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Things to do in Thrapston, Northamptonshire

Thrapston is a delightful small town in Northamptonshire Near the River Nene, with a population of just over 5,000 residents. It is just off the A14 between Kettering and Huntingdon.

View of Thrapston © Mark Baldwyn
View of Thrapston © Mark Baldwyn

Thrapston is a small and friendly community. It has a primary and a junior school, which feed the Prince William Secondary School in nearby Oundle.

Visitors will find several local shops, restaurants, pubs and fast food outlets in the town. The historic church is open to visitors on Saturday morning and a guidebook is available.

One of the main employers in the area is Scotts of Thrapston, which supplies timber buildings for use as summerhouses, stables and outbuildings as well as roof trusses and flooring.

Things to do in Thrapston

Every year the historic charter is celebrated with the local Charter Fair, which takes over the High Street with sideshows, stalls and family events.

The rolling hills of Northamptonshire are ideal for those wanting to enjoy walking, cycling and outdoor pursuits.

Thrapston Church © Mark Baldwyn
Thrapston Church © Mark Baldwyn

Lake Elenor and Ringstead Grange are within walking distance of the village and provide excellent fishing. Day tickets are available from the river bailiff.

Rockingham Castle and Gardens is just 14 miles away and offers an interesting day out. It has been continuously occupied for over a thousand years and home to the Watson family since it was relinquished as a royal castle. It has a fascinating history, beautiful gardens and wonderful antique furnishings.

Sporting attractions around Thrapstone include the Rockingham Motor Speedway, the Santa Pod Raceway and Huntingdon Racecourse for a day at the races.

History of Thrapston

The town has a long history with a mention in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Trapestone. It was granted its charter in 1205 in exchange for two palfreys (horses)!

Thrapston was quite likely an earlier Roman town, situated at the crossroads on the road linking Durovigutum (Godmanchester) and Ratae, now known as Leicester. This was intersected by a second Roman road that ran between Durobrivae, now Water Newton, and Irchester.

Several Roman buildings have been found four miles away at Ringstead on what would have been the Irchester road.

View of Thrapston © Mark Baldwyn
View of Thrapston © Mark Baldwyn

St James Parish Church dates back to the 13th century and is one of the oldest buildings in the area, built near the site of an ancient castle.

When it was completed, it belonged to the Abbey of Bourne in Lincolnshire until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century.

The church has a sloping floor to accommodate the ploughs that were brought into the porch in mediaeval times. The eight bells were dedicated in 1897 to mark Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

Relatives of George Washington, first President of the United States, lived in Thrapston.

Sir John Washington, brother of George's great-grandfather, lived in Chancery Lane and his wife's tombstone can be seen in the local church.

Note the stone tablet with the stars and stripes, which were part of the Washington family coat of arms. They are said to have inspired the American Flag.

Horace William Wheelwright was another famous Thrapston resident. He was a lawyer in the town in the 1840s and a keen naturalist and writer.

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