OUNDLE AND THE SURROUNDING DISTRICTS
Oundle is an ancient market town on the River Nene in Northamptonshire, England, with a population of 5,345 (2001 census). It is 80 miles north of London and 12 miles (20 km) southwest of the City of Peterborough.
Oundle is attractively situated on rising ground beside a meander of the River Nene. Skirted by water meadows which are a haven for wildlife, and increasingly popular with walkers, artists and anglers, this picturesque town is built of local Jurassic limestone with roofs of Collyweston slate.
The mainly 13th Century parish church, with its striking spire, is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the Nene Valley and is visible for miles.
Oundle is also famous for its public school, which contributes many buildings of outstanding historical and architectural interest, and occupies buildings throughout the town.
Well known throughout the county for the excellent quality of its friendly, family shops and small businesses, Oundle's thriving local community organises a welcoming and diverse range of sporting, cultural and recreational activities.
Over 20 stalls can be perused at the interesting and lively market held every Thursday, and on the second Saturday of each month a Farmers' Market provides the opportunity to enjoy delicious local produce.
Oundle, like many other villages and towns in England, was originally a trading place and market for local farmers and craftsmen. As the area became more prosperous, wealthy traders set up shops and houses, and guilds were formed.
Among the oldest buildings in Oundle is the Talbot Inn. This inn was initially constructed out of timber; it was later rebuilt with stone from the ruins of nearby Fotheringhay Castle. Other public houses in the town include The Rose & Crown, The Ship Inn (a 14th century coaching inn), The Angel, and The George.
There are a number of churches in Oundle. By far the largest and most prominent – with the largest steeple in the area – is St Peter's parish church, which occupies the main churchyard. There are also Methodist, Baptist and Roman Catholic churches in Oundle. However, the Baptist church does not have its own building and holds services on Sunday mornings in Prince William School.
Other major buildings include the Stahl Theatre, a primary school, and many very large Oundle School buildings which are sometimes open to the public. These include a full-length swimming pool and the school's Great Hall.
There is also a park where play equipment such as swings and climbing frames can be found, as well as a skatepark, built in 2005 to accommodate the skateboarders and rollerbladers in the town. A fair also arrives annually, attracting many locals each year.
Oundle is home to two of the three factories producing the world-renowned luxury boats from Fairline Boats, the third factory being situated in Weldon, near Corby. The original factory is based at Barnwell Road in Oundle and the newer factory in Oundle is at the Nene Valley site. The company has a multi-million-pound turnover.
The town has a primary school, an award-winning middle school and a secondary school / 6th form college which has nearly 1200 pupils, Prince William School and Sixth Form Centre. There are several village primary schools nearby, such as Glapthorn, Polebrook and Barnwell.
There are also two independent schools: the famous Oundle School, and, for children aged 5-11 years, Laxton Junior School.
The Oundle International Festival (OIF) is a music festival and pipe organ school. OIF was founded in 1985, with the training of young organists as its core component. The summer schools are centred upon an organ, built by Frobenius of Denmark and installed in Oundle School Chapel. A concurrent festival programme for the general public was also planned as a recurrent feature of the enterprise.
The Oundle Festival of Literature takes place in March each year and features a programme of author events, poetry, philosophy, politics, story telling, biography, illustrators and novelists for young and old.
MAP OF OUNDLE AND DISTRICT
The building of Ashton village commenced in 1885 under the instruction of the mercantile Rothchild family as a model village. Designed by the fashionable Victorian architect, William Huckvale and overseen by Walter Charles Rothchild, the village was created as a community facility for the tied Ashton Estate workers. The pub and cottages surrounding the village green were built from limestone quarried from the estate, all with thatched roofs.
Polebrook is a quiet village of some 400-odd inhabitants, tucked in the north-east corner of Northamptonshire, near Oundle. Its buildings are mainly stone, so that it looks like a displaced part of the Cotswolds. It has a church, one pub, a primary school, and no shops.