Hungerton - Huntingdonshire

A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.

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'Hungerton - Huntingdonshire', in A Topographical Dictionary of England, (London, 1848) pp. 583-588. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

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Hungerton (St. John the Baptist)

HUNGERTON (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Billesdon, chiefly in the hundred of Gartree, S. division, but partly in that of East Goscote, N. division, of the county of Leicester, 7 miles (E. by N.) from Leicester; comprising the liberty of Baggrave, and the hamlets of Ingarsby and Quenby; and containing 267 inhabitants. The living is a discharged vicarage, with that of Twyford and the chapelry of Thorp-Satchville united in 1732, valued in the king's books at £9. 8. 1½., and in the alternate patronage of the families of Peacocke and Ashby; net income, £220.


HUNGERTON, an ancient parish, in the union of Grantham, wapentake of Loveden, parts of Kesteven, county of Lincoln, 4¾ miles (S. W. by S.) from Grantham. The living is a discharged rectory, united to that of Wyvill, and valued in the king's books at £2. 3. 4. The church being demolished, the inhabitants attend that at Harlaxton.

Hunmanby (All Saints)

HUNMANBY (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Bridlington, wapentake of Dickering, E. riding of York, 8½ miles (N. W. by N.) from Bridlington; containing, with the chapelry of Fordon, 1277 inhabitants, of whom 1214 are in the township of Hunmanby. The parish comprises by computation 6500 acres, whereof about 4300 are arable, 2000 pasture, and 200 woodland. There is a large manufactory of brick and tiles, for which good clay is found. The Scarborough and Bridlington railway passes through the parish. A cattlemarket is held monthly; and fairs take place on the 6th of May and 29th of October. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £20. 1. 8.; net income, £350; patron and impropriator, Robert Mitford, Esq., R. N. The church, a very ancient structure, contains a splendid monument to the memory of different members of the Osbaldeston family. There are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyans. A library was founded here by the Associates of Dr. Bray, for the use of the neighbouring clergy, and a parochial library for the poor. Here is a national school; also almshouses for six widows. On an eminence called Castle Hill are vestiges of an ancient fortification.

Hunningham (St. Margaret)

HUNNINGHAM (St. Margaret), a parish, in the union of Warwick, Southern division of the hundred of Knightlow, S. division of the county of Warwick, 5½ miles (N. W. by N.) from Southam; containing, with the hamlet of Hyde's-Pastures, 245 inhabitants. It comprises 1241 acres, and is on the left bank of the river Leam. The living is a perpetual curacy, valued in the king's books at £5; net income, £68; patron, Lord Leigh.


HUNNINGTON, a township, in the chapelry of St. Kenelm, parish of Hales-Owen, union of Bromsgrove, Upper division of the hundred of Halfshire, Hales-Owen, and E. divisions of the county of Worcester; containing 158 inhabitants.


HUNSDON, a parish, in the union of Ware, hundred of Braughin, county of Hertford, 5 miles (W. by S.) from Sawbridgeworth; containing 430 inhabitants. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £12, and in the gift of the family of Calvert: the tithes have been commuted for £270, and the glebe comprises 47 acres. The church has a chapel on the south side belonging to the family of Cary, barons Hunsdon, and at the west end an embattled tower surmounted by a spire.


HUNSHELF, a township, in the parish of Penistone, union of Wortley, wapentake of Staincross, W. riding of York, 3½ miles (S. E.) from Penistone; containing 578 inhabitants. It comprises by computation 3130 acres, chiefly a hilly moorland district, the greater portion of which has been brought into cultivation; the substratum abounds with coal, of which some mines are in operation, and with freestone, which is extensively quarried. The village is on the north bank of the Don, and consists chiefly of scattered dwellings. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.

Hunsingore (St. John the Baptist)

HUNSINGORE (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the Upper division of the wapentake of Claro, W. riding of York; containing 625 inhabitants, of whom 262 are in the township, 4 miles (N. N. E.) from Wetherby. This parish consists of the townships of Cattal, Hunsingore, and Great Ribston with Walshford, and comprises by computation 3743 acres, of which about 984 are in Hunsingore township; the river Nidd flows in a devious course on the south of the village, and the parish is intersected by the great north road. The ancient mansion of the Goodricke family, to whom the manor belonged, was destroyed during the war in the reign of Charles I. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £5. 17. 3½.; net income, £300; patron and impropriator, Joseph Dent, Esq. The church is an ancient structure, with a tower.

