An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northamptonshire, Volume 2, Archaeological Sites in Central Northamptonshire. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1979.
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(OS 1:10000 a SP 89 SW, b SP 89 SE, c SP 88 NW, d SP 88 NE)
The modern parish of Cottingham, covering some 600 hectares, lies on the S. side of the R. Welland, which forms its N. boundary. From the river, here flowing at around 54 m. above OD, the land rises steeply across the Jurassic scarp to a maximum height of 122 m. above OD. Along the scarp face, clays and limestones are exposed and these are capped by a generally flat area of Lincolnshire Limestone between 122 m. and 130 m. above OD, the S.E. parts of which are overlain by Boulder Clay. The village of Cottingham lies at the bottom of a deep re-entrant valley cut back into the escarpment. The Roman Road 57a makes use of this valley as it approaches the R. Welland. The medieval parish included the now separate parish of Middleton to the S.W. as well as the land to the W. of the Kettering-Uppingham Road (A 6003), today part of Corby.
Prehistoric and Roman
A tumulus 'on the brow of the hill near Cottingham' mentioned in the 18th century (J. Nichols, Hist. and Ants. of Leics., I (1795), 148; unlocated) may be a misplacement of the undated mound in Middleton (2). A few flint flakes have been discovered during fieldwalking at SP 858907 and 866905 (Northants. Archaeol., 9 (1974), 83).
a(1) Roman Industrial Site (centred SP 843901), at the N. of the village, on clay at 73 m. above OD. It includes:
(a) at SP 84309041 and 84249009, discoveries made during building works in 1961–2, including stonework which had been exposed to fire, and lumps of slag, which indicate iron-working. A small Roman vase of the 1st century was also found (Loughborough and Dist. A. S. Bull., 5 (1962), 15).
(b) at SP 843902, during excavation in 1963 following the previous finds at (a), one or two corn-drying ovens and masonry foundations including those of a rectangular building were found. Roman pottery ranging from the 2nd to the 4th century was present, and also coins, including examples of Gallienus, Victorinus and Constantine the Great (BNFAS, 4 (1970), 60; OS Record Cards; NM).
For Roman Road 57a, see p. 186.
Medieval and Later
b(2) Moat (SP 86189041; Figs. 31 and 115), within part of the deer park of Rockingham which was created in 1485 (Rockingham (12)). It lies within the Little Coppice on Boulder Clay at 128 m. above OD. It may represent the site of a late medieval park-keeper's lodge and is shown on a map of 1615 (NRO) as a moated building, with a pair of additional buildings and an orchard occupying an enclosure to the S.W. It was then used as a lodge for the accommodation of hunting parties. However it would be unusual for a moat to be constructed as late as 1485 and it may have much older origins as a moated farmstead in the former forest wastes of the parish. The site is still shown as a moated building, approached by an avenue of trees, on an estate map of 1806 (NRO). The lodge itself was demolished around 1827. The moat consists of a rectangular enclosure 55 m. by 65 m., surrounded by a ditch up to 8 m. wide and 1 m. deep. There is a causewayed entrance on the S.W. side and traces of a slight outer bank on the N.W. and N.E. sides. The interior is featureless (Northants. Archaeol., 9 (1974), 74).
b(3) Enclosure and Pond (SP 86089013), 300 m. S.W. of (2) in a similar situation. A small embanked enclosure 30 m. square with a sub-rectangular pond on its N.E. side and now almost ploughed out is visible on air photographs taken in 1953 (RAF VAP F21 58/RAF/1210, 0015–6). The site is probably to be associated with the surrounding deer park (Rockingham (12)).
(4) Cultivation Remains. The common fields of the parish, together with those of Middleton, were enclosed by Act of Parliament in the early 19th century (NRO, Enclosure Map, 1825). Immediately prior to that date there appear to have been seven open fields to the N., N.E. and S. of the village.
Ridge-and-furrow of these fields exists on the ground or can be traced from air photographs in a number of places. It survives intact along the steep N.-facing edge of the Welland Valley N.E. of the village (SP 845903 – 855908), in parts of the former Park and Meadow Fields. Here it consists of rectangular blocks with pronounced ridges running at right-angles to the contours. S. and S.E. of the village are further traces of end-on furlongs in the former Windmill Holme, Cattage Wood and Young Wood Fields (SP 847892, 851892 and 852897). Ridge-and-furrow is also traceable as a block of end-on furlongs in the extreme S.E. of the parish E. of Great Cattage Wood (SP 856891). This area lay outside the common fields in 1825 and is shown as a wooded area in 1580 (NRO, Map of Cottingham Woods). There are also considerable areas of ridge-and-furrow in the E. of the parish within the section of the former Rockingham Deer Park which was made in 1485 (see Rockingham (12)). Here it is mainly arranged in rectangular blocks with the ridges running at right-angles to the contours. Some of it may be associated with the moated site (2) which may also predate the laying-out of the park (RAF VAP CPE/UK/2109, 4268– 70; 541/612, 3051–4; F21 58/RAF/1210, 0013–6; F22 58/RAF/1210, 0014–5, 0022–5).
For Deer Park in E. of parish, see Rockingham (12).