It has long been known that Castle Field, adjacent to the Village Hall in the village of Erpingham, contains evidence of a medieval moat along with the remains of a medieval flint and tile bastion and retaining wall. The site is known to be the location of Old Hall built by Sir Thomas Erpingham’s family and the place where Sir Thomas was born. A section of the outer wall can still be seen in the field today and the moat survives in one corner of the site as an L-shaped pond and on other sides as a broad shallow depression.
In 2015, the children from Erpingham Primary School and local villagers undertook an archaeological dig in the field to investigate the main features of the site. A geophysical survey had been carried out by Loddon History Group a few weeks earlier, revealing the outlines of walls and a moat. Some of these features could also be seen in aerial photographs of the field.
Over two weekends the excavation revealed parts of the outer walls of the site and moat and also indicated that the site was much bigger than previously thought (over 2,500m2). Lots of finds were discovered including a medieval silver penny found by a metal detector in the topsoil, knapped flints which would have been used to face the manor walls, lumps of mortar, lots of roof and floor tile, pottery, glass, nails and animal bone.
A second dig took place in 2017 to mark the launch of the Erpingham Dig project. Children and their parents from the village were encouraged to come along and explore a small test trench to see what artefacts they could uncover from the Manor House and its surrounding area. Further metal finds were discovered, including a 13th century spur and more English and French coins.