Hunslet, or Hunfleet

HUNSLET, or Hunfleet, a chapelry, in the parish, and liberty of the borough, of Leeds, and locally in the wapentake of Morley, W. riding of York, 2 miles (S. S. E.) from Leeds; containing 15,852 inhabitants. This place, at the time of the Domesday survey, belonged to the Lacys, from whom the manor passed to various families. The chapelry is bounded on the east by the river Aire, and comprises by computation nearly 1200 acres, forming a level district. From its vicinity to the town of Leeds, of which it is a populous suburb, it has within the last forty years rapidly increased in manufacturing importance; Hunslet Lane, to the east, now forms a continuous range of buildings, and the township contains some pleasant hamlets. A subscription library was established in 1827, which has a collection of nearly 1000 volumes. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in the spinning of flax, for which there are several very large mills; there are also some chemical works, and works for the manufacture of crown and flint glass, with extensive potteries for coarse earthenware, and an establishment for the finer kinds. The substratum of the district abounds with coal of good quality. The Midland railway intersects the township. The chapel, dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, was erected in 1636, and greatly enlarged in 1774: it is a brick edifice, with a tower, which was added to it by subscription, in 1826; it contains 1150 sittings. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £182; patron, the Vicar of Leeds. The great tithes have been commuted for £40. There are places of worship for dissenters.


HUNSLEY, a township, in the parish of Rowley, union of Beverley, Hunsley-Beacon division of the wapentake of Harthill, E. riding of the county of York, 3 miles (N. N. E.) from South Cave; containing 30 inhabitants. This place appears to have been anciently of more importance than it is at present, many foundations of buildings having been dug up at various times. Upon a hill here, was a beacon that gave name to the largest division of the wapentake. The tithes have been commuted for £84.

Hunsonby, with Winskill

HUNSONBY, with Winskill, a township, in the parish of Addingham, union of Penrith, Leath ward, E. division of Cumberland, 7 miles (N. E.) from the town of Penrith; containing 191 inhabitants. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. Mr. Joseph Hutchinson, in 1726, devised an estate now let for £49 a year, for teaching children.

Hunstanton (St. Mary)

HUNSTANTON (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Docking, hundred of Smithdon, W. division of Norfolk, 16½ miles (N. N. E.) from Lynn; containing 527 inhabitants. The parish comprises by admeasurement 1481 acres, of which 933 are arable, 334 pasture, 65 plantation, 33 common, 51 warren, and 65 sea-beach and chalk-pits. It lies at the north-western extremity of the county, and is distinguished by its bold shore and its lofty and precipitous cliffs, one of which, commonly called St. Edmund's Point, from the tradition of Edmund the Martyr having landed here when he came from Germany to be crowned king of East Anglia, extends westward from the village, and rises to a height of from 60 to 100 feet above the beach. The waters abound with fish, and at certain refluxes of the tide a fine walk of about two miles is afforded along the sands to a place called the "Oyster Sea," which supplies almost every variety of fish in large quantities. The ancient manorhouse, situated in a beautiful park, was from a remote period the residence of the family of L'Estrange, one of whom, Sir Roger L'Estrange, Knt., born here in 1616, espoused the cause of Charles I., and, after the Restoration, became conspicuous as a political writer. This mansion, which had been long unoccupied and ruinous, has lately been completely renovated by Henry Styleman L'Estrange, Esq., lord of the manor, whose ancestor married one of the sisters of the last baronet of the L'Estrange family. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £12; patron and appropriator, the Bishop of Ely: the great tithes have been commuted for £272, and the vicarial for £160; the vicarial glebe contains 27 acres. A school, erected in 1842 at a cost of £500, is endowed with £900, vested in three trustees. The church is a large edifice, with a strong tower rising from the west end of the north aisle; it contains several handsome monuments to the L'Estranges. There are vestiges of an ancient chapel on St. Edmund's Point.


HUNSTERSON, a township, in the parish of Wybunbury, union and hundred of Nantwich, S. division of the county of Chester, 6 miles (S. E.) from Nantwich; containing 245 inhabitants. It comprises 1497a. 17p. The impropriate tithes have been commuted for £126, and the vicarial for £24. A school is partly supported by endowment.

