Visit Huntingdon and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. Formerly the county town of Huntingdonshire, attractive with much of interest. The town's narrow main street stretches for nearly 1½ miles, but many of the places to visit are off this thoroughfare.
It has ancient origins, for Roman coins and pottery have been found here. The Anglo-Saxons created it a burgh, the Danes invaded it from the river and in 921 Edward the Elder repaired the damage they had made. At the end of that century a market and a mint were established, both indications of prosperity. In the 13th century there were 16 churches, of which only two remain, for the Black Death in 1348 caused devastation and the town lost its prosperity and became a backwater, except for the short period during the Civil War when first Cromwell and then Charles I made their headquarters here. Agriculture has always been its main industry.
Oliver Cromwell was born in the town; the grammar school which he, and Pepys, attended, founded about 1565, is now a museum of Cromwelliana. This building was originally the Hospital of St John the Baptist, founded about 1160, and considerable parts of the old structure remain. Cromwell House, in the High Street, is on the site of the Austin Friary.
All Saints' Church, in Market Place, is part of a previous building and is mainly 15th-century. The upper stages of the tower were rebuilt after the Civil War and the top is Victorian. The organ chamber is attractive and the Perpendicular chancel roof has carved bosses. The bowl of the font is 13th-century.
Nearby is the stately town hail, built in 1745 of red brick with three stories. Around the walls of the ballroom are interesting paintings, one by Gainsborough.
There are two interesting inns, the George, which still has two sides of its l7th-century courtyard, in one of which is an open gallery and external staircase, and the Falcon, with oriel windows and a massive door, which is believed to have been the headquarters of Cromwell during the Civil War.
At the end of the town, separating it from Godmanchester, is the early-l4th-century bridge, with cutwaters on both sides. It is said to be one of the finest medieval bridges in the country. Nearby, in a public open space, are the extensive earthworks of a castle founded by William the Conqueror.
The town is composed mainly of Georgian buildings, but there are a number of the 16th and 17th centuries. Walden House, now council offices, is of red brick with a hipped roof and giant Ionic pilasters. The County Hospital in Brampton Road is of yellow brick and Victorian, as is Petersfield Hospital, a former workhouse, in St Peter's Road. In the same road is the former county gaol, built in 1828 of yellow brick. Cowper House, where the poet lived in 1765, has a steep three-bay pediment and window lintels with brick frills on the first floor. In George Street are rather humble yellow-brick almshouses of the Victorian period and in the High Street is Whitwell House, 1727, with three stories, segment-headed first-floor windows and pretty garden railings. Montague House, also Georgian, has an attractive doorway below its Venetian window. In Hartford Road is the Roman Catholic Church of St Michael, of brick and stone with a round arch.
St Mary's Church, in the High Street, has the remains of Norman buttresses in the corners of the nave and south aisle, the chancel is early 13th-century with a priest's doorway, and the solid ornate tower is Perpendicular. The arches have fine mouldings and there are several 17th-century inscriptions. Under the tower are a number of tablets, the largest to the Carcassonnett family, dated 1749.
About ½ mile away, on the road to Brampton, is Hinchingbrooke, the seat of the Cromwell family, now a school, where Queen Elizabeth I was entertained in 1564. It has a gatehouse which is thought to have come from Ramsey Abbey.
Nearby cities: Cambridge, Peterborough
Nearby towns: Bedford, Eaton Socon, Ely, Kettering, Ramsey, Wellingborough
Nearby villages: Alconbury, Brampton, Buckden, Fenstanton, Godmanchester, Hemingford Grey, Sawtry, Somersham, St Neots, Warboys, Yaxley
Have you decided to visit Huntingdon or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Huntingdon bed and breakfast (a Huntingdon B&B or Huntingdon b and b)
- a Huntingdon guesthouse
- a Huntingdon hotel (or motel)
- a Huntingdon self-catering establishment, or
- other Huntingdon accommodation