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Soham, Cambridgeshire

Historical Description

Soham, a small town, a parish, and the head of a county court district in Cambridgeshire. The town stands on the Lode navigation, 6½ miles SSE of Ely, 8 NW of Newmarket, and 75½ from London. It has a station on the Ely and Newmarket branch of the G.E.R. and a head post office. It is an ancient place, and had a monastery founded in 630 by St Felix, and destroyed in 870 by the Danes. The town, improved during recent years by the erection of many good houses, consists chiefly of one long street, is well paved, and presents a particularly clean appearance. The hall in the station road, called the People's Hall, is the Liberal clubhouse, and contains rooms for reading and recreation; the Conservative Association has also a club-house with a large hall. The court-house is used for the county court and other meetings. The town formerly had a weekly market on Friday, and it has still a fair for cattle on 9 May and a pleasure fair on the Monday next before the Nativity of St John the Baptist which continues for three days. The church, formerly dedicated to St Andrew, but now to St John the Baptist, is an ancient cruciform building, chiefly in the Transition Norman style, consisting of chancel with two chapels on the N side, nave, aisles, transepts, N and S porches, and a lofty embattled western tower 100 feet in height It contains some interesting tombs and memorials, and it was thoroughly restored in 1879-80 at a cost of nearly £3000. There are Baptist, Congregational, Primitive Methodist, and Wesleyan chapels, the three former having suitable school buildings adjoining, an endowed grammar school, and six endowed almshouses. The charities for a town of its size may be considered important Some 200 acres of pasture known as commons, being for the use of the poor, and 100 acres of arable land are let, and the rents yearly distributed amongst, them. There are also other minor charities. The parish comprises 12,999 acres; population, 4138. A large mere or lake was formerly here, but has been drained. About 10,000 acres are fen land, now well-drained and worked into a state of high cultivation. Orchards and gardens occupy much ground, and send large produce to London, and to various towns. The living is a vicarage, with the chapelry of Barway annexed, in the diocese of Ely; joint net value, £894 with residence, in the gift of Pembroke College, Cambridge.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyCambridgeshire 
Ecclesiastical parishSoham St. Andrew 
Poor Law unionNewmarket 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Soham from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Cambridgeshire is available to browse.


Online maps of Soham are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Cambridgeshire papers online:

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitations of Cambridgeshire 1575 and 1619 is available online.

DistrictEast Cambridgeshire
Postal districtCB7
Post TownEly