All Hallows' Church in Northampton had a rich history that endured through various periods of alteration until a significant
event occurred on 20th September 1675 - the Great Fire of Northampton. This disastrous event resulted in the destruction of much
of the old town. It is believed that 700 of the 850 buildings in the town centre were destroyed in the fire, including All Hallows' Church.
The event was caused by sparks from an open fire in a home on St Mary's street, situated near the castle. The fire quickly spread and engulfed the surrounding buildings. As the flames raged, the residents of Northampton sought refuge in the Market Square, hoping to find safety from the advancing fire. However, the situation grew increasingly dire, and the authorities ordered the evacuation of the square. The residents were forced to abandon their positions and flee, leaving behind the buildings in the path of the fire. Over 700 families were left homeless and there were a total of 11 deaths.
Tragically, All Hallows' Church, along with numerous other structures, fell victim to the relentless blaze. The fire's destructive path consumed the church, reducing it to ashes and leaving behind a scene of devastation. The loss of All Hallows Church was a profound blow to the community, as it represented not only a place of worship but also a symbol of the town's history and identity.
While the Great Fire of Northampton caused immense destruction, it also marked a turning point in the town's architectural development. Following the fire, efforts were made to rebuild and revitalize Northampton, leading to the construction of new buildings and a renewed focus on urban planning.
In a remarkable display of community spirit and determination, local residents and businesses rallied together, raising an impressive sum of £25,000 to finance the ambitious re-construction of the town centre centred around the bustling Market Square. With a collective effort, the streets were widened, a crucial measure taken to mitigate the chances of a similar calamity in the future. Furthermore, the restoration efforts received a significant boost when King Charles II generously donated an astounding 1,000 tons of timber sourced from Salcey Forest, ensuring an ample supply of building materials for the re-building endeavor.
The memory of All Hallows' Church and its destruction in the Great Fire of Northampton serves as a reminder of the resilience of the town and its ability to recover and rebuild even in the face of catastrophic events. Today, the historical significance of All Hallows' Church is remembered, honoring its place in the town's past while the community continues to move forward.
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