(OS 1:10000 aSP 75 NW, bSP 75 NE, cSP 76 SW, dSP 76 SE)
For the purpose of this volume, Northampton itself is regarded as
that area so defined in medieval times and up to 1901 and probably most
clearly seen on Wood and Law's map of 1847 (Plate 11). Northampton
covers some 530 hectares and in shape is a very irregular trapezoid
bounded on the S. by the River Nene and on the W. by the northern
branch of the Nene. The ground rises steadily from c. 58 m. in the S.W.
and 56 m. in the S.E. to 92 m. in the N.E. Upper Lias Clay borders the
river to the S. and E. This is capped by Northampton Sands over most of
Northampton but a broad band of Lower and Upper Estuarine Limestone
stretches N.E. from the centre of the town. In the extreme N.E. these
deposits are themselves overlaid by Boulder Clay.
Most of the area is now built over. Of particular importance are the
remains to the S.W. in the core area of Saxon and medieval settlement.
The origins and development of the town are discussed fully in the
introduction. For the Inventory, the area is treated as a single unit even
though, at least from medieval times, it has been divided into several
parishes. The medieval parish system is, however, considered on p. 27.
Five palaeolithic implements (two early Acheulian hand axes and
three flake implements) were found in Cow Meadow gravel pits
c. 1904–1913 (c. SP 759599; NM; NDC P136). In the same area several
large teeth including the molar of a mammoth were discovered in 1881 and
five tusks, nine teeth and two limb bones in 1904 (Thompson 1903–4; NDC
P25). Neolithic polished flint axes were found in All Saints' churchyard in
the late 19th century (c. SP 75496046; NM; NDC P37, 44), in Adams
Avenue in the 19th century (c. SP 76696117; George 1904, 17; NM; NDC
P39), in Lower Thrift Street in 1855 (c. SP 767607; George 1904, 17; NM;
NDC P43), and in Semilong (?SP 751616; George 1903–4c, 17; NM; NDC
P45). Neolithic polished flint axes are also recorded from 'in or near
Northampton' (NM; NDC P219) and 'near Northampton' (NM; NDC P220).
A neolithic polished stone axe (Group VI: Great Langdale) was found 'near
Northampton' (NM; NDC P99) and a greenstone axe in Stimpson Avenue
before 1904 (c. SP 76806135; George 1904, 17; NM; NDC P39). A
neolithic leaf-shaped arrowhead was found in 'Northampton' in 1975 (PM;
NDC P122) and a neolithic scraper on Northampton racecourse
(c. SP 760619; Harrison 1929–30; NDC P21). A neolithic stone axe was
found in 'Northampton' (NM; NDC P62, 162). An early or middle Bronze
Age small collared urn, possibly an accessory vessel from a cremation
burial, was found in St. Peter's Street during excavations in 1982
(SP 75056037; NDC M115). A middle Bronze Age looped spearhead was
found in Northampton (NM; NDC P62, 162). A Bronze Age palstave was
found in 1933 in St. Giles' Street (SP 75826050; NM; NDC P18). Three
prehistoric flint flakes were found during excavations in 1975 across and to
the N. of Bath Street (SP 75166070; NDC M124). A single flint flake was
found during the construction of an underpass in 1979 to the E. of
Horsemarket (SP 75216067; NDC M95). Seventeen worked flints were
found during excavations in 1973 on the W. side of Horseshoe Street
(SP 75146033; NDC M118) and a single flint flake in 1974 (SP 75156036;
NDC M136). Seventeen worked flints were found during excavations in
1978–9 to the S. of Gregory Street (SP 75106032; NDC M282). A single
fragment of a flint blade was found during excavations in 1972 on the site
of the Grosvenor Centre (SP 755607; Northamptonshire Archaeol 13 (1978),
154; NDC M100). A Gallo-Belgic E gold coin was found on the site of the
Dolphin Hotel between Gold Street and Woolmonger Street in 1889
(SP 75336039; Northampton Mercury 7 Dec. 1889; Gunstone 1971, Pl. 1,
no. 4; NDC P53), Gallo-Belgic DB and DC gold coins are reported as
having been found in Northampton (Allen 1961, 161, 165) and a possible
Ancient British coin blank was found during excavations in Chalk Lane
between 1975 and 1978 (see (1) below; Williams and Shaw 1981, 94, 118).
cd(1) Prehistoric Settlement(s) lie(s) at the W. end of
Northampton on Northampton Sands at between 65 m. and 68 m. above
OD. Various flint scatters, pottery and cut features may belong to a
single settlement complex but alternatively may relate to more scattered
and sporadic activity.
(a) In 1975–8 an area of 800 m.2 was excavated to the W. of Chalk Lane
(SP 74926050) in the area of the inner bailey bank of the medieval
castle. Poorly defined structures, pits, post-holes and ditches were
located. Over 3,000 flints were recovered, the two principal
constituent groups being mesolithic and later neolithic to early Bronze
Age. Approximately 40 sherds of abraded prehistoric pottery were
found including later neolithic or Beaker, Beaker and Iron Age sherds
(Williams and Shaw 1981, 90–4, 108, 126–30 and fiche; NDC M139).
Excavations by J. Alexander between 1961 and 1964 immediately to
the N. produced a lesser quantity of flints (pers comm; NDC M138).
(b) Two hundred and sixty-seven flints were found in 1977 to the N. of
Marefair during archaeological excavations. There was a large
mesolithic element with other flints of neolithic or later date,
including a barbed-and-tanged arrowhead of early Bronze Age type
(SP 74986042; Williams F. 1979, 73f; NDC M178).
(c) One hundred and forty-seven flints mostly of neolithic character but
including a small mesolithic element and a single palaeolithic scraper
were found during excavations in 1973–6. A possible neolithic or
early Bronze Age ditch was located and a few small and abraded
sherds of prehistoric pottery were recovered (SP 75036035;
Williams J. 1979, 137, 290f; NDC M115).
(d) Forty-three worked flints were found during archaeological
excavations in 1982 to the W. of St. Peter's Church (SP 74926039;
Shaw forthcoming a; NDC M443).
d(2) Prehistoric Settlement (?) (SP 75656038) at Swan Street on
Northampton Sands at 73 m. above OD. Twenty-two worked flints,
probably a mixed group but with small blades suggesting a mesolithic
element, were recovered during archaeological excavations in 1980. Two
possibly late neolithic sherds were found as well as about ten other very
small fragments to the E. on the Derngate frontage (SP 75696039; Shaw
forthcoming b; NDC M351).
No Roman settlement sites have been identified although numerous
finds of Roman date have been made. Roman remains found in the 19th
century on the site of Northampton Castle include nine coins (SP 748605;
Sharp 1881–2, 244), a 'perfect black urn' (ibid; George 1904, 18), in fact a
large beaker (NM), and other possible artefacts. Potsherds were recovered
during the 1961–4 excavations by J. Alexander (SP 74926055; pers. comm.
J. Alexander) and further potsherds and two more coins (3rd and 4th-century) were excavated in 1975–8 in Chalk Lane (SP 74926050; Williams
and Shaw 1981, 94, 108; NM; NDC R41, 56, 197, M138, 139). Sixty Roman
sherds were found on the N. side of Marefair during archaeological
excavations in 1977 (SP 75006042; Williams F. 1979, 61; NDC M178).
About a dozen Roman sherds, one 3rd-century coin (reused as a Saxon
ornament?) and four 4th-century coins, and Roman tile fragments were
found during archaeological excavations in St. Peter's Street (SP 75036035)
in 1973–4. The tile may have been brought to the site during the Middle
Saxon period for use in the construction of the (?)minster church (see (8,
24); Williams 1979, 139, 322, etc.; NDC M115). A sestertius of Trajan, a
denarius of Severus Alexander and a small brass of Aurelian were found in
Freeschool Street (centre point at SP 75076035; Wells 1931–3, 5; NDC
R78). A coin of Tacitus and a tetradrachm of Tetricus were found in
Green Street (centre point at SP 74906035; NM; NDC R79). A spindle
whorl made from the base of a Nene Valley ware colour-coated vessel was
found during the construction of St. Peter's Way (c. SP 74926033; NM;
NDC M263). A Roman jar was found during the erection of the gasworks
in 1889. A causeway and animal bones were also discovered but not dated
(area of SP 750600; Northampton Mercury 3 Nov. 1899; Markham 1913–14,
122; NM; NDC R44, 196). Two sherds of Samian ware and a 1st-century
Roman brooch were found on the W. side of Horsemarket during
archaeological excavations in 1973 and 1974 (SP 75146033; SP 75146039;
NDC M118, 123). 'Roman British' pottery was reported found on the site
of the Dolphin Hotel between Gold Street and Woolmonger Street in 1889
(SP 75336039; Northampton Mercury 7 Dec. 1889; NDC R68). A cooking
pot from Gold Street, illustrated in the Dryden collection (NPL) and
labelled Roman-British, is, however, clearly of early medieval date. A
bronze stylus and scraper, probably Roman, were found c. 1898 in
Woolmonger Street (SP75196028 recorded by OS; Proc Soc Antiq, 2nd ser,
17 (1899), 165; NDC R34). A possible Roman pot base and a 3rd to 4th-century mortarium rim were found on the site of the Angel Hotel in
Bridge Street (SP 75426032; NDC R80, M409). A dupondius of (?)Claudius
was found in The Parade during construction work in 1952 (SP 75476065;
Northampton Chronicle and Echo 27 May 1952; NDC R70). A Roman rim
sherd was found in Derngate in 1975 (SP 75806034; NM; NDC M219). A
coin of Hadrian was found in Harding Street (centre point at SP 75056110;
J Brit Archaeol Ass 10 (1855), 94; NDC R69).
Three Roman sherds were found in Spring Gardens in 1975
(SP 75916052; Northamptonshire Archaeol 11 (1976), 199; NDC M171). Part
of a red-ware jar was found in Sawpit Lane in 1867 (centre point at
SP 75176085; NM; NDC R81). A worn sestertius was found in Charles
Street in 1973 (centre point at SP 75686016; Northamptonshire Archaeol 9
(1974), 91; NDC R138). Several Roman coins including a small silver of
Vitellius was found c. 1900 on the site of Northampton General Hospital
(SP 76026031; NDC R33, 208). A Roman grey-ware rim sherd was found
in 1979 at Green Park (SP 767604; Northamptonshire Archaeol 15 (1980),
167; NM; NDC R215). A colour-coated rouletted beaker was found in
Upper Thrift Street (centre point at SP 76826075; George 1904, 18; NDC
R73). A Roman pot was found in 1847 in Billing Road (SP 76976066
recorded by OS; NM; NDC R32, 195). Three 1st-century brooches and a
bronze bucket in Peterborough Museum are recorded as found in
Northampton in 1858. This date, however, coincides with the early
ironstone quarrying at Duston and this provenance is more probable (NDC
R150). There are also a number of coins in Northampton Museum 'from
Northampton' but some of these may be from Duston or elsewhere.
Medieval and Later
d(3) Saxon Cemetery (SP 77046056), lies to the S. of Billing Road
on Northampton Sands at 82 m. above OD. During extensions to St.
Andrew's Hospital in 1836 and 1837 a number of skeletons and grave goods
were found. Five brooches, a spearhead, a knife, a fragment from a shield
boss and six pots have survived and are in Northampton Museum. Two
large square-headed brooches are probably of late 6th-century date but
Myres suggests that one of the pots is more probably 5th-century. It is
not clear whether any of the pots contained or were associated with
cremations (Archaeologia 48 (1885), 337; Kennett 1974, 13f; Myres 1978,
no. 782; Meaney 1964, 193; NDC AS11).
d(4) Saxon Burial (SP 75816007) lies in Cow Meadow on alluvium
at 58 m. above OD. In 1844 two small urns and a circular brooch with
pierced swastika design were found in a tumulus as well as a pair of plain
bronze tweezers, a small cup-shaped thin metal object and some iron
arrowheads of medieval date (Meaney 1964, 193; NDC AS10).
c(5) Saxon Burial (?) (SP 74856051), lay within the area of
Northampton Castle on Northampton Sands at c. 68 m. above OD. A
small mound, removed in 1879 when the site was quarried away for a
railway goods shed, contained a human skeleton together with a scramasax
(Scriven 1879–80, 204; 1881–2, 71–2; NDC AS15).
cd(6) Saxon Town Defences. On topographical grounds Lee
(1954, 164f) argued that Scarletwell Street, Bearward Street, the Drapery
and Bridge Street fossilised an extramural street and Bath Street, Silver
Street, College Street and Kingswell Street an intramural street of a Saxon
defensive perimeter (see p. 20). Various attempts have been made to test
this hypothesis archaeologically but for various reasons the results have
Site 1: In 1961 a mechanical trench 40 m. long was dug between
Scarletwell Street and Bath Street (SP 75096074). A ditch or large pit
probably at least 15 m. wide and 3 m. deep was centred at approximately
33 m. from Scarletwell Street. The feature was filled with steeply dipping
loam and sand layers and 11th to 13th-century sherds were found in the
upper strata. No evidence of a bank was noted (pers. comm.
J. Alexander; M448).
Site 2: In 1975 a trench 1.8 m. wide was excavated immediately N. of
Bath Street and partly across the road (SP 75166070). A substantial rock-cut quarry containing 12th-century pottery was found overlaid by stone
buildings with clay floors of Tudor date. There was a series of metalled
surfaces beneath the road, the earliest sealing pottery no earlier than the
13th century (Northamptonshire Archaeol 11 (1976), 199; NDC M124).
Observation of contractors' trenches at SP 75146072 recovered medieval
and post-medieval pottery but natural had not been reached at a depth of
2.3 m. below the present ground surface (NDC M132).
Site 3: In 1971 a trial trench was dug between Bearward Street and Silver
Street (SP 75236070). A possible ditch approximately 13 m. wide by
3.8 m. deep was identified. The main fill contained one sherd of 12th or
13th-century date (BNFAS 7 (1972), 42; NDC AS14).
Site 4: A trench immediately to the E. of College Street (SP 75346056) in
1979 failed to locate any sign of defences which may lie a little further
E. Pottery of probably 12th-century date onwards was found (NDC M285).
cd(7) Medieval Defences. Northampton's town walls are
mentioned in Richard I's charter to Northampton in 1189 (Markham 1898,
25) but other evidence suggests that they were possibly in existence
c. 1100 and certainly by the mid-12th century. Tradition attributed the
building of the medieval town walls to Simon de Senlis I (VCH
Northamptonshire III, 3). A charter referring to the time of Simon
mentions 'hospites manentes extra fossatum' (BL Cott Vesp E XVII f. 10b).
This perhaps relates to the Saxon defensive line. A further charter of
Simon himself to the monks of St. Andrew's Priory (ibid f. 3a) talks of
'terram . . . a fossa eorum (the monks of St. Andrew's) usque ad fossam
burgi' but at least in 1632 the lands indicated as belonging to St. Andrew's
did not extend as far S. as the Saxon defences (Williams 1979, 5) although
they were not much short of it; before 1130, however, St. Andrew's Priory
had owned some land on the site of the later castle (see (9) below). It is
not certain whether this 'fossam burgi' still related to the Saxon defences
or whether it rather referred to the medieval defences. If the N. and W.
boundaries of the medieval precinct of St. Andrew's are taken as 'fossam
burgi', that is as part of the medieval defensive system, and the S.
boundary as the 'fossa eorum' all conditions of the charter are satisfied.
Alternatively 'fossa eorum' could be interpreted as the N. and W.
boundaries with 'fossa burgi' as the S. boundary and perhaps an 11th-century defensive line predating the priory. The use of 'fossa', suggesting
earthworks, contrasts with the 'murus' of a slightly later date which seems
to indicate a stone wall (see below). Between 1138 and 1154 Earl Simon
de Senlis II granted to St. Andrew's Priory 16s. and 14d. rent from the
meadow of Estecroftes in exchange for the rent they had lost because of
the wall and bailey by which the vill (almost certainly Northampton) is
enclosed - 'propter murum et ballium quibus villa clauditur' (BL Royal II B
IX f. 7a). This suggests that the construction of the wall and 'bailey'
occurred at this time and parallels the situation in 1130 when the priory
was paid compensation for land taken into the castle (Pipe R 31 Hen I,
135). It is perhaps possible, however, that only modifications to the wall
line were involved. The matter is unclear and requires further research
but certainly the new medieval defensive line was in existence by about
the middle of the 12th century. An Eastgate Street (probably Abington
Street) and an Eastgate, almost certainly belonging to the medieval
defences are recorded before c. 1166 (BL Royal II B IX f. 144b). Murage
grants were made in 1224, 1251 and 1301, on the last occasion on such a
scale as perhaps to suggest rebuilding. Repair work is further evidenced
through to the 17th century (VCH Northamptonshire III, 30; Brown 1915–16,
85f). After the restoration of the monarchy in 1662 the walls were
largely demolished to prevent the town again becoming a parliamentary
Speed's map of 1610 (Fig. 8) shows the walls starting some distance
N. of the castle, encompassing St. Andrew's Priory, following the line of
St. George's Street, the Mounts, York Road, Cheyne Walk and Victoria
Promenade and extending some 250 m. W. to Mervyn's Mill. The area to
the N. and S.E. of the castle is shown un-walled. Speed, however,
comments in his text accompanying the map (1676, 55) 'This Town . . . is
walled about strong and high excepting the West which is defended by a
river parted into many streams'. 'Upon the West part of this Town
standeth a large Castle mounted upon a Hill whose aged countenance well
sheweth the beauty she hath born and whose gaping chinks do daily
threaten the downfal of her walls. To this upon the South the Towns wall
adjoyneth and in a round circuit meeteth the river in the north extending
in compass two thousand one hundred and twenty paces.' Presumably,
when Speed relates that 'the Towns wall adjoyneth' the castle, he is
referring to that piece of wall descending from the outer bailey wall of
the castle, although this wall does not continue to the S.E. of the
Hermitage. In 1275 the 'Kings ditch' and a 'common way' ran between
the W. gate and Mervyn's Mill (Rot Hund 2, 3) and in 1504 some part of
the town wall is recorded as lying in St. Peter's parish, an area lacking
walls on Speed's map (NRO, 1504 Rental), except adjoining the castle (see
The town walls as depicted on Speed's map (a), including the W.
precinct wall of St. Andrew's Priory measure approximately 1950 paces,
the W. precinct wall of St. Andrew's (b) measures approximately 265 paces
and the distance between the outer bailey wall of the castle and the S.
end of the wall (c) is approximately 370 paces. As described Speed's
circuit seems not to include (b) but to include (c). This would give a
measurement of 1950–265+370 = 2055 paces against Speed's recorded
measurement of 2120 paces. Clearly such arithmetic can only be taken as
a very rough guide because of the limitations of Speed's surveying and
cartography but the description and the measurements perhaps support the
existence of the town wall in the S.W. quarter of the town.
It would also seem reasonable that, although no wall was present in
Speed's day on the W. side of the town, there had in medieval times been
such a wall, for it is hardly conceivable that the minor stream of the
northern water of the Nene, although described as a 'river parted into
many streams', would have been regarded as adequate defence for a town
as important as Northampton during the turbulent times of the Middle
Ages and it is interesting to note in this respect the substantial repairs
which were needed to the W. wall of the castle in the 13th century
(Brown et al 1963, 751f).
In 1275 a North gate, South gate, West gate, Dernegate, Cougate
(Cowgate - at the end of Swan Street, formerly Cow Lane) are recorded
as well as posterns at 'M'thinesmylne' and 'de Lurteborn' possibly on the
N. side of the town (Rot Hund 2, 3). The walls in 1277–8 were embattled
and wide enough for six people to walk abreast (Brown 1915–16, 88). Lee,
in his history of Northampton written in the early 18th century, says 'The
town was walled about and had four large gates. The South, West and
North which had chambers over them and inhabited by poor people. But
the East gate was a very stately building large and high and embellished
with the coats of arms of several persons of quality on the walls cut upon
stone' (Lee 1931–2, 68).
