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Towcester
Towcester
(/ˈtoʊstər/ TOH-stər), the Roman town of Lactodorum, is an affluent market town in south Northamptonshire, England.

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Location 3 Demography and expansion 4 Governance 5 Facilities 6 Sport 7 History

7.1 Prehistoric and Roman periods 7.2 Saxon period and Medieval age 7.3 Georgian and Victorian periods 7.4 20th century and beyond

8 Notable people from Towcester 9 References 10 External links

Etymology[edit] Towcester
Towcester
comes from the Old English
Old English
Tōfeceaster.[2] Tōfe refers to the River Tove;[3] Bosworth and Toller compare it to the "Scandinavian proper names" Tófi and Tófa.[2] The Old English
Old English
ceaster comes from the Latin castra ("camp") and was "often applied to places in Britain which had been Roman encampments."[4] Thus, Towcester
Towcester
means "Camp on the (river) Tove." Location[edit] The town is approximately 11 miles (17.7 km) south-west of Northampton
Northampton
and about 7 miles (11.3 km) north-west of Milton Keynes, the nearest main towns. Oxford is about 20 miles (32.2 km) south-west via the A43 road, M40 motorway
M40 motorway
and A34 road. The A43 now bypasses the town to the north but the A5 road still passes through the town centre. This still carries much traffic in the north-south direction which may be bypassed to the west with the possibility of expansion of the town.[5][6] Demography and expansion[edit] The population was 2,743 at the time of the 1961 Census and this had grown to 9,252 by the 2011 census – a growth rate of about 3% per year. It has since rapidly expanded and there are plans to expand still further[5][6] with another 3,300 houses equating to an appx 8,250 increase in population. With normal growth this could see the total population rise to around 20,000 people by 2020 (based on the current multiplier of 2.5 persons per average household). The expansion will include an A5 north-south bypass west of the town. Improvements to the links to the A43 and Watling Street
Watling Street
roundabout took place in the first half of 2015 and including traffic light controls. Governance[edit] The town has its own Town
Town
Council,[7] with limited powers, and is also the administrative headquarters of the South Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire
district council.[8] The town is in the Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire
County Council area.[9] Towcester
Towcester
used to be within the parliamentary constituency of Daventry. However, since the 2010 general election it forms part of the South Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire
constituency. Facilities[edit] The town has good shopping facilities with the four major supermarket chains of Waitrose, Tesco, Co-op and Aldi
Aldi
also B & M Stores and Poundstretcher
Poundstretcher
have recently opened branches. There is also a range of smaller shops and numerous restaurants of various cuisines and national chains such as Costa and McDonald's. All the major British banks are present (except HSBC, which closed September 2015 & NatWest which closed September 2017) and Nationwide Building Society are present, as is a main post office. St. Lawrence's C of E Church, stands in the middle of the town. It has a 12th-century Norman transitional ground plan and foundation, probably laid over a Saxon 10th century stone building. Its ecclesiastical heritage may well relate back to Roman times as St Lawrence was patron saint of the Roman legions. The building was reconstructed in the perpendicular style 1480–85 when the church tower was added. Permission to quarry stone for this restoration from Whittlewood Forest
Whittlewood Forest
was granted by Edward IV and later confirmed by Richard III on his way towards Leicestershire
Leicestershire
and his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field. The church contains a "Treacle" Bible, a table tomb and cadaver of Archdeacon Sponne, Rector 1422–1448. The Archdeacon started the second oldest grammar school in Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire
but the oldest one in the United Kingdom, which was merged with the old secondary modern school in Towcester
Towcester
to produce Sponne School. It is also claimed[10] that Pope Boniface VIII
Pope Boniface VIII
was a rector of the church before his elevation to the position of pope. The church tower contains more bells than probably any other parish church in the land: a fine peal of 12 bells and a chime of 9 bells which ring the hours and chime tunes at frequent intervals. When the Phipps family brewed its final batch of beer from the Towcester
Towcester
brewery back at the end of the 19th century, no one thought that Towcester
Towcester
would ever see brewing in the town again. However, over a hundred years later the smell of malt and hops can once more be experienced if you happen to be around the old grade 2 listed Towcester
Towcester
Mill Brewery in Chantry Lane. Although the mill was recorded in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
(1086), the oldest part of the building is just over two hundred years old. The mill’s working gear was powered by water, and was used to grind corn into flour and to mix animal feed, and is believed to be the only water mill in Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire
with a working turbine. The town has an Air Cadet squadron, 1875 (Towcester) Sqn ATC located near to Sponne School
Sponne School
and the 1st Towcester
Towcester
scouts and guides group. The Towcester
Towcester
Museum has exhibits tracing the community's prehistory and history. The town has a wetland park, two pocket parks & a main park called The Recreation Ground but known locally as “The Rec”. The Recreation Ground is used for major town events, most notably for Towcester’s Celebrations for Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II on 3rd June 2012. Sport[edit] Towcester
Towcester
