Litchborough

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English Heritage

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1982

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96-97

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'Litchborough', An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northamptonshire, Volume 4: Archaeological sites in South-West Northamptonshire (1982), pp. 96-97. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=126566 Date accessed: 21 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


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37 LITCHBOROUGH

(OS 1:10000 a SP 65 NW, b SP 65 SW)

The roughly triangular parish, covering some 675 hectares, is bounded on the N. by an E.-flowing tributary of the R. Nene and on the S.W. by a stream flowing S.E. towards the R. Tove. Much of the higher ground in the S., above 145 m. above OD, is covered by Boulder Clay. From there the land slopes N. across Northampton Sand, Upper Lias Clay and Marlstone Rock to the stream at 100 m. above OD. Clay and sandstones are also exposed along the valley in the S.W. No prehistoric or Roman material has been found in the parish.

Medieval and Later

b(1) Manor House Site (SP 633542), lies immediately S. of the church, on Northampton Sand at 146 m. above OD. Baker (Hist. of Northants., I (1822–30), 407) said that the medieval manor house 'stood in the inclosure called The Spinney and was taken down about fifty years ago'. On the Tithe Map of 1843 (NRO) the large paddock S. of the church is called The Spinney. The most prominent earthworks in the area are a group of large stone-pits on the N. side but these have cut through and partly destroyed a number of low banks of which fragments still survive to the S. and S.W. of the quarries. It would appear that the quarries were dug into the site of the manor house itself, perhaps for the foundation stones. In the 19th century the area was turned into a small deer park belonging to Litchborough House and was bounded by a continuous stone wall which still exists. Earthworks to the S. of the quarry may relate to this period. They include at least three shallow rectangular ponds and a rectangular enclosure 50 m. by 25 m. bounded by a low bank and ditch, as well as other shallow quarries, all cut into earlier slight ridge-and-furrow. (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 5044–5; air photographs in NMR)

b(2) Settlement Remains (SP 631542), formerly part of Litchborough, lie on the S. side of the main street, W. of the church, on Northampton Sand at 144 m. above OD. The village now consists of little more than a single street running N.E.-S.W. with a small green near the church and houses on both sides, except on the high bank S. of Litchborough House where there are fragmentary remains of house-sites. On the Tithe Map of 1843 (NRO) no houses are shown here except for three buildings at the N.E. end near the church. These have now gone. The street has been realigned at this point, presumably to enlarge the grounds of Litchborough House, and some of the earthworks have been cut away. This took place after 1843. (RAF VAP CPE/ UK/1926, 5044–5)

b(3) Ponds (SP 636536), lie S.E. of the village, on the N. side of the road to Cold Higham, on Boulder Clay at 162 m. above OD. The site consists of a rectangular pond with, immediately to the E., a square flat island, 20 m. by 15 m., completely surrounded by a broad water-filled ditch between 5 m. and 12 m. wide. On the Tithe Map of 1843 (NRO) neither feature is depicted, though the paddock in which they lie is called Windmill Pool. It is possible that the moated feature is the site of a former windmill. Some unglazed sherds, presumably medieval or later, were found recently in the centre of the island (NM Records).

b(4) Pond (SP 631547), lies in the valley of a small N.E.-flowing stream immediately N. of the village, on Upper Lias Clay at 122 m. above OD. The roughly rectangular water-filled pond 60 m. by 40 m. has a U-shaped island in the centre. No date or purpose can be assigned to it, though it is perhaps 18th or 19th-century in origin. It is not shown on the Tithe Map of 1843 (NRO) but is on a slightly earlier map (OS 1st ed. 1 in. map, 1834). In 1843 the area was called Paradise.

(5) Cultivation Remains. In the early 17th century there were three open fields in the parish known as Radmore, Windmill and High Cross Fields, together with an area of woodland called The Heath. Radmore Field, which occupied the E. part of the parish, was enclosed by private agreement in 1647 and all the rest, including The Heath, by another agreement in 1711 (G. Baker, Hist. of Northants., I (1822–30), 404).

Ridge-and-furrow of these fields exists on the ground or can be traced on air photographs over large areas of the parish and especially in the S.W. where almost the complete layout is recoverable. It is arranged in end-on and interlocked furlongs, many of reversed-S form and some up to 400 m. in length. There is evidence of the joining together of former end-on furlongs in a number of places, notably to the N.E. of the village, S. of the Bugbrooke Road (SP 642548), where the ridges are twisted at a sharp angle as they pass over a former headland between two furlongs. Several hollowed access-ways or lanes passing between furlongs survive or can be seen on air photographs, especially W. and S.W. of the village (SP 628541, 626539 and 626536). (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 4043–9, 5041– 8; CPE/UK/1994, 4167–70)



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