The line of the wall is marked on Noble and Butlins's map (Plate 9)
from the medieval east gate at Abington Street round to the south gate at
Bridge Street and further possible lengths of wall are indicated to the N.
of Abington Street. Roper and Coles's map of 1807 (Plate 10) shows the
old wall, with different details of plan, surviving with two bastions along
the line of Victoria Promenade with the 'Old Ditch' stretching along the
line of Cheyne Walk and the Mounts as far as Regent Square.
Interestingly there seems to be what could be construed as a ditch
stretching westwards from Regent Square to the river. The 18th-century
prospects of Northampton (Plate 8) also show ruined sections of the town
wall, that of Harris (1726) to the E. and possibly to the W. of the S.
bridge, while that of Buck (1731) only shows a possible length of the town
wall to the W. of the S. bridge; the course of the wall to the E. can be
followed in the field boundaries. It has been argued that an earlier E.
defensive line ran to the W. of St. Giles (VCH Northamtponshire III, 30)
but excavations in 1980 to the N. of Abington Street (37) indicated that
this was unlikely. There are now no remains of the medieval defences
surviving above ground.
Excavations in 1973 at the junction of the Mounts and Overstone
Road (SP 75786088) uncovered the probable foundations of two periods of
wall with a shallow ditch about 8 m. wide and 2 m. deep to the N. The
ditch was recut with a narrow channel sometime in the medieval period
(Williams 1982c; NDC M116). In 1974 two trenches were cut to the N. of
St. George's Street (SP 75126213). No trace of a bank or wall was found
but a small ditch approximately 4 m. wide and 2 m. deep was located
(Williams 1982c; NDC M125).
cd(8) Saxon 'Palace' Complex (centred on SP 75036038) at
St. Peter's Street on Northampton Sands at about 68 m. above OD. In
1973–6 an area to the E. of St. Peter's Church and on either side of
St. Peter's Street was excavated by the NDC Archaeological Unit
(Williams 1979) and between 1980 and 1982 the investigations were
extended to the N. and E. (Williams and Shaw 1983; also forthcoming). An
early Saxon presence in the area is attested by a composite disc brooch of
late 5th or early 6th-century date and some small sherds of early or
middle Saxon date were also found. Remains of perhaps two probably
early Saxon sunken-featured buildings were also uncovered.
Subsequently a large timber hall approximately 30 m. by 9 m. was
constructed. This seems to have been laid out using a measure virtually
identical to the modern foot (1 ft. = .3048 m.). The main hall was a
double square, about 54 ft. by 27 ft., with central opposing doorways in
the long sides. Annexes, approximately 21 ft. square, were attached to
each end this hall. Upright posts were set earthfast into a massive trench
about 3 ft. deep at 2 ft. centres. Indeed the building was precisely
surveyed and every fourth post appears to have been particularly
significant structurally. It is suggested that the building was a highly
sophisticated, probably bayed stucture, with the main hall comprising nine
bays. It appears to have been roofed in a single span. This major
building is most nearly paralleled by the 'palace' structure A3 at the
Northumbrian royal site at Yeavering (Hope Taylor 1977). Traces of at
least four successive post-in-trench buildings were found further N. but the
slots were considerably shallower here and the buildings themselves smaller.
They were possibly in part contemporary with the large hall although some
may have been earlier. Evidence of further post-in-trench structures was
found to the W. and S.W. of the main hall.
The hall seems to have been directly replaced by a rectangular stone
hall approximately 37.5 m. by 11.5 m. The foundations, 1.2 m. wide, were
extremely well laid in courses in sandy soil but the superstructure was
probably bonded with mortar. Subsequently, two rooms were added to the
W. of the building increasing its length by about 6 m. Further to the W.
and extending under the present St. Peter's Church were the remains of
further stone foundations, presumably an earlier church; the E. end of this
building, approximately 6.5 m. N.-S., was excavated. The foundations,
about 0.5 m. deep by 0.8 m. wide, comprised unbonded rubble with a small
amount of soil and the walls above were slightly wider and formed of
squared limestone blocks set in a yellow sand and with an internal mortar
rendering. To the W. and S. of the large stone hall were the remains of
five mortar mixers presumably associated with the construction of the
stone buildings. Circular bowls, 2 m.-3 m. in diameter were, in four
cases, cut into the natural ground but one had its rim raised up above
ground level. At least four were lined with basket work. Lime and sand
had been mixed in the bowls to form mortar by paddles suspended from a
beam rotating in a horizontal plane. A gully with associated posts ran S.
from the stone hall and was possibly some form of boundary.
Radio-carbon dates from material associated with the mortar mixers
suggest that the stone complex was erected in the first part of the 8th
century and this is supported by the discovery of a sceatta in a context
probably post-dating the main stone hall and predating the extension. The
earlier timber hall would thus appear to belong to the 7th century. The
stone hall probably went out of use during the Danish occupation of
Northampton in the late 9th or early 10th century.
The major stone building like its predecessor should be regarded as a
palace and as such is to date without parallel in this country although
Carolingian and Ottonian stone palaces have been excavated on the
continent. While those at Aachen and Ingelheim were on a totally grander
scale the remains of those at the Lindenhof, Zurich, and at Frankfurt
closely parallel the Northampton example (Williams forthcoming).
The earlier church predating St. Peter's can almost certainly be
identified as an old minster for part of the minster organisation was
'fossilised' into the 19th century: the churches of Kingsthorpe and Upton
which were royal manors at Domesday and subsequently hundredal manors
remained dependencies of St. Peter's - Kingsthorpe up to 1850 and Upton
until the present day. For the development of the church see
The St. Peter's complex represents a pre-urban seat of both secular
and ecclesiastical power at least from the 8th century and the seat of
secular power from even earlier; this is clearly significant for the later
development of Northampton. For the later development of the site see
c(9) Northampton Castle (centred on SP 74856055) lies at the
W. end of Northampton on a small eminence about 7.5 m. above the River
Nene, which was immediately to the W., on Northampton Sands at about
68 m. above OD. Only a small part of the castle still survives.
According to the 'Vita et passio Waldevi comitis' Simon de Senlis I
constructed the castle (Giles 1854, 18) but some earlier work dating from
soon after the Norman Conquest is possible. Waltheof, the Saxon Earl of
Northampton, married King William's niece, the Countess Judith, but was
subsequently executed for treason in 1076. Simon de Senlis I married
Maud, the daughter of Waltheof and Judith, and was probably granted the
earldom and the town of Northampton by William Rufus in 1089. Simon
died sometime between 1111 and 1113 but the family remained important
until the latter part of the 12th century.
In 1130 the king paid the monks of St. Andrew's 3s. 8d. for land
taken into 'his castle', indicating that the castle was then in royal hands
but the first building works noted occurred in 1173–4 when the houses of
the keep and other buildings were repaired for £32 17s. An additional
£107 was spent on the keep in 1181–3 and further work was undertaken in
John's recorded expenditure on the castle amounted to approximately
£300 and a similar sum was spent in 1217–19 of which more than half
related to the tower. Further constructional and decorative work
continued to the middle of the century. In 1248 the king ordered the
palisade round the great outer bailey to be repaired and in 1251 the
sheriff was authorised to repair the castle and bailey wall adjacent to the
Nene. In 1258/9 repairs to the gaol and other work were undertaken. In
1266 the king ordered the wall on the W. side of the castle to be repaired
and the palisade outside the castle on the same side to be replaced by a
stone wall and in 1266/7 £200 was spent on repairs. Approximately £100
was spent on repairs to the castle in 1280–1 and £150 in 1287–8.
By the 14th century the castle seems to have been in a poor state.
In 1329 the great hall was repaired for the justices itinerant and a new
prison was built in 1385–6. The castle was now militarily unimportant and
functioned mainly as a county hall and a gaol. The keep was still standing
during the reign of Henry VIII but by 1593 the castle was in a 'ruynous'
state although Speed's map of 1610 shows the castle walls reasonably
intact. The castle was partly demolished after the Restoration
(Serjeantson 1908 and Brown et al 1963, 750f give full accounts of the
history of the castle).
In 1879 the greater part of the castle was quarried away by the
London and North Western Railway Company to enlarge the station and to
erect a large goods shed. No detailed plan of the castle as it was exists.
Speed's map of 1610 (Fig. 8) shows an inner and outer bailey enclosed by
stone walls with four large towers positioned along the curtain of the inner
bailey. A further stone building lay in the S.W. quarter of the inner
A survey of the castle in 1322/3 indicates that the castle contained a
great hall with a long chamber adjacent to the hall to the E. and the
great chamber next to the hall to the W. There was also a lower chapel.
Besides a new tower there were six small towers. A keep is mentioned
and a further chapel; one of the chapels was dedicated to St. George. A
plan of 1743 indicates that the inner bailey of the castle
contained 3½ acres (1.4 ha.) with the outer bailey a similar size and that
the total area of the castle, including defences, amounted to about
15 acres (6.1 ha.) (Serjeantson 1908).
A survey of the castle in 1863 showed the inner bailey enclosed by a
ditch with the remains of a substantial wall on the W. and S. sides. Two
massive buttresses supported the wall on the W. side and the remains of a
projecting circular bastion were visible in the S. wall. In front of the
main gate of the castle, which was on the N. side, was a triple rampart
of earth. Various other walls formed fragments of buildings in the S.W.
quadrant of the enclosed area. A substantial mound about 30 m. across, in
the N.W. quarter, possibly formed the base of the keep but only a single
wall was recorded in this area (Law 1879–80).
Excavations were carried out by by J. Alexander in 1961–4 on the
N.E. side of the inner bailey (SP 74926054; Medieval Archaeol 6–7 (1962–3),
322–3; 8 (1964), 257–8). A full report of the excavations is presently being
prepared. A ditch running E.-W. and partly sealed by layers of the
extreme inner edge of the bailey bank was interpreted by the excavator as
evidence of a motte predating the main castle. This ditch, of shallow
U-profile, was approximately 7 m. wide and 2 m. to 2.5 m. deep. Pottery
from the infill suggests that it was levelled probably no earlier than the
mid 12th century. Evidence from the bailey bank itself which appears to
have succeeded this ditch is consistent with construction of the bank in
the early 12th century, although a later date is possible. The bailey bank
at the point sectioned by Alexander was 13 m. wide and up to 3.7 m.
high although the outer face had been cut back during the 19th century.
Originally it must have measured about 18 m. wide and 6 m. high. The
ditch was c. 27 m. wide and 9 m. deep.
The limited archaeological evidence is consistent with an earth and
timber castle dating to the time of Waltheof or Simon de Senlis I with
commencement of work on the great medieval castle probably sometime
after the death of Simon de Senlis I and before the accession of
Simon de Senlis II to the earldom of Northampton, during which time the
castle appeared to be in royal hands (see above).
In the N.E. corner of the bailey were two large buildings set against
the inner face of the rampart. The northern range contained a succession
of hearths and ovens and was presumably a kitchen block. East of this
and at right angles to it was a domestic suite with undercroft. Both were
probably constructed during the later 12th century and underwent more
than one subsequent alteration. The eastern range in particular appears to
have been extensively and elaborately remodelled in the 13th century. It
appears to have been destroyed by fire, perhaps early in the 14th century
and the northern building may also have gone out of use in this period.
Further investigations were carried out between 1975 and 1978 on the
site of the inner bailey bank to the S. of Alexander's excavations
(SP 74926049) mainly to examine pre-castle levels. Early to middle Saxon
occupation was represented by two sunken-featured buildings and a large
scatter of pottery and in the late Saxon period there was a complex
comprising building, yard area, pits and cultivated ground (Northampton
(38)). Two sections cut across the line of the outer bailey ditch
(SP 74946046) suggested it was approximately 14 m. wide and 5.5 m. deep
(Williams and Shaw 1981, 106f).
The remains of the castle surviving above ground comprise a small
section of inner bailey bank (at SP 74936053) together with some of the
walls uncovered in the 1961–4 excavations. Extensive collections of finds
from the 19th century onwards are deposited in Northampton Museum
(NDC M18, 138, 139, 173, 202, 329).
d(10) Site of Guildhall I, Late Saxon Settlement and
Medieval Settlement and Cemetery Remains (SP 75156039), on
Northampton Sands at between 64 m. and 67 m. above OD. Between 1158
and 1166 Simon de Senlis III had confirmed to St. John's Hospital,
Northampton 'the place where stands the chapel of St Mary Magdalene
with all the land of Gildhalle and the men dwelling on it quit of pleas aid
geld and customs' (Cal Pat R 1401–5, 368). 'Land of Gildhalle' is
ambiguous as to whether the Guildhall itself was on this site, although it
is assumed it was, but at least the reference indicates the existence of a
Guild and Guildhall by this date. In 1568 a lease relating to St. John's
Hospital records in Gold Street 'a messuage or tenement called the Harpe
. . . one dissolved chapell sometyme called Magdalenes thereunto adjoining'
(NRO FH 1118). Analysis of subsequent rentals and other records reveals
that these were the only two properties held by St. John's in Gold Street
and that they were located at the junction of Gold Street and Horsemarket
(Report of the Charity Commissioners Vol 31 (1837), 797, 808; NRO
SC 590; Whellan 1874, 200, 206; Williams 1983–4). Henry Lee in his early
18th century manuscript history of Northampton (1931–2, 68) records that
'the Old Town Hall was in a little close adjoining the last house on the
right hand in the lane going from Mayorhold to Scarlet well'. Lee also
states that 'in the Mayorhold was kept the Market Place and the chief
part of the town was built about it and near to it' but his positioning of
the Town Hall is not convincing even though it would have been fairly
close to the N. and main gate of the castle. It should be remembered
that Lee in writing about the medieval period seems to have a substantial
basis of fact although erring in matters of detail and interpretation. The
situation of the early Guildhall at the centre of the Saxon town is
altogether more satisfactory and suggests a pre-Conquest origin. A direct
transfer to the site in All Saints', which soon after the Conquest became
the commercial hub of the town, would seem most reasonable although an
'intermediate' Guildhall in Scarletwell Street cannot be discounted.
Excavations in 1974 uncovered, below 19th and 20th-century buildings,
a series of simple orientated burials. Below these burials were the
remains of a stone building with a fine limestone floor sunk below ground
level and measuring 2.4 m. N.-S. by 4.80 m. E.-W. Subsequent to the
robbing of the walls the sunken area was used as a charnel pit. Rubbish
pits containing 10th to 12th-century pottery predated the stone building
and cemetery. Observation during subsequent construction works indicated
a further charnel pit to the S. and that the southern extent of the
cemetery lay at about northing 6063. The cemetery probably belonged to
the adjoining chapel of St. Mary Magdalene (Northampton (32)) rather than
to St. Gregory's Church (Northampton (27)) some 50 m. to the S.W.
(Northamptonshire Archaeol 10 (1975), 168f; 11 (1976), 198f; NM; NDC
M123, 136, 145, 170).
d(11) Site of Guildhall II (SP 75516050), lies on the corner of
Abington Street and Wood Hill. Cam described it as a 'building of three
stories with battlemented parapet, the hall being on the first floor and the
ground story originally open. Several pointed two light windows on the
first floor long survived though latterly in a more or less mutilated state,
but the upper windows were square headed' (VCH Northamptonshire III,
36; see also Cox 1898, 170f). Although this structure was apparently of
early 14th-century date it would seem reasonable that the Guildhall was
established on this site at an earlier date (cf. Northampton (10)). The
building stood until 1864 and the construction of the new town hall, at
which time it was sold and demolished (VCH Northamptonshire III, 37).
Medieval Religious Houses
cd(12) Site of Cluniac Priory (centred on SP 75106110), lies in
the area bounded by St. Andrew's Road, St. George's Street, Grafton
Street, Lower Harding Street and Spring Lane on Northampton Sands and
clay at between 61 m. and 78 m. above OD. The priory was probably
founded in the late 11th century by Simon de Senlis I as a dependency of
the priory of St. Mary de Charite on the banks of the Loire and dedicated
to St. Andrew. There is evidence that the house of the monks originally
lay in Horsemarket and was subsequently transferred to the site indicated
on Map 7 (Cal Pat R 1348–50, 247) but the scope of the endowment by
Simon de Senlis I (Mon Angl V, 190) to the priory suggests that the later
site was occupied by c. 1100. The monastery was dissolved in 1538 and
the site sold in 1550. The net revenue of the priory in 1538 was £263
(Bridges 1791 I, 452–5; Serjeantson 1905–6a; VCH Northamptonshire II,
102–9; Knowles and Hadcock 1971, 97). The priory played an important
role in the history of Northampton, acquiring the advowsons of all the
town's churches by the late 12th century as well as much property in the
town and town fields (Williams 1982b).
Speed's map of 1610 and Pierce's map of 1632 (NRO; Fig. 8; Plate 7)
both show buildings of the priory surviving into the 17th century but the
two plans are not consistent Although Speed appears rather more reliable
with regard to the overall plan of the town Pierce should perhaps be
followed in respect of the site of the priory since he is specifically
recording the former demesne lands of St. Andrew's. The priory was
completely surrounded by walls. The gatehouse appears to have lain to the
N. of Grafton Street across Upper Harding Street with the priory church
perhaps to the N. of the Lower Priory Street. A small square area
immediately to the S. of the church on the Pierce map possibly indicates
the site of the cloisters. Various other unidentifiable buildings can be
noted. The monastic fishponds can be seen in the area of Monks Pond
Street. By 1632, if not during the life of the priory, the priory precinct
was divided into a series of closes.
The cemetery of the priory lay in the area E. of Francis Street and
centres on Upper Harding Street. Numerous burials have been found
mainly in rough stone cists but six monumental gravestones were
discovered in the area of Upper Harding Street (J Brit Archaeol Ass 8
(1853), 67f; Serjeantson 1905–6a, 137–8; J Northamptonshire Nat Hist Soc
Fld Club 21 (1921–2), 210–11f; BNFAS 5 (1971), 30f; observation by NDC
Archaeological Unit 1980). Substantial foundations were noted at
SP 74996114 together with a few further cist burials, and a 20 m. length
of monastic drain was recorded at SP 74966110 (observation by NDC
Archaeological Unit 1980). Evidence of ditches or water channels and
possibly one of the monastic fishponds was seen (SP 74906089; observation
by NDC Archaeological Unit 1979). Decorated floor tiles, architectural
fragments and other objects have been found on the priory site.
In the area of the monastic cemetery c. 1850 'Upon excavating in
forming Francis Street, interments of a very early date were found,
apparently Romanized British or Saxon having appearances of cremation.
