Britannia, by William Camden

Huntingdonshire.

Big A AT the back of Cambridgeshire lies the County of Huntingdon, by the Saxons call’d ⌈ Saxon: huntandunescyre and⌉ Saxon: huntedunescyre, ⌈by the later Writers, Huntedunescire, and Huntyngdonschyre⌉ commonly Huntingdonshire; situated so, as to have Bedfordshire on the South, Northamptonshire on the West and likewise on the North (where they are parted by the river Avon,) and Cambridgeshire on the East. ⌈It is of very small extent, scarce stretching out it self twenty miles, tho’ measur’d to the best advantage. † † Speed, from Sir Robert Cotton.It has been an observation upon this County, that the families of it have been so worn out, that tho’ it has been very rich in Gentry, yet but few Sirnames of any note are remaining, which can be drawn down beyond the reign of the last Henry. The cause of such decay in places nearer London, is plain enough; viz. the many temptations to luxury, and the great wealth of Merchants, always ready to supply the Extravagances of the Nobility and Gentry. But this cannot hold so well here; so that we must consider, whether a reason brought by a later Author will not solve it, viz. That, most of the County being Abby-land; upon the Dissolution, many new Purchasers planted themselves herein; and perhaps their new possessions might have the same fate here, that Church-revenues have had in other places, where they fell into Lay-hands.⌉ It is a very good Corn-Country; and for feeding-ground, the fenny part of the East is exceeding fat: the rest is mighty pleasant, by reason of its swelling hills, and shady groves; for in ancient times it was all a wood, according to the report of the Inhabitants. That it was a Forest, till Henry the second deforested it in the beginning of his reign, is evident by an old Survey (All, except Waybridge, Sapple, and Herthei, which were woods of the Lords demain, and do still remain a Forest:) ⌈and Sir Robert Cotton (who had himself design’d a History of this County) says, this was never fully effected till the time of Edward the first. For altho’ Henry the second did pretend to enfranchise his subjects of this Shire from the servitude of his beasts, except Wabridge, Saple, and Herthy, his own Demains; yet such were the encroachments of the succeeding Reigns, that the poor Inhabitants were forc’d to petition for redress; which was granted them by the great Charter of Henry the third. Only, his son resum’d the fruits of his father’s kindness; till, in the 29th year of his reign, he confirm’d the former Charter, and left no more of this Shire, Forest, than what was his own ground.

Huntington Shire map, left Huntington Shire map, right

Huntington Shire

The government of the County is very peculiar; Cambridgeshire, in the Civil administration, being joyn’d to it: so that there is but one High-sheriff for both Shires. He is chosen out of Cambridgeshire, one year; out of the Isle of Ely, a second; and the third, out of this Shire. In the Isle of Ely, he is chosen out of the north-part, one time; and out of the south, another.⌉

