The village of Rockingham is situated in the English Midlands, on the border of Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, in the picturesque Welland Valley.

The parish of Rockingham contains 890 acres, and the population in 1801 was 213; in 1831, 296; and in 1841, 291.

As we enter the 21st century, the number of inhabitants is around 110.

Considering the fact that the village has undergone little physical change over the past century, this amply emphasizes the drift from the countryside during this period.

Even though there has been a settlement at Rockingham in ancient, Roman and Saxon, times, the first real village probably housed labourers employed by the Crown to build and maintain the Norman Castle.  This collection of huts was situated below the entrance towers.

As the Castle grew in importance, so did the village - being designated a Borough in the 12th century and a "Towne" by Royal Charter of Elizabeth I.

Much of the Tudor village was destroyed during the Civil war and the village was later reconstructed out of stone on the hill below the Castle.  This is essentially the village as it stands today, the earliest house being dated 1670.

Rockingham was a former market town, but the market has long since fallen into disuse, as has the fair, which for a long time was held on 25 September.

A portion of the old market cross is still standing, and is now surmounted by a memorial to the Watson family.  This is located just above the one inn in the village, "The Sondes Arms", which gets its name from the Lords Sondes, who succeeded the Earls and Lords Rockingham to the manor.

There was also in recent years another inn, namely "The Three Horse Shoes", the landlord of which also carried on the trade of blacksmith.  The dwelling now provides a much needed amenity as a guesthouse

The village was modernised by Richard Watson in the 19th century, when several new houses were built and the older cottages enlarged.  Further improvements were carried out in the 1950's.

Up until the late 1990’s, the village had one old established store, which until recent years was also the Post Office.  As a Post Office it transacted every kind of business and at one time housed a manual telephone exchange - a far cry from the present automatic STD exchange.  During the greater part of the 19th century the Post Office was responsible for mail deliveries to neighbouring villages.

As well as its Castle, Rockingham was for centuries also famous for its Forest.

The Forest covered much of what is now Northamptonshire and was once one of the largest and richest in the Kingdom.

Vast inroads have been made into the forest since those days, but even so large portions still remain, two first class examples being on the outskirts of Wakerley (8 miles NE) and between Duddington and Wansford.

The Forestry Commission maintains these large areas of forest, but visitors will find places where they may picnic if desired.



Last updated: Thursday 5th September 2019 01:21:12 PM
Review date: Wednesday 30th August 2023 01:21:02 PM