Medieval settlement at Haselbech


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017184

Date first listed: 14-Dec-1999


Ordnance survey map of Medieval settlement at Haselbech
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Jan-2019 at 10:24:33.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Northamptonshire

District: Daventry (District Authority)

Parish: Haselbech

National Grid Reference: SP 71074 77277


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Medieval rural settlements in England were marked by great regional diversity in form, size and type, and the protection of their archaeological remains needs to take these differences into account. To do this, England has been divided into three broad Provinces on the basis of each area's distinctive mixture of nucleated and dispersed settlements. These can be further divided into sub-Provinces and local regions, possessing characteristics which have gradually evolved during the last 1500 years or more. This monument lies in the East Midlands sub-Province of the Central Province, an area characterised in the Middle Ages by large numbers of nucleated settlements. The sites of many of these settlements are now occupied by modern villages, but others have been partially or wholly deserted and are marked by earthwork remains. Most of these settlements were first documented in the 11th century, in Domesday Book. The southern part of the sub-Province has greater variety of settlement, with dispersed farmsteads and hamlets intermixed with the villages. Whilst some of the dispersed settlements are post-medieval, others may represent much older farming landscapes. The Soar Valley and Nene Plateau local region comprises the low hill country of the Soar Valley and, to the south east, a low plateau dissected by the tributaries of the Nene and Welland. Nucleated villages and hamlets dominate the region, but gaps are found within the pattern in Rockingham Forest, in Rutland and in High Leicestershire where they are linked to the location of woodland in and before the 11th century.

Medieval villages were organised agricultural communities, sited at the centre of a parish or township, that shared resources such as arable land, meadow and woodland. Village plans varied enormously, but when they survive as earthworks their most distinguishing features include roads and minor tracks, platforms on which stood houses and other buildings such as barns, enclosed crofts and small enclosed paddocks. They frequently included the parish church within their boundaries, and as part of the manorial system most villages included one or more manorial centres which may survive also as visible remains as well as below ground deposits. In the central province of England, villages were the most distinctive aspect of rural life, and their archaeological remains are one of the most important sources of understanding about rural life in the five or more centuries following the Norman Conquest. The medieval settlement at Haselbech is represented by an area of well defined earthworks and associated buried remains, in which evidence for the nature of the settlement will be preserved. The later phases of the settlement at Haselbech are well documented and records demonstrate several phases of abandonment. The crofts and building platforms will contain buried evidence for houses, barns and other structures, accompanied by a range of boundaries, refuse pits, wells and drainage channels, all related to the development of the settlement. Artefacts in association with the buildings will provide further insights into the lifestyle of the inhabitants and assist in dating settlement changes through time. Environmental evidence may also be preserved, illustrating the economy of the settlement and providing further information about its agricultural regime.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of the medieval settlement at Haselbech, located on the summit and slopes of a rounded hill to the west of the parish church of St Michael. The village name is first recorded in 1086 as a single manor with a population of 19 working nine plough teams. Land was held by the Bishop of Salisbury and the Earl of Leicester. The lack of medieval records for the settlement suggests that it remained small. By the late 16th century much of the parish had passed into the hands of the Tresham family, and around 1559 over 700 acres of common field were enclosed and some 60 people were evicted. A map of the period depicts the village at its largest extent, including roads to the east and south west of the church, when about 25 separate farmsteads, houses or cottages lined the roads and a number of empty crofts (or garden enclosures) existed. During the 17th century the present hall was built, and 31 householders still paid the hearth tax. By the 18th century there were 24 houses in the parish, and in 1773 a park was laid out around the hall. At the same time the road to the east of the church was closed and all the houses along it were removed. In addition all the houses along the road west of the church and some to the south of Naseby Road were demolished to provide a view from the hall leaving only nine buildings surviving in the vicinity of the settlement, a further four of which were removed in the 19th century. The earthwork remains of the settlement survive up to 0.5m in height, and include a broad hollow way measuring up to 1m deep. This hollow way crosses the site from north to south along its western edge and appears to have acted as a back lane to the settlement, forming a crossroads with Harborough Way and Naseby Road. To the east of the hollow way, and arranged in an irregular grid pattern, are the remains of earthen building platforms set within embanked enclosures, or crofts, which represent the house and garden sites of the settlement. The house platforms are best preserved at the northern end of the hollow way. At its southern end the hollow way meets a second hollow way aligned east to west, running at right angles and joining Northampton Way. This second lane is depicted on the 16th century maps and appears to have acted as a route to the common fields surrounding the settlement. To the south of the second lane is a large square enclosure, measuring approximately 80m across, formed by a deep ditch which measures up to 1.5m deep and 3m wide. This may represent the location of a high status dwelling, or farmstead. The remains of at least four other building platforms are arranged in an irregular grid and separated by a shallow hollow way to the south and east of the large enclosure. These remains are partly overlain by medieval ridge and furrow cultivation remains. This area was shown devoid of settlement on the 16th century maps and this may represent an earlier phase of abandonment prior to the establishment of the hall. All modern post and wire fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 30070

Legacy System: RSM


RCHME, An Inventory of the Historical monuments in Northamptonshire, Northamptonshire,
Various SMR Officers, Various unpublished note in SMR, SMR Number 4351

End of official listing