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Althorp

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Olthorp

In the civil parish of Althorp.
In the historic county of Northamptonshire and the Soke of Peterborough.
Modern Authority of Northamptonshire.
1974 county of Northamptonshire.
Medieval County of Northamptonshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SP68176514
Latitude 52.28017° Longitude -1.00212°

Althorp has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are no visible remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.

Description

Althorp was purchased in 1508 by John Spencer, and was emparked 4 years later. It is probable that there was already a house here, as his grandson, another Sir John, built the present one. This has never been pulled down though it has been so much altered that there is nothing of that date visible except its original plan. Robert, son of the 3rd Baron and Earl of Sunderland converted Althorp into a house of the late 17th cent. and many of the rooms have not been altered since. His grandson, the 5th Earl started to build the stables, and also built the great dining room to the east. (PastScape ref. Arch. J. 1953)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1512 Nov 8 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

Comments

John Spencer was granted "Licence to impark lands in Olthorp and Wykehamond, Northt." and "licence to castellete his manors of Olthorp, Northt., and Wormeleighton, Warw." by Henry VIII in 1512. Olthorp is clearly Althorp, now the site of C18 palladian house, still owned by the Spencer's. Wormleighton was the principle residence and John Spencer did rebuild the house there but the evidence for him building at Althorp is less certain and, although a earlier medieval house probably existed, it may be his grandson who built the current, very much altered, house.
How defensible that courtyard house was is uncertain, although at this late date, in a quiet inland county, it is unlikely to have had anything other than decorative battlements (Even these may be doubtful; Camden describes Robert Spenser, the likely actual builder, as a 'lover of vertue and learning' which may suggest his preferred architectural style would have been based on classical motifs). There is nothing to suggest a moat was ever built or intended.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER       Listing   I. O. E.
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
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*The listed building may not be the actual medieval building, but a building on the site of, or incorporating fragments of, the described site.
This record last updated 13/6/2017 7:32:22 pm

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