7 BRAMPTON, CHAPEL
(OS 1: 10000 a SP 76 NW, b SP 76 SW)
The modern parish, covering just over 500 hectares, lies
W. of the Pitsford Brook which forms the W. boundary.
From the brook where a narrow band of Upper Lias Clay is
exposed the land rises gently to a maximum height of
122 m. above OD. Most of the S. part of the parish is on
Northampton Sand but in the extreme N.W. this is
overlaid by glacial deposits. The parish, together with
Church Brampton to the W., is remarkable for the large
areas of prehistoric and Roman sites visible from the air
(1–10). Except for a number of important finds made on
the ground almost nothing is known about these
cropmarks apart from their approximate extent. The
parish, as its name implies, was in medieval times a
chapelry of Church Brampton, but the site of the chapel
Prehistoric and Roman
A large flat stone implement, probably of foreign origin,
was found in the parish before 1949 (NM). In addition to
the flint-working sites listed below small numbers of
worked flints have been found at SP 730672 (BNFAS, 2
Brampton Complex (Chapel Brampton (1–10) and
Church Brampton (1–10); Figs. 25 and 26), occupies the
greater part of both parishes. Between and to the N. and S.
of the two villages there is an almost continuous expanse of
cropmarks. covering at least 175 hectares, on
Northampton Sand, between 80 m. and 120 m. above OD.
From within the area of cropmarks and from the
surrounding fields have come objects of Neolithic, Bronze
Age, Iron Age, Roman and Saxon date; this lends support
to the assumption that the cropmarks themselves represent
occupation over a very long period. Although the complex
must be viewed as a whole, individual sites and finds are
listed under the parish in which they lie.
b(1) Prehistoric and Roman settlements and Roman
Kilns (centred SP 729647; Fig. 25), in the extreme S. of the
parish, on Northampton Sand between 75 m. and 87 m.
above OD. Air photographs (in NMR; CUAP, ZF19, 20,
ZU77, ADP4, AXF12, 13, BYN69–70) show cropmarks
covering some 8 hectares. These include at least 14 ring
ditches or hut-circles, three double-ditched enclosures, a
ditched trackway and numerous linear features. There are
also several rectangular enclosures. At the N. end of the site
a pit alignment runs N. and may be a continuation of that
visible to the N. (2).
A large quantity of worked flints has been found on the
ground, including waste flakes, cores and scrapers
described as being of Neolithic and Bronze Age type, as
well as part of a polished stone axe and three flakes, all of
Group VI (NM Records). Iron Age pottery and the upper
part of a rotary quern have also been found (SP 729646),
apparently within or close to a ditched enclosure (BNFAS,
2 (1967), 5; NM; inf. W. R. G. Moore). A scatter of
Roman pottery and burnt clay with grass impressions,
probably the site of a Roman kiln, was found on the E. edge
of the area in 1966 (BNFAS, 2 (1967), 9, wrongly located
in Church Brampton parish; inf. W.R. G. Moore).
Fig. 25 Brampton, Chapel (1–3, 5, 7)
and Brampton, Church (1, 2)
Fig. 26 Brampton, Chapel (6–10) and Brampton, Church
(3–10) Brampton Complex
a(2) Settlement and pit alignment (SP 730651;
Fig. 25), 300 m. N. of (1), on Northampton Sand at 85 m.
above OD. Air photographs (in NMR; CUAP, ZV21, ADP2)
show a small group of interlocked rectangular enclosures
with a number of ring ditches or hut-circles within them,
and some small rectangular features. Several early Saxon
sherds have been discovered (inf. W. R. G. Moore), and
worked flints of Neolithic and Bronze Age type have been
found over the site and in the surrounding area. These are
listed below (4) (BNFAS, 2 (1967), 32).
ab(3) Settlement (SP 730654; Fig. 25), S. of Brampton
Grange, on Northampton Sand at 85 m. above OD. Air
photographs (in NMR; CUAP, ZV21) show rather
indistinctly a group of small interlocked enclosures with a
short length of pit alignment running S.W. from them.
Worked flints of Neolithic and Bronze Age type from the
site and the surrounding area are listed below (4) (inf. W.
