Chatteris (St. Peter and St. Paul)

CHATTERIS (St. Peter and St. Paul), a parish, in the union and hundred of North Witchford, Isle of Ely, county of Cambridge, 8¾ miles (E. by N.) from Ramsey; containing 4813 inhabitants. This place, which is situated near the river Ouse, is of great antiquity. In 980, a Benedictine nunnery was founded here, and endowed by Alfwen, wife of Earl Ethelstan, and sister of Ednod, first abbot of Ramsey, who was raised to the see of Dorchester, and was murdered by the Danes in 1016: the nunnery continued to flourish till the Dissolution, when its revenue was estimated at £112. 3. 6. The parish comprises 13,454a. 26p., of which about 3000 acres are upland and dry, and the remainder, with the exception of the site of the village, flat, but well drained; the soil is gravel, alternated with sand and clay, of which last excellent bricks are made: considerable improvement, both in the agriculture and in the soil, has taken place since the inclosure in 1812. Chatteris is a franchise under the Bishop of Ely, who holds a court leet for appointing officers, in a house called the Guildhall, given to the parish, with other premises and lands, producing together nearly £70 per annum, which are distributed amongst infirm old men and widows. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £10; net income, £1370; patron and incumbent, the Rev. M. A. Gathercole: impropriator, Charles Cholmondeley, Esq. The tithes were commuted for land and corn-rents, under the inclosure act. There are places of worship for Particular Baptists and Wesleyans. At Hunny farm are the subterraneous remains of a chapel, supposed to have contained the bones of St. Huna. In 1757, on opening a tumulus near Somersham Ferry, several human skeletons, some military weapons, an urn, and a glass vase, were found.

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

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