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Coordinates: 52°26′23″N 0°49′02″W / 52.4398°N 0.8172°W / 52.4398; -0.8172
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Desborough is located in Northamptonshire
Location within Northamptonshire
Population10,697 (2011)
OS grid referenceSP805835
Civil parish
  • Desborough
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtNN14
Dialling code01536
AmbulanceEast Midlands
UK Parliament
List of places
52°26′23″N 0°49′02″W / 52.4398°N 0.8172°W / 52.4398; -0.8172

Desborough is a town in North Northamptonshire, England, lying in the Ise Valley between Market Harborough and Kettering. It was an industrial centre for weaving and shoe-making in the 19th century and had a long association with the Co-operative movement.[1]


Desborough Celtic mirror in the British Museum

Desborough's origins lie in the Bronze Age of about 2000 BC. Urns from that period have been found in and around the town.[2]

Many archaeological finds from the Iron Age and the Anglo-Saxon period have also been made. Some, such as the 1st-century Desborough Mirror[3][4] and the Anglo-Saxon Desborough Necklace,[5] are now in the possession of the British Museum.[6]

Domesday Book (1086) refers to Desborough as a "place of judgement". The name itself is thought to have derived from 'Disburg', which meant a sacred and fortified place. In the High Street centrepiece of what is now the Market Square stands a pillar that is called locally the Town Cross, though it is a square column topped by a stone ball. It is thought to have served as a gateway pillar from Harrington Hall.

From the 17th century, Desborough developed around the spinning and weaving industries. The town's factories used local wool and flax to produce fine cloth and linen until the mid-19th century. Silk weaving then developed in a Paddock Lane factory and shoe-making also gained importance.

The Cross, Desborough


Desborough lies five miles (8 km) south-east of Market Harborough, north-west of Kettering, and south-west of Corby. The A6 Rothwell–Desborough bypass opened on 14 August 2003.

Between 1857 and 1968, Desborough had a railway station, opened and operated by the Midland Railway (later the London, Midland and Scottish Railway and, after nationalisation, British Rail). This was part of an extension of its network from Leicester to Bedford and Hitchin, but it was closed under the Beeching cuts.


Desborough has an Anglican parish church, St Giles's, along with a Baptist church,[7] a United Reformed Church,[8] and the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity.[9]

St Giles's Church (Anglican) is the oldest surviving building in the town, dating from about 1225. It is believed to stand on the site of an earlier Saxon church. Its relics from the town's history include part of an Anglo-Saxon cross carved from stone, a Tudor rood screen, and reminders of the English Civil War. Close by the church is the 18th-century Church House, with stuccoed Doric pillars. This became Desborough House in the 19th century and is now the Services Club.


On 7 September 1969, an Anglican/ Methodist partnership was inaugurated in the presence of the Bishop of Peterborough and the Chairman of the Oxford District.[10] Since then a Methodist minister has been working in partnership with the Anglican vicar. St Giles is part of the Anglican united benefice of Desborough and Brampton Ash with Braybrooke and Dingley.[11] It has regular church festivals, including one of the United Kingdom's largest and longest-running Christmas tree festivals (over 100 trees, held since 1998). The trees are contributed by local organisations, companies, families and individuals.

The Kettering Leg of the annual Student Cross pilgrimage to Walsingham starts near Desborough.

The Old Manor House[edit]

The Old Manor House in Gold Street retains features of its late 17th-century origins. Ferdinand Poulton, a Roman Catholic lawyer, was Lord of the Manor and reputedly one of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot conspirators.

Government and community[edit]

Governance of Desborough lies (in descending order) with the North Northamptonshire Unitary Council (From April 2021) and the local Desborough Town Council.[12]

Desborough belongs to the Charter of European Rural Communities, which links it to 27 other EU member towns and villages.[13] It is twinned with Neuville de Poitou in the Vienne department of France and with Bièvre in the Walloon region of Belgium.[14]

The Desborough Community Development Trust campaigns for improvements to the town.[15]

Co-operative movement[edit]

With the intention of preventing exploitation of workers by agents and employers, local men founded the Desborough Co-operative Society in 1863. Starting with local shops and then a corset and lingerie factory, the Desborough Co-op once had a department store, a bank, a supermarket, a travel agents, a ladies' shoe and clothing shop and a number of corner stores.

