(OS 1: 10000 SP 77 NE)
Draughton is a small oval parish of 625 hectares, lying on
the W. slopes of a flat-topped ridge and bounded on the W.
by a S.-flowing stream. Most of the higher ground, over
150 m. above OD, is covered by Boulder Clay, but to the
W. a number of small W.-flowing streams have produced
a rolling landscape of spurs and valleys cut into
Northampton Sand and Upper Lias Clay. Near the village,
beds of the Lower Estuarine Series are exposed.
Of the small number of prehistoric and Roman sites in
the parish the best known is the Iron Age settlement (8)
which was excavated during the Second World War before
it was destroyed by the airfield which occupies much of the
eastern half of the parish.
Prehistoric and Roman
Many worked flints have been discovered in the parish
including two Mesolithic or later cores, at least four leaf-shaped arrowheads, and one barbed-and-tanged
arrowhead (NM; OS Record Cards).
(1) Flint-working site (SP 768780), lies in the N.E. of
the parish on Northampton Sand at 160 m. above OD. A
large quantity of worked flints, said to be of late Neolithic
or early Bronze Age type, have been found here (CBA
Group 9, Newsletter, 7 (1977), 27).
(2) Flint-working site (SP 768778), lies 200 m. S. of (1)
on Northampton Sand at 152 m. above OD. A quantity of
worked flints said to be of late Neolithic or early Bronze
Age type has been found here (CBA Group 9, Newsletter, 7
(3) Flint-working site (SP 766772), lies N.E. of the
village, on Northampton Sand, at 146 m. above OD. A
large quantity of worked flints, said to be of late Neolithic
or early Bronze Age type, is recorded from the area (CBA
Group 9, Newsletter, 7 (1977), 27).
(4) Enclosure (SP 756771; Fig. 61), lies N.W. of the
village, on Boulder Clay at 122 m. above OD. Air
photographs (in NMR) show the cropmarks of a large
rectangular enclosure divided into two parts. Traces of
ditches are visible extending S. and S.E. from it.
Fig. 61 Draughton (4) Cropmarks
(5) Ditches (SP 757763), in the S.W. of the parish, on
Northampton Sand, at 120 m. above OD. Air photographs
(in NMR) show indistinct cropmarks of some short linear
ditches set at right angles to each other. These may be parts
of overlapping enclosures, though this is uncertain. Further
S.E. (at SP 758760) the same photographs show at least three
linear ditches running N.W. and W. across the valley side.
(6) Enclosures (SP 766783), lie in the N. of the parish,
N.E. of Draughton Lodge, on Northampton Sand and clay
at 145 m. above OD. Air photographs (not seen by
RCHM) are said to show cropmarks of several irregular
adjoining enclosures (BNFAS, 5 (1971), 42).
(7) Barrow (?) (SP 77197628), lies close to the S.E.
boundary of the parish on Boulder Clay at 154 m. above
OD. It was first recorded in 1962 as a ploughed-down
grassy mound, 11 m. in diam. and 0.4 m. high, with no
surrounding ditch, and was described as a probable bowl
barrow. The site has since been ploughed and the mound
further spread. No evidence of the function of the mound
has been discovered (OS Record Cards).
(8) Iron Age settlement (SP 77787749), lies on the E.
boundary of the parish, on Boulder Clay at 158 m. above
OD. The site consisted of a circular area with a diam. of
about 30 m. and a ditch. Excavation before destruction by
the building of a wartime airfield revealed three hut-sites in
the interior. The largest, with a diam. of 10 m., was
defined by a continuous roof-water gully 0.9 m. deep from
which an overflow gully led to the main external ditch.
The two smaller huts, both about 6 m. in diam, were also
surrounded by gullies, though these were not complete
circles, and had short overflow gullies. Finds included
pottery of early Iron Age type and a small amount of fine
ware with curvilinear decoration similar to that from
Hunsbury. A quantity of high-quality ironstone was
thought to indicate that this was the settlement of a small
group of iron-workers (S.S. Frere (ed.), Problems of the Iron
Age in S. Britain (1955), 21–3; J. Northants. Natur. Hist. Soc.
and FC, 31 (1949), 25–31; OS Record Cards).
(9) Roman settlement (centred SP 76057573), extends
across the S. boundary of the parish into Lamport, on
Northampton Sand at 137 m. above OD. Large quantities
of Roman pottery, mostly colour-coated and grey wares of
2nd to 4th-century date, were found in 1969 and near the
centre of the area there was a scatter of sandstone. A coin
of Hadrian was found in the same area in 1943 (J.
Northants. Natur. Hist. Soc. and FC, 31 (1949), 35; BNFAS,
4 (1970), 8; NM).
Medieval and Later
(10) Settlement remains (SP 761767; Fig. 62), formerly
part of Draughton, lie around the village, on Northampton
Sand between 130 m. and 138 m. above OD. The village
stands on a high spur of sandstone orientated roughly
S.W.–N.E. and consists of a group of houses and cottages
scattered along the main street. At the W. end roads run N.
and S. to Maidwell and Lamport. The surviving
earthworks, as well as those destroyed, suggest that at some
time the village was much more orderly in its layout; it
perhaps consisted of a single main street which continued
W. of the rectory towards Maidwell, and had a neat
arrangement of crofts on the S. extending to a back lane.
