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Grid reference: TL446735
Location: 52°20’24"N, 0°7’12"E
Post town: Ely
Postcode: CB6
Dialling code: 01353
Local Government
Council: East Cambridgeshire
South East Cambridgeshire

Aldreth is a hamlet in Cambridgeshire with about 260 residents at the 2001 census. It is near the larger village of Haddenham and falls under the same parish council.

Aldreth is surrounded by fenland on all sides and the River Great Ouse, or the Old West as the locals call it, runs close by. Aldreth has no church.

The flat fenland countryside around the village, typical for this part of the region, lies about 16 feet above sea-level. The highest point in the village is 23 feett above sea-level and the highest point in the area is a lofty 85 feet at Ely, seven miles northeast.

Blossoms & Bygones

Aldreth shares an annual village open day, Blossoms & Bygones, with neighbouring village Haddenham. Features of the day include tractor rides and vintage car and tractor displays, while many residents throw open their gardens to visitors. Blossoms & Bygones celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2011 with a VE Day theme, that saw the villagers of Aldreth dress up as if it was 1940.[1] They also have geocashing by the river which is good for dog walkers and explorers.


The origin of the name

According to one place-name authority, the name "Aldreth" occurs as "Alreheða" in the Pipe rolls, under the year 1170, and means "Landing-place by the alders", from a combination of the Old English words for "alder" and "hythe".[2] The name also occurs a number of times in the text of the 12th century Liber Eliensis, as "Alreheðe", with one variant as "Alhereðe".[3]

There are other theories about how Aldreth got its name. Here are the most popular ones:

  • Alder Hithe (the old shore), which relates to the Old West river flowing near Aldreth.
  • Alder Reche (the old reach), which also relates to the Old West river.

Two battles

Aldreth may have been the site of two battles[4][5] in history between Hereward the Wake and William the Conqueror's Normans. Aldreth was one of three routes, or causeways, into the Isle of Ely at that time; Stuntney Causeway 2¼ miles to the southeast, the Earith Causeway 10 miles to the west-south-west and the Aldreth Causeway 7 miles southwest of the Isle of Ely.[6][7] For comparison of such causeways, consider the Bronze-Age causeway discovered in 1934 between Little Thetford and Fordey Farm, Barway.[8]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Aldreth)


  1. "Ely People - Blossoms & Bygones story". 
  2. Ekwall, E, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names (4th ed.), OUP, 1960, p. 5 (Aldreth). Cf. Mills, A.D., A dictionary of British place-names, OUP, 1991-2003, p. 5 (Aldreth). Note that Head (1995), p. 86, quotes "Freeman" as follows: "…Aldreth, a corruption of the name of the patron saint Æthelthryth". Head does not give a reference for, or expand on, the statement from "Freeman", but see Head (1995), pp. 7-8, and cf. Freeman, E A, History of the Norman Conquest of England (5 vols. & Index), OUP, 1867-9.
  3. Blake, E.O. (ed.), Liber Eliensis, Camden 3rd Series XCII, Royal Historical Society, 1962, pp. 178, 185, 194, 314(x2), 315, 322, 328; the variant "Alhereðe" is at p. 314.
  4. Miller (1895) chap. XXI
  5. Miller (1895) chap. XXV
  6. Head (1995) p. 149 plus google earth for distances
  7. Darby (1970) p. 106–118 and fig. 16 on p. 107
  8. Lethbridge (1934) | pp. 86–89