Little of importance is known about
Hazelrigg house. It was built in Marefair not far from St
Peters church and dates back to 1662. It is the towns
oldest domestic building and its fame is in being one of
the few buildings to survive the Great Fire of 1675 in
Northampton. Although largely untouched by the fire, it
did lose two of its five bays. Legend also has it that
Cromwell slept here the night before his decisive victory
at the battle of Naseby in 1645 but the myth is blown
apart from the date of the building.
The house was named after the family who owned it. Robert Hesilrige was the owner but the Hesilrige claim to fame comes from the principal, Sir Arthur Heselrige. He was a leading parliamentarian and a distinguished soldier. Warned of Charles I intent to impeach him and four other members of parliament, he fled the House of Commons. He was a powerful figure during Cromwells protectorate but at the restoration of the Monarchy, his life was spared because he refused to sign Charles I death warrant. Instead, he was commited to and according to records, died shortly afterwards in the Tower of London in 1661. And it's this story that the myth is based on.
Hesilrige bought Northampton
castle and a little later, some waste ground near the
castle hills. His property now stretched from the castle
to Freeschool Street. The family home has a frontage
measuring a little over 51 feet, has 14 mullioned windows
over which stands three dormer gables that have been
corbeled out from the wall. Due to the fire of 1675, the
house is missing 46 feet of frontage and two more
corbeled dormer gables. The garden extended from St
Peters churchyard to Freescool Street. Robert Heselrige,
6th Baronet, died May 19th 1721 and was succeeded by his
son, Arthur, the 7th Baronet. After Sir Arthur died in
1763, the house was shut up and remained unoccupied for
many years, until, in 1826, the family executors finally
sold it. It had stood empty for so long that it had been
vandalised and ransacked of its ornamentation.
Sir Arthur Grey Heselrige, the 11th Baronet, by royal licence dated July 8th 1818, changed his name to Hazelrigg. The hazelrigg family seat is Noseley Hall in Leicestershire. Listed by English Heritage, Hazelrigg house has a two-star grading, which puts it in the top four per cent of listed buildings in the country. It is one of the town's only true examples of Elizabethan architecture and is also known as a Cromwell house due to the myth.