Part 1 The Early Days


Many villages, in this, and other counties, were named with reference to one of the four cardinal points of the compass, and this Norton or 'Nortone' was probably named because of its relatively to King's Sutton, which was another portion of the Saxon royal demesne. 

In later times Norton received the addition of Mareschall and Davy or David, and the prefix of Greens from its successive lords; and the latter is still retained to distinguish it from Norton near Daventry.

Church of St. Bartholomew 

The Church could have been built as early as AD 650, and certainly the present nave (the stone Saxon Church) would be standing in the 9th Century. Typically long and short work can be seen on the walls; and traces of the head of the original Saxon nave window can be seen above the arch at the southwest corner near the font. The font is Norman, and the stone beside it against the west wall is a Pillow Stone on which the head of the deceased was placed during the Burial Service in the days when coffins were rare. The floor of the Church was originally paved and there was no seating accommodation, except for one or more box pews. There were stone benches round the walls, which is the origin of the saying "the weakest go to the wall".

11th Century
The Manor

Edward the Confessor held the manor at Norton before the Norman Conquest, and at the general survey William the Conqueror held it himself, together with Blakesley and Adstone. These villages were then spelt Blachesleune and Atenestone and containing seven hides and one virgate of land. 
In the demesne were three carucates, with three servants and two maidens; and nineteen villleins and fifteen sokemen and five bordars had twenty-one carucates. There were two mills, worth 15 shillings in tax yearly. The wood extended four miles in length and three in breadth. The sokemen rendered 30 shillings yearly. The smiths, probably persons employed on iron works in the wood, paid 7 pounds in the time of Edward the Confessor; when the whole was rated 12 pounds yearly, but was raised to 20 pounds at the time of the general survey. The same measurement of 7 hides and a virgate was continued in the hydarium of Henry II, when it was still in demesne, but King Richard, soon after his return from the Crusade, in the Late 12th century granted this manor along with Luton in Bedfordshire, and Wantage in Berkshire, to Earl of the Isle of Wight, Baldwin de Betun to be held by the service of three knight's fees, and a fee farm rent of £4 yearly. From him it passed, with the hundred of Norton, on marriage of his daughter Alice, to William Earl of Pembroke. It descended to his five sons successively, who died without issue, and then passed to John le Mareschall.

As William, his grandson, had joined the rebellious barons who were in arms against their sovereign, the manor was confiscated to the crown who granted it to Henry, son of Richard, King of Almaine. It reverted to the former family in the following year as his sons, John and William, obtained the royal pardon for their father's treason and were permitted to succeed to his inheritance. 
In the reign of Edward I the manor was held under John Le Mareschal by David, the son of Griffin, from whom it received the appellation of Norton David.

John Mareschall died in 1283 and was succeeded by his son William Mareschall, who was summoned to parliament from 1308 to 1313, and died in 1314. He had, however, previously in 1311 given the king £10 for licence to enfcoff his son John Mareschall, with his wife Ela, in the manor of Norton

In 1315 John Mareschall was returned to be lord of the hundred of Norton, and of Norton, Duncote, Burcote, Careswell, and Whittlebury's. He died in 1316, leaving his sister Hawise, aged fifteen years, and wife of Robert de Morley, his heiress; but this manor, by virtue of the settlement, remained with his widow, who in 1327 was married to Robert Fitz Pain.

In 1355 Sir Henry Green and Thomas his son gave 20/- for licence to acquire the manor of Norton Davy, and soon after a fine was levied of the manor, advowson, and hundred, in fee-tail to himself and his heirs, in the male line which continued for several generations. By inquisition taken upon the death of Thomas, son of Sir Henry Green, in 1392 it was found that the manor and advowson of the church were held by the king in capitee by knight's service, and the hundred of Norton by the payment of £3.4.0 yearly into the king's exchequer.

In 1449, among the sums specially appropriated to the support of the King's household, was 54/- yearly out of the fee farm of Norton, from the heir or successor of William Mareschall.

