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Coordinates: 52°25′N 0°15′W / 52.417°N 0.250°W / 52.417; -0.250
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Huntingdon, the historic county town of Huntingdonshire
Huntingdon, the historic county town of Huntingdonshire
Huntingdonshire shown within Cambridgeshire
Huntingdonshire shown within Cambridgeshire
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
RegionEast of England
Non-metropolitan countyCambridgeshire
StatusNon-metropolitan district
Admin HQHuntingdon
Incorporated1 April 1974
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district council
 • BodyHuntingdonshire District Council
 • LeadershipLeader & Cabinet
 • MPsJonathan Djanogly
Shailesh Vara
 • Total352.3 sq mi (912.5 km2)
 • Rank34th (of 296)
 • Total184,052
 • Rank112th (of 296)
 • Density520/sq mi (200/km2)
Ethnicity (2021)
 • Ethnic groups
Religion (2021)
 • Religion
Time zoneUTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code12UE (ONS)
E07000011 (GSS)
OS grid referenceTL1900381334

Huntingdonshire (/ˈhʌntɪŋdənʃər, -ʃɪər/; abbreviated Hunts) is a local government district in Cambridgeshire, England, which was historically a county in its own right. It borders Peterborough to the north, Fenland to the north-east, East Cambridgeshire to the east, South Cambridgeshire to the south-east, Central Bedfordshire and Bedford to the south-west, and North Northamptonshire to the west.

The district had a population of 180,800 at the 2021 census, and has an area of 354.3 square miles (918 km2).[2] After St Neots (33,410), the largest towns are Huntingdon (25,428), St Ives (16,815), and Yaxley (9,174 in 2011). The district council is based in Huntingdon.

Huntingdonshire's boundaries were established in the Anglo-Saxon era. It was divided into four hundreds. The county did not have an independent sheriff, instead being combined with neighbouring Cambridgeshire. Huntingdonshire became an administrative county when they were established in 1889. In 1965 it was merged with the Soke of Peterborough to form Huntingdon and Peterborough, which was in turn merged with Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely in 1974 to form Cambridgeshire, of which Huntingdonshire is now a district.


The area corresponding to modern Huntingdonshire was first delimited in Anglo-Saxon times. Its boundaries have remained largely unchanged since the 10th century, although it lost its administrative function in 1974. On his accession in 1154 Henry II declared all Huntingdonshire a forest.[3]


Map of Huntingdonshire, 1824

In 1889, under the Local Government Act 1888 Huntingdonshire became an administrative county, with the newly-formed Huntingdonshire County Council taking over administrative functions from the Quarter Sessions. The area in the north of the county forming part of the municipal borough of Peterborough became instead part of the Soke of Peterborough, an administrative county in Northamptonshire. In 1965, under a recommendation of the Local Government Commission for England, Huntingdonshire was merged with the Soke of Peterborough to form Huntingdon and Peterborough. The Lieutenancy county was also merged. At the same time, St Neots was expanded westwards over the river into Eaton Ford and Eaton Socon in Bedfordshire.

In 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, Huntingdon and Peterborough merged with Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely to form the new non-metropolitan county of Cambridgeshire. A Huntingdon district was created based closely on the former administrative county borders, with the exclusion of the Old Fletton urban district, which became part of the Peterborough district, as did the part of Norman Cross Rural District in Peterborough New Town. The district was renamed Huntingdonshire on 1 October 1984 by a resolution of the district council.[4]

Original historical documents relating to Huntingdonshire are held by Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies at the County Record Office in Huntingdon.

Proposed revival of administrative county[edit]

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England (1992) considered in the 1990s the case for making a Huntingdonshire unitary authority as part of a general structural review of English local government that led to unitary authorities in two other English counties that had been abolished: Rutland and Herefordshire.

The Draft Recommendations envisaged three possible scenarios for structural change in Cambridgeshire: the preferred option and the third option had a unitary Huntingdonshire, whilst the second option would have seen Huntingdonshire combine with Peterborough and Fenland to form a "Peterborough and Huntingdonshire" unitary authority. The Final Recommendations of the Commission for Cambridgeshire recommended no change in the status quo in Cambridgeshire.[5] The districts of Peterborough and Huntingdonshire were referred back to the commission for reconsideration in 1995. The commission recommended the creation of a Peterborough unitary authority, but proposed that Huntingdonshire remain part of the shire county of Cambridgeshire, noting that "there was no exceptional county allegiance to Huntingdonshire, as had been perceived in Rutland and Herefordshire."[6]

David McKie writing in The Guardian in October 1994 noted that "Writers-in demanded an independent Huntingdon; but MORI's more broadly based poll showed that most Huntingdonians – that is, most of [Prime Minister] John Major's electors – were content to stay part of Cambridgeshire."[7]

Awareness promotion[edit]

The flag designed to represent Huntingdonshire, registered with the Flag Institute in 2009

After the failure to revive the unitary authority, a Huntingdonshire Society was set up to promote awareness of Huntingdonshire as a historic county and campaign for its reinstatement as an administrative and ceremonial entity. In 2002 it established an annual "Huntingdonshire Day" on 25 April, the birthday of Oliver Cromwell.[8][9] After a campaign by the Huntingdonshire Society, the county flag of Huntingdonshire, a gold and beribboned hunting horn on a green field, was registered by the Flag Institute in June 2009.[10]


Huntingdonshire District Council's headquarters are located in Pathfinder House in Huntingdon. The council consists of 52 councillors. Until 2018, district council elections were held in three out of every four years, with a third of the 52 council seats coming up each time. Elections since have been held for all seats every four years.[11] The Conservative party had a majority on the council from 1976 until 2022, after which a joint administration took control of the council.