is famous for its racecourse, originally part of the Easton Neston estate on the east side of the town. Many important national horse racing events are held there. Greyhound racing is also regularly held at the same venue. In 2010 the World Hovercraft Championship was held on the racecourse with participants from England, Scotland, Wales, Australia, the United States, France, Italy, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Slovakia. Nearby is the Silverstone motor racing circuit, currently home to the British Grand Prix. In fiction the "Saracen's Head Inn" in Towcester features in Charles Dickens's novel The Pickwick Papers
The Pickwick Papers
as one of Mr Pickwick's stopping places along what is now the A5 trunk road. Towcester
Towcester
is also home to Towcestrians RFC, a rugby club founded in 1933. Towcestrians play in the National League 3 Midlands
National League 3 Midlands
and are affiliated to the RFU, East Midlands
East Midlands
Rugby Union and the Northants Rugby Alliance. Towcestrians Mini & Junior Section caters for young players from the ages of 6 up to 17 playing Sundays for both boys and girls Mini & Juniors. Since 2010, Towcestrians RFC has hosted the Towcester
Towcester
Beer Festival, marrying a festival of guest ales and ciders with rugby and live music. In 2011 the festival took place on 29–30 April, the weekend of the royal wedding. In 2012, the festival took place over the first May bank holiday weekend - 4–6 May. Towcester's cycling club, the A5 Rangers, was founded in 1948 and aims to cater for all aspects of racing, touring, MTB and social events associated with cycling. History[edit] Prehistoric and Roman periods[edit] Main article: Lactodurum Towcester
Towcester
lays claim to being the oldest town in Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire
and possibly, because of the antiquity of recent Iron Age finds in the town, to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the country. There is evidence that it was settled by humans since the Mesolithic
Mesolithic
era (middle stone age). There is also evidence of Iron Age burials in the area. In Roman Britain, Watling Street, now the A5 road, was built through the area and a garrison town called Lactodurum
Lactodurum
established on the site of the present-day town. Two candidate sites for the Battle of Watling Street, fought in 61AD, are located close to the town, these are Church Stowe
Church Stowe
which is located 4 1⁄3 miles (7.0 km) to the north[11] and Paulerspury
Paulerspury
which is 3 miles (4.8 km) to the south.[12] A stone female head, that mixes Celtic and Roman styles, was found on Watling Street
Watling Street
outside the town and was given to the British Museum
British Museum
in 1903.[13] Saxon period and Medieval age[edit] When the Romans left in the 5th century, the area was settled by Saxons. In the 9th century, the Watling Street
Watling Street
became the frontier between the kingdom of Wessex
Wessex
and the Danelaw, and thus Towcester became a frontier town[citation needed]. Edward the Elder
Edward the Elder
fortified Towcester
Towcester
in 917. In the 11th century, the Normans
Normans
built a motte and bailey castle on the site. Bury Mount
Bury Mount
are the remains of the fortification and is a scheduled ancient monument. It was renovated in 2008 with an access ramp added and explanatory plaques added. Georgian and Victorian periods[edit] In the 18th and early 19th centuries, in the heyday of the stagecoach and the mail coach, Watling Street
Watling Street
became a major coaching road between London
London
and Holyhead, and Towcester
Towcester
flourished, becoming a major stopping point. Many coaching inns and stabling facilities were provided for travellers in Towcester, many of which remain. The coaching trade came to an abrupt halt in September 1838 when the London
London
and Birmingham Railway was opened, which bypassed Towcester
Towcester
and passed through Blisworth; four miles away but enough to result in Towcester
Towcester
quickly reverting to being a quiet market town. By 1866 however, Towcester
Towcester
was linked to the national rail network by the first of several routes which came together to form the Stratford and Midland Junction Railway, known as the "SMJ".[14] Eventually, from Towcester railway station
Towcester railway station
it was possible to travel four different ways out of the town: to Blisworth
Blisworth
(opened May 1866); to Banbury (opened June 1872); to Stratford-upon-Avon
Stratford-upon-Avon
(opened July 1873); and finally Olney (for access to Bedford, opened December 1892). The latter line however was an early casualty, closing to passengers in March 1893 although it continued to be used by race specials up until the outbreak of the Second World War. The Banbury
Banbury
line closed to passengers in July 1951 and the rest in April 1952. Goods traffic lingered on until final axing in February 1964 as part of the Beeching cuts. The site of Towcester railway station
Towcester railway station
is now a Tesco supermarket. Towcester
Towcester
might have gained a second station on a branch line of the Great Central Railway
Great Central Railway
from its main line at Brackley
Brackley
to Northampton, but this branch was never built. 20th century and beyond[edit] During the Second World War
Second World War
Towcester
Towcester
received many Evacuees from London
London
as the Government felt the town was far enough away from any major towns & cities that could be a target. The town escaped any major aerial attacks, but did get bombed on two occasions, as planes passed over after bombing Rugby one plane dropped its last two bombs. A few months later a German Plane did a drop & run attack & dropped four bombs on the town. The motor age brought new life to the town. Although now bypassed by the A43, the A5 trunk traffic still passes directly through the historic market town centre causing traffic jams at some times of the day. The resulting pollution has led to the town centre being designated an air quality management area.[15] An A5 north-south bypass is likely with plans for expansion of the town being planned by the West Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire
Development Corporation.[16] Notable people from Towcester[edit]

