Have you ever wanted to learn more about Northamptonshire? There are so many interesting, cool and sometimes weird things to know about our county!
Living in Northamptonshire for the majority of my life, back when I first moved here, I didn’t think much of it. It was just full of countrysides and old buildings to me!
But growing up in Northamptonshire and seeing what we have to offer as a county, you pick up a couple of interesting facts or two about it whether just from word of mouth, going on historic tours like the ones they offer at the Guildhall (during normal times) and from you guys.
I recently published a reel where I shared only 5 fun facts about Northamptonshire and the comments were filled with other facts and some comments even suggesting “I forgot to mention” this or that.
So I thought I would gather some of the cool facts I know as well as the ones who watched my reel and suggested too in one big blog post!
Here are 44 Fun Facts About Northamptonshire. Did you know any of these?
- Northampton has its own accent, so does Corby.
- Weetabix, Carlsberg and Dr Martens are all made in Northamptonshire
- The wedding scene in the 2012 musical film “Les Miserables” was filmed at Boughton House (and I was an extra who can be spotted for 5 seconds – ha!)
- Northamptonshire is home to Silverstone Circuit which is world-famous for hosting the British Grand Prix.
- Northampton has two twin towns – these include Poitiers in France and the other is Marburg in Gremand – and so does Wellingborough – Niort in France and Wittlich in Germany.
- You can find the stately home of the Spencer family, Althorp House, based in Northamptonshire which is where Princess Diana lived and it’s where her final resting place is.
- Northamptonshire is known for its British shoemaking industry and it has a successful history of making shoes that dates back almost 900 years.
- Some of Northampton was destroyed by a spark from an open fire in a house, also known as the “Great Fire of Northampton” which occurred in 1675. It made the Great Fire of London look small as it was described as being more furious and destructive!
- Northampton was once a capital city for nearly 200 years.
- Northampton began as an Anglo-Saxon village called Hamm Tun (you might also know that name from a local cheese maker!) The name means the village by the well-watered meadow. It gradually changed to North Hamm Tun to finally Northampton.
- There are 7 districts in Northamptonshire consisting of South Northamptonshire, Northampton, Daventry, Wellingborough, Kettering, Corby and East Northamptonshire.
- Watling Street is a roman road which passes the county and beyond, is an important roman settlement called Lactodorum which now stands in Towcester. Other roman settlements are in Northampton, Kettering and along the Nene Valley near Raunds.
- Alan Carr spent most of his childhood in Northampton and his dad is former Northampton Town manager, Graham Carr. He is due to shoot a sit-com based on his life growing up in Northampton!
- Northamptonshire has two major canals – one is the Oxford and the other is the Grand Union canal which features a flight of 17 docks that runs from Rothersthorpe, to Stoke Brunene through to the tunnel at Bliswoth, making it the third-longest canal tunnel in the UK.
- Northamptonshire has it’s own airport! Sywell Areodrome in Sywell has three grass runways and one concrete runway. Unfortunately, you can’t hop on a plane from there as it’s only 1000 metres long!
- Louise Pentland, the UK’s #1 Vlogger known on YouTube previously as Sprinkle of Glitter was born in Northampton and still lives in the county today with her family.
- We have two English Heritage sites: Kirby Hall and Rushton Triangular Lodge.
- The 2005 film and subsequent stage musical adaption, Kinky Boots, is based in Northampton and is based on a true story of a traditional Northamptonshire shoe factory.
- Brackley is historically a market own based on the wool and lace trade.
- Kettering’s Wicksteed Park was founded in 1921, making it the oldest amusement park on the UK mainland – it’s also named after the noted Kettering industrialist, Charles Wicksteed.
- The Brackley Morris Men are one of the only seven ‘traditional Cotswold’ sides remaining in England and the only one to survive in Northamptonshire.
- The River Nene is the UK’s 10th longest river.
- Did you know Northampton has a castle? Northampton Castle was one of the most famous castles in England and part of the Postern Gate was re-built from castle stone to make Northampton railway stations wall.
- Northamptonshire’s motto is: Rosa concordia signum which translates to: The rose, emblem of harmony.
- Rockingham Castle based in Corby was built for William the Conqueror and was used as a royal fortress until Elizabethan times.
- Sulgrave Manor was once owned by Henry VIII.
- Roman Atkinson aka Mr Bean once lived in Apethorpe.
- Peterborough was once considered part of Northamptonshire but is now a district of Cambridgeshire.
- The Phipps family first started brewing beer from the Towcester brewery back at the end of the 19th century. Over 100 years later, Towcester Mill Brewery came about and Phipps Brewery now lives in Northampton.
- The world’s first radar station was built in Daventry.
- 78 Derngate is the only domestic building in England to be designed by Charles Ronnie Mackintosh.
- The former Doctor Who, Matt Smith, grew up in Northampton
- Wellingborough was once bombed during the World War II and the town was also used for evacuated children from London.
- Gordon Ramsey spent some of his childhood living in Daventry.
- Alan Moore, known for writing comic books like Watchman and V for Vendetta lives in Northampton – I once met him and got his signature at LUSH Northampton!
- Northampton applied for city status twice in 2000 and 2002 but failed on both occasions, so it remains a town.
- There are 33 electoral wards in Northampton which makes it one of the biggest towns in the UK. These included places like Abington, Billing, Kingsthorpe, Trnity, Upton, Old Duston and more.
- The TV show “Dead Pixels” is apparently based in Northampton as the characters mention the town several times, when in fact, the show was filmed in London.
- Northampton is popular for two internet memes. Remember “Supergran” Ann Timson who foiled a jewel robbery in 2011? And let’s not forget the Northampton Clown…
- Corby was once known as “Little Scotland” due to the larg number of Scottish migrant workers who came for its steelworks.
- The BBC series ‘Keeping Up Appearences’ was regularly filmed in Northampton in the early 1990’s. This included Christchurch Church which was used as an exterior shot for the church.
- Ben Cohen, the former rugby player was born and lives in Northampton with his former Strictly Come Dancing partner and now girlfriend, Kristina Rihanoff – they now run a yoga studio called SooYoga in the town centre too!
- Northamptonshire is landlocked between eight other counties which include Warwickshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Lincolnshire.
- Richard Coles, who you may remember from being on Strictly Come Dancing, is vicar of Finedon in Northamptonshire.
Did you know any of these interesting facts about Northamptonshire?
Let me know if I missed any… I’m sure we can all learn together and this post is intended to be just a bit of fun – so please be kind!
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