Daventry, Northamptonshire Family History Guide

Daventry is an Ancient Parish and a market town in the county of Northamptonshire.

Other places in the parish include: Drayton.

Alternative names: Danetry

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1560
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1706

Nonconformists include: Independent/Congregational, Protestant Dissenters, Roman Catholic, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Adjacent Parishes

Parish History

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

DAVENTRY, popularly Danetry, a town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district in Northamptonshire. The town stands on the ascent and summit of an eminence, half engirt by a range of hills, near Watling-street, the Grand Junction canal, and the sources of the rivers Leam and Nen, 3¾ miles NW of Weedon r. station, and 13 W by N of Northampton. A railway to it from the London and Northwestern at Weedon station, was authorized in 1862. The town dates from the times of the Saxons, or perhaps from those of the ancient Britons; and was occupied, in 1645, by Charles II. before the battle of Naseby. It contains some good houses; and presents a cleanly and respectable appearance. It is a borough by prescription; was first chartered by John; is governed by a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors; is a seat of petty sessions and a polling-place; and has a head post office, two banking offices, two chief inns, a town-hall, remains of an ancient priory, two churches, two dissenting chapels, a workhouse, a grammar school with £77, a charity school with £120, and other charities with £249. The priory was Cluniac; founded, in 1090, by Hugh de Leycestre; and given by Henry VIII. to Wolsey for his colleges; and the remains of it consist chiefly of doorways and windows, supposed to have belonged to the refectory. The church of the priory was long used as the parish church, but gave place, a number of years ago, to a new edifice; and this suffered injury from fire in 1859, was afterwards renovated, and has a tower and spire. The other church in the town is modern. Markets are held on Wednesdays; a fair for cheese on 3 Oct.; a fair for cattle on 27 Oct.; and general fairs on the first and last Mondays of Jan., the last Monday of Feb., Easter Tuesday, 6 and 7 June, 3 Aug., 2 Oct., and the first Monday of July, Sept., and Dec. A manufacture of shoes, whips, and stockings is carried on; but that of whips has declined. The town is municipally co-extensive with the parish. The Finch-Hattons, Earls of Winchelsea, take from it the title of Baron; and Holland, the translator of the Rhemish testament, Bishop G. Andrew, and Smith, the engraver, were natives.

The parish includes also the hamlet of Drayton. Acres, 4, 090. Real property, £18, 265. Pop., 4, 124. Houses, 892. The property is subdivided. The manor was given by the Conqueror to his niece Judith, the consort of the Earl of Northumberland; was alienated after that nobleman’s decapitation; and came eventually to the Finches. A vast camp, called Danes Hill or Borough-Hill, foot-shaped, 17, 900 yards in circuit, defended variously by two, three, or four valla, and divided toward the north by two ramparts, lies in the south-eastern vicinity of the town; and has been attributed, by different antiquaries, to the Britons, the Romans, the Danes, and the Saxons, but seems most likely to have been the Roman station Benavenna. A parallelogramic camp, of about an acre, is 300 yards distant; a spot, called Burntwalls, where arched vaults and substructions of buildings have been found, is near; and vestiges of a fortification, called John of Gaunt’s castle, but evidently Roman, are contiguous. The living is a rectory, united with the p. curacy of St. James, in the diocese of Peterborough. Value, £500. Patron, Christ Church, Oxford. Till 1867, the parochial living was a p. curacy, and St. James was a separate charge.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].


Old maps of Britain and Europe from A Vision of Britain Through Time


  • County: Northamptonshire
  • Civil Registration District: Daventry
  • Probate Court: Court of the Archdeaconry of Northampton
  • Diocese: Peterborough
  • Rural Deanery: Daventry
  • Poor Law Union: Daventry
  • Hundred: Fawsley
  • Province: Canterbury