Evidence of early human activity in Haveringland comes in the form of two scatters of prehistoric burnt flints which are thought to have been connected with heating water for cooking or other purposes. The earliest finds to which a reasonably accurate date can be ascribed are Neolithic flint axeheads and a Neolithic whetstone.
There is currently no evidence of occupation in the parish during the Bronze Age and Iron Age, and little from the Roman occupation. Roman finds are a quern fragment, coins and pieces of pottery. Saxon finds are also scarce, consisting of brooches, a box mount, a piece of pottery, a copper alloy comb and a strap end.
The medieval period has left the parish with its oldest surviving building, St Peter’s Church. Standing isolated on a disused World War Two airfield that was once the park to Haveringland Hall it has possibly one of the oldest round towers in the county, dating to the 11th century and containing much re-used Roman building material. The rest of the church, including the top of the tower, is a rebuild of 1858, consisting of an aisled nave, chancel and big north and south transepts. The interior is mostly 19th century too, but there is a 15th century font.
Stump Cross, standing at the side of the Cawston to Norwich road, is the base and part of the shaft of a medieval stone cross.
Other medieval structures have not survived. Mountjoy Priory, founded by the Augustinians in the 10th century, has disappeared, though medieval pottery and tiles have been found in the area. Large quantities of medieval and post medieval pottery fragments indicate the existence of a medieval house. It is also possible that an entire medieval settlement in the parish has vanished; aerial photographs taken to the west of Great Wood show an area of cropmarks that are probably the traces of a village, now partly covered in farm buildings. Medieval objects found in the parish include pottery fragments, coins, a pilgrim bottle, brooches and buckles. A flint-lined medieval well which was excavated in 1958.
The first Haveringland Hall was medieval. Whilst the house itself has long gone, its moat is still there, although technically sited in the parish of Cawston.
The second Haveringland Hall was built in about 1580 and demolished in 1840. Cropmarks of its layout can still be seen from the air. The third Hall was then built, then demolished in 1946. Only the stable block remains, now converted to residential use.
Probably the oldest post medieval building to survive today is Quakers Farmhouse which originally dates to about 1700. A late 18th century watermillmap has gone, though its millpond remains. A 19th century ice house has also gone. However there is a post medieval set of oak and wrought iron village stocks.
Post medieval objects found in the parish include coins, a thimble and two gunpowder flask nozzles.
Swannington airfield, set in the old parkland of Haveringland Hall, was home to Mosquito and Spitfire squadrons during World War Two. Although now mostly ploughed up, portions of runway remain and some buildings, including the rifle range complex. A type 22 concrete pillbox dating to about 1940 and now much overgrown was probably part of a defended roadblock for the A1149.
Norfolk Heritage Explorer
Accessed 9th July 2016