Weedon Bec

Weedon Bec

Infobox UK place
country = England
official_name= Weedon Bec
latitude= 52.23101
longitude= -1.08045
civil_parish= Weedon Bec
population = 2,485 (2001 Census)
shire_district= Daventry district
shire_county= Northamptonshire
region= East Midlands
constituency_westminster= Daventry
post_town= NORTHAMPTON
postcode_district = NN7
postcode_area= NN7 4
dial_code= 01327
os_grid_reference= SP629596

Weedon Bec is a large village and parish in the district of Daventry, Northamptonshire, England. It lies upon the infant River Nene, and in 2001 had a population of 2,485.

Weedon is located around six miles south-east of Daventry, and is at the crossroads of the A5 and A45 main roads. The Grand Union Canal passes through the village, as does the West Coast Main Line, but the village station closed in the 1960s. Between 1888 and 1963 the station was the starting point of a branch line to Leamington Spa by way of Daventry.

Due to the crossroads there are a fair number of pubs, cafés and shops in the village and it is developing as a centre for the antique trade.

Next to the canal is the former Napoleonic War era Depot. The Depot, which was the central small arms depot for the British Army was opened in 1803 and was originally served by the canal, by way of its own branch which entered the depot through a portcullis. When the railway was built, it too had a branch into the depot. There was also a Barracks in the village, holding a standing battalion, plus a troop of cavalry and a troop of horse artillery. The Barracks were demolished in the 1950s. Because the barracks and depot were situated in the heart of England, they were considered a safe haven. In the event of a Napoleonic invasion of Britain, King George III and other members of the Royal family would have been sent there from London on the canal. Three large Pavilions were built between the Depot and the Barracks to house them. These were demolished in the 1960s. Next door to the barracks was the Army School of Equitation, which was also demolished in the 60s. The Depot became redundant to the Army, in 1965, but is still in use for storage and light industry. It is hoped that the National Fire Service Museum will be opening there in the near future.

The village is usually called just Weedon when including Lower Weedon and Upper Weedon; these were once distinct villages but all three have effectively merged into one. The settlement patterns of all three villages have been distorted by the presence of the major road, the canal, the military establishments and the railway station and present an unusual example of urban sprawl in an otherwise rural part of England. The area on the A5 (then Watling Street or the London-Holyhead stagecoach route) was known as Road Weedon and earlier "Weedon on the Street". The Bec part of the name is derived from the Abbey of Bec-Hellouin, in Normandy, France, which owned most of the village until the dissolution of the monastries, when King Henry VIII gave it to Eton College.

"Weedon Lois – otherwise Lois Weedon – is, however, in a different part of the county."

Its name came from the Old English "Wēo-dūn" = "Temple Hill": before Christianity came there may have been a heathen temple there.

Its most famous resident Alex Wooldridge Smith has lived in the village for several years and is active in the community. Alex is more recently famous for being one of the founding members of the mid ninties band 'And From The West... Came Grunge'.


*Northamptonshire Villages, (2002) Countryside Books, ISBN 1-85306-764-4

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