21 EASTON MAUDIT
Fig. 45 Earls Barton (16)
Deserted hamlet of Thorpe
(OS 1:10000 a SP 86 SE, b SP 85 NE, c SP 95 NW)
The parish covers some 730 hectares and lies against the
Buckinghamshire boundary which forms its S. side. Most
of the S. half is on Boulder Clay at 90 m.–110 m. above
OD, but streams in the N., draining towards the Grendon
Brook, have cut steep-sided valleys through limestones,
silts and clays. A number of prehistoric and Roman
settlements have been discovered of which by far the
most remarkable lies in the S.E. of the parish, near
Easton Lodge (2). This appears to have survived intact
as earthworks until the very recent past when it was
totally destroyed by ploughing. The village, situated towards the N. of the parish, has slight remains of former
house-sites within and around it (9). Though these are
typical of earthworks associated with many Northamptonshire villages they are of particular interest as they
may relate to the known decrease of population in the
Prehistoric and Roman
ab(1) Ditched Trackway (?) (SP 89176010–
89205995), in the N. of the parish, on alluvium at
52 m. above OD. Air photographs (in NMR) show a
length of ditched trackway, 15 m. wide and traceable for
150 m., running in a N.–S. direction, roughly parallel
to a small stream. It is intersected by a linear cropmark
which marks the line of a recently removed hedge. The
relationship at the point of junction is obscure.
b(2) Iron Age Settlement (SP 896571;
Fig. 46), immediately N. of Easton Lodge, on Boulder
Clay at 103 m. above OD. Air photographs (CUAP, BIY
98–9, BJL 88 and in NMR) show a roughly rectangular
enclosure with ditches radiating from it, associated with
a smaller circular enclosure to the N., as well as other
ditches to the S., S.E. and S.W. On the E. two
ditched trackways meet and run into the main part of
the site. Iron Age pottery, bones and iron slag, as well
as two querns and a polished flint axe have been found.
Medieval pottery is also recorded (BNFAS, 6 (1971), 9,
Easton Maudit (2); Beds. Arch. J., 3 (1966), 3; 4 (1969),
1–12; 6 (1971), 21).
b(3) Iron Age Pottery (SP 894567; Fig. 46),
400 m. S.S.W. of (2) in a similar position, has been
found in this area (Beds. Arch. J., 3 (1966), 3).
b(4) Iron Age Settlement (?) (SP 897566;
Fig. 46), 550 m. S. of (2) in a similar position. Late Iron
Age pottery, charcoal and blackened pebbles have been
found in this area (Beds. Arch. J., 3 (1966), 3).
b(5) Iron Age and Roman Settlement (?)
(SP 880572) in the S.E. of the parish. S. of Cold Oak
Copse, on Boulder Clay at 95 m. above OD. Large stones
and Iron Age pottery were found in a modern ditch in
the wood, and similar stones and pottery have been
recovered from the field to the S. Roman pottery has
also been discovered here as well as to the W. in Yardley
Hastings parish. A Roman coin was found here in 1967
(BNFAS, 1 (1966), 5, 7; 6 (1971), 9, Easton Maudit (3)).
Fig. 46 Easton Maudit Bozeat (2) Iron Age settlement, (3) Iron Age pottery, (4) Iron Age settlement
(4) Iron Age settlement, (12) Ditches, (13) Industrial sites
b(6) Roman Settlement (?) (SP 89195685),
400 m. S.W. of (2) in a similar position. Roman pottery,
a quern and pieces of tile have been found, associated
with dark areas of soil (Beds. Arch. J., 3 (1966), 6).
b(7) Roman Building (SP 895582), S.E. of the
village, on Boulder Clay at 91 m. above OD. Much
Roman pottery and a brooch have been discovered
together with a large quantity of building stone, tesserae,
painted plaster and flue tiles (Beds. Arch. J., 3 (1966),
b(8) Industrial Sites (SP 895563, 895575 and
898564), in the S.E. of the parish, on Boulder Clay. All
consist of areas of either charcoal or iron slag very
similar to those known from Iron Age and Roman sites
(Beds. Arch. J., 3 (1966), 3). Recent work, however,
suggests that they may be medieval (CBA Group 9,
Newsletter, 6 (1976) 28; Radiocarbon, 17 (1975), 268).
Medieval and Later
b(9) Settlement Remains (SP 887586–891581;
Fig. 48), formerly part of Easton Maudit village, lie
partly on the W. side of the existing N.–S. street on lime
stone at 76 m. above OD. In 1840 (NRO, Tithe Map)
there was another lane to the W., parallel to the present
street. By that time the sites had already been abandoned,
except for the houses which still survive today. The N.
part was then known as Burnt Yard. Part of the old lane
still exists as a shallow hollow-way and between it and
the street are the fragmentary remains of a series of embanked and ditched closes with traces of house-sites at
their E. ends. On the E. side of the village street, in
modern arable land (SP 889584), is a series of patches
of stone rubble containing post-medieval pottery and
animal bones. Immediately E. of the present village, and
S. of the site of the Manor House (11) (SP 892587)
stone rubble, traces of a road, and pottery of the 12th
to the 14th century, have been found in the arable land
(Beds. Arch. J., 3 (1966), 3).
