28 FARNDON, EAST
(OS 1: 10000a SP 78 NW, b SP 78 SW)
The parish is small, covering less than 600 hectares, and
lies against the Leicestershire boundary, only part of which
is here formed by the R. Welland. The highest ground, in
the S.E., with a maximum height of 155 m. above OD, is
covered by Boulder Clay. From there the land falls away
gently towards the R. Ise to the S.E., but to the N. and W.
the slopes, N. to the Welland valley and W. to a
N.-flowing tributary, are almost precipitous. Lower and
Middle Lias Clays are exposed there, and river gravels and
alluvium occur in the wide valley bottom at around 85 m.
The main earthworks in the parish are the settlement
remains (4). Owing to their scale as well as to their
dominating position above a steep slope, those to the W. of
the village have in the past been wrongly interpreted as
fortifications of prehistoric, early medieval or Civil War
Prehistoric and Roman
A small perforated stone, possibly a spindle whorl and
probably pre-Roman, has been found in the parish. A
bronze spearhead has also been discovered, as well as the
base of a 1st-century Roman pot (Trans. Leics. Arch. Soc., 51
(1882), 285; OS Record Cards; Market Harborough
Fig. 66 Everdon (3) Deserted village of Snorscomb
a(1) Roman settlement (?) (sp 709860), in the extreme
N.W. of the parish, on Lias Clay at 115 m. above OD. A
scatter of Roman pottery has been found (Northants.
Archaeol., 11 (1976), 192; for Saxon material from this site
b(2) Roman settlement (?) (sp 718837), in the S.E. of
the parish, on Boulder Clay, at 140 m. above OD. A small
scatter of Roman sherds has been noted (Northants.
Archaeol., 12 (1977), 212).
Medieval and Later
A metal object, thought to be a 13th-century sword
pommel, was found in the parish sometime before 1872
(PSA, 5 (1872), 34; Trans. Leics. Arch. Soc., 4 (1878), 138).
At least two mounds, on the S. side of the village (at SP
71588476 and 71648454), have been traditionally identified
either as moot hills, or as Civil War burial places (e.g. J.
Bridges, Hist. of Northants., II (1791), 30). Both are quarry
mounds derived from nearby pits and thus are of no
a(3) Saxon settlement (?) (SP 709860), on the Roman
settlement (1). A scatter of Saxon sherds has been found
(Northants. Archaeol., 11 (1976), 192).
a(4) Settlement remains (centred SP 717851; Fig. 67),
formerly part of East Farndon, lie to the W. and N. of the
village. There are three main areas. On the crest of a hill to
the W. of the village ('a' on plan), on Lias Clay and
Boulder Clay at 145 m. above OD, in an area known as
Hall Close, is a large area of earthworks, much damaged by
later quarry pits (SP 71608500). They consist of the
fragmentary remains of rectangular closes bounded by low
scarps and banks nowhere above 0.5 m. high. Slight
depressions on the E., close to the existing village street,
may be the sites of former buildings. On the W. the area is
bounded by a broad ditch or hollow-way with an external
bank, which follows the curve of the hilltop in a marked
double bend. At its S. end the ditch is up to 2 m. deep and
the bank is 2.5 m. high but further N., beyond the bend,
the ditch is only 1.5 m. deep and the bank less than 1 m.
high. To the N. again a later quarry and a track have
disturbed the remains and the ditch, when it reappears, is
once more 2 m. deep and is on a slightly different
alignment. The whole feature is probably no more than an
old back lane separating the inhabited area of the village
from its fields to the W., but its form and size are unusual.
The size of these remains and their unknown origin have
led to much speculation about their function. In the early
18th century Morton (Nat. Hist. of Northants. (1712), 546;
see also J. Bridges, Hist. of Northants., II (1791), 30)
described them and claimed that they were 'a defence work
against the Danes'. Other authorities have described the
earthworks as a 'camp' or as a Civil War defensive site (J.
Nichols, Hist. of Leics., II (1798), 701; Arch. J., 46 (1889),
209; Whellan, Dir., 829; VCH Northants., II (1906), 256).
All these theories can be discounted.
To the E. of this area, immediately E. of East Farndon
Hall (SP 717851) are two small pasture closes ('b' on plan).
In both there are slight scarps and banks, probably the
remains of former buildings.
At the N. end of the village, N. of Home Farm (SP
718852; 'c' on plan), there are several large rectangular
paddocks bounded by shallow ditches and containing later
ridge-and-furrow. The site has been damaged by
a(5) Windmill mound (SP 71118551), immediately
N.W. of the village, on the summit of an isolated clay hill
capped by glacial deposits, at 145 m. above OD. A well-marked circular mound 10 m. in diam. and 0.5 m. high
partly overlies a broad raised trackway between ridge-and-furrow. There is also a large quarry pit. A windmill existed
here as late as 1856 and is shown on a map of that date
(NRO); the hill was then called Mill Hill (RAF VAP
a(6) Stone (SP 71218603), known as the Judith Stone,
lies N.N.W. of the village on land sloping gently E. It is a
large irregular rounded boulder some 1.5 m. long, 1 m.
wide and just under 1 m. high, partly buried, with the
adjacent ridge-and-furrow swinging outwards to avoid it.
It is shown named and in its present position in 1856 (Map
in NRO). The boulder is said to be of Scandinavian granite
and is probably a glacial erratic but it may have been
deliberately set up in this position for some unknown
purpose (OS Record Cards).
(7) Cultivation remains. The common fields of the
parish were enclosed by an Act of Parliament of 1780.
Ridge-and-furrow of these fields is unusually well
preserved, especially on the hill slopes to the W. of the
village. There is evidence of a grave shortage of arable land
at some date; very difficult land has been ploughed, for
example in a steep-sided combe below the settlement
remains (4) (SP 71438490) where the surviving ridges are
heavily lynchetted and of markedly asymmetric form (RAF
VAP 106G/UK/636, 4127–32, 3128–31).