Norbury Manor Moated Site: Geophysics Surveys

 

Some background

Snape's question

This image is taken from a Google Books copy of "The Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Chronicle for the Year MDCCCI Volume LXXI PART THE FIRST"


The question posed above was part of a letter dated Jan 24th 1801, which appeared in "The Gentleman's Magazine" for that year. Transcribed, it reads:
"In the parish of Norbury, a village in Staffordshire, situate near to the road between Newport and Eccleshall, about four or five miles distant from Newport, is an old manor house called Norbury manor, belonging to an estate of Thomas Anson. esq. of Shugborough, near Stafford, and situate close to a wood. This house is curious for the antiquity of its building, aud is surrounded by a large mote in some places between 20 and 30 yards wide; in the inside of the house are some old pictures much effaced by the ravages of time. It is now in a ruinous state, and inhabited by a tenant. I imagine this house once to have been the residence of some baron ; and shall esteem it a favour to be informed in what reign it was built, and who were its first possessors, or any other circumstance relative to it that may be thought curious. Yours, &c. William Snape. "

Later in the same volume, appears a reply from a Mr Shaw, dated Feb 12 1801: "The manor of Norbury was formerly the property of the Skrymsher family, but now belongs to Lord Anson. Erdeswicke says, " this goodly manor formerly belonged to Hugh de Kilpeck, the King's champion at the coronation, and that Joan, his daughter, temp. Hen. III. brought it to Sir Philip Marmion, who died 1291, leaving several daughters his heirs, of which Maud, the third, married to Ralph Butler, who made this his seat, and built the manor-house or castle, at the head of the Wild-moors (so called in an old deed there), moating it round. These Wild-moors were a royal waste, that began at the high grounds about Knightley, Gnosall, in Staffordshire, running down by Newport to the rivers Terne and Severne in Shropshire; of which there is a full account in the Philosophical Transactions by the ingenious and learned Mr. Plaxton, whose other MSS. I have before mentioned in my preface to Vol. I. of Staffordshire.""


A coloured engraving of the manor house in its heyday can be seen on the Government Art Collection website, here. This engraving by Michael Burghers was first published in "The Natural History of Staffordshire" by Robert Plot, 1686 (Plate 19).

 

Built early in the 14th century and demolished in 1838, little now remains of the manor house apart from the moat. Much of the stone was used to build a new house to the south of the moat.

 

A monochrome image of the Michael Burghers engraving, here on the Staffordshire Past Track website, can be zoomed-in on. If you zoom-in on the top left-hand corner of the picture, to the right of the corner tower you may be able to see what looks like a little face just below the eaves - a gargoyle. Found in the moat in modern times was the object shown in the following two photographs:

 

Head 1

I

Head 2

 

SOTMAS survey of the site

 

Late April 2012, we conducted a magnetometry survey of the moated platform. This was not a simple task, as the platform was covered in long grass, nettles etc - hence the somewhat patchy nature of the results image. In places there were heaps of stone. Some of these heaps were so large that we could not continue the survey across them - most were around the edges of the platform, but one heap shows as a gap in the middle of the results image. Here are a few pictures to give you an impression of the site. The house that can be seen in one of them (and in the second gargoyle picture above) is the one that was built using stone from the demolished manor house. Click on any image for a larger picture.

Setting up 1  Setting up 2 
Wall view 1  Wall view 2 
Wall and Bridge view  Magnetometry and New House 
 
At the beginning of May, we carried out a resistivity survey covering the same area, at the same orientation as the magnetometry survey.

Here are images of the results, produced using Snuffler: the squares below are approximately 60m x 60m. Magnetometry on the left, resistivity on the right. Gaps in the data occur where piles of stone prevented us from taking readings!

Click on any image (or any of the photographs above) for a larger picture.

Magnetometry view  Resistivity view 

A full report is now available, and it and all the results can be downloaded using the links below.

 

Report and results data

 

Winston Hollins's report can be downloaded as a pdf file here.

 

The full results of the magnetometry survey are in this zip file.

 

The resistivity survey results are in this Excel spreadsheet.

 

 

Stoke-on-Trent Museum Archaeological Society, June and October 2012

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