Defending Northamptonshire examines the fortifications and defensive measures of a typical English shire county; this can be seen through the prehistoric camps, Roman towns, Saxon burhs, castles, and fortified houses. This was a process punctuated by momentous events, including the birth of Richard III and the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, both at Fotheringhay Castle; King John's sieges at Northampton, Rockingham, and Fotheringhay; the Battle of Northampton, placing Edward IV on the throne; and the decisive defeat of Charles I at Naseby.
The great ordnance depot at Weedon was allegedly chosen as a bolthole for George III in the place furthest from Napoleon's likely invasion. The Victorian period saw the army reorganized and the Volunteer Force develop. Both world wars mobilised the population, and the county filled up with army camps, airfields, and munitions plants. In the Cold War, nuclear missiles were pointed towards Russia. Many signs of all these events are still visible: Northampton's militia armoury in the guise of a medieval castle; the genuine castles of Barnwell and Rockingham; the launch pads of Harrington's THOR missiles; the Ordnance Stores at Weedon Bec; and the banks and ditches of Hunsbury Camp or Little Houghton.
Defending Northamptonshire illustrates and explains these diverse sites and places them in their social, political, historical, and military contexts.
|235 x 165 mm
|02 March 2020
|124 colour photographs
Mike Osborne’s interest in fortification began with childhood visits to castles. It has developed over the years to include all aspects of the topic from iron-age forts to Cold War bunkers. He was a volunteer-co-ordinator for the Defence of Britain Project recording the military structures of the twentieth century. After a thirty-year career in education, he took early retirement and since then has produced nearly twenty books. Topics include Civil War sieges and fortifications, drill halls, twentieth-century military structures and the best-selling Defending Britain.