St Lawrence's Church, Diddington
Diddington shown within Cambridgeshire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||St Neots|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
Diddington – in Huntingdonshire (now part of Cambridgeshire), England – is a small village and parish near Buckden south west of Huntingdon. Its population at the time of the 2011 census was 70, and by population is the smallest parish in Cambridgeshire.
The parish consists of 1292 acres running to the west of the River Great Ouse.
During the Second World War the hall and its park were requisitioned by the government. Between 1939 and 1942 it housed Prisoners of War and was used as a transit camp. From December 1942 until August 1943 it was taken over by the 2nd American Hospital, with 4265 casualties treated in the space of only seven months. It then became home to the 49th American Station Hospital, the second largest American hospital in England. Vacated at the end of the war, in 1946 it became a Polish Resettlement Camp. As well as housing Polish Military personnel for convalescence, it also served as a Maternity Unit for Polish women from many areas, and 1073 babies were born there between 1946 and 1948.
In 1948 the Frédéric Chopin Secondary School, a boarding school for Polish children, was established on the site of the hall, and when the Polish Grammar School at Bottisham closed in the 1950s, its pupils were relocated to Diddington. It closed in 1954, with the remaining pupils primarily relocated to Lilford Hall School. The manor house itself has since been demolished.
The parish church of St Lawrence consists of a chancel with modern north vestry, nave, north aisle, south chapel, west tower, and south porch. There was a church on the site by 1086, but the present church dates from the 13th century when the chancel and nave were completed. The tower was added in the 16th century. The original 13th-century font is still present.
The village lies along a single street that can only be accessed from the Great North Road.
In 1892 Arthur John Thornhill, lord of the manor, commissioned a village hall which is still in use today. Thornhill also built the School House which was completed in 1899.
The population of the parish varied between 150 and 220 between 1801 and the Second World War. The presence of Diddington School caused the population to jump to 668 by 1951 before dropping sharply again to 119 in 1961.
- "2011 Census: Population by Parish". Cambridgeshire County Council.
- "Diddington Village Hall".
- "Diddington School". Northwick Park.
- "Diddington Camp". Tweedsmuir Military Camp.
- A. D. Mills (2003). A Dictionary of British Place-Names.
- "A History of the County of Huntingdon" 2. Victoria County History. 1932. pp. 269–272.
Media related to Diddington at Wikimedia Commons