THE County of Northampton, in Saxon , and * * V. Hamshire, at South-hampton.Northantonshire, commonly Northamptonshire; is situate in the very middle, and heart as it were, of England; and from the South-west-side, where it is broadest, it contracts it self by degrees, and runs out in length to the North-East. On the East, lie the Counties of Bedford and Huntingdon; on the South, those of Buckingham and Oxford; on the West, Warwickshire, and on the North, the Counties of Leicester, and Rutland; and that of Lincoln, separated from it by the rivers Avon the less, and the Welland. ⌈At the time of the Conqueror’s Survey, it was something larger, than now it is. For all the South-part of Rutlandshire must have been taken out of it, because in Domesday-book we meet with the Towns in that Tract, under the title of Northamptonshire.⌉ Watling-street, one of the Roman high-ways, runs along the East-side of it from the Ouse to Dowbridge : and the Nen, called also by Historians Aufona, flows gently through the middle and East parts of it. It is a Champain Country, very populous, and every where adorn’d with Noblemen and Gentlemen’s house’s; and very full of Towns and Churches; insomuch that in some places there are twenty, in others thirty Spires or Steeples, more or less, in view at the same time. Its soil, both for tillage and pasture, is exceeding fertile; but it is not well-stock’d with wood (unless at the hither and further end;) ⌈which, with its distance from the Sea, and thereby a want of Coal, makes fuel extreme dear.⌉Hythodaeus But every where (like the other Provinces of England) it is fill’d, and as it were beset with Sheep;Sheep. which (as that Hythodæus said) Sir Thomas More’s Utopia.used to be so gentle, and fed with so little; but now, as it is reported, begin to be so ravenous and wild, that they devour men, and waste and depopulate fields, houses, and towns. ⌈It is so plentiful in all things necessary to life, that it doth not need, nor will allow, much of Manufacture; the ground abundantly maintaining and employing the Inhabitants. The Manufacture of Cloathing, it is said,Fuller, p.279. was formerly attempted with great application, and came to nothing; but there is, at this time, a considerable return from Northampton and other Towns, by the Manufacture of Stockings; and in others, Serges and Shalloons do now employ many hands.
On the South-west side of this County,Morton, p.526. runs the river Charwell;Charwell, riv. upon which we see Chipping-wardon,Chipping-wardon. where they frequently plow-up the foundations of ancient Buildings, and often meet with Roman Coins; and, at a little distance, DanesmoreDanesmore. (for so it was anciently call’d,Ib. 541. though now commonly Dunsmore,) which we may well derive from the Danes, since our Historians give us an account of their Ravage and Plunder in those parts. Also a little lower, is Charlton,Charlton. near whichIb. 540. is a Camp with a double Fortification, call’d Rainsborow;Rainsborow. the figure whereof is almost oval.⌉
On the South-border, where the river Ouse, so often mention’d, has its spring, on a gently rising ground, full of bubbling fountains, stands Brackley,Brackley. that is, a place full of brake or fern; anciently a famous staple for Wool, but which now only boasts how great and wealthy it once was, by its ruins, and by a Mayor whom it still retains for its chief Magistrate. The Zouches, Lords of the place, founded a College here; from them it came successively in right of marriage to the Hollands and the Lovels. But upon the attainder of Lovel, in Henry the seventh’s time, the Stanleys, by a Grant from the King, became Lords of it. But the College, * * So said, ann. 1607.now ruinous, belongs to Magdalen College in Oxford, who † † Keep, C.kept it for a place of Retirement. This Town was not a little famous in former ages, for the memory of Rumbald a young infant, who (as we read in his life) was a King’s son; and as soon as he was born in this place, spoke I know not what holy words, and after he had profess’d himself a Christian, and been baptiz’d; immediately expir’d.
⌈Not far from Brackley, is Stene,Stene. the Seat of the Crews; of which place John Crew, for his signal Services and Loyalty, was created Baron, by the title of Lord Crew of Stene.⌉
From Brackley northward, after I had gone six miles through woods and groves; I saw, first Astwell,Astwell. where T. Billing (formerly Chief Justice of the King’s Bench) dwelt in great repute: from whom it descended hereditarily to the ancient family of the Lovels; ⌈and hath been since one of the Seats of the Lords Ferrers of Chartley.⌉ Then Wedon, and Wapiham; which the family of the Pinkneys held by Barony;The Barony of the Pinkneys. till such time as H. de Pinkney made King Edward the first his heir. Who being an excellent Prince, many ill men made him their heir: whereas, according to Tacitus, a good father makes no Prince, but a bad one, his heir. From hence I presently came to TripontiumTripontium., which Antoninus takes notice of, but not in its right place †† Dowbridge, in this County.. For I am of opinion, that it was the very place which we now call Torcester; and there want not good Arguments to prove this. If TrimontiumGale, and Mort. p.507. in ThraceSee below. had that name from three Hills, Triturrita in Tuscany from three Towers, and Tripolis from three Cities; there is no room to doubt, but that this Tripontium of our’s, was so nam’d from three Bridges.Praetorian And here, at this Torcester,Torcester. the Roman Prætorian or Military-way, which appears very plainly in several places between this and Stony-Stratford, is cut by three of the principal chanels which the little river divides it self into; and these, as well anciently as now, must have had, of necessity, three several Bridges over them. Now, if you ask a Britain what he calls Three Bridges in British, he will presently answer you, Tair ponte; and some persons of good credit,Some will have the River’s name, Toue, that runs by it. from whom I receiv’d several Roman coins here, positively affirm that Torcester is its true name, and think it was so call’d from Towers. Nevertheless, Marianus calls it Touecester (if the Book be not faulty,) in whom we read, That this Town was so fortified in the year of our Lord 917, that the Danes were by no means able to take it; and that King Edward the Elder afterwards encompass’d it with a Stone-wall; yet, with all my search, I could find no footsteps of any such Wall. Only there is a Mount still remaining (they call it Berihill,) now taken up with private Gardens, and planted on all sides with Cherry-Trees. And time it self has so ruin’d the Town, that it is beholden to the situation, the name, and the ancient Coins now and then found here, for its reputation of antiquity. For now it has nothing worth the notice, but one only Church, large and fair; in which D. Sponde, formerly Rector thereof, and by report a good Benefactor both to Church and Town, lies inter’d in a Tomb of curious workmanship. But at Elton hard by, you have the prospect of a beautiful Seat, belonging to the family of the Farmers Knights; ⌈since advanced to the dignity of Barons, in the person of William Farmer, Lord Lempster; who much improved this Seat of his Ancestors, by building here a stately new house, and adorning it with suitable Plantations and Gardens; together with many curious and ancient Statues.⌉
The river that waters Torcester, in its course from hence towards the Ouse, runs by Grafton,Grafton.Widdevil or Wodvil. an † † 23 H.8. cap.38.Honour of the Kings, but formerly a seat of the family of Widdevil, of which was that Richard, a person much renowned for his Valour, who was fined one thousand pounds Sterling by King Henry the sixth, for marrying Jaquet (Dowager of John Duke of Bedford, and daughter of Peter of Luxenburgh Earl of St. Paul) without the King’s Licence. Yet afterwards,Parl.27. H.6. he advanced the same person to the Honour of Baron Widdevil of Rivers. With Elizabeth (the daughter of this Lord,) King Edward the fourth privately contracted marriage, and was the first of our Kings, since the Conquest, who married a Subject. But, by that, he drew upon himself and her relations a world of trouble; as may be seen at large in our Histories. The said Richard Widdevil, Lord of Rivers, Grafton, and De la Mote, was by Edward the fourth, now his Son-in-law, advanced (these are the very words of the Charter of Creation)Earls Rivers. to be Earl of 7 Edw. 1.Rivers, by the cincture of a Sword, to have the same to him and his heirs-males, with the fee of twenty pounds by the hands of the Sheriff of Northampton. And soon after, he was, with great honour, constitutedConstable of England. Constable of England (I speak out of the original Patent) To occupy, administer and execute the said Office, by himself or his sufficient Deputies, for term of life, receiving yearly two hundred pounds out of the Exchequer, with full power and authority to take cognisance, and proceed in causes of and concerning the crime of High Treason, or the occasion thereof: also to hear, examine, and in due manner determin the causes and matters aforesaid, with all and singular Circumstances thence arising, thereunto incident, or therewith conjoyned, summarily and without noise, or formal Process, having only regard to the truth of the fact, and with the King’s hand, if it shall be thought convenient in our behalf, without all appeal. But after he had enjoy’d these honours a little while, he was beat in the battle of Edgcote, fighting for his Son-in-law; and soon after taken and beheaded.
