The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"TOWCESTER, a parish and market town in the hundred of the same name, county Northampton, 8½ miles S.W. of Northampton, 12 from Daventry, and 4 from the Blisworth station on the London and North-Western railway, with which it is connected by a short branch line, It is situated on the right bank of the river Tow or Tove, and on the line of the ancient Watling Street. The parish includes, besides the town of Towcester, the hamlets of Caldecote, Handley, and Wood Burcote. It is believed by antiquaries to occupy the site of the Roman station Lactodurum. It was fortified by Edward the Elder with a stonewall, of which no traces now exist. It is mentioned in Domesday book as Tovecestre, and was then a place of importance. The town consists chiefly of one long street and two smaller ones, which are well paved and lighted with gas, under the direction of the feoffees of the charities of Archdeacon Sponne. The drainage has been recently improved, and the inhabitants are well supplied with water. The population in 1851 was 2,478, and in 1861, 2,715. There is a townhall and police station, erected in 1852, a new bank, and a branch of the Northampton savings-bank. There are several maltings and one large brewery, but the principal industries are the manufacture of boots and shoes for exportation, and pillow lace. Petty sessions are held every alternate Tuesday, and a county court monthly. Towcester Poor-law Union comprises 23 parishes and townships. This living was held by Pope Boniface VIII. at the time of his election to the Papal throne in 1294. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Peterborough, value £300, in the patronage of the Bishop of Lichfield. The church, dedicated to St. Laurence, is of the 11th century, with a tower 90 feet high at the W. end, containing six bells and clock with chimes. It was repaired in 1836, when improvements were effected in the interior, which has some oak carving, and an organ of foreign manufacture, the gift of George, Earl of Pomfret, in 1817, by whom it was purchased for £1,000. There are also several brasses and monuments, a painted E. window, and black letter books chained to an oaken stall. "The Baptists, Wesleyans, Independents, and Johnsonians have each a chapel. The grammar school, founded in 1552, has an income from endowment of £65, and occupies the chantry-house, erected by Archdeacon Sponne in 1449. There are 22 boys on the foundation, the school is now in abeyance for a short time. A National school-house was erected in 1850, at a cost of £1,350. The charities belonging to the town are numerous, including six almshouses founded by Thomas Bickerstaff in 1650, which have recently been rebuilt. There are a book-club, theological library, and reading society. The principal seats in the vicinity are Easton House, of Sir T. Hesketh, Bart., once celebrated for its collection of paintings and statues, presented to the University of Oxford in 1756; Wakefield Lawn, of the Duke of Grafton; Whittlebury Lodge, of Lord Southampton; Sholebrook Lodge, and Park View. Market-day is on Tuesday. Fairs are held on 12th May and 29th October."

"CALDECOTE, a hamlet in the parish and hundred of Towcester, in the county of Northampton, 2 miles from Towcester."

"HANDLEY, a hamlet in the parish of Towcester, county Northampton, 2 miles S.W. of Towcester."

"WOOD-BURCOTE, a hamlet in the parish of Towcester, county Northampton, 1 mile S. of Towcester."