Willowbrook Local History Group
Some aspects of Nassington's history

The Parish of Nassington has been occupied since prehistoric times.  The earliest inhabitants lived in small, scattered settlements.  Aerial photographs show evidence of trackways and ditches made before the Romans arrived.

There are also considerable signs of Roman occupation in the parish, including a large village near the Fotheringhay boundary and Roman iron-workings near the Wansford to Kings Cliffe road.  Nearby Durobrivae (Waternewton) was an important industrial town and would have been supplied with agricultural produce by such outlaying settlements

After withdrawal of Roman administration from Britain, most of the local population would have remained to continue farming and there are hearths and rubbish pits of this period on the site at  Nassington where Anglo-Saxons later buried their dead.

 

In 1942 the large Saxon Cemetery was found near the river. 

The grave goods show that it was a fairly early, pagan cemetery (sixth century). 

It served quite a wealthy farming community, but the homes of these people have not yet been located.  It is possible that they lie under the present village.

 

 
Guilt bronze brooches
After withdrawal of Roman administration from Britain, most of the local population would have remained to continue farming and there are hearths and rubbish pits of this period on the site at 

Nassington where Anglo-Saxons later buried their dead.

 

Saxon cross-shaft.

In later Saxon times a church was built and some Saxon work together with a Saxon cross-shaft survives.  During that perioda large, timber-framed hall was built opposite the church, a forerunner of the present Prebendal Manor House.

King Canute visited Nassington on one of his ‘royal tours’ but  there was not enough accommodation for his entourage who had to obtain lodgings elsewhere in the area.

 

In the early twelfth century, Nassington was chosen as the base for a prebendary of the Diocese of Lincoln.  He had considerable power in the area and his establishment in the village made the church important and wealthy.  During the following four centuries, the church was extended and embellished, reflecting the growing wealth of the district, much of it probably due to the flourishing medieval wool industry.

The church unfortunately suffered during the Commonwealth period (1649/60) when Cromwell sanctioned the destruction of stained glass and the whitewashing of church walls (in Nassington this would have obliterated the fifteenth century wall paintings, now once more exposed to view).


15th century wall paintings
In 1777 the landscape was changed dramatically by enclosure.  The vast open fields, farmed in strips by many people, were replaced by smaller fields surrounded by hedges.  The modern boundaries still follow the lines of some of these enclosure hedges

Nassington also has several interesting old buildings and it seems to have had its own brick making industry – albeit short-lived – in the mid-nineteenth century.  Gravel extraction and large-scale ironstone quarrying have been more recent industrial activities.

The 20th century brought many changes to the village.

The carriers’ carts have gone and the bus services, which replaced them, have been whittled away
. 

 
Butcher’s Cart 1914
 

          30 Seater Rio Bus.  Circa 1920
 

The Nene Viaduct demolished 1981

When the railway arrived Nassington was virtually self-supporting with a range of services, shops, employment and entertainment available within the parish. Now most people are employed away from the village, relying on the private car for work, entertainment and shopping.