And although this Family was extinct, and ended in his sons (Anthony Earl Rivers being beheaded by Richard the third, and Richard and his Brothers dying without issue;) yet from the daughters, there sprang very fair and noble branches. For from them issued the Royal Line of England, the Marquisses of Dorset, Earls of Essex, Earls of Arundel, Earls of Worcester, Earls of Derby, and the Barons Stafford. ⌈We shall only observe further concerning Grafton, that it was held in capite by John de S. Mauro or Seymour †† An. 14 Ed.3., by the service of keeping one white Bracket of the King’s, having red ears. This Bracket seems to have been the same with the ancient Bracco, which signify’d those lesser sort of dogs, that scent out for game. The place hath given the title of Duke, to Henry Fitz-Roy, Baron of Sudbury, Viscount Ipswich, and Earl of Euston; created Duke of Grafton in the year 1675, which honours Charles his only child enjoys; together with this ancient Seat.⌉
Behind Grafton is Sacy Forest,Sacy Forest. a place set apart for game. More Eastward, the Villages stand very thick; among which these are of greatest note. Blisworth,Blisworth. ⌈heretofore,⌉ the seat of the Wakes; descended from the famous family of the Barons of Wake and Estoteville; Pateshull,Pateshull. which gave name formerly to a noted family; Greenes-NortonGreens-Norton. (so nam’d of the Greenes, persons fam’d in the last age ⌈save one⌉ for their wealth:) call’d before, if I mistake not, * * Inq. 44 Edw. 3.Norton Dany, and held in Capite of the King, by the † † Another MS. puts it under Ashby.Service of lifting up the right hand towards the King, yearly on Christmas-day, in what place soever he then was, in England. Wardon,Wardon. a Hundred, which had its Lords descended from Guy de Reinbudcourt a Norman, whose estate came by the Foliots to Guiscard Leddet, whose daughter, Christian, bare her husband, Henry de Braibrook, several Children. But Guiscard, the eldest, assum’d his mother’s sirname, Leddet. Shortly after, this great estate was divided by females between William and John Latimers of Corby, brothers.Barons Latimer. From the last, the Griffins in this County had their original; as from the first, the Latimers, Barons of good antiquity in Yorkshire.
Higher in the Country, northward, arises the river Aufona or Avon (for Avon in the British tongue is a general name for all rivers:) It is call’d NenThe river Nen. by the Inhabitants; and passes from the west-side of this County (making many reaches, by the winding of its banks) in a manner through the midst of it, to which it is a continual blessing; ⌈and for the making of which navigable, an Act of Parliament was passed in the twelfth year of Queen Anne.⌉ A very noble river it is, and, if I guess right, it was garrison’d in old time by the Romans. For when * * Citerior.the hither part of Britain, in the Emperor Claudius’s time, was brought under the Roman Government, so as the Inhabitants thereof were termed Allies to the Romans; when the † † Ulteriores.more Remote Britains also made frequent incursions into this Country, and carried all before them; and these Allies themselves, more easily bearing the Government than the Vices of the Romans, at every turn conspir’d with the more remote Britains: then, P. Ostorius (says Tacitus) cinctos castris Antonanam (Aufonam I would read it, if I might take that liberty) & Sabrinam cohibere parat. That is, if I understand that passage right, he, by placing Forts up and down upon these rivers, undertook to restrain the ¦ ¦ Ulteriores.more Remote Britains, and * * Provinciales.those of the Province, from assisting one another against the Romans. What river this shou’d be, none can tell. Lipsius, the Apollo of our age, hath either dispell’d this mist, or I am in a cloud. He points out Northampton, and I am of opinion that Antona has crept into Tacitus instead of Aufona, upon which Northampton is seated. For the very heart or middle of England is counted to be near this place; where, out of one hill spring three rivers running different ways; Cherwell to the south, Leame to the west (which is receiv’d by another † † Aufona.Avon, that runs into the Severn westward,) and this ⌈Avon or Nen⌉ to the east. Of which, these ¦ ¦ Aufonæ.two Avons do so cross and divide England, that whoever comes out of the north parts of the Island, must of necessity pass one of them. When therefore Ostorius had fortified the Severn and these two Avons, he had no cause to fear any danger out of Wales or the north parts of Britain, either to the Romans or their Allies; who at that time had reduced only the hither parts of this Isle into the form of a Province, as Tacitus himself witnesses in another place. ⌈But, on the contrary, if the sense of the Historian be (as a later writer has interpreted it) that Ostorius block’d up the Britains between the rivers Antona and Sabrina, it is impossible to fix it here; since the Avon and Severn are so far from joyning, that they take almost a quite contrary course.Aufonae Others therefore, from the whole series of that Action, and the thred of the History, think it more probable, that it was that Avon which runs into the Severn; as is already observ’d in Wiltshire. Mort. p.516, &c.Not but several ancient Fortifications have been observ’d upon the River Nen; as, at Mill-Cotton, Chester, and Clifford-hill; all which appear to have been the work of the Romans, by the Coins, Urns, and other plain testimonies of Roman Antiquity, which have been discover’d at them; and which are also frequently discover’d in many other parts of this County.⌉
Those great fortifications and military fences to be seen at GildsboroughGildsborough. and DantreyDantrey. (between the springs of the two Avons, which run different ways, and where the only passage is into the hither part of Britain, without rivers in the way,) may seem to be some of the forts which Ostorius erected; ⌈on supposition, that this Avon is the Antona of Tacitus.⌉ That at Gildsborough is great and large; but this other at Dantrey is greater and larger; for being * * An irregular Oval, Morton, p.520.four-square, upon an high hill, from whence all the Country beneath is seen far and near, and having on the east-side a Mount, which they call Spelwell; it encloses, within a bank cast-up, two hundred acres or thereabouts. Within these, the Country-people now and then find Coins of the Roman Emperors; which are certain proofs of it’s antiquity. They are much mistaken therefore, who will have it to be a work of the Danes, and that the Town under it was thence nam’d Dantrey; now noted for it’s Inns, ⌈and for giving the title of Baron to the Earl Nottingham; whose father Sir Heneage Finch, Lord Chancellor of England, was created a Baron of this Realm, by the title of Lord Finch of Daventry;⌉ and, formerly, for a House of Augustin Fryers, of which (as it is reported) H. de Fawesly was the founder.
