Great Fire of Northampton
The Great Fire of Northampton occurred in 1675 in the town of Northampton in Northamptonshire, England. The blaze was caused by sparks from an open fire in St. Mary’s Street near Northampton Castle, and devastated the town centre, destroying about 700 buildings [out of 850] including All Saints church, in six hours. Three quarters of the town was destroyed, 11 people died and about 700 families were made homeless. Many people escaped the fire by going through Welsh House on the market square to safety.
Local people and businesses raised £25,000 towards re-building the town centre based around the Market Square. Streets were widened to help prevent a re-occurrence. King Charles II donated 1,000 tons of timber from Salcey Forest for the re-building. A commemorative statue of the king (dressed in Roman toga) stands on the portico of the re-built All Saints church.
Later, in 1724, the new appearance inspired the author and traveller Daniel Defoe to describe Northampton as the "handsomest and best built town in all this part of England…..finely rebuilt with brick and stone, and the streets made spacious and wide".
- Donation listed in Shaw's Calendar of Treasury Books, William A. Shaw (ed.), Calendar of Treasury Books, Volume 6: 1679-1680. (1913), pp. 11-18.
- Northampton Chronicle article
- Contemporary account of the fire of Northampton 1675
- Encyclopedia britannica 1911 entry for Northampton
- Great fire web-page