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Rothwell is one of those towns that is preserved by it’s bypass, in this case the A14 which removes all passing traffic from the town. It now stands again peacefully above the River Ise. In it’s centre a series of fine buildings which surround the market square which was given it’s charter by King John in 1204. The earliest is the parish church of Holy Trinity – the longest church in the county with a majestic tower which until 1660 supported a spire. The Norman building here was transformed in the later medieval period to one of great gothic beauty. It’s strangest element is the Charnel House in it’s crypt which still contains a mass of arranged bones. If you approach the church from the west you walk up a tree lined street with a particularly handsome 18th century Manor House on your right. Beyond the church, in the centre of the Market Square you encounter the highly idiosyncratic Market House built in 1578 for Sir Thomas Tresham, the recusant landowner in the area who also built The Triangular Lodge, Rushton Hall and Lyvendon New Bilt). Like his other building the Market House has religious connotations in it’s architecture being cruciform in shape. It is covered with heraldic shields of other contemporary landowners in the district. At the lower end of the square lies Jesus Hospital founded in 1591 by Owen Ragsdale and built to provide accommodation for the elderly which it still does. It is one of those buildings that has the effect of taking you back in time especially as the far outlook is still across open fields. Back across the square you will find a palimpsest of later buildings, many of interest. In nearby Bridge Street you will find an Arts and Heritage Centre which has a gallery displaying items relating to the town’s history ( It is open Monday to Saturdays 10am to 12.30pm.

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