7 Cambridgeshire villages which have been deserted and forgotten

The view from the deserted village of Clopton, Cambridgeshire

The view from the deserted village of Clopton, Cambridgeshire - Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Bogbumper

Cambridgeshire is well known for its old buildings and rich history.

With iconic buildings such as King's College Chapel and the cathedrals in Ely and Peterborough, Cambridgeshire's history is easy to come by.

King's College Chapel, University of Cambridgw

The iconic King's College Chapel in Cambridge city centre - Credit: Paul Green

But some of the county's history has become lost in time.

Here are seven villages which disappeared from the Cambridgeshire countryside:

1. Houghton, near Brampton

Houghton was discovered in 2018, when National Highways built the new A14 route between Cambridge and Huntingdon.

Archaeologists unearthed a deserted medieval village less than half a mile west of Brampton.

The MOLA Headland Infrastructure team which carried out the dig worked out that the was named Houghton by using surviving historical documents.

It is thought to have been an Anglo-Saxon settlement which emerged between the sixth and ninth centuries, where it featured around 40 houses and huts.

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By the 13th century, it had become a neatly laid out village, rich with industrial activity.

It was probably abandoned around 1154, when King Henry II claimed the whole county of Huntingdonshire as his exclusive hunting ground, forcing villagers to move out.

A wood-lined well, found as part of excavations in preparation for the new A14 route in Cambridgeshire

When archaeologists were preparing for the construction of the new A14 route between Cambridge and Huntingdon, they also found a wood-lined well. - Credit: MOLA Headland

2. Cratendune, near Ely

Historians know about Cratendune because it is listed in the Liber Eliensis, a chronicle from the 12th century which documents the history of Ely Abbey.

The book outlines that a church was built at Cratendune in 607AD, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

It was apparently a Roman village, but it was abandoned in around 650AD.

The village was situated about a mile away from Ely, but as no compass direction has been provided, historians have never been able to place Cratendune with complete certainty.

Pages from the Liber Eliensis, a 12th-century chronicle written at Ely Abbey

Pages from the Liber Eliensis, a 12th-century chronicle written at Ely Abbey - Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Trinity College Library

3. Clopton, near Croydon

Clopton was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086.

It was in the Hundred of Arringford, south-west of Croydon and north-west of Wendy.

The settlement had a recorded population of 18 households in 1086.

According to Heritage Gateway, a market was reported to operate in Clopton every Wednesday throughout the medieval period.

It is thought to have been depopulated and abandoned between 1500 and 1518 when London lawyer John Fisher bought the land and ejected the occupiers.

Clopton was amalgamated with Croydon in 1561.

A reconstructed Domesday Book (1086) page showing places in Cambridgeshire, including Clopton

Clopton, Cambridgeshire was listed as having 18 households in the 1086 Domesday Book - Credit: Professor John Palmer/George Slater/opendomesday.org

4. Sawtry Judith, near Sawtry

The village of Sawtry was once divided into three parishes - All Saints, St Andrew and Judith.

Very little remains of Sawtry Judith.

According to a 1926 study of the parish, no church had been found and the principal monument in the parish was Sawtry Abbey, but only earthworks remain.

5. Wimpole, near Royston

Wimpole was listed as Winepole in the Domesday Book of 1086.

According to Beresford's Lost Villages, a map of the village was produced by Benjamin Hare in 1638.

It shows that there were houses close to the village church, to the south of Wimpole Hall.

Historians have used tax documents to work out that the village had a "sizeable" population in the 14th century.

It was depopulated in the eighteenth century when the park was laid out.

Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire

Wimpole Hall, which is now a National Trust property - Credit: National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

6. Howes, near Girton

Howes was unearthed between April and June 2014.

University of Cambridge archaeologists carried out a dig in Girton, Cambridge in advance of a new development project.

They found evidence of a village which was established between 1150 and 1210.

It increased in size until the 14th century, but was abandoned by the mid-16th century.

Agricultural activity continued at Howes, and the University Farm was on the site in the early-20th century.

7. Childerley, near Cambourne

Childerley was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as having 25 households.

Today, Childerley has a large hall - which was built in the 16th century, but fewer homes.

The village itself is thought to have been depopulated in around the 17th century.