Haddenham (Holy Trinity)

HADDENHAM (Holy Trinity), a parish, in the union of Ely, hundred of South Witchford, Isle of Ely, county of Cambridge, 6½ miles (S. W. by W.) from Ely; containing 2103 inhabitants. This place is connected with many of the principal events in the earlier periods of British history. A hamlet in the parish, about two miles to the south of the village, formerly called Audrey and now Aldreth, which occupies the narrowest part of the Fen, is identified as the scene of the Roman invasion of the Isle of Ely; and during the heptarchy, was defended by the Saxons under Hereward, against the whole power of the Normans, for nearly seven years. William the Conqueror here lost nearly half his army by the burning of his pontoons, and, at length becoming master of the Isle, erected a castle at Aldreth, in which he left a garrison to keep up his communication with the main land. During the civil war, Cromwell visited the Isle, and repaired the ancient road across the Fen, which was probably of British origin, and was kept up by the Romans as far as the marshy nature of the country would permit; this road, called Aldreth Causeway, was deemed of so much importance, that every parish in the Isle of Ely was bound to keep a certain portion of it in repair. The whole of the Isle appears to have been given to Queen Etheldreda, as a dowry on her marriage; and the name of the hamlet, Audrey, is supposed to have been derived from that queen, as proprietor of the Isle, and probably resident occasionally at the place, which was the seat of her government, under the administration of Ovin, her high-steward. An act for inclosing lands in the parish was passed in 1843. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the Archdeacon of Ely: the great tithes have been commuted for £1850, and the small for £285; there is an impropriate glebe of 80 acres. The church is a spacious and handsome cruciform structure, in the early and decorated English styles, with a lofty tower, the lower portion of which is of earlier date: it has been repaired, and 55 free seats have been provided. There are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyans. Two schools for boys are supported by endowments, the one of £70 per annum, arising from an estate left by Mr. Arkenstall in 1640, and the other of £20 per annum, arising from a bequest by Mrs. March in 1722. Roman and early British coins are found here, and some ancient weapons have been dug up. There was a cell at the south-western extremity of the parish, for a monk from Ely, and the spot is still called the Hermitage.

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

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