One of the last remaining estate villages, belonging to Deene Park and inhabited by estate workers and old retainers. Deene Park estate has been owned since the 16th century by the Brudenell family, who are descendants of the Earls of Cardigan.
The church of St Peter was originally built in the 12th century, but was extensively restored in 1868 by Lady Adeline Cardigan in memory of her husband, James - 7th Earl of Cardigan, who was famous for his part in the Battle of Balaclava and the Charge of th Light Brigade.
The 7th Earl was probably the most colourful owner of the estate, and the house contains a collection of Crimean memorabilia, including his uniforms and medals. It also houses the stuffed head of the charger Ronald that he rode into battle. Lady Adeline, who lived at Deene until 1915, was remembered as being rather eccentric. She wished to be remembered as a beautiful woman, so when her husband died - although she was comparatively young and outlived him by 46 years - she had her own death mask made at the same time. She kept her coffin in the house and would lie in it and ask people how she looked. Her extravagance finally led to the arrival of the bailiffs, and the sale of many of her clothes, carriages and horses. She was often seen bicycling around the village wearing Lord Cardigan's regimental trousers.
(The above extract from 'The Northamptonshire Village Book', compiled by the Northamptonshire Federation of Women's Institutes, is reproduced by kind permission of the publishers, Countryside Books, Newbury, Berkshire)
An illustrated description of Deene Park.