"LITTLEPORT, a parish in the hundred of Ely, and Isle of Ely, county Cambridge, 5 miles north-east of Ely, its post town, and 13 south of Downham. It is situated on the river Ouse, and is a station on the Great Eastern line of railway. The parish, which is of large extent, includes the hamlets of Apshall and Old Bank, with several small places. The land is fenny, but productive. The village is on the road from Ely to Lynn, and a considerable traffic is carried on by the river in corn and coal. The impropriate tithes, belonging to Clare Hall, Cambridge, have been commuted for a rent-charge of £248, and the vicarial for £1,931; the impropriate glebe comprises 81 acres, and the vicarial 79 acres. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely, value £1,487, in the patronage of the bishop. The church, dedicated to St. George, is an old edifice with a lofty embattled tower. The register commences in 1761. The parochial charities, chiefly arising from land, produce about £260 per annum. The Baptists, Independents, Lady Huntingdon's Connexion, Wesleyans, and Primitive Methodists, have each a chapel. There is a National school for boys and girls."
"APSHALL, (or Apeshall), a hamlet in the parish of Littleport in the hundred of the Isle of Ely, in the county of Cambridge, 3 miles north of Littleport railway station, and 5 from Ely, situated in a fenny part of the isle. The old parish church of Littleport is a fine specimen of early English architecture.
"BLACK HORSE DROVE, a hamlet in the parish of Littleport, county Cambridge, 4 miles north-east of Littleport."
[Transcribed and edited information from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868]
"The church of St. George, an edifice of stone, is a fine example of the Early English style, consisting of chancel, naves, aisles, north and south porches and a lofty embattled western tower containing, a clock and 8 bells hung in 1891: in 1920 a new clock was added, with Cambridge chimes, in memory of the men of the parish who fell in the Great War, 1914-1918; the tower, a conspicuous object throughout the surrounding fen district, is remarkable for the beauty of its outline: the church. was enlarged in 1857 by the addition of a second nave and aisle on the north side: the chancel was restored by Clare College in 1877, a carved stone reredos presented by the Rev. H. J. Carter M.A. curate of Littleport 1860-5 and rector of Duxford 1865-1904: on the north side is a memorial window erected by his widow to the Rev. Andrew Gatenby B.A, for more than 21 years curate in sole charge here and rector of Mepal 1871-6, who died in 1876, in 1891 a new organ and a stained east window were erected as memorials to the Rev. William Bonner Hopkins D.D. hon. canon of Ely, and vicar here 1866-90: in 1895 a stained window was erected and the organ enlarged as a memorial to Mr. William Cutlack, a former churchwarden; it was again enlarged in 1903 at a cost of £350: an inscribed brass has been placed as a memorial to the Rev. Samuel Edgar Perry M.A. vicar 1890-7; in 1898 and 1903 two stained Windows were presented as memorials to William Luddington esq., and his wife, and there is another to Mrs. John Little, of Westlands: a window in the south aisle was presented in 1911 in memory of Mrs. T. J. Mott by T. J. Mott Esq. J.P. and one in the north aisle was given in 1927 in memory of J. Gibson esq. by his widow: a new oak screen was erected in 1904: there are panels, the gift of the Rev. N. W. Shelton M.A. (present vicar) inscribed with the names of the men of this parish who fell in the Great War, 1914-18: there appears to have been formerly a footway from north to south through the tower, used before the drainage of the fens, when the ordinary roads were impassable for foot passengers: there are 872 sittings. The register dates from the year 1606." [Kelly's Directory - 1929]
Littleport, St Matthew
"Littleport St. Matthew is an ecclesiastical parish, formed out of the old parish of Littleport, St. Mary arid Holy Trinity Ely, and Downham in the Isle. July 2, 1878. The church, erected, in 1878 at a cost, including fittings, of about £1,665, from the designs of Mr. W. Bassett Smith, architect, of London, is a structure of brick in the Early English style, consisting of chancel, nave, transepts, south porch and a western turret containing one bell: there are 230 sittings. The register dates from the year 1878. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £312, with residence arid including 2 acres of glebe and a charge of £20 yearly on the, rectory of Downham, in the gift of the Bishop of Ely, and held since 1925 by the Rev. Frank D'Ynza Brace. The school church. at Littleport Fen, built in 1869, will seat 120 persons; divine service is held here once every Sunday. The mission room at Ten Mile Bank was erected in 1894, and will seat 120 persons." [Kelly's Directory - 1929]
"The Wesleyan chapel, in High street, was erected in 1890 at a cost of £1,700, the old chapel being now used as a Sunday school; there are also Independent, Baptist and Primitive Methodist chapels arid Salvation Army barracks at Littleport, and Wesleyan Methodist chapels at Black Horse Drove, Mildenhall road and Dairy Houses. A cemetery of 5 acres, with mortuary chapel, was formed in 1902, and is under the control of the Littleport Parish Council." [Kelly's Directory - 1929]
Littleport, St. George: Records of baptisms 1753-1908, marriages 1754-1920, burials 1756-1897 and banns for 1754-1813, 1823-1941 reside in the Cambridgeshire Archives. The Bishop's Transcripts for the years 1599-1644 and 1662-1857 can be found in the Cambridge University Library. Indexed transcripts to the BT's exist for baptisms 1599-1752, marriages 1599-1643. 1663-1812, and burials 1599-1756 and index transcripts of the registers exist for baptisms 1753-1812, marriages 1813-1920 and burials 1756-1812.
