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Church of St Peter, Irthlingborough - - 120204.jpg
St Peter's Church, Irthlingborough
Irthlingborough is located in Northamptonshire
 Irthlingborough shown within Northamptonshire
Population 8,535 [1] (2011 Census)
OS grid reference SP945705
District East Northamptonshire
Shire county Northamptonshire
Region East Midlands
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district NN9
Dialling code 01933
Police Northamptonshire
Fire Northamptonshire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
UK Parliament Corby
List of places

Coordinates: 52°19′26″N 0°36′50″W / 52.324°N 0.614°W / 52.324; -0.614

Irthlingborough /ˈɜrθlɪŋbərə/, is a town on the River Nene in Northamptonshire, England. It had a population of 8,535 at the 2011 census[1] and is the smallest town in England to have had a Football League team, Rushden & Diamonds. The parish church, St Peter, has a lantern tower, unusual for Northamptonshire churches, which 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.


Irthlingborough was called Yrtlingaburg in the 8th century,[2] Erdiburn in the Domesday Book, and later Artleborough.[3]

Offa's Parliament[edit]

King Offa of Mercia held court near Irthlingborough circa 790.[4]

John Pyel[edit]

In 1375 John Pyel, Mayor of London in 1372 - who is believed to have been born at Irthlingborough circa 1310 - 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.[5]


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 still exists, although the Irthlingborough end has been landscaped over and the Finedon end sealed with concrete. Irthlingborough railway station closed in 1964 to passengers.[citation needed]


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 in the north-northeast (downstream). The quarries were later left to fill with water creating man-made lakes. In 2011 the area was acquired by The Wildlife Trust, which plans to turn it into a Nature Reserve.[6] This will form part of the Upper Nene Valley Special Protection Area.[7]


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 north-east (over a mile from the town centre) and the football ground and training facilities to the east.[citation needed]

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 with fewer tractors in the traffic.

Local economy[edit]

Whitworths, the home baking and healthy snack products company, has been based in the town since 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 and has 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 centre at Huxlow Science College. It was known as Irthlingborough & Finedon Secondary Modern School until 1972. Sir David Frost taught there for a term in 1958, before going to university. Snooker star and former world champion Shaun Murphy, who was born in Harlow and raised in Irthlingborough, was a notable pupil.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b [1] Archived 29 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names, Oxford University Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0198527589,
  3. ^ A History of the County of Northamptonshire, Vol. 3, William Page (ed.), Victoria County History, 1930. p.207
  4. ^ "Charter". Retrieved 2015-05-01. 
  5. ^ The College of Irthlingborough: A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 2, R.M. Serjeantson, W.R.D. Adkins (editors), 1906.
  6. ^ [2][dead link]
  7. ^ [3][dead link]

External links[edit]

News items[edit]