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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55 SUTTON BASSETT
(OS 1:10000 a SP 79 SE, b SP 78 NE)
The parish is small, covering only 300 hectares, and lies 3 km. N.E. of Market Harborough, immediately E. of the R. Welland which forms its W. boundary. The land slopes generally W. between 68 m. and 130 m. above OD. The higher, E. part is on Boulder Clay but elsewhere, except for a narrow strip of Marlstone rock exposed near the village, the parish is covered by Jurassic Clays. No important archaeological finds have been recorded from the parish, but the earlier form of the village, recovered from an examination of the surviving earthworks (1), is of some interest. The church, which stands within a green, was formerly a chapel of Weston-by-Welland, perhaps indicating that the village itself is secondary to Weston. The evidence from the cultivation remains (2) lends support to this theory.
Medieval and Later
a(1) Settlement Remains (centred SP 770901; Fig. 127; Plate 28), formerly part of Sutton Bassett, lie around the existing village. To the W. of the main street, behind the present houses, there are several abandoned closes, probably once the gardens of former houses which stood on the sites now occupied by modern ones. They are separated by low scarps and shallow ditches, and most have ridge-and-furrow within them. On the W. these closes are bounded by a shallow hollow-way beyond which lies ridge-and-furrow of the former common fields. This hollow-way turns E. at each end and joins the main street. N. of the church are other indeterminate earthworks which have been ploughed out. These are probably the sites of former buildings. On the 1802 Enclosure Map (NRO) houses are also shown on the E. of the main street; these had disappeared by the beginning of this century and the site has now been built over again.
In the angle of the main village street there was formerly a large area of land which had no trace of medieval ploughing on it. Shallow quarries have been dug in it and various tracks cross it. It seems for a long time to have been an open space or green (see Enclosure Map, 1802; RAF VAP CPE/UK/1925, 1184–5).
(2) Cultivation Remains (Plate 28). The common fields of the parish were enclosed by Act of Parliament, together with those of Weston-by-Welland, before 1802 (NRO, Enclosure Map of Sutton Bassett and Weston-by-Welland). Before enclosure there were three open fields, Mill, Dingley Brook and Side Holm, and meadows in the W. along the R. Welland. Some of the furlongs N. of the village cross the boundary with Weston-by-Welland (e.g. at SP 767909). This, in conjunction with the facts that the westernmost field of each parish is called Side Holm Field, and that the two parishes were enclosed at the same time, indicates that the common fields of the two parishes may once have been connected.
Ridge-and-furrow of these fields is exceptionally well preserved over almost the entire parish. Most of it is arranged in end-on furlongs, orientated N.E.—S.W., but there are some interlocked blocks S. of the village, usually resulting from adaptation to the relief. N.W. of the village, running for some 400 m. N.W. from SP 768904, between two end-on furlongs, is a double headland which has been ploughed over. Ridge-and-furrow also survives within the abandoned closes in the village (see (1) and Fig. 127; RAF VAP CPE/UK/ 1925, 1182–8; 541/602, 3205–8).