Banner 5
Banner 4
Banner 3
Banner 2
Banner 1

Aldwincle Lane

Aldwincle Lane, near Thrapston, is green, majestic and lonely.  Perfect for a walk in good weather, but that wasn’t available on the day I went. 

I started at SP000833, went south-west till I met the tarmac road outside Lowick, then walked back to Aldwincle thinking, What on earth was the lane for?

 

Later, at home, I looked at a large scale map of the area, and had a possible answer:

 

I should have taken a rightangle turn on to a footpath where AL stops and crossed the southern end of Bullicks Wood1 – strange spelling – to rejoin the byway at 975805 south of Lowick.  The byway fizzles out just north of the A14, but the direction is taken up by increasingly busy tarmac roads through Woodford, Irthlingborough, Wellingborough to the King of the Midland Markets, Northampton2.  So: Destination Northampton? 

 

But where, if AL was a droveroad, were the beasts coming from?

Extending the line of AL the other way, north-east, we come to Oundle, Market Deeping then Spalding, which was on the Scottish drove-route to East Anglia.  The lush grass there would fatten cattle after their 6-week journey south. 

What if the Scottish beasts were sold to graziers at Spalding?  Perhaps they’d move them on to Northampton if drovers returning from London had reported poor prices…  If so, enter Aldwincle Lane, to huge applause.

 

But if anyone knows a better explanation, please email me at the website. 

27/12/2016: MY REQUEST  GRANTED!  Jeff Blincow emailed to say Yes, Northampton was the destination.  He also said that the Roman bridge at Stamford was where beasts coming from the North were forced to converge.  From Boston & Spalding, from Grantham & Newark (etc.) they would have had to pass through Stamford in order to cross the Welland.  Then it was south to Wansford, just west of Peterborough.  The Aldwincle Lane would have been used as a route from there to Irthlingbotough & Northampton (either the Lowick route via Woodford or the Islip route to the east of it).  Traffic, he goes on to say, would have greatly increased with the draining of the fens in the 17C.
Thank you very much, Jeff. 

 

1 North of Bullicks is Oxen Wood.  Drovers’ case strengthened.

2 Northampton, according to Professor Moore-Colyer, did 50% more business than its nearest Midland rival, Leicester, and twice as much as Market Harborough. 

Aldwincle Lane image 1
Aldwincle #1
Aldwincle Lane image 2
#2
Aldwincle Lane image 4
#4
Aldwincle Lane image 5
Lowick Road