(born Feb. 25, 1540, Shottesham, Norfolk, Eng.—died June 15, 1614, London) English noble noted for his intrigues in the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. Younger brother of the 4th duke of Norfolk, he was implicated in efforts to free Mary, Queen of Scots. He successfully sought favour with the Scottish king James VI, who, on his accession as James I of England, made Howard a privy councillor (1603) and earl of Northampton (1604). As a judge at the trials of Walter Raleigh (1603) and Guy Fawkes (1605), he pressed for conviction.
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Town and borough (pop., 2001: 194,477), administrative and historic county of Northamptonshire, in the Midlands region, England. Originating circa 1100 as a walled town with a castle, it was granted its first charter in 1189. In 1460, during the Wars of the Roses, King Henry VI was captured in Northampton by Yorkists. The town walls survived until the Restoration, when they were torn down under King Charles II as punishment for supporting the Parliamentarians. Now a retail and marketing centre, it also supports light industry.
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The district's population is 200,100 and the urban area's 189,474, making Northampton the 21st-largest settlement in England and the UK's 3rd-largest town without official city status, after Reading and Dudley. Northampton is the most populous district in England not a unitary authority, a status it failed to obtain in the 1990s local government reform. Northampton's population has increased greatly since the 1960s, largely due to planned expansion under the New Towns Commission in the early-1960s.
The town and its castle were important in the early 12th century and the King often held Court in the town. During his famous fall out with Henry II, Thomas Beckett at one time escaped from Northampton Castle through the unguarded Northern gate to flee the country,
Northampton had a large Jewish population in the 13th century, centred around Gold Street. In 1277 300 Jews were executed, allegedly for clipping the King's coin, and the Jews of Northampton were driven out of the town.
The town was originally controlled by officials acting for the King who collected taxes and upheld the law. In 1189 King Richard I gave the town its first charter. In 1215 King John authorised the appointment of William Tilly as the town's first Mayor and ordered that: 'twelve of the better and more discreet residents of the town join him as a council to assist him' . In 1176 the Assize of Northampton laid down new powers for dealing with law breakers.
A university was established in 1261 by scholars fleeing Cambridge. It briefly flourished, but was dissolved by Henry III in 1265 owing to the threat it posed to Oxford. It was restored in 2005 (See below).
The first Battle of Northampton took place at the site of Northampton Castle in 1264 - when the forces of Henry III over ran the supporters of Simon de Montfort. In 1460, a second Battle of Northampton took place in the grounds of Delapre Abbey - and was a decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, and King Henry VI was captured in the town by the Yorkists.
In May 1328 the Treaty of Northampton was signed - being a peace treaty between the English and the Scots in which Edward III recognised the authority of Robert the Bruce as King of Scotland and betrothed Bruce's still infant son to the king's sister Joanna.
A large network of medieval tunnels remain under the centre around All Saints church.
The town was destroyed by fire in both 1516 and 1675 (for the latter see Great Fire of Northampton), and was re-built as a spacious and well-planned town. In the 18th century Northampton became a major centre of footwear and leather manufacture. The prosperity of the town was greatly aided by demand for footwear caused by the Napoleonic Wars of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
In his 18th century, "A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain", Daniel Defoe described Northampton as, "...the handsomest town in all this part of England."
Northampton's growth was accelerated in the 19th century, first by the Grand Union Canal, which reached the town in 1815 and later the coming of the railways. The first railway to be built into Northampton was a branch from the main London-Birmingham line at Blisworth to Peterborough through Northampton which opened in 1845. This was followed by lines to Market Harborough (1859) and Bedford (1872). The Northampton loop off the major West Coast Main Line was built into Northampton in the late 1870s.
Over the coming centuries the town continued to grow rapidly; after 1850 the town spilled out beyond the old town walls and began the growth we see today. in 1800 the population was round 7,000 and this had grown to 87,000 a century later.
