Take a step back in time with all things historical from the local area

06th Jun 2024

Lord Robartes Regiment of Foote

This month Laura Malpas visits a local English Civil War re-enactment group who are creating living history Many of us love to learn about history, but there are those who like to live and breathe it too. In Northamptonshire I visited an enthusiastic group of re-enactors, part of the Sealed Knot – Lord Robartes Regiment of Foote. They are offering opportunities for us to see and experience the past as they recreate past events this summer. It will be entertaining, exciting, and often educational. Who knows, you might feel inspired to join in. I for one am quite tempted! The largest re-enactment society in Europe, The Sealed Knot commemorates the past by re-enacting actual battles, skirmishes and sieges which happened nearly four hundred years ago during the English Civil Wars. These conflicts often involved militia pulled from local communities, along with artisans and tradespeople to support the troops. It was..

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02nd May 2024

A celebration of Rural Life at Lamport Hall

For the second year running, we are excited to announce the comeback of Rural Life at Lamport Hall on Sunday 26th May and Monday 27th May, 10am-5pm. This event will take you back through the ages of Rural Life, to the modern world we now live and farm in today. Our action-packed main arena will see live demonstrations from high quality acts non-stop throughout the whole day including dancing sheep, falconry, vintage steam engines, tractors, dog scurry and much, much, more! Rural Life are also extremely excited to announce their headlining act Atkinson Action Horses, led by Ben Atkinson and his team of stunt and trick riders, actors, writers and combat performers. They promise to thrill, excite and astonish audiences with their high energy, breath-taking, death-defying stunt shows. Ben and his team will be showcasing two performances each day in the main arena - make sure you don’t miss it!..

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01st May 2024

Ignatius Sancho – A man of letters

It’s inspiring to see someone rise above overwhelmingly difficult beginnings, and a life could hardly have started in more challenging circumstances than that of the baby boy who came to be known as Charles Ignatius Sancho, writes Laura Malpas. He was born in 1729 somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean in a slave ship bound for the Spanish colonies of South America. His survival was remarkable as it was more common for newborn babies to be thrown overboard to prevent the loss of monies to be made on the mother. The baby boy had both parents onboard with him but on arrival at the Spanish colony of New Grenada, his mother died, and his father took his own life rather than live as a slave. The Roman Catholic bishop of the colony baptised and named the orphan baby Charles Ignatius before he was sold to a slave trader. Charles, barely two..

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03rd Apr 2024

Bad King John, Northamptonshire and Magna Carta

This month Laura Malpas explores King John's impact on the county of Northamptonshire during his tempestuous reign Many of us are familiar with the story of bad King John being forced to sign the Magna Carta by angry barons at Runnymede. There’s even a monument there celebrating the event. Less well known is that this significant document was composed and written in our own county of Northamptonshire. Here’s the story of how King John’s behaviour compelled the English barons to codify the law. It was a complete surprise to all that John, the youngest son of Henry II, became king. He had four older brothers, including the dashing Richard the Lionheart, and was never expected to reign. He was never trained in kingship and instead of a royal Christian name, was given the nickname John Lackland as he was not expected to inherit significant territory. His father prepared him for..

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14th Mar 2024

The history of Adeline, the Scandalous Countess

Laura Malpas explores the colourful life of Adeline, Countess of Cardigan and Lancastre. Sometimes a historic character jumps from the page with such personality that they seem alive. Countess Adeline captured her memories of Victorian Society life in her autobiography ‘My Recollections’, written in such a vivid and breathless style that it feels like she is talking directly to us, and what tales she tells! Adeline Louise Maria Horsey De Horsey was born on Christmas Eve in 1824, to a wealthy family in Berkeley Square, London, the oldest of three children and the only daughter. A socially confident and intelligent child, she was a quick learner, benefitting from having both her own French governess, and the opportunity to learn with her younger brothers’ tutors. Adeline was an accomplished musician, a graceful dancer, and remarkably pretty. As a child she was was welcomed into London’s finest drawing rooms for plays and..

