Adjoining Histon is Impington, and over the years the two villages have grown and entwined together, to such an extent that many villagers today do not know where one ends and the other begins.
The origin of the village's name is unknown. It is Old English, but many suggestions have been made, the leading one appears to be hyse tun – hyse meaning "a young man or warrior".
The two villages of Histon and Impington have five churches with six congregations, of which all but one is in Histon:
- Church of England:
- St Andrew, Histon
- St Andrew, Impington
- Baptist: Histon Baptist Church
- Independent evangelical: New Life Church (meets at the Baptist Church)
- Methodist: Histon Methodist Church
- Salvation Army: Histon Salvation Army Church
All the congregations work closely together through the Histon and Impington Council of Churches.
St Andrew's, Histon
The first recorded reference to the church was in 1217, but in about 1270 it was modernised, turning it into a cruciform-style church. Much of the building work was carried out in the 13th and 14th centuries, but extensive restoration work and alterations took place in the 19th and 20th centuries. There have been bells in the church since at least 1553; the oldest surviving bell in the tower is dated at 1556 and was made by Austen Bracker of Islington, Norfolk. The bell is listed for preservation by the central council as it is Bracker’s only dated bell.
St Etheldreda, Histon (demolished 1595)
St Etheldreda was a larger church that stood close to St Andrews church, Histon. It was mainly demolished in about 1595 by Sir Francis Hinde to raise money and to provide building materials for a new wing at Madingley Hall. Hinde did not however completely demolish the church: in 1728 the chancel was said to be still standing. The churchyard survived until 1757 but was then taken into Abbey Farm. It is possible that the reduced population of Histon following the Black Death encouraged Hinde to demolish the church.
Today the church site is not visible and is still shut off on the land of Abbey Farm.
Possibly the oldest surviving area of interest is Gun's Lane, which is named after a family who once lived in the lane. Today this is just a bridleway but it was for centuries the Cambridge to Ely causeway, which was the main road into the Great Fen and the Isle of Ely. The Iron Age ringfort that once stood at Arbury may well at one time have guarded one end of this road.
Early settlement appears to have been centred around what is now Church End. Originally there were two churches here - St Etheldreda's and St Andrew's - but only St Andrew's remains today, with each church belonging to a separate manor. Before the Reformation these manors were owned by the abbeys of Denny and Eynsham. The Crown sold the manor of St Etheldreda to Sir Thomas Elyot and the manor of St Andrew to Edward Elrington in 1539.
Close by is Histon Manor House. Originally this was on a site with a moat which is still visible today, but at some point the house was moved to higher ground nearby, possibly to avoid flooding.
The churches, manor house and grounds prevented expansion to the west so the village slowly moved towards its current centre which is The Green. The Green many times the size it is currently, all of what is today the High Street would have at one time been the green.
Histon was recorded in the Domesday Book as answering for 26½ hides – a hide was recorded in the book as being 120 fiscal acres.
Included on the Histon Village Sign is a man in a stove hat holding a large rock. This represents Moses Carter (1801–1860) a local strongman who lived in the village in the nineteenth century. Carter was alleged to be over seven feet tall, and famously carried a large stone from a building site to The Boot public house. The stone is still in the pub's garden. Carter is affectionately known locally as 'The Histon Giant'.
The coming of the railway
The opening of the Cambridge & St. Ives Branch by the Eastern Counties Railway Company on 17 August 1847 fuelled the growth of the villages and the expansion of companies within.
In the 1960s eighty trains a day were scheduled at Histon railway station. This caused many delays for road users and prompted the building of the bridge road bypass, opened by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 1963. The road was originally scheduled to be constructed in the 1930s but was delayed because of Second World War. However, fewer than ten years after it opened, on 5 October 1970, passenger services were withdrawn from the line, though seasonal deliveries of fruit continued to be delivered by rail to Chivers factory in Impington until 1983. All rail services stopped in 1992. Following removal of the rail lines, the route of the railway through Histon and Impington became the route for the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway.
Histon School was started in 1722; in 1729 it gained funding from the foundation of Elizabeth March - a board over one of the doors to Histon church records this bequest. Histon’s share of this income was £14 a year. Until 1840 the school was held in the parish church, but then a purpose-built school was erected to hold up to 70 children in what is now called School Hill. In 1872 the school was enlarged; it was then held up as a model school for the whole county. On being taken over by the school board in 1893 it was enlarged still further with the addition of a new south wing, built over the Histon brook. In 1913 the school moved to its current site and the building was then handed back to the church and is now the church hall.
- Football: Histon Football Club and Cambridge University Press FC both play at Bridge Road
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material|
- Histon and Impington on-line - history page
- Information on Histon from GENUKI
- Histon Football Club
- St Andrew's church, Histon
- Histon Salvation Army
- Histon Baptist church
- 1st Histon Scouts
- [http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/stations/h/histon/index.shtml Disused stations of the UK - Histon
- The Institute for Name Studies a - Histon
- The Domesday Book Online - Histon
- Histon Parish Church booklet produced by the Histon and Impington village society 1993
- St Andrew's Histon, The Bells
- According to Archbishop Laud's report in 1639
- Victoria County History records
- Street names in Histon and Impington by Clive Annals
- Histon Feast booklet 1995 page 46
- Histon Manors - A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9
- Histon in the Domesday Book
- Network Histon and Impington year book 2005 /village charities
- A Second walk around our Village by Ken Oates