Growth after 1900 slowed until the 1960s. The shoe industry declined and other employment was slow to arrive. In the 1920s and 30's, council houses were built in the east of the town at Headlands; north at St Davids; and south in Far Cotton. The Borough boundary, first extended in 1900, expanded again in 1932. The population grew to '[ca]' .100,000 by 1961 and 130,000 by 1971. Northampton was designated a New Town in 1968, and the Northampton Development Corporation (NDC) was set up to almost double the size of the town, with a population target of 230,000 by 1981, rising to 260,000 in later years. In 1958 the M1 motorway was built nearby. Growth was slower than planned. The 1960s and 70's saw the town centre change with development of a new bus station, the Grosvenor Shopping Centre, flats and hotels. By 1981 the population was 156,000. When NDC wound up after 20 years, another 40,000 residents and 20,000 houses had been added. The borough boundaries changed in 1974 with the abolition of Northampton county borough and its reconstitution as a non-metropolitan district also covering areas outside the former borough boundaries but inside the designated New Town.
In the 1960s The Deco was an ABC cinema. The Beatles appeared there twice on stage in 1963, on Wednesday, 27 March as part of the Tommy Roe/Chris Montez Tour. Montez commented "Who are these guys The Beatles? I try to keep up with the British scene, but I don't know their work". The Beatles were back on Wednesday, 6 November, in their own right and on their own Tour.
Northampton Development Corporation made a single released by EMI: "60 Miles by Road or Rail" by Linda Jardim (also a vocalist on Buggles's "Video Killed the Radio Star") in an attempt to generate publicity for the town. Sixty miles is the approximate distance to London. The B-side was "Energy in Northampton", about extraterrestrials choosing Northampton as a landing site. Neither song was popular; a copy is kept at the town's museum.
Northampton asked, unsuccessfully, for city status as a part of the 'millennium cities' scheme. However, the University of Northampton was established in 2005 after several years as a University College and previously Nene College.
Most of Northampton's housing expansion has taken place to the east of the town with developments such as the 1970s eastern district estates built mainly for the London overflow population and recently, on the western outskirts at Upton and to the south adjacent to an improved junction on the M1 at Grange Park, a development of some 1,500 houses actually in South Northants Council area.
Since 2006 Northampton is in a government designated expansion zone. This new wave of development is being overseen by the West Northamptonshire development Corporation (WNDC). A goal is the development of up to 37,000 new dwellings within the borough and necessary infrastructure and services.
Expansion has already started with new roads and housing developments in West Northampton at Upton and St Crispins (2007). A lot of the expansion will be on brownfield sites such as Ransome Road, Far Cotton (an inner suburb) and within the existing borough boundaries. The WNDC will also oversee the redevelopment of Central Northampton into a primary regional centre that will service the expanded population, that will be comparable to UK cities such as Coventry and Nottingham with a population of approx 300,000 by 2018-2021.
Northampton is represented in Parliament by two MPs:
Both of these constituency boundaries change significantly from the next General Election after 2005 with the creation of a new constituency of Northamptonshire South which takes a large chunk of the Northampton borough area (see external link to election maps).
Northampton railway station is on the Northampton Loop of the West Coast Main Line, and has regular services to London and Birmingham provided by London Midland. Virgin Trains also provide some services to London and the north, with a small number of Pendolinos running each day.
Sywell Aerodrome is the nearest airfield but still has a grass runway only. A concrete runway for jet aircraft is planned. For international links, East Midlands Airport and Luton Airport are quickly accessible by the M1, and Birmingham International Airport is accessible by train.
In the town, buses are by Stagecoach and First Group, with typical wait times of 10-30 minutes. Stagecoach provide travel to outlying villages and towns during the day. National Express cover major routes to other towns. There are good links to Daventry, Wellingborough, Rushden, Kettering, Corby and Market Harborough.
Northampton is the terminus of an arm of the Grand Union Canal. The arm connects to the River Nene and from that to the River Great Ouse and the North Sea. No longer used for freight, the waterway is still a popular leisure pursuit for narrowboats. Principal outlying villages on the canal include Gayton, Blisworth, Braunston and Stoke Bruerne.
