Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, or Northampton

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, or Northampton, an inland county; bonded, on the N E, by Leicestershire and Rutlandshire; on the N, by Lincolnshire; on the E, by Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, and Bedfordshire; on the S E, by Buckinghamshire; on the S and the S W, by Oxfordshire; on the W, by Oxfordshire and Warwickshire. Its outline is oblong and irregular, and extends from N E to S W. Its boundaries, in some parts, are traced by streams; but, in general, are artificial. Its greatest length is 70 miles; its greatest bread this 25 miles; its circuit is about 215 miles; and its area is 630, 358 acres. Its surface is pleasantly diversified with moderate elevations; includes, near its W border, a part of the watershed between the eastern and the western seas; rises nowhere higher than about 800 feet above sea-level; is all adapted either to tillage or to pasture; and presents, in general, a verdant aspect, with rich interspersions of wood and mansions. The loftiest heights are in the W, in the vicinity of Daventry; a range of tolerable elevation extends along the N E border, from Braybrooke to Wakerley; another range, of less marked character, nearly connects the hills around Daventry with the Braybrooke and Wakerley range; and several minor ranges occur in the S W. The chief streams are the Nen, the Welland, the Bedfordshire Ouse, the Warwickshire Avon, the Cherwell, and the Leam. About one-half of the entire area, including all the higher grounds, most of the tract along the Nen to the vicinity of Oundle, and some intervening tracts, consists of lias formations, variously sand, upper lias clay, marlstone, and lower liasclay and lime; most of the rest of the area consists of lower oolitic formations, variously cornbrash, forest marble, Bradford clay, Bath oolite, fuller's earth, and inferior oolite; and a tract of about 7,000 acres in the extreme N E, consists of alluvial matters, and is part of the Bedford level or Great fen. Good building stone is quarried at Barnack, Brackley, and Kingsthorpe; a sort of roofing-slate is quarried at Colleyweston; and clay and lime a bound at Dunston, Kingsthorpe, and other places. Mineral or petrifying springs occur in Astrop, Higham-Ferrers, Northampton, Raunds, Rothwell, Stanwick, and Wellingborough.

The soil, in most parts, is a stiff loam; in some localities, cold and wet, in others, friable and fertile; whitish to the S of Northampton, blackish to the S of Market-Harborough, brownish or reddish on the N Wborder; but the soil of the fen-tract in the N E is a well-reclaimed, well-worked, and highly productive humus. Estates are large; farms average from 150 to 200 acres; and the farm-buildings are middle-rate. Wheat, barley, oats, rape, turnips, beans, pease, and grasses are the principal crops; hemp is grown in the fens; and a little woad and some other minor crops are occasionally raised. Dairies are numerous, and send butter and cheese to market. Grazing establishments for fattening cattle also are numerous, and some of them very large. The cattle amount to about 35,000; and are chiefly of the long-horned and the short-horned breeds, but include many of the small Scotch and Welsh breeds. The sheep amount to about 650,000; are of the Leicester and other breeds; and yield about 16, 250 packs of wool. The horses amount to about 20,000. Remains exist of Salcey, Whittlebury, and Rockingham forests; and produce oak, ash, beech, elm, and various kinds of underwood. The chief manufactures are shoes, boots, lace, silks, malt, malt-liquors, agricultural instruments, and paper. The persons employed in shoe-making and boot-making, within there gistration county, at the census of 1861, were 13,037males, and 4, 200 females; in lace-making, 34 m. and 8, 187 f.; in silk manufacture, 326 m. and 211 f.; in malt-making, 163 m.; in brewing, 217 m. and 6 f.; in iron-manufacture, 295 m.; in basket-making, 111 m. and 8 f.; in paper-making, 49 m. and 27 f.; in corn-grinding, 495 m. and 10 f. The Nen is navigable for smallcraft up to Northampton; and the Welland, along the boundary with Lincolnshire, up to Stamford. The Grand Junction canal traverses the county, about 25 miles south-east-by-southward, from Braunston to Cosgrove; makes a junction, in the N W, with the Oxfordcanal; sends off a branch from Middleton to the Nen at Northampton; sends off another branch from Cosgrove along the border, past Stony-Stratford; and gives communication, through its connexions, with the country around Birmingham, the Trent and the Mersey navigations, and the navigation of the Thames. The Grand Union canal begins in the Grand Junction canal near Daventry; runs northward into Leicestershire, to the Leicester canal; and sends off a branch to Market-Harborough. Most of the railways in the county have been noticed in the article on Northampton; another railway, not noticed there, runs along the S W verge from the vicinity of Banbury, past Kings-Sutton and Aynho; another goes across the S W wing from Banbury to Brackley toward Buckingham; another, the main line of the Northwestern, comes in from the neighbourhood of Rugby, and goes south-east-by-eastward, past Watford, Weedon, Blisworth, and Ashton, toward Bletchley; another comes in from Leicester at Market-Harborough, and goes south-south-eastward, past Kettering and Wellingborough, toward Bedford; another runs curvingly, acrossthe N E wing, from Stamford to Peterborough; another, the Great Northern, comes in from York at Tallington, and goes south-eastward, chiefly alongside of the previous line, to Peterborough; another deflects from the last in the neighbourhood of Werrington, and goes north-eastward, past Peakirk, into Lincolnshire toward Boston; and another, going from Rugby, past Market-Harborough and Rockingham to Stamford, though running chiefly within Leicestershire and Rutlandshire, impinges onparts of Northamptonshire, and serves for all its N Wborder. The roads, so long ago as 181 4, comprised 354 miles of paved streets and turnpike roads, and 1, 547 miles of other highways used for wheeled carriages.