Fragments of urn of black, grey and light red ware were discovered: a
large low, broad shaped urn of coarse red ware contained remains of
funereal rites' (J Brit Archaeol Ass 8 (1853), 67f). The vagueness of the
report, the fact that only fragments of pottery of no clear date were
found and the presence of the later cemetery suggest that the claim of a
pre-priory cemetery is extremely suspect. Indeed a vessel in Northampton
Museum marked 'cinerary urn, British Roman from site of St. Andrew's
Priory' is medieval, probably 13th-century (NM; NDC M2, 288, AS8).
d(13) Site of Augustinian Friary (centred on SP 75356016?),
probably lies in the area of Commercial Street on Northampton Sands and
Upper Lias Clay at around 59 m. above OD. The friary was generally
regarded as having been founded by Sir John Longville in 1323 but Cox
(1898, 522, quoted by VCH Northamptonshire II, 147) suggests that
references to it occur in deeds belonging to the period 1275–90. This is
not accepted by Knowles and Hadcock (1971, 240, 242). The friary was
dissolved in 1538 (ibid). Decorated tiles have been found on the site
(Wetton 1849, 81; Serjeantson 1911–12a; NM; NDC M22).
d(14) Site of Carmelite Friary (centred on SP 75576088), lies in
the area bounded by Lady's Lane, Newlands, Campbell Square and the
Mounts on Upper Estuarine Clay at 85 m. to 91 m. above OD. The friary
was founded by 1270 (pre-1265 - Knowles and Hadcock 1971, 233, 236) and
dissolved in 1538. The precinct wall and the gate and main friary
buildings can be seen on Speed's map of 1610 and Pierce's map of 1632
also shows what appears to be the main friary complex surviving as a
cloister (NRO: Fig. 8; Plate 7). The prospects of Harris and Buck
(Plate 8) both show a large house on the site of the friary. As drawn by
Buck the building is particularly impressive but it is apparently inconsistent
architecturally with that drawn by Harris and the map of Noble and Butlin,
drawn a little later, does not appear to indicate a house of such a size in
the area. It is possible that parts of the Carmelite friary were
incorporated into a house which became the Fleetwood mansion in the late
17th century but which was at least partly demolished by the time of
Noble and Butlin's map. A decorated tile floor was found below Kerr
Street in 1846 (Wetton 1849, 50). Further evidence of buildings including
walls, mortar floors and decorated tiles was found in trial trenching in
1974 between Kerr Street and Park Street (SP 75626090–75636086) but trial
trenching between Victoria Street and Kerr Street (SP 75566093–75586084)
revealed an area devoid of buildings. A contractor's trench to the E. of
Kerr Street (SP 75636082) in 1972 exposed a wall running parallel to
Lady's Lane, presumably the friary precinct wall, with three walls set at
right angles. At least two burials were noted. Excavations in 1974 at the
apparent S.W. corner of the friary precinct (SP 75486080) revealed stone
buildings of probably 13th-century date set over a quarry pit of 12th or
13th-century date but the relationship of these buildings to the friary and
whether they were part of the friary is uncertain (BNFAS 10 (1975), 169;
Northamptonshire Archaeol 12 (1977), 226; Serjeantson 1909–10; VCH
Northamptonshire II, 148f; Knowles and Hadcock 1971, 233, 236; NDC M28,
102, 121, 122, 182, 205, 333).
d(15) Site of Dominican Friary (centred on SP 75206045?),
probably lies in the area to N. of Gold Street and E. of Horsemarket on
Northampton Sands at around 67 m. above OD. In 1275 the friars are
recorded as having enclosed (within the friary?) a common way from the
new cemetery (see (30)) to St. Martin Street (Horsemarket) (Serjeantson
1911–12b, 43). The friary was established c. 1230 and surrendered in
1538. Numerous royal and other gifts to the friary are recorded. No
physical remains have been found nor is the extent of the precinct known
(Serjeantson 1911–12b; VCH Northamptonshire II, 144–6; Knowles and
Hadcock 1971, 214, 218; cf also Serjeantson and Longden 1913, 230–1; NDC
d(16) Site of Franciscan Friary (centred on SP 75556070), to
N.E. of Market Square within the area of the bus station and the
Grosvenor Centre on Upper Estuarine Clay at 79 m. to 86 m. above OD.
The Greyfriars came to Northampton in 1226 and moved to this site
c. 1235. The friary was dissolved in 1538. John Leland commented that
'The Gray-freres House was the beste builded and largest House of all the
places of the Freres [in Northampton]'. It seems to have comprised at
least a church, two cloisters and perhaps a separate school and including
precincts probably covered an area of approximately 4 acres (1.62 ha.).
Various royal grants of timber for constructional purposes are recorded. In
the 19th century burials, glazed tiles and other building materials were
found on the site. Archaeological excavations were undertaken in 1972 in
advance of development and uncovered part of the church and one of the
claustral ranges. Several periods of building were noted. Burials were
present within the church. Finds included architectural fragments, plain
and decorated tiles, coins and jettons, a bronze seal, pottery and other
artefacts (Bridges 1791 I, 455f; VCH Northamptonshire II, 146f; Knowles
and Hadcock 1971, 222, 227; Williams 1978, which contains a full site
bibliography; NM; NDC M25, 100).
d(17) Site of House of Friars of the Sack lies in Derngate
probably adjacent to the Derngate (c. SP 75926028?). In the Hundred Rolls
(Rot Hund 2, 3a) the friars 'have stopped up the common way . . . from
the gate called Dernegate to Dandelines Court'. The house was founded
before 1271 and had come to an end by 1303 (Serjeantson 1909–12, 13–15;
Knowles and Hadcock 1971, 247f; NDC M26).
d(18) Site of the House of Poor Clares probably lies in
Horsemarket (centre point at SP 75156055) near to the Dominican friary,
probably (contra Serjeantson 1909–12, 12) on the E. rather than the W. side
of the street for they are recorded in 1265 as residing 'juxta' the house of
the Dominicans (Cal Close R 1264–8, 49; see also (15) above). The house
is first recorded in 1252 with its latest mention 20 years later. Five
sisters were accommodated and it is alternatively referred to as the
Hospital of St. Benedict, God's House and the Hospital of St. Mary
(Serjeantson 1909–12, 12–13; Knowles and Hadcock 1971, 286; NDC M27).
This is the same establishment as that listed separately as the hospital of
St. Mary by Knowles and Hadcock (1971, 381).
d(19) Site of Hospital of St. Thomas (SP 75416008), lies at the
junction of Bridge Street and Victoria Promenade on alluvium at 58 m.
above OD. The hospital of St. Thomas the Martyr was said by Leland to
have been founded c. 1450, but possibly this was the rebuilding of an old
foundation. The hospital was destroyed in 1874–6 but detailed records
were made by Sir Henry Dryden (Dryden 1875–6). The hospital, which
measured approximately 76 ft. by 27 ft. (22.8 m. × 8.1 m.) externally,
consisted of a domicile on two floors (measuring 54 ft. 8 ins. by
22 ft. 3 ins. (16.4 m. × 6.7 m.) internally) with a chapel (measuring
16 ft. 9 ins. by 15 ft. (5 m. × 4.5 m.) internally) to the E. (Bridges
1791 1, 446, 457; VCH Northamptonshire II, 161f; Cox 1898, 341f; Dryden
1875–6; Serjeantson 1909b; NDC M32).
d(20) Former Hospital of St. John (SP 754602; Figs. 15, 16).
The Hospital of St. John was founded c. 1140. It escaped the Dissolution
but in 1870 the institution was moved from its ancient site, which was
then sold and eventually acquired for the use of a Roman Catholic
congregation. In 1955 the two surviving hospital buildings were gutted and,
by the addition of a new chancel, converted into a Roman Catholic church.
The hospital buildings in 1870 consisted of a chapel, an adjacent
almshouse and, some 60 m. to the E. of the chapel, a master's house
(demolished in 1871). All three buildings incorporated substantial medieval
fabric and may have maintained their medieval plan. The earliest features
were lancet windows and wall arcading, perhaps of c. 1300, in the E. wing
of the master's house. The W. front of the almshouse building, which has
a tall blind arch enclosing the W. doorway and a traceried oculus above,
dates from the mid 14th century although the rest of the building is of
the late 15th century or later. The Perpendicular W. front of the chapel
belongs to the late 15th or early 16th century although again the other
walls have been much rebuilt at a later period.
Documentary evidence, notably a deed of inspeximus of 1307 and
regulations issued by Bishop Buckingham of Lincoln in 1345, reveals that
the hospital was a substantial foundation with an income in the Valor
Ecclesiaticus of just over a hundred pounds and therefore that its buildings
were of reasonable size even in the 13th and 14th centuries (VCH
Northamptonshire II, 156–8). It is likely that the surviving buildings belong
not to this period but to a later refashioning of the hospital, a
refashioning prompted by a change in the hospital's function in the late
Middle Ages from a hospice offering casual charity to an almshouse with a
fixed number of inmates. It is possible that the unusual plan with the late
medieval chapel set back beyond the E. wall of the almshouse indicates
that the hospital originally consisted of three parallel aisles acting as
wards and a chapel at the E. end of the central aisle, like a chancel.
Later the chapel was rebuilt on the same site, the N. and central aisles
demolished and the almshouse constructed on the foundations of the S.
aisle, retaining the W. front of the aisles, which is canted to follow the
street line. The considerable distance between the master's house and the
other hospital buildings may indicate that in the space between was a
large conventual church, for the use of the brethren, living in common in
what became the master's house. Documents of 1309 and 1310 refer to
the church being rebuilt with four altars, implying a building larger in size
than any of the surviving structures (VCH Northamptonshre II, 157; Dryden,
1873–4; Serjeantson, 1911–14).
The formermaster's house was demolished in 1871 but plans,
elevations and drawings record its appearance. It consisted of a six-bay
range with a crown-post roof (replaced at either end) apparently of 15th-century date. A substantial stack, perhaps late medieval, was inserted
between the second and third bay from the E. and two further stacks were
inserted later in the W. bays. The chamber in the eastern two bays was
raised on an undercroft but the other bays had been floored. The only
medieval openings recorded were the lancets already mentioned; the other
windows were mullioned with hood-moulds, and, like the two-storeyed
porch, were typical Northamptonshire work of c. 1600. It is possible that
the original 13th-century building had one large open hall and was the
common living quarters of the prior and brethren of the hospital but was
made a more conventionally domestic building after it had been
appropriated to the master alone.
The former chapel has an ambitious W. front with moulded doorway
and five-light panel-traceried window. The facade is however wider than
the body of the chapel itself, especially on the N. Since the windows in
the N. and S. walls of the chapel were, until a restoration of 1853,
classical and round-headed it is probable that the N. and S. walls had been
rebuilt inside the late medieval walls. If the Decorated E. window is
genuinely 14th-century, then the E. wall may survive from the earlier
hospital buildings. (Dryden 1873–4, 211–34; Sergeantson 1911–12, 221–37,
265–90, 1913–14, 1–24, 49–78)
The W. wall of the former almshouse is 14th-century but the building
as a whole dates from the late 15th century, perhaps from the time of
Richard Sherd who was master from 1474/5 to 1498 and whose name
appeared in stained glass in a window in the S. wall (VCH
Northamptonshire III, 59–60). The building was designed to meet the needs
of the hospital as defined in its late medieval constitution, with a master,
two co-brethren or chaplains, and eight infirm. On the ground floor a long
passage 1.20 m. wide formed the spine of the plan, with individual
chambers for the inmates opening off it. Halfway up the N. side was an
open hall and kitchen. Opposite the hall was a staircase, lit by a three-light Perpendicular window, giving access to two large rooms on the first
floor, open to the roof, for the use of the chaplains.
Churches, Chapels and Other Religious Sites
c(21) Parish Church of All Saints (SP 754604; Fig. 14; Plates
20, 21). The church of All Saints was rebuilt after the fire in 1675 which
destroyed much of Northampton. The church was in existence by 1107
when it was mentioned by name in a charter to St. Andrew's priory. (BL
Royal 11 B ix f. 5v; Franklin 1982, 92).
The only parts of the church to survive the fire and the subsequent
rebuilding were the lower parts of the tower and the vaulted crypt which
lay under the former E. end. Foundations recorded in George Row may
have belonged to the pre-1675 church (see George Row, fiche. p. 387).
The tower dates from the 12th century, although altered in the 14th or
15th century and again after the fire. The wide openings at ground floor
level on all four faces suggest that the tower originally stood at the
centre of a cruciform church. The crypt is of 14th-century date. It has
no liturgical fittings and may have served only as a charnel house.
Two 17th-century drawings of the medieval church survive. The more
reliable is a detail from Speed's map of Northampton of 1610, which shows
a large cruciform church with a central tower. The second drawing was
made by an artist who accompanied Cosimo III of Tuscany on his visit to
Northampton in 1669. It also shows a church with a central tower but the
Italianate details cannot be relied upon. A description of the old church
was made in 1675 by Henry Lee who was Town Clerk. The church was 'as
large as some cathedrals'. The chancel was 'very large with great stalls
and large desks before them on the north and south sides, and on the west
side very gentile pews with desks before them to lean upon'. The nave
had 'three aisles', and in 1534/5 'the middle roof was made and raised
very high and lofty'. At the west end were 'very stately gates at the
entrance and a very high and large window'. There was also 'a south
porch very great and large and over it was a large room in which the
spiritual court was held'. Lee also mentioned a tomb and vault built in
1585 'in the place called Lady Chapel in the chancel' and 'an old strong
building adjoining to the south side of the chancel reported to be formerly
a chapel' in which were the stairs to the crypt (Serjeantson 1901, 245–6).
The medieval church can be reconstructed as a large building, perhaps
70 m. in length, with a central tower and cruciform plan. The chancel
which occupied the area of the present church E. of the tower, had a
crypt under its E. end and a S. chapel. There were transepts and a
clearstoreyed nave with N. and S. aisles and S. porch of two storeys. The
tall arches which were cut through the 12th-century tower in the 14th or
15th century give some idea of the scale of the main compartments.
The new church was opened in 1680 but the building was not
completed until 1704. Henry Bell appears to have been responsible for the
design. A document in Northamptonshire Record Office (formerly Phillipps
MS 12165) records a meeting on 18 January 1676/7 at which it was
'Order'd and agreed that Mr. Henry Bell and Mr. Edward Edwards, two
experienc'd surveyors now residing in the said Town of Northampton',
should be employed as 'managers' for the rebuilding of All Saints' Church
(Colvin 1978, 105). The portico appears to have formed part of the
original design though it was not finished until 1701. The inscription on
the portico 'I Hunt Northton fecit' perhaps indicates that Hunt was
responsible for the building of it. He carved the statue of Charles II
which stands on the portico (Gunnis 1953, 212).
The new church was built in a classical style except for the window
tracery and the belfry openings which are Gothic in form. It was designed
as an auditory church and may be compared with St. Mary at Hill in the
City of London, by Wren, which was completed by 1676. The plan of both
churches is based on a Greek cross inscribed in a square, although All
Saints' is much the larger.
The church consists of chancel, built above the medieval crypt, nave,
W. tower with vestibules to the N. and S., and a portico. The former
central tower was retained as a W. tower and a tall belfry built above.
The vestibules originally formed the principal entrances to the church.
The colonnaded portico lies across the W. wall screening both tower and
Much of the 17th-century church survives to the present day but a
number of additions and minor alterations have been carried out. Drawings
by James Blackamore show the church with 18th-century furnishings. The
chancel had a carved reredos flanking the E. window, with 'four tables
containing the Ten Commandments, Creed, Lord's Prayer, and two paintings
one of Moses and the other of Aaron'. Communion rails ran across in
front of the altar. The chancel was panelled to window-sill height but
plain above. The plaster ceiling was richly decorated. Under the chancel
arch, which was a coffered beam supported on brackets, was a large open
screen with a central doorway. The nave had tall box pews, and a small
gallery in the N. aisle, possibly that erected in 1714 (VCH
Northamptonshire III, 49). The pulpit with an elaborate sounding board was
attached to the S.E. column and there was an ornate pew opposite which
was probably the Mayor's. The font stood in a pew of its own towards
the W. on the S. side. A later illustration of the church in a trade card
by J. Powell of Northampton, undated but after 1815, shows the church
with the pulpit and reading desk in front of the chancel screen and
galleries on three sides of the nave. In 1865–6 the galleries were cut back
and the present seating in the nave installed to the designs of E.F. Law
(NRO, All Saints 223P/168, 169). The chancel screen, pulpit and prayer
desk were also removed at this time. Parts of the screen were reused to
form doorways between the vestibules and the nave. The pulpit was re-erected on a new pedestal in 1888.
In the past century several minor alterations have been made to the
fabric of the church. The Organ Chamber on the N. was built in 1883
with detailing very similar to that of the 17th-century fabric (NRO All
Saints 223P/170, 8 Dec. 1882). In 1888 the chancel was remodelled by
E.F. Law (NRO All Saints 223P/171). The E. window was blocked, the
present reredos constructed and the decorative plaster work made more
elaborate. A new chancel arch was built, supported on attached columns.
Pilasters were added on the E. wall of the nave. In 1920 a War Memorial
chapel was built to the S. of the chancel to the designs of
Sir A. Blomfield and Sons and A.J. Driver. It is a low building in a
mixed, late Gothic style. The sills of the two windows in the S. wall of
the chancel and the window in the E. wall of the nave were raised. New
entrances were made to the chapel from both chancel and nave and the
doorway in the E. wall of the nave was moved to the E. end of the S.
wall of the nave. In 1967–8 the vestibules flanking the tower were
modified by the insertion of floors, which necessitated the blocking of the
upper parts of the main entrance doorways into the church from the
portico. The doorways from the vestibules to the church had already been
altered to accommodate the W. gallery in the nave. The main entrance is
now through the small central doorway under the W. tower. In 1982–3 the
nave roof was extensively repaired and the whole of the interior
The church built after the fire of 1675 was uniform in design.
Externally all the walling except that on the W. has a moulded plinth, a
cornice and a parapet. Windows have semi-circular heads, deeply moulded
architraves and boldly projecting scroll-shaped key stones. They are all
similar, being of five lights with two roundels in the head or of three with
a single roundel. The five-light windows were placed in the E. wall of the
chancel, the end walls of the vestibules and in the middle of the nave
walls and were given further emphasis by projecting wall panels. The
panels on the chancel and vestibules have simple triangular pediments while
the central sections of the N. and S. nave walls have raised parapets with
segmental pediments. The roofs are flat-pitched and, for the most part,
hidden behind the parapets, but the central dome and cupola are prominent
features of the design.
The N. wall of the chancel had two three-light openings. The first,
originally a three-light window, has been modified to house the organ. The
second three-light window remains unaltered. The E. wall has a window of
five lights which is still glazed but is blocked internally by the reredos of
1888. The S. wall has two three-light windows which originally matched
those on the N. Their lower parts were blocked when the S. chapel was
added in 1920. There are two openings with elliptical heads in the lower
part of the wall, a doorway and an internal window, between chapel and
chancel. The chancel arch, remodelled in 1888, consists of a four-centred
arch with architrave and fielded panels on the soffit supported by pairs of
Ionic columns which carry an entablature. The reredos and decorative wall
plaster are contemporary with the chancel arch. The ceiling though much
repainted is mostly of the late 17th century and some of the details match
contemporary work in the nave plasterwork. The rose in the centre of the
main ceiling and much of the panel over the altar are later additions,
perhaps of 1888.
The organ chamber built on the N. side of the chancel in 1883
matches the architectural treatment of the exterior of the nave and
chancel, the windows displaced from the chancel and the E. wall of the
nave being reused as the E. and N. windows of the new construction. The
interior is featureless but excavation for heating ducts has exposed the N.
wall and N.E. external corner buttress of the medieval crypt below the
chancel (see below).
The S. chapel was designed in 1920 by Sir Arthur Blomfield and Sons
and A.J. Driver, using a mixture of late Gothic and classical detail. It is
a low building running parallel to the chancel. Below it is a passage
which gives access to the crypt.
Below the W. part of the chancel, which is raised five steps above
the floor level of the nave, is a vaulted undercroft of 14th-century date.
