Set in Northamptonshire’s rolling countryside in the Nene Valley, Wellingborough is surrounded by natural beauty and traditional English villages.
The town has 18 Parishes, each with their own unique heritage and well worth visiting. The four largest Parishes are Irchester, Earls Barton, Finedon, and Wollaston with populations of approximately 5000, 4900, 4000 and 3500 respectively. The Borough as a whole has a population of 75,000.
Wellingborough offers excellent road links – the M1, A1, A45 and A14 linking it to the rest of the country.
Wellingborough is on the East Midlands train line from Leeds to London St Pancras, taking 50 minutes to St Pancras and just 4 hours to Paris!
It is within a 60 mile radius of four international airports, as well as Sywell Aerodrome, a private airfield with facilities for executive flights and helicopter links, just 3 miles from the town.
In addition to the variety of excellent LEA schools, Wellingborough also boasts a well-respected independent day school for boys and girls aged 3-18. Wellingborough School was founded in 1595 and is one of the oldest schools in the country. It serves Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and North Buckinghamshire.
Wellingborough was granted its Market Charter in 1201 and upholds the tradition by holding a General Market on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and a Bric-a-Brac Market on Tuesdays.
Car parking is free in the town and there is a range of stores both in its bustling town centre and on the fringes of town, offering exceptional service and individuality. The Swansgate Shopping Centre houses over fifty shops from big name stores to independent retailers.
Major growth is planned for the town with separate developments at Upper Redhill and Stanton Cross to the East of Wellingborough proposing more than 6,000 new homes.
A Brief History
Wellingborough is essentially Anglo-Saxon in origin, occupied by an Anglo-Saxon war band in the early sixth Century, “Wendeling burh” – the stronghold of Waendel’s people. The Waendel Walk commemorates the town’s founder.
In AD 948 King Eadred gave much of Wellingborough to the newly founded monastery of Crowland.
The Domesday Book of 1086 shows that approximately 250 people lived in “Wendleburie” at that time.
After Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries, the land owned by Crowland/Croyland was handed back to the crown and Queen Elizabeth I gave the manor and other parish land to Sir Christopher Hatton and a smaller portion to the Earl of Leicester. The two manors finally came together again when both were bought in the early 19th century by John Vivian.
The town was always noted for its large number of springs or wells, the most famous of which feature on the Borough’s arms, being Red Well, White Well, Stan Well, Burymoor Well and Rising Sun Well; there were frequent visits from Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria and it looked likely to become a Spa town before the Civil War intervened.
Early in the Civil War, the town was plundered for two days as a reprisal for its Royalist stance. Prior to the Battle of Naseby in 1645, the town was full of Parliamentarian troops, probably staying at The Hind.
During the anarchic period after the long and bitter struggle between Crown and Parliament, the “Diggers”, a party of agrarian communists led by Gerrard Winstanley, organised some of the people of Wellingborough to dig, plough and cultivate common land on the outskirts of the town.
At this time the “Wellinborrow” Digger manifesto mentions that 1169 persons in the town (with a population then of little more than 2000) were in extreme poverty. Following this uprising, the elite Parliamentarian soldiers moved in, destroyed the community and forced the inhabitants to disperse.
The enclosure of the common fields was discussed at The Hind in 1765 and then shortly after the main roads were turnpiked and toll gates erected at the four main entrances to the town.
In 1806 The Hind Flyer began between the Hind and London, the journey taking only a day.
Traditional cottage industries began to decline and soon Wellingborough had a reputation for shoe making, this remaining its most important industry until the mid 20th century. The first factory opened in Sheep Street in 1851 and can still be seen, though now converted into shops, opposite the Golden Lion Inn.
With the Industrial Revolution came expansion of the town and since the 2nd World War there has again been dramatic changes in the size and make-up of the population, with an influx of people mainly from London and other cities.
Wellingborough is now very much a multi-cultural town, being the home to a wide number of ethnic minority groups including those of Afro-Caribbean, Asian, Irish, Polish, Italian, Ukrainian, Chinese and Vietnamese descent. This is reflected in some of the more recent buildings – the Hindu Centre and Muslim Mosque.