⌈At Gildsborough, before-mentioned, is a fair Free-School, erected and endowed by Sir John Langham, sometime Alderman of London; who also founded an Alms-house hard by, at Cottesbrook,Cottesbrook. the Seat of the Langhams, which hath of late years been much improved in buildings and gardens, and in the Church whereof are several curious Monuments belonging to that family.⌉
At the head of the Avon or Nen (to make a step backwards,) stands Catesby,Catesby. which gave name to an ancient family; but now of execrable memory, for a most cruel and horrible plot,Gun-powder-Plot. not to be parallel’d in any age, which Robert Catesby of Ashby St. Leger, the dishonour of his family (desperately bent upon villany and cruelty, and impiously conspiring the destruction of his Prince and Country,) contriv’d, under a specious pretext of Religion. Concerning this, let all ages be silent, and let not this Reproach be convey’d to posterity, which the present age cannot reflect on without horror; nay, even the dumb and inanimate Creatures seem to be moved, at the hainousness of such a villanous conspiracy. ⌈Between Catesby and Badby, is a large Encampment, the Area of which is about ten Acres. It is now call’d Arbury, or Arberry-Banks,Arberry-Banks. and is one of the highest hills in the whole Country.⌉ Hard by Catesby, is Fawesley,Fawesley. where the Knightleys have long dwelt, ⌈formerly⌉ adorn’d with the honour of Knighthood, and descended from the more ancient family of Knightley of Gnowshall in Staffordshire. And more eastward, upon the Nen (whose chanel as yet is but small,) stands Wedon on the StreetWedon on the Street. (i.e. by the Roman way,) once the royal seat of Wolpher King of the Mercians, and converted into a Monastery by his daughter Werburg a most holy Virgin, whose miracles in driving away Geese from hence, some credulous writers have very much magnified. I shou’d probably injure truth, shou’d I not think (though I have been of a contrary opinion,) that it is this Wedon which Antoninus in his Itinerary calls Bannavenna, Bennavenna, Bennaventa,Bannavenna, falsly Isannaventa, and Isanavatia. and once, corruptly, Isannaventa; notwithstanding there do not now remain any plain footsteps of that name: so much does Time obscure and alter all things! For the distance from the ancient Stations and Quarters on both sides, exactly agrees; and in that very name of Bannavenna, the name of the river * * Vid. supr.Aufona ⌈now Nen,⌉ the head whereof is near it, does in some measure discover it self. Likewise, a Military-way goes directly from hence northward; with a Causey broken and worn away in many places, † † In some places, more, Mort. p.501.and most of all over-against Creke, a little Village, where of necessity it was joyn’d with * * Not necessary, Morton.bridges; but elsewhere it appears with a high ridge as far as Dowbridge near Lilborne.
⌈Near Bannavenna,Mort. p.257. at Nether-Heyford,Nether-Heyford. about half a mile from Watling-street, was discover’d in the year 1699. a noble chequer’d Pavement, consisting of little Bricks or Tiles artificially tinged with Colours, and as smooth as polished Marble; all of them squares, somewhat bigger than common Dice. They were of four Colours, white, yellow, red, and blue, and disposed with great exactness into various regular figures. When it was first uncover’d, it was so close and firm, as to bear walking upon it, like a stone-floor; but when it had lain awhile exposed to the night-dews, the Cement became relaxed, and the Squares easily separable. By the foundations which they dig-up, and the thin and pale Greensword hereabouts, different from the rest of the meadow, it appears that here hath been a large building; as there hath been also at Castledikes,Castledikes. not far off; but this lastMort. p.543. is thought to have been the work of the Saxons, rather than of the Romans.⌉
A little more northward, I saw Althorp,Althorp. the ⌈noble and beautiful⌉ seat of the famous family of the Spencers Knights, allied to very many families of great worth and honour; of which, Sir Robert Spencer, the fifth Knight in a continu’d succession, an eminent Encourager of virtue and learning, was by King James ⌈the first⌉ advanced to the title and honour ofBaron Spencer. Baron Spencer of Wormleighton; ⌈since which, they have been rais’d to the title of Earls of Sunderland, and have been employ’d in some of the highest Offices in the State; the present Earl, a person of great Learning, honour and abilities, having been one of the Principal Secretaries of State, in the reigns of Queen Anne and King George, and after that, successively, President of his Majesty’s most Honourable Privy Council, and Groom of the Stole. This ancient seat was rebuilt, with great Improvement, by Robert the late Earl; and is particularly noted for a magnificent Gallery, furnish’d with a large Collection of curious Paintings, by the best hands.⌉ Hard by Althorp, Holdenby-houseHoldenby-house. † † Makes, C.made a noble appearance; a stately and truly magnificent piece of building, erected by Sir Christopher Hatton (Privy-Counsellor to Queen Elizabeth,Sir Christopher Hatton. Lord Chancellor of England, and Knight of the Garter) upon the lands and inheritance of his great grandmother, heir of the ancient family of the Holdenbies; for the greatest and last monument of his youth, as himself afterwards was wont to call it. A person, to say nothing of him but what he truly * * Deserves, C.deserv’d, eminent for his piety towards God, his fidelity to his Country, his untainted integrity, and unparallel’d charity: One also (which is not the least part of his character) who was always ready to support and encourage Learning. Thus, as he liv’d piously, so he dy’dHe died, ann. 1591. piously, in Christ: and the monument which the Learned in their writings have rais’d to him, shall render him more illustrious than that most noble and splendid Tomb † † Hist. of St. Paul’s, p.83.in St. Paul’s Church, London; becoming so worthy and eminent a person, and erected, at great charge, to his memory, by Sir William Hatton, Knight, his adopted son. ⌈But this once stately Fabrick (made more known, since it’s founder’s time, by the frequent mention of it in our Histories, as the place of confinement to that virtuous and religious Prince King Charles the first) is now so ruinous (a very little of it excepted) that there is scarce one stone upon another.⌉
Beneath these places, the Aufona, or Nen, glides forward with a gentle small stream, and is soon after encreas’d by a little river from the north; where, at their very meeting, the Town, call’d from the river, Northafandon, and by contraction Northampton,Northampton. is so seated, that on the west-side it is water’d with this river, and on the south-side with the other. Which I was of late too easily induc’d to believe the ancient Bannaventa: but I err’d in my conjecture, and my confession must atone for it. As for the name, it may seem ⌈at first sight⌉ to have had it from the situation upon the north-side of the Aufona. ⌈But against this, it is alledg’d, that the ancient Saxon-Annals call it simply (as well as they do Southampton,) and never use our present name till some time after the Conquest, and then write it expressly and , and never . So that it seems not to have ever had any relation to the river upon which it stands; but being at first call’d Hamtun (as numbers of other towns were, and still are,) had probably the initial put to it, when it and Southampton (call’d also ) grew to be considerable.