(OS 1:10000 a SP 88 SE, b SP 87 NE)
The large parish covers about 1800 hectares and now
includes the old parish of Barton Seagrave, which lay to
the S.E. of the former Kettering parish. The town of
Kettering is situated on a flat-topped ridge, composed
mainly of Northampton Sand, at around 90 m.–105 m.
above OD. On either side of this ridge the land falls
steeply, to the R. Ise on the E. and The Slade on the W.,
both of which flow S. in clay-floored valleys. E. of the
Ise, in what was mainly the old parish of Barton Seagrave, the land rises steeply to just over 91 m. above OD,
where bands of sands, silts and limestones are exposed.
The major monument in the parish is the unusually large
Iron Age and Roman settlement (6) which occupies
much of the N. part of the town and extends into
Weekley and Geddington parishes. Much of the evidence
for its extent has been recovered during ironstonemining and urban development in the late 19th and early
20th centuries, though some has been excavated more
recently during redevelopment. As a result the records
are largely inadequate and it is unlikely that the full
extent and significance of this settlement will ever be
known. Other Iron Age and Roman settlements, (4),
(5) and (7), have also been discovered during modern
urban expansion. The only notable site at Barton Seagrave is the so-called castle (14).
Prehistoric and Roman
At least four Iron Age coins (three in KM) are
recorded from Kettering, but their exact provenance is
not known. One is a British B, Chute type, another is
ascribed to Tasciovanus, and two others are of Cunobelinus. In addition a large number of Roman coins are
listed as from Kettering (KM). Most of these, and the
Iron Age ones, probably come from (6) (VCH Northants., I (1902), 218; Brit. Num. J., 4 (1907), 358; 21
(1931–3), 4; PSA, (2nd series) 23 (1911), 493–4). In
addition two coins have been found to the W. of the
town (at SP 85547911; BNFAS, 4 (1970), 9; OS Record
Cards) and two more to the E., one at SP 879791 and
the other at SP 888784 (BNFAS, 5 (1971), 19; Northants. Archaeol., 8 (1973), 6). A Bronze Age Handled
Beaker is said to have been found at Kettering (Arch.
Cambrensis, (7th series) 5 (1925), 31).
b(1) Enclosure (?) (SP 891793), in the N.E. of
the parish, on the E. side of the valley of the R. Ise, on
sand at 84 m. above OD. Air photographs (in NMR)
show, very indistinctly, three sides of a possible rectangular enclosure, covering about 0.25 hectares.
a(2) Bronze Age Settlement or Burial (?)
(probably SP 871809). Worked flints and fragments of
'Bronze Age pottery' were discovered here during
ironstone-mining in 1903 (PSA, (2nd Series) 32 (1911),
498; OS Record Cards, for a more doubtful location).
These finds appear to have come from the same workings
as much of the Roman material of (6). The sherds are
those of a Collared Urn of the Primary Series (NM; PPS,
27 (1961), 119).
a(3) Bronze Age Burials (?) (probably SP
860801), N.E. of the town in the bottom of a small
valley. There is a vague reference to four Bronze Age
urns, found just prior to 1904 at 'Kettering Furnaces'.
Another urn was apparently discovered 'North of Kettering' during drainage work in 1903 (Ass. Arch. Soc. Reps.,
27 (1904), 382).
b(4) Iron Age Settlement (SP 895783), on flat
land at 98 m. above OD, on Oolitic Limestone. During
development of the area for housing in 1968 numerous
ditches and pits, containing late Iron Age B pottery,
were revealed in foundation trenches, but no coherent
plan was recovered (OS Record Cards).
b(5) Iron Age and Roman Settlement (SP
886764), S. of Dale's Lodge on the E. side of the valley
of the R. Ise, on sand at 70 m. above OD. A Roman coin
was found in the area in 1922, but only when the area
was developed for housing in 1964–5 were other features
noted. Pits containing late Iron Age pottery as well as
quantities of Roman pottery were then discovered in the
foundations. Only part of a large site was recorded.
Some medieval pottery was also found (BNFAS., 3
(1969), 6; OS Record Cards).
a(6) Iron Age and Roman Settlement
(centred SP 871806; Fig. 12), covers at least 125 hectares
and probably extends N. into Weekley and Geddington
parishes where other Iron Age and Roman discoveries
have been made (Weekley (1), Geddington (4)). It lies on
generally flat land on sand and limestone at around
100 m. above OD.
