The Lost Village of Godwick

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The Lost Village of Godwick

Medieval water mill

A map drawn in 1596 shows the village once had a water mill and large mill pond but these no longer survive. They were to the east of the Great Barn, where 19th Century farm buildings now stand.

The Lost Village of Godwick

Marl pits

In the 18th and 19th Centuries twenty-five or more pits were dug across the deserted village. At least three were dug into the main street, with others to the north and south. The largest hold water and provide important wildlife habitats. A wide range of birds use the site, with Buzzard, Red Kite, Peregrine, Oystercatchers, Lapwings and Kestrels seen in recent years.

The clay and chalk collected from pits was known as ‘marl’. It was taken to nearby fields, where it was spread as a fertiliser to encourage crop growth. This may have been under the guidance of the Coke family, landlords of Godwick from the 17th to 20th Centuries. The Cokes, particularly Thomas William Coke (1754–1842), Earl of Leicester and known as ‘Coke of Norfolk’, were nationally important figures in the ‘agricultural revolution’ and encouraged the introduction of new practices across their extensive holdings. Thomas and his first wife Jane Dutton lived at the Old Hall very briefly, between their marriage in 1775 and their move to Holkham Hall in 1776 on the death of Thomas’ father.

Go to Panel 5 - Godwick Great Barn