The Swan is situated at the south end of Low Street, adjacent to the combined Goldbrook/ Chickering Beck watercourse. The Inn and its outbuildings form a Grade II* listed building (NHLE No. 1352375) dating to the 15th or early 16th century. Formerly known as Bishops Lodge it was reportedly built in 1480 by the Bishop of Norwich and lies on the eastern edge of the medieval deer park also owned by the Bishops. The tithe map and apportionment records the property as 'Swan Inn etc' in the ownership of Sir Edward Kerrison.
The test pit was placed in the centre of a small area of lawn between the main building c.12m to the north and the river, c.8m to the south, and adjacent to the road. The upper c.4m of the pit contained modern deposits beginning with a topsoil, c.0.1m to 0.3m thick, Context 1, then a deposit of yellow sandy soils, Context 2, and a thin band with frequent lime mortar, Context 3.
These sealed a thick layer of fine mid/light brown silty loam, Context 4, with flecks of charcoal. This extended to a depth of at least 1m, possibly changing to a greyer loam with charcoal flecks towards the base of the pit.
Eight sherds of medieval date were recovered from this pit. One of these is an early medieval ware dating to the 11th-12th century but the remainder of them date to the late 12th-14th century. Two sherds ofdating to the 15th-16th century were present, and fragments of sixteenth century redwares including and . Other pottery is dated to the Victorian period or later.
Other artefacts include a piece of struck flint flake possibly dating to the later prehistoric period, and fragments of slag or clinker. Post-medieval glass and other finds of this date were also present.
Although the ground level of the lawn is consistent with that of the road and the main building it is probable that the lawn may have originally sloped down to the adjacent river channel and that ground-levels have been built up and levelled, the modern bank now being a steep c.1.5m drop. Post-medieval and Victorian finds were largely limited to the upper fills of the pit, suggesting that these deposits do represent such a relatively modern build up of ground levels and that Context 4 is a former topsoil, likely alluvial in origin. This horizon is probably late medieval in date and the possible change in colour towards the base of the pit may be a yet older preserved soil horizon. Although two 16th-18th century sherds of pottery were recorded near the base of the pit these may be intrusive.
The small quantities of 11-14th century pottery in Context 4 indicate earlier activity in the vicinity, prior to construction of the current Swan Inn, and form the first real direct evidence of medieval settlement in the historic core of Low Street.
|Spit No||Context No||Sieved?||Display/ Keep?||Pottery||Post Med/ modern||Medieval||Fired Clay||Mortar/ Plaster||Clay Pipe||Glass||Flint||Slate||Plastic||Iron Nails||Iron Other||Other Metalwork||Animal Bone||Oyster Shell||Land Snail||Comments|
|1||1||Yes % uncertain||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Large lump of slag|
|2||1||Yes % uncertain||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|3||1||Yes % uncertain||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||1 Whelk shell|
|4||1?||Yes % uncertain||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes - metal sheet||Yes||Yes||2 sheep phalanges, struck flakes, modern or later prehistoric|
|5||4||Yes % uncertain||1 of 2||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Clinker, clay pipe bowl L17th C|
|6||4||Yes % uncertain||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Some large sooted body sherds|
|7||4||Yes % uncertain||1 of 2||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Includes large sooted sherds|
|9||4||Yes % uncertain||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Spit No||Context No||Display/ Keep?||Post Med/ modern||Medieval||Details|
|1||1||Yes||x 1 (16th-18th C), Victorian +1|
|2||1||Yes||19th century wares|
|3||1||Yes||(16th-18th C), Victorian +|
|4||1?||Yes||1, 1 (16th-18th C), Victorian +|
|5||4||1 of 2||Yes||4 sooted medieval body sherds (L12th-14th C), including 1(11th-12th C)|
|6||4||Yes||Yes||Yes||2(15th-16th C), 4 (L12th-14th C)|
|7||4||1 of 2||Yes||4(L12th-14th C)|
|9||4||Yes||1(16th-18th C), 1 (16th-18th C)|