The History of Grafton Regis

 

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The HLF also supported the publication in 2004 of the Grafton Regis CD set, which includes a huge amount of information about the events and personalities connected with Grafton and also about the daily life of the people of the village in past centuries.  One disc is devoted to Grafton itself and the second to 20 Grafton Estate villages.  The cost of the CD set is £5.00 (including postage) in the UK and £7.50 (including postage) outside the UK. 

You can purchase CD's via paypal using the Buy Now button below.  Alternatively you can download an order form and complete off-line.

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The village of Grafton is mentioned in the Domesday book as Grastone. The Church of St Mary the Virgin has dominated the skyline of Grafton for almost a thousand years and has seen many famous personalities who have been associated with the village over the centuries.  (Click on the picture icons below for further individual information).

 

                                                                            Henry VIII                  Sir Francis Crane          1st Duke of Grafton        Elizabeth Woodville       Vice Admiral Fitzroy

 

During the 12th and 13th centuries, Grafton belonged to the Abbey of Grestain in France.

From the twelfth century, the Woodville (Wydville) family lived at Grafton, which for a time was known as Grafton Woodville.  In 1464, Edward IV married Elizabeth Woodville in secret in Grafton, probably at the Hermitage, the remains of which can be seen buried in a field to the west of the A508.

 

Edward and Elizabeth’s grandson Henry VIII acquired the manor house, greatly expanded it, and spent most of the summers of his reign there.  It was Henry’s decision to call the village Grafton Regis.  On its passing to Elizabeth I, the house had a series of famous tenants, including William Cecil, Lord Burghley, Elizabeth’s Lord Treasurer and right-hand man, and the Queen’s favourites Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, and Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex.

 

William Shakespeare’s friend and patron Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, was interested in buying Grafton House at the end of the sixteenth century.  Many years later, at the beginning of the twentieth century, a painting known as the Grafton Portrait of Shakespeare was discovered to have spent 250 years in a cottage in the village following its rescue from Grafton House during the Civil War siege of Christmas 1643.  Sir Francis Crane’s widow was living in the House at the time of the siege.

 

Admiral Robert FitzRoy was one of the distinguished members of the family of the Dukes of Grafton, whose association with the village dates back to the creation of the dukedom in the seventeenth century.

 

A history of the village entitled Grafton Regis: the History of a Northamptonshire Village, edited by Charles FitzRoy and Keith Harry, was published in Cardiff in 2000 by the Merton Priory Press with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, South Northants Council, and Grafton’s White Hart public house.

 

The Grafton Estate Catalogue
The Northamptonshire Record Office has catalogued a very large number of the papers and documents which it holds relating to the Grafton Estate.  Click here to read descriptions of many of these records.

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