Grafton Regis

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Grafton Regis
Church Grafton Regis.jpg
St Mary's Church, Grafton Regis
Northamptonshire UK location map.svg
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Grafton Regis
Location within Northamptonshire
Population152  [1]
OS grid reference SP7546
  London 64 miles (103 km)
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Towcester
Postcode district NN12
Dialling code 01908
Police Northamptonshire
Fire Northamptonshire
Ambulance East Midlands
UK Parliament
List of places
52°06′52″N0°53′47″W / 52.1145°N 0.8965°W / 52.1145; -0.8965 Coordinates: 52°06′52″N0°53′47″W / 52.1145°N 0.8965°W / 52.1145; -0.8965

Grafton Regis is a village and civil parish in the south of the English county of Northamptonshire. The population of the civil parish (including Alderton) at the 2001 census was 152. This increased to 253 at the 2011 census. [2] The village is east of the A508 road, on which it has a short frontage and two bus stops. It is ca. 8 miles (13 km) south of Northampton and 9 miles (14 km) north of Milton Keynes.


This village is "linked" with the title of the Duke of Grafton (the first Duke was a son of King Charles II of England ).


The village's name means 'Grove farm/settlement'. The village was a crown possession hence the 'Regis' addition. [3]

Elizabeth Woodville, queen consort to King Edward IV was born in Woodville Manor House, west of the current village ElizabethWoodville.JPG
Elizabeth Woodville, queen consort to King Edward IV was born in Woodville Manor House, west of the current village

The prehistoric site dates back to circa 2500 BC according to Iron Age pottery which was found to the west of the main Northampton Road and to the south of Grafton Lodge which was a Roman site which produced pottery. [4]

A substantial capital messuage stood west of the Church in the Middle Ages. From 1100 to 1348, the manor was in the hands of a Norman monastery whose bailiff or lessee probably occupied the house. [4]

In 1440, the mansion officially became a 'manor house' which belonged to the Woodville family [5] during which time the village was known as Grafton Woodville. [4] The manor was the birthplace of Elizabeth Woodville, queen consort to King Edward IV. [6] Also born at the manor was Elizabeth's younger brother, Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers KG (ca.1440 –1483), a courtier, bibliophile and writer. [7]

The house and manor passed to the Grey Marquesses of Dorset who were descendants of queen consort Elizabeth Woodville by her first marriage to Sir John Grey. [4] At the end of the 15th century, the house and manor passed to King Henry VIII, grandson of Elizabeth Woodville by Edward IV. [4]

Anne of Denmark and King James stayed at Grafton Regis in June 1603 and travelled on to Salden Manor at Mursley. [8] They were hosted at Grafton by George Clifford, 3rd Earl of Cumberland, Keeper of Grafton Regis since 1602, who organised a tournament involving the Alexander or Zinzan brothers. [9] Lady Anne Clifford later wrote that her father lived in the "old house at Grafton" and entertained the king and queen with "great magnificence". [10] The manor was granted to Prince Henry, and he rewarded musicians at Grafton with £1 on 19 August 1610. [11]


The ancient parish of Grafton Regis occupied some 1,300 acres on the west bank of the river Tove. The village extends back some distance from the road, albeit at a very low density, towards a church at the eastern edge of the village. Grafton is on the southern ridge of the valley of the River Tove which flows east between the village and Stoke Bruerne to the north and then to the east of the village. Stoke Bruerne church and Stoke Park Pavilions are clearly visible in the distance. The Grand Union Canal passes close by to the east.

Almost all the village on the east side of the A508 is a conservation area. [12]


Woodville Manor House appears to have stood on the west side of the A508 road according to excavation in 1964-5. These revealed a medieval of monastic origin with a cloister and small church. They were converted to secular use in the 15th century. Tiles with the Woodville family arms were discovered in the church. [13]

Another Manor House is on the east side of the A508 road near the parish church. It is the remains of a house built by Henry VIII. Francis Crane demolished a part of the house in the 1620s for materials to build Stoke Park at Stoke Bruerne. [13]

The parish church is dedicated to St Mary and of early 13th-century origin. [13]

See also

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  1. SNC (2010). South Northamptonshire Council Year Book 2010-2011. Towcester. p. 39.
  2. "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  3. "Key to English Place-names".
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 'Grafton Regis', A History of the County of Northampton: Volume 5: The Hundred of Cleley (2002), pp. 142-176. URL: Date accessed: 17 June 2013.
  5. "Rivers, Earl"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol. 23 (11th ed.). 1911. p. 385.
  6. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, accessed 8 January 2010
  7. Gosse, Edmund William (1911). "Rivers, Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol. 23 (11th ed.). p. 385.
  8. Thomas Fortescue, Family of Fortescue (London, 1869), p. 274.
  9. Jessica L. Malay, Anne Clifford's Autobiographical Writing (Manchester, 2018), p. 20.
  10. Katherine Acheson, The Memoir of 1603 and the Diary of Anne Clifford (Broadview, 2007), p. 221.
  11. Andrew Ashbee, Records of English Court Music, 1603-1625, vol. 4 (1991), p. 215.
  12. Map of the village showing the conservation area, accessed 17 June 2012 Archived 4 November 2012 at the UK Government Web Archive
  13. 1 2 3 Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget (revision) (1961). The Buildings of England Northamptonshire. London and New Haven: Yale University Press. pp. 226–7. ISBN   978-0-300-09632-3.
  14. Archived 26 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine - Elizabeth Woodville Secondary School.

Further reading