Some of these remains may be the result of relatively
recent depopulation, for in the early 18th century
Bridges noted that the population of the village had
decreased considerably since enclosure in the early 17th
century (J. Bridges, Hist. of Northants., II (1791), 163;
VCH Northants., IV (1937), 11; CUAP, 70–LIN259–61;
RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 4004–5; see also (10)).
Fig. 47 Easton Maudit (10)
Medieval occupation site
b(10) Occupation Site and Enclosures (SP
892582; Fig. 47), S.E. of the village, on Boulder Clay at
82 m. above OD. Air photographs (in NMR) show a large
rectangular ditched enclosure, respected by the
surrounding ridge-and-furrow. Within and to the W. of it
are cropmarks of ditches and enclosures. The site may be
the extreme S. part of the settlement remains (9) or a
separate medieval site. An excavation, the exact position
of which is unknown, revealed part of a stone-walled
building of 13th-century date, 4.6 m. wide and at least
8 m. long with floors and yards of limestone and pebbles.
Finds included pottery, animal bones and a bronze ring
(Northants. Archaeol., 8 (1973), 20; CBA Group 9,
Newsletter, 3 (1973), 21; Med. Arch., 17 (1973), 181–2,
grid reference incorrect).
b(11) Site of Manor House and Gardens
(SP 88925885; Fig. 48), lies immediately E. of the
church, on Oolitic Limestone at 76 m. above OD. It is
the site of the manor house of Easton Maudit, whose
history has been well-recorded (Arch. J., 6 (1879), 92;
Ass. Arch. Soc. Reps., 36 (1921), 95–102; VCH
Northants., IV (1937), 12–14; G. Isham, Easton Maudit,
The house was finally pulled down in 1801, but an
engraving of it in 1721 suggests that it was a late
medieval building, much altered and added to in the early
17th century (BM Add. MS 32467). It was probably
altered and rebuilt by a member of the Yelverton family
which acquired the manor in 1578 and almost certainly
the new work was carried out by Henry Yelverton
(1566–1629). It was a large house and was rated at 43
hearths in the 1673 Hearth Tax Returns (PRO, E179/
254/14). In 1801 the estate passed to the Comptons of
Castle Ashby who then demolished the house.
The remains consist of two distinct parts. On the E.
is a series of indeterminate earthworks forming no
coherent plan and these are probably the site of the
house, which appears to have faced E., arranged around
a small court. To the W. are two long, parallel scarps
0.25 m. high, running E.–W., which are probably the
remains of the garden, presumably of the 17th or 18th
century. To the N.W. is a raised circular area. On the N.
side two rectangular scarped platforms project into the
adjacent field. Further W. across a lane which dates from
after 1840 (NRO, Tithe Map) is a modern arable field
bounded on the W. by a long rectangular pond and with
four cedar trees on its N. side and one on the S. The
pond was probably the W. boundary of the original
garden, the whole area being called Pleasure Ground in
b(12) Building (SP 898576), in Horn Wood, on
Boulder Clay at 98 m. above OD. Excavations in 1965
revealed part of a stone building of medieval date (NM
b(13) Fishponds (SP 88955912; Fig. 48), lie 300 m.
N.N.E. of the church, on clay at 66 m. above OD. They
are almost certainly medieval in origin and are likely to
be associated with the manor house site to the S. (11).
They consist of two long, narrow parallel ponds, with
another rectangular one to the S.E., lying in the valley of
a small N.E.-flowing stream. A fourth pond existed in
1840 (NRO, Tithe Map), along the N. side of the area,
but this has been destroyed. The whole field was known
as Lower Park in 1840.
Fig. 48 Easton Maudit (9) Settlement remains, (11) Site of manor house and gardens,
(13) Fishponds, (14) Pond, (15) Pillow mound
b(14) Pond (SP 886587, Fig. 48), immediately W. of
the Vicarage and S. of the pond which forms the W.
boundary of the former garden (11). It is a long rectang
ular pond set to one side of the existing stream. It may
be medieval in origin and was perhaps a fishpond. It
certainly existed on 1840 (NRO, Tithe Map).
b(15) Pillow Mound (SP 88995905; Fig.48), lies
immediately S.E. of the fishponds (13), on a slight N.facing slope. It is a flat-topped rectangular mound, 14 m.
long and 6 m wide, lying on top of, but slightly askew
to, a ridge in a block of N.–S.-orientated ridge-and-furrow.
(16) Cultivation Remains. The exact date of
the enclosure of the common fields of Easton Maudit is
not known but it is said to have been carried out in the
reign of Charles I by Sir Christopher Yelverton. If this is
so it must have taken place after 1630 when Yelverton
succeeded to the manor, and it probably occurred in
1636 when he had licence to empark 500 acres S. of the
Manor House (11) and immediately E. of the village
(VCH Northants., IV (1937), 14).
Ridge-and-furrow of these fields exists on the ground
or can be traced on air photographs over large areas of
the parish. It is arranged in end-on furlongs, often with
well-marked headlands between them, and with the ridges
at right-angles to the contours. Ridge-and-furrow also
exists in the S. of the parish which was presumably
beyond the limits of the common fields and indeed is
traceable within the woodland in the S.W., especially in
Hill's Copse (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1994, 1198–1200,
3187–90, 2193–6; F22 543/RAF/2409, 0161–2; CPE/
UK/1926, 4001–7, 2002–6; FSL 6565, 1862).