19th Century

It is possible the large limestone walls that surround the property may have been erected early in the nineteenth century; some of the stone may have come from the Roman town.  Important changes were made to the buildings with the middle courtyard in particular being created with the erection of the Victorian cart barns, now used to house some of the site-wide interpretation. The orchard was probably planted in the latter part of the century with a wide range of apple and pear trees.

This century also saw an archaeological excavation by the Rev Baker of parts of the interior of the town. His works are the only large scale excavations on the site to date and he was able to uncover the plan of several buildings. He located buildings by having a man bang a metal spike into the ground with a hammer until he hit something solid and then the labourers were ordered to dig down to find what has been hit. The finds from these excavations ended up in Northampton museum, including a stone torso found associated with one of the square shrines. At the end of Baker’s excavation, cart loads of stone were removed from the area of the walled town to make ploughing easier.

In the 1880’s the house was occupied for a time by the Praed family who were local brewers. The house was occupied in the late 19th century by the Simpson family whose daughter was a county level lawn tennis player, at that time a relatively new sport. We believe that it was at this time the lower garden was terraced to make a flat tennis court.

It should not be forgotten that just beyond the site at this time the now so very quiet River Nene was navigated by goods vessels called lighters, and two railway lines also passed close by, one running from Northampton to Peterborough and one from Leicester to London.

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