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HUNTINGDON: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1750.

[Transcribed information from Stephen Whatley's Gazetteer of England - 1750]
(unless otherwise stated)

"HUNTINGTON, (Huntingdonshire) 48 cm. 57 mm. from London, which is the shire T. was by the Saxons called Hunters-Down. It stands in the great N. road, with a free-stone bridge over the Ouse, and had once 15 Chs. which, in Mr. Camden's time, were reduced to 4, and since by the civil wars to 2. This decay is ascribed, by Speed, to the alteration of the course of the r. by one Gray, who, says the historian, maliciously obstructed its navigation to the T. which had before been inriched by it. It is, however, made navigable for small vessels as high as Bedford. Here were formerly several religious- houses. The Empress Maud founded an abbey here, and about the time of the Conquest, when it had a mint for coinage, a castle was built near the bridge, which was inlarged by David K. of Scots, to whom K. Stephen granted the Bor. but it was demolished by K. Hen. II. K. John granted it by charter, a coroner, toll and custom, a recorder, town-clerk, and 2 bailiffs; but at present it is incorporated by the name of a mayor, 12 ald. and burgesses. It is the constant place for the assizes and county-gaol, and is a populous trading T. with several good inns, and a handsome marketplace. Here is a good grammar-sc. and one Mr. Richard Fishbourn, a citizen of London, but born here, gave 2000 l. to the town, to be laid out in charitable uses. There are not more beautiful meadows any where than on the banks of the Ouse, which are covered in the summertime with such numerous herds of cattle, and flocks of sheep, as is almost incredible. This place is remarkable for having given birth to Oliver Cromwell, and title of Earl formerly to some Princes of Scotland, as it has to the Hastings family ever since Henry VIII. Its Mts. are on M. and S. and Fairs on Good-F. Lady-day, July 21, Sept. 8."

"PORTSHOLM, (Huntingdonshire) or PORTMEAD, near Huntington, is a charming place, encompassed with the Ouse, having a most delightful prospect."

[Description(s) transcribed by Mel Lockie ©2011]