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Northamptonshire

'BB' (the pseudonym for the celebrated author/illustrator Denys Watkins-Pitchford) He was born in 1905 in the Northamptonshire village of Lamport and much of his childhood was spent exploring ponds, streams, hedgerows and woods about his home. From the Northampton School of Art, he won a scholarship to study in Paris and, on his return, was accepted by The Royal College of Art and became assistant art master at Rugby School in 1930. His former house, the Round House, at Sudborough, where he lived for the last 20 years of his life, is a Listed Grade II former toll house, built circa 1660.

The Rev. Watkins-Pitchford, father of BB, took services at Faxton, 1.5 miles north of Old. Denys used to attend these services and sat in the choir. From Arthur Mee's Northamptonshire, Faxtion, we come to it by a path through the meadows only a mile or two from Lamport, to find a goup of cottages with some almshouses built in 1716, and a primitive church solitary in the fields by a group of elms. Alas, the church has been razed to the ground and the site marked by a slab. The Hawking Tower is preserved within the structure of a fine house. Probably built 1740. It represents the last remnant of Faxton. Said to be haunted, perhaps by Judge Jefferies, or perhaps more probably by Sir Augustine Nicolls, who actually owned the estate and met with a gruesome death in 1616.The Hawking Tower
The Hawking Tower

John Clare (1793-1864) 1793 Born 13 July, Helpston, Northants. Twin sister Bessy dies in infancy. 1800- Attends a school at Glinton Church, taught by Mr Seaton. 1806 Begins working as a potboy for Francis Gregory, the landlord of the Blue Bell Inn, Helpston, next door to his home 1807 Works as a gardener at Burghley House. 1812 Joins Northamptonshire Militia at Oundle. 1816-17 Working again as a gardener at Burghley House. 1817 Lime-burning at Great Casterton and Pickworth in Rutland; meets Martha ('Patty') Turner, his future wife. 1803 Meets Mary Joyce. James Merrishaw succeeds Seaton as Clare's teacher. 1804 (aged about 11) Receives from his uncle (a drover) a copy of Pomfret's Poems, which his father reads to him, stimulating his love of poetry. 1805 Employed as a ploughboy by Mrs Bellairs of Woodcroft Castle. Several employments rejected (the pprenticeships offered are all too expensive). Travels to Wisbech for an interview with Counsellor Bellamy, but fails to impress him. Northampton 1841-60 . 1841(December) is committed to Northampton General Lunatic Asylum and remains there for his last 23 years. 1864 (20 May) dies at Northampton; is brought home and buried at Helpston.

Jerome K Jerome (1859-1927) Died in Northampton, buried in Ewelme, Oxfordshire.


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