Norfolk Heritage Explorer
Over the years, many ancient artifacts have been unearthed in the village. We are fortunate that these have all been catalogued by Norfolk County Council. They can all be found on the Heritage Explorer website page for Wreningham. Additional links to further information on each item are provided on that same page.
The Heritage Explorer site is updated whenever new information becomes available.
A pair of cannon balls have been found in an Ashwellthorpe Road garden. Slightly different sizes, they are made of stone – believed to be sandstone, which has been been fashioned into approximate spheres. Each one has a discernible line running around an “equator”.
We are not aware of any battles around here involving cannon so perhaps these were trophies brought to Wreningham from a distant location, placed outside and forgotten about? Information about stone (and iron) cannon balls – technically known as “round shot” can be found here and here.
Village Archaeological digs
If a building development has been agreed by the local authority Planning Department where there is the potential of significant archaeological remains being lost, a ground survey can be required. In recent times, in Wreningham, there have been two examples where professional archaeological surveys have been undertaken.
The first of those was at the Bird in Hand, in Church Road, when the construction of new accommodation was approved. The second occurred, also in Church Road, before work could be started on building ten new houses.
These days, after surveys have been completed, the information is archived by the University of York and the survey reports for the above two examples can be found here and here. Both of these surveys yielded very interesting results. Some of the photographs from the second site can be seen here. The “ten new houses” site provided site data, including examples of pottery manufacture from the Middle Ages whilst the Bird in Hand location provided details going back to Roman times.
You can help explore some of Wreningham’s history in your own garden. During summer 2022, three test pits were dug in village gardens. Prior to that, in summer 2018, there were a number of digs. No doubt there will be more to come. It just needs volunteers! All you need is a trowel, a spade, a pen and a spare day. A friend or two can also come in very useful! We provide some simple training and a tame expert or two to sort and interpret what you have discovered together with the approximate ages of your discoveries.
In 2018, the Pear Tree Farmhouse test pit produced medieval pottery suggesting that there has been settlement there since medieval times. It is an attractive location, fronting onto the former Low Common (enclosed in the 1770s). Medieval pottery was also found in gardens at Ashwellthorpe Road and St Steven’s Lane, but in small amounts. This was probably the result of spreading household rubbish on the fields. Evidence of prehistoric activity was found in a lot of the test pits, especially those on the south-facing slope by the valley bottom on Mill Lane and Toprow.
Look out for notices about future village Test Pitting digs in 2023!