St Neots sign
St Neots shown within Cambridgeshire
|OS grid reference|
|– London||49 miles (79 km) S|
|Civil parish||St Neots|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||ST. NEOTS|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
St Neots / / is a town and civil parish in the non metropolitan county of Cambridgeshire, England, within the historic county of Huntingdonshire, next to the Bedfordshire county border. It lies on the River Great Ouse in the Huntingdonshire District, 15 miles (24 km) west of Cambridge and 49 miles (79 km) north of central London. St Neots is the largest town in Cambridgeshire (Cambridge and Peterborough are both cities) with a population of 40,000. The town is named after the Cornish monk Saint Neot whose bones were subject to translation from the hamlet of St Neot on Bodmin Moor on consecration of the Priory of St Neots c. 980.
Pilgrimage to St Neots brought prosperity for the town, and it was granted a market charter in 1130. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the town enjoyed further prosperity through corn milling, brewing, stagecoach traffic and railways. After the Second World War, the town and its industry grew rapidly as London councils paid for new housing to be built in the town to rehouse families from London. The first London overspill housing was completed in the early 1960s. Today, St Neots is a thriving market town and an attractive destination for tourism. A range of bed and breakfast hotels are supplemented by larger chain hotels to the west of the town, and one of the UK's largest inland Camping and Caravanning Club sites is situated on the banks of the River Great Ouse.
- 1 Today
- 2 Geography
- 3 Transport
- 4 History
- 5 Politics
- 6 Sport and leisure
- 7 Culture
- 8 Notable residents
- 9 Expansion
- 10 Nearby settlements
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The third largest conurbation in Cambridgeshire, today, St Neots is a thriving commercial centre which boasts a wide selection of retailers and good restaurants but retains its market town charm. In 2013, St Neots was named by the Telegraph newspaper as the fourth best place in the UK for 'Foodies'. St Neots is often referred to as the Jewel of the Ouse, the name stemming from a combination of its serene location astride the banks of the River Great Ouse, acres of public riverside parklands and its historical use of the Alfred Jewel as the towns emblem. The town has three Anglican churches all confusingly called St Mary's. The largest St Mary's Church is referred to as the Cathedral of Huntingdonshire and features the life of Christ depicted in stained glass windows.
The modern town incorporates Eynesbury (one of the oldest parts of the town) and two areas across the river, Eaton Ford and Eaton Socon, which were originally separate villages across the county boundary (formed by the River Great Ouse) in Bedfordshire. Already the largest town in Cambridgeshire, after the cities of Cambridge and Peterborough, St Neots continues to grow rapidly due to a demand for modern housing and the town's transport links.
Technology-based industries are located in some of the town's light industrial estates, and there is a gas turbine power station at Little Barford on the edge of the town. Recent development has added Eynesbury Manor, Love's Farm, and the Island, Little Paxton bringing the population above 40,000. It is projected that the population of the town will be 65,000 by the end of the Huntingdonshire Local Plan period (2036).
St Neots is situated approximately 49 miles north of London. It lies close to the south-western boundary of Huntingdonshire District, in the valley of the River Great Ouse, partly on the flood plain and partly on slightly higher ground a little further from the water. The Great Ouse is a mature river, once wide and shallow but now controlled by weirs and sluices and usually constrained in a well-defined channel.
Tributaries entering the Great Ouse in the town are the River Kym, Hen Brook, Duloe Brook and Colmworth Brook. The area is generally low-lying. The Riverside Fields, an amenity area adjacent to St Neots Bridge, is designed as a flood buffer area, and is under water at times of flood, protecting dwelling and commercial property from flood.
St Neots developed at the site of a ford where overland routes converged. This was replaced by a medieval bridge, and today there are two further crossings just outside the town, one to the north and another to the south.
The soil is mainly light, overlying gravel beds, and gravel extraction is one of the local industries. Older disused gravel pits form useful nature reserves and amenity areas at nearby Paxton Pits and at the Wyboston Leisure Park. Away from the river, the higher land is mainly a heavy clay soil with few large settlements. Much of the land is used for arable farming.
||Hail Weston||Little Paxton||Great Paxton|
|Climate data for St Neots, 2000–2012|
|Average high °C (°F)||8
|Average low °C (°F)||3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||27.3
|Average precipitation days||4||3||4||3||4||5||5||5||5||4||6||4||52|
|Source: World Weather Online|
St Neots railway station is located on the East Coast Main Line and provides half-hourly trains south to London (London King's Cross) and north to Peterborough. Journey times to London King's Cross typically range from 36 minutes to one hour. The station is managed and served by Great Northern.