The W. third is bricked up and the floor level has been raised but despite
this it is still possible to reconstruct its original form. The crypt was
square in plan with a central octagonal pier, responds at the corners and
mid-way along each wall. The vault is made up of four quadripartite bays
separated by ribs. The modern tunnel under the S. chapel leads to the
original entrance just E. of the central respond in the S. wall; the opening
has been much rebuilt. There are two windows in the E. wall of the
compartment and these, coupled with the evidence of the diagonal buttress
at the N.E. corner indicate that the E. wall of the crypt lay under the E.
wall of the medieval church and that the chancel above had the same
external dimensions. Drawings made by Sir Henry Dryden in 1881 confirm
this reconstruction and also show the level of the original floor which is
some 0.6 m. below the present floor (NPL Dryden collection).
The nave is nearly square in plan and is divided by four Ionic
columns which are set on high plinths and support a central dome carried
on arches and pendentives. The four barrel vaults which run back from
these arches to the outer walls define a cross, the spaces between having
flat ceilings. The outlines of the cross are marked by a cornice which
runs round the lower edges of the barrel vaults. The semi-circular end
walls of the vaults contain oval lunettes; that on the E. is over the
chancel arch, but the other two are expressed in the side elevations of the
nave. The plaster decoration, although repaired, follows the original
design. The dome is shallow and carries a square lantern topped by a
domed cupola. The N. and S. walls of the nave have five windows, which
are arranged symmetrically, with a pair of three-light windows on either
side of one of five lights. The central windows are set in projecting
sections of wall which are crowned, above the cornice, by attic gables
masking the end of the barrel vaults. The attic is pierced by an oval
lunette set in a rectangular, pedimented panel defined by shallow pilasters
and flanked by curved brackets. Under the E. window of the S. wall is a
small rectangular doorway reset from the E. wall. It has an eared
architrave and an eight-panelled door. In the E. wall of the nave N. of
the chancel arch is a blocked window below which is a doorway similar to
that described above. In the corresponding position to the S. side, the
upper part of a three-light window remains in situ; the lower part has
been blocked. Originally the arrangement of the wall was symmetrical
with a doorway below a three-light window on each side of the chancel
arch. The W. wall of the nave has two large doorways which open into
the vestibules flanking the tower. The door openings are now rectangular
and fit below the gallery of 1865. They were formerly wider and taller
with semi-circular heads, the jambs having shallow pilasters and the
soffits decorated with coffered panels. The openings matched those on the
There are galleries against the N., S. and W. walls of the nave.
Their fronts are probably of the late 18th century but the cast-iron
supports were inserted in 1865/6 by E.F. Law when he reduced the depth
of the galleries. Access is from the vestibules, each of which has a stair
built against its end wall.
The W. tower was largely rebuilt after the fire of 1675, but earlier
phases of construction can still be distinguished at the lower level. The
earliest phase is of the 12th century. A number of short lengths of string
course and straight joints in the interior of the ground stage indicate equal
openings in all four walls. In the 14th or 15th century these openings
were raised in height though they were later blocked, probably in the post-medieval period. The outline of these tall pointed arches can be seen on
the N., S. and E. faces of the tower. The vice in the N.W. corner also
belongs to the late medieval phase. The present belfry was added after
1675. The openings are of two lights with a quatrefoil over. The tracery
may have been made more authentically medieval in the 19th century.
The tower is completed by a balustrade and open octagonal cupola.
North and South Vestibules
The vestibules are rectangular compartments flanking the tower, lit
by five-light windows in the end walls. They perhaps occupy, at least in
part, the foundations of the medieval transepts. The vestibules may have
been built later than the nave since there is a masonry break between the
walls of the nave and those of the vestibules and also the cornice of the
vestibules is ornamented with dentils instead of being plain as in the nave.
Both compartments, although now divided by inserted floors, served as
matching vestibules, each with large, opposed semi-circular headed
doorways, of which those into the nave were originally open. The S.
vestibules housed the Consistory Court until the remodelling of 1967–8. The
simply moulded plaster ceiling in the N. vestibule is probably original.
In the W. wall of the church are three semi-circular-headed entrance
doorways of which the smaller, central doorway gives access to the tower
and the two larger open into the vestibules. The portico, which is
attached to the W. wall, is seven bays wide and two bays deep. It
consists of plain Ionic columns which stand on square plinths. The
entablature consists of an architrave of three fascias, an inscribed frieze
and a bracket cornice. Above is a balustrade, interrupted by a solid
plinth, bearing the Stuart Royal Arms and carrying a statue of Charles II.
The inscription in the frieze reads, 'This statue was erected in memory of
King Charles II, who gave a thousand tons of timber towards the rebuilding
of this church, and to this town seven years of chimney money collected
in it. John Agatter, mayor, 1712'. At the S. end of the frieze is the
inscription 'I Hunt Northton fecit".
Candelabra, brass, hanging from centre of dome; late 17th or 18th-century.
Clock, on front of gallery, by Thomas Davies of Northampton, gilded
Rococo case with figure of Time; c. 1750.
Communion Rails, oak, turned balusters with pierced bulbs; c. 1680.
Doorcases, three with Corinthian pilasters and richly moulded architraves,
between vestibule and nave; made up from chancel screen of c. 1680.
Floor, inlaid marble floor in sanctuary; 1888.
Font, marble bowl presented by Thomas Willoughby; c. 1680; freestone
stem of four conjoined volutes, perhaps added.
In Nave - E. wall below gallery, (1) Thomas Hall, d. 1810, aged 61.
(2) John Conant, d. 1693, aged 86. (3) William Hughes, d. 1794, aged 66;
Elizabeth (wife), d. 1801, aged 69; Whiting Sculpt. (4) Alderman George
Osborn, d. 1827, aged 73; Frances (wife), d. 1790, aged 29; Thomas (son),
d. 1809, aged 21; Whiting Sculpt.
E. wall above gallery, (5) John Portington, d. 1789, aged 63; Judith
(wife), d. 1796, aged 68; Judith Mary Portington (daughter), d. 1827,
aged 74; Elizabeth Hopkinson (grand-daughter), d. 1849, aged 62; S. Cox
Sculpt. (6) Edward Whitton, philanthropist, d. 1774, aged 77; Cox Fecit.
N. wall below gallery, (7) John Lucas, d. 1839, aged 76, nephew of
Sir Thomas Ward; Whiting Sculpt. (8) Sir James Stonhouse, Bart., d. 1795,
aged 80. (9) Christopher Smyth, d. 1825, aged 90; Whiting Fecit.
(10) Dorcas Sargeant, d. 1729, aged 93, wife of Thos. Sargeant; S. Cox
Fecit. (11) Anne Stonhouse, d. 1747, aged 25. (12) Major Charles Boycott,
d. 1809, aged 33, youngest son of Thomas Boycott; Wilhelmina (wife of
Charles, daughter of William Smyth), d. 1807, aged 23; Regnart Fecit.
(13) Caroline Lumley, d. 1831, aged 17, daughter of Colonel J.R. Lumley;
Arabella (sister), d. 1833, aged 15; John (brother), d. 1852, aged 46; Anne
(sister), d. 1859, aged 64. (14) Daniell Greenwood, d. 1711, aged 54;
Elizabeth Dand (wife), daughter of John Dand, d. 1714. (15) James
Cunningham, d. 1723; Susanna (wife), d. 1723; James (infant), d. 1715.
(16) Alderman John Newcome, d. 1763, aged 55; Ann Newcome (wife),
d. 1787, aged 81; H. Cox fecit. (17) Mary Kerby, d. 1821, aged 80.
N. wall above gallery, (18) William Stratford, philanthropist, d. 1753,
date of tablet 1831. (19) Dorcas Stratford, d. 1744, aged 69; J. Hunt
S. wall below gallery, (20) Major Gen. Sir James Rutherford Lumley,
d. 1846, aged 72, son of Rev. James Lumley; Caroline (wife), d. 1820, aged
34, daughter of Thomas Wilkinson; Robert Wilkinson Lumley, 3rd son,
d. 1820, aged 2; Arabella, d. 1841, aged 25, first wife of James Rutherford
Lumley (son of Sir James) and daughter of Rev. Thomas Chambers
Wilkinson; Robert Turner Lumley (grandson of Sir James), d. 1848, aged 3;
Tablet erected c. 1850 by James Rutherford Lumley (d. 1885, aged 74) and
Clare Letitia Lumley (wife, d. 1905, aged 82). (21) Maria Dorothea
Jenkins, d. 1835, aged 26, wife of James Samuel Jenkins, daughter of
George Lewis Hollingsworth. (22) Anthony Eynard, d. 1739, aged 86; Jane
Eynard, wife of Alexander Eynard, d. 1741, aged 30; J. Hunt Fecit. (23)
Alderman John Chambers, d. 1835, aged 72; Anne (wife), d. 1840, aged 71;
Sarah Bettison (3rd daughter), d. 1834, aged 29; Whiting Sculpt. (24) Jane,
d. 1725, aged 43, wife of John Rushworth, d. 1736, aged 67. (25) Daniel
Danvers, d. 1699, aged 70; Jane Danvers, d. 1739, aged 96. (26) Frances
Wales, daughter of William Wales, d. 1855, aged 46. (27) Maria Catherine,
d. 1852, aged 70, wife of John Walls. (28) Benjamin King, d. 1731, aged
45; J. Hunt Fecit. (29) Rebecca Ivory, d. 1720, aged 58, wife of Edward,
d. 1728, aged 69; J. Hunt Fecit. (30) Alderman Richard Meacock, d. 1798,
aged 59, husband of Frances, d. 1813, aged 69, and nine children.
(31) Mary Freeman, d. 1821, aged 47; Charles, son of Charles and Mary,
d. 1814, aged 17.
S. wall above gallery, (32) Henry Wellington Starr, d. 1846, aged 32;
W. wall below gallery, (33) Dorothy Beckett, d. 1747, aged 90, wife
of Thomas Beckett; Anne Sargeant, d. 1738, aged 68; daughters of Thomas
Sargeant; S. Cox Sculpt.. (34) Richard Backwell, MP, d. 1765, aged 71;
Mrs. Catherine Backwell (widow), d. 1771, aged 57; W. Cox Fecit. (35)
Mary Lacy, d. 1786, aged 60; John Lacy, d. 1795, aged 74; W. Cox Fecit.
(36) Alice Lumley, d. 1799, aged 65, wife of Rev. James Lumley, d. 1811,
aged 89; Alicia Anna Lumley, d. 1826, aged 59. (37) Isabella Haldane, d.
1782, aged 69, daughter of John Haldane and widow of Charles Steward.
(38) Henry Locock, d. 1761, aged 48; H. Cox Fecit. (39) John Revell, d.
1741, aged 60; Mary (wife), d. 1743, aged 63; Mary, d. 1780, aged 59, wife
of Edward Revell, d. 1782, aged 75; John (son), d. 1781, aged 38; W. Cox
Fecit. (40) 17th-century monument, illegible.
Organ, in W. gallery; parts of case perhaps late 17th-century, pipes and
action 19th-century and later.
Paintings, oil on panel, now set on W. wall in pedimented frames but
formerly flanking altar: (1) Moses, in a landscape with Burning Bush.
(2) Aaron in priestly robes against the apse of a Gothic church; c. 1680.
Panelling, oak, reset on side walls of nave, fielded, with Corinthian
pilasters and richly moulded architrave, c. 1680; reset on the side walls of
the chancel, fielded, c. 1680.
Pulpit, oak, against N. respond of chancel arch, polygonal with rich carving
of foliage and cherubs; c. 1680: on stem of 1888.
Reredos, (1) on E. wall of nave, N. of chancel arch but formerly over
altar, two panels with cherubim under open pediment and flaming finials,
c. 1680; inscribed panels, 19th-century. (2) on E. wall of chancel,
Corinthian screen enclosing painting of Rood and Commandment Tables,
with lunette above, 1888.
Royal Arms, oak, on W. wall of nave, pair of pedimented panels carved in
high relief with arms of Charles II or James II.
Seating, (1) Pair of chairs in sanctuary in late 17th-century style but
probably 19th-century. (2) Pair of churchwardens' seats with desks, now
flanking central W. doorway, oak, ornamented with cartouches and cherubs;
c. 1680. (3) Mayor's seat and desk in nave, oak, inscribed and dated 1686.
(4) Stalls, in choir, oak, made up from late 17th-century panelling and
18th-century pews. (5) Desk and seat with bracketed canopy supporting
royal arms of Charles II or James II, from former Consistory Court in S.
Vestibule, now reset in part in N. aisle.
d(22) Parish Church of the Holy Sepulchre (SP 754609;
Figs. 11, 12; Plates 16, 17). The dedication and the general conception
of the church indicate that it was inspired by the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre at Jerusalem, interest in which was stimulated by the Crusades.
The particular form of the building, however, was perhaps derived from the
round churches and baptistries of Northern Italy, in particular those of
Lombardy. A close parallel is provided by San Tomaso in Limine at
Almenno San Bartolomeo, north of Bergamo. Holy Sepulchre appears
always to have been a parish church and there is no evidence of any
unusual ecclesiastical connections which might explain either the choice of
the round plan or the manner in which the church was used. The form of
the church, its size and quality do suggest that it was built for a powerful
patron with cosmopolitan interests and large financial resources,
traditionally Simon de Senlis, Earl of Northampton, who died in 1115.
There is however no clear documentary evidence for the date of the
foundation of the church.
Holy Sepulchre is one of the two surviving early 12th-century round
churches in England, the other being at Cambridge. The Romanesque
building, with a rectangular chancel, circular nave and vaulted aisle, has
only survived in part but most of its features can be reconstructed from
evidence in the building and by analogy with the Cambridge Round Church.
The 12th-century work in the chancel indicates that it was unaisled and of
at least three bays. The considerable change in level between the nave
and chancel, caused by the sloping site, and the restricted height of the
vault of the aisle through which access was gained to the chancel, suggest
that an original small low chancel was replaced during the 12th century.
The nave had a three-storeyed elevation of arcade, gallery and clearstorey
and was probably entered by an elaborate W. doorway. The aisle was
covered by a vault of semi-circular section.
The most controversial feature of this reconstruction of the 12th-century church is the form of the aisle vault. The positions of ten of the
attached wall-shafts have been identified. They correspond with the
spacing of the external pilaster buttresses. There are also scars of the
vault web. It seems likely that each bay of the vault was wedge-shaped
and that diagonal ribs ran from the arcade piers to half-shafts on the
outer wall with a similar intermediate shaft carrying a further rib which
rose to the crown of the vault. The present arcade columns are too high
for a semi-circular vault of this type but two features show that the
columns, although apparently of 12th-century masonry, were originally
shorter. Three of the round scalloped capitals have been re-assembled
incorrectly with a band of plain masonry separating the scallops from the
abacus. Some of the column-shafts have uncharacteristic narrow courses
just at the height the columns would need to have been to accommodate
the vault. The extra blocks required to make up the height of the nave
columns in the 14th century could have been salvaged from those of the
gallery arcade which were probably, as at Cambridge, of the same
diameter as those of the nave arcade.
The first alterations appear to have been made c. 1200 when a
chapel was built N. of the chancel and the wall pierced by an arcade of
two bays. A doorway was also cut through the N. wall of the nave aisle.
A further chapel was added N. of the N. chapel in the late 13th century
and a window was made just W. of the N. doorway of the nave. The
addition of the S. chapel dates from the 14th century, the S. wall of the
chancel being reconstructed as a two-bay arcade. In the same century the
circular part of the church was almost totally rebuilt. The whole of the
upper part of the nave was removed together with the aisle vault, leaving
only the lower parts of the nave piers and the outer wall of the aisle.
The rebuilding involved raising the height of the nave piers with 12th-century masonry and replacing the rotunda by an octagonal structure on
high pointed arches with a clearstorey and pointed roof. Three large
winoows were inserted in the aisle and the roof was reconstructed behind a
parapet. A large section of the aisle wall was demolished to make way
for a W. tower and spire. A new doorway and porch were constructed on
the S. possibly re-using 12th-century masonry. The chancel must have been
extended to the E. during the medieval period since a tile pavement was
found outside the E. end of the chancel during the restoration of 1861
(Cox and Serjeantson 1897, 23–5) but the extension was later removed,
perhaps in the 17th century. A plan of 1805 (Britton 1807, Plate 1 opp.
p. 11) shows the church with the outer N. chapel removed and the chancel
cut back. George Clarke's view of c. 1840 shows that many windows in
both nave and chancel had been replaced in the post-medieval period. The
difference between the present appearance of the church and that depicted
in the views by Britton and Clarke demonstrate the extent and
thoroughness of the restoration carried out in the mid-19th century. In
1859 a faculty was granted for the removal of pews, galleries, stalls,
screens, altar rails, tables, doors, pulpit, desk, floors, and the taking down
of the whole of the eastern walls and the north wall eastwards of the
rotunda (Plan of the proposed work by G.G. Scott, NRO St. Sepulchre
241P/107). In 1860–4 Scott added a new aisled chancel with a small vestry
to the N., the old chancel and chapels, which were themselves lengthened
by about 4 m., being treated as the nave, and re-created the former outer
N. aisle. The restoration of the rotunda was carried out mainly in 1868–73
but the work was not concluded until 1879 when the aisle roof was
replaced (NRO St. Sepulchre 241P/112). The present N. vestry and organ
chamber were built by H.M. Townsend in 1887 replacing the vestry of 1860
(NRO St. Sepulchre's, Faculty with plans). The former nave was now
arranged as a baptistry and a new font (a copy of the 13th-century font at
Hildesheim Cathedral) was placed in the centre.
The church comprises a Chancel, with North and South Chapels, a
North Vestry and Organ Chamber, a Nave with two North Aisles and a
South Aisle (formerly Chancel and North and South Chapels), and a
Baptistry, with aisle (former nave), West Tower and South Porch. The
church is built of a mixture of coursed blockwork, ironstone, sandstone and
limestone. Roofs E. of the rotunda are steeply pitched. The circular aisle
has a low-pitched roof and the central octagon a polygonal, pointed roof.
Chancel and North and South Chapels
The chancel and the N. and S. chapels were built by G.G. Scott in
1860–4 in late 13th-century style. The E. window of the N. chapel, which
is of mid 13th-century date and the two large 14th-century brackets which
flank it, were reused from the former E. wall of the N. chapel. The N.
vestry and organ chamber were built by H.M. Townsend in 1887 in mid-13th-century style, replacing the small vestry by Scott.
Nave (former Chancel)
The former chancel was constructed in the 12th century. Corbel
tables of this date have survived in part both on the N. and the S. walls
but that on the S. is reset as the wall below appears to have been rebuilt.
The N. wall is of the 12th century as far as the W. respond of the arcade,
beyond which it is of 1860–4. The 12th-century wall appears to have been
external with three semi-circular-headed windows (Sharpe et al 1880, Plate
16) of which only the W. window is now reliable in detail. About 1200 a
two-bay arcade was cut through this wall, presumably as part of the
construction of a N. chapel. The central pier of this arcade and perhaps
the two arches were replaced during the 13th century. The W. part of the
S. wall was rebuilt in the 14th century as an arcade of two bays. The
lower part of the 12th-century wall may be preserved in the responds and
the bases of the piers. The W. wall contains the former chancel arch
which dates from the 13th century and was modified in the 14th. The
three-light window above is also of the 14th century. The roof is 19th-century but is supported on a series of late medieval wooden corbels
carved with musicians (cf. Duston Church).
North Aisle (former North Chapel)
The former N. chapel was added in c. 1200. The piers of the N.
arcade, opening into the outer N. chapel, are of the late 13th century but
the wall above, all of the E. end and the roof are of 1860–4. The arch in
the W. wall, communicating with the former nave, is of c. 1400. The
awkward relationship of the W. wall with the nave aisle suggests that
there was originally no communication between nave and chapel.
