Girton, Cambridgeshire

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Girton church St Andrew.JPG
St Andrew's church
Girton is located in Cambridgeshire
 Girton shown within Cambridgeshire
Population 3,752 Girton - 2001 census
4,559 (2011 Census)[1]
OS grid reference TL422615
Shire county Cambridgeshire
Region East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Cambridge
Postcode district CB3
Dialling code 01223
EU Parliament East of England
List of places

Coordinates: 52°13′59″N 0°04′59″E / 52.233°N 0.083°E / 52.233; 0.083

Girton is a village of about 1,600 households, and 4,500 people in Cambridgeshire, England. It lies about two miles to the northwest of Cambridge, and is the home of Cambridge University's Girton College, a pioneer in women's education, which was moved there from a previous site in Hertfordshire in 1872.

Listed as Grittune in around 1060 and Grittune in the Domesday Book, the village's name is derived from the Old English grēot + tūn meaning "farmstead or village on gravelly ground", as the settlement was formed on a gravel ridge.[2]


Girton has a long history, and has been home to a poor settlement for thousands of years. The parish lies on the Via Devana, the Roman road, and a cemetery with at least 225 burials between the second century A.D. and the early Anglo Saxon period was found near to Girton College in 1880. In addition, traces of agriculture from the late Bronze Age and Roman period were found to the north of the village in 1975. A selection of Saxon items are stored in the collection of Girton College.[3]


The parish church has been dedicated to Saint Andrew since at least 1240. Part of the west tower contains stones that were probably part of an earlier 11th century church on the site, and there are parts of 13th century construction still in evidence, but the present building was largely rebuilt in the 15th and 16th centuries.[3] The church was owned by Ramsey Abbey from the 12th century until the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

Ellen Wordsworth Darwin née Crofts, the second wife of Sir Francis Darwin is buried in the churchyard of St. Andrew's Church.

A Baptist church was built in the village in 1860.[3]

Village sign[edit]

The village sign

The current village sign, situated on the corner of Redgate Road and Cambridge Road was erected in 1985 after a fund-raising campaign.

Designed by Denis Cheason and made by Barry Sharman, the design is formed from a number of separate images. The top part of design is based on a Roman belt discovered in a burial ground near Girton College. The centre is derived from the family coat of arms of Anne-Maria Cotton, who endowed the first Girton village school, together with geese, kept at Washpit, that provided quills for use in the University of Cambridge. The flowers near the village's name are corn marigolds which were once common in the village, and at the base is the cross of Saint Andrew to whom the parish church is dedicated.[4]

Village life[edit]

Girton is home to three public houses; the Old Crown opened in around 1840, The George (formerly the George and Dragon) was opened by a blacksmith in the 1850s, and The Traveller's Rest is a modern addition on Huntingdon Road on the outskirts of Cambridge. The village's first pub, the White Horse was opened in around 1760 but closed in the late 20th century.[3]

The village is also home to a rare variant of the grey squirrel — the black squirrel.[5]

People from Girton[edit]

  • Emma Turner (1866-1940) ornithologist and pioneering bird photographer.[6]
  • Vic Watson - footballer


  1. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistrics. Retrieved 17 July 2016. 
  2. ^ A. D. Mills, A Dictionary of British Place-Names (2003)
  3. ^ a b c d A. P. M. Wright & C. P. Lewis (1989). A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9: Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds. pp. 115–118. 
  4. ^ "Girton village website". 
  5. ^ Black Squirrels
  6. ^ H-W, A. (January 1941). "Miss Emma Louise Turner". Ibis. 83 (1): 188–189. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1941.tb00609.x. 

External links[edit]