"HUNTINGDONSHIRE, (or Hunts), an inland county of England, situated in the east lowlands, between 52° 8' and 62° 36' north lat., and 0° 3' east and 0° 30' west long. In shape it somewhat resembles a lozenge, being 30 miles in length from north to south, and about 23 miles in its shorter diagonal from east to west. In size it is one of the smallest of the English counties, only Middlesex and Rutland being less, and one only, Rutland, having fewer inhabitants." (There is more of this description).
by Colin Hinson ©2013
- Huntingdonshire Archives and Local Studies
- Princes Street
Telephone: 01480 372738
- Open Monday, Tuesday and Friday
Please see their website for details
- The office is closed on public holidays.
- Princes Street
- The Norris Museum and Library
Telephone:- U.K. 01480 497314, Overseas +44 1480 497314
The Norris Museum is the Museum of Huntingdonshire. It tells the story of this historic county from the earliest times to the present day. The Museum was founded by Herbert Norris, a St. Ivian, who left his lifetime's collection of Huntingdonshire relics to the town when he died in 1931. Opening Hours:
May to September:
Monday to Friday 10.00 am - 1 pm and 2 pm - 5 pm
Saturday 10 am - 12 pm and 2 pm - 5 pm
Sunday 2 pm - 5 pm
- Ramsey Rural Museum
- A Summary of Documentary and Library Holdings in the Huntingdon County Record Office.
October to April:
Monday to Friday 10 am - 1 pm and 2 pm to 4 pm
Saturday 10 am - 12 pm
The Museum is closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and Good Friday.
Admission to the Museum is FREE. However, Library Users must make a prior appointment in order to use the documents.
Telephone:- U.K. 01487 814304, Overseas +44 1487 814304
Ramsey Rural Museum is housed in a variety of 18th Century farm buildings. The collections include a wide variety of agricultural implements and tools used by local craftsmen. There are many examples of well restored farm machinery.
Opening Hours: The museum is open Thursdays and Sundays from April to September from 2pm until 5pm.
- Census information was collected in Huntingdonshire every ten years starting in 1801, except for 1941 when the Country was at war. The original purpose of the census was to provide population statistics. However, the 1841 Census was the first meaningful one to help family history researchers because this is the earliest to list personal names. From then onwards the records show the names of each person at the address at which he or she spent the night of the census date. Returns become available for public inspection on the first working day of the year following the year in which they become one hundred years old. Researchers should be aware that there is much evidence to suggest that people did not always state their ages correctly.
Parishes of birth were not recorded in the 1841 Census, although an indication 'Y' or 'N' was given as to whether they were born within the county. For those under the age of 14 the exact age is given, but the ages of those aged 15 or more are rounded down to the nearest 5 years below - so someone who stated he was 19 would have been recorded as 15. From the 1851 census the information is more meaningful.
The dates of UK Censuses are:
1841 - 7th June.
1851 - 30th March.
1861 - 7th April.
1871 - 2nd April.
1881 - 3rd April.
1891 - 5th April.
1901 - 31st March.
1911 - 2nd April.
1921 - 19th June.
1931 - 26th April.
The GRO District volume numbers for Huntingdonshire are:
1837 to 1852 - Vol. 14
1852 to 1946 - Vol. 3b
1946 to 1974 - Vol. 4B
1974 to date - Vol 9.
Census information in the UK is increasingly being transcribed onto the Internet by the Free BDM Project which is searchable.
- Notwithstanding the parochial complexities, the ecclesiastical organisation of Huntingdonshire has been relatively simple. The medieval Archdeaconry of Huntingdon, within the Diocese of Lincoln, was virtually conterminous with the county, having in addition a detached area of Western Hertfordshire. The latter can virtually be discounted, but the connection with Lincoln, which lasted until the Archdeaconry was transferred to the Ely Diocese in 1837, is of some significance to the family historian. It gave rise to the special or 'peculiar'jurisdictions of Brampton, Buckden, Leighton Bromswold and Stow Longa (including Barham, Easton and Stow Longa), each having probate of Wills. Genealogical information relating to Huntingdonshire can therefore be found in Lincoln ecclesiastical records.