The river Ouse, which I have so often mention’d, washes the south-part, and decks it with flowers. Besides other meaner places, there stand three towns of note upon this river, after it has left Bedfordshire and enters this County. The first is St. Neots,St. Needs. ⌈call’d in the Saxon Annals S.  Saxon: Neod, and⌉ commonly St. Needs; from one Neotus, a learned and pious person, who spent his life in propagating the Christian Religion: His body was remov’d from Neotstock in Cornwall to this place; in honour of whom, Alfrick converted Earl Elfrid’s Palace into a Monastery, which Roisia, the wife of Richard Lord of Clare, soon after the coming-in of the Normans, endow’d with many fair estates. Before that, this place was call’d Ainulphsbury,Ainsbury. from one Ainulph another Saint; which name a part of the Town still retains. At Hailweston, a small village somewhat lower, are two small springs,Medicinal Springs. one fresh, and the other a little brackish; one good for Scabs and Leprosies, as the Inhabitants say, and the other for dimness of eyes. A little way further, the Ouse runs by Bugden,Bugden. a handsom Palace of the Bishops of Lincoln; and so by Hinchingbroke,Hinchingbroke. formerly a Nunnery (which was remov’d by William the Conqueror from Eltesley in Cambridgeshire, to this place) and † † Now, C.since the seat of the Cromwells, Knights; ⌈but now of the Earl of Sandwich, to whom it affords the title of Viscount, as St. Neots doth that of Baron.⌉ From thence it runs to Huntingdon,Huntingdon. by the Saxons Saxon: huntandun, according to Marianus ⌈and also Saxon: huntendune, and Saxon: huntenduneport;⌉ in the publick Seal Hunters-dune, that is (according to Henry Arch-Deacon of this place, who flourish’d * * Four, C.five hundred years ago) the down or mountain of Hunters; from whence they have a Huntsman in their Arms. Our Country-man Leland has upon this account coin’d that new Latin name, Venantodunum; ⌈and also tells us, that in his time they had an ancient Coin, dug-up not far from the Town, with the picture of a † † Canis leporarii.hound on one side, but that the Inscription was not legible.⌉ This is the chief town of the whole County, and gives name to it; It excels the towns about it (says the same Arch-deacon) for its pleasant situation, its handsomness and beauty, the convenience of the fens just by, and the great advantages of hunting and fishing. In the reign of Edward the Confessor, as it is in Domesday-book, This Burrough was divided into four Ferlings; two of them had one hundred and sixteen Burgesses that paid custom and gelt, and under them one hundred Bordarii; the other two had one hundred and eleven Burgesses, who paid all the King’s customs and gelt. It stands on the North-side of the Ouse, on a rising ground; reaching lengthways to the North, and adorn’d ⌈† † With four Churches, C.anciently with fifteen Churches, and of later days with four; which were reduced in the late Civil wars to two;⌉ and heretofore with a small Abby, founded by the Empress Maud and Eustace Lovetoft, the ruins whereof I saw out of the town Eastward. By the side of this river, nigh the fair Free-stone bridge, there is a mount, and ground-plot of a castle, * * Instauravit.built anew in the year 917 by Edward the elder, ⌈orCotton, in Speed. (as others gather from Domesday) by William the Conqueror;⌉ and enlarg’d with several new works by David King of Scots, to whom King Stephen had given the Burrough of Huntingdon for an augmentation of his estate, as an ancient Historian has it; and lastly demolish’d to the ground by Henry the second, as well because it was a refuge to Rebellion, as to prevent the frequent quarrels between the Scots and the St. Lizes about it; which made him swear in a great passion, that he would leave no cause of contention to either party. ⌈By the foresaid number of Churches in ancient times, it appears to have been once a very flourishing Town. And the cause of its decay, seems to have been the ¦ ¦ Cotton, in Speed.alteration made in the river, by Grey (a Minion of the time, as my Author calls him) who procur’d the passage of it to be stop’d, whereas, before, to the great advantage of the Inhabitants, it had been navigable as far as this Town. King John granted it, by Charter, a peculiar Coroner, profit by Toll and Custom, a Recorder, Town-Clerk, and two Bailiffs; but at present it is incorporated by the name of a Mayor, twelve Aldermen and Burgesses; and the river is made navigable by smaller Vessels, as high as Bedford.⌉ From the castle-hill, there is a large prospect, from whence we see a meadow encompass’d with the Ouse, call’d Portsholme, exceeding large (and a more glorious one the Sun never saw) to which in the Spring-time this Verse may be well apply’d:

Ver pingit vario gemmantia prata colore.

Kind Spring with various colours paints the Meads.

This pleasant Scene, as if contriv’d on purpose by some Painter, perfectly charms one’s eye. On the other side of the river, over-against Huntingdon, and as it were the Mother that brought it forth, stands Gormonchester, now call’d Goodmanchester.Goodmanchester. A large Country-town eminent for tillage, and situated on a free open ground, declining to the Sun. Nor is there a Town in the Kingdom that has a greater number of lusty stout Husbandmen, or keeps more Plows a going; and they brag that they have formerly entertain’d the Kings of England in their progress, with a rustick show of ninescore Plows at once. Certainly, there are none in the Nation that more advance Husbandry (which Columella calls Wisdom’s Cousin) either in respect of their skill, their purse, or their genius that way. ⌈By which means, they grew so wealthy and considerable, that in the reign of K. James the first, the Town was incorporated by the name of two Bailiffs, twelve Assistants, and Commonalty, of the Burrough of Goodmanchester.⌉ Henry of Huntingdon calls it in his time a Village not unpleasant; but formerly, as he truly writes, it had been a noble City. giants For (omitting the Roman coins frequently plow’d up, and the distances in the Itinerary; ⌈together with the bones of divers men of far greater stature than is credible to be spoken of in those days;)⌉ omitting these, the very name implies it to be the same City that Antoninus calls Duroliponte, instead of Durosiponte;Durosiponte. for Durosi-ponte (pardon the alteration of one letter) signifies in British a Bridge over Ouse: (For all own, that this river was known indifferently by the names of Use, Ise, Ose, and Ouse:) But in the Saxon times, when it lost this name, it took that of Gormoncester, from Gormon the Dane (who, by Articles of Peace, had these parts granted to him by our King Alfred) as this Verse may witness:

