Fordham (St. Mary)

FORDHAM (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Newmarket, hundred of Staploe, county of Cambridge, 5½ miles (N.) from Newmarket; containing 1416 inhabitants. James I., when coursing in the parish, took refreshment at a place still called "the King's Path," and killed a hare near the spot; which circumstance is commemorated upon a beam in the church, by a carved representation of two greyhounds pursuing a hare. The parish comprises by measurement 4050 acres, chiefly arable, with a very small portion of pasture and woodland; the soil is of rather inferior quality, and the surface in some parts flat. A stream flows through the lands, and gives motion to two mills. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £13. 6. 8.; net income, £348; patrons, the Master and Fellows of Jesus College, Cambridge; appropriator, the Bishop of Ely: the tithes were commuted for land and a money payment in 1809; the land comprises about 270 acres. The church is a neat edifice. The Independents have a place of worship; and there are six almshouses for widows, erected by Thomas Hinson in 1626. A small Gilbertine priory was founded in the reign of Henry III., by Sir Robert de Fordham, as a cell to the great monastery of the same order at Sempringham, in Lincolnshire; but scarcely a vestige remains.

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

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