Society Visit to Conington St Mary Church @ St Mary Church
Jun 7 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Visit to Conington St Mary Church, Cambridgeshire (near Fenstanton)

As well as surprising architecture the church offers a connection with Capability Brown in that his son the Reverend Thomas Brown was appointed to the living of Conington, which he served for 40 years. Today the Reverend Nigel di Castiglione looks after Conington and Elsworth. Another of Capability’s sons, Lancelot Junior, resided in Elsworth.

Meet at Conington church at 3-00pm.

Tea / coffee, can be purchased at The White Swan. Some may wish to return via Elsworth, some via Hilton, Some via both.

Own transport. Please advise if you can offer help / need help with transport.

Cost £4-00 No need to book. Will collect money on the day.

The church of St. Mary is an edifice of brick and stone in mixed styles, consisting of chancel, nave and a tower of stone with a spire and containing 4 bells, with the following inscriptions:- tenor, Virgo coronata duc nos ad regna beata; 2 (early 14th cen-tury), Asumpta est Maria in celis gaudent angeli lau-dantes benedicunt (sic) dominum; 3, Milo Grey me fecit 1635; 4th, Sancta Maria, era pro nob’s (nobis): the tower and spire were restored and the bells rehung in 1911: there is a monumental vault, breast high, running nearly the entire length of the nave on the south side, and several monuments to members of the Cotton, Askham, Hatton and Gardner families: the nave was rebuilt in red brick in 1737 by Dingley Askham esq. and the chancel in stone in 1871: there are 118 sittings. The register dates from the year 1538.”
[Kellys Directory of Cambridgeshire 1929]

Booking an Excursion

Please use the booking form and pay in advance by cheque payable to Huntingdonshire Local History Society. A separate cheque for each excursion is helpful. Send cheques to David Cozens, 70, Upwood Road, Bury, Ramsey, PE26 2PA (except Woburn trip).

Please note the ‘Book by’ date. Early booking is helpful. However do telephone David on 01487 815229 if you are able to come at the last minute as outings are seldom over-subscribed.  His email is, but don’t use for urgent communications.

Cancellations: If you cancel before the ‘Book By’ date your cheque will not be paid in. If you cancel later you may only receive a refund if your place is taken.

Non-member guests are welcome. You will receive partial refunds for guest children, in respect of lower entrance fees.

The Society undertakes to make arrangements for the excursions but cannot accept liability for any mishap or loss connected with them. Bookings are only accepted on that understanding.


For further details of the church and its history, visit their webpage

Society – Christmas Social @ Assembly Rooms, Huntingdon Town Hall
Dec 8 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

The Society’s Christmas Gathering will be on Thursday 8th December at 7.30pm at Huntingdon Town Hall.

There will be entertainment from Tapestry Singers, a local capella group formed in 1996 with an enviable reputation and a repertoire ranging from Tudor anthems to Lennon and McCartney.

The cost of the evening will be £7.50 per head, a little more than last year, but it includes food and a glass of wine or soft drink. Guests are most welcome.

For further information and to book your seat please contact David Smith on 01480 350127

Society AGM 25th May 2017 @ Assembly Rooms, Huntingdon Town Hall
May 25 @ 7:15 pm – 10:15 pm

The Society AGM will be held on the 25th May 2017 in the Assembly Room, Huntingdon Town Hall. After the AGM we will have a short presentation on the geophysical survey work being carried at Sawtry Abbey. Sawtry Abbey was a Cistercian abbey that suffered the ravishings of the Reformation carried out by Henry VIII. The Sawtry Archaeology Group received a Goodliff Award in 2016 to help them carry out the survey of the abbey lands and they will be telling us about the results of their survey.

The Agenda for the 60th AGM and Minutes of the 59th AGM have either been emailed or posted to all members. Copies of the 60th AGM Agenda and all previous Minutes can be downloaded from the AGM and Minutes of Meeting page [click here to access]

St Neots Town and Museum visit – Wednesday 9th August @ St Neots Town and Museum
Aug 9 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Afternoon, Wednesday 9th August – St Neots Town and Museum

In 2012 the Society assisted St Neots Museum in purchasing 68 Iron Age gold coins, (staters) found by a metal detectorist in the fields of Kimbolton in 2010. The exhibition has been restricted for insurance reasons but the coins will be on display this summer. The visit provides an opportunity to see the exhibition of the coins and the rest of the growing museum collection. After an initial view we shall depart for an approx. 90 minute long walk (at a gentle pace) of the town that has much of historical interest. We will be guided by one of the museum staff, stopping en-route at the parish church, praised in the revised Pevsner as  being the most uniform late medieval church in the country, having both interesting glass and monuments. On return there will be tea and a chance to look further round the Museum.

