Finedon, a large village or indeed small town of Saxon origin, is situated in Northamptonshire, the county justly famed for its Spires and Squires. Life in Finedon is characterized by intense community feeling and local loyalties. Finedon is a place of deep roots and proud self-conscious identity.
When does Finedon’s history begin?
Obviously the 3,661 acres of the earth’s surface now known, as Finedon are just as ancient as the rest of the earth and Finedon, like the rest of the earth, must have passed through all the prehistoric ages. The earliest evidence of “Finedon man” yet discovered is a Neolithic (or New Stone Age) axe head. This axe head is mentioned in the Archaeological Journal of 1878 but is now, apparently, lost. Neither was the exact location of the find recorded except that it was found “in Finedon”. Neolithic stone tools and weapons were smooth and highly polished as opposed to those of the Early Stone Age which were rough flints chipped to a point. The Neolithic Age spread from 4,000 B.C. to 2,000 B.C. so man has trod Finedon soil for at least 4,000 years. The skulls of Neolithic men were long and narrow like the skulls of the small, dark-skinned, curly-haired people, the Basques, who still live in parts of Spain. We can picture these early men keeping their cattle, fashioning their weapons and rude pots, living in caves with their wives and children, and burying their dead in long chambers or barrows made of huge uncut stones covered with earth. We have further evidence of Neolithic, or slightly later, occupation in the discovery of worked flints and crop marks, showing ring ditches and an enclosure, south of Hillside Farm (Mr. L. Chamberlain’s). An arrowhead (made from bluish flint and of perfect proportions), recently found in this area, may be seen in Kettering Museum. It is to me remarkable that ditches and walls, removed thousands of years ago, still cause certain crops to grow a slightly different color and, whilst the effect is not noticeable from the ground, the sites of such workings are rendered clearly visible from the air and aerial photographs.
In 1086 when the Domesday Book was completed, Finedon was a large royal manor, previously held by Queen Edith. At this time the village was known as Tingdene, which originates from the Old English words þing meaning assembly or meeting and Denu meaning valley or vale. Tingdene and the later version, Thingdon, were used until the early nineteenth century until finally Finedon became the commonly accepted version, both in written format as well as in pronunciation.
The importance of Finedon at the time of the Domesday Book is clear, as with a population of 102 it was one of only four towns listed with a population greater than 50 in Northamptonshire – the others being Northampton, Brackley, and Rushton.
The Bell Inn also claims to be listed in the Domesday Book, but the current building does not date back to this period, and there is evidence that the original inn was situated several hundred metres away. However, the main building was built around 1598, with the current façade added in 1872.
Finedon hides away many historic buildings. A notable building in Finedon’s history was the Volta Tower, built in 1865 by Mr Mackworth Dolben. This building collapsed in 1951 due to being constructed without mortar, the building was a local landmark when it stood.