28 GREENS NORTON
(OS 1:10000 a SP 65 SE, b SP 64 NE, c SP 65 SW,
d SP 64 NW)
The parish, some 980 hectares in area, is bounded on
the S. by the R. Tove, on the S.W. and S.E. by
S.-flowing tributary streams and on the N.E. by
Watling Street (A5). From the alluvium and Upper
Lias Clay of the valleys, at about 90 m. above OD,
the land rises gently across outcrops of Northampton
Sand and Oolitic limestones; outcrops of these formations occur mainly around the village and to the
N.E. Patches of Boulder Clay cover the higher land
rising to a maximum of 145 m. above OD on the
Very little prehistoric or Roman material has been
found in the parish. The main monuments are the
remains of the intricate medieval settlement pattern
Prehistoric and Roman
A polished flint axe was found in the village in the 1950s
(SP 66924973; OS Record Cards).
a(1) Flint-Working Site (?) (SP 652508), in the N.W. of
the parish, S. of the deserted village of Caswell (5), on
Upper Lias Clay at 115 m. above OD. Worked flints including at least one barbed-and-tanged arrowhead have
been found over a number of years (Northants. Archaeol.,
9 (1974), 84).
a(2) Ring Ditch (?) (SP 678515), in the N.E. of the
parish, immediately W. of Watling Street, on Great Oolite
Limestone at 122 m. above OD. Air photographs
(NCAU) show a probable ring ditch 20 m. in diam. with
traces of other ill-defined features immediately to the N.
b(3) Roman Settlement (SP 675494), to the S.E. of the
village, on Northampton Sand and Upper Lias Clay at
100 m. above OD. An extensive scatter of Roman pottery
has been discovered (NM). It is known that the site has
produced other material now in private hands (Northants.
Archaeol., 13 (1978), 181).
For Roman Road 1f, Watling Street, see Appendix.
Medieval and Later
A wooden spear with a barbed iron head, probably
post-medieval, has been found in the bank of a mill stream
in the S. of the parish (SP 67384912; Northants. Archaeol.,
10 (1975), 172).
In early post-medieval times there was a deer park in the
parish, associated with the manor house. It is not recorded
until 1546 (PN Northants., 43) and had been abandoned by
the early 18th century (J. Bridges, Hist. of Northants., I
(1791), 238). Its exact area is known from the 1726 and
1767 maps of the parish (NRO) which show it as a roughly
rectangular area immediately N.W. of the village, between
the Bradden and Blakesley roads (centred SP 664504). By
the 18th century it was already divided into fields, all with
park names. No identifiable boundaries survive apart from
the normal hedge-bank around it.
(4)–(7) Settlement Remains (Fig. 41). The parish of
Greens Norton, like Cold Higham, Blakesley and Pattishall parishes to the N. and W., had in medieval times a
number of discrete settlements in addition to the main
village (4): Caswell (5), Field Burcote (6) and Duncote (7).
The remains, described below, add little to the documented
history of these settlements; their origins and relationship
to Greens Norton itself remain obscure. Part of the N. end
of the parish apparently once belonged to the hamlet of
Potcote in Cold Higham parish.
b(4) Settlement Remains (SP 668499, 669491 and 671492;
Fig. 15), formerly part of Greens Norton, lie in and around
the village on limestone, sand and clay between 100 m.
and 120 m. above OD. Greens Norton has undergone
many changes in the last two centuries and especially in
recent years with the addition of large housing estates. The
earliest depiction of the village, in the 18th century, (NRO,
maps of 1726 and 1767) shows that it was then made up
of two parts. In the N. was the main village, lying along
the present High Street, with a large rectangular open space
or green at the N. end already partly encroached upon; the
church stood on the E. side of the green. To the S., linked
to the main village by a narrow road and centred on the
present hall, was a series of lanes with buildings scattered
along them. These lanes are shown as already incomplete
in 1726 and large parts of them have since been abandoned.
