Witchford

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Witchford
Witchford church from the south - geograph.org.uk - 4323.jpg
St Andrew's parish church
Witchford is located in Cambridgeshire
Witchford
Witchford
Witchford shown within Cambridgeshire
Population 2,385 (2011 Census)
OS grid reference TL5078
Civil parish
  • Witchford
District
  • East Cambridgeshire
Shire county
Region
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Ely
Postcode district CB6
Dialling code 01353
Police Cambridgeshire
Fire Cambridgeshire
Ambulance East of England
EU Parliament East of England
UK Parliament
Website Witchford Online
List of places
UK
England
Cambridgeshire
52°23′13″N 0°12′22″E / 52.387°N 0.206°E / 52.387; 0.206Coordinates: 52°23′13″N 0°12′22″E / 52.387°N 0.206°E / 52.387; 0.206

Witchford /ˈwɪfɔːrd/ is a village and civil parish about 2.5 miles (4 km) west of Ely, Cambridgeshire, England. The 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 2,385.[1]

History[edit]

Anglo-Saxon cemetery[edit]

When the site of RAF Witchford was being cleared a bulldozer driver found an Anglo-Saxon pagan cemetery on the site.[2][3] The bulldozer unearthed and crushed about 30 skeletons. Little archaeological work could be undertaken but some artefacts were recovered,[4] which Thomas Lethbridge stated to be consistent with the period AD 450–650.[5]

More recent survey work has found Iron Age and Roman domestic and other remains. An Anglo-Saxon cemetery was not found at that time, leading to the conclusion that this was not the site of the lost village of Cratendune.[6]

Hundreds[edit]

Two hundreds of the Isle of Ely, North Witchford and South Witchford, took their name from the place and had their meeting-place at Witchford.

RAF Witchford[edit]

RAF Witchford was a RAF Bomber Command station that was built in 1942 and closed and dismantled in 1946. From July to September 1943 it was the base of No. 196 Squadron RAF which operated Vickers Wellington medium bombers. From November 1943 until March 1944 No. 115 Squadron RAF was based at Witchford operating Avro Lancaster heavy bombers.

After the Second World War it was proposed to convert the airfield to a missile base. Rumours said it was to become a Blue Streak base. Hence some older residents refer to the site (now an industrial park) as "The Rocket Base".[citation needed]

The village has an RAF Witchford Museum.[7]

Church and chapel[edit]

Parish church[edit]

The oldest part of the Church of England parish church of St Andrew are its 13th-century font and west tower. The nave and chancel were rebuilt in 1376. Two 14th- or 15th-century niches flank the chancel arch. The timber frame of the nave roof is 17th-century.[8] The west tower has a ring of three bells, all cast by Christopher Graye of Haddenham in 1671.[9] St Andrew's is a Grade II* listed building.[8]

Witchford Baptist Chapel

Baptist chapel[edit]

Witchford has a Baptist chapel.

Amenities[edit]

School[edit]

Witchford Village College is a secondary school that serves all the surrounding parishes, including Haddenham, Little Thetford, Mepal, Stretham, Sutton, Wilburton and Witcham.[10]

Pub[edit]

Witchford has a pub, the Village Inn.[11]

Half Marathon[edit]

The parish hosts the Grunty Fen Half Marathon road race, which has been held here annually since 1991.[12] The race begins and ends at Witchford Village College and involves two laps into the nearby Grunty Fen.

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]