(OS 1:10000 aSP 76 NE, bSP 76 SE)
Though most of the parish of Moulton lies outside Northampton (see
RCHM Northamptonshire II, 110–12), a small area of just under 20 hectares
in the S. is now within the boundaries of the borough. It comprises land
sloping S.E. between 125 m. and 75 m. above OD. The highest part is
underlain by silts and limestones of the Estuarine Series, though here
mainly covered by Boulder Clay. Below this is a broad band of
Northampton Sands and Upper Lias Clay.
Prehistoric and Roman
A fragment of polished stone axe, probably a tuff, was found in 1979
(c. SP 789645; Northamptonshire Archaeol 15 (1980), 166; NDC P234).
Worked flints have been found at two locations (c. SP 785646; NM; NDC
P17. SP 78736465; including a scraper; OS; NDC P119). Roman pottery
has been found at two locations (c. SP 793648; BNFAS 5 (1971), 22; 7
(1972), 27; NDC R28. c. SP 789647; a Samian sherd; BNFAS 7 (1972), 27;
Some 50 dark patches visible from the air, and covering about 2
hectares (c. SP 781652) have been suggested as possible pits (BNFAS 5
(1971), 40; NDC A15).
b(1) Iron Age Settlement (?), Roman Villa (centred on
SP 78506455), on the E. side of Booth Rise, on Northampton Sands, at
104 m. above OD. A small amount of Roman pottery was found on the
W. side of Booth Rise prior to 1938. In that year part of a tesselated
pavement, Roman pottery, a triangular hone and four coins, including one
of Honorius (AD 395–423), were discovered in the back garden of 26 Booth
Rise (SP 78506455). In 1947 a coin of Constantine (AD 306–40) was found
at 'Avoca' (32 Booth Rise; SP 78516457) and Roman pottery was recovered
from 'Uplands' (said to be the 'neighbouring house' to Avoca). In 1954–5
Roman pottery of mid 1st to 4th-century date, possibly Iron Age and
Belgic pottery and two coins, both antoniniani of Gratian (AD 367–83) were
discovered in the garden of 8 Booth Rise (SP 78426446). Iron Age and
Belgic pottery, Roman pottery including Samian, Nene Valley ware,
greyware and a mortarium were discovered in the quarry in Booth Rise.
This quarry runs at the back of nos. 2–32 Booth Rise and the material
recovered may have been thrown over from the back garden of one or
more of these houses. The finds from no. 8 and the quarry were brought
to NM along with material from elsewhere by the same donor and there is
a possibility that the provenance of some of the material was confused.
Also in 1954–5 an antoninianus of Victorinus (AD 269–71) was recovered
from the garden of 38 Booth Rise (SP 78526460). In 1961 further Roman
pottery, said to be from the quarry, was brought to NM. Between 1950
and 1973 Roman pottery, 2nd to 4th-century in date, clay and stone roof
tiles, tufa building stone, tesserae, flue tile fragments, painted plaster, iron
nails, a bone gaming piece (?), a strip of bronze, oyster shells and four
coins were recovered by the owner of 28 Booth Rise, chiefly from his back
garden. In 1973 an area of tesselated pavement, with a chequer-board
pattern of red, white and brown tesserae adjoining an area of plain white
tesserae, was uncovered in the back garden of 28 Booth Rise
(SP 78506456). A large column base was discovered at the E. end of the
pavement. In 1977 limestone tesserae, ironstone wall foundations (?), tile
fragments and a human skull (above the level of the wall foundations (?))
were found in the back garden of 24 Booth Rise (SP 78506454).
The evidence set out above, collected in a haphazard manner over a
period of half a century, nevertheless indicates a substantial Roman
building possibly preceded by a late Iron Age settlement. The discovery of
fragments of tesselated pavement, flue tiles and painted plaster would
appear to indicate a dwelling of some importance as would the relatively
large area (150 m. from S.W.-N.E.) over which Roman finds have been
recovered. (Northampton Independent 1 July 1938; J Northamptonshire Nat
Hist Soc Fld Club 29 (1938), 60; BNFAS 8 (1973), 8; Northamptonshire
Archaeol 9 (1974), 91; 13 (1978), 85; Rainey 1973, 121; NDC R27).
a(2) Prehistoric and Roman Settlement (SP 78936506), lay
N.W. of Thorplands, and N.N.E. of what is now the Round Spinney
roundabout, on Northampton Sands, at 103 m. above OD. The site was
discovered by field-walking in advance of development when a dense
scatter of worked flints with a wide variety of forms and ranging in date
from mesolithic to Bronze Age, and 2nd to 4th-century Roman pottery
were discovered extending over 0.25 hectares. Building materials, including
stone and tile, were concentrated at two points.
Excavation in 1970 and 1974 revealed the following sequence of
activity. There was a small quantity of Iron Age pottery but no definite
pre-Roman structures. The earliest features were ditches containing 1st
and 2nd-century pottery and these were succeeded by one or possibly two
circular timber buildings provisionally dated to the late 1st and 2nd
centuries and perhaps extending into the 3rd century. A pit of the mid to
late 3rd century contained sherds from perhaps 1000 vessels.
In the late 3rd century a circular building, 6.5 m. in diameter with
stone foundations and associated with a paved yard, was erected. It
remained in use until the late 4th or early 5th century. Finds included
evidence for possible iron working, brooches, a bronze ring and other
bronze objects, nine bone gaming pieces and a weaving comb. Sixteen
coins, ranging in date from Elagabalus (AD 218–22) to Valens (AD 364–78),
were discovered. One, a rare antoninianus of the Gallic usurper Marius
(AD 269) is of special interest. The site has been fully published (Hunter
and Mynard 1977; see also BNFAS 5 (1971), 22–4; 6 (1971), 16;
Northamptonshire Archaeol 10 (1975), 157; CBA Group 9 Newsletter 2
(1972), 4; DOE Excavations 1970 (1971); NDC P16, R69).
a(3) Enclosures (c. SP 790651), possibly associated with (2) above,
lie 300 m. N.E., on Northampton Sands, at 103 m. above OD. Rectangular
cropmarks, possibly of one or more enclosures, have been recorded (BNFAS
5 (1971), 40; 6 (1971), 16, Moulton (6); NDC A16).
b(4) Roman Settlement (?) (c. SP 777648), S. of the Boughton
Road, on limestone, at 123 m. above OD. A small ditch containing 1st-century pottery was revealed during the construction of a new road
(BNFAS 5 (1971), 22; NDC R61).