The PRIORY OF ST. MARY, a
house of Austin Canons, is presumed
to have been founded at the beginning of the 12th century by Eustace
de Lovetot. (fn. 1) The priory always seems to have stood
outside the town, the tradition that Henry I empowered the Canons to transfer themselves outside
arising probably from the confusion of the double
dedication of the earlier parish church and the later
priory to St. Mary. (fn. 2) All traces of the conventual
buildings had disappeared at the beginning of the
19th century, but its site has been established in the
east of the borough where the cemetery now is. (fn. 3)
The Earls of Huntingdon were great benefactors
to St. Mary's. Earl David was buried in the precincts
and his tomb still existed in the 16th century. (fn. 4) The
patronage was vested in tenants of the honour, and
during voidance the patron had the right to keep a
porter at the gate, receiving his maintenance from the
priory. (fn. 5)
The canons had a soke within the borough confirmed to them by charter of Henry I and subsequent
charters. It was quit of all gelds within the borough.
They had also a song school, (fn. 6) mentioned in a charter
of Robert, Bishop of Lincoln (1094–1123), the history
of which has already been given. (fn. 7)
The pre-Reformation history of St. Mary's Priory
and the part it played in the life of the borough has
been traced elsewhere. At the Dissolution the lands
in Huntingdon owned by the priory were dispersed
among various persons. Anthony Mallory acquired
some in 1539; (fn. 8) Thomas Hall received a royal grant
in 1540 of lands in St. Mary and St. Benedict
parishes; (fn. 9) George and Thomas Whitmore received
others in 1611. (fn. 10) The site of the priory itself was
granted to Richard Cromwell in 1542, (fn. 11) and the
buildings were shortly dismantled, (fn. 12) two tons of
stone from the priory going to form part of the
fabric of Godmanchester church tower early in the
next century. (fn. 13)
The property apparently passed to the Montagus
from Sir Oliver Cromwell in 1627 (fn. 14) and has followed
the descent of Hinchingbrooke (q.v.). (fn. 15)
In the 12th century there was situated in the north
of the town and outside the borough boundary a
leper hospital dedicated to ST. MARGARET. It
owed part of its endowment to King Malcolm of
Scotland (1141–65), who granted the hospital
16s. 2d. of the firma burgi; and 40s. of the soke of
'Baldewyneshowa. (fn. 16) The patronage of the hospital
belonged to the Earls of Huntingdon and their
successors, eventually coming to the crown. (fn. 17)
From a suit against the master or warden in 1340
it appears that the hospital was of the foundation of
the king, who could give the mastership at his pleasure
for term of life or years subject to the visitation of
the chancellor for the time being. It was founded
only for sick persons and lepers, who came and
departed at their pleasure, so that there was no
college of brethren and sisters.
John de Bassyngbourne, who
was master in the time of
Edward II, sold divers corrodies in the hospital to men
and women, where they abode.
These people were expelled
by his successor, who seems
to have held the hospital for
his own benefit. (fn. 18)
Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Sable a crescent within a border ermine.
In 1461 Henry VI made a
grant of the hospital to Trinity
Hall, Cambridge. (fn. 19) The site
is now marked by the 'Spitals'
in the north of the town,
and in the first half of the 19th century the property,
stated to be still in the possession of Trinity Hall,
consisted of two tenements with small gardens, usually
occupied rent free by poor widows or families. (fn. 20)
Since the 16th century the Spitals lands appear, however, to have been borough property. (fn. 21)
There was a leper hospital dedicated to ST.
GILES in the 13th century, which was apparently
still in existence in 1501. (fn. 22)
The hospital of ST. JOHN belonged to the commonalty of Huntingdon, and so escaped destruction
at the Reformation, when it was converted into a
free school. Part of its endowment was used for
the maintenance of almshouses, (fn. 23) called the 'Bede
House,' for the entertainment of poor travellers and
for the comfort and relief of the poor and sick
persons. (fn. 24) It is now represented by the Almshouses.
Many religious houses had properties within Huntingdon. Of these the most important was Ramsey
Abbey, whose soke in Huntingdon included in Edward
the Confessor's time ten burgesses with all customary
dues in one ward of the borough and twenty-two
burgesses in the other. The sheriff Eustace had
taken part of this property by force, and at the
Survey it was in the king's hands. (fn. 25) The soke was,
however, confirmed to them with other liberties in
1129, (fn. 26) and the abbey continued to hold the property
with various additions down to the Dissolution. (fn. 27)
In 1291 the lands were taxed at £1 (fn. 28) and at the Dissolution the temporalities were 51s. 8d. (fn. 29) The lands
appear to have extended into the parishes of St.
Andrew, St. Edmund, and St. John.
Sawtre had a small property in Huntingdon from
the 13th century. (fn. 30) It was granted in 1537 to
Richard Williams, alias Cromwell, (fn. 31) who sold it to
John Keache. (fn. 32) In 1579 John, grandson of John
Keache, sold it back to the Cromwell family, in whose
Huntingdon property it became absorbed. (fn. 33)
The Church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel (30½ ft. by 16½ ft.),
modern organ chamber and vestry,
nave (50 ft. by 19¾ ft.), north aisle (36 ft. by 11¾ ft.),
south aisle (51 ft. by 12½ ft.), tower at north-west
corner (10¾ ft. by 9¾ ft.), and south porch. The
walls are mostly of rubble with stone dressings, but
the eastern end of the south aisle is of ashlar and the
tower is largely of red brick; the roofs are of lead.
