Irthlingborough

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Irthlingborough (/ˈɜrθlɪŋbərə/), originally called Yrtlingaburg in the 8th Century, it is called Erdiburn in the Domesday Book, later still, Artleborough. It is a small town on the River Nene in Northamptonshire, England with a population of 6,179 people  according to the 2001 census. It is the smallest town in England to have possessed a league association football team, Rushden & Diamonds. The parish church, St Peter, has a lantern tower which is unusual for Northamptonshire churches. This was built to guide travellers across the Nene valley in foggy weather. It also has doors at the four cardinal points; of note are the eight misericords in the chancel. Services still continue daily with the main service being at 10:00 am on Sunday mornings.

Circa 790, King Offa of Mercia held court near Irthlingborough.

In 1375 John Pyel, believed to be born Irthlingborough, Circa 1310, (Mayor of London 1372) obtained a royal licence to found the college of St. Peter, Irthlingborough, a college for six secular canons—one of whom should be dean—and four clerks, but died before his intention was actually carried out. The design was eventually accomplished by his widow, Joan, in 1388.

In the past, ironstone was mined near Irthlingborough, and as part of the local ironstone mine, a tunnel was bored between Irthlingborough and nearby Finedon. The tunnel is still in existence although the Irthlingborough end has been landscaped over and the Finedon end sealed with concrete. Irthlingborough railway station closed to passengers in 1964.

More recently the River Nene floodplains located between the town and its neighbour, Higham Ferrers, have been quarried for gravel. Quarrying in the area was extensive, stretching to Northampton in the West (upstream) and Thorpe Waterville to the North-Northeast (downstream). The quarries were later left to fill with water creating man-made lakes.

For the first time in 2007 Irthlingborough decided to elect a Town Mayor.

The town can be divided quite easily into areas with Pine Trees to the south-west, Victoria and Allen roads in the centre running parallel to the High Street on either side, Knightlands to the North, Crow Hill to the extreme north-east (over a mile from the town centre) and the football ground and training facilities to the east.

The A6 used to pass through the town, but was bypassed in the 1930s to the north. The former route is the B5348. Irthlingborough Viaduct was built in 1936 and connects the town to Higham Ferrers and the busy A45.

Whitworths, the home baking and healthy snack products company, is based in the town, starting in 1886 and employs 310 people at the plant on the B571 (Wellingborough Road). Sonifex, a manufacturer of radio broadcast products has been in the town since its beginning in 1969 with its research and manufacturing base on Station Road. Dr. Martens has a long history with the town; the manufacturer R Griggs, owned by Max Griggs, had its head office in the town until production moved to China in 2003, much to the displeasure of the National Union of Knitwear, Footwear & Apparel Trades. In 2003, the company made a loss of £60m, having lost £32m in 2002. The company’s office is now in Wollaston. The Wellingborough factory was the first to close in July 2002.

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