Parishes: Wyton

Pages 253-254

A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1932.

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In this section


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 Houghton (q.v.)


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 and lead.

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 and base.

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 1897–8.


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.


  • 1. V.C.H. Hunts. i, 343b; cf. Cartul. Mon. de Rames. iii, 278.
  • 2. Slater, English Peasantry, etc., 281.
  • 3. Stephens, Mem. of J. Horne Tooke, i, 25.
  • 4. V.C.H. Hunts. i, 218.
  • 5. Ibid. 269.
  • 6. Excheq. (K.R.) Ch. goods, bdle. 3, no. 2.
  • 7. Lansd. MS. (B.M.) 921.
  • 8. V.C.H. Hunts. i, 343b.
  • 9. Cartul. Mon. de Rames. iii, 278.
  • 10. Ibid. i, 364.
  • 11. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 12. Ibid.