Pages 126-127

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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In this section


(OS 1:10000 a SP 75 SW, b SP 75 SE, c SP 74 NE)

The parish is of roughly triangular shape and covers 650 hectares. It slopes generally to the S. from a ridge capped by Boulder Clay with a maximum height of 120 m. above OD. The village lies on a large expanse of Blisworth Limestone, and to the S. narrow bands of limestones and clays are exposed by the down-cutting of S.-flowing streams on the S.W. and S.E. boundaries. The medieval settlement pattern of the parish was complex. In addition to Roade itself there was a settlement a little to the W., around Hyde Farm (2), and probably another in the N.W. of the parish at the modern Thorpewood Farm. The field systems associated with these settlements are not clearly understood (3).

Prehistoric and Roman

A flint scraper and Roman coins and pottery were found in the parish before 1904 (T. J. George, Arch. Survey of Northants. (1904), 192; OS Record Cards). This may refer to Roman material in the BM which includes pottery, a bronze strap-end and a coin of Antoninus Pius. A Roman bronze pin found in the school garden in the 1920s and sometimes said to be from Courteenhall is in NM (OS Record Cards).

b(1) Enclosures (SP 767523), close to the N. parish boundary, on Boulder Clay, at 120 m. above OD. Air photographs (not seen by RCHM) are said to show cropmarks of two small subrectangular enclosures covering just over 0.5 hectares (BNFAS, 6 (1971), 16).

Medieval and Later

a(2) Deserted Settlement of Hyde (SP 749513; Fig. 99), lay S.E. of Roade village, immediately E. of Hyde Farm, on the N.E. side of a small S.E.-flowing stream, on Great Oolite Limestone at 110 m. above OD. Almost nothing is known of the history of the settlement and the name is not apparently recorded in documents until 1200 (PN Northants., 106). In Domesday Book one of the two entries under Roade is a manor of one hide, held by William Peveral of the Bishop of Bayeux, which was then waste and in the king's hands (VCH Northants., I (1902), 309). It is possible that the entry refers to this settlement, though this would mean that Roade itself was only a tiny manor with a recorded population of two (VCH, op. cit., 348). However, the complex pattern of minor settlements which once existed in this part of the county and which has now been partly replaced by nucleated villages (e.g. Hartwell (3)–(7)) may partly explain this problem.

The later history of Hyde is unknown and in all the national taxation records it is presumably included with Roade. The place was already reduced to a single farm by 1768 (NRO, map of Roade).

Almost nothing remains of this settlement now, most of the area having recently been built over. On air photographs taken in 1947 (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 1026–8) the area immediately E. of the farm was divided into a number of rectangular closes bounded by low banks and scarps. A trackway appears to have passed between the closes, running N.W.-S.E. The whole covered about 3 hectares. On the opposite side of the valley a few indeterminate earthworks and part of a hollow-way have survived. A pond in the valley bottom appears to be modern.

Fig. 99 Roade Medieval settlements and fields

(3) Cultivation Remains (Fig. 99). The common fields of the village of Roade, together with those of Ashton (6), were finally enclosed by an Act of Parliament of 1816 (NRO, Enclosure Map, 1819). Immediately before that time there were four open fields in Roade, West Well Field to the S.E., Mill Field to the S., a very small Little Hyde Field to the S.E. and Great Hyde Field to the N.W. In addition there were extensive areas of old enclosures especially in the E. of the parish adjoining Salcey Forest, to the N. of the village and in the N.W. of the parish centred on Thorpewood Farm (SP 744528). An earlier map of the parish of 1768 (NRO) shows a slightly different situation and gives more information. There were then only three open fields, West Well and Mill Fields as they were in 1819 and a Hide Field which comprised the later Great and Little Hyde Fields.

In the old enclosures in the E. of the parish was a group of fields called The Scarts, i.e. assarted land (SP 781519), lying against the parish boundary, and between them and the edge of Westwell Field were three small enclosed fields, Ashwood Lays, Dobbikins Close and Middle Field (centred SP 778518) all described as 'formerly common field but now inclosed'. Immediately to the S. (SP 779514) three other fields are described as 'Part of Ashwood, Stockt up in 1747'.

It is not clear exactly how these fields relate to the medieval settlements of the parish. The old enclosures in the N.W. around Thorpewood Farm may be medieval in origin. In the 18th century the N. part of them was sub-divided by three wide droveways, only one of which survives. The area may have been the land of Thorpewood Farm and perhaps was always divided into hedged fields. However, the earliest reference to the farm appears to be in 1662 (PN Northants., 106). One or two of the existing fields have traces of ridge-and-furrow within them (SP 743528 and 752525). Ridge-and-furrow is also visible in the old enclosures in the E. of the parish, both in the Scarts where it seems to fit within the existing field boundaries, and within the area of the former Ashwood. Other fields elsewhere in the parish already enclosed in 1768 also have ridge-and-furrow on them.

Little ridge-and-furrow survives in the area of the common fields. One block exists S. of the village in the old West Well Field (SP 763501), and furlongs remain in the Mill Field along the sides of a small stream (SP 757500) and in Hide Field (SP 755515). (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 1020–8, 1244–5; 106G/UK/1562, 4088–9; FSL6565, 1999–2005, 2011– 5)