Gormonis à Castri nomine, nomen habet.

The Town from Gormond’s Castle took its name.

It is the same place that J. Picus, an ancient writer, speaks of, when he says, That King Alfred gain’d such advantages over the Danes, that they gave what hostages he demanded, either to leave the Land, or turn Christians. Which was put in execution; for Guthrum the King (whom they call Gormond) with thirty of his Nobility, and almost all his people, were baptiz’d, and himself was adopted Alfred’s God-son, under the name of Athelstan. Upon this he settled here, and had the Provinces of the East-Angles and Northumbers bestow’d on him; to protect that now as his Inheritance under the King, which before he had wasted as a Robber. Nor must it be pass’d over, that some of these old writers have call’d this City Gumicester, and Gumicastrum, positively affirming that Machutus had his Episcopal See at this place. ⌈Here is a School, called the Free Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth, which was incorporated in the third year of K. James the first.⌉

The Ouse, hastning its course from hence, when it comes near Cambridgeshire, glides thro’ pleasant Meadows, where is a pretty neat Town call’d by the Saxons Slepe, and now St. Ives;St. Ives. ⌈which a late Writer describes to be, a fair, large, and ancient Town, with a fine Stone-bridge over the Ouse. The name is derived⌉ from Ivo a Persian Bishop, who, as they write, about the year 600, travell’d over England, with great reputation of sanctity, preaching the Gospel with great zeal wherever he came; and that he left his name to this place, where he dy’d. Soon after, the Religious remov’d his Body from hence, to Ramsey-Abby. ⌈Within these few years, a great part of it was burnt down; but it is built again.⌉

Turning almost three miles to one side, I saw Somersham,Somersham. a large Palace * * So said, ann. 1607.lately belonging to the Bishop of Ely, being given to the Church of Ely by Earl Brithnot in the year 991, and enlarg’d with new buildings by that † In omnem luxum solutus.lewd and luxurious Bishop, James Stanley. ⌈It is now the possession of Anthony Hamond, of the ancient Family of that name in Kent.⌉ A little higher, stood the famous rich Abby of Ramsey, (in Saxon Saxon: Ramesige,)⌉ among the fenns; where the rivers stagnate in a spungy kind of ground. The description of this place, take in short out of the private History of the Abby. Ramsey,Ramsey. that is, the Rams Isle, on the West-side (for on all others there are nothing but impassable fens for a great way together) is separated from the firm ground, almost two Bow-shots, by rough Quagmires. Which place formerly us’d to receive Vessels into the midst of it, up a * * Segni.slow river, by gentle gales of wind; but now with great pains and cost, these clay Quagmires are stopped with large quantities of wood, gravel, and stone, and footmen may pass upon a firm Causey almost two miles long, but not very broad. It is enclos’d with Alders, which, with fresh green Reeds, intermix’d with Bulrushes, make a beautiful shew. Long before it was inhabited, it was all cover’d over with several sorts of trees, but with wild Ashes in abundance. But now of late, since these woods are partly cut down; the land is found to be arable and of a fat mould, and is plentiful in fruit and corn; planted with gardens, rich in pastures. In spring, the pleasant meads smile on the spectators, and the whole Isle is embroider’d as it were, with variety of flowers. Besides all this, it is surrounded with Meres full of Eels, and with Pools full of all sorts of fish and water-fowl. Of which, Ramsey MereRamsey-Mere. is one, so call’d from the name of the Isle, far excelling all the neighbouring waters both in appearance and plenty; and where the Isle is wider, and wood thicker, it washes the sandy banks, and is mighty pleasant to the beholders. Out of its deep holes, they draw Pikes of wonderful bigness, which they call Hakeds,Hakeds. either with Nets of several sorts, or baited Hooks, or other fishing Instruments; and though this place is perpetually haunted by Fowlers, and always abundance is taken, yet is there still abundance left behind. Then he proceeds to shew at large, how one Ailwin of the royal family (who on account of his great authority and favour with the King, was sirnam’d Healf-Koning, i.e. Half-King,) built this Abby, upon occasion of a Fisher’s dream; how Bishop Oswald enlarg’d it; how the Kings and others encreas’d its endowments, so that it usually expended seven thousand Pounds of our Money, a year, to maintain sixty Monks. But since it is now dissolv’d and gone, ⌈and the very place where it stood, forgotten;⌉ perhaps some will think I have said too much of it already; however, I will venture to add, out of the same Author, the Epitaph on Ailwin’s Tomb, because it has in it such an uncommon title of Honour.angliae

