Godmanchester or Gumecester, a borough and corporate town and parish in the county of Huntingdonshire. The town stands on the river Ouse, three-quarters of a mile SSE of Huntingdon, and is connected with that town by a bridge over the Ouse. It has stations on the M.R. and the G.E. & G.N. Joint railways. It disputes with Huntingdon the claim of being the Durolipons of the Romans; it has yielded many Roman coins and other antiquities; it was probably a military post or fortified station of Guthrum or Gormond the Dane; and it was known in subsequent times as Guma, Gumicastria, and Gumicestre. It was held of the Crown by grant of King John; was made a borough by James I., and is noted for long retention of curious old customs. It occupies a considerable tract of ground; comprises several streets; presents an irregular appearance; and, though containing many good houses, consists chiefly of cottages. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Huntingdon, a fair on Easter Tuesday and Wednesday, a church, a Baptist chapel, Union chapel and mission hall, and a grammar school. There is good fishing, including pike, roach, bream, chub, and perch. The church is a large light edifice in the Perpendicular style of the 14th century, with western embattled tower and spire of the 17th century, and was restored in 1853. The grammar school was founded by Queen Elizabeth, and has £20 from endowment. The borough is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors, and is co-extensive with the parish. Acreage of the parish, 4907; population, 2095. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely; net yearly value £301 with residence. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. Stephen Marshall, the Puritan divine, a chief of the Smectymnians, was a native.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Godmanchester St. Mary|
|Poor Law union||Huntingdon|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish registers date from the year 1604.
Church of England
St. Mary (parish church)
The church of St. Mary is a fine building of stone, in the Perpendicular style of the 14th century consisting of chancel, nave with clerestory, aisles, north and south porches, and an embattled western tower with pinnacles and spire and containing a clock and 8 bells, the tenor weighing 21 cwt.; the tower and spire were rebuilt in the 17th century: the whole edifice was restored under the direction of the late Sir G. Gilbert Scott R.A. in 1853, at an outlay of nearly £800, raised by subscription: there are 600 sittings.
Particular Baptist chapel
There is a Particular Baptist chapel, built in 1815; attached to the latter is a Sunday school-room, bui1t in 1868, and holding 200 children; in front of the chapel is a burial ground, now disused.
There is a Union chapel, built in 1844.
For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.
Directories & Gazetteers
Transcript of the description for Godmanchester from Pigot & Co. Directory of Huntingdonshire, 1839
We have transcribed the entry for Godmanchester from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Godmanchester (St. Mary))
Land and Property
The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Huntindonshire is available to browse.