Recorded in the Domesday Book as one of five market towns in Northamptonshire, Oundle’s Market Charter was renewed by King Edgar in 972 and granted to the Abbot of Peterborough. In 1539, John Leyland reported to Henry VIII that ‘Oundle has a good market’ and by the mid 1600s the town had become prosperous, selling cattle, sheep and grain.
Today, the Market Place is home to a buzz of merchant activity, from local farmers’ markets and food traders to antique dealers and a travelling fishmonger. Located at the heart of the town, it is flanked on all sides by shops and cafés, many of which span decades of family tradition.
With a population of 5000, Oundle is a charming and harmonious combination of the old and the new, retaining its rich architectural inheritance while sensitively developing modern services and amenities. It has many ancient buildings, intriguing alleyways, ancient inns and one of the finest churches in the region; St Peter’s Church, whose spire forms a distinctive landmark for miles around. Local historic buildings, excluding the main buildings of Oundle School, include Latham's Hospital in North Street, which was founded and endowed in 1611. More recent is the Queen Victoria Hall in West Street, which was built to commemorate the reign of Queen Victoria. The foundation stone was laid on the coronation day of Edward VII on 9th August 1902.
Oundle is, quite simply, a delightful part of Northamptonshire. The recent revival of its old brewing tradition and its numerous thriving independent businesses are indicative of its fortitude as both a community and a town. As a cultural hub with music, literature, sporting and food festivals, its pull has never been stronger.