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Facts

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE

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FUN FACTS

Northamptonshire is the 24th largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
Northamptonshire has the 33rd highest population in England.
Northamptonshire is in 30th place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. Althorp is a Grade 1 listed stately home in Northamptonshire. It covers 13,000 acres. It has been the home of the Spencer family for more than 500 years. Since 1992 it has been owned by Charles Spencer, the 9th Earl Spencer.

    As many of you may know, Charles Spencer is the brother of Diana Spencer, who was Diana, Princes of Wales and the first wife of Prince Charles. Althorp was the childhood home of Diana, although she was actually born in Norfolk. She married Prince Charles on 29th July 1981, when I was on holiday in France, and was killed in a road accident on 31st August 1997, when I was on holiday in France.

    Diana is the mother to the future King of England, Prince William. Following her death, she was interred on a small island in the middle of the ornamental Round Oval lake in the grounds of Althorp. A Doric-style temple with Diana's name inscribed on top is situated across from the lake and is a major tourist attraction during July and August when the house and estate are open to the public.

  3. Northamptonshire Eats
  4. It was quite difficult to find any food peculiar to Northamptonshire but I did come across this, known locally as hock and dough pudding. Looking at the ingredients it would seem to be a dish for the poorer people, the local peasants and farm workers. The dish consists of scraps of pork meat put in a suet pastry casing with sliced potatoes, onion, stock and herbs. There seems to be a little debate as to whether the pie had a lid or not.

    I found, on the Foods of England Project website, this little write-up that I thought I would share with you.

    Wellingborough Town football club, one of the oldest in the country, are known as 'The Doughboys' after the dish. Read this match report from the Luton News and Bedfordshire Chronicle - Thursday 25 February 1897. Look at the size of the crowd... It was a glorious afternoon, and there must have been nearly 2,000 people present, the "gate" receipt amounting to 39 pounds. There was a great shout of "Play up Hock" as Wellingborough began to attack. This aroused my curiosity, and I afterwards learned that the nickname had been given to them because everyone at Wellingborough eats what is known as "Hock and dough pudding" - this being hock pork cooked with potatoes and a suet crust. It has the reputation of being very palatable, but into its mysteries I dare not enter.

  5. Northamptonshire VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in Northamptonshire in the last 100 years:-
    Jo Whiley (Radio Presenter), Matt Smith (Actor, 11th Doctor Who), James Acaster (Comedian), Louise Pentland (Vlogger, Sprinkleofglitter), Sophie Turner (Actor, married to Joe Jonas), Richard Coles (Musician and Priest), Hugh Dennis (Actor/Comedian who went to the same school as I did).

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. On 28th November 1290 Queen Eleanor, the wife of Edward I, died just outside the town of Lincoln. She and the King had been on a royal progress since the summer of that year. She was 49 and had been married to Edward for 36 years. The marriage was very much a political one but it seems a very happy one.

    Edward was distraught. It was decided to bring the Queen's body back to Westminster Abbey and her funeral took place on 17 December 1290. Her body was placed in a grave near the high altar before it was moved to her own tomb. That was a marble chest with carved mouldings and shields with a bronze sculpture of Eleanor lying on the top.

    Between 1291 and 1295 Edward had a series of 12 crosses erected in a line down part of the east of England. The crosses marked the nighty resting-places on the route taken by her body on the way to London. Three were in Lincolnshire, two in Northamptonshire, one in Buckinghamshire, two in Bedfordshire, two in Hertfordshire and one in Cheapside in London with final one at Charing in London. Of the three that remain almost intact, two are in Northamptonshire at Geddington and Hardingstone and the other at Waltham Cross. The largest and most ornate was the one at Charing, now known as Charing Cross. What would Edward think if he knew his best cross was now the scene of a railway station? Weird.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. In Northamptonshire you can find the ruins of Fotheringhay Castle, standing above the peaceful River Nene. If you go for a walk among the ruins you can perhaps think about a miserable morning on 8 February 1587 where, in the Great Hall of this castle, Mary, Queen of Scots, was executed. The castle was used as her final and prison and the scene of her trial because it sits in a marshy landscape and it was felt that would make it hard for any people to attack and rescue her.

    After Mary's execution the castle was abandoned, with its stones re-used to build an inn in nearby Oundle and incorporated into the nearby Castle Farm. The original castle had been a standard Motte and Bailey Norman castle built in about 1100AD. Whilst nearly all the walls have gone the mound, or motte, still stands. Richard III was born there, in the castle not on the mound, in 1452 before being killed at Bosworth Field and buried under that Leicester car park. There is a plaque on the remaining castle wall which commemorates the death of Mary.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. For those of you that don't know, and that may be most of you because I'm not sure that I have written about it anywhere, for a long time in the 1980s and 1990s I was teaching in a classroom situation. Most of it was in vocational training where I taught young people, 16-18, the skills needed to work in offices, shops and also to learn computer and word processing skills. I had my own company and we used to carry out the training for larger companies or local councils who didn't have their own training organisation. I really enjoyed it and it was while doing this that I began to write my first training text books.

    In the early 1990s the training extended to adults who had lost their jobs in industries that no longer existed. One company I worked with was not the most honest and their boss used to offer to do all sorts of training, get the funding and then carry it out as cheaply as possible. I suppose he was directly responsible for my second journey round England as I had had enough of having to be the one to carry out his promises when I knew most of the time he wasn't allowing enough money for them to be done properly.

    This fits in here because he offered to run one of these courses for the adult unemployed in Corby, which is in Northamptonshire. You can see from the picture, taken from a leaflet for the courses and of a rather younger me, that I also worked in Suffold and Essex and Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. Corby had been home to a large steel works but that was closed down and some 11,000 people lost their jobs. My job, or the job of my team, was to go into Corby and offer advice to those who had been unemployed for a long time and try to get them back into work. This was a lovely idea except there still weren't really any jobs. I spent much of my working time driving around East Anglia visiting various sites to see how my tutors were coping. I remember Corby as a very drab, sad place and with people, some of whom had been out of work for over five years, who looked to have lost all hope. I gather Corby has now recovered, partly thanks to money from the EU.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. We will upload this page on December 11th 2020 and that means it's nearly Christmas. I thought we should look at the little bird who appears on many Christmas cards and is associated with this time of year. The robin is possibly the UK's favourite bird. It is also a great singer and will often sing at night next to street lights. They look cute but can be very aggressive if another bird comes into their territory. Males and females look the same with feather colours of brown, cream, grey, orange, yellow and white and, of course, the red breast. Young robins don't have the red breast though. Their legs are brown and pink and they have a short, thin black beak. They eat worms, seeds, fruits and insects.

    They are 14 cms long, have a wingspan of between 20 and 22cms and weigh between 14 and 21 grams. They can be found in farmland or woodland, hedgerows and parks and gardens in towns and cities. There are over 7 million in the country.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into Northamptonshire check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020