Northamptonshire facts for kids

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Northamptonshire
County
Flag of Northamptonshire.svg Arms of Northamptonshire County Council
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Rosa concordia signum
The rose, emblem of harmony
Northamptonshire within England
Northamptonshire in England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country England
Region East Midlands
Ceremonial county
Lord Lieutenant David Laing
High Sheriff Caroline Brocklehurst
Area 2,364 km2 (913 sq mi)
 • Ranked 24th of 48
Population (2005 est.) 651,800
 • Ranked 33rd of 48
Density 275/km2 (710/sq mi)
Ethnicity 85.7% White British
4.7% Other white
2.5% South Asian
2.5% Black British.
Non-metropolitan county
County council Northamptonshire County Council
Executive Conservative
Admin HQ Northampton
Area 2,364 km2 (913 sq mi)
 • Ranked 22nd of 27
Population 651,800
 • Ranked 16th of 27
Density 275/km2 (710/sq mi)
ISO 3166-2 GB-NTH
ONS code 34
NUTS UKF23
Northamtonshire numbered districts.svg
Unitary County council area
Districts of Northamptonshire
Districts
  1. South Northamptonshire
  2. Northampton
  3. Daventry
  4. Wellingborough
  5. Kettering
  6. Corby
  7. East Northamptonshire
Members of Parliament
  • David Mackintosh (C)
  • Peter Bone (C)
  • Michael Ellis (C)
  • Chris Heaton-Harris (C)
  • Philip Hollobone (C)
  • Andrea Leadsom (C)
  • Tom Pursglove (C)
Time zone GMT (UTC)
 • Summer (DST) BST (UTC+1)

Northamptonshire (/nɔːrˈθæmptənʃər/ or /nɔːrθˈhæmptənʃɪər/; abbreviated Northants.), archaically known as the County of Northampton, is a county in the East Midlands of England. In 2011, it had a population of 629,000. The county is administered by Northamptonshire County Council and seven non-metropolitan district councils.

Covering an area of 2,364 square kilometres (913 sq mi), Northamptonshire is landlocked between eight other counties: Warwickshire to the west, Leicestershire and Rutland to the north, Cambridgeshire to the east, Bedfordshire to the south-east, Buckinghamshire to the south, Oxfordshire to the south-west and Lincolnshire to the north-east – England's shortest county boundary at 19 metres (62 ft). Northamptonshire is the southernmost county in the East Midlands region.

Apart from the county town of Northampton, other large population centres include Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough, Rushden and Daventry. Northamptonshire's county flower is the cowslip.

History

Much of Northamptonshire's countryside appears to have remained somewhat intractable with regards to early human occupation, resulting in an apparently sparse population and relatively few finds from the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods. In about 500 BC the Iron Age was introduced into the area by a continental people in the form of the Hallstatt culture, and over the next century a series of hill-forts were constructed at Arbury Camp, Rainsborough camp, Borough Hill, Castle Dykes, Guilsborough, Irthlingborough, and most notably of all, Hunsbury Hill. There are two more possible hill-forts at Arbury Hill (Badby) and Thenford.

In the 1st century BC, most of what later became Northamptonshire became part of the territory of the Catuvellauni, a Belgic tribe, the Northamptonshire area forming their most northerly possession. The Catuvellauni were in turn conquered by the Romans in 43 AD.

The Roman road of Watling Street passed through the county, and an important Roman settlement, Lactodorum, stood on the site of modern-day Towcester. There were other Roman settlements at Northampton, Kettering and along the Nene Valley near Raunds. A large fort was built at Longthorpe.

After the Romans left, the area eventually became part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, and Northampton functioned as an administrative centre. The Mercians converted to Christianity in 654 AD with the death of the pagan king Penda. From about 889 the area was conquered by the Danes (as at one point almost all of England was, except for Athelney marsh in Somerset) and became part of the Danelaw - with Watling Street serving as the boundary - until being recaptured by the English under the Wessex king Edward the Elder, son of Alfred the Great, in 917. Northamptonshire was conquered again in 940, this time by the Vikings of York, who devastated the area, only for the county to be retaken by the English in 942. Consequently, it is one of the few counties in England to have both Saxon and Danish town-names and settlements.

The county was first recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (1011), as Hamtunscire: the scire (shire) of Hamtun (the homestead). The "North" was added to distinguish Northampton from the other important Hamtun further south: Southampton - though the origins of the two names are in fact different.

Rockingham Castle was built for William the Conqueror and was used as a Royal fortress until Elizabethan times. In 1460, during the Wars of the Roses, the Battle of Northampton took place and King Henry VI was captured. The now-ruined Fotheringhay Castle was used to imprison Mary, Queen of Scots, before her execution.