A new footbridge opened in February 2014, linking the Love's Farm housing development and Rowley Park Stadium to the railway station and the rest of the town, as well as providing lifts to all platforms.
There is also the Route 66, run by Stagecoach which goes into Huntingdon.
The route and location of the St Neots (Southern) Foot and Cycle Bridge.
St Neots is on Route 51 of the Sustrans national cycle route that connects Colchester and Oxford via Harwich, Felixstowe, Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge, Huntingdon, Sandy, Bedford and Milton Keynes.
St Neots (Southern) Foot and Cycle Bridge
A new foot and cycle bridge across the River Great Ouse has recently been completed, connecting the communities of Eaton Socon and Eynesbury. A public consultation on the scheme was held in 2003 with public exhibitions held in December 2008. The new bow string arch bridge has a span of 346 m (including access ramps), and includes street lighting and improvements to the connecting cycle paths. The scheme was supported by Cambridgeshire County Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and is a Sustrans Connect2 project. The bridge had an estimated construction cost of £3.5 million with Sustrans contributing an additional £700,000. The construction started in January 2011 and was completed on time and within budget during September 2011. The use of a Compulsory Purchase Order for the necessary land was approved. The route of the cycle way has connected Shakespeare Road, in Eaton Socon, to Barford Road, in Eynesbury and follows the southern boundary of St Neots Community School.
In 2012, archaeological excavations discovered prehistoric Mesolithic, Early Neolithic era, Iron Age, Roman and Early Middle Saxon items at the new town centre cinema development. Some five years earlier, Cambridge University Archaeologists uncovered significant remains of an Iron Age settlement of Round Houses during eastern town excavations. These findings confirm settlements having existed for over 3,000 years. Roman Saxon and Medieval finds have also been made in and around St Neots. Early Saxon developments were in Eynesbury, Eaton Socon and Eaton Ford, which still exist as part of the town today; and Maltman's Green and Crosshall Ford which are no longer recognised.
The parish church was rebuilt in the 15th century.
John Bellingham, the only man to successfully assassinate a British Prime Minister, was reputedly born in the town.
St Neots was in the safe Conservative constituency of Cambridgeshire South West from 1983 until 1997 when it was transferred to Huntingdon, whose MP at the time was the then-Prime Minister John Major (although he was briefly Leader of the Opposition and then a backbencher for most of his four years in the seat on those boundaries until his retirement). The present MP since 2001 is Jonathan Djanogly.
Sport and leisure
St Neots has a semi-professional non-League football team, St Neots Town F.C., who play at Rowley Park Stadium. The club are currently members of the Southern Football League Premier Division. The town also has a Rugby club St Neots RUFC, a rowing club St Neots Rowing Club and a Dragon Boat team.
The Rowley Arts Centre was opened in May 2014. The development includes a piazza walkway line with popular national chain restaurants and state-of-the-art cinema complex. The development is named after Peter Rowley, an American playwright, author and critic who was Lord of the Manor of St Neots. He donated £1 million towards the development.
The cinema contains six screens capable of accommodating a total 900 people. The build specification is in accordance with Cineworld deluxe standard and nearly all screens are equipped with latest 3D projection. The Rowley Auditorium also provides a venue for live performances which has adapted seating area and spotlighting. There are also lifts and box seating for disabled visitors.
St Neots Museum, housed in the towns Victorian Police Station and Magistrates Court, has local history collections covering the towns rich past including a display about James Toller, the Eynesbury Giant, a resident from the 18th Century who measured over 8 ft in height. There is also a gallery with temporary exhibitions by local creatives including fine art, ceramics, sculpture and illustration.
Local notable music venues include the Priory Centre, and has been host to many great entertainers as well as holding productions by local amateur dramatic groups and the Pig and Falcon, which has live music every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and regular open mic nights.
