Towns, Cities, Villages and Hamlets


Samuel Lewis's Topographical Gazeetter 1831

FORDHAM, a parish in the hundred of STAPLOE, county of CAMBRIDGE, 51/2 miles (N.) from Newmarket, containing 1042 inhabitants. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Sudbury, and diocese of Norwich, rated in the king's books at £13. 6. 8., and in the patronage of the Master and Fellows of Jesus College, Cambridge. The church is dedicated to St. Mary. The Independents have a place of worship here. There are six almshouses for poor widows, erected by Thomas Hinson, in 1626. A small Gilbertine priory was founded in the reign of Henry III., by Sir Robert de Fordham, as a cell to the great monastery of the same order at Sempringham in Lincolnshire, scarcely a vestige of which remains. James I., when coursing in this parish, took refreshment at a place still called “the King’s Path,” and killed a hare near the spot; this circumstance being commemorated upon a beam still preserved in the church, by a carved representation of two greyhounds pursuing a hare.

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

Fordham, Poets Cottage

FORDHAM is a parish and village, on the road to Ely, with a station about half a mile from the village, on the Ely and Newmarket and Cambridge and Mildenhall branches of the London and North Eastern railway, 5 miles north from Newmarket, and 3 south-east of Soham, in the hundred of Staploe, union, petty sessional division and county court district of Newmarket, rural deanery of Fordham. archdeaconry and diocese of Ely.

A cemetery of about half an acre was formed in 1892, and is under the control of the vicar and churchwardens.

The church of St. Peter is an ancient building of stone and flint in the Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, organ chamber, faculty chapel, south porch and an embattled western tower containing 6 bells; the chapel of St. Mary, over the north entrance, was restored and opened to the interior as a gallery in 1864 by the late William Dunn Gardner: the chancel was painted in memory of Laura Mabel Townsend by her two sisters, Edith and Minnie: the stained east and west windows and others are memorials, several windows being to members of the Townsend family: the canopies and wall decoration of the chancel were executed by Mrs. C. P. Leonard, of Fordham, and the figures were painted as a memorial to Miss Townsend by her sisters: the altar cloth was worked and presented by Mrs. George Townsend and her daughter: a pair of candlesticks was presented by Mrs. Dawson Waugh and C. F. Townsend esq. in 1927 to the memory of George Townsend esq. of Exning: the church was restored during the period 1874-91, at a cost of £3,955, since when the porch has been restored and the interior adorned with mural decoration at a total cost of over £1,000: the organ was rebuilt in 1911 at a cost of £410 there are 600 sittings. The register dates from the year 1567.

There is a Congregational chapel, erected in 1818, and having 400 sittings, and also Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist chapels.

The Victoria Hall and Hayward Institute was erected in 1897 at a cost of £1,137, to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Her late Majesty Queen Victoria.

A fire brigade station was erected in 1889 by voluntary contributions. Here was anciently a priory of Gilbertine canons, founded by King Henry III. as a cell to that of Sempringham, in Lincolnshire, and dedicated to St. Peter and St. Mary Magdalen. Its revenues at the Dissolution were estimated at £40. Fordham Abbey, the property of Algernon C. W. Dunn Gardner esq. is at present (1929) unoccupied.

St. John's College, Cambridge, who possess the manorial rights of Bassingbourn; Trinity Hall, Cambridge, by whom the manorial rights of Felton's manor are held ; the Cambridgeshire County Council, who are lords of the manor of Coggishall, and Algernon C. W. Dunn Gardner eaq. and the Townsend family are the principal landowners.

The soil is mixed, consisting of gravel, sand, loam and clay; subsoil, various. The chief crops are wheat, oats and barley. There are nurseries and seed growing establishments here belonging to Messrs. Charles Townsend Ltd., Charles Morley, John Golding and others. The area is 4,195 acres of land and 9 of water; the population in 1921 was 1,461.

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

Domesday Book Entry

FORDHAM is a lordship village of the King’s. It answers for 51/2 hides. Land for 10 ploughs. In lordship 2 pioughs a further 4 possible. 6 villagers and 15 smallholders with 15 acres, with 4 ploughs. 1 slave; 2 mills, 16s, feed 2 pigs a year; meadow for 6 ploughs; pasture for the village iivestock. It pays £10 assayed and weighed, and £13 8s 4d in white silver for honey, corn and malt; before 1066 it paid £10 at face value and three days’ revenue in honey, corn and malt. King Edward always had this manor in lordship. In this village a Freeman, Bruman, holds 1 hide of the King’s jurisdiction; before 1066 he could grant his land to whom he would, but, however, he always found cartage or 8d in the King’s service and made good his fine to the Sheriff.

In FORDHAM Wymarc holds 3½ hides from the Count. Land for 4 ploughs. In lordship 1 hide and 1 plough; Freemen have 3 ploughs. Meadow for 1 plough; pasture for the village livestock. Value £4; when acquired £3; before 1066, 70s. 3 Freemen held this land; 2 of them were Edeva’s men, the third Earl Algar’s man; they could withdraw without their permission. They found escort and cartage for the Sheriff.

In STAPLOE hundred these men swore,

NICHOLAS of KENNETT Robert the Englishman of FORDHAM
Hugh of EXNING Aelfric of SNAILWELL
Warin of SOHAM  

(and all the 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 website for Cambridgeshire pages.


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