- The Ely Diocese jurisdiction still predominates in much of Huntingdonshire.
- Further details of some of the Reformed Evangelical Christian organisations and churches in Cambridgeshire (and which encompasses the old Huntingdonshire) is available on the Archive.org site.
- The list of surviving Huntingdonshire parish registers and their availability, appears as part of "Church Records" detail on each parish page.
- A copy of the list of Huntingdonshire Parish Registers, which are in the Library of the Society of Genealogists, are now on-line.
- The Huntingdonshire Methodist Circuit have deposited many local Methodist records, including the Baptism registers of the St. Ives section of the Huntingdonshire Wesleyan Methodist Mission Circuit 1837 - 1980 (acc. 4643 part) with the Huntingdon Record Office. This collection includes minute books for a variety of local Methodist Churches, including those at Alconbury, Earith, Great Gidding, Huntingdon, Ramsey Heights, St. Ives and Warboys.
- Huntingdonshire FHS have published a series of Marriage Indexs these cover the periods 1601-1700, 1700-1754 and 1754-1837. The sets are available from the Society's Publications List.
- Records of the Quakers in Huntingdonshire are available. The Huntingdonshire FHS have published Quaker births registered in Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire 1631 to 1837 (Fiche set D-53), and also Quaker Marriages in Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire 1657-1837 (fiche set (D-54). The sets are available from the Society's Publications List.
- The Strict Baptist Historical Society offers a number of records to those whose ancestors were members of this Nonconformist sect. Graham Ward has listed a summary of Baptist Ministers in Huntingdonshire 1811 to 1831.
- A transcript of the late Ted Wildy's Wedding Witnesses for Huntingdonshire.
- The Unions of parishes, established by the Poor Law Commissioners under the 1835 Act of Parliament, became registration districts with the introduction of civil registration of births, marriages and deaths in 1837, so superseding the medieval division of the county and even breaking with the ancient county boundaries. Only the Huntingdon Registration District lay wholly within the county; the other districts of St. Ives and St. Neots in their Registration County contained substantial parts of Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, and much of the county falling in the Peterborough Registration District.
Finally, several parishes on the north-western edge were assigned to Thrapston, Oundle and Stamford Registration Districts, and others on the south-eastern edge to the Cambridgeshire Registration District of Caxton.
These points need to be borne in mind, in particular by users of civil registration and Poor Law records.
Civil registration information in the UK is increasingly being transcribed onto the Internet by the Free BDM Project which is searchable.
Brett Langston has provided details of Registration Districts 1837-1930.
Certificates of birth, death and marriage which occured in Huntingdonshire, can be obtained from the Superintendent Registrar at the following District Register Offices:
If ordering from a District Office, please note the following:
(a) the cost of a certificate is currently £6.50 - send a Sterling cheque payable to the Superintendent Registrar plus return postage or two International Reply Coupons.
(b) the GRO (formerly the St. Catherine's) Index references are of no value.
(c) for marriage certificates, the precise place of marriage must be given.
(d) Civil Registration in England and Wales began on July 1st 1837.
Certificates can also be obtained centrally by post from the UK Office of National Statistics directly.
There is a listing of marriages for 1856 Quarter 1 for District 3b for Huntingdonshire.
- Harvard Law School Library Catalogue of Medieval and Early Modern Deeds - includes summaries of deeds relating to Huntingdonshire.
- Huntingdon & Godmanchester The town of Huntingdon, the county's only ancient incorporated borough, lies a little south-east of centre where the old Great North Road crosses the River Great Ouse. Across the river, and a little to the south, lies Godmanchester which, during the Middle Ages, acquired many of the borough characteristics of its larger neighbour, including - eventually in 1604 - a Charter of incorporation. For many purposes Huntingdon and Godmanchester became conjoined. In 1961 the 2 boroughs were amalgamated; however, they now once again have separate town councils.
- St Ives St Ives, downstream from Huntingdon and to the north-east on the Great Ouse, owed its growth to the medieval fair of European importance which took place there, and to the important livestock market which continued until very recently. It was only in 1874 did St Ives become a municipal borough.
