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History of Godmanchester

Max Cashback

Godmanchester has been the location of unbroken human habitation for over 2000 years. In this section, there are articles detailing the built history, plus those recalling the past and personal recollections. The hope is to increase the material with the support of the residents of the town. I would like to develop a comprehensive reference to the listed historic buildings in the town over time, any material gratefully received.

Books about Godmanchester

For an overview of the past 2000 years , read Ben Robinson's article.
Archeaology at recent excavations in Godmanchester

Population growth in Godmanchester

Roman Godmanchester

The detailed history of the centre of Godmanchester and the Roman Mansio
Links to other roman settlements in the area here

Godmanchester in the C17th

Ken Sneath's article describing the town in the Seventeenth Century
Tour of Godmanchester's C17th Buildings
Celebrations of the 1603 visit of King James 1st
Charter of 1604

Specific Historical Items

Town Charters
Misericords in St Mary's Church
Godmanchester Church Bells
Lindy Malone explores the history of her home - how to be a "House Detective"
Token coinage of Huntingdonshire and Godmanchester
Anniversary of the visit of King James I
Railway in Godmanchester
Godmanchester’s unknown civilian c1520


The Built Heritage

Queen Elizabeth School
Clare Bond provides an overview of the town's built history, an ideal location for a pleasant stroll to view the many fine buildings.
The Conservation Areas of Godmanchester are described in this article from Huntingdonshire District Council
Lindy & Ted Malone describe West Street and its history
Christopher Vane Percy describes the Island Hall Chinese Bridge - not to be confused with the public Chinese Bridge
The History of London Road Farm
The mains drainage eventually arrives in GMC!
Clifford's Chemist, reverts to a residential property after many years but the business continues a few doors away
Plantagenet House, 25 years on from the restoration of 1977


Patrick Hull describes the history of England's largest meadow; the flood plain that is Portholme was a race course and centre for early aviation.


The recollections and memories of people who grew up in GMC or have spent many years here are listed under the "People" section

Other "Godmanchesters" around the world

There are only a very few other locations called Godmanchester in the world, in fact, thus far I have found only one real location (in Quebec, Canada) and the recreation of The Causeway in Australia (!).

Publications / Books about Godmanchester - also see this article

The three well known books on the town, which are reproduced today, are

"The History of Godmanchester" by Robert Fox (London 1831),
Green, H.J.M. 1977. Godmanchester and,
"Memorials of Godmanchester", Reminiscences of F W Bird (Ed W H Bernard Saunders. Peterborough 1911)

F W Bird was born in 1837 and retold his recollections in 1911. It comprises his memories of events and the people of the town. Interestingly, he refers to the population census indicting a growth in residents from 1811 people in 1779 peaking at 2438 in 1861, followed by a decline through to 1901 when there were 2017 people in the town. Today, with the housing developments through the 1970s to the present, there are about 3300 homes and some 5000 people in the town. Despite this figure, less than some villages, and a few estate agents who use the term "village" in their brochures, Godmanchester is indeed a TOWN, the first charter being granted in 1212.

In addtion, a number of books on the area contain photographs related to GMC such as:

The aerial photograph of 1931showing the church and Post Street (Whitney) and The Mill are in:
"Huntingdon - A pictorial History", David Cozens, Pub. Phillimore & Co Ltd, 1995 (ISBN 0 85033 997 9).
A photograph is included of the Veasey Mill (now converted to flats) with the Brown & Goodman Steam Mill in the background lending tremendous height to the skyline which is no longer there! Images of the Portholme Aerodrome Ltd products and early aircraft are included in three photographs.


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