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Archives A to Z - H to I

Hearth Tax

From 1662 to 1689 a tax was levied on the number of hearths in a house; surviving records therefore indicate the size of individuals' houses. The original records are now at The National Archives in Kew. For more details see the Gibson Guide 'The Hearth Tax' (FFHS 1996), available in the searchrooms. 

Huntingdonshire Archives

A microfilm copy of the Huntingdonshire Hearth Tax returns for 1666 and 1674 is available. The 1674 tax has been transcribed and indexed; a transcript of 1666 is currently underway.

Cambridgeshire Archives

Microfilm of the Cambridgeshire Hearth Tax returns for 1662, 1664 and 1674 for most of the county and 1672 for the hundreds of Papworth, Northstowe and Chesterton only is available.

There is also an indexed transcript of the 1674 returns by Norman and Vicky Uffindell.

'Cambridgeshire Hearth Tax Returns Michaelmas 1664' - Nesta Evans and Susan Rose, Cambridgeshire Records Society vol. 15 provides a transcript of the 1664 returns (incorporating information from the 1662 returns) together with a detailed and informative introduction on the tax and on the population and social structure of the county at this time.

Heraldry and Heraldic Visitations

Heraldry probably began in England in the 12th century, possibly to help identify important individuals when their faces were obscured by armour. The College of Arms was instituted in 1483 and was empowered to make occasional visits to parts of the country, to establish whether coats of arms were being used without permission. The records of these visits, called heraldic visitations, are of great interest to genealogists as they give pedigrees of noble lines.

Three such visitations were made to Huntingdonshire:

  • 1564: visited with Northamptonshire. The visitation has not been published: the original is at the College of Arms. It cannot be consulted directly, but the College can research it for you, for a fee.
  • 1613: published by the Camden Society in 1848 (vol XLIII): a copy is available in the searchroom.
  • 1684: visited with Cambridgeshire. This document was published by the Harleian Society in 1994 (New Series vol 13): a copy is available in the searchroom.

The College of Arms is still empowered to make grants of arms. If you think you have a right to a coat of arms, or if you think that someone is using arms incorrectly, you must contact the College, which is in Queen Victoria Street, London EC4V 4BT.

If you are interested in the history of arms, you could try the Heraldry Society, 44 Museum Street, London WC1A 1LH. 

Huntingdonshire Archives at Huntingdon Library also has a number of books on heraldry, including Papworth's 'Ordinary of British Armorials' (1985 reprint of 1884 edition) and Burke's 'General Armory' (1961 reprint of 1884 edition), which you are welcome to consult.

Hicks family of Great Wilbraham

The Wilbraham Temple estate was acquired by the Hicks family in 1788, when the property was purchased from Dr. Thomas Watson Ward by Reverend James Hicks.

The estate was devised on James Hicks' death to Edward Simpson, who subsequently took the name Hicks by royal licence in 1835. The Temple remained in the Hicks and Hyde Smith families until its sale in 1980.

The records (R89/88) comprise deeds and estate papers from the 16th to 20th centuries, including papers for areas outside Cambridgeshire largely deriving from Edward Simpson's legal practice in Birmingham, with some manorial records from the 18th century onwards, and family papers, mostly 19th century.

A brief summary box list with introduction to the Hicks papers is available for consultation on request, but although some further descriptive work has been undertaken no itemised list or index for the papers is yet available. 

Highway Boards

Records at  Huntingdonshire Archives 

The Highways Act 1862 allowed Quarter Sessions to combine rural parishes into highway districts administered by an appointed board.

In Huntingdonshire four such districts were set up:

  • Hurstingstone (covering roughly the area administered later by St Ives Rural District Council)
  • Leightonstone (Huntingdon RDC area)
  • Norman Cross (Norman Cross RDC area)
  • Toseland (St Neots RDC area)

Ramsey parish set up its own highway district. These boards were responsible for the upkeep of roads in their area. Records are searchable online.

