In 1936 a 4 foot high concrete pillar was erected in a field in Northamptonshire. It was the first trig point of thousands that were to be installed across Britain during the next 26 years. They enabled the greatest undertaking by the Ordnance Survey since the early 19th century: the Retriangulation of Great Britain. Before 1936, although triangulation had been used to produce OS maps, the process had been piecemeal. The new trig points would enable a unified (and more accurate) survey as a basis for the maps.
In Beachamwell we have our own trig point positioned at the junction of BR18 with the road at Drymere. View a location map here.
Each trig point needed to have a clear line of sight to at least two others and so it makes sense that this one stands at almost the highest point in the parish: 42m above sea level. But where are the neighbouring trig points that enabled the triangulation? The answer is that in flatter parts of the country the Ordnance Survey often used tall buildings, almost always church towers, as trig points. Thus the neighbouring marks for our trig point were probably the towers of Swaffham Church, Gooderstone Church and possible the spire of St John’s Church Oxborough (which collapsed in 1948). It should also be noted that two radar masts at Narborough were also used as trig points. Modern technology – the Global Navigation Satellite System – has rendered the trig pillars redundant but they still act as a beacon for walkers.
Find out more about trig points at www.trigpointing.uk (although perversely this website prefers to name our trig point ‘Shingham Heath’ rather than the more obvious ‘Drymere’.)