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Oundle, Northamptonshire

Historical Description

Oundle, a market and union town and a parish in Northamptonshire. The town is situated on a gentle declivity, half a mile W from the Northampton and Peterborough section of the L. & N.W.R., on which it has a station 13 miles SW from Peterborough, 27 NE by N from Northampton, and about 80 by road and 97½ by rail from London. It is engirt on three sides, at a short distance, by the river None. It is a very ancient place, and was undoubtedly the site of a Roman settlement Roman coins and relics have been found in every part of the town, the coins ranging from those of the Emperor Claudius to the latest period. It was known at Domesday as Undela, and afterwards as Oundale; has been supposed by some antiquaries to have taken the latter name by corruption from Avondale, with allusion to the Nene as the " avon " or river. It is a polling-place, a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and the seat of courts for the manor of Oundle, the rectory manor of Onndle, and the liberty and hundred of Polebrooke. The town, which is well built, well paved, and remarkably clean, stands amid a beautiful tract of country, pleasantly diversified in contour, finely ornamented with woods and water, and richly studded with mansions, including Apethorpe Hall, the seat of the Earl of Westmorland, Deene Park, the seat of the Countess of Cardigan, Lilford Hall, the seat of Lord Lilford, Farming Woods, the seat of Lord Lyveden, and Biggin Hall, a seat of the Watts-Russells. It is governed by an urban district council consisting of fifteen members. The town has a head post office, two banks, a town-hall, a police station, two bridges, a market-house, two churches, Roman Catholic, Baptist, Congregational, and Wesleyan Methodist chapels, a cemetery, a grammar school, a Blue-coat school, two suites of almshouses, a workhouse, and some valuable and useful charities. The Chapel of St Mary Magdalene was built in 1893 for the use of the inmates of the workhouse. The N bridge is a handsome structure, and is approached by a raised causeway across adjacent low grounds. The S bridge was rebuilt in 1570, after destruction by a freshet of the river, and was repaired about 1834. The parish church, dedicated to St Peter, is a large and ancient building built of the local oolite, consisting of chancel, with chantry chapels, nave, aisles, transepts, S and W porches, and an embattled western tower surmounted by an octagonal crocketed spire rising to a height of 208 feet. The nave and aisles are Early English, with Decorated windows inserted. The transepts and chancel are Early Decorated, and the tower and S porch Perpendicular. The church contains some good stained windows, an ancient brass eagle lectern, an alabaster reredos, and a fine pulpit. Jesus Church, at the W end of the town, erected in 1878-79, is a cruciform building of Casterton, Corsham, and Hol-lington stone, consisting of chancel, nave, transepts, and a central lantern. The living is a vicarage, with Ashton annexed, in the diocese of Peterborough; gross value, £443 with residence, in the gift of the Bishop of Peterborough. The Congregational chapel was built in 1865 at a cost of £1620, is in the Early Decorated English style, of cut stone, with Bath stone facings, and contains 500 sittings. The cemetery is at a short distance from the town, on the Stoke road, has an area of 3 acres, and has a mortuary chapel of stone. The grammar school was founded in 1544 by Sir W. Laxton, lord mayor of London, is united with an alms-house for seven men, also founded by Sir W. Laxton, and draws support from an estate in London, formerly yielding about £267 a year, but now yielding several thousand pounds. The Blue-coat school was founded in the time of Elizabeth by the Rev. N. Latham; stands connected with an hospital for eighteen aged women, founded also by the Rev. N. Latham; affords gratuitous education and clothing to thirty boys; and, together with the hospital, has an endowed income of about £600. Under the care of the Worshipful Company of Grocers, who are trustees of the charity, it is now administered in the support of two schools of the first and second grades respectively. The school buildings are modern, and include all modern appliances and improvements, and the schools possess some valuable exhibitions and scholarships. The workhouse stands a quarter of a mile out of the town, and has accommodation for 178 persons. A weekly market is held on Thursday; fairs are held on 25 Feb. for horses and cattle, and on Whit-Monday and 12 Oct. for pleasure. There are several mineral springs in the parish, the waters of which are strongly impregnated with iron, and are useful for their tonic properties. Hansted, a clergyman who fought for Charles I., and Dr. J. Newton the mathematician were natives. The parish of Ashton is ecclesiastically consolidated with Oundle. It has an endowed school called Creed's Chanty. Area of Ashton, 1848 acres; population, 206. Area of Oundle, 3144 acres, population, 2680; of the ecclesiastical parish, 2886.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyNorthamptonshire 
Ecclesiastical parishOundle St. Peter 
Poor Law unionOundle 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.


