(SP 523440) Ancient Earthwork (TI) (on Thenford Hill). (1)
The camp of 'Arberry Hill' is situated by the side of Banbury Lane, somewhat more than a mile N of Thenford village. The earthwork is irregular, but nearly the segment of a circle, extending c 150 yds along the N and W edges of the hill. c 7 yds below is a ledge or lynchet, from which a second declivity runs to the base of the hill. (2)
'Arbury Hill' Thenford, may belong to the Early Iron Age. (3) The ploughed-down remains of what was apparently a sub-circular univallate fort, c 250 m in diameter, can be traced. (4)
The remains of a small contour hillfort situated c 600' a.s.l. in a commanding position. Modern farming and quarrying have destroyed and mutilated most of the work but the extant remains plus air photo evidence substantiate the classification. See annotated 25" survey. The 'ledge or lynchet' (Auth 2) which is also visible on APs is a natural feature and does not form a coherent part of the earthwork. Over the last three years Mr D J Barrett (local amateur archaeologist) has found potsherds at SP 52224392 which are probably IA but have not yet been classified. (5) No change since report of 14 4 70 (6)
Surveyed on 1:2500 MSD. (7)
Iron Age settlement (SP 523440) has been described as a hill fort, but it was probably no more than a lightly defended farmstead. A large area of Neolithic or Bronze Age worked and waste flints has been found in the SE of the site, and scatters of flints including microliths lie outside the enclosure (SP 5234390, 52054385). Iron Age and Roman pottery has come from the E part of the site. The Bronze Age hoard found in the parish [SP 54 SW 7] may be from this site. [RCHM plan].(7)
SP 99787222. Thorpe End Iron Age, Saxon and Medieval settlement. Scheduled. The site comprises an Iron Age slight univallate hillfort, and the Thorpe End early Saxon and later Saxon settlement. This site is known as a result of the archaeological survey and excavation carried out as part of the Raunds Area Project. (1)
An Iron Age univallate hillfort and remains of both Saxon and Early Medieval settlements near Thorpe House Farm. The monument lies to the south of Raunds. Remains include ditches, buildings , features and finds revealed through archaeaological survey and excavation. The Iron Age evidence consists of a single ditched enclosure measuring 95 metres by 65 metres containing evidence for a number of circular buildings thereby indicating occupation at some point in this period. From the Saxon to Early Medieval period, 6th century to 1066 AD, the site formed one part of a large settlement. See also the further Anglo-Saxon settlement evidence further to the south west at Thorpe End (TL 07 SW 19).
[Area centred SP 73805835] HILL FORT [OE] (1)
Hunsbury Hill - An IA Hill Fort, occupied from the 4th cent. BC to the 1st cent BC or AD. Excavations for Iron Stone at the end of the 19th cent yielded great quantities of finds now in the Northants and British Museums. Most of the interior was disturbed by this iron-working, but a small area to the SW remains intact. Fortifications , consist of a single, circular rampart and ditch, with a simple entrance to the SE and possible one in the NW. A second ditch, 80 yds away, was found in 1903. The interior of the fort was riddled with 300 or more pits, of varying sizes - six or seven were walled and one possibly contained a crouched skeleton accompanied by an iron chariot tyre, bridle bit and other pieces of iron. Several unattached skulls were found, one with three holes bored in it. Some 150 querns of the heavy bee-hive type establish a 'Type Site' while the quantity of iron objects and slag suggests early iron-stone working. Finds included flint implements, (some barbed and tanged arrowheads), and pottery and other objects of E.I.A. to Roman date. (2-8)
A vast collection of material from Hunsbury is held in Northampton Museum, and incorporates rare objects including the 'Hunsbury Scabbard' (which originated the type). The small finds are of both I.A. 'A' and 'B' cultures, but the latter predominate. Final conclusions indicated an undefended settlement of I.A. 'A'; later defended in I.A. 'A' with defences modified in I.A. 'B'. Sitting on the Jurassic Ridge it is presumed to have lost its importance as a trading centre in the 1st cent AD. The Hill Fort is now farmed within: it consists of bank, ditch and counterscarp. Iron working has lowered the interior, giving the main rampart a false height. The outer ditch (authy 2b) is not visible, either on the ground or on air cover. Resurveyed at 1/2500. (9)
Hill Fort (SP 738583) usually known as Hunsbury stands on the summit of a rounded but prominent hill, on Northampton Sands, at 110m above OD. The surrounding land slopes only gently in all directions, but the position affords extensive views over Northampton and the whole of the upper Nene Valley to the N, NE and NW as well as to the S and E. (10)
