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Site of medieval village of Stutchbury

A Scheduled Monument in Greatworth, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.0914 / 52°5'28"N

Longitude: -1.1698 / 1°10'11"W

OS Eastings: 456975.398842

OS Northings: 243995.813825

OS Grid: SP569439

Mapcode National: GBR 8TZ.YWH

Mapcode Global: VHCW4.NPYM

Entry Name: Site of medieval village of Stutchbury

Scheduled Date: 9 October 2015

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1418385

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Greatworth

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Helmdon St Mary Magdelene with Stuchbury and Radstone

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough


The earthwork and buried remains of the medieval village of Stutchbury.

Source: Historic England


The monument includes the earthwork and buried archaeological remains of the medieval village of Stutchbury. The site is situated on the north side of a broad valley cut into the Upper Lias Clay with limestone overlaid with Boulder Clay on higher slopes. As a result, naturally occurring springs form around the site producing areas of marshy ground.

The settlement remains are arranged around a broadly ‘t’ shaped system of principal hollow ways, the main street being the bridleway (with open access to all vehicles) running southwards from Stutchbury Hall which, until recently, had a stone cobbled surface. The earthwork remains of the banks of the hollow ways approaching from the east, west and north are apparent to the north of the main drive to the Hall, in the field to the north-east known as Weston’s Piece and at the north boundary of the field immediately east of the main street. Earthworks of enclosures and building platforms survive up to approximately 1.5m in Weston’s Piece; this field is reputed locally to be the site of the parish Church of St John and it is from near here that the fragment of carved reredos was discovered. However, aerial photographic evidence of buried archaeological deposits apparent as cropmarks indicate a large enclosure with a centrally positioned east-west aligned structure further to the east of house sites on the east side of the main lane; it is possible that these represent the site of the church.

To the east of the main street are slighter earthworks approximately 0.5m high marking the position of tofts (buildings) and crofts (gardens), the archaeological remains of which will also survive below ground. Immediately to the south of Stutchbury Hall and its farmyard, the earthwork of one arm and the return of a possible moat, perhaps associated with the earlier Manor, survive particularly well. To the south lie earthworks of hollow ways, building platforms and ponds on a spring line, linked by possible drainage channels to a sequence of two or possibly three fish ponds which lie further south, adjacent to a small watercourse. It is likely that these are contemporary with the village. The west pond has a dam which consists of a bank 1m high with a shallow ditch on its west side from which the material to construct the dam was obtained. The central pond is better defined with low scarps and a low bank or dam at its east end. Within this pond are two raised platforms joined by low banks; these may have been islands but if so they would have been very close to the water level. There may have been a third pond to the east again bounded by low scarps and a possible dam. The latter is now only a slight limestone-rubble bank and may have been an embanked track rather than a dam. A C20 drainage channel crosses the centre of the fishponds from east to west.

The area of protection includes the field to the north-east of Stutchbury Hall known as Weston's Piece and the field immediately to its south. At the boundary with the ploughed field further to the south, the area of protection heads west to the bridleway, following its eastern side southwards until it meets with the stream. The area of protection then heads west, following the northern bank of the stream so that it includes the fish ponds, before heading north at the western extent of the fishpond earthworks, skirting around the eastern boundary of the former osiery bed until it meets with the southern edge of the farmyard. The area of protection follows the yard's boundary eastwards until it meets with the bridleway, when it heads northwards following the western boundary of the bridleway and continues following the western boundary of the farm track, crossing the track at the southern boundary of the field to the south of Stutchbury Lodge, continuing eastwards until it meets with the south-west boundary of Weston's Piece.

The surface of the farm track north of Stutchbury Hall and the bridleway, all fences, posts and gates are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath them is included. The garden area at Stutchbury Hall and its farmyard are not included in the scheduling.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The medieval village site at Stutchbury, Helmdon, Northamptonshire, is a scheduled monument for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: for the exceptional earthworks and waterlogged deposits depicting the form and plan of the settlement and the fish ponds to the south of it;
* 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, evidence for the parish church and the fish ponds 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)
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)

Source: Historic England

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