1714 to 1837
Following the turbulence of the Tudor & Stuart eras Britain entered a long period of where the country moved away from internal conflict , though war with other countries was almost continuous. Society went through great changes as the move away from a rural, agricultural society accelerated with the industrial revolution.
It was a period that also the creation and expansion of the British Empire. Even as early as 1720 Britain was one of the wealthiest countries in the world, add to this the exploitation of the countries and peoples across the Empire, and Britain became, for a period, the most powerful country in the world.
It was during this period that the "gentlemen historians" began to produce the first written histories of the area. Two key historians were Dr John Bridges (b:1666 at Barton Seagrave and d:1724) and John Cole (b:1792 in Weston Favell and d:1848 in Woodford). These two historians are still key sources for information and facts about Northamptonshire, and their publications are still used extensively by academics. Another useful source is John Morton (b:1671 d:1726), an English cleric, naturalist and Fellow of the Royal Society, who published the earliest Natural History in 1712 with the, Natural History of Northamptonshire.
For Great Addington in some way the Georgian period was a continuation of the quiet, agricultural community that had developed during the earlier periods. The Tudor & Stuart period had seen the dissolution of the monasteries, the emergence of Puritanism, social reform, revolution and civil war. For Great Addington, life changed little over the 18th century until, with the inclosure of 1803, came the fundamental breaking of a thousand years of tradition and community.
In looking into the history of the village during this period we have a wealth of information: the parish register that survives from 1692 onwards, written comments on events from the Rev. James Tyley, the land ownership and agricultural changes of the inclosures of 1803, newspaper archives, and the first detailed maps.
It is also during this period that many of the properties that we see in the village today were built. For instance Leopard House was built at the start of the Georgian period as we know from public house licencing reports that the Leopard Inn, as it was known, had a licence to serve alcohol as far back as the 1720's. Other properties such as Carlers Farm and the Hare and Hounds were also built at this time though accurate dates for when they were built are difficult to find, so are simply labelled as Georgian, though this was a period spanning 123 years.
The inclosure map of 1803 mid-way through this period is the key document. It clearly shows every building in the parish, highlights if they are inhabited, and even gives the names of the owners - though not tenants. From this document we can see that much of the village as we know it today was in place by 1804. The inclosure defined the layout of the village and the surrounding landscape of fields, hedges, roads, and footpath. Much of what was defined in 1803 remains unchanged.
John Bridges in Northamptonshire. Drawn by Peter Tillemans, September 1721.
The antiquary John Bridges and his party can be seen in the foreground of this view of Northamptonshire. They are on the outskirts of Northampton town, riding in the direction of Kingsthorpe church. Bridges was in the process of writing a county history of Northamptonshire, and Tillemans was producing the illustrations for it. During the tour Tillemans stayed at Bridges’s house at Barton Seagrave, working up sketches taken on the road into finished drawings.
The original drawing is held by the British Library
Stamford Mercury, 12 March 1724
Northampton Mercury, 24 April 1775
British newspapers date to the 17th century with the emergence of regular publications covering news and gossip. The relaxation of government censorship in the late 17th century led to a rise in publications, which in turn led to an increase in regulation throughout the 18th century. By 1720 there were 12 London newspapers and 24 regional publications.
The earliest reference to Great Addington, appears to date from the start of this period with a listing in the Stamford Mercury of 12th March 1724 of a farm for sale by John Harris, Blacksmith. The Stamford Mercury has been published since 1712. An edition of the Mercury from 22 May 1718 is the earliest newspaper in the British Library's newspaper reading room.
First newspaper reference to Great Addington
Stamford Mercury, 12 March 1724
The Northampton Mercury newspaper was founded in 1720. Published in Northampton, it was sold throughout the midlands, as far west as Worcester and as far east as Cambridge. When it ceased publication in 2015, it was the oldest continuously published newspaper in the U.K.
The first reference in the Northampton Mercury regarding Great Addington is from the 24th April 1775, with a listing of a property and land for sale, then occupied by a Mr. Beale.
Employment in Georgian Northamptonshire
The Militia List of 1777 (see below) provides a wealth of additional information including the occupations of the people who lived in the area. By examining the Huxloe Hundred, the area of Northamptonshire of which Great Addington was part, we can gain an insight into the main source of employment within the area.