- St Neots St Neots, upstream and south at the crossing of the Great North Road and the Great Ouse, whilst an important agricultural centre, never achieved borough status.
- Kimbolton & Ramsey Neither Kimbolton (in the south-west) nor Ramsey (in the north-east) ever achieved borough status, though both have played a role as important local centres of population and administrative activity.
- Cambridgeshire Library Services have provided Cambridgeshire History on the Net which includes historical descriptions and photographs of some Huntingdonshire parishes.
- There is a collection of photographs from The Francis Frith Collection for Cambridgeshire including Huntingdonshire villages on-line.
- When the photographer HES Simmons went round the country taking photographs of windmills in the 1930s he made notes about some of the mills he visited. Copies can be obtained from the Muggeridge collection at the University of Kent.
- Notes are kept in the HES Simmons collection at the Science Museum in London.Address; Science Museum Library smlinfo[at]nmsi.ac[dot]uk.The information librarian is a Mr. John Underwood, who will check the collection for you, and for a small charge photocopy any relevant information.
- Trade Directories of Huntingdonshire (and some other counties) in 1830 can be searched.
- The entire Hatfield's Gazetteer and Directory of Huntingdonshire in 1845, to which an index of both names and places has been added, is also available on a set of 12 microfiche (Fiche Set: D-46) from the Huntingdonshire Family History Society Publications List.
- Searchable shipping records, which contain passenger lists, for those which took part in emigration from the United Kingdom and Ireland are being transcribed by the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild.
- GENUKI have produced a A Guide for Newbies to help those starting their research in English counties.
- The LDS Church have produced the International Genealogical Index (IGI) of England which includes Huntingdonshire. However, the county is not well represented on the IGI with less than 15 percent of the county currently included. Researchers should be aware that the IGI contains many errors and also includes Mormon Temple ordinance dates, so the information in the IGI must be used with care, and the original parish records checked to confirm the detail. An easy to use look up of the IGI and link to the Family Search has been provided by Hugh Wallis for Huntingdonshire.
- The Bishop of Ely delegated authority to each parish as to whether they would permit their parish registers to be filmed by the LDS. Very few have agreed, although the situation is constantly under review and it is hoped that permission will be given for more registers to be filmed for inclusion. In the meantime, the Huntingdonshire Family History Society are transcribing the registers onto microfiche; available fiche are listed on the Publications List and is described on each parish page (see Towns and Parishes below).
- The Huntingdonshire Look-up Exchange. Volunteers are offering look-ups in various research references.
- British Isle Genealogical Register 1997 The (BIG R - 1997), which lists all researchers who have registered their interests in Huntingdonshire, is also available on microfiche (Fiche D-37) from the Huntingdonshire Family History Society Publications List.
- The Association of Genealogists and Record Agents offer a list of members, together with their code of practice, in undertaking professional research within the UK. By employing members of AGRA you can be sure that your researcher is experienced, has proven competence when applying for membership, and has agreed to abide by the Code of Practice.
- The Victoria History of the Counties of England series for Huntingdonshire covers the history, including village, town, social, economic and natural history, of the county in several volumes. An index to the pages for Huntingdonshire is available on-line.
- The villages and places of Huntingdonshire in 1086 is recorded in the Domesday Book. The county has existed as a distinct area since Anglo-Saxon times. For the most part the county, as recorded in the Domesday survey, is identical to that which nearly nine centuries later, in 1965, was amalgamated with the Soke of Peterborough (the small autonomous area of Northamptonshire to the north) to form the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough. That administrative county survived nine years until 1974 when it was united with Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely to the east, to form the present administrative county of Cambridgeshire. On 1st April 1998, Peterborough Urban area became a separate unitary authority - in effect a separate county, into which some of the northern parishes of Huntingdonshire have now been incorporated.
