Witchford

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Coordinates: 52°23′13″N 0°12′22″E / 52.387°N 0.206°E / 52.387; 0.206

St Andrew's Church, Witchford from the south
Signpost in Witchford

Witchford /ˈwɪfɔrd/ is a small village near Ely in Cambridgeshire, England with a 2011 population of 2,385.[1]

The parish church, dedicated to St Andrew, is a Grade II* listed building.[2]

Witchford houses the secondary school Witchford Village College that serves all of the surrounding villages, including Haddenham, Little Thetford, Mepal, Stretham, Sutton, Wilburton and Witcham.[3]

The village hosts the Grunty Fen Half Marathon road race, which has been staged annually in the village since 1991.[4] The race begins and ends at Witchford Village College and involves two laps into the nearby Grunty Fen.

Two hundreds of the Isle of Ely, North Witchford and South Witchford, took their name from the place and had their meeting-place at Witchford.

RAF Witchford[edit]

The village was once the home to RAF Witchford, an RAF Bomber Command station that was built in 1942 and closed and broken up in 1946. It was initially home to the Vickers Wellington bombers of No. 196 Squadron RAF, but after they relocated to RAF Leicester East their place was taken by No. 115 Squadron RAF flying Avro Lancasters. It was proposed to become a missile base thereafter (rumours were it was to become a Blue Streak base), which is why some of the older residents refer to the site (now an industrial park) as "The Rocket Base".[citation needed]

A museum dedicated to RAF Witchford is located in the village.[5]

Archaeology[edit]

A cemetery was discovered here during World War II whilst constructing the aerodrome.[6] Archaeologist Major Gordon Fowler reported witnessing a bulldozer levelling off ground and in so doing was crushing skeletons. Little archaeological work could be undertaken as the urgent war effort could not be stopped. He was however able to recover some objects from the graves, which were later dated by Lethbridge to be consistent with the period AD 450–650.[7] More recent survey work found Iron-Age and Roman period domestic and other remains. An Anglo-Saxon cemetery was not found at that time leading to the conclusion that this was not the site of the lost village of Cratendune.[8]

References[edit]

Bibliography

External links[edit]

Media related to Witchford at Wikimedia Commons