A history of Oundle architecture

A new book about Oundle’s architecture provides the first comprehensive overview of Oundle’s buildings. The author of Oundle’s Historic Buildings, A Brief Study of Oundle’s Architectural Heritage, is David Parker, a well-known local historian. He has lived in Oundle since 1975 and has published five previous books that brought together extensive research about Oundle’s history as documented in diaries, news, church headstones and wills.

architecture in oundle

Even during the research for his earlier books, Mr Parker was investigating and documenting Oundle’s architectural story. Since the 1980s, he has been sketching and photographing details and buildings, and this book assembles those photos as well as his meticulous architectural sketches, illustrating different staircases, doors and fireplaces that reveal a timeline of how trends and styles have changed.

It is also richly illustrated with photographs and historical illustrations, providing the opportunity to witness changes on now familiar streets. 134 illustrations include advertisements from almanacs, town publications, historical photos and original maps, such as one of the earliest maps of Northamptonshire published in 1779, and the earliest street map of Oundle from 1824.

Early drawings include one of the old School House from 1799 by former Oundle School student J D Bringhurst, who later died in the Battle of Waterloo.

The major domestic buildings explored are Cobthorne, The Berrystead, Bramston, Laundimer, the former Rectory, former Vicarage, Townley House and Queen Anne’s, among many more buildings.

But Oundle’s Historic Buildings is not just an architectural survey of Oundle town buildings, it is also a history of their residents. ‘It’s not just about the buildings, but is also about the people who lived in the town,‘ he said.

Mr Parker’s attention to detail is demonstrated by the breadth of his research and his documentation. The more than 800 end notes are proof of the research that he has incorporated into his book.

And for those who are not familiar with the vocabulary of architecture, there is a glossary of its terminology. ‘I hope as people start reading the book they will start to notice these details around the town.’

Both a guidebook and a history book, Oundle’s Historic Buildings is an essential addition to the bookshelf of anyone who lives in Oundle, not only enthusiasts of history and architecture.

A book launch and signing will be held on Saturday 9 December, 10am to 12pm at the Queen Victoria Hall on West Street. The book is published by the Oundle Museum.

Elinor Nikolova
December 2017