Following the Local Government Act of 1894 the responsibilities of highway boards were gradually transferred to the relevant Rural District Councils or (for larger roads) to the County Council.

This transfer often did not take place for many years. In some instances the inheriting RDC merely carried on using the same book as the outgoing highway board, so that the same volume contains the minutes of both the board and the succeeding highways committee.

Urban areas were not included in the highway board scheme. Roads in Huntingdon, Godmanchester, St Ives and St Neots were (before 1894) the responsibility of the relevant borough council or local board.

Hinchingbrooke Collection

This comprises the estate and family records of the Montagu family, Earls of Sandwich of Hinchingbrooke House, Huntingdon, 1664-1947.

Most of the leading members of the Montagu family of Hinchingbrooke played an active part in the local and national affairs of their day. Sir Sydney Montagu was a loyal follower of King Charles I, and represented Huntingdonshire in Parliament from 1640 until 1642; his son Edward was a successful commander in the Parliamentarian army during the Civil War, and helped to negotiate the Restoration of Charles II in 1660.

From 1688 to 1832 the Montagus asserted the patronage of the two Huntingdon Borough seats and one of the county MPs.

The collection contains many political papers of the family 1765-1876, records of the Hunts Militia 1841-1882, records of the Lord Lieutenancy of Huntingdonshire 1788-1881, and papers concerning Huntingdonshire Quarter Sessions 1783-1883.

Researchers should note that the bulk of the collection relates purely to Huntingdonshire. Most of the correspondence and papers of the 4th Earl, John Montagu (1718-1792), are held at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. Other records still remain in the possession of the family, in Dorset.

The Hinchingbrooke catalogue is now available online. 


Huntingdonshire Hospitals

  • Huntingdonshire Infirmary and Dispensary: instituted by public subscription in 1789, this hospital was built overlooking Mill Common in Huntingdon. It was extended in 1831 to improve its service to out-patients. In 1854 it was replaced by the new Huntingdon County Hospital (see below). A few records survive from the 1820s: please consult catalogue no. 13 Official Collections, HOSP section, accessions 1039, 3883 and 4172.
  • Huntingdon County Hospital: this was built with money raised by a public subscription, and replaced the old Infirmary, inheriting many of its records. The County Hospital was closed in 1983 and replaced by Hinchingbrooke Hospital (for which we have no records). The county hospital catalogue of the records is available online. We also have some plans of the hospital (accession 4001).
  • Huntingdon Infectious Diseases Hospital: this was built in 1897-98, purely to take isolation cases. Letters and papers relating to the hospital, 1897-98, can be found in accession 261; copy plans 1897 in accession 4007.
  • Huntingdon Petersfield Hospital: this was the old Poor Law Union workhouse, in St Peter's Road, Huntingdon. Some plans are held here (accession 4001).
  •  Other hospitals: the Record Office has some plans of Peterborough and District Memorial Hospital (accession 3577). Patients with mental illnesses in Huntingdonshire were sent to the Three Counties Lunatic Asylum in Arlesey, Beds. We have no records here: researchers are advised to contact Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Record Service, County Hall, Cauldwell Street, Bedford MK42 9AP.

