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Great Oakley to 1870
VCH Volume:Northamptonshire Vol VII
Until the expansion of Corby in the late 20th century Great Oakley was a small agricultural parish with a population of 200 in 1871. The medieval village developed along a tributary of the river Nene called Harper’s Brook, lying 5 miles (8 km) north of Kettering and 2½ miles (4 km) north-west of Geddington. In the Middle Ages Great Oakley was a chapelry of Geddington, and its curates continued to be privately appointed following the church’s acquisition by nearby Pipewell abbey in the 14th century. After the Dissolution patronage of the church belonged to the Brooke family, lords of the manor from 1472. Until the 20th century the Brookes dominated the economic, social, and religious life of the parish, and in 1555 demonstrated their authority by incorporating the church and part of the village into the grounds of their newly built mansion house Oakley Hall.