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Northampton is the county town of Northamptonshire in the East Midlands of England. It lies on the River Nene, about 60 miles north-west of London and 45 miles south-east of Birmingham as the crow flies. One of the largest towns in the UK, Northampton had a population of 212,100 in the 2011 census. Archaeological evidence of settlement in the area dates back to the Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods. During the Middle Ages, the town rose to national significance with the establishment of Northampton Castle, which was an occasional royal residence and regularly hosted the Parliament of England. Medieval Northampton had many churches, monasteries and the University of Northampton, which were all enclosed by the town walls. It was granted its first town charter by King Richard I in 1189 and its first mayor was appointed by King John in 1215. The town is also the site of two medieval battles; the Battle of Northampton and the second in 1460.
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