About Flore Village
Flore is an attractive and interesting village, much valued by its residents. It is built on a south facing hillside sloping down to the River Nene which forms the southern boundary of the parish. It is in a rural setting surrounded by arable fields and pasture land, lying 7 miles west of Northampton, 5 miles east of Daventry and 9 miles north of Towcester. The Grand Union Canal is situated 1 mile south of Flore and the village is traversed by the Macmillan Way and The Nene Way footpaths. The nearest train stations are Northampton and Long Buckby. There is a regular bus route between Northampton and Daventry.
The origin of the name Flore is the subject of much debate, and has included a Roman pavement, a Saxon threshing floor and even a Roman goddess or British maiden. The spelling has varied through the ages – flor, Flora, Flower, Floore, and since 1945 standardised as Flore. The ancient settlement of Flore is referred to as Flora in the Domesday Book. By the Middle Ages and right up to the 19thC it was known as Flower and in the early 20th century Floore. In 1937 Mr Brodie Lodge bought Flore House and used the spelling ‘Flore’ on his notepaper. From that time on Flore became the preferred spelling.
The environment of the village is rich in history; the area has had settlements since pre-Neolithic times. Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Iron Age artefacts have been found. Numerous Roman villas have been investigated in Flore and adjacent parishes. Earthworks between Flore House, the Church and the Mill indicate that the early village was in that area, but there is no documentary evidence of this before the Domesday Book. During the 16th and 17th century Flore became prosperous from the sale of wool. The population has fluctuated over the centuries; according to estimates based on the Domesday Book the village had a population of 195 in 1086. The 2001 census revealed that it has grown to over 1150.
The present pattern of lanes probably dates from Saxon times. The earliest houses were of timber, wattle and daub, and thatch. There are a few houses built in this fashion still in the village, the best preserved of which is Adams Cottage, 8-10 King’s Lane. No.8 was the first Quaker Meeting House in the county. It was converted from a barn in 1678. Originally the High St was called “The Tops” and Nether Lane “the Bottoms”. Sometime in the 1960 they were change to save embarrassment for anyone having an address which referred to Bottoms!
All Saints Church dates from the 13th century. Flore House, the largest and most prestigious dwelling, was constructed in the seventeenth century. A non-conformist church was begun in the 17th century on the site in Chapel Lane which is now occupied by the United Reformed Church, the present building dating from 1880.
The Old School House and Reading Room (now the Scout Hall) in King’s Lane recall the origins of formal education in the village. The first building on the primary school site dates from 1852. The stocks and lock-up stood on The Green until it was enclosed in 1834 when they were demolished. The village well and pound were on Ram Bank which remains as an open space, as does the Town Yard further down Sutton Street.
Some twenty substantial stone and thatch houses were built between 1690 and 1720 for the more prosperous yeoman farmers. Each of these houses had up to three acres of land. These home closes remained as orchards until living memory, but most have now been developed. The farmhouses are now residences, although Meadow Farm in Bliss Lane is still a working farm.
In the early nineteenth century many of the cob houses in and around Sutton Street and The Green were replaced by brick and slate dwellings. Many of these terraces have been cleared leaving important, large open spaces and gardens behind the roadside cottages. There was no development of the north side of the main road – except for three houses – until after the enclosures of 1779 when several farms were built in the newly enclosed fields. The development of Hillside Road and Brockhall Road took place after 1918. There are 46 Grade II listed buildings in the village, approximately 10% of all dwellings.
Flore was almost wholly dependent on farming until the 19th century when the barracks and Ordnance Depot were opened at Weedon, bringing a new source of employment and benefiting the craft industries of the village – blacksmith, wheelwright, baker and whip maker – as well as the shops and pubs; there were originally seven beer houses. Drovers used only The Royal Oak, which had a field for stock. The Mill, one of two mentioned in the Domesday Book, was rebuilt in 1780, but ceased milling a century later.
The community supports various youth groups, social groups and leisure activities. The Millennium Hall, the playing field and its pavilion, the school, Chapel Schoolroom and the Scout Hall are all used by local organisations. Proceeds from the annual Flower Festival go to the upkeep of the church and chapel. We are fortunate to retain our village shop/post office, garage and a public house.
With the recent reestablishment of a commercial orchard, the village now boasts its own brand of Flore apple juice.
A competition open to the village children to produce a Flore flag resulted in a design which now flies proudly from the school and from one of the Commonwealth flagpole on appropriate occasions. It incorporates the famous Flore plum, a flower and symbolic depiction of the winding River Nene.
To commemorate the centenary of World War 1, local resident Sally Miller has researched the history of the named fallen on the village War Memorial and has produced an informative book on the subject.
We have available, though the Heritage Society, several publications which detail the history of the village, all of which were written by the late John Smith. John died in 2016. he had worked tirelessly to produce records and information on the village. We are very grateful for the legacy he left us.
May Day has been celebrated since ancient times. Since the 19thC it has been regularly celebrated as a holiday festival. The first May Queen was Mercy Phillips in 1890. Queens are always chosen by their Flore School classmates, a practice which continues to this day. A whole day holiday was granted and a parade was held in the morning which collected enough money to cover expenses. Tea was taken in the afternoon, records showing 200 participants. We have no record of singing or dancing, but sports were held in the field.
Since that time a Maypole is erected on The Avenue outside the school and children parade, dance and crown the May Queen, and in more recent the times a May King.
HISTORY BOOK - THE STORY OF FLORE
We have available through the Heritage Society several publications which detail the history of the Village, all of which were written by the late John Smith. John died early in 2016 and had worked tirelessly to produce records and information on the Village. We are very grateful for the legacy he has left for us here.