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Whittlesford, SS Mary & Andrew - geograph.org.uk - 2961.jpg
St Mary and St Andrew, Whittlesford
Grid reference: TL474483
Location: 52°6’48"N, 0°9’4"E
Population: 1,568  (2001)
Post town: Cambridge
Postcode: CB22
Dialling code: 01223
Local Government
Council: South Cambridgeshire
South Cambridgeshire

Whittlesford is a village in Cambridgeshire, in the south of the county, on the bank of the River Granta, seven miles south of Cambridge. It gives its name to the Whittlesford Hundred. Whittlesford Parkway railway station serves the village, from which a great many commute to Cambridge of London.

The village is listed as Witelesforde in the Domesday Book, a name which has hardly changed to this day; the name is Old English and means just "Witel's ford",[1] after an otherwise unknown landowner of ages past.


The first record of the church in Whittlesford dates from 1217, but there has certainly been a church on the present site since at least Norman times. The church has been dedicated to St Andrew since mediæval times, and from the 16th century the dedication to St Mary was added.[2]

The present building consists of a chancel and nave with south chapel, south aisle and a central tower. It is built of field stones with ashlar dressings. The north wall of the nave dates from the 11th century Norman church as well as the base of the tower and several south windows. The chancel dates from the 13th century and the south chapel from the 15th century.[2]

Between the 17th and 19th centuries, the church had strong links with Jesus College, Cambridge and vicars were frequently fellows of the college.

The church contains a square 13th century font. A late 12th or early 13th-century Sheela na Gig can be observed on a high window arch of the church, accompanied by an ithyphallic male figure.[3]

A Primitive Methodist chapel was built in the village in the early 19th century, but was closed before the end of the century. A Congregational chapel was built in 1903.


The 1976-acre parish built up to the west of the River Cam just to the north of the Icknield Way, an ancient thoroughfare, and the historical parish boundary is bounded by the route to the south. The area was occupied in Roman times.[4]

A hospital was founded in the village, by Sir William Colville, before the time of Edward I and there are some remains of the original building. Whittlesford was at one stage a market town.[5]

Roger Ascham, the tutor of Elizabeth I, lived in Whittlesford, and a road in the village is named after him.[2]

Village life

The village now has two public houses, the Tickell Arms (named after the Tickell family, former lords of the manor), and the Bees in the Wall, but it formerly had many more; in 1851 there were six pubs, and by 1904 there were eight. Most notable among these was the Waggon and Horses that closed in 1937.[2]

The village is served by the William Westley Church of England Primary School, named after the 18th century businessman who endowed the village's first school in his 1723 will.[2][6]

Whittlesford has a King George's Field in memorial to King George V, known locally as 'The Lawns'.

Hill figure

In September 2004, a crop mark in a surrounding field surfaced, resembling a horse, discovered by the Whittlesford Society Archive Project by aerial view (similar to how the Rockley Horse was discovered). This led to speculation that this was possibly the site of a newly discovered hill figure of a white horse. The mark particularly resembled the Uffington White Horse. Ground investigation was planned but whether the investigation project will go through or has already gone through is unknown.[7][8]

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Whittlesford)


  1. A. D. Mills (2003). A Dictionary of British Place-Names. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 [1]
  3. The Whittlesford Sheela na Gig
  4. Roman settlement south of Chronicle Hills, Whittlesford - English Heritage
  5. John Marius Wilson (1870-72). Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales. 
  6. William Westley Primary School
  7. "Other non". Wiltshire White Horses. http://www.wiltshirewhitehorses.org.uk/others.html. Retrieved 2013-01-05. 
  8. "The Hillfigure Homepage". Hows.org.uk. http://www.hows.org.uk/personal/hillfigs/. Retrieved 2013-01-05.