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

"WATERBEACH, a parish in the hundred of Northstow, county Cambridge, 5 miles north-east of Cambridge, its post town, and 9 south-west of Ely. It is a station on the Great Eastern railway. The village is situated near the Ely road and the river Cam. At a farm in this parish are remains of the abbot's house, refectory, &c., of Denny Abbey, founded in 1160 as a cell to the monastery of Ely, but in the following century occupied by the Knights Templars. A nunnery was subsequently founded by Dionysia de Mountchense, which in 1338 was connected with the house of the St. Clares at Dinney. There are some extensive market gardens. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Ely, value £424, in the patronage of the bishop. The church, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist, is of the 13th century. The interior contains a double piscina, antique font, &c. The register dates from 1653. The parochial charities produce upwards of £250 per annum, including almshouses for 6 poor widows, &c. There is an endowed free school for both sexes. The Wesleyans, Baptists, and Primitive Methodists have chapels."

"DENNY ABBEY, a hamlet in the parish of Waterbeach, in the county of Cambridge, 7 miles north-north-east of Cambridge. It is situated on the Ely railway. A nunnery was founded here by. Mary de Valence (foundress of Pembroke Hall), temp. Edward III., on the site of the Benedictine cell given by the Knights Templars; the remains of the chapel are now a barn. At the Dissolution there were in Denny Abbey twenty-five nuns, whose revenue was valued at £218 0s. ld.

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


  • The Monumental Inscriptions for the churchyard of St. John the Evangelist are recorded for the years 1696-1972 and reside in the Cambridgeshire Archives. These inscriptions are also available on microfiche from the Cambridgeshire Family History Society Publications list (search).
  • "A Cemetery of one acre was formed in 1879, at a cost of about £300, and is now under the control of the Parish Council. "
    [Kelly's Directory - 1900]





Church History

  • "The church of St. John the Evangelist is an edifice of the 13th century, in the Early English style with Perpendicular insertions, and consists of chancel, clerestoried nave, aisles, south porch and an embattled western tower containing a clock and 5 bells: the windows of the clerestory and aisles are Perpendicular: the chancel is enriched with an alabaster and mosaic reredos: the beautiful font of marble and Caen stone and a very elaborate brass lectern were presented by friends of the late vicar: the chancel, nave and aisles have been restored, and the church enlarged and reseated with carved oak benches, and in 1878 a stained window was placed in the belfry: in the nave floor is a stone inscribed to William Stane M.D. and Fellow of the College of Physicians in London, d. 11 Feb. 1679: the pulpit was erected in 1879, as a memorial to the Rev. William Keatinge Clay B.D. vicar here 1854-67; it is of Caen stone and alabaster, inlaid with representations in mosaic of the Sermon on the Mount and the preaching of St. Paul, and is further adorned with statuettes of St. John the Baptist and the Prophet Elijah: the church was restored in 1878, at a cost of £3,500, and affords 450 sittings. The register dates from the year 1653."
  • "The mission church of St. Andrew, at the extreme end of the parish, and 3½ miles from the parish church, was erected in 1883, at a cost of about £800, mainly contributed by Mrs. Horne, and is a building of stone, consisting of chancel and nave: it affords 60 sittings. Here is a Baptist chapel, of which the late Rev. C. H. Spurgeon was for some years minister and one at Chittering. There are also Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist chapels and a Salvation Army hall."
  • "Two miles north-west are the remains of the ancient abbey of Denny (Daneia), originally built in 1160 by Robert, chamberlain to the Duke of Bretagne, as a cell of Ely, and dedicated to SS. James and Leonard, but refounded in 1342 by Agnes, Countess of Pembroke, for nuns of the order of St. Clare: the refectory and the greater part of the church, of Norman and Decorated work, remains."
    [Kelly's Directory - 1900]

Church Records

  • Church of England
    • Waterbeach, St. John the Evangelist: The original registers still reside at the church. Records exist on microfilm for baptisms 1653-1957, marriages 1653-1857, burials 1653-77, 1759-1895 and banns for 1653-77, 1759-1895, 1939, 1959-82 and reside in the Cambridgeshire Archives, indexed transcripts exist for marriages 1599-1642, 1653-1837. The Bishop's Transcripts for the years 1599-1691, 1702-1866 can be found in the Cambridge University Library.
  • Methodist Church


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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, 1880-1948.