19 DODDINGTON, GREAT
(OS 1:10000 a SP 86 NE, b SP 86 SE)
The roughly rectangular parish, covering 640 hectares,
lies immediately S.W. of Wellingborough and N.W. of the
R. Nene which forms its S.E. boundary. From the river,
at 42 m. above OD, the land rises steeply across outcrops
of clays, limestones and silts to a relatively flat Boulder
Clay area between 90 m. and 100 m. above OD. Beyond,
the land falls gently towards the Wilby Brook where
sands, limestones and silts are exposed. Intensive fieldwork in the parish has led to the discovery of a pattern
of early Saxon settlement so far without precedent elsewhere in the county.
Prehistoric and Roman
Worked flints in large quantities have been found in
three places. In the W. of the parish (SP 868646) flint
tools, including scrapers, as well as waste flakes have
been discovered (Northants. Archaeol., 10 (1975), 166).
To the S.W. (SP 872640), and in the N.E. of the parish
further dense scatters of worked flints have been recorded (inf. G.R. Foard).
b(1) Cropmarks (SP 870638), S.W. of the village,
on sand at 72 m. above OD, are said to exist here but no
details are given (OS Records Cards).
a(2) Enclosure (SP 882658; Fig. 39; Plate 1), N.
of the village, on limestone at 91 m. above OD. Air
photographs (CUAP, ABR 69–70, ACA 82) show a
D-shaped enclosure bounded by unusually wide ditches.
The interior is sub-divided into two unequal parts by a
narrow ditch. In the larger N. half is a penannular ring
ditch, probably a hut-circle, while the N.W. corner of
the enclosure appears to overlie another ring ditch which
has internal features. In 1967 two trenches were cut
across the area but nothing more than a few sherds of
unidentified pottery and one sherd of 12th-century St.
Neots ware was discovered (BNFAS, 2 (1967), 33;
Rescue Publication 2, Northampton-Wellingborough
Expressway Arch. Survey, (1973), Map 5, Plate 3; OS
Record Cards). However in 1974 small quantities of Iron
Age and Roman pottery were discovered on the site
Fig. 39 Great Doddington (2) Cropmarks
b(3) Iron Age Settlement (?) (SP 885647),
S.E. of the village, on Boulder Clay at 76 m. above OD.
Iron Age pottery has been found during fieldwork. The
site probably extends into the pasture field to the N.W.
(inf. G.R. Foard).
b(4) Iron Age and Roman Settlement
(SP 884649), at the N.E. end of the village on limestone
at 85 m. above OD, discovered during building work in
1970. A quantity of apparently 2nd-century Roman
pottery and tiles was found as well as a few medieval
sherds (BNFAS, 7 (1972), 20). Immediately to the W.
(SP 88306495) further large quantities of Roman
pottery have been discovered. In the same area unidentified archaeological features were noted during construction work for a school in 1974 (local information).
Further field work has established that Roman pottery
extends over an area of some 2 hectares (Northants.
Archaeol., 10 (1975), 154). Other finds include Iron Age
pottery, Roman roof tiles and a coin of Faustina I,
posthumus issue of 140–160 A.D. (inf. G.R. Foard).
For Saxon finds from this site, see (7) below.
b(5) Roman Villa (SP 873636; Fig. 40; Plate 2),
in the S.W. of the parish, on gravel at 48 m. above OD.
Air photographs (CUAP, ZE 18–21) show a rectangular
stone building containing five rooms on the N.E. side of
a courtyard with slight traces of other buildings on its
S.W. side. Three circular buildings are also visible. A
considerable amount of building debris, including
limestone, tile and tesserae, as well as much 4th-century
pottery, has been found in the area. The villa appears to
stand within a large outer rectangular enclosure bounded
by parallel ditches, with a possible entrance on the N.E.
side (JRS, 51 (1961), 134; Britannia, 5 (1974), 251–61;
OS Record Cards).
For possible Roman Road, see p. 188.
Medieval and Later
Sherds of early Saxon pottery have been found in a
number of places in the parish in addition to the probable
settlement sites listed below. These include three sherds
in the W. of the parish (SP 868645), six sherds near the
church (SP 881649) and five sherds N. of the village
(SP 878651; inf. G.R. Foard). Two other Saxon settlements (Wellingborough (27) and (28)) extend across the
parish boundary into Great Doddington.
b(6) Saxon Settlement (?) (SP 870644; Fig. 14),
in the W. of the parish, on limestone at 90 m. above OD.
A small quantity of early Saxon pottery has been noted
here (inf. G.R. Foard).
Fig. 40 Great Doddington (5)
ab(7) Saxon Settlement (SP 883650; Fig 14),
at the N.E. end of the village, on limestone at 85 m.
above OD. A large quantity of Saxon pottery has been
found (inf. G.R. Foard).