There is a thriving theatre community with four active groups – Riverside Theatre Company who stage productions, run workshops and have groups for all ages; VAMPS formed in 1961 as the St Neots and District Operatic Society and stage popular musicals and variety shows; award-winning, St Neots Players, formed in the late 1920s as a play-reading group with past members who used to perform the annual Shakespeare, Pantomime and other mid-season productions at the Kings Head Hotel in the Stables Theatre; and Stageworks, a performing arts group offering classes, holiday programmes, workshops and a college offering full time training to students aged 16 years and over that prepares students for musical theatre and acting.
The local creative community is served by art youth club, Vir2oso, which runs regular workshops and clubs for 8 and 17 year-olds at the Bargoves Centre and aims to encourage and support children who feel despondent and dejected in their school life and those with learning difficulties. There is also Neotists, a group for creative professionals with members covering design, illustration, art, photography and IT, which commissions local creatives to collaborate on projects, run workshops and events for the community and provide opportunities and connections for professionals working in the creative industry.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (September 2014)|
- High jumper Robbie Grabarz 2012 Helsinki European Championship Gold and Summer Olympics (London 2012) Bronze Medallist, lived in Saint Neots and attended Longsands Academy
- England/QPR/Aston Villa footballer and Aston Villa manager John Gregory attended St Neots' Longsands Academy. One of his iconic 'Admiral' England shirts from the 1980s is in the St Neots Museum in the centre of St Neots Town
- Rob Harris, guitarist with the band Jamiroquai.
- John Bellingham, the only man to assassinate a British Prime Minister (Spencer Perceval on 11 May in 1812), lived in St Neots. He had been unhappy that he was unable to obtain compensation for being unfairly imprisoned in Russia. He was found guilty and hanged on Monday, 18 May 1812.
- Olympic swimmer Mark Foster lives in St Neots.
- The St Neots Quads became famous as the first surviving quadruplets in Britain. They were born 28 November 1935
- Actress Rula Lenska was born in St Neots.
- Fencer Graham Paul, who competed at four Olympic Games.
- Leicester City Footballer Lee Philpott who also attended Longsands Academy
- Luton Town, West Ham United and Queens Park Rangers Footballer Tim Breacker who attended Ernulf School, now Ernulf Academy
- Children's author Michael Lawrence was born in Eynesbury. His grandfather managed the St Neots paper mill at the time.
St Neots has undergone two major expansion projects within recent years; at Love's Farm to the east of the railway line with some 1,250 new homes, and on the site of the former Samuel Jones paper mill at Little Paxton. Further expansion is almost complete at Eynesbury Manor. Planning for additional significant development has been granted at Loves Farm II and Wintringham Park totalling almost 3500 new homes.
- Cities - Cambridge
- Towns - Bedford, Biggleswade, Cambourne, Godmanchester, Higham Ferrers, Huntingdon, Raunds, Royston, Rushden, Sandy, St Ives, Stevenage, Thrapston
- Villages - Abbotsley, Bolnhurst, Buckden, Caxton, Chawston, Colesden, Colmworth, Croxton, Diddington, Duloe, Eltisley, Gamlingay, Graveley, Great Barford, Great Paxton, Great Staughton, Hail Weston, Keysoe, Keysoe Row, Kimbolton, Little Barford, Little Paxton, Little Staughton, Offord Cluny, Offord D'Arcy, Perry, Pertenhall, Roxton, Staughton Green, Staughton Highway, Southoe, Staploe, Stonely, Tempsford, Toseland, Wyboston, Yelling
- Alfred Jewel
- History of St Neots
- "St Neots 2000–2012". World Weather Online. Retrieved June 2015.
- "St Neots (Southern) Foot and Cycle Bridge". Cambridgeshire County Council. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
- The bridge is known locally as the Willow Bridge. "St Neots (Southern) Foot and Cycle Bridge Briefing Note" (PDF). Cambridgeshire County Council. 2008.12. Retrieved 2009-07-07. Check date values in:
- Battle of Tempsford
- "City Airport named ‘National Responsible Business Champion’". Newham Recorder. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
- "Priory Centre".
- "Riverside Theatre Company".
- "St Neots Players".
- Bell, John (2002), The St Neots assassin, BBC Cambridgeshire, ISBN 1-899558-01-2
- "Foster covets first Olympic medal". BBC News. 15 July 2008. Retrieved 2010-03-27.
- "Love's Farm Community Association".