The earliest work now remaining is the south arch
of the tower which was evidently the western arch
of an early 13th-century arcade. The tower was
built at the end of the 14th century, and during the
following century a general rebuilding of the church
took place, beginning with the south aisle and south
porch, then the nave arcades and the north aisle and
finally (c. 1500) the chancel. (fn. 34) The tower has been
partly rebuilt with brick and large buttresses built
against it, possibly in the 17th century. The chancel,
nave and north aisle were restored and the organ
chamber and vestry built in 1859, and the eastern
end of the south aisle was rebuilt in 1861.
The chancel, c. 1500, has a four-light east window;
the north wall has a large modern arch to the organ
chamber and a small doorway to the vestry; and the
south wall has three three-light windows and a plain
piscina. The windows have depressed four-centred
arches with crocketed labels; below the middle
window on the south are traces of a former doorway.
The sepulchre light which existed in the church in
1528 was probably in the chancel. (fn. 35)
The arch is contemporary
with the nave arcade, but
the lower order is of smaller
stones and may be earlier
material reused. The
screen was put up in 1898.
The roof is of low pitch
with moulded beams and
carved figures at the feet
of the jack-legs, but much
The buttresses are
finished with crocketed
gables, and the embattled
parapet has a string-course
ornamented with bosses,
amongst which are a
crescent, (fn. 36) portcullis,
Stafford knot, and (above
the east window) a shield
with the name R. Nowel. (fn. 37)
The 15th-century nave
has an arcade of four bays
on each side. The western
bay on the north is of
the 13th century, resting
on a low circular column and a chamfered west
respond having a foliated corbel carrying a small
shaft with foliated capital. The remaining bays
have depressed four-centred arches resting on
columns formed of four shafts and four hollows
with moulded capitals and bases. On the sides
next the nave the arches have moulded labels which
turn up at the apex and run into the string-course
above. The clearstory has three-light windows, three
on the north and four on the south. There is a large
modern five-light west window, the glass of which
was presented by Richard Ashton in memory of his
parents. The roof is modern, although some of the
carved figures on the jack-legs may be ancient, but
three of the original figures are now preserved in the
vestry, and two others are at the Archdeaconry
The 15th-century north aisle has a modern arch
to the organ chamber at the east end. In the north
wall are three three-light windows having segmental-pointed heads with crocketed labels. The buttresses
are finished with crocketed gablets. The roof is
modern. At the east end was the image and apparently the altar of the Blessed Virgin. (fn. 38) The 15th-century south aisle has a much-restored four-light
east window in a two-centred arch; the mullions
are carried down and form traceried panels, of which
the two in the centre are abbreviated where the altar
came and have four blank shields supported by angels.
In the south wall are three much-restored three-lights
with similar panelling below them, and a contemporary door. There is a modern canopied niche and
figure in the south-east angle. (fn. 39) In the west wall
is a four-light window in a four-centred arch. The
buttresses have large niches with crocketed heads,
and are finished with crocketed pinnacles rising above
the embattled parapet. The roof is modern.
HUNTINGDON The PARISH CHURCH of ALL SAINTS
Reproduced by permission of the Controller of H.M. Stationery Office from the Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, Hunts.
The late 14th-century tower stands partly on the
western bay of the 13th-century nave arcade, and has
a late 14th-century arch to the north aisle. Its walls
are chiefly of rubble with stone dressings, but much
patched with brick; the belfry, however, has been
rebuilt with brick, the old stone dressings, the 14th-century two-light windows, a belt of ashlar at the
top and the embattled parapet with crocketed pinnacles, being reused. The string-course below the
parapet appears to be largely of 13th-century material.
On the outside of the east wall, above the aisle roof,
is a stone carved with a cross within a circle, possibly
a consecration cross, and another stone with 12th-century cheveron ornament.
The 15th-century south porch has a two-centred
outer archway, two-light windows under wall arches
in the side walls, and embattled parapets with a small
niche in the gable. There is a small stoup in the
The font has a 13th-century octagonal bowl
panelled with a circular arch on each face; it has been
considerably reduced in height, mutilating the arches. (fn. 40)
The stem is modern.
There are six bells inscribed: 1. 'Glory be to
God on high and in earth Peace. Mears & Stainbank,
1904.' 2. 'We praise Thee. Mears & Stainbank,
1904.' 3. 'Newcombe of Leicester made mee 1606.
We bless Thee. Recast by Mears & Stainbank,
1904.' 4. 'Newcombe of Leicester made mee 1606.
We worship Thee. Recast by Mears & Stainbank,
1904.' 5. 'Newcombe of Leicester made mee 1606.
We glorify Thee. Recast by Mears & Stainbank,
1904.' 6. 'God save the King. S. Hampshire.
Tobias Norris cast me 1646. (fn. 41) We give thanks to
Thee for Thy Great Glory. Hedley Vicars, Rector,
Charles Berkeley Margetts, Robert Allen Scate,
Churchwardens of All Saints. George Thackray,
Thomas Scate, Churchwardens of St. John Baptist.
Recast by Mears & Stainbank, 1904.'
Until 1903–4 there had been but four bells, represented by the four heaviest of the present six, upon
which the old inscriptions have been reproduced.