Northamptonshire was already "industralised" - though not with factories but rather it would be perhaps best described as a "cottage industry - during the late 17th and early 18th centuries when worsted woollen cloth weaving became a significant industry within the county. Raw wool was procesed, spun, and woven in a individual homes across the area. The county then went through a process of de-industralisation in the later part of the 18th century as the centre of worsted manufacturing moved to Yorkshire. The shoe industry was to come to the fore in the 19th century but for a period of time the people Northamptonshire would have struggled as the industry died and jobs were lost.
The 1777 Militia list gives the main occupations in the Huxloe area - which covered the parishes of Great Addington; Little Addington; Aldwinkle All Saints; Aldwinkle St. Peter; Barnwell All Saints; Barton Seagrave; Burton Latimer; Cranford St. Andrew; Cranford St. John; Denford; Finedon; Grafton Underwood; Irthlingborough; Islip; Kettering; LIlford Cum Wigsthorpe; Lowick; Slipton; Sudborough; Twywell; Warkton; Woodford.
Of the 1,069 people named in the list - though Great Addington's return did not give occupations, the eight largest occupations are:
Weaver - 172
Servant - 169
Labourer - 143
Farmer - 85
Shoemaker - 54
Wool-comber - 35
Carpenter - 28
Shepherd - 22
However there was no consistency in how the information was recorded, resulting in nearly 150 occupation being listed. However, by examining the information given we can identify occupations that were linked; for instance a "serge maker" was also a type of weaver. By adding together all the records that are related - Weaver, Serge maker, Spinner, Wool-comber, Weavers Apprentice, and Wool Winder - we arrive at a total of 216 men, out of a total of 1,069, involved in the woollen industry. There are also a further 22 employed as shepherds. It is fair to say that many of the Weavers would have lived in and around Kettering, the centre of the Worsted industry in Northamptonshire at this time.
The Militia list is only a list of men, though many women would have worked in the industry, typically as Spinners or Wool Winders. It is estimated that 3 to 4 Spinners were required to keep each Weaver busy, therefore there was probably at last 600 women involved in the industry in the area. Clearly the industry was still significant at this time.
The occupation of Weaver appears in the Great Addington parish records for many years. As previously mentioned, the militia list for Great Addington fails to list occupations, but the Little Addington give a good idea of typical occupations of the villagers: with 10 being Farmer's Sons, 3 being Labourers, 3 being Weavers, 5 are servants, 1 is a Baker, and 1 a Cordwainer (shoe maker).
1777 Militia List
The Northamptonshire Militia at Brackley in 1807 by Thomas Rowlandson
Soldier of the 48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot during the Napoleonic Wars
Image source unknown
One individual we know of who did fight in the Napoleonic wars was William Cox.
Born in Great Addington in 1787 to John and Mary Cox, he joined the 48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot - "foot" was the term then used for infantry - on the 23rd July 1807. At the time he enlisted he was described as 5ft 5inch tall, with a fresh complexion, grey eyes, brown hair, and a round face. He was 19 years old and had previously worked as a labourer.
Both the 1st and 2nd Battalion of the 48th Regiment of Foot was deployed to Portugal in spring 1809 for service under General Sir Arthur Wellesley - later, the Duke of Wellington. Before the army arrived in the Peninsula they had to undergo a sea voyage which took roughly three weeks, depending on the winds. Conditions on board the ships were often very cramped and claustrophobic. The space allocated for a six men berth was about the size of a large blanket.
The 48th Regiment of Foot was involved in the Peninsular War (1807–1814), the military conflict fought by Spain, the United Kingdom and Portugal against the invading and occupying forces of France for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The 2nd battalion saw action at the Second Battle of Porto in May 1809 and both battalions were in action at the Battle of Talavera in July 1809 when they carried out a bayonet charge and broke the French attack. The regiment were given the nickname, "The Heroes of Talavera", after Wellington stated that the 48th Foot saved the day at Talavera.
The 48th (Northamptonshire) Regiment of Foot charge at the Battle of Talavera, 1809
Image source unknown
Both battalions also fought at the Battle of Albuera in May 1811 but the commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel George Henry Duckworth was killed in action and the losses of the 2nd battalion (50% were causalties) were such that its remnants were either absorbed into the 1st battalion or sent home later that year.
