An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northamptonshire, Volume 4, Archaeological Sites in South-West Northamptonshire. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1982.
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42 MORETON PINKNEY
(OS 1:10000 a SP 54 NE, b SP 54 NW)
The parish, covering 990 hectares, lies across the valleys of several small streams flowing generally N. to join a tributary of the R. Cherwell; this W.-flowing tributary, at about 130 m. above OD, defines the N. boundary of the parish. Almost half the area is covered by Boulder Clay, but there are high outcrops of Northampton Sand rising to over 160 m. above OD, small areas of Upper Lias Clay and, immediately S. of the village, bands of limestones. Little of archaeological interest has been noted in the parish apart from the settlement remains around the village (1) and a possible deserted settlement (3).
Medieval and Later
a(1) Settlement Remains (centred SP 572492; Fig. 13), lie W. of the village, on Upper Lias Clay at 135 m. above OD. The village of Moreton Pinkney has an unusual plan composed of two parts each centred on a green. It is not clear how such a plan has evolved unless the village is polyfocal, based on two separate settlements.
In the village there are several empty plots where houses formerly stood, but the largest area of earthworks lies immediately W. of the southern green. Long narrow closes bounded by low scarps or shallow ditches extend down the hillside towards the stream. These appear to be the abandoned gardens of houses which once stood on the W. side of the green but which had already disappeared by 1848 (NRO, Tithe Map). (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 1057–8)
a(2) Pond (SP 571490; Fig. 13), lies in the bottom of a shallow W.-draining valley in the S.E. part of the village, S.W. of the church, on Upper Lias Clay at 137 m. above OD. A subrectangular pond, 50 m. by 20 m., has been formed by the cutting away of the valley side on the N. and the construction of a large bank or dam up to 2 m. high on the S. and W. The main dam on the W. has now been broken to allow water to drain from the pond. In the surrounding area there are several undatable drainage ditches. The pond is probably a medieval fishpond or mill-pond. (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 1057–8)
a(3) Deserted Hamlet (?) (SP 567487), lies S.W. of the village, on the W. side of the road to Culworth, on Boulder Clay at 137 m. above OD. Nothing is known about the history of this site and no name can be attributed to it. Only excavation could establish whether it is an abandoned settlement.
The earthworks lie at the S.E. end of a group of small paddocks and consist of a row of rectangular ditched closes lying alongside the road, with a common boundary ditch at their N.W. ends. Some disturbed areas within the closes may be sites of former houses. (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 1058–9)
(4) Cultivation Remains. The common fields of the parish were finally enclosed by an Act of Parliament of 1760. However, part of the parish, an area of unknown size apparently called The West Field, was enclosed in 1624 (J. Bridges, Hist. of Northants., I (1791), 250).
Ridge-and-furrow of these fields exists on the ground or can be traced on air photographs over almost the whole parish, arranged in end-on or interlocked furlongs often of reversed-S form. Several lanes that radiate from the village appear from their hollowed form and the way the adjacent ridge-and-furrow terminates against them to be original access-ways through the common fields. Even where the ridge-and-furrow has been ploughed out the former headlands survive as broad banks up to 12 m. wide and 0.25 m. high (e.g. SP 558489). In this parish, as elsewhere in the area, the term Banky Ground is given to well-marked ridge-and-furrow preserved in pasture (NRO, Tithe Map, 1848; SP 557478). (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 1054–63; CPE/UK/ 1994, 2096–97, 3095–8)
(5) Mound (unlocated). Bridges (Hist. of Northants., I (1791), 250) records that somewhere in the parish there was a 'barrow of the same kind as that in Sulgrave parish' presumably meaning the mound on the N. boundary of that parish (Sulgrave (8)). No mound has been located in Moreton Pinkney and it is possible that Bridges was referring to the mound close to the parish boundary in the S.E. near Plumpton (Weston and Weedon (9)).