The field evidence indicates that the street system here was
once even more complex than is shown on the 18th-century maps. In the 18th century a lane ran S. in a double
curve from the small triangular green at Bengal Manor to
the R. Tove. This is now traceable as a hollow-way 1.5 m.
deep for most of its length. Another hollow-way, also
1.5 m. deep, runs E. from this (from SP 66824913), following a sinuous course until it reaches the stream flowing S.
from the main part of the village (SP 67084909). It then
turns N.E. and runs straight between blocks of ridge-and-furrow to meet the modern Towcester road just N.
of Mill Farm (SP 67354922). Only the E. end of this
hollow-way, near Mill Farm, is shown as a road in 1726
and 1767. Near its W. end (SP 66904912) this hollow-way
passes through an area of very disturbed ground covering
about 0.25 hectares. This is the site of two houses which
are shown on the 1726 and 1767 maps but which had gone
by 1798 (NRO, Enclosure Map). In the 18th century another road ran N. along the stream from the point where
the hollow-way crosses it (SP 67084904) as far as the bend
in Bengal Lane, W. of the hall (SP 67014924). This also
partly survives as a hollow-way. At its junction with Bengal Lane, and immediately S.W. of it, is another area of
disturbed ground which is the site of a house which stood
there until after 1798. To the N.E. another track, still just
traceable, ran N.E. past the hall and then opened out into
a small rectangular area where at least two cottages and a
farm stood in the 18th century. These were all cleared
away in the 19th century when the hall grounds were
extended, but uneven ground in a copse N. of the hall (SP
67104933) marks the site of the cottages. From this point
the track turned S.E. and ran to meet the hollow-way to
Mill Farm (SP 67244917). A single house stood on the S.W.
side of the track in the 18th century and its site is also
marked by disturbed ground (SP 672492).
Nothing now remains of the open green at the N. end
of the village. It was destroyed in the 19th century when
the grounds of Falcon Manor were extended across the E.
part, the present New Road was cut across it and the rest
was built over. (RAF VAP F21 58/RAF/2316, 0065–7; air
photographs in NMR)
a(5) Deserted Hamlet of Caswell (SP 651510), lay on
the N. side of a small W.-flowing brook N.W. of Greens
Norton, on Northampton Sand and Upper Lias Clay at
122 m. above OD. The settlement is not recorded in documents until 1200 (PN Northants., 43) but is presumably
much older and is perhaps listed silently in Domesday
Book under the large royal manor of Greens Norton (VCH
Northants., I (1902), 304). In 1301 12 taxpayers are listed
in the Lay Subsidy for Caswell (PRO, E179/155/31), and
in 1316 the settlement is noted separately in the Nomina
Villarum. Thereafter there is no record of its size until 1509
when the five houses which apparently constituted the
whole hamlet were destroyed and the area enclosed and
converted to pasture. This was carried out by Sir Nicholas
Vaux who had inherited the manor of Greens Norton (K.
J. Allison et al., The Deserted Villages of Northants. (1966),
36). By the early 18th century only two houses, one presumably the present farm, stood on the site (J. Bridges,
Hist. of Northants., I (1791), 238). Traditionally this house
is said to have been moated (G. Baker, Hist. of Northants.,
II (1836–41), 69). The earliest map of the area, dated 1726
(NRO), shows two farms, one called Pinkard's House and
the other Grubb's House. The same two houses are shown
on a later map of 1767 (NRO).
