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March

[Transcribed and edited information mainly from Kelly's Directory of Cambridgeshire 1900]

"MARCH is a parish and market town and the head of a county court district and petty sessional division, with an important junction station on the Great Eastern and Great Northern railways, 88 miles from London by rail, 29 north from Cambridge, 14 north-west from Ely and 9 south from Wisbech, in the Northern division of the county, hundred and union of North Witchford, Isle of Ely, rural deanery of March and in the peculiar archidiaconal jurisdiction of the Bishop of Ely.

The town is pleasantly situated on the banks of the Nene, which is here navigable, and facilitates the conveyance of coal, corn and timber to Cambridge, Wisbech, Lynn, Peterborough, St. Ives, Bedford and various other places.

A handsome bridge of one arch was erected over the river Nene towards the north end of the town in 1850. The High street, which is the chief thoroughfare, is continued over the bridge to Broad street on the north side of the Nene, and the High causeway is lined with a fine avenue of elm and other trees.

A Local Board of Health was formed here in 1851, under the Act, 14 and 15 Vict. c. 103 (1851), but under the provisions of the Local Government Act, 1894 (56 & 57 Vict. c. 73), the town is now governed by an Urban District Council of 12 members, and is lighted with gas from works the property of the March Gas and Coke Co. Limited. The Wisbech Water Works Company, by a provisional order, obtained in 1884, supply the town with water, which is brought through mains from Wisbech, a distance of 10 miles.

The town is now divided into four ecclesiastical parishes which, with three others, were formed out of the parish of Doddington subsequently to 1863, according to the provisions of the Doddington Rectory Division Acts, 10 and 11 Vict. c. 3 (1847) and 19 and 20 Vict. c. 1 (1856). The area of the entire civil parish is 19,669 acres of land and 108 of water; rateable value, £47,414; the area of the ecclesiastical parishes is:- St. Mary, 7,143; St John 3,485; St. Peter, 4,072.

The population of the civil parish and urban district in 1891 was 6,988; and the ecclesiastical parishes, viz.

St. John, 3,685; St. Mary, 634; St. Peter, 1,697 and St. Wendreda, 972.

See also March while in Doddington Parish."

[Description(s) transcribed by Martin Edwards ©2003 and later edited by Colin Hinson ©2010]
[mainly from Kelly's Directory of Cambridgeshire 1900]

Cemeteries

  • "The church and old churchyard and other graveyards were wholly or partially closed against interments, May 4th, 1855.
  • "The Cemetery, on the Station road, formed in the year 1867, is about 3½ acres in extent; it is beautifully laid out, and has a mortuary chapel, with tower and spire: adjoining the cemetery are two acres of land reserved for the purpose of extension. The cemetery is now under the control of the Urban District Council."
    [Kelly's Directory - 1900]

Census

Churches

Church History

  • "The church of St. Wendreda, anciently a chapel to Doddington, and about a mile from March bridge, on the London road, was originally erected about 1346, and is a building in the Gothic style, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave, aisles, south porch and an embattled western tower, with stone spire, containing a clock and 6 bells: the fine and elaborately-carved oak roof was probably erected towards the close of the 15th century: the stained east window is a memorial to Mary Green, d. 12 July, 1874, and Caroline Hunt, d. 29 Dec. 1874: there are two brasses, one in the nave, immediately under the tower, dated 1517, to Catherine (Southwell), wife of Anthony Hansart, with two kneeling figures and a child, and over these a representation of the angel Gabriel appearing to the Virgin: the other is said to commemorate William; Dredman, the reputed donor of the magnificent nave roof, who died in 1503, and his wife, but the inscription is now scarcely legible: the tower stands on open arches, forming a thoroughfare; beneath the parapet on the north side of the church are medallions of flint work with shields of arms: the church was partly rebuilt in 1528, when the aisles and porch were added, and restored in 1874-5, when a new chancel was erected, and further in 1888, at a total cost of £2,800, and now affords 400 sittings. The register dates from the year 1558, and fragments remain of a yet earlier date."
  • "St. Mary's is an ecclesiastical parish formed in 1868: the church, at Westry, about 2 miles north of the town, was erected in 1874, at a cost of £2,500, and is a building of stone in the Decorated style of the 14th century, consisting of apsidal chancel, nave, south porch, vestry and a western turret containing one bell: there are 200 sittings. The register dates from the year 1874."
  • "The chapel of ease of St. Mary Magdalen, West Fen, erected in 1891, is a stone building in the Decorated style, and consists of chancel, nave, vestry and a turret containing one bell: there are 80 sittings."
  • "St. John's is an ecclesiastical parish formed in 1872: the church, situated on the station road and built in 1872, is an edifice of stone in the Early English and Decorated styles, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch and a western turret containing one bell: in the chancel is a memorial window to Sir Algernon William Peyton bart, of Swift's House, Bicester, Oxon, the late patron, who died 25 March, 1872: there are 500 sittings. The register dates from the year 1872."
  • "St. Peter's is an ecclesiastical parish, formed 26th Jan. 1881, and comprises a central part of the town. The church, erected in 1880, at a cost of £11,000, occupies a commanding position, and is an edifice of stone, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles and a lofty tower at the north-west angle, with spire and containing one bell: the lower stage of the tower forms a porch: the church was consecrated 26th January, 1881, and will seat 700 persons. The register dates from the year 1881."
  • "The Centenary Baptist chapel, in High street erected in 1870, at a cost of £4,600, is of brick in the Italian style, and will seat 800 persons. The Particular Baptist chapel, in Sumps, is of brick with Bath stone dressings, and affords 750 sittings. There is also a Baptist chapel at Chain bridge, erected in 1859 and seating 120 persons."
  • "The Wesleyan chapel, in High street, erected in 1889, at a cost of £3,500, is also of brick with stone dressings in the Gothic style, and seats 550 persons. The Congregational chapel, Station road, erected in 1836, has sittings for 450."
    [Kelly's Directory - 1900]