Cambridgeshire Hospitals

  • Arrington: Wimpole Park Hospital in 1944 a United States Air Force hospital was established in the grounds of Wimpole Hall. Soon after the Second World War the hospital was converted to use as a temporary teachers' training college but later reverted to use as a military hospital.
    Records sale particulars of 80 buildings, fuel tanks, boilers, etc. previously in use as a U.S.A.F. hospital with plan, 1960 [296/SP1217] Plans, c.1942 [SCDC records.]
  • Cambridge: Addenbrooke's Hospital, Hills Road Addenbrooke's Hospital was initially designed for poor people and was run on a voluntary basis. It opened with 20 beds in 1766 in a purpose built building on the site of the former St. Ann's Chapel in Trumpington Street funded by a bequest from a Cambridge physician called Dr. John Addenbrooke.
  • Soon the hospital was in high demand; a further bequest helped attract prominent medical men establishing it as a leading university teaching hospital; a reputation that continues to this day.
    Between 1864-1866, Addenbrooke's underwent a complete reconstruction. In 1950 the current 66 acre site in the south of the city was purchased and the first patients admitted in 1962.
    See also: 'The History of Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge' by A. Rook, M. Carlton and W. G Cannon, 1991; 'About Addenbrookes' F. Gillespie, Addenbrooke's NHS Trust, 2000
    Records: held at Addenbrooke's Hospital Archives.
  • Cambridge: Evelyn Hospital, Trumpington Road, now Nuffield Health Cambridge Hospital. First opened as the Evelyn Nursing Home in 1921 and said to have superseded a hostel run by the Cambridge Nursing Association in Thompson's Lane.
    It was built on Trinity College land at a cost of £27,000 by a philanthropic fine art dealer, Charles Morland Agnew, and named The Evelyn Hospital after his wife. Charles' and Evelyn's ashes are buried in the hospital grounds. The Hospital is currently run by Nuffield Health, a non-profit health organization and registered charity.
    See also: The Evelyn Hospital: a history of seventy-five years of caring by Sheila Mann (C.21.4)
    Records: still at the hospital.
  • Cambridge: Brookfields Hospital, Mill Road, first known on its establishment in 1884 as The Cambridge Infectious Diseases Hospital then the Cambridge Borough Isolation Hospital. Sometimes known as The Sanatorium it specialized in infectious disease such as scarlet fever, smallpox, typhoid and diphtheria. In 1947, it was absorbed under the umbrella of the United Cambridge Hospitals, (UCH), and became known as Brookfields. It continued as a hospital for infectious diseases until Addenbrooke's Hospital's Hills Road site was completed in the early 1960s.
    Records: Cambridgeshire Archives holds minutes of the Cambridge Borough Sanatorium Committee, later Public Health Committee, 1889-1949 including monthly reports detailing name and address of discharged patients, date of admission etc.
  • Cambridge: Mill Road Maternity Hospital, formerly the Cambridge Union Workhouse, in 1906  it was renamed the Poor Law Infirmary and then the County Infirmary in 1930. Before the Second World War it treated mainly the elderly but also had a  small maternity unit. The war delayed plans for a purpose built maternity hospital, and it became classified as an Emergency Medical Services hospital. All patients, excepting maternity patients, were evacuated out. In 1948 the hospital became known as the Mill Road Maternity Hospital, when it became part of the United Cambridge Hospitals. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s there were lengthy delays with developing new sites, until a local philanthropist, David Robinson stepped in. The new hospital off Hills Road, was opened in 1983, named after Robinson's mother and became known as the Rosie Maternity Hospital.
    Records: Cambridgeshire Archives holds registers of births 1930-35; deaths, 1930-38; in mates; 1930-34; service patients, 1940-44 creed, 1930-38; Master's Report Books, 1930-48 and others. Records of the Rosie Maternity Hospital from 1983 onwards are held at Addenbrooke's Hospital Archives.
  • Cambridge: First Great Eastern Hospital Established by the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1908, many of Addenbrooke's medical and nursing staff served on its staff during both world wars. During World War I the hospital had its headquarters in Trinity College, with beds in the Leys School and in the grounds of Trinity College, and later in temporary buildings on the cricket grounds of Clare College and King's College to the south of Burrell's Walk, with over 1500 beds by the end of 1915. The hospital continued its war duties until 1920. Albert, Griffiths and Bowtell wards at Addenbrookes being commandeered for this purpose and regarded as an extension of the First Eastern. The last soldiers were withdrawn in March 1919. During World War II the First Eastern became known as the Twentieth General Hospital. It was commanded by Charles Budd, who had been Senior Anaesthetist at Addenbrooke's. The Leys School, which had been evacuated to Pitlochry, was opened as an annexe of Addenbrookes.
