Northampton was destroyed by a great fire in 1675. The town was rebuilt in such a capacious and open-planned manner that Daniel Defoe decribed it as "the handsomest and best built town in all this part of England".
Northampton Guildhall © TAB
The rebuilding of Northampton after the fire took place around an extensive market square, one of the biggest in the country at that time. The main streets which radiate from it reflect some the town's medieval trades, such as Sheep Street, Silver Street and Gold Street. Five fine churches also survived the fire. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built circa 1110, to imitate the original in Jerusalem; one of only four such round churches in the country.
Two non-religious buildings to survive the devistation were Haselrigg House (1662) and Welsh House (1595) built by the wealthy Welsh drovers who sold their cattle in Northampton market.
Boot, shoe and leather manufacturing was a major industry in the late 18th century. The importance to the town is reflected in the Central Museum and Art Gallery, which displays shoes from Roman times to Queen Victoria's slippers and David Beckham's football boots.
Tourist Information Centre:
|Royal and Derngate, Guildhall Road, Northampton, NN1 1DP|
Just east of the town centre on the A4500. Located in the park is the Abington Park Museum and the Regimental Museum, which occupy a medieval manor house where Shakespeare's grand-daughter once lived. The Museum of Leather craft collection is also housed there.
Located south of the town near the river Nene.
Home of the World Famous Shoe Collection. Located on Guildhall Road, in the town centre.
An award-winning historic house, 78 Derngate, near the town centre.