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Historic England Research Records

Canons Ashby

Hob Uid: 339641
Location :
Northamptonshire
Daventry
Canons Ashby
Grid Ref : SP5770050700
Summary : Deserted settlement earthworks situated in the northern part of The Orchard and in the pasture field to the north of Canons Ashby House. The settlement was first documented in Domesday Book when the population was recorded as 16; houses and plots of land were granted to the Augustinian Priory when it was founded in the mid 12th century, and by the mid 13th century it was known as Canons Ashby. The settlement grew during the 14th century but contracted in the later 15th century when the prior enclosed the land for sheep-pasture. The population diminished further in the 16th and 17th centuries and by the early 18th century there remained about five dwellings. The earliest part of the village is believed to be represented by the earthwork remains of plot boundaries which lie to the north side of the Adstone Road. The plots take the form of a series of small, roughly rectangular enclosures defined by banks and ditches; each plot would have contained a house and garden or yard. Further plots are evident to the north west and are believed to be associated with the expansion of the settlement in the 14th century. Running behind the plot boundaries to the east are the earthwork remains of a hollow way, representing a back lane (see separate record) The earthworks were surveyed by RCHME field staff in 1992 and have been scheduled as an ancient monument.
More information : (SP 575506) Canons Ashby. (SP 575507) Deer Park. (1)

The Augustinian Priory at Canons Ashby (SP 55 SE/13), dedicated to
the Blessed Virgin, was founded 1147-51, probably for 13 canons, and
was dissolved in 1536 (2). A church and surrounding land, houses
crofts, a fishpond and a horse-mill were given at the founding (3).

The lay manor was wholly enclosed by the Dissolution; and 2000 sheep
were kept here in 1547 (4).

On APs (5) the area of the village is clearly outlined by rig and
furrow. At SP 57505091 is a large flat-topped mound, possibly a
barrow or a motte (SP 55 SE/14). At SP57955040 is a circular mark
(the horse mill?) (2-6). Other associated features are a string of
large fish ponds to the W, a mill mound at SP 56935033 and the site
of the village which was probably NW of the house, although no
surveyable features now remain. The site of the horse mill could not
be substantiated. See photo's and annotated 25" surveys (7).

SP 576507 Village of Canons Ashby first mentioned in Domesday,
population 16. Priory (SP 55 SE/13) founded 1150 at S end of village.
1301 18 Lay Subsidy payers. 1316 village mentioned in Nomina
Villarum. 41 houses in 1343. 1377 82 Poll Tax payers (age 14+)
recorded. 1489 Prior of Canons Ashby destroyed 3 houses for pasture.
In 1492 he evicted 24 people. By 1524 only 21 tax payers listed. In
1535 9 tenants paid rent to the priory. At the Dissolution in 1537
the lands passed to Sir Francis Bryan, then to Sir John Cope who by
1547 had 2000 sheep in the parish. 5 Hearth Tax payers recorded in
1674. c1720 only 3 farm houses and 2 or 3 lodges remained. In 1801 40
resident in the parish. Surviving earthworks are well preserved NW of
Canons Ashby House. Close boundaries cut through ridge and furrow,
and pottery scatters suggest that the 14th century expansion of the
village northwards may have built over former arable land. Several
hollow ways suggest the layout of the medieval road system (3).

The following sites were previously recorded together with the
village as SP 55 SE/1 and have now been recorded under individual
site records: Canons Ashby Priory (SP 55 SE/13), the supposed motte
(SP 55 SE/14), fishponds (SP 55 SE/15), a windmill mound (SP 55 SE/
17) and Canons Ashby Hall (SP 55 SE/18). (8)

(SP 577507). In December 1992, RCHMEs Cambridge Office carried out
an analytical earthwork survey of elements of the deserted village at
Canons Ashby, and a field observation on the other remains, following
a request from the National Trust. The principal area studied was
the field now known as `The Orchard' (SP 55 SE/25). The other
surviving DMV earthworks comprise a linear settlement of numerous
domestic enclosures (crofts), some with associated house platforms
(tofts), all ranged along a system of medieval hollow-ways. The
village is surrounded by ridge-and-furrow cultivation. (9)

The plan of the medieval village, which was largely deserted
following enclosure for sheep in the sixteenth century, can be
reconstructed from the earthwork remains (9a). The village was
arranged around a crossroads with most of the surviving remains
lying in the northeastern quarter, between the Preston Capes and
Adstone roads. The southern arm leads to the church and priory (SP 55
SE/13). The south-western arm followed a route now partly under
Canon's Ashby House (SP 55 SE/18) but visible as a hollow way to the
west of the formal gardens.

A row of crofts is laid out along the east side of the Preston Capes
road with a back lane identifiable as a hollow way. A second row of
crofts survives along the north side of the Adstone road with a
similar back land surviving as a hollow way.

At some point the village may have expanded over the former open
fields at the northern end of the sites, suggested by crofts
apparently overlying very degraded ridge-and-furrow. This expansion
is enclosed by a bank and ditch and, perhaps fortuitously, resembles
the Canons' Walk in both size and shape (SP 55 SE/13). However, it is
unclear whether the northern enclosure is contemporary with or later
than the village remains.

The crofts were rectangular in plan and aligned at right angles to
the hollow ways and were divided by low banks. The crofts range in
size from 35m by 25m to 60m by 22m, the largest properties fronting
the Preston Capes road. The actual tofts are seldom evident, one of
the surviving examples measures 20m by 12m or 25% of the area of its
croft.