For Iron Age and Roman finds from this site, see (4)
b(8) Saxon Settlement (?) (SP 887647; Fig. 14).
E. of the village, on clay at 75 m. above OD. A small
quantity of early Saxon pottery has been found here
(inf. G.R. Foard).
a(9) Saxon Settlement (SP 885652; Fig. 14),
N.E. of the village, on Boulder Clay at 85 m. above OD.
A large number of early Saxon sherds have been discovered (inf. G.R. Foard).
b(10) Settlement Remains (centred SP 883647),
lie S. of the village behind the existing houses, on land
sloping steeply down to the R. Nene, on limestone
between 84 m. and 60 m. above OD. They include a few
small embanked closes, formerly parts of gardens (e.g. at
SP 8846481), and raised platforms set within small
embanked or scarped enclosures, presumably the sites of
abandoned houses (e.g. SP 88076467). To the E. of
Grove Farm (at SP 88506487) is a series of earthworks
which include a small hollow-way, extending from the
modern street down the hillside. This is edged by the
footings of a limestone wall. To the N.E. of it is a pond
and a number of quarry pits, associated with a group of
rectangular limestone wall-footings, now grassed over and
presumably the remains of former buildings. The remains
here do not appear to be of any great antiquity and may
be those of a small lime-burning industry. Other more
recent brick-pits and quarries lie further S.W. (at SP
88256464; RAF VAP F21 543/RAF/2409, 0133–4).
b(11) Occupation Site (SP 87996476), at the
S.W. end of the village, on limestone at 84 m. above OD.
During building work in 1967 a large quantity of
medieval pottery, building stone and roofing tile was
noted. A pit or ditch was revealed in a pipe trench
(BNFAS, 7 (1972), 43; NM).
b(12) Hollow-Ways (SP 878640 – 879646), run
N.E. up a steep-sided valley from near the R. Nene to
the W. end of Doddington village. They consist of rutted,
multiple hollow-ways passing between blocks of ridgeand-furrow, and are much damaged by later activity and
drainage. They represent the medieval routeway into the
village from the river-crossing at Ken Mill (SP 876637).
Together with the ridge-and-furrow they form a fine
sample of medieval landscape.
a(13) Deserted Medieval Settlement (SP
871656), lies in the extreme N.W. of the parish against
the Wilby parish boundary, on Northampton Sand between 80 m. and 90 m. above OD. The settlement is
largely unrecorded but Thorpe, the local name for the
field, suggests that it was perhaps known as Doddington
Thorpe (cf. Earls Barton (16) and p. li). Certainly in
the early 14th century a person is recorded with the
name Johannes de Thorpe de Dodyngton. The area is
now permanent arable and any former earthworks have
been destroyed. However in the 19th century the area
was apparently covered with scrub (1st ed. 1 in. OS map
(1834)). Now only rather uneven ground, with a few
depressions and large scarps, exists together with large
quantities of limestone rubble and dark patches of soil.
A considerable amount of medieval pottery was found
in a pipeline trench which was cut across the N. part of
the site and pottery of 13th-century date is also recorded from the area. Recent examination has produced
two sherds of early Saxon pottery and small quantities
of late medieval and post-medieval pottery as well as a
silver groat of Elizabeth I (1560–61). To the N., in
Wilby parish, a hollow-way approaches the area from
Wilby village (see Wilby (7); Northants. Archaeol., 9
(1974), 83, 89, 105; 10 (1975), 166–7; RAF VAP F21
(14) Cultivation Remains. The common fields
of the parish were enclosed by Act of Parliament in
1766 (VCH Northants., IV (1937), 113). Ridge-and-furrow of these fields remains on the ground or can be
traced from air photographs, S. and E. of the village on
land sloping down to the R. Nene, and in small fragments against the N.W. and S.W. boundaries of the
parish. A substantial area of it which remains close to
the R. Nene is arranged in interlocked furlongs. On these
steep slopes some of the ridge-and-furrow is laid out
parallel to the contours. As a result some of it has
become partly lynchetted with the ridges having markedly
On the E. side of a steep-sided re-entrant valley S.W.
of the village (SP 879646) is a series of flat terraces
about 100 m. long with flat treads up to 15 m. across
and with risers 1.5 m. high. They may be former strip
lynchets, but they appear to have been altered at some
period by the cutting of ditches along them. At their S.
end a furlong of normal ridge-and-furrow abuts against
There is a well-marked headland, some 600 m. long
and 20 m. wide, running N.E. from SP 871645 (RAF
VAP F22 543/RAF/943, 0195–0101, 0040–6; F21
543/RAF/2409, 0132–5; F22 540/RAF/1312, 0290–1;
F21 540/RAF/1312, 0290–3, 0282–7; CPE/UK/2546,
4041–3; air photographs in NMR).