The area has long been known as the site of a large
Roman settlement. Even in the early 18th century
Bridges noted that 'several urns, coins and bones' had
been found in Stoneylands between Weekley Woods and
Kettering'. In the late 19th century large quantities of
coins were found, and there is a record of 'a sort of
oven', possibly a hypocaust or kiln. In 1903, when the
present housing estate on the N. side of the town was
laid out (centred SP 870802), Roman pottery was found
in quantities over a large area, as well as animal bones,
human bones, coins and two or three wells. One of these,
nearly 5 m. deep, was at the end of Blandford Avenue
(SP 87188055). Another, at the E. end of Neale Avenue
(SP 87228048), contained the remains of a pair of
leather sandals. Since then other finds have been made
At a later date ironstone-working started in the area
N. of the town, extending into Weekley parish. From
there came many Roman coins, 'immense quantities of
pottery' including Nene Valley and samian wares, many
brooches, a pottery Celtic face, part of a face urn, a
green glass jug, a small bronze head of Diana, a jet head
of Medusa, a bronze socketed staff-head in the form of
an eagle's head, iron and bronze implements and a steelyard. A number of wells and a 'bath-shaped oven' are
also recorded. Traces of a road were also noticed in the
workings (at about SP 871806), and in the same area a
large patch of pebbles, laid in cement, and another,
irregular expanse of cement floor, bounded on two sides
by fragments of walls with painted wall-plaster, and with
roof tiles and nails, were discovered. Other foundation
pits and wells were also found (VCH Northants., I
(1902), 194; Ass. Arch. Soc. Reps., 27 (1904), 382–7;
PSA, (2nd series) 23 (1911), 493–501; 24 (1912), 223–
5; BAR, 24 (1976), 180; J. Bridges, Hist. of Northants.,
II (1791), 241; KM).
Later finds in the area have included a Roman burial
in an urn, in Beatrice Road (SP 86958018; JBAA, 32
(1926), 316–7), Roman pottery including Nene Valley
wares (SP 87238009 and 87158028; OS Record Cards),
Roman pottery including samian (SP 86867992; OS
Record Cards), Roman coins (SP 876798, 870795 and
869795; BNFAS, 4 (1970), 9; OS Record Cards), and
a mould for applying decoration to pottery (SP 875796;
Ant. J., 20 (1940), 497–9; Surrey Archaeol. Coll., 56
(1959), 160–1; JRS, 29 (1939), 208).
There have also been more recent discoveries and
excavations in the area, which have produced further
material. In Mitchell Street (SP 872805) Iron Age and
Roman pottery, coins, glass and bones have been recovered as well as hearths, remains of collapsed masonry
and pits (BNFAS, 1 (1966), 10–11; 2 (1967), 12–13;
Cytringanian (Kettering Grammer School Magazine), 51
(1967), 24–46). In North Park Avenue (SP 873801) a
layer of weathered and burnt limestone rubble, together
with Nene Valley and samian wares, bones and four
coins, a fibula and two finger rings, were found (Cytringanian, 50 (1966), 33–4; BNFAS, 1 (1966), 11). Further
N.E. (at SP 874802) excavations have revealed a number
of pits containing 3rd to 4th-century pottery, bone pins,
a fibula, glass beads and thirteen coins. Near by were
other pits containing 1st to early 2nd-century pottery
and other domestic rubbish (BNFAS, 3 (1969), 14; 7
(1972), 21; CBA Group 9, Newsletter, 2 (1972), 14;
Britannia, 3 (1972), 359; DOE Arch. Excavations, 1971
(1972), 21). In Blandford Avenue (SP 874806) redevelopment work in 1973 led to the discovery of
Roman pits, ditches and a paved road, as well as pottery,
bricks, tiles, glass fragments and coins. N. of Blandford
Avenue (SP 871806) other redevelopment work revealed
pits, a clay-lined oven, circular clay plates, possibly from
a pottery kiln, and an area of gravel and limestone,
perhaps a road or track. A little pottery, including
samian, as well as five 4th-century coins, were also found
(Northants. Archaeol., 9 (1974), 90; Britannia, 5 (1974),
278). To the S.W. (probably around SP 877800) a paved
area associated with 2nd to 4th-century pottery was
noted during development work before 1961 (J. Northants. Natur. Hist. Soc. and FC, 34 (1961), 97–8).