    Records: at Addenbrooke's Hospital Archive. Cambridgeshire Archives holds various photographs of the hospital, 1914 [977/Z4-14] and ephemera.
  • Chesterton : Chesterton Hospital, Union Lane In 1930 the buildings of the former Chesterton Poor Law Union workhouse were converted into a hospital mainly for the elderly. In 2003 the old hospital buildings were demolished. The site has been extensively redeveloped, and now consists of housing as well as a new health centre.
    Records: held at Cambridgeshire Archives including register of inmates, 1930-38; admission and discharge registers, 1944-57; Creed registers, 1938-50; death registers, 1930-51; Medical Officer's records of examinations and visits, 1928-53 and a children's examination book, 1914-53. Other records include Inventory books, Master's report books and accounts.
  • Doddington:  County Hospital, Benwick Road, March Originally known as the North Witchford Union Workhouse,  North Witchford Poor Law Institution and from c.1929, Doddington Infirmary (Institution). By 1996 Doddington County Hospital was rebuilt as a single Geriatric Ward and is now known as Doddington Community Hospital.
    Records: Cambridgeshire Archives holds Medical Staff Committee minutes, 1951-1953 [R97/08]
  • Ely:  St. John's Hospital, St John's Road (Ely Isolation Hospital) The isolation hospital was opened in 1917 at the sole cost of William and Mrs. Emily Ann Cutlack, and by 1937 had 24 beds. Up to 1948 it was an isolation hospital; a place for sufferers of contagious or infectious disease such as scarlet fever, tuberculosis and polio to be treated and quarantined. Later, it mainly treated geriatric patients before being absorbed by Tower Hospital, Ely in 1962 (as St John's ward).
    Records: Cambridgeshire Archives holds  Isolation Hospital Joint Committee Minute Books, 1912-48; Treasurer's accounts,1927-1944; admission and discharge registers,1917-1962 and Medical Officer's reports, 1939-52.
  • Ely: Tower Hospital, Cambridge Road The former Ely Union Workhouse became known as the Ely Poor Law Institution, then the Ely Public Assistance Institution in 1930. It became Tower House Hospital in 1948  later becoming just the Tower Hospital. By 1953 it had specialized units for both geriatric and mental health. The hospital closed in 1993. The remaining former workhouse buildings were demolished and the site was sold for redevelopment. It is now private housing under the name of Tower Court. Ely Cottage Hospital, which was on site for elderly and mentally infirm patients, was administered by Fulbourn Hospital. The hospital's functions were transferred to Princess of Wales Hospital, Ely on closure in 1993.
    Records: Cambridgeshire Archives holds registers of admission and discharge, 1950-56; deaths, 1935-55; mental defectives, 1950-61 and mechanical restraint, 1952, 1955. There is also a register of baptisms in the chapel, 1912-1950  [P68/R109/017]
  • Ely: Princess of Wales Hospital, Lynn Road  Known as the Royal Air Force Hospital, Ely from 1939 - 1987 then the Princess of Wales Royal Air Force Hospital, 1987 - 1992; the present hospital is a successor to the RAF Hospital in little more than name and buildings. It is occupied by the administration and staff of the former Tower Hospital which moved in when the RAF relinquished it, but the larger premises have accommodated a wider range of services from geriatric, physiotherapy, out-patients, etc. formerly at Tower Hospital.
    Records: Aerial view from east, 1968 [539/2/30]
  • Ely: Grange Maternity Home, Nutholt Lane Served as an emergency maternity home for evacuees c. 1939-46. Absorbed by the Royal Air Force hospital, Ely as the Grange Maternity Unit in 1976.
    Records: believed to have been destroyed.
  • Fulbourn: Fulbourn Hospital formerly County Asylum
  • Fulbourn: Red Cross Hospital With the onset of the First World War, the need for convalescent hospitals became a matter of some urgency across Britain. In 1914 the Rector of Fulbourn, the Reverend J.V.Durrell gave permission for the infant church school to be used as a Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospital for  injured servicemen invalided out from the Front. Between 1914-18 the hospital helped approximately thousand three hundred and seventy eight injured servicemen. It closed down on the 30th November 1918 and the infants' school moved back into its premises.
