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Glapthorn & Cotterstock

Cropmarks reveal the plan of the great Roman villa that lies between Glapthorn and Cotterstock, which may have played a crucial role inthe evolution of the historic landscape of this area (reproduced with permission of Northamptonshire County Council)

Glapthorn: NGR: TL024 902; Cotterstock: NGR: TL048 985 
Area: Glapthorn 942 acres; Cotterstock 1025 acres.

Glapthorn may originally have been a single land unit with Cotterstock and remained a chapelry in Cotterstock parish until the 19th century.  The land farmed exclusively from Cotterstock was restricted to the area east of the Stamford road and north of the tributary stream whereas that farmed exclusively from Glapthorn covered almost half of the combined area resulting in a much larger settlement. The central third of the combined area, centred (perhaps not coincidentally) on a great Roman villa, was intercommoned by the two places until enclosure.  A new township boundary between the two was defined in 1636 to resolve this complexity. 

The joint territory stretched westward from the alluvial floodplain of the Nene along the valley of the Benefield brook, across interleaved layers of mainly limestone and clay, originally extending north and south onto the boulder clay capped ridges. There on the north the tenants of Glapthorn and Cotterstock claimed right of pasture in Totenho and in Perio Chase while on the south Glapthorn tenants once had right of common in part of Biggin.

The manorial history is confused, in part because of the intermixing of property between Glapthorn and Cotterstock.  In 1086 two men at arms held manors at Cotterstock from the Abbot of Peterborough.  One of these descended with the Torpel and Camoy families until acquired in 1336 by John Giffard for the foundation of a college of priests in 1338, thus becoming the Provost’s manor.  Before the dissolution this manor was acquired by the Norwich family but after the dissolution eventually passed to the Kirkhams. It is not clear whether the other Domesday manor is that which in the 14th century belonged to the Holts and by the 17th century had passed to the Nortons.  Glapthorn has no entry in 1086 yet there were three holdings (one of which held by two individuals) in the 12th century survey. Of these only that of Fulk de Lisurs can be traced later, being a parcel of the manor of Benefield and descending via the Bassingbournes, the Earls of Gloucester and others until granted in 1538 to Lord Cromwell, from whom the manor became known as Cromwell’s or Gloucester manor. Brown’s manor, which cannot yet be linked to the other 12th century holdings, existed before 1300 and can be traced through to the later 15th century.  By the 16th century it had passed to the Brudenells, who also acquired the Cromwell manor so uniting the two. In addition there was the property of Norton’s manor in Cotterstock and during the medieval period there were 3 virgates belonging to the Abbot of Crowland’s manor at Elmington and other property owned by the Knights of St John.

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