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Great Billing, Northamptonshire

Historical Description

Billing, Great, a parish in Northamptonshire, near (lie river Nen, 1½ mile N of Billing Road station on the L. & N.W.R., and 4 miles ENE of Northampton, under which it has a post office; money order and telegraph office, Little Houghton. Acreage, 1387; population, 348. The manor belonged formerly to the O'Briens, Earls of Thomond, and belongs now to the Elweses. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Peterborough; gross yearly value, £450 with residence, in the gift of Brasenose College, Oxford. The church is a building of stone in the Early English and Decorated styles, and there are Roman Catholic and Wesleyan chapels, and some small charities. Sir J. Wake, the diplomatist of James I., was a rector. Billing Hall, a well situated country seat, celebrated for its trees, is in this parish.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyNorthamptonshire 
Ecclesiastical parishBilling St. Andrew 
Poor Law unionNorthampton 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

The parish register of baptisms and burials dates from the year 1662; marriages, 1664., in association with the Northamptonshire Record Office, have images of the Parish Registers and Bishop's Transcripts for Northamptonshire online.


Church of England

St. Andrew (parish church)

The church of St. Andrew is a building of stone, in the Early English and Decorated style, with some remains of Norman work and Perpendicular insertions, and consists of chancel, clerestoried nave of four bays, aisles, south porch and a western tower containing 3 bells: the tower was originally surmounted by a spire, but this was destroyed by lightning, April 12, 1759, and in its fall greatly damaged the church: both the tower and nave are adorned with incongruous parapets and other ornamental work, transferred here from the mansion of the Earls of Thomond at Billing, when that structure was taken down by Lord John Cavendish in 1776: the font is Late Perpendicular: the chancel is separated from the nave by a wooden screen: the east window and one in the tower are stained: in the north chapel is a large and costly monument, erected by Sarah (Russell), Countess of Thomond, to her husband, Henry, 7th Earl of Thomond, ob. May, 1691, and their children: it consists of a table tomb of marble, at the back of which are kneeling effigies of the earl and countess, and in front figures of children; above the monument is a shield of arms and other decorative additions: there is also a marble tablet, with a female figure in relief, by Flaxman, and an inscription to Caroline, wife of R. C. Elwes, d. 1812; and there are various other memorials to members of this family, dating from 1850 to 1868: at the west end is an inscribed tablet to the Rev. George Buckley Bower. M.A., a former rector, d. 26 Dec. 1800: the interior of the church was restored, the nave and chancel re-seated with open sittings and an organ supplied in 1867, at a total cost of about £1,000, defrayed principally by the lord of the manor and the rector, aided by subscriptions: there are 200 sittings.


Wesleyan chapel

There is a small Wesleyan chapel.

Roman Catholic

Immaculate Heart of Mary

The Catholic chapel, dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and formerly a school, built by the late Robert Cary Elwes esq. was converted to its present purpose about 1873, by the late V. D. H. Cary Elwes esq. (d. 1909).

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Great Billing from the following:

Land and Property

Billing Hall is a mansion of Duston stone, erected about 1790 by Lord John Cavendish, from the designs of John Carr, a distinguished architect and twice Lord Mayor of York: it stands on a commanding position close to the village, nearly on the site of the old mansion of the O'Briens, Earls of Thomond, and has a Catholic chapel adjoining it; on the lawn, 10 acres in extent, are three trees worthy of particular mention - a beech containing about 900 feet of timber; a holly, whose trunk has a girth of 8 feet and is about 35 feet high: and an elm, whose hollow trunk affords ample room for 6 persons.

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Northamptonshire is available to browse.


Online maps of Great Billing are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Northamptonshire papers online:

RegionEast Midlands
Postal districtNN3
Post TownNorthampton