An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northamptonshire, Volume 5, Archaeology and Churches in Northampton. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1985.
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This Inventory of archaeological sites and churches in Northampton covers the modern Borough of Northampton, the present boundaries of which were established in 1974. In some respects the policy regarding the scope and arrangement is slightly different from that adopted in earlier Inventories. The administrative boundaries previously used were those of the civil parishes as established by the Local Government Act of 1974; for a variety of reasons those adopted in the present Inventory are older ones. The existing borough is of such a size that to list all the monuments and finds within its boundaries in a consecutive order would not only have led to difficulties in the location of the material by readers, but would also, for the medieval material at least, have destroyed its historical context.
As a result it has been decided to use the boundaries of the medieval Borough of Northampton and those of the surrounding rural parishes as they existed until the late 19th century, when the expansion of the town led to a major administrative reorganisation which has continued sporadically ever since. This method works well for Northampton itself and for the medieval parishes immediately around it. Some difficulties remain, however, especially because the modern borough includes small areas formerly parts of parishes now beyond the borough. Archaeological sites in the main parts of these parishes have already been described in the relevant Inventories, but those now within the borough are listed under the names of the original parish. This is by no means totally satisfactory, but any scheme is open to criticism, and it is hoped that the one used here is the best compromise in the circumstances. Map 3 (in pocket) illustrates the boundaries adopted.
The increasing costs of book publication have led to the presentation in micro-fiche of the Inventory section of this volume. This is contained on three sheets of micro-fiche in the back pocket of the book. The Introductory Essay, or Sectional Preface element, is published here in the usual way, together with plates and line-drawings and a guide to the material presented in micro-fiche. The printed section of the book consists of pages 1 to 71 of text, Figs. 1 to 17, and Plates 1 to 36. Maps 1 to 7 are folded in the pocket at the back of the book. Pages 200 to 436 and Figs. 18 to 39 appear in the micro-fiche. The index refers to both the printed part of the book and to the micro-fiche.
The Inventory of sites and finds is divided by parish arranged in alphabetical order; the exception is the medieval Borough of Northampton which is treated as a unit. Each parish entry has a short introductory note summarising its physical topography and major monuments. Material in the parishes outside the medieval Borough of Northampton is arranged in the following order under each parish heading:
Prehistoric and Roman Finds
Prehistoric and Roman Sites
Saxon and Medieval Finds
Saxon and Medieval Sites
The medieval Borough of Northampton appears in alphabetical sequence among the parishes and the sites themselves are arranged in the following order:
Saxon and Medieval Defensive and Administrative Sites
Medieval Religious Houses
Medieval Churches, Chapels and other Religious Sites
Medieval Finds and Sites, arranged in alphabetical order of streets
The National Grid reference is given for each monument. The description of a find 'centred on' a grid reference indicates the actual location of the archaeological material being described. The words 'centre point at' indicate the geographical centre of a street where the archaeological material is not precisely located. The superior letter before a monument number refers to the sheet number in the OS 1:10000 map series, as listed at the head of the parish.
The entries in the Inventory are necessarily much compressed and, where a site has been adequately described elsewhere, few details are given and the reader is directed to the relevant publication and to the Sites and Monuments Record of Northampton Development Corporation. Each site and/or find therein has a unique number which has been added in brackets to all entries here.
Some of the plans included in the text have been prepared from air-photographic evidence. Cartographic accuracy has been a major concern but on a number of drawings crop or soil-marks have had to be plotted from oblique air photographs alone; locations shown may in some cases therefore differ slightly from the actual, though the general comparative sizes are correct. Furthermore, because crop and soil conditions prevailing when the air photographs were taken have sometimes made interpretation difficult, only those features considered to be archaeologically significant have been included in the illustrations. Widths of ditches, pit alignments and other arrangements of pits are shown conventionally; the precise number of pits, and variations in their size and shape, have not been reproduced.
The present locations of finds are, if known, indicated in the Inventory. Finds from excavation or fieldwork undertaken by Northampton Development Corporation Archaeological Unit together with associated records will be deposited in the Northamptonshire Archaeological Archive in Northampton Museum.
Churches have been included for the contribution they make towards the understanding of the development of Northampton. They are normally described in the order E. to W. and N. to S., repetitive features such as arcades and windows being described in the same order. Church plans printed in the book are based on accurate surveys. Those reproduced in the micro-fiche are also accurately surveyed, except for those marked 'outline plan'. In these cases compartments and their relationships have been measured overall and details sketched in. Dates in the description of memorials are those of the deaths of the persons commemorated, as recorded; surnames in brackets are maiden names. Proper names are recorded as they appear on the memorials or other objects but otherwise the normally accepted spelling has been adopted.
Analysis of the full series of radio-carbon determinations from the Saxon Palace Complex (Northampton (8)) suggests that the timber hall belongs to the middle of the 8th century with the stone hall and mortar mixers dating to the early 9th century (see Williams and Shaw, forthcoming, for a discussion of the revised chronology).