Category Archives: Announcements

Almanack – New Year 2023 Published

A supplemantary edition of the Almanack covering the Society activities and lectures planned for the first half of 2023 has been issued.

In addition to our normal first Tuesday in the month lecture programme we have introduced two daytime activities in January and February.

January 19th an afternoon at Huntingdon Archives to view some of publications, documents and maps on the architecture of the Huntingdonshire landscape. Due to the available space in the Archives we have had to limit the numbers to a maximum of 20 people. There will be a small charge of £5 per person for tea and biscuits and cost fo the Archives.

February 22nd and afternoon at Huntingdon Methodist Church with MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology). MOLA representatives will give a short presentation and then lead us in a workshop to study a number of finds and research material related to the excavations alonmg the route of the new A14 road. Please note numbers wil be limited to 20 for the workshop. There is no charge for this event

If you want to book a place on any of these listed events please email David Smith on


Goodliff Awards 2022

The Society is delighted to announce the Goodliff and Family History (genealogical) awards towards the following projects:

Mike Addis – for ‘The Victorian Entomologist@ – a personal project to teach children about the 19th Century discover of the natural world.

*Huntingdonshire Archives – for an archivist to re-catalogue to modern standards the first instalment of the records of the Duke of Manchester’s Kimbolton Estate.

The Norris Museum – to work with local youth charity KICK to create a local history ‘story mat’.

*Peter Cooper – for a will tramnscription (from records at TNA) and analysis project for Holywell-cum-Needingworth and making this available on website.

*Annie James – for further instalment of work on Huntingdonshire convicts who were transported.

The Cromwell Museum – for redesigned display of exhibits in the museum dealing with Cromwell’s early life, including new acquisitions.

Martyn Smith – for an A3 printer to support his Huntingdonshire Cyclists’ project

Dr. Ken Sneath – for publication of a volume of essays by different scholars on the ‘Long Reformation’ in Huntingdonshire.

Godmanchester Museum – for additional boards for display of cpied family photographs from local people.

Dr. Stephen Upex – to publish a facsimile editon of Edmund Artis’s seminal archaeological text ‘Durobrivae’

Huntingdon BID – for external display boards in Literary Walk Huntingdon on literary figures with Huntingdonshire connections

Ramsey Rural Museum – for audio-visual equipment to give introductory infomation about the museum collections

(*) Awards using in whole or in part the account created from transfer of funds by the former Huntingdonshire Family History Society aimed at projects of genealogical interest.

Rectory Farm Godmanchester – Publication of the Report

Rectory Farm, Godmanchester – Publication of the Report

This article is reproduced with the kind permission of Oxford Archaeology East.

A book about the complex multi-period landscape excavated at Rectory Farm, Godmanchester has been published by East Anglian Archaeology. The site includes a Neolithic trapezoidal enclosure of national importance and a scheduled Romano-British villa. For details of the publication go to:  

Oxford Archaeology East was commissioned by Historic England in 2013 to produce this monograph. The excavations at Rectory Farm, Godmanchester were undertaken between 1988-1995 by Historic England’s (formerly English Heritage) Central Archaeological Service in advance of gravel quarrying. Aerial photography had revealed a Neolithic trapezoidal enclosure of national importance and a scheduled Romano-British villa. The site lies within the valley of the Great Ouse, along which extensive prehistoric landscapes have been the subject of archaeological work for some time. Many of these sites have been excavated by OA East, including the complex of Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age ceremonial monuments at Brampton.

Copyright Godmanchester Museum

Copyright Godmanchester Museum (

At Rectory Farm, the earliest activity was a large Early to Middle Neolithic monument consisting of a series of twenty-four large posts arranged with great precision and enclosed by a continuous ditch and internal bank with an ‘entrance’ on one side. A small mound further west evidently served as a viewing point for the trapezoidal enclosure. It is of unusual form and it is of particular interest in terms of its wider setting in a developing monumental landscape. Radiocarbon analysis dates the use of the enclosure to 3685-3365 cal BC (95% probability). This enclosure appears to be unique in the archaeological record and is therefore of national and international significance. The publication contains a major new analysis of its archaeoastronomical significance conducted by Professor Clive Ruggles of University of Leicester. The alignment of the posts with the early May and/or August sunrises suggests that the monument was used as a place for people to gather and mark the changing seasons, and possibly key points of the agricultural cycle.

This part of the Ouse Valley suffered regular flooding throughout the later Bronze and the Early to Middle Iron Age. Once the floodwaters had receded, the prehistoric remains influenced subsequent re-occupation of the landscape.