Hunston (St. Michael)

HUNSTON (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Stow, hundred of Blackbourn, W. division of Suffolk, 3½ miles (E.) from Ixworth; containing 162 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £55; patron and impropriator, J. H. Heigham, Esq. The church, beautifully situated in the grounds of Hunston Hall, the seat of Mr. Heigham, is in the early English style, with a square embattled tower.

Hunston (St. Leodegar)

HUNSTON (St. Leodegar), a parish, in the union of West Hampnett, hundred of Box and Stockbridge, rape of Chichester, W. division of Sussex, 2½ miles (S.) from Chichester; containing 193 inhabitants. It is crossed by the Arundel and Portsmouth canal. The living is a vicarage, endowed with the rectorial tithes, and valued in the king's books at £9. 4. 7.; net income, £348; patron, J. B. Fletcher, Esq. The church is in the early English style, with a fine Norman doorway in the south porch, and consists of a nave, south aisle, and chancel.

Hunstonworth, or Hunstanworth

HUNSTONWORTH, or Hunstanworth, a parish, in the union of Weardale, W. division of Chester ward, N. division of the county of Durham, 8 miles (N. N. W.) from Stanhope; containing 567 inhabitants. The hospital of Kepier seems to have had possessions here for a considerable period prior to the Dissolution, upon which event the estate was granted to William, Lord Paget, the founder of the house of Beaudesert. Nearly one-half of the lands now belong to the trustees of Bishop Crewe's charity, who are lords of the manor. The parish is bounded on the north by the river Derwent, which is formed here by the union of the two rivulets called Beldon beck and Nuckton beck, and which divides it from Northumberland: the Derwent leadmines are principally in the parish. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of R. Capper, Esq., the impropriator, and has a net income of £60. The church is a small neat structure, almost entirely built towards the close of the last century, on the site of a very ancient edifice.


HUNSWORTH, a township, in the parish of Birstal, union of Bradford, wapentake of Morley, W. riding of York, 3½ miles (S.) from Bradford; containing 978 inhabitants. This township, which is comprehended in the ecclesiastical district of Birkenshaw, includes the hamlets of Hunsworth, East Bierley, and Toftshaw, and comprises by computation 1310 acres. It is principally pasture land, and is divided into numerous dairy-farms, which are under good management. The population is employed in agriculture and mining, and in the manufacture of stuff and woollen-cloth; the strata abound with coal, which is extensively wrought, and with ironstone, purchased in 1841 by the Bowling Iron Company. The village of Hunsworth, which is pleasantly situated, is small and irregularly built, consisting chiefly of scattered dwellings.

Hunt-End, Worcester.—See Feckenham.

HUNT-END, Worcester.—See Feckenham.


HUNTINGDON, a borough and market-town, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Hurstingstone, county of Huntingdon, 59 miles (N. by W.) from London; containing 3507 inhabitants. This place, called by the Saxons Huntantun, and in the Norman survey Huntersdune, appears to have derived its name from its situation in a tract of country which was anciently an extensive forest abounding with deer, and well suited for the purposes of the chase. A castle was built here in 917, by Edward the Elder, and enlarged by David, Earl of Huntingdon and King of Scotland, to whom King Stephen had given the borough; but becoming a retreat for the disaffected in the reign of Henry II., it was levelled with the ground. This fortress is supposed, from the form of its outworks, which may still be traced, to have been the site of Duroliponte, a station of the Romans. A mint was established here at a very early period, and coins of Edwy and of his successors, until the time of William Rufus, were struck and issued from the town. Huntingdon has been honoured with many royal visits: James I., on his arrival from Scotland, with all his court, was sumptuously entertained by Sir Oliver Cromwell, uncle of the Protector, in his princely mansion of Hinchinbrook, a spacious quadrangular building in the Elizabethan style, in which, also, Charles I. frequently partook of the hospitality of its possessor. Prior to the commencement of the civil war, that monarch kept his court at Huntingdon, where he carried on his negotiations with the parliament then sitting in London; and during the subsequent contests it was repeatedly the head-quarters of his army. Not long after the breaking out of the war, however, it appears to have fallen into the hands of the parliament; for it is stated to have been plundered, in August 1645, by the royalists, commanded by the king in person. In 1646, the king, on his route from Holmby to Hampton Court, in the custody of Cornet Joyce and the parliamentary commissioners, was lodged at Hinchinbrook House, at that time belonging to Colonel Montague, then an officer in the army of the parliament, but afterwards, on joining Charles II. at the Restoration, created Earl of Sandwich; from whose lady the captive monarch received every tribute of sympathising loyalty, and by whose courage he was protected from the insults of a factious mob. In 1745, the inhabitants, assisted by the surrounding gentry, came forward to support the reigning dynasty against the claims of the Pretender, and raised a large sum of money for that purpose.