HIC REQUIESCIT AILWINVS INCLITI REGIS EADGARI COGNATVS, TOTIVS ANGLIÆ ALDERMANNVS, ET HVIVS SACRI COENOBII MIRACVLOSVS FVNDATOR.

That is,

Here rests Ailwin, kinsman to the famous King Eadgar, Alderman of all England, and the miraculous founder of this Monastery.

⌈I will add also, that the Abbots of Ramsey had place in Parliament; the head of their Barony being Broughton, at some distance to the South, which had annex’d to it, in this Shire, Four Knights fees.⌉

From Ramsey to Peterborough, distant about ten miles, King Canute ⌈(as is commonly said)⌉ rais’d a pav’d causey with great labour and charge (by our Historians call’d Kings delf,Kingsdelf. nigh the great Lake Wittlesmere,) because that way was well-nigh impassable by reason of brooks and sloughs. ⌈But what way soever is meant by that name, it is certain, that it cannot be Canutus’s road; for the name Kingsdelf or Saxon: Cinges daelf in those parts appears upon Record before Canutus’s time; I mean, in the reign of King Edgar, who, in his Charter to the Church of Peterburrow, * * Chron. Sax. p.119. lin.18.makes this Saxon: Cinges daelf one of the bounds of his Donation. Besides, the Saxon Saxon: daelf will not answer a via constrata lapidibus, or pav’d way, but seems rather to mark out to us some ditch drawn at first for the draining of those fenny grounds, and reducing the waters into one chanel.⌉ As this Abbey was an ornament to the eastern parts of the County, so was Sawtry to the middle; a Monastery for Cistercians, founded by the second Simon de St. Lize, Earl of Huntingdon. A little way off, lies Cunnington;Cunnington. held (as the Lawyers word it) of the Honour of Huntingdon, where, within a square ditch, are the plain footsteps of an ancient Castle, which with SaltrySaltry. was given by Canute toTurkill the Dane. Turkill the Dane, who liv’d among the East-Angles, and call’d-in Sueno King of Denmark to plunder the Nation. After Turkill’s departure, it was possess’d by Waldeof Earl of Huntingdon, son to Siward Earl of Northumberland, who marry’d Judith, William the Conqueror’s Niece by his half sister on the mother’s side; by whose eldest daughter it descended to the Royal Family of Scotland. For she, after her first husband’s decease, marry’d David Earl of Huntingdon (afterwards King of Scotland,) the younger son of Malcolm Can-mor King of Scotland and Margaret his Wife, of the Royal Family of the Saxons (she being King Edmund Ironside’s grandchild by his son Edgar, who was sirnam’d the Banish’d.) David had a son call’d Henry, and he another call’d David, who was Earl of Huntingdon: by Isabel, one of his daughters, Cunnington and other large possessions, came by marriage to Robert Brus, from whose eldest son Robert, sirnam’d the Noble, James ⌈the first,⌉ King of Great Britain, lineally * * Derives, C.derived his Descent; and from his younger son Bernard, who inherited Cunnington and Exton, Sir Robert Cotton Knight † † Derives, C.derived his; a person, who, besides other excellencies, ¦ ¦ Is, C.was a great Admirer and Master of Learning, and * * Hath, C.had here a Collection of Antiquities from all parts; from whose singular courtesie I often receiv’d great light, in these obscure and intricate matters. Scotiae Angliae Franciae ⌈Divers Roman Monuments brought by him from the Picts-wall, do still remain in a Summer-house in the Garden here; and, in the Church, are two ancient remarkable Monuments; the one inscrib’d, Imperator, Rex Franciæ, Anglo-Saxonum, Angliæ, Scotiæ; the other, Prince Henry of Scotland, Lord of Cunnington; but both without date.⌉

