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Oundle 1469.JPG
North Street, Oundle
Oundle is located in Northamptonshire
Population 5,735 (2011 census)
OS grid reference TL038880
• London 69 miles (111 km)
Civil parish
  • Oundle
Unitary authority
  • North Northamptonshire
Ceremonial county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district PE8
Dialling code 01832
Police Northamptonshire
Fire Northamptonshire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
UK Parliament
  • Corby
List of places
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 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.


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:


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.



  • Oundle Town Football Club – Founded in 1883 and currently playing in the Peterborough and District Football League Division 1. As well as the senior teams, Oundle Town FC also have minis, youth and junior teams, as well as walking, vets, ladies and girls teams.


  • Oundle Rugby Club – Founded in 1976, Oundle Rugby Club has a senior team playing in the Midlands 1 East division, as well as junior and mini teams.


  • Oundle Town Cricket Club – Founded in 1826 the 1st XI senior team currently play in the Northamptonshire Cricket League Premier division. They also have a ladies and girls teams as well as operating 6 junior teams.


Oundle Church of England Primary School entrance
View of the entry to Oundle Church of England Primary School.

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 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.

Notable people

  • William Abell – a vintner (wine merchant) born in Oundle
  • George Blagden – actor who was accepted into Oundle School on a drama scholarship and performed various roles at the town's Stahl Theatre. He has since appeared in television shows such as Vikings and Versailles, and also the 2012 movie Les Misérables.
  • Richard Dawkins – a scientist educated in Oundle
  • Bruce Dickinson frontman of Iron Maiden attended Oundle School as a teenager.
  • Marian Hobbs – former politician (formerly on the staff of Prince William School)
  • John Knight – cricketer
  • Louise Mensch – briefly the local Member of Parliament (MP), lived in Oundle
  • Himesh Patel – actor who appeared in the British soap opera EastEnders from 2007 to 2016 and stars in the 2019 film Yesterday directed by Danny Boyle attended Prince William School.
  • 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

Images for kids

See also

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