Dane Law Map

856 to 1066 CE

From 865 onwards the Danish raids began and in 870 the heathen Danes completely destroyed Medhamstede Abbey, killing the abbot and monks. It may be assumed that as the village came under the Danelaw and any wooden church that might have stood here would have been destroyed.

Despite the ferocity of the initial onslaught, there seems to have been no major displacement of populations anywhere in Northamptonshire and Danish farmers settled alongside the English. They made no attempt to change the agricultural system that had now been in existence for two centuries.

In 886, Alfred and Guthrum negotiated a treaty between Wessex and East Anglia to help prevent quarrels between the Danes and the Saxons that could lead to war. One important clause laid down the southern boundary commonly recognised as that of Danelaw.

Over the course of about 100 years the Danes were gradually forced back northwards and the Danelaw became absorbed by the English. The Danes swore allegiance to King Edgar who is considered to be the first true King of England. Under Edgar, Medehamsted Abbey was rebuilt and the lands of Warmington returned to the control of the abbot, where they remained for nearly 600 years.
The Danish invasion had given a new impetus to agriculture and the economy. There was also growth in the number of settlements in the country.
It is probably during the Danish period that Eaglethorpe was established. “Thorpe” is Scandinavian in origin, meaning a subsidiary settlement or farm, although the name continued to be used by the English long after the Danish period.
The “eagle” part of the word may be derived from the ancient Scandinavian “Eik” or Ekel” meaning Oakwood. Thus Eaglethorpe could have been the settlement by the Oakwood.

Whilst the location of Papley village is well known and documented, the site of Eaglethorpe has not been positively identified. The road that now bears the name Eaglethorpe originally formed part of Mill Way Street in 1600 and was known as Mill End until official road names were given in the late 1950s, when it became Eaglesthorpe. The hamlet of Eaglethorpe was probably further to the north of the parish, maybe as far north as the boundary with Elton.