By reason these parts lye so low,Mosses. and are under water for some months, and in some places are so hollow, that they seem to float; they are much infested with the noisome smells of Lakes, and a thick foggy air. Here lies that clear Lake so full of fish, call’d Witlesmere,Witlesmere Lake. six miles long and three broad, in a moorish Country; but the great profit of fishing, the plenty of Pastures, and the abundance of Turf for firing do (as the neighbours think) sufficiently make amends for the unhealthfulness of the place. For King Canute gave orders to Turkill the Dane (whom we mention’d before,) that every village about the fens should have it’s proper Marsh; who so divided the ground, that the Inhabitants of each village should have just so much of the Marsh for their own use, as lay right against the farm-ground of the said village. He also made an order, that no village might dig or mow in another’s Marsh without leave; but however, that the feeding should be common to all, that is, Horn under Horn, for the preservation of peace and quiet among them. But this by the way.

WhenThe little History of Ely. the children and servants of Canutus were sent-for from Peterborough to Ramsey, as they pass’d this Lake, in the midst of their pleasant voyage, and their singing and jollity, the turbulent winds, and a tempestuous storm, arose on all sides, and as it were surrounded them; so that they were utterly in despair either of life, security, or succour: but so great was God’s mercy, that they did not all become a prey to that devouring Element:The foundation-Charter of Saltry. for some, in his compassion and providence, he sav’d from the raging waves, but others, by his secret judgment, he suffer’d to perish in the deep. When this sad news was brought to the King, it put him into a dreadful terror and trembling; but after he was a little recover’d, he did, by the counsel of his Nobility and Friends (to prevent all future mischances from this merciless monster,) order his soldiers and servants to mark out a Ditch in the Marshes between Ramsey and Witlesy, with their Skeins and Swords, and set Day-labourers to scour and cleanse it; from whence, as we have it from our Predecessors of good credit, this ditch by some of the neighbours was call’d Swerdes-delf,Swerdes-delf different from Kingsdelf. because it was mark’d out by swords; but some would have it call’d Cnouts-delf, from that King’s name. But now they commonly call it Steeds-Dike; and it is the bound between this County and Cambridgeshire.

Kinnibantum-Castle, now Kimbolton,Kimbolton. formerly the seat of the Mandevils, and after that of the Bohuns, Staffords, * * Now of the Wingfields, C.and Wingfields, is one great ornament to the † † East, C.West-parts of this County. ⌈Sir Richard Wingfield Lel. Itin. MS. vol.1.(as Leland tells us) built new Lodgings and Galleries upon the old foundations of this Castle, which was double-ditch’d, and the building of it very strong. From the Wingfields, it pass’d by sale to the Mountagues; and Henry Earl of Manchester, of that name, very much improv’d the Castle, sparing no cost that might add to its beauty; but most of all hath it been improv’d, or rather new-built, in a very beautiful manner, by Charles, his grandson; who hath been advanced by his Majesty King George, to the higher and more honourable Title of Duke of Manchester. Here is at present a pretty fair town, seated in a bottom; which hath given the title of Baron, to the successive Earls of Manchester.⌉See Manchester, in Lancashire.

