Burwell (St. Mary)

BURWELL (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Newmarket, hundred of Staploe, county of Cambridge, 4 miles (N. W. by W.) from Newmarket; containing 1820 inhabitants. The parish comprises 7232 acres, of which 3036 are common or waste. The village consists principally of one irregular street, nearly two miles long; the houses are built with stone obtained in the vicinity, in which pyrites and shark's teeth, in good preservation, have been found. An act for draining fen lands, and for improving the navigable cuts, was passed in 1841. A great fair for horses is held on Rogation-Monday, at Reach, once a market-town, now an insignificant hamlet, partly in the parish. The living is a discharged vicarage, with the rectory of Burwell St. Andrew consolidated, valued jointly in the king's books at £50. 14. 2.; net income, £335; patrons, the Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of Cambridge (the impropriators), for two turns, and the Heirs of the late Sir E. North, for one. The church is a beautiful edifice, in the decorated English style: the rent of 100 acres of land is appropriated for its repair. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans. Here are the ruins of a castle surrounded by a moat, which was besieged in the war between Stephen and the Empress Matilda, by Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, who was shot by an arrow from the walls. The parish register contains the record of a fire on September 8th, 1727, when 78 persons lost their lives. The church of St. Andrew Burwell has long been demolished, and the cemetery converted into pastureground.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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