King’s Cliffe, Northamptonshire

King’s Cliffe c 1840s. Taken from first series OS Maps.

Kings Cliffe is a village in North Northamptonshire that lies on the Willow Brook, a tributary of the River Nene. It is near to the borders of Rutland, Lincolnshire and the former Soke of Peterborough. It is variously spelt King’s Cliffe, King’s Cliff, Kings Cliff, Kingscliffe.

It was in existence at the time of the conquest and made part of the Royal Forest of Rockingham by King William and hence came under the King’s forest laws, with various Kings visiting the place for hunting. Queen Elizabeth granted the area to her favourite the Earl of Essex in 1592 but as he later fell from favour, it was put into the ‘keepership’ of Lord Burghley.

The excellent website on the village’s history,, suggests that the village ‘had no resident Lord of the manor‘ and was an ‘open village, attracting people to settle here who had left their own parishes for whatever reason‘. This may account for the Culpin’s appearance in the village by the late 1500s or it may simply be that parish records are not reliable and the family had lived here for generations! Whatever is the reason, the village seems to be at least one source of the CULPIN surname as far back as Tudor times.

Culpins first appear in registers and records here in the late 16th century and evidence shows they lived here for a couple of generations.  Their children mainly moved to other parishes both within the county and surrounding ones, but by the early 1700s the family appears to have settled in Woodnewton, a few miles away, a place they stayed for many generations until the mid 1800s.

The first recorded family of Culpins in the village was that of Richard Culpin and Mary Kinge who married in the church on the 30th April 1607.

Culpin Links