In 1814, William was transferred to the Royal Veteran Battalions; a British Army unit of the early nineteenth century that was made up of men no longer fit for front-line service. They had been previously termed "invalid battalions" but this was deemed derogatory and changed. There is a Royal Hospital Chelsea Regimental Register of Pensioners (those entitled to a war pension) record that appears to show his discharge in 1826 and that he was invalided out due to a "fractured thigh".
William reappears in the village records, he and his wife Clementina are living in the village in 1818, and their daughter Mary Anne is Baptised on 8th February 1818, tragically she later dies and is buried, aged about 18 months, on 26th June 1819 - William is listed as Soldier & Labourer at that time.
No record of the marriage of William to Clementina can be found, nor of her birth. Given her forename is Spanish in origin and very different from the normal Sarah, Mary, Jane, Elizabeth, and Martha of England at that time, it is entirely possible that Clementina was Spanish and had met and married William during his active service in Europe at some point between 1809-1814.
Soldiers were allowed to marry whilst on campaign and his wife would then officially belonged to his regiment and be listed as part of the regiment’s strength. Permission to marry was sought from the colonel of the regiment and was limited to only a few soldiers of good conduct. It was also normal to check the women’s character so as to keep undesirables out. To marry without permission was a very serious offence and the women would not be recognised as a wife listed on the strength of the regiment and would not be able to draw rations or be entitled to help from any regimental charities such as they were. A soldiers wife was allowed to live in the barracks with their husband, though the only privacy they were allowed would be to screen off a small area within the barrack block with blankets. As a wife she would be able draw half of a daily ration (children allowed a quarter but neither were allowed alcohol) the cost of any extra rations were stopped out of her husband’s pay, so wives tried to earn money; many were regimental washerwomen or they could get jobs working for the officers ladies such as cooks, or cleaners. If the officers allowed it, a women could set up a canteen and sell drink and other goodies to the soldiers.
The next records relating to the family is another baptism entry on 5th October 1823 for James, son of William & Clementina Cox. Clementina is living in Great Addington, but William is now listed as being in the West Indies and his occupation is Soldier - at this time he was presumably serving in the 1st Royal Veterans Battalion, from which he was discharged in 1826.
In the Great Addington parish register there is an entry for 1826 of the baptism of Mary, daughter of William & Clementina Cox and then another entry in 1829 for the baptism of their 2nd daughter, Martha. In both entries, William is referred to as "Invalid Soldier". Mary Cox died aged 1 in April 1828. In 1830 they had another daughter, Sarah, though William is now only recorded as Labourer. Thereafter the entire family disappears from the records and no further information has yet been found.
The Parish Register of marriages 1714-1719 as copied out by Rev. James Tyley, c1810
Five of the six burials in 1721 are all small children
The original parish register page from 1714. It is difficult to read as many pages have been damaged by damp and vermin. The Rev. James Tyley copied out all the entries into a new register circa 1810.
The Parish Register: Love, Life & Death
The Reverend James Tyley, who was appointed to the parish in 1799, did a great service to the community - not only as the Rector for many years - but also in copying out the old register from 1692 onwards that had, by 1810, been so damaged and was in places practically illegible.
"On Easter Monday, 1810 the Rector undertook graciously to write therein a correct copy in a plain and legible hand of all the baptisms & burials, & also of the marriages...This he has done with all the care & attention he could bestow...From the imperfect & mutiliated state of the old Register, it was impossible to make a correct copy of all the entries but as far as they could be made out, they have been preserved."
The first entry in the Register from 1692 is appropriately enough a record of a marriage:
"Robert Smith, Rector of Great Addington, and Ann Hall, widow and relict of Josiah Hall, late Rector of Great Addington."
There may be an interesting story in this simple entry, as Robert Smith was only appointed as Rector following the death of Rev. Josiah Hall. Robert has a new job, a new house, and a new wife - widow of the previous Rector.
The register records the names of families long associated with the village - Beeby, Abbott, Vorley, Hudson, Hackney etc - and also names of families that appear for only a a few generations and then fade away.
"1765. William Abbott, killed by fighting as he came from Kettering"
Many of the early records give the occupation of the men as "weaver", as long before the boot and shoe industry the area - particularly around Kettering - was known for weaving of a type of high quality woollen cloth known as worsted.