b(7) Iron Age and Roman Settlement
(centred SP 886780), on the E. side of the valley of the
R. Ise, on sand at 76 m. above OD. During construction
work on a housing estate a number of discoveries were
made which included the following: ditches, gullies and
pits containing late Belgic pottery, and surface finds of
worked flints, a barbed-and-tanged arrowhead and sherds
of Iron Age pottery; ditches and pits associated with
box and roof tiles, a quantity of late Roman pottery,
some Iron Age sherds and a human skeleton; a 1st or
2nd-century Roman pottery kiln with four clay pedestals
in situ and a 3rd to 4th-century stone-built corn-drying
oven, built over a mass of pits and ditches containing
late Belgic pottery (BNFAS, 4 (1970), 9; 5 (1971), 19;
Northants. Archaeol., 9 (1974), 84, 91; Britannia, 5
b(8) Roman (?) Iron Workings (SP 86627879),
close to the junction of Gold Street and High Street. An
'iron-smelting furnace' with bones and a 'mattock' was
discovered in 1864 during building operations (OS
b(9) Roman Burial (SP 878772), found in the
early 20th century in what is now Wickstead Park on the
W. side of the valley of the R. Ise on sand at 68 m. above
OD. An urn, now lost, but said to be of the 2nd century,
full of earth and burnt bones, was discovered (PSA, (2nd
series) 26 (1974), 245).
Medieval and Later
b(10) Anglo-Saxon Cemetery (SP 876792),
across Stamford Road, on the W. side of the valley of
the R. Ise, on sand at 114 m. above OD. It was first discovered around 1900 when the area was being developed
for building. Fragments of urns and part of a brooch
were found. In 1903 80 or 90 other urns, containing
cremations, were found, as well as bronze tweezers and
glass; six skeletons and a plain urn were also recorded. In
1904 a cruciform brooch and part of another urn came
to light. In 1929 excavations in the area produced four
other inhumations, sixteen urns and bronze ornaments
(Meaney, Gazetteer, (1964), 191–2, for all refs.; Ass.
Arch. Soc. Reps., 27 (1904), 385–6; J. Northants. Mus.
and Art Gall., 6 (1969), 37–41; J.N.L. Myres, Anglo-Saxon Pottery and the Settlement of England, (1969),
Fig. 3, No. 745; Fig. 18, No. 776; Fig. 27, No. 771;
Fig. 28, No. 754; Fig. 29, No. 774; Fig. 33, No. 765;
Fig. 43; Fig. 44, No. 748; Fig. 49, No. 779; Plates 3–7;
b(11) Anglo-Saxon Burial (SP 87877788),
found in 1961 in Windmill Avenue, on the W. side of the
valley of the R. Ise, on sand at 99 m. above OD. A plain
urn was discovered in a drainage ditch (Meaney, op. cit.,
b(12) Anglo-Saxon Cemetery (SP 892764),
on the parish boundary between Barton Seagrave and
Burton Latimer, on limestone at 91 m. above OD. The
site was revealed in the course of ironstone-quarrying
between 1880 and 1885. At least 17 urns, an iron shieldboss and bronze-gilt disc brooches were discovered
(Meaney. op. cit., 186; J. Northants. Mus. and Art Gall.,
6 (1969), 37–41; Northants. Archaeol., 9 (1974), 101;
J.N.L. Myres, Anglo-Saxon Pottery and the Settlement
of England, (1969), Fig. 36, No. 1465; Fig. 44, No. 744;
Plate 6; BM).
b(13) Anglo-Saxon Burial (?) (perhaps SP
882796), on the W. side of the valley of the R. Ise. A
skeleton with a spearhead was discovered before 1806,
but no further details are known (Trans. Leics. Arch.
Soc., (1966), 249).
b(14) Barton Seagrave Castle and Fish-Ponds (SP 88607691–88627712; Fig. 96; Plate 7),
lie on the E. side of the R. Ise, on the valley side below
Barton Seagrave village, on clay and sand at 60 m.–
70 m. above OD.
The site is often termed a 'castle' but the remains
suggest that there was never much more than two simple
moated enclosures, one of which held a manor house.
There is, however, a record of one Nicholas de Seagrave
obtaining licence to crenellate in the early 14th century
and this perhaps indicates the date of the construction
of the moats, although it may only represent a rebuilding
on an existing site. The site appears to be that of the
manor house of Barton Hanred, one of the two manors
in Barton Seagrave, which is last mentioned as inhabited
in 1433 (VCH Northants., III (1930), 176–8; II (1906),
414; J. Bridges, Hist. of Northants., II (1791), 217;
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Northants.,
(1961), 98–9; CBA Group 9, Newsletter, 6 (1976),
Fig. 96 Kettering (14) Barton Seagrave Castle and fishponds, (15) Settlement remains
The site consists of two moated enclosures, linked by
a ditch, as well as two fishponds. All were apparently fed
by springs which break out at the junction of the clay
and sand. The S. moat encloses an island of somewhat
irregular form, surrounded by a wide ditch up to 2 m.
deep. The interior is very uneven and much disturbed. A
broad outer bank 1.5 m. high, on the N. and W. sides
formerly held the water in the ditch. In the S.W. corner
the ditch is much wider than elsewhere, and was perhaps
a fishpond. Immediately to the W. is another rectangular
pond, also probably for fish. Just outside the S.W.
corner of the moat there is a large irregular mound,
which is possibly a spoil heap from the original construction work. This moat is undoubtedly the site of the
manor house, and it is probably from this place that the
'window frames and door cases of stone with other large
quantities of good face-stone' came, (J. Bridges, op. cit.).
