Ancient Monuments

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Medieval village of Faxton

A Scheduled Monument in Old, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.371 / 52°22'15"N

Longitude: -0.8475 / 0°50'51"W

OS Eastings: 478559.649199

OS Northings: 275393.77662

OS Grid: SP785753

Mapcode National: GBR BTS.8K7

Mapcode Global: VHDRF.8N9S

Entry Name: Medieval village of Faxton

Scheduled Date: 30 October 1956

Last Amended: 21 May 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003899

English Heritage Legacy ID: NN 109

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Old

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Lamport with Faxton All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


Site of medieval settlement of Faxton, first documented in Domesday Book of 1086.

Source: Historic England


The monument is located between two south flowing streams, on the slopes of a spur of land which lies between 138m and 114m above OD. The top of the spur is capped in Northampton Sand but at the northern end this is overlaid by Boulder Clay.

The village comprises a series of earthwork, buried and standing remains surrounding the property now known as Ladyholme. The maps of 1746 help to interpret the archaeological remains of the settlement by providing the spatial and landscape context of the evidence.

Immediately to the south, within an area of thinly planted conifers, are the well defined remains of an 'L'- shaped ditch up to 2.5m deep with both an internal and external bank up to 1m high and a causeway to the south. These are understood to represent the north-west half of a moat which probably surrounded the site of the manor house. The southern and eastern arms were visible when surveyed by the Royal Commission (RCHME 1981, p120) but this area has since been ploughed. Earthworks of the manor house were also recorded by the RCHME and although these have mainly been levelled by the plough a considerable amount of stone evident within the plough soil indicates the archaeological potential for the survival of some structural remains below. A low bank still marks the southern edge of the manor house site and although degraded and rather diminished since the RCHME survey the bank still links the southern edge of the moat and the site of the church enclosure further to the east.

The site of the church is defined by a low wall which stands up to three courses high and is visible on all four sides of the enclosure. Within the enclosure a sundial and pedestal has been placed on a stone plinth to mark the position of the former altar. The sundial and pedestal are relatively recent additions but the plinth appears to be part of a medieval font or cross base. The ground level within the church enclosure is up to c.75m higher than the surrounding fields and indicates a high level of potential for the survival of further buried structural remains. East of the church is a dense conifer plantation, access here is difficult but it is clear that the ground level within the plantation is up to c.1.2m higher than the surrounding field. This is the site of the former Rectory Farm, an early C17 building, and another building both of which are shown on the map of 1746.

Ladyholme is a late C19 dwelling rebuilt from earlier estate cottages and situated within the croft of an earlier building present on the map of 1746 and remained there until just after 1874. To the east are a series of well defined earthworks standing up to 0.4m high depicting a row of four small closes or crofts which run at right angles to the current farm track. Three of these closes had buildings standing in them in 1746, one of which survived until the late C19, but the other two had been demolished by 1840. Despite some small scale quarrying in this field evidence of building platforms still survives on the southern edge. East of the closes is a footpath which represents the main medieval road running north-east out of the village. At the northern end of this, before the footpath turns to the west, are the standing remains of a brick-built cottage, known as Cliffdale Cottage, which was occupied until the 1930's. Although the above ground remains suggest a C19 structure it stands on the site of earlier buildings shown on all maps from 1746 onwards. Approximately 360m north of Cliffdale Cottage the lane opens out into a broad hollow way running to the north-east, this is marked on the 1746 map as the 'Road to Mawsley Wood'. The hollow way survives to a depth of c.1.25m with well defined ridge and furrow (the remains of medieval ploughing), representing several furlongs (fields) lying on either side with ridges up to 0.5m in height.

