourists as this road runs along the North Norfolk coast from King's Lynn to Cromer passing through small coastal villages. The road then leaves the coastline at Cromer and reaches the Norfolk Broads.
The River Glaven in the eastern English county of Norfolk is 10.5 mi (16.9 km) long and flows through picturesque North Norfolk countryside to the North Sea. Rising from a tiny headwater in Bodham the river starts 2+1⁄2 miles before Selbrigg Pond where three small streams combine. The scenic value of the Glaven valley is important to the tourist industry in North Norfolk. The river is one of over 200 chalk rivers in the world and one of 160 in the UK.
St Nicholas is the Anglican parish church of Blakeney, Norfolk, in the deanery of Holt and the Diocese of Norwich. The church was founded in the 13th century, but the greater part of the church dates from the 15th century when Blakeney was a seaport of some importance. Of the original structure only the chancel has survived rebuilding, perhaps owing to its link to a nearby Carmelite friary. An unusual architectural feature is a second tower, used as a beacon, at the east end. Other significant features are the vaulted chancel with a stepped seven-light lancet window, and the hammerbeam roof of the nave. St Nicholas is a nationally important building, with a Grade I listing for its exceptional architectural interest.
The North Norfolk Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is an internationally important protected area in Norfolk, England. The SSSI is a long, narrow strip of coastal land that starts between Old Hunstanton and Holme-next-the-Sea, and runs east for about 43 km (27 mi) to Kelling. The southern boundary runs roughly west to east except where it detours around towns and villages, and never crosses the A149 coast road. It has an area of 7,700 ha (19,027 acres), and is additionally protected through Natura 2000, Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar listings; it is also part of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Scolt Head Island and the coast from the Holkham National Nature Reserve to Salthouse are a Biosphere Reserve.
The North Norfolk Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is an area of European importance for wildlife in Norfolk, England. It comprises 7,700 ha (19,027 acres) of the county's north coast from just west of Holme-next-the-Sea to Kelling, and is additionally protected through Natura 2000, Special Protection Area (SPA) listings; it is also part of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The North Norfolk Coast is also designated as a wetland of international importance on the Ramsar list and most of it is a Biosphere Reserve.
Cley Marshes is a 176-hectare (430-acre) nature reserve on the North Sea coast of England just outside the village of Cley next the Sea, Norfolk. A reserve since 1926, it is the oldest of the reserves belonging to the Norfolk Wildlife Trust (NWT), which is itself the oldest county Wildlife Trust in the United Kingdom. Cley Marshes protects an area of reed beds, freshwater marsh, pools and wet meadows and is part of the North Norfolk Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA), and Ramsar Site due to the large numbers of birds it attracts.
Adur Estuary is a 62.2-hectare (154-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest on the western outskirts of Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex. Part is a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds nature reserve.