⌉ The Town it self (which * * Seems, C.seem’d to have been all of stone) † † Is, C.was in it’s buildings very neat and elegant; in compass, indifferent large, ⌈(¦ ¦ Leland. Itin. MS.containing seven Parish-Churches, besides two in the Suburbs,)⌉ and wall’d about: from which walls there is a noble prospect every way into a spacious champain Country. ⌈It had flourish’d and encreas’d for many ages together, when, in our’s, a most lamentable fire laid it intirely in ashes. But the liberal contributions of the Kingdom rais’d it up again with much greater beauty; so that now it is one of the most neat and complete towns in the Kingdom. It has in it four Churches: the great Church, as also the Sessions-house, are very beautiful Buildings; and they have two Hospitals, with a Charity-School endowed, for the instruction of poor Children. The principal manufacture is that of Shoes, for which the place is famed; and, next to that, is their manufacture of Stockings.⌉ On the west-side it had an old Castle, to which the very Antiquity of it added a beauty; it was built1075. by Simon de Sancto Licio,Register of St. Andrews. commonly call’d Senliz, the first Earl of Northampton of that name; who joyned likewise to it a beautiful Church dedicated to St. Andrew, for his own burying-place, and, as it is reported, rebuilt the town; ⌈but the Castle is now dismantled.⌉ Simon the younger, his son, did also without the town found * * De Pratis.De la Pree, a Nunnery. It seems to have made no figure during the Saxon Heptarchy, nor have our Writers made any mention of it in all those depredations of the Danes; unless it was, when Sueno the Dane ravag’d, all over England, with that barbarous fury and outrage. For then, as Henry of Huntingdon reports, it was set on fire, and burnt to the ground. In the reign of St. Edward, there were in this City, as we find in Domesday, sixty Burgesses in the King’s Domain, having as many Mansions: of these, in King William the first’s time, fourteen lay waste, and forty-seven remained. Over and above these, there were in the new Borough forty Burgesses in the Domain of King William. After the Norman times, it valiantly stood-out the siege laid to it by the Barons, during the troubles and slaughters with which they then embroil’d and infested the whole Kingdom. Who being maliciously bent against King John for private and particular Ends, did yet so cloak them with pretences of Religion and the publick good, that they term’d themselves,Exercitus Dei. The Army of God and of Holy Church; at which time, they say, that military work was made, call’d Hunshill. But it held not out, with like success, against Henry the third their lawful King, as it did against those Rebels. For when the Barons, now inur’d to sedition, begun a Rebellion against him in this place, he made a breach in the wall, and soon won it by assault. After this, as also before, the Kings now and then held their Parliaments in this town, upon account of the convenience of it’s situation, in the very heart of England: and in the year of Christ 1460, a lamentable battel was fought here; wherein, amidst those terrible seditions and distractions, after the slaughter of many of the Nobility, Richard Nevill Earl of Warwick took that most unfortunate Prince King Henry the sixth, then a second time made Prisoner, and a very lamentable Spectacle. ⌈About the latter end of Henry the third, † † Full. Hist. of Cambr. p.13.it was made choice of by some scholars of the University of Cambridge, for a retirement, occasion’d by the quarrels that were then on foot. Here, they met with many Oxford-men, who had come away upon the like occasion; and so, for a while (with the King’s leave) prosecuted their Studies together with them: by which means, it had the face of an University. It is possible, that the place in this town which was call’d the College, was a remain of their presence here. But after three years continuance (as appears by the King’s Letters) it was dissolv’d, and express orders given, that for the future no one should study there, as in an University; because (as the said Letters intimate) it was a manifest damage and inconvenience to the ancient University of Oxford.⌉ To conclude, the longitude of Northampton (as our Mathematicians make it) is 22 degr. 29 min. and the latitude 52 degr. 13 min.
⌈About a mile south of Northampton,Mort. p.537. is a military Work call’d Hunsburrow, the area of which is about an acre of ground, and the figure not quite circular, but rather oval. It is thought to have been a Summer-Camp of the Danes, by which they might awe the adjoyning Country, and from whence they might sally out for forrage and plunder.⌉
From Northampton, the Nen hastens ⌈to the two Billings; in the greater of which is a very delightful Grove, with a pleasant Seat of the O Briens Earls of Thomond in Ireland; and then⌉ by Castle-Ashby,Castle-Ashby. where Henry Lord Compton built a very fine House; ⌈whose descendants, being advanced to the honour of Earls of Northampton, have still their principal Residence at this place; and have particularly improv’d it by a noble Chase.⌉ Near which, is Yardley Hastings,Yardley. so sirnam’d of the Hastings once Earls of Pembroke, to whom it belong’d; ⌈and at a little distance from the river, Easton Manduit, the seat of the Lord Viscount Longuevil, and now Earl of Sussex.⌉ Next, the Nen goes to Willingborow,Willingborow. a market-town, call’d anciently Wedlingborough. Here, a Rivulet from the east runs into it, coming down by ⌈Harington,Harington. a seat of the Lord Disert; and by⌉ Rushton;Rushton. and Newton,Newton. † † Now, C.belonging ⌈heretofore⌉ to the Treshams, ⌈but since the seat of the Lord Cullen;⌉ then by Geddington,Geddington. where was a Castle of the Kings; and here yet remains a Cross erected in honour of Queen Eleanor, King Edward the first’s Consort; and by Boughton, belonging to the knightly family of the Montagues, ⌈advanced, by King James the first, to the titles of Lords Mountague of Boughton;Boughton. by King William and Queen Mary, to the dignity of Viscount Monthermer and Earl of Mountague; and by Queen Anne, to that of Duke of Mountague; in the person of Ralph, not long since deceas’d; which Honours, together with his Estate, are enjoy’d at present by John, his only surviving son. Here is a very magnificent Hall, out of which is a prospect of a spacious and beautiful Garden; wherein are several Fountains, with a Canal more than half a mile in length, and a curious Cascade below a gloomy wilderness. Within the Demesnes of Boughton, * * Full. Wor. p.280.is a spring which incrustateth wood, or any thing that falls into it, with a stony substance. There was preserv’d in Sidney-College in Cambridge, a skull brought from thence, all-over stone both within and without; which was sent-over for by King Charles the first, but was return’d to the College.⌉
Then the river runs by Kettering,Kettering. a well-traded market-town; Lib. Inquis. in scaccario.⌈wherein, at this time, no less than one thousand eight hundred hands are said to be employ’d in the manufacture of Serges and Shalloons:⌉ near which stands Rouwell, a noted Horse-fair; ⌈and at some distance, Naseby,Naseby. eminent of late years for the bloody battel fought there in the year 1645. between his Majesty King Charles the first, and the Parliament-Army. There are now no signs of a fight remaining, except some few holes, which were the burying-places of the dead men and horses. This town is said by some to stand upon the highest ground in England.⌉ Next, by Burton,Burton. the Barony likewise (if I mistake not the place) of Alan de Dinant, (for King Henry the first gave him a Barony of that name in this County, for killing the French King’s Champion in single Combat, at Gizors;) and by Harrouden, the Lord whereof * * Baron Vaulx.Nicholas Vaulx, Governor of Guines in Picardy, was created a Baron by King Henry the eighth.
