Roman connections in the villages:

The Norfolk Heritage website tells us that excavations at Dairy Farm on the Geldeston road in 1976 and 1996 revealed the four Roman pottery kilns and evidence for there being a fifth in the vicinity. There were large amounts of pottery, particularly mortaria – a kind of grating/mixing bowl – many of the fragments had been stamped with the maker’s name. Here is a drawing of one:

 

http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk/record-details?MNF11843-Roman-mortaria-kilns&Index=11120&RecordCount=56734&SessionID=af28b8a8-3d3d-4b2e-a1dc-14f5359e2556

Interestingly, some pottery from Ellingham has been found at Wallsend, Newcastle. Roman coins have also been found around the village in the past.

Recently, Roman pottery has turned up in a garden on Yarmouth Road:

 

 

The River Waveney was a good route inland for the shallow bottomed boats of the Roman period. There was a major Roman settlement at Scole near Diss, where the Roman road from Norwich crosses the Waveney. There were likely to have been any number of trading settlements therefore along the river’s edge. A brief search of the records shows evidence for these locally at Geldeston, Dunburgh and Bungay.

We have already written elsewhere here of how the Waveney could flow up to the villages of Kirby Cane and Ellingham. In Roman times the sea levels were much higher than now – well documented – so we need to see the Waveney as being a much larger river than now and the high tides covering much of the low lying land that now serves as agricultural. Indeed, the name Ellingham Island tells a tale in itself. Here are some maps to illustrate how the Waveney might have looked in Roman times:

 

 

(Maps from: The Roman Camp and the Irish Saint at Burgh Castle: Louis H Dahl: Jarrold and Sons: London 1913)

The following Defra Flood Risk map for the villages is probably a quite good indicator for how the river looked back then:

 

http://maps.environment-agency.gov.uk/wiyby/mapFromCMSCodes?topic=fwa&lang=_e&codes=054FWFSF1B&layerGroup=1#x=635297&y=290131&lg=1,&scale=11