Infobox UK place
country = England
official_name= Brackley
latitude= 52.032
longitude= -1.147
population = 13,331 (2001 Census)
shire_district= South Northamptonshire
shire_county= Northamptonshire
region= East Midlands
constituency_westminster= Daventry
post_town= BRACKLEY
postcode_district = NN13
postcode_area= NN
dial_code= 01280
os_grid_reference= SP5837

Brackley is a town in south Northamptonshire, England. In the 2001 census Brackley had a population of 13,331. Historically a market town based on the wool and lace trade, it was built on the intersecting trade routes from London to Birmingham (and the general north of England) and Cambridge to Oxford.

Notable villages nearby include Syresham, Biddlesden, and Sulgrave.


Brackley, originally also known as Brachelai or Brackele, was owned in 1086 by Earl Alberic. After this it passed to the Earl of Leicester, and to the families of De Quinci and Roland. [ Online 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica entry for Brackley] ]

The market day previously on a Sunday, was changed in 1218 to Wednesday.

In 1597 the town was incorporated by King James II. It had a mayor, 6 aldermen and 26 burgesses.

Over time it has been known as a wool and lace-making area.

In 1901 the population of the town was 2,467.

The Brackley Poor Law Union

Prior to 1834, the poor house in use by the area was in nearby Culworth, but in that year, the Brackley Poor Law Union came into effect. [ [ Brackley Poor Law Union and Workhouse 1835 onwards] ] A workhouse was built in 1836 to the south-west of the town, on the Banbury Road. It was built to accommodate 250. This workhouse was demolished in the 1930s.

Rumoured underground access

It has been a long-spun tale amongst Brackley's residents (but more precisely its students) that the town developed an underground passageway that connected the eastern and western ends. The most notable present day sites rumoured to be on its route include the excavated cavern on Manor Road (now an underground car park serving apartments above a supermarket) and St. Peter's Church in Old Town. Despite the appeal of the story, no proof of this secret tunnel exists.


Brackley is governed by the Brackley Town Council [ [] ] .


Brackley is close to the A43 road, which now bypasses the town, linking it to Towcester and Northampton to the east and the M40 motorway to the west. The A422 links it to Banbury.

The nearest railway station to Brackley is at Kings Sutton, about six miles (10 km) away. Brackley once had two railway stations of its own, but both have since closed. The first, known in its latter years as Brackley Town, opened in May 1850 on a LNWR branch line from Verney Junction on the Oxford-Bletchley-Bedford-Cambridge line to Banbury via Buckingham. The second was Brackley Central on the Great Central Railway, the last main line to be constructed from the north of England to London which opened in March 1899. The line through Brackley Town closed in January 1961, while the Great Central was axed by Beeching in September 1966. A very prominent feature of the latter was Brackley Viaduct which spanned the Ouse Valley just south east of the town. convert|255|yd in length, convert|62|ft|m high and containing 20 brick arches and two girder spans, it was demolished in sections in early 1978. It is possible the viaduct may be rebuilt as passenger numbers increase in the future and the tracks laid once again in the old cuttings of the Great Central Railway. The present A43 road runs across its site. Recent proposals were made to reconstruct one of these lines, but these were voted against by a vocal minority of the town's residents. A new vote was expected in late 2007 on this issue. [ [ Record of Brackley's disused train station] ]

The town has numerous bus services and is connected to major towns and cities such as Banbury ('499', '500'), Buckingham, Towcester, Oxford and Northampton ('X88', '88'). In 2001 the 'X38' Oxford-Northampton express service became the 'X6' with the introduction of the '88' to serve villages en route to Northampton (such as Towcester, Blisworth and Milton Malsor). In September 2007, Stagecoach'sOxford-Brackley-Towcester-Northampton services were reduced with the merging of the '88' and 'X6'.

Notable buildings

Notable buildings in the town include Magdalen College School, founded by Magdalen College for its pupils to escape the great plague affecting Oxford in the 15th century. St John's chapel stands next to the original college buildings and is still in use today, making it the oldest building in Great Britain in continual use by a school.

There was once a castle at the western end of town, but no visible evidence of it remains. Brackley Castle was to have been where King John and the barons signed Magna Carta, but this eventually occurred at Runnymede.

St Peter's Church at the eastern end of the town boasts an impressive 11th century Norman doorway.

In the centre of town the market is held every Friday morning in the market square. Further up the high street is a large town park owned by the National Trust. The town centre underwent a number of improvements in 2006. The piazza was rebuilt in York stone.

Winchester House School is a private school within the town for children aged from 3-13.


Brackley is close to the Silverstone racing track, and has some industry related to Formula One racing, notably Honda (formerly British American Racing) which is based in the town. On the east outskirts of the town is Bronnley, suppliers of hand-made soaps to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. Their products are bestowed with Royal Honours for Excellence.

Sports and leisure

The local rugby club is the Brackley Rugby Union Football Club [ [] ] , they currently play in Midlands 4 East (South).

The [ Brackley Athletic Football Club] is a junior football club affiliated with the Northamptonshire Football Association. They play in three leagues - the under 7s - 10s are in the Milton Keynes & District Junior Sevens League, the Under 11s - 16s are in the Milton Keynes & Border Counties League and the girls team is in the Oxford Girls Football League.

Brackley Sports FC plays in the North Bucks League Premier Division [ [] ] .

Tennis facilities are available at the [ Brackley Tennis Club] and Martial Arts training at the [ Brackley Freestyle Martial Arts Academy] . The [ Brackley Leisure Centre and Swimming Pool] and the [ Brackley Health Centre] provide other local health-oriented facilities.


In early 2007, residents witnessed a decline in the number of retail outlets in the Market Place, considered to be the hub of the town. More recently, the town's larger Co-op store, situated behind the high street closed in June 2008, and made way for the towns first Waitrose store.

Brackley's expansion possibilities are huge, but the town's potential - with locality to the major cities - is not being met by development or transport. No longer having the convenience of a train service, public transport commuters are forced to rely on buses, local people feel the buses are over priced as a ticket to Banbury and back costs £5.50 for over 15's. Links with Oxford, Northampton and Milton Keynes continue to decline steadily, with a further cut announced by Stagecoach in August 2007.


External links

;Music and dance
* [ The Brackley Morris Men]
* [ Brackley and District Band]
* [ Brackley Music Festival]

;Community and business
* [ Churches, schools and other local information for Brackley]
* [ Brackley Rotary Club]
* [ Brackley and District Round Table 1037]
* [ Brackley Business Information from Northamptonshire Chamber]

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