There are monuments in the north aisle to Walter
Coote, d. 1890; Sydney Estelle Jones, d. 1903;
War Memorial, 1914–1919; in the south aisle, to
Aliey (Greene) wife of Christopher Weaver, d. 1636;
the Ven. F. G. Vesey (formerly rector), Archdeacon
of Huntingdon, d. 1915, and Annie his wife, d. 1914;
South African War Memorial; in the tower, to Sir
Lionel Walden, Kt., Elizabeth (Balaam), his wife,
and Mary her sister, erected by Catherine Harding,
widow of Fisher Harding, master-builder to Queen
Anne, 1749; Gervase Fullwood, d. 1672, Mary
(Brabine) his wife, and others of his family, erected
1756; Sarah, wife of the Rev. John Mills, d. 1818;
and windows: in the chancel, to David Veasey,
erected 1872; to the mother of Jane Chapman Vesey,
d. 1876; in nave to Arthur Ashton and Caroline,
his wife, and Richard their son, d. 1899; in south
aisle, to William Jones Mellor, d. 1873.
At the west end of the nave are two standards
captured from the Sikhs by the 31st (Huntingdonshire)
Regiment in 1845–6, and placed here in 1867.
The registers are as follows: (i) All Saints'
Parish, baptisms, marriages and burials, 18 June 1558
to 28 Sept. 1681; (ii) St. John's Parish, 22 Oct. 1585
to 18 March 1681–2; (iii) All Saints' and St. John's,
10 April 1678 to 25 Sept. 1783 (marriages ending
24 March 1754); (iv) All Saints' and St. John's,
baptisms and burials, 5 Oct. 1783 to 30 Dec. 1812;
(v) All Saints' and St. John's, the official marriage
book, 27 Oct. 1754 to 16 Sept. 1783; (vi) the same,
12 Oct. 1783 to 30 Dec. 1800; (vii) the same, 13
March 1801 to 15 Oct. 1812.
The church plate consists of: A silver gilt
chalice, Flemish, circa 1750, inscribed:—'✠ To the
Glory of God ✠ In loving Memory of their Parents
Charles Berkeley and Frances Dorothea Margetts.
This chalice is given by Frances Burroughes Margetts,
Constance Emily Bevan and Agnes Penrose Vernon.
Easter 1920'; a silver chalice inscribed 'For the
use of All Saints Church, Huntingdon, a thank offering
Christmas 1893,' and hall-marked for 1892–3; a
silver paten similarly inscribed, hall-marked for
1893–4; a silver gilt and jewelled chalice with
ornamental inscription '✠ Calicem salutaris accipiam
et nomen Dei invocabo,' inscribed 'In honour of
our Lord Jesus Christ and for the service of the Altar
in the Church of All Saints Huntingdon, this chalice
and paten were dedicated by Arthur Crean, Assistant
Priest, 1891–1899,' hall-marked for 1900–1; a
silver gilt paten, inscribed 'All Saints Church,
Huntingdon,' and hall-marked for 1900–1.
The Church of ST. MARY consists of a chancel
(32¾ ft. by 19¾ ft.), modern organ chamber and vestry
on the north, nave (59 ft. by 24 ft.), north aisle
(11½ ft. wide at east and 8½ ft. at west), south aisle
(8½ ft. wide), west tower (18 ft. by 17¾ ft.), and south
porch. The walls of the north aisle and west tower
are of ashlar, and of the rest of the church, rubble
with stone dressings; the roofs are of lead and tiles.
There are small remains of 12th-century buttresses
at the north-east, north-west and south-west corners
of the south aisle; the chancel, the nave arcades and
the south aisle were rebuilt in the 13th century; the
west tower and south porch were built circa 1385;
and the clearstory added about 1500. In 1607 the
north-east corner of the tower fell down, destroying
the north arcade and north aisle, all which parts were
rebuilt between the years 1608–1620. (fn. 42) The organ
chamber and vestry were built in 1869, when the
church was generally restored; a further restoration
took place in 1876, and small repairs were done in
The 13th-century chancel was probably about
18 ft. longer than at present, the east wall being
modern and the window a group of three lancets.
The north wall has a blocked 16th-century doorway,
an original lancet window and a modern arch to the
organ chamber and doorway to the vestry. The
south wall has an original priests' doorway standing
close to the present east wall, and having jamb shafts
with water-leaf caps and a label carved with dog-tooth
ornament; a modern priests' doorway just west of
it, and two late 15th-century three-light windows with
13th-century inner-jambs reset. The 13th-century
chancel arch is of two orders and rests on early 17th-century moulded corbels; northward of it, on the
west face, is a sunk panel inscribed 'R. Cromwel.
I. Tvrpin. Bailiefs, 1609.' Higher up is a blocked
opening to the rood loft. A 13th-century lancet is
reset in the north wall of the vestry and a late 13th-century two-light in the wall of the organ chamber,
both probably from the north wall of the chancel.
Outside, at the south-west corner, is a 13th-century
mask corbel, perhaps part of the string-course of the
The 13th-century nave has a north arcade of four
bays with a narrow modern arch to the east of it;
the arches have two chamfered orders and rest on two
octagonal and two circular columns, all with moulded
caps and bases, the eastern pier being modern. On
the second column is cut 'Robert Law Vicar 1608'
and there are several other names in various places.
This arcade was rebuilt with the old materials after
the fall of the tower. The 13th-century south arcade
is also of four bays with a narrow and later bay eastward of it; the arches are of two moulded orders and
rest on varied columns—the eastern is octagonal
(1698), the second is composed of four keel-shaped
shafts with four smaller shafts in the angles, the third
is circular and the fourth octagonal, and all have
moulded caps and bases. The western respond has a
foliated corbel carrying three short shafts with carved
caps. Over the first column is a sunk panel inscribed
'John Bardolph, Job Bradshaw, Churchwardens
1698.' The late 15th-century clearstory has four
three-light windows on the north, and three threelights and two two-lights on the south.
