In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Towcester like this:
TOWCESTER, a small town, a parish, a sub-district, a district, and a hundred, in Northamptonshire. The town stands on Watling.street and the river Tove, at the termination of a branch railway 8¼ miles SSW of Northampton; occupies the site of the Roman station Lactodurum; was known, in the Saxon times, as Tof-ceastre,-at Domesday, as Tovecestre; suffered much in the Saxon times, from frequent attacks of the Danes; was refortified, in the time of Edward the Elder, by walls and other works, of which but faint traces remain; belonged, in the time of Henry VII., to the lawyer Sir R. ...
Empson, a native, the son of a sieve-maker, raised to the chancellorship of the duchy of Lancaster, and eventually beheaded: is now a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and a polling place; consists chiefly of one long well built street; and has a head post-office,‡ a banking office, two chief inns, a town hall and corn exchange, in the classic style, with dome, tower, and spire, built in 1866, a police station, erected in 1852, a theological library and reading room, a church of various periods, repaired in 1836, four dissenting chapels, an endowed grammar-school with £65 a year, national schools, a workhouse with capacity for 208 inmates, alms houses with £91 a year, and other charities £251. A weekly market is held on Tuesday; fairs are held on 12 May and 29 Oct.; and malting, brewing, shoe-making, and pillow-lace manufacture, are carried on. Pop. in 1861, 2,417. Houses, 546.The parish includes, three hamlets, and comprises 2,790 acres. Real property, £11,880; of which £30 are in quarries, and £90 in gasworks. Pop., 2,715. Houses, 610. The manor belongs to Sir T. F. Hesketh, Bart. An artificial mound, called Bury Mount, is on the NW side of the town; appears to have been anciently fortified; and has yielded many Roman relics. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Peterborough. Value, £300.* Patron, the Bishop of Lichfield.The sub-district contains nine parishes. Acres, 19,893. Pop., 7,531. Houses, 1,669.The district includes Abthorpe sub-district, and comprises 42,216 acres. Poor rates, in 1863, £6,939. Pop. in 1851, 12,806; in 1861, 13,004. Houses, 2,956. Marriages in 1863, 82: births, 457,-of which 32 were illegitimate; deaths, 234, -of which 75 were at ages under 5 years, and 13 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,022; births, 4,361; deaths, 2,927. The places of worship, in 1851, were 20 of the Church of England, with 3,184 sittings; 1 of Independents, with 390 s.; 13 of Baptists, with 2,271 s.; 12 of Wesleyans, with 1,864 s.; 2 of Primitive Methodists, with 170 s.; 1 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 60 s.; and 1 undefined, with 70 s. The schools were 17 public day-schools, with 1,053 scholars; 17 private day-schools, with 295 s.; and 32 Sunday schools, with 2,466 s.-The hundred contains six parishes. Acres, 27,490. Pop., 5,163. Houses, 1,139.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Towcester has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of South Northamptonshire. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Towcester and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Towcester in South Northamptonshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 22nd May 2013
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