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[Transcribed and edited information mainly from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868]

"COTTENHAM, a parish in the hundred of Chesterton, in the county of Cambridge, 3 miles north of Hilston station, and 6 north of Cambridge. There are now six manors in Cottenham,-viz. Rectory, Crowlands, Lisles, Sames, Pelhams, and Harlstones. Peter of Blois relates that "Geoffrey, Abbot of Croyland; sent over to his manor of Cottenham, nigh the Cam, Gislebert, his fellow-monk, and professor of divinity, with three other monks; who, following him to England, being thoroughly furnished with philosophical theorems, and other primitive sciences, repaired daily to Cambridge; and, having hired a certain public barn, made open profession of their sciences, and in a short space of time drew together a great company of scholars," thus laying the foundation of the after university. In 1265 John de Walerand, the parson of Cottenham, obtained a royal charter for a weekly market on Monday, and a fair for three days at the feast of SS. Peter and Paul. Large quantities of cheese were formerly made; but the common is now enclosed, and under cultivation, so that the quantity is much reduced. In 1850 the village was greatly damaged by fire, when property amounting to £25,000 was destroyed. The living is a rect* in the diocese of Ely, value £770, in the patronage of the Bishop of Ely. The church, dedicated to All Saints, is an edifice composed of stone and rubble, in the perpendicular style, and has a nave, aisles, chancel, and lofty tower with four pinnacles, richly ornamented. The charities are extensive, and chiefly for apprenticing boys, gifts to poor at certain seasons, and other purposes, as appointed by will. Dr. Fitzwilliam's charity, besides other provisions, gives bibles and prayer-books to those who most regularly attend church. The Baptists have two chapels, and the Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists one each. Here are Moreton's almshouses for the aged poor. The parish of Cottenham gives the title of earl to the Pepys family. Roman remains, chiefly of pottery, are frequently found. Archbishop Tenison was born in the rectory-house. The old Cardike runs through the parish for some distance, and then joins the Old Ouse. A short portion of the old road made by William the Conqueror, for the subjugation of the Isle of Ely, runs through the parish at the extreme north-west corner."

[Transcribed mainly from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868]
by Colin Hinson 2010




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