Huntingdon: Plan of St. Mary's Church
The north aisle, rebuilt after the fall of the tower,
has a modern arch into the organ chamber on the east
and three late 15th-century three-light windows
and a blocked doorway in the north wall. Above the
doorway, outside, is a sunk panel inscribed 'NOVAE.
STRVCTVRAE. ROBERTUS. LAW. VICARIVS. NONO. DIE.
MARTII. FVNDAMENTA. LOCAVIT ANNO 1608,'—and on
the parapet above 'PERFECIT 1620.' The eastern part
of this aisle is widened out, perhaps representing a
former chapel. (fn. 43)
The 13th-century south aisle has a much-restored
15th-century three-light window on each inner jamb
of which is a moulded octagonal bracket supported by
an angel. In the south wall are four modern three-lights, a doorway of circa 1385, and a small 15th-century piscina. In the west wall is a blocked
an angel. In the south wall are four modern three-lights, a doorway of circa 1385, and a small 15th-century piscina. In the west wall is a blocked
15th-century window. At the south-west corner
is a low 12th-century buttress, and portions of
others remain at the north-east and south-east
The west tower, circa 1385, has a modern tower
arch. The west wall has a doorway with a pointed
arch under a crocketed ogee label in the outer
spandrels of which are quatrefoils in circles, the whole
being flanked by two crocketed niches. Above it is
a three-light window with modern tracery. Just
below the belfry stage is a band of quatrefoils. The
north wall was divided by two pilaster-strips surmounted by pinnacles into a central and two half
bays with crocketed gables, but this was partly
destroyed by the fall of the tower. The belfry has
two coupled two-light windows in each face except
the east, where a rather smaller window has been
blocked by the modern facing of the wall. The corners
of the tower are supported by well-designed buttresses,
gabled and panelled and rising up above the parapet
as large crocketed pinnacles. (fn. 44) The parapets are
embattled and ornamented with a band of quatrefoils
and undulating ornament, much of which is missing,
and some of it is reset on the inner side of the parapets.
The stair turret is in the north-west angle. There are
several inscriptions on the walls, viz.: over the north
belfry window, '1613'; on north parapet 'R. H.';
on west face of south-west buttress, 'W.I.—T.D.—
Churchwardens, 1672'; on the west face of northwest buttress a 14th-century figure of a bell with
curious round canons.
The south porch, circa 1385, has an outer archway
of two moulded orders on shafted jambs. The side
walls have each a two-light window. The exterior
angles are finished with a roll moulding and there are
remains of destroyed niches above.
The 13th-century font has an octagonal fossil
marble bowl on a central and eight circular shafts with
moulded caps and bases.
There are eight bells, inscribed: 1. 'J Taylor &
Co., Founders, Loughborough, 1876' and on the
waist, 'The two smallest bells in this peal:—Gloria
in altissimis Deo: were presented by Matthew
Edis Maile, churchwarden, 1876.' 2. 'John Taylor
& Co., Founders, Loughborough, 1876' and on the
waist 'In terra pax hominibus.' 3. 'John Taylor
& Co., Founders, Loughborough, 1876' and on the
waist 'Venite exultemus Domino.' 4. 'John Taylor
& Co., Founders, Loughborough, 1876' and on the
waist 'Laudate Dominum in Sancto ejus.' 5. 'J.
Taylor & Co., Founders, Loughborough, 1876' and
on the waist 'Sancta Katerina ora pro nobis. Circa
1510.' 6. 'J. Taylor & Co., Founders, Loughborough,
1876' and on the waist 'Vox Augustini sonet in aure
Dei. Circa 1510.' 7. 'John Taylor & Co., Founders,
Loughborough, 1876' and on the waist 'Labor ipse
voluptas utile dulci. 1737.' 8. 'John Taylor & Co.,
Founders, Loughborough, 1876' and on the waist
'Sit nomen Domini benedictum. Circa 1510. The
six largest bells were given by Matthew Edis Maile,
churchwarden, 1876, in the place of a former smaller
In 1607 there were four great bells and one small
bell. (fn. 45) The tenor (now the 7th bell) was cast by
Joseph Eayre, of St. Neots, 1737, and another was
inscribed 'Thomas Norris cast mee 1659'; (fn. 46) in
1833 Sir John Arundel gave an additional bell, (fn. 47)
making the six which existed prior to 1876. Owen (fn. 48)
points out that the date 1510 is obviously wrong, being
much too late.
There are monuments: in the chancel, to Mary
Elizabeth wife of Rear-Admiral Robert Montagu, d.
1805; to the Officers and Men of the 31st (Hunts.)
Regiment who fell at Sebastopol, 1857; the Revd.
Miles Atkinson, Vicar, d. 1894; in the north aisle,
to George Maule, d. 1812; the Revd. Alfred Veasey,
B.D., d. 1834; James Morton, M.D., d. 1840; in
the south aisle, to Sir John Arundel, Kt., d. 1837;
the Revd. John Fell, d. 1869; South African War
Memorial; on the floor, part of the matrix of a brass
with indents of two symbols; in the tower, to Sir
Nicholas Pedley, Kt., d. 1685; Thomas Sayer,
surgeon, d. 1697, and Elizabeth his wife, d. 1726;
John Lovesey, d. 1707; Elizabeth, wife of George
Sayer, d. 1729; John Raby, d. 1731–2; Elizabeth
(daughter of William Lysons) widow of John Francis
de Carcassonnette, and formerly wife of the Hon.
