bhs Brixworth Village Thomas Roe & Buttercross All Saints` Church Brixworth 1_Exterior Post-1865

Settlement Enclosure

SETTLEMENT ENCLOSURE.  Brixworth. Northants SP 741708.

 

There appear to be remains of an oval settlement formed by double banks with an outer ditch on exposed aspects and at least one bank at the head of a steep slope. The enclosure is oval approximately 130 metres east to west by 80 metres internally, on a site sloping northwards to a steep escarpment on the north side. The bank(s) have a combined width of 16 to 18 metres. Access not yet established, and only a brief examination made, after spotting from the opposite side of the valley.

 

The site is in fact included in the Royal Commission Inventory Volume III as bronze age and early saxon pottery finds, the former associated with Neolithic and Bronze Age worked flints and part of a saddle quern, found by David Hall in 1974. (Brixworth 4 and 26). No-one seems to have spotted the physical evidence for a settlement enclosure.

 

The enclosure is located either side of the hedgerow dividing improved fields from hillside pasture. South of the hedge the only evidence is the much reduced suggestion of a ditch continuing from its apparent opening onto the hillside on the east, around the south and southwest. North of the hedge it is mostly bounded by just a steep scarp, dissected by ridge and furrow terminals, with the local suggestion of at least one bank. It ends at an angle of the hedgerow on the west, where the scarp is quite steep.

 

The only clue to the existence of the settlement enclosure is a fragment of the double bank on the north-east at SP 74207083 which, because of the complicating effect of adjacent ridge and furrow, and the possibility it has been so utilised, mean that it is not immediately obvious, except that it is concentric within the apparent ditch. However, while the ridge and furrow is straight, the twin banks follow a curve, initially as a terminal to cultivation ridge, then breached and spoiled by them, near a drinking trough. A former hedge line down the hillside, marked by a shallow ditch, still shown on OS maps, suggests that the twin banks may only have survived modern farming activities by being in a hedge angle close to steepening ground.

 

Dr Thomas C. Welsh 2nd May 2005.

School of Applied Science, University College Northampton, Park Campus, Boughton Green Road, Northampton, NN2 7AL.