Coordinates: 52°27′24″N 0°18′17″E / 52.4568°N 0.3046°E / 52.4568; 0.3046
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Littleport, Cambridgeshire)

St George's Church
Littleport is located in Cambridgeshire
Location within Cambridgeshire
Area2.417 km2 (0.933 sq mi) [1]
Population9,168 (2021)[2]
• Density3,793/km2 (9,820/sq mi)
OS grid referenceTL568868
• London67.4 mi (108.5 km) S
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townELY
Postcode districtCB6
Dialling code01353
AmbulanceEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
52°27′24″N 0°18′17″E / 52.4568°N 0.3046°E / 52.4568; 0.3046

Littleport is a village in East Cambridgeshire, in the Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire, England.[3] It lies about 6 miles (10 km) north-east of Ely and 6 miles (10 km) south-east of Welney, on the Bedford Level South section of the River Great Ouse, close to Burnt Fen and Mare Fen. There are two primary schools, Millfield Primary and Littleport Community, and a secondary, Vista Academy. The Littleport riots of 1816 influenced the passage of the Vagrancy Act 1824.


With an Old English name of Litelport, the village was worth 17,000 eels a year to the Abbots of Ely in 1086.[4]

The legendary founder of Littleport was King Canute. A fisherman gave the king shelter one night, after drunken monks had denied him hospitality. After punishing the monks, he made his host the mayor of a newly founded village.[5]

The Littleport Riots of 1816 broke out after war veterans from the Battle of Waterloo returned home, only to find they could get no work and grain prices had gone up. They took to the streets and smashed shops and buildings until troops were brought in.[6] St George's church registers were destroyed in the riots.[7] The remaining registers start from 1754 (marriages), 1756 (burials), and 1783 (baptisms). Some original documents to do with the riots are held in Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies at the County Record Office, Cambridge.[8]

In 2003, a Harley-Davidson statue was unveiled in Littleport to mark the centenary of the motorcycle company. William Harley, father of the company's co-founder William Sylvester Harley, was born in Victoria Street, Littleport, in 1835 and emigrated to the United States in 1859.[9]


Littleport is a civil parish with an elected council. Parish council meetings are held in the Barn.[10]

The second tier of local government in Littleport was Ely Rural District from 1894 to 1974,[11] when East Cambridgeshire District Council was formed based in Ely. The third tier is Cambridgeshire County Council.[10]

The parish belongs to the parliamentary constituency of North East Cambridgeshire.


Thomas Peacock, who founded the gentlemen's tailoring chain Hope Brothers, was born in Littleport in 1829. Peacock had several shops in London starting from one in Ludgate Hill.[12] The first three-storey Hope Brothers shirt and collar-making factory was opened in the village in 1881 in White Hart Lane. By 1891 it was employing 300–400 women and children. It had a social club and library. For a period in the 1940s and 1950s, Hope Brothers also manufactured the England football kit. The factory was later taken over by Burberry.[13]

From 1979 to 1983, the firm of Jim Burns guitars was based in Padnal Road in Littleport. It produced guitars such as the Steer, popularized by Billy Bragg.[14]

Little Ouse[edit]

Littleport Parish includes the hamlet of Little Ouse which comes under the Littleport East ward. Little Ouse is now wholly residential: the pub (Waterman's Arms) and the Church of St John the Evangelist have become private dwellings.[15]

The lowest trig point in Britain is near Little Ouse; it sits at 3 ft (1m) below sea level.[16]


Cambridgeshire's average annual rainfall of 24 inches (600 mm) makes it one of Britain's driest counties. Protected from the cool onshore coastal breezes east of the region, the county is warm in summer and cold and frosty in winter.[17]

The nearest Met Office weather station is Cambridge NIAB.[18][19]

Several other local weather stations report periodic figures to the internet. For example, via Weather Underground, Inc.[20]

Climate data for Cambridge (1971–2000 averages)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 7.0
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 1.3
Average rainfall mm (inches) 45.0
Source: Met Office


Littleport is 28.46 square miles (73.7 km2) in size, making it the largest village in East Cambridgeshire by area. The city of Ely itself has the highest East Cambridgeshire population with Soham second and Littleport third.[1]

Historical population of Littleport[21]
Year 1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901
Population 1602 1847 2364 2644 3365 3832 3733 3903 3571 4201 4221
Year 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 2011
Population 4527 4526 4779 [22] 5182 5291 5293 5673 6282 7521 8738

Census: 1801–2001[1] 2011[2]

Notable people[edit]

World War II[edit]

On 16 December 1944, British double agent Eddie Chapman was flown on a mission to Britain by the Germans in a fast and manoeuvrable small fighter plane, that took off from a forward Luftwaffe fighter station on the Dutch coast. The purpose of the mission was to monitor the accuracy of V-1 flying bombs and V-2 rockets falling on London and then to report back their effect on the morale of the population in order to improve the performance and devastation of the attacks. After following the bombs to London, Chapman's fighter rerouted to East Anglia to enable him to bail out over flat ground.

