06 October 2014

A world conker championships, the bronze head of a Roman emperor, the home of British motorsport, and a stately home known as the Versailles of England are just some of the entries in a newly-published book celebrating the unique treasures of Northamptonshire.

In the book 70 contributors - including broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan, explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, and parish priest Richard Coles – pay homage to their favourite iconic places, buildings and events in the county.

Joint publication

The book, Icons of Northamptonshire, is published jointly by Northamptonshire County Council and the Northamptonshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE Northamptonshire) and is on sale (price £17.50) in the county’s libraries from Tuesday 7th October.

Council Leader Jim Harker said: “This book was born out of our organisations’ shared love of the county and its unique sense of place.

“The contributions capture the grand and the humble, the contemporary and the historic, the natural landscape and the urban environment. They showcase some of our best-known gems and shine a light on some of our more obscure treasures.”

Sir Paul Hayter, chairman of CPRE Northamptonshire said: “It has been a great pleasure to select 70 icons, some predictable, some not, which illustrate why Northamptonshire deserves to be treasured. CPRE Northamptonshire campaigns to protect the special character of the county for the benefit of all; this book shows what that character is.”

Conkers and fast cars

The entries include details of:

  • the annual conker festival near Oundle which sees men, women and children compete for the title of World Conker Champion
  • the bronze head of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180) discovered near Brackley
  • Silverstone circuit, the home of British motorsport
  • Boughton House, one of Britain’s grandest and best-preserved stately homes known as the Versailles of England because of its elegant grandeur.

Broadcaster Sir Terry Wogan writes about the Express Lifts Tower, the landmark he dubbed the Northampton Lighthouse, while Sir Ranulph Fiennes writes about Ashby St Ledgers and its links to the Gunpowder Plot. The Revd Richard Coles writes about St Peter’s church, Lowick; Lady Heseltine explains the history of her 18th century Georgian home, Thenford House and the Lord-Lieutenant of the county, David Laing, writes about a skateboard alley in Corby.

In the book’s foreword, CPRE President Sir Andrew Motion declares the book “a long-overdue celebration of one of England’s least celebrated counties ... a county which is, at once, on the periphery of things, and yet central to so much of England’s history and identity.”

Glorious colour photographs illustrate the entries, bringing them to life.

The book will be on sale in Northamptonshire’s libraries from Tuesday 7th October.


The full list of the icons in the book:

The Countryside
1. Northamptonshire Landscape
2. Northamptonshire Countryside
3. Northamptonshire Stone
4. Royal Forests

Old Northamptonshire
5. Piddington Romano–British Villa
6. Head of Marcus Aurelius
7. Borough Hill, Daventry
8. Fawsley: a Deserted Medieval Village
9. Geddington
10. Lyveden New Bield
11. Rushton Triangular Lodge
12. Naseby
13. Ashby St Ledgers and the Gunpowder Plot
14. Sulgrave
15. Fotheringhay
16. Chester Farm
17. Royal Army Ordnance Depot, Weedon Bec

18. Brackley Town Hall
19. Oundle Market Place
20. The Bede House, Higham Ferrers
21. Corby
22. The Guildhall and Sessions House, Northampton
23. Express Lifts Tower, Northampton
24. Northampton’s Royal Theatre Safety Curtain
25. 78 Derngate, Northampton
26. Becket’s Well – Bedford Road, Northampton
27. St Andrew’s: a caring community

The Natural World
28. Nene Valley Special Protection Area
29. Everdon Stubbs
30. Old Sulehay Nature Reserve
31. Stanwick Lakes
32. Northamptonshire Gardens

Churches and Chapels
33. Spires
34. All Saints Church, Brixworth
35. All Saints Church, Earls Barton
36. St Botolph’s Church, Slapton
37. Holy Sepulchre Church, Northampton
38. The Church of St Nicholas, Stanford-on-Avon
39. St Mary’s Church, Wellingborough
40. St Peter’s Church, Lowick
41. Northamptonshire Chapels
42. St Mary’s Church, Titchmarsh
43. Medieval Stained Glass

44. Althorp
45. Boughton and its Landscape
46. Castle Ashby
47. Deene Park
48. Easton Neston
49. Kirby Hall
50. Lamport Hall
51. Rockingham Castle
52. Southwick Hall
53. Thenford House

54. M1 and the Watford Gap
55. Stoke Bruerne
56. Harringworth Viaduct
57. Sywell Aerodrome

Industry and Commerce
58. Whitworths, Victoria Mills, Wellingborough
59. Northampton Museums and Art Gallery – Shoe Collection
60. Shoe Factory – Cheaney Shoes, Desborough
61. Northamptonshire Business Icons

Sport and recreation
62. Silverstone
63. Northamptonshire Cricket
64. Towcester Racecourse
65. Northampton Saints Rugby Football Club
66. Hunting Country – “The Finest View in Europe”
67. Northamptonshire Skittles
68. The World Conker Championships
69. Wicksteed Park, Kettering
70. Adrenaline Alley, Corby