Narrow section of North Street, Oundle, looking north
Oundle shown within Northamptonshire
|Population||5,755 (2010 estimate) 5,219 (2001 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|– London||80 miles (129 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||East Midlands|
Oundle // is an ancient market town on the River Nene in Northamptonshire, England, with a population of around 5,800. It is situated 68 mi (109 km) north of London and 12 mi (19 km) south-west of Peterborough. The nearest railway station is at Corby, 9.3 mi (15.0 km) west of Oundle.
The Saxon invasion saw the arrival of a tribe called Undalas which possibly meant undivided. It is the death place of St Wilfrid in 709AD 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.
Saint Cetta or Cett was a seventh century saint and is the Patron Saint of Oundle. Very little is known of him, but according to the Anglo-Saxon Hagiography of the Secgan Manuscript, he was from around 1000AD, buried in the monastery at Oundle near the river Nene, and a chapel to St Cett was built in the eleventh century, on the small knoll beyond the end of St Sythes Lane. The presence of this shrine and the market charter, explain much of the growth of Oundle in the twelfth century.
As the area became prosperous, wealthy traders set up shops and houses, and guilds were formed. Unlike other settlements in the vicinity, Oundle was unaffected by the Black Death in the mid-14th century.
Oundle had a grammar school since at least 1465, at which Sir William Laxton (Lord Mayor of London) was educated. He founded Laxton Grammar School in 1556, administered by the Worshipful Company of Grocers, from which Oundle School evolved.
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.
Among the oldest buildings is the Talbot Hotel. This was constructed of timber; it was rebuilt with stone from the ruins of nearby Fotheringhay Castle. Other public houses include the Rose & Crown (a 17th Century Inn Haunted by the White Cavalier), the Ship Inn (a 14th-century coaching inn), the Angel, the George and the Riverside, which is currently derelict.
There are a number of churches. By far the most prominent, with the largest steeple in the area, is St Peter's Church which occupies the main churchyard. There are also Methodist, Baptist and Roman Catholic churches. However, the Baptist church does not have its own building and holds services on Sunday mornings at Prince William School.
Local schools include a comprehensive school, Prince William School, a middle school, Oundle and Kings Cliff Middle School, and Oundle Primary School rated as "Outstanding" in its most recent Ofsted inspection. The town is also the location of Oundle School, a co-educational boarding independent school with around a thousand pupils, most of whom are boarders.
Culture and community
Oundle hosts a number of annual events, notably:
- The Oundle International Festival (OIF) is an annual music festival and pipe organ school, founded in 1985, with the training of young organists as its core. These summer schools are centred on a Frobenius organ in the Oundle School chapel. A concurrent festival programme for the public was also planned as a recurrent feature.
- The Oundle Festival of Literature also takes place annually.
- The Oundle carnival has taken place since 2009.
- The World Conker Championships have taken place in the nearby village of Ashton on the second Sunday of October since the championship started in 1965.
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 also a park with swings and climbing frames, as well as a skatepark which was built in 2005 and regenerated in 2012. An annual fair and circus is located in the park.
Oundle has many shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants all of which are located in the town centre. It also has two supermarkets, a Co-op and a recently built Waitrose.
Oundle maintains partnerships with the following places:
Oundle is home to two of the three factories producing Fairline Boats. The third site is located Weldon, near Corby. The original factory is at Barnwell Road Marina in Oundle and the newer at the Nene Valley site. The Barnwell Road Marina site is currently being mothballed as the company restructures.
- Ebenezer Prout - a musical theorist born in Oundle.
- Ivo Watts-Russell, founder of independent record label 4AD was born nearby and went to school in Oundle.
- Louise Mensch - briefly the local Member of Parliament, lives in Oundle.
- William Abell - a vintner (wine merchant) born in Oundle.
- Richard Dawkins - a scientist educated in Oundle.
- Marian Hobbs - former politician (formally on the staff of Prince William School).
- Billy Bragg - an English alternative rock musician and left-wing activist who wrote material whilst in Oundle in the 1980s, most notably "A New England".
- REGINALD ELI SUTTON, MBE - 1917-2011, Educator and social activist, promoting local direct social, economic and environmental change.
Reg and his family moved to Oundle in 1951 and worked tirelessly for Oundle throughout his life on Oundle District Council (1958) and as a councillor for East Northamptonshire. In 1971 Reg was chairman of Prince William School governing body and a governor at Oundle and Kings-Cliffe Middle School, St. Peter’s (Oundle) Primary School and Warmington Primary School. Reg was thoroughly involved in the community life of the town. He was a founder member and President of the Oundle Gilbert and Sullivan Players. He also sang with many local Male-Voice Choirs. He belonged to the Oundle Rotary Club, which honoured him with a Paul Harris Fellowship award in recognition of his work in the community. The most memorable of his achievements was his investiture on 14 June 1997 as a Member of the Order of the British Empire.
- "Housing Stock and Population Estimates 2010". East Northamptonshire Council. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
- Page, William. "A History of the County of Northampton". British History Online.
- Cett at PASE.ac.uk
- The Holy Cette of Oundle
- Carwyn Hywel Morris, The concept of territory in The late Anglo-Saxon and early Medieval cult of saints in England, page 5 .
- Stowe MS 944 II.14, British Library
- Cett in The Oxford Dictionary of Saints
- The Black Watch - The Mutiny
- Legends of The Black Watch or Forty-Second Highlanders - The Story of Farquhar Shaw
- "Oundle and Kings Cliffe Middle School".
- OFSTED. "Inspection Reports". Oundle Primary School. OFSTED. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- "Oundle Carnival". Retrieved 2011-06-09.
- "Oundle Chronicle".