Haddon, West

Pages 96-97

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 67 SW, b SP 67 SE, c SP 66 NW)

The parish covers just over 1080 hectares, and is roughly rectangular with a triangular area extending from the S. side. Except for the N.E. and S.E. corners almost all of the boundaries are determined by streams, and the high central part of the parish which rises to over 182 m. above OD forms a watershed from which streams drain generally N.W. or S.E. Nearly all of the area is covered by glacial deposits, in particular large expanses of sands and gravels. Small areas of Middle and Upper Lias Clay and Northampton Sand are exposed along the valley sides mainly on the peripheries of the parish. Little of archaeological interest has been discovered.

Prehistoric and Roman

a(1) Barrow (?) (SP 641715), called Oster Hill, is said to have lain S.E. of the village on glacial gravel at 174 m. above OD. Bridges (Hist. of Northants., I (1791), 599), writing in about 1720, said that it was 'an eminence' and that 'under it, according to vulgar tradition, are buried several officers who fell in battle'. He goes on to conjecture that 'it is the tumulus of Publius Ostorius'. However no trace of a mound exists on the ground and it is possible that the place-name, of Scandinavian origin, 'Austr' meaning East (PN Northants., 71), has led to the identification of a low natural hill as a barrow and has produced this unlikely association.

a(2) Roman burial and coins (around SP 628719). A Roman urn containing ashes and covered with a flat stone was found at the W. end of West Haddon village before 1712 (J. Morton, Nat. Hist. of Northants. (1712), 530). Roman coins were found in the same area between 1693 and 1747. No other details are known (OS Record Cards).

Medieval and Later

(3) Cultivation remains. The common fields of the parish were enclosed by an Act of Parliament in 1765 (NRO, Enclosure Map). The original Act records that, before enclosure, in addition to the common fields there were 800 acres of heath, common and waste ground as well as 'Two Rye Hills'. Though the location of these areas is unknown, the recoverable ridge-and-furrow is so extensive as to indicate that most of them must have been under cultivation at an early period. The ridge-and-furrow is preserved on the ground or is visible on air photographs throughout most of the centre and S. parts of the parish but in the N., apart from a few isolated furlongs, it has been largely destroyed. In the S. much of it is orientated N.–S. in end-on furlongs, with a few blocks at right-angles. Around the village the predominant orientation is E.–W., although there is a pronounced pattern of interlocked furlongs to the W. (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1994, 1363–9, 1469–74).