Saxon warriors herald 'new beginning' for Northampton's Medieval castle with history trail project

A Medieval monk watches as the new history plaques are unveiled.
A Medieval monk watches as the new history plaques are unveiled.

"A new chapter" in the history of Northampton's Medieval castle was marked with a fanfare on the grounds of the old bailey.

Plans to bring Northampton Castle back to life with a playmaze and heritage trail were unveiled yesterday (April 30) along with a new set of plaques on the grounds of the old bailey off Chalk Lane car park, Spring Boroughs.

The new plaque off Chalk Lane car park.

The new plaque off Chalk Lane car park.

Saxon warriors and Medieval ladies-in-waiting were on hand as the Mayor of Northampton Gareth Eales announced the new project to revive the town's historical legacy.

He said: "We are standing in the inner bailey of Northampton Castle. Within this bailey or courtyard stands the Great Hall in which Thomas Becket was tried in 1164 by King Henry XI.

"It is absolutely right that we recognise the importance of this area in terms of being one of the earliest heritage sites in Northampton."

The borough council plan to renovate the site of the former castle with a new history walk and heritage trail.

Plans for the new heritage trail and playmaze were submitted to the council last month.

Plans for the new heritage trail and playmaze were submitted to the council last month.

It will include a playmaze based on the footprint of the long-gone inner bailey and will be landscaped with boulders to recreate the castle walls.

There will also be a new virtual reality tour of the castle, which transports the user back to 1222, to witness a tournament and take part in a number of games and quests.

Yesterday, a new set of plaques detailing the history of the castle were unveiled at the site of the former bailey and near St Peter's Church, off Mare Fair.

It comes after a former set of plaques in the same spots were vandalised in 2016.

Dr Marie Dickie OBE, Chairman of the Friends of Northampton Castle, which helped create the plaques, said: “We have worked consistently for a recognition and restoration of this historic site. We hope that now the place where Thomas Becket was tried, where Kings consulted their barons and treaties and laws were made, will have a growing role as a public park for Northampton.”