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Littleport, Cambridgeshire facts for kids

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St George's Church, Littleport - - 112543.jpg
St George's Church
Area 28.46 sq mi (73.7 km2)
Population 8,738 (2011)
• Density 307/sq mi (119/km2)
OS grid reference TL568868
• London 67.4 mi (108.5 km) S
  • East Cambridgeshire
Shire county
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
  • North East Cambridgeshire
List of places
CambridgeshireCoordinates: 52°27′29″N 0°18′18″E / 52.458°N 0.305°E / 52.458; 0.305

Littleport is the largest village by area in East Cambridgeshire, England. It lies about 6 miles (10 km) north 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 School. The Littleport riots of 1816 were a factor in Parliament passing the Vagrancy Act of 1824.


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

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, the king made his host the mayor of a newly founded village.

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

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

Little Ouse

Littleport covers the hamlet of Little Ouse which comes under the Littleport East ward. Little Ouse is now entirely residential: the former pub, the Waterman's Arms and church of St John the Evangelist have been converted into private dwellings.

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


With an average annual rainfall of 24 inches (600 mm), Cambridgeshire is one of the driest counties in the British Isles. Protected from the cool onshore coastal breezes east of the region, Cambridgeshire is warm in summer and cold and frosty in winter.

The nearest Met Office weather station is Cambridge NIAB.

There are many additional local weather stations reporting periodic figures to the internet. For example, via Weather Underground, Inc.

Climate data for Cambridge (1971-2000 averages)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 44.6
Average low °F (°C) 34.3
Rainfall inches (mm) 1.772
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.

Historical population of Littleport
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 5182 5291 5293 5673 6282 7521 8738

Census: 1801–2001 2011

Local folklore and legends

Black dog hauntings

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.

Local folklorist W.H. Barrett relates the story set before the English Reformation of a local girl gathering wild mint from a nearby mere who was rescued from a lustful friar by a huge black dog, both of which were killed in the struggle. The local men threw into the mere the body of the friar but buried with honour the dog, which was said to haunt the area after that.

Cambridgeshire folklorist Enid Porter relates stories dating from the 19th century of a black dog haunting the A10 road between Littleport and the neighbouring hamlet of Brandon Creek, according to which local residents would be kept awake on dark nights by the sounds of howling and travellers would hear trotting feet behind them and feel hot breath on the back of their legs. Local legend says that the dog was awaiting the return of its owner, who had drowned in the nearby River Great Ouse in the early 1800s. This haunting reportedly came to an end 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.

Cultural reference

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.

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