Chesterford, Great (All Saints)

CHESTERFORD, GREAT (All Saints), a parish, and formerly a market-town, in the union of Saffron-Walden, hundred of Uttlesford, N. division of Essex, 4 miles (N. W. by N.) from Saffron-Walden; containing 917 inhabitants. It is by most antiquaries identified with the Camboricum of Antoninus, and the foundation of walls inclosing a quadrangular area of 50 acres, was, till lately, plainly discernible. That it was a Roman station is evident, not only from its name, but from its contiguity to several Roman roads, of which the Ikeneld and Ermin streets intersect each other in the immediate vicinity; and Roman bricks, coins of the earlier and later emperors, and other relics have been found, in great quantities. Besides the large camp, are several smaller camps, including one near the church, in the grounds between which and the river Granta are traces of an amphitheatre: at the distance of half a mile from the larger camp is another, called Hingeston Barrows, and on the opposite side of the river a third. On an eminence, near the Roman road from Inckleton towards Newmarket, is Fleamsdyke, where is a small square fort, probably the castra exploratorum, in the centre of which are vestiges of a building; and the Roman road to Grantchester may be plainly discovered, forming a ridge of 200 yards, in a direction towards the river above Cambridge. The parish comprises by admeasurement 2811 acres, of which 200 are woodland: the soil, in the more elevated parts, is a dry thin loam resting on chalk, and in the valleys a rich loam on a gravelly bottom. The village is pleasantly situated, and commands an uninterrupted prospect extending into the county of Cambridge. Here is a station of the railway from London to Cambridge, ten miles distant from Cambridge. The market has been discontinued; but a fair for horses is held on July 5th. The living is a discharged vicarage, with the rectory of Little Chesterford annexed, valued in the king's books at £10; net income, £427; patron and impropriator, the Marquess of Bristol. The tithes of both parishes were commuted for land and a money payment in 1801. The church is an ancient and spacious structure, and formerly contained a chantry, founded in the reign of Henry VIII., by William Howden, and the revenue of which, at the Dissolution, was £9. 9. 7. John Hart, of Saffron-Walden, in 1592 founded what he intended to be a grammar school, and endowed it with upwards of 30 acres of land, under the management of the Master and Fellows of Magdalen College, Cambridge, who appoint the master; but a considerable part of the endowment having been lost, the charity has been incorporated with a national school.

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

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