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Abandoned Medieval Village of Little Oxendon

A Scheduled Monument in Great Oxendon, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.4557 / 52°27'20"N

Longitude: -0.9267 / 0°55'36"W

OS Eastings: 473030.2032

OS Northings: 284739.094594

OS Grid: SP730847

Mapcode National: GBR BSQ.0JK

Mapcode Global: VHDQZ.WJGS

Entry Name: Abandoned Medieval Village of Little Oxendon

Scheduled Date: 23 May 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1418685

County: Northamptonshire

Civil Parish: Great Oxendon

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: The TransfigurationSt Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Leicester


Remains of the medieval village of Little Oxendon and associated ridge and furrow.

Source: Historic England


The monument includes the earthworks and buried archaeological remains of the medieval village of Little Oxendon, and associated ridge and furrow to the north-west and south-east. The village site is laid to pasture; a golf course is located on the ridge and furrow.

Little Oxendon is situated on high ground that slopes gently down to the north-east, and falls steeply into a narrow valley on both the north and south-east sides. The remains of the village are preserved under permanent pasture. The earthworks consist of a main hollow way aligned north-east south-west along the spine of the spur, with the sites of former buildings set in rectangular closes on either side. At its north-east end the hollow way fades out and cannot be traced much beyond the village itself. At the south-west end, beyond the area of protection, it continues as a broad, flat, open track between blocks of ridge and furrow. Within the village itself the hollow way is between 1m and 2m deep and is flanked by a number of shallow depressions, presumably building platforms. These depressions are separated by low banks which extend down the hillsides and represent some of the original close boundaries. In two places, low banks mark the ends of the closes towards the north-east end of the village. On the north-west side the closes have been over-ploughed by later ridge and furrow.

On the north side of the hollow way is a large rectangular enclosure measuring c.100m by c.54m, centred at SP7305784684, which is bounded by a ditch up to 1m high with an internal bank on the west and north east sides. The interior of the enclosure contains several shallow depressions and, in the east corner, a large rectangular embanked feature, probably the platform of a stone building. This enclosure may be the site of the manor house or chapel. Just to the east of the enclosure at SP7299584705 is a prominent flat and circular terraced area which was a former golf green.

In the bottom of the valley to the south-east of the village are the remains of two small ponds, cut into the valley sides, which may have been fishponds or millponds or both. The area is now overgrown but, according to the RCHME, the original dams have been almost completely cut away though the ends of both survive.

The village is surrounded by extensive areas of well-preserved ridge and furrow. The scheduling includes a small field to the south-east (but not the south part which has been quarried and landscaped by the golf course) and part of a much larger field to the north-west, providing a representative sample of interlocking furlongs going in different directions with surviving headlands. The ridge and furrow is overlaid with features relating to the golf course, including bunkers, tees and greens, as well as some tree planting.

The area of protection includes the site of the abandoned medieval village, defined on the south-west and north-east by hedges marking field boundaries, and the contiguous areas of ridge and furrow to the north-west and south-east. The following features are excluded from the scheduling: modern paths and track surfaces, fences, signs, and all of the bunkers and equipment pertaining to the golf course although the ground beneath all of these is included.

There is considerable potential for undesignated (but potentially nationally important) remains to survive outside the scheduled monument, particularly relating to the areas of ridge and furrow to the south and north-east.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The medieval village site at Little Oxendon and associated ridge and furrow is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* Survival: for the exceptional earthworks and ridge and furrow depicting the form and plan of the settlement and its associated agricultural practices;

* Diversity: for the range and complexity of well preserved features, such as the hollow way, crofts and tofts with building platforms, fishponds, and ridge and furrow, which provide a clear plan of the settlement and retain significant stratified deposits providing details of the continuity and change in the evolution of the settlement;

* 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 historical and archaeological documentation pertaining to the settlement’s evolution, and the invaluable wider archaeological, topographical and historical research which has given Northamptonshire particular prominence in broader discussions of the medieval landscape and prompted key ideas in our understanding of medieval settlement in England;

* Group value: for its association with well-preserved samples of ridge and furrow contiguous with Little Oxendon which have interlocking furlongs going in different directions with surviving headlands, thus providing important evidence of the agricultural practices upon which the settlement relied.

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)
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)
Prentice, J, Market Harborough Golf Club: The First 100 Years , (1998)
Roberts, B K, Wrathmell, S, An Atlas of Rural Settlement in England, (2003)
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)
'Transactions of the Leicester Archaeological Society, II, pp.258-60' in Transactions of the Leicester Archaeological Society, II, pp.258-60, (1870)
'Journal of the Northamptonshire Natural History Society and Field Club' in Journal of the Northamptonshire Natural History Society and Field Club, (1932)
Northamptonshire Historic Environment Record (HER),

Source: Historic England

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