(OS 1:10000a SP 86 SW, b SP 86 SE, c SP 85 NW,
d SP 85 NE)
The parish is of irregular shape and covers 730 hectares,
immediately S. of the R. Nene, here flowing at about
50 m. above OD, which forms its N. boundary. From the
river the land rises steeply across outcrops of clay, sands
and limestones to a Boulder Clay table-land at about
90m.-100m. above OD. This is bisected by a steepsided, narrow valley. The modern parish is made up of
the medieval parishes of Cogenhoe and Whiston and the
two villages are each situated on the edge of the high
land overlooking the Nene. Both show evidence of
shrinkage or movement. At Cogenhoe the remains of a
small undocumented medieval settlement (14) have been
noted. As elsewhere in the surrounding area fieldwork in
the parish has produced a wealth of prehistoric and
Prehistoric and Roman
Neolithic and later flint-working sites have been
found in a number of places in the parish. E. of Whiston
church (SP 853606) one barbed-and-tanged and two
leaf-shaped arrowheads have been recovered (BNFAS, 3
(1969), 6; 6 (1971), 7, Cogenhoe (9)). Other places
where flints have been recorded include SP 839607,
830604, 836596, 826608 and 855600 (BNFAS, 2 (1967),
7; 3 (1969), 4; 6 (1971), 8; 7 (1972), 2; OS Record
a(1) Enclosures and Ditches (SP 841605;
Fig. 26), immediately N. of The Firs, on limestone at
76 m. above OD. Air photographs (in NMR) show a series
of indeterminate ditches or enclosures and one circular
feature. In the same area a number of flint tools, including a transverse arrowhead, two barbed-and-tanged arrowheads, scrapers and cores have been discovered. A scatter
of bones, perhaps human, has also been noted (BNFAS,
6 (1971), 7, Cogenhoe (4); 7 (1972), 2; Northants.
Archaeol., 8 (1973), 3).
a(2) Round Barrow (?) (SP 841614), N.W. of
Cogenhoe village, on alluvium at 50 m. above OD, close
to the R. Nene. It is about 30 m. in diam. and 0.25 m.
high, with a broad, almost flat top 2 m. across. There is
no trace of a ditch (BNFAS, 6 (1971), 7, Cogenhoe (1)).
a(3) Iron Age Site (SP 831605), S. of Cogenhoe
village, on sand at 70 m. above OD. When a large area of
land was cleared in 1971 a length of ditch containing
Iron Age pottery was discovered (BNFAS, 7 (1972), 2).
a(4) Iron Age and Roman Settlement
(centred SP 839600; Fig. 26), immediately S. of The
Firs, on limestone at 91 m. above OD. Air photographs
(CUAP, ZJ 66–9, and in NMR) show a series of enclosures and linear ditches forming no coherent pattern and
clearly representing a number of different periods. Fieldwalking here has led to the discovery of Iron Age pottery
and iron slag, centred SP 837600. In this area also four
burials, two of them of children, were found during
ploughing in 1959. One of the latter had two pewter
dishes associated with it. Further E. Roman pottery,
building stone, roof and flue tiles and tesserae indicate a
substantial building, while other less pretentious buildings
seem to surround it. Other finds from the general area
include animal bones, oyster shells, bronze, iron and lead
objects, fragments of glass and worked flints. A large
number of 4th-century coins have also been found. To
the E., close to a small stream (SP 840597), other patches
of iron slag, worked flints, Roman pottery and a coin
are recorded (BNFAS, 2 (1967), 20–1; 3 (1969), 18; 4
(1970), 13; 6 (1971), 7, Cogenhoe (8); 7 (1972), 19;
CBA Group 9, Newsletter, 6 (1976), 19). The site pro
bably extends further S.W., for an 'Iron Age' quern has
been found (SP 837597; OS Record Cards) and N.E. of
Whiston Warren (SP 835593), on Boulder Clay, Iron Age
pottery was discovered in a pipe trench in 1966 (BNFAS,
6 (1971), 8, Cogenhoe (10)).
a(5) Iron Age and Roman Settlement
(centred SP 826607), W. of Cogenhoe village, on Boulder
Clay and sand at 76 m. above OD. Various discoveries
have been made in this area over many years. In 1951
three inhumation burials, two of them of children, were
found. The adult had a bronze bracelet with snakeshead
terminals. In 1962 excavations were carried out on an
E-shaped corn-drying oven of the 3rd or 4th century.
This was later preserved and incorporated into the front
garden of a house in Corn Kiln Close. Subsequent finds
include worked flints, Roman pottery, roof tiles, animal
bones and antlers, querns, a bronze brooch and buckle
and numerous coins of the 3rd and 4th centuries. In 1970
a crushed human skeleton, and Roman ditches, were
noted during building work, while other ditches contained
animal bones and black shelly pottery, perhaps of Iron
Age date (BNFAS, 2 (1967), 9; 3 (1969), 4, 9; 6 (1972),
7, Cogenhoe (5); District Councils Review, 3 (1974), 42;
OS Record Cards). Further N.W. (at SP 828609) air
photographs (not seen by RCHM) are said to show a
series of ditches. The Roman urn and coins discovered
during the 18th century may be from this site (J. Morton,
Nat. Hist. of Northants., (1712), 521; J. Bridges, Hist. of
Northants., I (1791), 347; Archaeologia, 32 (1874), 13).
