Towns, Cities, Villages and Hamlets

Caxton

Samuel Lewis's Topographical Gazeetter 1831

CAXTON, a small market town and parish in the hundred of LONGSTOW, county of CAMBRIDGE, 10½ miles (W. by S.) from Cambridge, and 49 (N.N.W.) from London, containing 406 inhabitants. This place, one of the oldest post towns in the country, is situated on the Roman Ermin-street, which passes through the town from Holm to Papworth: the houses are in general irregularly built and of mean appearance; there are some good inns, and the trade of the place arises chiefly from its situation on the old north road to York. The market, granted to Baldwin Freville in 1247, is on Tuesday: fairs, principally for pedlary, are held on May 5th and October 18th. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Ely, rated in the king's books at 7. 12. 4., and in the patronage of the Dean and Canons of Windsor. The church, dedicated to dl. Andrew, contains several memorials of the Barnard family, and a handsome monument to the memory of Mary, wife of John Hanson. Robert Lang-with, in 1581, bequeathed 81. 10. per annum for the benefit of eight of the poorest housekeepers, and for four sermons to be preached quarterly in the church. Matthew Paris, a Benedictine monk, who flourished in the reign of Henry III., and who wrote a history of the world from the creation to the year of his death, which happened in 1259, was a native of this place. It has been erroneously stated that Caxton, who introduced the art of printing into England, was born in this parish; his own memoirs refer his birth and education to the county of Kent.

Domesday Book Entry

In LONGSTOW Hundred.

Hardwin holds CAXTON himself. Before 1066 it answered for 10 hides; now for 6 hides. Land for 12 ploughs. In lordship 5 hides; 4 ploughs there. 17 villagers with 8 smallholders and 10 cottagers who have 8 ploughs. Meadow for 12 ploughs; wood for fences and houses. In total, value £11; when acquired £6; before 1066 £14. Thogar, King Edward's thane, held this manor. 22 Freemen were there. 4 of them were King edward's men; they held 1 hide and ½ virgate; this ½ virgate found 3 escorts; these men could grant and sell their lands. The other 18 were Earl Algar's men; they had 6 hides less ½ virgate of this land.

War Memorial

The war memorial and the men on it have been documented on the Roll of Honour Cambridgeshire page

For the Family Historian details of available records can be found on the Caxton page of GENUKI Cambridgeshire.

The old hangman's gibbet still stands at the crossroads outside Caxton.

CAXTON is a parish, on Ermine street, the Roman road between London and York, end on the borders of Huntingdonshire; it is the head of a petty sessional division, in the union of Carton and Arrington, 2 miles north-west from the Old North Road station on the Bedford and Cambridge line of the London, Midland and Scottish railway, about 12 west from Cambridge, 11 north from Royston and 9 east from St. Neots, in the hundred of Long Stowe, county court district of St. Neots, rural deanery of Bourn and archdeaconry and diocese of Ely.

The church of St. Andrew is a building; of stone and flint, chiefly Early English, but with portions in the Perpendicular style, and consists of chancel, nave, south aisle, south porch and a low embattled western tower containing 6 bells, restored and a new treble bell added in 1879, at a cost of about 400: the chancel retains a piscina with Geometric tracery in the head, and a plain sedile: the nave is curiously placed, being askew and on a higher level than the chancel, and is separated from the aisle by an arcade of four very lofty arches, carried on clustered piers: there are several memorials of the Barnard family, who had a seat at Caxton, and a memorial window to John Augustus Wright, surgeon, of this parish, d. 1869: there were formerly brasses to Sir John Myton, vicar, with effigy, 1479; John Cretyng, 1500, and Walter Cretyng, 1483: the church was restored in 1874 and 1929: there are over 200 sittings. The church of Caxton, which had belonged to the priory of Lewes, was in 1351 given to the Dean and Canons of Windsor. Dowsing, the Puritan iconoclast, on coming here removed "a cross on ye steeple and one on ye church, and 20 superstitious pictures." The register dates from the year 1741.

There is a Baptist chapel, erected in 1842, with 250 sittings.

Matthew Paris, the historian, probably connected with the Parish family of Hildersham and born about 1195, is said to have been a native of this place. The Caxton Moats, which originally formed a Roman fortification, are still of great interest. The kennels of the Cambridgeshire Hounds are in this parish; the pack comprises 50 couples of hounds, and hunts on Mondays. Tuesdays and Fridays, and occasionally on Saturdays; Douglas Crossman esq. J.P. and George Ralph Cunliffe Foster esq. J.P. are joint masters; Cambridge, Kimbolton, St. Neots, Huntingdon and Royston are convenient places for visitors; Old North Road is the nearest railway station to the kennels. The town formerly had a market, which was originally granted to Sir Baldwin de Freville in the year 1247; it was then held on Monday, but the day was afterwards changed to Tuesday, on which day it was held until the early part of the last century, since which time it has become obsolete. William Nugent Walter Gape esq. who is lord of the manor, William Arthur Briscos esq. J.P. Frank W. Hobson esq. and Job Wells Pentelow esq. are the principal landowners.

The soil here is stiff and clayey, and the subsoil a stiff blue gault. The chief crops are wheat, oats and barley. The area is 2,242 acres; the population in 1921 was 398.

[Extracts from Kelly's Directory - Cambridgeshire - 1929]

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