The track leading to Ladyholme lies on the line of a earlier road which was shown on the 1746 map as the 'road to Lamport'. On the north side of the track and west of Ladyholme a small field was the site of at least four closes or crofts extending north from the track, with four more to the north of them (RCHME, p120 fig. 93). Earthworks are still visible but difficult to distinguish due to the height of the vegetation at the time of the visit. A converted barn to the west of this field is all that remains of a farm shown on all the maps since 1746. West of the barn the track forks, one branch continues west as the 'road to Lamport' whilst the other turns north as a grassed track which is marked on the 1746 map as the 'road to Orton'. On the eastern side of the track, lying between it and the ridge and furrow, are a series of rectangular crofts which, from aerial photographic evidence (English Heritage, 2013), suggest at least some contain building platforms. The earthworks here survive up to c.0.5m.

The scheduled area aims to protect the remaining earthworks, buried deposits and standing structures relating to the medieval settlement and its associated field system at Faxton. The southern edge of the area of protection begins in the south-east corner at the tip of a small plantation. The line follows the southern boundary of the plantation to the west to include the site of Rectory Farm and the church. At the western end of the plantation the line cuts across the open field following a newly planted hedge line to meet with the southern edge of another plantation. Here the line follows the western side of the plantation but includes a 5m boundary beyond the edge of the moat earthworks which is considered necessary for the support and preservation of the monument. The scheduling boundary then continues north, crossing the track and skirting around the converted barn and its associated yard. The area of protection then encompasses the whole of the field immediately north of Ladyholme, following the existing boundaries on all sides although on the southern edge of this field the line turns south 3m east of the sunken track to ensure the standing remains of Cliffdale Cottage are incorporated into the scheduled area. The line continues south, over the track, until it meets the northern boundary of the plantation. The scheduling boundary then follows the edge of the plantation to the east. Ladyholme and its associated structures are outside the area of protection.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling: these include all fences, modern paths and road surfaces, although the ground beneath all these features is included.

There is potential for undesignated heritage assets to survive outside the scheduled area but these are considered to be most appropriately managed through the National Planning Policy Framework (March 2012) and are not therefore included in the scheduling.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The abandoned medieval village of Faxton, first documented in Domesday Book of 1086, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: for the well preserved earthworks, buried and standing structures depicting the form and plan of the settlement and its associated agricultural practices;

* Potential: for the stratified archaeological deposits which retain considerable potential to increase our understanding of the physical characteristics of the buildings and settlement. Buried artefacts will also have the potential to increase our knowledge and understanding of the social and economic functioning of the settlement within the wider medieval landscape;

* Documentation: for the particularly high level of historical and archaeological documentation pertaining to the settlement’s evolution;

* Diversity: for the range and complexity of features such as the moated manorial centre, church, Rectory Farm, Cliffdale Cottage, tofts, crofts, hollow ways, and ridge and furrow which will, taken as a whole, provide a clear plan of the settlement and retain significant stratified deposits which serve to provide details of the continuity and change in the evolution of the village.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Allison, K J, Beresford, M W, Hurst, J G, The Deserted Villages of Northamptonshire, (1966)
Astill, G, Grant, A, The Countryside of Medieval England, (1988)
Aston, M, Austin, D, Dyer, C(eds), The Rural Settlements of Medieval England: Studies dedicated to Maurice Beresford and John Hurst, (1989)
Bridges, J, The History and Antiquities of Northamptonshire, (1791)
Christie, N, Stamper, P (eds), Medieval Rural Settlement: Britain and Ireland AD 800-1600, (2012)
Dyer, C, Jones, R, Deserted Villages Revisited, (2010)
Hall, D, Turning the Plough. Midland Open Fields;landscape character and proposals for management, (2001)
Hall, D, The Open Fields of Northamptonshire, (1995)
Lewis, C, Mitchell-Fox, P, Dyer, C , Village, Hamlet and Field: Changing Medieval Settlements in Central England, (1997)
Partida, T, Hall, D, Foard, G, An Atlas of Northamptonshire The Medieval and Early-Modern Landscape, (2013)
Roberts, , Wrathmell, , An Atlas of Rural Settlement in England, (2000)
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England, , An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Northamptonshire III, (1981)
Williamson, T., Partida, T, Champion. The Making and Unmaking of the English Midland Landscape, (2013)
Northamptonshire Historic Environment Record (HER),

Source: Historic England

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