Towns, Cities, Villages and Hamlets


Samuel Lewis's Topographical Gazeetter 1831

COTTENHAM, a parish in the hundred of CHESTERT0N, locally in that of Northstow, county of CAMBRIDGE, 6¾ miles (N.) from Cambridge, containing 1488 inhabitants. The living is a rectory, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Ely, rated in the king's books at 36.15., and in the patronage of the Bishop of Ely. The church is dedicated to All Saints. There is a place of worship for Particular Baptists. The dairies, which are numerous in this parish and neighbourhood, are famed for producing excellent cheese. The adventurers' land, chiefly enclosed from the old river Ouse and the common adjoining, was sometimes subject to inundation, but, in consequence of late improvements, this has been in a great measure prevented. A branch of the old Ouse passes near the village, and meets the river Cam below Streatham. It was to this village that Geoffrey, abbot of Crowland, sent the monks who first established a regular course of academical education at Cambridge: in 1676 two thirds of it were destroyed by fire. A charity school was founded by Mrs. Catherine Pepys, in 1703, who gave a house for a schoolmaster, and 150 to purchase land, directing the rent to be paid as a salary for teaching sixteen poor children; and, in 1728, Mrs. Alice Rogers augmented this endowment with 10 per annum, for five more, and the same sum annually for apprenticing pour children, a bequest for the same purpose having been previously made, in 1671, by Mr. Moreton, who gave a moiety of an estate in the parish of St. Andrew, Holborn; in 1715, Mrs. Jane Bingliam gave 15 per annum for the like use. This is the birthplace of Archbishop Tenison, author of several theological works, who died in 1715.

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Cottenham All Saints Church

Cottenham Histon Road

COTTENHAM is a large village and parish, 4 miles north from the Histon station on the St. Ives and Cambridge branch of the Great Eastern railway, 2-and-a-half miles south-west from Oakington station on the same line and 6-and-a-half north from Cambridge, in the Western division of the county, hundred and union of Chesterton, petty sessional division and county court district of Cambridge, rural deanery of North Stowe and archdeaconry and diocese of Ely. The principal street is lighted with gas from works the property of the Cottenham Gas Co. Limited.

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.

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.

This was the birthplace of Thomas Tenison, archbishop of Canterbury, 1694-1715. The soil is various; subsoil, loamy clay. The chief crops are wheat, barley, oats and beans, fruit and vegetable produce. The area is 7,224 acres; rateable value, 10,495; the population in 1891 was 2,517.

[Extracts from Kelly's Directory - Cambridgeshire - 1900]

Domesday Book Entry


COTTENHAM answers for 10 hides. Land for 8 ploughs. In lordship 6 hides and 1 plough. 16 villagers and 10 cottagers with 6 ploughs. 2 slaves; meadow for 8 ploughs; pasture for the village livestock. The total value is and was 100s; before 1066, £8. This manor lies and lay in the lordship of the Church of Ely.

The Abbot of Crowland holds COTTENHAM. 11 hides. Land for 8 ploughs. In lordship 6 hides; 1 plough there; a second possible. 12 villagers and 8 smallholders with 6 ploughs. 1 slave; meadow for 8 ploughs; pasture for the village livestock; from the marsh 500 eels; from presentation 12d. The total value is and was £6; before 1066, £8. This man always was and is in the lordship of St. Guthlac's Church.

In COTTENHAM Roger holds 5 hides from Picot. Land for 3 ploughs. In lordship 1; another possible. 6 villagers with 8 cottagers have 1 plough. Meadow for 3 ploughs; pasture for the village livestock; from the marsh 150 eels. Value 40s; when acquired 50s; before 1066 60s. 3 Freemen held this land. One of them, St. ethelreda's man, held 3½ hides less 14 acres; he could not grant because it was of the Church's lordship. Another man of the Abbot's had 1½ hides and could grant without jurisdiction. The third, Earl Waltheof's man, had 14 acres; he could grant and sell.

In COTTENHAM Picot holds 40 acres and 1 garden of the lordship of the Church of Ely.

In CHESTERTON Hundred (these men) swore

Giffard of (DRY) DRAYTON Aelmer of COTTENHAM
Gilbert of HISTON Ledmer of (DRY) DRAYTON

and all other Frenchmen and Englishmen of this Hundred swore.

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 Cottenham page of GENUKI Cambridgeshire.

Genweb Cambridgeshire contains photographs and information about Cottenham.


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