Northampton’s medieval knight sculptures are on the move in September

The medieval knights in Northampton town centre are on the move in September.
The medieval knights in Northampton town centre are on the move in September.

A set of carved medieval knight sculptures are set to move from Northampton town centre next month to take up new homes at historic town landmarks.

The seven wooden artworks, carved out of huge tree trunks by chainsaw artists Daniel Cordell, Simon O’Rourke and Harry Thomas, have been situated outside the Guildhall, Abington Street, St Giles Street and The Drapery since March.

The sculptures, which depict English knights from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries were chosen for their links to significant periods in Northampton and middle England’s history and have formed part of an interactive historic trail across the town over the past months.

But in September they will move to new homes at Delpare Abbey and the site of Northampton’s former castle according to the borough council, which commissioned them.

Cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, Councillor Tim Hadland (Con, Old Duston) said: “The knights have certainly had an impact in the town centre and people love them.

“It is now time for them to move on and I can’t think of two better locations; the battle of Northampton was fought in the grounds of Delapre Abbey in 1460 and in its heyday the castle was one of the most famous castles in England.

“They will be added attractions to these key heritage sites and I hope people will continue to enjoy them for a long time to come.”

As well as the six knights, there is also a three-dimensional sculpture of the town crest featuring the devise of Northampton castle supported by two lions.

The crest has been used by the town since early times and the representation of the castle is believed to be one of the ancient town gates.

People have until the end of August to follow the Knights Trail in Northampton town centre and can visit for a trail map.

The two 15th century knights will move to the grounds of Delapre Abbey and the four 13th and 14th century knights and town crest will go to the castle site.

Chair of Delapre Abbey Preservation Trust, Rod Giddins, said: “We welcome the knights to Delapre, scene of one of the most important battles in the War of the Roses.

“They will certainly make an impact here and we hope they will encourage people to come and visit us to find out more about the Abbey and how it is being restored for re-opening next summer”.

Dr Marie Dickie OBE, who is the chair of the Friends of Northampton Castle, said: “These imposing figures would have strode the walls of our great castle and defended it from attack. For the time being they will be standing in a public car park - but with their help we can bring the Castle back to view and they will be able to defend the Castle once again.”

The knights will be moving on from the town centre to their new homes during the first week of September and the move is expected to be achieved in one day.

With the knights set to leave the town centre, Northampton’s opposition labour group on the borough council is calling for a new piece of public art to go in Market Square.

Shadow cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Arthur McCutcheon (Lab, Headlands), said: “I believe their needs to be more of a discussion whether our town centre needs more public art on display, particularly on the market square. “Perhaps a sculpture of some kind? Personally I would like to see something that celebrates Northampton’s fantastic heritage.”