Abington Park is Northampton's most
popular park. It
has been named the fifth best park in the country in a
poll by a travel magazine rating the nation’s green
spaces. Land for the park was given to the town by
Lady Wantage in 1892 and the park was opened to the
public in 1897. Two years later, in 1899, Abington Museum
was opened in the centre of the park. it was the first
public park in the town and is seen by the town as one of
its most important assets. The historic park is in two
sections, divided by Park avenue, a road lined with
trees, creating an upper and lower park.
Set within the lower park is the remains of a disused medieval village. Evident by the lumps and bumps in the ground these earthworks represent the house platforms and track ways of the village, and the ridge a furrow of the farming system. The site of a former fishpond has been converted into the children's play area and rose garden.
The hunting gates in the lower park were repaired in 2002, using stone to match the original or stone which had come from the walls and pillars so as to keep the natural appearance. The park also contains two lakes, (one was a former boating lake) and a connecting stream sustaining the aquatic and waterfowl environment of the park.
The park also contains a
number of buildings and structures of historical
importance like the water tower and pigeonary built in
1774 and the two hunting gates. The tower was restored in
the mid 1900s when repairs to the stonework and sluice
area were cleaned.
In the upper park is the 15th century manor house of the Abington estate, which is now a museum dating back to the Tudor period. Once the home of Shakespeare's granddaughter, Elizabeth Bernard, the museum features displays depicting the whole of life in Northamptonshire. It boasts a room with original 16th century oak panelling, a room full of Victorian curiosities, a 19h century costume gallery and the history of the inhabitants of Northampton from the cradle to the grave.The church of St.Peter & St.Paul nextdoor is where Shakspeare's granddaughter is buried. Its origins date back to around 1200. To the rear of the house is the aviary which attracts a lot of visitors to the park.
manor house museum
The Grade 1 listed manor house has been subject to substantial restoration in 1993/4 approved by English Heritage, where structural repairs to the fabric of the building were undertaken. In the upper park can be found two thatched farmers cottages and a Victorian bandstand which is still in use today.
The bandstand was restored back to its former glory in 1997 with the original features being repainted in a colour used at the time of installation. At the same time the gates to the park where repainted to their original colour.