Remigius Birmingham (second son of Francis Lord
Athunry), d. 1749, and Sir Edmund Gardner, Kt., and
Elizabeth his wife, and Thomas Lysons (uncle of
Elizabeth de Carcassonnette); George Sayer, surgeon,
d. 1752; the Revd. Robert Hodson, M.A., Vicar,
d. 1803, and Mary his wife, d. 1800; War Memorial;
also windows in the chancel, to the father and mother
of Archdeacon Vesey; John William, 7th Earl of
Sandwich, d. 1884, Mary his wife, d. 1859, and Sydney
Montagu, d. 1860; in north aisle, to Edmund
Howson, d. 1895; in south aisle, to Edmund Maile,
d. 1829 and Mary his wife, d. 1837; Mary Isabella,
wife of J. E. Horsfall, d. 1881; Frederick James
Howson and Isabella his wife, both d. 1897; Jane
Chapman Vesey, d. 1906.
On the south wall of the chancel is a tablet stating
that two standards captured from the Sikhs by the
31st (Hunts.) Regiment in 1845–6, formerly in the
church, had been made over to the East Surrey
Regiment in 1905.
In the churchyard are two ancient stone coffins.
The registers are as follows: (i) St. Mary's
Parish, baptisms, marriages and burials, 1593–1623;
(ii) 1624–1636; (iii) St. Benedict's Parish, 1574–
1603; (iv) 1603–1691; (v) St. Mary's and St.
Benedict's Parish, 1692–1714; (vi) 1715 to 1761,
marriages ending 1754; (vii) baptisms and burials,
1762–1783; (viii) 1783–1807; (xi) 1807–1812; (via)
the official marriage book, 1754–1783; (ix) 1783–
1801; (x) 1801–1812.
The church plate consists of: A silver cup with
Elizabethan ornament, and hall-marked for 1569–70;
a silver cover paten engraved with the letters P S M,
and hall-marked for 1624–5; a silver cup (early
17th century) inscribed Sant + Benet + Pereshe +, but
without hall-mark; a silver cover paten belonging
to the same, engraved with the letters S * B. also
unmarked; three silver plates, engraved with a coat
of arms, and hall-marked for 1684; a silver flagon
engraved with the arms of George Sayer, an inscription in Greek, and 'Ex dono Georgii et Elizabethae
Sayer Uxoris Ejus, 1726' and, on the bottom, 'Mr
Charles Darlowe, Mr. John James, Churchwardens'
hall-marked for 1726; a box inscribed 'To the
Glory of God and in loving memory of Richard
Edward Woolley, April 1917' hall-marked for 1902.
Among the numerous Huntingdon
churches that of ST. MARY has
the most ancient history and is
regarded as the borough church. According to a
claim appended to the Domesday Survey it had
belonged to Thorney Abbey and in Edward the
Confessor's time was pledged to the burgesses by
one of the abbots. King Edward, disregarding the
claims of both abbey and burgesses, gave the church
to his priests Vitalis and Bernard, who sold it to the
King's Chamberlain, he in turn selling it to two
un-named priests of Huntingdon. By 1086 it had
passed to the Sheriff Eustace, who granted it to St.
Mary's Priory, Huntingdon. (fn. 49) A vicarage had been
ordained before 1218 when the vicar had the corrody
of a canon. (fn. 50) 'The Priory' retained the advowson
till the Dissolution when it became crown property
and has so remained. (fn. 51)
In 1291 the living was taxed at £4 13s. 4d. and in
1428 at 8 marks. (fn. 52) At this date the church was said
to be impoverished and destroyed by fire. (fn. 53) The value
of the tithes at the Dissolution was 118s. 4d. (fn. 54)
The presentations to ALL SAINTS or ALL
HALLOWS were made alternately by the prior of
Huntingdon and the abbot of Thorney. (fn. 55) It was
assessed in 1428 at 110s. and at the Reformation the
rectory was worth £7 16s. 1d. (fn. 56) At the latter date
Thorney and Huntingdon both had pensions of 10s.
each in the living. (fn. 57) It then became crown property,
and has so remained. In 1637 the lead and material
parts of the church were said to have fallen into great
decay, the steeple was almost ready to fall and a new
communion table and rail were needed. (fn. 58)
These two parishes, which are the sole surviving
ecclesiastical parishes in Huntingdon, were united to
form one civil parish in 1911.
The church of ST. BENEDICT stood on the north
side of the Queen's Head Inn (44, High Street); a part
of the churchyard remains, the rest having been built
over. The church was granted in the time of Henry I
to Huntingdon Priory by Rodbriht the deacon of
Huntingdon and is one of the four mentioned in the
Papal confirmation of 1147 to the Priory. (fn. 59) In 1428
it was taxed at 74s. 4d. and at the Dissolution the
rectory was worth 101s. 10d. (fn. 60) In the 16th century
the church had four bells in the steeple. (fn. 61) The
fabric is said to have suffered much in the Civil War,
but the tower remained standing 'very ruinous and
useless' till 1802. (fn. 62) A plan to unite the parish with that
of St. Mary was set on foot in 1656 and in 1667 was
finally approved by royal warrant. (fn. 63) There are frequent bequests for the repair of the church in wills
of the late 15th and early 16th centuries. There was
a light of St. Anne in the church and associated
with it was the gild of St. Anne. (fn. 64) The tower of the
church stood until 1802 when it was taken down;
some parts of the foundations of the church still
The church of ST. JOHN BAPTIST stood on the
south side of Ferrar House in the High Street. A
part of the churchyard still remains. The advowson,
which also belonged to Huntingdon Priory in 1147,
was a rectory assessed at 66s. in 1428 and £7 16s. 5½d.
at the Dissolution. (fn. 65) The living then became crown
property and a scheme was finally approved for uniting
it with that of All Saints in 1667. (fn. 66) The church
suffered during the Civil War and was pulled down
between 1651 and 1660 by Sylvester Bedell. Eight of
Oliver Cromwell's children were baptised in the
church. (fn. 67) From bequests in wills it appears that the
church had a chancel, nave and two aisles one of which
was called the 'chauntry ylde.' We have mention
of lights of the Holy Sepulchre, St. Etheldreda and
St. John and of the images of the Blessed Virgin, St.
