Huntingdon shown within Cambridgeshire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
Huntingdon is a market town in Cambridgeshire, England. The town was chartered by King John in 1205. It is the traditional county town of Huntingdonshire, and is currently the seat of the Huntingdonshire district council. It is known as the birthplace in 1599 of Oliver Cromwell.
Huntingdon was founded by the Anglo-Saxons and Danes. Mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, it seems that it was a staging post for Danish raids outside of east Anglia until 917, when the Danes relocated to Tempsford, before being crushed by Edward the Elder. It prospered successively as a bridging point of the River Great Ouse, as a market town, and in the 18th and 19th centuries as a coaching centre, most notably The George Hotel. The town has a well-preserved medieval bridge that used to serve as the main route of Ermine Street over the river. The bridge only ceased to be the sole crossing point to Godmanchester in 1975, with the advent of what is now the A14 bypass.
Its valuable trading position was secured by the now vanished Huntingdon Castle. The site is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and is home to a beacon used to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Spanish Armada.
The town has been represented in parliament by two prominent MPs: Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century, and former Conservative Prime Minister John Major from 1979 to 2001. It is currently represented by Conservative MP Jonathan Djanogly.
Between the railway station and the old hospital building stands a cannon. In the 1990s this replica cannon was installed to replace an original Crimean War one that stood until the Second World War, when it was scrapped for the war effort. When it was installed again in the 1990s it faced the opposite direction from the original.
The George Hotel, on the corner of High Street and George Street was originally a posting house. It was named after St. George in 1574 and was bought some 25 years later by Henry Cromwell, grandfather of Oliver Cromwell. Charles I made The George his headquarters during 1645 and later Dick Turpin is reputed to have been a frequent visitor when it was a busy coaching inn on the Great North Road. The mid-19th century saw two wings of the inn burnt down but thankfully two wings were saved including the one with the balcony overlooking the yard. Since 1959 the courtyard and its balcony have been the setting for performances of the plays of William Shakespeare, produced by the Shakespeare at The George Trust.
The town lies on the north bank of the River Great Ouse, opposite Godmanchester and close to the market town of St Ives in the east and the village of Brampton in the west. Huntingdon now incorporates the village of Hartford to the east, and the developing areas of Oxmoor, Stukeley Meadows and Hinchingbrooke to the north and west.
Between Godmanchester, Huntingdon and Brampton lies England's largest meadow, Portholme Meadow. Around 257 acres (1 km²) in size and containing many rare species of grass, flowers and dragonfly, it is the only known habitat of the Marsh Dandelion in Britain. It also acts as a huge natural reservoir for holding excess water in times of flood enabling the river to be run off more slowly, thereby helping to prevent flooding of nearby towns. It has also served as a horse race course and centre for early aviation.
There are 3 RAF stations within 4 miles of the town: RAF Brampton, once home to Headquarters RAF Support Command and now part of the Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO); RAF Wyton, once a major flying station but now also part of the DLO; and RAF Alconbury currently occupied by the United States Air Force.
Once renowned for many more churches within the town, there are now four Church of England churches in Huntingdon, which together with the churches in the adjacent villages Great and Little Stukeley are members of the Huntingdon Team Ministry in the Diocese of Ely. The four churches are All Saints' (next to the Market Square), St Mary's (opposite Pathfinder House), St Barnabas (on the Oxmoor estate) and All Saints', Hartford.
Part of the medieval infirmary hall of St Johns on the marketplace became Huntingdon Grammar School and was attended by Cromwell and diarist Samuel Pepys. The building is now the Cromwell Museum, run by Cambridgeshire County Council.
Local Primary schools include Hartford Junior School, Thongsley Fields Primary School, St John's Primary School, Stukeley Meadows Primary School and Cromwell Park Primary School. Special needs schools include Spring Common School. Secondary schools include St Peters and Hinchingbrooke School. Further Education colleges include Huntingdonshire Regional College, Hinchingbrooke school sixth form college and St Peter's Sixth Form.
The nearest weather station for which long term weather data is available is RAF Wyton, 3 miles north east of the town centre, although more recently Monks Wood, 5 miles to the north west, also provides data.
As with the rest of the British Isles, Huntingdon experiences a strongly temperate maritime based climate, free from temperature extremes, with rainfall fairly evenly spread throughout the year.
The absolute maximum recorded at Wyton was 35.4 °C (95.7 °F) during August 1990, although the temperature at Monks Wood rose to 35.1 °C (95.2 °F) during July 2006. Typically the warmest day will average 29.7 °C (85.5 °F), and 16.0 days a year will rise to 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or above.
Typically 43.2 nights of the year will report an air frost. The absolute minimum at Wyton (from 1960) was −16.1 °C (3.0 °F) recorded during January 1982. On average, the coldest night of the year will fall to −7.7 °C (18.1 °F)
With rainfall at under 550 mm per year, the Huntingdon area is amongst the driest in the UK — 103.4 days on average will record at least 1 mm of rain. All averages mentioned refer to the period 1971–2000.
|Climate data for Wyton, elevation 41m, 1971–2000|
|Average high °C (°F)||6.8
|Average low °C (°F)||1.4
|Precipitation mm (inches)||43.14
- Regular animal rights protests take place outside the local Huntingdon Life Sciences laboratory. Huntingdon Life Sciences is one of the world's largest Contract Research Organisations. Founded in 1952 in the UK, the company is now an international business with resources on three continents. Originally the company concentrated upon nutrition, veterinary and biochemical research.
- A photograph of the old Cash Converters store (the one-time Post Office in Chequer's Court) in Huntingdon features on the front cover of the book Crap Towns II, despite the fact that the town does not feature in the book.
There are regular buses to Peterborough, St Neots, Ramsey, St Ives and Cambridge all direct from Huntingdon, as well as within the town and to Hinchingbrooke Hospital. Most buses are provided by local company Go Whippet or Stagecoach in Huntingdonshire.
Once a convent, Hinchingbrooke House is said to be haunted. The bridge over the Alconbury Brook named Nun's bridge is said to be also haunted by one of the nuns who once lived at the old convent that is now Hinchingbrooke House. It's said she is often accompanied by another ghost which resembles the appearance of a nurse. The myth goes that the nun had a lover, a monk who caused them to be murdered. In 1965 a married couple reported seeing the ghosts on the bridge, and again when they returned home the same night.
- Basil Montagu (1770-1851), jurist, barrister, writer, and philanthropist and illegitimate son of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich and Martha Ray
- Robert Carruthers (1799-1878), journalist, writer, and author of History of Huntingdon
- Oliver Cromwell (1599-1653)
- http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/leisure/archives/visiting/crohuntingdon.htm cambridgeshire.gov.uk
- http://www.huntingdon-town.info/portholme.htm huntingdon-town.info
- http://caliban.mpiz-koeln.mpg.de/~stueber/lindman/559.jpg caliban.mpiz-koeln.mpg.de
- http://www.huntingdonanglicanchurches.org.uk huntingdonanglicanchurches.org.uk
- "> 1990 Maximum". Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- "> July 2006". Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- "> Mean annual warmest day". Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- ">25c days". Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- "air frost incidence". Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- "1982 minimum". Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- "Mean annual coldest night". Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- "Annual average rainfall". Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- "Annual average wetdays". Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- "Climate Normals 1971–2000". KNMI. Retrieved 25 Feb 2011.
- http://www.francisfrith.com/huntingdon/photos/nuns-bridge-1901_46623/ francisfrith.com
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