The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Great Yarmouth Town Wall

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Great Yarmouth.
In the historic county of Norfolk.
Modern Authority of Norfolk.
1974 county of Norfolk.
Medieval County of Norfolk.

OS Map Grid Reference: TG52670734
Latitude 52.59956° Longitude 1.72995°

Great Yarmouth Town Wall has been described as a certain Urban Defence.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law*.


The Medieval Town Wall of Great Yarmouth runs from the river Bure to the banks of the river Yare and is about 23 ft high, 2238 yards long and encloses an area of 133 acres. The construction of the wall was authorised by the Crown in 1260 but building did not begin until 1284. The method of construction was that a trench, later the moat, was dug to a depth of 5ft. Its base was lines with large flagstones to form a solid level surface. Walling of knapped flint, some 2ft 6ins thick was then built as a revetment containing the loose material forming the trench sides. A 5ft trench was dug along the inner side of the revetment wall and at intervals of about 11ft. heaps of flint were placed to form piers for the brick arcading. The brick work formed the inner walling and knapped flint was built on the basal revetment to form the outer facing. In between the piers arrow slits were placed constructed of Caen stone. The top of the brick arcading was finished off as a wall walk and the flint facing was built up to form the parapet. Towers and gates were constructed at intervals along the wall. The wall was completed in the late C14th. In the C16th an earthen rampart was thrown up against the inner side of the wall as a defense against gunfire from ships. Gun ports were constructed on top of the rampart. The Mount (see TG 50 NW 17) and the South Mound (see TG 50 NW 5) were constructed at this time as emplacements for ordnance.
The town was refortified during the Civil War when the moat was redug. By the late C18th the moat was refilled with soil and rubbish and the wall had ceased its defensive function (Gt Yarmouth Town Wall Report Oct 1969; Turner 1971).
Great Yarmouth Town Wall is in the main visible throughout its entire length. Modern buildings occupy a few short lengths and modern roads now replace the old gates but many of the towers remain. Traces of the internal earthworks are still visible but there is no trace of the moat. Where best preserved the thickness of the wall attains 2.0m with a height of 6.0m (F1 RSC 28-OCT-80).
In the 16th century the Duke of Norfolk ordered that the wall be reinforced. This was done by the building up of a rampart of largely domestic rubbish behind the wall. This reinforcing process was repeated several times in 1557 and 1587. (PastScape)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1261 Sept 28 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).


11 towers remain of medieval wall. Licensed in time of Henry III (1261) but not commenced until 1276; murage grants renewed on various occasions; completed in the late C14, Strengthened in C16 and ceased having a defensive role in the late C18. Circa 23 ft high, 2238yds long and encloses an area of 133 acres. There are several gunports in the South-East tower and the adjoining wall, dating to circa 1460. The defences were modified in 1587 when it was found that they were poorly kept. A rampart was added outside the walls from the South gate around to Blackfriars Gate.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling   Listing   I. O. E.
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:20:06

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact