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.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.
(OS 1:10000 a SP 88 NW, b SP 88 NE, c SP 88 SW, d SP 88 SE)
The large and almost rectangular parish covers 1295 hectares, immediately N. of Kettering. The parish is bisected by the R. Ise, which here flows in a narrow valley floored by Upper Lias Clay, between 84 m. and 91 m. above OD. N. of the river the land rises across sands and limestones to a generally undulating area, largely covered by Boulder Clay, between 114 m. and 137 m. above OD, and then falls into the valley of the Harper's Brook which forms the N. boundary of the parish. S. of the R. Ise the land rises to a ridge which runs E.—W. between 107 m. and 122 m. above OD and is largely covered by Boulder Clay. S. of the ridge lies the valley of The Slade, an E.-flowing tributary of the R. Ise.
In the medieval period the parish was occupied by a number of separate settlements and their fields (Fig. 119). In the extreme S., immediately N. of The Slade, was the former village of Glendon (9). Further N., on the S. side of the R. Ise, was the village of Barford (10), also now deserted. Rushton, which was then two separate villages (7) and (8), stood N. of the river. In the extreme N. of the parish are earthwork remains of the Cistercian Abbey of Pipewell which extended into the parish of Wilbarston (Wilbarston (7)). In view of the ironstonequarrying which has taken place in the S. and S.E. of the parish it is surprising that so little prehistoric and Roman material has been recovered.
Prehistoric and Roman
(1) Bronze Age Burial (unlocated; Plate 30). A miniature vessel of bipartite form is said to have been found 'at Glendon' probably during ironstone-mining before 1912 (Arch. J., 110 (1953), 178; NM).
c(2) Ring Ditch (SP 83428442), 150 m. N.E. of Town's Close Lodge, on a low spur of Boulder Clay at 125 m. above OD. Air photographs (RAF VAP 541/602, 3176–7) show a circular feature, 40 m. in diam., with an exceptionally wide ditch. The surrounding area has several other ill-defined circular features.
d(3) Iron Age Settlement (SP 850837), in the E. of the parish, on limestone at 107 m. above OD. A series of pits and ditches containing Iron Age pottery was noted during ironstone-quarrying in 1967 (BNFAS, 5 (1971), 4; OS Record Cards; CBA Group 9, Newsletter, 1 (1971), 5).
d(4) Iron Age and Roman Settlement and Burials, and Later Mound (SP 86088380), in the E. of the parish, on Boulder Clay at 110 m. above OD. A flat-topped conical mound, 37 m. in diam. and 4 m. high, was totally excavated in 1964 before being destroyed during road works. In the adjacent area part of an Iron Age and Roman settlement was discovered. Beneath the mound, but eccentric to it, was a stone circle, 3 m. in diam., with two projecting arms 2.4 m. long, to the S.E. and S.W. The primary inhumation burial had been robbed, but secondary burials, of twenty-four decapitated skeletons, were found in two rows outside the edge of the barrow to the S. There were skeletons of men, women and children. The stone circle was later than the 2nd century A.D. and may be post-Roman (JRS, 55 (1965), 5–108; MOPBW, Arch. Excavations 1964, (1965), 9). The mound was apparently called Drummers Mound in the late 19th century and numerous legends were associated with it (Northants N. and Q., 2 (1888), No. 368).
d(5) Roman Building (?) (SP 859832), in the E. of the parish, on sand at 91 m. above OD. Many Roman flue tiles are said to have been found here (NM Records).
c(6) Roman Kiln (?) (SP 847830), E. of the village, on clay at 85 m. above OD. A Roman coin and a piece of kiln furniture (KM) have been found, in an area where cropmarks are said to have been seen (NM Records).
Medieval and Later
For the deserted village of Pipewell, see Wilbarston (6).
c(7) Deserted Village of Rushton St. Peter (SP 837827; Fig. 119), lay in the area of the present Rushton Hall, on the N. side of the R. Ise, on sand and limestone at 98 m. above OD.
The village is listed in Domesday Book together with Rushton All Saints, with a total recorded population of 45 (VCH Northants., I (1902), 333, 335, and 353. Later taxation records also list both villages together, and only in the 1524 Subsidy Returns is the village separately taxed. Then 10 people in St. Peter paid tax compared with 28 in All Saints (PRO, E179/155/133). The village may have been removed finally by the Tresham family who acquired the main manor in 1438 and who certainly enclosed much of the parish (see (13) below). In the early 18th century Bridges recorded that, apart from the hall and the church, only four or five 'shepards lodges', existed in the Lorship (J. Bridges, Hist. of Northants., II (1791), 67–8). These 'lodges' were presumably scattered throughout the parish. The two parishes of Rushton St. Peter and Rushton All Saints were united in 1780 and in 1799 a faculty for the removal of St. Peter's Church was issued (P.A.F. Stephenson (ed.), Parish Registers of Rushton, (1929), v). Nothing of the village, or the church, now remains above ground, the whole area having been landscaped for the gardens of the hall on a number of occasions. However N. of the present main entrance to the park, within an area of woodland (SP 83928278), are the mutilated remains of a short length of hollow-way, some 10 m. across and up to 0.25 m. deep, which continues the line of the existing road to the E. This is presumably the E. end of the main street of Rushton St. Peter, leading towards Rushton All Saints.
c(8) Settlement Remains (SP 840827–843828; Fig. 119), formerly part of Rushton All Saints, lie around All Saints Church, on the S. side of the existing village street, on sand at 91 m. above OD. The various low, disturbed earthworks, including a pond, mounds and embanked closes, are probably the remains of former houses and gardens etc. The area was devoid of building in 1837 (Map in NRO).
c(9) Deserted Village of Glendon (SP 847814; Figs. 118, 119), lies immediately E. of Glendon Hall, around the head of a small S.-flowing stream, on sand at 107 m. above OD.
