(OS 1:10000 a SP 54 SE b SP 54 SW c SP 53 NE)
The large parish, of some 1570 hectares, incorporates
the medieval settlements and parishes of Stuchbury
and Halse, both now deserted, as well as Greatworth
itself (Fig. 61). The hamlet of Westhorp, which is
contiguous with Greatworth village, was formerly
in Marston St. Lawrence but is now in Greatworth
parish. The parish lies on a watershed between
streams flowing to the Rivers Tove, Cherwell and
Great Ouse. The higher ground in the E., at about
150 m. above OD, is blanketed by Boulder Clay.
Bands of Oolitic Limestone and Northampton Sand
as well as expanses of Upper Lias Clay slope down
to the stream on the S.W. boundary, at about 115m.
The major monuments in the parish are the deserted villages of Stuchbury (10) and Halse (13) and
the garden remains (9) at Greatworth.
Fig. 61 Greatworth Medieval settlements
and estates, (12) Deer park
Prehistoric and Roman
A fragment of a perforated disc of silty mudstone has
been found in the parish (at SP 549419; NM Records) and
small quantities of worked flints of late Neolithic or early
Bronze Age type in three places (SP 55904213, 55604186,
55734158; inf. D. J. Barrett).
a(1) Roman Settlement (?) (SP 553425), immediately
N.E. of the village of Greatworth, on limestone at 160 m.
above OD. Roman sherds have been noted (OS Record
a(2) Roman Settlement (SP 560416), S.E. of the village,
on Upper Lias Clay at 132 m. above OD. A large quantity
of Roman pottery including samian and mortarium sherds
was found in 1978 (Northants. Archaeol., 14 (1979), 105).
a(3) Roman Settlement (?) (SP 559435), S. of Stuchbury,
on Boulder Clay at 168 m. above OD. A small Roman
site is recorded (Northants. Archaeol., 11 (1976), 192; CBA
Group 9, Newsletter, 6 (1976), 29).
b(4) Roman Settlement (?) (centred SP 550417), S. of
the village, on Upper Lias Clay at about 125 m. above
OD. Small scatters of Roman pottery and tile as well as
worked flints and one arrowhead have been found dispersed over an area of 10 hectares (inf. D. J. Barrett).
b(5) Roman Settlement (?) (SP 550422), on the S.W.
edge of the village, on limestone and Northampton Sand
at 152 m. above OD. A small quantity of Roman pottery
and tiles has been discovered (inf. D. J. Barrett).
b(6) Roman Settlement (?) (SP 549410), E. of Cockleyhill Farm, on Upper Lias Clay at 137 m. above OD. A
small quantity of Roman pottery and some worked flints
are recorded (inf. D. J. Barrett).
b(7) Roman Settlement (SP 560406), N.W. of Halse, on
limestone at 152 m. above OD. Roman pottery extends
over about 6 hectares and a fragment of a flint axe has been
found on the S.E. side of the site (inf. D. J. Barrett).
Medieval and Later
An Anglo-Saxon gilt-bronze disc brooch was found in
1957, probably in Greatworth (J. Northants. Mus. and Art
Gall., 10 (1974), 18–19; NM).
b(8) Settlement Remains (SP 549424; Fig. 62), formerly
part of Westhorp, lay on the S.E. side of the hamlet, on
limestone at 157 m. above OD. Westhorp, though probably always contiguous with the village of Greatworth,
was formerly part of Marston St. Lawrence parish and has
been transferred to Greatworth only in recent years (NRO,
Enclosure Map of Marston St. Lawrence, 1760; OS 1:2500
Northants. LVII 18 and LIX 5 (1925)). The origins and
relationship of the hamlet to both Marston St. Lawrence
and Greatworth are obscure.
The remains have now been entirely destroyed and the
site built over. However on air photographs taken in 1947
(RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 3214–5) a small paddock of just over
1 hectare is visible, divided into at least seven rectangular
closes bounded by low banks and scarps. No definite
house-sites can be recognised.
a(9) Site of Manor House and Garden (SP 552421; Fig.
63), lies on the S. side of Greatworth village, immediately
S. of the present manor house, on the crest of a S.-facing
slope with extensive views, on Northampton Sand at
152 m. above OD. The medieval manor house of Great
worth was rebuilt in the early 18th century by Charles
Howe (1661–1742). In 1752 the estate was sold to William
Higginson who leased the house to George Montagu from
1753 to 1768. The house was destroyed by fire in 1793.