John and St. Crasius (Pancras ?) and references also
to the painting of the rood loft. (fn. 68)
The church of ST. EDMUND belonged to Huntingdon Priory in 1147. (fn. 69) Presentations were made during
the 13th century, but in 1312 the living had become
so small that it was united to St. Mary's. (fn. 70)
Huntingdon Priory acquired ST. MARTIN'S
church at the same time as St. Benedict (q.v.). (fn. 71) In
1343 the parish was united to St. Mary's and the
priory received permission to do as they thought fit
with the church and churchyard. (fn. 72)
Very little is known of the parish and church of
ST. MICHAEL. The patronage belonged to Huntingdon Priory in 1290, (fn. 73) but later it appears to have
passed to the Prioress of Hinchingbrooke, who in 1416
claimed the 'chapel' of St. Michael, situated in St.
Peter's parish (q.v.). (fn. 74) No mention of incumbents
has been found and the building was in ruins in
1533. (fn. 75)
The church of ST. CLEMENT was certainly in the
south of Huntingdon, for in 1334 its parson claimed
that the chapel on the bridge was in his parish. (fn. 76)
This may be the church which stood on the south
side of Orchard Lane. (fn. 77) It was granted to St.
Neot's Priory by William, son of Berengar. (fn. 78) No
later mention has been found than 1372. (fn. 79)
A church dedicated to the HOLY TRINITY
was also owned by St. Neot's Priory in the 12th
century. (fn. 80) The priory at this date paid an annual
rent of two marks to Huntingdon Priory which was
finally discharged for them in 1220 by Roger de Lovetot. (fn. 81) Mention of the parish is found as late as 1434,
but already in 1364 the church was said to be derelict
for want of parishioners. (fn. 82)
The church of ST. ANDREW stood near the stream
at the north end of the town probably on the site of
Dryden's Walk and land called St. Andrew's Close. (fn. 83)
The Abbot of Ramsey owned the church which previous to 1086 had been seized by Eustace the Sheriff.
In 1086 it was owned by the Bishop of Coutance, but
was still claimed by Ramsey. (fn. 84) The abbot later substantiated his claim and in 1178 received a papal
confirmation of the church. (fn. 85) A bequest was made
to St. Andrew's church in 1483, but after this date,
unlike the other churches then existing, it is not
mentioned in the wills of the 15th and 16th centuries,
so we may presume it was becoming disused. (fn. 86)
Presentations were made as late as 1529, but very
shortly after the church was said to be in a state of
decay. (fn. 87)
Hinchingbrooke Priory held the advowson of ST.
PETER'S church (fn. 88) which stood at the bottom of
St. Peter's Lane. (fn. 89) During the 14th century the
prioress was in the habit of leasing both St. Peter's
church and St. Michael's chapel to the rector of St.
Andrew's church, leading to various suits about
tithes eventually decided in the prioress's favour in
1415. (fn. 90) No names of incumbents have been found
and at the Dissolution it was in ruins. (fn. 91)
Two churches in Huntingdon, dedicated respectively to ST. BOTOLPH and ST. NICHOLAS,
belonged to Huntingdon Priory, but no names of
incumbents have been found (fn. 92) and their positions are
Speed's map marks the site of ST. GEORGE'S
church in George Street east of where the modern
church of St. John stood. No earlier mention has
been found of it.
A parish and church of ST. LAWRENCE undoubtedly existed in the 13th century, (fn. 93) but no presentations to it have been found. Its site is
probably in the garden of Castle Hill House.
There is no pre-Reformation evidence of the existence of ST. GERMAIN'S church in Huntingdon. St.
Germain's Street, not far from the Market Place, is
marked on Speed's map as Germans Lane. (fn. 94) It is
thought that this church was on the north side of
this street where bones and other traces of the
graveyard have been found.
There was a chapel in Huntingdon Castle which
belonged to Huntingdon Priory in the 12th century. (fn. 95)
A chapel, dedicated to ST. THOMAS THE
MARTYR and ST. KATHERINE was apparently
built on the bridge about 1331. The chaplain was supported out of the alms of those coming to the bridge,
and was to celebrate mass daily. (fn. 96) The chapel was
granted to the master of St. John's Hospital in 1337;
The parson of St. Clement, as already stated, claimed
that the chapel was in his parish. (fn. 97) In 1370 the Archdeacon of Huntingdon ordered a collection of alms for
rebuilding the chapel. (fn. 98) There are no traces of its
existence, but it has been suggested that a cross cut
in one of the spaces formed by the buttresses marks its
site. (fn. 99)
In the 18th century there was a Quaker Meeting
House in Huntingdon and also a chapel of the
Countess of Huntingdon's sect. (fn. 100) At the present
day there is a Wesleyan chapel originally built in 1811
and a Union chapel of Baptists and Congregationalists
built in 1826. A Roman Catholic church was built
There was a chantry in St. John's church founded
in 1336 by John Russel to celebrate daily mass for the
souls of himself and his family and of the king. (fn. 101) The
presentation was exercised privately until the close of
the 14th century, when it passed to Huntingdon
Priory who owned the church. The dedication was
to the Blessed Virgin Mary. (fn. 102)
Margaret Holmes, by will proved
at Peterborough 18 Dec. 1895, gave
to the trustees of the Huntingdon
Wesleyan Chapel £90, the interest to be applied towards the cleaning and general care of the chapel.