The fighter had been converted for parachuting by cutting a small trap door in the floor. The low-flying fighter was picked up by a British night-fighter and attacked over the dropping zone. Chapman scrambled head first through the trap door, with his parachute initially getting stuck. Whilst floating down to the ground he witnessed the British night-fighter re-engage the German fighter, which burst into flames and exploded in a fireball as it hit the ground killing the remaining crew. Chapman landed near Apes Hall, Littleport, in the middle of the night. He woke the farm foreman George Convine by banging on the hall door. To avoid difficult questions, Corvine was told by Chapman that he was a crashed British airman and that he needed him to call the police.

Local folklore and legends[edit]

Black dog hauntings[edit]

Littleport is home to two different legends of spectral black dogs, which have been linked to the Black Shuck folklore of the East of England but differ in significant aspects.

The local folklorist W. H. Barrett tells a story set before the English Reformation, of a local girl gathering wild mint from a nearby mere, who is rescued from a lustful friar by a huge black dog, both of which are killed in the struggle. The local men throw the body of the friar into the mere, but bury with honour the dog, which is then said to haunt the area.[24][25]

Cambridgeshire folklorist Enid Porter tells stories from the 19th century of a black dog haunting the A10 road between Littleport and the neighbouring hamlet of Brandon Creek. Local residents are kept awake on dark nights by the sounds of howling and travellers hear trotting feet behind them and feel hot breath on the back of their legs. Local legend says that the dog is awaiting the return of its owner, who drowned in the nearby River Great Ouse in the early 1800s. This haunting reportedly ended in 1906, when a local resident drove his car into something solid, which was never found, next to the spot where the dog's owner supposedly drowned.[26][27]

Cultural reference[edit]

Littleport provided the inspiration for Great Deeping, the imaginary location of the Paradise Barn children's novels by Victor Watson, set in the Second World War.[28]

See also[edit]


Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Research Group (2010). "Historic Census Population Figures". Cambridgeshire County Council. Archived from the original (XLS) on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics. Area: Littleport (Parish)". ONS. 2023. Retrieved 3 February 2023.
  3. ^ Village status confirmed by the assistant clerk to the Littleport parish council: towns have a town council, villages a parish council.
  4. ^ Domesday Book (1999–2010). "Cambridgeshire, Littleport". The Domesday Book Online. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  5. ^ Beryl Beare, England: Myths and Legends (Bath, 1999), p. 47. ISBN 0752529781
  6. ^ Strawson. "The Littleport Riots". Family website. Strawson family. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  7. ^ T D Atkinson, Ethel M Hampson, E T Long, C A F Meekings, Edward Miller, H B Wells, G M G Woodgate (1953), Pugh, R B (ed.), The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Cambridge and the isle of Ely, vol. 4, Oxford University Press, pp. 95–102{{citation}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ "County Records Office, Cambridge". Cambridgeshire County Council. 2010. Archived from the original on 16 May 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  9. ^ "Littleport Harley Davidson statue".
  10. ^ a b ECDC (February 2010). Leaflet:Councillors, committees & meeting dates. The Grange, Nutholt Lane, Ely, CB7 4EE.
  11. ^ A Vision of Britain (2004). "A vision of Britain between 1801 and 2001". University of Portsmouth and others. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  12. ^ "1914 Who's Who in Business: Company H - Graces Guide".
  13. ^ "Littleport Plaque For Hope Brothers Factory". Archived from the original on 1 August 2012.
  14. ^ Gjörde, Per (2001). Pearls and Crazy Diamonds. Göteborg, Sweden: Addit Information AB. pp. 50–54.
  15. ^ "Church of St John the Evangelist Little Ouse Littleport, Ely, Cambs". East Cambridgeshire District Council. Archived from the original on 21 September 2010.
  16. ^ "Happy 80th birthday to the trig pillar" Ordnance Survey
  17. ^ Greig, Dr. A.; Martin, J. (1998). "Cambridgeshire and Peterborough's State of the Environment Report: Chapter 11 Physical Background" (PDF). Cambridgeshire County Council. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  18. ^ Met Office. "Forecast:East of England". UK Climate Forecasts. Crown Copyright. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  19. ^ Met Office. "Historical Data:Regional:Cambridge NIAB". UK Climate Summaries. Crown Copyright. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  20. ^ Weather Underground (2010). "Ely, United Kingdom". Weather Underground, Inc. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  21. ^ Area in 1801 26.20 square miles (67.9 km2)
  22. ^ No census 1941 due to WWII
  23. ^ William Harley Retrieved 20 March 2015
  24. ^ Barrett, Walter Henry (1963), Porter, Enid (ed.), Tales from the Fens, Routledge & Kegan Paul, ISBN 9780710010544
  25. ^ James, Maureen (2014), "Of Strange Phenomena: Black Dogs, Will o' the Wykes and Lantern Men", Cambridgeshire Folk Tales, History Press, ISBN 9780752466286
  26. ^ Porter, Enid (1969), Cambridgeshire Customs & Folklore, Routledge & Kegan Paul, ISBN 9780710062017
  27. ^ Codd, Daniel (2010), "The Weird Animal Kingdom: Black Shuck and Other Phantom Animals", Mysterious Cambridgeshire, JMD Media, ISBN 9781859838082
  28. ^ Series website Retrieved 20 February 2016.

External links[edit]