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Huntingdonshire facts for kids

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Non-metropolitan district and historic county
Flag of Huntingdonshire
Huntingdonshire shown within Cambridgeshire
Huntingdonshire shown within Cambridgeshire
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country England
Region East of England
Non-metropolitan county Cambridgeshire
Status Non-metropolitan district
Admin HQ Huntingdon
Incorporated 1 April 1974
 • Type Non-metropolitan district council
 • Body Huntingdonshire District Council
 • Total 352.3 sq mi (912.5 km2)
Area rank 35th (of 326)
 (2005 est.)
 • Total 177,963
 • Rank 109th (of 326)
 • Density 505.120/sq mi (195.028/km2)
 • Ethnicity
94.6% White
1.8% S.Asian
1.3% Black
1.4% Mixed Race
Time zone UTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code 12UE (ONS)
E07000011 (GSS)
OS grid reference TL1900381334
Huntingdonshire District Council
Non-metropolitan district council
Ryan Fuller, Conservative
Since 4 December 2019
Seats 52
Political groups
Administration (29)
     Conservatives (29)

Opposition (23)

     HDC Independent Group (10)
     Liberal Democrats (7)
     Labour (3)
     Independent (2)
     Vacant (1)
Last election
3 May 2018
Meeting place
Huntingdonshire County Flag flying at Pathfinder House in Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire.jpg
Pathfinder House, St Mary's Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TN

Huntingdonshire ( abbreviated Hunts) is a non-metropolitan district of Cambridgeshire and a historic county of England. The district council is based in Huntingdon. Other towns include St Ives, Godmanchester, St Neots and Ramsey. The population was 169,508 at the 2011 Census.


The area corresponding to modern Huntingdonshire was first delimited in Anglo-Saxon times, and the modern boundaries have remained largely unchanged since the 10th century, though it lost its county status in 1974.


Map of Huntingdonshire, 1824

In 1889, under the Local Government Act 1888 Huntingdonshire became an administrative county, with the new 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 administrative county, in Northamptonshire.

In 1965, under a recommendation of the Local Government Commission for England, it was merged with the Soke of Peterborough to form Huntingdon and Peterborough – the Lieutenancy county was also merged. Also at this time St Neots expanded westward 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 resolution of the district council.

Original historical documents relating to Huntingdonshire are held by Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies at the County Record Office in Huntingdon.

Revival of county

The Local Government Commission 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. The districts of Peterborough and Huntingdonshire were referred back to the commission for a 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".

David McKie writing in the Guardian noted that "Writers-in demanded an independent Huntingdon; but MORI's more broadly-based poll showed that most Huntingdonians - that is, most of John Major's electors - were content to stay part of Cambridgeshire."

After the failure of Huntingdonshire to become a unitary authority, a Huntingdonshire Society was set up to promote awareness of Huntingdonshire as a historic county, and to 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.

Towns and villages

Major towns

Smaller towns and villages

  • Abbots Ripton, Abbotsley, Alconbury, Alconbury Weston, Alwalton
  • Barham, Bury, Bluntisham, Brampton, Brington, Broughton, Buckden, Buckworth, Bythorn
  • Catworth, Chesterton, Colne, Connington, Coppingford, Covington
  • Denton & Caldecote, Diddington
  • Earith, Easton, Eaton Ford, Eaton Socon, Ellington, Elton, Eynesbury
  • Farcet, Fenstanton, Folksworth & Washingley
  • Glatton, Godmanchester, Grafham, Great Gransden, Great, Little and Steeple Gidding, Great Paxton, Great Staughton
  • Haddon, Hail Weston, Hamerton, Hartford, Hemingford Abbots, Hemingford Grey, Hilton, Holme, Holywell, Houghton
  • Keyston, Kimbolton, Kings Ripton
  • Leighton Bromswold, Little Paxton
  • Molesworth, Morborne
  • Needingworth
  • Oldhurst, Old Weston, Orton Longueville, Orton Waterville
  • Perry, Pidley
  • Ramsey St Mary's
  • Sawtry, Spaldwick, Somersham, Southhoe & Midloe, Stibbington, Stilton, Stow Longa
  • Tetworth, Tilbrook, Toseland, The Offords, The Raveleys, The Stukeleys
  • Upton, Upwood
  • Wansford, Warboys, Waresley, Water Newton, Winwick, Wistow, Woodhurst, Woodwalton, Woolley, Wyton
  • Yaxley, Yelling

Notable people

In order of birth:

  • Henry of Saltrey, a Huntingdonshire Cistercian monk, wrote Tractatus de Purgatorio Sancti Patricii (Treatise on the Purgatory of St Patrick) in about 1180–1184.
  • Sir William Papworth (1331–1414) of Grafham and Papworth St. Agnes was a member of five 14th-century parliaments.
  • Catherine of Aragon (1485–1536), previously Queen of England, died in confinement at Kimbolton Castle.
  • Henry Brandon, 2nd Duke of Suffolk and his brother Charles Brandon, 3rd Duke of Suffolk, nephews of Henry VIII, died of sweating sickness at Buckden Towers within an hour of each other on 14 July 1551.
  • Nicholas Ferrar (1592–1637), scholar, courtier and cleric, spent the last eleven years of his life at the Little Gidding community, inspiration of the fourth poem in T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets.
  • Philip Nye (1595–1672), Independent theologian, became the incumbent of Kimbolton and an adviser to Cromwell.
  • Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658), Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland 1653–1658, was educated at Huntingdon Grammar School.
  • Richard Astry (c. 1632–1714) was an English antiquary.
  • Samuel Pepys (1633–1703), Member of Parliament (MP) and diarist, attended Huntingdon Grammar School.
  • William Sparrow (1641–1729), cut the famous turf maze at Hilton in 1660.
  • Alice and Thomas Curwen were active in the county as Quaker preachers in 1677–1678.
  • Ann Jebb (1735–1812), political reformer and radical writer, was born at Kings Ripton.
  • William Henry Fellowes (1769–1837) of Ramsey Abbey, was a longstanding MP for Huntingdon and then Huntingdonshire.
  • Olinthus Gregory (1774–1841), mathematician and editor, was born at Yaxley.
  • Robert Fox (1798–1843), antiquary and local historian, was born and died at Godmanchester.
  • Charles Bowen Cooke (1859–1920), locomotive engineer, was born at Orton Longueville.
  • Henry Royce (1863–1933), pioneering car manufacturer and founder of Rolls-Royce Limited
  • Lucy M. Boston (1892–1990), children's writer, lived in Huntingdonshire from 1937 until her death, and set the Green Knowe series there.
  • Josef Jakobs (1898–1941), German spy captured in Ramsey Hollow, Huntingdonshire in 1941
  • Michael Lawrence (born 1943), children's writer, is best known for the Jiggy McCue series.
  • John Major (born 1943), politician and Prime Minister (1990–1997), was MP for Huntingdonshire from 1979 to 2001, and still resides in the county at Great Stukeley.
  • John Butcher (1946–2006), Conservative MP and junior minister, was raised in Huntingdonshire and attended Huntingdon Grammar School.
  • Terry Reid (born 1949), rock musician, grew up in Holywell.
  • Chris Morris (born 1962), satirist known for the television series Brass Eye and The Day Today


Huntingdonshire is the birthplace of bandy, now an IOC accepted sport. 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.

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.

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See also

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