Outer North Aisle
The outer N. aisle, formerly a chapel, is all of 1860–4 except for the
arch in the E. wall which was constructed in 1887. The plan of the aisle
is said to be that of the medieval chapel, taken down perhaps in the 17th
South Aisle (former South Chapel)
The former S. chapel is perhaps of 14th-century origin. All that
remains from this period is the W. end of the S. nave arcade, the arch
which leads to the nave and probably much of the masonry in the lower
parts of the S. wall. The windows in the S. wall were replaced in 1860–4
in early 14th-century style; below is a blocked doorway of unknown date.
The roof is 19th-century.
Baptistry (former Nave)
The former nave has an arcade of eight piers, the lower parts of
which date from the mid 12th century. They were raised in height during
the 14th century with reused 12th-century masonry and capitals. Above,
the walls are octagonal in plan. The arcade arches are of a single
chamfered order and are sharply pointed. The clearstorey has two-light
windows on the cardinal faces. The roof is of unusual design and is
probably post-medieval. It is undecorated and consists of two main beams
which cross at right angles and have straight braces to wall posts.
Spanning between the beams are four members which form a square; four
short ties run from the centre of these members to the other corners of
the octagon. This horizonal frame-work supports a central mast, which is
down-braced to the main beams. The purlins are supported by four queen
posts. Rafters, every third of which goes to the apex, are laid on this
structure. Each of the eight triangular planes of the roof are boarded and
the whole is covered with lead.
The major part of the outer wall of the 12th-century aisle remains.
Externally it is divided into bays by pilaster buttresses rising nearly to the
head of the wall, seven of which survive wholly or in part. The wall is
also divided into three horizontal stages by chamfered weather courses.
The lowest stage is blank and has a plinth consisting of a number of
chamfered steps. The second and third stages had a series of small
windows, alternating between upper and lower stages. The windows had
semi-circular heads and chamfered labels; one in the lowest stage and two
in the upper remain open. The wall is capped by a parapet which was
presumably added in the 14th century. Much of a 12th-century chamfered
eaves course survives below the parapet.
There are a number of later insertions in the aisle wall. The N.
doorway is of c. 1200 but has been heavily restored. It has a pointed arch
of two plain orders resting on angle shafts with foliated capitals and
moulded bases. The rear-arch is semi-circular. The S. doorway, perhaps
of the 14th century but re-using earlier masonry, has a pointed arch with
three continuous unchamfered orders. There is also a small lancet window
in the N. wall with a skewed rear arch. Its W. jamb was probably rebuilt
when three large windows were inserted in the 14th century. They now
have 19th-century tracery. On the internal face of the wall the outline of
the 12th-century vaulting web and the positions of ten of the wall shafts
are visible. The bases of these shafts were raised a little above floor
level, as demonstrated by a surviving fragment, just S. of the arch into
the S. aisle. To the N. of the tower arch is a tall half-round recessed
wall shaft with a scalloped capital, now carrying a sculpted panel. The
shaft is too tall to have carried the vault and is incompatible with the
spacing of the 12th-century wall shafts. It is, however, built of half-round
masonry blocks of 12th-century date, possibly reused from wall shafts
demolished, along with the aisle wall, in the 14th century, to make way
for the tower.
Tower and Spire
The W. tower and spire were built in the 14th century. The tower
has a vice at the junction with the aisle on the S., a W. doorway and
large diagonal buttresses at the outer corners. The four belfry openings
are of two lights each with a quatrefoil in the head. The octagonal spire
which rises from behind a crenellated parapet has three tiers of lucarnes
on the cardinal faces.
The S. porch although much rebuilt is probably of 14th-century origin.
The S. entrance arch is of. two continuous chamfered orders.
Banner staff locker, in wall of circular aisle, tall recess with pointed head
and rebated jambs; 13th-century.
Brass, in circular aisle, of George Coles, his two wives and twelve
children; 1640, ex situ.
Chest, oak(?), with iron bindings; 16th or 17th-century.
Font, in circular aisle, stone stem in the form of a short column with
Ionic capital (formerly carrying a bowl); 17th-century.
Glass, in W. window of former chancel, fragments of medieval stained
glass (now removed).
In Nave (former Chancel) - N. wall, (1) William Kerr MD, d. 1824,
aged 87; Mary (wife) daughter of George Thompson, d. 1841, aged 87;
S. wall, (2) Francis Osborn, d. 1823, aged 74; Sarah (wife), d. 1811,
aged 65; Francis (son), d. 1810, aged 34; two other infants;
W. wall, (3) John Pettifer, d. 1833, aged 69; Mary (wife), d. 1818,
aged 45; John Pettifer (nephew), d. 1837, aged 35. (4) General John
Manners Kerr, d. 1843, aged 76, son of William Kerr. (5) Lady Jane Davy,
d. 1855, aged 74, daughter of Charles Kerr, married (1799) Sir Shuckburgh
Ashby Apreece Bart and (1812) Sir Humphrey Davy, President of the Royal
North Aisle - S. wall, (6) Elizabeth, d. 1738, aged 91, wife of Charles
Fleetwood; Smith Fleetwood (son), d. 1747, aged 77. (7) Thomas Butcher,
d. 1834, aged 72; Judith (wife), d. 1842, aged 85.
W. wall, (8) Smith Churchill, d. 1803, aged 59. (9) Ann Filkes,
d. 1839, aged 76, daughter of Jonathan and Susanna.
Outer N. aisle - S. wall, (10) Fleetwood Churchill, d. 1780, aged 49.
South Aisle - N. wall, (11) Alderman George Tompson, d. 1786,
aged 64; Susannah, d. 1794, aged 75. (12) William Tompson, d. 1798, aged
48, third son of George Tompson; Frances (wife), d. 1823, aged 73.
(13) Ann, d. 1841, aged 75, wife of Joseph Walker; Sarah Tompson,
d. 1826, aged 48, daughter of William and Frances Tompson; Judith
Tompson, d. 1840, aged 57, daughter of William and Frances Tompson;
Frances Tompson, d. 1843, aged 62, daughter of William and Frances
Tompson; Whiting Sculpt.
S. wall, (14) Joseph Woolston, d. 1742, aged 69; Rebecca (wife),
d. 1767, aged 86. (15) Frances Woolston, d. 1797, aged 82, wife of Joseph
W. wall, (16) Joseph Woolston, d. 1753, aged 58.
In Rotunda on Aisle Wall - starting N. of W. tower, (17) William
Gooding, d. 1797, aged 79; Elizabeth (wife), d. 1806, aged 93. (18) George
Coles, settled his estates for charitable purposes in 1640, monument dated
1836. (19) William Steer, d. 1797, aged 75; Anne (wife), d. 1815, aged 92.
(20) Rev. Thomas Watts (Rector of Quinton), d. 1775, aged 51; Beatrice
(wife), d. 1788, aged 64; Rev. Thomas Watts (son), Vicar of Holy Sepulchre,
d. 1820, aged 61. (21) Robert Morris, d. 1778, aged 79; Ann (wife),
d. 1777, aged 73.
Ex situ in circular aisle, (1) Rev. Thomas Storer, d. 1875, aged 75.
(2) Frances Storer, d. 1854, aged 65.
Piscinae. (1) reset in E. wall of N. chapel, with roll-and-hollow moulded
head; 13th-century. (2) in outer N. aisle, attached to first pier (former E.
respond) of S. arcade, pillar piscina with rectangular bowl with nail-head
decoration on black marble shaft and moulded base; perhaps 13th-century
in origin but heavily restored. (3) in S. wall of former S. chapel, with
two-centred head and hollow-chamfered jambs; 14th-century.
Tomb recess, on external face of S. wall of circular aisle, with two-centred, hollow-moulded arch of one order; 14th-century.
Stonework. (1) flanking E. window of N. chapel of chancel, two carved
brackets supported on head corbels; 14th-century. (2) in E. wall of S.
chapel, head corbel; 14th-century. (3) in N. wall of outer N. aisle,
fragment of coffin lid carved with a raised chevron pattern; 13th-century.
(4) in N. wall of outer N. aisle, fragment of grave marker carved with
foliate cross; 13th century. (5) in S. wall of outer N. aisle fragment of
grave marker with cross; 13th or 14th-century. (6) in S. wall of outer N.
aisle, a small moulded and carved bracket; 13th-century. (7) on wall-shaft
in N. wall of circular aisle; tympanum(?) crudely carved with human
figures and a dragon; 11th or early 12th century. (8) in E. wall of S.
porch, scratch dial. (9) loose in outer N. aisle, cross carved with
Crucifixus; 15th-century (?), found on demolition of a nearby house and
placed in the church in 1962. (10) loose in church, five fragments of
decorated coffin lids; 13th-century (?). (11) on offset of circular aisle wall
at gallery level, a number of 12th and 13th-century architectural
fragments, mostly of attached shafts, perhaps from the wall of the circular
Fig. 33 Parish Church of St. Giles. Development plans.
d(23) Parish Church of St. Giles (SP 759606; Fig. 13, fiche
Fig. 33; Plates 18, 19). The church was perhaps founded as a consequence
of the post-Conquest expansion of Northampton to the E. of the Saxon
burgh. The first mention of St. Giles' church is in a charter of St.
Andrew's Priory (BL Add Chart 57166) datable to March 1122. Although
the reference to St. Giles' is part of an alteration to the text it has been
demonstrated that this alteration was part of the original draft and that
St. Giles' formed part of a royal grant to the priory from ancient demesne
in 1122 (Franklin 1982, 95).
The earliest fabric is of the 12th century but none of the surviving
features can be dated more precisely. The 12th-century work consists of
the lower parts of the central tower together with the stair turret at the
N.E. corner which survives to its full height and must have given access to
an upper chamber. The tower was originally pierced by four large semi-circular arches. Thus the Norman church consisted of, at least, chancel,
central tower, N. and S. transepts and nave. Evidence of the 12th-century
chancel is preserved on the E. face of the tower and stair. The S. wall
of the present chancel is also 12th-century in origin as a small amount of
Romanesque masonry and part of a Romanesque doorway survive just E. of
the present S. chancel chapel. The original chancel was axial with the
tower and must have been almost as long as the present compartment.
The existing transepts probably occupy the same area as the early
transepts, the end walls of which perhaps survive. They are thick and
equidistant from the tower. The nave before its extension in 1853 was
49 ft. (15 m.) long and had a large 12th-century W. doorway of three
orders, presumably the doorway, now much restored, in the present W. wall
(shown in a drawing by Buckler of 1824, BL Add MS 36371). The plan
suggests that the S. wall of the nave may occupy the line of the 12th-century wall and that the N. wall has been rebuilt a little to the N. This
would give a 12th-century nave with an internal proportion of just over a
In the 13th century the N. wall of the chancel was rebuilt some
1.30 m. to the N., in line with the N. face of the stair turret, and the
whole compartment was raised in height to accommodate large lancet
windows, three of which survive. Later in the century the tower arches
were under-built presumably to stabilize the structure. Also of the late
13th century are the E. respond and the easternmost pier of the S. arcade.
According to Serjeantson that it may have been the insertion of the arcade
in the nave that disturbed the stability of the tower (Serjeantson 1911,
115–6). In the 14th century a chapel was added N. of the chancel and the
E. wall of the chancel was reconstructed. The W. part of the medieval S.
arcade also dates from this time. In the 15th century the S. chapel was
built and somewhat later the N. chapel was extensively remodelled, perhaps
in 1512 (Serjeantson 1911, 128). Much of the upper part of the tower fell
in 1613, probably towards the N.W. since the stair turret at the N.E. angle
and the medieval chancel and S. nave aisle survived undamaged. The
resulting reconstruction in 1616 is recorded by plaques set in the N. wall
of the nave. It consisted of rebuilding the top of the tower in its present
form with a ringing chamber and belfry, rebuilding the N. wall of the nave
and the clearstorey. No more major alterations to the fabric can be
detected until the 19th century when the church was surveyed by
G.G. Scott in 1844 (NRO St. Giles' 233P/215) and then restored and
extended by E.F. Law in 1853 (NRO St. Giles' 233P/150). The work
consisted of opening up the E. and W. tower arches, rebuilding the N. aisle
and S. porch, lengthening the nave and aisles and adding an outer N. aisle
and N. porch. Law also remodelled the arches between the aisles and the
transepts, replaced all the roofs W. of the tower, and renewed the windows
in the S. aisle and transept. In 1876 the chancel was reordered, the roofs
of the chancel and chapels renewed and the tracery of the S. chapel
window replaced, again under the supervision of E.F. Law (NRO St. Giles
The church comprises a Chancel with North and South Chapels,
central Tower, with North and South Transepts, a Nave with two Aisles on
the north and a single on the south, and North and South Porches. Walls
are constructed of blockwork of differing character and some rubble.
Architectural detail is generally of freestone. The clearstorey is rendered.
All roofs are shallow-pitched. The stair which serves the tower is
constructed with a spiral vault built in stone and plastered on the
underside. The roof is also of stone.
The E. jamb and part of the arch of a 12th-century doorway survive
in the S. wall of the chancel just E. of the E. wall of the S. chapel,
demonstrating that this part of the S. wall is 12th-century in origin and
that the length of the 12th-century chancel must have been approximately
that of the present compartment. The small 12th-century doorway at the
far E. end of the S. wall must be reset as it is surrounded by 14th-century
masonry. The N. wall of the 12th-century chancel was demolished in the
13th century but its outline can be seen on the E. face of the stair turret.
The eaves height is preserved as an off-set 4.5 m. above the present floor
level of the chancel. The 12th-century chancel was axial with the tower
but slightly wider, and had a roof-pitch of about 45 degrees, defined by
the interval between the top of the wall and the level of a 12th-century
string surviving in part on the E. face of the tower. The 13th-century N.
wall was built lining up with the N. face of the stair turret. The chancel
was lengthened a little. The S. wall was remodelled and raised in height
to match the N. wall. Lancet windows and pilaster buttresses of this
period survive on both the N. and S. sides. The E. wall was rebuilt in the
14th century, perhaps for structural reasons as both the N. and S. walls
were considerably out of plumb by that time. The E. window has
reticulated tracery. Below the window are two shallow buttresses which
may survive from the 13th-century E. wall. The N. wall was pierced by
an archway In the 14th century to give access to the N. chapel and the S.
wall was similarly treated in the 15th century. The present floor and roof
are of 1876.
The N. chapel was added in the 14th-century in the angle between
chancel and N. transept. It was connected to each of these compartments
by wide archways. The windows are much later and may perhaps be 'the
new work in our lady chapel' recorded in 1512. This compartment has
always been roofed parallel to the chancel although the present roof is
The S. chapel was added in the 15th century in the angle between
the chancel and the S. transept. It is connected to each compartment by
Central Tower and Stair Turret
Only the stair turret and the lower parts of the tower at the N.E.
corner survive from the 12th century. A break in the bond between the
turret and the N. wall of the tower may indicate that the turret was a
slightly later addition. The tower was built with wide arches in each face
but in the later 13th century these arches were blocked. The blocking on
the N., E. and W. conformed to the thickness of the existing tower walls
but that on the S. was constructed so that the wall was thickened to the
S. The E. and W. arches were unblocked by E.F. Law but their detailing
is allegedly derived from 12th-century evidence. Their form is probably
correct, judged by the outline of the arch and E. jamb of the original arch
on the N. face of the tower. The upper parts of the tower were rebuilt
in 1616. Two small areas of 12th-century walling remain on each side of
the turret. They can be identified by surviving horizontal strings and the
character of the block work. The upper part of the tower now consists of
a ringing chamber with a belfry above. The ringing chamber probably
occupies the position of a 12th-century upper chamber, served by the stair
turret which has risen higher than this level. The ringing chamber is lit
by two-light windows on the N. and S., each light having a semi-circular
head. This stage is separated from the belfry by two weathered strings.
Each face of the belfry has two openings, each with two cinque-foiled
lights divided by a central mullion and transoms. The crenellated parapet
stands on a weathered string and has plain finials at the corners. This
work dates from the 19th century but appears to follow the outline of the
17th-century work. The 12th-century stair turret survives to its full
height. It was originally partly external and stood in the angle between
chancel and N. transept. On the E. face of the turret are three small
windows, one above the other, and three horizontal string courses. Access
to the turret is through a round-headed doorway in the E. wall of the N.
There are two-centred archways in both E. and W. walls, that on the
E. is of the 14th century, and that on the W. is by E.F. Law. In the N.
wall is a 14th-century window of three ogee trefoil-headed lights and
tracery of elongated quatrefoils but the wall itself is thick and lies
parallel with the N. wall of the tower and so is probably 12th-century in
There are two-centred arches in both E. and W. walls, that on the E.
is 15th-century and that on the W. isby E.F. Law. In the S. wall are a
window and a doorway of 19th-century date but the window at least is a
replacement of an earlier one. The wall itself lines through with the S.
aisle wall on the exterior but is appreciably thicker so it may be of 12th-century origin, as the N. wall of the N. transept. Both transepts are the
same length from N. to S. when the thickening of the S. wall of the tower
Nothing remains of the 12th-century nave but it is possible that the
present S. arcade occupies the line of its S. wall. The earliest identifiable
parts of the fabric are the E. respond and the easternmost pier of the S.
arcade, the moulded capitals of which appear to date from the late 13th
century. The remainder of the pre-19th-century three-bay S. arcade was
built in the late 14th century. The length of the nave was 49 ft. (15 m.);
the old W. wall appears to have been just W. of the third pier from the E.
of the present arcade. The N. arcade was destroyed in the early 17th
century by the fall of the tower and rebuilt in 1616. It was probably at
this time that it was moved half a wall thickness to the N. The two W.
bays and the W. wall of the nave were added by E.F. Law in 1853,
continuing the forms of the existing building. The clearstorey of the pre-19th-century nave is of 17th-century date, perhaps replacing an earlier one.
North Aisle and Outer North Aisle
The N. aisle and the outer N. aisle are both by E.F. Law but replace
a N. aisle of the same length as the former nave and of the same width
as the N. transept. The former N. aisle is shown in a drawing of 1824 by
Buckler (BL Add. MS 36371).
The S. aisle was much rebuilt by E.F. Law but the part of the S.
wall between the S. porch and the N. transept appears to be medieval.
The present N. porch is by E.F. Law. There had been a N. porch to
the former N. aisle.
The S. porch, also by E.F. Law, replaces an earlier, apparently
medieval, porch shown in a drawing by George Clarke of 1828.
The roofs were all inserted by E.F. Law, those of the nave, aisles
and transepts in 1852–3 and those of the chancel and chancel chapels in
Aumbry, in S. chancel chapel, plain rectangular aumbry to W. of piscina.
Bracket, on E. wall of S. chancel chapel, moulded stone bracket on head
corbel; 14th or 15th-century.
Books. (1) 1591 edition of Breeches Bible (restored); (2) 1609 edition of
Calvin's Commentary on Isaiah; (3) 1676 edition of Second Tome of
Homilies. Both (2) and (3) rebound c. 1861.
Chest, with three locks, moulded along the edges but not panelled; early
Dishes, framed on wall in N. aisle, two pewter dishes inscribed 'Gilles';
Document, framed on wall in N. aisle, charter by William of Grendon;
Font, in N. aisle, polygonal with blind tracery panels; 15th-century.
Lectern, oak, in N. aisle, desk lectern on polygonal foot; c. 1600.