Below this, was Stonely,Stonely. a small Convent founded by the Bigrames. A little way from hence stands Awkenbury,Awkenbury. which was given by King John to David Earl of Huntingdon, and by Stephen Segrave.John Scot his son to Stephen Segrave, a person whom I am the more willing to mention, because he was one of the Courtiers who have taught us, * * Nullam potentiam esse potentem.That no Power is powerful enough to preserve itself. With a great deal of pains he rais’d himself to a high station, with as much trouble kept it, and as suddenly lost it. Matth. Paris.In his younger days, from a Clerk he was made Knight, tho’ but of a mean family; in his latter days, by his industry and courage he so enrich’d and advanced himself, that he was rank’d among the highest of the Nobility, and was made Chief Justice of England, and manag’d almost all the Affairs of the Nation as he pleas’d. At length, he wholly lost the King’s favour, and ended his days in a Monastery; and he, who, out of pride, must needs remove from Eeclesiastical to Secular Affairs, was forced to reassume his Ecclesiastical Office and shaven crown, which he had formerly laid aside, without so much as consulting his Bishop. A little way from hence, stands Leighton,Leighton. where Sir Gervase Clifton Knight began a noble building, ⌈and in the sixth year of King James the first was created Baron of this place; to which title his Great grand-daughter the Lady Katharine O’Brien was restor’d in the reign of King Charles the second. It hath since been the possession of the Lady Butler, daughter and heir to the late Richard Earl of Arran, who had it in marriage with the sole daughter of James Duke of Richmond, as the Duke had had it by marriage with a daughter and heir of the Lord Clifton. From a place near this, the Earl of Arran was created a Baron of this Realm, by the title of Lord Butler of Weston.⌉

Hard by, lies Spaldwick,Spaldwick. which was given to the Church of Lincoln by Henry the first, to make amends for his taking the Bishoprick of Ely out of Lincoln-Diocese.

The river Nen, at its entrance into this Shire, runs by Elton,Elton. the seat, ⌈heretofore,⌉ of the famous and ancient family of the Sapcots, where † † Is, C.was a private but very beautiful Chapel, with curious painted windows, built by the Lady Elizabeth Dinham, widow of the Baron Fitz-Warren, who marry’d into this family; ⌈but it hath been ruinous these many years; and the place is now the seat of the Probies, who have built here an elegant House.⌉ Somewhat higher, upon the Nen, nigh Walmsford,Walmsford. stood a little city, of greater antiquity than all these, call’d Caer Dorm and Dormeceaster by Henry of Huntingdon, who says it was utterly ruinated before his time.Durobrivae Undoubtedly, this isDurobrivæ. the † † Dr. Gale chuses Brigcasterton near Stamford, as better answering the distances.Durobrivæ of Antoninus, that is, the River-passage, now for the same reason call’d Dornford nigh Chesterton, which, besides the old Coins, has the manifest marks of a destroy’d City. For a Roman way runs directly from hence to Huntingdon; and a little above Stilton,Stilton. formerly Stichilton, it appears with a high bank, and in an old Saxon Charter is call’d Erminstreat.Ermingstreat. Here, it runs through the middle of a square fort, defended on the north-side with walls, on the rest with ramparts of earth; nigh which, they † † So said, ann. 1607.some time since dug-up several stone Coffins or Sepulchres, in the ground of R. Bevill (descended from an ancient and noted family in this County;) ⌈now the joint Inheritance of the Hewets of Warsly in this County, and the Drydens; as descended to them by the Sisters of the last Sir Robert Bevile.⌉ Some think that this City stood upon both banks of the river; and others are of opinion, that the little village CasterCaster in Northamptonshire. on the other side was part of it; and truly this opinion is supported by an ancient history, which says there was a place call’d Durmundcaster by Nene, where Kinneburga founded a little Nunnery, first call’d Kinneburge-caster, and afterwards for shortness Caster. This Kinneburga, the most Christian daughter of the Pagan King Penda and wife of Alfred King of the Northumbers, chang’d her Sovereign Authority for Christ’s service (to use the words of an old writer) and govern’d her own Nunnery as a mother to those holy Virgins. Which place about an. 1010, was level’d with the ground by the Danes. A little before this river leaves the County, it runs by an ancient Seat call’d Bottle-bridgeBottle-bridge. (for shortness instead of Botolph-bridge,) which the Draitons and Lovets brought from R. Gimels to the family of the Shirlies, by right of Succession; ⌈but it is again passed from them into other hands.⌉ Adjoyning to this, lies Overton, corruptly call’d Orton; forfeited by Felony, and redeem’d of King John by Neale Lovetost, whose sister and coheir was married to Hubert or Robert de Brounford, and their children took the name of Lovetost.

