Walk 29: Raunds town centre…memories of times gone by

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: 2 miles (3.22 km)

Time to walk: This will only take you about 1 hour so it’s worth combining it with another walk such as Higham Ferrers

Difficulty: All on road, with a few hills

Parking: On the road. We parked in Marshall’s Road

Public toilets: Pubs & cafes

Map of the route: 

Taken from the heritage trail leaflet

Taken from the heritage trail leaflet

So what can we tell you about Raunds…

The name Raunds originally comes from the Anglo Saxon ‘rand’ & can be traced back to 980 AD. A small market town with a population around 9000, it lies in the east of the county.

Raunds was  influential in the Northamptonshire boot and shoe industry until its decline in the 1950s and 60s. Several factories remained into the early 1990s, but all are now closed, with many being simply demolished and housing estates built where they once stood.

There’s now no industry in the town, although there are some industrial sites on the outskirts.

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

It was also the home of broadcaster, writer and television personality Sir David Frost who lived there 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 The 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

Today we found the town extremely quiet & the centre pretty run down which is a shame & it’s definitely in need of an injection of life

Anyway…let’s get going!

1. We parked up in Marshall’s Road outside The Woodpecker Bar & Restaurant

Fabulous sign

Fabulous sign

…& from here it’s only a short walk down the hill to the town centre

2. The first building of note that we come to on the right in Marshall’s Road is The Temperance Movement Hall

Lovely windows

Lovely windows

…built in 1859, it was supported from the purchase of £1 shares by the working men who had joined the movement. It’s now a private house so we’re sorry for trespassing…

3. Almost next door is The Roman Catholic Church

The church was built in 1870 & dedicated to Thomas More. It became The Roman Catholic Church in 1967

4. There’s quite a few hostelries in Raunds, the first of which we come across is The World Upside Down

5. At the bottom of the hill we arrive at the T-junction which is the High Street…

…& turn left where we get our first glimpse of Raund’s church magnificent spire

There’s several eateries along here…

Curry...

Curry…

The Mughal Dynasty

Kevin's Fish Bar

Kevin’s Fish Bar

Kevin’s Fish Bar

Even by now we’re starting to think this place is deserted. The fish & chip shop was open, but there were no takers…

6. Keep following the High Street round a few bends & then we need to turn left down North Street

At the bottom ahead is Furnells Farmhouse which is the only remaining thatched house in Raunds. It’s name comes from the nearby property known as Furnells Manor

You could have bought it….for sale

7. Ok…enough wishing so let’s head back up to the High Street & turn left. We’re now heading towards a property known as Providence House

There's some patriotic people around here...

There’s some patriotic people around here…

Providence House

Providence House

Providence House is a Grade II listed property built in the 1400’s & once owned by John Catlin

8. We keep seeing that church spire wherever we turn so it’s about time we went & had a closer look. So let’s head back along the High Street & then take a left up Church Street

At the top of the street we enter the churchyard of St Peter’s Church Raunds

9. Unfortunately the church was locked & it was sad to see so many broken panes in the stain glass windows. It is a splendid building though…

Really lovely churchyard

Really lovely churchyard

It just seems to fit in with our feelings about the rest of Raunds that no-one can be bothered here & the town is dying. Surely it’s not hard to set up a church website for this beautiful building…

Raund’s war memorial is also in the church grounds

10. Anyway let’s move on, exiting the churchyard through the back gate into Berrister Place. On the left here is The Old Vicarage – it no longer serves that purpose

Heading back along we turn into Park Road…

…& follow the road round to the left. The heritage trail leaflet doesn’t mention this but on the left down here is another famous Raunds building now occupied by Wescam Engineering

Another Grade II listed building it was originally occupied by Ernst and Enos Chambers, boot heel manufacturers in Raunds in 1906. This building is marked in the OS maps as a ‘heel factory’ at least until 1970.