In Chancel - N. wall, (1) John Saint Mawe, d. 1820, aged 25, son of
John and Sarah Mawe (London). (2) Sarah, d. 1820, aged 30, wife of John
Shaw Smith, d. 1828, aged 44; Whiting Sculp. (3) Anne Whiting, d. 1825,
aged 52, third daughter of William Andrew of Harleston and Mary his wife,
daughter of Wayte Carr of Church-Brampton. (4) John Schofield Holt,
d. 1830, aged 33; Samuel (father), d. 1830, aged 68; Elizabeth (mother),
d. 1846, aged 77; Whiting Sculpt. (5) Edward Watkin, d. 1786, aged 77;
Elizabeth (wife), d. 1749, aged 38; (daughters) Elizabeth, d. 1825, aged 82;
Catherine, d. 1813, aged 68; Martha, d. 1835, aged 88. (6) Edmund
Bateman, d. 1731, aged 78; Mary (wife), d. 1722, aged 70; William (son),
d. 1732, aged 47; H. Cox fecit. (7) Edmunda Isham, d. 1706, aged 66,
daughter of Sir Justinian Isham, Bart. (8) James Keill, d. 1719, aged 47.
E. wall, (9) Samuel Cox (Carver), d. 1749, aged 59. (10) Rev. John
Watkin, d. 1795, aged 55; Sibbell (wife), d. 1821, aged 70.
S. wall, (11) Emma Harriet Percival, d. 1842, aged 7 months; Samuel
Percival, d. 1848, aged 54; Jane Goodchild (wife), d. 1870, aged 62;
T. Gaffin of London. (12) George Palmer Gent, d. 1723, aged 60, son of
Rev. John Palmer; tablet erected 1758; H. Cox fecit. (13) Miss Sarah
Mansel, d. 1751, aged 25; H. Cox Sculpt. (14) Thomas Taylor, d. 1838,
aged 91; Elizabeth (wife), d. 1831, aged 81; William (son), d. 1781, aged 5;
Sarah (daughter), d. 1842, aged 65; Whiting Sculpt.
N. Chapel - N. Wall, (15) Henry William Markham (Surgeon), d. 1840,
aged 55; Whiting Sculpt.
S. wall, (16) John Markham, d. 1803, aged 53; Hannah (wife), d. 1820,
aged 61 and four sons and three daughters; Whiting Sculpt. (17) Charles
Markham, d. 1846, aged 68; Elizabeth Mary (wife), d. 1858, aged 73, with
9 children, last d. 1907.
S. Chapel - N. wall, (18) John Russell, d. 1801, aged 65. (19) Ann
Scriven, d. 1820, aged 80; Sarah Scriven (sister), d. 1820, aged 76;
Elizabeth Scriven (sister), d. 1826, aged 88. (20) Ann Dodd, d. 1871, aged
90, daughter of William Sutton; Utley Sculpt.
E. wall, (21) Mr. James Sutton, d. 1801, aged 77; Elizabeth (wife),
d. 1790, aged 67; William (son), d. 1838, aged 78; Martha (wife of William),
d. 1792, aged 29; Charles James (son of William and Martha), d. 1811,
aged 23; Whiting Sculpt. (22) Harriet, d. 1835, aged 38, wife of William
Henry Sutton; Frederick Buller (son), d. 1840, aged 19; Rose Isabella (3rd
daughter), d. 1848, aged 14; Cornelius Graham (4th son), d. 1854, aged 30;
Whiting Sculpt. (23) William Goodday, d. 1797, aged 66; Margaret (wife).
S. wall, (24) Arthur Goodday, d. 1683, aged 21, son of Arthur and
Elizabeth. (25) William Tyler Smyth, d. 1838, aged 70; Frances Smyth
(wife), d. 1814, aged 39; Elizabeth Smyth (mother), d. 1809, aged 68;
T. Marsh, New Road, London. (26) Matilda, d. 1782, aged 68, wife of
Rev. William Jackson, Rector of Pisford, d. 1795, aged 80.
N. Transept - N. wall, (27) Bridget Wodnoth, d. 1786, aged 44;
(28) Edward Wodnoth, son of Benjamin, d. 1755, aged 46; Serena (wife),
d. 1788, aged 83.
S. wall, (29) Ann Woolston, d. 1726, aged 48; John Woolston (husband),
d. 1746, aged 60, Christian (daughter), d. 1717, aged 4; S. Cox Sculpt.
(30) George Gambell, (mason), d. 1736, aged 58, husband of Elizabeth.
(31) John Woolston, d. 1761, aged 49; John (son), d. 1766, aged 24.
(32) William Woolston, d. 1778, aged 36. (33) Mary wife of Thomas
Gambell, d. 1761, aged 43, and children.
S. Transept - N. wall (34) John Wye, d. 1807, aged 71; H. Rouw of
London. (35) Mary, d. 1747, aged 61, wife of Henry Stanyan (butcher),
d. 1749, aged 63; S. Cox fecit. (36) Elizabeth daughter of William Ward
and wife of John Wye; John William Wye (son), d. 1805, aged 38.
(37) John Gibson, d. 1837, aged 77. (38) Catherine Gibson, daughter of
Elizabeth and William Gibson, d. 1810, aged 41. (39) Elizabeth Gibson,
d. 1798, aged 61, wife of William Gibson, d. 1813, aged 82. (40) Joseph
Harden (surgeon), d. 1812, aged 67; Mary (wife), d. 1834, aged 88. (41)
Susanna Manlove Thackeray, d. 1846, aged 61, wife of Joseph Thackeray.
(42) William Price, d. 1727, aged 79; Elizabeth (wife), d. 1721, aged 49;
S. Cox fecit.
S. wall, (43) Samuel Pennington, d. 1745, aged 64; William (son),
d. 1740, aged 25; John Pennington (son), d. 1749, aged 28; J. Hunt fecit.
(44) Jane Wright, d. 1704, aged 74, daughter of Rev. Samuel Clarke of
Kingsthorpe; first husband Rev. Lucas Ward of Weston Favell; second
husband John Wright of Brixworth; Maria (sister), wife of Rev. Daniel
Goldsmith, d. 1693, aged 73. (45) Sarah Plackett, d. 1797, aged 65. (46)
William Gates, d. 1819, aged 75; Ann (wife), d. 1806, aged 59; George
Barratt (son), d. 1789, aged 6.
Panels, on N. nave wall, stone inscription panels (1) '1616/ John Battison/
Hump. Hopkyns/ church wardens]/ when this built (sic)/ began'. (2)
'B[isho]p, Chanc[el]lor and/ clergie/ nobles knights/ and gent[lemen]/
countrie par-/ the (sic) ishes . . . gave/ All S[ain]ts North[amp]ton/
St. Sepulchers/ . . . Without breefes. (3) 'Rob[ert] Sibthorpes Care/ to
God's True Feare/ this Downefalne/ church got/ Helpe to Reare/ 1616./
Will[iam] Dawes Mason'.
Piscina, on S. wall of S. chancel chapel, with cusped ogee head and central
Pulpit, against E. respond of S. nave arcade, polygonal, made up in 19th
century from at least two 17th-century sources.
Reredos, in chancel, with five cusped niches, of which the cental one rises
into a pinnacled gable and the others enclose oval panels inscribed with
sacred monograms and Eucharistic symbols, designed by E.F. Law c. 1876.
Seating, (1) pair of mahogany arm chairs with pierced Gothic backs, mid
18th-century in style but probably reproduction. (2) large oak canopied
chair, dated 1640 and 17th-century in style but 19th-century in all but a
Tomb Chest, alabaster, in S. chancel chapel but removed from N. aisle,
chest with six panels along each side and two panels at each end, each
with a pinnacled canopy, and decorated alternately with standing angels
carrying shields and bearded bedesmen; 15th-century.
c(24) Parish Church of St Peter (SP 750604; Figs. 9, 10; Plates
12–15). Excavation E. of St. Peter's Church has shown that the area was
occupied, probably from the late 7th to the late 9th century, by a hall
which was presumably the major element in a palace complex
(Northampton (8)). It was built of timber and subsequently replaced in
stone. Discovered at the same level were the stone foundations of the E.
wall of a building, the rest of which lies under St. Peter's Church, 1.2 m.
below the present ground level. This building, presumably constructed in
the 8th century, is likely to have been a church. It is more or less in
line with the hall, and may belong to the same complex. It is not known
when the site was first used for religious purposes and whether or not this
use was continuous although it is perhaps significant that the site is now
occupied by a major 12th-century church. Two large carved stones of late
Saxon date which had been reused in the 12th-century church were
discovered during the restoration of 1850 and could have belonged to an
important late Saxon church. This, coupled with the difference in level
between the 8th and the 12th-century churches suggests that there was at
least one major rebuilding of the structures on the site before the
The present church was built in the mid 12th century. The proximity
of the castle, the unusual form of the church and the quality of the fabric
suggest an important lay patron, perhaps the Earl of Northampton or even
the Crown. St. Peter's may have been a royal possession at that time
since, in the late 13th century, the king was successful in regaining the
advowson from St. Andrew's Priory. The church is lavishly decorated with
carving of a high quality. The tower arch, the former W. doorway and the
arcade arches carry rich architectural ornament and the arcade capitals
are treated even more ambitiously with vigorous carving of animals, foliage
and interlace which shows both native and Lombardic influences. It has
been argued that this work is the product of a local group of masons
based on St. Andrew's Priory (Maguire 1970) but the style and quality of
this carving together with the basilican form of the church suggest
influences from Northern Italy. The style of the carving can be compared
with fragments from Reading Abbey founded by Henry I.
The main compartment of the church was a long rectangle
structurally undivided and lying under a single roof. The form of the N.
and S. walls does, however, indicate that it was arranged in three distinct
areas. The W. part, originally longer, was defined by arcades of six arches
divided into three bays by quadripartite columns, the inner faces of which
consist of half-round shafts which rise to the head of the clearstorey wall.
The central area has arcades of three bays with simple circular columns.
The eastern part, rebuilt by G.G. Scott in 1850, was probably originally a
short, aisleless compartment of the same size as the present one. The N.
and S. aisles conformed to the same pattern, the western parts being
differentiated by transverse arches. The arcaded clearstorey runs the
whole length of the church. The W. tower was rebuilt in the 17th century
one bay E. of its original site. Scott reported to the restoration
committee in 1850 that it was said to be impossible to dig graves
immediately W. of the present tower. It appears to follow the form of
the 12th-century tower. The E. arch, although not in its original position,
must have always been the tower arch as it could not have fitted in any
other position in the church. In the W. wall of the tower, built flush with
the face, are the voussouirs of a large, elaborately decorated 12th-century
arch which, by the same argument, was probably that of the W. doorway
of the original tower.
The form of the building is quite unlike that of any parish church of
the period but not dissimilar from that of a conventual church. Thus the
eastern part could have accommodated a choir and sanctuary flanked by
chapels, and the western part may have served as a parochial nave and,
together with the aisles and tower, have been used for processions. The
church was probably served not by monks or canons but by a small group
of priests following a corporate pattern of worship, who also had some
parochial functions. This suggests the survival of something of the
organisation of the Saxon minster, which, it has been suggested, previously
occupied the site (Franklin 1982, chp. 2 passim; Williams 1982b,
The 12th-century church appears to have survived the Middle Ages
without major alteration but it was reduced in size during the 17th
century. The E. end was demolished and a new E. wall built across the
chancel and aisles in line with the E. responds of the arcade. When this
wall was demolished in 1850 a coin of Charles I was found within it. At
the W. end, the tower was dismantled and rebuilt to the E., probably
shortening the nave by one bay. The rebuilding of the tower is remarkable
for the re-use of 12th-century decoration in conjunction with the 17th-century features of a high plinth and buttresses made up of clusters of
circular shafts which rise in diminishing stages.
The church appears to have remained in this state until the
restoration by G.G. Scott in 1850. Scott rebuilt the E. end of the church,
following the original foundations. He also reconstructed much of the
clearstorey and replaced the roof over both nave and chancel (Scott's
restoration report was published as an Appendix to Sergeantson 1904,
The church comprises an undivided Nave and Chancel with continuous
North and South Aisles, a West Tower and a North Porch. The church is
built of blocks of roughly coursed sandstone and Oolitic limestone, much of
the interior detail being carved in light coloured limestone. The lower
part of the tower is banded with courses of light coloured limestone and
sandstone. The upper part is built entirely of light coloured limestone.
The E. ends of the chancel and of the N. and S. aisles were rebuilt
by G.G. Scott in 1850. This included the E. responds of the N. and S.
arcades of the chancel, the original capitals being reused. The walls were
said by Scott to follow the footings of the mid 12th-century chancel but
the detail appears to be entirely 19th-century, in spite of contemporary
reports of the discovery of Romanesque carved work in the former E. wall
at the time of demolition. The E. wall of 1850 has angle buttresses of
three stages, the upper two of which are narrow and set back from the
external angles of the chancel. Windows of mid 12th-century style are
arranged in three tiers with horizontal string-courses at their sills. In the
centre is a half-round shaft which rises to the sill of the third tier, which
consists of a single central window flanked by two cusped roundels. The
second tier has two pairs of windows, two on each side of the shaft.
They take the form of pierced arcades both inside and out. Arches have
roll-moldings and plain chamfered labels. Shafts are circular with
scalloped capitals and bell-moulded bases. The bottom tier is much plainer
and consists of a pair of windows, one on each side of the central pilaster.
Labels are double-chamfered and rise from a horizontal string. There is a
similar string at sill level. The N and S. walls added in 1850 are identical
and have single light windows similar to those of the E. wall. The N. and
S. walls of the chancel W. of the sanctuary are of c. 1140 except for the
E. responds which have been rebuilt. Each consists of an arcade of three
bays with semi-circular headed arches of a single rectangular order
decorated with chevron ornament. Capitals are richly carved with foliage,
animals and interlace. The E. responds are semi-circular in plan and the
first and second piers are circular. The first piers also have shaft rings.
The third piers, which mark the division between the nave and chancel, are
composite and are of quatrefoil plan. There is also a change in floor level
at this point, although the nave and chancel arcade bases, which stand on
high plinths, are all at the same level. The clearstorey runs the full
length of the church and will be described after the nave.
The nave is all of c. 1140 and has no E. wall, there being no
structural division between nave and chancel. The arrangement of the N.
and S. walls of the nave is different from that of the chancel. They both
now have arcades of five arches divided into two and a half bays by
composite piers and internal wall shafts rising to the full height of the
building. The nave originally consisted of three of these bays and thus
both walls had six arcade arches which formed a balanced composition with
alternating composite and simple piers. The simple piers are circular in
plan, similar to those of the chancel. The composite piers are quatrefoil
in plan and have four capitals, three of which are at the same level and
support the arcade arches and the transverse arch over the aisle. The
fourth capital is carried on the semi-circular shaft facing the nave, which
rises uninterrupted to the head of the clearstorey wall and perhaps marked
divisions in the original roof. The capitals, like those in the chancel, are
carved with foliage and interlace, in some cases enclosing beasts and birds.
One capital on the S. side depicts a nude male figure being devoured by a
beast's head. (The W. wall to the nave is described with the tower.)
The clearstorey is essentially of mid 12th-century date but was
heavily restored in 1850. The part over the sanctuary was completed by
Scott when he rebuilt the E. end. The clearstorey windows are of simple
design with deeply splayed rear arches and sloping sills. Externally each
window is expressed as a simple semi-circular arch which forms part of a
blind arcade running the full length of the building. The blind arches of
the arcade are slightly smaller and more elaborate, having circular shafts
with capitals and bases. The windows are more or less equally spaced,
being separated by five or six arches. Above is an eaves course with
elaborately carved corbels, much renewed in 1850. The arrangement within
the nave is symmetrical within the original length of three double bays.
The E. wall of the tower now cuts the western clearstorey windows in
North and South Aisles
The narrow N. and S. aisles are essentially of the mid 12th century.
They have doorways at their W. ends. The walls have been much repaired,
buttresses and parapets added, all the windows replaced and the E. and W.
ends rebuilt, the former by Scott in 1850 and the latter perhaps in the
17th century. All the windows in the S. aisle are of the same late-medieval type, rectangular and of three plain lights. Two of the windows
in the N. aisle are of three lights and one of two. The easternmost
(recently replaced) is of the 14th century, the other two are late-medieval
or 17th-century. Just to the E. of the doorway at the W. end of the aisle
is a narrow, blocked opening at window level. Only the jambs remain, but
the blocking is the same width as the clearstorey windows and directly
below one of them. This may indicate that the fenestration of the 12th-century aisles matched that of the clearstorey. In the nave both aisles
were spanned by arches springing from the composite piers of the arcade
but all have now been removed. The spacing of these arches precluded
the use of vaulting. Before the N. aisle was extended in 1850 there was a
crypt or vault which ran E. from the aisle (sketch and note by Sir Henry
Dryden in NPL Dryden collection).
The W. tower was rebuilt in the 17th century some 3 m. E. of its
original site. Most of the carved stonework visible in the tower is of the
mid 12th-century, although other stones reused from a building of 13th-century date were found by M.H. Holding during the restoration of the
tower in 1901. One such stone, the voussoir of a roll-and-hollow moulded
arch, is preserved in the church. The plan of the present tower with a
large stair turret distinct from the main structure may owe something to
the form of the 12th-century tower. The tower arch of three richly
decorated orders is of a size that indicates it must have served as such in
the original building. It has been reassembled accurately except for some
small details. The tower rises in three stages. It has a high moulded
plinth, and at the external corners are diagonal buttresses of five stages
composed of groups of three circular shafts diminishing in size to the top
stage. The lower part of the tower is built of alternating courses of
brown and white stone. The top is mostly of white limestone. The lower
stages on the N. and S. are blank except for two bands of carved stone-work consisting of a running lozenge pattern design. On the W. is a
three-light window of 1850 above a small blocked opening of unknown date,
probably a doorway. Immediately above this window the voussoirs of a
mid 12th-century arch of three orders are reset flush with the wall
surface. This may have been part of a large western doorway in the 12th-century tower. In the second stage on the N. and S. are two tiers of
reset 12th-century blind arcading, and on the W. is a single tier of
arcading level with and similar to the upper tier of the N. and S. The
belfry has four identical two-light openings with trefoil heads and
transoms, of post-medieval date. The parapet is crenellated and stands
above a moulded string course.
The E. and W. walls of the porch are plain and appear earlier than
the N. wall, which is 20th-century.
The chancel and nave are covered by a single roof with a pitch of
about 45 degrees designed in 1850 by Scott. It is covered with stone
slates. Over the nave the roof is of scissor-brace construction with a
central purlin below the braces. It is divided into bays by principal trusses
with crown posts on the beams which rest on the capitals of the wall
shafts. Over the chancel the roof is also of scissor-brace construction but
is undivided except for rafters of slightly greater size which mark the
bays. The underside of the rafters and braces have a curved profile.
Chairs, oak, pair with shaped backs; 17th-century.
Font, at W. end of nave, polygonal tub with traceried panels; 15th-century.
N. aisle - N. wall, (1) Harriet wife of Thomas Treslove, d. 1778, aged
29; perhaps by W. Cox. (2) Thomas Treslove, d. 1749, aged 65; Samuel
(son), d. 1785, aged 75; Penelope (wife), d. 1785, aged 75; Thomas (son of
Thomas Treslove), d. 1790, aged 77; W. Cox Fecit. (3) George Evans,
d. 1757, aged 54; Dorothy Evans (wife), d. 1772, aged 80; Ame (sic)
Stanton (sister of Mrs. Dorothy Evans), d. 1766, aged 76; H. Cox Fecit.
(4) Timothy Goodfellow, d. 1746, aged 26; H. Cox Fecit. (5) Rev. John
Basely of Sywell, d. 1708; Elizabeth (wife); John (son); monument erected
1708; John Hunt Fecit.
S. aisle - S. wall, (6) Rev. John Stoddart (headmaster of the grammar
school), d. 1827, aged 63; Ruth his wife, d. 1828, aged 56; Maria, d. 1828,
aged 20. (7) Rev. Edward Lockwood, (Rector of St. Peter's for 52 years),
d. 1802, aged 82; Lucy (1st wife) d. 1764; R. Blore of London.
