The History of Alconbury Weston in Cambridgeshire

Historical notes about the town of Alconbury Weston in Cambridgehsire.

Acumesberie (xi cent.); Alchmundesbiri, Alcmundeberi (xii cent.); Aumondebiry Weston (xiii cent.);  Alconbury cum Weston (xiv cent.); Wode or Wood Weston (xiv-xvii cent.).

Alconbury cum Weston was described as one 'vill' in 1316 and is still one ecclesiastical parish, but Alconbury and Alconbury Weston are separate for civil purposes. Alconbury comprises an area of 3,797 acres and Alconbury Weston contains 1,735 acres. About half of the whole area is arable and the rest pasture. The soil is clay and the principal crops are cereals and beans. The Alconbury Brook, a tributary of the Ouse, runs from the north-west to the southeast of the parish and then, turning south-west, forms the south-eastern boundary. The land rises from the Brook, where it is about 50 ft. above the Ordnance datum, to about 164 ft. at Alconbury Hill and Common Farm on the north-east side, but on the south-west the rise is more gradual, and except at Weybridge Lodge, where it reaches 163 ft., it is mostly low-lying. The Ermine Street is on the eastern side of the parish, and about a mile to the west of it is the Great North Road, which joins the Ermine Street at Alconbury Hill. Matcham's Bridge carries this road over a tributary of the Alconbury Brook and a little to the west of it is the site of Matcham's Gibbet.

Alconbury Weston is about 0.75 mile north-west of Alconbury on a road running west. The houses are built along both sides of the road, and the Alconbury Brook runs beside the road through the village. The Great North Road passes over the brook at the south-east end of the village by a brick bridge, and a footpath crosses the brook at the north-west end by a bridge with a timber superstructure, the central pier and the abutments of which are said to be built of stone from Copmanford church. There are several 17th century cottages, and on the west side of the road, north-west of the bridge, is a 16th century timber-framed house with projecting upper story. A cross is mentioned here in 1278–9.

A weekly market on Thursday and a yearly fair on the vigil, feast and morrow of St. John the Baptist and six following days, granted to John de Segrave and his heirs for his manor of Wood Weston or Alconbury Weston, in 1304, seem to have been transferred to Alconbury. The fair was abolished in 1872, when it was said to have been held for 'pedlars wares'; the remembrance of it, however, survives in the village feast on 24 June, still called 'the Fair.'

It was in Weybridge Forest, close to his manor of Woolley, that John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester, was captured when hiding from Henry VI in 1470.

In Hermitage Wood, to the east of the hamlet, is a moated site; whether this has any relation to the hermitage which existed at Alconbury Weston in the 14th century is uncertain. It has been said that there was a chapel dedicated to St. Anne at Alconbury Hill, but no documentary evidence of it has been found. The statement evidently arose from a drawing of St. Andrew's church, Sawtry, by Grimm (c. 1810) in the British Museum which is wrongly inscribed as 'St. Anne's Chapel near Alconbury Hill.' Nicholas Godsowle, of Wodeweston, chaplain, is mentioned in 1308, but it is not stated where he served.

The Church Mission Room at Alconbury Weston, built in 1878, is the property of the vicar of Alconbury. There is a Baptist chapel at the south end of the hamlet, which was built in 1855. The children attend the schools at Alconbury.

The hamlet of Alconbury Hill has grown up at the junction of the Great North Road with the Ermine Street.

There was an Inclosure Award in 1791.

Fourteenth-century names occuring in Alconbury Weston are: Porteweye, Calpedemere, Heremaneswong, Langthornhub, Willewelle, Romeresheved in le Hoo, Long Forest, Stangate, Gosehorn, Plokecesok, Wodepolholm, Estmaneford, Haywardesgore, Wydenhale Slade, le Eststockyng and Wolleymere.

The nearest railway station was that of Abbots Ripton, 4 miles to the north-east on the main line of the London and North Eastern Railway.

Victoria County History - Huntingdonshire Published in 1932