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St Margaret's church in Abbotsley, Cambs.jpg
St Margaret's Church, Abbotsley
Abbotsley is located in Cambridgeshire
Location within Cambridgeshire
Population446 (2011)
OS grid referenceTL227564
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townSt Neots
Postcode districtPE19
Dialling code01767
AmbulanceEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
52°11′35″N 0°12′19″W / 52.19299°N 0.20533°W / 52.19299; -0.20533Coordinates: 52°11′35″N 0°12′19″W / 52.19299°N 0.20533°W / 52.19299; -0.20533

Abbotsley is a village and civil parish within the Huntingdonshire district of Cambridgeshire, England.[1][2] It is three miles from St Neots and 14 miles from the county town of Cambridge. At the time of the 2001 census, the resident population was 425 people living in 164 households.[3] increasing to a population of 446 at the 2011 Census.[4]


The village's name is derived from 'woodland clearing of a man called Ealdbeald' (Old English personal name Eadbald + lēah)[5][6] The name is recorded as Adboldesl’ in the 12th century, as Adboldeslee and Albedesleg in the 13th century, Albo(t)deste(g), Albo(t)desley and Abbodesle in the 13th-14th century, and Abbot(t)esle(y) from late 13th to late 15th century.[6]


As a civil parish, Abbotsley 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. Abbotsley parish council comprises seven councillors, a chairman and clerk.[7]

Abbotsley 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, Abbotsley became a part of the county of Cambridgeshire.

The second tier of local government is Huntingdonshire District Council which is a non-metropolitan district of Cambridgeshire and has its headquarters in Huntingdon. Huntingdonshire District Council has 52 councillors representing 29 district wards.[8] Huntingdonshire District Council collects the council tax, and provides services such as building regulations, local planning, environmental health, leisure and tourism.[9] Abbotsley is a part of the district ward of Gransden and The Offords and is represented on the district council by two councillors.[10][11] District councillors serve for four-year terms following elections to Huntingdonshire District Council.

The highest tier of local government for Abbotsley is Cambridgeshire County Council which has administration buildings in Cambridge. The county council provides county-wide services such as major road infrastructure, fire and rescue, education, social services, libraries and heritage services.[12] Cambridgeshire County Council consists of 69 councillors, who are elected to four-year terms, representing 60 electoral divisions.[13] Abbotsley is a part of the electoral division of Buckden, Gransden and The Offords and is represented on the county council by one councillor.[10][14] County councillors serve for four-year terms following elections to Cambridgeshire County Council.

At Westminster, Abbotsley is in the parliamentary constituency of Huntingdon,[10] and elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. Abbotysley is represented in the House of Commons by Jonathan Djanogly (Conservative). Jonathan Djanogly has represented the constituency since 2001. The previous member of parliament was John Major (Conservative) who represented the constituency between 1983 and 2001.


Abbotsley village is 14 miles from the county town of Cambridge and 47 miles from London. It is on the B1046 road between Great Gransden and St Neots. The elevation of the parish is between 22 and 60 metres (72–197 feet) above sea level.[15] The subsoil is Oxford and Ampthill clay.[16]



In the period 1801 to 1901 the population of Abbotsley was recorded every ten years by the UK census. During this time the population was in the range of 287 (the lowest in 1801) and 498 (the highest in 1871).[17]

From 1901, a census was taken every ten years with the exception of 1941 (due to the Second World War).

Abbotsley 328 321 263 283 263 307 346 346 425 446

All population census figures from report Historic Census figures Cambridgeshire to 2011 by Cambridgeshire Insight.[17]

In 2011, the parish covered an area of 5,676 acres (2,297 hectares)[17]

The ethnic group of all residents was white; 78% described themselves as Christian.[3]

Scarecrow Festival Abbotsley


A war memorial which stands in the churchyard commemorates Abbotsley men who died in the First and Second World Wars.[18]

19 buildings in Abbotsley are listed (including the church). Among them are four houses along Blacksmiths Lane, nine houses along the High Street, a red telephone box[19] and a table tomb in the churchyard.[20]

Religious sites[edit]

St Margaret's Church has stood in Abbotsley since around 1300, though there was a church in the village as early as 1138. The current building was restored in 1854 and 1861 and the tower in 1884;[21] it is a Grade II* listed building.[22] Abbotsley is part of the deanery of St Neots and diocese of Ely.[23]

Culture and community[edit]

A village hall is used for meetings, events and private functions. An annual Feast Week and Scarecrow Festival is held to raise money for maintenance of the village hall. Residents construct themed scarecrows and place them outside their houses for a week while there are various fundraising events held.[7]

Michael Palin writer, comedian and TV personality was married at Abbotsley Church.

Neighbouring parishes[edit]


  1. ^ Huntingdonshire District Council: Abbotsley Archived 3 January 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Cambridgeshire County Council: Find my local county councillor Archived 13 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Cambridgeshire County Council: 2001 census profile: Abbotsley Archived 9 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  5. ^ Mills, A.D. (1998). A Dictionary of English Place-names. Second Edition. Oxford University Press, Oxford. p1. ISBN 0-19-280074-4
  6. ^ a b Watts, Victor (2007). The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names. Cambridge University Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0521168557.
  7. ^ a b "Abbotsley village parish council". Retrieved 5 February 2016.
  8. ^ "Huntingdonshire District Council: Councillors". Huntingdonshire District Council. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Huntingdonshire District Council". Huntingdonshire District Council. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  10. ^ a b c "Ordnance Survey Election Maps". Ordnance Survey. Archived from the original on 20 February 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Huntingdonshire District Council: Councillors". Huntingdonshire District Council. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Cambridgeshire County Council". Cambridgeshire County Council. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  13. ^ "Cambridgeshire County Council: Councillors". Cambridgeshire County Council. Archived from the original on 22 February 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  14. ^ "Cambridgeshire County Council: Councillors". Cambridgeshire County Council. Archived from the original (pdf) on 5 February 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  15. ^ "Ordnance Survey:". Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  16. ^ "GENUKI: Abbotsley, Huntingdonshire". Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  17. ^ a b c "Historic Census figures Cambridgeshire to 2011". Cambridgeshire Insight. Archived from the original (xlsx – download) on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  18. ^ "Roll of Honour - Huntingdonshire - Abbotsley". Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  19. ^ "K6 Telephone Kiosk by St Margarets Church, Abbotsley - 1211832". Historic England. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  20. ^ "Table Tomb about 10 yards South of Church of St Maragret, Abbotsley - 1210869". Historic England. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  21. ^ "Parishes: Abbotsley, A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2". British History Online. 20 July 2008. pp. 257–260. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  22. ^ "Church of St Margaret, Abbotsley - 1210868". Historic England. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  23. ^ Diocese of Ely Archived 17 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

Media related to Abbotsley at Wikimedia Commons