Northampton is the county town of Northamptonshire in the East Midlands of England. It lies on the River Nene, about 67 miles (108 km) northwest of London and 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Birmingham. In 2011, it had a population of 212,100.
Archaeological evidence of settlement in the area dates back to the Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods. During the Middle Ages, the town rose to national significance with the establishment of Northampton Castle, which was an occasional royal residence and regularly hosted the Parliament of England. Medieval Northampton had many churches, monasteries and the University of Northampton, which were all enclosed by the town walls. It was granted its first town charter by King Richard I in 1189 and its first mayor was appointed by King John in 1215. The town is also the site of two medieval battles; the Battle of Northampton (1264) and the second in 1460.
Northampton's royal connection languished in the modern period; the town supported Parliament (the Roundheads) in the English Civil War, which culminated in King Charles II ordering the destruction of the town walls and most of the castle. The town also suffered the Great Fire of Northampton (1675) which destroyed most of the town. It was soon rebuilt and grew rapidly with the industrial development of the 18th century. Northampton continued to grow following the creation of the Grand Union Canal and the arrival of the railways in the 19th century, becoming an industrial centre for footwear and leather manufacture.
After the World Wars, Northampton's growth was limited until it was designated as a New Town in 1968, accelerating development in the town. Northampton unsuccessfully applied for unitary status in 1996 and city status in 2000; the town continues to expand with many areas undergoing urban renewal.
Northampton had an estimated population of 212,069 at the 2011 census.
For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Northampton. Wikipedia supplies an "in depth" summary of Northampton's history from a Bronze Age settlement to the 20th and 21st centuries.
Municipal and County Borough Administration
Northampton was a Municipal Borough from 1835 until 1888 and a County Borough from 1888 until 1974. Until 1909 it was made up of the ecclesiastical parishes as listed in the following table. The ecclesiastical parishes were also civil parishes within the Northampton Registration District and may be noted in FreeBMD entries.
The relative locations of these ecclesiastical parishes can be found by typing "Northampton" in the search box in English Jurisdictions 1851 provided by FamilySearch and expanding the map with the "+" sign in the right-hand bottom corner a number of times. Clicking on the parish numbers within the map brings up the date of the earliest parish register and other details which may be useful. FamilySearch prevents us from reproducing this map.
In 1909 the Borough of Northampton took over from the individual ecclesiastical boroughs. The other parishes in the list below all became part of Northampton at the end of their duration.
In 1974 the Borough of Northampton became the centre of the Northampton District which included other civil parishes in the immediate area.
These two maps show the boundaries of the individual civil parishes in the county in 1900 and in 1944. Comparing the two on a local level allows one to understand the alterations (should there be any) which occurred during the interim period which are noted in the text above.