(8) Alderman Nicholas Jeffcutt, d. 1739, aged 51; Mary Jeffcutt (sister),
d. 1740, aged 43; Mr. Richard Jeffcutt (nephew), d. 1757, aged 31; S. Cox
Fecit. (9) Alderman George Thompson, d. 1735, aged 49; Judith Tompson
(wife, and daughter of Mr. Henry Jeffcutt), d. 1737, aged 49; Cox Fecit.
(10) Mary wife of Rev. William Shortgrave, Rector of Harlestone, d. 1732,
aged about 70; William (son), d. 1725, aged 27; J. Hunt Fecit. (11) George
Bowes of London, d. 1732, aged 56. (12) Alderman Henry Jeffcutt,
d. 1712, aged 63; Alice (wife), d. 1737, aged 77; Christian Farrin (daughter)
wife of Stanford Farrin, d. 1767, aged 75; S. Cox Fecit. (13) Robert Neal
Fleetwood, d. 1810, aged 15; Whiting Sculpt. (14) Alderman Richard
Jeffcutt, d. 1750, aged 65; Martha (wife), d. 1779, aged 88; H. Cox Sculpt.
(15) Esther wife of Samuel Trueslove, d. 1768, aged 22. (16) George Baker
(the historian of Northamptonshire), d. 1851, aged 70; Anne Elizabeth Baker
(sister), d. 1861, aged 75.
W. wall, (17) William Smith LL.D. (Father of English geology),
d. 1839, aged 70; M. Noble Sculp. (18) John Smith (the Mezzo-tint
engraver), d. 1742, aged 90; Sarah (wife), d. 1717 and two children;
J. Hunt Fecit
Stonework. (1) Fragment of carved trefoil capital; 12th-century. (2)
Voussoir with chevron ornament; 12th-century. (3) Voussoir with roll-and-hollow mouldings; 13th-century (removed from tower in 1901). (4) Two
12th-century respond bases removed from chancel in 1850; both reused, as
the lower surface is decorated with Saxon interlace. (5) Coffin lid, richly
carved with interlace, animals, birds and a human head; c. 1140; (Zarnecki
et al 1984, 180).
Tomb recess, in S. aisle, low two-centred arch on dwarf shafts; c. 1300.
d(25) Site of Church of St. Bartholomew (c. SP 75406145),
lies on the E. side of Barrack Road on Northampton Sands at around 82 m.
above OD. The church is first recorded in the late 12th century when it
was confirmed to St. Andrew's Priory (Mon Angl V, 191). It is mentioned
in the early 15th century (Cox and Serjeantson 1897, 139) but does not
appear in the Feudal Aids of 1428. A chapel of St. Bartholomew is
mentioned in a will of 1490 (Serjeantson 1911, 237). By the time of the
Dissolution, St. Batholomew's seems to have been re-dedicated to St.
Lawrence and to have become a chapel whose main function was as the
collection point of the tithes of the demesne land of St. Andrew's Priory
within the town (PRO E315/339). The subsequent history of the chapel is
unknown. The cemetery was disturbed in the 19th century when many cist
burials were found (Wetton 1849, 44; NDC M200).
d(26) Site of Church of St. Edmund lies in Abington Square in
the angle between the Kettering and Wellingborough Roads
(c. SP 76106084?). The church is first mentioned by name in the late 12th
century (Mon Angl V, 191). In the early 15th century the church was
annexed to the rectory of St. Michael and then had the same incumbent
(Bridges 1791 1, 449) although separate incumbents are recorded in 1535
(Valor Ecclesiasticus, 316). The church seems to have fallen out of use in
the mid 16th century and the parish to have been subsequently regarded as
part of St. Giles' parish (PRO E134 40/41 Eliz; NDC M199).
d(27) Site of Church of St. Gregory (SP 75106035), lies to the
N. of Gregory Street on Northampton Sands at 65 m. above OD. The
church is first mentioned by name in the late 12th century when it was
confirmed to St. Andrew's Priory (Mon Angl V, 191) although a Saxon
foundation is probable. During excavations in 1979 several orientated
graves were found immediately to the S. of Gregory Street, some 15 m.
from the church and one appeared to be sealed by late Saxon deposits.
Three radio-carbon dates, AD 590 ± 100 (AD 615 ± 100), AD 690 ± 70
(AD 720 ± 75) and AD 810 ± 70 (AD 840 ± 75) (HAR 4390, 4810, 4809),
suggest that there was a middle Saxon cemetery, perhaps with its own
church or chapel, contemporary with the palace complex to the W. (see
Northampton (8)). The last recorded institution as rector was in 1532. In
1556 the parish was annexed to All Saints' parish and the site and church
of St. Gregory, then in ruins, was granted for a grammar school and the
vicarage house as a dwelling for the master. In 1840, when the school
buildings were pulled down, a Norman arcade and other parts of the church
were revealed (Serjeantson 1901, 88f). Early 19th-century illustrations of
the school show it as a simple rectangular block approximately 23 m. by
7 m. with two rooms to the S. about 9 m. by 7.5 m. and about 5 m. by
5 m. (Lees 1947). The S.W. corner of the church still stands to a height
of c. 2.5 m. and the S. edge of a window in the W. wall is visible (NDC
c(28) Site of Church of St. Mary (?) (SP 74996061), lies at the
junction of Chalk Lane and Castle Street on Northampton Sands at 71 m.
above OD. This is presumably the site of St. Mary's referred to as 'juxta
castrum' but commonly thought to lie in St. Mary's Street. St. Mary's is
first recorded at the end of the 12th century (Mon Angl V, 191) but was
probably founded by 1100. The parish was incorporated into that of
All Saints in 1590.
The site was trenched in 1962. Above late Saxon occupation,
interpreted as domestic in character, a stone building, orientated E.-W. and
measuring probably 17 m. by 11 m. was constructed in the early post-Conquest period. The nave, about 8 m. long by 4 m. wide (internally),
widened out into a chancel approximately 7.5 m. long by 7 m. wide, which
had an apsidal end. Two apparently rectangular rooms of uncertain
function were attached to the S. of the nave but the area to the N. of
the nave was not examined. The church was destroyed sometime in the
16th or 17th century (Serjeantson 1901, 92f; pers. comm. J. Alexander;
d(29) Site of Church of St. Michael (c. SP 75606075?), lies
towards the N. end of Wood Street. The church is first mentioned in the
late 12th century when it was confirmed to St. Andrew's Priory (Mon Angl
V, 191). St. Michael's was a parish church throughout the Middle Ages and
is mentioned in the early 16th century (Serjeantson and Longden 1913,
164f). The parish was subsequently incorporated into that of Holy
Sepulchre (Bridges 1791 1, 540). The church was situated somewhere at
the N. end of Wood Street. Le Newelond (Wood Street) is described as
leading from Abingdonestrete to the church of St. Michael (Rchms 1975,
nos. 6, 7). The cemetery encountered in 1972 to the W. of Wood Street
may have been the cemetery of St. Michael's (Williams 1978, 104) but no
remains of a church were found. A chapel-like building situated on
Speed's map outside the gate of the Whitefriars could conceivably be St.
Michael's but there is no positive evidence for such an identification.
d(30) Site of Chapel of St. Katherine (centred on
SP 75246052), lies on the N. side of St. Katherine's Street on Northampton
Sands at 71 m. to 74 m. above OD. St. Katherine's chapel in the 'new
cemetery' is first recorded in 1471 (Serjeantson and Longden 1913, 161) but
the new cemetery itself is mentioned in 1274 (Rot Hund 2, 2) and 'vico
novi cimiterii' in 1205–20 (BL Royal II B IX f. 150a). In 1641 it was
ordered that the stones of St. Katherine's decayed chapel be taken down
and used to repair breaches of the town walls (Brown 1915–16, 98) and by
Bridges' time the chapel was demolished and the cemetery was a cherry
orchard (Bridges 1791 I, 451; NDC M34).
d(31) Site of Chapel of St. Martin probably lies somewhere in
Horsemarket, formerly St. Martin's Street (centre point at SP 75156055).
In 1348 it was recorded as having been the original house of the Cluniac
monks in Northampton before the founding of St. Andrew's Priory
(Cal Pat R 1348–50, 247). It was regarded as having been waste for over
20 years in 1274 (Rot Hund 2, 2a) yet John Chaumberleyn was presented
to St. Martin's in 1372 (Cal Pat R 1370–4, 217; NDC M39).
d(32) Site of Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene (SP 75146039),
lies on the S. side of Marefair on Northampton Sands at about 67 m.
above OD. The chapel, then a hospital, was mentioned at the time of the
foundation of St. John's hospital c. 1138 (Serjeantson 1912–13) and had
been granted to the hospital by 1154, probably earlier (Cal Pat R 1401–5,
368). It was dissolved by 1568 (NRO Finch Hatton deed 1118) and its
subsequent history and location can be traced in later rentals (Report of
Charity Commissioners vol 31 (1837), 797, 808; cf. also NRO SC 590). The
chapel was adjacent to the site of Northampton's first Guildhall (?) (see
Northampton (10)) and the medieval burials on that site probably relate to
d(33) Site of College of All Saints (c. SP 75306052?), on the
W. side of College Street on Northampton Sands at around 74 m. above
OD. The college was established as a house in which the various guild
chaplains of All Saints' might live together under a definite rule. It was
granted a foundation charter in 1460 although 'divine service has for a
long time been daily maintained . . . after the manner of a college' and
'the vicar and priests . . . have spent and are spending their lives . . .
like fellow members of a college . . . not only in the church . . . but
also in a certain messuage . . . commonly called the priests' house'
(Serjeantson 1901, 68). The lane in which the college was situated was
referred to as 'le College lane' in 1458 (Cat Anc Deeds 4, A8384). The
college was closed in 1548 (Serjeantson 1901, 67f; VCH Northamptonshire
II, 180f; NDC M46).
c(34) Site of Hermitage (c. SP 74736038?), to the E. of West
Bridge. The 'Armitage on the West Bridge' is mentioned in 1602 and is
located on Speed's map of 1610 (Goodfellow 1980, 142f).
d(35) Site of Jewish Cemetery lies in Barrack Road 'outside the
north gate' (c. SP 753612?). The cemetery was in use in the second half of
the 13th century (Collins 1939–45, 151f; NDC M44).
d(36) Site of Jewish Synagogue lies in the former Silver Street
(centre point at SP 75276067; PRO SC12 26 no. 12). This is probably the
same synagogue as recorded in the 'Parmentry' (NRO Northampton 1504
Rental) which is most likely an earlier name for Silver Street.
Medieval pottery was found at SP 75616061 in 1972 (NDC M112).
Part of a 13th to 14th-century jug and a complete 14th-century jug were
found at the corner of Dychurch Lane in 1955 (SP 75576053; NM; NDC
M60). A 15th-century pottery candlestick was found on the site of the
Library in 1908 (c. SP 75786062; NM; NDC M49). Part of a 13th to 14th-century jug (NM; NDC M416), a medieval lozenge-shaped pendant (post-1340) and an annular bronze brooch (NM; NDC M23) have been found in
'Abington Street' (centre point at SP 75726062). Trial excavation in 1981
immediately to the N. of St. Giles' churchyard (SP 75936064), followed by
a watching brief to the N. revealed evidence of extensive medieval
quarrying as suggested in documentary sources. Three orientated burials
approximately 6 m. N. of the present boundary of St. Giles' cemetery, and
cut through quarry waste, suggest that the cemetery expanded northwards
over the quarry in the medieval period and subsequently contracted
(Williams 1982c, 72f; NDC M289).
d(37) Medieval Settlement Remains lay on Lias Clay to the N.
of Abington Street between Wellington Street and the Mounts at between
85 m. and 88 m. above OD. Trial trenches were cut in 1980 over a
distance of approximately 130 m. between SP 75746074 and SP 75866079 to
test for early post-Conquest defences suggested in the area (see Site (7)).
No traces of defences were recorded and there was little indication of
medieval settlement over the E. three-quarters of the area investigated.
Presumably this was open land or cultivated ground in medieval times. To
the W., however, at SP 75756074 post-holes and other cut features were
associated with medieval pottery of 12th-century date onwards (NDC
An animal's head carved out of antler, and probably of medieval date
was found in 'Angel Lane', presumably Angel Street (centre point at
SP 75466032; NM; NDC M365).
A 13th to 16th-century jug handle was found on the new Post Office
site in 1980 (centre point at SP 75306135; NM; NDC M432).
An early 15th-century Venetian 'galley halfpenny' was found in Bath
Street in 1958 (centre point at SP 75046071; NM; NDC M303).
A 12th to 14th-century lamp base was found at Bell Barn in 1899
(c. SP 75156095 ?; NM; NDC M420).
Three skulls and several complete skeletons were found in 1963 while
digging foundations for the Nissen Ward, Northampton General Hospital
(SP 76216048). The burials were identified at the time as medieval or
earlier and not in their original resting place. Some doubt as to their
antiquity is cast by the discovery at the same time of a set of false teeth
(Northampton Chronicle and Echo 5 July 1963; NDC M69).
A medieval N. French flask (c. 1500) was found on the corner of
Bridge Street and George Row in 1922 (SP 75416041; NM; NDC M372). A
14th to 15th-century costrel or pilgrim's bottle was found on the corner of
Bridge Street and Gold Street in 1897 (SP 75396041; NM; NDC M366).
Four metalled road surfaces and medieval sherds were found at the same
location during observation of a GPO trench in 1975 (Northamptonshire
Archaeol 12 (1977), 201; NDC M228). Some 12th to 16th-century pottery
was found at 22 Bridge Street in 1976 (SP 75396034; NM; NDC M406). A
14th to 16th-century costre was found on the site of the Woolpack Inn in
1857 (SP 75396033; NM; NDC M385). Some 12th to 14th-century pottery
was found on the site of the Angel Hotel (SP 75426032; NM; NDC M409).
Two 13th to 14th-century jugs were found on the site of the EMEB
building in 1910 (c. SP 75436030; NM; NDC M330). During construction
work on the E. side of Bridge Street (SP 75426022) in 1979 three metalled
surfaces were seen to overlie a slot cut into the natural which lay at
about 2 m. below the present surface. Two 12th to 13th-century sherds
were found in the slot and a single sherd of Stamford ware was also
recovered (NDC M287). Some 13th to 15th-century pottery was found in
1866 on the site of Phipps' Brewery (centre point at SP 75405980; NM;
NDC M51). A medieval circular bronze pendant and a bronze buckle were
found in Bridge Street, not necessarily together (centre point at SP
75416000; NM; NDC M52).
Some 13th to 16th-century pottery was found to the N. of Campbell
Street in 1976 (SP 75366110; NM; NDC M328).
One early to middle Saxon sherd, two late Saxon sherds and a
quantity of 12th to 16th-century pottery were found during the
construction of flats to the S. of Castle Street in 1955 (c. SP 75056059;
NM; NDC M401).
c(38) Saxon Settlement Remains (SP 74926050), on Northampton
Sands at around 70 m. above OD. Excavations were carried out between
1975 and 1978 beneath the site of the inner bailey bank of the later castle
(Northampton (9)). Early to middle Saxon occupation was represented by
two sunken-featured buildings and a large scatter of pottery. In the late
Saxon period the initial occupation probably comprised two sunken-featured
buildings. Subsequently, perhaps in the late 9th or early 10th century,
during the Danish occupation of Northampton, a timber building about
10 m. by 3 m. was constructed; this was defined by six post-pits and had
an internal square cellar at one end with a substantial sunken-featured
building outside at the other end. The area may have been essentially
open but some rather enigmatic post-holes (?) to the W. perhaps belonged
to one or more structures set at right angles to these buildings. By
probably late in the 10th century the settlement lay-out seems to have
been organised but not densely built-up, with separate areas for main
buildings, yard, rubbish disposal by means of pits, and cultivation. This
would have been basically continuing the pattern of the preceding phase,
providing that the enigmatic post-holes noted above do not relate to
structures. Among the finds were three St. Edmund memorial pennies and
one of Aethelred II, an Urnes-style copper alloy terminal in the form of an
animal head, numerous fragments of crucibles used in silver working and
some probably for copper alloy working, and a few fragments of high
quality Saxon glass (for a full report of the site see Williams and Shaw
1981; NDC M139). For later occupation on the site see Northampton (9).
Two medieval cresset lamp bases were found in College Street in
1901 (centre point at SP 75336050; NM; NDC M265).
Some 12th to 16th-century pottery was found in an Anglian Water
Authority trench in 1975 (SP 75276016–75246014; Northamptonshire
Archaeol 12 (1977), 200; NM; NDC M215).
Some 15th to 16th-century pottery was found in a GPO trench in
1975 (SP 75686041; NM; NDC M410). Medieval pottery was recovered
from a contractor's trench in 1975 (SP 75806035; NDC M134). Medieval
and later pottery was found in Derngate in 1949 (SP 75616043; OS
Records; NDC M445). Trial trenching to the S. of Derngate showed a
build-up of loose soil at least 3.5 m. deep. The build-up is undated
(SP 75836029; NDC M185).
GPO trenches (between SP 75806034 and SP 75946026) were observed
in 1975. At SP 75896030 was a wall aligned approximately N.E.-S.W., of a
minimum width of 1.60 m. and cutting natural to a depth of at least
2.5 m. below present ground level. A clay floor to the S.E. of the wall
rested immediately above natural at a depth of approximately 1.6 m.
There were no finds. At the junction of Derngate and Spring Gardens
(SP 75926029) metalling was revealed at depths of 1.1 m. and 1.4 m. below
present ground level. Natural was present at 1.9 m. Late medieval
pottery and painted glass were found. Tile fragments, animal bone and
pottery of 14th to 16th-century date were found in a large pit (?) at
SP 75926028. Some 12th to 15th-century pottery was found
at SP 75806034 and 14th to 16th-century pottery at SP 75916029
(Northamptonshire Archaeol 11 (1976), 198f; 12 (1977), 200; NM; NDC
Some 12th to 14th-century pottery was found during construction
work, in 1965 (SP 75686043; NM; NDC M57).
d(39) Medieval Settlement Remains lay to the S. of Derngate
(SP 75696039) and in Swan Street (SP 75656038) on Northampton Sands at
73 m. above OD. Limited excavations in 1980 indicated occupation in the
area from around the time of the Norman Conquest. A watching brief of
the area further from the street frontages (centred on SP 75676035) during
subsequent constructional works revealed extensive medieval quarrying
(Shaw forthcoming b; NDC M351).
Metalled road surfaces were recorded and late Saxon and medieval
sherds and leather off-cuts and fragments, including shoe soles and knife
sheaths, were recovered during observation of GPO trenches in 1975
(SP 75396056–75406042; Northamptonshire Archaeol 12 (1977), 201; NM;
NDC M230–4). A 14th to 15th-century jug and a glazed ridge tile were
found at 19 The Drapery in 1892/3 (SP 75396050; NM; NDC M59). Some
13th to 16th-century pottery has been found on the same site (NM). Part
of a 13th to 14th-century jug was found in Swan Yard in 1884
(SP 75366053; NM; NDC M417). Two 12th to 14th-century cresset lamps
were found on the 'W. side of the Drapery' (centre point at SP 75406052;
NM; NDC M411) and a 16th-century pipkin was found in 'the Drapery'
(centre point at SP 75406052; NM; NDC M369).
d(40) Medieval Settlement Remains (SP 75386048), lay on
Northampton Sands at 74 m. above OD. A medieval groined cellar of
'decorated architecture' was noted by Wetton (1849, 70f). The site was
developed in 1860 (Northampton Mercury, Supplement 23 June 1860, 30
June 1860) when the cellar was described: 'The arches forming the cellar
sprang almost from the ground; the impost in each of the four corners
having been formed of one large single block of stone; a colossal grotesque
mask nearly filling up the angle . . . The lips are of great thickness and
the tongue is thrust out of the mouth with a leering expression' (NDC
A Saxon or Danish bone comb was found in Fish Street in 1896
(centre point at SP 75676054; NM; NDC A59). Three 12th to 14th-century
cresset lamps were found in 1898 (NM; NDC M261, 371) and part of a
14th to 16th-century costrel in 1900 (NM; NDC M412).
