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Hardingstone

The local gentry in Hardingstone were the BOUVERIE family and they have several 19th century family plaques in the chancel of St Edmund's Church, Hardingstone. The last Miss Bouverie died post World War 2 and Delapre Abbey, her home, became the Northamptonshire Records Office until it moved to Wootton Park a few years ago.

When compulsory education came in seriously, around 1860/70, General Bouverie built a School in Hardingstone which educated children up to 11 years old until the 1960/70s. Then the Primary School was transferred to a modern building in Martin's Lane, and the Old School was transferred to Social Services, who hired it to the Hardingstone Village Hall Association.

The School has a small front yard, tarmaced to take about 6 cars and a front brick low wall topped by iron railings to 8 feet.Originally there were two small gates either side. The School is a single story brick building with three square pyramidic roofs. Inside there are three classrooms, the front one a double cube which can be split by a heavy wooden folding partition. It can take about 80 people for a slide show or 45 for a supper/dance.It has an "Early English" clear glass window at the end and 4 large windows facing the front. The roof is wooden and high. The side room is the same width and height but only 15' for the third dimension, and is now the Playgroup room and the back room is about 30' each way. Between the classrooms there is a central lobby, broadening in the middle section, with cloakrooms and side entrances behind the playgroup room, and a kitchen in front of the back room. I think the original plan was 4 classrooms, two of which could combine for Assembly, beginning the day with the whole school in Christian worship. Each classroom would take 30/40 children.

Behind the School, with a fantastic view over Northampton 2 miles north, is a fenced grassy area surrounded by trees, dropping sharply. Hardingstone stands on a ridge about 150' above the flood plain of the Nen. Never, we were taught as children, the Nene until you got past Peterborough !

Many of the brick terraced houses on the Green, a triangle surrounding a War Memorial, were rented to retired senior members of the Bouverie Staff. From here the High Street runs due west, passing the Sun Inn, the south side of the School, then the Churchyard with its double rank of yews up to the north entrance of the church and finally the Crown Inn and the Spar supermarket before becoming Hardingstone Lane and passing through newer housing and a 1/4mile wide roundabout to the main London Road. A dual carriageway, the A45 drives under the roundabout nowadays. From the Green, Back Lane loops round and rejoins High Street a field away from the School.

The buildings in the village are very mixed in age and type. There are farmhouses and cottages of the local warm golden brown ironstone, brick terraced houses built by the Bouveries, several 19century houses that are much larger (including the Old Vicarage, now two houses) and modern infilling. It is a dormitory village for Northampton and an estate agent's dream. Between the town and Hardingstone there is now a golf-course (1980, municipal) and a large industrial estate, and the new housing is creeping all round the outside. There is a field of allotments on the south side, now partly sold to a newly built and prestigious Girls High School and beyond that stood Wootton Barracks, held by the Army from the days of Napoleon down to 10 years ago.

The above description of the village was provided by Heather Cotton.




(Updated 22 November 1999 - Maurice Kellner)