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Fenstanton High Street - geograph.org.uk - 639733.jpg
Fenstanton High Street
Fenstanton is located in Cambridgeshire
Location within Cambridgeshire
Population2,868 [1]
3,242. (2011)
OS grid referenceTL318686
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtPE28
Dialling code01480
UK Parliament
List of places
52°18′N 0°04′W / 52.3°N 0.07°W / 52.3; -0.07Coordinates: 52°18′N 0°04′W / 52.3°N 0.07°W / 52.3; -0.07

Fenstanton is a village and civil parish in Cambridgeshire, England.[2] Fenstanton is approximately 2 miles (3 km) south of St Ives. Fenstanton is situated within Huntingdonshire which is a non-metropolitan district of Cambridgeshire as well as being a historic county of England. Fenstanton lies on the south side of the River Ouse.

Known as Stantun in the 11th century, Staunton and Stanton Gisbrit de Gant in the 13th century, the name Fenstanton (and Fennystanton) appeared from the 14th century.[3] The name "Fenstanton" means "fenland stone enclosure".[4]


Lying on the Via Devana, the Roman road that linked the army camps at Godmanchester and Cambridge, Fenstanton was the site of a Roman villa, possibly designed to keep order after an attack on the forces of the IX Legion Hispana, as they retreated from an ambush at Cambridge by Boudicca's tribesmen.[5]

The inhabitants of Fenstanton rose in support of Hereward the Wake. From his stronghold on the Isle of Ely Hereward led resistance against the Normans causing King William I to assemble a force in Cambridge to deal with the problem. Men were summoned from Huntingdon but they did not pass Fenstanton and escaped with their lives only by swimming across the river.[5]

Fenstanton was listed in the Domesday Book in the Hundred of Toseland in Huntingdonshire; the name of the settlement was written as Stantone in the Domesday Book.[6] In 1086 there was just one manor at Fenstanton; the annual rent paid to the lord of the manor in 1066 had been £17 and the rent had fallen to £16 in 1086, and the parish contained 33 households.[7] By 1086 there was already a church and a priest at Fenstanton.


As a civil parish, Fenstanton 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. The parish council consists of twelve councillors and there is a parish clerk.[8]

Fenstanton 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, Fenstanton 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.[9] Huntingdonshire District Council collects the council tax, and provides services such as building regulations, local planning, environmental health, leisure and tourism.[10] Fenstanton is a district ward and is represented on the district council by one councillor.[9][11] District councillors serve for four-year terms following elections to Huntingdonshire District Council.

For Fenstanton 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.[12] Cambridgeshire County Council consists of 69 councillors representing 60 electoral divisions.[13] Fenstanton is part of the electoral division of The Hemingfords and Fen Stanton[11] and is represented on the county council by one councillor.[13]

At Westminster, Fenstanton is in the parliamentary constituency of Huntingdon,[11] and elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election. Fenstanton 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.



In the period 1801 to 1901 the population of Fenstanton was recorded every ten years by the UK census. During this time the population was in the range of 704 (the lowest was in 1801) and 1120 (the highest was in 1861).[14]

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

Fenstanton 863 798 771 972 1061 1659 2480 2600 2868 3242

All population census figures from report Historic Census figures Cambridgeshire to 2011 by Cambridgeshire Insight.[14]

In 2011, the parish covered an area of 2,553 acres (1,033 hectares)[14] and so the population density for Fenstanton in 2011 was 812.7 persons per square mile (313.8 per square kilometre).

Culture and community[edit]

The village supports two public houses: The Crown and Pipes and the Duchess. In 1851 there were eight recorded pubs: The Bell, the Crown, the George, the King William IV, the Rose & Crown, the Royal Oak, the White Horse, Woolpack and the Duchess.[5]

There is a post office, as well as a primary school, shared with neighbouring Hilton.

Fenstanton is the current operating base of Stagecoach in Huntingdonshire.

Notable people[edit]

The village is the ancestral home of John Howland, one of the Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620 at Plymouth, Massachusetts.

In the 18th century Lancelot "Capability" Brown, the famous landscape gardener, bought the Lordship of the Manor of Fenstanton and Hilton from the Earl of Northampton. Brown and his wife are buried in the parish churchyard and the chancel bears a memorial to them.

The antiquary M. R. James wrote a ghost story entitled The Fenstanton Witch, which was not published till after his death. The story also mentions the village of Lolworth, which is a few miles away.

Religious sites[edit]

The parish church of St Peter and St Paul dates from the 13th century, though there was an earlier church on the site listed in the Domesday Survey.

The octagonal spire on the west tower dates from the 14th century, and the church is noted for its chancel, built by 14th-century rector William de Longthorne. The east window, 17 feet in width, is impressive for a church of its size. The six bells date from the 17th and 18th century, the latest being hung in 1981, a gift from The Howland Society in America, descendants of the Mayflower Pilgrims mentioned above.[3]

The east window of St Peter and St Paul.

The village also has both a Baptist and a United Reformed Church.


  1. ^ 2001 census Archived 18 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 153 Bedford & Huntingdon (St Neots & Biggleswade) (Map). Ordnance Survey. 2013. ISBN 9780319231722.
  3. ^ a b William Page; Granville Proby; S. Inskip Ladds (1932). A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2. Victoria County History.
  4. ^ Walter Skeat (1901). The Placenames of Cambridgeshire.
  5. ^ a b c "Fenstanton – a brief history".
  6. ^ Ann Williams; G.H. Martin, eds. (1992). Domesday Book: A Complete Translation. London: Penguin Books. p. 1345. ISBN 0-141-00523-8.
  7. ^ J.J.N. Palmer. "Open Domesday: Place – Fenstanton". www.opendomesday.org. Anna Powell-Smith. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  8. ^ "Fenstanton Parish Council: Councillors". www.fenstanton-village.co.uk. Fenstanton Parish Council. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Huntingdonshire District Council: Councillors". www.huntingdonshire.gov.uk. Huntingdonshire District Council. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  10. ^ "Huntingdonshire District Council". www.huntingdonshire.gov.uk. Huntingdonshire District Council. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  11. ^ a b c "Ordnance Survey Election Maps". www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk. Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Cambridgeshire County Council". www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk. Cambridgeshire County Council. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Cambridgeshire County Council: Councillors". www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk. Cambridgeshire County Council. Archived from the original on 22 February 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  14. ^ a b c "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.

Further reading[edit]

  • Dady, Jack. (2000) Beyond Yesterday: A History of Fenstanton. Huntingdon: Archived Books. See village website

External links[edit]