If the boot fits

Country Life Every Week - - Market Towns -

Ho­race Bat­ten (Boot­mak­ers) Ltd (01604 770287; www.ho­race­bat­ten.com) is a sur­vivor from a time when Northamp­ton­shire led the world in shoe- and boot­mak­ing.

There are still shoe­mak­ers—such as Church’s, Loake Bros, Dr Martens, Ed­ward Green and Pad­ders—but Ti­mothy Bat­ten and his daugh­ter, Emma, the seventh gen­er­a­tion, ar­guably run the finest be­spoke boot­maker left in this coun­try.

The smell of leather, maps of hunt coun­tries and rows of brown-topped boots lined up like sen­tries be­low a fox’s mask and a print of the York and Ain­sty Hunt is a fa­mil­iar scene to the Bat­ten fam­ily in its work­shop in the quiet vil­lage of Raven­sthorpe. About four pairs of beau­ti­fully crafted rid­ing boots are made each week, us­ing meth­ods and tech­niques de­vel­oped by their an­ces­tors in the 17th and 18th cen­turies.

Tim’s father, Ho­race, died in 2014, aged 102, and knew much more about mem­bers of the hunt­ing world than just their calf width. ‘Father knew every­one,’ says Tim, ‘and was a great sto­ry­teller.’ His obituary in The Times took up a full page and his clients in­cluded an Amer­i­can who flew over on Con­corde just to be mea­sured for a pair of boots.

Ho­race Bat­ten Ltd con­tin­ues a tra­di­tion that goes back to Cromwell, who wanted an army cos­tume and footwear for his New Model Army. It put Northamp­ton on the map as the home of shoe- and boot­mak­ing and it’s only since the 1960s that fac­to­ries be­gan to close down.

The shoes are made from Devon leather us­ing skilled crafts­man­ship cut­ting, shap­ing and sewing, with wooden lasts achiev­ing per­fect in­di­vid­ual mea­sure­ments. Tim says that there are only two in­gre­di­ents re­quired for the per­fect fit: ‘A good boot­maker and a good cus­tomer.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.