"HOLYWELL CUM NEEDINGWORTH, the parish lies to the north of the River Ouse immediately east of St. Ives. It is said to have gained a few more acres by the river acquiring a more southerly course in the 14th century. The old river bed is still traceable in the meadows and is still called the Old River. The land rises from the rich pastures along the Ouse northwards where, at about Needingworth, it becomes arable heath land which covers a little more than half the total area of the parish. The soil is clay and loam, but gravel is still worked at Needingworth. An Inclosure Act for the parish was passed in 1800.
Holywell takes its name from the well on the south side of the churchyard, and gained importance from the ferry over the Ouse to Fen Drayton. The well was repaired in 1845 by the Rev. S B Beckworth, the then rector, when a brick curb and a covering arch were built. The village lies along two roads running irregularly east and west, which are connected at east end. The Church is at the west end of the southern road. Along both roads were picturesque timber-framed tiled cottages.
Needingworth lies father northward. The High Street is the main street of this village, which forms part of the road from Ely to St. Ives. Most of the village was burned down on 16th September 1847, but some 17th and 18th century houses and cottages survived.
Prehistoric and Roman remains have been found in the parish."