Franklin's Gardens

Franklin's Gardens
Location Weedon Road
Owner Northampton Saints Plc.
Capacity 15,249[1]
Surface Grass
Broke ground 1880
Renovated 2001, 2005, 2015
Construction cost £10,000,000
Northampton Saints (1888–present)

Franklin's Gardens is a purpose-built rugby stadium in Northampton, England. It is the home stadium of Northampton Saints. The stadium holds 15,249 people. The four stands are: Tetleys Stand; Burrda Stand; Church's Stand; and Barwell Stand. It is also a Northampton conference centre as well as the only UK Aviva Premiership Rugby ground with its own cenotaph, the setting for a moving ceremony every Remembrance Weekend.

The History of the Gardens

The Gardens, originally known as Melbourne Gardens, were created by John Collier, and after his death in 1886 they were bought by John Franklin, a successful hotelier, who renamed them Franklin’s Gardens the following year.

In 1888 the Gardens were sold for £17,000 to the Northampton Brewery Company who started making extensive improvements. New features included a running track, bicycle track, cricket ground, swimming pool, bear pit, a large ornamental lake, an improved monkey house and a larger zoological garden.

Franklin’s Gardens was described as the "Champs Elysees of Northampton" and trams ran from the town centre every few minutes for a penny. Home matches began in Abbey fields, next door to Franklin’s Gardens and it wasn’t until the late 1880s when the Saints moved to Franklin’s Gardens.

At the end of the 1896/97 season a new stand was built by Mr A Dunham’s building company, 45 feet long and costing £45 5s. It was carpeted and reserved for members paying 10s 6d for season tickets. Ladies got away with paying only five shillings!

On 9 October 1920, a two-page advertisement in the Independent appeared offering 15,000 shares in a new company, Franklins Gardens Sports and Pleasure Co Ltd. The company prospectus proposed to turn the site into a sports complex, allowing the Saints to play at the Gardens in return for a percentage of the gate.

During the Second World War Franklin’s Gardens was used for livestock. However that didn’t last long, as there was a new-look Franklin’s Gardens in, with its £6,000 Member’s stand.

The 1966/67 season kicked off with style with the opening of the Peter Haddon designed Gordon Sturtridge Pavilion, marked by a floodlit game between the Saints and an R E G Jeeps XV. The pavilion enhanced the Gardens’ reputation for being one of the finest rugby grounds in the country.

During the 1976/77 season the club acquired a four-acre training pitch on a 60-year lease at the back of the ground and in November 1977, the committee pulled off its biggest coup by buying Franklin’s Gardens outright for £30,000.

During the early 1990s a raft of temporary stands increased the capacity up to 10,000. Then in 2001 the stadium underwent a complete re-build. The fans got their first look of the £6 million new look Franklin’s Gardens on 8 September 2001.

The Tetley’s and South stands were opened formally by Ian McGeechan with the horseshoe stadium completed in summer 2002 with the building of the Church’s Stand, opened by five Saints legends. But there was more development to come in 2005 when an extension to the South Stand became a further piece to the Franklin’s Gardens jigsaw.

The north stand was re-developed in the summer of 2015, this included the demolition of the old stand and the construction of the new Barwell Stand.


Franklin's Gardens is located in the St James district of Northampton, approximately one mile from the town centre [2]

The Stands

Tetleys Stand

The Tetleys Stand

The Tetley's Stand holds 6,000 (est) people and has 19 executive boxes. The stand's capacity is split between the Gordon Terrace (named after former club secretary Jerry Gordon) and seating. Unlike premier league football stadiums, standing is allowed at rugby stadiums and the terracing was included as a specific part of the design. All of the people in the stand are under cover.

The Tetley's Stand also includes the club's major conferencing facilities, including the Rodber Suite, Captains' Suite and Heroes' Bar. There is full wireless internet access throughout the stand.

The Burrda Stand

The Burrda Stand

In 2005 the South Stand was doubled in size raising the Gardens capacity from 12,100 to 13,591. The redevelopment involved extending the South Stand over the lake in the village area of the ground to make room for additional seating, seven new boxes, a premium members' club, as well another bar and extra toilet facilities. The South stand extension was finished in the 2005/2006 season. At the start of the 10/11 season it was announced that the South stand will be renamed the Burrda Stand after the club's new kit suppliers.

The Church's Stand

The Church's Stand

The Church's Stand is the other all seater stand. It was developed and completed the horseshoe in the summer of 2002. It was opened by five club legends, former captains – Ron Jacobs, Don White, Gary Pearce, David Powell and Vince Cannon in November 2002.

