Elton is an ancient community site. There is evidence of settlement in Elton since early Roman times. 1st Century Roman pottery was found in Berryleas Field on the Nassington Road.
Continuous settlement dates from the 2nd Century when the manorial settlement was at Netherend in Berrystead Field adjoining the Mill. Evidence was found here during flood alleviation work.
The remains of two Saxon wheel head crosses, relics of an 11th century Saxon cemetery, were found on the north side of the church chancel during restoration works in 1885 – 1886. These were moved inside the church in 2022 to protect them from further degradation.
King Canute who reigned from 1016 – 1035 visited the area on royal progress early in his reign. He stayed at the royal manor of Nassington whilst some of the royal party came to Elton then known as Aethelniton due to a scarcity of lodgings in Nassington. At that time the village was home to Dacus the Dane who wined and dined the King’s escort, became drunk and rashly offered the village for “50 marks of gold before daybreak”. Aethelric, Bishop of Dorchester travelling with the king, amassed the money overnight from others in the retinue and next morning acquired the village. On his death in 1034, and by then Bishop of Durham, Aethelric granted the village to Ramsey Abbey for the support of the monks. From this date the village was known as Aethelington.
1066 to 1800
1086 – Elton is mentioned in the Domesday book as Adelintone in Northamptonshire.
1270 – Construction began on the stone chancel arch of the imposing Church of All Saints.
1279 – Earliest surviving parish records, which continue from this date.
1303 – The Sapcote Family were tenants of Elton Hall and paying rent monies to Ramsey Abbey.
1462 – Building of the Church was resumed during the late fifteenth century. There is a list of priests from this time, all presumably from Ramsey.
1400’s – Building of the present Elton Hall was commenced by Sir Richard Sapcote (1409 – 1477).
1560 – Parish registers recording baptisms, marriages and deaths begun by Parson Dickenson. From this evidence it is estimated that there were 125 households and some 420 adult parishioners.
1586 – Queen Elizabeth I’s men and couriers seen in the area en route to Fotheringhay Castle to manage the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots where she was beheaded in February 1587. Later that year in July, her coffin cart was driven along Overend to her burial in Peterborough Cathedral. Fotheringhay Castle was gradually destroyed thereafter and many of its stones, windows, and other materials were used in Elton’s buildings.
1595 – Sir Peter Proby first acquires land in Elton. The Sapcotes were still in the village, presumably having acquired the Manor outright at the dissolution of the monasteries in 1537. Village referred to as Aillington.
1617 – The Sapcotes sell Elton Hall and its history is unclear until 1664.
1663 – Reverend John Cooper founded the Almshouses known as Cooper’s Hospital Charity, which still provides accommodation and relief for local residents, now rebuilt as modern bungalows.
1664 – Sir Thomas Proby becomes the owner of Elton Hall.
The 17th Century is the most industrious period of the village’s history when approximately 1000 people, artisans, weavers, yeomen, and farmers lived in the area. Some of their stone houses are still in existence. The Crown Inn dates from this time.
1712 – Money from the will of Lady Jane Proby funded a workhouse for women.
1727 – Boys’ School built.
1752 – John Proby was created Lord Carysfort (the name of a property in Co. Wicklow, Ireland).
The Black Horse inn dates from the 18th Century when it was a Post House.
1800 to the present day
1844 – A wooden bridge was erected across the river which previously could only be crossed by ford. Work started on the railway. The first trains from Elton station started in 1846 with the time to Peterborough being 23 minutes.
1850’s – James Hayes patented various milling and harvesting machines and exhibited at Crystal Palace and the Royal Agricultural Show. He was one of the New Methodists prominent in the village.
A Girls’ School was started in village in what had previously been the Workhouse replacing the earlier girls’ school run by Miss Jelly of Jelly’s Yard, (near the village shop).
1864 – The current Methodist Chapel was erected to replace an earlier building which had occupied an adjacent site for 50 years.
1871 – A young Henry Royce (co-founder of Rolls-Royce) from Alwalton was refused work at the Hayes Works as not being strong enough.
1875 – A stone bridge replaced the wooden one over the river Nene.
1876 – Combined school built for boys and girls and Church Lane renamed School Lane. The first headmaster was William Brawn.
1881 – Population had dropped to 800. William Heighton took over the Vinco Cycle Works which employed over 30 men at one time, gradually becoming a motor garage.
1909 – The last (5th) Earl of Carysfort died. The Estate then passed through marriage to a Douglas Hamilton who had assumed the name and arms of Proby by Royal Licence in 1904.
1913 – Public baths opened in the village and closed in 1920.
1930’s – Following the Great War the village population had dwindled to less than 550. The Reading Room was extended to become the Village (Highgate) Hall.
2011 – Census data puts the population at 649 adults.
Ownership of Elton
The village is a very attractive place to live, and we are fortunate in having so much of its past history accurately recorded. Many of the names around the village reflect its history; Faber Lane, Brawn Way, Vinco Terrace, and most recently Carysfort Close.
Only three owners in 1000 years have given Elton one of the best sets of estate records of any village in Europe.
1035 – 1303 – Ramsey Abbey
1300 – 1617 – Sapcote family
1664 – present – Proby Family
Rev. R F Whistler, A History of Elton, 1892
F and C Giles, Life in a Medieval Village, 1989
Alan G Clark, Elton, A History of its Lost and Ancient Buildings, 1992 and A Village on the Nene, 2007
Jane Brown, Sundays at All Saints, 2022