In the 11th century the rich farm lands of Norfolk supported a population denser than any other county. Norwich grew to be the second city in the land and remained so until the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries. As the population grew, fire wood became scarce and peat became the fuel of choice.
Manors of the Benedictine monasteries of St. Benet-at-Holm and the Cathedral Priory of Norwich became prominent providers of peat turfs. When the extensive peat diggings became flooded, they formed a series of shallow lakes some of which were connected by the existing river systems. They called these shallow lakes – Broads.
The village of Barton Turf, beside Barton Broad, in named after the peat turfs it once supplied in great number.