Swavesey shown within Cambridgeshire
|Population||2,480 (2001 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
|UK Parliament||South Cambridgeshire|
Swavesey is a village lying on the Greenwich Meridian in Cambridgeshire, England, with an approximate population of 2,480. The village is situated 9 miles to the north west of Cambridge and 3 miles south east of St Ives.
Swavesey, forming a historical parish of 3982 acres on the border with Huntingdonshire, lies on a narrow clay ridge rising to 18 metres above sea level at one time surrounded by fenland. The village was of importance during the early Middle Ages as the centre of a large 11th-century estate. A castle was built here in the late 11th or early 12th century, though is believed to have been derelict by 1200. Swavesey served as a port and subsequent market town and was fortified at the end of the 12th century.
Roman pottery has been found in the parish.
The village motto is "Steadfast in Work and Play".
There was already a church in Swavesey at the time of the Norman Conquest, possibly a minster, when Alan, Count of Richmond, granted it to the Abbey of St Sergius and St Bacchus in Angers, France. The Abbey founded an alien priory there by 1086, but Swavesey priory was awarded to Alan la Zouche, lord of Swavesey manor, by the start of the 14th century.
The present parish church in Swavesey, dedicated to St Andrew since the 11th century, has a double aisle aspect to its nave. The east window in the Lady Chapel contains a 1967 Tree of Jesse by Francis Skeat. The present building has parts dating from the 11th century, but was substantially improved over the following four centuries.
A Unitarian chapel was built in 1831 on the corner of School Lane and High Street, and the congregation moved to a new Baptist chapel in 1869. The original Unitarian chapel was bought by a group of Methodists and served as their place of worship until it was converted into a bungalow in 1934.
Today, there are three places of worship in Swavesey: St Andrew's parish church in Station Road, the Strict and Particular Baptist Church in Middle Watch, and the Bethel Baptist Church also in Middle Watch.
The busway boasts a parallel public bridleway, 3m tarmac with grass verges in places between St Ives and Swavesey, and 4m tarmac with grass verges in places, between Swavesey and Cambridge. This new public right of way has proven immensely popular with horse riders, cyclists, walkers, runners, for cycle-commuting, also for roller-skating and roller-skiing.
The route, for buses and bridleway-users, begins from St Ives climbing over the River Great Ouse past fishing lakes, passing through RSPB Fen Drayton (an old riverside complex of worked-out gravel pits onto the riverside flood meadows of Swavesey, across Station Road, and then through arable land as it rises towards the Cambridge conurbation.
The parish's north border is formed by the River Great Ouse, formerly an important transport link. The parish's south west border runs along the Via Devana, the old Roman road, that now forms the A14.
Farming is the main industry in and around Swavesey, although most residents commute to work. A sail-less windmill stands in fields near the village and is the location of Shop on the Pond.
There are 3 pubs listed in the village in 1765 and 8 by the early 19th century. By the late 19th century this number had risen to 16, but dropped to 8 by 1912, and only 3 by 1960. Since then the only public house in the village centre has been the White Horse Inn, open since at least 1765, and adjacent to the village post office and shop. Notable former pubs include the Rose and Crown on the corner of Boxworth End and Rose and Crown Road which was open by 1765 but closed in the 1880s. The Black Horse on the corner of High Street and Black Horse Lane served from around 1777 until 1910. The Swan (later the Swan with Two Necks) on Station Road was open from around 1777 to 1917. The Blue Bell was active from the late 18th century until around the Second World War. And the George and Dragon also opened in the late 18th century and closed in the first years of the 20th century. The village's post office opened in the 1850s.
Swavesey has a village magazine called "The Meridian".
Swavesey has a biennial village festival (next one is June 2016).
The renowned Swavesey Village College has an excellent adult education centre with leisure evening classes attached to it.
There are many popular clubs in the village: photography, local history, wildlife, dog training, football, badminton, conservation.
There are two schools in Swavesey, Swavesey Primary School, which claims to be the only school in the United Kingdom to lie on the meridian, and Swavesey Village College, a secondary school opened in 1958. Swavesey Village College (ages 11–16) has an intake from surrounding villages like Over, Bar Hill, Longstanton, Fenstanton and more. The school uses a vertical tutor system.
- "2001 Census: Key Statistics: Parish Headcounts: Area: Swavesey CP (Parish)". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2008-06-24.
- A. D. Mills (2003). A Dictionary of British Place-Names.
- A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9: Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds. 1989. pp. 374–381.
- village sign
- Low, Malcolm (January 2006). "Swavesey, Cambridgeshire, St Andrew's Church" (PDF). Tree of Jesse. Malcolm Low TSSF. p. 51. Retrieved 25 December 2010.
- The Meridian
- Swavesey Primary School
- Swavesey Village College Theatre Company
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