Holywell History
(1)

Glimpses into the history of Holywell

Plan


Aiming for 20 minutes.

There may be time for one or two questions.
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Glimpses into the history of Holywell

A brief look at 6 documents – from 1086 to 1905.

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(and this is only a fraction of what there is to see)

1) Domesday Book 1086

D02635d
In the Manor of HoIiewelIe 9 Hides taxable, Land for 9 ploughs. Besides the said hides, land in Lordship for 2 ploughs. Now in Lordship 2 ploughs; A Church and a Priest. Meadow 30 acres; woodland pasture 1 league and 4 furlongs long and 1 league wide. Value before 1066 and now £8. Alfwold has one hide of this land from the Abbot. He has 1 plough and 3 smallholders. Value 10 shillings.

6 Documents

  1. Domesday 1086

… you can see this and other things on the boards

2) The Legacie 1624

Elizabeth Jocelin (née Brooke) was brought up by her grandfather (William Chaderton, later the bishop of Lincoln). He rebuilt Moynes Hall about 1575, and Elizabeth inherited it. She became “one of the most notable young women of the times of James I”.

Foreboding her death in childbirth, she wrote a letter which gently but earnestly exhorted her son or daughter to piety and good conduct; and a letter to her husband, giving him advice as to the bringing up of the child.

She bore a daughter, Theodora, on 12 October 1622, and died nine days afterwards.

The Legacie

"The Mother's Legacie to her Vnborn Childe", first published in 1624, is filled with optimism and pride over becoming a new mother.

She is clearly excited about meeting her child even though she understands it is a great risk to herself.

Elizabeth Jocelin is remembered as a dedicated mother and an iconic woman of her time because of her dedication to making sure her child was raised properly even after her death.

The book is regarded as one of the most significant works of the time because of the intimate view it gives of the mindset, beliefs and ideals of women then.

The Legacie – sample

"And if thou beest a daughter, thou maist perhaps thinke I have lost my labour; but reade on, and thou shalt see my love and care of thee and thy salvation is as great, as if thou wert a sonne, and my feare greater".

"I desire her bringing up may bee learning the Bible, as my sisters doe, good housewifery, writing, and good works: … where learning and wisdom meet in a vertuous disposed woman she is the fittest closet for all goodnesse. Yet …If thou desirest a learned daughter, I pray God give her a wise and religious heart, that she may use it to his glory, thy comfort, and her own salvation."

6 Documents

  1. Domesday 1086
  2. The Mothers Legacie to her Vnborn Child 1624

… you can see this book, and others, in our History Library

3) Cosmo Wallace’s Map 1764

D00430b

This old map prepared for the Duke of Manchester shows two roads between Holywell and Needingworth.

Two Roads – the northern end

In this detail you can see the two roads going south off the High Street.

Two Roads – the southern end

In this detail you can see the west end of Holywell (the church is shown at the bottom right, and the mill at the top right).

The two roads north are marked as Church Road and Mill Road.

Cary’s 1801 map

This is a map of Huntingdonshire also showing the two roads.

(See more on the website)

6 Documents

  1. Domesday 1086
  2. The Mothers Legacie to her Vnborn Child 1624
  3. Cosmo Wallace’s Map 1764

… this and many other maps are available to see:

4) A History of the County of Huntingdon 1932

In "A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2" by de Moyne etc there is a summary of a lot of detailed research into each town and village, including Holywell-cum-Needingworth.

I have not yet absorbed it all, but there is a print of it on the boards if you want to see the amount of detail in it.

6 Documents

  1. Domesday 1086
  2. The Mothers Legacie to her Vnborn Child 1624
  3. Cosmo Wallace’s Map 1764
  4. A History of the County of Huntingdon 1932

… this and many other documents await analysis

5) The Ride of Hereward 1890

In The Graphic of 6 September 1890 there is an article by C.T. Staniland, R. I., C. T. C. under the title:

The Ride of Hereward the Wake and his Mare “Swallow”
Reridden by “The Skipper” without the Boy

The Ride by “The Skipper”

Although we can doubt Hereward the Wake, the description of Holywell is informative of one man's view in 1890.

Holywell seems, as a village, to be at the back of the world.

Never had "The S." seen such dilapidated cottages, sheds, etc, the yellow grey mud walls were dropping in flakes from their framing, the thatches were rotting and peeling away from the rafters, mud and mildew, damp and dreariness, rust and rottenness, seem to have got the upper hand, and it seemed to be no man's business to deprive them of their foul pre-eminence. …

The Ride by “The Skipper”

… Judging from the look of things generally, Ague, in all its varied forms and terms, seemed to have marked it for its own, and it should be a good investment to open a shop with good blends of quinine and laudanum,…

… the latter of which is consumed in large quantities, enough to kill a horse, by all the fen dwellers, fen-slodgers, and other inhabitants of these watery flats.

Sketches by “The Skipper”

The Holy Well
The Holy Well
The Ferry Boat at Holywell
The Ferry Boat at Holywell
Holywell from the ferry
Holywell from the ferry

6 Documents

  1. Domesday 1086
  2. The Mothers Legacie to her Vnborn Child 1624
  3. Cosmo Wallace’s Map 1764
  4. A History of the County of Huntingdon 1932
  5. The Ride of Hereward 1890

… and there are lots more documents to add to the website

6) Regatta 1905?

The Holywell-cum-Needingworth Regatta – 1899 or 1905?

6 Documents

  1. Domesday 1086
  2. The Mothers Legacie to her Vnborn Child 1624
  3. Cosmo Wallace’s Map 1764
  4. A History of the County of Huntingdon 1932
  5. The Ride of Hereward 1890
  6. Regatta 1905

… and there are lots more things to research and discover

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…and finally

We could also mention:

Some books relating to Holywell

(all here to browse, and available to borrow)

.. and more books (also to borrow)

.. and yet more books

Maps

If you would like a reminder there are flyers about the website, and I have cards with my contact details.

If you are interested, there is lots for you to explore

Finally

Estate agents may talk of Holywell being an Anglo-Saxon ring village, and some of our church and parish websites use the phrase as well, but it is a fiction.

One medieval historian I asked about this said "I suspect that this is an archaic term …"

Many medieval villages had a front street, with tofts on both sides and a "back street" running behind each side. Holywell’s geography does not allow more than the one "back street".


We may have time for one or two questions

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