Speed Northampton
John Speed's 17th century map of Northamptonshire

George Washington, the first President of the United States of America, was born into the Washington family who had migrated to America from Northamptonshire in 1656. George Washington's ancestor, Lawrence Washington, was Mayor of Northampton on several occasions and it was he who bought Sulgrave Manor from Henry VIII in 1539. It was George Washington's great-grandfather, John Washington, who emigrated in 1656 from Northants to Virginia. Before Washington's ancestors moved to Sulgrave, they lived in Warton, Lancashire.

During the English Civil War, Northamptonshire strongly supported the Parliamentarian cause, and the Royalist forces suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of Naseby in 1645 in the north of the county. King Charles I was imprisoned at Holdenby House in 1647.

In 1823 Northamptonshire was said to "[enjoy] a very pure and wholesome air" because of its dryness and distance from the sea. Its livestock were celebrated: "Horned cattle, and other animals, are fed to extraordinary sizes: and many horses of the large black breed are reared."

Nine years later, the county was described as "a county enjoying the reputation of being one of the healthiest and pleasantest parts of England" although the towns were "of small importance" with the exceptions of Peterborough and Northampton. In summer, the county hosted "a great number of wealthy families... country seats and villas are to be seen at every step." Northamptonshire is still referred to as the county of "spires and squires" because of the numbers of stately homes and ancient churches.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, parts of Northamptonshire and the surrounding area became industrialised. The local specialisation was shoemaking and the leather industry and by the end of the 19th century it was almost definitively the boot and shoe making capital of the world.

Corby was designated a new town in 1950 and Northampton followed in 1968. As of 2005 the government is encouraging development in the South Midlands area, including Northamptonshire.

Peterborough

The Soke of Peterborough was historically associated with and considered part of Northamptonshire, as the county diocese is focused upon the cathedral there. However, Peterborough had its own Quarter Sessions and, later, county council, and in 1965 it was merged with the neighbouring small county of Huntingdonshire. Under the Local Government Act 1972 the city of Peterborough became a district of Cambridgeshire.

Geography


Kilworth Wharf - geograph.org.uk - 164606
Kilworth Wharf on the Grand Union Canal

Northamptonshire is a landlocked county located in the southern part of the East Midlands region which is sometimes known as the South Midlands. The county contains the watershed between the River Severn and The Wash while several important rivers have their sources in the north-west of the county, including the River Nene, which flows north-eastwards to The Wash, and the "Warwickshire Avon", which flows south-west to the Severn. In 1830 it was boasted that "not a single brook, however insignificant, flows into it from any other district". The highest point in the county is Arbury Hill at 225 metres (738 ft).

There are several towns in the county with Northampton being the largest and most populous. At the time of the 2011 census, a population of 691,952 lived in the county with 212,069 living in Northampton. The table below shows all towns with over 10,000 inhabitants.

Rank Town Population Borough/District council
1 Northampton 212,100 (2011) Northampton Borough Council
2 Kettering 67,635 (2011) Kettering Borough Council
3 Corby 56,514 (2011) Corby Borough Council
4 Wellingborough 49,087 (2011) Borough Council of Wellingborough
5 Rushden 29,265 (2011) East Northamptonshire District Council
6 Daventry 25,026 (2011) Daventry District Council
7 Brackley 13,018 (2011) South Northamptonshire District Council
8 Desborough 10,697 (2011) Kettering Borough Council

As of 2010 there are 16 settlements in Northamptonshire with a town charter:

Climate

Like the rest of the British Isles, Northamptonshire has an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification). The table below shows the average weather for Northamptonshire from the Moulton weather station.

Climate data for Moulton, Northants
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 7
(45)
8
(46)
11
(52)
13
(55)
17
(63)
19
(66)
22
(72)
23
(73)
19
(66)
14
(57)
10
(50)
7
(45)
14.2
(57.5)
Average low °C (°F) 2
(36)
2
(36)
4
(39)
4
(39)
7
(45)
10
(50)
12
(54)
12
(54)
10
(50)
8
(46)
5
(41)
3
(37)
6.6
(43.9)
Precipitation cm (inches) 4.51
(1.776)
3.39
(1.335)
2.87
(1.13)
4.39
(1.728)
3.49
(1.374)
4.66
(1.835)
4.21
(1.657)
4.69
(1.846)
5.49
(2.161)
5.68
(2.236)
4.8
(1.89)
4.98
(1.961)
53.16
(20.929)

Transport

A43 Brackley
Brackley bypass on the A43

The gap in the hills at Watford Gap meant that many south-east to north-west routes passed through Northamptonshire. The Roman Road Watling Street (now part of the A5) passes through here, as did later canals, railways and major roads.