R. G. Moore).
a(4) Flint-Working Sites (centred SP 730652), cover an
area of some 26 hectares S. and S.W. of Brampton Grange
on Northampton Sand between 70 m. and 100 m. above
OD. Some of these may be associated with cropmarks (2)
and (3) described above. Over 2000 flints, mainly of
Neolithic and Bronze Age type, including waste flakes,
scrapers and cores, have been found. The general locations
are SP 732654, 729652, 727651 and 727652. To the S.S.E.
of Brampton Grange (SP 732652) a large area of mainly
Mesolithic flints has been discovered (inf. W. R. G. Moore;
OS Record Cards; BNFAS, 2 (1967), 5).
a(5) Linear Ditches (SP 726654; Fig. 25), lie close to the
parish boundary with Church Brampton, on Northampton
Sand at 100 m. above OD. Air photographs (in NMR)
show a group of linear ditches, but one is a modern pipeline
and another an old hedge (not shown on plan). The earlier
ditches form no coherent pattern but may be associated
with other features immediately to the S.W. (Church
a(6) Ring ditch and enclosures (SP 730658; Fig. 26),
N. of Brampton Grange, on Northampton Sand at 95 m.
above OD. Air photographs (in NMR) show one large
circular feature, perhaps a ring ditch, with two incomplete
rectangular enclosures to the W. and S.E. Worked flints,
including scrapers and cores, have been found a little to the
S.W. (BNFAS, 2 (1967), 5; 5 (1971), 39; 6 (1971), 5–7).
a(7)Ring ditches, enclosures and pit alignment (SP
726658; Figs. 25 and 26), W. of (6), on Northampton Sand
at 105 m. above OD. Air photographs (in NMR) show a
pit alignment running W.–E. and traceable for 250 m. It
cuts an oval double-ditched enclosure which is also
intersected by a small L-shaped length of ditch. To the S. is
a rectangular enclosure, and to the N. a double ring ditch
which has linear ditches running E. and W. from it. The E.
linear ditch appears to intersect several other features
including a ditched trackway running S.E. from (8)
(BNFAS, 2 (1967), 5, 32; 4 (1970), 31).
a(8)Ditched trackway and enclosures (SP 725660;
Fig. 26), S.W. of Chapel Brampton village, on
Northampton Sand at 110 m. above OD. Air photographs
(in NMR) show somewhat indistinctly a ditched trackway
running E.S.E.–W.N.W. Another trackway possibly
continuing from the S. (7) runs N. apparently to meet two
other trackways (Chapel Brampton (9) and Church
Brampton (10)), just W. of Chapel Brampton village. This
trackway is intersected at right-angles by several roughly
parallel linear ditches and there are various enclosures and
other linear features linked to the trackway or visible in the
a(9) Ditched Trackway, Enclosures, Linear Ditches
and flint-working sites (centred SP 722665; Fig. 26), W.
and N.W. of Chapel Brampton village, on Northampton
Sand between 110 m. and 120 m. above OD. Air
photographs (in NMR; CUAP, ZW38) show a sinuous
ditched trackway traceable for more than 500 m. S.E. from
Brampton Hill to a point just W. of the village. Here,
though little is visible on air photographs, it seems to have
met two other trackways approaching the site from the S.
(8) and from the W. (Church Brampton (10)). Some short
ditches and a small rectangular enclosure are visible to the
S.W. of the assumed junction and other indeterminate
ditches to the N. To the N.W. (SP 722665) there is a large,
well-marked rectangular enclosure with rounded corners
and entrances in the S.E. and N.E. sides; it has a small
internal enclosure in its E. corner. Linear ditches run to the
S.E. Further N.W., on both sides of the trackway, are
further traces of rectangular and irregular enclosures. The
trackway can be traced to the W. of Brampton Hill (at SP
717667) where a short length of it, intersected by a linear
feature, is visible on air photographs. This trackway was
cut obliquely by a pipe-line trench in 1970 (at SP
72226644). The ditches were said to be 3 m.–4 m. wide at
the top and almost 2 m. deep. No dating evidence or
metalling was discovered between the ditches (BNFAS, 5
(1971), 2). Worked flints, including cores and scrapers,
have been found over the area around the large enclosure
(BNFAS, 2 (1967), 5; 4 (1970), 31; inf. W. R. G. Moore).
