Tales of rogue hot air balloon and war cemetery’s only woman told in Northampton Market Square

Story hunters, Daniel Bye and Sarah Punshon, with Tony Bull NNL-140620-121234001
Story hunters, Daniel Bye and Sarah Punshon, with Tony Bull NNL-140620-121234001

Two artists continue their quest for stories of Northampton history in Market Square today, before turning their findings into a walking tour of the town next week.

Daniel Bye and Sarah Punshon set up their pop-up living room in Market Square today, inviting passerby to come in for a cup of tea and to share their tales of the town.

One visitor, 83-year-old Tony Bull from Balmoral Road in Kingsthorpe, shared the story of his aunt, Elsie Bull, who was the only woman to be buried in the war cemetery in Stoke Bruerne.

He said: “She died in 1919 after contracting tuberculosis whilst working as a nursing sister during the war.

“I am a born and bred Northamptonian, I even worked in the town whilst serving during the Second World War myself.”

Mr Bye said: “Our tent has attracted a lot of attention today and so many people have a stories to share.

“We are in the town for two weeks and we’ve been amazed at some of the history we have learned from going through library archives and even just tlaking to people in pubs.

“Because it’s so old, Northampton has a really gory history of things like witch hunting and human sacrifice and, one we really enjoyed, was the tale of a woman in 1828 who escaped from a rogue hot air balloon and through an attic window, right here in Market Square.”

The pair will be conducting the finalised hour-long tours from Friday, June 27, to Sunday, June 29.

Mr Bye said: “History has always been an interest of mine, particularly the stories of ordinary people, which rarely get recorded, and seeing how that has built the culture of the town.”