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Northampton, both a borough and town, is situated in the Midlands region of England.

Around 1100 AD, what is now Northampton was a walled town with a castle on the River Nene. Throughout the 12th and early 13th centuries, this was one of the most important centres of the kingdom. The town’s first charter was granted in 1189 by King Richard I in the first year of his reign.

The English Civil War, which was fought from 1642 to 1651, involved the Roundheads (also called Parliament of England) who fought against King Charles I and those who supported him. The king’s side of the issue were called Royalists. The Royalists believed that the King, and indeed all monarchs, had the right to rule by absolute monarchy selected because of the divine right of kings, while the Roundheads wanted the legislature to hold complete control over the administration of the kingdom.

Northampton residents supported the Roundheads, which infuriated King Charles, and he ordered that the town walls and castle be demolished. Even so, most of Northampton’s walls would endure until the Restoration (1660) when demolition left it all but non-existent. The castle was nearly entirely demolished in 1879, when it was quarried, in order to make improvements to the railway. Today, the railway station is in the place where the castle used to be.

Most of the town was wiped out by the Great Fire of Northampton in 1675. It was rebuilt throughout the 18th century. The Roman Catholic bishopric, All Saints Church, was established in 1850. In 1864, work on a cathedral began, and nearly 100 years later, in 1960, it was finished.

In 1793, the burgeoning shoe industry which would become the economic foundation in the area, began to blossom in earnest, hitting its zenith after the Grand Union Canal opened.

Between the 1780s and 1849, the Industrial Revolution swept across Europe. It was not just that the industry changed; so did other industries, including agriculture, when potatoes were a new crop. Add to that the decline in epidemic diseases like the Black Death, syphilis, smallpox, and malaria, and you can imagine that population throughout Europe saw a boom, and Northampton was no exception. The population of the town was 7,020 in 1801 and 32,813 in 1861. The Grand Union Canal twinkled into existence on New Year’s Day in 1929. During the 2021 census, the population of Northampton was 245,899.



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