North Street, Oundle
|Population||5,735 (2011 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|• London||69 miles (111 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Oundle (//) is a market town on the left bank of the River Nene in North Northamptonshire, England, which had a population of 5,735 at the time of the 2011 census. It is 69 miles (111 kilometres) north of London and 12 mi (19 km) south-west of Peterborough. The town is home to Oundle School.
The town's name origin is uncertain. It is probably an old district name, in a grammatical form suggesting a tribal name, 'the Undalas'.
Discoveries of prehistoric and Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman materials suggest that Oundle has been a settlement location for several thousand years. Findings have included a number of Iron Age coins, and Roman bronze pins, coins and skeletons. A significant Roman find was part of a Roman cup discovered in the church yard of St. Peter's Church in the early 19th Century. Further excavation on the site led to the findings of many Roman coins, some from the time of the reign of Emperor Claudius. The finding of red tile and building stone at a site near Ashton Road, Oundle is seen as suggestive that there may have been a Roman villa there; a nearby archaeological evaluation found a ditch containing fragments of Romano-British pottery.
The Saxon invasion saw the arrival of a tribe called Undalas which possibly meant undivided. Oundle was the site of a hospitium, a building used by monks to give shelter and assistance to travellers, which dates back to 638 AD. It is the death place of St Wilfrid in 709 AD where he had consecrated a church as well as being the location of one of his monasteries. The current St Peter's Church occupies the same site as St Wilfrid's original church.
The first clear reference to Oundle is to be found in a 715 account by Eddi, who was the chantor to St Wilfrid, who referred to it as Undolum. Bede variously refers to it as Inundalum and Undulana mœgð.
Saint Cetta or Cett, a 7th-century saint, is the Patron Saint of Oundle. Very little is known of him but according to the Anglo-Saxon Secgan Manuscript he was buried in the monastery at Oundle, near the River Nene, around 1000 AD and a chapel to him built in the 11th century, on the small knoll beyond the end of St Sythes Lane. This and the market charter granted in 972 explain the growth of Oundle in the 12th century.
The Domesday Book of 1086 records Oundle in Polebrook hundred with a population of 36 households, a mill and a value in 1066 of £0.3, which had risen to £11 by 1086.
There has been a grammar school in Oundle since at least 1465, at which Sir William Laxton (Lord Mayor of London) was educated. In his will he left a legacy to found Laxton Grammar School in 1556, now known as Oundle School, administered by the Worshipful Company of Grocers.
In 1743 a group of mutineers from the Black Watch were captured at Ladywood, near Oundle. They had deserted in protest at being sent abroad, instead of patrolling the Highlands, for which the regiment had been raised. The Old Town Hall, which replaced an earlier building on the same site dating back to the 16th century, was completed in 1830.
Main article: Corby (UK Parliament constituency)
Main article: East Midlands (European Parliament constituency)
Oundle is part of the parliamentary constituency of Corby. The current Member of Parliament (MP) for Corby is Tom Pursglove of the Conservative Party, who was elected in May 2015. He had previously been a local councillor, and the youngest councillor in the country.
Oundle was part of the East Midlands constituency for the European Parliament prior to Brexit in 2020.
At a local level, the town elects 12 people every four years to the Oundle Town Council. The council is a non-politically affiliated group that works to further the social and economic interests of Oundle. A Mayor and Deputy Mayor are elected by the council every May.
Oundle is a town located in the North Northamptonshire district of Northamptonshire county, on the River Nene, with Corby 9 miles to the west, and Peterborough 12 miles to the north-east. Despite being located within Northamptonshire, Oundle falls into the 'PE8' post-code district for Peterborough.
The Oundle Parish consists of approximately 900 hectares and covers the entire urban build, as well as open countryside. The boundary follows the River Nene to the East and South of the town, and extends west to Oundle Wood and north to Park Wood. This boundary was established during an extensive East Northants Boundary review in 2013.
The region itself is located on solid formations from the Jurassic age, with Oundle being built on the sedimentary rock oolite.
Oundle is home to one of two factories producing luxury motor yachts for Fairline Yachts Ltd. The original company, Fairline Boats, which was also located in Oundle entered administration in 2015 before being acquired by Russian investors in January 2016.
