The Hamlet of Heathencote

Heathencote is a historic rural hamlet in “open countryside” nearly two miles from the main village of Paulerspury and conveniently close to Towcester. Public footpaths connect Heathencote to Paulerspury and Pury End.  The old limestone farmhouses, agricultural buildings and cottages are now spread out along the busy A5 Roman Watling Street, and down the lane leading to Shutlanger and Stoke Bruerne, going towards the River Tove at Cappenham Bridge.

Heathencote was formerly a much larger settlement, separated into two parts. A 1791 map indicates that there were more dwellings around what is now the Towcester Racecourse main entrance, in addition to those down the lane. Records reveal too that there was a chapel in Heathencote in 1180, dedicated to St Mary. Its site has not yet been identified. A later map (1900) shows the location of the Red Lion pub and also other buildings adjoining the A5. On the river was the working water mill, Twicketts Mill. Its engine and machinery were removed in 1883 but its storage barn can still be seen in a field to the left as the river is approached.

Until quite recently there was largely a farming community, with four distinct farms at Heathencote.  The tenanted farms were part of the Easton Neston estate. Their fields abut Towcester Racecourse and stretch towards Paulerspury and down to the River Tove.  Some fields show signs of medieval ridge & furrow agriculture. Around Heathencote wildlife such as badgers, hares, buzzards, and barn owls may be spotted.

The active Taylors Farm on the Shutlanger Road still remains as a reminder of former times. It is a popular place to buy Free Range Eggs. Motorists on that lane may find themselves behind a flock of sheep as a contrast to the usual large modern agricultural machinery.

The farmhouses, cottages and old farmyards have been gradually developed and some converted. Now Heathencote has around sixteen residential dwellings, many with lovely unspoilt views.  These homes retain much of their distinct earlier character.  However Heathencote can be very perplexing to people trying to deliver parcels to the confusion of old farmhouses, cottages and barn conversions.

Towcester Racecourse with its noble entrance, too lies within Paulerspury parish.