In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Downham like this:
DOWNHAM, a parish in Ely district, Cambridge; on the Peterborough and Ely railway, near Chittisham r. station, 2¾ miles N by W of Ely. It has a post office under Ely. Acres, 9, 789. Real property, £18, 075. Pop., 2, 158. Houses, 467. The manor belonged to the see of Ely; and was once the principal residence of the bishops. The palace was last occupied by Bishop Wren; and was suffered to decay during the Commonwealth; but some remains of it exist. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Ely. Value, £1, 108.* Patron, the Bishop of Ely. The church is ancient; of brick and stone. There are chapels for Baptists and Wesleyans. Town-lands produce £158 a year.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Downham has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of East Cambridgeshire. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Downham and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Downham in East Cambridgeshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 31st January 2015
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