Roads

Major national roads including the M1 motorway (London to Leeds) and the A14 (Rugby to Ipswich), provide Northamptonshire with transport links, both north–south and east–west. The A43 joins the M1 to the M40 motorway, passing through the south of the county to the junction west of Brackley, and the A45 links Northampton with Wellingborough and Peterborough.

The county road network, managed by Northamptonshire County Council includes the A45 west of the M1 motorway, the A43 between Northampton and the county boundary near Stamford, the A361 between Kilsby and Banbury (Oxon) and all B, C and Unclassified Roads. Since 2009 these highways have been managed on behalf of the county council by MGWSP, a joint venture between May Gurney and WSP.

Rivers and canals

Grand Union Canal at Braunston
The Grand Union Canal at Braunston
Further information: Category:Rivers of Northamptonshire

Two major canals – the Oxford and the Grand Union – join in the county at Braunston. Notable features include a flight of 17 locks on the Grand Union at Rothersthorpe, the canal museum at Stoke Bruerne, and a tunnel at Blisworth which, at 2,813 metres (3,076 yd), is the third-longest navigable canal tunnel on the UK canal network.

A branch of the Grand Union Canal connects to the River Nene in Northampton and has been upgraded to a "wide canal" in places and is known as the Nene Navigation. It is famous for its guillotine locks.

Railways

Next stop Wellingborough - geograph.org.uk - 1400370
An East Midlands Trains service approaching Wellingborough on the Midland Main Line

Two trunk railway routes, the Midland Main Line and the West Coast Main Line, cross the county. At its peak, Northamptonshire had 75 railway stations. It now has only six, at Northampton and Long Buckby on the West Coast Main Line, Kettering, Wellingborough and Corby on the Midland Main Line, along with King's Sutton, only a few yards from the boundary with Oxfordshire on the Chiltern Main Line.

Before nationalisation of the railways in 1948 and the creation of British Railways, three of the "Big Four" railway companies operated in Northamptonshire: the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, London and North Eastern Railway and Great Western Railway. Only the Southern Railway was not represented. As of 2010 it is served by Virgin Trains, London Midland, Chiltern Railways and East Midlands Trains.

Corby rail history

Corby was described as the largest town in Britain without a railway station. The railway running through the town from Kettering to Oakham in Rutland was previously used only by freight traffic and occasional diverted passenger trains that did not stop at the station. The line through Corby was once part of a main line to Nottingham through Melton Mowbray, but the stretch between Melton and Nottingham was closed in 1968. In the 1980s, an experimental passenger shuttle service ran between Corby and Kettering but was withdrawn a few years later. On 23 February 2009, a new railway station opened, providing direct hourly access to London St Pancras. Following the opening of Corby Station, Rushden then became the largest town in the United Kingdom without a direct railway station.

Closed lines and stations

Railway services in Northamptonshire were reduced by the Beeching Axe in the 1960s. Closure of the line connecting Northampton to Peterborough by way of Wellingborough, Thrapston, and Oundle left eastern Northamptonshire devoid of railways. Part of this route was reopened in 1977 as the Nene Valley Railway. A section of one of the closed lines, the Northampton to Market Harborough line, is now the Northampton & Lamport heritage railway, while the route as a whole forms a part of the National Cycle Network, as the Brampton Valley Way.

As early as 1897 Northamptonshire would have had its own Channel Tunnel rail link with the creation of the Great Central Railway, which was intended to connect to a tunnel under the English Channel. Although the complete project never came to fruition, the rail link through Northamptonshire was constructed, and had stations at Charwelton, Woodford Halse, Helmdon and Brackley. It became part of the London and North Eastern Railway in 1923 (and of British Railways in 1948) before its closure in 1966.

Future

In June 2009 the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) recommended opening a new station on the former Irchester railway station site for Rushden, Higham Ferrers and Irchester, called Rushden Parkway. Network Rail is looking at electrifying the Midland Main Line north of Bedford. A open access company has approached Network Rail for services to Oakham in Rutland to London via the county.

The Rushden, Higham and Wellingborough Railway would like to see the railway fully reopen between Wellingborough and Higham Ferrers. As part of the government-proposed High Speed 2 railway line (between London and Birmingham), the high-speed railway line will go through the southern part of the county but with no station built.