Hence the Avon or Nen keeps its course to Higham, a town formerly belonging to the Ferrers, from whom it took the name of Higham-Ferrers;Higham-Ferrers. who had also their Castle here, the ruins whereof are yet to be seen near the Church. But the chief ornament of this place was Henry ChicheleyFounder of All-souls in Oxford. Archbishop of Canterbury, who founded here a beautiful College for Secular Clerks, and Prebendaries; as likewise an Hospital for the Poor.Matth. Parker. Thence it runs by Addington,Addington. anciently belonging to the Veres; and by Thorpston commonly call’d Thrapston;Thrapston. and it’s opposite Drayton,Drayton. the seat, in the last age ⌈save one,⌉ of H. Green, but afterwards, by his daughter, of John and Edward Stafford Earls of Wiltshire; and after that, of the Lord Mordaunt; to whom it descended hereditarily from the Greens, Gentlemen of great reputation in this County. Thence, it runs almost round a pretty little town, which takes it’s name from it; OundaleOundale. they call it, corruptly for Avondale, where nothing is to be seen besides a neat Church, a Free-school for the education of youth, and an Alms-house founded by Sir William Laxton sometime Lord Mayor of London. In the neighbourhood of this, stands Barnwell,Barnwell. a little Castle, * * Lately repair’d, C.repair’d and adorn’d with new buildings by the worthy Sir Edward Montacute Knight, of the ancient family of the Montacutes, as appears by his Coat of Arms. It formerly belong’d to Berengarius le Moigne, that is, Monk, and not, as some think, to that Berengarius of Tours, whose opinion concerning the Eucharist was formerly condemn’d in a Synod held by the Bishop of Rome. After this, it salutes Fotheringhay-Castle,Fotheringhay. environ’d on every side with very pleasant Meadows, which in Henry the third’s time (when the Strong-holds encourag’d the Nobility to revolt) was surpris’d by William Earl of Albemarle, who laid waste all the Country round, as Matthew Paris informs us. At which time, it seems to have belong’d to the Earls of Huntingdon. A good while after, King Edward the third assign’d it † † Quasi in hæreditatem.as it were for an Inheritance or Apennage (as they call it) to his son Edmund of Langley Duke of York, who rebuilt the Castle, and made the highest Fortification or Keep thereof, in form of a Horse-Fetter, which was the Device of the family of York. His son Edward, Duke of York, in the second year of Henry the fifth, 1415. (as appears by an Inscription in barbarous verse,) founded here a very fine Collegiate Church, wherein himself, who was slain at the Battel of Agincourt, as also Richard Duke of York his Brother’s son, who lost his life at Wakefield, and his wife Cicely Nevil, had all magnificent monuments; which were thrown down and ruin’d, together with the upper part ⌈or Chancel⌉ of the Church. But Queen Elizabeth commanded two monuments to be set up in memory of them, in the lower end of the Church now standing; which nevertheless (such was their narrowness who had the charge of the work) are look’d upon as very mean, for such great Princes, descended from Kings, and from whom the Kings of England are descended. The said CicelyCicely Dutchess of York. saw too plainly, in the compass of a few years, what pastime * * Impotens.envious and unconstant Fortune (if I may so say) makes her self, with the miseries † † Potentium.of the mighty. For she saw her husband Richard (even then when he thought himself sure of the kingdom,) and her son the Earl of Rutland, slain together in a bloody battel; and some few years after, she saw her eldest son Edward the fourth advanced to the Crown, and taken away by an untimely death; having before made away his brother, George Duke of Clarence. After this, she saw her other son RichardK. Rich. 3. forcing his way to the Crown, by the lamentable murder of his nephews, and slander of her, his own mother (for he charg’d her openly with incontinency;) then, she saw him possess’d of the kingdom, and soon after slain in battel. These her miseries were so chain’d together also, that every day of her life was more doleful than other. As for that, which in this place befel another mighty Princess, Mary Queen of Scots, I had much rather it should be buried in oblivion, than remember’d. Let it be for ever forgotten, if possible; if not, let it however be wrapped up in silence. Under the best of Princes, some there will be who being once arm’d with authority, know how to set a fair face of Conscience and Religion upon their own private designs: and some again, who sincerely and heartily consult the good of Religion, and their Prince’s security, and (which is the highest law) the publick safety. Neither can it be deny’d, but that even the best Princes are sometimes violently hurried away, as good Pilots, with Tempests, whither they would not. But what they do as crown’d Heads, we must leave to God, who only hath power over Kings.Durobrivae
The Avon, or Nen, touching upon the edge of Huntingdonshire, and running under a beautiful Bridge at Walmesford,Durobrivæ. passes by * * At Brigcasterton, in Lincolnshire, Gale, p.94.Durobrivæ, a very ancient City, call’d in Saxon Dormancester, as I said before; which took up a great deal of ground on each side the river in both Counties. For the little village Caster, which stands a mile from the river, seems to have been part of it, by the inlaid chequer’d pavements found there; though we read this more modern Inscription upon their Church-wall:
XV. KL. MAII DEDICATIO HVIVS ECCLESIÆ MCXXIIII.
The fifteenth of the Kalends of May, in the year one thousand one hundred twenty four, was the dedication of this Church.
