Duxford shown within Cambridgeshire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
|UK Parliament||South Cambridgeshire|
The village formed on the banks of the River Cam, a little below its emergence from the hills of north Essex. One of the more populous settlements in its hundred it was split into two ecclesiastical parishes in medieval times until they were united in 1874.
From medieval times the village was unusual in possessing two parish churches, each with a separate incumbent.
The church of St John the Baptist, as it's been known since at least 1260, consists of a chancel and north chapel, a central tower and a nave with north aisle and south porch. The chancel, nave and lower part of the tower were all built in the 12th century, with the tower raised in the 13th century. By the 1860s the building was in disrepair and after the parishes were merged in 1874, the church fell into disuse, and became increasingly dilapidated during the 20th century, despite receiving a new roof and stone floor in the 1960s. Since 1979 it has been run by the Churches Conservation Trust.
The southerly church has been dedicated to St Peter since at least 1275, and serves as Duxford's present parish church. Built with a chancel, an aisled and clerestoried nave, and a west tower, it too was originally built in the 12th century, and the tower and part of the chancel remain from this period. The nave was rebuilt in the 14th or 15th century. In 1728 the tower had the existing tall spire removed and replaced with the present shorter one. By the time the parishes were merged, the building was also in a poor state, and had to be extensively repaired in the 1880s.
A Congregational chapel was built in the late 18th century and licensed in 1794, and at its peak in 1850 had a weekly congregation of 350. The chapel joined with other Congregational churches in uniting with the Presbyterian Church of England in 1972, and has been known as Duxford United Reformed Church since then.
Duxford gives its name to RAF Duxford, a former Royal Air Force airfield that was used as a sector station during the Battle of Britain. Duxford Aerodrome was the home of Douglas Bader's Big Wing during that battle. Duxford airfield later became a fighter airfield for the United States Army Air Forces operating P47 Thunderbolt aircraft. In 1972 the Ministry of Defence began to house historically important aircraft in the hangars, which became the Imperial War Museum Duxford.
The village has three remaining pubs – the John Barleycorn, the Plough and the Wheatsheaf. Former pubs include the Three Horseshoes, first recorded in 1786, and the King's Head which opened in the mid-19th century.
- 2001 Census
- A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely 6. Victoria County History. 1978. pp. 201–220.
- A. D. Mills (2003). "A Dictionary of British Place-Names".
- Duxford Chapel
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