A Roman villa farm complex developed in three identifiable phases, linked by a road to the Roman town of Durovigutum (Godmanchester). Notable remains included a furnished cremation cemetery, set within a complex of gardens. One of these contained plant and tree species reminiscent of the Mediterranean style, while close to the cemetery and a possible triclinium (a dining area) was a kitchen courtyard garden with nearby bee hives. Three substantial wells nearby contained painted wall plaster, tesserae and a large column capital. The discovery of a finely made cockerel figurine within one of the wells may indicate an association with the god Mercury. By the early 5th century, the buildings were derelict, but although settlement had ceased the land remained in agricultural use until gravel extraction and landfill took place in the late 20th century.

The lead author was Alice Lyons, formerly of OA East. The project was managed by OA East’s Head of Post-Excavation & Publications, Liz Popescu, said “Oxford Archaeology is proud to have brought this major site successfully to publication – the results will undoubtedly be of interest to locals and academics alike.”

Brian Kerr, Head of Archaeological Investigation at Historic England said: “We are delighted to see the publication of a book about this important site, and we congratulate Oxford Archaeology East on the successful completion of the project that we funded. We are grateful to all our colleagues who contributed so much to the fieldwork, including a number of specialist analyses including human and plant remains, geoarchaeology and scientific dating.”

About Oxford Archaeology East:

Oxford Archaeology is one of the largest independent archaeological and heritage practices in Europe, with over 250 specialist staff working out of offices in Oxford, Lancaster and Cambridge. Founded in 1973, we have over 40 years of experience in professional archaeology, and a tradition of quality, innovation and service on projects ranging in scale from domestic extensions to international transport infrastructure. We are a registered educational charity, we help people to discover and enjoy their heritage through our publications and outreach. Across the country, we have welcomed many thousands of visitors to our sites on open days, regularly provide presentations and information panels, and volunteers of all ages have participated in our wide variety of excavation and survey projects that span all periods of human history. For further information, visit our website:

Based in Cambridge, Oxford Archaeology East (OA East) operates primarily across the East of England from the Thames to the Humber. It has existed since the 1980s, previously as a local authority in-house contractor and since 2008 as part of Oxford Archaeology delivering commercial services for development projects and community archaeology opportunities.

About Historic England:

Historic England is the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment, from beaches and battlefields to parks and pie shops. They protect, champion and save the places that define who we are and where we’ve come from as a nation. They care passionately about the stories they tell, the ideas they represent and the people who live, work and play among them. Working with communities and specialists Historic England share their passion, knowledge and skills to inspire interest, care and conservation, so everyone can keep enjoying and looking after the history that surrounds us all.

Answers to Quiz in January 2019 Almanack

Here are the answers to the quiz, ‘How Well Do You Know Huntingdonshire’ that was in the January 2019 Almanack:

Where might you find these? What are they?

Picture 1: You can find this in Ramsey Abbey, its a ceiling boss that is on the floor in the Gate House.


Picture 2: A Station of the Cross in the grounds of LIttle Gidding Church


Picture 3: Milepost at Green End, Great Stukeley




Map of the Little Gidding Estate of Sir Gervase Clifton by John Hexham of January 1596/7

Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies has acquired for Huntingdonshire Archives a map of the Little Gidding Estate of Sir Gervase Clifton by John Hexham of January 1596/7. The map was has purchased with equal funding from Central Government (the ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund) and the Huntingdonshire Local History Society,


This map is a magnificent addition to our local archives and the society’s committee was easily persuaded to support its purchase for a number of reasons:

a. It is one of the earliest maps of a Huntingdonshire village, the earliest of a whole parish within the ancient county in local repositories.

b. It is by the one surveyor of the Elizabethan ‘golden age’ of English map-making, John Hexham, who elsewhere calls himself ‘of Huntingdon’, who plainly deserves further research which this map may stimulate.

c. It provides clear cartographic evidence of what existed of Little Gidding village, a shrunken settlement that has been categorised by landscape historians as a ‘deserted medieval village (DMV)’ in 1597.

d. It shows the village, and the manor house itself in elevation, as it existed during the lifetime of Nicholas Ferrar, just 27 years before Ferrar purchased the estate and arrived to make it the centre of his extraordinary if short-lived religious community.

e. Little Gidding has iconic status in our national history thanks to the visit of the poet T.S. Eliot, who made it the subject of the best-known of his Four Quartets.

To celebrate the acquisition Huntingdonshire Archives has mounted a display about the map in Huntingdon Library which lasts until the end of September. I encourage you to go. The society’s assistance is prominently and properly acknowledged there. There will also be a privileged opportunity for members to see the original map at close quarters when it will be brought to a society meeting, probably the society’s AGM next May. Further details will be circulated in due course.

Philip Saunders
Chairman, Huntingdonshire Local History Society