[Transcribed and edited information from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868]
"GREAT PAXTON, a parish in the hundred of Toseland, county Huntingdon, 3 miles north-east of St. Neot's, its post town. The village, which is of small extent, is situated on the main road to Godmanchester, and is wholly agricultural. The soil consists of clay and gravel. The surface is hilly between the village and St. Neot's. The meadows are subject to inundation from the river Ouse, which separates this parish on the west from that of Little Paxton. The tithes were commuted for land and a money payment under an Enclosure Act in 1811. The glebe comprises 97 acres in this parish, and 60 in Little Paxton. The living is a vicarage* with the curacies of Little Paxton and Toseland annexed, in the diocese of Ely, value £231, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln. The church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, is an ancient structure containing sedilia and piscina. The parochial charities produce about £8 per annum. There is a Sunday-school. The Wesleyans have a place of worship.
The full 1841 Census of Great Paxton Parish is available as fiche set C107.
The full 1851 Census of Great Paxton Parish is available as fiche set C57.
The full 1891 Census of Great Paxton Parish is available as fiche set C13.
A surname index of the 1881 Census of the St. Neots Registration District, in which Great Paxton was enumerated (RG11/1611, Folios 46a - 51b), and which took place on 3rd April 1881, is available as fiche set C5.
Acknowledgement is gven to the work of Philip G M Dickinson F.S.A., F.R.Hist.S. in adding to the history of Great Paxton and its church.
The Minster church of Great Paxton is one of the most interesting and remarkable of the larger late Saxon churches remaining in England, but is comparitavely unknown because it has not received the publicity that other Saxon churches have. Until recently, its true status was unknown, but research undertaken for a visit of the Royal Archaelogical Instititute in 1967 clearly established that it belonged to a Minster founded late in the pre-conquest era.
The ecclesiastical organisation of 1000 years ago was very differerent from that of today; then there were no parishes as we now recognise them. The conversion of England to christianity for a long time was based on missionary activity which, at a later period, came under the control of certain 'central' churches to which the name 'Minster' was given. The church at Great Paxton was one of these Minster churches, and is dedicated to the Holy Trinity.
The church building consists of a chancel, nave, north aisle, south aisle, west tower, a modern vestry at the west end of the north aisle, and a south porch. The walls are of rubble with stone dressings, and the roofs are covered with tiles, slates and lead.
The church is mentioned in the Domesday survey of 1086, and of this building the piers of a central tower and two and a half bays of the north and south arcades still remain. Originally the nave must have had four bays as evidenced by the position of the porch, and these probably remained until the west tower was built. Meanwhile, the chancel had been rebuilt towards the end of the 13th century, and some 50 years later a south porch was built.
Late in the 14th century much reconstruction took place. the western bays of the nave were taken down and a sturdy tower built in their place. The central tower (recording the Minster status) probably disappeared at this time, and certainly the east and south arches of the crossing were reformed. In the following century, both aisles were rebuilt, buttresses were added to the chancel and a new east window inserted; somewhat later still, new side windows were put in.
The church was completely restored in 1880, when the vestry was added.
Excavations in August 1971 unexpecedly found the original Saxon foundations to be intact and standing to a height of three feet.
Baptisms: 1583-1662 (indexed transcription), 1589-1598 (original register which was subsequently used for parish officers' accounts), 1583-1702 (including transcriptions from parish officers' accounts), 1702/3-1807, 1807-1812, 1813-1887.
Banns: c1754?-1767, 1823-1884.
Marriages: 1589-1598 (including transcriptions from parish officers' accounts), 1583-1702, (Toseland 1674-1706 are included), 1703-1753, 1754-1812, 1814-1837, 1838-1901, 1902-1934, 1934-1938, 1939-1972.
Burials: 1589-1598 (including transcriptions from parish officers' accounts), 1583-1701/2, (Toseland 1674-1706 are included), 1702-1807, 1807-1812.
Bishop's Transcripts: 1604-5, 1608, 1610, 1612, 1617-19, 1625, 1627, 1629, 1661-73/1675, 1677-87, 1690-6, 1698-1702, 1704-16, 1718, 1720, 1722-51, 1753-5, 1757-66, 1768-94, 1796-1812/1813-14, 1816-24/1825-1842, 1844-57. BT entries for Toseland parish are included in the above: 1751, 1753, 1755, 1757-64.
The Huntingdonshire Marriage Indexes include marriages from this parish. These are, at present, issued in alphabetical listings in series: 1601-1700, and 1701-1754, and are available from the Huntingdonshire FHS.