(OS 1:10000 a SP 53 NE, b SP 53 SE, c SP 63 NW,
d SP 63 SW)
The parish is of irregular shape and covers almost
1300 hectares including the land of the medieval village of Astwick (Fig. 52). Much of it is a plateau at
about 135 m. above OD, with radiating streams, but
in the N. the land slopes down to the Great Ouse
and a tributary which forms the N.E. boundary.
Most of the higher flatter ground is on Oolitic Limestone but sands and clays are exposed on the valley
sides. Apart from some prehistoric finds the main
monuments are a large Roman site (4) and the deserted village of Astwick (9). The latter is noteworthy in that its layout suggests that it has been
replanned at some time before abandonment.
Prehistoric and Roman
Fig. 51 Edgcote (2) Cultivation remains
Two leaf-shaped arrowheads have been found (SP
601357, 600357; BNFAS, 5 (1971), 3; Banbury Museum).
Records of Roman coins in 'Astwick Field' in the 18th
century cannot be verified (J. Bridges, Hist. of Northants.,
I (1791), 168; OS Record Cards). Roman pottery found
'at Evenley' before 1862 may have come from the sites
described below (2, 3) (PSA, 2 (1862), 75).
a(1) Flint-Working Site (centred SP 590362), on both
sides of the stream on the N. parish boundary, and partly
in Brackley parish, at 107 m. above OD. Field-walking
has led to the discovery of worked flints including flakes,
blades and a core, as well as some possible Iron Age pottery
(BNFAS, 5 (1971), 16–17). Mesolithic blades and microliths have been picked up further S.E. (SP 592359; Banbury
a(2) Enclosures and Linear Ditch (SP 568355), in the
N.W. of the parish, on Great Oolite Limestone at 129 m.
above OD. Air photographs (NCAU) show a small trapezoidal enclosure only 20 m. wide apparently lying within
a larger enclosure of similar shape and about 0.5 hectare
in extent. The larger enclosure is very indistinct. Both
enclosures appear to be intersected by a linear ditch running
E.-W. and traceable for almost 400 m.
b(3) Enclosures (SP 575338), lie S.W. of the village, W.
of the A43, on limestone, at 132 m. above OD. Air photographs (CUAP, BBK74) show indistinct cropmarks of at least
four small conjoined rectangular enclosures covering about
a(4) Roman Settlement and Coin Hoards (centred SP
593359), lies N. and N.E. of Evenley Hall, between 105 m.
and 120 m. above OD. Much Roman material has been
found over a wide area and ranging in date from the 1st
to the 4th century. It includes pottery, tiles, coins, building
stone and a bronze pin. The finds extend from Fox Covert
Wood as far as the stream to the N., in the same area as
the worked flints and the possible Iron Age sherds described previously (1), and it appears that there was an
important building in the area occupied at least throughout
the 2nd and 3rd centuries, though no foundations or exact
site have yet been identified. In 1826, in the S. of the site,
a large hoard was found consisting of several hundred
coins of Nero, Domitian, Severus Alexander, Probus, Carausius, Constantine and others. A second hoard, said to
comprise over 23,000 coins from the second half of the 3rd
century contained in an 'earthenware vase', also came from
Evenley before 1854. The exact find spot is unknown.
(BNFAS, 3 (1969), 9; 5 (1971), 3, 16–17; G. Baker, Hist.
of Northants., I (1822–30), 617; Num. Chron., 17 (1854), 38;
Gent's Mag., 1 (1854), 55; Arch. J., 49 (1892), 224; VCH
Northants., I (1902), 217; Oxoniensia, 36 (1971), 112; BAR,
40 (1977), 61; Banbury Museum; NM)
a(5) Roman Settlement (?) (SP 587351), lies immediately
N. of the village, at 120 m. above OD. There are vague
references to the discovery of Roman pottery in this area
(OS Record Cards).
For possible Roman Road 56a, see Appendix.
