(OS 1:10000 a TL 08 SE, b TL 18 SW, c TL 18 NW)
The parish occupies a long narrow piece of land against
the former Huntingdonshire boundary and covers 350
hectares of undulating countryside, between 130 ft. and
230 ft. above OD. It is entirely on Boulder Clay except
in the centre where the down-cutting of the Alconbury
Brook, which bisects the parish, has exposed Oxford
Fig. 73 Luddington (3) Settlement remains and (2) manor house site
The village is notable for its almost complete change
of both location and layout which took place during the
19th century and later (2).
Prehistoric and Roman
a(1) Settlement (TL 097835), in the extreme N.W. of the
parish, on Boulder Clay, at 180 ft. above OD. Air photographs
show a complex pattern of rectangular enclosures or paddocks
and at least one hut circle (CUAP, BIF 3–6).
Medieval and Later
b(2) Manor house site (TL 102837; Fig. 73; Plate 18) lies
within Great Hall Spinney, immediately N.W. of Church
Farm. A large rectangular area is bounded on the S.W. and
N.W. by a broad ditch up to 6 m. across and gradually increasing in depth from 0.5 m. in the S. corner of the wood to
2 m. near the N. corner. Along the N.W. is an outer bank up
to 2 m. high. The N.E. side is bounded by a long irregular
depression, formerly a pond and still often filled with water.
No trace of a S.E. boundary exists. The interior is totally overgrown and many features are obscured, but at least one well-marked platform cut into the valley side is visible. The name
of the wood and its position suggest that the site is that of a
medieval manor house. It had been already abandoned by
1640 (NRO, map of Luddington).
b(3) Settlement remains (centred TL 105835; Fig. 73; Plate
18), formerly part of Luddington, lie in and around the present
village. The extensive earthworks are the result of the complete
alteration of the village during the 19th and 20th centuries. Up
to 1850 and probably later, the village, as its old name of
Luddington-in-the-Brook indicates, lay within the valley of
the winding Alconbury Brook. In the early 18th century the
county historian described its situation as 'low and dirty',
because of the constant flooding of the stream (J. Bridges, Hist.
of Northants., II (1791), 402–4). A series of maps of 1640, 1715
and 1808 (all in NRO) shows earlier plans of the village.
The Parliamentary Enclosure of the common fields in 1808
provided improved communications in the parish by laying
out the present Hemington-Great Gidding road, which replaced the old main street. Up to this time the street lay almost
in the bed of the brook. Enclosure had little immediate effect
on the village plan and in 1834 (1st ed. 1 in. OS map) the
distribution of dwellings appears to be identical with that of
1808. Only after 1850 were houses erected on the new road.
Between 1834 and 1886 (1st ed. 25 in. OS map) a number of
buildings, including the rectory, two farms and a number of
cottages, disappeared. Since then two of the houses have been
pulled down, one recently.
The remains of the earlier arrangement of streets and lanes
are still almost completely preserved as earthworks, as are the
sites of most buildings removed since 1834. In addition a
number of other building-sites and closes, already abandoned
by 1640, is traceable, indicating a long history of movement or
(4) Cultivation remains. The common fields of the parish
were enclosed by an Act of Parliament of 1807 (NRO, Enclosure Map, 1808). Immediately before that date there were
four open fields. Ridge-and-furrow of these fields exists in two
places: around Rectory Farm (TL 113849), and W. of the
church (TL 098836), respectively in the former Black and Long
brook Fields. A map of 1716 (in NRO) shows the detailed
layout of the strip fields in the parish, and the remaining ridgeand-furrow agrees with it. A low ridge, 700 m. long and 25 m.
wide, N.E. of the village (TL 105843) is shown on the 1716
map as a headland between two end-on furlongs (see also map
of 1640 in NRO, for part of the parish; RAF VAP 541/143,