From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sawston is located in Cambridgeshire
Location within Cambridgeshire
Population7,260 [1]
OS grid referenceTL487496
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townCambridge
Postcode districtCB22
Dialling code01223
AmbulanceEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
52°07′29″N 0°10′23″E / 52.12471°N 0.17315°E / 52.12471; 0.17315Coordinates: 52°07′29″N 0°10′23″E / 52.12471°N 0.17315°E / 52.12471; 0.17315

Sawston is a large village in Cambridgeshire in England, situated on the River Cam about seven miles (11 km) south of Cambridge. It has a population of 7,260.[1]



Although the current village of Sawston has only existed as anything more than a hamlet for 400 to 600 years, there is evidence for a settlement in the vicinity dating back to the early Bronze Age almost 5,000 years ago.[citation needed] The northern high-ground in Sawston would have been the only vantage point from which to view the ancient Hill figures discovered in the Wandlebury section of the Wheatsheaf Duxford.

Domesday Book[edit]

In the Domesday Book of 1086, Sawston is recorded as being in the hundred of Whittlesford and the county of Cambridgeshire. It is recorded to have 38 households, placing it in the top 20% of settlements in terms of population. It has 3 listed owners: Count Robert of Mortain, Geoffrey de Mandeville and Eudo the Steward. One of the overlords in 1066 was reportedly Edward the Confessor.[citation needed]

Sawston Hall[edit]

Sawston Hall

Sawston Hall is a Grade I listed Tudor manor house dating from the 16th century. The hall has many fine features, such as the magnificent Great Hall complete with Elizabethan panelling and a large Tudor fireplace with fireback dated 1571. The hall has a chapel which is also panelled and has an 18th-century decorated plaster ceiling and stained glass windows.[citation needed]

The hall is surrounded by almost 60 acres (24 ha) of grounds which includes a Site of Special Scientific Interest protected by Natural England due to the presence of Cambridge Milk Parsley, a rare English native plant. The ground also include a number of naturally-fed springs, woodland walks, a half moat and a number of smaller landscaped gardens.

Sawston Cross[edit]

Until 1815 the village of Sawston had an ancient cross, possibly erected by the Knights Templar. The cross had many purposes, even as a location where public officers administered justice during the 13th century. It survived the rage of the Puritans in the civil wars, but was torn down between the summer of 1815 and autumn of 1816, along with the surrounding amphitheatre-like enclosure, the stocks and ancient sycamore tree, and sold by greedy village elders to make way for redevelopment. William Hone's Table-book includes a contributor's description when he stumbled across the villagers discussing whether or not to tear down the cross.[2] A poem comparing Sawstonites to the Jews, which would today appear to be antisemitic, was subsequently published in the 1827 journal:[citation needed]

The Jews of old, as we've been told——
And Scriptures pure disclose——
With harden'd hearts drew lots for parts
Of our Salvator's clothes.

The modern Jews ——the Sawstonites——
As harden'd as the Israelites——
In ignorance still more gross——
Thinking they could no longer thrive
By Christian means, did means contrive——
Draw lots, and sold the cross!

Recent history[edit]

Sawston has seen substantial development since the end of the Second World War and, more recently, a number of large housing estates have been constructed, most notably to the north-west and south of the village. This development has led to the area of Sawston spreading into the small nearby village of Pampisford.

Sawston has been earmarked for development to meet Cambridgeshire's housing needs, including in the 2013 Local Plan from South Cambridgeshire District Council currently under review by the Planning Inspectorate.[3] Work on a new Community Hub, which will be a flexible meeting place and re-home the Library (in temporary buildings following the 2012 fire at the Walnut Gallery, SVC), was completed in 2022. It is be located adjacent to the Marven Centre on New Road.[4]

As well as housing developments on either side of the Babraham Road, approval has been given for the building of a 3,000 capacity football stadium to house Cambridge City F.C.[5]


The underground structure of Sawston is the same as that of the region – permeable chalk and impermeable clay. The low-lying nature of the village is indicative of a former flood plain which still tends towards the moist, although comparatively recent dredging of the local ditches and rivers has alleviated the general flooding problem. The chalky nature of the local geology provides for a clean, if hard, water supply as it is drawn from artesian wells in the area. The chalk and clay in the area contains a large quantity of flint that often finds its way into older local construction.

