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Wellingborough

Wellingborough

The early history of the town is tightly linked to the Benedictine Monastery of Crowland between Peterborough and Stamford. Established in the 8th century to the memory of St Guthlac, and containing his shrine the monastery grew in importance and wealth to the 16th century dissolution. Wellingborough is but 30 miles upstream from the monastery on the River Nene and was it’s subsiduary house from Saxon times. The medieval church of St Hallows which stands in the centre of the town was the monastic church – Norman elements but largely 13th/14th century. Other survivals from this early period are parts of the Manor House and it’s barn. The centre suffered from a fire in 1738 which lead to some good new houses being built including Hatton House in Broad Green (names after Sir Christopher Hatton who was given the manor here by Elizabeth l). Like many Northamptonshire towns Wellingborough boomed through the success of the boot and shoe industry. This lead to a rapid expansion in the late 19th century with a proliferation of civic buildings – G.G Scott’s Workhouse (later Park Hospital) 1835-6, C.H. Driver’s Railway Station (still in use) 1857, Talbot Brown’s Wellingborough School in the Queen Anne style 1879 -95 and most splendid of all Ninian Comper’s Church of St Mary in Knox Road, 1908 onwards, described as “one of the most thrilling churches in the county: a sensational hybrid of gothic and classical styles. Today Wellingborough has a thriving Museum and adjacent to it the new Castle Theatre. The town supports 3 football clubs and Harrowden Hall to the north is the elegant early 18th century club house for Wellingborough Golf Club. The other sites that should be mentioned are The Embankment a public park created in the 1920’s/30’s alongside the River Nene next to the Victoria Mills built for Whitworth by Usher and Anthony in 1886, still operational. And Chester’s Farm to the east of the town with it’s Roman and other remains which opens to the public in 2017.

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