Raunds

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Raunds (/ˈrɔːndz/) is a small market town in rural Northamptonshire, England. It has a population of 8,275 (2001 census), is a civil parish, and is part of the East Northamptonshire district.

Raunds is situated 21 miles (34 km) north-east of Northampton. The town is on the southern edge of the Nene valley and surrounded by arable farming land.

Raunds is close to Stanwick Lakes; a country park developed from gravel pits and managed by the Rockingham Forest Trust. This park is internationally recognised for its birdlife and can be reached on foot from Raunds along Meadow Lane bridleway.

In the mid-1980s, during sand excavations in the Nene valley, the remains of a Roman villa were discovered. Excavation of the area, near Stanwick, Northamptonshire, was delayed by several years while archaeologists studied the remains. In 2002 Channel 4’s Time Team excavated a garden and found remains of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery.

St Peter’s Church, where building work was started in the 13th Century, has the second tallest spire in Northamptonshire at 202 feet (61.5m). The church stands on the site of a Saxon place of worship. During the 15th century patronage of the church changed from St Mary to St Peter. The church features a rare ‘left-handed fiddler’ decoration above the western entrance. A tombchest dedicated to John Wales, vicar from 1447 to 1496, proves the building has been in use for more than 550 years.

Raunds played a role in the boot and shoe industry until its decline in the 1950s and 60s. In 1905, a dispute arose about wages to be paid to army bootmakers, which culminated in a march to London in May that year.Several factories remained into the early 1990s but all are now closed, with many being demolished and housing estates built. The Coggins boot factory was the last to go, and the site of it is now Coggins Close. There is no industry in the town, but on the outskirts there are some industrial sites.

Raunds once held the record for the highest temperature in Britain at 36.7 °C (98.1 °F) set on 10 August 1911 which stood until 1990.

Raunds was the home of broadcaster, writer and television personality Sir David Frost in his youth, when his father, Paradine Frost, was a minister at the Methodist church. It appears that he was a good cricketer, topping the averages at the cricket club in 1956.

Raunds was visited by the Channel 4 programme ‘Inbetweeners’ on 19 January 2011, in connection with the Comic Relief fund-raising ‘Rude Road Trip’, because of the interesting signs: Titty Ho and Butts Road.

Raunds is adjacent to the A45 and close to the A14. Access to the M1 and A1 is close and the A14 runs into the M6. Consequently the area attracts distribution companies, and there are many warehouses.

There was once a Raunds railway station, on the Midland Railway’s cross-country line from Kettering to Huntingdon, closed in September 1959, and which gave access to St Ives and Cambridge, though Raunds station was inconveniently sited 1½ miles from the town. It was also planned that the Midland’s Wellingborough to Higham Ferrers branch, also closed in 1959, would continue to Raunds, but landowners prevented it.

In what would have been a far more ambitious scheme, the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway (the forerunner of the Great Central), proposed a line from Doncaster to Raunds in an early version of its bid to build a trunk line to the capital. This line never came to fruition, and the company eventually built its London Extension via Nottingham, Leicester, Rugby and Brackley.

Stanwick Lakes are within walking or cycling distance of Raunds, and river ways connect to the Nene Valley river section. By boat, Oundle can be reached in a day. The Nene Valley river section connects to the Middle Level Navigation System, making it possible to reach Cambridge and Peterborough. The nearest marina is Willy Watt’s in Ringstead, Northamptonshire.

There are many small businesses and many people commute to larger centres for work. Raunds is home to a Hotpoint distribution centre, and depots for Robert Wiseman Dairies and Avery Dennison. Raunds Co-operative Society ran a supermarket and department store and had 4,000 members until 2007 when it merged with the larger Midlands Co-operative Society. The shops still operate.

A market is held on Fridays in the square. Regular stalls include butchers, plant stockists and confectioners. Local organisations and clubs can also set up a stall.

Raunds holds an annual music festival over a weekend in early May.Events include: rock, jazz and folk concerts starring nationally and internationally known artists, performances by Raunds Community Choir and Raunds Temperance Band, song and tune sessions, dancing displays, a ceilidh and an annual youth dance competition.

Raunds Music and Drama Society (MADS) holds several stage performances throughout the year.

The town holds a Christmas festival in the square. Continental markets are held annually to celebrate neighbouring countries.

Woodbine Working Mens Club (1901-2005) and the Conservative Club (1920 to date) have offered community and recreational facilities.

Note: this page is partly based on a Wikipedia page. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Where possible, text is being updated to original, fully referenced research. ‘Our photos’ means we took the photographs. The Street View and street map visuals are courtesy of Google.

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