Ives, St. (St. Ivo)

IVES, ST. (St. Ivo), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Hurstingstone, county of Huntingdon, 6 miles (E.) from Huntingdon, and 59 (N. by W.) from London; containing 3514 inhabitants. The Saxon name of this town was Slepe, by which it is also distinguished in Domesday book. It belonged to the abbot of Ramsey, who, in the beginning of the eleventh century, founded a church here in honour of St. Ivo, or Ives, a Persian archbishop, who travelled in England as a Christian missionary, and died about 660, and from whom the place derived its present appellation. The town is situated on the north side of the navigable river Ouse, over which is a good stone bridge; and the approach to it from the London road has been greatly improved by the construction of a causeway on arches, affording a free passage for the water during the overflowings of the river. The streets are well paved and lighted, and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water. The trade is considerable, especially in corn and coal; and by means of the Ouse, an intercourse is carried on with Bedford, Lynn, and other places. Railway communication, also, was opened in 1847 with Huntingdon on the west, with Ely on the north-east, and Cambridge on the south-east; in 1846 an act was passed for a railway to Wisbech. A market is held on Monday for corn and cattle, which is one of the largest cattle-markets in the kingdom; and there are fairs on Whit-Monday and Michaelmas-day, the former chiefly for cattle and horses, and the latter for horses, cheese, &c. A meeting of the magistrates occurs every Monday. The living is a vicarage, with the livings of Oldhurst and Woodhurst united, valued in the king's books at £6. 15., and in the gift of John Ansley, Esq., and the Trustees under the will of Henry Grace, Esq.: the tithes were commuted for land and a money payment in 1801. The church is a handsome edifice, with a tower supporting a lofty spire; various parts of the building appear to be of ancient construction. There are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyans. The union of St. Ives comprises 24 parishes or places, of which 18 are in the county of Huntingdon, and 6 in that of Cambridge; the population amounting to 19,107. Some remains exist of a Benedictine priory, a cell to the abbey of Ramsey. Slepe Hall, in the parish, now a boarding-school, was for some time the residence of Oliver Cromwell.

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

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