Ancient Monuments

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Site of the medieval settlement of Kirby

A Scheduled Monument in Woodend, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.1408 / 52°8'26"N

Longitude: -1.0728 / 1°4'22"W

OS Eastings: 463550.833335

OS Northings: 249567.07142

OS Grid: SP635495

Mapcode National: GBR 9VV.RLJ

Mapcode Global: VHCW0.CG67

Entry Name: Site of the medieval settlement of Kirby

Scheduled Date: 23 May 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1418356

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Woodend

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Blakesley St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


Earthworks and buried archaeological deposits of the abandoned medieval village of Kirby.

Source: Historic England


The monument includes the earthworks and buried archaeological deposits of the abandoned medieval village of Kirby, also known as Kirby Grounds, on a limestone and clay plateau lying at approximately 120m above sea level. At the time of the assessment (2013) the monument is under permanent pasture.

The principal feature of the site is a broad hollow way approximately 9m wide and 200m in length, leading north-eastwards from the farmhouse, the bank of which survives to a maximum of 1.5m high. The hollow way divides at the north-east end and presumably once continued into the fields beyond.

This hollow way was the main street of the village and is lined on either side by pronounced earthworks of tofts and crofts. At the time of the RCHME survey the stone rubble walls of two and possibly three crofts surrounding house platforms were observed, indicating the good archaeological potential of the site. At the north-east end three parallel ditched features in an area 55m wide may represent drainage channels whilst at the north-west corner is a slight triangular depression interpreted as a fish pond. The pond measures approximately 53m long and 26m at its widest point, and is associated with channels to the east and west.

The monument is located in a field defined by post and rail fences and hedgerows to the north of Hootens farmhouse, centred at SP63514955. All fences and posts are excluded from the monument, although the ground beneath them is included. The south-west boundary of the scheduled area diverts eastwards from the field's edge to exclude a modern, regularly dredged, large pond and the surrounding area before returning southwards to meet the rear boundary of the farmhouse garden. This part of the field has been disturbed by drainage and grading works as part of the steading’s current water management system, compromising the survival of archaeological deposits.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The medieval village site at Kirby Grounds, Woodend, Northamptonshire, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: for the exceptional earthworks and waterlogged deposits depicting the form and plan of the settlement and fish pond;
* 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 high level of historical and archaeological documentation pertaining to the settlement’s evolution;
* Diversity: for the range and complexity of features such as building platforms, crofts, trackways and the fish pond 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 and status of its inhabitants.

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)
Partida, T, Hall, D, Foard, G, An Atlas of Northamptonshire The Medieval and Early-Modern Landscape, (2013)
Roberts, B K, Wrathmell, S, An Atlas of Rural Settlement in England, (2003)
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England, , The County of Northamptonshire, (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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