Church Records

  • Church of England
    • March, St. Wendreda: Records of baptisms 1548-1959, marriages 1548-1939, burials 1548-1951 and banns 1754-1974 reside in the Cambridgeshire Archives. The Bishop's Transcripts for the years 1599-1639, 1661-1880 can be found in the Cambridge University Library. Indexed transcripts exist in the Cambridgeshire Archives for baptisms, marriages, and burials 1548-1872. Parish register transcripts of March St Wendreda, 1547-1872, are available in full transcript form, on microfiche, from the Cambridgeshire Family History Society Publications list
    • March, St. John: Ecclesiastical parish formed from March, 1872. Records of baptisms 1872-1939, marriages 1872-1962 and banns 1939-56 reside in the Cambridgeshire Archives.
    • March, St. Mary: Ecclesiastical parish formed from March, 1868. Records of baptisms 1874-1960, marriages 1875-1967, burials 1875-1955 and banns 1874-1958 reside in the Cambridgeshire Archives.
    • March, St. Peter: Ecclesiastical parish formed from March, 1881. Records of baptisms 1881-1956, marriages 1881-1979, burials 1881-1936 and banns 1944-80 reside in the Cambridgeshire Archives.
  • Baptist Church
    • Calvinistic Baptist Church, Bevill's Chapel: Records exist for births 1825-37 on microfilm at the Cambridgeshire Archives.
    • Baptist Church: Records exist for births 1798-1837 on microfilm at the Cambridgeshire Archives.
  • Methodist Church
  • Independent Church
    • Independent or Congregational Church: Records exist for baptisms 1931-88 and marriages 1899-1978 at the Cambridgeshire Archives.

Description and Travel

  • "The Guildhall, in High street, erected in 1827, is a plain structure of brick: the Manorial courts are held yearly at the Griffin hotel.
  • The Public Hall, near Broad street, was erected in 1895 by a company, and will hold 750 persons; it is suitable for public meetings, and is also licensed for dramatic performances.
  • The Fire Engine house is in the Market place; there is one 40 horse power steam engine by Shand and Mason, with about half-a-mile of leather and canvas hose. Above the fire engine house is the surveyor's office; the whole is surmounted by a turret with a clock and fire bell.
  • The Police Station is at the back of the County Court, High street. The Post Office, in High street, near the bridge, was opened 8 June, 1887, and comprises a large and well-furnished public office, a letter carriers' room and a residence for the postmaster.
  • The Temperance Hall, with hotel attached, was erected in 1885 by Miss Peckover, of Wisbech, at a cost of over £1,000; the hall will hold 250 persons. The Railway Servants' mission services and the quarterly and committee meetings of the County Council for the Isle of Ely are all held in the Temperance Hall.
  • Here are the headquarters of the G Co. 3rd (Cambridgeshire) Volunteer Batt. Suffolk Regiment, which has now (1900) 80 members. The March Volunteers' Club consists of enrolled volunteers, subscribing 2s. 6d. yearly and honorary members subscribing 10s. 6d. and upwards. There are in all about 150 members. The club has an excellent gymnasium and reading and billiard rooms.
  • The principal inns are the "Griffin," the "White Hart," and Wade's Railway hotel. The market, formerly held on Friday, was altered in 1850 to Wednesday, and has now become a thriving market for corn and seeds, and is well attended.
  • The market rights have been acquired by the Urban District Council by purchase from the lord of the manor. New Corn Exchange Offices &c. are now (1900) being erected, at a cost of upwards of £3,000.
  • Fairs are held on the first Monday before Whit Sunday and the third Tuesday in October.
  • Here are engineering works, agricultural machine works, and agricultural manure works, extensive corn mills, and numerous windmills for grinding corn.
  • The local charities, known as the March Consolidated Charities, are now administered under a scheme framed by the Endowed Schools Commissioners and dated 29th June, 1888, and amended 8th November, 1898. The management is vested in 15 governors, of whom 5 are co-optative and 10 representative, 4 of the latter being chosen by the School Board of March, 3 by the March Urban District Council, 2 by the Isle of Ely County Council and 1 by the Council of the Senate of the University of Cambridge. With the exception of a sum of £220, the whole income of the charities is devoted to educational purposes, viz.:- in maintaining a Grammar School and making grants in aid of the elementary education of the parish. The almshouses, near St. Wendreda's church, were built in 1851 and will hold four married couples and four single people. The allowance to the former is 6s. 6d per week and to the latter 4s 6d.
  • The country round March is flat, and the land, which is mostly under tillage, yields heavy crops of good wheat, oats and potatoes. The land, for the purpose of effecting a drainage, is divided into six districts, comprising in all about 20,000 acres; and much land has been reclaimed and brought under cultivation. The Fen droveways within the first, fourth and fifth drainage districts have been converted into gravel roads at the expense of the owners and occupiers, and similar improvements carried out in some of the other districts within this parish.
  • In 1730 three urns, full of burnt bones, and some small Roman coins, were dug up in a place called "Robin Good-fellow's lane," near this town."
  • "Norwood half-a-mile, and March Chain 2 miles, lie to the north; Hobbs Lot 2½ miles, Granford and White Moor 1½ miles north-west; Burrow Moor 1 mile south-west; Eusimoor and Binnimoor 2 miles east; Ransom Moor and Linwood 2½ miles south."
    [Kelly's Directory - 1900]
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Maps

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Military History

Taxation

  • 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 1798-1803 and 1934-48; (1798-99 also on microfilm at Huntingdon Record Office).