Walk 55: Titchmarsh Village Heritage Trail: Do you dig it Alan?…

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: Difficult to estimate, but Titchmarsh is only a small village so it’s not much more than 1 mile of walking

Time to walk: We’d recommend allocating about 1 hour, however you may wish to partake of refreshments at the local hostelry which is well worth a visit

Difficulty: Easy – all on hard paths

Parking: We parked on road outside the Village Shop

Public toilets: The Wheatsheaf pub

Map of the route: @Titchmarsh Heritage Trail

map

We hadn’t been to Titchmarsh for well over 30 years since we lived out that way & The Wheatsheaf was one of our local haunts

So when we found that it had a Heritage Trail we decided to pay a visit in January 2015, especially as the fields at that time were very wet & muddy

Titchmarsh is a small village in the east of the County sitting on high ground with fine views all around. There’s evidence of pre-Roman occupation, although the village has the Anglo Saxons to thank for its name…Ticceanmersce or Ticcea’s Marsh

Four families dominate the history of the village: the Lovells; the Pickerings; the Drydens & the Powys

Although much of the edge of the village has changed due to new developments, the centre has remained pretty untouched for centuries

We’re looking forward to this one so…Let’s Walk!!

1. Our walk starts outside the Village Shop which was originally the fire station…

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The Shop was opened on Friday 21st September 2007 by TV gardener & personality Alan Titchmarsh, 10 years after the last shop in the village closed…

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2. We’re going to walk straight ahead towards Chapel Street…

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Lots of beautiful properties around here

Lots of beautiful properties around here

…& at the junction turn left. Our next stop’s the Church which we’d heard contains a few ‘treasures’…

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3. The Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin has been the centre of the community in Titchmarsh for some 800 years

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It’s not the first Church to have existed on this site. The remains of a 12th century doorway are the only relic of the Norman building. Today’s building was constructed in the 14th & 15th centuries. The tower is unusual for a Church in this area – you’re more likely to find this type in Somerset

It was open so let’s have a look inside…

4. The inside of the Church is surprisingly airy & uncluttered. The first thing that strikes you is the Baptistry area sitting under the large tower…

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Simple, but calming

Simple, but calming

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5. What we’d really come to see though was the murals & they’re pretty impressive…

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6. Exiting out of the Church we turn right & head towards the gate leading into the meadow…

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Turning round we get a great view of exactly how large the tower is…

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7. On the left’s The Old Rectory…

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Another listed building, it dates from 1861 & was where church parish meetings were held

8. At the end of the field we pass through the gate & turn left to see the fabulous Pickering alms houses which date from 1756  & were built for 8 poor widows of the parish. They remind us of the alms houses in Kings Sutton as both had rules stipulating that residents should not indulge in playing cards, quarrelling, but all must attend church on a regular basis

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9. We now need to retrace our steps through the meadow & churchyard & exit back onto Church Street. The thatched cottage ahead of us known as No. 6 Church Street is thought to date from the 1600’s &, although once owned by the Church, has been privately owned since the 1940’s

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Note the step down into the cottage which shows the original level of the road

10. Right…let’s retrace our steps along Chapel Street…

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…where on the right’s the Wesleyan Chapel which was built in 1871…

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Looks a lot newer than 1871 doesn't it...

Looks a lot newer than 1871 doesn’t it…

11. Keep heading down Chapel Street & you get the impression that this part of the village hasn’t changed in years…

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Blossom! Spring's coming

Blossom! Spring’s coming

The road bends right at the bottom…

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12. At the top on the right is Titchmarsh’s only surviving pub…The Wheatsheaf

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This used to be one of our haunts many years ago &, whilst the outside hasn’t changed much it appears to have gone very much down the gastropub route…

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13. Directly over the road is Castle Mound & you can make out the earthworks of the old buildings…

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Titchmarsh Castle was probably built around the 12th Century & was the main residence of the Lovell family.  It included a moated site & a large fishpond. Records show substantial stone buildings surrounded by a circular wall & towers. A large proportion of the moat island is undisturbed. Here’s a map of what it would have looked like…

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14. Facing the Castle Mound we need to turn left & walk down the High Street to the village edge…

If you fancy stopping over...

If you fancy stopping over…

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There appears to be quite a ‘social’ scene in the village…

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Heady scent of rosemary

Heady scent of rosemary

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15. At the bottom of the hill on the left’s The Old Bakehouse…

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A Grade II listed building, this was one of two bakehouses in the village

16. Just past this building there’s a turning on the left

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The thatched house on the right is called Brook Farm House & is believed to be the oldest in the village. The footings are believed to date back to Tudor times. They were re-thatching it when we did this walk…

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17. Coming back up to the junction we cross over into the street called Polopit…

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You can see the house we’re going to look at above – it’s the last one on the right & is called Brookside House…

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Brookside House was built in 1628 and enlarged in the 18th century. It’s believed to be the family home of the Drydens, Erasmus & Mary. One of their 14 children, John Dryden became the first Poet Laureate

The old entrance has been bricked up, but the letterbox is still there!!

The old entrance has been bricked up, but the letterbox is still there!!

18. Now let’s head back up the High Street to where we left our car & we’ve got one final building to look at…

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Just past the Wheatsheaf there’s a signpost to ‘The Clubroom’…

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The Clubroom is much older than it first looks, dating back to 1862 & has been the centre of village life since that time

It was bought for the village in 1923 by the 5th Lord Lilford

About 100 yards further on we arrive back at the Village Shop where we left our car

So that’s the end of our short walk to explore Titchmarsh’s Heritage Trail & it’s good to revisit a place we haven’t been to for a long time. There’s lots of history here to keep you occupied for a good hour & slightly longer if you combine it with a visit to The Wheatsheaf

Another beautiful Northamptonshire treasure

So…Go Walk!!

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