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

"COTTENHAM, a parish in the hundred of Chesterton, in the county of Cambridge, 3 miles north of Hilston station, and 6 north of Cambridge. There are now six manors in Cottenham,-viz. Rectory, Crowlands, Lisles, Sames, Pelhams, and Harlstones. Peter of Blois relates that "Geoffrey, Abbot of Croyland; sent over to his manor of Cottenham, nigh the Cam, Gislebert, his fellow-monk, and professor of divinity, with three other monks; who, following him to England, being thoroughly furnished with philosophical theorems, and other primitive sciences, repaired daily to Cambridge; and, having hired a certain public barn, made open profession of their sciences, and in a short space of time drew together a great company of scholars," thus laying the foundation of the after university. In 1265 John de Walerand, the parson of Cottenham, obtained a royal charter for a weekly market on Monday, and a fair for three days at the feast of SS. Peter and Paul. Large quantities of cheese were formerly made; but the common is now enclosed, and under cultivation, so that the quantity is much reduced. In 1850 the village was greatly damaged by fire, when property amounting to £25,000 was destroyed. The living is a rect* in the diocese of Ely, value £770, in the patronage of the Bishop of Ely. The church, dedicated to All Saints, is an edifice composed of stone and rubble, in the perpendicular style, and has a nave, aisles, chancel, and lofty tower with four pinnacles, richly ornamented. The charities are extensive, and chiefly for apprenticing boys, gifts to poor at certain seasons, and other purposes, as appointed by will. Dr. Fitzwilliam's charity, besides other provisions, gives bibles and prayer-books to those who most regularly attend church. The Baptists have two chapels, and the Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists one each. Here are Moreton's almshouses for the aged poor. The parish of Cottenham gives the title of earl to the Pepys family. Roman remains, chiefly of pottery, are frequently found. Archbishop Tenison was born in the rectory-house. The old Cardike runs through the parish for some distance, and then joins the Old Ouse. A short portion of the old road made by William the Conqueror, for the subjugation of the Isle of Ely, runs through the parish at the extreme north-west corner."

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


  • The Monumental Inscriptions for All Saints churchyard, 1658-1986, are recorded in the Cambridgeshire Archives. These inscriptions are also available on microfiche from the Cambridgeshire Family History Society Publications list (search) There are also records held for the Dissenters cemetery 1837-1989 which are also held at Huntingdon Record Office.





Church History

  • "The church of All Saints is an edifice of stone and rubble in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, north and south porches and lofty tower with four pinnacles containing a clock and 6 bells: the chancel is Perpendicular, and has richly carved sedilia and a piscina: the east window is a copy from one in Prior Crauden's chapel at Ely: the nave arcades are Early Decorated, and part of the tower is also of this perios: there are two memorial windows and an oak chest bound with iron: in 1867 the church was partially restored and fitted with oak benches, enriched with carvings reproducing the forms of the plants, ferns and flowers of the district: there are 500 sittings. The register dates from the year 1572."
    [Kelly's Directory - 1900]

Church Records

  • Church of England
    • Cottenham, All Saints: Records of baptisms 1572-1725, 1813-1993, marriages 1573-1724, 1754-2003, burials 1582-1725, 1813-1990 and banns 1754-1999 reside in the Cambridgeshire Archives. The Bishop's Transcripts for the years 1599-1835 can be found in the Cambridge University Library and photocopies 1792-1812 can be found in the Cambridgeshire Archives. Indexed transcripts exist in the Cambridgeshire Archives for baptisms 1653-1812, marriages 1653-1792 and burials 1640-1792 with an additional index transcript of marriages 1573-1837.
  • Baptist Church
    • Old Baptist Meeting: Records exist for births 1789-1803 with index transcripts of these for the years 1798-1803.
  • Methodist Church
    • Cottenham Wesleyan Methodist Church: Records exist for baptisms 1871-1916 although this church became part of the Cottenham Wesleyan Circuit in 1876.
    • Wesleyan Methodist Church: Records exist for the Cottenham Wesleyan Circuit of which Cottenham is part.
    • Wesleyan Methodist Church: Records exist for the Cambridge Wesleyan Circuit of which Cottenham was for some time a part.

Description and Travel

  • "The "Cottenham Philo-Union," a species of village club, opened in February, 1881, is well supplied with the daily and weekly papers, and has a coffee and reading room. The recreation ground, on which a handsome pavilion has been erected, can be flooded in case of severe frost and used for skating. The road from Belsar's Hills to Aldreth High bridge, which was the old British road out of the Isle of Ely, runs along the corner of the parish. The ancient Carr Dyke traverses the fens, and close to it, on the boudary next to Landbeach, many remains of Roman pottery have been found, and in 1855 a beautiful bronze bust was discovered on this site. This village was formerly noted for the superior quality of its cheese, produced here some years ago in large quantities, but latterly the extensive pastures have been converted into arable land. The fruit gardens are extensive and increasing and hundreds of tons of fruit are sent during the season to London, Manchester and other markets. There are six manors-viz. Crowlands, Lyles, Sames, Burdley or Harlston, Rectory manor and Pelhams. The representatives of the late Dr. Thomas Musgrave, Archbishop of York 1848-60, are lords of the manors of Crolands, Lyles and Sames; Christs's Colledge, Cambridge, of Burdley or Harlston, and the rector, of Rectory manor; the greater part of the land in the parish has been enfranchised."
    [Kelly's Directory - 1900]



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Military History



  • Land Tax: records were compiled afresh each year and contain the names of owners and occupiers in each parish, but usually there is no address or place name. These records reside in the Cambridgeshire Archives for the years 1798 (on microfilm), 1829-32, 1845 and 1880-1948.