Medieval and Later
ab(6) Settlement Remains (SP 586350; Fig. 15), formerly
part of Evenley, lie along Church Lane in the N.W. part
of the village, on limestone at 120 m. above OD. The
village consists of two parts. In the N.W. is Church Lane,
now a cul-de-sac; in the S.E. the rest of the village is
arranged around a large rectangular green. Until recent
development the parish church together with Road Farm
stood in an isolated position at the N.W. end of Church
Lane, but the archaeological evidence suggests that in the
medieval period the lane was lined with buildings on both
sides. The gardens of modern houses on the S. side of the
lane have considerable quantities of 13th and 14th-century
pottery in them, and on the N. side of the lane, in the only
surviving piece of permanent grassland, are two rectangular platforms which probably mark the sites of former
buildings. Immediately E. of the church, on the N. side
of the lane, there was an L-shaped pond which has now
been destroyed by modern houses. In 1780 (NRO, Enclosure Map) this pond was shown as the W. and S. sides of
a small rectangular moat with no buildings within it. A
long rectangular pond, which also survived until recent
times, lay to the N.W. The moat was probably the site of
a medieval manor house. The exact chronological relationship of the two parts of the village is not clear but it is
possible that Church Lane is the older part and that the
green was a later planned addition.
b(7) Fishponds (centred SP 589346; Fig. 15), lie immediately S.E. of Evenley village, in the valley of a small
N.E.-flowing stream, on clay, at about 115 m. above OD.
Three sub-rectangular ponds, each with a large dam up to
2 m. high, are arranged in a line along the valley bottom.
The road to Evenley from Mixbury, Oxfordshire, crosses
the dam of the southernmost pond and a farm track uses
the dam of the middle pond. This pond has been damaged
and much of its W. part has been filled in. The northernmost pond was known as New Pond in 1882 (map in
NRO). Two other similar ponds lie N. of the village,
within Evenley Park (SP 587352), and although these have
been altered by later landscaping they, too, may have originated as medieval fishponds.
Fig. 52 Evenley Medieval settlements and
Fig. 53 Evenley (9) Deserted village of Astwick, (10) Enclosure
a(8) Windmill Mound (?) (SP 583357), lies on the W.
side of Evenley Park, immediately W. of Park Lodge,
beside the A43, on limestone at 128 m. above OD. A
circular flat-topped mound 15 m. in diam. and 1 m. high
and much altered by landscape gardening may be the site
of a windmill. The area in which it lies was called Windmill
Ground on the Enclosure Map of c. 1780 (NRO).
b(9) Deserted Village of Astwick (centred SP 570342;
Figs. 52 and 53; Plate 1), lies in the W. of the parish, in the
valley of a small S.W.-flowing stream, on limestone and
clay at 122 m. above OD. The land associated with the
village is now the W. part of Evenley parish.
Astwick is not mentioned by name until 1195 (PN Northants., 53) but it has been identified as the manor of one
and three-fifths hides with a recorded population of nine,
listed but not named in Domesday Book as pertaining to
Evenley (VCH Northants., I (1902), 341). Thereafter no
record of its population exists and in all the national taxation returns it is listed with Evenley. However Astwick
is mentioned by name in the Nomina Villarum of 1316. In
1510 there were still at least 15 houses there (K. J. Allison
et al., The Deserted Villages of Northants. (1966), 35). Bridges
(Hist. of Northants., I (1791), 168), writing in about 1720,
described it as a village of six houses but he was referring
to farms scattered throughout the lands of the former village. He also said that Astwick 'appears to have been
formerly a large town, as may be seen from the ruins
which are called The Old Town'. By 1839 (NRO, Tithe
Map) the whole site was abandoned and the W. part was
known as Stoneheap Ground.
Although some modern destruction has occurred the
greater part of the village survives as earthworks. These
remains suggest that the village once had an L-shaped plan
and was later altered; a hollow-way with associated medieval house-sites cuts obliquely across an earlier more
regular arrangement of closes. The nearest parallel to this,
in terms of both basic plan and later alterations, is Bardolfston in Dorset (RCHM, Dorset, III (1970), Puddletown
The assumed earlier phase, of L-shaped plan, is well
preserved on the E. side of the stream, but on the W. has
been almost totally destroyed by modern ploughing. The
surviving E. part, divided into numerous rectangular
closes, is bounded on the E. by a modern hedge, on the
N. and N.W. by the stream and on the W. by an almost
continuous line of ditches and scarps. The S. boundary is
not clear but the surviving ridge-and-furrow probably defines it. Several of the larger closes in the centre and S.
have been overploughed by later ridge-and-furrow though
it is not possible to ascertain at which stage in the village's
development this took place. The damaged W. part of the
earlier village also appears to have had a rectangular layout
to judge from the few remaining scarps and banks now
only a few centimetres high.