Whatever the benefits of the 1974 amalgamation with Cambridgeshire (and, if nothing else, there were certainly improvements in the care and use of local archives), the loss of the old county was keenly felt. The name Huntingdonshire was only briefly suppressed, as in 1984 the lower tier of English local government, which had itself been created out of the amalgamation of several borough, rural and urban authorities in 1974, cast off its name of the Huntingdon District Council, and renamed itself the Huntingdonshire District Council. In 1992, with the government committed to simplifying local administration, there existed the possibility that the District would win the argument to become a unitary authority, and so in effect regain county status. This hope still exists.
To equate modern Huntingdonshire with the county of our ancestors, however, is deceptive. Whilst the changes have not been on the scale or complexity of those affecting metropolitan areas, a modern road atlas contains pitfalls for the unwary who may use it as a guide to the ancient boundaries of the county.
As the amalgamations of 1965 and 1974 will have implied, Huntingdonshire was a small ancient county; only Middlesex (now absorbed into London) and Rutland (which had been amalgamated with Leicestershire in 1974, but has now been restored) were smaller. Its greatest dimensions were 30 miles north-to-south and 23 miles west-to-east, in a very crude diamond. These proportions are reflected in the basis of the lozenge in the county arms.
The medieval division of the county was into four Hundreds: Norman Cross, Leightonstone, Hurstingstone, and Toseland - representing (remarkably tidily) the northern, western, eastern and southern quarters of the county respectively. The hundredal division was actively used for many purposes into the 19th Century (including, for example, the 1841 Census) and for taxation and judicial purposes lasting even longer.
At the lowest administrative level, (i.e. the parish) some ancient anomalies were ironed out in the late 19 th Century. The detached Huntingdonshire parish of Swineshead, an island within Bedfordshire, was exchanged for the Bedfordshire parish of Tilbrook which formerly jutted into Huntingdonshire. Further north, the county boundary which ran through the parishes of Winwick, Luddington, Thurning and Lutton, was regularised, assigning Winwick wholly to Huntingdonshire and the others wholly to Northamptonshire. It was not until 1965 that a detached part of Tetworth at the southern tips of the county, including within it the parish church of Everton-cum-Tetworth, was transferred to Bedfordshire. At the same time a large part of Eaton Socon parish, across the river from St Neots, was transferred to Huntingdonshire from Bedfordshire. Family Historians beware!
- Directory of medical licences issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury 1535-1775 including those for Huntingdonshire.
- Records of soldiers who served in the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion of the first World War (1914 to 1919) is available on microfiche (Fiche D-40) from the Huntingdonshire FHS Bookstall.
The list, which is in alphabetical order, contains: surname, christian names, HCB service number, town/village they were living at time of enlistment, the address in that location, date/place of enlistment, army service number and Regiment (if they transferred), date wounded and/or date killed.
- There is an outline of the history of the Argentein family in the 11th to 13th centuries.
- For Huntingdonshire, various runs of the Huntingdon, Bedford, Cambridge & Peterborough Gazette 1818-39, which continued as the Cambridge Independent Press are to be found in the Norris Library (see under Archives and Libraries), St Ives, Cambridge Central Library, Cambs Record Office, and Bedfordshire Record Office. There was also a Huntingdon, Northampton, Bedford & Cambridge Weekly Journal 1825-28.
- Huntingdonshire County News 1886-1920+ is available in the Norris Library; Huntingdonshire Chronicle 1889-1900 is in the Cambridge Library); Huntingdonshire Post 1893-1920+ (some are available in the Norris Library). The St Ives & Hunts/Cambs/Eastern Counties Gazette 1857-60 became the Huntingdonshire News 1860-73; the Hunts County Guardian 1870-93 also has runs in the Norris Library; Huntingdon Library where there is an index in progress; Hunts & Cambs Observer 1890-93.
- There are various runs in Norris Library/ Cambridge Library of the St. Neots Advertiser; St. Neots Chronicle, and Hunts. & Cambs. Observer.
- The on-line Newspaper which covers parts of Huntingdonshire (notably Huntingdon, St. Ives and districts) is the Cambridge Evening News.
- The Hunts Post is a local Huntingdon newspaper containing the main news from the area, plus information about events in the area and the nationally-recognised newspaper itself. It also acts as a guide to the district.
