24 GRAFTON UNDERWOOD
(OS 1:10000 a SP 98 SW, b SP 97 NW)
The parish occupies some 730 hectares N.E. of Kettering
and is of irregular shape. The greater part of it is level, at
around 90 m. above OD, and is covered by Boulder Clay;
only in the S. has the down-cutting of a small S.-flowing
stream exposed the underlying Oolitic Limestone.
Little archaeological material has been recorded in the
parish, but the occurrence of enclosures (1–3), visible
only as cropmarks, in an area of generally heavy soils, is
of some interest.
Prehistoric and Roman
a(1) Enclosures (SP 91328022; Fig.51), W. of
the village, on Boulder Clay at 99 m. above OD. Air
photographs (in NMR) show a sub-rectangular enclosure,
with another probable enclosure to the N.W. and part of
a third to the S.E. (BNFAS, 6 (1971), 11, Grafton
b(2) Enclosure (SP 91257982; Fig.51), 300 m. S.
of (1) and in a similar position, on limestone. Air
photographs (in NMR) show a rectangular enclosure
with sharp corners, attached to a linear ditch (BNFAS,
6 (1971), 11, Grafton Underwood (2)).
a(3) Enclosure (SP 91428058; Fig.51), 350 m.
N. of (1) in a similar position, on Boulder Clay. Air
photographs (RAF VAP 540/474, 4053–4) show a
small sub-rectangular enclosure with rounded corners,
and with a linear ditch to the W.
Medieval and Later
a(4) Deer Park (centred SP 935814; Fig. 52), in
the N.E. part of the parish now occupied by Grafton
Park Wood. In 1343 Simon Simeon, who had brought
the manor in 1341, obtained licence to enclose his
woods there, and five years later to empark it (Cal. Pat.
1348–50, 57). However, he was specifically not allowed
to make a deer-leap in it. In 1450 Henry Greene
obtained leave to empark his woods called Grafton Park
and Grafton Woods and certain other fields (Cal. Charter
Rolls 1427–1516, 113). This may represent an extension
of the original park. The manor was disafforested in
1639 (VCH Northants., III (1930), 204–5; PN Northants.,
182; Northants. Archaeol., 9 (1974), 105; CBA Group 9,
Newsletter, 4 (1974), 24).
Fig. 52 Grafton Underwood (4)
The general outline of the present wood must represent the area of the later park at least, though little
trace of a park pale can be seen, partly because of
extensive disturbance, especially on the S. side, by
hutments of a Second World War airfield. The pale is
best preserved along the W. side of the wood (SP
93148110–93148163), where there is an almost continuous bank, 5 m.-7 m. wide and 0.5 m. high, but
with no trace of a ditch apart from modern drains. In
the N.W. corner of the wood (at SP 932817) is a small
triangular field, obviously once part of the park and
known as Wood Close in 1728 (Map in NRO). However
there is no trace of a bank on either its E. or W. side, or
along the N. or N.E. edge of Park Wood beyond (SP
93328187–93708179). Along the E. edge of the wood
(SP 93708179–93898109) a bank is visible, though much
damaged by later activity. Where best preserved it is
some 7 m.-9 m. wide and 1 m. high, but there are no
indications of a ditch. Further S. (SP 93898109–
93788080) there is a bank, 5 m. wide and only 0.25 m.
high, which may be a parish boundary bank between
Cranford and Grafton. Along the S. of Park Wood all
trace of a boundary bank is lost as a result of the
wartime hutments, but the name Grafton Park Furlong
given to a block of strip fields immediately S. of the
wood on a map of 1758 (NRO) indicates that the park
boundary lay along the edge of the wood.
(5) Cultivation Remains. The common fields
of the parish were enclosed by Act of Parliament in
1777 (VCH Northants., III (1930), 204). In 1758 there
were three large open fields, Warkton and Cranford
Fields in the S., and Wood Field to the N. of the village.
There was an area of common between Wood Field and
Old Head Wood in the N. of the parish (Map in NRO).
Ridge-and-furrow of these fields remains on the ground
or can be traced from air photographs over much of the
parish, mostly in end-on furlongs running at right-angles,
E.-W., across the contours. There are exceptions to this
general orientation, for example where Grafton Park
Furlong interlocks with Long and Short Gozzards in
Wood Field (SP 932806) and where Upper and Nether
Langlands interlock with Hen Furlong in Warkton Field
(SP 916796). There are traces of ridge-and-furrow in the
area known in 1758 as Grafton Wood Common (SP
926816) and in fields known as Wood Close (Fig.52;
SP 932818 and 925820; RAF VAP 541/602, 4113–8,
3115–9, 4094–7; 540/474, 4053–6; 541/611, 4127–9;
F21 540/RAF/1312, 0126–9; F22 540/RAF/1312,
0124–8; F22 82/RAF/865, 0333–9).