A 13th-century steelyard weight, decorated with heraldic devices, and
a medieval (?12th-13th century) pitcher were found on the site of the Gas
Works (centre point at SP 75006000; NM; NDC M61, 62).
Observation in 1975 of GPO trenches in George Row to the S. of All
Saints' Church (between SP 75406042 and 75556045) revealed a build-up of
layers up to 3 m. deep and medieval pottery was recovered. Large blocks
of ironstone, possibly foundations of the pre-1675 church were noted at
SP 75436042 and a short length of wall, 2 m. S. of All Saints', was
recorded at SP 75446042. [...] were at least ten inhumations, three in
stone cists at between 0.75 m. and 1.75 m. deep at SP 75436042
(Northamptonshire Archaeol 12 (1977), 200–1; NDC M147, 151, 224–7). A
late Saxon rim and 12th to 14th-century sherds were found (NM).
d(41) Medieval Settlement Remains (SP 75476042) lay on
Northampton Sands at 74 m. above OD. A medieval stone vaulted
undercroft, probably of 14th-century date survives to the present day
(Giggins 1980). The undercroft was surveyed by Sir Henry Dryden (NPL
Observation of contractors' trenches at SP 75176041, SP 75196041,
SP 75306042 and SP 75376042 showed a build-up of medieval to post-medieval road surfaces and silts of up to 1.7 m. Bedrock was observed,
on only one occasion, at a depth of 2.5 m. Some 11th to 16th-century
pottery was recovered (Northamptonshire Archaeol 11 (1976), 198; 12
(1977), 201; NM; NDC M150, 152, 153, 229). Pottery of 12th to 13th-century date was found during construction work at 60 Gold Street in
1954 (SP 75796045; NM; NDC M63, 64, 423). At 34 Gold Street six wells
were recorded during development in 1970 and pottery of 12th to 16th-century date, a jetton and other material were recovered (SP 75266045;
BNFAS 5 (1971), 31; 7 (1972), 45; McCarthy 1977; NM; NDC MI). A 13th
to 14th-century baluster jug was found at SP 75306041 (NM; NDC M374).
A 12th to 14th-century cooking pot and cresset lamp base were found on
the site of the Dolphin Hotel in 1889 (SP 75336039; NM; NDC M66, 373).
A three-bayed medieval cellar was recorded in the angle of College Street
and Gold Street to the W. of College Street (SP 75336043; Wetton 1849,
37; NPL, Dryden collection; NDC M56). A 13th to 15th-century pitcher
was found during construction work in 1958 (SP 75376043; NDC M65). A
13th to 15th-century jug was found on the same site in 1902 (NM; NDC
d(42) Saxon and Medieval Settlement Remains lay to the S.
of Gregory street (centred on SP 75116033) on Northampton Sands at
66 m. above OD. Excavations were undertaken in 1978/9. Four
orientated graves lay at the N. end of the site and radio-carbon dates
suggest that they belong to a middle Saxon cemetery perhaps containing its
own chapel or church (see Northampton (27)). One of the graves was
sealed by late Saxon metalling contemporary with which were two
rectangular post-hole structures which measured 3 m. by at least 10 m.
and 4.5 m. by at least 10 m. The latter building had been re-built several
times and burnt floor levels survived. Slag and hammer-scale showed that
metal-working had been practised. A series of stone buildings, succeeding
a post-Conquest timber structure, fronted on to Gregory Street from
perhaps the late 14th century through to the present day (NDC M282).
Medieval and later pottery was found at 54 Guildhall Road
(SP 75576026; NDC M67).
Medieval pottery of 12th-century date onwards, a well, walls and
possible quarry pits were observed during the construction of an underpass
in 1971 to the E. of Horsemarket (SP 75216067; NDC M95, 98). Medieval
pottery, mainly of 12th to 14th-century date, was found in 1971
(SP 75246059; BNFAS 7 (1972), 44; Northamptonshire Archaeol 11 (1976),
134f; NDC M92). Late Saxon pottery associated with occupation levels
was found in a contractor's trench in 1971 at SP 75156057
(Northamptonshire Archaeol 9 (1974), 46; NDC M101).
d(43) Site of Late Saxon Pottery Kiln (SP 75156054) lay on
Northampton Sands at 72 m. above OD. A shallow bowl-shaped feature
approximately 1.25 m. across and filled with burnt material, charcoal, etc.
was cut by a contractor's trench in 1971. A large quantity of uniformly
sandy pottery, mainly cooking pots, fired variously grey, buff and red, was
recovered. The site is almost certainly that of a kiln and the pottery,
similar to Stamford ware, has been termed 'Northampton Ware'. The kiln
was probably operational in the 10th century (Williams 1974a, 46f; NDC
Anglian Water Authority and other trenches were observed, mainly in
1975, between SP 75146018 and SP 75176035. Road surfaces were
recorded to a depth of 2.6 m. Pits and walls were noted and medieval
pottery recovered. The medieval street was confined to the E. portion of
the modern street (Northamptonshire Archaeol II (1976), 198; 12 (1977),
200; NM; NDC M128–31, 154–5, 162–4, 172, 216–8, 332).
d(44) Late Saxon and Medieval Settlement Remains lay at
SP 75146033 on the W. side of Horseshoe Street on Lias Clay at 64 m.
above OD. Excavations carried out in 1973 revealed a series of pits and
gullies, some containing late Saxon pottery, under a deep deposit of
'garden soil'. Two sherds of early or middle Saxon pottery were also
found (Northamptonshire Archaeol 10 (1975), 169; NDC M118).
Medieval pottery was reported found in Ivy Road (c. SP 766617; NM;
An Anglian Water Authority trench at the bottom of Kingswell Street
(SP 75376017–SP 75396019) was examined in 1975. At SP 75376017 there
was a build-up of road surfaces, the lowest of which was composed of
heavy limestone slabs at a depth of 2.7 m. and overlay a mixed grey silt.
Natural was not observed even at a depth of 3 m. Finds from the trench
included one probably late Saxon sherd, medieval pottery and leather
(Northamptonshire Archaeol 11 (1976), 199; 12 (1977), 199; NDC M149).
Some 12th to 16th-century pottery was found in Lady's Lane in 1963
(centre point at SP 75606081; NM; NDC M324).
Medieval stone walling and floors overlying pits were observed in
contractors' trenches on the S. side of Marefair in 1975 (SP 75146040;
Northamptonshire Archaeol 11 (1976), 198; NDC M135, 140). Observation
in 1972 of a contractor's trench immediately to the N.W. of the
Horsemarket-Marefair road junction revealed the remains of probably three
human skeletons, possibly medieval (SP 75166042; NDC M183). Late Saxon
and 12th to 15th-century pottery was found in Marefair between 1897 and
1899 (centre point at SP 75036041; NM; NDC M264, 375–9, 414).
c(45) Saxon and Medieval Settlement Remains (centred on
SP 74986043), lay to the N. of Marefair on Northampton Sands at about
68 m. above OD. Excavations in 1977 ahead of development revealed one
or two early or middle Saxon post-in-slot timber buildings set parallel to
Marefair. A small amount of copper and iron-working debris was found in
association with them. Several periods of late Saxon occupation were
revealed and evidence of copper, iron and silver-working was noted but no
buildings were identified. Parts of medieval and post-medieval stone
buildings fronting Marefair were excavated and a 15th-century drying oven
was uncovered in the area behind the building (Williams, F., 1979; NDC
c(46) Saxon and Medieval Settlement Remains
(SP 74926039) lay to the W. of St. Peter's Church on Northampton Sands
at 65 m. above OD. On the Marefair frontage a V-shaped gully, as yet
undated, was traced for a distance of 5 m., running roughly parallel to
Marefair. The gully was overlaid by a series of late Saxon pits. Towards
the S. of the site a possible post-in-trench building of early or middle
Saxon date was succeeded by late Saxon timber post-hole buildings.
Medieval stone buildings fronted on to both Marefair and St. Peter's
Street; the buildings on the latter frontage were clearly rebuilt several
times before being burnt down in the early 16th century (cf. Northampton
(51); Shaw forthcoming a; NDC M443).
Some 11th to 16th-century pottery was found in a quarry to the N.E.
of the Marehold in c. 1972 (SP 75226078; NDC M322).
d(47) Medieval Settlement Remains lay on the E. side of the
Marehold (SP 75216075) on Northampton Sands at 74 m. above OD.
Excavations in 1971 demonstrated occupation from at least the 12th
century onwards. The site was badly disturbed but there were apparently
stone buildings within the period of the 13th-16th centuries (Bnfas 7
(1972), 55; Mynard 1976; NDC M93).
Two medieval jugs (13th to 16th-century and 16th-century) were found
at No. 2 The Parade (SP 75396063; NM; NDC M380). A fragment of a
13th to 14th-century jug was found on the site of the 'New Arcade' in
1900 (c. SP 75466064; NM; NDC M259). Late medieval and post-medieval
pottery was found on the N.E. side of the Market Square in 1952
(c. SP 75476065; NM; NDC M71). Some 12th to 14th-century pottery was
found on the E. side of Market Square in 1960 (SP 75506057; NM; NDC
A discontinuous series of road surfaces of medieval date onwards
overlying pits of a) 12th-century b) late 13th to 14th-century date was
observed in a contractor's trench in 1972 (SP 75496067; NDC M114).
d(48) Site of Pottery Kiln (c. SP 75456075?), lay to the W. of
Newlands. Whellan (1849, 117) states 'at the west end of Newlands is a
field . . . called the Potters Field . . . The kiln attached probably in this
field . . . similar in construction to those discovered by Mr. E.T. Artis'.
Fragments of yellow and red pottery, some with a green glaze, were
discovered. The green glaze suggests a medieval ware (McCarthy and
Williams 1978; NDC M4).
Some 13th to 14th-century pottery was found in 1972 in a
contractor's trench (SP 75326100; NDC M113).
A 'Medieval waster' was reported found in Regent Street in 1961
(centre point at SP 75236098; NM; NDC M74).
d(49) Medieval Settlement Remains (SP 75706054), on
Northampton Sands and clay at 78 m. above OD. Excavations in 1981–2
revealed a number of pits contained medieval pottery dating from the
early post-Conquest period onwards. These were succeeded in late
medieval times by a substantial stone foundation, well and metalled area
which continued in use into the post-medieval period. The site lay in the
area of Gobion Manor which was still standing at the time of John Speed
and was probably the large building marked in this area on his map of
Northampton of 1610 (Fig. 8). The Gobion family was important in
Northampton from at least the 12th century and owned considerable
property in the town and town fields. Gobion Manor is known from the
13th century; it was bought by the Corporation in 1620 and was destroyed
by the great fire of 1675. On Noble and Butlin's map of 1746 (Plate 9)
the area is referred to as the 'Riding Ground' (Williams and Farwell, C.,
forthcoming; NDC M403).
dSt. Giles Street
Some 12th to 15th century pottery was found on the site of the 'New
Post Office' in 1914 (SP 75686046; NM; NDC M419). A lead bulla of Pope
Alexander III was found in St. Giles' churchyard (c. SP 75956055; NM; NDC
M80). A 13th to 14th-century skillet handle was found in 'St. Giles'
Street' in 1897 (centre point at SP 75756051; NM; NDC M415). A 13th to
14th-century sherd was found at SP 75916053 in 1975 (NM; NDC M438).
d St. James' Square
d(50) Saxon and Medieval Settlement Remains (SP 75276027),
lay in St. James' Square on Lias Clay at around 61 m. above OD.
Excavations in 1981 uncovered late Saxon deposits about 1 m. deep
comprising a series of timber-lined pits, metalled surfaces and occupation
debris including a large quantity of animal bones. The site lay on the
valley bottom at the foot of a fairly steep slope and the waterlogged
nature of the ground which had preserved the pits' timber lining suggests
that the area between the site and the river may well have been damp in
Saxon times. Above the late Saxon levels was about a metre of medieval
and later deposits (Williams and Farwell, D., forthcoming; NDC M407).
d St. Katherine's Street
Two medieval vessels, one of which was a 13th to 15th-century
storage jar, were found in St. Katherine's Street in 1931 (centre point at
SP 75266049; J Northamptonshire Nat Hist Soc Fid Club 26 (1931), 39; NM;
NDC M81, 203, 382).
dSt. Peter's Street
d(51) Saxon and Medieval Settlement Remains (centred on
SP 75036035), at St. Peter's Street on Northampton Sands at between
64 m. and 68 m. above OD. The early Saxon remains and middle Saxon
development of the site as a royal and ecclesiastical seat of authority is
discussed under Northampton (8).
The late Saxon period saw a dramatic intensification of activity on
the site and the initial phases may belong to the period of the Danish
occupation of Northampton. A number of rectangular post-built structures
and four sunken-featured buildings were constructed but the organisational
pattern of the site was irregular. There was also increasing industrial
activity including metal- and bone-working, and finds, particularly of
pottery, were more prolific. Three St. Edmund memorial pennies and three
other late Saxon coins were found.
After the Norman Conquest St. Peter's Street as such was laid out
with rectangular timber buildings set close to the street on either side of
it. These were gradually replaced by stone buildings from the middle of
the 13th century and c. 1400 the whole of the street was rebuilt. The
houses measured 8 m.-12 m. by 6 m. and were set parallel to the street
with two rooms on the ground floor. At least four round ovens and three
large rectangular drying ovens were excavated. Numerous fragments of
pottery, animal bones, metal objects, etc. were found associated with the
buildings and in pits at their rear. The whole street was apparently
destroyed by fire in the early 16th century (cf. Northampton (46)).
Between the late 16th and 17th centuries at least two and possibly four
tanneries occupied part of the area between St. Peter's Street and the
Green (full publication of 1973–6 excavations on site M115 and complete
bibliography in Williams 1979; see also Williams and Shaw forthcoming for
later work on site M115 and Shaw forthcoming c for site M446; NDC
M115, 395, 446).
cdSt Peter's Way
Some 12th to 15th-century pottery was found during the construction
of St. Peter's Way (centre point at SP 74956028; NM; NDC M263).
Metalled road levels up to 1.5 m. below the existing street surface
were noted in contractors' trenches at SP 75356078 in 1973. Some 12th to
16th-century pottery was recovered at a depth of just over 1 m.
(Northamptonshire Archaeol 9 (1974), 107; NM; NDC M181). A 16th-century pilgrim bottle was found probably at c. SP 75386068 (NM; NDC
Some 14th to 15th-century pottery was found in a contractor's trench
in 1971 (SP 75296065; NDC M97). One early to middle Saxon sherd,
medieval pottery and leatherwork including many shoes, a dagger case and
a wallet were found in a contractor's trench in 1971 at SP 75286068.
Part of a 13th to 14th-century jug was found at SP 75256068 (Bnfas 7
(1972), 45f; NM; NDC M96, 195, 336, 338).
Observation of a contractor's trench revealed road surfaces to a
depth of 1.1 m. and 13th to 16th-century pottery (SP 75916052;
Northamptonshire Archaeol 11 (1976), 199; NM; NDC M171).
A 14th to 16th-century pilgrim bottle was found in Weston Street in
1891 (centre point at SP 75286010; NM; NDC M383).
A 12th to 14th-century cooking pot and parts of two cressets were
found in Wood Hill in 1899 and 1900 (centre point at SP 75526047; NM;
NDC M266, 386).
A 10th to 12th-century cooking pot and an early 16th-century money
box were found at 14–18 Wood Street in 1900 (SP 75636065; NM; NDC
M387). Part of a 12th to 14th-century cresset was found in Wood Street
in 1900 (centre point at SP 75626067; NM; NDC M77). A base silver
penny of Philip and Mary (1554–8) was found in 1976 (NM; NDC M325).
Coin Hoard. In 1873 a small earthenware jar, containing
197 pence of Edward I and two Scotch pence of Alexander III was
discovered by workmen while repairing a canal at Northampton. The hoard
is dated c. 1280–90? (Thompson 1956, 110; Numis Chron (3rd ser) 2 (1882),
108f; NDC M242, 393).
bd(52) Cultivation Remains. The town fields of Northampton
extended to the N. and W. of the medieval walled area and apparently
comprised a three-field system. A deed of 1357 (NRO NBR Private
charter 37) mentions a North Field, a South Field and an East Field as
well as Portmede and a deed of 1373 (NRO NBR Private charter 42)
records that the North Field contained Whetehul, Nether Whetehul and
Bartholomew furlong, East Field contained Monkespark furlong and
Brerewong and Mede furlong belonged to South Field. In 1538 Cundit or
Conndit furlong was mentioned (PRO E 315 399, pp. 254–69). In 1632 the
fields were known as North Field, Middle Field and South Field and the
meadow and common included Northampton Heath, Monks Park, Pye Leaze
and Rushmill meadows (NRO Marcus Pierce map; Plate 7). In 1553 Cowe
Meadow, the Horse Meadow next to it and Rawlines Holme are recorded,
in 1582 Cow Meadow, St. George's Leys, Balmes Holme and Foot Meadow
and in 1632 Gobion's Holme and Nunmill Holme (Cox 1898, 215–9).
A substantial part of the town fields comprised the demesne of
St. Andrew's Priory (see Map 7; Plate 7; cf. also Williams 1982b). The
Marcus Pierce map is 'a true Plot and description of all the Ancient
Demesne Lands belonginge to the Priorye of St. Andrewe' and tallies well
with 'The book of Demaynes of the late suppresside house of
St. Andrewes - in the town of Northampton' dated 1538 (PRO E315 399
pp. 254–69) although there are places where direct correlation is difficult.
Taking the Marcus Pierce figures and disregarding enclosed land which is
almost entirely the site of the monastery itself the demesne lands
comprise 267 acres (108.1 ha.) of arable and 77 acres (31.2 ha.) of
meadow. Simon de Senlis I, Earl of Northampton, had granted to the
priory c. 1100 three carucates of land, three portions of meadow and one
river meadow (Mon Angl V, 191; BL Cott Vesp E XVII fol 1b). Although
there may have been some small additional acquisitions or exchanges, and
allowing for the vagueness of 'carucate' as a unit of measurement, the
comparable size of the two blocks of land and the silence of the cartulary
regarding further land grants suggests that the demesne land mapped in the
early 17th century was essentially that granted to the priory by Simon
over 400 years earlier. This seems to indicate a fragmented rather than a
consolidated or centralised holding yet it would appear that the holding of
Earl Simon in the Northampton fields included at least another two hides
(Cal Chart R 1300–26, 477).
The demesne lands of St. Andrew's Priory were outside the medieval
parochial system and even after the reallocation of land during the
enclosure of the town fields in 1799 (NRO Enclosure Awards, vol. E) there
continued to be 'extra-parochial' land and this is clearly marked on Wood
and Law's map of 1847. This extra-parochial land, not being subject to
the Poor Rate, was the first to be exploited for development purposes
during the expansion of the town in the 19th century and the Enclosure
field boundaries determined the street pattern of the expansion
(pers. comm. V. Hatley). The beginning of this process can be seen on
Wood and Law's map.
As almost the whole area is now built over, no ridge-and-furrow of
these fields exists except for very faint traces in the centre of the Old
Race Course Recreation Ground visible on air photographs (V55–RAF-1122,
0186–94, 0219–25, 0245–53).