Whellan's book gives a comprehensive picture of Northamptonshire in 1849, as the preface to the book (below) indicates. This section of the website is a reproduction of the text relating to Towcester. The punctuation and spellings have been copied from the original book. The Society now owns a copy of the book, which was kindly donated by Mr. and Mrs Trasler in January 2004.HISTORY, GAZETTEER AND DIRECTORY OF NORTHAMPTONSHIRE
A GENERAL SURVEY OF THE COUNTY
HISTORY OF THE DIOCESE OF PETERBOROUGH
HISTORICAL, STATISTICAL, AND TOPOLOGICAL DESCRIPTIONS
of all the
TOWNS, PARISHES, TOWNSHIPS, HUNDREDS, AND MANORS,
to which is subjoined,
A LIST OF THE SEATS OF THE NOBILITY, CLERGY, & GENTRY
By William Whellan and Co. London MDCCCXLIX
Price, including a Coloured Map of the County, £1. The Map, neatly Mounted on Roller, 4s 6d extra.
PREFACEIn presenting the present volume to our numerous patrons and the public, we deem it unnecessary to expatiate at any length on the value and utility of works of this nature, if accurately and comprehensively compiled.
A well digested History and Topography of one's own county being a valuable and interesting acquisition, not only to the office and library, but to every one who feels an interest in what is passing around him; we beg to state, with reference to the present work, that, in order to secure authenticity, which is the primary requisite of topography, all possible care has been taken to avoid the errors and profit by the experience of our predecessors in this department of literature; and, anxious to avoid the two extremes of prolixity on the one hand and excessive compression on the other, we have omitted all irrelevant matter which would have augmented the size of the work without adding to its usefulness, and excluded nothing which was really important. Truth, then, being the goal which we laboured to reach, we have used the most unremitting endeavours, and spared neither labour nor expense, to arrive as that "consummation so devoutly to be wished." Every parish, township, and almost every house, has been visited, and the information either collected or revised on the spot; the best topographical authorities have been studiously consulted; and the inestimable Histories of this County, by John Bridges, Esq., and George Baker, Esq., as well as to the several excellent local works by the Rev. C. H. Hartshorne, O. W. Davys, Esq., and others, we are deeply indebted for much valuable information.
The plan of the work embraces a general retrospective review of the history of this kingdom from the earliest period, with especial reference to the Roman, Saxon, and Danish invasions; a particular history of the highly important town of Northampton, with its ancient castle and powerful priory; the city of Peterborough, with its great Saxon Abbey, from its foundation in 655, to its suppression in 1540; the diocese of Peterborough, from the erection of the see to the present time; a topographical survey of every town, parish, and township in the county; a digest of the manorial history of each place, given chiefly on the authority of those laborious antiquaries, Messrs. Bridges and Baker; and a variety of information too miscellaneous or minute to be dwelt upon in this preface, arranged under the heads of the twenty hundred into which the county is divided, - thus affording, with the aid of a copious index of places, persons, and subjects, all the advantages of an Alphabetical Gazetteer. The statistical matter is chiefly extracted from the voluminous Parliamentary Reports of Population, Public Charities, &c.; the Directory of each place succeeds its history, presenting in a classification for easy reference, the names, designations, and addresses of the principal inhabitants of the district; and the whole is illustrated by a large new map of the county, neatly colored, [sic] and having the railroads conspicuously laid down. It is therefore presumed that this elaborate work, which we now with much deference submit to the critical ordeal of a discerning public, will be found as accurate as is compatible with the vast body of matter, and the diversity of subjects compressed within its pages.
Before closing these few prefatory remarks, we feel it incumbent upon us to express our sensibility of the many obligations under which we have been laid, by the valuable contributions and corrections so obligingly furnished by the literary and official gentlemen of the county, and to present to them, one and all, this tribute of our unfeigned acknowledgements.
To our very numerous subscribers who have so munificently patronized our exertions, this volume is, with much gratitude, inscribed, by
Their very obedient Servants,
Wm Whellan & Co.
Goole, 30th October, 1849
- This text has been transcribed (with original spelling and punctuation) from the "History, Gazetteer and Directory of Northamptonshire" by William Whellan and Co, London, MDCCCXLIX. Published by Whittaker and Co., Ave Maria Lane, London. Printed by Robert Gardner, Narrow Street, Peterborough. Transcription and additional research by David Wilcock, November 2004.