Defences - The fort now consists of a roughly elliptical area 1.6 ha. in area, bounded by an inner rampart and central ditch and with an outer rampart on the NW, N and NE sides. Almost the same picture is recorded by Morton (1712, 537) and by Bridges (1791 I 358). It is possible that there was an outer ditch, and one is mentioned as having been found `in the external ironstone diggings' in an account of 1891 (Baker 1891-2, 66), though whether this was an external ditch to the fort is not clear; other lengths of ditch were discovered early in this century to the NW and SW of the fort, about 90 yards from the inner ditch (George 1915-18, 3; OS 2 IN map 1901 edn) On an air photgraph (in NMR) are vague cropmarks just outside the fort on its SE unquarried side. These may represent an outer system of ditches. Elsewhere, if they ever existed, they have been entirely removed by ironstone quarrying. The defences have been sectioned three times. The first was in 1880 when a tramway access was cut through the NW side. Dryden (1885-6, 55) made drawings and a brief note on the exposed faces but these only indicate that the ditch was of U-shape and had been cut to a depth of just over 3m into the underlying ironstone and that the inner rampart stood just under 3m above the external ground surface. The other sections were cut in 1952 by R.J.C Atkinson as part of a small excavation on the site. The results have not been published in full and the following account is based on notes made on a lecture given by Atkinson in 1968 (in NM Records). Two trenches were cut across the inner rampart and ditch on the NE and the SE sides at the points where the outer rampart no longer survivies. The NE cutting revealed that the ditch had originally been about 8m deep and that the rampart behind it was timber-laced. The SE cutting was more informative, shwoing that the original ditch had been recut and the timber-laced rampart had been converted into one of glacis construction. This later rampart had been extended over the back of the ealier one and overlay a pit and post-hole which were not excavated. This evidence has been used to suggest that there was originally an undefended settlement on the site but it is clear that the evidence of settlement - the pit and post-hole - only predates the second phase of the rampart, not the first. Two orientated skeletons buried in the second phase of the rampart were discovered but no evidence of date was recovered.
Entrances - There are three entrances through the ramparts and the same certainly existed before the ironstone quarrying commenced. It is no longer possible to be certain whether any of these are original.
The Interior - Within the defences the original land surfaces probably sloped gently down from the SE to the NW. The ironstone quarrying altered this situation completely for the work commenced to the S of the new entrance and `digging nearly up to the edge of the scarp...gradually wheeled round to the north, working from the entrance as a pivot' (Dryden 1885-6, 55). Between 3m and 5m of material was removed in the operation but, because the ironstone ran out towards the SE, a small area in the SE corner of the interior was left unquarried. Today most of the land within the defences is uneven but the unquarried section is still visible in the SE, its W edge marked by a long scarp up to 2m high. In view of the discoveries made during the quarrying this fragment of the undisturbed interior is of considerable archaeological importance. Considerable amounts of pottery survive, including some fine examples of globular bowls with the distinctive `Hunsbury curvilinear' decoration. Although the presence of vessels decorated with applied cordons, extensive finger-tipping and incised geometric decoration may indicate activity on the site prior to the later (La Tene) Iron Age, the bulk of the pottery probably dates to no earlier than the 5th century BC. In view of the very small quantity of `early' material, and its very wide date range, it seems more reasonable to regard it as broadly contemporary with the later Iron Age pottery from the site rather than as indicative of a substantial phase of pre-La Tene occupation. The absence of Belgic material is, in an area with a high density of Belgic sites, also probably of some chronilogical significance. The earliest Belgic wares in this region appear from the later 1st century BC, and the Hunsbury pottery may, therefore, predate the final decades of the 1st century BC, certainly c.AD 25 at latest. (11)
The RCHM Inventory (Authority 11) includes further description of the earthworks, entrances and finds from the hillfort and surrounding area, RCHM plan and earthwork profiles, and a bibliography of 18th, 19th and 20th century sources up to 1976. (12)
Due to the threat of extensive erosion of the rampart on the north side, an excavation was carried out in 1988 on that area. The investigated area was 29m north of the present entrance on the western side of the hillfort.