This is the best preserved and most interesting structure identified in the Boot and Shoe Industry Survey as a heel factory and is one of a very few examples of purpose-built factories with specialised uses

11. At this junction we turn right into Manor Street & head down the hill

Ever thought you're being watched...

Ever thought you’re being watched…

On the right is Gage’s Manor House…

The original manor house dates back to the 12th century. It’s known that it was owned in 1242 by Henry de Raunds. Around 1473 it passed into the hands of the Gage family who were major landowners in the area

On the other side of the road is another fine building…Raunds Conservative Club

12. At the junction with High Street we need to turn left. Ahead of us is a small green with  a stone monument…

…a closer examination shows that it marks Raund’s twinning with Kamp Bonrehofen in Germany

13. We now need to head back along the High Street to the junction with Marshalls Road…

The George & Dragon's seen better days...

The George & Dragon’s seen better days…

A sign of today's High Street...

A sign of today’s High Street…

…& turn left at the Raunds Fish Bar up Hill Street

14. On the left up here is Hill End House dating from 1610 & associated again with Robert Gage

15. Well that’s about all to see up here so about turn back to the High Street…

She 'don't feel like dancing'…it's closed!

She ‘don’t feel like dancing’…it’s closed!

…where we turn left…

A mix of empty, take-aways, 'Bargain Booze' & generally run down shops

A mix of empty, take-aways, ‘Bargain Booze’ & generally run down shops

16. There are however a few things worth looking at along here. Firstly on the left is The Wesleyan Chapel…

This is the chapel where Sir David Frost’s father was the minister. It dates back to 1874. The entrance is round the back, but unfortunately it too was closed. There is a property out the back with an interesting chimney…

We were also being followed down the road from above…

A Red Kite circling above

A Red Kite circling high above

17. Next on the left we come to a building currently called Cookies Bakers & Confectioners

The properties, built in 1883 & were originally a hotel & coffee shop. You can still get a coffee there today

17. So we carry on past ‘Bargain Booze’ & ‘Curry Express’ looking for more signs of Raund’s culture & before long on the left come to the Millennium gate into the Council premises…

…& then on the left is the plaque to the Raunds Bootmakers March to London…

The boot-makers were responsible for making army boots and wanted to complain about poor rates of pay. The men marched to London and, during a debate, ‘General’ Gribble, interrupted the speaker to announce the presence of the Raunds marchers wanting to speak. He stood up and shouted, “Mr Speaker, is this gentleman trying to talk out time? For I’ve come here with 115 men from Northampton to try to see Mr Arnold Foster” the then Minister for War.”

Gribble was expelled from the House of Commons, but his plea was listened to and as a result a standard rate of pay was accepted and enforced by the War Office

18. On the corner on the left here are the Town Council Offices. This was originally The Saxon Hall which was built around 1870

19. Now let’s turn left up the side of the Offices & head up Thorpe Street. It seems there’s another famous hill up here but it doesn’t quite compare…

We’re looking for a property on the right known as Thorpe House which was built in the early 1600’s & somewhere else the renowned John Gage once lived – he’s been everywhere that man!!

20. Ok let back track down the hill again but we notice a small poster on a fence advertising the Snowdrop Festival at Chelveston Church…we’ll come back to that one at the end of this walk…

Also on the left down here was a brick wall & we heard a scurry so stood quietly & caught who was behind it…

21. After arriving back at the junction we turn left up the hill to arrive at The Globe Inn. The original pub on this site dated back to 1895

22. Right…it’s starting to rain so let’s get back to the car. We head back down to the junction & turn left back up Brook Street & then the High Street. Then we turn left up Marshalls Road to find our car

So that’s our short walk around Raunds done & dusted. This is the first time we’ve been to Raunds in about 20 years & had fond memories of it as a thriving market town with lots of independent shops

Today’s walk was with a heavy heart as it felt the soul of the town had disappeared &, like many others, the once thriving High Street had disappeared

Finally, before we leave this walk we mentioned a sign advertising Chelveston Church Snowdrop Festival. We visited & what a treat we found…

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