Market towns

Our market towns such as Oundle echo old England but also entice with contemporary shops, farmers’ markets and restaurants at the very heart of rural life.


Once the heart of the boot and shoe industry, Northampton still boasts many high quality shoe shops, and a wide range of factory shoe outlets remain as testimony to this surviving craft. The Northampton Museum & Art Gallery has long been popular for its' spectacular collection of fine footwear, one of the largest in the world.


Oundle is a historic market town famous for its Georgian streetscapes and impressive limestone buildings. There is much to discover whether you are on the history trail, attending one of the many cultural events or want to enjoying active country pursuits.


Raunds is situated in the heart of East Northamptonshire with easy access to all the major roads and motorways. The town has a strong historic background including St Peter’s Church, which is mostly 14th century, containing a series of 15th century wall paintings discovered during restoration in 1874. There have been archaeological excavations of a Saxon church and a medieval Manor. Raunds still boasts a market every Friday on the town square.


Wellingborough is a market town situated just north of the River Nene, capturing the River Ise through its centre and surrounded by ancient countryside settlements. 

The town centre can trace its origins back to the 6th Century Saxon period when Saxon Chief 'Waendel' made settlement here. The town grew as a significant location throughout England's early history and being granted the Market Charter in 1201 by King John of England elevated Wellingborough as a nationally important town for trade. 

Higham Ferrers

Although the site of a Roman settlement, Higham Ferrers derives its name from the Anglo-Saxon term ‘Hecham’ (Heck - high, on a hill – Ham – important enclosure). The name ‘Ferrers’ was added during the 13th century, when the Lord of the Manor, William De Ferrers, granted the first of many important charters to the town. Over the next two hundred years, Higham Ferrers became a wealthy and important town in the area and this is reflected in some of its fine architecture, not least of which, the magnificent Church of St Mary the Virgin. Today, Higham Ferrers is a thriving market town, with a variety of good quality shops, bars and restaurants to suit all tastes.


The history of Rushden dates back many thousands of years with indications of there being bronze and Iron Age settlements, as well as Roman sites found in the area. St. Mary's Church is a fine example of of architecture in a county noted for its churches.


With its location at the crossroads of two Roman roads and a crossing of the River Nene, Thrapston was granted its market charter by King John in 1205 and a weekly market is still held here on Tuesdays. Built near the site of an ancient castle. the church is one of Thrapston's oldest buildings, dating back to the 13th century. The church has a stone tablet displaying the stars and stripes, the arms of the Washington family. Sir John Washington, who died in the town in 1688, was the great-great-great uncle of George Washington, the first American president.