Pages 58-60

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northamptonshire, Volume 3, Archaeological Sites in North-West Northamptonshire. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1981.

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Fig. 51 Cottesbrooke (6) Garden remains

(OS 1: 10000 a SP 67 SE, b SP 77 SW)

The parish, covering about 450 hectares, is made up of the land of two medieval settlements (Fig. 14) but the actual boundary between them is not known with certainty. Most of the area was the land of Great Creaton, but a strip along the S. part belonged to the village of Little Creaton (10), now deserted, and was once part of Spratton parish. The parish lies mainly across the valley of a small S.E.-flowing brook cut into Upper Lias Clay between 140 m. and 80 m. above OD. In the S.W. the land rises steeply to a flat-topped ridge capped with Northampton Sand, and falls again into the clay valley of another small S.E.-flowing stream which forms the parish boundary there. Both Great and Little Creaton lie on the steep hillside above the main stream.

Prehistoric and Roman

Part of a Mesolithic or later core is recorded from the parish (NM Records).

b(1) Ring ditches (SP 732713), in the S.E. of the parish and lying across the boundary with Spratton, on clay and Northampton Sand at 84 m. above OD. Air photographs taken in 1967 (not seen by RCHM) are said to show various cropmarks including two small ring ditches (OS Record Cards).

b(2) Iron Age settlement (?) (SP 708715), S. of the village, on Northampton Sand, at 135 m. above OD. A scatter of Iron Age pottery has been found (Northants. Archaeol., 12 (1977), 212).

b(3) Iron Age and Roman settlement (SP 728723), in the E. of the parish, on the summit of a ridge capped by Northampton Sand, at 115 m. above OD. A considerable amount of Iron Age and Roman pottery has been discovered (Northants. Archaeol., 12 (1977), 212).

b(4) Roman settlement (?) (SP 734722), 600 m. E. of (3), on gravel at 85 m. above OD. Roman pottery has been noted (Northants. Archaeol., 12 (1977), 212; for Saxon pottery from this site see (9)).

b(5) Roman settlement (?) (SP 729720), 300 m. S.E. of (3), on Upper Lias Clay at 95 m. above OD. A small scatter of Roman pottery is recorded (Northants. Archaeol., 12 (1977), 212).

b(6) Roman settlement (?) (SP 710723), immediately N.E. of the village, on clay at 107 m. above OD. A scatter of Roman sherds has been noted (inf. A. E. Brown).

b(7) Roman settlement (?) (SP 711730), close to the N. boundary of the parish, on clay at 114 m. above OD. A quantity of Roman pottery is recorded from this site (inf. A. E. Brown).

b(8) Roman settlement (?) (SP 705725), N. of the village, on clay at 122 m. above OD. Roman pottery has been found in this area (inf. A. E. Brown).

Medieval and Later

b(9) Saxon settlement (?) (SP 734722), on the same site as the Roman settlement (4) above. Sherds of Saxon pottery have been discovered (Northants. Archaeol., 12 (1977), 212).

b(10) Deserted village of Little Creaton (SP 712716; Figs. 14 and 52), lies on a steep N.E.-facing slope a little to the S.E. of Great Creaton village, on Upper Lias Clay between 100 m. and 130 m. above OD. Little is known of its history because for most of its life it appears to have been included either with Spratton parish of which it was once part or with Great Creaton.

It is not mentioned by name in Domesday Book, but has been identified as the small manor of Creaton held by William de Cahagnes of the Count of Mortain, in which case it then had a recorded population of four (VCH Northants., I (1902), 325). There is no further reference to its size until the early 18th century when Bridges noted eight surviving houses (Hist. of Northants., I (1791), 564). However it is certain that by this time the village site itself was already deserted and that these houses included the present Creaton Grange Farm, Stone Cottage and Orchard Farm.

Fig. 52 Creaton (10) Deserted village of Little Creaton

The remains of the village are in poor condition, and little can be deduced from them. They seem to consist of a series of long closes extending S.E. from the existing road, bounded by low scarps up to 0.5 m. high and some of them sub-divided. In the centre ('a' on plan) is a large rectangular pond, and on the S.E. of the site is a long water-course, mainly natural, but which seems to have been dammed at its S.W. end to form two irregular ponds ('b' on plan; RAF VAP CPE/UK/1994, 1373–4).

(11) Cultivation remains. The common fields of Great Creaton were enclosed by an Act of Parliament of 1782. Though no map seems to have survived, the Enclosure Award (Central Library, Northampton) indicates that there were four open fields in 1782. These were Upper Field in the N.W., Middle Field to the N. and N.E. of the village, West Field to the S.W., and Nether Field occupying the long E. projection of the parish. Ridge-and-furrow of these fields can be traced on air photographs over large areas, though little remains on the ground. Two end-on furlongs are partly preserved in the N.E. of the parish in Creaton Covert (SP 720725) and later artificial fox-earths have been inserted into the ridges. Further S.E. (SP 723722) the ends of another furlong are preserved in a narrow belt of scrub along a field boundary. Elsewhere air photographs show blocks of interlocked and end-on furlongs carefully adapted to the broken valley sides with their numerous spurs.

The date of the enclosure of the common fields of Little Creaton is unknown. Ridge-and-furrow of these fields exists on the ground S. and S.E. of the site of the deserted village (10) and elsewhere air photographs show traces of end-on and interlocked furlongs (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1994, 1372–7, 1462–5).