Towcester's newest attractions become open to the public
From 2pm, the site will be open to the public, featuring archaeology, nature and heritage displays, bringing the rich history of the area to life. The project team, including the designers, will be available to answer questions and explain the restoration process. It is hoped that many people will attend the event and enjoy a walk or picnic in the new public park. The restoration of Bury Mount and the Watermeadows is an important part of the Moat Lane regeneration project, which is providing new jobs, homes and community facilities in the heart of Towcester town centre.
Bury Mount is a Scheduled Ancient Monument that has been at the centre of Towcester since medieval times. Following restoration, it will be a key attraction for years to come, providing a new venue for the town, and serving as the centrepiece of the wider Moat Lane development. The Watermeadows have been inaccessible since they were incorporated into the Easton Neston Estate between 1795 and 1806. The historic park has now been brought back into public ownership and restored for all the local community to enjoy.
Jean Morgan, Chief Executive, South Northamptonshire Council commented: ‘The restoration of Bury Mount and the Watermeadows is a wonderful addition to the public open space in Towcester. The finished scheme is really high quality and I hope that local residents and visitors alike will enjoy the area for many years to come.’
Peter Mawson, Chief Executive, WNDC added: ‘This project is an exciting first step in the regeneration of Towcester town centre. It sets a benchmark for future phases of the Moat Lane scheme, which will provide an excellent setting for people to live, work and spend their leisure time. Rejuvenating this area will also provide important new green space in Towcester, supporting the future delivery of new homes and attracting investment into the town.’
The Moat Lane project is led by South Northamptonshire Council, Northamptonshire County Council and the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation. It has benefited from significant funding and support from these agencies as well as Northamptonshire Enterprise Limited, the East Midlands Development Agency and the Homes & Communities Agency.
Bury Mount is a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) and has been at the heart of Towcester since medieval times. It is thought that the original motte and bailey castle (which no longer remains) were constructed by the Crown in the late 11th century as a strategic fortification. The castle would have been a symbol of power and would have had a number of uses. These are likely to have included acting as the residence of the lord of the manor’s bailiff, an encampment for troops during periods of hostility as well as providing hospitality to the lord and his entourage whilst travelling. As its defensive role diminished over time, Bury Mount became an important area of open green space at the centre of Towcester. More recently, the site fell into a state of disrepair and was placed on English Heritage’s schedule of ‘at risk’ monuments.
The Watermeadows land has been inaccessible to the local community since it was incorporated into the Easton Neston Estate between 1795 and 1806. It is a Grade II* registered historic park and garden and comprises a mix of open land and water meadows. There is some evidence of the area containing archaeology relating to Towcester’s Roman and earlier history which links to the findings around Bury Mount.