Holcot

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English Heritage

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1979

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83

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'Holcot', An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northamptonshire, Volume 2: Archaeological sites in Central Northamptonshire (1979), pp. 83. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=126348 Date accessed: 22 August 2014.


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33 HOLCOT

(OS 1:10000 a SP 77 SE, b SP 87 SW, c SP 76 NE, d SP 86 NW)

The small rectangular parish covers just over 550 hectares N. of Northampton. It lies on land sloping gently S.W. between 91 m. and 114 m. above OD, drained by a small tributary of the Pitsford Brook. The latter is now dammed to form the Pitsford Reservoir, which covers a large area of the N.E. of the parish. Much of the parish is on Boulder Clay, but the down-cutting of the central stream has exposed Northampton Sand along its valley sides and clay along its floor.

Prehistoric and Roman

A polished flint axe has been found in the parish (BNFAS, 4 (1970), 4). A Roman coin found before 1902 (at SP 78986918) is also recorded (VCH Northants., I (1902), 218; OS Record Cards). Roman pottery has been discovered during building work in various parts of the village (CBA Group 9, Newsletter, 5 (1975), 29), in addition to (3) below.

a(1) Ring Ditch (SP 79897088), N. of the village, on a hilltop, on sandstone at 122 m. above OD. An air photograph (in NMR) shows a ring ditch of about 30 m. in diam. (BNFAS, 6 (1971), 14, Plate IV (2)).

c(2) Iron Age Settlement (SP 788698), S.W. of the village, on sand at 110 m. above OD. An enclosure is said to be visible from the air at this point and a few Iron Age sherds have been found on the ground (CBA Group 9, Newsletter, 5 (1975), 29).

c(3) Iron Age and Roman Site (SP 791697), on the W. edge of the village, on sand and gravel at 110 m. above OD. Building development revealed pits and rubbish layers, finely worked flint flakes, burnt cobbles and some undated, but probably Iron Age pottery. Roman pottery was also discovered, including samian, grey ware and two 2nd-century rims of mortaria (BNFAS, 4 (1970), 4, 9).

Medieval and Later

Medieval pottery has been found in the centre of the village. A rim of a St. Neots ware bowl and the body of a glazed Lyveden jug with cream stripe decoration were found (BNFAS, 4 (1970), 17).

c(4) Dam (SP 795698; Fig. 16), E. of the village, on sand at 110 m. above OD, spanning a shallow valley. It consists of a massive bank 40 m. long and 5 m. wide, with a maximum height of 2 m. It is broken in the centre to allow the modern stream to pass through it. The edge of the former pond behind it to the S. is marked by low scarps (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1925, 4226– 7).

ac(5) Site of Watermill (SP 795700), 200 m. N. of (4) in a similar position. It consists of a massive Ushaped dam, 1.5 m. high and with a total length of about 100 m., which formerly ponded back the water of a small N.W.-flowing stream. It is now broken in the centre. At its E. end it continues as a low embankment to form the N.E. side of the old pond. The S. side of the pond was edged by steep-sided natural cliffs. The 1st ed. 1 in. OS map (1834) shows the pond in existence and names the site as 'Mill'. On an estate map of 1839 (NRO) the pond is also shown together with a building, now demolished, to the N. of it. This was probably the mill itself (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1925, 1368–9).

ac(6) Settlement Remains (SP 793700), formerly part of Holcot, lie immediately N. of the village on the S. side of a small valley. The remains are now partly submerged by the waters of Pitsford Reservoir, and consist of a number of small embanked and ditched paddocks on either side of a broad E.—W. hollow-way. The closes to the N. of the hollow-way have traces of ridge-and-furrow within them. Former building platforms on the S. side of the southernmost closes have been destroyed by modern housing along Walgrave Road (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1925, 4226–7).

a(7) Windmill Mound (SP 79687042), N.E. of the village on the N. side of a broad valley at 46 m. above OD. A much-mutilated low mound marks the site of a windmill which was still in existence in 1839 (NRO, Estate Map).

(8) Cultivation Remains. The common fields of the parish were enclosed by Act of Parliament of 1777 (VCH Northants., IV (1937), 127), but nothing is known of their earlier arrangement. Ridge-and-furrow remains on the ground or can be traced from air photographs over most of the parish, except along the valley bottoms, arranged in rectangular or curving blocks of end-on or interlocked furlongs. The pattern is almost complete and suggests that most of the parish had been under cultivation at some time during the medieval period. There is a marked tendency for the ridges to run at right-angles to the contours on sloping ground. On the ground long, sinuous ridges up to 300 m. long and 25 m. wide, formerly headlands, still survive in a number of places (e.g. SP 806691 and 808690; RAF VAP CPE/UK/ 1925, 1366–72, 3366–70, 4223–4; F21 540/RAF/ 1312, 0237–41; F22 540/RAF/1312, 0237–41).



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