Frank Stagg 1950

Other items by
Frank Stagg

the Salthouse book

the Church

the marshes

the 16th Century

the 17th Century

the 19th Century

The Earliest History
by F. N. Stagg   

writing in the 1930s

We know that prehistoric man roamed the fields of Salthouse before the dawn of legend, for he has left behind those tumuli, called the 'three fathing' and 'three-halfpenny' hills, on Salthouse Heath. These were both opened in 1850, and urns of brown clay containing burnt bones found therein were declared to be Bronze Age relics.

During the greater part of the 400-year-long occupation of England by the Romans, it is almost certain that they would have used Salthouse Harbour, secure as it then was from desultory attacks by roving pirates thanks to its tortuous and narrow approach, which made it easy for Roman foot soldiers to defend. The Roman bricks and pottery found on Gramborough Hill in 1855 may have been in use by a Roman military detachment from Brancaster, where that important Roman Official, the 'Count of the Saxon Shore' had his headquarters for a couple of centuries to which fortified post the Peddars Way led from Colchester. Gramborough Hill would have made an ideal site for a small Roman military station, since its precipitous sides would then have dropped down to marshy slush all round, whilst it would have commanded the Salthouse Main Channel, which still in our time flows (or rather stagnates) around its southern side.

The Romano-British craft could then have lain in safety at Kelling and Weybourne hards. The Angles swept over Norfolk from the fifth to the ninth centuries, and must have effectively mixed their blood with the Romano-British found there. The only actual finds from this period were made in 1851, when some Anglo-Saxon coins were dug up in the extreme north-east of the parish, where a field named Spanish Pits falls into the marshes. But it may be that the foundations of the church would be found to be of Saxon workmanship.
(see Edwin Rose's brief report on the history of the church)

At the end of the ninth century the Danes commenced their Viking-raids on Norfolk, to be followed shortly after by their occupation and settlement of East Anglia. For a while they were bought off by ransom, and under this tax (called Danegeld) the towns of Sheringham and Salthouse had to find the sum of eleven pence halfpenny per annum.