There is a hill, Huckeridge Hill, to the north west of the village. At 32 m it is a good viewpoint for Little Trees Hill (itself the highest point of Magog Down in the Gog Magog Hills) across the valley of the Granta.


For the last couple of hundred years, the two principal industries in Sawston's environs have been Paper & Printing and Leather.[citation needed] The original paper mill in Sawston is on the current Spicers site, named after the family who owned the mill in the last century. This complex is located at the north-west corner of the parish.

There are two sites in Sawston which support or have formerly supported Tanning facilities. The site south of the village centre and backing onto the grounds of the Sawston manor house – Sawston Hall – is the Hutchins and Harding site. The other site is on the southern border of the village, crossing over into neighbouring Pampisford, the Eastern Counties Leather site which has now been mostly converted into a general industrial estate. These industries were introduced into Sawston to take advantage of the clean water supply. Examination reveals that both sites are located on bore holes or streams.

A further large industrial estate exists in the north of the village adjacent to Babraham Road.

Sawston today[edit]

Local government[edit]

Arms of Sawston Parish Council
Sawston Escutcheon.png
CrestOn a Wreath of the Colours a Kingfisher wings elevated and addorsed grasping in the dexter claw a Roll of Parchment proper.[6]
BlazonGules fretty Argent a Bend wavy Azure fimbriated Or.

Sawston Parish Council has a nominal 19 seats, so at the May 2016 elections 15 Councillors were elected unopposed, for a period of two years.[7] The Council moved to a new office building on Link Road in 2011. This incorporates an office for the village History Society. Sawston Parish Council is active in many aspects of village life, including village facilities (recreation grounds, community buildings etc.) and organising events (such as annual bonfire nights).[8]

Sawston is a two-seat Ward within the South Cambridgeshire District Council local government area. This is responsible for Planning, waste collection and the provision of local services such as street lighting. It is currently represented by Clare Delderfield and Brian Milnes, both of the Liberal Democrat Party, and both elected in the 2018 South Cambridgeshire District Council election.

Sawston is a two-seat Cambridgeshire County Council District with its last elections in May 2017 (following Boundary Commission review.[9]) It is currently represented by Brian Milnes and Maria King, both of the Liberal Democrat party.

Nationally, Sawston is in the South Cambridgeshire constituency for representation in the Westminster Parliament – a seat currently held by Conservative Party Member of Parliament Anthony Browne (incumbent since 2019). It hosts hustings every election in the Free Church.


Sawston Medical Practice occupies a site on the London Road, which was completed in 2008. This practice merged with the Linton Practice (known collectively as the Granta Medical Practices) effective from April 2016.[10]


Sawston Village College

Sawston Village College was the first ever village college to be built, by Henry Morris in 1930. As of 2005 it has 1,085 pupils in 5-year groups and approximately 50 teaching staff. The Principal, as of 2018, is Jonathan Russell. In addition to this the village also has the Bellbird Primary School (previously the John Falkner Infant and the John Paxton Junior Schools), Icknield Primary School, and a number of nursery and preschool groups.

Social events in the village take place in the village's three churches, community hall or two pubs, or on the Sawston Village College site, which incorporates a youth centre (including theatre/cinema), an Assembly Hall which is also fitted out as a show venue and a new Arts Centre. The Village College site also has a sports centre which was built in 2004 with two large halls, a swimming pool, and a gym.[citation needed]


The village has four churches, Sawston Free Church,[11] the parish church for the village of Sawston, Saint Mary's Church[12] (There are some pictures and a description at the Cambridgeshire Churches website[13]), Christ Church South Cambs[14] also Church of England,[15] and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church,[16] now under joint Parish leadership with Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Cambridge.

Youth and charity[edit]

Due to its size the village hosts a large number of youth groups and clubs, as well as some organised by the village college. Notable organisations in the village include:

Sawston is the base for the charity Opportunities Without Limits (OWL), which in 2010 merged with the Papworth Trust.[24] OWL have their headquarters on the Village College site, where they maintain the school gardens and hedges. They incorporate a number of other training projects for adults with learning difficulties including a bike refurbishment and resell shop, and a café attached to Sawston Free Church[11] in the high street.[25]


The village has a history society,[26] a book group, and a twinning association (Sawston is twinned with Selsingen, Germany). Since 2005, the village has had an annual music festival, based around a weekend near Midsummer's Day.[27] There are also regular musical events in St Mary's Church, often of Renaissance music sung by a consort of singers, The Company of Musicians.[citation needed]

