Village History

 

 'Hemingford Abbots : Outline of a village story in its national context' by Charles Beresford and Richard Butterfield'.

The 9th edition of this 84-page booklet was updated in 2015 and contains four elements : geological and early human times; local and national events for the last 2000 years; the village in the 2011 census; references and select bibliography.

Available from Hemingford Abbots Church or from Barn Hall, Rideaway, Hemingford Abbots, PE28 9AG, for £9 (£10 by post).

 

There  have been settlements in Hemingford Abbots from earliest times; archaeological  finds of flints and stone tools indicate stone-age peoples, and a Roman  sarcophagus was uncovered close to the A14 – today’s road follows the route of  a Roman military road.

The  name ‘Hemingford’ dates from the 8th century; it means ‘the ford of Hema’s  people’ and describes a settlement around a river crossing. ‘Abbots’ refers to  Ramsey Abbey’s ownership of the manor from 974 A.D until 1539.

By  1250 the village had 96 holdings but numbers declined a century later when the  village suffered the ravages of the Black Death.

After  Ramsey Abbey was dissolved in 1539 the land belonged to various national  figures.  A number of properties or barns  dating back to the 16th and 17th century have survived  including the only remaining pub in the village, The Axe and Compass.

Some Parish Records survive from 1693 but the outstanding relics of the 18th  century are five of the fine bells which were cast and hung in 1754.

Hemingford Abbots grew from 306 in 1801 to 564 in  1841.  It then declined and did not reach  its present size again for over a century.   The main growth in the village was through the 1950’s with 348 in 1951  and 628 in 1961.