Pages 24-26

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northamptonshire, Volume 1, Archaeological Sites in North-East Northamptonshire. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1975.

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(OS 1:10000 a SP 99 NW, b SP 99 NE, c SP 99 SW, d SP 99 SE)

The generally elongated parish, covering 860 hectares, lies across the valley of Willow Brook, here flowing N.E. Most of the higher parts of the parish, around 300 ft. to 325 ft. above OD are on Boulder Clay, but along the sides of the main valley and its tributaries extensive areas of limestone and marls outcrop.

There is evidence for extensive iron-working in the parish during Roman times but only one site (1) is recorded in any detail. The discovery of earthwork remains of former house sites in Bulwick Park (3) and (4) has led to the identification of the two medieval settlements (Fig. 30).


There are a number of vague references to Roman ironworking in the Bulwick area (Archaeologia, XLIII (1871), 118; Ass. Arch. Soc. Rep., V (1859), 99), but only two sites have been identified with any certainty, and iron-working here may have gone on into the medieval period or later.

c(1) Iron-working site (centred SP 933936), around Hollow Bottom Lodge on the N. side of a small valley, on limestone and Boulder Clay around 300 ft. above OD. The following finds have been made in the area. Around SP 93399340 a large quantity of pottery and extensive areas of burnt earth were discovered in 1957 and said to be the probable remains of a kiln (BNFAS, 4 (1970), 60, listed under Deene). Nearby, Roman coins, together with much charcoal and iron slag, were found in the 19th century (Ass. Arch. Soc. Rep., V (1859), 99, 107); further N.W. (SP 937938) a possible Roman occupation site was noticed in the early 1960s during ironstone quarrying and Roman pottery and an iron spearhead were found. In 1966 more Roman pottery and iron slag were discovered (OS Record Cards). Topsoil stripping before quarrying in 1968 (at SP 929939), exposed extensive areas of burning, charcoal and iron slag and excavation revealed the existence of an iron-working site, but no dating evidence was recovered (BNFAS, 4 (1970), 39; MOW Archaeological Excavations 1968, (1969), 18). To the W. (at SP 926936) quarrying in 1973 revealed more evidence of iron-smelting including furnaces likely to be of Roman date (DOE Archaeological Excavations 1972, (1973), 61; BNFAS, 8 (1973), 6). Further areas of slag and pits still exist within Mavis Wood (SP 926939) and along the stream bed to the S. (SP 931932). This site probably extended further S. into Deene parish (see Deene (1)).

b(2) Iron-working site (SP 970951), on both sides of the Willow Brook near the parish boundary with Blatherwycke on limestone at 200 ft. above OD. On the W. of the brook is a large area of black soil with a low mound of iron slag 1 m. high, while a scatter of iron slag extends over the adjacent fields E. of the brook. A few medieval sherds and one Roman sherd have been found as well as broken pieces of what are alleged to have been kiln bars. Foundations and limestone building-material also in the area appear to be relatively recent. Although no evidence of Roman occupation has been found here recently, Roman coins and other remains are said to have been discovered in the past (Ass. Arch. Soc. Rep., V (1859), 99; BNFAS, 4 (1970), 6; OS Record Cards).

For Enclosure at SP 94109472, see Harringworth (1).

Medieval and Later

For possible medieval and later iron-working sites, see (1) and (2) above.

d(3) Settlement remains (centred SP 964939; Figs. 30 and 35) formerly part of Bulwick village, lie immediately S. of the existing village along the side of the main A43 road to Kettering on limestone between 200 ft. and 300 ft. above OD. The most obvious feature is a large and deeply cut hollow-way ('a' on Fig. 35), probably the predecessor of the present main road, running N.E. across Bulwick Park (from SP 96009345) until it meets the present road just N. of the turn to Southwick (SP 96409385). This hollow-way is bounded by well-marked ridgeand-furrow. Further N., the main road has on both sides rectangular closes or paddocks, enclosed by low banks and scarps, which contain a number of building-platforms. To the S. of the existing houses on the S. side of the main street of the village are other square closes (SP 963 59411), with another hollow-way outside them ('b' on Fig. 35). All these remains were already deserted by the early 18th century (NRO, map of Bulwick, 1728; RAF VAP CPE/UK 1925, 1134–5).

d(4) Settlement remains (SP 958942, Figs. 30 and 36), formerly part of the hamlet of Henwick, lie immediately N. of Bulwick Hall, in parkland, at 225 ft. above OD. Although Henwick is said to be 'lost' (PN Northants. (1933), 58), it is still the name given locally to the existing houses to the W. of the Willow Brook and N. of Bulwick Park. In addition, in 1728 the area N.W. of these houses was called Henwick Field (NRO, map of Bulwick). There were thus, in medieval times, two distinct settlements separated by the brook.

The remains consist of one well-preserved house site with associated features ('a' on Fig. 36), some rather more indeterminate earthworks to the N. which may be the sites of other buildings, and a series of long closes bounded by low banks. The double-banked ditch which separates the earthworks of the settlement from the adjoining ridge-and-furrow to the N.W. ('b'-'c' on Fig. 36) is marked as the road on the 1728 map.

Fig. 35 Bulwick (3) Settlement remains

(5) Cultivation remains. The common fields of the parish were enclosed by Act of Parliament of 1778 (NRO, Enclosure Award, 1779). In the early 18th century there were eight separate common fields as well as extensive areas of old enclosures in the N.W. and S.E. of the parish (NRO, map of Bulwick, 1728).

Fig. 36 Bulwick (4) Settlement remains of Henwick

Ridge-and-furrow of these fields exists on the ground, or can be traced on air photographs, over large areas. That in Bulwick Park, and that S. and S.E. of the village, both with end-on furlongs of C or reversed-S type, agree exactly with the block of strips shown in 1728 as being in Dibbins, Gadge and Little Home Fields. Other ridge-and-furrow of similar form in the extreme S.E. of the parish and in the far W., lies on land already enclosed in 1728 but certainly once part of the common field system. (RAF VAP CPE/UK 1925, 1129–44; 2109, 4103–10; F21/58/RAF 2319, 0010–1)