Seal and Arms.

The town is pleasantly situated on a gentle acclivity, on the northern bank of the river Ouse, over which is an ancient stone bridge of six arches connecting it with Godmanchester. It has one principal street, extending a mile in length, and intersected at right angles by several smaller streets; the houses are in general large, well built, and of handsome appearance, and the town is paved, lighted with gas, and amply supplied with water. The environs are agreeable, and from the Castle Hill the prospect is varied and extensive. Within a quarter of a mile of the town is a meadow called Portholm, more than two miles in circumference, on which is one of the finest race-courses in the kingdom: the races take place in August, continuing three days, during which, and usually for a fortnight after, the theatre, a small edifice erected in 1800, is open. There are two public subscription reading-rooms, and a literary and scientific institution has lately been erected; it is a chaste and pleasing structure in the Grecian style, with a cornice surmounted by a statue of Minerva. In 1821, an horticultural society was established. Monthly assemblies are held during the season, in a suite of rooms in the town-hall, and public balls take place there in the race week. The trade is principally in wool and corn: there are two breweries. The Ouse is navigable for small vessels from Lynn, and for barges from this town to Bedford. An act was passed in 1845 for effecting railway communication with Cambridge and with Ely, and the lines were opened in 1847: the great railway from London to York will also pass by. The market, on Saturday, is plentifully supplied with corn and provisions: fairs are held on the Tuesday before Easter, and on the second Tuesday in May, for cattle of all sorts; there is a statute-fair about two weeks before Michaelmas, on a day fixed by the mayor, and large cattle-markets are held on the Saturday before Old Michaelmas-day, and on the third Saturday in November. The market-place occupies a spacious square in the centre of the town.

Huntingdon was first incorporated in 1206, by charter of King John, which was confirmed and extended by Henry III. and succeeding sovereigns until the 6th year of the reign of Charles I., when it was renewed with modifications. Under that charter the government was vested in a mayor, recorder, and 11 aldermen, forming the common-council, together with a high steward, town-clerk, two sergeants-at-mace, and other officers. By the act of the 5th and 6th of William IV., cap. 76, the corporation now consists of a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors; and the mayor and late mayor are justices of the peace, the county magistrates having concurrent jurisdiction within the town. This borough, jointly with the neighbouring parish of Godmanchester, sends two representatives to parliament; the mayor is returning officer. Petty-sessions are held every Wednesday, before the mayor; and there is a court of record, for the recovery of debts to any amount, once in three weeks. The assizes, the election of members of parliament for the county, and the general quarter-sessions of the peace, are also held here: the powers of the county debt-court of Huntingdon, established in 1847, extend over the registration-districts of Huntingdon and St. Ives. The town-hall is a handsome building, erected in 1745, by subscription, on the site of the old court-house, and surrounded with piazzas, under which the market is kept; above the ground floor is a suite of assemblyrooms, and the ball-room is ornamented with portraits of George II. and III., with those of their queens, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and one of John, Earl of Sandwich, by Gainsborough. A new prison has been erected on the western side of the great north road.

