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Oundle 1469.JPG
North Street, Oundle
Population 5,735 (2011 census)
OS grid reference TL038880
• London 80 miles (129 km)
  • East Northamptonshire
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Peterborough
Postcode district PE8
Dialling code 01832
Police Northamptonshire
Fire Northamptonshire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
UK Parliament
  • Corby
List of places
NorthamptonshireCoordinates: 52°28′48″N 0°28′19″W / 52.480°N 0.472°W / 52.480; -0.472

Oundle is a market town on the River Nene in Northamptonshire, England, which had a population of 5,735 at the 2011 census. It is 68 mi (109 km) north of London and 12 mi (19 km) south-west of Peterborough. The nearest railway station, Corby, is 9.3 mi (15.0 km) to the west.


Inhabited since the Iron Age, Oundle was originally a trading place and market for local farmers and craftsmen.

The Saxon invasion saw the arrival of a tribe called Undalas which possibly meant undivided. 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.

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. The presence of this shrine and the market charter explain much of the growth of Oundle in the 12th century.

The Domesday Book 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.

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 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.

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 has regular events throughout the year featuring established, local and new authors .
  • 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.

Town partnerships

Oundle maintains partnerships with the following places:

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