Oundle in 1839
Oundle is in Polebrook hundred, 81 miles from London. The area of the parish, including the hamlets of Ashton, Biggin, Churchfield, and Elmington, is 5,300 acres ; the population, in 1831, was 2,450, nearly one-third agricultural. The town is on a slope on the left bank of the Nene, which here makes a considerable bend, nearly surrounding the town, and is crossed by two bridges on opposite sides of the town : that on the north-east side, distinguished as ‘the North bridge,’ over which the road to Peterborough passes, is a fine bridge of several arches ; connected with it is a causeway, raised on arches, to secure a passage over the flats near the river when the waters are out. The streets are well paved and lighted, and the houses generally modern and well built. There are a commodious market-house and shambles. The church, which is large and handsome, consists of a nave with side aisles, chancel, large transepts, and a tower and spire 200 feet high. Most of the piers and arches and some of the windows are of early English character ; the clerestory and several of the windows are of decorated English ; the tower and spire, the south porch, part of the transepts, and several of the windows are of perpendicular character. Each part is excellent in its style. The tower has four pinnacles at the angles, and the spire is hexagonal and crocketed ; they are peculiarly fine. The church contains some rich stalls, some good wood screen-work, and a few remains of ancient stained glass. There are an almshouse and a grammar-school near the church. The market is on Thursday, and there are three yearly fairs for live-stock. Petty-sessions for the division are held every fortnight. The living is a vicarage, of the clear yearly value of £376, with a glebe-house.
There were, in 1833, an endowed free grammar-school, with 66 boys (28 on the foundation) ; an endowed charity-school for 30 boys, who are educated and clothed ; another endowed school, with 12 boys ; an endowed day and Sunday school in Ashton hamlet, with 14 children ; two other day-schools, with about 30 children ; two boarding-schools, with 85 children ; a national day and Sunday school, with 123 children in the week and 175 on Sundays ; and several Sunday-schools.