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Kettering (St. Peter)

KETTERING (St. Peter), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Huxloe, N. division of the county of Northampton, 14 miles (N. E. by N.) from Northampton, and 75 (N. W.) from London; containing 4867 inhabitants. The Saxon name of this town was Cytringham, the etymology of which is uncertain. At the Norman survey the manor and church belonged to the abbey of Burgh, or Peterborough, and they continued in the possession of that house until the Dissolution. The town, which has of late years much improved in appearance, is situated on the declivity of a hill, at the foot of which flows a small stream that joins the Ice brook, a branch of the river Nene. The manufacture of shoes affords employment to a considerable number of persons; and the weaving of ribbons and Persians, and of silk shag for hats, is also extensively carried on: there are two brush manufactories. The market is on Friday; and fairs are held on the Thursday before Easter, Friday before Whit-Sunday, Thursday before Old Michaelmas-day, and the Thursday before the festival of St. Thomas. Petty-sessions for Kettering division are held every alternate Friday. The powers of the county debt-court of Kettering, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Kettering. The town is the place of election for the northern division of the shire.

The parish comprises, according to the survey made at the time of its inclosure, 2618a. 3r. 2p., of which about two-thirds are arable and one-third pasture; the surface is varied, and the scenery generally pleasing, but there are not more than two or three acres of plantations. The whole parish is copyhold; and the Duke of Buccleuch, and the Hon. Richard Watson, brother of Lord Sondes, are joint lords of the manor. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £34. 13. 4., and in the patronage of the Hon. Richard Watson, with a net income of £786: the tithes were commuted for land and a money payment in 1804. The church is a handsome edifice, in the later English style, with a fine tower at the west end, having double buttresses, and octagonal turrets at the angles, and surmounted by an octagonal crocketed spire; round the base of the spire, and connected with the angular turrets, is an embattled parapet, which commands an extensive and beautiful prospect. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyans. An ancient free grammar school is endowed with land and houses producing about £160 per annum: national schools are supported chiefly by subscription; and there is a small girls' school, called Bridges' school, endowed with £22 per annum. An hospital for six widows was founded by Mr. Sawyer, in 1688. The poor-law union of Kettering comprises 28 parishes or places, and contains a population of 18,327. In 1726, several coins were discovered of Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Constantine, and other Roman emperors; also of Carausius, who assumed the purple in Britain; together with a brass seal having the figure of St. Michael engraved on it, and other antique remains. Dr. John Gill, an eminent oriental and biblical scholar, was born here in 1697. Queen Victoria and her consort passed through the town on her way to Burleigh, on the 12th November, 1844, and on her return, November 15th.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.