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1164  Thomas Becket is thought to have drunk water from the well on the

        edge of the park after his trial at Northampton Castle.

1460  War of the Roses – Battle of Northampton took place in Delapre,

        crossing the river into the park.

1590  Milling on site – Nuns mill given to Delapre Abbey.

1612   Flat racing on the site.

1783  Construction of the promenade – New Walk.

1841  Promenade extended – Victoria Promenade now reached the river.

1872  New railway line opened with trains running through the park on their

        way to and from Bedford. 

1882  Northampton Corporation adopted the area of common land known as

        Cow Meadow.  The open space had uses such as promenading to carpet


1889  Although the age of the iron bridge is not known, there is mention of it

        in the Corporation’s minutes of 1889.  (Possibly now pedestrian bridge

        to the marina?)

1904  Extraction of sand and gravel to create paths for other parks in the


1912   The original boathouse, situated at South Bridge, was demolished when

         the bridge was widened.

1914   By the time of the First World War, the park boasted paths and

         promenades, avenues of trees, seats, railed boundaries, footbridge over

                the river, boating from the island, drinking fountains and band

         concerts in the summer months. 

Mid 1920’s  Bowls and tennis facilities and pavilion created - putting green

         added later, although sloping ground had its challenges!

1927   New boathouse built on island next to the lock. 

1935   Cow Meadow renamed Beckets Park by the borough council.

1937   Boat rides along the river were developed.  A Dutch man, Jan D. Mienes,

         and his son, Clarence, looked after the boats and rented them out. 

1951   Promenade improved as part of the Festival of Britain.

1952   Northampton Sea Cadets erected a Nissan Hut on donated land sited  

         on Calvesholme island where the unit continues to train.

1971   National Rally of Boats took place with an excess of 500 boats and

        50,000 people attending.

1976  Summer drought stops the boat rally and event was cancelled.

1977  Model boating was taking place on the lake.

1980’s  Family fun days with dog show, Punch & Judy, children’s disco and

         fancy dress competition among the attractions.  

1989  Boathouse vandalised and burnt to the ground. 

1990  Narrowboat festival with 60 traditional boats taking part. 

2000’s  Firework displays taking place in the park organised by the Rotary


2007  Volunteers painted railings and erected information boards.

2009  West Northants Development Corporation gave a grant of £1.8m

         towards the creation of a marina. 

2011   Riverside Festival to celebrate 250 years of the River Nene being

        navigable with 5,000 people attending. 

2012  New marina opens

2012  Olympic torch carried through the park.

2016  Buddies of Beckets formed and introduces new events to the park.

2017  Northampton’s first Mela and Christmas Elf Door Hunt organised by

        Buddies of Beckets. 

You can find out more about the history of the Northampton to Bedford railway line, Beckets Well, the River Nene, the outdoor pool in Midsummer Meadow and events held in the park on five interpretation boards installed by Buddies of Beckets in 2020.

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