The endowment now consists of a sum of £80 1s. 9d.
Consols with the Official Trustees producing £2
annually in dividends which are applied by the
trustees of the chapel in accordance with the directions
contained in the will of the donor.
Archdeacon Francis Gerald Vesey, by will proved
4 June 1915, gave to the trustees of the Archdeaconry
Library £200, the interest to be applied towards the
repair or benefit of the library. The endowment of
the charity now consists of £271 0s. 5d. 5 per cent. War
Stock 1929–47 with the Official Trustees producing
£13 11s. yearly in dividends which are applied towards
the upkeep of the library.
The following charities comprise the Municipal
Pension and Almshouse Charities, and are regulated
by schemes of the Charity Commissioners dated
26 September 1899 and 27 September 1907 as
varied by a scheme of the said Commissioners dated
1 August 1916.
John Bardolph, by will dated 25 June 1772,
bequeathed the dividends on £400 South Sea Annuities to the vicar of St. Mary, the mayor and senior
aldermen to be applied in furnishing four new coats
and shoes to four poor men chosen from the parishes
of St. Benedict, St. Mary, All Saints and St. John,
the remainder of the dividends to be laid out in coals
to be distributed to the poor of the parish of St.
Mary. The endowment of the charity now consists
of £544 2s. 10d. Consols with the Official Trustees,
producing £13 12s. 0d. annually in dividends.
Robert Cooke, by will dated 1637, gave to the poor
of Huntingdon a yearly rent charge of £5 issuing out
of land known as the Bridge Close, containing 5 acres
in Godmanchester. The land is now in the occupation of Mr. A. G. Hall and the £5 is received annually.
Dr. Thomas King, by will dated in 1667, gave a
cottage and land containing 8 a. 3 r. 16 p. at Great
Catworth, the rent to be distributed in coals to
poor widows. The land was sold in 1915 and the
proceeds invested in the purchase of £323 0s. 5d.
5 per cent. War Stock 1929–47, in the name of the
official trustees, and produces £16 3s. annually in
George Raitt, by deed dated 18 Jan. 1780, gave
three yearly rent charges of £5, £1 and £1 issuing
out of Cromwell House estate, Huntingdon, the £5
to be distributed among the old and poor inhabitants
of Huntingdon and the annuities of 20s. each to be
laid out in coals for the old and poor inhabitants of
the parishes of St. Mary, All Saints and St. John.
The estate is now in the occupation of Mr. E. H.
Fisher, and the three rent charges are received annually.
Richard Fishbourne, by will dated 30 March 1625,
gave to the wardens and commonalty of the Company
of Mercers, among other large sums of money, the
sum of £2,000 to purchase land and hereditaments to
the clear yearly value of £100, and to distribute the
same to some good and charitable uses in Huntingdon,
as in the maintenance of a lecture, etc. The legacy
of £2,000 with other charitable funds was laid out in
1630 in the purchase of an estate at Chalgrave. The
endowment of the charity now consists of a proportion
being that which 2,000 bears to 6,560 of the net rents
of the Chalgrave estate, a yearly sum of £60 paid
by the Mercers Company for a sermon to be preached
every Sunday in one of the parish churches in Huntingdon, a sum of £130 invested in copyhold property
held of the Manor of Alconbury and a sum of
£516 7s. 2d. Consols with the Official Trustees producing £12 18s. annually in dividends. Note:—
A yearly sum of £18 out of the net income of this
charity and any residue of income in excess of £50
constitute the endowment of the Municipal Charities
In addition to the above the Almshouse Building
known as St. John's Hospital forms part of the endowment of the municipal pension and almshouse charities
together with yearly sums of £15 and £104 paid by
the governors of St. John's Hospital and Grammar
School Foundation for the repairs of the Almshouse
building and for the stipends of the inmates of the
The charities are administered by a body of trustees
appointed under the provisions of the above mentioned
scheme of 26 Sept. 1899, consisting of the rector of
All Saints' and the vicar of St. Mary, ex-officio trustees, four representative trustees appointed by the
borough council and five co-optative trustees. The
income of the charities, which in 1925 amounted to
about £320, is applied in accordance with the provisions of the schemes of 26 Sept. 1899 and 27 Sept.
Gabriel Newton, by deed dated 15 March 1760,
settled certain freehold estates in the county of
Leicester upon trust, out of the rents and profits to
pay to the mayor, etc., of Huntingdon £26 yearly
towards the clothing, schooling, and educating boys
in the borough of Huntingdon. The endowment of
the charity now consists of £823 9s. 1d. Consols with
the Official Trustees producing £20 11s. 8d. annually
in dividends together with a yearly sum of £26
received from the corporation of Leicester which are
expended in paying the fees of several boys and girls
attending the Grammar School. The trustees of the
charity appointed under the provisions of a scheme
of the Charity Commissioners dated 17 July 1900,
consist of the rector of All Saints' with St. John, the
vicar of St. Mary with St. Benedict (ex-officio trustees), one representative trustee, and three co-optative
George Sayer, by deed dated 13 March 1737, gave
several closes of land in Huntingdon, the rents and
profits to be paid to the vicar of St. Mary so long as
he should continue to read the prayers in one or
other of the churches in Huntingdon twice every
day. The whole land has now been sold and the
proceeds invested in the purchase of £613 3s. 8d.
