BHO

Scaldwell

Pages 169-170

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northamptonshire, Volume 3, Archaeological Sites in North-West Northamptonshire. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1981.

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54 SCALDWELL

(OS 1: 10000 SP 77 SE)

The small rectangular parish, covering little more than 500 hectares, lies on the E. side of a N.–S. ridge. The higher area in the W., rising to a maximum height of 145 m. above OD, is covered by Boulder Clay; from there the land falls across Northampton Sand and Upper Lias Clay, to the valley of a S.-flowing stream which forms the E. boundary of the parish at 90 m. above OD. The village itself lies within a small area covered by glacial sands and gravels. Scaldwell village is noteworthy in that it has no earthwork remains of former settlement and appears to be one of the few villages in the county which has undergone neither movement nor shrinkage. It is centred upon a rectangular green with the street system radiating from it (NRO, Map of Scaldwell, 1844).

Roman

(1) Roman settlement and kilns (unlocated). Several finds of Roman material are recorded from ironstone mines in the 1920s. The exact locations are not known but were in the S.W. of the parish where quarrying was taking place at that time. One kiln was certainly identified and 'scores of others' are said to have been found, as well as sherds, including some of 2nd-century date, and a small round-bellied jar with a wavy decoration round the neck. From the inadequate record it appears that there was quite a considerable pottery industry in the parish (OS Record Cards; J. Northants. Mus. and Art Gall., 8 (1970), 97–9; JRS, 16 (1926), 223; 17 (1927), 201). Other finds from the parish include six circular Saxon loom weights of red clay and fragments of a 3rd or 4th-century jug with a moulded female face (NM).

Medieval and Later

A hoard of Norman coins, including 260 pennies and halfpennies of William I from 39 mints, was found during ironstone-mining in the parish (Brit. Num. J., 17 (1923–4), 11–12; OS Record Cards).

Medieval pottery has been found at two places in the N.W. of the parish on Boulder Clay at about 120 m. above OD. At SP 762723 numerous 12th and 13th-century sherds have been discovered and at SP 761729 a wide variety of pottery ranging from the 12th to the 18th century (BNFAS, 5 (1971), 34–5). Both sites were formerly covered by ridge-and-furrow (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1994, 1379–80) and thus they are unlikely to represent areas of occupation.

(2) Enclosure (SP 755718), in the extreme S.W. of the parish on Northampton Sand at about 130 m. above OD. Air photographs (in NMR) show rather indistinct cropmarks of a sub-rectangular enclosure overlying ridge-and-furrow.

(3) Cultivation remains. The common fields of the parish were finally enclosed by an Act of Parliament in 1775 though Bridges (Hist. of Northants., II (1791), 125) records that in the early 18th century 140 acres of open field were already enclosed. Most of the ridge-and-furrow of these fields has been destroyed except for some furlongs to the W., E. and N.E. of the village, which can be traced on the ground or on air photographs. These fragments suggest that the overall pattern of ridge-and-furrow in Scaldwell may have resembled that in Old and Walgrave to the E. (see RCHM Northants., II (1979), Fig. 109). The three parishes are topographically similar and the predominant E.–W. trend of the surviving furlongs in Scaldwell seems to fit into the much better preserved pattern in the parishes to the E., of sweeping end-on furlongs with only a few blocks running at right-angles to this main direction (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1994, 1379–82, 1453–6).