The Hesilrige Survey of 1743

The area around St Peter’s church was surveyed in 1743 along with the remains of the castle site. A helpful article appeared in the Journal of the Northants Natural History Society and Field Club in 1908 written by Rev R M Sargeantson, drawing on a previous article in 1904 by Mr A Adcock both eminent Northampton historians. Rev R M Sergeantson was also rector of St Peter’s. Follow this link for a zoomable interactive map, or click on the map below.

It is interesting to note how the later street plan respected the original castle boundaries. In particular, the houses in Fitzroy Street and Chalk Lane were fitted into the area known as the Upper Roundabout. Also, it will be noted that the area immediately to the west of Bristol Street fits into the Castle Ground.

On Feb. 16, 1729 — 30, an advertisement appeared in the Northampton Mercury1 to the effect that Sir Arthur Hesilrige (grandson of the purchaser). was anxious to let “the Castle of Northampton and two large orchards planted with young Fruit-trees, and very good and convenient pasture ground for Horses and Cows useful to a family; And also a very commodious Kennell for a Pack of Hounds with Boyling Houses. etc., situate in the said Castle Orchard.”

In 1743, a careful survey2 of the Castle property was made by a certain G. Nunns, for Sir Arthur Hesilrige. It then consisted of:

(1). The actual site of the Castle (inside the walls), containing3½ acres
(2). The Upper Roundabout1¾ acres
(3). The Nether Roundabout1¾ acres
(4). The Old Orchard3¾ acres
(5). The Castle Ground2¼ acres
(6). The Castle Holme5 acres
 18 acres

Of these, the Roundabouts evidently consisted of the grass-grown moat, and the bank between the moat and the Castle walls ; and the same remark applies to the greater part of the Old Orchard. The Castle Ground occupied the site of the triple mound and ditch, which defended the entrance Gateway; while the Castle Holme, doubtless represented “the meadow pertaining to the Castle,” so often mentioned above.

On May 15th, 1826, the Upper Roundabout was sold by the trustees of Sir Arthur Grey Hazlerigg to John Stoddart, Esq. He in turn re-sold it (8th August, 1831), in two lots, one of which was purchased by Wm. Perrin and Thomas Hallam; and the other by Samuel Walker, who built upon it Castle Cottage, now known as St Peter’s Rectory.
The Old Orchard was next sold — part to the Rev. H. de Sausmarez as a site for a Rectory House3 for St. Peter’s (1852); and the remainder to the L. & N. W. Railway Company, for the erection of a small station on their projected line to Market Harborough.4

Finally, on 19th June, 1861, the whole of the remainder of the Castle property (including the site of the Castle, Castle Ground, Castle Holme, and the Nether Roundabout), some 12 acres in all —was sold by Sir Arthur Grey Hazelrigg, the younger, to Samuel Walker, of Northampton.

Rev R M Sargeantson
Journal of Northamptonshire Natural History Society and Field Club, v.14, 1907/08 p169-170

© 2020, Graham Ward. All rights reserved.

  1. Northampton Mercury, Vol. X., No. XLIII.
  2. Fuller particulars of this Survey are given by Mr. A. Adcock in Vol. XII., No. 97, of this Journal (1904).
  3. The building of the railway station in such close proximity to the new Rectory, made the latter unsuitable for the purpose for which it was built. It was therefore sold to the London & N. W. Ry. Company, and on 29th March, 1879, Castle Cottage was bought as a house for the Rector.
  4. The new line was opened in Feb., 1859.
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