Black Joy (skeletal remains)

remains associated with the soundwork ‘Black Joy’ at NWT Visitor Centre (NR25 7SA) from 1st July to 1st August 2021 …

“During the invasion scare of 1587, Edmund Yorke drew up a complex plan of an earthwork rampart backing Salthouse Marshes, with tow forts at either end, one adjoining the rampart at Weybourne, the other separated from the rampart at CleyHaven. This latter fort, lack Joy Fort was planned to be a six-pointed star fort with ravelins between each face, the first example of such an advanced design in England. it ws probably Yorke’s solution to the rapid rebuilding of an existing unbastioned sconce. Some part of the defences existed then as orders were given to enlarge `the sconce at Weybourne Hoop’. It is unlikely that the plan was was cried out beyond strengthening the extant sconce as the Armad commenced soon after the plan was drawn up.”

[source: last accessed 30th June 2021]

Cley, Clye, Cly, Claye, Clye, Cly, Claye, Cley, Cly Clye, Claye, Cley, Cley, Clye, Cly, Claye, Clye, Cly, Claye, Cley, Cly Clye, Claye, Cley, Cley, Clye, Cly, Claye, Clye, Cly, Claye, Cley, Cly Clye, Claye, Cley, Cley, Clye, Cly, Claye, Clye, Cly, Claye, Cley, Cly Clye, Claye, Cley, Cley, Clye, Cly, Claye, Clye, Cly, Claye, Cley, Cly Clye, Claye, Cley, Cley, Clye, Cly, Claye, Clye, Cly, Claye, Cley, Cly Clye, Claye, Cley,

indistinctly, amongst Holes and Eyes,

cut, raised, ditch, bank

between New Cut and banked shingle

Half Moon sets to the east

beacons, buoys, and mud

repeatedly crowd Cow’s brackish waters

buried, eroded and destroyed by doubt

history realigning Clay Old Walls

reading a copy’s digital detail

with theoretical sophistication, originality and pragmatism

Yorke’s hasty map maps indistinctions,

marred by smudges and corrections

lines overlay to cover dead ground

an eight-pointed star, of

elaborate geometry, of

ravelins and bastions

inked re-iteratively onto

landform washes …

and retreat this defence

through page border

surrounded by water

facing South the threat

is from below, behind,

from an Ocean of gently brushed waves

an intent of management for the sure line

against the Spannyard’s projected invasion

and conquest of England

to garde ye entry at Claye Haven:

Mr. Catling’s paced lines.

A sinuous zig-zag of scanty remains,

faltering through Marsh grasses;

not clues for a defensive failure

destroyed by floods

Black Sey? The writing is unclear

a toponymic re-membering, misreading, mishearing

re-pronounced as Black Joy

an error creeping through time and language,

a fluidity of words for a fluid coastline.

Hold this unsure line of words

ye sheare deip Seas

beateth upon the Shores with a mighty noise

a possibility of increasing tidal prisms

adapting to the translation of line and language

an instability entrusted to transactional monitoring

and active management

maintaining a standard of protection

through the uncertainty of timing

along undefended line

implying a more complex process

of long, sure, drifting words

detail from Edmund Yorke’s 1588 map showing the proposed design of Black Joy fort. The map is held in the collection of Hatfield House.

Camden, William. Britain, or, a Chorographicall Description of the most flourishing Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Translated by Philemon Holland. London: George Bishop and John Norton, 1610.

Cozens-Hardy, Basil. “Norfolk Coastal Defences in 1588.” Norfolk Archaeological Journal, Vol XXVI (1940): 311.

Hooton, Jonathan. The Glaven Ports: a Maritime History of Blakeney, Cley and Wiveton in North Norfolk. Blakeney: Blakeney History Group, 1996.

Kent, Peter. Fortifications of East Anglia. Lavenham: Terence Dalton, 1988.

North Norfolk Shoreline Management Plan. Environment Agency et al, 2010.

O’Neill, B.H. St. J. “The Fortifications of Weybourne Hope in 1588.” Norfolk Archaeological Journal, Vol XXVII, 2 (1940): 250-262.

Ordnance Survey. Explorer Sheet 251, Norfolk Coast Central: Wells-next-the-Sea & Fakenham. Southampton: Ordnance Survey, 2015.

_____________. Norfolk Sheet IV 16. Southampton: Ordnance Survey Office, 1906. Robertson, David et al. Norfolk Rapid Coastal Zone Archaeological Survey (part 1). Norwich: Norfolk Archaeological Unit, 2005.

