Wollaston, Northamptonshire

Population 3,491 (2011 census)
OS grid referenceSP915625
    London  69.8 miles (112.3 km) 
Shire countyNorthamptonshire
RegionEast Midlands
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode district NN29
Dialling code 01933
Police Northamptonshire
Fire Northamptonshire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
UK ParliamentWellingborough
List of places

Wollaston is a village and civil parish in the Borough of Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, England. The population (including Strixton) at the 2011 census was 3,491.[1] The name is derived from the Saxon "Wulfaf's Town" - named after a Saxon chief of that name.

Wollaston today

In common with the rest of Northamptonshire, Wollaston is noted for its shoe industry. The Solovair brand of British-made boots and footwear is produced by NPS Shoes Ltd. NPS has been in operation in the village since 1881 and now has a factory shop. Until 2003, the famous Dr. Martens boots were made in Wollaston. In 2007, manufacture of the "Made in England" line of Dr. Martens footwear was resumed in the Cobbs Lane Factory in Wollaston.

Wollaston also has the head office of an international chemical company, founded by the Quaker Ernest Bader (1890–1982), which is now a common ownership factory, the Scott Bader Commonwealth, making advanced resins and composite materials.

Wollaston itself has a population around 3,600 located on a hill around 2 miles from Wellingborough town centre in Northamptonshire. Wollaston has both a primary and a secondary school (Wollaston School), local shops, post office, library and public houses. There are also four churches: Anglican, Baptist, Methodist and a Salvation Army Citadel. The Anglican church was at one time held by the Abbey of Delapré in Northampton.

At the north end of the High Street there is a village museum which displays and curates a record of Wollaston life.


Wollaston was developed as a linear settlement starting at what is now Cobbs Lane moving past Bell End, Rotten Row, St Michaels' Lane and down towards Strixton.


Settlement and activity in the area are known to date from at least Roman times. Remains of a large (35 hectare) Romano British vineyard are known in Wollaston, and are some of the first such sites confirmed in the United Kingdom. A Roman road passes roughly east-west just south of the modern part of Wollaston; another Roman road passes north-south to the east.


There is strong evidence of Saxon settlement and activity, including the discovery of one of the finest Saxon-style iron helmets in a warrior's grave dating from around 700 AD. It is thought that the name Wollaston comes from Wulflaf’s Town, Wulflaf being an early Saxon.


The oldest visible part of Wollaston is known as Beacon Hill, an ancient castle earthwork or burial mound which once belonged to Bury Manor. The mound was once surrounded by a great ditch which dates back to the 12th century. A wall plaque records that this was the site of a Motte & Bailey Norman castle.

In 1260 William de Bray secured a charter from Henry III to hold an annual Michaelmas fair and a weekly market to be held on a Tuesday.

Margery de Wolaston - was elected in 1282 as the Abbess of Delapré Abbey in Northampton; she died circa 1296.

18th Century

In 1788 Wollaston land was enclosed under an act of parliament, at the time David Hennell, a lace dealer from Wollaston wrote "I lament that this field is now agoing to be enclosed. Some that have large quantities of land are set upon it, and pay no regard to the many little ones that may be injured, and I fear many ruined." The enclosure reduced the number of landowners in the village from 108 to just 18.

19th Century

Wollaston's first school opened in 1842 and was located in a building adjacent to the Indian restaurant (formerly The Cuckoo pub), opposite Bell End. The school was private and was run by a curate, the Reverend J.J. Scott, from his own funds. The school did not come under government control until 1873. The school has moved several times, finally being established on College Street in a building dating from May 1894.

During this period significant industry came to Wollaston in the form of shoe- making and farming. In 1885 one of the shoe factories was established as a workers' co-operative of local cobblers, which survived until the 21st century as Northamptonshire Productive Society and remains a shoe factory as NPS (Shoes) Ltd, making shoes under the George Cox, Tredair, Solovair and NPS brands among others. The Wollaston Vulcanising Co-Operative was another local business.

20th century

Shoe-making, and the mechanisation of this work, continued in the early 20th century with a number of nationally-known shoe-making companies establishing themselves in Wollaston and surrounding area.

In 1940 Scott Bader moved manufacturing Wollaston from London; the move became permanent and the company is now an integral part of the local community. The company founders, Ernest Bader and Dora Scott, established the Scott Bader Commonwealth in the 1950s, gifting the whole company to its employees for all time. The company now functions as a co-operative with profits divided between investment in the company, bonus for employees and charitable donations. In the early 70's to late 90's wollaston was also the home to LSM engernering which specialised in making working steam engines but to a much smaller scale.


Wollaston is located between 50 and 80 metres above sea level on hills to the east of the Nene valley. The soil is clay over subsoil and is on the old Wellingborough to London road. Summer Leys Local Nature reserve is nearby.

Notable people



  1. ^ Dr Martens factories close BBC News, 23 March 2003 (accessed 12 January 2011).
  2. ^ Doc Martens Boots Octane magazine, January 2011 (accessed 12 January 2011).
  3. http://www.wollastonhistory.co.uk A pictorial history of Wollaston by Barry J Robinson
  4. ^ Scott Bader Company website (accessed 24 February 2008).
  5. ^ A history of the company (accessed 21 August 2014).
  6. ^ For a full history seeThe Man Who Gave His Company Away: A Biography of Ernest Bader, Founder of the Scott Bader Commonwealth by Susanna Hoe; London, William Heinemann (1978) ISBN 0-434-34023-5.
  7. ^ From http://www.wollastonvillage.org.uk/index.html
  8. ^ From The Wines of Britain and Ireland: A Guide to the Vineyards by Stephen (Secretary, Circle of Wine Writers and Chairman, United Kingdom Vineyards Association) Skelton. ISBN 0-571-20045-1
  9. ^ From Beowulf: An Edition, edited by Bruce Mitchell, Fred C Robinson. ISBN 0-631-17226-2
  10. ^ From http://www.wollastonvillage.org.uk/page6.html
  11. ^ From http://www.wollastonvillage.org.uk/page6.html
  12. ^ From The Lives of the Speakers of the House of Commons, from the Time of King Edward III to Queen Victoria by James Alexander Manning. Published in London 1851
  13. ^ From The Lives of the Speakers of the House of Commons, from the Time of King Edward III to Queen Victoria by James Alexander Manning. Published in London 1851 and http://www.wollastonvillage.org.uk/page6.html
  14. ^ From Commoners: Common Right, Enclosure and Social Change in England, 1700-1820 by J M Neeson. ISBN 0-521-56774-2
  15. ^ From Henry Keep
  16. ^ From Wollaston Blog for information about the latest events in Wollaston http://www.thecommunityblog.co.uk/wollaston/
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Coordinates: 52°15′11″N 0°39′40″W / 52.25308°N 0.66102°W / 52.25308; -0.66102

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