RAMSEY, a parish, post, and market town in the hundred of Hurstingstone, county Huntingdon, 10 miles north-east of Huntingdon, and 69 north-west of London. It is the terminus of the Holme and Ramsey branch of the Great Northern railway. The parish, which is extensive, is watered by Bill-Load, a branch of the river Nen, near Ramsey Mere. At Ram's Eye, in this parish, there formerly stood a mitred Benedictine abbey of great wealth and magnificence, founded about 967 by Alderman Ailwine, Duke of the East Angles, and dedicated to SS. Mary and Benedict.
At the Dissolution the site was given to the Cromwells, who converted it into a private seat. The tower of the abbey was rebuilt by Aednoth, the first abbot, and contained a good library of Hebrew and other books. Its revenue at the Dissolution was valued at £1,983 138, 3d. The ancient gateway is still in a state of preservation, and there are remains of a grange at Ramsay House. The town of Ramsay, which is situated at the bottom of a hill on Burybrook, is well built, and principally consists of two streets, one of them extending northward from the bridge along the bank of the stream. It was afflicted with the plague in 1555, and was much damaged by a fire which broke out in 1731. A considerable portion of the land was formerly fenny, but has of late years been drained, and is now in a high state of cultivation. The surface is flat, and the soil generally rich and light.
Manorial courts-leet are held every year in May or June, at which a constable is appointed. The impropriation belongs to Edward Fellowes, Esq., whose tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £648. The living is a perpetual curacy* in the diocese of Ely, value £47. The church, dedicated to St. Benedict, or according to others, to St. Thomas a Becket, is a Norman structure, with an embattled tower. The church has remains of stained glass and several brasses. It was thoroughly restored and repaired in 1844 and 1845, the expense being defrayed by the lord of the manor. There is also the district church of St. Mary's, the living of which is a perpetual curacy,* value £150. The church is of recent erection. The parochial charities produce about £50 per annum, exclusive of almshouses for 12 poor women, erected and endowed by Mrs. Fellowes and E. Fellowes, Esq., in 1837. There are free schools for both sexes, and a spinning school for 50 girls, with an income of £40. There are places of worship for the Wesleyans, Baptists, Primitive Methodists, and Particular Baptists. The manor house, the principal residence, is built out of the ruins of the abbey. Edward Fellowes, Esq., M.P., is lord of the manor. Market day is Wednesday. A fair is held on the 22nd July for cattle and toys.