After several mergers, the town is now served by the Central England Co-op. Over the years, a number of its functions have ceased, including the bank branch and the ladies' shoe and clothing shop. However, a Co-operative undertakers has opened in one of the former corner shops.

The former Co-op Corset Factory, now owned by Wacoal Eveden Ltd[16] makes lingerie and swimwear. The site includes the original Victorian factory, and immediately opposite, Eveden's warehousing and UK factory shop. The former Co-operative Society Sports Ground with a football field and tennis courts is now covered by a housing development, Desbeau Park – Desbeau being the name of a range of lingerie made at the Corset Factory.

Sport and leisure[edit]

Every Sunday morning, Local volunteers organise Desborough Greenspace junior parkrun held a Desborough leisure centre, a free 2km event aimed at increasing physical activity in children aged 4-14 years and providing volunteering opportunities within the community for all ages. In 2019 it won the then Kettering Borough Council community project of the year, followed by the Northamptonshire Sport award for the countywide community project of the year.

In 2022, North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) won an International Green Apple Environment Award in a national campaign to find the greenest companies and organisations. This was based on Desborough Greenspace, which was established in 2012 as a large 22-hectare site that would be far less formally managed with a vision to create a very large and accessible natural space for local people as well as biodiversity.

Desborough has a Non-League football team, Desborough Town F.C., which plays at Waterworks Field.

The town's leisure complex was built in the later months of 2012. It holds a gym, a café, a football court, a basketball court and an outside skate park.

Targetcraft Archers club meets at nearby West Lodge Rural Centre. Desborough Green Space Junior parkrun takes place there every Sunday morning at the Leisure Centre.


Local news and television programmes are provided by BBC East and ITV Anglia. Television signals are received from the Sandy Heath TV transmitter. [17]

Local radio stations are BBC Radio Northampton, Heart East, Smooth East Midlands (formerly Connect FM) and Shire Sounds, community based radio station. [18]

The town is served by these local newspapers, Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph, Harborough Mail and Northampton Chronicle and Echo. [19][20][21]


The town has a primary school-cum-infant/junior school, consisting of Loatlands Primary[22] and combined Havelock Infant and Junior schools.[23] Secondary education takes place outside the town.[24]

Notable residents[edit]

In birth order:


  1. ^ "Desborough Co-operative Society Jubilee Souvenir". A Family Story. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  2. ^ "British History Online – Desborough". Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  3. ^ "British Museum – The Desborough Mirror". Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  4. ^ "About Desborough Heritage Centre – The Official Website for the Town of Desborough in Northants". Desboroughheritagecentre.co.uk. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  5. ^ "British Museum – The Desborough Necklace". Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  6. ^ Desborough Heritage Centre Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  7. ^ "Desborough Baptist Church". Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  8. ^ "Desborough United Reformed Church". Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Welcome to Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, Desborough". Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Church partnership marks 40 years". BBC News. 7 September 2009. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  11. ^ "Four Northamptonshire Churches". Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  12. ^ "Town Council". Desborough Town Council. 31 March 2012. Archived from the original on 25 February 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  13. ^ "Charter Members". Charter of European Rural Communities. Archived from the original on 16 August 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  14. ^ "Our twin towns and cities". Kettering Borough Council. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  15. ^ Site under development. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  16. ^ Eveden
  17. ^ "Full Freeview on the Sandy Heath (Central Bedfordshire, England) transmitter". UK Free TV. 1 May 2004. Retrieved 12 November 2023.
  18. ^ "Shire Sounds". Retrieved 12 November 2023.
  19. ^ "Northamptonshire Telegraph". British Papers. 10 July 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2023.
  20. ^ "Harborough Mail". British Papers. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2023.
  21. ^ "Northampton Chronicle and Echo". British Papers. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2023.
  22. ^ "Loatlands Primary School". Loatlands Primary School. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  23. ^ "Havelock Schools Website". Havelock Schools. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  24. ^ Secondary schools near Desborough Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  25. ^ Stow, John (1615). The Annales, or Generall Chronicle of England. London. pp. 889–890. Retrieved 8 August 2019.

External links[edit]