Meeting Report – September 2013

The drafting of a constitution for our group was the main item for discussion at this month’s meeting.


As reported in the notes from our July meeting, Marie as a member of the Heritage Gateway Project team and Graham Callister (the Cultural Policy and Planning Officer at Northants County Council) are currently working on a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a Becket event around St Peter’s and the Castle site. It was therefore timely for our group to consider having a written constitution. Not only is it desirable to have a constitution which will give a framework for our group; it is also a requisite when applying for funding to show that we are a properly managed group fit for the purpose of raising awareness of the Castle through promoting, protecting and developing community pride in Northampton’s rich medieval heritage for the benefit of the town, its people and visitors.

A draft constitution had been circulated to members before the meeting. During the meeting suggestions were made and agreed for inclusion in the document together with some minor tweaking to enhance clarity. As the HLF bid needs to be in by the beginning of October and hence before our next meeting, the constitution as amended and already agreed in discussion was approved in principle and permission granted for Marie to attach the constitution to the submitted bid. Marie was thanked by those members present for all her hard work in drafting the constitution.


The Big Dig had taken place during July and August. Thanks to all who came along and mucked in! With special thanks to Tim Upson Smith from Northampton Archaeology and Jim with his metal detector from Red Vest.

The upcoming final events of the year were discussed and plans finalised at the meeting.

  • National Heritage Open Days Thursday 12th September to Sunday 15th September
    FONC will be conducting a daily guided tour of the Castle Heritage site; commencing from St. Peter’s church at noon on each day.
  • Heritage Fair Saturday 14th September 10.30am – 4pm
    To be held in the Church Rooms, Holy Sepulchre Church.

It was noted that regrettably the Heritage Open Days brochure produced by the Borough Council contained a number of errors regarding the FONC tours. The correct information could be obtained on the dedicated Borough Council web-site.

  • 2014 events to celebrate the trial of St. Thomas Becket at Northampton Castle-Update
    Marie reported that an initial enquiry to the HLF had produced a positive response. As noted earlier a bid was being drawn up for an event based around St. Peter’s Church and Castle area with a view to similar events being staged in subsequent years i.e. 800th anniversary of the signing of the first Magna Carta in 2015. She also reported that collaborative planning was under way for other Becket celebration events. The local churches would be holding special services; and a lecture by the academic and author of a book on Becket, John Guy, to be held at the Central Museum was being arranged with the University of Northampton.

    The very first Becket anniversary event to be announced, the Masque Theatre’s production of Becket at the Guildhall, needs funding for the production. Paul reported that sponsors are actively being sought.

Dates of Monthly Meetings

It was agreed that our monthly meetings would revert to being held generally on the first Friday of the month. It was further agreed that, as a condition of the new constitution, the meeting in December would be the inaugural AGM followed by an end of year celebration. Dates of remaining meetings for 2013 were set accordingly: 4th October; 1st November; and 6th December (AGM and party).

Any other Business
Jon gave advanced notice of a Heritage survey leading to the production of a catalogue of interesting buildings in Northampton. Local Heritage groups would be contacted soon and asked to help by nominating and/or seeking interesting buildings with an association to person, event or occupation; or novel architecture or appendage.

Date and Venue of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held at 6pm on Friday 4th October at the Old Black Lion Pub.

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