Author explores historic town of Rothwell

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An author has delved into the history of Rothwell, after he was inspired to find out more about his mother’s birthplace.

William Franklin, who spent his childhood in Rushden, said he had always been fascinated with history and while researching Rothwell and his family tree, he decided to look deeper into the history of the market town.

Two years later, after spending many hours poring over the record books, Mr Franklin has produced a book called Rothwell With Orton: A History of a Midland Market Town.

Mr Franklin, who is known to his friends as Bill, said: “I’ve spent roughly two years doing the book and it has been really interesting.

“Because I don’t live in the area any more, I would come down and spend a couple of days in the area taking pictures, looking at the record books, then I would go home and spend the next couple of days transcribing.”

The book looks back through the history of the town and the hamlet of Orton which lies south-west of it.

It looks at the archaelogy of the town, the historical development, the churches and chapels, the social history and the economic history.

The book also follows the history of the families who were in charge of running the manors of Rothwell and Orton, with famous local families including the Tresham family, the de Haschulls and the de Clares.

The Crown held the manors until about 1066, but following the Norman conquest of the country formal Royal manors were let to powerful barons and they often sub-let to lesser knights in return for their service.

The book states: “Therefore, where one manor existed in 1066 many large manors with a number of lesser manors might exist after that and such is the case with the manor of Rothwell, where the principle manor was initally leased to the powerful but largely absent de Clare family, which sub-let much of the land to lesser knights, such as the Braybrookes, Cantilupes, Wakes and Latimers.”

The book brings up some intriguing tales about the lords of the manor, including participation in the first Barons’ War, and also the Battle of Northampton in 1460, and even an involvement in the infamous Gunpowder Plot.

Various members of the Tresham family held the manor of Rothwell from 1546, including Sir Thomas Tresham Junior, who held it from 1559.

Sir Thomas married Muriel Throckmorton, the daughter of Sir John Throckmorton of Coughton, Warwickshire.

Together they had 11 children, the eldest of which, Francis, became embroiled in the Gunpowder Plot and was executed at the Tower of London in 1605.

Mr Franklin said the town has many intrigiuing tales to tell and his research led him to find out many stories he wasn’t expecting to find.

He said: “For a small market town, you perhaps might think there is not much to look into, but it has a really interesting history with a lot to tell.”

He added that he thoroughly enjoyed writing the book and has urged anybody with an interest in Rothwell or Orton, or history in general, to have a read.

He is now in the process of posting a leaflet about the book to every house in the town.

He aded: “There are other things in Rothwell I would like to look deeper into, but the history of other areas in the country also interest me.”

The book can be bought by visiting publishing website