- The Poor Law Union arrangements in Huntingdonshire were quite complex. There were three Poor Law Unions established in the county itself:
St Neots PLU
St Ives PLU.
Each Poor Law Union established a Workhouse to provide indoor relief for the poor, however, many other Huntingdonshire parishes were included in the Poor Law Unions of other counties.
- Yelling and Great Gransden came under Caxton PLU in Cambridgeshire. Sibson-cum-Stibbington came under Stamford PLU in Lincolnshire, and nearly 30 parishes in the north-west of the county came under three Northamptonshire PLUs. In particular some 21 of these parishes in the north of the county fell into the Peterborough PLU. The details are included in the parish pages - See Towns & Parishes below).
- See also under Civil Registration above.
- Births and Deaths occurring in the Huntingdon Workhouse, St. Ives Workhouse and St. Neots Workhouse are available from the Huntingdonshire FHS Bookstall as Fiches D-10, D-9 and D-11 respectively.
- The Huntingdonshire Family History Society.
The Huntingdonshire FHS looks after the whole of the old county of Huntingdonshire, on behalf of the Federation of Family History Societies for England and Wales. However, the Peterborough and District FHS (see below) also has an interest in the parishes which were formerly in the Peterborough Poor Law Union.
- The Huntingdonshire Local History Society.
The Society aims to encourage research into Huntingdonshire History. Records of Huntingdon , the Society's journal is published annually. During the winter months a wide-ranging programme of monthly lectures is held on Thursday evenings in the Huntingdon Methodist Church, High Street, Huntingdon, commencing at 7.30 p.m. to which visitors are welcome. A social evening is held at Christmas and an Annual General Meeting in May. During the summer, coach excurtions to places of historical interest within the old county and farther afield are organised. Each excursion is led by a member of the Society or a local expert.
Chairman: Philip Saunders, Tel.: 01954-250421.
Secretary: Jean Burbidge, Tel.: 01487-773349.
- The Peterborough & District FHS.
The Peterborough & District FHS looks after the area of the Soke of Peterborough (formerly part of Northamptonshire) and certain Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, and Northamptonshire parishes in the surrounding areas. The Huntingdonshire parishes concerned are:
Alwalton Botolphbridge Caldecote Chesterton Connington Denton Elton Farcett Folksworth Glatton Haddon Holme Morborne Orton Longueville Orton Waterville Stanground Stibbington Stilton Water Newton Woodstone Yaxley
- Land Tax
- Details of the location of Land Tax Assessment records for Huntingdonshire can be found in the book " LAND and WINDOW TAX ASSESSMENTS " compiled by Jeremy Gibson, Mervyn Medlycott and Dennis Mills, 2nd edition 1998 and published by the Federation of Family History Societies.
- Window Tax
- Details of the location of Window Tax Assessment records for Huntingdonshire can be found in the book " LAND and WINDOW TAX ASSESSMENTS " compiled by Jeremy Gibson, Mervyn Medlycott and Dennis Mills, 2nd edition 1998 and published by the Federation of Family History Societies.
- The Hearth Tax
- The majonty of the taxes and their records relate to the reign of Charles II (1660-1655), of which the Hearth Tax generated by far the most (surviving) records. and consequently is the best known and most useful. Others were the 1661 Free and Voluntary Present to the King, Subsidies and Aids, and the Poll Tax. On the accession of William and Mary. the Hearth Tax was repealed (1689). beIng replaced eventually by the Land Tax and the Window Tax - few records of which survive pre-1715, and these only for the more prosperous - and, for a short time, the 'Marriage Tax', which is of great use and interest to genealogists, but unfortunately only exists for a few places. Details of the location of these records and other later Stuart Tax Lists and the Association Oath Rolls can be found in the book " THE HEARTH TAX and other later Stuart Tax Lists and the ASSOCIATION OATH ROLLS " compiled by Jeremey Gibson, 2nd edition 1996 published by the Federation of Family History Societies.