The community magazine Sawston Scene was started by a group of volunteers in 1970, with the first issue printed in April of that year.[citation needed] It has been published almost every two months ever since, missing one issue for 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and celebrating its fiftieth anniversary in June-July 2020. The magazine includes reports from county, district and parish councils as well as local groups and societies, a diary of local events, and a directory of local information.[28]


The village has a variety of sports clubs. Sawston Rovers Football Club, who play their home fixtures at Mill Lane, compete in Kershaw Senior B with their reserve team in Mead Plant and Grab Division 4A. Sawston United Football Club, the village's other football club, sit currently one league lower.

The 1st XI cricket team was promoted to the top tier of club cricket in 2019, The East Anglian Premier League. The 2nd XI compete in the Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire League, with 3rd & 4th XI in the Cambridgeshire Juniors Leagues respectively. In 2020, the 1st XI finished runners up in their first season of EAPL cricket, losing a deciding playoff game with Swaredeston CC.[citation needed]

Sawston Rugby Union Football Club is based on the village college site.[29] which currently competes in the Greene King Leagues[30]


A cycle path linking Sawston with Babraham, and Babraham with Abington was completed in October 2010, at a cost of £350,000.[31] The route will eventually cross the A11 using the existing footbridge and join the National Cycle Network route 11.

International links[edit]

The village has been twinned with the German town of Selsingen since Klaus Bruno Pape's visit to Sawston in 1984, as a result of a link being established between the two in the PhD thesis of Walther Piroth of Frankfurt University.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Cambridgeshire Insight – Population – Population Reports". Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  2. ^ Sawston Cross, in: The Every-day Book and Table Book; or, Everlasting Calendar of Popular Amusements, Sports, Pastimes, Ceremonies, Manners, Customs, and Events, Each of the Three Hundred and Sixty-Five Days, in Past and Present Times; Forming a Complete History of the Year, Months, and Seasons, and a Perpetual Key to the Almanac, Including Accounts of the Weather, Rules for Health and Conduct, Remarkable and Important Anecdotes, Facts, and Notices, in Chronology, Antiquities, Topography, Biography, Natural History, Art, Science, and General Literature; Derived from the Most Authentic Sources, and Valuable Original Communication, with Poetical Elucidations, for Daily Use and Diversion., ed. William Hone, (London: 1827) p. 81-82. Retrieved on 3 July 2008.
  3. ^ "South Cambridgeshire District Council". Archived from the original on 22 July 2013.
  4. ^ "Minutes of the Sawston Parish Council Meeting" (PDF). 8 March 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  5. ^ "South Cambridgeshire District Council". Archived from the original on 28 March 2013.
  7. ^ "Election results for Sawston, 5 May 2016". 5 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Sawston Parish Council – About Us". Archived from the original on 12 August 2007. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  9. ^ "LGBCE | Cambridgeshire County Council".
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 April 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ a b "Welcome to Sawston Free Church". Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  12. ^ "St Mary's Church, Sawston". Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  13. ^ "Cambridgeshire Churches". Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  14. ^ "Home | Christ Church South Cambs". Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  15. ^ "A Church Near You: CCSC". Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  16. ^ "Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Sawston: Home". Archived from the original on 23 June 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
  17. ^ "Sawston Cricket Club Website". Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  18. ^ "Home". Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  19. ^ "Sawston Youth Drama". Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 May 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Sawston Girls Football Club". Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  22. ^ "Sawston Youth Group - SYG - Opportunities For Young People In Sawston". Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  23. ^ "Sawston Cinema | A cinema run by young people from Sawston Village College". Archived from the original on 18 December 2014. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  24. ^ "Opportunities Without Limits - OWL". Archived from the original on 2 October 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  25. ^ "Papworth Trust helps disabled people to improve their lives and ensures that they have equality, choice and independence". Archived from the original on 24 October 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
  26. ^ "Sawston Village History Society". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 August 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ "Sawston Scene | the village magazine for Sawston". Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  29. ^ "Saw Stonrugby". Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  30. ^ "Green King Country Clubs Web Site". Archived from the original on 21 May 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  31. ^ "Sawston to Abington cycleway". Cambridgeshire County Council. Archived from the original on 16 September 2009. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
  32. ^ "Sawston Village History Society". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2007.

External links[edit]