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ABBOTS RIPTON:
Geographical and Historical information from the year 1932.

[Transcribed and edited information from The Victoria County History series- 1932]

"ABBOTS RIPTON, the parish of Abbots Ripton lies near the centre of the old county of Huntingdonshire, directly north of Huntingdon itself. The land is flat and low-lying; a stream rising in the west of the parish runs through it, passing a little to the north of the village by Abbots Ripton Hall, and on into Kings Ripton. Local farming is important to the inhabitants; the principal crops grown are wheat, barley and beans. The soil is gravel with a sub-soil of Oxford clay.

There was once a fair amount of woodland in the extreme east and west of the parish. Early records show that the parish, with Somersham Chase and Sapley Forest nearby, was at one time much more heavily wooded. In 1341, the Bishop of Ely claimed the right to hunt deer freely 'throughout the whole forest of Somersham, to wit, as the highway passes from Huntingdon to Ramsey through Ripton'. The Foresters contended that the woods bordering that road were the King's Forest and not the Bishop's free Chase.

The timber on the manor at the time of the Dissolution was reckoned a substantial part of its value and, whilst it remained in the King's hands, the wood on it was reserved by the Surveyor of Woods for the Crown, and its sale was not included in the ordinary accounts of the manor. It was probably soon after this, when the property came to the St John family, that the value of the woodland began to fall quickly. In the troublesome years following the grant to the St Johns, it is evident that the inhabitants of the manor were impoverished by high rents and reduced privileges and, in return, constant actions for damage to trees and unauthorised cutting of timber, were brought by the Lord againsy his tenants. An account is also found about this time of the decay of houses in the manor.

The modern village lies somewhat scattered. The church stands surrounded by trees on the road from Huntingdon to Woodwalton. On its north side is the Rectory; elsewhere, there are a combination of modern houses, 18th century houses and some 17th century timber-framed cottages. East of these cottages is the later 16th century manor house now called Moat Farm.

The hamlet of Wennington lies nearly a mile to the north of the village. Most of the cottages there are timber-framed with roofs of thatch or tiles and are of 16th century date or later."

[Description(s) transcribed by Ian Argall and later edited by Colin Hinson 2010]
[from The Victoria County History series - 1932]


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