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Towcester

From Academic Kids

Template:GBmap Towcester (pronounced ) is a small town in Northamptonshire, England with a population of 8,856 (2001 census). The town is located roughly 9.5 miles (15 km) southwest of Northampton. The name is derived from the Latin for "Camp on the (river) Tove". Towcester is the administrative headquarters of the South Northamptonshire district.

Towcester is located upon the A5 road and is perhaps most famous for its Racecourse, where many important national Horse racing events are held. Also nearby to Towcester, is the Silverstone motor racing circuit.

In fiction, the "Saracen's Head Inn" in Towcester features in Charles Dickens's novel The Pickwick Papers as one of Mr Pickwick's stopping places.

St. Lawrence' Church (CofE) stands in the middle of the town. It is a 13th century square tower Church which holds a collection of chained books.

History

Towcester lays claim to being the oldest town in Northamptonshire. There is evidence that it was settled by humans since the Mesolithic era (middle stone age). There is also evidence of Iron Age burials in the area.

In Roman times the Watling Street road (now the A5) was built through the area and a garrison town called Lactodorum was established on the site of the present day town.

Lactodorum was encompassed by a wall which was strengthened at several points by brick towers. Substantial remains of one of these towers could be seen until the 1960s when it was demolished to make way for a telephone exchange. The wall was also surrounded by a ditch.

The modern day St. Lawrence Church in Towcester, is thought to occupy the site of a large Roman building. Small fragments of Roman pavement can be seen in the Church's boiler room.

When the Romans left in the 5th century the area was settled by Saxons. In the 8th century the Watling Street became the frontier between the kingdom of Wessex and Danelaw, and thus Towcester became a frontier town. Edward the Elder fortified Towcester in 914. In the 12th century the Normans later built a motte and bailey castle on the site. Bury Mount is the name of what is left of the Norman castle. Only the motte part remains and is rather overgrown with trees.

In the 18th and early 19th centuries in the heyday of the stagecoach. The Watling Street became a major coaching road between London and Holyhead. And 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 1838 when the London and Birmingham Railway was opened, and Towcester soon reverted to being a quiet market town. By the 1870s Towcester was linked to the national rail network by the Stratford Junction Railway, although this was closed to passengers in the 1950s. The advent of the motor age has brought new life to the town in recent years, although several by-passes have had to be built to prevent the town being choked in traffic.

Information from the town's website - See Below:

External links

  • 'Official' Web Site (http://www.localauthoritypublishing.co.uk/councils/towcester/index.html)

External links to Towcester organisations

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