New book delves into Oundle memories

oundle memories 1A new local history book, Oundle Memories and Moments: a Peek into the Past by Anna
Fernyhough, offers both a fascinating historical and contemporary treatment of Oundle, full of shared stories about local lives.

Mrs Fernyhough was born in Oundle and went to school here. After university in London and the University of Illinois, she taught abroad in Ethiopia, the US, Spain and then in Northamptonshire.

When she returned to Oundle she and her husband bought a house in 1987 that coincidentally turned out to be the home of her great aunt. Mrs Fernyhough realised that she even had “the monogrammed wedding cutlery that my great aunt had used in the same house.”

She has had many generations of family in Oundle and through her mother’s side of the family she can trace relatives who have lived here over five generations. Her family’s names include Nicholson, Chester, Palmer, Craythorne and Hooton. However, she wistfully told the Oundle Chronicle, “There won’t be any more of my family in Oundle, because my sons have moved away.”
But while her sons have moved away, her sister was born at their home on North Street and her nieces are still local.

She still feels well connected to Oundle due to the many old families who still live here, including long-time resident David Wills who was featured in the December 2017 edition of the Oundle Chronicle. These two families have very strong connections.

Mrs Fernyhough said: “David Wills’ wife, Sheila and her sister Margaret, were my mother’s

For her research, Mrs Fernyhouh interviewed many of the older residents and individuals about the war years and their school days. Some of the individuals she interviewed attended clubs and societies, where she would meet them to be interviewed in groups. She met others in their retirement homes and their personal retreats.

Local historians are very supportive of each other’s work and Mrs Fernyhough is grateful to them. “I was helped and aided by the encouragement and support of friends, particularly Margaret Brewster (who has her own book: A Collection of Oundle Families that was published in 2016) and Sharon Cottingham, who has outstanding organisational skills and knows how I frequently get side-tracked!”

Her book largely concentrates on the town of Oundle where her maternal family lived for many centuries. The aim was to make the collected history and stories of the volume into a celebration of Oundle people. The book is intended to amuse and inform by encapsulating the memories of people who have lived here. For newer residents it provides some answers to questions such as: Who lived in my house? Who were their neighbours?

It tells stories of the churches, societies, tradespeople and homes of the people who lived here. The book also describes some of the quirky town events including visiting fairs, lively dances, pubs and plays, stories about the local vet and his family, and a fully-grown lion called Mushie who walked around the town until the 1960s.

Oundle Memories is available at The Oundle Bookshop. They will be hosting a book signing at on
Saturday 9 June.

Sienna Rushton
May 2018