"in many of the Pastures they have Excellent Wool, fine, white, and long hair' d ... and as there is no County in England a better Race of Sheep than here, if you take the whole County throughout, so the Wool is generally good", John Morton, 1712
What is also striking is that, contrary to what might be expected, many of those getting married are not necessarily from the village. For example on the page of marriages for the first years of the Georgian era, 1714-1719, there are the following records:
Dec 27, 1714: Stephen Hinde of Carlton, Bedfordshire and Mary Bales of this parish
Aug 25, 1715: Mr. Charles Smith of St. Albans*, Wood Street, London and Anne Falkner of Rushton, widow. (The Mr. prefix is used to indicate an educated man)
Jun 19, 1716: Henry Cuck and Mary Cole both of this parish
Oct 25, 1716: Charles Lawrence, vicar of Lilford in the county of Northampton and Miss Ann Smith, daughter of Robert Smith, Rector of Great Addington, married in this church by Robert Smith her father.
Nov 5, 1716: Matthew Clarke & Ann Cox both of this parish
Dec 27, 1716: Thomas Brown of Denford cum Ringstead and Martha Gebby of this parish
Jan 13, 1717: William Millar and Sarah Pinchback both of Finedon
Mar 3, 1717: Joseph May and Mary Libby both of Finedon
Mar 5, 1717: R. Smith and Susan Bohan married at Abington near Northampton
Jun 12, 1717: James Whitlark and Mary Freeman both of Finedon
Dec 27, 1717: John Rands of Harringworth and Mary Chew of this parish
Sep 29, 1718: Thomas Coles of Finedon and Sarah Jaques of this parish
Jan 28, 1719: John Hoby of Spratton and Grace Smith
*St Alban's was a church in Wood Street in London. It was dedicated to Saint Alban. Of medieval origin, it was rebuilt in 1634 but then destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, and rebuilt, this time to a Gothic design by Sir Christopher Wren. Presumably Mr. Charles Smith of St Alban was a clergyman related to Robert Smith who was the Rector of Great Addington, perhaps his son?
What is very noticeable in the register is the high levels of infant mortality. The 1721 entry of burials has six records for the year of which five are classified as infant - i.e. had not reached an age when the child could speak. The Rev. James Tyley commented on it in the parish register when he copied them out 90 years later in 1810:
"1721 - A very high infant mortality rate was recorded, between May and November , six infants died"
It is not uncommon to read the register and find a couple getting married, and in the following years a succession of baptisms of their children, and then the deaths of those same children. One couple early on in the register, William and Freelove Vorley (the surname is spelt both as Vurley and Virley, but is probably the Vorley family who lived in the area for many years), have a new baby nearly every year for a number of years, only for that child to die within a short period of time.
Estimates of infant mortality vary, but figures for Northampton in the first half of the 18th century show that the chance of a child dying within the first few days to be 1 in 10. Only 75% managed to reach 2 years of age, and only 50% of children ever reached their 10th birthday.
Babies were likely to die of infection, including tetanus often caused by the use of an unsterilized knife or pair of scissors to cut the umbilical cord; or from diarrhea, thrush or even worms. Thrush a fairly common fungal infection now controlled easily by medication was a cause of death in the 18th century. In the 18th century, worms, and lice as well, were seen as a positive force, cleansing the body of corruption. Problems occurred when the infestation was severe, leading to “pains, consumptions, epilepsies, frensies and divers other mischiefs.”
Across England common causes of death in childhood included whooping cough, diphtheria, dysentery, tuberculosis, typhus, typhoid fever, rickets, chicken pox, measles, scarlet fever, smallpox and plague. Relatively few deaths were caused by accidents, but the most common was drowning. Small children fell into laundry tubs, or played too close to ditches, ponds and wells. Older children died while playing near water, swimming or bathing, or while working. Boys drowned while fishing or gathering reeds. Older girls slipped into pits, ditches or ponds while drawing water. Burning was a less common cause of death, although babies left in cradles near the fire or unsupervised toddlers were at risk. Finally, children were occasionally killed by being run over by a cart or horse.
Over the years there are tragedies that echo the appalling childhood mortality found across England, within the Great Addington parish register and in inquest reports children are killed by carts, drown in the mill pond, and die in home accidents:
"1807 - John Colson, son of Thomas Colson, farmer and Mary his wife; aged 1 year and 11 months. This child was accidently scaled to death by falling into a tub of hot water."
You also find double tragedies such as the burial record from 1724:
"Selby, Grace, wife of Samuel Selby (and) their daughter Dinah, 8 days old, baptised the same day."
