Newton Bromshold

Pages 69-70

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 96 NE, b SP 96 SE, c TL 06 NW, d TL 06 SW)

The parish covers a long, narrow strip of land, of some 630 hectares, adjoining the Bedfordshire boundary. It is entirely on Boulder Clay, between 325 ft. and 230 ft. above OD, and is disected by two small branches of the R. Til. The S. part was formerly an extra-parochial district, occupied since the 12th century by the medieval deer park of Higham Park (9). This, and its associated moated lodge (8), are the main monuments.

Prehistoric and Roman

a(1) Iron Age and Roman settlement (SP 998656), immediately S.E. of the village on the crest of a ridge, on Boulder Clay at 275 ft. above OD. An area of dark soil is associated with early Iron Age and Roman pottery (Beds. Arch. J., 7 (1972), 14, Newton Bromshold 2).

a(2) Roman settlement (?) (SP 996651), in the valley of the R. Til on Boulder Clay at 250 ft. above OD. A small quantity of Roman pottery and a 1st-century brooch have been found (Beds. Arch. J., op. cit., Newton Bromshold 1). (Fig. 79 shows locations of Roman settlements (2–6))

b(3) Roman settlement (SP 987637), S.E. of Higham Park Lodge on Boulder Clay at 315 ft. above OD. Four patches of dark earth, one with Roman pottery on it, have been found (Beds. Arch. J., op. cit., Newton Bromshold 4).

b(4) Roman settlement (?) (SP 991641), 500 m. N.E. of (3) and in a similar position. Seven patches of dark earth, one with Roman pottery on it, have been found (Beds. Arch. J., op. cit., Newton Bromshold 5).

b(5) Roman settlement (SP 995643), 500 m. N.E. of (4) and in a similar position. An area, two hectares in extent, is covered with pebbles and Roman pottery. A quern of puddingstone has been found (Beds. Arch. J., op. cit., Newton Bromshold 6).

b(6) Roman settlement (SP 992638), 500 m. E. of (3) and in a similar position. An area, just over one hectare in extent, has produced dark soil and Roman pottery, including samian and Nene Valley-type wares. Some coarse brown pottery, similar to sherds found nearby in Bedfordshire and at Easton Maudit, Northants., was also discovered (Beds. Arch. J., op. cit., Newton Bromshold 7).

Fig. 78 Newton Bromshold (8) Moat and (9) deer park

d(7) Roman settlement (?) (TL 000647) where a large area of Roman pottery has been found (BNFAS, 8 (1973), 8).

Medieval and Later

b(8) Moat (SP 98216417; Figs. 78, 79), in the valley of the R. Til, S.W. of the village, on Boulder Clay at 300 ft. above OD. It lies just inside and near the entrance to the medieval deer park of Higham Park (9), and is the site of the keeper's lodge known as Great Lodge. The lodge is first mentioned in 1327 but is probably older. Periodic repairs to it are recorded from 1391 onwards. In the 15th century a hall, chapel, chamber, kitchen, brewhouse and a bakehouse were listed. In the grounds were a dovecot and two fishponds. These buildings were demolished in the 17th century when the present farm to the N.W. was built (VCH Northants., III (1930), 279–280; W.J. B. Kerr, Higham Ferrers Castle and Park, (1925), 150–173; M. W. Beresford, History on the Ground, (1971), 215–219).

The moat is now in poor condition and much damaged. It forms a rectangular enclosure, formerly surrounded by a deep water-filled ditch, and completely dominated by the rising ground on both sides of the valley. The ditch has now been reduced to little more than a drain on its N.W. and S.W. sides, and largely filled in on the N.E. Only on the S.E. are its original dimensions ascertainable, being some 10 m. wide and up to 2 m. deep from the outside and only 1 m. deep from the interior. There is a slight inner bank on the N.W., S.W. and S.E. sides, but on the N.E. a much larger bank lies outside the ditch ('a' on Fig. 78). This is presumably the dam which held the water in the ditch. The interior is featureless, except where modern disturbance has occurred, but one slight rectangular platform is traceable near the N.W. side ('b'). Immediately to the N.E. of the moat are the remains of a small pond, and further N.W. is a much larger pond known as the 'Fish Pond' ('c').

Fig. 79 Newton Bromshold (9) Deer park, (8) moat and (2–6) Roman settlements

b(9) Deer park (centred SP 990640; Figs. 78 and 79) occupies most of the S. part of the parish and covers some 240 hectares, all on Boulder Clay at around 300 ft. above OD. It is first mentioned in 1155 but was certainly in existence before then and probably dates from the early 12th century. Its history is well documented throughout the medieval period and later. It was disparked at some time between 1649 and 1671 (VCH Northants., III (1930), 279–280; M. W. Beresford, History on the Ground, (1971), 215–219).

The boundary of the park, still largely complete, can be traced as a large bank up to 2 m. high and 8 m. wide, although it has been badly ploughed down on the N.E. side. In places vestiges of the original inner ditch are also visible.

a(10) Settlement remains (SP 995656–999600; Plate 17) formerly part of Newton Bromshold village, lie between the existing farmsteads on the S.W. side of the main street. The site consists of at least 12 abandoned long closes extending S.E. from the road, most containing traces of former buildings. At the N.E. end there is a hollow-way along which are several small rectangular paddocks. There were no buildings on these earthworks in the mid 19th century (1st ed., OS 1 in. map, 1834).

(11) Cultivation remains. The common fields of the parish were enclosed in 1800 by Act of Parliament. Ridge-and-furrow of these fields can be seen on the ground, or traced on air photographs, over much of the N. part of the parish, arranged in end-on and interlocked furlongs, mostly of markedly reversed-S shape.

The S. part of the parish was formerly a detached part of Higham Ferrers parish, and a medieval deer park known as Higham Park (9) occupied most of this area. Ridge-and-furrow exists along the N. boundary of this park (SP 983640–988645). (RAF VAP CPE/UK 1994, 2217–20, 3211–3, 4220–3)