Swimming, archery, football, golfing – Delapré Abbey appeals for sporting memories

A new sports-themed exhibition is in the planning at Delapré Abbey, and local people with a connection to the Abbey are being urged to share their sporting memories, stories and photos.
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The Northampton based Abbey, originally a nunnery established in 1145, is steeped in sporting history and to celebrate this a new temporary exhibition is being planned for 2024.

Eleanor Sier, Head of Engagement and Interpretation, explained: “Gaelic football and hurling were once played here, one of our fields is still known for its roots in archery, we were a popular horse riding and pony club venue and we are today still home to a golf club.

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“Delapré Abbey is proudly steeped in a diverse and exciting sporting history. Before the council bought the Abbey in 1949 resident families including the Bouverie's were keen sports people. Miss Bouverie played tennis and golf and the whole family were keen horse people, as were the Coopers who rented the house in the early 1900s.”

Northampton Archery Club at Delapré Abbey in the 1950s, courtesy of Ray WakeNorthampton Archery Club at Delapré Abbey in the 1950s, courtesy of Ray Wake
Northampton Archery Club at Delapré Abbey in the 1950s, courtesy of Ray Wake

The Abbey’s 2024 Sporting Exhibition, set to take place in the year that Paris will host the Olympic Games, will focus on 20th century history – with community stories, memories and photos at the heart of it.

Chris Holmes, Chief Executive at Northamptonshire Sport, added: “Our charity has been based at Delapré Abbey for over two years. During that time, we've partnered with the Abbey’s team to develop exercise classes and opportunities to help people be more active. It makes perfect sense for us to be here; we share the vision of a happier and healthier county and look forward to this exhibition. The surrounding parkland also offers lots of green space and ways to be active, along with the rich sporting heritage, it’s great to call Delapré Abbey home.”

Eleanor added: “We are appealing to local people to get in touch. We want memories, stories, photos, letters and have a dedicated group of volunteers who will be on hand to gather these stories and these examples of valuable living history. Whether you want to donate or loan your artefacts please get in touch.”

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Delapré Abbey’s Sporting Exhibition will take place in the main historic house, from May to October 2024. Entry will be included in entrance to the main house and will be free for people with an Annual Pass.

Please email your photos, memories and stories to Eleanor Sier, Head of Engagement and Interpretation, to [email protected] or call Eleanor on 01604 760817