Great Addington Inclosure Notice
Northampton Mercury, 6th August 1803
Inclosure Meeting at the Leopard Inn (now Leopard House)
Northampton Mercury, 10th August 1803
The 1804 Inclosure
Perhaps one of the key milestones in the village history is the Inclosure of 1804.
The spelling Enclosure is now more commonly used, but I will use Inclosure in this section as all the documents from the time use that spelling.
Before and after Domesday land was managed by the community in large fields with no fences or hedges - hence the term open-field. Much of the land of a parish would be managed as one field, with smaller areas allocated for animal pasture, meadow, woodland etc. The large open-field was then subdivided into strips, the marks of which can still be seen in some of the fields around Great Addington. Each family had a number of strips, but all the lands were ploughed and harvested together by the community.
Inclosure replaced the medieval open fields with the patchwork of inclosed fields surrounded by fence or hedge that we see today. In Northamptonshire it began in the fifteenth century and continued until the beginning of the twentieth century. From the first village to be fully inclosed, Potcote in the south-west of the county, in 1472 to the final inclosure taking place at Sutton in the Soke of Peterborough in 1901.The progression of inclosure across the county was neither systematic nor consistent as can be evidenced by the fact that Great Addington was inclosed in 1803, yet it was another 27 years before Little Addington was also inclosed, and Ringstead even later.
In many parishes in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries inclosure was often imposed upon the villagers by the local landowner - often resulting in families being driven from lands that they had farmed for generations. Such actions led to events such as the Newton Rebellion (see the Tudors & Stuarts page) in 1607.
In the early 18th century, inclosure by Act of Parliment began to be used as the preferred method of introducing inclosure and the first parishes to use this method in Northamptonshire were Grafton Regis and at Overstone, both in 1727.
The change that took place in Great Addington in 1803 is perhaps almost impossible for us to fully comprehend. The community had for a 1,000 years worked together to plough, to sow and to harvest the land. The villagers had worked in the open-fields together and made decisions together. Every year they would have walked the parish boundary ("walking the bounds"), and they would have met as a village community to decide whether anybody had infringed the strict rules that defined the agricultural society. Over the 17th and 18th centuries less of the villagers farmed the land and more worked in the woollen industry, or as servants, as carpenters, bakers, masons, or in the emerging shoe industry. But many were still linked to the land with about 50% of the village population working the land. The inclosure was a fundamental break with a way of living as a community that stretched back over 30 generations to the Anglo-Saxons.
The Parliamentary Act of inclosure brought an end to the communal management of the open fields, extinguishing common rights and allocating discrete portions of land to individual landowners as private property. The new allotments were usually rectangular and the hedge lines straight, producing a rectilinear pattern of fields often laid out with little reference to earlier field boundaries. It is estimated that somewhere in the region of 200,000 miles of hedgerow were planted nationally between 1750 and 1850, much of it in the Midlands. The impression of uniformity was underlined by the fact that the hedges were typically made up of a single species, usually hawthorn, also known as ‘whitethorn’ or ‘may’.
Little Addington Parish pre-inclosure showing the distribution of the grazing areas (green), not as fields but rather as thin strips woven throughout the open-fields.
Another significant change was to how grazing animals were to be managed. In the open-field system, cattle, sheep, and horses would have been kept in a "pound" overnight and would graze during the day on the land on the margins of roads, bridleways, footpaths, and the "headlands" of the open-fields. The image shown here gives an idea of how the grazing land in the neighbourghing village of Little Addington was woven into the parish rather than being the dedicated pasture fields as we see today.
When a parish was inclosed it was usually the chief landowners that made the first move and it was probable that plans were well advanced before the smaller land owners and the labourers were aware of what was being planned. The wording of the Act of Parliament made it quite plain that the inclosure was planned and would then have the force of the law to uphold it.
Inclosure commissioners notice of planned roads and bridleways.
Note: The original planned Ringstead Road was to go from the bottom of Lower Street along beside the brook and across to the Nene.
Northampton Mercury, 17 Sep 1803
In January 1804 the inclosure plan was changed to alter the route of the Ringstead Road to run alongside the Hare and Hounds, rather than the original route which was to follow the brook at the bottom of Lower Street to the Nene.
The public footpaths were also laid out.
