Northampton, city (1991 pop. 154,172) and district, Northamptonshire, central England, on the Nene River. The city of Northampton is the county seat. Shoemaking has long been the chief industry; engineering is second (roller bearings, earth-moving equipment, and motor vehicle components). The city was an important settlement of the Angles and of the Danes, and its Norman castle was the scene of sieges as well as parliaments from the 12th to the 14th cent. In 1460, Henry VI was defeated by the Yorkists in Northampton (see Roses, Wars of the). In 1675 much of the town was destroyed by fire. Roman and ancient British relics are in the vicinity. The Church of St. Giles has a Norman doorway; All Saints' has a 14th-century tower; St. Peter's (12th cent.) has a Norman interior; and there is a Roman Catholic cathedral designed by A. W. Pugin (see under A. C. Pugin). The 12th-century St. Sepulchre's is one of the four round churches in England. St. John's Hospital was founded in 1138. One of the few remaining Eleanor Crosses (see Eleanor of Castile) is near Northampton, at Hardingstone.
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