The later phase of the village consists of two hollowways. The main one enters the site in the S. and for the
first 200 m. follows the general S.S.W.-N.N.E. alignment
of the early plan. It then turns sharply N.W. obliquely
through some of the older closes and swings W. across the
stream. To the W. of the stream it still survives as a shallow
depression climbing the valley side; it then turns N.W. and
fades out. The second main hollow-way branches from the
first at a point just E. of the stream and curves E. across
the older closes. Beyond the hedge on the E. side the route
can be traced as a large headland. A low scarp blocks the
E.-W. hollow-way at its junction with the main one and
this indicates that the latter remained in use after the other
hollow-way had been abandoned. Many well-preserved
house-sites survive, marked by limestone-rubble walls up
to 1 m. high and several showing internal divisions into
rooms. Among the most notable are those on the N. side
of the E.-W. hollow-way ('a' on plan) where at least six
buildings are arranged around a large courtyard. To the S.
of the same hollow-way ('b' on plan) is another group of
buildings lying on the N. side of and within a broad
hollow. Elsewhere there are isolated house-sites beside the
hollow-ways and situated in small closes (e.g. 'c' and 'd'
on plan). In the damaged W. part at least two house-sites
have avoided destruction. To the N. of the site, within the
modern arable fields, air photographs show a system of
cropmarks; some at least of these are modern drains though
others are probably boundaries of former closes. It is unclear what relationship these have with the village. (RAF
VAP CPE/UK/1929, 3176–7; 106G/UK/1488, 4264–6; CUAP,
AFH92–5, AGV39, BBK77–80)
b(10) Enclosure (SP 572343; Fig. 53), lies immediately
N.E. of the deserted village of Astwick (9), in the bottom
of a small valley, on clay at 124 m. above OD. It has been
described on various OS maps as 'camp', 'moat' and 'fishpond' but, although it is certainly medieval or later and
was perhaps associated with Astwick village, its function
The site was first described by Bridges (Hist. of Northants., I (1791), 168) as a 'moat full of water' and the field
in which it lay was called Moat Close in 1839 (NRO, Tithe
Map). The earthwork consists of a roughly trapezoidal
depression in the valley bottom; the original course of the
stream is still visible across it. This depression is surrounded by a large bank between 1.7 m. and 2.00 m. high,
formerly continuous but with two modern breaks through
it. Outside the bank there is an encircling ditch cut back
1.5 m. deep into the hillside on the S., E. and N. and with
a low bank on the N.W. There is also an outer bank on
the E. (RAF VAP CPE/UK/1929, 3176–7; 106G/UK/1488, 4264–
b(11) Enclosure (SP 577336), lies within a small copse
known as The Grove, in the N.W. corner of the crossroads of the A43 and B4031, on clay at 125 m. above OD.
A rectangular system of ditches, perhaps originally forming two conjoined enclosures 25 m. across, has been cut
by the A43. No date or function can be assigned to the
site but the name Le Grofehey is recorded as early as 1275
(PN Northants., 53).
(12) Cultivation Remains. The common fields of Evenley were enclosed by an Act of Parliament of 1779
(NRO, Enclosure Map). No details of the fields at that
time are known except that the greater part of the area to
the N. of the village, now Evenley Park, was already
enclosed before that date, and that the southern part of the
parish was an uncultivated area known as Bayards Green.
Bridges (Hist. of Northants., I (1791), 165), writing in about
1720, said that 'about one forth part of Evenle is enclosed'
and this presumably refers to the area of the park. Very
little ridge-and-furrow survives on the ground or can be
traced on air photographs, most of it having been destroyed by modern cultivation of the light limestone soil.
Some interlocked furlongs survive within the park.
The date of the enclosure of the common fields of Astwick is unknown, though part of the area had been enclosed before 1535 (K. J. Allison, et. al., The Deserted
Villages of Northants. (1966), 35). Certainly by 1720
(Bridges, op. cit.) all the land of Astwick was enclosed.
Ridge-and-furrow of these fields can be traced only in a
few places. Fragments are visible N., S. and W. of the site
of Astwick village (9) (SP 572438, 561340 and 569340)
though only as single furlongs. Ridge-and-furrow also survives in the closes around and within Astwick village. (RAF
VAP CPE/UK/1926, 4217–9; CPE/UK/1929, 1230–2, 2176–7,
3175–7; 106G/UK/1488, 3266–8, 4264–6)