- Protestations Returns 1641-42
- The Protestation, a form of oath of loyalty ostensibly to the King, but in fact to Parliament, was initiated in the House of Commons in May 1641, when Members themselves took it. Nine months later its scope was vastly widened, when instructions went out that it should be taken by every adult (male); very occasionally women were also recorded. Closely assodated with the Protestation was the Collection in Aid of Distressed Protestants in Ireland. The oath was taken and the collection made, often simultaneously, in February 1641/2 and March. Parliament-approved taxation records recommence, after Charles l's eleven years of personal rule, with Tudor-type Subsidies, to be collected during 1641. In July 1641 a Poll Tax was voted, but few records of this survive. Thirdly, an Assessment or Grant was agreed, to be collected in May and November 1642. This Assessment had a much lower tax threshold and consequently many more taxpayers are named. Details of the location of these records and other contempary listings can be found in the book " THE PROTESTATION RETURNS 1641-42 and other contemporary listings " compiled by Jeremey Gibson and Alan Dell, 1995 published by the Federation of Family History Societies.
- Church Taxes
- Church Commissioners. The body that manages the temporal affairs of the Church of England. Created in 1948 by the amalgamation of the former Ecclesiastical Commissioners (first appointed in 1836) and the commissioners of "Queen Anne's Bounty", the Church Commissioners are responsible for the administration of church properties and finances and for the reorganisation, when necessary, of parishes. These include the tithes due on church owned land; this was a common occurence throughout Cambridgeshire and the tithes were levied by a system whereby a landowner had to collect the money from other landowners in the parish), whether he managed to collect it or not, he had to pay it for the patish. Each landowner was nominated in turn each year. As can be seen by the various Twons and Parishes listed here much of the property was owned by the church.
- Tithes a tenth part of the produce of the land paid from quite early years of the Church to maintain the Clergy. In England, when the lord of a Manor built a Church on his estate, he often enforced payment of tithes to its priest as its endowment, and in time such allocation of tithes became general law. A Synod in 786 strongly enjoined the payment of tithes, which was enforced by law in 900. Tithes were of three sorts - 'praedial', of the fruits of the earth; 'personal', of the profits of labour; and 'mixed', partly of the ground and partly of the industry of man. They were further divided into 'great' (tithes of wheat, oats and other major crops) and 'small' (tithes of lambs, chicken and other minor produce). A Rector had all the tithes, but a Vicar only the small tithes. Gradually many landowners substituted annual cash payments instead of tithes. The Tithes Commutation Act (1836) converted tithes into rent charges dependent on the varying price of corn, but in 1918 the value was fixed, and in 1925 and 1936 further acts were passed (Tithe Redemption Act) to extinguish tithes. There are now no such things as tithes in England.
- Ecclesiastical Commission a permanent body, consisting of Bishops and certain lay members appointed by the Crown and the Archbishop of Canterbury, created in 1835 by Act of Parliament through the efforts of Sir Robert Peel to hold much of the property of the Church of England and make better use of it. The Commission abolished sinecures, diminished the chapters of cathedrals brought the incomes of bishops nearer to equality and increased the endowments of poor parishes. In 1948 it was united with Queen Anne's bounty to form a new body, the Church Commissioners for England.
- Queen Anne's Bounty. A fund established by Queen Anne in 1704. She surrendered her revenues from first fruits and tenths to the fund, which was to be used for the benefit of poorer beneficed clergy. In the 19th century the fund also received parliamentary wants and private donations. In 1948 the administration of the fund passed to the Church Commissioners.
First fruits and tenths were payments made to the Pope by beneficed clergymen. In 1534 in England these were acquired by the King under Act. Various exemptions were made in 1535, 1536, 1558, 1706 and 1707. In 1703 an Act was passed enabling Queen Anne to employ these moneys in augmenting poor benefices, and since then they have been known as Queen Anne's Bounty, and have been administered by commissioners, first appointed in 1704. Existing legislation regarding Queen Anne's Bounty are Acts of 1703, 1716, 1777, 1780, 1801, 1803,1805, 1830, 1837, 1838, 1839, 1840, 1846, 1865, 1870, 1874, 1875, 1881, 1890, 1894, 1908. The Acts known as Queen Anne's Bounty Acts are those of 1703, 1716, 1803, 1838, 1840 and 1870.