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Upton medieval village and C17 garden earthworks

A Scheduled Monument in Upton, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.2328 / 52°13'58"N

Longitude: -0.9521 / 0°57'7"W

OS Eastings: 471659.407522

OS Northings: 259922.335476

OS Grid: SP716599

Mapcode National: GBR BW6.S51

Mapcode Global: VHDS4.G40M

Entry Name: Upton medieval village and C17 garden earthworks

Scheduled Date: 27 June 1977

Last Amended: 12 September 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006639

English Heritage Legacy ID: NN 165

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Upton

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Duston St Luke

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


Abandoned areas of the medieval settlement of Upton, first documented in Domesday of 1086.

Source: Historic England


The scheduling includes the earthwork and buried archaeological remains of the abandoned medieval settlement of Upton, its associated fish ponds, ridge and furrow and terraces of a former garden possibly relating to the C17 Park House.

The earthwork and buried archaeological remains of the abandoned medieval village of Upton lie on a river gravel terrace just north of the River Nene flood plain, on the east side of Northampton, recently linked by a large suburban housing development known as Upton New Town.

The earthworks of the deserted medieval village are aligned to a central north-south running hollow way c.1m deep forming the main street of the village. Closes or crofts are aligned on either side of the street, bounded by low scarps, with most containing traces of buildings (tofts), defined by low sub-rectangular terraces. The west side of the crofts and tofts is bounded by a scarp 0.25m high. The east side has a hollow way or ditch 0.5m deep which may once have served as a back lane. At the north end the settlement remains are overlain by the earthwork remains of a former garden. The garden remains comprise a series of low terraces 0.5m high which lie across the north end of the village earthworks. To the north-east of the garden remains is a large rectangular area bounded by low banks c.0.4m high. Whilst banks at the west end form a broad terrace or raised path. These are understood to define a formal terrace garden dating from the late C16 or early C17, laid out possibly by the Knightley family or more probably by the Samwell family. The RCHME suggests that the gardens may have been associated with a detached garden house (now Park House) as they are some distance from Upton Hall.

Beyond the western boundary of the tofts and crofts, and immediately to the west of the currently scheduled area, are a series of earthworks depicting several furlongs of ridge and furrow. In one particular area ridge and furrow appears to overlie earlier headlands, providing evidence of at least two phases of ploughing patterns. Running east to west along the southern edge of this central field is a wide hollow way defined along its northern edge by a very clear headland feature, it links the tofts and crofts at the eastern end with a water-filled pond. The pond forms part of a series of five fish ponds running north to south through the parkland, following the current line of a small stream. The northernmost pond is very circular in plan and continues to retain water. This is evident on the 1st edition OS map of 1886 and appears to relate to the designed landscape associated with Upton Hall. Three further ponds to the south survive as clearly defined earthworks, rectangular in plan and up to 1.5m deep with dams evident at the southern end of at least two of the compartments. Although there is evidence of seasonal waterlogging the ponds are now dry, all but the stream which follows the line of the ponds. A fifth pond lies at the southern end of the chain of ponds; this large irregular pond, is water-filled and has been damaged by later alterations and dumping. It is cut across its west end by the C18th/19th estate wall. A rectangular basin in the north-east corner was recorded in the RCHME survey and interpreted as a possible breeding tank. This was not evident during the site visit possibly due to the height of vegetation, particularly reeds. There are further mounds and scarps to the east and north-east.

The area of protection is defined on the east, south and west sides by a ruinous stone estate wall, although parts of the wall on the southern boundary have recently undergone restoration. The northern edge of the scheduled area is defined by a field boundary fence which separates the pasture from the grounds of Quinton House School. The remains of the estate wall is included in the scheduling as is a 1m buffer zone around the wall which is considered necessary for the support and preservation of the monument. The scheduled area is used as permanent pasture for sheep and horses, with a number of small paddocks defined by electric fencing. All modern fences and posts are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath them is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The medieval village site at Upton, first documented in Domesday of 1086, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Survival: for the well defined and particularly complete record of an abandoned medieval settlement and the remains of associated ridge and furrow 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. The fishponds provide the necessary conditions for preservation of historic environmental data and organic artefacts such as wood and leather;
* Documentation: for the high level of historical and archaeological documentation pertaining to the settlement’s evolution;
* Group value: for its close proximity to other related, contemporary, designated monuments such as the Church of St Michael (Grade I) and scheduled medieval cross base;
* Diversity: for the range and complexity of features such as building platforms, crofts, trackways, ridge and furrow, fishponds, C17 garden remains and the estate wall which, 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 settlement.

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)
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)
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, , An Inventory of Archaeological sites in central Northamptonshire, (1979)

Source: Historic England

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