Abbots Ripton

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Abbots Ripton
St Andrew's church - - 460393.jpg
St Andrew's church
Abbots Ripton is located in Cambridgeshire
Abbots Ripton
Abbots Ripton
 Abbots Ripton shown within Cambridgeshire
Population 309 (2001 Census)
OS grid reference TL231780
District Huntingdonshire
Shire county Cambridgeshire
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district PE28
Dialling code 01487
EU Parliament East of England
List of places

Coordinates: 52°23′N 0°11′W / 52.39°N 0.19°W / 52.39; -0.19

Abbots Ripton is a village and civil parish in Cambridgeshire, England. Abbots Ripton is situated within Huntingdonshire which is a non-metropolitan district of Cambridgeshire as well as being an historic county of England. Abbots Ripton lies approximately 5 miles (8 km) north of Huntingdon on the B1090.

The civil parish includes the nearby hamlet of Wennington.

The village itself occupies some 4,191 acres (1,696 ha) of land and is home to 309 residents (2001 census). The village is also notable as the location of the Abbots Ripton railway disaster in 1876 in which a Flying Scotsman train was wrecked during a blizzard. The disaster led to important safety improvements in railway signalling.

The origins and history of the name[edit]

Abbots Ripton ends in ton which usually indicates a Saxon origin.[1] According to the Institute for Name Studies a possible translation from Old English could be rip - Strip/Slope and ton - Farm/Settlement.[2] Its name has appeared in various guises throughout its history; in the Domesday book it was recorded as Riptone, but by the 11th century it was recorded as Riptune. It was during the 12th and 13th century that the Abbot part came into the name; it was then owned by the Abbot of Ramsey, and it was most probably just to distinguish it from Kings Ripton which was under royal ownership. During this period it was also known by the names of Magna Riptona, Ryptone and finally Riptone Abbatis.[3] After the Reformation the crown sold it to the St John family and for a time it was called St John's Ripton[4] before it became known by the name we know it today.


As a civil parish, Abbots Ripton has a parish council. The parish council is elected by the residents of the parish who have registered on the electoral roll; the parish council is the lowest tier of government in England. A parish council is responsible for providing and maintaining a variety of local services including allotments and a cemetery; grass cutting and tree planting within public open spaces such as a village green or playing fields. The parish council reviews all planning applications that might affect the parish and makes recommendations to Huntingdonshire District Council, which is the local planning authority for the parish. The parish council also represents the views of the parish on issues such as local transport, policing and the environment. The parish council raises its own tax to pay for these services, known as the parish precept, which is collected as part of the Council Tax. In Abbots Ripton the parish council has six members and normally meets every six weeks on a Thursday evening in the village hall.[5]

Abbots Ripton was in the historic and administrative county of Huntingdonshire until 1965. From 1965, the village was part of the new administrative county of Huntingdon and Peterborough. Then in 1974, following the Local Government Act 1972, Abbots Ripton became a part of the county of Cambridgeshire.

Abbots Ripton is a part of the district ward of Upwood and The Raveleys for Huntingdonshire District Council[6] and is represented on the district council by one councillor.[7] Abbots Ripton is a part of the electoral division of Upwood and The Raveleys for Cambridgeshire County Council[6] and is represented on the county council by one councillor.[8]

At Westminster, Abbots Ripton is in the parliamentary constituency of North West Cambridgeshire,[6] and is represented in the House of Commons by Shailesh Vara (Conservative). Shailesh Vara has represented the constituency since 2005. The previous member of parliament was Brian Mawhinney (Conservative) who represented the consituency between 1997 and 2005. For the European Parliament Abbots Ripton is in the East of England (European Parliament constituency).

Religious sites[edit]

The village's parish church is dedicated to St Andrew and has a west tower. There has been a church on the site since Norman times, but the present building was built in the second half of the 13th century. It was dedicated by the Bishop of Lincoln in 1242.[3]

The chancel was rebuilt at the start of the 16th century, a north chapel was added and the present tower was constructed. Restoration took place in the 19th century.[3]

The tower houses three bells, the oldest from around 1400.[3]