    Records:  Cambridgeshire Archives holds admission registers,1915-1918 as well as an undated list of casualties, and a detachment roll, 1923-25, 1939 [City records R101/056.]
  • March:  Maternity Home, Regent Avenue Founded in 1940 as March Nursing Home.
    Records: Nursing Association reports 1940-6 [482/021, 36] Isle of Ely County Council Maternity and Child Welfare Committee minutes, 1946-8.
  • Oakington: County Isolation Hospital, Girton Road also known as Oakington Smallpox Hospital. An isolation hospital was built in 1905 at Midfield by Chesterton Rural District Council. It specialised in scarlet fever and diphtheria cases until 1941 when it was bought by the county council and used mainly as a smallpox hospital. After 1945 it had a variety of uses, and in 1986 housed children in care.
    Records: minutes, letter books and Medical Officer of Health Reports for Chesterton Rural District Council, 1905-41. Minutes of Cambridgeshire County Council Public Health, Hospital Services and Health Committees, 1941-8.
  • Papworth Everard (Papworth Hospital): The newly formed NHS inherited Papworth Hospital in 1948. For further information about its earlier history, the care of tuberculosis patients and the extensive archive we hold at Cambridgeshire Archives see our pages on the Papworth Village Settlement. The hospital's medical emphasis has since shifted. Nowadays it has established a reputation for pioneering thoracic surgery, cardiac surgery, cardiology and respiratory medicine.
  • Wisbech: North Cambridgeshire Hospital, The Park Known initially as Wisbech Cottage hospital it was founded in 1872 following a donation by Miss Margaret Trafford Southwell. It was intended to provide 'a hospital for the area of the Wisbech Union and all places within 9 miles of the town'. Built on a site next to Wisbech Park given by Trafford Southwell , the hospital opened with 16 beds. There were strict guidelines for admittance: no children under 4; no one with advanced consumption; disordered senses; epilepsy; smallpox; venereal disease, contagious distemper; no women in advanced pregnancy; no one terminally ill and no one with an incurable illness. In 1915 casualties from the war occupied these beds, including Belgian as well as British soldiers. Demands upon the hospital grew and the prefix 'Cottage' was jettisoned. In the late twenties a generous donation provided an extension to a Children's ward. An affiliation with Addenbrooke's which spanned 1925 -1962 was established to incorporate the newly reorganised State Registration for nurses. In 1929 funds were raised for an X-ray department and completely new operating theatre, alongside this patient demands upon the hospital increased.
    Records: Cambridgeshire Archives holds various committee minutes, 1873-1953; annual reports, 1874-1947; plans and photographs, c.1900-93; register of nurses, 1943-6; in-patient registers, 1919-50; case registers, 1950-87; operation books, 1912-53 and press cuttings; 1935-50.
  • Wisbech: Bowthorpe Hospital, Tavistock Road Known previously under the names of County Maternity Home and the Bowthorpe Hall Maternity Home, Bowthorpe Hospital was a purpose-built maternity unit and special care baby unit completed in 1953. It closed in 1986 following the opening of the new District General Hospital at King's Lynn. The Townshend Unit remains open  for the elderly mentally infirm and is housed in the same buildings under the King's Lynn and Wisbech NHS Hospital Trust.
    Records: Cambridgeshire Archives holds administration records including Hospital returns, 1974-86; annual report, 1994; site plans, 1949-50; opening programme, 1953 and visitors' book, 1954-75 [R97/8.]
  • Wisbech: Clarkson Hospital, Lynn Road Founded in 1842 as the Wisbech Union Workhouse, and later known as the Wisbech Poor Law Institution and then the Wisbech Institution, the Clarkson Hospital was established in 1948, named after Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846), the leading anti-slave campaigner and abolitionist. The Wisbech Isolation Hospital known as the Barton Hospital Annexe was also used as an annexe for female patients. Around 1939 a wing of the Public Assistance Institution was set aside as emergency maternity accommodation to cope with evacuees from London. It became known as the County Maternity Home. Prior to its closure in 1983 the hospital was specializing in geriatric care and was known as the Clarkson Geriatric Day Hospital.
    Records: Cambridgeshire Archives holds alphabetical registers of patients, 1942-1969; admission and discharge registers, 1955-1980; registers of deaths, 1954-69; plans for new nurses' training school, 1962 and photographs of the hospital prior to demolition in 1982. 

