Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for HUNTINGDON

HUNTINGDON, a town, four parishes, a sub-district, and a district in Huntingdonshire. The town stands on the river Ouse, Ermine street, the Great Northern railway, and the Cambridge and Thrapston railway, 58¾ miles N of London. The Ouse is navigable from it to the sea; and the railways give it communication with all parts of England. A six arched bridge connects it, across the house, with Godmanchester. Either it or Godmanchester occupies the site of the Roman Durolipons. It was known to the Saxons as Huntandene, and at Domesday as Huntedone; and these names are supposed to be forms or corruptions of Hunters down. A castle was built at it, in 917, by Edward the Elder; a mint was in it before the Conquest; and no fewer than fifteen churches were anciently in it or near it. Tosti, a Danish nobleman, probably the brother of Earl Harold, was made Earl of Huntingdon. Earl Harold himself acquired that title after Tosti's death, and raised the force of the surrounding country to the aid of his father, Earl Godwin. Waltheof, the nephew-in-law of William the Conqueror, was made Earl of Huntingdon after the Conquest. And David, the brother of Queen Matilda, afterwards David I. of Scotland, also was made Earl of Huntingdon; and renovated or rebuilt the castle of Edward the Elder. The castle was forfeited by Bruce of Scotland; was given, by Edward I., to the Clintons; was occupied by Charles I. and his court in 1640-1; was surprised by Charles I.'s army in 1645; and has now completely disappeared. The eminence on which it stood is still called Castle hill, and commands a fine view. The town again gave, and continues to give, the title of Earl to the family of Hastings. Henry of Huntingdon, the chronicler, Prior Gregory, a Hebrew scholar, and Oliver Cromwell, the Protector, were natives. The environs are very pleasant; and they include the Earl of Sandwich's noble mansion, which belonged to the Cromwells, and gave entertainment to James I. on his first journey from Scotland. The town comprises one principal street, about two-thirds of a mile long, and several streets branching right and left. The drainage was long so bad as to create much malodour, but has been corrected since 1862. The town hall stands on the S side of the market place; is a good, modern, stuccoed, brick building, with a sort of piazza; and has apartments for the courts below, and an assembly room above. The county jail stands in Great Stukeley parish, ½ a mile to the N; and has capacity for 108 male and 16 female prisoners. All Saints church stands on the N side of the market place; is chiefly later English, of the 16th century; was mainly renovated, partly rebuilt, in 1682; comprises nave, chancel, and aisles, with a tower; presents a picturesque appearance, broken with buttresses, battlements, and pinnacles, and enriched with a good deal of carving and panel work; has new windows of stained glass; and contains some interesting old monuments. St. Mary's church occupies the site of a Black canonry. founded in 973; was rebuilt in 1608-20, and restores in 1862; and comprises nave, chancel, and aisles, with a tower. A church was built in 1845, at the expense of Lady Olivia B. Sparrow; and is a handsome edifice, in the pointed style. Au Independent chapel was built in 1868, at a cost of about £8, 000; and is in the early decorated style and cruciform, with tower and spire. There are chapels also for Quakers, Wesleyans, and Primitive Methodists. The Black canonry, on the ground now occupied by St. Mary's church, was removed, in the time of Henry II., by Eustace de Lovetot, to a site without the town; became the burial place of the Earls of Huntingdon; and was given, at the dissolution, to Richard Cromwell. An Augustinian friary was founded in the town about 1285; but has disappeared. A lepers' hospital, or alms house, dedicated to St. Margaret, was founded by King Malcolm; and was given to Trinity hall, Cambridge. The grammar school, in connexion with an hospital dedicated to St. John, was founded, in the time of Henry II., by David Earl of Huntingdon; has £424 a year from endowment, and two scholarships at Cambridge; and had Oliver Cromwell for a pupil. The green coat school was founded, in 1079, by Lionel Walden; and has £134 a year from