Meet at the Museum in New Street (well sign posted). Own Transport.

Allow 40 minutes from Huntingdon (A1/B1041). Tebbutts Road P&D car park recommended (turn left at the Baptist Church, or right at Pizza Hut if coming via B1043)

Cost £7.50 (includes tea with home-made cakes. Please book by Monday 31st July

Society Christmas Social – 7th December @ Assembly Rooms, Huntingdon Town Hall
Dec 7 @ 7:15 pm – 10:30 pm

Christmas Social Evening with Entertainment by the Society

This year for a change we have decided to offer the society some home-grown seasonal entertainment. The programme is under development and will be announced later. Likely items are at present: Liz Davies with give us an insight into local Christmas Customs, and we will have a pictorial interlude by David Cozens of some of his historic magic lantern slide collections, and others will do traditional and topical readings. We are also hoping for a musical soloist to entertain us with some Christmas favourites. If any one would like to ‘Do a Turn’ then please let David Cozens know on 01487 814229.

We will again be providing sandwiches, etc as well as drinks, but members are welcome to bring additional seasonal fare. Guests are always welcome.

Tickets are £5 per person to include food.

Please return the booking slip on page 3 of the Almanack to David Smith, 16 Dove House Close, Godmanchester. PE29 2DY (01480 350127) 

Society Lecture – The Anglo-Saxons in Huntingdonshire (Dr Stephen Upex) @ Huntingdon Methodist Church
Mar 8 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

The Anglo-Saxons in Huntingdonshire

Dr Upex is probable best known for his expertise on the Romans in the Nene Valley, but his academic range is much wider. Here he ventures later and on to a broader canvas to examine the effects of those who supplanted the Romans. 

Whilst the Romans changed the face of Europe and England for ever with towns and particularly our road structure that we are still using today, the Angles and the Saxons who occupied England after them had as much impact on how this country was structured. However, finding evidence in the ground of their existence, buildings, roads and towns is not always as easy as it could be as they built mainly in wood.  Recent building and new road constructions has revealed more information of our Anglo Saxon ancestors.    

Society Trip – Weekend Trip to Derbyshire 11-14 May
May 11 – May 14 all-day

This year we are visiting some of the exciting historical sites and house of Derbyshire. We depart on Friday 11th May and return on Monday 14th May. For our full programme of activities click on the picture of Hardwick Hall, home of Bess of Hardwick a most remarkable woman during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

Day 1: We start our visit at Calke Abbey, a National Trust house described as the in-stately of all of our stately homes. The house was built in 1704 in the Baroque style for Sir John Harper on the site of a former priory. Through marriage the family name changed to Crewe then Harper Crewe. Their family wealth increased dramatically through marriage and throughout the generations of the family they became eccentric, reclusive and fanatical collectors. Sadly the family fortunes declined and the house fell into disrepair as room upon room was closed to save money. We will get the chance to explore this house, preserved in its final state when it was given to the care of the National Trust.

We finish our day visiting Derby Cathedral, upgraded to cathedral status in 1927 to create the seat for the Bishop of Derby. Founded in the mid 10th Century as a Collegiate church it is now a Grade 1 listed building.

Day 2: We dip our toes into modern social and economic history with a visit to the National Tramway Museum. Here we will follow the rise and fall of this urban form of transport from its early horse drawn days, into steam, electric tram and trolley buses. In Europe trams remained very popular and many cities still operate them today. Some of our cities are now introducing a modern tramway to help keep our inner cities free of heavy traffic. Love them or hate them trams formed an integral part of our inner city lives.

The afternoon we get the chance to visit Bakewell, the home of the famous Bakewell Pudding. Here you’ll be free to explore this old town and perhaps sample some of the delicious produce with a welcome cup of tea or coffee.

Day 3: We venture back in time to the early days of the Industrial Revolution with a visit to Cromford Mill, the first water powered cotton spinning mill built by Richard Arkwright. Arkwright is recognised as one of the founding fathers of the mechanised cotton industry which grew out of this mill, now a World Heritage site.

