Black Joy Fort

Has been described as a Possible Artillery Fort

There are earthwork remains

NameBlack Joy Fort
Alternative NamesWeybourne Hoop; Waybourne Hope; Cley; Clay
Historic CountryNorfolk
Modern AuthorityNorfolk
1974 AuthorityNorfolk
Civil ParishCley Next The Sea

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 Cley Haven. This latter fort, Black 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 was 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 Armada commenced soon after the plan was drawn up. (PastScape ref. Kent, 1988)

A sinuous ditch and bank were found in Cow Hole saltmarsh, to the north of Cley village and west of the Glaven channel (between TG 04641 44993 and TG 04688 45222). They defined a roughly rectangular raised area measuring 170m north to south by 50m east to west These earthworks may be shown on a map dating to 1769 and were recorded in 1951. The 1953 floods did not destroy them as once thought. They could be the remains of 'Black Joy forte', a fort shown on a map from 1588 and proposed as a defence against the Spanish Armada. (Norfolk HER ref. 2004, Norfolk Rapid Coastal Survey)

Gatehouse Comments

Formed one end of an intended linear beach defence the other end being Weybourne Fort.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTG046451
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All Rights ReservedView full Sized Image

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  • Hooton, J.J., 1996, Glaven Ports: Maritime History of Blakeney, Cley and Wiveton in North Norfolk (Blakeney History Group) p. 111-14
  • Kent, Peter, 1994, 'Armada and 17th-Century Defences' in Wade-Martins, P, (ed), An Historical Atlas of Norfolk (2edn Norwich; Norfolk Museums) p. 136-7
  • Kent, Peter, 1988, Fortifications of East Anglia (Lavenham: Ternence Dalton) p. 179-80


  • O'Neil, B.H.St.J., 1941, 'The fortification of Weybourne Hope in 1558' Norfolk Archaeology Vol. 27 p. 250-262
  • Cozens-Hardy, B., 1938, 'Norfolk Coastal defences in 1588' Norfolk Archaeology Vol. 26 p. 310-14


  • David Robertson with Peter Crawley, Adam Barker and Sandrine Whitmore, 2005, Norfolk Rapid Coastal Zone Archaeological Survey (Norfolk Archaeological Unit Report No. 1045 for English Heritage) p. 84-5, 151-2 fig 26 online copy