Shown within Cambridgeshire
|Region:||East of England|
| Ranked 34th|
- Total ()
| Ranked |
|Ethnicity:|| 95.1% White|
Huntingdonshire District Council
|Leadership:||Leader & Cabinet|
|MPs:||Jonathan Djanogly, Shailesh Vara|
The earliest English settlers in the district were the Gyrwas, an East Anglian tribe, who early in the 6th century worked their way up the Ouse and the Cam as far as Huntingdon. After their conquest of East Anglia in the latter half of the 9th century, Huntingdon became an important seat of the Danes, and the Danish origin of the shire is borne out by an entry in the Saxon Chronicle referring to Huntingdon as a military centre to which the surrounding district owed allegiance, while the shire itself is mentioned in the Historia Eliensis in connection with events which took place before or shortly after the death of Edgar.
About 915 Edward the Elder wrested the fen-country from the Danes, repairing and fortifying Huntingdon, and a few years later the district was included in the earldom of East Anglia. Religious foundations were established at Ramsey, Huntingdon and St Neots in the 10th century, and that of Ramsey accumulated vast wealth and influence, owning twenty-six manors in this county alone at the time of the Domesday Survey. In 1011 Huntingdonshire was again overrun by the Danes and in 1016 was attacked by Canute. A few years later the shire was included in the earldom of Thored (of the Middle Angles), but in 1051 it was detached from Mercia and formed part of the East Anglian earldom of Harold. Shortly before the Conquest, however, it was bestowed on Siward, as a reward for his part in Godwins overthrow, and became an outlying portion of the earldom of Northumberland, passing through Waltheof, Earl of Northumbria and Simon de St Liz, Earl of Northampton to David I of Scotland. After the separation of the earldom from the crown of Scotland during the Bruce and Balliol disputes, it was conferred in 1336 on William Clinton; in 1377 on Guichard d'Angle; in 1387 on John Floland; in 1471 on Thomas Grey, afterwards marquess of Dorset; and in 1529 on George, Baron Hastings, whose descendants hold it at the present day.
The Norman Conquest was followed by a general confiscation of estates, and only four or five thanes retained lands that they or their fathers had held in the time of Edward the Confessor. Large estates were held by the church, and the rest of the County for the most part formed outlying portions of the fiefs of William's Norman favourites, that of Count Eustace of Boulogne, the sheriff, of whose tyrannous exactions bitter complaints are recorded, being by far the most considerable. Kimbolton was fortified by Geoffrey de Mandeville and afterwards passed to the families of Bohun and Stafford.
The hundreds of Huntingdon were probably of very early origin, and that of Norman Cross is referred to in 963. The Domesday Survey, besides the four existing divisions of Norman Cross, Toseland, Hurstingstone and Leightonstone, which from their assessment appear to have been double hundreds, mentions an additional hundred of Kimbolton, since absorbed in Leightonstone, while Huntingdon was assessed separately at 50 hides. The boundaries of the county have scarcely changed since the time of the Domesday Survey, except that parts of the Bedfordshire parishes of Everton, Pertenhall and Keysoe and the Northamptonshire parish of Flargrave were then assessed under this county.
Huntingdonshire was formerly in the diocese of Lincoln, but in 1837 was transferred to Ely. In 1291 it constituted an archdeaconry, comprising the deaneries of Huntingdon, St Ives, Yaxley and Leightonstone, and the divisions remained unchanged until the creation of the deanery of Kimbolton in 1879.
At the time of the Domesday Survey Huntingdonshire had an independent shrievalty, but from 1154 it was united with Cambridgeshire under one sheriff, until in 1637 the two Counties were separated for six years, after which they were reunited and have remained so to the present day. The shire-court was held at Huntingdon.
In 1889, under the Local Government Act 1888 Huntingdonshire became an administrative county, with the new County Council taking over administrative functions from the Quarter Sessions. The area in the north of the county forming part of the municipal borough of Peterborough became instead part of the Soke of Peterborough administrative county, in Northamptonshire.
In 1965, under a recommendation of the Local Government Commission for England, it was merged with the Soke of Peterborough to form Huntingdon and Peterborough - the Lieutenancy county was also merged. Also at this time St Neots expanded westward over the river into Eaton Ford and Eaton Socon in Bedfordshire.
In 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, Huntingdon and Peterborough merged with Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely to form the new non-metropolitan county of Cambridgeshire. A Huntingdon district was created based closely on the former administrative county borders, with the exclusion of the Old Fletton urban district became part of the Peterborough district, as did that part of Norman Cross Rural District in Peterborough New Town.
The Local Government Commission considered in the 1990s the case for making a Huntingdonshire unitary authority as part of a general structural review of English local government, that led to unitary authorities in two other English counties that had been wiped from the map: Rutland and Herefordshire.
The Draft Recommendations envisaged three possible scenarios for structural change in Cambridgeshire: the preferred option and the third option had a unitary Huntingdonshire, whilst the second option would have seen Huntingdonshire combine with Peterborough and Fenland to form a "Peterborough and Huntingdonshire" unitary authority. The Final Recommendations of the Commission for Cambridgeshire recommended no change in the status quo in Cambridgeshire. The districts of Peterborough and Huntingdonshire were referred back to the commission for a reconsideration in 1995. The commission recommended the creation of a Peterborough unitary authority, but proposed that Huntingdonshire remain part of the shire county of Cambridgeshire, noting that "there was no exceptional county allegiance to Huntingdonshire, as had been perceived in Rutland and Herefordshire".
David McKie writing in the Guardian noted that "Writers-in demanded an independent Huntingdon; but Mori's more broadly-based poll showed that most Huntingdonians - that is, most of John Major's electors - were content to stay part of Cambridgeshire.
After the failure of Huntingdonshire to become a unitary authority, a Huntingdonshire Society was set up to promote awareness of Huntingdonshire as a historic county, and to campaign for its reinstatement as an administrative and ceremonial entity. In 2002 it established an annual "Huntingdonshire Day" on 25 April, the birthday of Oliver Cromwell.
Smaller towns and villages
Cricket: Larkins Hits High Notes on Perfect Pitch ; Traditional Rustic Values Help Huntingdonshire to a Surprise First- Round Success in the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy. by David Llewellyn
May 02, 2001; THE INAUGURAL Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy could not have chosen a finer setting for the first-round match between...