Huntingdonshire is the birthplace of bandy, now an IOC accepted sport.[12] According to documents from 1813, Bury Fen Bandy Club was undefeated for 100 years. A club member, Charles Tebbutt, wrote the first official rules in 1882 and helped to spread the sport to other countries.[13]

Huntingdonshire County Cricket Club is taken to be one of the 20 minor counties of English and Welsh cricket, but it has never played in the Minor Counties Championship. It has its own Cricket Board and played in the English domestic one-day competition from 1999 to 2003.The county played seven List A matches during this period, with the final List A match it played coming against Cheshire.[14]


In terms of television, Huntingdonshire is served by BBC East and ITV Anglia broadcasting from the Sandy Heath TV transmitter. [15]

Radio stations for the area are BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Heart East, Greatest Hits Radio East, Star Radio and HCR FM, a community based station that broadcast from its studios in Huntingdon. [16]

The Hunts Post is the local weekly newspaper. [17]

Towns and villages[edit]

Huntingdonshire population pyramid


Hamlets and villages[edit]


The whole district is divided into civil parishes. The parish councils for Godmanchester, Huntingdon, Ramsey, St Ives and St Neots take the style "town council". Some of the smaller parishes have a parish meeting rather than a parish council.[18]

Notable people[edit]

In order of birth:


Coat of arms of Huntingdonshire
Originally granted to Huntingdonshire County Council on 9 April 1937.
On a wreath of the Argent and Azure a lion rampant Gules gorged with a collar flory counter-flory Or and supporting a staff proper flying therefrom a banner Vert charged with a hunting horn stringed Or.
Barry wavy Argent and Azure on a lozenge throughout Vert between in chief three garbs one and two and in base a cornucopia a fess embattled all Or.
Labore Omnia Florent (By Labour Everything Prospers)[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b UK Census (2021). "2021 Census Area Profile – Huntingdonshire Local Authority (E07000011)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  2. ^ Roskams, Michael. "Population and household estimates, England and Wales: Census 2021 - Office for National Statistics". www.ons.gov.uk. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2 July 2022.
  3. ^ H. R. Loyn, Anglo-Saxon England and the Norman Conquest 2nd ed. 1991, pp. 378–382.
  4. ^ Name change. The Times, 27 April 1984.
  5. ^ Local Government Boundary Commission for England. Final Recommendations for the Future Local Government of Cambridgeshire. October 1994.
  6. ^ Local Government Boundary Commission for England. Final Recommendations on the Future Local Government of: Basildon & Thurrock, Blackburn & Blackpool, Broxtowe, Gedling & Rushcliffe, Dartford & Gravesham, Gillingham & Rochester upon Medway, Exeter, Gloucester, Halton & Warrington, Huntingdonshire & Peterborough, Northampton, Norwich, Spelthorne and the Wrekin. December 1995.
  7. ^ "Commentary: Hatred of Harlow and bad thoughts about Basildon", David McKie, The Guardian, 31 October 1994.
  8. ^ And you're from where? The Times. 20 April 2002.
  9. ^ Gavin Bell (19 June 2004). "Cambridgeshire: Cromwell's own county". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 1 March 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  10. ^ "UK Flag Registry – Huntingdonshire". The Flag Institute. 25 June 2009. Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Changing to Whole Council Elections – Explanatory Document" (PDF). Huntingdonshire District Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 June 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  12. ^ "Olympic". Federation of International Bandy. Archived from the original on 3 October 2009.
  13. ^ Helen Burchell (24 September 2014). "Cambridgeshire> History> local history> A handy Bandy guide..." BBC News.
  14. ^ "List A matches played by Huntingdonshire County Cricket Club". Cricket Archive. Retrieved 24 September 2022.
  15. ^ "Full Freeview on the Sandy Heath (Central Bedfordshire, England) transmitter". UK Free TV. 1 May 2004. Retrieved 14 April 2024.
  16. ^ "Huntingdon Community Radio". Retrieved 14 April 2024.
  17. ^ "The Hunts Post". British Papers. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2024.
  18. ^ "Parish councils contact details". Huntingdonshire District Council. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  19. ^ Michael Mullett: "Curwen, Thomas (c. 1610–1680)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, UK: OUP, 2004) Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  20. ^ "East of England Region". Civic Heraldry of England. Retrieved 9 March 2021.

External links[edit]

52°25′N 0°15′W / 52.417°N 0.250°W / 52.417; -0.250