HISTORY OF SHUTLANGER
The earliest detailed map of Shutlanger in 1834
The village was known as “Shuttlehanger” and Showsley was then known by the alternative name of “Sewardsley”. Farming, the main industry, was organised differently: the fields were divided into strips and each farmer had a selection of strips around the village, with some good land and some less good. The road layout was also very different.
Enclosure Act and the end of strip farming
Enclosure of the fields – which meant that poorer farmers lost their own land and had to work as labourers on the landowner’s farm – led to a riot in June 1841 at Stoke Plain (between Shutlanger and Stoke Bruerne), which was subdued by the military.
The layout of the roads and the fields changed with the fields being “enclosed”, and in 1842 a new straight road from Shutlanger to the Cappenham Bridge (on the way to the A5) was built by the Pomfret Estate at Easton Neston.
The Plough Inn opened in 1842, and that was also when the outlying farms at Stoke Plain and Shutlanger Grove were built.
In 1867, the last Earl of Pomfret died and the Easton Neston estate, which owned much of the land at Shutlanger, passed to Sir Thomas Fermor Hesketh.
In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Shutlanger like this:
“SHUTTLEHANGER, or Shutlanger, a hamlet in Stoke-Bruerne parish, Northampton; 2½ miles ENE of Towcester. Real property, £2,143. Pop., 394. Houses, 102. The manufacture of shoes and pillow-lace is carried on. There are a Wesleyan chapel and a curious quondam Roman Catholic chapel.”
(Source: Vision of Britain)
The population of 394 was close to the village’s peak recorded population of 403 in 1881. Population declined steady after that date.
In 1881, most employment was in farming; although only three households had farmers, there were 35 agricultural labourers and 22 general labourers. There were six ironstone miners who worked in the mine in Showsley, to the north of the village, which Sir Thomas Fermor Hesketh had set up.
Early Twentieth Century
In 1916, Shutlanger’s infant school closed, and in 1917, Shutlanger’s second pub, the Horseshoes, closed. In 1921 the ironstone mine closed, and the miners who had worked there made a deputation to Shutlanger Parish Council.
After World War II
Mains electricity came to Shutlanger in 1949 and mains water and sewage in 1955.
By the time of the 1961 census, the population had fallen to 215.
The most recent population figures for Shutlanger are from the 2001 Census, which showed 270 people living in 113 households, with an average age of 45 years. 93 of the households were owner-occupied, and 20 were rented.
142 were working, mostly in service industries. 24 people worked from home, but most communed, average 15 miles by car. There were 46 children under the age of 16, and 31 people over the age of 75.
Sources: the Stoke Bruerne village website history, the Vision of Britain website, the Victoria County History of Northamptonshire, 2001 Census.