Richard Myddleton's, will dated 18 Nov. 1489 he directed that his body to be buried in the tomb of marble which he had 'ordained' under the north wall of the chapel of the holy Trinity, in the parish of Norton. He desired his dear wife Maud to enjoy his lands and tenements that he had in the counties of Northampton and Derby, and of which his wife was jointly seised for life with himself, this was upon condition of her providing a priest to sing and pray perpetually in the said church, and for a perpetual obit for him.

As a result, a Chantry was founded here in 1496 by Matilda Green, which, at the dissolution had lands in this county and that of Leicester of the yearly value of £10.17.9. The house for the priest stood opposite the south wall of the churchyard, and is now called Chantry House.

The last Sir Thomas Green died in 1506 leaving his two daughters as co-heiresses, Anne, aged seventeen years, and Matilda, or Maud, aged thirteen years, to inherit one of the most considerable estates in the county. Anne married, Sir Nicholas Vaux. . He and Anne his wife, and Matilda Green had a grant of the profits of their father's lands, and in 1508 Sir Thomas Parr had a grant on marriage to Matilda.

The manor, advowson, and hundred of Norton, the manor and advowson of Boughton, with the custody or ranger-ship of Whittlewood forest, and the other Green estates in this county, were settled in moieties on the two co heiresses, Anne and Matilda.. Sir Thomas Vaux, afterwards Lord Vaux of Harrowden, survived his wife, and died 1523, leaving Thomas Lord Vaux his son and heir.

Dame Matilda Parr survived her husband, and died 1532, leaving William Parr, esq. afterwards Marquis of Northampton, her son and heir. 

The manor and hundred of Norton were annexed to the honor of Grafton, on its formation by act of parliament in 1534, and they remained vested in the crown till 1550, when they were granted to William Parr Marquis of Northampton and the heirs of his body. By this grant Norton returned again to the line of Green, as he was the only son of Sir Thomas Parr and Matilda Green.

Queen Catherine Parr whose beauty obtained, and whose character adorned a crown was youngest daughter of Sir Thomas Parr by the Matilda Green, and is traditionally reported to have been born at Greens Norton. Before she had reached her teens a marriage was contemplated between her and the son and heir apparent of Henry Lord Scrope, of Bolton, but the parents of both were actuated by pecuniary considerations, and, not coinciding in the terms, the negotiation failed. The correspondence of Lady Parr with Thomas Lord Dacre, a mutual friend of the parties, is curious. In her first letter to him, dated 14 July 1523 she thus urges his mediation,

"My Lord (Scrope's) pleasour is to have a full answere from me before Lammas next comyng, wherefore it may please you to bee so good to have this mater in your rememberance, for I perceyve well this matter is not Iyke to take effecte, except it be by your helpe. The joyntour is Iytle for XI C mares which I woll notte passe, and my seyd Lord wyll nott repay after marriage hadd, and CC mares must nedys be repayd yf my daughter Kateryne dys before the age of xvj yeres, or ells I shuld breke Master Parr's wyll, whiche I shold be lothe to doo; and ther can be no perfyte marriage until my Lord's son come to the age of xiiij, and my daughter to the age of xij, before whiche tyme, if the marriage should take none effect, or be dissolved, either by deth, wardshipp, disagrement, or otherwyse which may bee before thatt tyme, notwithstondinge marriage solemnysed, repayment must nedes be hadd of the hole, or ells I myght fortune to pay my money for nothinge."

The appeal was not made in vain; he assures her, '

"I have promise of my said Lord, and of my doughter, his wif, that they shal not marie their son without my consent, which they shall not have to no person but unto youe"

and in addressing Lord Scrope he zealously advocates the match.