Huntingdon was formerly much more extensive than it is at present, and contained fifteen parish churches, the greater number of which had fallen into decay before Leland's time; only four were then remaining, and two of these were destroyed during the parliamentary war. The old borough at present comprises the parishes of All Saints, containing 568; St. Benedict, 814; St. John the Baptist, 1057; and St. Mary, 1068 inhabitants. The living of All Saints' is a rectory, with that of St. John the Baptist's united, the former valued in the king's books at £6. 11. 10½., and the latter at £6. 7. 6.; it is in the patronage of the Crown, and the net income is £190. The church of All Saints' is a venerable and handsome structure, partly in the early and partly in the later English style, with a square embattled tower, strengthened with buttresses, ornamented with niches, and crowned by pinnacles; the chancel is early English, and has a remarkably good doorway, now walled up. The nave is separated from the chancel by a lofty and finelypointed arch, and from the aisles by pointed arches resting upon clustered columns; the oak roof is richly carved, and there are several ancient monuments, among which are some to the ancestors of Oliver Cromwell. The registry books of the parish of St. John contain an entry of the baptism of the Protector, in 1599. The living of St. Mary's is a rectory, united with the discharged rectory of St. Benedict's, and valued in the king's books at £10. 0. 5.; it is in the patronage of the Crown, and the net income is £162. The church of St. Mary's was rebuilt in 1620, and is in the later English style, with a square embattled tower, strengthened by buttresses, and profusely ornamented with niches and sculpture. The nave is separated from the aisles by finelypointed arches, and octangular and circular columns alternately: the font is of octangular form, and supported on a column encircled by small pillars; in the chancel are several handsome monuments, and in other parts of the church some mural tablets. There are places of worship for the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyans.

St. John's Hospital is of uncertain date; the earliest notice of it occurs in the year 1261, in the rolls of the Bishop of Lincoln, from which it appears to have been founded and endowed in the reign of Henry II., by David, Earl of Huntingdon, for the maintenance and relief of poor people, and the support of a free grammar school. The free grammar school is open to the sons of inhabitants, for classical instruction. There is a scholarship for a boy from this town at Peter House, Cambridge, founded by Thomas Miller, who gave for that purpose land now producing £20 per annum, tenable from admission until obtaining the degree of M.A.; also a scholarship founded in Christ's College, Cambridge, for a native of Huntingdon. Richard Fishborn, in 1625, gave £2000 in trust to the Mercers' Company, London, for the maintenance of a lecture, a Latin grammar school, and an almshouse in the town: this sum, together with £4560 arising from other donations, was in 1630 vested in the purchase of the manor of Chalgrave, in the county of Bedford, now producing a revenue of £700 per annum, of which £60 are paid to a lecturer, and £175 to trustees for charitable uses. A school for boys was established by a decree of chancery in 1735, under the will of Lionel Walden, who in 1719 had bequeathed £500 for that purpose; the net income is £90, and 25 of the scholars are clothed in green by a bequest of £26 per annum by Gabriel Newton, alderman of Leicester, in 1760. National central schools are supported by subscription; and there are various charitable bequests for distribution among the poor. The union of Huntingdon comprises 33 parishes or places, and contains a population of 18,431; a workhouse has been built on the western side of the great north road, close to the town; and the old workhouse has been sold, and converted into an iron-foundry.

Of the monastic establishments that existed here, was a priory of Black canons, dedicated to St. Mary, founded prior to the year 973, and removed by Eustace de Lovetot in the reign of Stephen, or that of Henry II., to the eastern part of the town; the revenue, at the Dissolution, was £232. 7.: there are no remains. A priory for nuns of the Benedictine order was removed from Eltesley, in the county of Cambridge, to Huntingdon, the revenue of which, at the Dissolution, was £19. 9. 2.; the site was granted by Henry VIII. to Sir Richard Cromwell, who erected the mansion of Hinchinbrook House, with part of the materials. A convent of Augustine friars was founded in the parish of St. John, in the reign of Edward I., which subsisted until the Reformation; and in the latter part of the sixteenth century, the site of the friary belonged to Robert Cromwell, whose son became Protector. Here was also an hospital dedicated to St. Margaret, for a master and leprous brethren, to which Malcolm, King of Scotland and Earl of Huntingdon, was a benefactor, and which was annexed to Trinity Hall, Cambridge, in 1445, by letters-patent of Henry VI.: the only remains are two tenements with small gardens attached, called the Spitals, usually occupied rent-free by poor widows or families. The learned Henry of Huntingdon, author of a history of England, continued to the reign of Stephen; and Oliver Cromwell, were natives of Huntingdon. The town gives the title of Earl to the family of Rawdon-Hastings.


