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Themes Explorers and Adventurers Nobel Prize Winners
Actors/Actresses and Directors Famous People Places of Interest
Anglo-Saxons and Danes Historic Events Prime Ministers
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Inventors and Scientists Royal Consorts and Heirs
Artists and Architects Monarchs World Heritage Sites
Composers National Parks Writers and Poets

Northamptonshire lies in central England. In 1974 the Soke of Peterborough was incorporated into Cambridgeshire.

Towns include the county seat of Northampton.

Anglo-Saxons and Danes

Once part of the small kingdom of the Middle Angles.

Famous People

Diana, Princess of Wales was buried in 1997 at Althorp Park, one of her childhood homes.

Diana, Princess of Wales

On the edge of the Althorp estate lies the village of Great Brington where the ancestors of America's first President George Washington are buried. They lived at Sulgrave Manor.

Historic Events

Major Battles
In 1645 the Battle of Naseby was a decisive battle of the English Civil Wars, a conflict from 1642-51 between supporters of the monarchy and supporters of Parliament. The Parliamentarians under Sir Thomas Fairfax defeated the Royalists under Charles I and captured the king's baggage train. This proved to be decisive as in the train the King kept his personal correspondence and the letters showed proof of his duplicity in dealing with Parliament, a significant factor in his later downfall.

Charles I


Scottish House of Stewart
House of Stewart
In 1587 Mary, Queen of Scots was executed at Fotheringhay Castle where she had been held since the previous year. She had ruled Scotland from the age of one week in 1542, until her forced abdication in favour of her son James VI in 1567. Shortly afterwards she sought refuge in England but was to spend the rest of her life as a prisoner of her cousin Elizabeth I who eventually ordered her execution. Originally buried at Peterborough Cathedral, in 1612 her son James, since 1603 also King of England, had her body moved to Westminster Abbey.

Mary, Queen of Scots
Mary, Queen of Scots

Monarchs buried at Westminster Abbey

House of York
House of York
The last Yorkist King of England Richard III, was born at Fotheringhay Castle in 1452. He ruled from 1483 until his death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

Richard III
Richard III Society

Edward IV married Elizabeth Woodville at Grafton Regis in 1464.

Edward IV
Elizabeth Woodville

Nobel Prize Winners

Physiology or Medicine
The molecular biologist Francis Crick was born near Northampton in 1916. In 1962 he shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with the New Zealand-born Maurice Wilkins and the American James D. Watson for their ground-breaking research into DNA which lead to the discovery of its double helix structure. He and Wilkins both died in 2004.

Francis Crick

Almost all aspects of life are engineered at the molecular level, and without understanding molecules we can only have a very sketchy understanding of life itself.
What Mad Pursuit (1988)

Places of Interest

Cathedrals and Abbeys
Peterborough Cathedral

Stately Homes and Palaces
Althorp Park

Royal Consorts and Heirs

House of Lancaster
Henry IV's first wife Mary de Bohun died in childbirth at Peterborough Castle (then in Northamptonshire) in 1394. Her husband became King in 1399. She was the mother of the future Henry V.

House of York
Elizabeth Woodville, future Queen to Edward IV, was born at Grafton Regis in 1437 and in 1464 married Edward there. She remained Queen until her husband's death in 1483 and was the mother to Edward V.

Elizabeth Woodville

House of Tudor
Henry VIII's first wife Catherine of Aragon was buried at Peterborough Cathedral (then in Northamptonshire) in 1536. She had married Henry's elder brother Prince Arthur in 1501 but he died the following year. In 1509 she married Henry VIII giving birth to the future Mary I in 1516. She remained Queen until 1533 when Henry secretly married Anne Boleyn in frustration at the Catholic Church in Rome not granting him a divorce. This was to lead to the Reformation when Henry broke with the Pope and set about creating the Church of England.

Catherine of Aragon

Writers and Poets

The poet John Dryden was born at the vicarage at Aldwinkle in 1631. He became the first official Poet Laureate in 1668 when he succeeded Sir William D'Avenant. He had to relinquish the post which was normally held for life in 1688 during the Glorious Revolution and in 1689 Thomas Shadwell succeeded him.

John Dryden
Glorious Revolution
Poets laureate

Either be wholly slaves or wholly free.
The Hind and the Panther (1687)

J.L. Carr, the author of A Month in the Country, died in Kettering in 1994.

J.L. Carr

... - the first breath of autumn was in the air, a prodigal feeling, a feeling of wanting, taking, and keeping before it is too late.
A Month in the Country (1980)

We can ask and ask but we can't have again what once seemed ours for ever - the way things looked, that church alone in the fields, a bed on a belfry floor, a remembered voice, the touch of a hand, a loved face. They've gone and you can only wait for the pain to pass.
A Month in the Country (1980)

County Links Genealogy in England

Genealogy Links

Family History Societies
Record Offices
and Archives
Peterborough Archives
Record Society