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Kettering is a town in the north of Northamptonshiremarker, England. It is the main town within the Borough of Ketteringmarker.

Kettering is on the River Ise, a tributary of the Nenemarker and is twinned with Lahnsteinmarker, Germany and Kettering, Ohiomarker, in the United States.

Kettering's economy was built on the boot and shoe industry. With the arrival of railways in the 19th century, industries such as engineering and clothing grew up. The clothing manufacturer Aquascutum built its first factory here in 1909. Now Kettering's economy is based on service and distribution industries due to its central location and transport links. A large and growing commuter population takes advantage of Kettering'smarker position on the Midland Main Line railway, currently operated by East Midlands Trains, giving Kettering a direct link to St Pancras railway stationmarker, which serves the Eurostar European high-speed railway network.

Early history

Once believed obscure, the placename Kettering is now taken to mean 'the place (or territory) of Ketter's people (or kinsfolk)'. Spelt variously Cytringan, Kyteringas and Keteiringan in the 10th century, although the origin of the name appears to have baffled place-name scholars in the 1930s, words and place-names ending with 'ing' usually derive from the Anglo-Saxon or Old English word inga or ingas meaning 'the people of the' or 'tribe'.

The town traces its origins to an early, unwalled Romano British settlement, the remnants of which lie under the northern part of the modern town. Occupied until the 4th century AD, there is evidence that a substantial amount of iron-smelting took place on the site. Along with the Forest of Deanmarker and the Wealdmarker of Kent and Sussex, this area of Northamptonshire "was one of the three great centres of iron-working in Roman Britain" The settlement reached as far as the Weekleymarker and Geddingtonmarker parishes. However it is felt unlikely that the site was continuously occupied from the Romano British into the Anglo-Saxon era Pottery kilns have also been unearthed at nearby Barton Seagravemarker and Boughtonmarker.

Before the Romans the Kettering area, like much of Northamptonshire’s prehistoric countryside, appears to have remained somewhat intractable with regards to early human occupation, resulting in an apparently sparse population and relatively few finds from the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods. About 500 BC the Iron Age was introduced into the area by a continental people in the form of the Hallstatt culture, and over the next century a series of hillforts were constructed, the closest to Kettering being at nearby Irthlingboroughmarker. Like most of what later became Northamptonshire, from early in the 1st century BC the Kettering area became part of the territory of the Catuvellauni, a Belgic tribe, the Northamptonshire area forming their most northerly possession. The Catuvellauni were in turn conquered by the Romans in 43 AD. Excavations in the early 20th century either side of Stamford road (A43), near the site of the former Prime Cuts factory, revealed an extensive early Saxon burial site, consisting of at least a hundred cremation urns dating to the 5th century AD. This suggests that it may have been among the earliest Anglo-Saxon penetrations into the interior of what later became England. The prefix ‘Wic-’ of the nearby village of Weekleymarker may also signify Anglo-Saxon activities in the area; Greenall reports that it could be "an indication of foederati, Anglo-Saxon mercenaries brought in to boost the defences of the Empire." This was established imperial policy, which the Romano British continued after Rome withdrew from Britain around 410 AD, with disastrous consequences for the Romano-Britons.

By the 7th century the lands that would eventually become Northamptonshire formed part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Merciamarker. The Mercians converted to Christianity in 654 AD with the death of the pagan king Penda. From about 889 the Kettering area, along with much of Northamptonshire (and at one point almost all of England except for Athelneymarker marsh in Somersetmarker), was conquered by the Danes and became part of the Danelawmarker, with the ancient trackway of Watling Streetmarker serving as the border, until being recaptured by the English under the Wessexmarker king Edward the Elder, son of Alfred the Great, in 917. Northamptonshire was conquered again in 940, this time by the Vikings of York, who devastated the area, only for the county to be retaken by the English in 942. It is unlikely however that Kettering itself existed as a village earlier than the 10th century (the county of Northampton itself is not referenced in documents before 1011). Before this time the Kettering area was most likely populated by a thin scattering of family farmsteads. The first historical reference of Kettering is in a charter of 956 AD in which King Edwy granted ten "cassati" of land to Aelfsige the Goldsmith. The boundaries delineated in this charter would have been recognisable to most inhabitants for the last thousand years and can still be walked today. It is possible that Aelfsige the Goldsmith gave Kettering to the monastery of Peterboroughmarker, as King Edgar in a charter dated 972 confirmed it to that monastery. At the Domesday survey in 1086, Kettering manor is listed as held by the Abbey of Peterborough. Kettering was valued at £11, with 107 acres of meadow, 3 of woodland, 2 mills, 31 villans with 10 ploughs, and 1 female slave.