Detailed description

The church of ST. ANDREW consists of a chancel (31 ft. by 16 ft.), north chapel (15 ft. by 8½ ft.), nave (41¼ ft. by 15 ft.), north aisle (8¾ ft. wide), south aisle (11¼ ft. wide), west tower (11 ft. square) and south porch. Although there was a church here at the time of the Domesday Survey (1086), the earliest evidence in the present building is of a church gradually reconstructed and enlarged during the third and fourth decades of the 13th century. This church, which consisted, apparently, of a chancel, nave, south aisle with south porch, and perhaps a north aisle, was dedicated by the Bishop of Lincoln in 1242.[citation needed]

At the beginning of the 16th century it was evidently intended to rebuild the church.[citation needed] The chancel was at that date rebuilt and the north chapel added, a new arcade on the north side of the nave was erected and from the evidence of the west respond of the south arcade it was apparently proposed to rebuild that side also, but it is probable that instead of doing so this arcade was taken down and rebuilt with the same material. The tower is part of the same scheme of reconstruction, but of a little later date than the rest of the work. The church was restored by subscription in 1858, and in 1868 the roofs of the nave and south aisle were restored as a memorial to Frances Rooper by her brothers and sister.

The chancel has a modern east window of four lights, on the south side of which is the piscina, probably of the 16th century, now partly restored, that served the high altar. The present altar table is modern, but the oak table with turned legs, now in the vestry, was probably that in use during the 17th century and later.[citation needed] The windows of the chancel are all of three cinquefoiled lights, with tracery in a four-centred head, and belong to 16th-century rebuilding. West of the window, on the north side, is a four-centred arch of two moulded orders with attached shafts and moulded capitals and bases, leading into the north chapel. Bequests to a sepulchre light in wills of the first quarter of the 16th century suggest the existence of an Easter Sepulchre, perhaps on the north side of the chancel, but may not have been a permanent structure. The chancel arch is probably of the 16th century, but some of the voussoirs may be of the 13th century. It is two centred and of two moulded orders which die into the responds. There is a squint on either side of the chancel arch, that on the south side now being blocked. Over the arch on the east side is a recess, possibly for a sanctus bell, and on the west side are hung four hatchments relating to the Bonfoy and Rooper families. From wills it appears that a rood loft which was gilded was erected about 1530. The chancel roof of two bays is of the date of the chancel. It is flat pitched and at the feet of the wall posts are figures of men and women.

The north chapel was possibly the chapel of the Gild of Our Lady, of which there is frequent reference in the early part of the 16th century.[citation needed] It is now used as the vestry. The east and north windows of three cinquefoiled lights, with tracery in a four-centred head, belong to the date of the building of the chapel in the 16th century. In the south wall are the remains of a piscina, now used as a cupboard, which served the adjoining altar, probably dedicated to the honour of the Virgin, and in the north-east angle are the remains of a bracket that may have supported her image, which had a gilt canopy in the early part of the 16th century. The roof is of the date of the chapel.

The nave arcades are of three bays; that on the south side is of the 13th century, possibly rebuilt in the 16th century.[citation needed] It has two-centred arches, round piers, with moulded capitals and bases. The 16th-century north arcade has two-centred arches of two moulded orders, the piers being formed of two responds set back to back; on the north face are small shafts carried up the wall probably for roof corbels. At the east respond on this side there is a pedestal for an image. The clerestory is of the 16th century rebuilding and has three windows on each side of two trefoiled lights in four-centred heads. The roof is contemporary with the 16th century rebuilding.

The north doorway and two traceried windows in the north aisle are of the 15th century, and the western of these windows contain fragments of 15th century glass, and the glass in the eastern is a memorial to Constance, wife of Rev. S. King, daughter of John Bonfoy Rooper, who died on 6 February 1870. The east window of the south aisle of three cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a four-centred head, belongs to the 16th-century rebuilding. There is a plain high wall arcade of three bays in the south wall of this aisle, at the bottom of which is a stone bench. The eastern bay contains a modern window of three lights, the middle a 15th-century window of three lights, with tracery in a four-centred head, restored, and the western a 13th-century doorway, probably rebuilt, leading into the 13th-century south porch, which has a contemporary outer archway and a 15th-century window on either side.[citation needed]

The west tower is of three stages, with a stair turret in the south-west angle, and has an embattled parapet with pinnacles. It is wholly of the early part of the 16th century.[citation needed] The two-centred tower arch is of two chamfered orders, the inner of which springs from attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The west doorway has a two-centred arch and moulded jambs, and the west window is of three four-centred lights with uncusped tracery. The second stage has a single four-centred light in the north wall and the clock face on the south. The clock, according to a brass tablet in the chancel, was given in remembrance of the Rev. Plumer Pott Rooper, by his surviving brothers and sisters. In the third stage is a fourcentred window of two lights in each wall. Under the tower arch is an early 19th-century organ.