Among the oldest buildings is the Talbot Hotel. This was constructed of timber; it was rebuilt with stone in 1626 from the ruins of nearby Fotheringhay Castle. The hotel is notable for the claim of being haunted by the ghost of Mary Queen of Scots who was executed in Fotheringhay in 1587. The hotel is said to contain the oak staircase taken from the ruins of Fotheringhay Castle that Mary walked down while being escorted to her execution.
Other public houses include The Rose & Crown, a 17th-century inn, The Ship Inn, a 14th-century coaching inn, The George, and The Riverside, which has become derelict.
There are a number of churches. By far the most prominent, its 210-foot spire being the tallest in Northamptonshire, is St Peter's Church which has the main churchyard. There are also Methodist, Baptist and Roman Catholic churches. The Baptist church has a premises on St Osyth's Lane but holds services on Sunday mornings at Oundle Church of England Primary School.
The Stahl Theatre is a 264-seat theatre venue owned by Oundle School that was previously a disused Congregational Church chapel on West Street. Oundle School, under the instruction of then housemaster John Harrison, bought the building in the late 1970s and converted the chapel into the theatre which opened for performances in 1980. Harrison became the building's director and produced many performances before his retirement in 1993. In 2012 he returned to produce Love's Labour's Lost, his 100th Stahl Theatre production before his death in 2018. The building is named after Ronald Stahl, a US citizen who lived in Oundle in 1900. Today, the theatre is used by a variety of local groups, including Oundle School, Oundle Church of England Primary school and the local Oundle Gilbert & Sullivan Players.
The war memorial, known officially as the Oundle and Ashton War Memorial, is located at the junction of New Street and West Street. Constructed in 1920 at a cost of £600, it was unveiled on 14 November 1920 by Mr F.W. Sanderson and dedicated at the same ceremony by Canon Smalley Law, the Vicar of Oundle. Originally commemorating the local lives lost during the First World War, it also includes dedications to those killed in the Second World War. The memorial takes the form of a five-stepped octagonal base surmounted by two square plinths and a slightly tapering rectangular pillar. In turn, this is further surmounted by a small cross. The memorial was classed as a Grade II listed building by Historic England on 7 June 1974, which classes it as a 'particularly important building of more than special interest.'
The memorial has inscriptions to 95 people killed in the two wars. 68 for the First World War and 27 for the Second World War. The now closed Oundle Middle School took the names of four of those inscribed on the memorial as names of its school houses, those were D.F. Barber, J.L. Marlow, J.H. Mason and P. Richardson. All four served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.
Oundle is located off the A605 that links the A14 at Thrapston to the A1 at Peterborough. The road at Oundle underwent major improvements in 1985 resulting in the Oundle bypass being opened on 12 December 1985 by Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester and is commemorated by a plinth and brass plaque at the roundabout.
With the definitive closure of Oundle railway station in late 1972, there are currently no rail links operating in Oundle. The station originally opened in June 1845 and was designed by John Livock, a prominent architect at the time who was best known for his railway station construction. The original station building is still in use today as private residential property.
There is no main bus station in Oundle, however, there are regular services stopping in the market place with several other stops located throughout the town. The primary bus route servicing Oundle daily is the Stagecoach operated X4 that links Northampton and Peterborough.
The town's most notable school is Oundle School, a public school with around a thousand pupils, most of whom are boarders. The two other schools in the town are Prince William School, a comprehensive school, and Oundle Church of England Primary School, which rated as "Outstanding" in its 2011 Ofsted inspection.
Oundle hosts a number of annual events, notably:
A farmers' market is held in the Market Place on the second Saturday of every month as well as a local market every Thursday. There is a park with swings and climbing frames, as well as a skatepark built in 2005 and regenerated in 2012. An annual fair and circus is held in the park.
Oundle has shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants in the town centre. It also has three supermarkets: a Co-op, a Waitrose and a Tesco.
External shots for the 2012 Daniel Radcliffe film The Woman in Black were filmed at Cotterstock Hall just north of Oundle.
Oundle maintains partnerships with the following places:
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