Northamptonshire contains 296 parishes, parts of 7others, and 14 extra-parochial places; and is divided into the boroughs of Northampton, Daventry, and part of Stamford, and the hundreds of Chipping-Warden, Cleley, Corby, Fawsley, Greens-Norton, Guilsborough, Hamfordshoe, Higham-Ferrers, Huxloe, Kings-Sutton, Nassaburgh, Navisford, Nobottle-Grove, Orlingbury. Polebrook, Rothwell, Spelhoe, Towcester, Willybrook, and Wymersley. The registration county gives off eight parishes to Oxfordshire, eight parishes to Warwickshire, ten parishes to Lincolnshire, five parishes and an extra-parochial tract to Rutlandshire, and eighteen parishes, a hamlet, and an extra-parochial tract to Leicestershire; takes in two parishes from Oxfordshire, six parishes from Bucks, three parishes from Beds, twenty-seven parishes and parts of four others from Hunts, one parish from Lincolnshire, and one parish from Cambridgeshire; comprises 632, 219 acres; and is divided into the districts of Brackley, Towcester, Potterspury, Hardingstone, Northampton, Daventry, Brixworth, Wellingborough, Kettering, Thrapston, Oundle, and Peterborough. The act of 1844, for consolidating detached parts of counties, made no other change on Northamptonshire than to annex to it part of Catworth township previously in Hunts, and 60 acres of Luffield-Abbey extra-parochial tract previously in Bucks. The county town is Northampton; acity and parliamentary borough is Peterborough; a municipal borough is Daventry; another borough, but mostly in Lincolnshire, is Stamford; other towns with more than 2,000 inhabitants are Wellingborough, Kettering, Oundle, Towcester, and Brackley; and there are about 400 smaller towns, villages, and hamlets. The chief seats are Boughton House, Wakefield Lodge, Sudborough, Burleigh House, Castle-Ashby, Althorpe Park, Deene Park, Easton House, Elton Hall, Milton-Abbey, Salcey-Forest, Barton Hall, Apethorpe Hall, Eydon Hall, Farming-Woods, Guilsborough Hall, Harrowden House, Kelmarsh Hall, Hazlebeech Hall, Laxton Hall, Lilford Hall, Overstone Park, Peterborough Palace, Watford Court, Ashby Lodge, Courteenhall Hall, East Carlton Hall, Horton Hall, Milton House, Parkview, Stanford Hall, Sulby Hall, Wicken Park, Wood ford Lodge, Ashby-Canons, Cranford Hall, Fawsley, Oakley, Astrop House, Biggin Hall, Blatherwycke Park, Bragborough Hall, Brixworth Hall, Buckby Hall, Bulwick Hall, Charlton Lodge, Cotterstock Hall, Cottesbrook Hall, Cransley Hall, Delapré Abbey, Dingley Hall, Drayton House, Earls-Barton Hall, East Haddon Hall, Ecton Hall, Edgcott House, Elm Lodge, Evenley Hall, Falconer's Hill, Finedon, Fineshade Abbey, Floore House, Glendon Hall, Great Billing Hall, Great Oakley Hall, Guilsborough Grange, Kingsthorpe Hall, Knuston Hall, Marston-Trussell Hall, Mears-Ashby Hall, Moreton-Pinkney Manor, Moulton Grange, Newnham H all, Norton Hall, Orlingbury House, Paston Hall, Pipewell Hall, Priory House, Rockingham Castle, Rushton Hall, Sholbrook Lodge, Southwick Hall, Spratton Hall, Stoke House, Thenford House, Thorpe Hall, Thorpe Lawn, Thorpe-Lubenham Hall, Thorpelands, Upton Hall, Wadenhoe House, Welton Place, Westwood House, Whilton Lodge, Woodcroft Castle, Woolleys, and Yardley House.

