Alconbury Weston – in Huntingdonshire (now part of Cambridgeshire), England – is a village and civil parish, lying just outside of the Fens, having just a few hills, but a significant change to the flat of the Fens. Alconbury Weston is situated 4.5 miles (7.2 km) north-west of Huntingdon.
In 1085 William the Conqueror ordered that a survey should be carried out across his kingdom to discover who owned which parts and what it was worth. The survey took place in 1086 and the results were recorded in what, since the 12th century, has become known as the Domesday Book. Starting with the king himself, for each landholder within a county there is a list of their estates or manors; and, for each manor, there is a summary of the resources of the manor, the amount of annual rent that was collected by the lord of the manor both in 1066 and in 1086, together with the taxable value.
Alconbury Weston was listed in the Domesday Book in the Hundred of Leightonstone in Huntingdonshire; the name of the settlement was written as Westune in the Domesday Book. In 1086 there was just one manor at Alconbury Weston; the annual rent paid to the lord of the manor in 1066 had been £1 and the rent was the same in 1086.
The Domesday Book does not explicitly detail the population of a place but it records that there was 4 households at Alconbury Weston. There is no consensus about the average size of a household at that time; estimates range from 3.5 to 5 people per household. Using these figures then an estimate of the population of Alconbury Weston in 1086 is that it was within the range of 14 and 20 people.
The Domesday Book uses a number of units of measure for areas of land that are now unfamiliar terms, such as hides and ploughlands. In different parts of the country, these were terms for the area of land that a team of eight oxen could plough in a single season and are equivalent to 120 acres (49 hectares); this was the amount of land that was considered to be sufficient to support a single family. By 1086, the hide had become a unit of tax assessment rather than an actual land area; a hide was the amount of land that could be assessed as £1 for tax purposes. The survey records that there was one ploughland at Alconbury Weston in 1086 and that there was the capacity for a further one ploughland.
The tax assessment in the Domesday Book was known as geld or danegeld and was a type of land-tax based on the hide or ploughland. It was originally a way of collecting a tribute to pay off the Danes when they attacked England, and was only levied when necessary. Following the Norman Conquest, the geld was used to raise money for the King and to pay for continental wars; by 1130, the geld was being collected annually. Having determined the value of a manor's land and other assets, a tax of so many shillings and pence per pound of value would be levied on the land holder. While this was typically two shillings in the pound the amount did vary; for example, in 1084 it was as high as six shillings in the pound. For the manor at Alconbury Weston the total tax assessed was one geld.
In 1086 there was no church at Alconbury Weston.
As a civil parish, Alconbury Weston 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 2015, Alconbury Weston parish council had seven members; meetings were held on a Monday every six to eight weeks in the Memorial Hall in Alconbury.
Alconbury Weston 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, Alconbury Weston 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. Huntingdonshire District Council collects the council tax, and provides services such as building regulations, local planning, environmental health, leisure and tourism. Alconbury Weston is a part of the district ward of Alconbury and The Stukeleys and is represented on the district council by one councillor. District councillors serve for four-year terms following elections to Huntingdonshire District Council.
The highest tier of local government 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. Cambridgeshire County Council consists of 69 councillors representing 60 electoral divisions. Alconbury Weston is a part of the electoral division of Huntingdon and is represented on the county council by two councillors. County councillors serve for four-year terms following elections to Cambridgeshire County Council.
At Westminster, Alconbury Weston is in the parliamentary constituency of Huntingdon and elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. Alconbury Weston 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. For the European Parliament Alconbury Weston is s part of the East of England constituency which elects seven MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation.
The Alconbury brook runs through the village then through Alconbury and on into Hinchingbrooke park. The brook floods occasionally during winter months (see flood '98) and can cause residents to be blocked from travelling by car and have to walk to get out of the village. (Assuming they got their warning in time and moved their vehicles, outside of the flooding area.) Conversely, the brook can become almost dry in the summer in certain areas.
The climate in the United Kingdom is defined as a temperate oceanic climate, or Cfb on the Köppen climate classification system, a classification it shares with most of northwest Europe. Eastern areas of the United Kingdom, such as East Anglia, are drier, cooler, less windy and also experience the greatest daily and seasonal temperature variations. Protected from the cool onshore coastal breezes further to the east of the region, Cambridgeshire is warm in summer, and cold and frosty in winter.