For Saxon finds, see (7).
a(6) Iron Age and Roman Finds have also been
discovered in two other places in the parish. Immediately
S. of Whiston (SP 848605) a late 3rd-century coin and
some Iron Age sherds are listed (OS Record Cards).
Roman sherds and some worked flints are also recorded
further W. (SP 837605; BNFAS, 6 (1971), 7, Cogenhoe
Medieval and Later
a(7) Saxon Pottery (SP 828609) found in 1971,
immediately N.E. of the Roman site (5), within the area
of the alleged cropmarks (BNFAS, 7 (1972), 40).
a(8) Moat and Fishponds (SP 847606; Fig. 27),
lie in the bottom of a steep-sided valley draining N.E. to
the R. Nene, on gravel and clay at 53 m. above OD. They
are situated immediately to the W. of the village of
Whiston, surrounding Place House. Though local tradition states that the site was once owned by King John,
there can be little doubt that it is the moated house of
the single medieval manor of the village, held by the
Abbey of Ramsey from the late 10th century until 1554.
A series of under-tenants held Whiston from Ramsey
throughout the medieval period and one of these presumably constructed the moat and fishponds (VCH
Northants., IV (1937), 288–9).
The remains, though much overgrown and mutilated,
consist of a small rectangular moated site ('a' on Fig. 27).
On the N. side the ditch has been filled in, but elsewhere
it remains complete, up to 2 m. deep. The water which
filled the ditch was drawn from the existing stream, along
a broad ditch which enters the moat at its W. corner.
After passing, through the moat this water apparently ran
out via the N. corner into a large L-shaped pond ('b' on
Fig. 27). The water was held there by a massive dam or
retaining bank up to 2 m. high which forms the N.W.
and N.E. sides of the pond but which now has a large
gap in the N. corner. N. of the moat, standing on a
roughly rectangular platform above the pond, is the
existing Place House. This is a much altered structure
which still incorporates some parts of a medieval building of the 14th century or earlier. This building perhaps
represents a new structure after the original moated
house was abandoned and thus the actual construction
of the moat would date from the late 12th or early 13th
century when the manor house was held by the de
To the S. of the main part of the site is an overgrown
depression, now partly filled in ('c' on Fig. 27). This
may be another fishpond (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926,
4009;/2546, 4129–30; FSL 6565, 1866).
Fig. 27 Cogenhoe (8) Moat and fishponds
a(9) Settlement Remains (SP 850605), formerly
part of Whiston village, lie immediately S. of the village.
All the remains have been destroyed by ploughing or by
modern houses, but air photographs (RAF VAP/CPE/
UK/2546, 4129–30) show a series of embanked closes
extending S.E. from the existing houses and ending on a
hollow-way which can be traced W. across the present
road, through ridge-and-furrow, to the bed of a small
N.-flowing stream (at SP 846604), but it is unlikely
that these earthworks were more than abandoned paddocks of the existing houses. The area was certainly
devoid of occupation in 1840 (NRO, Tithe Map of
Whiston). The unusual situation of the isolated church,
set on a high hill-top with the village some distance away,
might suggest that settlement once existed nearer the
church. However nothing more than a few sherds of postmedieval pottery are recorded from the field N. of the
church (BNFAS, 3 (1969), 29) and more recently a few
abraded sherds of medieval date and pieces of medieval
floor tile, probably from the early church, have been
found (RCHM). Moreover, the area was formerly covered
by ridge-and-furrow. In the pasture field S. of the church
(SP 85186045) is one rectangular platform 35 m. by
15 m., built up on the hill-slope, but no other features
are visible. On available evidence it is unlikely that the
village was ever situated round the church.
a(10) Settlement Remains (SP 831611; Fig.
29), formerly part of Cogenhoe village, lie immediately
N.E. of Cogenhoe Church on both sides of Mill Lane, on
clay land sloping N. to the R. Nene, between 52 m. and
74 m. above OD. To the W. of the lane are two long closes
of unequal length, bounded by scarps up to 1.5 m. high.
There are slight traces of a former building at the E. end
of the N. close, but a sewage plant has destroyed the E.
end of the S. close. To the W. of the latter is a large
embanked pond, and to the S., between it and the existing houses, is a series of low platforms and scarps,
possibly the sites of former buildings. E. of Mill Lane are
further remains, though these have been ploughed over,
and almost destroyed. Only two long scarps and a
number of indeterminate platforms, possibly the sites of
former buildings, remain. On the S. are traces of a broad
hollow-way which continues the line of the existing street
E. and passes between the settlement remains to the N.
and ridge-and-furrow to the S. (Air photographs in NMR,
and FSL 6565, 1906–8). The whole site had already
been abandoned by 1630 (NRO, Map of Cogenhoe). At
that time the land E. of Mill Lane was known as Cowpasture, while that to the W. was called Mill Close.
a(11) Ponds (SP 829612–831612; Fig. 29), lie N.
of the village, parallel to the old railway and the Cogenhoe Mill Stream, on clay at 53 m. above OD. There is a
line of three ponds, 1 m. deep, all now dry. The largest is
now divided into two parts, and both this and the one
immediately to the W. are bounded on their N. sides by
a continuous bank up to 2 m. high. There is no visible
inlet or outlet channel and the ponds may have been
filled by seepage of water from the adjacent hillside. The
third pond lies some distance to the E. and is a simple
depression. It may not be contemporary with the others.