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20th Feb 2024

Sulgrave Manor, a symbol of connection

Laura Malpas pays a visit to the ancestral home of George Washington, nestled in the Northamptonshire countryside If you grew up in Northamptonshire, there is a chance is that you may have visited Sulgrave Manor on a school visit. It has a fine reputation for education, as well as being a wonderful place for history lovers to explore. It’s a quintessentially English country house, but is more than that, it’s also home to a unique relationship. This month I’m visiting the tranquil Sulgrave Manor as the team prepare for the coming season. The village of Sulgrave was already an ancient settlement well before the Manor was built. There is evidence of local Bronze Age activity, including a Bowl Burial between 4000 and 5000 years old. Located on Castle Hill to the west of the village, more recent settlements included a fine Saxon timber hall surrounded by an earth ringwork rampart...

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11th Jan 2024

William Hacket, King of Europe? Heresy in Northamptonshire

Over the years, Northamptonshire has produced many radicals keen to change the world. Four hundred years ago it was no different, writes Laura Malpas. The county was a hotbed of religious conspiracies involving both the extreme Roman Catholics at one end of the spectrum, and radical Puritan Protestants at the other, reflecting the alternating preferences of the Tudor monarchs. The Gunpowder Plot originating in Northamptonshire is well known, but less so is the story of an Oundle man who plotted to remove Queen Elizabeth I from the throne and declare himself the new Messiah. Not much is known about the early years of William Hacket. He was born in the mid sixteenth century to a poor family in Oundle and received no formal education, remaining illiterate all his life. He was a Roman Catholic by birth and worked as a serving man in the homes of Northamptonshire gentry, including Sir..

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07th Nov 2023

Ka’iulani, the last Princess of Hawaii

Words by Laura Malpas... There’s an unexpected connection between Northamptonshire and Ka’iulani, the last heir to the Hawaiian monarchy. Her amazing life story naturally enough began in Hawaii in 1875. She was born in Honolulu, 4th in line to the Hawaiian throne, the only child of Princess Miriam Likelike and Scottish businessman Archibald Scott Cleghorn. Ka’iulani’s father was an Edinburgh Scot who had spent much of his youth in New Zealand where his father was Superintendent of the Auckland Government Domain. Aged 16, Archibald travelled to Honolulu with his father to set up a dry goods business. Despite his father dying, Archibald’s business thrived and expanded through the Hawaiian Islands, making him prominent and influential. In 1870, he became a Hawaiian citizen, and married a high-ranking member of the Hawaiian Royal Family, Princess Likelike. Five years later their only child Princess Ka’iulani was born to great celebration, as she was..

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20th Sep 2023

Boughton House Gardens opens for one day only this October

For one day only this Autumn, the Gardens and Parkland of Boughton House will open to the public in aid of the National Garden Scheme. The gardens will open on Sunday 1st October, 1pm-5pm, allowing visitors to explore the stunning landscape and gardens in glorious early Autumn colours, and with a proportion of the proceeds going to the charity. David Cullum, Parks and Gardens Manager at Boughton House, said: “October is a lovely time to explore. It’s the time of harvesting produce from the kitchen garden and orchard, and the colours really start to change across the estate. Look out for the stunning acers and chrysanthemums and the glistening reflections in the historic waterways.” The gardens of Boughton House have a long, interesting history. Ralph, the first Duke of Montagu (1638-1709), was influential in the early stages of the creation of the gardens and landscape at Boughton based on his..

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01st Sep 2023

Explore Northampton’s past through your smartphone: new virtual trail ‘Snapshots in...

The Explore Northampton app now features an exciting new virtual trail called "Snapshots in Time," developed in collaboration between Northampton Town Council and AR Media. This innovative trail offers a glimpse into the architectural history of Northampton, showcasing how 10 key historic sites have transformed over the years. The digital journey is enhanced with vintage photographs, intriguing facts, and additional information. Among the featured locations are long-gone civic landmarks like the Notre Dame Convent School, which was once situated on Abington Street. Though the school was demolished in 1979, remnants can still be discovered in the area. Councillor Jane Birch, who chairs the Community Services Committee at Northampton Town Council, said, "Our town centre boasts a diverse architectural heritage. This virtual trail enables users to learn more about well-known, family-owned businesses that continue to operate today, while also delving into Northampton's captivating history." The trail is straightforward to navigate, thanks..

