Print

Long-term significance of King Street

The discovery that the country lane known today as 'Onley Lane' in Barby parish was formerly known as 'King Street' between at least the early 1500s and the late 1700s is of potentially great significance ...

A number of early "viae regia" or "King's streets" have been noted in other parts of the country (both within and outside Northamptonshire) by members of the Community Landscape & Archaeology Survey Project (CLASP), and these are currently the subject of some interested discussion. It is believed that they may have served as 'royal roads' between tribal areas in much earlier times - back, for example, as far as Saxon time, and perhaps even further.

The 'King Street' lane at Barby and Onley, and its continuation both to west and east of Barby parish, has some topologically interesting features associated with it (refer to this 1906 VCH map):

These comments are collected together and summarised here in order that they may be incorporated into subsequent studies on the topology of this area and its early history.

It may be speculated that an early Catuvellauni outpost at Barby could have acted as a lookout over the neighbouring Dobunni territory on the west side of the hill, with the ability to relay news further into Catuvellauni territory (e.g. to Borough Hill at Daventry, Arbury Hill etc) via a beacon or similar means located near to the crossing point of the two ridgeways on the east side of the hill.

It is also possible that the Dobunni settlement at Rugby and the suggested Catuvellauni settlement at Barby Hill may have each been strategically located close to a possible trading site at Barby Nortoft, which lies close to what would have been the intersection of Coritani/Dobunni/Catuvellauni territories aorund the time of the Roman conquest.

Clearly this is no more than casual speculation (though there is mounting topological evidence to support it) ... and views are invited from others who have specialised in this period.