(OS 1:10000 SP 65 NE)
The parish, of irregular form, covers some 910 hectares of land on the S. side of the R. Nene which
forms its short N. boundary. Most of the parish is
an undulating plain of clay between 70 m. and 90 m.
above OD, across which the Bug Brook flows N.E.
and then N. to join the R. Nene. In the extreme S.
of the parish the land rises steeply to Bugbrooke
Downs which are capped by Northampton Sand at
120 m. above OD.
Prehistoric and Roman
A polished stone axe of Group VI (Langdale) type was
found in the parish before 1904 (NM; T. J. George, Arch.
Survey of Northants. (1904), II: PPS, 28 (1962), 262, No.
982). A quartzite pebble with a central hour-glass perforation, probably a mace, was found in 1973 (SP 67675768;
NM; Northants. Archaeol., 9 (1974), 83). A large saucer
quern was discovered during ploughing in 1973 (SP
65415662; Northants. Archaeol., 13 (1978), 178).
(1) Ring Ditches (SP 661566), in the S.W. of the parish,
on the S.E. edge of a high flat-topped plateau of Northampton Sand at 125 m. above OD. Air photographs
(NCAU) show one ring ditch 15 m. in diam. and indistinct
traces of at least three others in the immediate area.
(2) Enclosures and Ditches (SP 671562), in the S. of
the parish, close to a small N.-flowing stream, on Marlstone Rock at 80 m. above OD. Air photographs (NCAU)
show very indistinctly two small circular conjoined enclosures 10 m. in diam., possibly hut-sites, set inside an incomplete circular feature 50 m. wide. Traces of linear
ditches are visible around and intersecting the circular
(3) Roman Settlement (SP 686567), S.E. of the village,
on Upper Lias Clay at 94 m. above OD. A scatter of
Roman pottery, fragments of tile and building stone, some
dressed, was found in 1975 (Northants. Archaeol., 11 (1976),
For Roman Road 1f, Watling Street, see Appendix.
Medieval and Later
No medieval earthworks have been recorded in the village of Bugbrooke but the village plan is unusual with a
single street on the E. of the stream and an almost isolated
church on the W. (NRO, Enclosure Map, 1779). The area
around the church, still mainly permanent pasture, might
well repay excavation in the future in order to establish the
origins of the village.
(4) Fishponds (SP 675576), lie N. of the village, immediately W. of the manor house, on the E. side of the
Bug Brook, on Middle Lias Clay at 76 m. above OD.
Three sunken rectangular ponds 1.5 m. deep, set roughly
at right angles to each other and linked by narrow channels,
lie close to the brook. The northernmost is 20 m. by 8 m.,
the central one 40 m. by 12 m. and the southernmost
22 m. by 20 m. The latter has a large outer bank on its S.
and W. sides. A broad curving bank 12 m. wide and 1.5 m.
high lies immediately to the S. At the N. end of the area
two parallel ditches up to 10 m. wide, 1.5 m. deep and
15 m.–20 m. apart extend up the valley sides. The earthworks must be associated with Manor Farm and the fishponds are presumably medieval in date. (Air photographs
(5) Cultivation Remains. The common fields of the
parish were enclosed by an Act of Parliament of 1779
(NRO, Enclosure Map). Ridge-and-furrow of these fields
exists on the ground or can be traced on air photographs
over almost the entire parish with the exception of a wide
strip of floodable meadowland along the R. Nene in the
N. and on the high parts of Bugbrooke Downs in the S.E.
No doubt it once existed in the latter area but modern
cultivation has removed all traces from the light sandy
On the gently undulating land which makes up most of
the parish the ridge-and-furrow is arranged in end-on or
interlocked furlongs, many of markedly reversed-S form.
Some extremely large headlands up to 12 m. wide and
0.5 m. high survive (e.g. SP 679584), and at least two of
them between end-on furlongs have been over-ploughed
at some time in order to make the two furlongs into one
(SP 673580 and 678568). A small area of narrow ridge-and-furrow presumably of the 18th or 19th century formerly lay immediately N. of the manor house (SP 677577).
(RAF VAP CPE/UK/1926, 4035–7, 5034–40; CPE/UK/1994,
1172–6, 3161–6; 3G/TUD/UK/118, 6030–5, 6047–53;
(6) Burials (unlocated, but apparently in the village),
found about 1840 during the 'levelling of a hill'. Several
human skulls, 'together with a crocodile in a petrified state'
were discovered as well as horseshoes. A human skeleton
with a severed head is also recorded (Whellan, Dir., 303).
No date or function can be suggested for these oddly
assorted finds, though the site has been interpreted as a
'tumulus' (T.J. George, Arch. Survey of Northants. (1904),