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[Transcribed and edited information from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868]

"BEDFORD LEVEL, an extensive tract of flat marshy ground, also called the Fens, on the eastern coast of England, comprising parts of the six counties of Lincoln, Northampton, Huntingdon, Cambridge, Norfolk, and Suffolk. It is situated to the south of the Wash, extending from the river Welland, in the south-east part of Lincolnshire, to Milton, in Cambridgeshire; and from Peterborough, on the river Nen, in Northamptonshire, to Brandon, on the little Ouse, in Suffolk. It is about 40 miles in length from north to south, and the same in its greatest breadth. The Level is divided into three parts, the North, Middle, and South Levels. The first is the district lying between the rivers Welland and Nen; the second, that between the Nen and the old Bedford river; and the third, that which lies to the south-east of the old Bedford river." (There is more of this description).

"HURSTINGSTONE, a hundred in county Huntingdon, contains the parishes of Huntingdon, Bluntisham, Broughton, Bury, Colne, Hartford, Holywell-cum-Needingworth, Houghton, Old Hurst, St. Ives, Pidley-cum-Fenton, Ramsey, Great and Little Raveley, Abbot's and King's Ripton, Somersham, Great and Little Stukeley, Upwood, Warboys, Wistow, Witton, Woodhurst, and part of Hinchinbrook, comprising 74,440 acres (exclusive of the borough of Huntingdon)."

"LEIGHTONSTONE, a hundred in county Huntingdon, contains the parishes of Alconbury with Alconbury Weston, Barham, Brampton, Brington, Buckworth, Bythorn with Brington, Great Catworth, Coppingford, Covington, Easton, Edlington, Gidding (Great, Little, and Steeple), Grafham, Hamerton, Keyston, Kimbolton, Leighton, Molesworth, Spaldwick, Stow, Swineshead, Upton with Copmanford, Old Weston with Brington, Woolley, and parts of Luddington, Thurning, and Winwick, comprising an area of 56,130 acres."

"NORMANCROSS, a hundred in the north division of county Hunts, contains the parishes of Alwalton, Caldccote, Chesterton, Conington, Denton, Elton, Fletton, Folksworth, Glatton, Haddon, Morborn, Orton Cherry and Long, Sawtrey All Saints, Sawtrey St. Andrew, Sawtry Judith, Standground, Stibbington, Stilton, Washingley, Water Newton, Woodstone, Woodwalton, Yaxley, and part of Lutton, comprising about 52,000 acres."

"SAWTRY, it is not known when the village of Sawtry began, but there were three churches at Sawtry mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086. In 1147, the Cistercian Abbey of Sawtry was founded by Simon de St. Liz, Earl of Northampton and grandson of Earl Walteof and Judith, the neice of William the Conqueror, who held the manor. The three parishes of Sawtry lie on the Great North Road (and is now by-passed by the A1(M) Motorway) and are bounded on the north by Conington, east by Higney and Wood Walton, south by Abbot's Ripton, Upton and Coppingford, and south-west by the Giddings. Of the area thus enclosed, the northern part forms the parishes of Sawtry All Saints and Sawtry St Andrews but the two parishes were so intermixed that it is impossible without a map to know where the divisions between them run. The houses are all grouped together in one village just west of the Great North Road. The Church of All Saints stands on the eastern edge of the village, while that of St Andrews was on the eastern side of the road where its churchyard still lies. The southern part of the area once formed the parish (and then the extra-parochial district) of Sawtry Judith (sometimes referred to, in error, as St. Judith). The Abbey, with the Church of St Mary, stood in the north-east corner but there are few houses now still standing.

The three parishes were consolidated by different steps during the 19th century. In 1851, the Sawtry Local Government District was formed from the two parishes of Sawtry All Saints and Sawtry St Andrew under the Public Health Act of 1848. The two ecclesiastical parishes were united in 1873.

In 1879 both churches were demolished and a new church for both parishes was erected on the site of All Saints and dedicated to All Saints and St. Andrew. The sub-soil of Sawtry is mainly Oxford clay. A considerable area is fen land which has now been drained. The main portion of Sawtry Fen was included in the Great Level Drainage undertaking of the Earl of Bedford in the 17th century."

"TOSELAND, a hundred, county Huntingdon, contains the parishes of Abbotsley, Buckden, Diddington, Eynesbury, Fen Stanton, Godmanchester, Great Gransden, Hail Weston, Hemingford Abbots, Hemingford Grey, Hilton, Midloe, St. Neot's, Offord-Cluny, Offord-Darcy, Great Paxton, Little Paxton, Southoe, Great Staughton, Tetworth, Toseland, Waresley, Yelling, and part of Papworth St. Agnes, comprising an area of 55,380 acres."

[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868]
by Colin Hinson ©2013



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