Walk 56: Thrapston Town Centre: The Star Spangled Banner

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: Probably about 1 mile

Time to walk: About 1 hour, although could be combined with a walk along the river to the lakes & Aldwincle to make a full day

Difficulty: Easy – all on hard paths

Parking: We parked in the free Co-op car park (time restrictions apply) in Oundle Road

Public toilets: In the car park, or several pubs in the town

Map of the route: @Thrapston Heritage Trail

 map 3

This was the 3rd small town Heritage Trail that we had a look at in January 2015 whilst the fields were too wet to walk

On a dry day you could combine it with our other walk below which starts in Thrapston & heads out into some fabulous countryside…


We found it quite hard to find any historical facts about the town…Thrapston lies close to the River Nene on the junction of the A14 & the A45. Until the 1960s, Thrapston had two railway stations… Thrapston (Midland) was on the Kettering to Cambridge route & the former station & viaduct can be seen from the adjacent A14 road. Thrapston (Bridge Street) was on the former LNWR Northampton to Peterborough line

The market charter was granted over 800 years ago in 1205. This is celebrated every year with the town holding a Charter fair

A relative of George Washington, Sir John Washington, lived in Chancery Lane in the town & his wife is buried in the church. Sir John was brother to George Washington’s great grandfather

As we can’t find much in the history books let’s have a wander & see what we can find around this small market town…

Let’s Walk!!

1. We parked in the Oundle Street car park & head down towards the t-junction with Huntingdon Road. It was late in the day so the light was fading fast…


The first property of interest is directly ahead…


This is The Old Rectory, a Grade II listed building. It’s an Elizabethan building designed by WF Donthorpe in 1836

Unable to find out anymore about this one, let’s move on…

2. Facing The Old Rectory we turn left & walk up Huntingdon Road. On the corner is one of several ‘watering holes’ we’ll encounter…The Mason Arms



 3. Almost next door is The Court House



It would have been good if the pub / hotel’s website above had included a section on the history of this place. It was built in the 19th century as a county police station & also had a small courtroom. The heritage site says that the small adjacent lane led to the cells from where people were transferred to Bedford prison

4. They’re coming thick & fast now…the next building on the left’s the Corn Exchange…



Another Grade II listed building, we can’t find too much of it’s history apart from what’s on ‘The Heritage Trail’ which says it was originally The George & then remodelled by Mr Freeman-Roe in 1850

5. Continue up Huntingdon Road until we reach the signpost to the Baptist Church



Another listed building, it opened on 27th March 1788…



6. Now cross over the road & head back down the other side…above the wall here’s the Peace Memorial Park…


This park was bought by the council as a memorial to those who died in World War I. There used to be a large sycamore tree called the “Elephant Tree’ which unfortunately was felled in 2011. You can just see it above…


And now it all kicked off…..

If you look closely at the above picture you’ll see a woman on the right with 2 dogs coming towards us

After taking this photo & turning away we heard a very loud “Excuse me…Excuse me…”

She wanted to know why we were taking photos of her & her dogs thus invading her privacy. After explaining who we were & what we were doing, we asked her, as a long time resident of the town, if she’d heard of the Thrapston Heritage Trail?

Moving on then & enjoy walking your dogs…


7. We need to cross the street again into Oundle Road &, on the left’s an area known as Coronation Gardens…


In 1953 the Girl Guides planted a garden here in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II coronation…


Okay locals…..we give in where’s the gardens?

Nice memorial though

Nice memorial though

8. At the far end of the ‘gardens’ is the Calling Post which originally stood on Thrapston Wharf when all goods were moved by boat…


9. So…moving slightly further up Oundle Road we turn left down the alley just past the supermarket…



…where we arrive in the churchyard…


10. Here we find St James Church…



St James Church dates back to around the 13th century. The Washington Arms, the origins of the National Flag of the United States, the famous “Stars and Stripes”, can be found on a stone tablet in the Church

Sir John Washington, the great great uncle of George Washington the first President of the USA, died in Thrapston in 1688

Pop in

Pop in

11. Exiting through the opposite gate we find ourselves in an area known as the Old Bullring…




This is thought to be where the old market was held after King John granted the Market Charter in 1205. He awarded the market charter in return for two palfreys (small riding horses) & they are now represented on Thrapston’s civic badge & flag.

The Charter is still celebrated in June every year, when the annual ‘Charter Fair’ is held on the High Street

The local Indian in the Bullring, The Bengal Brasserie, sounds pretty good with an award winning chef…



12. Continuing through the Bullring we arrive in Chancery Lane & turn left heading towards Huntingdon Road again. The building over the road known as Montague House was the Washington family home…



The name Montague House comes from a doctor who lived there named Montague who later married into the Washington family

13. Coming out of Chancery Lane we turn right & walk down the High Street & Bridge Street to have a look at Thrapston Bridge…& yes, we did take these on an earlier walk when the weather was much better!




If you fancy stopping off for refreshments then The Woolpack Inn‘s worth a visit…


14. Heading back down Bridge Street turn right at the mini roundabout & head along Midland Road for approximately 1/2 mile before turning left up Cedar Drive

At the top here are two properties…the Union Workhouse & The infirmary…



The Union Workhouse was built in 1836 & designed by William J Donthorn who was responsible for the design of many workhouses in the east of England including those at Ely, Wisbech, Oakham & Uppingham. The Poor Law Commissioners authorised an expenditure of £4,400 on construction of the building which was intended to accommodate up to 200 inmates

The Infirmary was built in 1900 following the Local Government Board National Inspector reporting that the Thrapston Union should provide better nursing accommodation & more beds for the sick

15. It’s now time to head back to the town centre &, at the mini roundabout turn right up the High Street. The building that’s now Barclays Bank is worth a closer look at…



In 1783, George Eland had a drapers shop on the site now occupied by Barclays Bank. He combined his business with banking &, in 1812, became associated with the Stamford & Rutland Bank. A partnership was formed to carry on a banking business under the name of the Thrapston & Northamptonshire Bank. The proprietors were William Johnson, Stephen Eaton & George Eland. The first two were the original proprietors of the Stamford & Rutland Bank, but the day to day business of the Thrapston Bank was left to George Eland 

When George Eland died the remaining partners continued the business for 16 years, but in July 1888 found themselves in financial difficulties & accepted the offer of the Stamford Spalding & Boston Banking Co

In 1911 the Stamford Spalding & Boston Banking Co amalgamated with Barclay & Co which, in 1917, became Barclays Bank. Barclay’s branches at Thrapston & Market Place, Kettering are the successors to Messrs Eland & Eland

16. Just along from the Bank is the Corn Exchange…


This building was originally The George Inn & was converted into the Corn Exchange in 1850

Heading back to where we left the car there’s a couple more of Thrapston’s plentiful watering holes…

The King’s Arms…




…& The Fox…this really is a great town for a bit of a pub crawl, purely on an investigatory purpose of course!


17. Turning left into Oundle Road we arrive back at the start of our walk

So what did we think about our short historical walk around this small town? Well we praise it for having a Heritage Trail, but first impressions are that it could do so much more to promote itself through each individual place having websites etc

It is however worth combining this walk with our Walk 17 as this will give a much better experience…

Go Walk!

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