< previous  
Towcester in the 19th Century
DateEvent Related to Towcester
1800Grand Junction Canal opened.
1800Towcester had a theatre with a pit.
1801There were 424 houses and 2030 inhabitants in the parish. (Baker p.324)
1801Simon Adams built an additional Almshouse to add to Bickerstaffes.
1801Phipps first brewery built at Towcester. Malthouse Court now stands on its site.
1809Wesleyan Methodists erect chapel in street leading to Brackley. It was 40' long and 29'6" wide with gallery on the north side and a house for the minister attached. (Baker p.324)
1811There were 465 houses and 2245 inhabitants in the parish. (Baker p.324)
1815Bickerstaffe Almshouses rebuilt. (Baker p.337)
1815Jenkinson's bank acquired by Percivals Bank of Northampton. (anon)
1815"Holyhead Road" Acts. The route was improved by Telford as a long distance coach route for the Irish Mail.
1821There were 529 houses and 2554 inhabitants in the parish. (Baker p.324)
1821-2A fire occurred in Towcester. (NM).
1825/6Dolphin Inn shut up. (NM)
1830Northamptonshire landowners met at the White Horse Inn, Towcester in December 1830 to consider the project for a railway from London to Birmingham and voiced their objections.(NRO: YZ3264 Box 1380)
1830Towcester had 3 Inns, 16 taverns and public houses.
1831There were 542 houses and 2671 inhabitants in the parish. (Baker p.324)
1835A Poor Union centred on Towcester was established for 23 parishes. A Union Workhouse was constructed for up to 200 inmates to the designs of George Gilbert Scott. It was built using oolite stone from Foxcote and cost £500. (Baker p.312). It was closed in 1931.
c.1835The Inns in the town were The White Horse, The Bell, The Dolphin, another Dolphin, The Angel, The Talbot, The Saracen's Head and The Red Lion.
1836A gallery added to the church making it capable of seating 1176 people; 678 of the seats were free.
1836The chancel of St Lawrence's Church was lowered to be same level as the nave and Archdeacon Sponne's grave broken into. His skeleton lay perfect and then fell to dust. Chancel seated up. (NRO: Towcester burials register 1842-1872)
1837Rough stone tramways were laid up the hills to north of Towcester to aid coach travel. The work employed 300 men under direction of George Savage of Stoke Bruerne. (NDR 30/7/1889)
1838The Towcester Gas Company was formed in 1837 and the town streets were lit by 35 gas lamps. (Whellan 1874 p. 548)
1840 FebruaryFloods (NM)
1840Directory of trades - basket makers,, booksellers / stationers,Woolstaplers, watch makers, silk stocking manufacture, maltsters, cabinet makers (Pigot's directory)
1841The White Horse Inn was sold. This posting house had 7 parlours, 18 bedrooms, water closets and stabling for 50 horses.(NRO: HT/A/299). The site is now known as White Horse Yard or Museum Court.
1845The Congregational Chapel was built.
1850Towcester reading society founded (Kelly's directory 1854)
1851National School built for £1100, average attendance 150. (Whellan 1874 p.350)
1851The population including hamlets was 2,665. (Kelly's directory)
1852A Police Station was built with accommodation for an inspector and two constables. A Magistrates Court was also built. (Whellan 1874 p.352). The Police Station was rebuilt on the same site in 1936.
1853 OctoberIndependent chapel (stone) built (Kelly's directory 1854)
1854Cholera epidemic. Occupants of the dilapidated houses around the churchyard suffered greatly. (NH 5/9/1885)
1854Vicarage House (Rectory) was fitted with a water closet (Law's plan)
1854 20th OctoberThe October Fair was noted for the large quantities of onions brought for sale. The town contained several maltings and one large brewery. At Mr Harfurts is a book club, theological library and reading room. The principal manufacture is of pillow lace and shoes. (Kelly's directory 1854)
c.1855Thomas Ridgway, thought to be the tea magnate, offered to build houses for the poor if Lord Pomfret would provide the land. The first houses were built in Brackley Road. Later another 12 houses were built forming Queens terrace, followed by 14 houses forming Albert Terrace. Ridgway erected about 50 houses at a cost of £6-7000. Rents were 5% of outlay. Improved health, comfort and social conditions for the poor. (NH 5/9/1885)
c.1856A sewer was built at cost of £400 at the south end of town to improve sanitary conditions after the cholera outbreak. It drained into the Tove (Newspaper article dated 22/1/1876 "The Towcester Floods").
1864Lady Palmerston cuts the first turf of the East and West Junction Railway at Towcester in August 1864.
1865The Town Hall & Corn exchange was built at a cost of £3600. The Hall accommodated 400 people.
1866The Blisworth to Towcester railway line was opened and Towcester Station built. A large number of Roman coins were found during the construction.
1866Towcester Grammar School was closed down after failing an inspection by the Endowed Schools Inquiry Commission.
1870The Infant School was built at a cost of £360. The average attendance 150. (Whellan 1874 p.350)
1872Towcester to Cockley Brake Junction (Banbury) opened.
1873Inhabitants of Towcester were chiefly employed in the manufacture of shoes and boots. The lace trade continues. (Whellan 1874 p.548)
1873Towcester to Stratford on Avon railway line was opened.
c.1875Francis Montgomery of Heathencote starts manufacturing soda and mineral water on Watling street in Towcester at the inn today known as the "Monk and Tipster" (formerly the "Watling Well" and also the "Sun".)
1876The brook at the lower end of the town was straightened. People kept boards and clay handy to stop up crevices on the ground floor in case of flooding. (Newspaper cutting 15/5/1907). The former river channel from "The Broadwater" weir along the ancient water course was known as Dingley Gate to Twitckett's Mill tail.
1876First horse race at Towcester, established by Her Imperial Majesty, The Empress of Austria, who was staying at Easton Neston.
1876Ridgway Cottages on Brackley Road built by Mr Ridgway (of tea fame) who was concerned about living conditions for the poor.
1877The Baptist Chapel was erected in the High Street../text (Kelly's directory 1898)
1878Ex Queen of Naples stayed at Park View.
1885The Church cemetery was closed. (Kelly's directory 1940)
1886A new cemetery was formed in Brackley Road. (Kelly's directory 1924)
1887Ceremony of Cutting the First Sod of the Stratford-on-Avon, Towcester and Midland Junction Railway by Sir Thomas Fermor Hesketh, Bart., in the field next the Towcester Railway Station at One o'clock, December 15th 1887.
1890Towcester Grammar School reopened on the Brackley Road with 33 boys under headmaster Mr John Wetherell M.A..
1892Towcester to Ravenstown Wood Junction railway opened.
1898The town was supplied with water from Dockwell Mill reservoir. The Churchyard was enlarged by half an acre by Earl of Pomfret. A malting and a brewery existed. The Grafton Hunt steeple chases were held on Easter Monday.
  1. Baker "The History and Antiquities of the County of Northampton" by G.Baker 1822 and 1836 (two volumes) London.
  2. Guildhall Library Ms
  3. Kelly's Directory
  4. Law's plan
  5. Moss tba
  6. NDR "Northampton Daily Record"
  7. NM "Northampton Mercury"
  8. NH
  9. NPL - NM index
  10. NRO National Records Office
  11. - The story of an English country town" Towcester and District Local History Society 1995, ISBN 0-9524619-1-9
  12. Universal British Directory
  13. Whellan "History Gazetteer and Directory of Northamptonshire" W.Whellan 1874
 < previous