Littleport, St. Matthew: Ecclesiastical parish formed from Littleport, Ely Holy Trinity and Downham in 1878. The registers for Baptisms 1878-2000, Marriages 1879-200 and Banns 1879-2000 reside in the Cambridgeshire Archives.
Wesleyan Methodist Church: Records exist at the Cambridgeshire Archives for baptisms 1873-1934, which include Downham (Little Downham), and for the Ely Wesleyan Circuit of which Littleport is part.
Primitive Methodist Church: Records exist at the Cambridgeshire Archives for the Ely Primitive Circuit of which Littleport is part.
Records exist for the Isle Monthly Meeting, founded in 1667, of which Littleport was part, these records contain births 1655-1725, 1743-54, marriages 1659-91, burials 1655-1795 (on microfilm) and can be found in the Cambridgeshire Archives. The Isle Monthly Meeting was subsequently merged with Cambridge Monthly Meeting in 1756.
Independent Church: Records exist at the Cambridgeshire Archives on microfilm for baptisms 1819-40.
"The Town Hall and two Gift Houses adjoining were built in 1879 by the Trustees of the Town Lands Charity, in accordance with the provisions of a scheme framed under an Order of the Charity Commissioners for England and Wales, dated 12th November, 1875. The Alexandra Institute, in Victoria street, erected by Messrs. Hope Brothers Limited for the use of their workpeople, will hold 250; attached is a lending library of about 1,200 volumes, three lawn tennis courts and a garden. The Public Hall, in Hitches street, will hold 500 persons. The Constitutional Hall, in Victoria street, comprises club rooms and a hall holding about 500 persons; the club has over 100 members. [Kelly's Directory - 1929]
"A wrought iron bridge, with one clear opening of 105 feet, was built across the Ouse at this point in 1873, at a cost of £3,700, and there is another iron bridge at Sandhill. The place is lighted with gas from works erected in 1867 by a limited company, on a site given by the Earl of Hardwicke." [Kelly's Directory - 1929]
To the east of the village is 'Burnt Fen' which is traditionally thought to relate to the 'scorched earth' policy of Hereward the Wake.
You can see pictures of Littleport which are provided by:
Littleport seems to have been a rebellious village in earlier times. In June 1638 the Justice of the Peace for the Isle reported that '40 or 50 men gathered in a fen called Whelpmore, near Littleport...... and that their assembly was appointed to throw down ditches which the drainers had made for enclosing their fen ground from the common, which was left to the inhabitants... In the same month Sir Miles Sandys of Wilburton was writing to his son at Court describing the tumults and disturbances, and declaring that 'If order not be taken it will turn out to be a general rebellion in the fen towns '. There was for example ' A great riot made at Wickham whilst writing word is brought to me by my Lord of Bedford's workmen, that the country rose up against him both in Coveney and Littleport, by example of the Wickham men '
In more recent times there is the ' Littleport Riots' which started on the night of May 22nd 1816 at the Globe Inn. Between 50 and 60 men were present and the talk was of the high prices of wheat and bread. The main grievance was against Henry Martin a leading landowner and farmer. The mob left the inn and stormed through the village breaking windows and smashing furniture and goods. The vicar stood at the door of the vicarage and threatened to shoot the first man who entered. He did not, however, and fled from the house with his family, to walk to Ely, leaving the mob to eat, drink, break or steal whatever they could. The vicar eventually reached Ely and gave the alarm. Troops were brought in to put down the riots which by this time had spread to the surrounding areas such as Downham and Ely on a smaller scale. The operation took many days and as late as June 10th stragglers were being brought in. At the trial 24 were condemmed to death but the sentence was commuted in all but 5 cases.
There is an excellent book about the Littleport Riots called Bread or Blood by A.J. Peacock. It was published at least 20 years ago, but you should be able to get a copy through your public library inter-library loan service.
"About 3,000 acres on the north-east side of the parish were separated from Littleport parish and added to the ecclesiastical district of Little Ouse, Norfolk, Nov. 13, 1866..." [Kelly's Directory - 1929]
By the Divided Parishes Act, a portion Hilgay, on the left bank of the river Little Ouse, was amalgamated with this parish in 1885, all the remainder, on the right bank of the river, the property of the late William Luddington esq., going to Southery parish ," [Kelly's Directory - 1929]
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TL564868 (Lat/Lon: 52.456725, 0.300401), Littleport which are provided by:
The Littleport Society The Littleport Society exists to provide a means whereby people can take co-operative action in, a) encouraging individual awareness and pride in the town, b) safeguarding the character of Littleport, and c) developing the social, historical, and cultural potential of the community. Membership is open to all who are interested in furthering the Society's objectives.
Land Tax: records were compiled afresh each year and contain the names of owners and occupiers in each parish, but usually there is no address or place name. These records reside in the Cambridgeshire Archives for the years 1750-1948.