HUNTINGDONSHIRE, an inland county, bounded on the north and west by the county of Northampton, on the south-west and south by that of Bedford, and on the east by that of Cambridge. It extends from 52° 8' to 52° 36' (N. Lat.), and from 0° 3' (E. Lon.) to 0° 31' (W. Lon.); and contains 370 square miles, or 236,800 acres. Within its limits are 11,860 houses inhabited, 377 uninhabited, and 65 in progress of erection; and the population amounts to 58,549, of whom 29,072 are males, and 29,477 females.

Before the Romans had obtained possession of this part of Britain, the territory now included in the small county of Huntingdon formed the western extremity of the country of the Iceni. It subsequently became part of the great division of Roman Britain, called Flavia Cæsariensis; and at the period of the Saxon heptarchy, was at first included in the kingdom of East Anglia, and afterwards annexed by conquest to the more powerful kingdom of Mercia. Its early annals afford no materials for history, but such as relate to the acquisition and possession of its earldom by the royal family of Scotland, which furnished the two crowns with an additional object of contention and mutual annoyance. A short time before the Norman Conquest, the earldom, or governorship, of the shire (being then an office granted at pleasure, and not hereditary) was held by one Siward, who was in consequence styled Earl of Huntingdon, but who, having received a grant of the earldom of Northumberland, afterwards assumed the latter title. William the Conqueror, having taken into favour Waltheof, the son of Siward, gave him in marriage his own niece Judith, who, after the execution of Waltheof for high treason, was offered by the king in marriage to Simon de St. Liz, a Norman soldier, and, on her refusal, was deprived of her estates, which were conferred upon her eldest daughter, the latter at the same time espousing the Norman whom her mother had rejected. Simon de St. Liz thus became Earl of Huntingdon; but dying early in the reign of Henry I. his widow was married to David, brother and successor to Alexander, King of Scotland; who in her right inherited the possessions of Waltheof, and was made Earl of Huntingdon and Northumberland. After his death, according to the fluctuations in the tide of political events, or the caprice of the English monarchs, the earldom was sometimes enjoyed by the descendants of Matilda by Simon de St. Liz, and sometimes by her posterity by the Scottish prince. Henry, son of the latter, was at first admitted earl; but on his father's refusal to acknowledge the claim of Stephen, Count of Blois, to the throne of England, that monarch seized all the English possessions of the Scottish king, and restored the earldom to the young Simon de St. Liz. At the termination of the subsequent war between the two countries, through the mediation of the empress, one of the conditions of the peace was, that the counties of Huntingdon and Northumberland should remain in the possession of Prince Henry, as heir by maternal right, and that he and his successors should render homage for these lands to the kings of England: nevertheless, they continued a subject of frequent disputes between the two crowns. On the accession of Henry's grandson, Malcolm, to the Scottish throne, he was summoned to London by Henry II., to do homage for the lands of Cumberland, Northumberland, and Huntingdon; and not long after, Henry sent a second summons commanding him to repair to York, where a parliament had assembled, by which, on the charge of his having in the late campaign of France, whither King Henry had commissioned him, betrayed to the French the plans of the English army, he was condemned to forfeit all his English possessions. A war between the two countries ensued, which was terminated by a treaty concluded near Carlisle, when it was stipulated that Malcolm should receive back Cumberland and Huntingdon, and that Northumberland should be fully surrendered to Henry. In the war with Malcolm's successor, William the Lion, the Scottish monarch was made prisoner; and his English territories, being seized, were held in pledge for his ransom, until delivered up by Richard I., on condition that all the castles and fortified places within the earldoms of Huntingdon and Cumberland should be garrisoned by Richard's own officers and soldiers. In the subsequent wars occasioned by the rival claims to the Scottish crown, between the families of Bruce and Balliol, this earldom was finally seized by the kings of England, since which it has been granted successively to several families; a portion of the lands, however, was retained by the Bruces, and from them descended to the family of Cotton. The ancient celebrity of this part of the country for the purposes of the chase is indicated by the name of the shire and the county town. According to Leland, the shire was in former times very woody, and the deer resorted to the fens: it was not entirely disafforested until the reign of Edward I.

