Irthlingborough shown within Northamptonshire
|Population||6,179  (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
Irthlingborough //, 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.
In 1375 John Pyel, believed to be born Irthlingborough, circa 1310, and Mayor of London in 1372, obtained a royal licence to found the college of St. Peter, Irthlingborough by upgrading the parish church of St Peter. The college was to have six secular canons — one a dean — and four clerks, but he 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 in 1964 to passengers.
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. Acquired by The Wildlife Trust in 2011, it is planned to turn this area into a Nature Reserve. This will form part of the Upper Nene Valley Special Protection Area.
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. The A45 (former A605) is a more dependable road than the A6, being less twisty and fewer tractors.
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.
The East Northamptonshire College has a sixth-form at the Huxlow Science College. The Huxlow school, on Finedon Road (B5348) gets results above average at GCSE, and especially at A-level. It used to be known as Irthlingborough & Finedon Secondary Modern School until 1972. David Frost taught there for a term in 1958, before going to university. Snooker star and former world champion Shaun Murphy was a notable pupil.
- Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names
- A History of the County of Northamptonshire Vol. 3, William Page (ed.), Victoria County History, 1930. p.207
- The College of Irthlingborough: A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 2, R.M. Serjeantson, W.R.D. Adkins (editors) 1906
- Irthlingborough Historical Society
- A History of Irthlingborough Iron Ore Mine.
- Parish Church of St Peter, Irthlingborough
- BBC page
- 1st Irthlingborough Scout Group