1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wellingborough

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20704721911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 28 — Wellingborough

WELLINGBOROUGH, a market town in the eastern parliamentary division of Northamptonshire, England, 631/2 m. N. N. W. from London by the Midland railway; served also by the London & North-Western railway. Pop. of urban district (1901), 18,412. It lies on the declivity of a hill near the junction of the Ise with the Nene, in a pleasant well-wooded district. The church of St Luke is a beautiful budding with Norman and Early English portions, but is mainly Decorated, with a western tower and spire. The grammar-schools, founded in 1594 and endowed with the revenues of a suppressed gild, include a school of the second and a school of the third grade, the former a building of red brick in the Renaissance style erected in 18S0, and the latter an old Elizabethan structure. Another educational endowment is Freeman’s school, founded by John Freeman in 1711. There are also several charities. The principal public building is the corn exchange. The town is of some importance as a centre of agricultural trade; but the staple industry is in leather. A great impulse to the prosperity of the town was given by the introduction of the boot and shoe trade, especially the manufacture of uppers. Smelting, brewing and iron-founding are also carried on, as well as the manufacture of portable steam-engines, and iron ore is raised in the vicinity.

In 948 Edred gave the church at Wellingborough to Crowland Abbey, and the grant was confirmed by King Edgar in 966. In the reign of Edward II. the abbot was lord in full. The town received the grant of a market in 1201. It was formerly famed for the chalybeate springs to which it owes its name, and in 1621 was visited by Charles I. and his queen, who resided in tents during a whole season while taking the waters. It was after its almost total destruction by fire in 1738 that the town was built on its present site on the hill.