House history sources

Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Archives have many documentary sources useful for tracing the history of buildings. They include old maps, title deeds, manorial court books, rate books, census returns and photographs.

Tracing the history of a property is not as straightforward as tracing individual people, however. Please see the guides below for further help and information. 

Huddleston family of Sawston

The Huddleston family of Millom, Cumberland, appear first to be recorded in connection with Sawston through William Huddleston’s marriage to Isabel Nevill in c.1486.

Lineal ancestors of the Huddlestons through the Nevill line, with the surname Ingoldesthorp and de la Pole, are recorded in Sawston from the latter half of the 14th century (T.F. Teversham, 'History of Sawston', vol. 1; p.32, preface v). Sawston Hall was rebuilt by Sir John Huddleston following a fire in 1553, after which descendants remained at Sawston Hall in a largely continuous line until the sale of the property in 1982.

The collection comprises manorial records, title deeds and estate papers, extending overall from the 14th to 20th centuries, as well as a substantial sequence of 17th and 18th century family correspondence, including some late 17th and early 18th century letters of the Fortescue family of Salden, Buckinghamshire.

An indexed itemised list of the correspondence (488/C) is available in the searchroom. The main sequence of family, estate and manorial papers (488/[R69/26]) has been listed only in summary. A 488/catalogue is available online.

Some supplementary papers (R82/34, R92/88, R95/23 and small accessions) have been received which also have summary lists. A family tree of the Huddlestons from the 14th to 16th centuries is in Teversham, History of Sawston, vol.1; from the 16th to 18th centuries on the first page of the 488/C list; and from the 18th century onwards in preparation.

Hundred Rolls


A hundred was a group of parishes: Huntingdonshire had four such hundreds, namely Hurstingstone, Leightonstone, Norman Cross and Toseland.  Cambridgeshire had many more; Armingford, Chesterton, Cheveley, Chilford, Ely, Flendish, Longstowe, North Witchford, Northstow, Papworth, Radfield, South Witchford, Staine, Staploe, Thriplow, Wetherley, Whittlesford and Wisbech

In the late 13th century enquiries were made by central government into local royal rights and privileges, and the documents resulting from these enquiries are known as the Hundred Rolls. These Rolls (now held at The National Archives in Kew) list the villeins, freemen and cottage tenants, with their holdings and obligations, as well as the extents of the lords' own holdings.

The Hundred Rolls were published in full by the Historical Manuscripts Commission during the early 1800s. There are extracts from the enquiry of 1274-5 into encroachments on royal rights and official misconduct by sheriffs and bailiffs for Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire and returns to a similar enquiry of 1279 which included questions about landholding and related services. Copies can be consulted at both our offices. Please note that the rolls are written in Latin. 

Huntingdon and Godmanchester Borough Council


This borough was created on 1 April 1961, replacing the separate municipal boroughs of Godmanchester and Huntingdon. It expired on 31 March 1974: the successor authority is Huntingdonshire District Council.

Huntingdonshire Archives has the main series of minute books 1961-1974 and committee minutes 1961-1971. For further details see our online catalogue.

Huntingdon and Peterborough County Council

The County of Huntingdon and Peterborough was formed on 1 April 1965, by the amalgamation of Huntingdonshire County Council and the Soke of Peterborough County Council, with the addition of Thorney Rural District from the Isle of Ely, and part of Eaton Socon from Bedfordshire.