(Northants. P. and P., 5 (1976), 311–14)
Fig. 62 Greatworth (8) Settlement remains
The present manor house appears to contain fragments
of the 18th-century house and to judge from a painting of
1721 this earlier building stood immediately to the S.E. It
was a large rectangular building of three storeys with a
symmetrical S. elevation surmounted by a balustrade. The
original gate piers, topped by elaborate pineapples, survive
to the W., as well as parts of the stabling to the N. The
site of the house itself is now covered by a modern garden,
but below it on the sloping hillside are the remains of the
contemporary garden covering about I hectare. This is a
rectangular area, bounded on most of three sides by a stone
wall with shallow pilasters at intervals. In the S.W. corner
are the slight remains of a flat-topped terrace-walk only
0.5 m. high which probably extended the whole length of
the S. side. Across the centre of the site runs a broad scarp
1.5 m. high but now much degraded, with a rectangular
pond at its E. end. The pond still retains fragments of a
revetment of dry-stone walling up to 2 m. high. Below
the pond, in the S.E. of the garden, is another low scarp
only 1 m. high. A track crossing the area from N.W. to
S.E. has apparently destroyed further very low scarps visible on air photographs taken in 1947 (RAF VAP CPE/UK/
1926, 3214–5). The remains suggest that the garden was
of typical early 18th-century type, divided into rectangular
compartments but with views over the surrounding countryside to the S.
Fig. 63 Greatworth (9) Site of manor
house and garden
a(10) Deserted Village of Stuchbury (SP 569440; Figs.
61 and 64), lies in the N. of the parish, between 160 m.
and 137 m. above OD. It is situated on the N. side of a
broad valley cut into Upper Lias Clay with, on the higher
slopes, limestone overlaid in places by Boulder Clay. As
a result of this formation springs break out around the site,
producing very marshy ground. Various attempts at drainage both in antiquity and in recent times have resulted in
a considerable number of ditches and the partial destruction
of the remains of the village.
The village had its own lands and field system (Fig. 61),
the boundaries of which are shown on maps of 1634 and
1845 (NRO), and was once an independent parish with its
own church dedicated to St. John.
Stuchbury is first mentioned in 1086 when Domesday
Book lists it as a single manor of two hides with a recorded
population of 13 (VCH Northants., 1 (1902), 344).
Twenty-one people paid the Lay Subsidy of 1301 (PRO,
E179/155/31) and Stuchbury is mentioned by name in the
Nomina Villarum of 1316. The village paid 31s. 4d. for the
Lay Subsidy of 1334 (PRO, E179/155/3) and in 1377 59
people over the age of 14 paid the Poll Tax (PRO, E179/
155/28) but by 1674 only four householders paid the
Hearth Tax (PRO, E179/254/14). Bridges, writing in
about 1720 (Hist. of Northants., I (1791), 201), said there
were only four houses at Stuchbury but three of these
would probably be the farms of Stuchbury Manor, Stuchbury Lodge and Stuchbury House which still exist and it
is likely that by then only the present Stuchbury Hall
remained on the village site. By 1801 30 people lived in
the general area.
The village was held by St. Andrew's Priory in Northampton until the Dissolution and it is likely that the
priory cleared the village for sheep at some time after 1377.
It was certainly depopulated by the early 16th century for
no houses or tenants are mentioned when two closes called
West Field and Town Field were let. In 1547 1000 sheep
were being grazed there (K. J. Allison et al., The Deserted
Villages of Northants. (1966), 46).
The remains of the village are poorly preserved as a
result of later ploughing and drainage-works but its general
layout can be ascertained. The main street seems to have
been the lane which runs S. from Stuchbury Hall ('a'-'b'
on plan) which is deeply hollowed over much of its length.
At its N. end ('a' on plan) this street divided into two or
three tracks. One ran N.W. and then N. towards Sulgrave
generally along the line of the existing farm track and part
of the hollowed S.E. end of this is still visible N.E. of the
hall ('c' on plan). Another ran N.E. and its line is marked
by an irregular shallow hollow-way ('d' on plan), now
blocked at its N. end. A third track probably ran S.E.
down the valley side ('e' on plan) where there are traces of
a hollow-way, though its junction with the other tracks is
obscured by later disturbance.
Houses apparently lay on each side of the main street
('a'-'b' on plan). On the E. the present lane is edged by
low earthworks comprising shallow rectangular depressions, probably former house-sites, bounded by low scarps
and banks nowhere above 0.5 m. high. Less well-preserved
earthworks lie on the W. side of the lane, S. of the hall.
Further W. lie three formerly rectangular ponds, now reduced to marshy depressions ('f', 'g' and 'h' on plan) as
well as a number of drainage ditches, low scarps and shallow quarries. Only one of the ponds ('g' on plan) is shown
on the Tithe Map of 1845 (NRO); the area was then known
as Horse Close.