Consols and £1,184 4s. 6d. 5 per cent. War Stock
1929–47, with the Official Trustees. The income of
the charity, amounting to £74 10s. 6d. annually in
dividends, is paid to the vicar of St. Mary, who reads
the prayers daily in accordance with the directions
contained in the above mentioned indenture.
St. John's and All Saints' Church Estate. The
endowment of the charity consists of land containing
4 a. or. 11 p., which it is understood was given to
provide for the tolling of All Saints' church bell every
morning. The land is let by the churchwardens of
St. John's and All Saints', and the rent, which in 1925
was £7 15s., is paid to the sexton for ringing the
Lammas Rights. The earliest mention of these
rights is in an indenture dated 12 Oct. 1564. They
consisted of an exclusive right of the freemen and
widows of freemen to the pasturage of lands known
as Lammas Lands in Huntingdon. These rights have
from time to time been sold and the endowment of
the charity now consists of a sum of £9,421 17s. 10d.
Consols £373 13s. 4d. 5 per cent. War Stock 1929–47,
and £185 13s. 3d. 3½ per cent Conversion Stock, producing about £260 per annum in dividends, which
are paid to about 24 freemen and widows in sums of
money. The charity is administered by the town
council. See page 134.
Mrs. Sarah Laura Sophia Geldart, by her will dated
7 Aug. 1902, directed her husband to distribute and
divide the net residue of her estate among such
hospitals or charitable institutions as he should select.
The testatrix's husband predeceased her, and by a
scheme of distribution, approved by an order of the
High Court dated 5 June 1916, sums of £5,000 and
£1,000 were to be paid to the Official Trustees to form
part of the endowment of the Huntingdon County
Hospital and the Huntingdon and Godmanchester
District Nurses' Association. These sums are now
represented by £5,099 19s. 7d. 5 per cent. War Stock
1929–47, and £984 18s. 9d. like stock with the Official
Trustees, producing £255 and £49 5s. annually in
The following charities pertain to the parish of
The Sweeting and Slow charity regulated by a
scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 7 July
Henry Sweeting, by will dated 18 March 1807, gave
£100 to be vested in funds in the names of the rector
of St. John and the vicar of St. Mary, the dividends
thereof to be laid out in the purchase of bread and
given to the poor of St. John's parish on Christmas
Day. The endowment now consists of £101 11s. 4d.
Consols with the Official Trustees, producing
£2 10s. 8d. annually in dividends.
Elizabeth Slow, by will proved in the Prerogative
Court of Canterbury 10 Feb. 1835, bequeathed £50
to the rector of St. John and the vicar of St. Mary
the income to be applied in giving blankets to four
poor women of good character, in each parish. The
endowment now consists of £54 12s. 10d. Consols
with the Official Trustees; half of which (£27 6s. 5d.
Consols) was carried to the United Charities in the
parish of St. Mary.
The income of the charities amounting to £3 4s. 4d.
yearly in dividends is applied in accordance with the
provisions of the above mentioned scheme, for the
benefit of the poor of St. John. The charities are
administered by the rector and churchwardens of
St. John (ex-officio trustees), and one representative
trustee appointed by the borough council of Huntingdon.
The following charities comprise the United
Charities of the parish of St. Mary, and are regulated
by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated
13 Nov. 1900:—
Henry Blaine, by will dated 16 Feb. 1796, gave £20,
the interest to be applied every New Year's Day
amongst the poor of Mutton Lane in the parish of
St. Mary. The endowment now consists of £21 7s. 4d.
George Lyson, by will dated 31 Oct. 1710, gave £50,
the interest thereof to provide bread for the poor of
St. Mary's parish to be distributed by the churchwardens and overseers. The endowment now consists
of £54 11s. 3d. Consols.
Charles Veasey, by will dated 10 Oct. 1854, gave
£50 to the vicar and churchwardens, the interest to
be distributed to the poor of St. Mary in bread and
coals. The endowment now consists of £54 11s. 5d.
Elizabeth Slow. An account of this charity is
given under the parish of Huntingdon St. John.
The part applicable for the parish of St. Mary consists
of £27 6s. 5d. Consols set aside under the provisions
of the scheme of 7 July 1905 to form part of the
endowment of the United Charities.
The several sums of stock are with the Official
Woodward's Gift. Thomas Woodward, by will
dated 30 Jan. 1720, charged a house in High Street,
Huntingdon, with a yearly payment of 10s. to be
disposed of in bread to the poor of St. Mary by the
minister and churchwardens. The rent charge now
issues out of a house, shop, and premises known as
31 High Street, in the occupation of Mr. E. Sarll.
The rent charge is paid regularly.
The income of the charities amounting to £4 8s. 8d.
yearly is applied in accordance with the provisions
of the above mentioned scheme to the poor of the
parish of St. Mary. The charities are administered
by the rector and churchwardens (ex-officio trustees),
and one representative trustee appointed by the
borough council of Huntingdon.
The charity consisting of the Manse and Trust
Property which are held in connection with the dissenting chapel known as Trinity Church, are comprised
in a deed poll dated 17 May 1871, and indentures
dated 14 May 1907 and 30 Aug. 1910. The manse
and property were sold under authority of a scheme
of the Charity Commissioners dated 1 Feb. 1921, and
the endowment now consists of £1,166 9s. 3d. 5 per
cent. War Stock 1929–47 with the Official Trustees,
producing £58 6s. 6d. yearly in dividends, which are
applied towards the expenses of maintaining divine
worship in the above mentioned church.