The County Council came to an end on 31 March 1974, when it was replaced by Cambridgeshire County Council.

The vast majority of original records, including the minute books, are held at Shire Hall in Cambridge, as they are often still consulted by the present County Council to help govern the county.

Some printed agendas, reports and abstracts of minutes 1965-1974 are held in the library at Huntingdonshire Archives: please ask a member of staff if you wish to consult these.

Huntingdon Borough

Huntingdon was an ancient borough. Its rights and privileges were confirmed by King John in his charter of 7 August 1205 (the oldest surviving document at Huntingdonshire Archives). In 1484 the borough was 'incorporated,' which meant that the town now had its own legal identity, giving it the right to sue or be sued in legal cases, and granting the use of a Common Seal for attesting official documents. Charles I granted an entirely new charter on 15 July 1630, which remained in force until 1835, when the old town corporation was replaced by an elected council. This council was itself abolished in 1961, and was replaced by Huntingdon and Godmanchester Borough Council. 

Huntingdonshire Archives has a very large collection of borough records, including many of the original charters, the court order and minute books, burgess rolls and charity accounts. The original charters are not normally available for public inspection: however, we have photographs of them, with translations, so please ask a member of staff if you wish to see these. The texts of some of the charters were reprinted in Edward Griffiths A Collection of Ancient Records relating to the Borough of Huntingdon (London 1827). Philip Dickinson wrote a brief leaflet on the charters in 1955, The Royal Charters of Huntingdon.

The collection was completely relisted from scratch during 2005; the borough catalogue is available online. 

Huntingdonshire County Council archives

The County Council was set up following the Local Government Act of 1888, and took over many of the administrative responsibilities of the Quarter Sessions Court; but this formal change hid a great deal of continuity, as Justices of the Peace were often elected Councillors, the Clerk of the Peace became the Clerk to the County Council and so on.

The County Council came into being on 1 April 1889 and expired on 31 March 1965, after which it was replaced by Huntingdon and Peterborough County Council.

During its life the County Council gradually acquired more and more powers, such as taking over the functions of school boards in 1902, boards of guardians in 1930, various town planning and housing responsibilities from 1929. The easiest way to get a grasp on all these functions is to read The Jubilee of County Councils 1889-1939, which summarises County Council responsibilities in a readable and informative manner, and includes a chapter on Huntingdonshire CC in particular.

Other secondary sources worth consulting are Philip Riden, Record Sources for Local History (Batsford 1987) and R M Jackson, The Machinery of Local Government (Macmillan 1965). All these books are available in the library at Huntingdonshire Archives. We also have texts and commentaries on many of the relevant Local Government statutes from 1888 onwards.

The County Council exercised its various functions through committees which frequently had their names and powers changed. Huntingdonshire Archives holds the surviving minute books of many of these committees and sub-committees, as well as some departmental records, such as treasurers account books and fire brigade occurrence log books.

The county council catalogue is available online. Printed agendas, reports and abstracts of minutes 1907-1965 are also available in the library. 

Huntingdonshire District Council archives


This authority was created in 1974 as 'Huntingdon District Council.' It inherited many of the responsibilities and records of the following pre-1974 councils:

  • Huntingdon and Godmanchester Borough Council
  • Huntingdon RDC
  • Norman Cross RDC
  • Ramsey UDC
  • St Ives Borough Council
  • St Ives RDC
  • St Neots RDC
  • St Neots UDC

The District Council has not yet deposited many of its own records with us, so if you wish to consult HDC records you are advised first to contact the Council directly, at Pathfinder House, St Marys Street, Huntingdon, Cambs PE29 3TN.

HDC also retains some records of its predecessor authorities, notably 14 volumes of photographs of advertisements taken in 1949, and some records of burial grounds in Buckden, Eaton Socon, Eynesbury, Godmanchester, Huntingdon, Ramsey and St Neots.