In the N.E. corner of the site, around the hollow-way
('d' on plan), there are numerous large depressions of no
particular form. This land has recently been drained and
ploughed and the surviving earthworks are impossible to
interpret, but local tradition asserts that the parish church
Medieval pottery of 13th and 14th-century date has been
found in a modern drain at the N. end of the site and more
is said to have been discovered during earlier drainage-work in the S.E. corner. In addition Saxon pottery has
been recovered somewhere in the area (CBA Group 9,
Newsletter, 6 (1976), 29). On the edge of the site, in the
valley bottom, is a group of fishponds (11) which were
presumably contemporary with the village. (RAF VAP CPE/
UK/1926, 1216–7; CPE/UK/1994, 1029–31; CUAP, SA31–2,
Fig. 64 Greatworth (10) Deserted village of Stuchbury, (11) Fishponds
a(11) Fishponds (SP 568438; Fig. 64), lie in the valley of
a small E.-flowing stream immediately S. of the deserted
village of Stuchbury (10), on Upper Lias Clay at 138 m.
above OD. The stream now flows in an embanked leat on
the S. side of the valley, with the remains of two or three
ponds to the N. The W. pond is now identifiable only by
its dam ('i' on plan) which consists of a bank 1 m. high,
spanning the valley, with a shallow ditch on its W. side
from which the material to construct the dam was obtained. The central pond is better defined, with low scarps
on the N. and S. and a low bank or dam only 1 m. high
at its E. end ('j' on plan). Within this pond, towards its N.
edge, are two raised platforms only 0.5 m. high, joined by
low banks. These may have been islands in the pond, but
if so they would have been very close to the water-level
when the pond was full and the depressions between the
banks would have been below the water-level. There may
have been a third pond to the E., again bounded by low
scarps on the N. and S. and by a possible dam at its E.
end. The latter is now only a slight limestone-rubble bank,
less than 0.5 m. high. It is used as a track across the valley
and may originally have been an embanked track rather
than a dam. (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 1216–7; CUAP, SA31,
a(12) Deer Park (?) (centred SP 560422; Fig. 61), probably lay S.E. of Greatworth village, on Boulder Clay,
limestone and clay between 130 m. and 137 m. above OD.
The park is ill recorded in documents, but certainly existed
in the mid 13th century (Northants P. and P., 5 (1975), 225)
when it was said to be in Halse. A small copse called Park
Spinney (SP 554417) and a single field to the N.E. called
the Park on the Tithe Map of Greatworth (1845, NRO)
provide the only clue to the location of the deer park. No
trace remains on the ground of any boundaries, but there
are streams along most of its circuit. Elsewhere only low
hedge banks are visible. Ridge-and-furrow of normal medieval form is traceable within this assumed park. (RAF VAP
a(13) Deserted Village of Halse (SP 566404; Figs. 61
and 65), lies in the S. of the parish, around the source of
a small W.-flowing stream, on limestone between 135 m.
and 155 m. above OD. Halse was once an independent
parish the boundaries of which can still be identified (Fig.
Halse is first mentioned in Domesday Book where it is
listed as a single manor gelding for two hides and held by
Earl Aubrey together with parts of Brackley and Syresham
(VCH Northants., I (1902), 330). Because of the wording
of Domesday Book it is impossible to ascertain the population of Halse at this time. The link between Old Brackley
(Brackley (3)) and Halse remained throughout medieval
and later times and probably originated from the fact that
Old Brackley was once a chapelry of Halse. The 1301 Lay
Subsidy records 30 taxpayers at Halse (PRO, E179/155/
31) but it is likely that Old Brackley is included in this
figure, as it certainly is in the 1334 Lay Subsidy when the
two places together paid 67s. 3d. (PRO, E179/155/3). This
sum is large, however, perhaps suggesting that Halse was
still of considerable size at this time. In 1377 107 people at
Halse over the age of 14 paid the Poll Tax (PRO, E179/
155/27), again a large number but again probably including
Old Brackley. Thereafter no firm indication of the size of
Halse is recorded until the early 18th century when Bridges
(Hist. of Northants., I (1791), 153) said it was a hamlet of
nine houses. It remained the same size until the early 19th
century for Baker (Hist. of Northants., I (1822–30), 586)
also recorded nine houses there, and by the late 19th century only two farms and three houses stood on the site of
the village though one other farm and three other houses
lay nearby. This was the situation until recent years but a
large number of new houses (not shown on plan) have
now been erected in the area between Manor Farm and
Halse Grange. The village of Halse had a church or chapel
dedicated to St. Andrew (A. Green, Hist. of Brackley (1869),
To judge from the pattern of the surrounding ridge-and-furrow the village was probably situated around
Manor Farm, though nothing remains on the ground apart
from some slight scarps around a pond cut deeply into the
rising ground N. of the farm ('a' on plan). The traditional
site of the parish church is said to be at or near Manor
Farm and it is recorded that in 1912–13 many skeletons
were discovered during alterations to the buildings N.W.