Wash Lane: an introduction

Wash Lane climbs ever-so gently (slightly west of) southwards away from Dove Lane through 450 metres of stuttering gentle curves and kinks. It is possible to imagine the lane once continued onwards across the metalled road at the top as the hedge-line of the fields opposite continue on a similar bearing for a further 300m, but no cartographic evidence supports this.

On the large-scale Ordnance Survey map the 35 metre contour line runs west-east towards the Lane and then turns abruptly south to loop back round the top of the Lane, where it meets the metalled road, and then shadows (albeit divergently) the Lane back down along its eastern side. This contour feature, a large re-entrant, morphologically offers up the origin of the Lane’s name—the water washes down here in times of heavy rain. The conditions underfoot conform to this explanation too, as the parallel lines of tractors passings expose an aggregate Lane-bed of sand,  pebbles and flints in contrast to the stickier loam and leaf-litter mix of Dove Lane.

Wash Lane is not an uncommon name for tracks, green lanes, byways and country roads hereabouts—only a mile to the north-east another Wash Lane (labelled on the 1840s tithe map as ‘The Wash Lane’) seemingly diverts a stream onto its course and is made up of a similar sandy, pebbly bed and is prone to waterlogging, especially through the wetter seasons.

From a distance Wash Lane is inconspicuous; a loose single line of (mostly) oaks chart its northern half whilst its southern half has a more obvious delineation by trees (oak, ash, beech even, along with blackthorn and holly) that forms a hedge on its eastern side. Several of the trees are of substantial girth and underline the Lane’s established place in this landscape. At the top of Wash Lane a culvert with modest brick portals guides the ditch-stream under the road from the field opposite. After negotiating a fly-tipping of tyres any water has a reasonably clear run down the eastern side where the hedge runs, but lower down the ditch disappears under a tangle of brambles and collapsed undergrowth only showing its full form once more at the junction with Dove Lane.

Centuries of use have attempted to force the line of the Lane into some sort of hollow way but the geology does not permit any great excavation of depth and users of the lane never fully disappear from sight. Especially not in the winter months when the Lane-side vegetation has died down to a muted armature of stems and stalks.

One large field lies to the western side of the lane whilst, to the east, three fields (of decreasing size north to south) have their western limits defined by the Lane. The smallest field is grass for livestock but the other three emphasise a preference for arable in these parts. At the point where the two larger fields’ boundary line meets the Lane a small ditch meets that of the Lane and across the space is slung an improvised barrier of pallet and barbed wire; an assemblage which conspires with the surrounding brambles and holly to guard against leaving the Lane.

Away from the Lane and at the screen the various databases offer this area as a landscape of archaeological possibles; parch marks and chance finds from fieldwalks sketch out millenia of occupation and passage. All this historic activity flattened by the lens of archaeological reports lends the landscape a lie of bustle but this is to show the landscape’s stories in concentrated form. For today, all is relatively calm and subdued, greys, browns and winter greens punctuated only by the bright orange of a shotgun cartridge and a multi-colour Haribo wrapper caught in a puddle’s surface tension.

The puddles shine out with grey December light and reflections of the trees’ bare branches are disturbed by a rising westerly wind. Rain tomorrow.


equivalent for the paraboloid


Image Sources
1. Sir Mortimer Wheeler’s 1930s archaeological dig at Maiden Castle via “THE ORIGINS AND GROWTH OF EUROPEAN PREHISTORY,” what-when-how, accessed 18th May 02016,
2. Hyperbolic paraboloid via “Hyperbolic Paraboloid Quadric,” Wikipedia, 18th May 02016,

recovered from the soil matrix

Note: Urn image from Alex Gibson, The Excavation of a Structured Cairn at Carneddau, near Carno, Powys 1989 (Welshpool: The Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, 1989), 4 and words from Alex Gibson et al, “The Excavation of Two Cairns and Associated Features at Carneddau, Carno, Powys, 1989–90,” Archaeological Journal 150, no.1 (1993): 1-45, doi: 10.1080/00665983.1993.11078053.


CarneddauCairnFindsFig. 3: Selected finds from Carneddau Cairn. Flints from cist 1, food vessel from cist 4, collared urn from pre-cairn pit and archer’s wristguard from the hearth.1

1 Alex Gibson, The Excavation of a Structured Cairn at Carneddau, near Carno, Powys 1989 (Welshpool: The Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, 1989), 4.

NOTE: The excavation report gives the location of this cairn as SN 999 992 which is approximately 700m to the south-east of the remains of Carneddau farmstead. I wonder if this grid reference is incorrect and the cairn is actually Carneddau Cairn I PRN6313 located at SN 9899 9979. The finds from this excavation are deposited with Powysland Museum and Montgomery Canal Centre, Welshpool.