The surviving earthworks seem scarcely sufficient to account for the
41 houses listed in 1343 (9b), it is possible that some crofts have
been destroyed or are no longer recognisable as earthworks.
Documentary evidence suggests that Canons Ashby House may stand on
the site of a medieval farm (9a) and there may have been further
dwellings on the west side of the Preston Capes road. Beyond the
village cluster in the area of the later parkland no medieval
earthworks now survive except for ridge-and-furrow.

The village was completely surrounded by arable arranged into three
large fields, the North, West and East Fields (9a). Ridge-and-furrow
is still well defined to the east of the village and in the western
part of the park where it extends down to the fishponds (SP 55 SE/
15). Cultivation may have extended eastward to the Preston Capes road
before landscaping for the part obliterated the ridges. Aerial
photographs show traces of ridge-and-furrow around Park Cottage
(SP 57555075) which were too faint to be recorded on the ground. In
the fields east of the Orchard (SP 55 SE/25) and Canon's Walk no
trace of ridge-and-furrow is visible on aerial photographs. Ridge-and
furrow recorded by the RCHME in 1981 in the paddock west of the
church is now buried beneath the National Trust car park.

For further details, see RCHME Level 3 client report and plans at
1:1000 and 1:2500 scales, held in archive. (9).

The renovation of the Tudor House and the Monastic church by the
National Trust, together with the conservation of the barn and wood
yard required that archaeological excavation should be carried out.
This was completed in 1981, service trenches made it possible to
confirm the observations made by Sir Henry Dryden in the last
century. (11)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : Ordnance Survey 6" 1955
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Medieval religious houses in England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 132
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : (RAF CPE/UK/1926 1056-7 16-JAN-47)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Northamptonshire
Source details : 1961 edition
Page(s) : 135
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : First Ordnance Survey Archaeology Field Investigator 07/05/1970
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 8
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Lee ES 19-JUL-1991, RCHME Recording
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Canon's Ashby
Source details : RCHME: Canon's Ashby Survey
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9a
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Foard G R 1982. Canons Ashby: archaeological report Northamptonshire Record Office 2B 294
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9b
Source : Council for British Archaeology: Archaeology in Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 75
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 1982
Source Number : 10
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : English Heritage Schedule Entry 21/02/1997
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Domesday Book, 21 : Northamptonshire
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number :
Source : Canon's Ashby/ink survey
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2a
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : (RAF CPE/UK/1926 1056-7)
Page(s) :
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Source Number :
Source : RCHME: Canons Ashby Deserted Medieval Village, Northamptonshire
Source details :
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Baker G. 1841. Northamptonshire
Page(s) : Jul-15
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 2
Source Number : 3a
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Northampton: volume one
Source details :
Page(s) : 341, 372
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3b
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : PRO E179/155/31, /27-9, /122-64, E179/254/14
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3c
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Beresford M. 1954. The Lost Villages of England
Page(s) : 366
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3d
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : (RAF CPE/UK/1994 4096-7)
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 3e
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : (CUCAP, BEN25)
Page(s) :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Allison K J. Beresford M W. Hurst J G. 1966. The Deserted Villages of Northamptonshire
Page(s) : 35
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Field System, Ridge And Furrow
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : First mentioned in Domesday Book
Monument End Date : 1086
Monument Start Date : 1086
Monument Type : Settlement, Croft, Toft
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Expanded in the C14
Monument End Date : 1399
Monument Start Date : 1300
Monument Type : Settlement, Croft, Toft
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Contracted during C16
Monument End Date : 1499
Monument Start Date : 1400
Monument Type : Shrunken Village
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Contracted in the late C15
Monument End Date : 1499
Monument Start Date : 1467
Monument Type : Shrunken Village, Croft, Toft
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Contracted during C16
Monument End Date : 1599
Monument Start Date : 1500
Monument Type : Shrunken Village
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Shrunken in C17
Monument End Date : 1699
Monument Start Date : 1600
Monument Type : Shrunken Village
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Deserted in C18
Monument End Date : 1799
Monument Start Date : 1700
Monument Type : Deserted Settlement
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : NN 154
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Northamptonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 5750003
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Northamptonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 5750015
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Northamptonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 5750004
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Northamptonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 5750008
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Northamptonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 600/0/0
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 13643
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SP 55 SE 1
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, CANONS ASHBY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1828-01-01
End Date : 1828-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CANONS ASHBY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1969-01-01
End Date : 1970-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SP 55 SE 1
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1970-05-07
End Date : 1970-05-07
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SP 55 SE 1
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1976-10-29
End Date : 1976-10-29
Associated Activities : Primary, CANONS ASHBY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1981-01-01
End Date : 1981-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CANONS ASHBY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1982-01-01
End Date : 1983-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CANONS ASHBY HOUSE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1992-01-01
End Date : 1992-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: CANONS ASHBY SURVEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1992-12-01
End Date : 1992-12-15
Associated Activities : Primary, CANONS ASHBY HOUSE
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1993-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT CANONS ASHBY
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2014-01-01
End Date : 2014-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LAND AT CANONS ASHBY HOUSE
Activity type : GEOPHYSICAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2014-01-01
End Date : 2014-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CANONS ASHBY STEW PONDS
Activity type : CORE SAMPLING
Start Date : 2014-01-01
End Date : 2014-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CANONS ASHBY HOUSE
Activity type : ARCHITECTURAL SURVEY
Start Date : 2014-01-01
End Date : 2014-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, THE STEW PONDS, CANONS ASHBY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2015-01-01
End Date : 2016-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, CANONS ASHBY GREENHOUSE
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 2016-01-01
End Date : 2016-12-31