The rampart was initially of a box type with its individual compartments filled in with marl and sandstone rubble which would have limestone wall also acting as a walkway. There is little doubt that this structure was eventually destroyed by fire. The only pottery and animal bones came from the original ground surface and this limestone wall.
Sandstone blocks spanned a position on a line with the front post revealed during the 1952 excavation. It is possible that posts at the front were set in a stone revetment although no slabs survived in slots.
The position of a series of transverse timbers was indicated by burning, standing stones, and channels of reddish brown loam which had apparently filtered down or tumbled into the voids left by decated timber.
The upper fill of the box rampart probably represents a seperate phase of construction (figs.9 and 10). Eventually the back of the rampart collapsed above the limestone layer. In some places there is evidence for rebuilding of the structure after the burning event. The finds:- 30 sherds only of pottery, all in a shelly fabric with comparable dating for the early-middle Iron Age. (13) (SP 738583). Hunsbury. Listed in gazetteer as a univallate hillfort covering 1.7ha. (14) Additional reference with plan. (15)
(SP 526348) Rainsborough Camp (LB) (1) Excavations of Rainsborough camp during 1961-5 revealed the following. A bivallate IA fort, the inner bank standing about 10ft above the interior, with a drop of about 15ft into the inner ditch; the second bank is very much lowered by ploughing, but still reaches a height of about 4ft on the S side, where a hedge line has protected it; the outer ditch is not visible on the surface except on the W, when it carries a higher growth of weeds.
?6th/5thc BC postholes and scatter of occupation debris before construction of the first rampart.
5thc BC double rampart and ditch with an inturned entrance on the west, having two stone-lined C-shaped guardrooms set into the inturns. The inner rampart being stone faced.
?Early 4thc BC period of occupation; inner ditch cleaned out followed by deliberate burning of fort.
?Late 2nd c BC double bank ditch, simple inner entrance, perhaps unfinished.
?Late 1st c AD RB pottery of this date found in outer ditch indicating occupation.
?Late 4th c AD stone foundations of a 10ft square RB building, (the floor of which contained 20 coins, ranging in date from the 3rd to 4th c AD were set upon the filled-in inner ditch near the inner entrance causeway.
In the 18thc the inner bank was heightened and inner ditch deepened; walling put round the summit of the inner bank for landscape gardening. Finds of early IA sherds dating from 6th to 2ndc BC, together with a bronze ring. (2)
"Numerous Roman coins have been turned up here of late in the process of agricultural cultivation". (3)
A plateau fort under permanent pasture and in fair condition despite many minor mutilations to the ramparts. See 1:2500
survey revised. The feature shown on Auth 2's plan and marked barrow is landscaping. (4) Nothing visible on air photographs. (5) No change to report of 10 2 70. Survey transferred to 1:2500 MSD. (6)
Hill Fort (SP 526348). The possibility that the fort was the centre of a large Iron Age estate which remained intact into the medieval period has been suggested. [RCHM plan and profile]. (7-8) SP 526 348. Rainsborough. Listed in gazetteer as a multivallate hillfort covering 2.5ha. (9) Rainsborough or Charlton Camp. Additional reference with plan. (10)
SP 53704546. Discovered during field investigation. A mound under pasture with a maximum diameter of 20.0m and a height of 0.7m; a surrounding slight non-surveyable ditch is visible - particularly on the east flank. Located on the crest of a spur about 160.0 a.s.l., its isolated position (no access roads/tracks are visible on OS air photographs (a), and general appearance suggest it to be a bowl barrow rather than a mill mound. CRO maps consulted; no informative information.
