Monument record LKH 315 - 82/82A High Street, Lakenheath (Med-PMed)

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Evaluation revealed evidence for a long maintained property boundary, together with medieval pits, postholes and building material, suggesting a possible medieval precursor to the existing farm. A historic building survey also identified a group of 19th C farm buildings at the site, as well as a demolished 17th C barn.


Grid reference Centred TL 7141 8263 (115m by 85m)
Map sheet TL78SW


Type and Period (13)

Full Description

Evaluation identified a series of NE to SW aligned ditches running down the NW edge of the site, and containing pottery of Middle Saxon to Modern date, suggested to be a long-maintained property boundary. Pits containing medieval pottery, rubble deposits containing reused medieval building material and late medieval postholes were also found, possibly suggesting a medieval farm predating the existing farmyard. A number of undated ditches were also recorded at the western end of the site, apparently predating the property boundaries, and possibly of Roman or prehistoric date (S1).

The building known as 82 and 82A High Street is an unlisted brick structure with a late-19th century façade which contains substantial fabric of the 18th century or earlier and is marked on the Ordnance Survey of 1883 as Churchgate Farm. It adjoins the western side of the principal street of Lakenheath, just 50 metres south of the 12th century church of St Mary (part of an important manor belonging to the Abbot of Ely, whose medieval holdings are exceptionally well-documented) and probably overlies a site of medieval occupation. The substantial complex of farm buildings between the house and the watercourse known as the ‘Cut-Off Channel’ (or New Cut) to the rear consists chiefly of the highly distinctive local material known as clunch (chalk blocks), which characterises the vernacular architecture of Lakenheath and a small number of other Breckland parishes. The Lakenheath Conservation Area Appraisal by Paul Edwards RIBA, formerly English Heritage Inspector of Historic Buildings, which was adopted in April 2007, includes a photograph of these buildings and accurately describes them as ‘a complete set … with stables, shelter sheds, cart sheds, granaries and barns. They are built of flint or chalk blocks with red brick quoins and pantiled roofs. They form a special group seen from the High Street or from the west across the Cut-Off Channel. Under current criteria they are of national special architectural or historic interest’ (Forest Heath District Council, p.18). Of some 15 structures on the site, approximately 10 had been demolished in the months prior to recording, which took place within two working days of instruction. The surviving buildings date from the mid-19th century and include two stable ranges, a tack room and a barn, but photographic evidence included in this report indicates that one of the demolished structures was a three-bay clunch barn with intact tie-beams and arch-braces resting on ovolo-moulded corbel blocks of 17th century appearance. Despite the replacement of its roof during the mid-19th century refurbishment of the complex, which probably followed soon after the enlargement of the farm in 1837 (under the Lakenheath Enclosure Act of 1833), this barn may have represented one of only three remaining clunch examples of its period in Suffolk and was accordingly of considerable historic significance (S2).

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <S1> Unpublished document: Craven, J.A. and Caruth, J.. 2008. Land to the rear of 82/82A High Street, Lakenheath. A report on the archaeological evaluation, 2008.
  • <S1> Unpublished document: Alston, L.. 2008. Historic Building Record: The Farm Buildings, 82/83A High Street, Lakenheath.

Finds (12)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Jan 29 2014 11:52AM

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