Crabbs Castle

Has been described as a Possible Timber Castle (Ringwork)

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameCrabbs Castle
Alternative NamesCrabbe Castle
Historic CountryNorfolk
Modern AuthorityNorfolk
1974 AuthorityNorfolk
Civil ParishWighton

Medieval enclosure believed to be a ringwork. It consists of a single ditch 61m in diameter with a causeway on the north east side. The eathworks are now ploughed flat but were described in C18 as a fortification. Building materials have been found in the ploughsoil indicating a possible Medieval building, Roman coins have also been found. (PastScape)

The earthworks here have been described as relating to an Iron Age hillfort or Bronze Age saucer barrow. However, investigation of the site has determined that the remains most likely relate to a medieval ringwork castle. Such ringworks are rare, but this example is in a typical location overlooking the surrounding area and the road to the south. Over the years a number of artefacts have been recovered from this site including Roman coins, medieval tiles and a Neolithic flint scraper and axehead. (Norfolk HER)

Gatehouse Comments

Now isolated from settlement and nothing to suggest medieval settlement here other than Crabb's castle itself. Mentioned in Blomefield as 'On the heath belonging to this parish, towards Holkham, is a fortification with a double ditch' There is nothing typical about the location of this enigmatic, and very ploughed down earthwork. It does not seem to a barrow. The location 'on the heath' seems to argue against an isolated medieval farmstead, although would not exclude an Iron Age farmstead. A medieval residence of modest status within a Iron Age fortification might explain the finds and reconcile the tenurial history and location but seems very unlikely as a purposed built medieval fortification. The site is virtually ploughed out despite being scheduled and remains on the Heritage at Risk list with a declining trend. The only chance of understanding this site would be extensive and destructive excavation before it entirely disappears. This is most unlikely to happen.

- Philip Davis

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTF914397
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Bryant, T.H., 1908, Churches of Norfolk Hundred of North Greenhoe (Norwich Mercury)
  • Blomefield, F., 1808, 'North Greehow Hundred: Wighton' An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County of Norfolk Vol. 9 p. 204-9 (tenurial history) online transcription


  • Historic England, 2016, Heritage at Risk East of England Register 2016 (London: Historic England) p. 48 online copy
  • Historic England, 2015, Heritage at Risk East of England Register 2015 (London: Historic England) p. 50 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2014, Heritage at Risk Register 2014 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 53 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2013, Heritage at Risk Register 2013 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 55 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2012, Heritage at Risk Register 2012 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 64 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 58 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 51 online copy
  • English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009 East of England (London: English Heritage) p. 58 online copy