Northampton Mercury 14 Jan 1804
Its amusing to note that the biggest single cost was the solicitor. Times perhaps have not changed that much!
Other changes to the landscape included the construction of new outlying farmsteads. Whereas the scattered open field strips which made up each tenants’ holding in the pre-enclosure period had been cultivated from farmsteads in the villages, enclosure tended to consolidate individual holdings into ring-fenced blocks. In these circumstances, it made sense to relocate farmhouses to sites on the newly consolidated farms. It was at this time that some of the outlying farms were probably constructed. New farms that were constructed over the next 50 years include: Rectory Farm, on the Cranford Road, Patch Lodge (beyond the Manor House), and Great Addington Lodge (also known as Poplars Farm), at the far western edge of the Parish near the A510 Finedon Road.
The commissioners also detail a bridleway - "one public Bridle Road" - that is to go to Little Addington, leading from the bottom of Lower Street and heading west following the brook for a distance, before turning south and heading across the fields directly to Little Addington. Sadly, this route, and also a footpath which also went to Little Addington across where Shooters Hill house now stands, was lost in the following years, as by the 1885 OS map the bridleway just ends in the fields. The footpath is therein 1885, but only goes as far as Shooters Hill house, which was built around 1865. In the 1899 OS map, the bridleway and the footpath to Little Addington have both completely disappeared, presumably on the basis that the main road - in the days before cars - was quiet, direct, and well surfaced and maintained.
The Rev James Tyley helpfully recorded much of the information regarding the inclosure in the parish register, including the names of the owners and tenants of the land, which adds to the information given on the inclosure map produced by the commissioners. James also added some additional comments which give some local information. His refers to the "quality of the land", where the word quality is used to mean value:
"The following is the Commissioners quality of the land in Great Addington field, in the year 1804.
Robert Andrews Esq.
Great Addington Land Ownership 1803
The map shown here is a copy of the 1803 Incloure map hand coloured by myself to show the major land owners.
The land owned by Robert Andrews (blue) is much of the land that had been previously owned by the de Vere family, lords of the manor, from 1086 to 1493. This land had passed into the hands of the Mordaunt family of Drayton in the 16th century before being sold.
William-Zouch Lucas-Ward, through marriage to Mary Lambe of Great Addington, had come into possession of what had once been the lands of the Abbey of Croyland (pink) until the dissolution of the abbey in 1539.
Neither Robert Andrews nor William-Zouch Lucas-Ward lived in the village.
The Rectory lands (orange) were significant, providing the Rev. James Tyley with a good income. A number of smaller enclosures within the church lands were allocated to those holding the positions of church warden and parish clerk.
A number of other villagers owned land within the village, though the remaining parcels of land were of a modest size, including Elizabeth Bolney, William Beeby and George Beeby.
There are also a number of parcels of land that are owned by others outside the village. Sir George Robinson owns one small field on the extreme west of the parish that is adjacent to his extensive lands in the parish of Cranford where he lived. Francis Tedbury (Tidbury) owns one small field on the very east of the parish and lived in Willy Watt Mill (Ringstead Mill). Lastly, amongst the church lands is a small field that is marked as being part of the tithe of the rectory of the parish of Shelton, near Raunds. This is where Rectory Farm now stands.
John Cary's map of 1801 showing quite different road and tracks for Great Addington and surrounding villages.
1807 preliminary OS map showing the roads from Great Addington only extended as far as the parish boundaries. For instance the new road towards Ringstead ends just short of Willy Watt Mill, and the road to Little Addington becomes a track in between the two villages.
The map is captures a time when Great Addington had been inclosed, but Little Addington and Ringstead had not. The inclosed fields of Great Addington can clearly be seen, the parishes of the two other villages are open-fields and also have tracks rather than roads.
The Lost Ringstead Road
We do not give much notice to the layout of the village road today, yet prior to the inclosure the roads that link Great Addington to the surrounding villages were quite different. The most striking example is the modern Ringstead Road that very nearly didn't exist until a last minute change in 1804.
If we look in detail at John Cary's map, published in 1801 a few years before the inclosure we can see a number of the local roads are quite different:
There is no road between Great Addington (Addington Magna) and Ringstead
The road from Little Addington to Irthlingborough is marked with a dotted line indicating just a track or footpath - my understanding that this route was only formalised around 1790 - prior to that it was probably no better than a footpath and Little Addington was very much at the end of the road from Great Addington.