No earthworks survive at Caswell as a large factory has
been built over much of the area. Even in 1947 there were
no clearly defined remains in the area (RAF VAP CPE/UK/
1926, 1042–3) and the only possible remnant of the settlement is the pond in the valley to the S. of the farm. This
is a large triangular pond 1.5 hectares in extent, bounded
on the W. by a dam up to 2 m. high. It is possibly the
remains of a medieval fishpond, but it has been considerably altered in the post-medieval period.
a(6) Deserted Hamlet of Field Burcote (SP 667508),
lies in the N. of the parish on the S. side of a small S.-flowing stream, on Northampton Sand and Upper Lias
Clay at 120 m. above OD. The settlement is not recorded
in documents until 1200 (PN Northants., 42) though it is
presumably much older and is perhaps listed silently in
Domesday Book under the large royal manor of Greens
Norton (VCH Northants., I (1902), 304). In 1301 nine taxpayers are listed in the Lay Subsidy for Field Burcote
(PRO, E179/155/31) and in 1316 Field Burcote is noted
separately in the Nomina Villarum. Thereafter nothing is
known of its size until 1499 when Sir Thomas Green destroyed four houses and enclosed the surrounding area and
converted it to pasture (K. J. Allison et al., The Deserted
Villages of Northants. (1966), 40). The place was termed a
hamlet in the early 18th century (J. Bridges, Hist. of Northants., I (1791), 238) though on a map of 1726 (NRO)
only two farms are shown there. In the late 19th century
these two farm-houses still existed (Whellan, Dir., 519);
today Field Burcote consists of a single farm.
No earthworks of the settlement itself now remain but
the limits of the surrounding ridge-and-furrow suggest its
original extent. Most of the area is occupied by farm buildings and yards, but a set of uneven hollow-ways cut into
a small re-entrant valley immediately N. of the present
farm and now ploughed out may be the remains of a road
into the settlement. A quantity of medieval pottery, mainly
of the 13th century, is said to have been found to the W.
of the farm but this report cannot be confirmed (local inf.).
(RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 1041–2; air photographs in NMR)
a(7) Settlement Remains (SP 672508), formerly part of
the hamlet of Duncote, lie on the N. side of the existing
houses, on Upper Lias Clay at 104 m. above OD. The
settlement is not recorded until 1227 (PN Northants., 43)
but like Caswell and Field Burcote it must be much older.
In 1301 eight taxpayers are listed in the Lay Subsidy for
Duncote (PRO, E179/155/31) but thereafter nothing is
known of its size until the late 19th century. In the early
18th century it was described as a hamlet (J. Bridges, Hist.
of Northants., I (1791), 238). In 1874 it was said to contain
18 houses (Whellan, Dir., 519); it is now smaller.
The only earthworks associated with Duncote are some
slight traces of abandoned ditched closes behind the farm
at the N.W. end of Duncote (SP 67255084) and a group of
small rectangular closes bounded by low scarps to the
N.W. of the houses on the S.E. side of the settlement (SP
67385079). (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 1040–1; air photographs
a(8) Garden Remains (SP 669502; Figs. 15 and 66), lie
around the present Greens Norton Rectory, in an isolated
position N. of the village, on Northampton Sand and
Boulder Clay at 112 m. above OD. The main medieval
manor house of Greens Norton which was already 'totally
destroyed' by the early 18th century (J. Bridges, Hist. of
Northants., I (1791), 238) is said to have stood to the N.W.
of the church (G. Baker, Hist. of Northants., II (1836–41),
62). The earthworks appear to include the remains of a late
16th or early 17th-century garden associated with this
manor house. The garden may relate to the period between
1552 and 1571 when the manor of Greens Norton was held
by Sir William Parr (1513–71), later Marquess of Northampton. Maps of 1726 and 1767 and the Enclosure Map
of 1798 (NRO) show only one building in the area, presumably the present rectory.
