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   About Northampton

Northampton has a long and chequered history, and where better to get all the facts about Northampton and the surrounding area than the most knowledgeable local author on the subject, Tony Noble. The following information about Northampton has been sourced from Tony's excellent book "Northamptonshire, a Portrait in Colour", which incidentally you can buy via us cheaper than anywhere else on the Internet. You can request a signed copy if you'd like one, which no other site can offer. It also contains a fantastic range of colour pictures on interesting places and scenes from around the County.

Northamptonshire, a Portrait in Colour
Northampton is situated on the North side of the river Nene in the heart of England. Being so close to the middle of England its position made Northampton nationally important. The Saxons first settled in the area in about 650 AD, gradually building a town later to be 'sacked' by the Vikings. By 1066, the date of the Norman Conquest the town had been rebuilt and it became an administrative centre for the Midlands region. Although no longer in existence it was at this time that the Castle was erected.

In terms of the layout of the town, not much has changed since those times, although none of the medieval walls or structures exist still today. Much was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1675 that swept through the heart of the town leaving only the Welsh House in Market Square, and part of All Saints church.

Remains of Northampton Castle
The Postern Gate
All that remains of Northampton Castle
Picture Copyright C. Skinner

Thomas a Becket was put on trial at Northampton Castle by Henry II in 1164 and it was also at the Castle that the Parliament met during the 12th Century. Other notable events include the Battle of Northampton in 1460 during the War of the Roses when Henry VI defeated Edward, Earl of March. Although soon after the Civil War, Oliver Cromwell ordered the destruction of the Castle and Town Hall.

Northampton was saved from obscurity due to the re-emergence of one of its long standing traditional industries, boot and shoe making. Indeed both had been made in the Town for Centuries and it was Cromwell's army that marched to the Battle of Naseby shod in boots made in Northampton. The arrival of the Industrial Revolution revided Northampton's fortunes and the Town expanded rapidly during the 19th Century as a result. The industry has since fallen into decline, with few manufacturer's remaining today although there are stll reminders of the Town's past glories about today, celebrated by the local football team who still bear the nickname of 'The Cobblers'.

More recently the Town has seen expansion through the opening of distribution centres, and its geographical location and proximity to major road networks are playing a major role in the creation of new jobs.

Northampton Balloon Festival
Northampton Balloon Festival
Picture Copyright C. Skinner

Northampton, is conveniently situated in the middle of England's tourist locations. Stratford is about 40 miles North West, Oxford 45 miles South West and Cambridge about 50 miles to the East. Birmingham is about the same distance to the North and London about 70 miles to the South. The British Formula 1 championship takes place each year a few miles to the South West in Silverstone, and each year Northampton hosts one of the largest hot air Balloon festivals in England at a central park that used to be the Racecourse. There are also parks to enjoy and museums to view and great countryside only a few minutes from town centre.

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