Witune (xi cent.); Witton, Wytton (xii cent.);
Wyton (xiv-xx cent.).
The parish of Wyton is, as it were, a twin settlement
lying side by side with Houghton. Each is a strip
with its narrow southern end based upon the River
Ouse. Each has its houses grouped about the road
from St. Ives to Huntingdon which traverses the
southern part of the strip. Each has its church
between the road and the river, and its manor farm to
the north of the road. Houghton is slightly the
larger in population and in acreage; each settlement
was assessed in 1086 at seven hides, but the hide
in Houghton contained six virgates, while five
virgates only went to the Wyton hide. (fn. 1) Wyton the
westernmost of the pair, contains 1,470 acres,
composed of the northern arable fields and the rich
low-lying pasture on the river bank. The two
parishes were inclosed under a common Act in 1773. (fn. 2)
About the year 1780, the eccentric politician and
philologist John Horne Tooke purchased a small
estate at Wyton in order to carry out agricultural
experiments. (fn. 3)
Several traces of early occupation have been found
at Wyton. These include implements of the Neolithic period. (fn. 4) There are also indications of RomanoBritish occupation, particularly in Jubilee Oak
Field. (fn. 5)
The village of Wyton is contiguous
with that of Houghton; both were given
to the Abbey of Ramsey by Earl Alfwold,
and the tenants in both held of the manor of Houghton
cum Wyton, whose descent has been traced under
The Church of ALL SAINTS consists
of a chancel (34 ft. by 13 ft.) modern
north vestry and organ chamber
(16 ft. by 9 ft.), nave (46¼ ft. by 17¼ ft.), north aisle
(7 ft. wide), modern tower at the south-west corner
(5 ft. by 5 ft.) and south porch. All the measurements are internal. The walls are of rubble with
stone dressings and the roofs are covered with tiles
Although the church is mentioned in Domesday
Book (1086) nothing of that period remains; but the
western half of the south wall of the chancel, and the
south wall of the nave are thick and probably of
12th-century date. The nave arcade and north aisle
were built about 1200–1210, the nave being extended
westward as is indicated by the easterly position of the
south doorway. The chancel was rebuilt and extended
eastward to nearly double its former size late in the
14th century, the chancel arch being rebuilt at the
same time. In 1866 the chancel was restored and the
north aisle rebuilt, south porch added and a southwest tower rebuilt replacing one of brick of 1846,
the ancient tower having been of timber. The north
vestry and organ chamber are also modern having been
erected in 1912.
The chancel has a late 14th-century three-light east
window with fragments of late 15th-century glass.
In the north wall is a 13th-century two-light window
and a modern arch to the organ chamber; until
recently it had a blocked arch opening apparently into
a chapel. The south wall has an early 13th-century
doorway, a late 14th-century two-light window, an
early 16th-century three-light, and a small square
recess just west of the doorway. The chancel arch
is of 14th-century date. The roof is modern but the
feet of the principals rest on late 14th-century corbels.
The modern vestry incorporates a mutilated early
14th-century two-light window.
The nave has an early 13th-century north arcade
of four bays of pointed arches with moulded orders.
The two eastern piers are formed of four keel-shaped
shafts with four small shafts between them, the capitals
being carved with stiff-leaved foliage. The western
pier is octagonal but has a similarly carved capital.
The eastern arch is of stone, the three western of
clunch, but the piers are all of stone. The south wall
has two windows, one modern, the other a 15th-century
three-light, and a late 14th-century doorway; at the
west end a modern doorway has been cut for access
to the tower. The west wall has been largely rebuilt
and has a modern four-light window. In the wall
just north of the chancel arch is a 14th-century bracket
carved with a leopard's face.
The north aisle has been entirely rebuilt in brick
and has three modern lancet windows, but a 13thcentury doorway has been reset in it, and ironwork
of similar date has been refixed on the modern door.
The large gargoyles built into the wall came from the
tower of 1846.
The font has a modern bowl on a 15th-century stem
In the modern vestry is an early 17th-century
communion table with bulbous legs and carved rails.
There are three bells, inscribed: 1, Thomas
Newman made me, 1705; 2, Sum rosa pulsata munde
Maria vocata. Richard Holdfield me fecit, 1612;
3, Let all men praies the Lord for his goodnes, 1626
(by W. Haulsey). In 1552 there were three bells in
the steeple. (fn. 6)
There are monuments in the chancel to the Rev.
Samuel Ainsworth, rector, d. 1709, and Mary, his
wife, d. 1706; Mary Leete, d. 1717; the Rev. Mark
Hildesley, rector, d. 1726; and windows to the Rev.
Edward Martin Peck, M.A., rector, d. 1847, and
Margaret, his widow, d. 1851; and Mary Anne Ansley,
d. 1859; in the nave to: Harry Duberly, d. 1908;
Grace Duberly, his widow, d. 1926; Catherine Irene
Whymper, d. 1914; and a window to the Rev. Joseph
Harrison, rector, d. 1913. There are also floor slabs
to the Rev. Samuel Ainsworth, rector, 1709; Mary,
his wife, 1706; the Rev. Mark Hildesley, rector, d.
1726; and the Rev. Samuel Dickens, rector, d. 1748;
in the north aisle is a window to Alfred R. Timson
and Sarah his wife, presented 1906. In the churchyard, near the west end of the church, is the matrix
of a brass with demi-figures of a man and wife,
probably John Frankam and Margaret his wife. (fn. 7)
The registers are as follows:—(i) Baptisms,
marriages and burials, 6 April 1660 to 15th March
1724–5; two earlier leaves, 1636–1639, are bound in
at end of book; (ii) Ditto, 7 April 1751 to 6 July
1801, the marriages ending 18 Feb. 1754; this
book also contains the entries relating to Houghton;
(iii) baptisms and burials, 11 Feb. 1802 to 18 Oct.
1812; (iv) the official marriage book, 19 June
1754 to 19 Oct. 1812; this book also contains the
entries relating to Houghton.
The church plate consists of: A silver cup
inscribed 'Dedit S. Ainsworth, Rector Eccles. de
Witton in Agro, Huntingt. 1685,' and hall-marked
for 1684–85, repaired 1907; a paten, a mere silver
disc, inscribed 'presented by the Confraternity
of the Blessed Sacrament,' and hall-marked for
A priest is recorded in the Domesday
Survey (1086) at Wyton, but no priest
is mentioned under Houghton. (fn. 8) It was
customary until the last century for a single incumbent
to serve the two churches, which were sometimes
styled 'the church of Wittona and Hoctona.' They
possessed a common endowment of seven virgates of
land. (fn. 9) In 1252 the men of the manor stated that
though Wyton and Houghton were both mother
(matrix) churches, they had never known them to
be held separately. (fn. 10)
The right of presentation to both Houghton and
Wyton churches belonged to the successive lords of
the manor of Houghton (q.v.) until 1882, when the
Rev. Morris Piddocke acquired the advowson of
Wyton only and became rector there. Early in this
century the advowson of Wyton passed from Mr.
Piddocke to the representatives of Mr. T. F. A.
Burnaby in whose patronage the church remains.
Wyton church is notable for the marriage there in
1795 of Charles James Fox to his mistress Elizabeth
Bridget Cane (Mrs. Armistead). (fn. 11) The distinguished
Hebrew Christian divine Moses Margoliouth (d. 1881)
served a curacy here. (fn. 12)
There are no charities belonging to this parish.