Northamptonshire is governed by a lord lieutenant and custos, a high sheriff, about 42 deputy lieutenants, and about 430 magistrates. It is in the Midland military district, in the Midland judicial circuit, and in the diocese of Peterborough. The assizes are held at Northampton; and quarter sessions, at Northampton and Peterborough. The county jail and a borough jail are at Northampton; and another jail is at Peterborough. The police force, in 1864, comprised 39 men for Northampton borough, at a cost of £2, 459; 3 men for Daventryborough, at a cost of £135; 18 men for Peterborough liberty, at a cost of £1, 432; and 104 men for the rest of the county, at a cost of £9, 244. The crimes committed in 1864, were 95 in Northampton, 11 in Daventry, 42in Peterborough, and 194 in the rest of the county; thepersons apprehended were 74 in Northampton, 15 in Daventry, 29 in Peterborough, and 139 in the rest of thecounty; the depredators and suspected persons at large were 251 in Northampton, 60 in Daventry, 110 in Peterborough, and 344 in the rest of the county; and the houses of bad character were 46 in Northampton, 11 in Daventry, 26 in Peterborough, and 34 in the rest of thecounty. The boroughs of Northampton, Peterborough, and Stamford send each two members to parliament. The rest of the county is cut into two divisions, N and S, for parliamentary representation; and each divisions ends two members. Kettering is the place of election for the N division, and Northampton for the S division; and there are eleven polling-places. Electors of the Ndiv., in 1833, 3, 363; in 1865, 4,016, of whom 2, 457were freeholders, 575 were copyholders, and 921 were occupying tenants. Electors of the S div., in 1833, 4, 425; in 1865, 5, 293, of whom 4,053 were freeholders, 129 were copyholders, and 1,005 were occupying tenants. The poor-rates for the registration county in 1863 were £124, 461. Marriages in 1863, 1, 752, of which 379 were not according to the rites of the Established church; births, 8, 681, of which 494 were illegitimate; deaths, 5, 238, of which 2, 195 were at ages under 5 years, and 134 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 18, 146; births, 77, 319; deaths, 47, 170. The places of worship within the electoral county, in 1851, were 292 of the Church of England, with 84, 816 sittings; 56 of Independents, with 17, 444 s.; 1 of General Baptists, with 100 s.; 63 of Particular Baptists, with 20,066 s.; 23 of Baptists undefined, with 3,034 s.; 6 of Quakers, with 1, 317 s.; 2 of Unitarians, with 540 s.; 3 of Moravians, with 290 s.; 97 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 18, 620 s.; 16 of Primitive Methodists, with 1, 759 s.; 1of the Wesleyan Association, with 214 s.; 4 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 634 s.; 4 of Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, with 144 s.; 1 of Brethren, with 60 s.; 13 of isolated congregations, with 1, 434 s.; 4 of Latter Day Saints, with 510 s.; and 6 of Roman Catholics, with 705s. The schools were 276 public day schools, with 18, 969 scholars; 411 private day schools with 7, 555 s.; 426 Sunday schools, with 33, 614 s.; and 15 evening schools for adults, with 305 s. Real property in 1815, £947, 578; in 1843, £1, 252, 100; in 1860, £1, 345, 463, of which £4, 345 were in quarries, £500 in iron-works, £12 in fisheries, and £3, 560 in gas-works. Pop. in 1801, 131, 525; in 1821, 163,097; in 1841, 199, 228; in 1861, 227, 704. Inhabited houses, 48, 531; uninhabited, 2, 160; building, 274. Pop. of the registration county, in 1851, 213, 844; in 1861, 231,079. Inhabited houses, 48, 823; uninhabited, 2,088; building, 311.

The territory now forming Northamptonshire was in-habited by the ancient British Coritani; was included, by the Romans, in their province of Flavia Cæsariensis; formed part of the Saxon kingdom of Mercia; was known at Domesday as Northamtunescire; and then includedwhat is now Rutlandshire. Many remarkable events have occurred in it, and are noticed in our articles on Northampton, Naseby, Edgcott, Fotheringay, Borough Hill, and other places where they happened. Ancient camps, variously British, Roman, Saxon, and Danish, are at Burnt Walls, Borough Hill, Arbury Banks, Castle Dykes, Irthling borough, Raynesbury, Huntsborough, Hardingstone, Passenham, Berrymount, Guilsborough, Ringstead, Round Hill near Lilbourne, and Castle Hillnear Sulgrave. Roman stations were at Burnt Walls or Borough Hill, Chipping-Warden, Towcester, Lilbourne, and Castor. The Roman Watling-street comes in on the S at Stony Stratford; goes north-north-westward, past Towcester, Borough Hill, and Lilbourne; and proceeds thence beyond the county to an intersection of the Fosseway at High Cross. The Port way deflected from Watling-street within the county, and went to Blackground sand Aynho. Ermine-street crosses the N E wing of thecounty, from the neighbourhood of Castor to Stamford. Roman pavements have been found at Great Welden, Cotterstock, Thorpe, and Stanwick; and Roman coins and other Roman relics have been found in very many places. Old castles are or were at Fotheringay, Barnwell, Brackley, Northampton, Barton-Seagrave, Rockingham, and other places. Queen Eleanor's crosses are at Delapré Abbey and Geddington; and others were at Braunston and Brackley. Abbeys, priories, friaries, nunneries, and monastic hospitals were numerous; and some of them have left considerable remains. An oldcathedral is at Peterborough; and old churches, with interesting features, are at Barnack, Barnwell, Brackley, Braunston, Brington, Brixworth, Castor, Earls-Barton, Fotheringay, Glinton, Higham-Ferrers, Northampton, Oundle, Spratton, Twywell, Wellingborough, and Whiston.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "an inland county"   (ADL Feature Type: "countries, 2nd order divisions")
Administrative units: Northamptonshire AncC
Place: Northamptonshire

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