a(10) Bronze Age Cemetery (SP 72276645; Fig. 26),
immediately S.E. of a large enclosure (9), on Northampton
Sand at 112 m. above OD. The site was completely
excavated in 1970–1 and proved to be a middle Bronze Age
cemetery with some 25 cremations. About half of these
were in bucket urns, one of which was in a rectangular cist
of sandstone slabs and contained a bead and a plain bronze
bracelet. Two radiocarbon dates were obtained from the
material, one of 1114 bc± 120 from a cremation pit and
one of 1296 bc ± 100 from another, charcoal-filled pit
(DOE Arch. Excavations 1971, (1972), 52; BNFAS, 5 (1971),
1; Northants. Archaeol., 8 (1973), 3).
a(11) Flint-working Site (centred SP 720677), N.E. of
Sanders Covert, on Boulder Clay between 90 m. and
100 m. above OD. Worked flints, including one leaf-shaped and one barbed-and-tanged arrowhead, have been
found over an area of about 4 hectares (BNFAS, 2 (1967),
5; inf. W. R. G. Moore). Air photographs (in NMR) show
the rather indistinct cropmarks of a rectangular enclosure
covering 0.5 hectares in the centre of the area. At least one
linear ditch runs N.E.–S.W. across the S.E. side of the site.
a(12) Roman Settlement (?) (SP 729680), in the extreme
N.E. of the parish, on gravel at 75 m. above OD. Roman
pottery and a few worked flints have been discovered on
the ground and cropmarks of enclosures are said to have
been seen from the air (BNFAS, 2 (1967), 9).
Medieval and Later
For early Saxon pottery, see (2).
a(13) Settlement remains and hollow-way (SP
731663), lie immediately E. of Chapel Brampton village,
on land sloping down to a small S.– flowing stream, on
Northampton Sand at 75 m. above OD. The earthworks
lie within the former park of the now demolished Chapel
Brampton Hall. The main feature is a hollow-way
10 m.–12 m. wide, as much as 1.5 m. deep below the land
to the N. but only 0.5 m. deep below that to the S. It runs
down the hillside to the stream and marks the line of the
original street which ran to Pitsford from the cross-roads
at the S. end of the village. This existed in 1584 (Map in
NRO; Plate 15) but was probably closed when the park
was made. It was still in use in the early 19th century as the
only road across the valley to Pitsford (OS 1st ed. 1 in.
map, (1834)). Along the present Pitsford road, to the S. of
the hollow-way, is a series of embanked enclosures and
platforms the S. ends of which are cut by the road. These
may be the sites of former buildings and closes though no
buildings are shown here on the map of the parish of 1584.
(14) Cultivation remains. The common fields of the
parish were enclosed by agreement in 1662 (NRO). A map
of 1584 (NRO; Plate 15) shows three fields, Middle,
Nether and Rie, as well as areas of old enclosures. Ridge-and-furrow of these fields exists on the ground or can be
traced on air photographs only in the N. and E. of the
parish, largely on the heavier soils. It is rare or completely
absent on the lighter Northampton Sand in the S. of the
parish. In the extreme N.W. of the parish, in the former
Middle Field, the pattern of the ridge-and-furrow is almost
completely recoverable, comprising mainly rectangular
interlocked furlongs, many of reversed-S form. These, in
sharp contrast to the layout on the more broken country to
the W., are not always laid out at right-angles to the slope;
this applies in particular to some furlongs close to the N.
and W. boundaries (e.g. SP 720680 and 732672), where the
ridges run parallel to the streams. However around the low
isolated Hoe Hill in the N. of the parish (SP 725678), at the
extreme N. end of Nether Field, the ridges radiate
outwards from the summit. To the S.E. of the village (SP
733660) only one small area of ridge-and-furrow is
traceable in the former Rie Field (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1994,
2250–1, 2369–70, 4253–7, 4732–6).