"WILLINGHAM, a parish in the hundred of Papworth, county Cambridge, 10 miles north-west of Cambridge, 6 south-east of St. Ives, and 1 mile north of Longstanton railway station, near the river Ouse. A large proportion of the land is in dairy farms, and much of the cheese which takes its name from the neighbouring village of Cottenham is made here. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Ely, value £677, in the patronage of the crown. The church is dedicated to St. Mary and All Saints. There are chapels for Baptists and Wesleyans. The charities produce about £90 per annum, including the endowment of a charity school, founded in 1593, and of an almshouse for four widows, founded in 1616 by W. Smith."
[Transcribed and edited information from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868]
"The church of St. Mary and All Saints is an edifice of stone and rubble, chiefly in the Decorated style, with some remains of Saxon and Norman work, and consists of chancel, clerestoried nave of six bays, aisles, south porch and a lofty western tower with pinnacles and spire and containing a clock, provided in 1887 at a cost of £125, and 5 bells: in the north wall of the chancel is an arched recess and on the south side is a remarkably fine piscina and sedilia; some ancient though mutilated stalls remain, and there is an excellent Perpendicular roof with carved foliage: on the north side of the chancel, and now used as a vestry, is a small but very remarkable chapel, in the Decorated style, with a high pitched stone roof, carried on stone arches springing from corbels and pierced above by tracery with foliated cusping; it has also a piscina mounted on a shaft: the piers and arches of the nave are Decorated and the clerestory Perpendicular; the very fine hammer-beam roof, also of this date, is said to have been brought from Barnwell priory: the spandrils are filled with carved foliage and shields: in the north aisle are two fine canopied tombs, and an altar step remains at the east end, which formed a chantry chapel belonging to the manor of Willingham, and is still inclosed by a beautiful though much mutilated Decorated screen: the roof is Perpendicular, with carved bosses, and retains much of the ancient colouring; the south aisle has a roof of different pattern, and is partly inclosed by a Perpendicular screen, forming a chapel attached to the manor of Brunes; it retains a piscina and a canopied tomb: the font is Perpendicular and has an octagonal basin: the pulpit of the same period, is pentagonal, on a single octagonal shaft, and has panelled sides, beautifully carved: within the lower stage of the tower are three large arched recesses: the chancel was restored by the rector in 1890-91, at a cost of £1,200, under the direction of Messrs. Carpenter and Ingelow, architects: there are 320 sittings.The register dates from the year 1559."
"The Baptist chapel in High Street seats 800 persons, and there is another called the "Tabernacle"; the Wesleyan chapel affords 200 sittings." [Kelly's Directory - 1900]
The Rev. Bywaters was Rector of Willingham from 1937 until 1965. He took a great interest in church history generally and, of course, in the history of his own church in Willingham. In around 1963 he published a short document describing the church. This can be found on the Bywaters History page.
Willingham, St. Mary and All Saints: Records of baptisms 1559-1985, marriages 1559-1967, burials 1559-1891 and banns for 1654-57, 1754-1813, 1823-87 reside in the Cambridgeshire Archives, indexed transcripts exist for baptisms, marriages, and burials for the years 1559-1891 and reside in both the Cambridge and Huntingdon Record Offices. Photocopies exist in the Huntingdon Record Office for baptisms and burials 1559-1812 and marriages 1559-1754. The Bishop's Transcripts for the years 1599-1850 can be found in the Cambridge University Library. The parish register transcripts are available, on microfiche, from the Cambridgeshire Family History Society Publications list
Baptist Tabernacle: Records exist in the Cambridgeshire Archives marriages 1916-87.
Baptist Church: Records exist in the Cambridgeshire Archives for births and baptisms 1754-1827 (these are indexed) and membership lists 1726-1840.
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 (on microfilm), 1829-32, 1880-1948.