Huntingdonshire was formerly included in the diocese of Lincoln, but under the provisions of the act of the 6th and 7th of William IV., cap. 77, was transferred to the diocese of Ely; it forms an archdeaconry, comprising the deaneries of Huntingdon, St. Ives, Leightonstone, St. Neot's, and Yaxley, and containing 93 parishes. For civil purposes it is divided into the hundreds of Normancross, which includes the northern part of the county; Toseland, the southern; Hurstingstone, the eastern; and Leightonstone, the western. It contains the borough and market-town of Huntingdon, and the market-towns of Kimbolton, Ramsey, St. Ives, and St. Neot's. Two knights are returned for the shire, and two representatives for the borough. The county is included in the Norfolk circuit; the assizes and quartersessions are held at Huntingdon, where stands the county gaol. A peculiarity in the civil government of Huntingdonshire is, that it is included under the same shrievalty with Cambridgeshire; the sheriff being annually chosen, in rotation, from the county of Cambridge, the Isle of Ely, and this county.

The Soils consist chiefly of clay and loam of various qualities, sand, gravel, and peat-earth. Of these, the clay predominates, being found all over the county: the sandy and light soils, and the loams, are dispersed in small tracts in different parts; while the peat-earth is confined almost wholly to the fens, in the north-eastern part of the county. These fens, including the lakes, the chief of which are Whittlesea Mere and Ramsey Mere, comprise 44,000 acres, and form about one-seventh of the Great Bedford Level: 8000 or 10,000 acres of this area may be considered productive, but, as stated in the last agricultural survey of this county, made under the sanction of the Board of Agriculture, a sum equal to two-thirds of the rental is required to preserve even these from inundation; for, although they have a more elevated surface than those situated between them and the sea, yet they are not nearly so well drained, in consequence, as is asserted in the survey, of some defect in the original plan of the dykes. Timber is somewhat scarce, owing to the great demand for it in the fens. Turf is used for fuel in about half the parishes; but the inhabitants generally burn wood, and coal also, though in many places very little of the latter. The only Rivers of magnitude are the Ouse and the Nene; the latter forms the northern boundary of the county, and both are navigable in the whole of their course in connexion with it. Owing to the want of springs, the greater part of the county is supplied with water from ponds.

The chief Roman stations were Durolipons and Durobrivæ, the respective sites of which are at Godmanchester, or Huntingdon, and near Dornford Ferry. Of the ancient roads, the three principal were as follows. The British Ermin-street appears to have entered the county from the neighbourhood of Cæsar's camp, in Bedfordshire, and to have run by Crane Hill, in the tract since known by the name of Hell Lane, whence, passing through Toseland, Godmanchester, and Huntingdon, and by Alconbury, Weston, and Upton, and falling into the line called the Bullock-road, it entered Northamptonshire at Wansford. The Roman Ermin-street entered from Cambridgeshire in the vicinity of Papworth St. Agnes, and proceeding nearly in the line of the present high road to Godmanchester, thence followed the course of the British Ermin-street to the vicinity of Alconbury, whence branching off eastward, it resumed the line of the present high road through Sawtry, Stilton, and Chesterton, to the station of Durobrivæ, where it entered Northamptonshire. The Via Devana entered from Cambridgeshire in the neighbourhood of Fen-Stanton, and proceeded in the line of the present turnpike-road to Godmanchester, whence, pursuing the track of the British Ermin-street to Alconbury, it passed to the north of Buckworth and Old Weston, and entered Northamptonshire in the vicinity of Clapton. Numerous Roman coins have been discovered at Godmanchester: coins, coffins, urns, lachrymatories, &c., have been found near the site of the station Durobrivæ; urns and coins near Somersham; urns in Sawtry field; and Roman pottery at Holywell. The celebrated Cars-dyke, supposed to have been originally a work of the Romans, enters Huntingdonshire at Earith, crosses Huntingdon river, passes by Littleport, and proceeds northward to the stream named the West Water, by Benwick, and then by the Old River Nene, to Whittlesea-dyke. At the time of the Reformation, the number of Religious houses, according to Bishop Tanner, was nine, including one hospital: the principal remains are comprised in the gateway of the mitred abbey of Ramsey. Among the ancient Mansions the most interesting, from their antiquity and other circumstances, are Buckden Palace; Kimbolton Castle, the seat of the Duke of Manchester; and Hinchinbrook House, once the seat of the Cromwell family, and subsequently that of the Montagues, earls of Sandwich and viscounts Hinchingbroke. There is a mineral spring at Somersham, now in little repute.