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Finningham Cromwells Plantation

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Stoland Abbey

In the civil parish of Finningham.
In the historic county of Suffolk.
Modern Authority of Suffolk.
1974 county of Suffolk.
Medieval County of Suffolk.

OS Map Grid Reference: TM04517136
Latitude 52.30248° Longitude 0.99824°

Finningham Cromwells Plantation has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


In Cromwell's Plantation on level ground is a near-circular earthwork, comprising a regularly-formed rampart and outer ditch. It measures overall c 65.0m E-W by c 57.0m N-S, the rampart varying from 1.1m to 1.7m high above the interior, and the ditch (shown as waterfilled on OS 25") from 0.4m to 1.0m deep. The interior is level with the surrounding ground. There is an entrance causeway and gap in the NW arc. No trace of any structure survives in the interior or on the rampart; the site is overgrown with trees and under a thick layer of humus. Local tradition asserts that the earthwork was erected by Parliamentary Forces but it has none of the features of a Civil War earthwork. On early OS 1" maps the name Stoland Abbey is applied to the work and/or the plantation. The land in the vicinity probably belonged to an abbey: note Priory Farm (TM036717) and Abbots Hall (TM 051730), but there is no trace or documentary evidence for medieval settlement in the area. Examination of Brown's MS notes revealed that a hearth of stones, burnt red clay and "sandy ware" dated to the 12th century by Ipswich Museum, was found in the centre of the interior, one foot below ground in a trial excavation. He suggests that a 12th century hut stood here, but the limited excavation did not establish this with certainty. West suggests the work may be Danish and quotes similar features at Burnthall Plantation (TL 912760) and at Creeting, now destroyed, (TM 078566). None of these have yielded finds, but they occur on a possible line of Danish advance from Ipswich to Thetford (Battle fought c 870). Conflicting evidence does not allow classification of this earthwork. The possibility is however that it is a medieval ringwork. It is not a hillfort. (PastScape–ref. Field Investigators Comments-F1 NKB 09-NOV-73)

The location is isolated from settlement and not a manorial centre. On modern parish boundary, but may have been used as a medieval boundary marker, suggestive of pre-Conquest origin. These factors makes it unlikely this was a medieval ringwork, although there was some C12 use (possibly slight and short lived).
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:30

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