From the N. side of the moat a shallow ditch extends
northwards to a second moated site. This consists of a
well-defined rectangular island completely surrounded
by a ditch up to 2 m. deep with massive outer banks or
dams on the N. and W. The island is flat, but is occupied
by one small and two large rectangular ponds, 1 m.–
1.5 m. deep. A large watercourse, now mainly dry,
passes to the N. of the moat. To the E. and N.E. are the
remains of at least three rectangular paddocks or closes
which were perhaps once part of Barton Seagrave village
(15). The purpose of this moat is obscure and no satisfactory explanation for the ponds in the interior has
been suggested. One possible explanation is that they
were fish-breeding tanks, but why these should need to
be moated is not apparent (see also Braybrooke (1) and
Section Preface, p. lix).
S.W. of the second moat and close to the W. edge of
the area, there is a small roughly rectangular embanked
pond with a ditch entering it from the E. (RAF VAP
CPE/UK/1925, 1238–9, 4350–2).
b(15) Settlement Remains (SP 887772–
891772; partly on Fig. 96), formerly part of Barton
Seagrave village, lie N.E. of the castle (14) along the S.
side of the present main Kettering-Burton Latimer Road
(A 6), on Northampton Sand between 67 m. and 84 m.
above OD. Before the modern road was widened and realigned there were several platforms and paddocks alongside it. During the road works a considerable amount of
medieval pottery was noted, including Stamford and
Lyveden wares of 11th to 13th-century date. Some of
the platforms also had masonry on them (BNFAS, 2
(1967), 22; DMVRG, Annual Report, 15 (1967), 4).
Two large rectangular paddocks bounded by shallow
ditches now remain, E. of St. Botolphs Road and N.E. of
the castle site. The southernmost has a house platform in
its S.E. corner; the N. one has a series of scarps, cut into
by the modern road along its N. edge. These latter may
be former house platforms. Further E. (not shown on
Fig. 96), there are other indeterminate banks and scarps
which are probably part of the same site, while 200 m.
to the E. (at SP 890772) there is a large L-shaped
depression, 45 m. across and 1.5 m. deep, set into the
hillside. This is perhaps an old pond (RAF VAP CPE/
UK/1925, 1238–9, 4350–2).
(16) Coin Hoard (unlocated), found in Kettering
in 1927. Sixty-three coins dating from Elizabeth I to
1646, all in poor condition, are recorded (Num. Chron.,
(5th series) 8 (1928), 337).
(17) Cultivation Remains. The common fields
of the old parish of Kettering were enclosed by Act of
Parliament in 1804 (VCH Northants., III (1930), 219).
Before this date there were three named open fields,
Upper, Middle and Nether. To the W. was an area of old
enclosures, with a triangular area to the N. known as
Kettering Links or Cottagers Common (NRO, Map of
1727). There is ridge-and-furrow on the former but not
on the latter. As most of the parish is now built over,
little ridge-and-furrow remains on the ground or can be
traced from air photographs, but the blocks that remain
appear to be arranged in end-on or interlocked furlongs
in relation to the relief, with the ridges usually running
across the contours, e.g. Bull Pool Furlong and the adjoining block to the N. (SP 877764), and the blocks in
the old enclosures (centred SP 857780; J. Bridges,
Hist. of Northants., II (1791), 241).
The date of the enclosure of the common fields of
the old parish of Barton Seagrave is unknown, though
Bridges, writing in about 1720, says that it had taken
place 'above a hundred years ago' (J. Bridges, Hist. of
Northants., II (1791), 217). Traces of ridge-and-furrow
on the ground or from air photographs are fragmentary.
A small group of interlocked furlongs survives at SP
Part of the modern parish of Kettering was formerly
part of Warkton parish. For cultivation remains, see
Warkton (3). (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1925, 1244–34,
4348–55; 540/474, 4044–8, 3046–8; F21 540/RAF/
1312, 0165–70, 0131–7; F22 540/RAF/1312, 0131–7;