Of the Green Family from Harpole, Northamptonshire their Ancestors and Relatives

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Sunday, 21 October 2018 06:13 PM BST

A Ramble to Kingsthorpe in 1831

 This essay is taken from "The Year Book of Daily Recreation and Information: Concerning Remarkable Men, Manners, Times, Seasons, Solemnities, Merry-Makings, Antiquities and Novelties forming a Complete History of the Year and a Perpetual Key to the Almanac" page 584 by William Hone published in 1832



There is not a prettier Village near Northampton, at least within the same distance trom the town, than Kingsthorpe. Half an hour's leisurely stroll will conduct you thither, by a rural route. Follow the line of Sheep-street, northward along the London road, till vou reach a gate just beyond a row of unfinished houses facing the race ground ; push open the gate, and continue along the path till you reach a lane crossing your right and left ; turn to the right ? and stroll along the delightfully pleasant and picturesque lane, and you will again find yourself in the high London road, and, after proceeding a few yards along the road, step over a low stile on the left into a path running parallel with the road, but separated from It by a row of fine elms. On the left is a prospect almost as lovely as an inland wild not mountainous country can possibly present. Crossing a stile or two (which, by the way, are annoyingly numerous heieabouts), you will enter the Park and catch a pretty view of a stone mansion, recently occupied by Mr. Dwarris, embowered in some of the finest forest trees I have seen. By a stile at the end of this path, you are once more in the high road, but at a very picturesque portion of it. On the east side is a cluster of primitive-iookins cottages, built of stone and thatched. Upon an attentive inspection they appear to have been formed from the remains of some ancient ruin, probably of an hospital which was founded here about the year 1200. Except for one object, a very charming picture might be painted from this spot : that object is a toll-gate, modern and very ill assorted with its antique and lowly neighbours. It has an impertinent perkish look, which disconcerts the eye. Pass it. and taking the first turning on the left, pursue a lane formed on one side by the low stone wall and noble trees of the park vou just traversed and on the other by closes and the stabling belonging to an antique-looking farm-house. This lane will bring yon to the spot in my pencil sketch to which I wish I could have done more justice.
This is Kingsihorpe.
In Dooms-dav Book Kingsthorpe is named simply Torp, and is bounded on the east by Moulton, on the north by Boughton (remarkable for its Fair), on the west-by the river Nyne, or Nen, and on the south by Northampton. " The church," says Bridges in his History of Northamptonshire, is "dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and consists of a body, north and south aisle, and chancel, leaded ; with a chaunting chapel at the east end of each aisle. At the west end is a spire raised on an embattled tower, in which are five bells. Within the church-yard, near the south door of the church, are still remaining the steps and stump of a cross. The register begins in 1540." I have sought for this relic in vain. It has yielded to the great destroyer " Time," or perhaps to the yet more destructive judgment of some Dogberry of a churchwarden.

Kingsthorpe is remarkable too for its beautiful springs. One of them supplies the rivulet represented in my sketch and is called I believe King's Well. This place was anciently a royal manor. The old rent was £60 per ann. : which was reduced for a terra ot 40 years to an annual rent of
£1 by Henry VI., on the complaint that the freeholders had fallen to decay and the town become impoverished. It seems to have subsequently revived; for Edward IV. granted an annuitv of £40,"outof the farm at Kingsthorpe,'^ to his queen Elizabeth.

The **May-games" were anciently celebrated at Kingsthorpe with much pomp and circumstance, and an order was wont to be made by the bailiff in the court for appointing "a lord and lady on Easter-day after even-song, under the penalty of paying 6s. 8d. in case the office was refused." But for upwards of a century and a half there are no records of any observance of this kind. A tradition however assigns a better reason for the disuse than can usually be given for similar omissions — namely, that of a man having been killed at the last wake observed at this place.

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