Brampton, Church

Pages 20-21

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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(OS 1: 10000 a SP 76 NW, b SP 76 SW)

The long narrow parish occupies some 460 hectares of land, between 70 m. and 125 m. above OD. most of which slopes S.W. to a small stream on the S.W. and S. boundaries. It is mainly on Northampton Sand, except in the N. where the sand is overlaid by heavier glacial deposits and along the stream where down-cutting has exposed the underlying Upper Lias Clay. The parish once formed a single unit with Chapel Brampton, formerly a parochial chapelry of Church Brampton. The parish is remarkable for the extensive prehistoric and Roman sites (1–11) which are mainly visible as cropmarks.

Prehistoric and Roman

For a general note on the prehistoric and Roman material in this parish, see Chapel Brampton.

Worked flints have been found at a number of places in the parish in addition to the sites listed below. From S.W. of the village (SP 718653) six flakes and two possible blades are recorded, and from S. of the village (SP 721652) two scrapers, worked flints and blades. To the W. of the village (SP 714664, 714674, 714676 and 721663) other tools and flakes have been discovered (BNFAS, 5 (1971), 2; 7 (1972), 2; NM Records).

b(1) Hoard of Neolithic axes (SP 72716461; Fig. 25), in the extreme S.E. of the parish, on Northampton Sand at 85 m. above OD. In about 1962 a hoard of six polished flint axes was found on this site. Only two survive (NM).

a(2) Enclosures (?) (SP 724653; Fig. 25), S. of the village, on Northampton Sand at 100 m. above OD. Air photographs (in NMR) show two incomplete rectangular enclosures which may be connected with the linear features to the E. (Chapel Brampton (5)). Worked flints including two barbed-and-tanged arrowheads have been found on the site (BNFAS, 2 (1967), 32; 7 (1972), 2; OS Record Cards).

a(3) Worked flints and Roman settlement (?) (SP 716666; Fig. 26), W. of Brampton Hill, on Northampton Sand at 112 m. above OD. Worked flints classified as Neolithic, including scrapers, and some Roman pottery are recorded from this area (BNFAS, 7 (1972), 2).

a(4) Worked flints and Roman settlement (?) (SP 716662; Fig. 26), 300 m. S. of (3), on Northampton Sand at 100 m. above OD. A few worked flints and Roman pottery have been noted here (BNFAS, 2 (1967), 9).

a(5) Roman settlement and kilns (SP 713661), 300 m. S.W. of (4), on Northampton Sand at 96 m. above OD. A scatter of 3rd to 4th-century pottery, including Oxfordshire mortarium sherds, and fragments of kiln bars and a clay dome were found here in 1973 (NM; Northants. Archaeol., 9 (1974), 88). A small sub-rectangular enclosure, covering only 0.25 hectares, is visible on air photographs (in NMR) in the centre of the site.

a(6) Iron Age and Roman settlement (?) (SP 711662), 200 m. N.W. of (5), on Northampton Sand at 98 m. above OD. Iron Age and Roman sherds associated with a scatter of pebbles were discovered in the area in 1966 (BNFAS, 2 (1967), 9, published grid reference incorrect; inf. W. R. G. Moore).

a(7) Prehistoric site (?) (SP 71926622; Fig. 26), N. of the village, on Northampton Sand at 110 m. above OD. In 1970 a pipeline trench cut through a single post-hole, 1 m. deep at this point, which contained a single sherd of prehistoric pottery. Another sherd was found nearby (BNFAS, 5 (1971), 2).

a(8) Enclosures, ring ditches and linear ditches (centred SP 717664; Fig. 26), N. of the village, on Northampton Sand between 105 m. and 120 m. above OD. Air photographs (in NMR; CUAP, ZW32–5) show cropmarks of great complexity, covering some 10 hectares. They include a multitude of conjoined and intersecting sub-rectangular enclosures and linear ditches some of which may be trackways. There is a double ring ditch (at SP 71706633) on the S.W. edge of the complex, and other ring ditches within enclosures lie to the N. (SP 71956643 and 71716646). Within the area (sp 717664) worked flints, said to be of Bronze Age type, and Roman pottery of the 2nd to 4th centuries have been discovered (BNFAS, 4 (1970), 31; 5 (1971), 2; 6 (1971), 5–7).

a(9) Ring ditch (?) (sp 71816599; Fig. 26), N. of Manor Farm, on Northampton Sand at 95 m. above OD. Air photographs (in NMR) show, rather indistinctly, a circular feature 12 m. in diam. (BNFAS, 5 (1971), 41).

a(10) Ditched trackway, enclosures, ring ditch and linear features (centred SP 723662; Fig. 26), immediately N.E. of the village, on Northampton Sand at 110 m. above OD. Air photographs (in NMR) show a ditched trackway running S.W.–N.E. which can be traced across the parish boundary into Chapel Brampton where it may have joined two other trackways (Chapel Brampton (8) and (9)). Two small rectangular enclosures are also visible (SP 72306615) as well as a ring ditch 20 m. in diam. (SP 72336623). All these cropmarks are crossed by a series of linear features running N.N.W.–S.S.E. These are difficult to interpret since some appear as broad bands up to 20 m. wide whereas others are certainly narrow ditches set close together. Their purpose is unknown but they may indicate a field system the boundaries of which have been re-cut on a number of occasions.

a(11) Enclosures (?) (SP 709684), in the N. of the parish, on Northampton Sand at 97 m. above OD. Air photographs (not seen by RCHM) are said to show cropmarks of two conjoined sub-rectangular enclosures (BNFAS. 7 (1972), 55).

Medieval and Later

a(12) Settlement remains (SP 717657; Plate 15), formerly part of Church Brampton, lie immediately W., S.W. and N. of the church and S. of Manor Farm, along the W. side of the main village street. The remains consist of a row of raised platforms and grassed-over rubble foundations, presumably once the sites of buildings along the road. In 1584 (Map in NRO; Plate 15) the area was occupied by five buildings, four of which appear to have been houses. By the early 19th century the area was devoid of buildings (1st ed. OS 1 in. map (1834)).

(13) Cultivation remains (Plate 15). The common fields of the parish were enclosed by agreement in 1662 (NRO). On a map of 1584 (NRO; Plate 15) four fields are shown, lying around and N.W. of the village, Rie Field, West Field, Middle Field and Furr Field; these by that date already had small blocks of old enclosures within them. Ridge-and-furrow of these fields exists on the ground or can be traced on air photographs only in the N. of the parish on the heavier glacial deposits, in the area of the former Middle and Furr Fields. There three separate areas of rectangular or curved interlocked furlongs are visible (e.g. centred SP 709665, 713673 and 708678). In 1584 all the S. half of the parish was heathland, but a small area of very slight, low ridge-and-furrow remains (sp 728643), indicating that at some time this land was under cultivation. More ridge-and-furrow exists further W. in the extreme S.W. of the parish, along the side of a small stream (sp 734643). This was meadowland in the late 16th century, but again the remains indicate cultivation here in the past (CBA Group 9, Newsletter, 6 (1976), 28; RAF VAP CPE/UK/1994, 2368–70, 2250–52, 4254–58, 4371–74).