(OS 1:10000 a SP 74 SE, b SP 74 NE)
The parish, covering some 700 hectares, is roughly
oval and lies on a broad spur bounded by the R.
Tove on the E., the Great Ouse on the S.E., and the
Dogsmouth Brook on the S.W. From the wide alluvial valleys of the two rivers at about 64 m. above
OD the land rises across Oolitic limestones and clays;
the higher ground, above 85 m., in the central, N.
and W. areas is covered by Boulder Clay.
The most important archacological remains in the
parish are the Roman villa, bath house and temple
(2). The modern parish is the result of both ancient
and recent adjustments. Baker (Hist. of Northants., II
(1836–41), 128) wrote that 'this parish, prior to the
inclosures, was inconveniently and inexplicably intermingled with Potterspury', and maps show that
it included at least two detached areas now in Potterspury. In 1954 the creation of Old Stratford parish
involved the transfer of the S.W. part of Cosgrove.
Prehistoric and Roman
A few late Neolithic or Bronze Age flints and some
pottery, perhaps sherds of a beaker, were discovered during the excavation of the Roman buildings (2) (BNFAS,
4 (1970), 8) and a bronze spearhead was found in about
1967 close to the R. Ouse in the E. of the parish (SP
80104206; Bucks. County Museum).
a(1) Ring Ditches (?) (centred SP 795419), on river
gravel, between 64 m. and 71 m. above OD. Air photographs (not seen by RCHM) are said to show the cropmarks of two ring ditches (SP 79564190 and 79584188),
with a third 250 m. to the W. (OS Record Cards). From
the description it is possible that these are the ploughed
out remains of a wartime anti-aircraft emplacement (see
also Old Stratford, p. 108).
a(2) Roman Villa, Bath House and Temple (SP
795421), S. of the village, on limestone, at 70 m. above
OD. The discovery of an urn containing 60 silver denarii
(Gent's. Mag., 1 (1801), 76) and of many other Roman
coins including silver medallions of Constantine I, Valentinian II and Magnus Maximus, as well as coins of Diocletian, Constans, Magnentius, Julian, Valens and Gratian
(Baker, Hist. of Northants., 2 (1836–41), 136; VCH Northants., I (1902), 216; OS Record Cards), all probably found
during the construction of the canal, suggested the presence
of a Roman settlement in the area. An undated burial had
also been discovered in the vicinity. Excavations in the
1950s revealed a well-preserved bath house and in 1969 the
main buildings of a villa were investigated. These covered
more than I hectare and were arranged around a large
courtyard. The main building, a double-corridor villa, was
built in about AD 100 and survived for about 200 years.
The bath buildings constructed in about 150 went out of
use before 300. Another less sophisticated double-winged
building was occupied about 100–150. A small temple built
in about 300 may have replaced earlier ones. Other walls
and buildings were also found. (BNFAS, 1 (1966), 7; 4
(1970), 7–8; JRS, 48 (1958), 140; 49 (1959), 115; Wolverton
and District Arch. Soc. Newsletter, 4 (1959), 7; 7 (1962), 2–
4; Britannia, 1 (1970), 288; CBA Summaries of Excavations
(1969), 11; MOPBW Arch. Excavations 1969 (1970), 21; OS
Medieval and Later
a(3) Moat (?) (SP 796432), lies on the N.E. side of The
Priory, close to the R. Tove, on river gravel at 64 m.
above OD. An L-shaped ditch with a maximum depth of
1.3 m. is correctly shown on OS 1:2500 plan SP 7943.
There is no trace of other sides and it is uncertain whether
the feature is a genuine medieval moat or a later landscape
feature. The latter is more likely.
a(4) Settlement Remains (SP 796427; Fig. 15), formerly
part of Cosgrove, lie at the extreme N.E. end of the
village, on river gravel, at 65 m. above OD. Faint traces
of a hollow-way, continuing the line of Main Street and
The Green, are visible running N.E. towards Castlethorpe,
Buckinghamshire. To the S.E. of The Green and cut into
by later gravel-pits are very indeterminate earthworks
which may be the sites of former houses. Though these
remains are slight, they emphasize the relatively simple
layout of the village before it was disrupted by the construction of the Grand Junction Canal in 1800. Until then
the village probably consisted of a single street extending
from the church in the S.W. to The Green. The Main
Street was blocked by the canal, except for pedestrian use,
and traffic was diverted in a broad loop to the N. on which
all subsequent development has been based. The Rectory
garden and the new graveyard have obliterated any trace
of the original street between the canal and the church but
a modern footpath follows the approximate line. (RAF VAP
(5) Cultivation Remains. The common fields of the
parish were enclosed by an Act of Parliament of 1767
(NRO, Enclosure Map). No details are known of the
arrangement or the names of the fields before that date.
Ridge-and-furrow of these fields exists on the ground or
can be traced from air photographs in a few places, mainly
alongside the R. Tove and the Great Ouse, arranged in
end-on and interlocked furlongs, many of reversed-S form.
Some exceptionally well-preserved ridge-and-furrow remains immediately N. of the village (SP 793427), where it
is cut by both the canal and Bridge Road, and to the S.W.
of The Priory (SP 795429). Another common field, a detached part of the parish the exact location of which is
unknown, was enclosed with the fields of Potterspury in
1775. (Baker, Hist. of Northants., II (1836–41), 128). (RAF
VAP CPE/UK/1926, 2245–9, 4246–9; F21 58/RAF/5517, 0029–
32; F22 58/RAF/5517, 0030–2; air photographs in NMR)
For the cultivation remains of the deserted village of
Furtho, some of which lie in this parish, see Potterspury
a(6) Burials (SP 781427), W. of Rectory Farm, on glacial
gravel at 85 m. above OD. Several skeletons were found
in a gravel-pit in about 1893–4 (OS Record Cards).