"My Lorde, 
your son and heire is the gretest jewell that ye can have, seeing that he must present (represent) your own person after your deth;and I cannot see without that ye wold mary him to one heire of land whiche wolbe ryght costly, that ye can mary hym to so good a stok as my Lady Parr for divers considerations; first, as remembering the wisdome of my said Lady, and the god wise stok of the Greenes, whereof she is comen, and also of the wise stok of the Pars of Kendale, for al whiche men doo looke when they do mary their child, to the wisdome of the blood of that they do marry with"

The treaty lingered till the following May, and was then broken off; and her first husband was Edward Borough, son of Lord Borough, 
She next became the second wife of John Neville, Lord Latimer, and in 1543, within a year of his death, was selected by Henry VIII for his sixth Queen.

Henry died on the 28 June 1546, and later that year Catherine married Thomas, Lord Seymour, Lord admiral of England. She died in September the ensuing year, and was buried in the chapel of Dudley Castle in Gloucestershire.

The Hundred and Lordship of Norton was afterwards settled on Queen Catherine consort to Charles II, upon whose death in 1705 they devolved on to the Duke of Grafton

The village remained until the 1920's as part of the Grafton Estates

In 1837 a Primitive Methodist Chapel and in 1841 Methodist Chapel erected

Extract from Kelly's Directory Kelly's Directory for 1847
'Greens Norton is a village and parish 2 miles from Towcester, 6 miles from Blisworth railroad station, and 10 miles from Northampton, in the Hundred of Greens Norton and diocese of Peterborough. The living is a rectory, in the gift of the Crown, value £ 750 per annum: the present incumbent is the Rev. Thomas Fawcett MA: the Rev. Francis Shepherd is the curate. The church, dedicated to St. Bartholomew is a plain stone structure, in the Gothic style, with aspire and clock. There is a small Methodist Chapel, erected in the year .1841, and a National school. The population is 582, its area 2925 acres 2 roods, the property principally of the Duke of Grafton, who is lord of the manor.'

Letters are received through the Towcester offices: arrive at 9 am- dispatched at 7 pm,

Carrier to Northampton - William Bull, on Saturday.

The Wesleyan Chapel was built in 1866, at a cost of about £355.00

The rateable value of the parish is £ 4714.0.0. The soil varies very much, but the land is generally fertile; the lordship is well supplied with good springs (one of which is mineral), limestone, and sand; and the principal proprietors are the Duke of Grafton (the lord of the Manor), John Malsbury, Kirby Elliott, Esq.; Messrs Sand W Sheppard, of Duncote; Samuel, William, and Miss Mary Sheppard, of Field Burcote, William Gallard, Thomas Howes, and Thomas Ridgway, Esq.

Post Office -William Bodaly, sub postmaster. Letters arrive here from Towcester at 6.30 am and are despatched at 6.20 pm.

Carrier -t o Northampton, Jenkinson Payne, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and John Smart on Saturdays.

1879 Removal of the church spire revives vivid memories for Mr Harry Bodily of 52 Norton Road, Kingsthorpe. He was only seven at the time but he remembers how, on November 24th, 1879, a man was killed by strangulation while repairing the spire. He remembers how a scaffolder, Walter Able, his grandfather, Justin Bodily, and his father, Alfred Bodily, helped to get the man down and how upset everybody was in the village. Mr Bodily was a baker's boy in Greens Norton and worked there until he was 16, first for Josiah Savage and then for Richard Hornsby. How did he remember the date? His father, returning to Northampton after the incident, wrote it on the shelf in his shoemaker's shop.

Census Chart

The growth of the village can be traced through the records of the annual census taken every 10 years throughout the 18 and 1900's, as can be seen from the following extract taken from the census's from 1801 through to 1931.

Year Total Males Females Houses
1801 615 298 317 134
1811 670 312 358 140
1821 740 359 381 147
1831 771 360 411 146
1841 822 403 419 194
1851 857 409 448 194
1871 892      
1901 757      
1911 791 370 421  
1921 681 325 356  
1931 664 310 354