Hometown Pride

Are you thinking of moving to Weedon? Having a little knowledge of the area in which you live, or of where you intend to move, can provide an enormous sense of psychological wellbeing. Homes and their locality are an important part of what makes us who we are. An understanding of the history of our hometowns can instil a sense of belonging and pride.

The following short post traces some of the more notable facts and historical events of Weedon.

At the Crossing of Road and River

Originally known as Weedon-Bec this historic village lies close to the Roman Watling Street where it crosses the river Nene. Just below this crossing of river and road and nestled between the grand union canal and railway line is the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. A church that was largely rebuilt in the early 19th century, but which still retains its fine and battled tower from the 12th century.

Aerial view of St. Peter and St. Pauls Church, Weedon.

The Church of St. Peter & St. Paul

Hill with the Sacred Place

An even earlier church, built by King Wulfere of Mercia, occupied the same site some 1300 years ago. King Wulfere’s daughter, St. Werburgh, also founded a nunnery from a former palace close by on the banks of the river Nene. It is from this palace that Weedon gets its name – meaning ‘hill with the sacred place’. St Werburgh is said to have performed many miracles.

The Miracle of Weedon

One of those miracles was to banish geese from Weedon village due to the damage they were causing to the villager’s crops and the impending risk of famine. The offending flock of geese duly obeyed St. Werburgh’s orders to depart and, to this day, no geese are ever seen in Weedon! A church window commemorates this miracle and the windvane atop the church tower also serves as a monument – it does not depict the standard weathercock but instead takes the form of a weather-goose! The departing geese also form the logo of Weedon-Bec primary school.

Six Sovereigns

Another of Weedon’s famous residents is Alice Old who lived up to her surname by being one of Weedon’s longest living inhabitants. Alice lived to witness the reign of six sovereigns and many important historical events. Born under Queen Elizabeth and passing away under the rule of William and Mary, Alice would have heard the commotion of the gunpowder plot and maybe even have seen the perpetrators as they sought to escape towards Ashby St ledgers. Accounts of the Great Plague ravishing London would have reached Alice’s doorstep and it is likely that she was witness to the Great Fire of Northampton as the red glow would have been clearly visible atop Weedon hill.

Retreat to the Heart of England

One of Weedon’s most familiar structures is the Royal Ordnance Depot. Built in 1802 and located mainly due to Weedon’s relatively new canal system and turnpike – making easy transportation of personnel, materials, and armoury. The site was also allegedly chosen because of Weedon’s central location in the Heart of England. Being the furthest point from the sea it would form a safe retreat for George III and his family in the event of a Napoleonic French invasion. The majority of the depot still stands today and now forms a unique space offering a selection of artisan workshops offices, studios, antique stores, and book shops.

The Royal Ordnance Depot, Weedon - Gate House with Cupola

The Royal Ordnance Depot, Weedon – Gate House with Cupola

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