English Heritage


Year published


Supporting documents




Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'Harringworth', An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Northamptonshire, Volume 1: Archaeological sites in North-East Northamptonshire (1975), pp. 48-52. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=126245 Date accessed: 16 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


(Min 3 characters)



(OS 1:10000 a SP 99 NW, b SP 99 SW)

The parish lies on the S. side of the Welland Valley, covering some 1380 hectares. From the R. Welland, here about 130 ft. above OD, the land rises steeply across the outcrops of the Upper Lias Clay to a generally flat upland at about 350 ft. above OD underlain by limestone, which in the extreme S. of the parish is covered by Boulder Clay.

The prehistoric enclosure (1), almost certainly a small settlement, is a rare survival in the area; it has remained intact largely because the heavy clay land on which it lies was pasture, common to the parishes of Bulwick and Harringworth until recent times.

Elsewhere the Roman settlement, iron-working and burials (3, 4 and 5) have been discovered only as a result of modern large-scale ironstone mining, which has probably destroyed other similar sites.

Prehistoric and Roman

b(1) Enclosure (SP 94139475; Figs. 59 and 64), across the parish boundary with Bulwick, in the bottom of a small valley on Boulder Clay, at 300 ft. above OD. The site consists of a small roughly-circular enclosure bounded by a low bank now only 1 m. high with a slight outer ditch. An entrance in the N.W. may be original. It has been ploughed over and is now much reduced in height. There is no evidence for its date or purpose but it is likely to have belonged to the later prehistoric period. Air photographs (in NMR) show what appear to be two linear ditches in the same area; one on the W. ('a' on Fig. 59) passes close to the enclosure, the other on the E. ('b'), ends near its N.E. corner. (BNFAS, 4 (1970), 41; 6 (1971), 14 and pl. 4 (1))

b(2) Enclosure (SP 93889493; Fig. 64), 300 m. N.W. of (1) on the N. side of the valley, on Boulder Clay at just over 300 ft. above OD. It has been totally destroyed by later activity and modern ploughing and is only just visible on air photographs taken in 1947. It then consisted of a circular area, 230 m. in diam. bounded by a low bank and outer ditch. No definite entrances or interior features are visible. The markedly eastward bend in the modern road may be explained by the existence of this enclosure. There is no evidence for its date or purpose, but it is probably contemporary with (1). A polished stone axe and a stone mace-head have been found in the area to the N.W. at SP 936949. (BNFAS, 4 (1970), 40–1; RAF VAP CPE/UK 1925, 1139–41). See also (10) below.

a(3) Roman burials (SP 92429667). Two stone coffins and some Roman pottery were found during ironstone working in 1932 and 1933, 1 km. S.E. of the village on limestone at 350 ft. above OD. One coffin was removed to the churchyard where it now lies. (J. Northants. Nat. Hist. Soc. Field Club XXV (1931–2), 144; XXVII (1933–4), 91)

a(4) Roman settlement (SP 935980), found in 1968 during ironstone quarrying, lies in the E. of the parish on the upper slopes of the Welland Valley at 300 ft. above OD on limestone. A series of ditches and pits, as well as corn-drying ovens, was discovered, together with pottery of the 3rd and 4th centuries. Immediately to the E. is a large Pagan-Saxon cemetery (see Wakerley (3)). (BNFAS, 4 (1970), 40)

a(5) Roman iron-working site (SP 924959) found in 1972 during ironstone mining, lay S. of the village on limestone at 325 ft. above OD. A ditch, containing 1st and 2nd-century Roman pottery and large quantities of iron slag, was discovered (BNFAS, 8 (1973), 6).

For another possible Roman iron-working site, see (12).

Fig. 59 Harringworth (1) Enclosure

Fig. 60 Harringworth (6) Settlement remains

Medieval and Later

a(6) Settlement remains (SP 91859718; Figs. 60 and 63) formerly part of Harringworth village lie on either side of the deeply-hollowed modern road to Laxton on the steep S. side of the Welland Valley, between 175 ft. and 250 ft. above OD. Several clearly defined closes, bounded by low banks and scarps, still exist, some with building platforms within them. On the W. side of the site a series of deep hollow-ways has cut into, and partly destroyed, the W. ends of the former closes. The date of abandonment is unknown but it had already taken place by 1732 (NRO, map of Harringworth). Elsewhere in the village are individual abandoned house sites, between existing buildings, on both sides of the main street. Two of these were still occupied by buildings in 1732, but most had already been abandoned by that date. (RAF VAP CPE/UK 1924, 3143–4)

a(7) Settlement remains (SP 92609720; Figs. 61 and 63) forming part of the hamlet of Shotley, lie S. of the existing hamlet on either side of a deeply-cut hollow-way which is the abandoned continuation of the present main street. The site is in a small valley, on limestone at 200 ft. above OD. It consists of a number of ill-defined paddocks or closes, bounded by low banks, with traces of former buildings within them. Several other hollow-ways branch off the main one. The name Shotley is first recorded in 1430, but is presumably much older (PN Northants., 168; RAF VAP CPE/UK 1925, 3131–3).

