For those of you who don’t know, Desborough is a town located in Northamptonshire. For those of you who do know it, you may be surprised to learn that Desborough has a rich and varied history…bear with us here, it does sound unlikely I know.
We’ve compiled three of the most interesting things about the history of the town.
Fact One: Desborough Settlements
Desborough has been an important place of settlement for thousands of years; remains have been discovered that were believed to be over 10,000 years old in fact.
Archaeological finds have recorded settlements from 2,000 BC to the 7th Century AD, this time period encapsulates the Bronze Age, Iron Age and the Roman Occupation. All the towns excavated treasures are on display in the British Museum, which we’ll cover in more detail.
Desborough is even referred to as a ‘place of judgement’ in the Domesday book. It is thought that the name is derived from the word ‘Disburg’, which means a sacred and fortified place.
Fact Two: Once the Centre of Industry
During the 17th Century the town developed as one of the country’s top spinning and weaving centres. Workers used local wool and flax, and produced fine top quality cloth and linen until the mid-19th century, which then became a silk weaving factory.
Joseph Cheaney & Sons, which has now become a global shoe brand traces its humble origins back to Station Road in Desborough more than 120-years-ago, the factory still operates today.
Fact Three: Historical Artefacts
Currently on display at the British Museum are two of Desborough’s most prized possessions: the Desborough mirror and Desborough necklace.
The Desborough Necklace was excavated in 1876 in a collection of graves that were unsettled by workmen digging for ironstone. The necklace was found in a grave near the head of a skeleton.
Made from gold, glass and garnet, it is believed to originate from the Early Anglo Saxon in the 7th Century. It is unclear what the necklace represents or who wore it.
The Desborough mirror was one of the country’s finest examples of Celtic art in Britain. The plate would have been highly polished on one side to produce a reflective surface. The back of the mirror is engraved with a highly sophisticated and complex design. Decorated mirrors like this are very British and there have been very few of this quality found in Europe, the majority of which date back to between 100BC and AD 100.
We all think the town we grew up in is nothing special, but in many cases if you dig a little deeper there’s some pretty striking history you never even knew about.