The village is first referred to in Domesday Book with a recorded population of fourteen. It is mentioned by name in the Nomina Villarum of 1316, and in 1327 there were ten tenants on the manor (PRO, SC12/13/ 29). By 1428 there were less than ten inhabitants in the village and in 1514, when the parish was enclosed by Robert Malory, nine out of twelve existing houses were destroyed. By the early 18th century Bridges recorded that there were 'only two or three houses . . . but formerly several more'. Now only the hall and its home farm remain in the area (K.J. Allison et al., The Deserted Villages of Northants., (1966), 40).
Nothing now remains of the village around the hall itself, for the whole area has been landscaped for gardens, but to the E. the existing drive across the park is deeply hollowed for most of its length; this probably represents the original main street and through road before it was diverted around the park to the N.
N. of this hollowed way there are slight traces of former habitation, visible as a series of low banks and scarps and at least one clearly defined rectangular close. In the centre of this area large pieces of medieval pottery, some of Lyveden type and dated to the 12th or 13th centuries, have been found in a fox earth. S. of the hollow-way the area has been damaged by landscaping and a large pond, but other hollow-ways are visible to the W. and S., as well as a number of ditches and at least one possible house platform.
d(10) Deserted Village of Barford (around SP 853828; Fig. 119), lay near Barford Lodge in the E. of the parish on land sloping to the R. Ise on limestone. Earthwork remains have not been found and have been destroyed either by ploughing or by the extensive ironstone-quarrying in the area.
The village is listed in Domesday Book with a recorded population of seven. Thereafter little is known of its size until 1516 when 'almost the whole village' was destroyed and the land converted to pasture. In 1383 the revenues from Geddington, Glendon and Barford were said to be less than one seventh of what they had previously been 'for lack of tenants' (Cal. Misc. Inq. IV (1377–88), No. 217).
The village apparently had a chapel which still stood in the early 17th century, but by the early 18th century it had been destroyed. Bodies are said to have been found there a little before 1720, and at the same time Bridges noted that 'the marks of houses are still apparent from the face of the ground' (J. Bridges, Hist. of Northants., II (1791), 72–3; K.J. Allison et al., The Deserted Villages of Northants., (1966), 35).
c(11) Pond (SP 822832), immediately W. of Rushton Lodge, in the valley of a small S.-flowing stream. All that remains is a roughly rectangular area, now almost dry, with traces of a bank or dam, up to 1 m. high on the S. In 1837 (Map in NRO) it was a much larger pond, of irregular shape with a triangular island within it (cf. Braybrooke (1), Stoke Albany (2) and Walgrave (8)).
c(12) Windmill Mound (SP 82868173), lies in the S.E. of the parish, against the Rothwell boundary, near the summit of an E.—W. ridge, on Boulder Clay at 130 m. above OD. There is a well-preserved mound, 20 m. in diam. and 1.5 m. high (RAF VAP F21 82/ RAF/865, 0318–9). On a map of Rushton of 1837 (NRO) a windmill is shown on this site with a building, perhaps the millhouse, to the W. of it.
(13) Cultivation Remains. The common fields of Rushton apparently existed until 1581 when Sir Thomas Tresham enclosed 80 acres of demesne land which he converted to sheep pastures, in addition to 110 acres of his tenants' land. By 1590 a further 80 acres were enclosed (M.E. Finch, 'The Wealth of Five Northamptonshire Families, 1530–1640', Northants. Record Society, 19 (1956), 74). To judge from the field names on the Tithe Map of 1842 (NRO) it is possible that there was once a large Windmill Field, covering the area S. of the village and Rushton Park. Ridge-and-furrow of these fields survives on the ground or can be traced from air photographs in relatively few places. There is a large area of mainly end-on furlongs N. of the village (around SP 840835), another to the E. of the village (at SP 856838), and a group of interlocked furlongs in the W. of the parish N. and S.E. of Gaultrey Wood (SP 823839), but little elsewhere.
The common fields of the deserted villages of Glendon, in the S. of the parish, and Barford in the E. were apparently enclosed for sheep in the 16th century. At Glendon in 1514 Robert Malory enclosed 494 acres of arable land as well as much pasture, and at Barford in 1516 George Boyvile enclosed 86 acres of arable. By 1547 there were 1500 sheep at Glendon and 500 at Barford (K.J. Allison et al., The Deserted Villages of Northants., (1966), 35, 40). Traces of ridge-and-furrow exist around Glendon Hall (Fig. 118) and near Barford Lodge. (RAF VAP CPE/UK/2109, 3273–7, 3445–7; 540/474, 3044–7; 541/602, 3125–7, 3190–1, 4125–6, 4174–9; F21 82/RAF/865, 0288–99, 0218–26; F22 82/RAF/865. 0232–40; F22 540/RAF/1312, 0099– 0104).