The font has an octagonal bowl with a quatrefoil in each face, and probably dates from the 15th century.[citation needed]

The monumental inscriptions in the church are as follows: On north wall of chancel, to Catherine Cranwell eldest daughter of the Rev. John Cranwell, d. 2 July 1783; to Rev. John Cranwell, d. 17 April 1793; to John Rooper, d. 17 Dec. 1826; Elizabeth his wife, d. 14 July 1824, and Rev. Thomas Rich. Rooper, their youngest son, d. 7 April 1865. On the south wall of chancel to Nicholas Bonfoy, Serjeant-at-Arms, son and heir of Nicholas Bonfoy of Abbots Ripton, and Elizabeth, daughter of William Hale, of Kings Walden, d. 12 Oct. 1775; to John Bonfoy Rooper, d. 11 Mar. 1855; to Harriet wife of John Bonfoy Rooper, d. 9 Sept. 1841; Caroline eldest daughter of J. W. Buck, of London, wife of Rev. Wm. Rooper, d. 20 April 1834, and Henrietta Persis youngest daughter of Rev. Thos. Rooper and Persis his wife, d. 14 Dec. 1833; to Rev. Plumer Pott Rooper, d. 18 May 1881, and Georgina his wife, d. 23 May 1890. In north chapel there is on the north wall the inscription of a brass to Thomas Cowche, d. 20 Feb. 1641–2, and a tablet to Charles Trimnell, rector of the parish, d. 1702, and Mary his wife, d. 1684. On north wall of north aisle, to Howard Gilliat, lieutenant 16th Lancers, d. of fever in Transvaal, 23 Sept. 1900; mural tablet erected by the parishioners of Abbots Ripton and Wennington in memory of those who fell in the Great War 1914– 1918. On wall of south aisle, to John George Rooper, d. 15 Mar. 1924, and Arthur Somerville Rooper, d. Dec. 1888.

There are three bells: the first by William Dawe inscribed 'Non venit ad veniam qui nescit amare Mariam,' date about 1400; the second by Tobias Norris, 1671, and the old third inscribed 'Non clamor sed amor cantat in aure Dei,' 1622, the present third was recast by John Warner and Sons, London, 1875.

Abbots Ripton Hall[edit]

The village is home to the 18th century Abbots Ripton Hall which now has an estate totalling 5,700 acres (2,307 ha), larger than Abbots Ripton itself; its grounds contain some quite rare trees including — quite unusual in England — a good collection of elm trees which are injected every year to prevent Dutch elm disease.[9]

Abbots Ripton Hall belonged in the 1800s to the Rooper family. John Bonfoy Rooper was MP for Huntingdonshire from 1831 to 1837 and High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire. It is now the seat of John Fellowes, 4th Lord De Ramsey.

Culture and community[edit]

Abbots Ripton has a church dedicated to St Andrew, a shop, garage, and a post office. The village pub, The Three Horseshoes, dates from the 17th century; it was severely damaged by a fire in 2010.[10] It also has a school[11] the Abbots Ripton CofE Primary School which teaches 109 children.

Since its inception in 2004, the Secret Garden Party summer music festival has been held annually at a rural location near the village.


  1. ^ The Domesday Book online webpage
  2. ^ Institute for Name Studies - Abbots Ripton -
  3. ^ a b c d "'Parishes: Abbots Ripton', A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2". Victoria County History. 
  4. ^ UK and Ireland Genealogy
  5. ^ "Abbots Ripton Parish Council". Abbots Ripton parish council. Retrieved 5 February 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c "Ordnance Survey Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  7. ^ "Huntingdonshire District Council: Councillors". Huntingdonshire District Council. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  8. ^ "Cambridgeshire County Council: Councillors" (pdf). Cambridgeshire County Council. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  9. ^ Gardens Guide - Abbots Ripton Hall
  10. ^ "Embers cause fire at historic pub in Cambridgeshire". BBC. March 25, 2010. 
  11. ^ Huntingdonshire District Council - Abbots Ripton info page

External links[edit]

Media related to Abbots Ripton at Wikimedia Commons