Fig. 66 Greens Norton (8) Garden remains
The main surviving feature is a tall conical steep-sided
mound, 8 m. in diam. and 5 m. high with a small flat
summit only 1 m. across. This stands in the N.E. corner
of the present garden and is perhaps a prospect mound. A
flat terrace or walk-way 3 m. wide and only 0.25 m. high
extends S. from it along the edge of the garden, and a
similar one runs W. but has been much damaged by the
existing hedge. Outside the garden to the E. a large ditch
3 m. to 7 m. wide and up to 1.5 m. deep which has cut
through the adjacent ridge-and-furrow was perhaps the
source of material for the adjacent terrace and mound. (RAF
VAP F21 58/RAF/2316, 0065–6)
a(9) Ponds (SP 667500 and 669501; partly on Fig. 66), lie
to the E. and S.W. of the rectory, in the valley of two
small S.W.-flowing streams, on clay, between 110 m. and
120 m. above OD. In 1767 (map in NRO) there was only
a single circular pond immediately S. of the rectory. But
by 1798 (Enclosure Map, NRO) a system of ponds had
been constructed. To the E. of the rectory a large rectangular pond had been made; it contained two parallel low
banks or islands running lengthways. This still remains,
80 m. by 40 m. and orientated N.E.-S.W., cut down at
least 2 m. into the valley sides. The earlier circular pond
to the S.W. of the rectory had, by 1798, been altered to
form a U-shaped pond and below it to the S.W. has a long
narrow pond containing two banks or islands end-on to
each other down the centre. The U-shaped pond has now
disappeared but the long pond remains as two separate
ones, with a dam 2 m. high at the S.W. end of the lower
one. No purpose can be assigned to these ponds. (RAF VAP
F21 58/RAF/2316, 0065–6; air photographs in NMR)
(10) Cultivation Remains. The common fields of
Greens Norton village were enclosed by an Act of Parliament of 1799. Immediately before that date (NRO, Draft
Enclosure Map, 1798) there were four open fields around
the village. To the W. of the village and immediately S.
of the Bradden Road was Upper or Blackridge Field. To
the S. of that, extending as far as the R. Tove, was Kingthorne Field. To the N.E. of the village was Church Field,
with Lower Field to the S.E. However, an earlier map of
1767 (NRO) shows only three fields. Blackridge and Kingthorne Side Fields were identical to the two similarly
named in 1798, but the later Church and Lower Fields
were all one, then called Church Field.
Ridge-and-furrow of these fields survives on the ground
or can be traced on air photographs over large areas,
arranged in end-on and interlocked furlongs which agree
exactly with the furlongs marked and named on the Draft
Enclosure Map. Where the ridge-and-furrow no longer
survives former headlands between furlongs are still visible
as long ridges up to 10 m. wide and 0.25 m. high (e.g. SP
The common fields of Duncote were enclosed by the
same Act of Parliament as that for Greens Norton. Before
enclosure there were four open fields. East Field lay to the
E. of the hamlet and North Field to the N. The area S.
and S.E. of Duncote was the Mixt Field and there was a
very small Church Field to the W. of the hamlet. As with
Greens Norton, the earlier map of 1767 shows only three
fields. The East and North Fields already existed but the
later Mixt and Church Fields were a single unit called
Church Field. Both the 1767 and 1798 maps show a large
piece of land called Cow Common N. of Duncote, along
the sides of a small S.-flowing stream. Ridge-and-furrow
of these fields survives on the ground or can be traced on
air photographs over large areas of all the former open
fields, arranged in interlocked and end-on furlongs mainly
lying at right angles to the contours. Some furlongs are
preserved in permanent pasture (e.g. SP 677511). Ridge-and-furrow also exists N. of Duncote in the area of the
former Cow Common (SP 674513), indicating that much
of it was once under cultivation.
The enclosure of the common fields of Caswell (5) took
place in 1509, when the hamlet of Caswell was deserted.
The fields of Field Burcote (6) were enclosed in 1499. Both
these enclosures were apparently to create sheep walks.
Very little ridge-and-furrow of these fields remains on the
ground and it is only visible in a few places on air photographs. It appears to be arranged in end-on and interlocked
furlongs of normal medieval form, much of it with
Ridge-and-furrow also exists in the N. of the parish
within land belonging to Potcote (Cold Higham (5)) and
in the area of the late medieval deer park (see above). Much
of this park is covered by interlocked furlongs, indicating
that the park was created from land previously under cultivation. (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 1037–44; F21 58/RAF/2316,
0065–7; air photographs in NMR)