History Of Furtho

Furtho is one of the 'lost villages' of Northamptonshire. Only the church and a 15th century dovecote are left of a village that was registered as Forho (signifying a ford near a projecting piece of land) in the Domesday Book in 1086. It is thought that the village 'died' when the main Northampton road (now the A508) that used to run directly through it, was diverted when the parish was enclosed in about 1600.

In 1086, Furtho was made up of three smallholdings and a population of 15 people. Only in the early 1200s did the de Fortho family become lords of the manor and stayed until 1640, rebuilding much of the church in 1620. When enclosures diverted the London to Northampton road away from Furtho, it became a deserted village with only a farm, a mediaeval dovecot, a few lumps in the land and this delightful church remaining. The chancel is 14th century but the nave and squat tower were reconstructed early in the 17th century. The font and its cover date from this time. St Bartholomew's escaped later restoration but ceased to be a parish church in 1920. The church fell into disrepair over the years and it was not until 1991-92 that the Churches Conservation Trust carried out an extensive restoration and repair programme. The church is now used for services several times a year and is always open.

The Furtho dovecote can still be seen in the grounds. It has had quite a few alterations over the years and there is evidence of blocked up doorways, partial rebuilding and the putting in of a new floor.

Later, the manor was purchased by Edmund Arnold, an eminent lawyer. He directed that after his and his wife's death the income from the manor of Furtho should be given to 'pious and charitable uses' with particular focus to be given to poor children apprenticeships in 'honest trades'! The Edmund Arnold charity still exists today.

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