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Pigot's Directory (1841) - Towcester



transcribed from "Pigot's Directory of Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire", 1841

Towcester is an ancient market and hundred town, and parish - 60 miles N.W. from London, 48 S.W. from Peterborough, 12 S.E. from Daventry, 9 S. from Northampton and 8 N.W. from Stony Stratford; situate on the river Tove or Tow, about four miles to the S.W. of Blisworth station on the railway line from London to Birmingham, and on the main road to the metropolis and the chief towns in Warwickshire, Staffordshire &c, this circumstance added materially to its domestic trade, but recently the advantage has been manifestly impaired by the proximity of the railway - scarcely a coach now passing through the town, whereas, previous to the opening of this great line, the route of upwards of fourteen lay through Towcester.

Prior to the year 921 the town suffered much from the incessant hostility of the Danes; and the inhabitants so nobly defended the place, that King Edward the Elder took up his residence in it, and surrounded it with a wall. The Roman Watling-street passed through the town, and, from the antiquities discovered here, it is generally supposed to have been a station of that military people. The Earl of Pomfret is lord of the manor of Towcester, and holds his court annually, at which the constables for the parish are chosen. This nobleman has a fine seat, Easton Neston, within about half a mile of the place. Towcester is a polling station at the election of representatives for the southern division of the county.

The town consists principally of one long street, composed of well-built houses, and paved, under the directions of trustees of certain charities; and the inhabitants are well supplied with water. The church, dedicated to Saint Lawrence, is a spacious edifice, and an excellent specimen of ancient architecture; the benefice is a vicarage, in the presentation of the bishop of Lichfield and Coventry. There are places for worship for baptists, independents and Wesleyan Methodists. The grammar school was founded in 1552 by the trustees of Sponne's charity - twenty-two boys are instructed on the foundation; and in the Sunday school about two hundred and fifty children are taught. There are some almshouses, founded in 1695. The vicarage of Towcester has long been admired for the high respectability of its inhabitants, and the numerous seats of the nobility and mansions of the gentry which so richly embellish the face of the country; those most distinguished for attractive beauty, beside the noble seat of the lord of the manor, are, Wakefield Lawn, belonging to the Duke of Grafton; Whittlebury Lodge, the Right Houble [sic] Lord Southampton; Sholebrook Lodge, A.G.Robarts, Esq., &c.

The market is held on Tuesday, and the fairs on Shrove-Tuesday, the 12th of May and 29th of October. The parish contained, in 1831, 2,671 inhabitants.

Nearly two miles N.W. by W. from Towcester is the village of GREEN'S NORTON, in the hundred and parish of its name; the latter is bounded on the south by the river Tow, and on the east by the ancient Watling Street. The church is dedicated to St. Bartholomew; the living is a rectory, with the curaces of Silverstone and Whittlebury consolidated, in the presentation of the crown. Catherine Parr, the sixth queen of Henry VIII, was born in this parish. A national school has been established here, and a school with a small endowment has been incorporated with it. Near Kinerton Wood is a mineral spring, possessing some medicinal virtues. The parish of Green's Norton contained, by the census for 1831, 771 inhabitants.

About three miles S.W. from and in the hundred of Towcester are the village and parish of ABTHORPE. The village formerly derived some distinction from the manufacture of silk stockings; a few hands are still engaged in this branch, but principally by the Nottingham houses. The church is dedicated to St. John the Baptist; the living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the family of Blencowe and others. Abthorpe parish (including the hamlets of CHARLOCK and FOSCOTE), by the returns of 1831, contained 477 inhabitants.
  1. This text has been transcribed from "Pigot's Directory of Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire", 1841. Note that in the transcription the punctuation has been copied, but "st" and "street" have been changed to "Street" and "la" to "Lane". Transcription and additional research by David Wilcock.
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