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

"SOHAM, a parish in the hundred of Staploe, county Cambridge, 18 miles north-east of Cambridge, 8 north of Newmarket, and 6 south-east of Ely, its nearest station on the Great Eastern railway. There is a navigable canal called "The Lode" which joins the Ouse at Ely. The parish is 9 miles in length, and comprises the chapelry of Barway. It formerly included a large mere or lake and about 10,000 acres of fen, but these have been drained, and are now in a high state of cultivation. The chief employment of the inhabitants is agricultural, with dairy farming and market gardening. Excellent Cottenham cheese and butter are made, and large quantities of fruit are sent to the London and other markets. The town, which is straggling and irregularly built, consists principally of one street, and has been much improved within the last quarter of a century. It is lighted with gas, but indifferently supplied with water. There are a branch bank, breweries, and tile works. The principal neat is The Place. In the Saxon times it was selected as the seat of a diocese founded in 630 by St. Felix, but removed to Dunwich in 870, when the convent was destroyed by the Danes. A court-leet is held in the town annually. The living is a vicarage with the curacy of Barway annexed, in the diocese of Ely, value £1,653 10s., in the patronage of Pembroke College, Cambridge. The church, dedicated to St. Andrew, or St. John the Baptist, is a cruciform structure, with an old tower containing a peal of ten bells. The register dates from the early part of the reign of Elizabeth. There are places of worship for Wesleyans, Primitive Methodists, Independents, Baptists, and Unitarians. The boys' school has an income from endowment of £100 per annum, and Haggitt's Sunday-school one of £10. The parochial charities produce about £700 per annum, including the endowment of Thomas Peachey's almshouses for 17 widows, founded in 1582, and the bequest of Bishop Laney for apprenticing poor children of Ely and Soham. The Commissioners of the Bedford Level allotted a certain portion of fen lands in lieu of common rights. Roman urns and other antiquities have been found here. An annual cattle fair is held 9th May and a pleasure fair on the Monday nearest to St. John's Day."

"BARWAY, (or Barkway or Barraway) a chapelry in the parish of Soham, and hundred of Staploe, in the county of Cambridge, 3 miles from Ely. It is situated near the junction of the river Cam with the Ouse. The curacy is annexed to the vicarage of Soham, in the diocese of Ely. The church is dedicated to St. Nicholas.

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




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