The nearby stately home of Boughton Housemarker, sometimes described as the 'English Versailles' has for centuries been the seat of the Dukes of Buccleuch, major landowners in Kettering and most of the surrounding villages; along with the Watsons of Rockingham Castlemarker, the two families were joint lords of the manor of Kettering. Kettering is dominated by the crocketed spire of about 180 feet of the Parish church of SS Peter and Paul. Little is known of the origins of the church, its first known priest becoming rector in 1219-20. The chancel is in the Early Decorated style of about 1300, the main fabric of the building being mostly Perpendicular, having been rebuilt in the mid 15th century (its tower and spire being remarkably similar to the tower and spire at Oundlemarker). Whether the current building replaced an earlier church on the site is unknown. Two medieval wall paintings, one of two angels with feathered wings, and one of a now faded saint, can still be seen inside the church.

The charter for Kettering's market was granted to the Bishop of Peterborough by Henry III in 1227. In 1989 the bus station was relocated away from the market area to the Newland Street entrance of the modern Newlands shopping centre, causing a fatal decline in market trade. The market place has since been abandoned. Attempts to revive the market as a small scale street market have met with little welcome from local shops and stores.

In June 1607 at the nearby village of Newton, the Newton Rebellion broke out, causing a brief uprising known as the Midland Revolt, which involved several nearby villages. Protesting at land enclosures at Newton and Pytchleymarker by local landlords the Treshamsmarker, on 8 June a pitched battle took place between Levellers - many from Kettering, Corbymarker and particularly Weldon, - and local gentry and their servants (local militias having refused the call to arms). Approximately 40-50 local men are said to have been killed and the ringleaders hanged, drawn and quartered. The Newton rebellion represents one of the last times that the English peasantry and the gentry were in open conflict. By the 17th century the town was a centre for woollen cloth.

Recent history

The present town grew up in the 19th century with the development of the boot and shoe industry, for which Northamptonshire as a whole became famous. Many large homes in both the Headlands and Rockingham Road were built for factory owners while terraced streets provided accommodation for the workers. The industry has markedly declined since the 1970s, large footwear manufacturers such as Dolcis, Freeman, Hardy and Willis, Frank Wright and Timpsons, having left the town or closed down in the face of stiff overseas competition, while others have outsourced their production to lower-cost countries. Only two smaller footwear businesses remain.

Victorian era Kettering was the centre of the 19th-century religious non-conformism and the Christian missionary movement, and this has been preserved in many names. William Carey was born in 1761 at Paulerspurymarker and spent his early life in Kettering before leaving for India as a missionary in 1793. Carey Mission House and Carey Street was named after him. Andrew Fuller helped Carey found the Baptist Missionary Society and he is remembered in the Fuller Church and Fuller Street. In 1803 William Knibb was born in Market Street and became a missionary and emancipator of slaves; he is commemorated by the Knibb Centre and Knibb Street. Toller Chapel and Toller Place are named after two ministers, father and son, who preached in Kettering for a total of 100 years. The chapel was built in 1723 for those who since 1662 had been worshipping in secret.

After several false starts Kettering station was opened in 1857 by the Midland Railway Company, providing a welcome economic stimulus to an ailing local economy, suffering as it was from the loss of wayfaring business since the introduction of railways nationwide. The line was finally linked to London in 1867.

In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Kettering as:

In 1921 Wicksteed Parkmarker, Britain's oldest theme park, was officially opened on the southern outskirts of the town, and remains popular to this day.

From 1942 to 1945 the town witnessed a large influx of American servicemen (including on several occasions Clark Gable), mainly from the US 8th Air Force at RAF Grafton Underwoodmarker, 3.7 miles away. The base was soon nicknamed ‘Grafton Undermud’ in reference to the perceived English weather of 'rain, rain and more rain'. The first bombing raid - targeting the marshalling yards at Rouenmarker, northern France - was led by Major Paul W. Tibbets who in 1945 pilloted Enola Gay, the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the first atomic bomb on HiroshimaAircraft from Grafton Underwood dropped the 8th Air Force’s first and last bombs of WWII.


In mid-2003 the population of the Borough of Ketteringmarker was estimated at 86,000, with 51,063 residing in the town proper. Kettering is centrally located in North Northamptonshire, the biggest single growth area outside London with the East Kettering development area covers 300 hectares and extends from the A43 in the north to the A14 in the south. In March 2007, a project was revealed to refurbish and bring new leisure and shopping to the town centre, including water features, public art, sculptures, street furniture, trees, plants and an innovative pavement lighting scheme.


Kettering has transport links and lies roughly halfway between Sheffieldmarker and London by rail, and on the A14 East - West trunk road, approximately midway between the M1 motorway and the A1 roadmarker. The town benefits from its "Heart of England" location on the busy A14 and is said to be within two hours' drive of 75% of the UK's population.

