Time to shout about so many special places


Those living in Northamptonshire, in the centre of England, know it is a special county.

Now 70 contributors including famous names including Sir Terry Wogan and Sir Ranulph Fiennes have paid homage to their favourite Northamptonshire spots in a new publication.

The book, Icons of Northamptonshire, includes a number of Banburyshire features including village cricket at Evenley, the Silverstone racing circuit and the spire of King’s Sutton church.

Other fascinating entries in this book include the bronze head of the Roman empereor Marcus Aurelius (AD161-180) discovered near Brackley, Canons Ashby garden and Brackley Town Hall.

Sir Paul Hayter, chairman of the Northants branch of Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, who lives in a south Northants village, said: “It has been a great pleasure to select 70 icons, some predictable, some not, which illustrate why Northamptonshire deserves to be treasured. CPRE Northamptonshire campaigns to protect the special character of the county for the benefit of all; this book shows what that special character is.”

Accounts of the county’s place as part of the ‘valley of motorsport’, the world conker championships and a stately home known as the Versailles of England also make interesting reading.

Lord Boswell of Aynho writes about Sulgrave Manor, Sir Terry Wogan writes about the former Express Lift Tower – the landmark he dubbed the Northampton Lighthouse, – while Sir Ranulph Fiennes writes about Ashby St Ledgers and its links to the Gunpowder Plot.

Lady Heseltine tells the history of her 18th century Georgian home, Thenford House, while former Lord-Lieutenant Lady Juliet Townsend of Newbottle Manor writes about hunting and the current Lord-Lieutenant of the county, David Laing, writes about a skateboard alley in Corby.

In the book’s foreword, CPRE president, Sir Andrew Motion describes the book as ‘a long overdue celebration of one of England’s least celebrated counties... a county which is, at once, on the periphery of things and yet central to so much of England’s history and identity’.

Council leader Jim Harker said: “This book was born out of our organisations’ shared love of the county and its unique sense of place. The contributions capture the grand and the humble, the contemporary and the historic, the natural landscape and the urban environment.”

Icons of Northamptonshire is published by CPRE and Northamptonshire County Council and costs £17.50, from libraries including Brackley and Middleton Cheney.