And doubtless it was a place of more than ordinary note; for in the adjoyning fields (which, instead of Dormanton, they call † † Now, Normangate.Normanton-fields,) such quantities of Roman coins are thrown-up, that one would think they had been sown there; and two high-ways, the Causeys whereof are still to be seen, went from hence; the one call’d Forty-foot-way, from its being forty foot broad, to Stanford: the other, Long-ditch, and High-street, by Lollham-bridgesLollham-bridges. (bridges certainly of great antiquity, whereof eleven Arches are still to be seen, tho’ ruinous with age) through West-deping, into Lincolnshire. ⌈In the fields of Castor, is a way, which among the common people goes by the name of my Lady Conyburrow’s way,Conyburrow way. corruptly for Kyneburga’s way, who (as we have observ’d † † In Huntingdonshire.before) was wife to Alfred, King of the Northumbrians, and Presided here in her own Nunnery. It seems to have begun about Water-Newton on the other side of the river, and (if we may judge of the whole by a part) to have been paved with a sort of cubical bricks or tiles.⌉
Between Forty-foot-way, and Long-ditch, near the parting, stands Upton,Upton. upon a rising ground, whence it took the name; where Sir Robert Wingfield, Knight, descended from the ancient and famous family of the Wingfields, which has produc’d abundance of renown’d Knights, † † Hath, C.had a very fine house, with most pleasant walks; ⌈which, being transfer’d to Thomas Dove, Bishop of Peterborow, did thereupon become the seat of his name and family.⌉ From Durobrivæ or Dormanchester, the river Avon, or Nen, passes-on to Peterborough,Peterborough. a little city seated in the corner of this County, where Writers tell us there was a gulph in the river, of a prodigious depth, call’d Medes-well, and a town hard by it, nam’d from thence Medes-well-hamsted, and Medes-hamsted. This (as Robert de Swapham informs us) was built in a very convenient place, having on one side a Mere and excellent waters; on the other, many woods, meadows, and pastures, every way beautiful to the eye; and accessible by land on the East-side only. On the South side of the Burrough, runs the river Nen. In the middle of this river, there is a place like a whirlpool, so deep and cold, that in Summer no * * This is now commonly done.swimmer can go to the bottom, and yet it is never frozen in winter. For there is a spring continually bubbling-up with water. The place was in ancient times call’d Medes-well; till Wolpher, King of the Mercians, did there dedicate a Monastery to St. Peter. And because the place was moorish, he laid the foundation (as the same Robert affirms) with stones of a vast bigness, such, as eight yoke of Oxen could hardly draw one of them; which I my self saw, when the Monastery was destroy’d. Afterwards, it began to be call’d Peterborow,Petriburgus, Petropolis. and Burgh, and was a very famous Monastery. I cannot but think it worth while to give you an account of its original and first building, abridged ⌈for the most part⌉ out of this Robert de Swapham, a Writer of good antiquity. Peada, the son of Penda, the first Christian King of the Mercians, did, in the year of our Lord 656, for the propagation of the Christian Religion, lay the foundation of a Monastery at Medes-hamsted, in the country of the Girvians; which he liv’d not to finish, being made away by the wicked contrivances of his wife. To Peada, succeeded his brother Wolpher, a bitter enemy to the Christian Religion; who thereupon most inhumanly murder’d his own sons, Wolphald and Rufin, for their having embrac’d it. But he himself, some few years after, turn’d Christian; and, to expiate his former impieties by some good work, he carry’d on the Monastery which his brother had begun; and, with the help of his brother Ethelred and his sisters Kineburg and Kineswith, finish’d it in the year 633, and dedicated it to St. Peter (whence it came to be call’d Peterborow;) endowing it with large revenues, and making Sexwulph (a man of great piety, who principally advis’d him to this work,) first Abbot thereof. This Monastery flourish’d from thenceforth, with the reputation of great sanctity, for about two hundred and fourteen years; till those dreadful times came, when the Danes wasted all before them. Then were the Monks massacred, and the Monastery quite destroy’d; which lay bury’d in its ruins for a hundred and nine years. ⌈In which times also, when the Danes had burnt the Monastery of Croyland, the Abbot and Monks thereof fled hither for protection, and being overtaken, were cruelly murder’d in a back-court of this Monastery, call’d thereupon the Monks-Church-yard. In memory whereof, a Tomb-stone, with the portraitures of the Abbot and his Monks, was set over their common Grave, which is to be seen here at this day.⌉ At last, about the year 960, Ethelwold Bishop of Winchester, a person wholly bent upon the Establishment of Monkery, began to rebuild the Monastery, having the helping-hand of King Edgar, and of Adulph the King’s Chancellor, who, by way of atonement for his own and his wife’s having over-laid a little infant their only son, spent his whole estate in re-edifying this Monastery, and, bidding adieu to the world, became the first Abbot after it’s restoration. From that time, it grew exceedingly in revenues and privileges; only, in the reign of William the Norman, Herward an English Out-law made an excursion from the Isle of Ely, and plunder’d it; against whom, Abbot Turold erected the Fort call’d Mont Turold.Mont Turold. Yet was it still accounted very rich, till within the memory of † † So said, ann. 1607.our fathers; when King Henry the eighth thrust out the Monks every-where (upon pretence that they were degenerated from the strictness of those holy men, the ancient Monks, and had riotously wasted the goods of the Church, which were the patrimony of the poor;) and erected a Bishoprick here, assigning this County and Rutlandshire for its Diocese; together with a Deanery, and Prebends. So that, of a Monastery it became a Cathedral Church, the structure whereof is exceeding beautiful, and the more so, for its great antiquity: its Front is noble and majestick, and its Cloisters large; in the Glass windows whereof, is represented the history of Wolpher the founder, with the succession of the Abbots. St. Mary’s Chapel is a large building, and full of curious workmanship: and the Choir is very beautiful; wherein two Queens, as unfortunate as any two could be, Catharine of Spain, and Mary Queen of Scots, lye inter’d; finding rest here from their labour, sorrow and miseries. ⌈This place hath afforded the title of Earl, to John Lord Mordant, created Mar. 9. 3 Car. 1; who, in the year 1643, was succeeded in that Honour by Henry Lord Mordant his son; and he dying without issue-male, this Honour descended to Charles the present Earl, son of John Lord Mordaunt of Rygate and Viscount Avelon, who was second son to John, the first Earl of this family.⌉
Beneath Peterborrow,The Fenns. the Nen, by this time remov’d some five and forty miles from its head, and carrying along with it all the little rivers and land-floods; divides it self into several branches. And, finding no certain course, spreads its waters all over the plains †† This mischief, and those that follow, are now cured, by Draining and Embanking., and overflows them far and near in the winter, nay, and sometimes for the greater part of the year; so that it seems to be a vast level-Ocean, with here and there an Island appearing above the surface of the waters. The cause of which, the neighbouring people affirm to be this; that of the three chanels, in which such a vast deal of waters did use to be convey’d, the first, which went to the Ocean by Thorney-Abbey, and thence asunder by Clowscross and Crow-land; and the second, which went by the Cut made by Morton Bishop of Ely, call’d the New Leame, and then by Wisbich; have a long time been neglected: and, that the third, which runs by Horsey-bridge, Wittles-mere, Ramsey-mere, and Salters-load, is not able to receive so much water; so that it breaks out more plentifully into the adjoyning Flats. And the Country complains of the injury done them, as well by those who have neglected to keep open and clear the chanels, as by others who have diverted the water to their private uses: and, with the Reatines in Tacitus, they say, That Nature hath provided excellently for the convenience of mankind, in giving all rivers their months and their courses; and their endings, as well as their springs. But of this enough, if not too much.