Kettering's unemployment rate is amongst the lowest in the UK and has over 80% of its adults in full time employment. It is home to a wide range of companies including Weetabix, Pegasus Software, RCI Europe, Timsons Ltd and Morrisons Distribution as well as Wicksteed Parkmarker, the United Kingdom's oldest theme park, which now plays host to one and a quarter million visitors every season.

It is the home of Kettering General Hospitalmarker, which provides Acute and Accident & Emergency department services for the whole of Northern and parts of Eastern Northamptonshire including Corbymarker and Wellingboroughmarker. With its new £20 million campus, 16,000 students and 800 staff, Tresham College of Further and Higher Educationmarker is a significant employer in the region.

Kettering Business Park, a recent and current commercial property development undertaken by Buccleuch Property is situated on the A43/A6003, on the north side of Kettering. Many office buildings are being built as part of the project as well as a leisure sector with a new hotel. Many large distribution warehouses have been constructed in the area, creating thousands of jobs for the local economy. Kettering's Heritage Quarter houses the Manor House Museum and the Alfred East Gallery. The magnificent Boughton Housemarker, Queen Eleanor cross and the 1597 Triangular Lodgemarker are local landmarks within the borough. Sir Thomas Tresham was a devout Catholic who was imprisoned for his beliefs. When he was released he built Triangular Lodge to defy his prosecutors and secretly declare his faith. The construction's 'three of everything' - sides, floors, windows and gables - represent the Holy Trinity.

From 2003, the British sitcom Peep Show has various scenes in Kettering, due to the head office of character Mark Corrigan being located there. However, it was not filmed in Kettering, and places named in the show such as the nightclub LAPLand Kettering, and the hotel Park Kettering are fictitious.


Kettering is home to Kettering Rugby Football Club (KRFC), located in Waverley Road on the south side of the town. The earliest available records indicate that the playing of Rugby Football in Kettering was initiated by the Rector of Barton Seagrave village in 1871. After a period of playing under Uppingham Public School Rules the club formally adopted RFU rules in 1875 and quickly became a significant participant in both the local community and the fast-developing Rugby scene in the East Midlands. In the early days games were played on a number of sites including farmers' fields and council-owned grounds. It was during this period, prior to adopting a home of their own, that the club developed its high profile in the town. Social occasions and players "meetings" were held traditionally at the Royal Hotel, later moving to the George, with more formal occasions such as the Annual Ball becoming the highlight of the local function calendar. KRFC currently plays in the Midlands 1st Division. Their website can be found at [43956]

Kettering is home to Kettering Town F.C. Current Chairman Imraan Ladak installed former Tamworth manager Mark Cooper as the new Kettering Town supremo for the 2007-08 season. After a record breaking start to the season (7 consecutive wins), the club held pole position virtually all season, winning the Blue Square North with 5 games in hand. The Poppies broke their win record of 28 games, now 30 and registered a record points tally for the Division of 96 points. Kettering Town play in the Blue Square Premier. Kettering is also home to the Satter-day Saints, who boast a 25 game unbeaten run in the Northans Inter-Soccer premier league. However, player-manager Michael Marriott has since left the club in search of international football.Mark Cooper joined Peterborough United Manager in November 2009 with Goalkeeper Lee Harper taking over as he was the most experienced player.


Kettering is represented in parliament by a constituency of the same name, which is currently represented by Conservative MP Philip Hollobone, who gained the marginal constituency from former Labour MP Phil Sawford in the 2005 general election.

In the European Parliamentmarker, Kettering falls within the East Midlands European Parliament constituency and is represented by 6 MEPs (elected June 2004):- Derek Clark (UKIP / ID)- Chris Heaton-Harris Conservative / EPP-ED)- Roger Helmer Conservative / EPP-ED))- Bill Newton Dunn (Liberal Democrat / ALDE)- Robert Kilroy-Silk (Independent (formerly UKIP and Veritas) / Independent (formerly ID)- Glenis Willmott, Labour / PES)

In local government, Kettering falls within the areas of Northamptonshire County Councilmarker and Kettering Borough Councilmarker, which incorporates the small, satellite towns of Burton Latimermarker, Desboroughmarker and Rothwellmarker.

Politics in Kettering has not always been a sedate affair: in 1835 a horrified Charles Dickens, then a young reporter for the Morning Chronicle, watched aghast as a Tory supporter on horseback, intent (along with others) on taking control of bye-election proceedings, produced a loaded pistol and had to be restrained by his friends from committing murder. The ensuing riot between Tory and Whig supporters led Dickens in his article to form various opinions of Kettering and its voters, none of them complimentary.

Notable residents

Town twinning

See also


External links

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