Monument record ORF 024 - Stony Ditch

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A group of large rectangular oyster beds and associated banks, of Post Medieval date, are visible on aerial photographs as earthworks on the north bank of Stony Ditch, Orford parish


Grid reference Centred TM 432 485 (95m by 120m)
Map sheet TM44NW


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Remains of group of rectangular estuarine oyster beds (?) on N side of Stony Ditch (Stone ditch in 1783)(S1). Probably PMed.
A group of at least thirteen large oyster beds and associated banks of probable Post Medieval date are visible as earthworks on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards, centred on circa TM43264856 to the south of Orfordness, Orford parish (S2, S3). The pits are circa 15-20m x 8-10m in size, each surrounded by an earthwork bank that also forms a rough enclosure circa 60 x 140m in size. Some sections of the surviving bank can be clearly seen at high tide, on a photograph of 1943, but much of the bank appears to be suffering from the effects of erosion. This has obscured some details of the internal divisions and destroyed the south-eastern corner of the enclosure, but the pits and bank can still be seen on more recent aerial photographs. Three pits are marked on the first edition Ordnance Survey map of circa 1884, and three more are marked on the second edition of circa 1904, with the group of six annotated as 'Old Oyster Beds'. The group can therefore be confidently dated, at least partially, to the Post Medieval period. It is likely, however, that the whole complex is Post Medieval in date and had gone out of use before 1884. The variation in the historic mapping may be as a result of its disuse and improvements in mapping detail between 1884 and 1904. (S4-8)

Sources/Archives (10)

  • --- (No record type):
  • <M1> (No record type): AP: (S1).
  • <S1> Photograph: Essex County Council. Air Photograph. Essex C C, Strachan D, AP, CP/96/18/15, July 1996.
  • <S2> Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/929 4371-2 16-OCT-1945.
  • <S3> Photograph: RAF. Air Photograph. RAF 58/25 5064-5 16-MAY-1948.
  • <S4> Photograph: USAAF. USAAF Air Photograph. US 7PH/GP/LOC132 5012 30-DEC-45.
  • <S5> Photograph: OS, AP. NMR OS/71030 20-21 10-APR-1971.
  • <S6> Photograph: National Monuments Record. Air Photograph. TM4348/4 (EXC 16930/15) 13-JUN-1996.
  • <S7> Map: Ordnance Survey. c 1904. Ordnance Survey 25 inch to 1 mile map, 2nd edition. 25". Circa 1904.
  • <S8> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1880s. Ordnance Survey 25 inch to 1 mile map, 1st edition. Circa 1884.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Oct 21 2004 4:59PM

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