This vast open space provides a pastoral retreat for the two housing estates of Eastfield and Lakeview, which lie on either side.
The park itself is situated along Booth Lane, which joins the main Kettering and Wellingborough Roads and was one of the last parks to be developed by the former Estates department.
2 senior football pitches and events including multi-games and community safety days.
History of the park
Eastfield Park now lies entirely within the Borough of Northampton’s Eastfield Ward but from medieval times to 1900 the land fell within the Parishes of Abington and Weston Favell.
A 1671 map of the Abington Estate shows that what is now the western half of the park was then part of a large wooded enclosure known as ‘The Bushie Close’. ‘Weston Great Close’, in the parish of Weston Favell, covered what is now the eastern half of the park.
By late Victorian times, these large fields had been divided into smaller ones. The presence of areas of conspicuous ridge and furrow within the park is evidence of arable farming in medieval times but in more recent times it would appear that the land was mainly used as permanent pasture.
For the first quarter of the 20th century the park was part of the grounds of Weston Favell House, built in 1900 by James Manfield (son of Sir Philip Manfield who had founded the first machine-based shoe factory in Northampton). The lake and ponds within the park are artificial features constructed at that time. The lake was originally stocked with rainbow trout and used for boating and fishing.
The ponds were part of ornamental gardens that were occasionally opened to the public to raise money for Northampton General Hospital. In May 1913, when the gardens were opened without charge, the Estate employed a Head Gardener with a staff of 14 assistants.
The house and gardens were separated from the rest of the Park by a ha-ha which is still evident along part of boundary between Eastfield Park and the house. Also enclosed within the ha-ha was the Bull Ring consisting of 26 lime trees surrounding a statue of a man with a wild boar.
The statue was a feature added by James Manfield and is no longer in the Park but the ring of trees is shown on 1886 Ordnance Survey maps and was described in the 1923 Weston Favell House Estate Sale Catalogue as being over 200 years old and possibly associated with bull baiting.
In 1923 the house, its grounds, and the entire Manfield holdings in the area (1500 acres) was put up for auction in 62 lots. Lot 62 included the grounds of the present Eastfield Park, Cynthia Spencer Hospice and Manfield Grange but, with some other lots, remained unsold.
A second auction (of 541 acres in 30 lots) was held in 1924 but the house remained unsold. Manfield therefore donated it (with 15 acres of land) to become a hospital for crippled children.
For many years the Grade 2 listed mansion served as Manfield Orthopaedic Hospital but it has now been converted into private residences known as Manfield Grange. The present park has an area of just over 21 hectares (60 acres).
During the break-up of the Manfield Estate, Major Arthur Ray (an Honorary Major in the Territorial Army and Mayor of Northampton in 1928) acquired part of the grounds of Weston Favell House including the lake, the ornamental gardens, and much of the present park. He built Eastfield House on the land in 1924 and died in 1944.
By 1950, the site was on the edge of Northampton’s rapidly expanding residential area and the land was acquired by Northampton Borough Council. Much of it had been allowed to go wild. There are reports that the boathouse was in a ruinous condition, the lily ponds were choked and the ornamental gardens overgrown.
The Eastfield Estate was built on the southern part of the land during the following years, thus giving the park more or less its current outline. In 1957, an article in the Chronicle and Echo suggested that the new Eastfield Estate had a ‘rural setting’ with a beautiful park nearby. However, local residents complained about the lack of safe facilities for children.
As time progressed, dangerous buildings were removed and some of the ponds filled in for safety reasons. Eventually, the land that had not been built on was opened to the public as the present Eastfield Park.
How the park is managed
Eastfield Park Management Committee brings together key stakeholders and representatives with an interest in the park, to work in partnership to manage the park and plan for its future.
To contact your park management committee, email [email protected].
Last updated 06 July 2023