A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 5, the Hundred of Cleley. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.
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The Northamptonshire Victoria County History Trust was set up in 1995 to reinstate the Victoria County History of Northamptonshire. The last volume of the original series of six had been published in 1937. It was decided, in conjuction with the central Committee of the Victoria County History and the University College of Northampton (then Nene College), to commence with a traditional parish volume. At the same time research for a volume on the industries, which have so much changed the face of the county in the last one hundred years, would be started.
Cleley Hundred was the chosen area as research slips for it already existed, and because it would present most contrast to the industrial volume. It has, however, as many of these volumes have done, proved to have unique characteristics. This is perhaps best illustrated in the history of Manor of Grafton which forms a chapter of this volume.
Grateful thanks are due to the County Editor, Mr P. Riden, and to the Assistant Editor, Dr C. Insley, who were guided by the Central V.C.H. team. I would also like to acknowledge the work of staff of University College Northampton.
This project would never have recommenced without the very generous support of certain trusts and individuals. The Wilson Foundation was quickly backed up by Keith Barwell, Weetabix, Cripps, Frances Coales, Marc Fitch, Manifold, Benham, Bernard Sunley, Thomas Harrison and key anonymous trusts which have been with us from the start. Support also came from companies and banks, led by Barclaycard, J. Church & Co., William Younger and R. Griggs. The public sector responded with the County Council leading the way, and twenty-four parishes and the Commission for New Towns participating. No less than fourteen historical societies have also made donations. There are the hundreds of individuals, too many to list, but each so important. Thank you all so much.
Finally, this first new volume could not have happened without the individual support of the Trustees. So our County should acknowledge the huge debt owed to my Vice-Chairman Christopher Davidge, O.B.E., D.L., the Treasurer John Church, C.B.E., D.L., Jeffrey Greenwell, C.B.E., D.L., Dr Martin Gaskell, Christian Lady Hesketh, O.B.E., D.L., Roger Morris, Sir Hereward Wake, M.C., D.L., Christopher Davenport, Gareth Fitzpatrick, Graham Ward, Commander Michael Saunders Watson, C.B.E., D.L., Councillor Dr Marie Dickie, Lord Donoghue and Sir Patrick Walker, K.C.B. Miss Watson, the County Archivist and initiator of this project, has now retired and married; we shall miss her drive, commitment and enthusiasm.
The battle of Naseby, 14 June 1645, is thought by many to be the turning point of the Civil War. For we Trustees the Cleley Volume is our Naseby. The completion of the volume should, we hope, enable us to move along the road to completion of the history of our county.