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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34 HOUGHTON, GREAT
(OS 1:10000 a SP 76 SE, b SP 75 NE)
The parish, now only covering about 370 hectares, lies immediately S.E. of Northampton and S. of the R. Nene which forms its N. boundary. As a result of modern boundary revisions the parish has lost almost half of its former area to Little Houghton to the E., and thus much archaeological material recorded in the literature as in Great Houghton is here listed under Little Houghton. The parish lies on land sloping gently N. towards the river, between 108 m. and 52 m. above OD. The higher S. and S.E. parts are on Boulder Clay, the centre is on limestones and sands, while to the W. and N. of the village there are extensive areas of clay. There are broad tracts of gravel close to the river.
Prehistoric and Roman
For finds from former parts of Great Houghton now in Little Houghton, see Houghton, Little. A gold stater of Addedomaros is recorded as having been found in Great Houghton in 1866 (J. Evans, Ancient British Coins Supplement, (1890), 577; VCH Northants., I (1902), 154). Two flint scrapers have also been found (BNFAS, 2 (1967), 6).
(1) Prehistoric Burial (unlocated), in a stone cist, said to be Neolithic but perhaps later, was found somewhere in the parish in 1872 (NM Records; VCH Northants., I (1902), 139; T.J. George, Arch. Survey of Northants., (1904), 16).
a(2) Mound (SP 794602), in the N. of the parish, close to the R. Nene, on alluvium at 52 m. above OD. An oval mound, 10 m. by 15 m. and 1 m. high, is still visible. A few worked flints have been found on it (BNFAS, 3 (1969), 5; 6 (1971), 12, Great Houghton (10)). A resistivity survey carried out in 1974, followed by a magnetometer survey and augering, suggested that the mound was natural, but the existence of similar mounds in the same area, one of which was proved to be a Bronze Age barrow, may be of significance (Earls Barton (2) and Cogenhoe (2)).
b(3) Ring Ditch (SP 79035864), immediately W. of the village, on limestone at 85 m. above OD. Air photographs (in NMR) show a ring ditch, 25 m. in diam. Worked flints and iron slag have been found within it (BNFAS, 6 (1971), 12, Great Houghton (4)).
b(4) Roman Settlement (SP 790588), 170 m. N. of (3), on sand at 46 m. above OD. A quantity of late Roman pottery and worked flints has been discovered (BNFAS, 6 (1971), 12, Great Houghton (3)).
b(5) Roman Kilns (SP 793592), N. of the village, on clay at 66 m. above OD. Roman pottery, kiln debris and much limestone rubble have been found (Ant. J., 49 (1969), 93; BNFAS, 6 (1971), 12, Great Houghton (2)).
b(6) Roman Settlement (?) (SP 795591), immediately E. of the village, on sand at 70 m. above OD. Roman pottery, including samian, has been found in a sewer trench (BNFAS, 7 (1972), 20). More pottery was subsequently found nearby.
Medieval and Later
A Saxon bone needle, part of a bone comb and bronze tweezers were found at Houghton Road in 1925 (NM).
b(7) Settlement Remains (SP 792591), formerly part of Great Houghton, lay at the N. end of the village, on either side of High Street, on clay at 60 m. above OD. On the E. side of the street there were originally at least five embanked closes, separated from the adjacent ridge-and-furrow by a broad hollow-way, and containing traces of former buildings. Within one of these closes was a large circular mound. These have largely been destroyed by modern playing fields. To the W. of High Street were other embanked closes, all with traces of former house sites at their E. ends. These too have now been destroyed and only a short length of a ditch or hollow-way survives (CBA Group 9, Newsletter, 3 (1973), 32). The remains were already devoid of buildings before the mid 19th century (NRO, Tithe Map of Great Houghton, 1839; RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 4017–8; 1994, 1188–9).
b(8) Fishponds (SP 797589), E. of Great Houghton, on Boulder Clay at 76 m. above OD. They consist of two roughly rectangular embanked ponds, 30–40 m. long and 30 m. wide, with a smaller pond, 30 m. by 15 m., to the N. A broad hollow-way leading from the village through the adjacent ridge-and-furrow passes to the N. of them (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 4017–8; FSL 6565, 1852–4).
(9) Cultivation Remains. The common fields of the parish were enclosed by agreement in 1612, and there were apparently some small-scale enclosures later, in 1618 (VCH Northants., IV (1937), 262).
Ridge-and-furrow of these fields exists on the ground or can be traced from air photographs over almost the entire parish, as well as those parts of Hackleton to the S. and Little Houghton to the E. which were formerly part of Great Houghton. It is arranged in end-on and interlocked furlongs, many of reversed-S form. In the S. of the parish (at SP 791578), on a steep N.W.-facing slope, the underlying Estuarine Series of limestones and marls have slipped down the hillside, producing a series of asymmetrical ridges. The later ridge-and-furrow rides over these, at right-angles to them, giving an unusual effect (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 2014–21, 4015–20; CPE/UK/1994, 1186–91, 2183–5, 3176–9; F21 543/ RAF/943, 0058–62; F22 543/RAF/943, 0058–62; F22 543/RAF/2409, 0149–53).