There are 3 roads leading north (towards the top) from Woodford.
The route of the modern A510 from the A14 to Finedon, was then the turnpike road (a toll road) from Oxford to Peterborough and as such was an important and well maintained road - Great Addington proximity to this important road and the direct link to Kettering no doubt played an important part of its connection to the then sigificant woollen production industruy based around Kettering.
Its also worth noting that there is no road from Raunds to Ringstead
It could be argued that John Cary's map was perhaps drawn at too large a scale and that he may have made errors - though the detail of the map is very impressive, for instance the windmill just to the west of Raunds. Yet in September 1803 when the inclosure commissioners were drawing up the roads for Great Addington parish, their first choice for a route to Ringstead was that it should follow the brook at the south of the village (at the bottom of Lower Street) and head eastwards across what was then meadow land to cross the Nene near where the lock and bridges are now situated.
"at or near the south end of the village....passing over the Millers Bridge...from thence in or near its present tract...at or near the Lower Cotton Mills."
This was all sensible to the villagers as there was an existing "tract" connecting the two active mills, one at the south of the village and one on the Nene itself. The mills would have required access for large carts to transport materials and there was no doubt a wide and well used track to the Nene, and the 1807 map shows a crossing of the river at this point, though we do not have any information as to the nature of that crossing point. The area between the mills was known as the Great Meadow, and had been the main grazing land for the village for a thousand years.
By this time the Nene was also now navigable - following improvement works during the 18th century - from Peterborough to Northampton, and produce could also be shipped by boat from this point.
Lastly, this original route is nearly flat all the way to the river and then along to Ringstead.
A bridleway was going to run from the village to the Upper Cotton Mills, which is what we know of as Willy Watt Mill - it is reasonable to assume that there was already some form of path or track way to Willy Watt Mill and the commissioners were going to initially just adopt that track as a bridleway.
Rather than the staggered cross shaped road layout of today, the village roads were originally therefore Y-shaped.
However, in January 1804 the inclosure commissioners changed the planned layout:
"We have discontinued that Part of the road which extends from the south end of the village...over the miller's bridge"
Inclosure Map 1803 (1804), showing the roads, bridleways, and footpaths as defined by the Inclosure Commissioners.
The image has been rotated to give a more traditional north-south orientation to aid understanding .
The final decision on the route of Ringstead Road is shown in its current position, the original route is towards the bottom right of the map and is marked on the map as a private carriage road and bridleway.
The commissioners describe the new Ringstead Road as starting, "opposite the dwelling-house of Samuel Vorley". There is no explanation as to why the plan changed. The new route is a more difficult route involving a steep hill that has to be ascended and descended and would not have been ideal for transporting goods.
In the 1804 variation the commissioners also set out all the remaining footpaths and bridleways from the village. The description of one of which - the footpath running from the Manor House gates on Cranford Road westwards towards Finedon - gives the name, Thomas Colson, as the occupant of the house near the entrance to the footpath. The house was where Huxloe House now stands - it is not known whether the existing building dates from the Georgian era. On the inclosure map it is referred to as "Colson's Homestead". The road near the Manor House at that point in time was also called Colson's Lane.
The footpath from near the Manor House heading towards Burton Latimer was said by the commissioners to reach "the Turn-Pike Road" (A510 Finedon Road), "near Joan Rose's Grave". Who Joan Rose was, how her grave came to be in the countryide, and why her grave was sufficiently well-known to be used in the inclosure notice, is, sadly, unknown.
The inclosure map that is held by Northamptonshire Archives, though dated 1803, is actually the 1804 map showing the final agreed roads, bridleways and footpaths.
The 1817 OS preliminary map shows the roads as defined in the inclosure, though it is interesting to note that that the Ringstead road has only been surfaced as far as Willy Watt Mill; after it crosses the Nene it is shown as an unpaved track.
The Northampton Mercury 4 Dec 1830 carried many stories regarding "swing" riots across the country including one nearby at Sawtry and Alconbury.
Response to the crisis. Local land owners - including from Great Addington - agree to establish horse and foot patrols of the district.
Nov 30 1830, Northampton Mercury
Original cartoon depiction of "Captain Swing" 1830
Original now held by the British Museum
After Inclosure - The Swing Riots - 1830
Swing riot cartoon from 1830