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19th Jul 2023

Steep yourself in county’s top tourist treasures this summer – all for under a tenner...

Northamptonshire’s tourism treasures take centre stage in a new campaign showcasing the county as a brilliant place for great value days out. The campaign is highlighting 30 destinations – including Silverstone, Wicksteed Park, Shambala, Greenbelt and a host of hidden gems – that are welcoming visitors for a day out at under £10 this summer. Funded by West and North Northamptonshire Councils, the initiative is being delivered by the Northamptonshire Britain’s Best Surprise team. “Northamptonshire’s people and places offer an incredible variety of great value days out and experiences to visitors,” says chair Rachel Mallows. “We look forward to continuing our efforts to help sustain and grow local tourism and hospitality businesses and are grateful to the North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire Unitary Authorities for funding this campaign.” West Northamptonshire Council is pushing the delights of its unique market towns Brackley, Daventry and Towcester as well as the county town..

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26th Jun 2023

Hello Summer – Hello Museums

Milton Keynes Museum With school out, finding ways to keep the little ‘uns entertained for six whole weeks can feel a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, Milton Keynes Museum is on hand to make things easy for you, and fun for them! On July 15, the Museum will mark its 50-year anniversary with a special celebration party, and then between July 24 and September 1 the Wolverton-based history hub will be offering additional activities to take attention. All the usual attractions will be open as usual of course; start your visit with a look inside the Victorian farmhouse, play on music machines from the era, make hot buttered toast in the parlour, see what the role of a servant entailed and look back on more than a century of toys. Then stroll through the Street of Shops with its many original facades from stores that once served residents of Stony Stratford, Newport..

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21st Jun 2023

Say hello to summer with Chester House events

Chester House in Little Irchester has a summer of the sensational planned, with a varied programme sure to sate the entertainment appetites of the majority. On July 8, 21st Century ABBA Live will deliver smash hit after another; from Waterloo and Mamma Mia to Super Trouper, but there are other outside events to indulge in too - 21st Century Queen (July 21) will offer a royally ace set, and Spider Training (July 22) will weave a web of wonder around little folks. Suitable for ages 4+ Spiderman and Spidergirl will offer an hour-long workshop teaching little folks the moves of a real superhero. There are five sessions running across the day. A Kids Summer Festival (July 29 & 30) will boast inflatables, interactive live stage shows, tractor rides around the estate, a circus workshop, crafts, sandcastle building and a chance to discover the Archaeological Resource Centre. Youngsters can Adventure into..

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21st Jun 2023

Punk pages by Pete Pulse

Music fans with a penchant for the Northampton scene will want to know all about a new-to-the-shelves release which shines a light on the punk and new wave scene, specifically between 1976-1980, writes Sammy Jones. A To Z NN Punk New Wave 1976 To 1980 is a comprehensive release – with more than 200 pages to devour. It is the work of Pete Pulse, and was realised during the pandemic. “To be honest, it kept me sane and helped me connect with the outside world,” Pete told me, “All the interviews were conducted by email, and most people were happy to contribute. So much information is online now and I didn’t want to regurgitate lots of facts, rather I wanted the participants to tell their stories in their own words.” Pete was too young to enjoy the original punk movement, but rabid fandom mixed with a healthy intrigue helped to..

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19th Jun 2023

Make an entrance

This month Rosie Kinsella explores the often neglected yet crucial aspect of interior design: the hallway. Rather than focusing solely on individual rooms, consider the entire house as a cohesive unit. Hallways, often regarded as transitional spaces, have the potential to make a lasting impression and serve as stunning entrances. From flooring choices that connect different areas to clever storage solutions, this article explores some practical tips for maximising your hallway's functionality and aesthetic appeal. Additionally, it highlights the significance of lighting, mirrors, and incorporating elements from adjacent rooms to create a harmonious flow. By treating the hallway as a distinct space and giving it the attention it deserves, homeowners can transform it into a remarkable entrance that sets the stage for the rest of the home. Whether you are moving into a new house or renovating your existing one, it’s easy to concentrate on the interior design of each..

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