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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'Maidford', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northamptonshire, Volume 4, Archaeological Sites in South-West Northamptonshire, (London, 1982) pp. 97-98. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

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(OS 1:10000 a SP 65 SW, b SP 55 SE)

The parish is small, less than 440 hectares, and lies on a S.-facing slope drained by streams on the S.W. and N.E. boundaries. From the stream in the S.W., flowing at some 130 m. above OD, the land rises across bands of glacial sands and gravels, and outcrops of Upper Lias Clay, Northampton Sand and Oolitic limestones to an expanse of Boulder Clay at about 170 m. above OD. No finds of prehistoric or Roman date are recorded from the parish but the earthworks of Maidford village (1) are of interest.

Medieval and Later

A hoard of forty silver coins dating from Elizabeth I to Charles I is said to have been found in 1910, perhaps near the parish boundary with Farthingstone (Northants SMR).

a(1) Settlement Remains (centred SP 610525; Fig. 84), formerly part of Maidford, lie in and around the village on Northampton Sand and Upper Lias Clay at about 150 m. above OD. The surviving records give no indication of any marked reduction of population and it is unlikely that the earthworks represent an extensive area of settlement.

Maidford is first mentioned in Domesday Book where it is listed as a single manor with a recorded population of 18, including a priest (VCH Northants., I (1902), 331, 372). In 1301, 32 people paid the Lay Subsidy (PRO, E179/155/ 31) and in 1377, 63 people over the age of 14 paid the Poll Tax (PRO, E179/155/27). The Hearth Tax of 1673 was paid by 47 householders (PRO, E179/254/14) and this agrees with Bridges (Hist. of Northants., I (1791), 247) who recorded that there were 49 houses in Maidford in about 1720.

The present village consists of a main street running N.W.-S.E. across the valley of a small stream with the church and manor house on its N.E. side, and with a rectangular arrangement of lanes on the S.W. side. It is not clear whether these lanes represent a deliberately planned addition to an earlier single-street village. The surviving earthworks on the N.W. side of the rectangular lane system consist of little more than a bank and boundary ditch. These add to the impression that this part of the village has been planned. On the N.E. side of the village, N.W. of the church, now completely destroyed by a housing estate, were other earthworks consisting of a boundary bank and traces of internal closes. The only other feature of note is a shallow hollow-way which runs from the N.E. of the ponds (2), crosses the existing main road and continues through the ridge-and-furrow to the S.E. (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 3050–1; CPE/UK/1994, 4166–7; air photographs in NMR)

a(2) Fishponds (SP 610524; Fig. 84), lie in the centre of Maidford village in the bottom of a shallow valley draining S.W., on Upper Lias Clay between 150 m. and 146 m. above OD. Five ponds, four to the N.E. of the main street and one to the S.W., still exist though the northernmost is probably not associated with the others and may be partly natural. The other ponds are roughly rectangular with low dams up to 1.5 m. high at their lower ends. Their date is unknown but they are presumably medieval in origin, perhaps associated with the manor house to the N. They are shown much as they are now on the Tithe Map of 1846 (NRO).

a(3) Mound (SP 60565385), stands against the Farthingstone parish boundary in the N. of the parish, on Boulder Clay at 175 m. above OD. The mound is 28 m. in diam. and 1 m. high with a slight depression in the summit, and is surrounded by a shallow ditch 5 m. wide. The adjacent ridge-and-furrow appears to respect it. It may be the site of a windmill, although there was at least one other windmill in the parish in the 19th century (SP 604531; NRO, Tithe Map).

a(4) Site of Watermill (SP 605519), S.W. of the village, on the parish boundary, on Upper Lias Clay at 130 m. above OD. The mill buildings survived until a few years ago and their foundations are still visible. A broad mill leat or pond, now dry, to the N. of these buildings extends along the contour, well above the stream. The site is shown correctly on OS 1:2500 plans.

(5) Cultivation Remains. The common fields of Maidford were enclosed by an Act of Parliament of 1778 but no details of them are known. Ridge-and-furrow of these fields exists on the ground or can be traced on air photographs over the greater part of the parish, arranged in end-on and interlocked furlongs, many of reversed-S form. In some furlongs there appears to be considerable variation in the width of ridges, which are 2 m.–10 m. wide (e.g. SP 603527, 611530). (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 1049–50, 3045– 53, 5047–51; CPE/UK/1994, 4164–8, 4093)