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 is a small village and civil parish in Cambridgeshire, England. Diddington lies approximately 5 miles (8 km) south-west of Huntingdon, near to Buckden. Diddington is situated within Huntingdonshire which is a non-metropolitan district of Cambridgeshire as well as being a historic county of England. 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 clerk and the chairman of the parish meeting stood down with effect from 31st December 2014; a parish grouping arrangement was agreed in principle with neighbouring Buckden parish council and was ratified by Huntingdonshire District Council in March 2014.
Diddington 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, Diddington became a part of the county of Cambridgeshire. Diddington is a part of the district ward of Buckden for Huntingdonshire District Council and is represented on the district council by one councillor. Diddington is a part of the electoral division of Buckden, Gransden and The Offords for Cambridgeshire County Council and is represented on the county council by one councillor.
At Westminster, Diddington is in the parliamentary constituency of Huntingdon, and 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 Diddington is in the East of England (European Parliament constituency).
In the period 1801 to 1901 the population of Diddington was recorded every ten years by the UK census. During this time the population was in the range of 156 (the lowest was in 1801) and 216 (the highest was in 1851).
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 1,300 acres (526 hectares) and so the population density for Diddington in 2011 was 38.4 persons per square mile (14.8 per square kilometre).
Culture and community
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.
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.
- Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 153 Bedford & Huntingdon (St Neots & Biggleswade) (Map). Ordnance Survey. 2013. ISBN 9780319231722.
- "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.
- Waite, Stephen (7 March 2014). "Diddington parish council to be taken over by Buckden". The Hunts Post. Retrieved 5 February 2016.
- "Ordnance Survey Election Maps". www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk. Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
- "Huntingdonshire District Council: Councillors". www.huntsdc.gov.uk. Huntingdonshire District Council. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
- "Cambridgeshire County Council: Councillors" (pdf). www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk. Cambridgeshire County Council. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
- "Historic Census figures Cambridgeshire to 2011" (xlsx - download). www.cambridgeshireinsight.org.uk. Cambridgeshire Insight. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
- "A History of the County of Huntingdon". Victoria County History. 1932. pp. 269–272.
Media related to Diddington at Wikimedia Commons