ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE ANCIENT AND HISTORICAL
MONUMENTS AND CONSTRUCTIONS OF ENGLAND
Report to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty
May It Please Your Majesty
We, the undersigned Commissioners, appointed to make an Inventory of the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions connected with or illustrative of the contemporary culture,
civilisation and conditions of life of the people of England from the earliest times to the year 1714,
and such further Monuments and Constructions subsequent to that year as may seem in our
discretion to be worthy of mention therein, and to specify those which seem most worthy of
preservation, do humbly submit to Your Majesty the following Report, being the thirty-ninth
Report on the work of the Commission since its first appointment.
2. We have to record the loss to the Commission by resignation of Doctor Mark Girouard, for
whose advice and assistance over a period of five years we are deeply grateful.
3. We have to thank Your Majesty for the appointment to the Commission of Sir Harry Thurston
Hookway, Knight, and Professor John Kerry Downes, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, under
Your Majesty's Royal Sign Warrant dated 27th March, 1981.
4. We have pleasure in reporting the completion of our recording of archaeological sites in the
south-western part of the County of Northampton, an area comprising sixty-nine parishes containing 536 monuments.
5. Following our usual practice we have prepared an illustrated Inventory of these monuments,
which will be issued as a non-Parliamentary publication entitled Northamptonshire IV. As in recent
Inventories, the Commissioners have adopted the terminal date of 1850 for the monuments
included in the Inventory.
6. The method of presentation of material has in general followed that adopted in the previous
7. The descriptions of the more important monuments have been submitted to specialist authorities. We are satisfied that no significant monument which survived until 1978 has been omitted.
8. Our special thanks are due to owners and occupiers who have allowed access by our staff to
the monuments in their charge. We are indebted to the Directors and Curators of many Institutions
for their ready assistance to us and in particular to Mr. P. I. King, the Northamptonshire County
Archivist. We have to record our indebtedness to the Director-General of the Ordnance Survey
for access to his archaeological records and for valuable work carried out by the field surveyors
of his Department. We wish to record our gratitude to Professor J. K. S. St Joseph, lately Director
in Aerial Photography in the University of Cambridge, for permission to use a large number of
air photographs. We further wish to express our thanks to those persons and organizations who
have given particular help to our executive staff during the field investigation; their co-operation
is greatly appreciated. They include Mr. D. J. Barrett who has supplied records of his detailed
fieldwork in Marston St. Lawrence and neighbouring parishes and Mr. A. E. Brown who has
contributed much of his unpublished material on flint-working sites in the north-west of the
county (included in the Addendum) and the account of the Roman town at Towcester, as well as
Mr. W. N. Terry and Mr. W. R. G. Moore (respectively Curator and Keeper of Archaeology,
Northampton Central Museum and Art Gallery).
We gratefully acknowledge permission to reproduce a number of maps and plans belonging to
His Grace the Duke of Grafton, Sir Hereward Wake, Bart., the Peterborough Diocesan Registrar
and Abthorpe and Rothersthorpe Parish Councils.
9. As a result of the limitations imposed on us by the continuing need for economy, only two
members of our staff have been available to carry out work in the field.
10. We humbly recommend to Your Majesty's notice the following monuments in south-western
Northamptonshire as being most worthy of preservation:
Roman, prehistoric and undated monuments:
(2) Iron Age Fort
(2) Enclosures and Ditches
(1) Roman Villa
(5) Prehistoric and Roman Settlement
(1) Hill Fort
(3) and (4) Roman Buildings
Medieval and later earthworks
(5) Deserted Hamlet of Charlock
Aston Le Walls
(1) Deserted Village of Appletree
(3) Fishponds and Hollow-way
(3) Site of Manor House
(4) Site of Manor House
(9) Deserted Village of Astwick
(18) Deserted Village of Steane
(5) and (6) Motte, Site of Manor House and
(4) Site of Manor House and Settlement Remains
(2) Deserted Village of Lower Radstone
(1) Deserted Village of Kirby
11. In compiling the foregoing list, our criteria have been archaeological or historical importance
and rarity, not only in the national but in the local field, and the degree of loss to the nation that
would result from destruction. The list is based on academic considerations and does not take into
account the problems of preservation.
However, destruction of field monuments continues to be rapid and widespread, and the
increasing rarity of these monuments makes it desirable that as many as possible of those listed in
the Inventory should be preserved. Also, the extent and impressiveness of surface remains are not
the only indications of archaeological importance; their significance can often only be appreciated
after excavation. Destruction should therefore not be permitted before archaeological investigation
has taken place.
12. We desire to express our acknowledgement of the good work accomplished by our executive
staff in the production of this volume, particularly by Mr. C. C. Taylor and Mrs. F. M. Brown
who carried out the fieldwork and the preparation of the Inventory, by the editor Mr. S. D. T.
Spittle, by Dr. B. E. A. Jones who carried out research in the Public Record Office, by our
illustrators Mr. R. E. Beeton and Mr. P. N. Hammond and by our photographers Mr. J.
Parkinson, Mr. R. Braybrook, and Mr. H. Marsden. We are also grateful for the work done by
our chief photographer Mr. R. E. W. Parsons and by Mr. J. N. Hampton who assisted with the
13. Since the publication of our 38th Report Your Majesty has appointed Mr. S. D. T. Spittle
and Mr. E. Barbour-Mercer, members of the executive staff of the Commission, Officers of Your
Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
14. Mr. Robert William McDowall, C.B.E., M.A., F.S.A., retired from the Secretaryship of the
Royal Commission in 1979, and Dr. Peter Jon Fowler, M.A., F.S.A., was appointed to succeed
15. We desire to add that our Secretary and General Editor, Dr. P. J. Fowler, has afforded us
16. The next Inventory in the Northamptonshire series will record archaeological sites within
R. J. C. Atkinson
J. K. S. St Joseph
A. R. Dufty
A. C. Renfrew
I. Joan Thirsk
R. A. Buchanan
A. L. F. Rivet
J. K. Downes
H. T. Hookway
P. J. Fowler (Secretary)