The nearest Met Office climate station to Alconbury Weston is at Monks Wood, which is 2.2 miles (3.5 km) to the north-east. The average annual rainfall for the United Kingdom between 1981 and 2010 was 1,154 millimetres (45.4 in) but Cambridgeshire is one of the driest counties with around half of the national level. Regional weather forecasting and historical summaries are available from the UK Met Office. Additional local weather stations report periodic figures to the internet such as Weather Underground, Inc.
|Climate data for Monks Wood, elevation 41m, (1981–2010 averages)|
|Average high °C (°F)||7.2
|Average low °C (°F)||1.1
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||47.0
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||58.0||77.4||109.9||152.3||186.2||180.6||193.3||188.1||142.5||114.6||67.0||52.4||1,522.2|
|Source: Met Office Monks Wood, Cambridgeshire|
In the period 1801 to 1901 the population of Alconbury Weston was recorded every ten years by the UK census. During this time the population was in the range of 281 (the lowest in 1801) and 561 (the highest in 1861).
From 1901, a census was taken every ten years with the exception of 1941 (due to the Second World War).
All population census figures from report Historic Census figures Cambridgeshire to 2011 by Cambridgeshire Insight.
In 2011, the parish covered an area of 1,732 acres (701 hectares) and so the population density for Alconbury Weston in 2011 was 295.6 persons per square mile (114.1 per square kilometre).
Culture and community
The brook is home to a number of water birds such as Mallard, Swan and Wren and the stream is also well stocked with small fish such as Roach and also larger predatory fish such as Pike. A local tale states that the biggest fish caught by a local man was a pike and weighed 11 lb. All that is known is that the local man was known as 'Dore'.
The village used to contain a Butchers, Farm Shop, Freezer Shop, post office and Master Saddlers which have all shut down in recent years. In 2016, the Village pub closed down suddenly leaving the village folk to trek to Alconbury to search for a pint.
The village has a number of footpaths used by walkers, Ramblers and Horses.
The village is served by St Peter's & St Paul's Church based and a primary school and a GP surgery, all of which are based in Alconbury.
The Alconbury Weald project is taking place near to Alconbury Weston.
- Dr Ann Williams, Professor G.H. Martin, eds. (1992). Domesday Book: A Complete Translation. London: Penguin Books. pp. 551–561. ISBN 0-141-00523-8.
- Dr Ann Williams, Professor G.H. Martin, eds. (1992). Domesday Book: A Complete Translation. London: Penguin Books. p. 1304. ISBN 0-141-00523-8.
- Professor J.J.N. Palmer. "Open Domesday: Place – Alconbury Weston". www.opendomesday.org. Anna Powell-Smith. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
- Goose, Nigel; Hinde, Andrew. "Estimating Local Population Sizes" (PDF). Retrieved 23 February 2016.
- "Alconbury Weston Parish Council". Alconbury Weston Parish Council. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
- "Huntingdonshire District Council: Councillors". www.huntingdonshire.gov.uk. Huntingdonshire District Council. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
- "Huntingdonshire District Council". www.huntingdonshire.gov.uk. Huntingdonshire District Council. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
- "Ordnance Survey Election Maps". www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk. Ordnance Survey. Archived from the original on 20 February 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
- "Huntingdonshire District Council: Councillors". www.huntsdc.gov.uk. Huntingdonshire District Council. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
- "Cambridgeshire County Council". www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk. Cambridgeshire County Council. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
- "Cambridgeshire County Council: Councillors". www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk. Cambridgeshire County Council. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
- "Cambridgeshire County Council: Councillors". www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk. Cambridgeshire County Council. Archived from the original (pdf) on 5 February 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
- Peel, M. C.; Finlayson, B. L.; McMahon, T. A. (2007). "Updated world map of the Köppen–Geiger climate classification". Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 11: 1633–1644. doi:10.5194/hess-11-1633-2007. ISSN 1027-5606. (direct: Final Revised Paper)
- "Forecast:East of England". UK Weather Forecasts. UK Met Office. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
- "Monks Wood Climate: Averages Table". UK Climate Summaries. UK Met Office. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
- "Alconbury Weston, United Kingdom". Weather Underground, Inc. 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
- "Historic Census figures Cambridgeshire to 2011". www.cambridgeshireinsight.org.uk. Cambridgeshire Insight. Archived from the original (xlsx – download) on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
Media related to Alconbury Weston at Wikimedia Commons