During the Waendel Walk weekend walkers will pass through a number of villages around the Borough of Wellingborough. Visitors on the long walks visit most of the 18 parishes of Wellingborough, passing through the Nene Valley and villages of rural Northamptonshire. Here is a brief description.
Some six miles south of Wellingborough, the thriving village of Bozeat is historically renowned for its connections with the shoe and leather industry.
Remains of the earliest settlement dating to Saxon times, have been found in the vicinity of St Mary’s Road and Wyman Close. The oldest parts of St Mary’s Church date back to the 12th or 13th Century.
‘Beretun’ was settled in early Saxon times to the west of Wellingborough, its name indicating a barley growing region. The prefix ‘Earls’ comes from a long association with the Earls of Northampton and Huntingdon. Castle Ashby House – Elizabethan in origin can be seen across the Nene Valley. A remarkable Saxon tower is the landmark feature of All Saints Church situated overlooking the town square with its village shops.
This community enjoys an interesting history. It takes it name from the Maudit family which owned the estate at Easton in 1131. It was in 1578 that the Yelverton family first resided in the village when Sir Christopher Yelverton bought the Manor House and became speaker of The House of Commons. There are several ancient houses and barn in the village, although the focal point is the church dating from 1050. It was totally rebuilt in 1350 with the spire added in the mid-15th century.
None of the Waendel routes pass through Ecton but it is well worth a visit because the village is a designated conservation area, which contains a fine blend of buildings built with Northamptonshire Stone.
The parish was a comparatively large settlement at the time of the Domesday book with its original name ‘Tingdene’ (later ‘Thingdon’) meaning ‘meeting place in the valley’
Situated immediately south west of Wellingborough on a ridge overlooking the Nene Valley and Summer Leys Nature Reserve.
To the north of Wellingborough is the parish of Great Harrowden with its distinctive tower of All Saints Church on the hill overlooking the town. The Church spans several periods with traces of Norman work and pinnacles dating from the 14th century. Harrowden Hall, former home of the Harrowden and Vaux families, is the now the clubhouse of Wellingborough Golf Club with an 18 hole golf course covering 160 acres.
Five miles south of Wellingborough is Grendon with St Mary’s Church dominating the village from the top of the hill surrounded by the stone and thatch cottages.
This small peaceful village is three miles north-west of Wellingborough. The church of St Leonard is mainly 13th century with embattled tower. The Manor, now a farmhouse is of pre-Tudor date. It once belonged to the Order of the Knights Templar.
Irchester and Little Irchester
Three miles to the south east of Wellingborough is Irchester County Park, situated between the two villages of Irchester and Little Irchester. The park was formerly the site of ironstone workings and now has attractive woodland walks and picnic areas. It is also the home of The Irchester Narrow Gauge Railway Trust. Chester house, to the north west of Irchester, was built on a small deserted medieval village called Chester Parva. In Roman times the main town was located near here and Roman artefacts have been found in the area.
The name Isham means ‘home on the Ise’. It is an attractive village standing on the undulating ground to the north of Wellingborough flanked to the east by the River Ise and main London St Pancras to Sheffield railway line. The heart of the village is centred around Church Street, Middle Street and South Street. This location is a conservation area with fine blends of buildings built in traditional Northamptonshire stone.
Called Little Harrowden despite the village’s size and population being many times larger than its sister village Great Harrowden. The Church of St Mary, a focal point of Main Street, has been there for more than 800 years.
Pleasantly set out more or less square, with intersecting lanes of house built in local stone and medieval church this quite village is worth a visit. All Saints Church was built between 12th and 15th centuries and amongst its treasure the famous Wheel-Cross believed to be of Viking origin and rarely found in this part of the country.
Mears Ashby Hall, home of the Stockdale family, where they have now lived for over 200 years, is a fine Jacobean building erected in 1637by Thomas Clendon, on the site of an earlier manor house.
Walkers congregate at the traditional village green around which are the church, smithy, cottages and farm buildings. Orlingbury Hall was built in 1705 on the site of the former manor house.
Sywell is well worth a visit. The village is a conservation area comprising of houses, the horseshoe cottage and old school. Sywell has a small airfield with grass runway opened in 1920’s. It was used during the Second World War for repair of Avro Lancaster heavy bombers and other types of aircraft. Within the airfield grounds there is the Sywell Aviation Museum and Aviator Hotel.
Situated to the west of Wellingborough this village has a farming tradition. The Parish church of St Mary the Virgin is 14th century with later additions described as having ‘good gargoyles and corbels’. Its decorated tower is square with octagonal top crowned by a spire.
Wollaston is situated four miles south of Wellingborough with monuments including the site of a medieval manor house at the south end of the village and near the church, a circular mound, about 10 metres high and surrounded by a ditch which dates from the 12th century.