In this place, the County is narrowest; for between the Nen and the river Welland (one of the boundaries on the North-side,) it is scarce five miles over. Upon the Welland (which Ethelwerd an ancient Writer calls Weolod, ⌈the Saxon Annals , and Florence of Worcester ; and for the making of which navigable, an Act passed in the 13th year of Queen Elizabeth,)⌉ stands, near its spring, ⌈Sibertoste,Sibertost. which manour Nicholas de Archer, in the time of Edward the first, held by the Service of carrying the King’s bow,2 Edw. 1. thro’ all the forests in England; and⌉ Braibrooke-Castle,Braibrooke. built by Robert May, aliàs de Braibrok, a great favourite of King John;Lords of Braibrooke. whose son Henry, having married Christiana Ledet, heiress to a great estate, his eldest son took the sirname of Ledet. From one of whose grand-daughters by his son (as I said before) it came to the Latimers, and from them to the Griffins, who now enjoy it, ⌈but have removed their seat to Dingley;Mort. p.500. where have been found an ancient Bead, and a Coin of Cunobeline.⌉ Hard by Braibrook, among the woods, I saw some few remains of a Monastery, call’d anciently, De Divisis, now Pipwell,Pipwell. founded by William Buttevillein for Cistercian Monks, in the reign of Henry the second. From thence, we have a sight of Rockingham, a Castle formerly belonging to the Earls of Albemarle, and built by William the Conqueror; at which time it was a Waste, as we find in Domesday-book.Domesday-book. It was fortified by him with rampires, bulwarks, and a double range of battlements, and is seated upon an Hill in a woody forest, named from thence Rockingham-Forest.Rockingham. ⌈From this place, which is the seat of the Watsons, Sir Lewis Watson was, in the reign of King Charles the first, created a Baron of this Realm, by the title of Lord Rockingham of Rockingham-Castle. In whose posterity this Estate doth still remain; and the present possessor hath been advanced to the more honourable Title of Earl of Rockingham. Not far from whence, is Laxton,Laxton. wherein were lands held by the Inq. 2 Ed. 2. & 4 Hen. 4.Service of hunting in all the King’s forests and parks throughout Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Huntingdonshire, and this County, to destroy the vermin in each; As the manour of Hightesley,Hightesley. was also held upon condition to find dogs for the destruction of wolves, foxes, &c.⌉ Next, the Welland runs by Heringworth,Heringworth. the seat, formerly of the * * De Cantelupo.Cantlows, and † † Now, C.afterwards of the Lords Zouch,Lords Zouch. who deriv’d their original from Eudo a younger son of Alan de la Zouch of Ashby, and grew up to an honourable family of Barons; being much enobled by matches with one of the heirs of Cantlow, and also with another of Baron † † De Sancto Mauro.Seymour; who likewise deriv’d his pedigree from the heir of the Lord Zouch of Ashby, and from the Lovels Lords of Castle-Cary in Somersetshire. ⌈It has been since sold to a Gentleman who has a fair seat at Bullick hard by. Only, where the great House formerly stood, there was a Chapel in which the family of the Zouches were bury’d; and that, with the monuments therein, was reserved for the said family.⌉
Here also in this Forest I saw ⌈Kirby,Kirby. the seat of the Hattons, from which, Sir Christopher Hatton, in the reign of King Charles the first, was created a Baron, by the title of Lord Hatton of Kirby; whose son of the same name was advanced by King Charles the second to the more honourable title of Viscount Hatton; which honour William his son and heir at present enjoys: and⌉ Deane,Deane. belonging anciently to the Deanes, and afterwards to the Tindals; which deserves to be mention’d, if it were only for being at present a beautiful seat of the Brudenels; of which Family, Sir Edmund Brudenel Knight, was a great lover and admirer of Antiquities. ⌈In the reign of King Charles the first, they were advanced to the dignity of Barons; and, in that of K. Charles the second, to the more honourable title of Earls of Cardigan.⌉ The family likewise of Engain,Barons of Engain. which was both ancient and honourable, had their seat hard by at BlatherwicBlatherwic. (where † † Now live, C.lately lived the Family of Staffords Knights, descended from Ralph the first Earl of Stafford,) and converted their Castle, named Hymel, into a Monastery call’d Finisheved. Their Issue-male fail’d * * Two, C.three hundred years ago; but of the daughters, the eldest was married to Sir John Goldington, the second to Sir Lawrence Pabenham, and the third to Sir William Bernack, Knights of great worth and honour. Here also we see Apthorp,Apthorp. ⌈formerly⌉ the seat of that worthy Knight Sir Anthony Mildemay, whose father Walter Mildemay, Privy Councellor to Queen Elizabeth, for his virtue, wisdom, piety, and favour to learning and learned men (shown by his founding Emanuel-College in Cambridge, hath deserv’d to be register’d among the best men of his Age. ⌈This, by marriage, became since the possession of the Earls of Westmorland.⌉ In the neighbourhood, stands Thornhaugh,Thornhaugh. belonging formerly to the family of ¦ ¦ De Sancto Medardo.Semarc, and † † Now, C.afterwards to the honourable William Russel son of Francis Earl of Bedford, descended of the same family ⌈of Semarc;⌉ whom K. James ⌈the 1st,⌉ for his virtues, and his faithful services in Ireland while he was Lord Deputy there, advanced to the dignity of Baron Russel of Thornhaugh; ⌈and whose descendants are since advanced to the more honourable titles of Marquiss of Tavistock and Duke of Bedford.⌉ Neither is the little Town of WelledonWelledon. to be pass’d by, considering that anciently it was accounted a Barony;Bassets of Welledon. which by Maud daughter and heir of Geoffrey de Ridell (who was drown’d with King Henry the first’s son,) descended to Richard Basset son of Ralph Basset Chief Justice of England; in whose race it continu’d till Henry the 4th’s time, when (the issue-male failing) it came by females to the Knevetts and Alesburies.
From Heringworth, the Welland goes to Colliweston, where the Lady Margaret, Countess of Richmond, King Henry the seventh’s mother, built a splendid and beautiful house. Beneath Colliweston,Colliweston. the neighbouring Inhabitants dig great store of Slates, for building.Slates for covering Houses. From hence, Wittering-heath,Wittering-heath. a plain, runs out a long way to the East; upon which the Inhabitants tell you the Danes receiv’d a memorable Defeat. And now, Welland arrives at Burghley,Burghley. a most beautiful seat, from which that most wise and honourable Councellor Sir William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer of England, the great support of this Nation, receiv’d the title of Baron Burghley,Baron Burghley. at the hands of Queen Elizabeth.terrace This house, the owner adorn’d with the lustre of his own virtues, and beautify’d with magnificent buildings; laying to it a large Park for Deer (such as Varro calls Parcus,) encompass’d with a Stone-wall of great circumference. ⌈Which noble pile of stone-building, rais’d (as we have said) about a hundred years since by William Lord Burghley, has been greatly adorn’d by the late Earl of Exeter; to which title the descendants of the said William were raised. For loftiness of rooms, variety of pictures, terrasses, conduits, fish-ponds, fountains, &c. it may vie with the best Seats in England. The painting and carving are so curious, that Travellers have affirm’d, they have met with nothing either in Italy or France, that exceeds them. The Park also is greatly improv’d, by planting a multitude of walks, of ash, elm, chesnut, and several other trees. At Wothorpe,Wothorpe. a little distant from this, the Earl of Exeter hath another handsom seat, with a little Park wall’d about. It was built by Thomas Cecil the first Earl of Exeter of this family; and though not very small (for, after the Restoration, it was large enough to receive the then Duke of Buckingham, and his family, for some years,) yet so mean did it seem in comparison of the former, that its Founder pleasantly said, He built it only to retire-to out of the dust, while his great house of Burleigh was a sweeping.⌉
Below Burleigh, at Berneck,Berneck. lie the old Stone-Quarries, out of which the Abbies of Peterborow and Ramsey were built. Here (to use the very words of the History of Ramsey,) the strength of the Quarry-men is often exercis’d, yet still there remains work, whereon to employ them; inasmuch as they rest and refresh the Quarries, now and then, by succession. And we read in King Edward the Confessor’s Charter, That, in consideration of four thousand Eeles in Lent, the Monks of Ramsey shall have out of the Territory of St. Peter so much square stone as they need, at Berneck; and of rough stone for walls, at Burch. * * Beneath, C.Above Berneck, that Roman way, which the neighbouring Inhabitants call the Forty foot way, from its breadth, cuts this Shire in two, from Caster to Stamford, and appears in a high Causey; especially by the little wood of Berneck, where it has a Beacon set upon the very ridge; and runs along † † By the Park-wall, C.through Burghley-Park, ⌈and so on to Walcot.⌉
Some few miles hence, the Welland runs by Maxey-Castle,Maxey. formerly belonging to the Barons of Wake; and by Peag-KirkePeag-Kirke. Ingulphus.(where, in the infancy of Christianity in England, Pega, a holy woman who gave name to the place, and was sister of St. Guthlac, together with other devout Virgins, did by their life and example give excellent documents of Piety and Chastity;) and then comes to the Fenns, so often mention’d. And, by reason the bank on the South-side thereof is neglected, the river over-flows the adjacent Lands (to the great damage of the proprietors;) and, having thus broken out of it’s chanel, which went formerly by Spalding, it falls into the Nen, and extreamly overcharges it.
