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

"FORDHAM, a parish in the hundred of Staploe, county Cambridge, 4½ miles north of Newmarket, and 519 south-west of Mildenhall. Soham is its post town, and the nearest railway station is Newmarket. Market Street is a small place a little to the south of the village, which is considerable. A religious establishment of the order of Gilbertines was founded here at the beginning of the 13th century by Robert de Fordham, which, after the Dissolution, passed to the Paris and Russell families.

The land is chiefly arable, with a small proportion of pasture and woodland. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely, value £348, in the patronage of Jesus College, Cambridge. The church is an ancient stone edifice, dedicated to St. Peter. The register commences in 1600. The parochial charities consist of endowments producing about £50 per annum, and several almshouses. The Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists have each a chapel, and there are National schools for both sexes. There are some beautiful and extensive nursery grounds near the village. Fordham Abbey is the principal residence. The tithes were commuted for land and a money payment under an Enclosure Act in 1809."

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


  • "A cemetery of about half an acre was formed in 1892, and is under the control of the vicar and churchwardens." [Kelly's Directory - Cambridgeshire - 1929] The Monumental Inscriptions for the churchyard of St. Peter 1694-1984 are recorded in the Cambridge Records Office. These inscriptions are also available on microfiche from the Cambridgeshire Family History Society Publications list (search)



  • The Census Records from 1841-1891 can be found in the Cambridgeshire Archives. In addition the 1841 and 1851 Census for Fordham is available in full transcript form, on microfiche, from the Cambridgeshire Family History Society Publications list (search)
  • Abstract of Population 1821 - Census Statistical Returns 1822 - Staploe Hundred - Fordham Parish - The great increase of Population in Fordham Parish is ascribed to the grievous effect of the Poor Laws.


  • The Church of St. Peter and St. Mary Magdalene, Fordham.
  • The Congregational Church, Fordham.
  • The Wesleyan Chapel, Fordham.
  • The following Churches have their own websites:


Church History

  • "The church of St. Peter is an ancient building of stone and flint in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, organ chamber, faculty chapel, south porch and an embattled western tower containing 6 bells; the chapel of St. Mary, over the north entrance, was restored and opened to the interior as a gallery in 1864 by the late William Dunn Gardner: the chancel was painted in memory of Laura Mabel Townsend by her two sisters, Edith and Minnie: the stained east and west windows and others are memorials, several windows being to members of the Townsend family: the canopies and wall decoration of the chancel were executed by Mrs. C. P. Leonard, of Fordham, and the figures were painted as a memorial to Miss Townsend by her sisters: the altar cloth was worked and presented by Mrs. George Townsend and her daughter: a pair of candlesticks was presented by Mrs. Dawson Waugh and C. F. Townsend esq. in 1927 to the memory of George Townsend esq. of Exning: the church was restored during the period 1874-91, at a cost of £3,955, since when the porch has been restored and the interior adorned with mural decoration at a total cost of over £1,000: the organ was rebuilt in 1911 at a cost of £410 there are 600 sittings. The register dates from the year 1567."
  • "There is a Congregational chapel, erected in 1818, and having 400 sittings, and also Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist chapels."
    [Kelly's Directory - Cambridgeshire - 1929]

Church Records

  • Church of England
    • Fordham, St. Peter: Records of baptisms 1567-1962, marriages 1568-1953, burials 1567-1915 and banns 1754-1812, 1823-1874 reside in the Cambridgeshire Archives. The Bishop's Transcripts for the years 1569-1641 and 1663-1836 can be found in the Suffolk Record Office and copies on microfilm for 1567-1641 and 1663-99 can be found in the Cambridgeshire Archives. Indexed transcripts exist in the Cambridgeshire Archives for baptisms 1567-1852, marriages 1568-1837 and burials 1567-1852. The indexed transcripts of the registers are available in full transcript form, on microfiche, from the Cambridgeshire Family History Society Publications list (search).
  • Independent
    • Mill Lane Chapel. records of baptisms 1819-35 and burials 1825-32 (on Microfilm) reside in the Cambridgeshire Archives as well as indexed transcripts of baptisms 1819-35 and burials 1825-32.
  • Methodist Church

Description and Travel

  • "The Victoria Hall and Hayward Institute was erected in 1897 at a cost of £1,137, to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Her late Majesty Queen Victoria."
  • "A fire brigade station was erected in 1889 by voluntary contributions. Here was anciently a priory of Gilbertine canons, founded by King Henry III. as a cell to that of Sempringham, in Lincolnshire, and dedicated to St. Peter and St. Mary Magdalen. Its revenues at the Dissolution were estimated at £40. Fordham Abbey, the property of Algernon C. W. Dunn Gardner esq. is at present (1929) unoccupied."
    [Kelly's Directory - Cambridgeshire - 1929]





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  • "St. John's College, Cambridge, who possess the manorial rights of Bassingbourn; Trinity Hall, Cambridge, by whom the manorial rights of Felton's manor are held ; the Cambridgeshire County Council, who are lords of the manor of Coggishall, and Algernon C. W. Dunn Gardner eaq. and the Townsend family are the principal landowners."
    [Kelly's Directory - Cambridgeshire - 1929]

Military History


Probate Records

  • Two courts cover Fordham as follows:
    • Archdeaconry Court of Sudbury: Jurisidiction in various parishes including Fordham which were in the diocese of Norwich until they were transferred to the diocese of Ely in 1837.
      • Records are held at the Suffolk Record Office covering Wills, 1439-1857, administrations, 1544-46, 1568-93, 1605-12, 1630-1858, inventories, 1573-76, 1617, 1625, 1640, 1650-1747. Index to wills to 1535 are published in Proceedings of Suffolk Institute of Archaeology , volume 12 and of all records to 1700 in the Index Library of the British Records Society, volumes 95 and 96.
    • Consistory Court of Norwich: Records are held at the Norfolk Record Office. Wills 1370-1857, administrations, 1370-1499, 1549-1640, 1666-1857, inventories, 1584-1846. There is an index to wills covering 1370-1857 published by the Norfolk Record Society, volumes 16, 21, 34, 38 and 47.


  • 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, 1878-88 and 1931-48.