Castor, a village and an ecclesiastical parish in Northamptonshire. The village stands on Ermine Street, adjacent to the river Nen, 5 miles W of Peterborough, and has a station on the L. & N.W.R., and a post and money order office under Peterborough; telegraph office, Peterborough. It occupies part of the site of the Roman station Durobrivse, and was known to the Saxons as Castra or Dormunde-Coestrc. A nunnery was founded at it in the 7th century by a daughter of King Penda, and destroyed in 1010 by the Danes. The parish contains also the hamlet of Ailesworth. Population, 920. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Peterborough ; net yearly value, s£366 with residence, in the gift of the Bishop of Peterborough. The church is Norman, with highly Decorated Norman tower, said to be the finest in England. The spire is unique and of 14th century work. It exhibits curiously the features and decorations of the Norman period. The vicarages of Sutton and Upton, formerly chapelries, are now separate charges. Bishop Madan was rector. There are Congregational and Free Methodist chapels. Milton House, about 1 ½ mile from the village, a fine country seat of the "Wentworth-Fitzwilliam family, stands in a park of 600 acres.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Castor St. Keneburgha|
|Liberty||soke of Peterborough|
|Poor Law union||Peterborough|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The registers, with Milton and Ailsworth, date from the year 1538, and also incorporate that of Sutton up to 1758.
Church of England
St. Kyneburgha (parish church)
The church of St. Kyneburgha is a very fine building, chiefly Norman, with additions in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave, aisles, transepts, south-west porch and a finely enriched and embattled central tower of two stages, with a short spire, and containing a clock and 6 bells: the south door, apparently coeval with the aisle, is of massive oak, cross-framed and retaining the original lock and key, which are very curious from their great size and strength, the key being nearly 15 inches in length; the door has been elaborately carved and the exterior margin bears the following legend in raised letters: "Ricardvs Beby Rector-Ecclesie-de Castre-fecit:" there are sepulchral recesses on the outside of the church and in the south wall of the aisle: in the transept is a stone effigy of a priest and on the outside is a stone coffin of the 13th century; in the walls of the churchyard may be seen numerous remains of coped coffin lids, many of them bearing floriated crosses: in the north aisle are the remains of a curious shrine, supposed to be that of St. Kyneburgha and her sister Kyneswitha, whose remains, originally deposited here, were afterwards removed to Peterborough Cathedral: there is also in the churchyard what is probably the base of a Saxon cross, with rough carving upon it: in the north aisle is a double aumbry and on the wall of this aisle are some highly interesting fresco paintings which are somewhat obliterated; these represent scenes in the history of St. Catherine; the whole series dates from the early 14th century: the central tower rests on Norman pillars with peculiarly carved capitals, that on the north side of the chancel arch representing Samson killing the Lion, and a boar hunt; and one in the north transept displays the figure of a woodman cutting trees, an animal browsing on a tree, and other figures of animals; another capital exhibits a man gathering grapes, and on the western capital in the south transept are two warriors fighting with maces: the chancel retains a very fine double piscina and double sedilia: the spire was struck by lightning June 4th, 1795: the church has been restored and the nave fitted with low open benches: in 1913 the external walls were pointed throughout and the roof restored: there are 600 sittings.
There is a Congregational chapel.
United Methodist chapel
There is a United Methodist chapel.
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Castor from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, 1848
- Kelly's Directory of Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, and Northamptonshire, 1914
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Northamptonshire papers online: