FROM SCRATCHWOOD TO WYCHWOOD

Daintree

ups and downs for Daventry (pronounced 'Daintree' by the locals), in and out of the limelight in its long history.

Borough Hill itself has given up evidence of very early settlement indeed, and this substantial promontory must have felt very comforting in the days when Northamptonshire was wild and woolly. There's even a rumour that this was the site of the last stand (failed) of the local branch of the Iceni (Celtic Britons - Boudicca's lot), against the Romans. There was certainly a Roman Villa up there at some point.

Still, Daventry's position - it sits on the watershed of Southern England; the Nene to the East, the Avon to the West - gave it a strong position, strategically and economically. In the 9th century the success of King Alfred, (one of the few Saxon kings who weren't unruly or unready), in re-capturing half of England from the Danes might well have something to do with Daventry's name, especially when you consider that local pronunciation.

Watling Street was the agreed boundary between Alfred's Wessex and the Danelaw (where the Danes held sway). Of course, Alfred still had to pay protection money (Danegeld) to stop the Danish goodfellows breaking something - by accident, of course.

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