In the afternoon we venture further back in time to the days of the Tudor and Elizabethan dynasties with a visit to Hardwick Hall. Here we can follow the story of the Hardwick family and of one of their children Elizabeth Hardwick who was to marry into the Cavendish family of Chatsworth House fame. We will discover that Elizabeth’s life was tragic and difficult but through her tenacity and determination, and four marriages she eventually built the new Hardwick Hall in 1590 and firmly stamped her name, ‘Bess of Hardwick’ on the house and countryside.

Day 4: We complete this story of the history of parts of Derbyshire by visiting the house of one of the most powerful families in the county, the Cavendish’s of Chatsworth House. Here we can link the stories of the Cavendish family, Beth of Hardwick and the family of Calke Abbey. We will explore the 30 rooms in house with a guided tour and get the chance to walk through the extensive gardens. Our visit to Chatsworth ends with a Cream Tea and cakes before we head back to Huntingdon. 

For further details contact Rosemary Smith ( or 01480 350127 

Society Visit-Alconbury WealdHeritage Centre @ Alconbury Weald Heritage Centre
May 30 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Visit to the Alconbury Weald Heritage Centre. We meet at ‘The Club’, The Boulevard, Enterprise Campus. Rebecca Britton will meet us to explain how Urban and Civic are incorporating the heritage of this former RAF station into the ongoing development of Alconbury Weald

Own Transport: Please advise if you can offer help/need help with transport.

No Charge: but please let David Cozens know by Wednesday 23rd May that you are coming and either by email ( or phone 01487 815229)

Excursion Notes:

Please use the accompanying form and pay in advance by cheque. To download a copy of the booking form click on the word BOOKINGFORM 

Note especially the ‘Book By’ date.  Early booking is helpful.  However do telephone if you are able to come at the last minute as outings are seldom over-subscribed.

Cancellations:  If you cancel before the ‘Book By’ date your cheque will not be paid in.  If you cancel later you may only receive a refund if someone else takes your place.

Non-member guests are very welcome. You will receive partial refunds on the coach for guest children, in respect of lower entrance fees. 

The Society undertakes to make arrangements for the excursions but cannot accept liability for any mishap or loss connected with them.

Society Christmas Social 2018- A Tudor Evening with Hexacordia @ Assembly Rooms, Huntingdon Town Hall
Dec 13 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Christmas Social Evening—A Tudor Christmas

This year our Christmas gathering will have a Tudor theme, with entertainment from the accomplished early music group Hexacordia. for more information visit their website

We have this year the highly-talented early music group Hexachordia to provide us with ‘A Tudor Christmas’ programme.  There are naturally costs in that and we are making the effort to widen invitations through other local history societies.  We expect therefore that the social to be well attended.  If you want to come therefore please send David Smith your reply slips from the Almanack or from attached leaflet with cheques now.  Do not rely on coming without booking on the night.  I would not want any member to miss out because we are booked up.  The charge for members is £8, for non-members £10.

To book contact David Smith through our contacts page


President’s Lecture and Goodliff Awards Ceremony @ Huntingdon Town Hall
Jul 17 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm

The 2019 Goodliff Awards are being presented at the Society’s President’s Lecture, which this year is taking place during the Huntingdonshire History Festival. Because it is being advertised with other events and we fully expect a full room, admission, even for members, will be by prior booking.

After the presentation of the Goodliff Awards, Dr Thurley will give his lecture, HERITAGE and HOUSING, for which he has provided the following introduction:

Providing enough houses for people to live in is one of the great issues affecting Huntingdonshire and indeed England today. It is an issue for people looking to buy new homes and settle into this area, but also one for those wanting to protect the distinctiveness of their historic towns and villages. Most new house building is undertaken in disregard of the vernacular traditions of the places in which it is undertaken. Historic settlements all over England are fighting what they regard as inappropriate development on their doorstep. Does it have to be like this? Can heritage and conservation be reconciled with the ambitions of the volume housebuilder? I will look at the issues in historical, geographical and economic context and suggest a way forwards.

Please use the BOOKING FORM accompanying the Summer 2019 Almanack to tell us you are coming, or otherwise let David Smith know by email or phone 01480 350127  by Sunday 30th June at the latest