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Medieval settlement at Haselbech

A Scheduled Monument in Haselbech, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.3891 / 52°23'20"N

Longitude: -0.9571 / 0°57'25"W

OS Eastings: 471069.712555

OS Northings: 277292.400286

OS Grid: SP710772

Mapcode National: GBR BTF.BT7

Mapcode Global: VHDRC.C6CW

Entry Name: Medieval settlement at Haselbech

Scheduled Date: 14 December 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017184

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30070

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Haselbech

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Haselbech St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the medieval
settlement at Haselbech, located on the summit and slopes of a rounded hill
to the west of the parish church of St Michael.
The village name is first recorded in 1086 as a single manor with a population
of 19 working nine plough teams. Land was held by the Bishop of Salisbury and
the Earl of Leicester. The lack of medieval records for the settlement
suggests that it remained small. By the late 16th century much of the parish
had passed into the hands of the Tresham family, and around 1559 over 700
acres of common field were enclosed and some 60 people were evicted. A map of
the period depicts the village at its largest extent, including roads to the
east and south west of the church, when about 25 separate farmsteads, houses
or cottages lined the roads and a number of empty crofts (or garden
enclosures) existed. During the 17th century the present hall was built, and
31 householders still paid the hearth tax. By the 18th century there were 24
houses in the parish, and in 1773 a park was laid out around the hall. At the
same time the road to the east of the church was closed and all the houses
along it were removed. In addition all the houses along the road west of the
church and some to the south of Naseby Road were demolished to provide a view
from the hall leaving only nine buildings surviving in the vicinity of the
settlement, a further four of which were removed in the 19th century.
The earthwork remains of the settlement survive up to 0.5m in height, and
include a broad hollow way measuring up to 1m deep. This hollow way crosses
the site from north to south along its western edge and appears to have acted
as a back lane to the settlement, forming a crossroads with Harborough Way and
Naseby Road. To the east of the hollow way, and arranged in an irregular grid
pattern, are the remains of earthen building platforms set within embanked
enclosures, or crofts, which represent the house and garden sites of the
settlement. The house platforms are best preserved at the northern end of the
hollow way. At its southern end the hollow way meets a second hollow way
aligned east to west, running at right angles and joining Northampton Way.
This second lane is depicted on the 16th century maps and appears to have
acted as a route to the common fields surrounding the settlement. To the south
of the second lane is a large square enclosure, measuring approximately 80m
across, formed by a deep ditch which measures up to 1.5m deep and 3m wide.
This may represent the location of a high status dwelling, or farmstead. The
remains of at least four other building platforms are arranged in an irregular
grid and separated by a shallow hollow way to the south and east of the large
enclosure. These remains are partly overlain by medieval ridge and furrow
cultivation remains. This area was shown devoid of settlement on the 16th
century maps and this may represent an earlier phase of abandonment prior to
the establishment of the hall.
All modern post and wire fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity
in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains
needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been
divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive
mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided
into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have
gradually evolved during the last 1500 years or more.
This monument lies in the East Midlands sub-Province of the Central Province,
an area characterised in the Middle Ages by large numbers of nucleated
settlements. The sites of many of these settlements are now occupied by modern
villages, but others have been partially or wholly deserted and are marked by
earthwork remains. Most of these settlements were first documented in the 11th
century, in Domesday Book. The southern part of the sub-Province has greater
variety of settlement, with dispersed farmsteads and hamlets intermixed with
the villages. Whilst some of the dispersed settlements are post-medieval,
others may represent much older farming landscapes.
The Soar Valley and Nene Plateau local region comprises the low hill country
of the Soar Valley and, to the south east, a low plateau dissected by the
tributaries of the Nene and Welland. Nucleated villages and hamlets dominate
the region, but gaps are found within the pattern in Rockingham Forest, in
Rutland and in High Leicestershire where they are linked to the location of
woodland in and before the 11th century.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, sited at the centre
of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and
woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but when they survive as earthworks
their most distinguishing features include roads and minor tracks, platforms
on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and
small enclosed paddocks. They frequently included the parish church within
their boundaries, and as part of the manorial system most villages included
one or more manorial centres which may survive also as visible remains as well
as below ground deposits. In the central province of England, villages were
the most distinctive aspect of rural life, and their archaeological remains
are one of the most important sources of understanding about rural life in the
five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest.
The medieval settlement at Haselbech is represented by an area of well defined
earthworks and associated buried remains, in which evidence for the nature of
the settlement will be preserved. The later phases of the settlement at
Haselbech are well documented and records demonstrate several phases of
The crofts and building platforms will contain buried evidence for houses,
barns and other structures, accompanied by a range of boundaries, refuse
pits, wells and drainage channels, all related to the development of the
settlement. Artefacts in association with the buildings will provide further
insights into the lifestyle of the inhabitants and assist in dating settlement
changes through time. Environmental evidence may also be preserved,
illustrating the economy of the settlement and providing further information
about its agricultural regime.

Source: Historic England


RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical monuments in Northamptonshire, Northamptonshire,
Various SMR Officers, Various unpublished note in SMR, SMR Number 4351

Source: Historic England

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