endowment. Fishbourne's charity school, for girls, was founded in 1625, and has an endowed income of £200. There is also a national school. The institution, in High street, was built in 1842, at a cost of £2, 000; contains an octagon room, 30 feet in diameter, used for the library and museum of the literary and scientific institution; and contains also a room 68 feet by 27, used for lectures and public meetings. The militia barracks are in St. John's parish; and, at the census of 1861, had 48 inmates. The county hospital is in St. Mary's parish; was built in 1855; and, at the census of 1861, had 31 inmates. Eight alms houses, for widows above 60 years of age, were founded by Lady Olivia B. Sparrow. The workhouse stands within the borough, but not far from the jail; and, at the census of 1861, had 163 inmates. The town has a head post office, ‡ railway stations with telegraph, two banking offices, and two chief inns; and is aseat of assizes, sessions, and county courts, and the place of election for the county. A weekly market is held on Saturday; and fairs are held on the Saturday before Michaelmas day, the Tuesday before Easter, the second Tuesday of May, and the third Saturday of Nov. There are two large breweries, an iron foundry, and works for patented perforated bricks. The town was chartered by King John; is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors; and, together with Godmanchester, sent two members to parliament till 1867, but was then reduced to sending only one. Borough income, in 1855, £541. Real property, in 1860, £16, 165; of which £90 were in gasworks. Electors, in 1868, 408. Pop. in 1851, 3, 882; in 1861, 3, 816. Houses, 741. Pop., inclusive of Godmanchester, in 1861, 6, 254. Houses, 1, 285. The four parishes are All Saints, St. Mary, St. John, and St. Benedict; and they aggregately are conterminate with the municipal borough. Acres of the whole, 1, 230. Real property, in 1860, of A. S., £2, 364; of St. M., £6, 199; of St. J., £5, 381; of St. B., £2, 221. Pop., in 1861, of A., 430; of St. M., 1, 103; of St. J., 1, 462; of St. B., 821. A. S. and St. B. are rectories, and St. M. and St. J. are vicarages, in the diocese of Ely; and the four form two livings, A. S. being united to St. J., and St. B. to St. M. Value of A. S. with St. J., £200; of St. B. with St. M., £162.* Patron of both livings, the Lord Chancellor.—The sub-district contains also the parishes of Godmanchester, Brampton, Hartford, Great Stukeley, Little Stukeley, Abbotts-Ripton, and Kings Ripton, and the lordship of Sapley. Acres, 20, 607. Pop., 9, 368. Houses, 1, 940.—The district comprehends also the subdistrict of Ramsey, containing the parishes of Ramsey, Upwood, Great Raveley, and Little Raveley; the subdistrict of Sawtry, containing the parishes of Sawtry-St. Andrew, Sawtry-All Saints, Sawtry-St. Judith, Steeple Gidding, Coppingford, Upton, Woodwalton, and Conington; and the sub-district of Spaldwick, containing the parishes of Spaldwick, Easton, Ellington, Leighton, Barham, Woolley, Alconbury, Alconbury-Weston, Buckworth, and Hamerton. Acres, 77, 180. Poor rates in 1863, £12, 649. Pop. in 1851, 20, 900; in 1861, 20, 518. Houses, 4, 324. Marriages in 1862, 145; births, 733, -of which 42 were illegitimate; deaths, 412, -of which 172 were at ages under 5 years, and 17 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1, 451; births, 7, 067; deaths, 4, 076. The places of worship, in 1851, were 27 of the Church of England, with 8, 166 sittings; 1 of Independents, with 350 s.; 8 of Baptists, with 2, 135 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 190 s.; 13 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 2, 136 s.; 2 of Primitive Methodists, with 350 s.; 1 of Brethern, with 500 s.; and 4 undefined, with 765 s. The schools were 29 public day schools, with 2, 200 scholars; 51 private day schools, with 861 s.; 44 Sunday schools, with 3, 104 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 10 s.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, four parishes, a sub-district, and a district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Huntingdon CP       Huntingdon SubD       Huntingdon RegD/PLU       Huntingdonshire AncC
Place names: HUNTANDENE     |     HUNTEDONE     |     HUNTINGDON
Place: Huntingdon

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