William James Dawson (1854–1928), clergyman, author, born in the town Edward Grubb (1740–1816), stonemason, sculptor; first fine art sculptor to work in Birmingham. Born, Towcester
Towcester
1740 James Hutchings, publisher of Hutchings' California Magazine; born in the town John Meyrick, agriculturalist, rower who competed for Great Britain in the 1948 Summer Olympics. Born in Towcester Elliot Parish, born in the town 1990 - professional footballer Edward Rooker, engraver, draughtsman and actor. Born in Towcester
Towcester
c. 1712 David Sharp, FRS born in the town Thomas Shepard (1605 - 1649), American Puritan
Puritan
minister Graeme Swann
Graeme Swann
(b. 24 March 1979), English cricketer Joshua Steele[17][better source needed] born 1989, DJ

References[edit]

^ "Area: Towcester
Towcester
(Parish): Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 19 January 2015.  ^ a b Joseph Bosworth and T. Northcote Toller, "Tófe-ceaster." An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1882. 997. (Online version) ^ Flavell Edmunds. "Towcester." Traces of History in the Names of Places. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1869. 272. ^ "Chester." Oxford English Dictionary. oed.com ^ a b Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire
Joint Planning Unit – Draft Emerging Core Strategy, pp 9 and 51. NB May be superseded by more recent publication ^ a b 2011 expansion plans – Pre-Submission Joint Core Strategy, Committee Version, 31 January 2011 ^ " Towcester
Towcester
Town
Town
Council". Retrieved 5 June 2008.  ^ "(SNC)". Retrieved 5 June 2008.  ^ " Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire
County Council". Retrieved 6 June 2008.  ^ Wilcock, David. " Pope
Pope
Boniface VIII".  ^ http://www.craftpegg.com/Battle_Church_Stowe_CP.pdf ^ Rogers, Byron (2003-10-11). "UK: The original Iron Lady rides again". The Daily Telegraph. London.  ^ British Museum
British Museum
Highlights ^ "Stratford and Midland Junction Railway (SMJ)". Retrieved 5 June 2008.  ^ "BBC - Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire
- Features: Northants' air pollution".  ^ "Sandra Barnes, Leader of South Northants Council, says "This is putting a mark down for future generations and they're not going to thank us for just putting 3,000 houses down" (17 December 2007)". Retrieved 13 October 2008.  ^ Flux Pavilion

External links[edit]

Towcester
Towcester
Museum Towcester
Towcester
Town
Town
Council Towcester
Towcester
and District Loc