Towns, Cities, Villages and Hamlets

Fen Ditton

Samuel Lewis's Topographical Gazeetter 1831

DITTON (FEN), a parish in the hundred of FLENDISH, conuty of CAMBRIDGE, 2¾ miles (N.E. by E.) from Cambridge, containing 461 inhabitants. The living is a rectory, rated in the king’s books at £26. 12. 1., and in the peculiar jurisdiction and patronage of the Bishop of Ely. The church is dedicated to St. Mary. A market, now disused, was granted, in 1270, to one of the bishops of Ely, who resided at Biggiug, iu this parish. charity school was founded, in 1729, by Elizabeth March, and endowed with the fifth part of an estate, now producing about £100 per annum. An almshouse for six poor widows was built by one of the Willys family, in 1665.

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

Domesday Book Entry

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There is no mention of Fen Ditton
in the Domesday Book.

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War Memorial

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

Fen Ditton, Almshouses

FEN DITTON is a parish and village on the east bank of the river Cam, at the juncture of the Fleam Dyke, 2½ miles north-north-east from Cambridge, in the hundred of Flendish, Bottisham petty sessional division, union of Chesterton, Cambridge county court district, rural deanery of Quy and archdeaconry and diocese of Ely.

The church of St. Mary, which stands near a bend of the river and on its south bank, is an edifice of Barnack ashlar in the Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave of four hays, aisles, south porch and a western tower containing 5 bells: the chancel is a beautiful example of rather late Decorated work, but the nave, arcades and the clerestory are Perpendicular: the font, which bears shields of arms, is of the same date: the Early English tower, a curious structure supported on four arches, was taken down to the foundations in 1881 and carefully rebuilt under the direction of J. L. Pearson esq. R.A. the north aisle and chancel being restored at the same time, and the east window filled with stained glass, as a memorial to Professor Haviland by his sons: in 1888 further restoration was effected, and the total cost of both amounted to 4,060 : in the chancel is a mural monument with arms, to Richard Willys, of the Inner Temple, ob. 1625; a slab, with arms, to Jane, wife of John Cornwall S.T.P. ob. 1712; and another, also with arms, to Humfrey Gardner esq. oh. 1691. This church was visited in 1543 by Dowsing, the iconoclast, who "beat down two crucifixes, and ye 12 apostles, and many other superstitious pictures": in 1889 the south aisle, porch, clerestory wall and windows were thoroughly restored, and during the progress of the work two niches, quaintly painted, were discovered at the east end of the aisle, and also a piscine in a fair state of preservation there are 300 sittings. The register dates from the year 1538, and contains numerous references to the Willys or Willis family. The living is a rectory, net yearly value about 530, with residence, in the gift of the Bishop of Ely, and held since 1915 by the Rev. George Richards Christie M.A. of London University, and A.K.C. Near the church is a memorial of Portland stone, bearing the names of the men of the parish who fell in the Great War, 1914-18. A Church Hall was opened in 1914. The Primitive Methodist chapel, erected in 1850, will hold 100 persons. In this parish, and 2¼ miles from Cambridge, is the Cambridge Borough Cemetery, opened June 6th, 1903; the area is 25 acres: there is one mortuary chapel and a house for the superintendent.

In this parish are the remains of Biggin Farm house, formerly a residence of the Bishops of Ely, and here also is "one of the three celebrated ditches or dykes thrown up by the East Angles to protect themselves from the incursions of their enemies, the Mercians ": the market granted to the Bishops of Ely for this place in 1270 has long since become obsolete.

The chief crops are wheat, barley, oats, beans and peas. The area is 1,915 acres of land and inland water; the population in 1921 was 781.

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

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