Desborough

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Desborough is a town in Northamptonshire, England. It is located in the Ise Valley, between Market Harborough and Kettering. In the 19th century, the town was an industrial centre for weaving and shoe making. It has a long association with the Co-operative movement. Modern Desborough is a residential centre, with new homes and industry being developed to the north of the old town centre.

Desborough developed around the spinning and weaving industries, by the nineteenth century specialising in silk. Many archaeological finds from the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon periods have been made in the town, some of which have been inducted into the collection of London’s British Museum. The Desborough Mirror is an example of this.

Desborough is 8 km (5.0 mi) south-east of Market Harborough, 8 km (5.0 mi) north-west of Kettering and 8 km (5.0 mi) south-west of Corby.

The Kettering Leg of the Student cross pilgrimage leaves from near Desborough every year.

The A6 Rothwell-Desborough Bypass opened on August 14, 2003.

Notable buildings in the town include the thirteenth century parish church. The Domesday Book of 1086 refers to Desborough, in modern day Northamptonshire, as a ‘place of judgement’. In fact the name itself is thought to have derived from ‘Disburg’ which meant a sacred and fortified place.

In the High Street, as a centrepiece of what is now the Market Square, stands a pillar. Locals call it the Town Cross, despite it being a square column with a stone ball on top. It is perhaps better referred to as an obelisk. Its origins are thought to be a gateway pillar from Harrington Hall.

Desborough’s origins lie in the Bronze Age some 2000 years BC. Urns from this period have been found in and around the town. The most important archeological find was the 1st Century Desborough Mirror which is now in the British Museum as is an Anglo-Saxon necklace found in the Paddock Lane area of the town which comprises gold beads, a gold cross and a red garnet. Other stone artifacts are on display in the parish church of St Giles.

St Giles Church is the oldest surviving building in the town having been built in about 1225 AD. It is believed to stand on the site of an earlier Saxon church. Relics of the town’s history including part of an Anglo-Saxon cross carved from stone, a Tudor rood screen and reminders of the Civil War. Close by the church is the 18th century Church House the 19th century Desborough House with its stucco and Doric pillars, now the Services Club.

On 7 September 1969 the Anglican (Church of England) and Methodist partnership was inaugurated in the presence of the Bishop of Peterborough and the Chairman of the Oxford District. Since that time a Methodist minister has been working in equal partnership with the Anglican vicar. St Giles is part of the United Benefice of Desborough and Brampton Ash with Braybrooke and Dingley.

St Giles has regular church festivals including one of the UKs longest running (since 1998) and largest (over 100 trees) Christmas Tree Festival. The trees are contributed by local organisations, companies, individuals and families.

In addition to the parish church there is a Baptist church, a United Reformed Church and the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity.

The Old Manor House in Gold Street retains many features of its late 17th century origins. Ferdinando Poulton, a Roman Catholic lawyer was Lord of the Manor, reputedly one of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators.

Desborough comes under Northamptonshire County Council and Kettering Borough Council, as well as having its own Town Council.

It is one of the founding 12 members of the Charter of European Rural Communities and through this has links with 26 other EU member towns and villages. Through the Desborough and District Twinning Association the town is twinned with Neuville de Poitou in the Vienne departement of France and with Bievre in Belgium.

The Desborough Community Development Trust campaigns for improvements to the town.

In the 17th century the town developed as a spinning and weaving centre. Using local wool and flax, the town’s factories produced fine cloth and linen until the mid 19th century. Silk weaving then developed in a Paddock Lane factory.

To counter exploitation by agents and employers, local men founded the Desborough Co-operative Society in 1863. Starting with local shops and then a corset and lingerie factory, the Desborough Co-op still has a department store, a bank, a supermarket, a travel agents, a ladies shoe and clothing shop and a couple of corner stores.

The former Co-op Corset Factory is now owned by Eveden Ltd making lingerie and swimwear. The site includes the original Victorian factory and, immediately opposite, Eveden’s warehousing and UK factory shop.

The former Co-operative Society Sports Ground with its football field and tennis courts is now the site of a major housing development called Desbeau Park. Desbeau was the name of one of the range of lingerie made at the Corset Factory.

The Desborough Co-op was recently purchased by the larger East Midlands Co-op who have since closed the bank and the ladies shoe and clothing shop. They have also turned one of the corner shops in to a funeral directors.

The former RS Lawrence’s shoe factory site on the High Street was sold by the Midland Co-operative Society to Kettering Borough Council.

Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.

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