a(8) Fishpond (SP 91809757; Fig. 62) immediately N. of the Manor House on the edge of the R. Welland. It consists of a roughly cross-shaped pond 1.5 m. deep, linked to a branch of the river by a narrow channel but much altered and mutilated.

ab(9) Deer park (centred SP 922953; Figs. 63 and 64) lies across the S. part of the parish, mainly on Boulder Clay, between 350 ft. and 300 ft. above OD. It dates from the first half of the 13th century, when one William de Cantelupe 'obtained licence to enclose and throw into a park that part of Harringworth Wood named Stockes extending by the common field as far as Langlegh trench' (J. Bridges, Hist. of Northants., II (1791), 316). The subsequent history of the park is not known but the area was still called Harringworth Park in 1732 (NRO, map of Harringworth).

The area covered by the park is unknown, for owing to conflicting evidence its actual boundary and size are not clear. The N. boundary still exists in part but much of it has recently been destroyed by ironstone mining. It can be traced, on the ground, or on air photographs, from the Laxton-Harringworth parish boundary (SP 94199608) westwards along an existing hedge line which formerly marked the S. edge of Lodge Field, one of the open fields of the parish. At the junction between the former Lodge Field and Walker Well Field (SP 92309596), the boundary has a clearly defined bank, 10 m. wide and 1.5 m. high, with traces of an inner ditch; it leaves the present hedge and runs S.W. past Park Lodge to a point 350 m. S.W. of the Lodge (SP 91179511). There the bank bifurcates. One part continues S.W., following an existing hedge as far as the Gretton parish boundary, and then turns S.E. whence it follows the boundary as far as the N.W. corner of Mavis Wood (SP 92309382). At this point the boundary is no longer traceable, but if the bank is the limit of the park, this presumably ran along the parish boundary with Bulwick as far as the DeeneHarringworth road (SP 93769443). Just W. of the road are traces of the bank on the edge of Geese Wood. Further N., on the W. side of the road where it bends E. to avoid the prehistoric enclosure (2), are further traces of a low bank and inner ditch. The boundary then may have turned E. to meet the Laxton parish boundary but no trace now exists.

Fig. 61 Harringworth (7) Settlement remains of Shotley

The other part of the bank which leaves the one described above, S.W. of Park Lodge, runs S.E. and is visible on air photographs running towards the upper reaches of Fineshade Brook which it meets N. of Dryleas Wood (SP 92039475). All traces are then lost but another boundary bank is traceable along the S. side of the brook from the Gretton boundary to a point S. of Harringworth Lodge (SP 91609430–93259511). Whether these two latter banks have any connection with the park is unknown. The most probable boundary would be that described first, covering the whole of the S. of the parish, but it may be that the original boundary ran along Fineshade Brook and was later extended to the S. The function of the bank on the S. side of the brook is not known. (RAF VAP CPE/UK 1925, 1139–45)

Fig. 62 Harringworth (8) Fishpond

b(10) Occupation site (?) (SP 936949), in the S.E. of the parish on Boulder Clay at 310 ft. above OD, within and N. of the prehistoric enclosure (2). The field is known as Pottersgate or Pottingate. Within it a stone trackway running N.WS.E. is said to have been ploughed up. A few sherds of medieval pottery, possibly Stamford Ware, have been found in the area. The name of the field may indicate the site of pottery kilns but no archaeological evidence for this exists (BNFAS, 4 (1970), 40–1).

Fig. 63 Harringworth Medieval settlements, fields and deer park

(11) Cultivation remains (Fig. 63). The enclosure of the common fields took place following an Act of Parliament of 1774 (Award of 1775 in NRO), and in 1732 there were five large fields occupying the N. two-thirds (NRO, map of Harringworth). Ridge-and-furrow of these fields remains, or can be traced on air photographs, over wide areas especially S., S.W. and E. of the village within the former West, Lodge, Walker Well and Nether Fields. All of it is in the form of end-on or interlocked furlongs of C or reversed-S type and can be correlated exactly with the named furlongs on the 18th-century map. Similar ridge-and-furrow survives N.E. and N.W. of the village along the edge of the R. Welland in areas already enclosed in 1732. More can be traced on air photographs in the S. of the parish (SP 916945 and 935945) in the area occupied by Harringworth Park (9) in 1732. (RAF VAP CPE/UK 1925, 1138–47, 2138–43, 3137–48; F 21/58/RAF 2319, 0011–7, 0029–33; F 22/58/RAF 2319, 0012–16)

Fig. 64 Harringworth (9) Deer park, (1 and 2) enclosures, (5) Roman iron-working site, (10) occupation site, (12) iron-working site and Bulwick (1) Roman iron-working site


b(12) Iron-working site (centred SP 924946; Fig. 64) lies within Hollow Wood in the S. of the parish, on the S. side of a small valley at 230 ft. above OD. Much of the interior of the wood is occupied by shallow pits dug through the Boulder Clay and there are also large quantities of iron slag in the area. The workings are probably medieval or later, but they could be Roman since a large Roman iron-working site exists further S., in Bulwick parish (see Bulwick (1)).