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An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northamptonshire, Volume 2, Archaeological Sites in Central Northamptonshire. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1979.

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(OS 1:10000 aSP 86 NW, bSP 86 NE)

The roughly triangular parish, covering about 470 hectares, lies immediately W. of Wellingborough. It consists of land sloping generally S.E. to the Swanspool Brook, between 120 m. and 60 m. above OD. The higher N.W. parts are on Boulder Clay but the down-cutting of the brook and its tributaries has exposed extensive areas of limestone, sands, silts and clays. Apart from a number of small Roman settlements, nothing of note is recorded from the parish.

Prehistoric and Roman

b(1) Iron Age Site (?) (SP 856666), immediately N. of Wilby Spinney, on rocks of the Estuarine Series at 90 m. above OD. Pits were seen in a gas pipeline trench in 1966, but there was no dating evidence (OS Record Cards). This may be associated with the Iron Age and Roman settlement at Mears Ashby (6).

b(2) Roman Settlement (SP 863672), N. of Rivet's Lodge at 91 m. above OD, on limestone. Roman pottery, mainly grey and colour-coated wares, and a piece of tile, associated with a large area of stones has been discovered here (BNFAS, 3 (1969), 18, Wellingborough). A circular limestone pillar was also found in 1971 on this site (BNFAS, 7 (1972), 37).

b(3) Roman Settlement (SP 863669), 300 m. S. of (2), on limestone at 91 m. above OD. Roman pottery, including fragments of samian, has been found, as well as clay tiles and buff sandstone roofing tiles, associated with an area of stones (BNFAS, 4 (1970), 14).

b(4) Roman Pottery (SP 858675), 550 m. W.N.W. of (2) on Boulder Clay at 91 m. above OD. Roman pottery, including a colour-coated base, is recorded from this site (BNFAS, 5 (1971), 27).

b(5) Roman Settlement (centred SP 871666), at the E. end of the village, N. of Northampton Road, at 68 m. above OD. Finds include:

(a) at SP 87116659, a Roman burial discovered in 1901. Two complete bracelets and two half bracelets were found with the skeleton of a woman (T.J. George, Arch. Survey of Northants., (1904), 21; OS Record Cards).

(b) at SP 870666, Roman tiles and pottery, including samian and colour-coated fragments, found in a field adjacent to (a), associated with an area of stones (BNFAS, 2 (1967), 21; Rescue Publication 2, NorthamptonWellingborough Expressway, (1972).

b(6) Roman Settlement (?) (SP 869656), on the parish boundary with Great Doddington, on sand, at 85 m. above OD. A 'quantity of Roman wares' together with worked flints was found in spoil heaps from a pipeline in 1973 (Northants. Archaeol., 9 (1974), 83 and 89).

Medieval and Later

b(7) Settlement Remains (centred SP 868660), lie on the S.E. side of the present village street on land sloping S.E. into a narrow steep-sided valley. The remains fall into three separate areas. At the S.W. end of the village, S.E. of Wilby House (SP 867658), in a pasture field, are two large sub-rectangular raised platforms adjacent to the present street. The site was occupied by a group of houses in 1801 (NRO, Estate Map, 1801–2), and apparently these still existed in 1834 (1st ed. 1 in. OS map). Below, to the S.E., is a small, dry, embanked pond near the valley bottom.

Further N.E. immediately E. and S.E. of the manor house (SP 869660), the hillside is covered with earthworks of various forms. S.E. of the manor house is a series of embanked and scarped closes extending down the valley side. One part has been destroyed by ploughing which has revealed the foundations of dry-stone walls along the crests of the scarps. To the E. is a group of rectangular platforms, possibly former building sites, set on the side of a small re-entrant valley. The head of this valley has been completely filled in to provide a generally flat area with a massive scarp up to 3 m. high forming its S.E. edge. On the N.E. side of the valley a small, partly terraced hollow-way runs down to the bottom of the main valley and, in the bottom, is cut by a shallow rectangular depression 90 m. by 25 m. which is perhaps an old pond. Beyond, the hollow-way continues up the valley side and presumably led to the now deserted village of Doddington Thorpe which lies immediately to the S.E. (see Great Doddington (9)). This area was devoid of building in 1801.

To the N.E. again, behind the George public house (SP 869662), quantities of medieval pottery, mainly of 12th to 14th-century date, have been noted in the ploughed land, concentrated in two areas, one with much stone rubble (BNFAS, 7 (1972), 53). Post-medieval pottery has also been found.

(8) Cultivation Remains. The common fields of the parish of Wilby were enclosed by Act of Parliament of 1801 (VCH Northants., IV (1937), 146; NRO, Map, 1801–2). Ridge-and-furrow of these fields is visible on the ground or from air photographs in small patches throughout the parish. From these surviving blocks it appears that in the N. the furlongs were arranged end-on and orientated roughly E.—W., while in the S. half of the parish the furlongs were interlocked (RAF VAP F21 543/RAF/943, 0094–9; F22 543/RAF/943, 0094–8; F21 540/RAF/1312, 0285–7; F22 540/RAF/1312, 0285–7, 0245–9).