This County, in the decline of the English-Saxons, had Siward an Officiary Earl;Earls of Huntingdon. for then there were no hereditary Earls in England, but the Governors of Provinces, according to the custom of that age, were call’d Earls, with addition of the title of the Province or County they govern’d: as this Siward, for the time he govern’d this County, was call’d Earl of Huntingdon; but soon after, when he govern’d Northumberland, he was call’d Earl of Northumberland. He had a son call’d Waldeof, who, under the title of Earl, had the government of this County,See the Earls of Northampton­shire. by the favour of William the Conqueror, whose niece Judith, by a sister on the mother’s side, he had marry’d. This Waldeof’s eldest daughter (says William Gemeticensis) was married to Simon ¦ ¦ Silvan­ectensis. Lib. ult. cap.16.de Senlys or St. Liz: she brought him the Earldom of Huntingdon, and had a son by him, call’d Simon. After her husband’s decease, she was marry’d to David brother of St. Maud Queen of England (who was afterwards King of Scotland) by whom she had a son nam’d Henry. Afterwards, as Fortune and the favour of Princes alter’d, this Dignity was enjoy’d sometimes by the Scots, and at other times by the St. Lizes; first, Henry the son of David, then Simon St. Liz, Simon the first’s son;John Fordon in Scoto-chronico l.8. c.3. 6. & 39. after him, Malcolm King of Scotland, Earl Henry’s brother; after his decease, Simon St. Liz the third, who dying without heirs, was succeeded by William King of Scotland, Brother of Malcolm. Thus says Ralph de Diceto in the year 1185, who liv’d at that time: When Earl Simon, son of Earl Simon, died without children, the King restor’d to William King of Scotland the County of Huntingdon with its appurtenances. Then,Matth. Paris. his brother David had it, and his son John Scot Earl of Chester, who died without heirs; and when Alexander the second, who marry’d King Henry the third’s daughter, had enjoy’d this title a little while, and 1243.the Wars broke out, the Scots lost this honour, with a fair inheritance in England. A good while after, Edward the third created William Clinton, Earl of Huntingdon; and Richard the second put Guiscard de Angolesme in his place: and after his death, John Holland. He was succeeded by John and Henry his sons; who were bothSee Dukes of Exeter. Dukes of Exeter also. This is the same Henry Duke of Exeter, whom Philip Comines (as he affirms) saw begging bare-foot in the Low-Countries, whilst he resolutely adher’d to the House of Lancaster, though he had marry’d Edward the fourth’s own sister. Next to him, Thomas Grey, afterwards Marquiss of Dorset, held this honour a little while. It is also evident from the Records, that William Herbert Earl of Pembroke, brought the Charter of Creation, whereby his father was made Earl of Pembroke, into Chancery to be cancell’d, and that Edward the fourth created him Earl of Huntingdon in the seventeenth year of his reign. In the memory of our † † So said, ann. 1607.fathers, Henry the eighth confer’d this honour upon George Lord Hastings; who was succeeded by Francis, and he by his son Henry, a person truly honourable both for his Nobility and Piety: He dying without issue, his brother George succeeded him, whose grandchild by a son, Henry, * * Doth enjoy, C.afterwards enjoy’d the same honour; ⌈and had by Elizabeth (daughter and coheir to Ferdinando Earl of Derby) Ferdinando Earl of Huntingdon, father of Theophilus the seventh Earl of this family, who was Captain of the Band of Gentlemen Pensioners, Privy-Councellor to King Charles the second, and King James the second, by whom he was made Chief Justice in Eyre of all the Forests south of Trent; as also Lieutenant of the Counties of Leicester and Derby. To him succeeded George Lord Hastings his son, who dying unmarry’d, the title descended to Theophilus the present Earl, Son of Theophilus by a second marriage.⌉

This little Shire contains 78 Parishes.

I have not as yet observed any Plants peculiar to this County; the more rare being common to it, with Cambridgeshire.

ornament

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 13:06