Surveyed on 1:2500 MSD. (1) Windmill Mound (SP 53704546) in the N of the parish, on Upper Lias Clay at 145 m. above OD. It is surrounded by ridge-and-furrow, but as it has been ploughed over in recent times (local inf) it is no longer possible to be certain whether the ridges pass under or around the mound. The field in which it stands was known as Windmill Ground in 1806. It has been interpreted elsewhere as a round barrow, but is more likely to be a windmill mound. (2)
(SP 7508 6774). Tumulus (NR) ('Longman's Hill' (NAT) printed adjacent). (1)
...The hill called Longman's Hill, being of an oblong shape about ten yards wide and not encompassed with a ditch. (2)
The remains of a tumulus called on Eyre's map of the County 'Lyman's Hill'. Upon cutting through it some years ago to widen the road skeletons were found. (3)
There is every reason to regard this as a genuine Long Barrow, probably of the unchambered type. Oblong, about 100 ft in length, about 30 ft wide, 7-8 ft high at the east end and 5-6 ft at the west. A farmer is said to have removed a quantity of bones from the east end and among the earth bones were found. (4)
Fourteen urns containing ashes and bones and portions of fused glass were recovered in 1882 from an area about 90 yards in length by 10 yards in width in a field adjoining Brampton Lane in Pitsford. Half of the urns were plain and half decorated, pieces of 'brass' were also recovered. (Dryden's note is headed 'A Roman Tumulus a Pitsford'. Otherwise he make no reference to a tumulus but simply describes and sketches the objects found. He does not refer to Longman's (or Lyman's) Hill by name, but his siting description, the oblong dimensions, and the lack of other barrows in the vicinity make it virtually certain that this was the place. His sketches show one plain and one decorated Saxon Urn, two pieces of glass (one apparently most of a claw beaker) and a split socket spear head some 15 inches long). (5)
An oblong moumd, surveyed at 1/2500. It has been much disturbed by road and gardens and in its present form (preserved by the Local Council with a plaque saying it is a Bronze Age barrow) is unclassifiable without excavation. As it was oblong when Morton wrote, that presumably was its original shape, but I do not think it was a Long Barrow, and all the finds suggest that it was concerned with a Saxon Cemetery and nothing else. (6) No change. (7) RCHM plan and additional references. (8)
(SP 6317 5657) to SP 6328 5680) EARTHWORKS (LB) (1)
On the N side of the road to Stowe, where it bends to the NE, is an entrenchment in a foss cover. It consists of a double trenched foss, c 6" deep. (2) "In the Earl of Danby's time (c 1600) there were two parks at Stowe, contiguous with each other, well stocked with deer, which upon the complaint of the tenants have since been converted to another use". (The double ditch could well be the remains of a deer leap). (3) Although scheduled under secular works and sites (a) this feature is not an antiquity. The earthworks comprise three parallel banks apparently made up of soil and spoil. This is a typical result of a particular kind of surface quarrying which involves clearing a relatively small working area spread over a broad front. Similar workings on a larger industrial scale are to be seen in this county east of Corby. Published survey cancelled.(a) (4) RCHM rejects interpretation of the linear earthworks (centred SP 6325 5670) as a result of quarrying, or that they are 19th century military works for cannon associated with Weedon Barracks, or a medieval warren. A more acceptable explanation is that they are part of a linear boundary of prehistoric date, possibly reused at a later date as part of a deer park boundary (SP 65 NW 29). [RCHM plan and profile]. Air photographs show that the feature continued N.E. for at least 180m (5)
(SP 74716589) Tumulus (AT) (1)
Photograph of the barrow (?) exhibited in Northampton Museum. (2) Probably a barrow, situated in an arable field. In fair condition, it is tree covered and has been disturbed on top where an excavation was attempted by a student who encountered roots and abandoned the project. No ditch is evident. See annotated 25" survey. (3)
Barrow,pits and ditches(centred SP 74756585),E and SE of Boughton Grange on Northampton Sand at 106m above OD. The mound, which stands on the N edge of the field, is tree covered, and an attempted excavation shortly before 1968 was not completed because of the roots. The mound is 2.2m high and 15m in diam. and no ditch is visible. Two pits or ditches were found in the face of the ironstone quarry in the same field in 1973. From one of these came a sherd of a Neolithic or Bronze Age vessel with a pronounced shoulder-ridge and finger-nail decoration on the collar (SP 74746569). Several worked flints have been found in the same field;air photographs in NMR.(4)
[SP 55934716) Tumulus (LB) Barrow Hill. (1)
There is a barrow below Barrow Hill, one mile N of Sulgrave, on the S side of Banbury Lane. (2)
A bowl barrow located on the crest of Barrow Hill, with a good outlook to the S. It is some 22.0m diameter, and 2.0m high on the N.side, but mutilation by rabbits, etc, has badly distorted its profile on the S.side. On the N.side there is a slight trace of ditch in the lusher vegetation at the base of the mound. AM survey 1:2500. (3)
Mound (SP 5594716) may be the site of a medieval windmill. (4)