BRIEF HISTORY OF SETTLEMENT
The present village of Glinton lies some 10 metres above the floodplains of the River Welland in an area historically known as the Nassaburgh Hundred: a medieval sub-division of Northamptonshire between Stamford and Peterborough bounded by the rivers Welland and Nene.
Archaeological evidence shows that Bronze and Iron Age people settled in the Welland Valley exploiting the natural resources of woodlands, fens and grazing meadows and cultivating the fertile upper river terraces for crops. So well did these people do that they left behind a series of nationally important earthworks. However, no evidence has been uncovered of ancient settlement within Glinton parish.
The Roman occupation left its mark on the landscape. The B1443 (west of the current line of the A15) lies on the line of a Roman road running from Barnack drift, across Ermine Street and King Street to Crowland. Car Dyke, (which is interpreted as a Roman canal or drainage channel running between the Nene navigation and Lincoln via the River Welland and Witham), runs immediately to the east and north of Glinton and Peakirk. Whilst the Roman period has undoubtedly shaped the present landscape, the current village does not appear to have been influenced by the Roman period.
Glinton’s position would always have been of strategic significance. It is just on dry land, above the fens and astride an ancient north south route (now the A15) and the ’causeway’ routes into the fens to Crowland and Thorney and beyond. It is also close to the Welland navigation. It is said that villages centred around a green are typical of Saxon form of settlement. Associations with St Pega (d. 719) also make for an Old English connection. However, there is no hard evidence to connect the present village with the Anglo Saxon period.
The influence of the Norman’s on the Glinton we see today is illustrated in the Domesday Book. The land of Peterborough Abbey in Glinton is described as having 12 ploughs, 100 acres of meadow and woodland, 2 maid servants, 10 villeins, 6 borders and 8 sokemen. The knights of Peterborough Abbey held 10 hides and 1 virgate of land, with 15 and a half ploughs, 33-sokemen holding 9 and a half of these and two mills.
The Norman feudal open field system was easily imposed on the flat landscape. Glinton-cum-Peakirk is identifiable as a classic form of manor, as described in The English Heritage publication ‘England’s Landscape – The East Midlands’ (Stocker, 2006). The north boundary of the Parish was the River Welland. The damp southern river margins were used for rich seasonal grazing, harvesting reeds and sedges, wildfowling and fish trapping; the terraces, with alluvial soils overlying the Oxford clays were ideal for the great medieval open fields. It is likely that the mills were on Brook Drain (north of the village), which still retains its winding medieval course. The woodlands were probably on the higher ground at the southern hedge of the parish where vestiges of woodlands remain just north and south of Pellett Hall.
The only surviving medieval building is the Church of St Benedict, which dates from the 12th century, although it is reputed that the current 17th century Manor House is on the site of an earlier structure.
A glimpse of medieval Glinton can be gained from the 1819 Enclosure Map. (Map 1) Even by the 17th century, land immediately around the green had been enclosed to form small plots and in these stood the 17th century stone rubble and thatch cottages that we see today. These were the homes of freeman and the closes enabled them to grow herbs and vegetables, fruit and nut trees and keep small livestock close to their home. The average peasant family would have existed in little more than a shanty.
BRIEF HISTORY OF SETTLEMENT