Huntingdonshire Archives has some printed copies of HDC minutes, annual reports etc. but the bulk of these are stored at our Outstore, and notice must be given to us if you wish to see these. The signed minutes are still with HDC at Pathfinder House. 

Huntly Collection


This comprises the family and estate papers of the Gordon family, Marquesses of Huntly, of Orton Hall, 1799-1946. The collection is an artificial one in that the records have been received from a variety of different sources, including Huntingdon and Peterborough County Council, Orton Longueville parish church, and a few solicitors.

The most popular items are the personal diaries of Lady Maria Antoinetta Huntly (1821-1893), who was one of the major contributors to the study of botany in Huntingdonshire, systematically collecting flowers and plants from throughout the British Isles. All through her life she kept copious notes on the plants she collected, and kept a series of detailed diaries describing her travels 1844-1893.

The Huntly catalogue is available to search online.

Hynde Cotton family of Madingley and Landwade


The Hynde Cotton family's connection with Madingley can be dated from Sir John Hynde's acquisition of parish manors and lands during the 1520s-1540s (Victoria County History, vol.IX, pp.167-8), building Madingley Hall between 1543 and 1547.

The marriage of Jane Hynde with Sir John Cotton of Landwade in 1647 united two major Cambridgeshire estates, with Madingley Hall remaining in the family until its sale in 1871.

The papers comprise manorial records from the 14th to 20th centuries; an outstanding sequence of title deeds from the 13th century onwards; some 18th and 19th century correspondence of the Cotton and King families, including diaries and journals of family members (588/F47-53), and other family papers, mostly 18th century.

A small number of 19th century family papers of Sir St Vincent and Lady Philadelphia Cotton are additionally contained within the Smith of Dry Drayton collection (370/[R67/51]).

The 588/ catalogue is available online, in revised and unrevised versions.

Inclosure records


Inclosure (also spelled enclosure) refers to two distinct processes: firstly, the bringing into cultivation of unproductive land, such as fens or wastes; and secondly, the consolidation of scattered medieval strip holdings into large blocks.

Both processes often went hand in hand. Small inclosures had been arranged privately between landowners for many years, but the period 1760-1820 saw many large-scale inclosures made by Acts of Parliament.

Parliamentary inclosure produced a great many records (acts, awards, maps, minutes and so on), and where these survive they offer a valuable and detailed insight into patterns of rural land holding.

They are widely consulted today by researchers in rights of way, land ownership, agriculture, and property history. The best general introduction to how inclosure worked is W.E.Tate's The English Village Community and the Enclosure Movement (London 1967), which includes some references to Huntingdonshire parishes.

It is important when consulting an inclosure map or award to know whether the document is an original, an enrolled copy, or an unofficial copy. In theory, the original maps and awards were left with the parish itself to be kept in perpetuity, while copies were enrolled with the Clerk of the Peace. In practice, many Huntingdonshire parishes have lost their sets, while the Clerk's record-keeping was often inadequate, and his official copies were mixed up with unofficial copies of the various maps and awards.

These unofficial copies do not have the same standing in law as the enrolled set. In the 1960s the core of the Clerk's collection was bound up into a single series of volumes, later deposited at the Record Office, where it is referred to as the 'CCS' collection (for 'County Clerk's safe').

It is important to realise that a CCS reference does not mean that the document is necessarily an enrolled copy.

In addition to the CCS series, the Record Office has also received over the years some parish maps and awards (where they survive), and various unofficial ones made for landowners and lords of local manors.

Inland Revenue archives

Records at Huntingdonshire Archives

The IR set up committees called Rating Assessment Committees to supervise the work of the rating authorities and to revise valuations. We hold minutes of:

  • Huntingdon Union Committee 1882-1927
  • St Ives Union Committee 1914-1927
  • St Neots Union Commitee 1897-1927
  • Huntingdon Area Commitee 1927-1929
See also