The lesser Avon (which, as I said, is the other boundary of this Shire northward, but continues such only about five or six miles) breaking out near the spring of the Welland, runs westward by Stanford upon Avon,Stanford. the seat of the family of Cave,Cave. out of which several branches of good note have grown up in the neighbouring Tract; and also by Lilburne, the seat, formerly, of the Canvils. That this hath been anciently a Roman Station, I am perswaded, by its situation upon one of their military ways, and by the ancient Trenches there, and a little piked hill cast-up, which some dug of † † So said, ann. 1607.late days, in hopes of finding old hidden treasures; but instead of Gold they met with Coals. ⌈Which said marks of Antiquity, together with the distances answering on both sides (viz. near twelve miles from Bennavenna, and nine from Vennones,) induced the late Learned CommentatorPag.99. upon Antoninus to fix the ancient Tripontium here (at Dowbridge,) rather than at Towcester; which he observes to be too much out of the course of the Itinerary, and not to answer, in point of distance from the Stations on each hand.⌉ And thus this little river, after it hath passed under Dowbridge, leaves Northamptonshire, and enters Warwickshire.plaster
From the digging-up of the CoalsBounds of the Ancients. before-mention’d, what if I should guess, that this hill was thrown-up for a mark or Boundary? since Siculus Flaccus tells us, that either Ashes, or Coals, or Potsherds, or broken Glasses, or Bones half-burnt, or Lime, or Plaister, were wont to be put under such bounds or limits; and St. Augustine writes thus of Coals,Lib. de Civ. Dei, 21. c.4. Is it not a wonderful thing, that tho’ Coals are so brittle, that with the least blow they break, with the least pressure they are crush’d in pieces, yet no time can destroy them; insomuch, that they who pitch Land-marks, are wont to throw them underneath, to convince any litigious person, who shall affirm, though ever so long after, that no Land-mark was there. And so much the rather am I inclin’d to this opinion, because they who have written of Limits, or Bounds, inform us, that certain Hillocks, which they term’d Botontines,Botontines.
Hence perhaps come our Buttings. were placed in Limits. So that I suppose most of these Mounts and round Hillocks, which are so commonly seen, were rais’d for this purpose; and that Ashes, Coals, Potsherds, &c. might be found under them, by digging deep into the ground.
The first EarlEarls of Northampton. that this County had, at least that I know of, was Waldeof, son of the war-like Siward; who was also Earl of Huntingdon, and lost his head, for treason against William the Conqueror; leaving only two daughters, which he had by Judith, the Conqueror’s niece by a sister on the mother’s side. The Life of Waldeof. Simon * * De S. Lizio, sive Sylvanectensis.Sinlis, being scornfully rejected by Judith the mother, on account of his being lame, marry’d Maud the eldest daughter, and built St. Andrew’s Church, and the Castle of Northampton. To him, succeeded his son Simon the second, who was a long time at law about his mother’s estate, with David King of Scots, her second husband: and, having sided with King Stephen, dy’d in the year of our Lord 1152. with this ¦ ¦ Elogio.elogy, A youth addicted to every thing that was unlawful, every thing that was unseemly. His son Simon the third, going on with the suit against the Scots for his right to the Earldom of Huntingdon, wasted his estate; but, through the favour of King Henry the second, marry’d the daughter and heir of Gilbert de Gant Earl of Lincoln; and having at last recover’d the Earldom of Huntingdon, and disseis’d the Scots, he died without issue in the year 1185. Many years after, Edward the third created William de Bohun (a person of approved valour) Earl of Northampton: and when his elder brother Humfrey de Bohun, Earl of Hereford and Essex, and Constable of England, was not able in that warlike age to support the Character of Constable, he made William, Constable of England. His son Humfrey succeeding in the Earldom of Northampton, as also in the Earldoms of Hereford and Essex (upon his Uncle’s dying without issue) had two daughters; one marry’d to Thomas of Woodstock, youngest son of King Edward the third, the other to Henry of Lancaster Duke of Hereford, and afterwards King of England. The daughter of Thomas of Woodstock brought her grandfather’s title of Northampton, together with others, into the family of the Staffords by marriage. But when they were depriv’d of their honours, King Edward the sixth advanced William Par Earl of Essex, a most accomplish’d Courtier, to the title of Marquiss of Northampton; who, † † So said, ann. 1607.within our memory, dy’d without issue. And * * Now while I am upon this Work, our most Serene Sovereign, C.King James ⌈the first,⌉ in the year of our Lord 1603, at one and the same time advanced Henry Howard Brother of the † † Last Duke, C.Duke of Norfolk (a person of great wit and eloquence, a complete master of the most useful Arts and Sciences, exceeding prudent, and no less provident,) to the degree and stile of Baron Howard of Marnehill, and to the honour of Earl of Northampton. ⌈Which Henry having never marry’d, and dying 15. June 1614; this honour, in the year 1618, was confer’d upon William Lord Compton, Lord President of Wales, who was succeeded first by Spencer his son and heir, then by James his grandchild, son and heir to the said Spencer, and father of George, the present Earl.⌉
There belong to this Shire 326 Parishes.
More rare Plants growing wild in Northamptonshire.
Eryngium vulgare J. B. vulgare & Camerarii C. B. mediterraneum Ger. mediterraneum seu campestre Park. Common Eryngo. This was sent me by Mr. Thornton, who observed it not far from Daventry, beside the old Roman way call’d Watlingstreet, near a village named Brookhall.
Gentiana concava Ger. Saponaria concava Anglica C. B. folio convoluto J. B. Anglica folio convoluto Park. Hollow-leaved Gentian, or rather Sopewort. This was first found by Gerard in a small grove of a wood call’d the Spinney, near Lichbarrow.
Gnaphalium montanum sive Pes cati Park. Mountain-Cudweed or Catsfoot. On Bernake-heath, not far from Stamford. caeruleo
Pulsatilla Anglica purpurea Park. parad. flore clauso cæruleo J. B. Common Pasque-flower. On the same heath in great plenty. See the Synonymes in Cambridgeshire.
Millefolium palustre flore luteo galericulato. Hooded Water-Milfoil. In the ditches by the rivers-side as you go from Peterborough to Thorp.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52