BHO

Radstone

Pages 124-126

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northamptonshire, Volume 4, Archaeological Sites in South-West Northamptonshire. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1982.

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49 RADSTONE

(OS 1:10000 a SP 54 SE, b SP 53 NE, c SP 64 SW)

The parish occupies only about 550 hectares and lies on land sloping generally E. bounded on the N.E. by a stream flowing towards the R. Ouse. Most of the area, from the higher ground in the W. at 160 m. above OD to the valley in the N.E., is covered by Boulder Clay, but small bands of limestone and Upper Lias Clay are exposed along this valley and that of another central stream. The main monument is the deserted village of Lower Radstone (2).

Prehistoric and Roman

An urn containing coins, probably Roman, is said to have been found in the parish before 1900 (lost; VCH Northants., I (1902), 220; OS Record Cards).

Medieval and Later

a(1) Settlement Remains (SP 589405), formerly part of the village of Upper Radstone, lie S.E. of the church on land sloping S., on Boulder Clay at 138 m. above OD.

There were formerly two villages of Radstone in the parish; the present one is Upper Radstone and the other, now deserted. Lower Radstone (2). The details of the population of the two places are given below (see (2)).

The remains consist of a group of ditched and embanked enclosures on the S.W. side of the main through street, separated from the adjacent ridge-and-furrow by a continuous bank and outer ditch. Along the edge of the street are disturbed areas suggesting former house-sites but a later quarry has cut through part of them. Further N.W., at the W. end of the village (SP 586406), are other earthworks now almost destroyed by ploughing. These are mostly the remains of small closes still marked on modern OS maps, the sites of houses which remained until well into the present century. However, some of the closes apparently relate to a previous period of abandonment. (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 5218–9; air photographs in NMR)

c(2) Deserted Village of Lower Radstone (SP 601405; Fig. 98; Plate 6), lies 1 km. E. of the existing Radstone village, on the N. side of a broad open valley, on limestone of the Upper Estuarine Series at 130 m. above OD. There were formerly two villages in the parish, Upper or Over and Lower or Nether Radstone (J. Bridges, Hist. of Northants., I (1791), 191; G. Baker, Hist. of Northants., I (1822– 30), 610); both were always combined in the national taxation records. In 1086 Domesday Book lists one manor of Radstone which was assessed at two hides and had a recorded population of 21. In 1260 there were 22 virgates of land in cultivation at Over Radstone, but only 2½ at Lower Radstone (PRO, C132/24(6)). The 1301 Lay Subsidy lists 30 people in Radstone (PRO, E179/155/31) and in 1524 11 people paid the Lay Subsidy (PRO, E179/155/ 144). In 1673 21 householders are recorded as paying the Hearth Tax (PRO, E179/254/14). In about 1720 Bridges (op. cit.) said that the present village then had 19 houses and about 100 inhabitants and that 'the footsteps of the old demolished town are still remaining'. By 1801 there were 128 people in the parish.

The earthworks suggest that the village had, in its final stages, a plan based on a T-shaped arrangement of streets. The main feature is the E.-W. hollow-way ('a'-'b'-'c' on plan). At the W. end where it is close to the stream it is up to 1.5 m. deep but as it reaches the junction with the other main hollow-way ('b'-'d' on plan) it has been damaged by later drainage works. Beyond this junction ('b' on plan) it continues E., partly as a terrace-way the up-slope side of which is 1.5 m. high, until it fades out near the E. end of the fishpond (3). On both sides of this terrace-way are foundations of stone-rubble structures up to 0.25 m. high, presumably the sites of former houses ('e' and 'f' on plan). Behind these are fragmentary remains of former closes. On the W. side of the main hollow-way is another group of similar stone-rubble foundations ('g' on plan) with, to the N., two sunken hollows ('h' on plan) which are also probably the sites of buildings. To the N. again is a large subrectangular enclosure. On the E. side of the hollow-way there are scoops cut into the hillside ('i' on plan). These may be connected with the undoubted quarry pits further E. Elsewhere on the site are rectangular closes, bounded by low scarps or shallow ditches, some of which have ridge-and-furrow within them. Towards the W. end is another stone building, possibly a long house ('j' on plan), with a larger rectangular structure to the W. ('k').

There is no indication that the village ever extended to the S. of the main E.-W. hollow-way in the S.E., but the fishpond (3) appears to have been cut through closes S. of the terrace-way. A few sherds of 14th or 15th-century pottery have been found in the modern disturbances in the main hollow-way. Further 12th to 15th-century sherds are recorded from the terrace-way to the E. (BNFAS. 3 (1969), 2; RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926; 5220–2; CUAP BLE24–6, AML64–5, AWN74)

Fig. 98 Radstone (2) Deserted village of Lower Radstone, (3) Fishponds

c(3) Fishpond (SP 602403; Fig. 98), lies on the S.E. side of the deserted village of Lower Radstone (2), in the bottom of an E.-draining valley on alluvium at 128 m. above OD. It is subrectangular, bounded by a continuous bank which rises to 1.5 m. high at the E. end where it forms the main dam. Until recently it was dry, but it has now been repaired, filled with water and restocked with fish. Near the N.W. corner is a circular mound, which still stands 0.5 m. high above the water. The pond appears to have cut through the closes of the deserted village to the N. and may thus post-date the abandonment of the latter. (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 5220–2; CUAP AML64)

b(4) Windmill Mound (SP 59513977), lies in the S.E. of the parish, against the boundary with Whitfield, on Boulder Clay at 140 m. above OD. It is a low mound 22 m. in diam. and 0.7 m. high and has been ploughed over. There is no trace of a ditch but one can be seen on air photographs (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 2219–20). Some pottery of 12th to 13th-century date has been found as well as an indication of a central pit or post-hole (BNFAS, 1 (1966), 20; 3 (1969), 2; OS Record Cards).

(5) Cultivation Remains. The date of the enclosure of the common fields of Radstone is not known, nor is it certain whether each of the two villages of Radstone had its own field system, although this seems likely for the arable land of each village is described separately in 1260 (PRO, C132/24(6)). If so the long projection of the parish to the N.E. might be the land of Lower Radstone.

Ridge-and-furrow of these fields can be traced on air photographs, but little now survives on the ground as the parish is almost entirely arable. It was all arranged in end-on or interlocked furlongs, many of reversed-S form. Among the more notable features was the very wide unploughed triangular strip 220 m. long and up to 30 m. across lying between two narrow furlongs S. of the village (SP 588599), and also the joining up of former end-on furlongs with the result that two or more ridges merge to become one over an older headland (SP 600408). There was also an area of presumably 18th or 19th-century ridge-and-furrow in the E. of the parish, S. of Shortgrove Wood (SP 605407). Here ridges 10 m. wide and exactly straight lay within the existing fields. (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 2217– 24, 5217–23)