Fig. 62 Draughton (10) Settlement remains, (11) Site of manor house
The surviving documents do not indicate any marked
reduction in population, but this may be due to the lack of
accurate figures before the late 14th century. Draughton is
noted in Domesday Book where it is described as three
separate manors but no population is recorded for two of
them as these belonged to other larger holdings at Rothwell
and Maidwell and the three sokemen listed under the third
manor are thus of little importance in assessing the size of
the village in 1086 (VCH Northants., I (1902), 306, 349,
350). In 1377, 66 people over the age of 14 paid the Poll Tax
(PRO, E179/155/28) and in 1674, 49 households paid the
Hearth Tax (PRO, E179/254/14). Soon afterwards, in
about 1720, Bridges (Hist. of Northants., II (1791), 28) noted
that there were about 40 houses here. By 1801, 179 people
lived in the parish.
Apart from the manor house site (11), which is described
separately, the remains fall into three groups. Behind the
existing gardens on the S. side of the main street lie a series
of low banks and shallow ditches. These, together with the
existing property boundaries, are the remains of former
crofts which extended S. to meet a narrow back lane, now
a hollow-way, which divided the village from the adjacent
ridge-and-furrow. Along the E. side of the Lamport Road
modern houses have destroyed other assumed close
boundaries. At the E. end of the street a large oval
depression cut back into the hillside with a hollow-way to
the S.E. is the site of two rows of cottages shown on the
Tithe Map of 1837 (NRO). At the W. end of the village, S.
of Home Farm, the closes continue; they have been
damaged by modern farming but the back lane is still well
On the N. side of the main street little now remains. To
the W. of Church Farm air photographs show part of a
small ditched enclosure, now destroyed, and at the extreme
E. end of the village there were other earthworks. These are
not clear on any available air photographs and have now
been entirely destroyed. In 1837 (NRO, Tithe Map) a farm
is shown at the W. end of this area and other buildings to
the N. (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1994, 2450–2; CUAP, BAP83, 84).
(11) Manor house site (SP 759768; Fig. 62), lies N. of
the Old Rectory at the W. end of Draughton village, on
Northampton Sand at 127 m. above OD. The remains
consist of a wide ditch only barely visible, on three sides of
a sub-rectangular area, and were perhaps part of a formal
garden. This narrow garden lies at the N. end of an open
area which is bounded on the E. and S. by a low bank.
Beyond the E. bank is a broad, shallow hollow-way,
probably the predecessor of the present road to Maidwell.
In 1837 the name given to this field was Nineveh (NRO,
Tithe Map; RAF VAP CPE/UK/1994, 2451–3; CUAP, BAP83).
(12) Dam (SP 760762), lies S. of the village, within a
steep-sided narrow valley draining S.W., on Upper Lias
Clay at 115 m. above OD. The site may be that of a
medieval mill or fishpond.
The remains consist of a dam, breached in the centre to
allow the present stream through and thus consisting of
two banks projecting into the valley bottom. These banks
are 10 m. long overall and 1.5 m.–1.75 m. high, with flat
tops 2 m. across. The N. bank is separated from the valley
side above it by a narrow channel which extends S.W. to
form a very large ditch up to 12 m. wide and 2.5 m. deep
and embanked on its S. side. After a short distance the
channel turns S. and fades out when it reaches the stream.
Its purpose is not clear but it may have once been an
over-flow channel from the pond behind the dam, though
its level in relation to the dam is peculiar.
(13) Pond (SP 757768), lies N.W. of Draughton village,
in the valley of a small W.-flowing brook, on Upper Lias
Clay at 114 m. above OD. Before damage by modern
ploughing it consisted of a rectangular depression 40 m. by
25 m. with an outlet channel on the N.W. leading into the
stream. It was fed by a smaller stream which flowed down
the hillside from a spring to the S.E. Both the pond and the
springhead have now been reduced to marshy depressions
as a result of modern agricultural activities (RAF VAP
(14) Cultivation remains. The date of the enclosure of
the common fields of the parish is not known. Ridge-and-furrow of these fields survives on the ground or can be
traced from air photographs over about half the parish and,
in particular, around and to the N. of the village. In the S.,
and in the E. on the disused airfield, most of it has been
destroyed. The landscape of the parish, consisting of a
series of E.–W. spurs, has determined a pattern of furlongs
orientated predominantly N.–S., but with many
interlocked blocks of ridge-and-furrow in response to
changes in direction of slope (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1994,
2449–52, 4453–6; 106G/UK/636, 4191–5, 3191–5).
(15) Enclosure (SP 76247808), W. of Draughton Lodge
on clay at 130 m. above OD. Air photographs (CUAP,
BAP84) show soilmarks of a rectangular enclosure, 12 m. by
25 m., apparently overlying ridge-and-furrow.