The adjacent ridge-and-furrow to the S. terminates well
short of the ponds and is likely to be contemporary with
or later than them.
a(12) Fishponds (SP 83846115; Fig. 28), lie just
under 1 km. E. of Cogenhoe church, on alluvium at
48 m. above OD. They consist of two roughly rectangular
ponds cut into almost flat ground to a depth of 0.75 m.
and surrounded by a large bank, up to 0.25 m. high at
the S. end but rising to just over 1 m. high at the N. The
division bank between the two ponds is only 0.25 m.
high. The W. side has been re-used for an ironstone tramway, and is part of a complex series of cuttings, embankments and loading bays connected with the railway to
the N. The tramway has damaged the sides of the ponds
and obscured any original leet from the adjacent stream.
On the E. both ponds have a gap in their sides. The
northernmost has a slight channel extending E. and S.E.
from it which may have been an outlet leet. The ponds
are likely to be medieval in origin, and certainly existed
in 1630 as they are marked on a map of that date and
called Fish Pooles. The adjacent furlong to the N. was
known as Fish Poole Furlong (Map in NRO; air photographs in NMR, and FSL 6565, 1907–9).
Fig. 28 Cogenhoe (12) Fishponds
a(13) Hollow-Way (SP 832606), lies at the E. end
of the village immediately N. of and parallel to the
existing road on the steep side of a valley. It is the
original road out of the village and formerly joined
Church Street N. of the present crossroads. It is 10 m.
wide and 1.5 m. deep. Both the hollow-way and the
present road were in use in the 17th century (NRO, Map
of Cogenhoe, 1630) and the hollow-way was not aban
doned until after 1829 (NRO, Enclosure Map). Some
indeterminate earthworks, including a scarp up to 1.5 m.
high, at the E. end of the hollow-way are the remains of
buildings still shown on the 1829 map.
a(14) Settlement Remains (SP 833605), perhaps part of a once separate medieval settlement, lie at
the extreme E. of the village on the E. side of a small
valley opposite Cotton Farm. The site consists of a series
of rectangular closes bounded by low banks, with at
least two former building platforms cut back into the
hillside at their lower ends. The remains have been much
damaged by a 19th-century ironstone tramway which
has been cut across the site. The field in which the earthworks lie was known as Cotton Closes in the mid 17th
century (NRO, Map of Cogenhoe, 1630) and then stood
some distance from the village centre. The existing
Cotton farmhouse is dated 1709. Though there is no
documentary proof that a separate settlement existed,
the position and name suggest that this may have been
the case (cf. Grendon (14), Gretton (8) and Castle
Fig. 29 Cogenhoe (10) Settlement remains, (11) Ponds
(15) Cultivation Remains. The common fields
of the parish were finally enclosed by Act of Parliament
in 1827 (NRO, Enclosure Map, 1829). Immediately
before that date there were three open fields to the E.
and S. of the village, Lower, Middle and Upper Fields.
The N.E. part of the parish was then already enclosed.
Part of this latter area immediately E. of the village
(centred SP 824610) was enclosed by 1630 (Map in
NRO) and known as Round Hay Pasture, but the rest of
this sector of the parish was still divided into strips and
therefore was enclosed between 1630 and 1829.
Ridge-and-furrow still exists on the ground or can be
traced on air photographs in a number of places in the
parish, and where it lies in areas shown as open fields in
1630 it agrees exactly with the layout of the strips and
furlongs. There are extensive remains on the S. side of
the Whiston Road (SP 835604–842607) running at
right-angles to the contours, all of which lay in Rye Hill
Furlong in 1630. By 1829 this was enclosed.
Further N. (at SP 834610) is a considerable area of
reversed-S ridge-and-furrow arranged in interlocked
furlongs. This was part of Round Hay Pasture in 1630.
The common fields of the old parish of Whiston had
been enclosed by 1840 (NRO, Tithe Map) but the exact
date of enclosure is not known. Ridge-and-furrow of
these fields remains on the ground or can be traced from
air photographs around the village to the S. of Whiston
Road, and also in the S.E. of the parish around Whiston
Slade (SP 844589). It is arranged mostly in end-on
furlongs, orientated N.N.W.-S.S.E., at right-angles to
the contours (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1994, 1191–5;/2546,
3124–30, 4126–31; /1926, 4009–13; F21 543/RAF/
943, 0049–56; F22 543/RAF/943, 0049–55; F21
543/RAF/2409, 0154–8; F22 543/RAF/2409, 0130–1,