Buses

Sywell Aerodrome
Sywell Aerodrome

Most buses are operated by Stagecoach in Northants. Some town area routes have been named the Corby Star, Connect Kettering, Connect Wellingborough and Daventry Dart; the last three of these routes have route designations that include a letter (such as A, D1, W1, W2, etc.

Airports

Sywell Aerodrome, on the edge of Sywell village, has three grass runways and one concrete all-weather runway. It is, however, only 1000 metres long and therefore cannot be served by passenger jets.

Culture

Rock and pop bands originating in the area have included Bauhaus, The Departure, New Cassettes, Raging Speedhorn and Defenestration.

Kinky Boots, the 2005 British-American film and subsequent stage musical adaptation, was based on the true story of a traditional Northamptonshire shoe factory.

Richard Coles, the English Musician who partnered in the 1980s with Jimmy Somerville to create The Communards band. They made three Top Ten Hits and made the Number 1 record in 1986 with their song 'Don't Leave me this way'. In 2012, The University of Northampton awarded him an honorary doctorate. He is now a vicar of Finedon in Northamptonshire.

Places of interest

See also (related category): Tourist attractions in Northamptonshire
Key
National Trust Owned by the National Trust
English Heritage Owned by English Heritage
Forestry Commission Owned by the Forestry Commission
Country Park A Country Park
Accessible open space An Accessible open space
Museum (free) Museum (free)
Museum Museum (charges entry fee)
Heritage railway Heritage railway
Historic house Historic House
  • 78 Derngate Museum icon (red).png
  • Althorp HH icon.png
  • Barnwell Country Park CP icon.png
  • Barnwell Manor HH icon.png
  • Billing Aquadrome
  • Borough Hill Daventry (Iron Age hill fort) UKAL icon.png
  • Boughton House (home of the Dukes of Buccleuch) HH icon.png
  • Blisworth tunnel
  • Brackley
  • Brampton Valley Way (linear park on a disused railway line) UKAL icon.png
  • Brixworth Country Park CP icon.png
  • Burghley House (in the Soke of Peterborough, so formerly in Northants), HH icon.png
  • Canons Ashby House NTE icon.png
  • Castle Ashby (home of the Marquess of Northampton), HH icon.png
  • Coton Manor Garden
  • Cottesbrooke Hall HH icon.png
  • Daventry Country Park CP icon.png
  • Deene Park HH icon.png
  • Delapré Abbey
  • Derngate and Royal Theatre
  • Easton Neston HH icon.png
  • Elton Hall HH icon.png
  • Fermyn Woods Country Park CP icon.png
  • Fotheringhay Castle & Church
  • Franklin's Gardens
  • Geddington's Eleanor cross
  • Holdenby House HH icon.png
  • Irchester Country Park CP icon.png
  • Jurassic Way (long-distance footpath)
  • Kelmarsh Hall HH icon.png
  • Kirby Hall EH icon.svg
  • Knuston Hall HH icon.png
  • Lamport Hall HH icon.png
  • Lilford Hall HH icon.png
  • Lyveden New Bield NTE icon.png
  • Pitsford Reservoir
  • Prebendal Manor House, Nassington HH icon.png
  • Naseby Field
  • Northampton Cathedral
  • Northampton & Lamport Railway HR icon.svg
  • Northamptonshire Ironstone Railway HR icon.svg
  • Piddington Roman Villa
  • Rockingham Castle HH icon.png
  • Rockingham Forest FC icon.png
  • Rockingham Motor Speedway
  • Rushden Hall
  • Rushden, Higham and Wellingborough Railway HR icon.svg
  • Rushden Station Railway Museum
  • Rushton Triangular Lodge EH icon.svg
  • Salcey Forest FC icon.png
  • Silverstone Circuit
  • Southwick Hall HH icon.png
  • Stanwick Lakes CP icon.png
  • Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum Museum icon (red).png
  • Sulgrave Manor HH icon.png
  • Summer Leys nature reserve
  • Syresham
  • Sywell Country Park CP icon.png
  • The Castle Theatre
  • Watford Locks
  • Wellingborough Museum Museum icon.png
  • Whittlewood Forest FC icon.png
  • Wicksteed Park Themepark uk icon.png

Annual events

  • Gretton Barn dance
  • British Grand Prix at Silverstone
  • Burghley Horse Trials
  • Crick Boat Show
  • Hollowell Steam Rally
  • Northampton Balloon Festival
  • Rothwell Fair
  • Rushden Cavalcade
  • St Crispin Street Fair
  • Wellingborough Carnival
  • World Conker Championships

Images for kids


Northamptonshire Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.