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Newmarket Cambridgeshire & Suffolk Family History Guide

Newmarket comprises the following parishes:

  • Newmarket All Saints, Cambridgeshire
  • Newmarket St Mary, Suffolk

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

NEWMARKET, a town, two parishes, a sub-district, and a district, all registrationally in Cambridgeshire, but one of the parishes, part of the town, and some other parts of the district electorally in Suffolk. The town stands on Icknield-street, adjacent to the Cambridge and Bury railway, 12 miles by road, but 15 by railway, ENE of Cambridge. It has been celebrated for its races since the time of James I.; it was desolated by fire in 1683 and 1700; and it now is the chief seat of the Jockey Club, and the place of numerous training establishments. Its races are said to have originated in the arrival of some Spanish horses which escaped the wreck of the Spanish armada; and they acquired celebrity by the erection here of a palatial hunting-seat of James I., called the King's House, which was rebuilt by Charles II. The race-ground lies on the downs, about 3 miles W of the town; and has a rich variety of arrangement, and a pre-eminent degree of adaptation. The Beacon course has a circuit of 4 miles, 1 furlong, 138 yards; the Round course, 3 miles, 4 furlongs, 167 yards; and ten other courses, less and various. A remarkable ancient work, called the Devil's Ditch, adjoins the race-ground; extends to a length of 4 or 5 miles; has a mean breadth of 100 feet; consists of a deep ditch and a mound, with a slope of 52 feet on the one side and 26 feet on the other; and formed part of the boundary between East Anglia and Mercia. Roman coins and other Roman relics were found near this work in 1750. Races are run seven times in the year; and they invariably draw a large concourse of rank and fashion.

The town is situated partly in a valley, but chiefly on a gentle declivity; and it consists principally of one long, spacious, well-built street. Most of the houses are modern; and many, erected as residences for the nobility and gentry attending the races, or occupied by the leading jockeys and trainers, are very handsome. The hotels are proverbial for their good accommodations; two coffee-houses are conveniently furnished for the use of sports-men; and the Jockey Club's Rooms, and the New Subscription Rooms, in the centre of the town, are commodious and elegant. The palace rebuilt by Charles II. was erected after designs by Wren; but part of the site of it is now occupied by an Independent chapel built in 1863, and part of its walls was used as material for building the-chapel. A house which was occupied by Nell Gwynne, and another which was built by the celebrated Duke of Queensberry, still stand. A common sewer was constructed by order of Charles II., and is now under the jurisdiction of the local board of health. The town is a seat of petty sessions and county-courts, and a polling-place; and has a head post-office, a railway station with telegraph, two banking offices, a corn-market, a literary institution and reading-rooms, two churches, two dissenting churches, two public schools, and charities £12. All Saints' church is an ancient edifice, with a tower; and was so altered and improved in 1861 as to present a thorough change of appearance. St. Mary's church also is ancient, and was recently restored; and contains a restored piscina, and a monument to Trampfton, trainer to William III., Anne, George I., and George II. The Independent chapel, built on the site of Charles II.'s palace in 1863, was erected at a cost of £2,800; is in the decorated English style; and has a large and handsome gable-window, and a tall tower. One of the public schools is national; and the other is connected with the Independent chapel, was built in 1866, and has accommodation for about 200 children. A weekly market is held on Tuesday; and fairs are held on Whit-Tuesday and 8 Nov. Bishop Merks, or De Novo-Mercatu, and the physician Harewood, were natives.

The two parishes are N.-All Saints and N., St. Mary;and the former is in Cambridgeshire, the latter in Suffolk. Acres of N.-All Saints, 320. Real property, £6,455; of which £30 are in gas-works. Pop. in 1851, 1,058; in 1861, 1,259. Houses, 235. The increase of pop. arose from the proximity of the parish to the r. station. Acres of N., St. Mary, 250. Real property, £10,477; of which £97 are in gas-works. Pop. in 1851, 2,298; in 1861, 2,002. Houses, 429. The living of N.-All Saints is ap. curacy, and that of N., St. Mary is a rectory, in the diocese of Ely. Value of N.-All Saints, £100; of N., St. Mary, £375. Patron of the former, the Bishop of Norwich; of the latter, the Duke of Rutland. The sub-district contains the parishes of N., St. Mary and Exning, electorally in Suffolk, and the parishes of Snail-well, Landwade, and Burwell, and part of Swaffham-Prior parish, electorally in Cambridgeshire. Pop., 5,967. Houses, 1,173. The district comprehends a so the sub-district of Cheveley, containing the parishes of N.-All Saints, Cheveley, Kirtling, Wood-Ditton, Stetchworth, Dullingham, Burrow-Green, Westley-Waterless, and Brinkley, all electorally in Cambridge; the sub-district of Bottisham, containing the parishes of Bottisham, Swaffham-Bulbeck, and part of Swaffham-Prior, all electorally in Cambridge; the sub-district of Gazeley, containing the parishes of Kennett and Ashley-cum-Silverley, electorally in Cambridge, and the parishes of Gazeley, Moulton, Dalham, Ousden, Lidgate, electorally in Suffolk; and the sub-district of Soham, containing the parishes of Soham, Wicken, Isleham, Fordham, and Chippenham, all electorally in Cambridge. Acres, 97,373. Poor-rates in 1863, £20,047. Pop. in 1851, 30,655; in 1861, 28,675. Houses, 6,124. Marriages in 1863, 201; births, 942, of which 56 were illegitimate; deaths, 631, of which 226 were at ages under 5 years, and 18 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1,991; births, 9,289; deaths, 6,021. The places of worship, in 1851, were 30 of the Church of England, with 9,187 sittings; 9 of Independents, with 2,068 s.; 9 of Baptists, with 1,995 s.; 1 of Unitarians, with 200 s.; 8 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 1,688 s.; 6 of Primitive Methodists, with 1,100 s.; and 1 undefined, with 150 s. The schools were 30 public day schools, with 2,627 scholars; 36 private day schools, with 641 s.; 45 Sunday schools, with 3,846 s.; and 3 evening schools for adults, with 37 s. The workhouse is in Exning-road, within Exning parish; and has capacity for 300 inmates.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

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