The stand replaced the old Members' Stand which had lasted since the 1920s. It contains both the home and away dressing rooms, TV camera gantry, press bench, press room and a cinema for Saint's players (this was a bar until the Barwell Stand development).

The Barwell Stand

The Barwell Stand

This is to the North of the ground and is the newest stand (built in 2015) which replaced The Sturtridge Pavilion, completing the redevelopment of Franklin's Gardens. This stand takes the name of the Barwell family, who were influential in making Northampton Saints one of English rugby's leading clubs at the turn of the professional era in the mid 1990s. This stand houses the members' bar, corporate facilities, control room, the Sturtridge Suite and approximately 2,000 seats. It also houses a war memorial to former Saints players who died in the 1st and 2nd World Wars. This stand was officially opened by Keith Barwell on 14th February 2016.

The demolished old Sturtridge Pavilion

The Sturtridge Pavillion

The 1966/67 season kicked off with style with the opening of the Peter Haddon designed Gordon Sturtridge Pavilion, marked by a floodlit game between the Saints and an R E G Jeeps XV. The pavilion enhanced the Gardens’ reputation for being one of the finest rugby grounds in the country. The Pavilion was earmarked for demolition and redevelopment when the original rebuild was designed, however, due to time and money, the rebuild didn't happen until 2015.

The future

Future Development

Further development on the existing ground would be compromised by the Beacon Bingo hall which sits in close proximity to the Barwell Stand. Further opportunity could involve expanding the South or Tetleys Stand.

Northampton Saints will continue to explore playing one fixture a season at the 30,000 capacity MK Dons stadium in Milton Keynes.

Other uses

Anglo-Welsh Cup

The second LV= Cup final was played at the Gardens, seeing Gloucester beat Newcastle 34-7.


20 March 2011
Gloucester England 34 - 7 England Newcastle Falcons
Try: Voyce 6'c, Fuimaono-Sapolu 57'c, Sharples 66'c, Dawidiuk 80'c
Con: Robinson (4/4)
Pen: Robinson 20', 51'
Report Try: Eves 74'c
Con: Gopperth (1/1)
Franklin's Gardens, Northampton
Attendance: 6,848
Referee: Dave Pearson (England)
FB 15England Olly Morgan  60'
RW 14England Charlie Sharples
OC 13New Zealand Tim Molenaar  56'
IC 12Samoa Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu  74'
LW 11England Tom Voyce
FH 10Wales Nicky Robinson
SH 9 England Jordi Pasqualin
N8 8 England Luke Narraway (c)
OF 7 England Andy Hazell  41'
BF 6 Fiji Akapusi Qera
RL 5 England Alex Brown
LL 4 Scotland Jim Hamilton  64'
TP 3 England Rupert Harden  71'
HK 2 France Olivier Azam  78'
LP 1 England Nick Wood  76'
HK 16England Darren Dawidiuk  78'
PR 17England Yann Thomas  76'
PR 18England Shaun Knight  71'
LK 19Wales Will James  64'
FL 20England Matt Cox  41'
FH 21England Tim Taylor  74'
FB 22England Freddie Burns  60'
CE 23England Henry Trinder  56'
Scotland Bryan Redpath
FB 15England Alex Tait
RW 14England Luke Fielden  61'
OC 13New Zealand Tane Tu'ipulotu
IC 12England James Fitzpatrick  53'
LW 11England Luke Eves
FH 10New Zealand Jimmy Gopperth
SH 9 England Micky Young  69'
N8 8 Scotland Ally Hogg
OF 7 New Zealand Brent Wilson
BF 6 England Tim Swinson  71'
RL 5 New Zealand Andrew van der Heijden  62'
LL 4 England James Hudson (c)
TP 3 England Kieran Brookes  68'
HK 2 England Matt Thompson  46'
LP 1 England Jon Golding  65'
HK 16England Rob Vickers  46'
PR 17Scotland Grant Shiells  65'
PR 18England James Hall  68'
LK 19Samoa Filipo Levi  71'
FL 20England Mark Wilson  62'
SH 21England Hall Charlton  69'
CE 22South Africa Gcobani Bobo  53'
FB 23England Tom Catterick  61'
Scotland Alan Tait

Touch judges:
Wayne Barnes (England)
Paul Dix (England)

Churchill Cup 2011

On 4 June the Churchill Cup was opened with a double header of fixtures as Canada defeated Italy 'A' before eventual winners England Saxons breezed past the USA.

See also


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Coordinates: 52°14′22″N 0°55′11″W / 52.23944°N 0.91972°W / 52.23944; -0.91972

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