Holy Trinity church
Elsworth shown within Cambridgeshire
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The parish of Elsworth covers an area of 1554 hectares to the north of the Cambridge to St Neots road. Its north-west border formed the border between Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire from the start of the 11th century until the two were merged in 1974. Its eastern border joins to the parish of Knapwell, formerly a dependent vill. At the end of the 13th century the parish also contained a hamlet called Grave, but was not recorded as inhabited after 1349.
Elsworth was, during medieval times, one of the most populous villages in the neighbourhood. In 1086 it reported 44 peasant households and 209 were listed at the time of the poll tax in 1377. Numbers declined over the next two centuries, rising to around 500 people in the 17th century. Numbers grew more rapidly from the 1760s and fluctuated in the 19th century, reaching an all-time peak of 878 in 1841. Around 50 people emigrated to Australia and the United States in the 1850s.
Elsworth has had a church since at least the start of the 11th century that fell under the patronage of Ramsey Abbey. The present parish church of the Holy Trinity was built on the site in the 13th or 14th century, and the chancel and west tower date from this period. The tower contains four bells, three of which date from the 17th century.
The chancel contains some noted Perpendicular wooden stalls. Above the porch door is a sundial bearing the inscription "MOX NOX", and on the east gable is an attractive decorated cross.
Elsworth has a primary school and pre-school, as well as a recreation ground, a business park and a Post Office/shop.
There are two remaining pubs in the village. The George and Dragon at Cowdell End opened in the first half of the 19th century and was rebuilt after an 1880 fire. A restaurant was added in 1975. The Poacher – known as The Fox and Hounds until the late 20th century – has been open since the 18th century.
Elsworth has had recorded alehouses since at least the 14th century. By the late 18th century five were recorded, including the Fox and Hounds, the Plough, which closed in 1961, and the Three Horseshoes which closed in around 1915.
- 2001 census
- ONS: Elsworth
- A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely 9. Victoria County History. 1989. pp. 304–307.
- A. D. Mills (2003). "A Dictionary of British Place-Names".
- "Elsworth village".
Media related to Elsworth at Wikimedia Commons