The Cemetery, on the Stoke road, within a short distance of the town, comprises three acres, and has a mortuary chapel of stone, surmounted by a short spire; it was opened in 1859, at a cost of about £2,650.

Church Records

The register of St. Peter's dates from the year 1625., in association with the Northamptonshire Record Office, have images of the Parish Registers and Bishop's Transcripts for Northamptonshire online.


Church of England

Jesus church

Jesus church, consecrated July 29th, 1879, is a cruciform building of stone, combined with the materials of old buildings previously occupying the site, and is in the Lancet style, from designs by the late Sir A. W. Blomfield A.R.A., F.S.A.: it consists of chancel, nave, transepts and a central lantern, in the lower stage square, but rising into an octagon, and finished with a domical ceiling at a height of 50 feet from the floor, and lighted by 16 windows.

St. Peter (parish church)

The church of St. Peter is a large and ancient edifice in the Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, with south chantry, clerestoried nave of four bays, aisles, transepts, south and western porches and an embattled western tower, with angle turrets and an octagonal crocketed spire, rising to a height of 208 feet; the tower contains 8 bells: the nave and aisles are Early English, and date from about 1220; the transepts are Early Decorated, the south transept having a crypt beneath it, with a groined roof: the chancel retains a piscina and sedilia richly carved: the stained east window was erected in 1864 by the Rev. J. Nussey, then vicar, in memory of Edward Bedell esq. a benefactor; this part of the church belongs generally to the 15th century; the south porch, erected about 1440, by John Wyatt and his wife, founders of the guild of the Blessed Virgin, retains its original door and has a richly groined roof: the western porch, erected about 1390, is canopied, but has been much mutilated: the tower is Perpendicular, the lower storeys being panelled, and the belfry storey and windows richly ornamented: the pulpit, supposed to date from about 1550, is referred to by the Dean of Norwich in his "Religio Laici:" a stained window in the north transept was given in 1868 by the Grocers' Company, and another in the tower in 1874 by the Rev. John Creeser, late curate of Oundle: there is a fine brass eagle lectern, dating from about 1443: the interior was restored and reseated in oak under the direction of the late Sir G. Gilbert Scott R.A. and in 1894 the tower was restored, the roofs of the transepts and south aisle re-leaded, and the woodwork repaired, at a total cost of £1,474. In 1909 a new font was added in memory of St. Wilfrid, who died here in 709.


Baptist chapel, West Street

There is a Baptist chapel, in West street, with 200 sittings.


Congregational chapel

The Congregational chapel, in West street, erected in 1864, on the site of a former chapel, dating from 1690, is a building in the Gothic style, and has 450 sittings.


Wesleyan chapel

The Wesleyan chapel, built in 1842, and re-seated in 1866, at a cost of £300, has 230 sittings.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Oundle from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Northamptonshire is available to browse.


Online maps of Oundle are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Northamptonshire papers online:

Poor Law

Oundle was the head of a Poor Law Union, which comprises the following parishes in 1914:- (In Northamptonshire), Apethorpe, Armston, Ashton, Barnwell All Saints, Barnwell St. Andrew. Benefield, Blatherwycke, Bulwick, Cotterstock, Deene, Deenethorpe, Fotheringhay, Glapthorn, Hemington, King's Cliffe, Lilford-cum-Wigsthorpe, Luddington-in-the-Brook, Lutton, Nassington, Oundle, Pilton, Polebrook, Southwick, Stoke Doyle, Tansor, Thorpe Achurch, Thurning, Wadenhoe, Warmington, Wood Newton & Yarwell; and (in Huntingdonshire) Elton, Great Gidding, Little Gidding & Winwick.
The population of the union in 1911 was 10,93,6, viz.:-Northants, 9,796; Hunts, 1,140; area 69,516 acres, viz.:-Northants, 60,905; Hunts, 8,611; rateable value in March, 1914, £79,033, viz.:Northants, £72,168; Hunts, £7,165

DistrictEast Northamptonshire
RegionEast Midlands
Postal districtPE8
Post TownPeterborough