Pages 26-27

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 97 SE, b SP 96 NE, c TL 06 NW)

The parish, of irregular form, covers some 730 hectares lying E.N.E. of Higham Ferrers, on land sloping generally W. between 300 ft. and 120 ft. above OD. Most of the higher areas in the S. and W. are overlain by Boulder Clay, but along the narrow valleys of small streams which flow W. and N.W. towards the R. Nene, and in the N.W. of the parish there are extensive areas of Oolitic Limestone and Cornbrash.

To judge from its shape and its post-Conquest history, the parish was originally part of Higham Ferrers. Recent fieldwork has led to the discovery of a notably large number of Roman sites.

Prehistoric and Roman

b(1) Burials (unlocated but perhaps in the old quarries at SP 984696), found in the 19th century. They consisted of several inhumations, lying in 'reclining postures' in shallow cists dug into limestone. (Ass. Arch. Soc. Rep., XVI (1881), 264)

b(2) Iron Age settlement (SP 990673), in the S. of the parish on Boulder Clay at 290 ft. above OD. An area of dark soil associated with early Iron Age and Belgic type sherds has been noted. (Beds. Arch. J., 7 (1972), 13, Chelveston 2)

b(3) Iron Age settlement (SP 985687), immediately S.W. of Caldecote village, near a stream, on Boulder Clay at 200 ft. above OD. An area of dark soil associated with limestone blocks and early Iron age pottery has been found. (Beds. Arch. J., 7 (1972), 13, Chelveston 4)

b(4) Iron Age and Roman settlement (SP 987676), in the S.W. of the parish on Boulder Clay at 250 ft. above OD. A small area of pebbles, with early Iron Age pottery and some Roman wares, has been found. (Beds. Arch. J., 7 (1972), 13, Chelveston 3)

b(5) Iron Age and Roman settlement (SP 984682), S.W. of Caldecote village on limestone at 250 ft. above OD. An area of approximately 0.4 hectares is covered with early Iron Age and Roman sherds. (Beds. Arch. J., 7 (1972), 13, Chelveston 5)

a(6) Roman building (SP 958705), in the extreme N.W. of the parish near the R. Nene, on gravel at 110 ft. above OD. Building stone, roof tiles and Roman pottery, including samian and Nene Valley wares, have been found. (Beds. Arch. J., 7 (1972), 13, Chelveston 7)

b(7) Roman settlement (SP 983687), immediately W. of Caldecote village, on limestone at 205 ft. above OD. An area of almost 1 hectare is covered with building-stone and Roman pottery. (Beds. Arch. J., 7 (1972), 13, Chelveston 1)

b(8) Roman settlement (SP 996692), S.E. of Chelveston, on the N. side of a small valley at 250 ft. above OD. Pottery and a scatter of building-stone have been found. (Beds. Arch. J., 7 (1972), 13, Chelveston 6)

b(9) Roman building (SP 999675?), in the S.E. of the parish, near the county boundary, on the summit of a Boulder Clay ridge at just over 300 ft. above OD. Somewhere in this area a Roman building was partly excavated in the late 19th century. In 1969 a quantity of Roman pottery including samian ware was discovered. (Ass. Arch. Soc. Rep., XVI (1881), 263; BNFAS, 4 (1970), 7)

b(10) Roman settlement (SP 985690), immediately W. of Caldecote on the edge of a stream, on Cornbrash at 200 ft. above OD. Roman pottery of 3rd-4th-century date was found in 1965 (OS Record Cards), and subsequently pottery of Nene Valley type and some tiles have been discovered.

Medieval and Later

b(11) Manor house site and fishponds (SP 987696; Fig. 37), on the W. side of Chelveston Brook on limestone, between 50 ft. and 200 ft. above OD, within a field known as Water Yard. The earthworks had already been abandoned by 1807 (NRO, Enclosure Map of Chelveston). The field name, then Hall Yard, together with the existing remains, suggests that it is the site of a medieval manor house and farm.

The site consists of two large rectangular fishponds, up to 2 m. deep, set at right angles to each other and parallel to the stream. On the hill slope above is a group of rectangular paddocks and building-platforms, nowhere above 1 m. in height, bounded on the N. and N.W. by a low bank. (RAF VAP CPE/UK 1925, 2260–1)

Fig. 37 Chelveston-cum-Caldecote (11) Manor house site and fishponds

(12) Cultivation remains. The common fields of the parish were enclosed by Act of Parliament in 1801 (NRO, Enclosure Map, 1807). According to a survey made a few years previously (NRO, Survey of 1789) there were four common fields in Chelveston and three in Caldecote but their exact positions are not identifiable with certainty. Ridge-and-furrow of these fields is still visible on the ground, or traceable on air photographs, over much of the western two-thirds of the parish, almost all in the form of end-on furlongs of C or reversed-S shape. Most of the remains are located across the contours at right angles to the small streams which flow W. and N.W. across the parish. In one place (SP 991681), S.W. of Caldecote, a reversedS furlong shows evidence of an earlier headland under the present 300 m.-long ridges, suggesting that reploughing of older end-on furlongs has taken place. At the W. end of the long narrow projection of the parish, in its N.W. corner, there are also traces of ridge-and-furrow, some being of reversed-S form. This area was Chelveston Common Meadows in 1789 but had clearly been under cultivation in earlier times. (RAF VAP CPE/UK 1994, 2398–2403, 4222–3, 4404–7; 1925, 2256–62, 4258–64; 540/474, 3024–5)