Formal parks include: Abington Park; The Racecourse, home in summer to Balloon Festival and originally for horse-racing till 1904; Delapre Park; Bradlaugh Fields; Becket's Park, named after Thomas Becket as are nearby Becket's Well and Thomas á Becket pub. There is a park around anIron Age fort in West Hunsbury. Billing Aquadrome leisure park is on the eastern outskirts with a caravan site, marina, funfair, bar, riverside restaurant and converted water mill with original workings. Other smaller ones are Thorntons Park and Victoria Park.
The main shopping centre is the Grosvenor Centre built in the 1970s. The town has one of Britain's largest market squares, dating from 1235. Outside the centre the Weston Favell Centre built in the 1970s is in the eastern district together with various out of town retail and leisure parks.
Northampton Museum and Art Gallery has a world-class collection of historical footwear, and also Italian art, glass and ceramics, plus visiting exhibitions and local history. There is also a smaller historical museum in a former mansion within Abington Park.
The old Fishmarket, opposite the market square, has been renovated by the NAC (Northampton Arts Collective). As The Fishmarket Gallery it now has three art gallery spaces, retail units, a cafe, and an arts studio. Since it re-opened it has played host to exhibitions by nationally recognised artists and stages live music, community events and workshops.
An independent contemporary arts gallery is The Sanctuary, funded by the Arts Council, and also offers eight studios. There is also the Avenue Gallery at the Avenue campus of Northampton University. Northamptonshire runs an annual county-wide Open Studios event in which artists' studios are open to the public.
The University is spending £3m on its Portfolio Innovation Centre, and by early 2009 it will be home to up to 45 creative freelancers, digital media developers, and designers.
Two commercial cinemas are also located in the town: Vue (formerly UCI) at Sol Central, Cineworld (formerly UGC, Virgin Cinema and MGM) at Sixfields. There is also the subsidised Forum Cinema at Lings Forum, showing art-house and subtitled films.
Music venues are The Soundhaus and The Black Cat Jazz Bar. Until the removal of council funding caused its closure and liquidation, the Northampton Roadmender was a leading venue for live music in the region. It has since been brought by the Purplehaus group and recently reopened as a venue for live popular music.
The market square and surrounding streets hosted a St Crispin Street Fair from 1993-2005, but it was dropped after complaints from market traders.
League One football club Northampton Town, known as "The Cobblers" from the town's shoemaking background, are based at Sixfields Stadium. There is an athletics track adjacent to the ground. There are also three non-league clubs in the United Counties Football League: Northampton Spencer; Northampton Sileby Rangers; and Northampton Old Northamptonian Chenecks.
Northampton International Raceway near Brafield is a leading venue for stock-car racing and hosts the European Championships every July.
Other notable church buildings include: St Edmunds, closed 1978 and demolished 2007 with the bells now in Wellington Cathedral, New Zealand]; St Giles; St Matthew's, built 1893 ; Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate & St Thomas of Canterbury, the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Northampton and seat of the Bishop of Northampton.
Radio Two stations are based in the town and broadcast county-wide. BBC Radio Northampton broadcasts news, topical items and some music, switching to a regional network after 7pm. A commercial station, Northants 96, broadcasts mostly popular music.
Regional TV news is broadcast on the BBC East (terrestrial and satellite) with a main programme, BBC Look East, and on ITV's Anglia News. From 1999-2004, Northants TV (NTV) on cable and later terrestrial showed local ads, sport, and limited local activities.
Film and TV Northampton was the town location in the BBC's Keeping Up Appearances from 1990-1995. Parts of the 2005 film Kinky Boots were made in Northampton and featured shots of the iconic statue outside the Grosvenor Centre in the Town Centre and inside RE Tricker's shoe factory in St. Michaels Road representing the original factory, in Earls Barton.