of the farmhouse (local inf.). Some fragments of late medieval window tracery are built into the garden wall and
an octagonal basin, perhaps a late medieval font, also survives in the garden. A few sherds of medieval pottery are
recorded from the area (Northants. Archaeol., 10 (1975),
Surviving earthworks lie in a broad are S.W., S. and
S.E. of Manor Farm but, though clearly related to the
village, these are not part of the settlement area. Immediately S. of the farm, in the valley of a stream ('b' on plan),
are three rectangular fishponds. The upper, northern one is
still filled with water and has traces of a dry-stone revetment on its W. side. It has probably been altered in postmedieval times. The central pond is now dry and the
original dam at its S. end is broken through. The third and
largest pond, also now dry, is cut back up to 2 m. into the
valley sides but only part of the dam at its W. end survives.
The water in this pond was apparently supplemented by
two catchment drains ('c' and 'd' on plan) which, though
reused in modern times, appear to have carried water from
The main earthworks in the area are a complex system
of hollow-ways. The main one is first visible in the S.E.
('e' on plan) as a slightly hollowed feature running S.W.
After 60 m. it divides and a branch probably ran N.W.
towards Manor Farm, though it now only exists as a
narrow gap between the ridge-and-furrow to the N.E. and
a bank up to 1 m. high on the S.W. The main hollow-way
continues S.W. with two marked curves in its alignment.
At its W. end it is cut down 1.75 m. below ground level
to the S. and has an almost continuous bank 0.5 m. high
on its N. side. This hollow-way meets another at right
angles ('f' on plan); the latter runs N.W. until it reaches
the stream where it fades out. It apparently once crossed
the stream for its continuation, still a broad hollow-way,
climbs the opposite hillside and then forks ('g' on plan).
The N.W. branch divides again to the N.W., W. and S.,
apparently to give access to the adjacent ridge-and-furrow,
while the main hollow-way continues until it meets the
field boundary where it stops abruptly. However, it probably once continued N., for another hollow-way is visible
to the N. ('h' on plan) running N.W. to meet a further
hollowed trackway which crosses the area from S.W.-N.E.
('i' on plan). (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 5214–6; CUAP, LD72,
NU97, SA26, ANZ3; air photographs in NMR)
Fig. 65 Greatworth (13) Deserted village of Halse
(14) Cultivation Remains (Fig. 61). The common fields
of Greatworth were enclosed by agreement in 1634 (NRO,
Enclosure Agreement), but nothing is known of their
arrangement. Ridge-and-furrow exists on the ground or
can be traced on air photographs over much of the land
attributable to Greatworth though it survives best on the
lower clay areas in the S.W. of the parish. It is arranged
in end-on and interlocked furlongs, many of reversed-S
form. To the S. of the village (SP 550418) are runs of
end-on furlongs either with deeply hollowed tracks or, in
one case, with a modern lane passing between them. Here
the ridges terminate on the edges of the tracks in large
rounded mounds up to 0.5 m. high.
The date of the enclosure of the common fields of the
deserted village of Stuchbury (10) is unknown, but had
taken place before the middle of the 16th century when
sheep were being grazed within large closes there. It is
likely that enclosure took place after 1377 as the village
had not been depopulated by that date (K. J. Allison et al.,
The Deserted Villages of Northants. (1966), 46). Ridge-and-furrow of these fields exists on the ground or can be traced
on air photographs over much of the area of land which
is attributable to Stuchbury, arranged mainly in rectangular
interlocked furlongs. However, modern cultivation has
removed much of the generally slight remains except in
the clay-floored valley in the S.
The date of the enclosure of the common fields of the
deserted village of Halse (13) is also unknown but appears
to have been before 1634 (NRO, Enclosure Agreement of
Greatworth). Ridge-and-furrow of these fields can be
traced in a number of places on air photographs but little
now remains on the ground. It is arranged in end-on and
interlocked furlongs, many of reversed-S form. To the
N.N.E. of the village (SP 567412) there was formerly an
unusual arrangement of ridge-and-furrow around the head
of a broad W.-facing combe. Here the ridges radiated
outwards up the slope in a fan-shaped pattern with the
ridges narrowing from 7 m. wide at the top of the slope
to under 3 m. near the valley bottom. In the same area
there was evidence of overploughing of earlier headlands
which produced long ridges of double reversed-S form.
(RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 1215–9, 2215–7, 3214–9, 5213–8;
(15) Burials (?) (unlocated). At some time before 1712
the discovery was made, during stone-quarrying somewhere in Greatworth parish, of a row of five urns with a
smaller vessel inverted in the mouth of one of them; no
other information is available (J. Morton, Nat. Hist. of
Northants. (1712), 530).