Godmanchester is an Ancient Parish in the county of Huntingdonshire.

Alternative names: Gumecester

Parish church: St. Mary

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1604
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1604

Nonconformists include: Baptist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, General Baptist, Independent/Congregational, Particular Baptist, Strict Baptist, and Wesleyan Methodist.

Adjacent Parishes

  • Papworth Agnes, Cambridgeshire
  • Wyton
  • Brampton
  • Graveley, Cambridgeshire
  • Huntingdon St Mary and St Benedict
  • Offord Cluny
  • Hartford
  • Hemingford Abbots

Parish History

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

GODMANCHESTER, or Gumecester, a town and a parish in the district and county of Huntingdon. The town stands on the river Ouse, adjacent to the Cambridge and Huntingdon railway, and near the Great northern railway, ¾ of a mile SSE of Huntingdon; and is connected with that town by a bridge over the Ouse. It disputes with Huntingdon the claim of being the Durolipons of the Romans; it has yielded many Roman coins, and other antiquities; it was probably a military post, or fortified station, of Guthrum or Gormond the Dane; and it was known, in subsequent times, as Guma, Gumicastria, and Gumicestre. It was held of the Crown, by grant of King John; was made a borough by James I.; and is noted for long retention of curious old customs. It occupies a considerable tract of ground; comprises several streets; presents an irregular appearance; and, though containing many good houses, consists chiefly of cottages. It has a post office under Huntingdon, a fair on Easter Tuesday, extensive oil and flour mills, a church, two Baptist chapels, a grammar school, and a girls’ and infants’ national school. The church is a large light edifice, of the 14th century, with western embattled tower and spire of the 17th century; and was restored in 1853. The grammar school was founded by Queen Elizabeth, and has £24 from endowment. Other charities have about £40. The borough is governed, under the new act, by a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors; is included in the parliamentary borough of Huntingdon; and is co-extensive with the parish. Acres, 5, 590. Real property, £13, 662. Pop., 2, 438. Houses, 544. The property is subdivided. The inhabitants were long celebrated for prime agriculture; but, by general improvement in the country around them and throughout the kingdom, have been brought nearly or quite to the common level. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely. Value, £328. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. Stephen Marshall, the puritan divine, a chief of the Smectymnians, was a native.

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

A Topographical Dictionary of England 1848

GODMANCHESTER (St. Mary), an incorporated market-town and parish, in the hundred of Toseland, union and county of Huntingdon, ¾ of a mile (S. E. by S.) from Huntingdon; containing 2152 inhabitants. This ancient town is situated on the bank of the Ouse, over which is a bridge leading to Huntingdon. It is probably of British origin, and occupies the site of the Roman station Durolipons; subsequently, in the time of Alfred, it was a Danish encampment (Gormancastria), and derived its name from Gormon or Guthrum, a Danish chief, to whom the kingdom of the East Angles, which was separated from the kingdom of Mercia by the river Ouse, was assigned by Alfred. The manor was first granted in fee-farm to the “Men of Gumcester” by King John, for £120 a year, and, the grant being in perpetuity, is still held by the same tenure and rent. The charter of John was confirmed and enlarged by succeeding monarchs, and in 1605 a new one was granted by James I., incorporating the inhabitants by the title of the “Bailiffs, Assistants, and Commonalty of the Borough of Gumcester, alias Godmanchester,” and vesting the control in two bailiffs and 12 assistants, with a recorder, high steward, and town-clerk. By the act of the 5th and 6th of William IV., cap. 76, the borough is now governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors, the mayor and late mayor being justices of the peace concurrently with the county magistrates. The inhabitant householders of £10 qualification are entitled to vote in the election of members of parliament for the borough of Huntingdon. A court of pleas, for the recovery of debts under 40s., is held every three weeks; and a court leet half yearly. A fair, chiefly for horses, is held by charter on EasterTuesday, and is well attended. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king’s books at £17. 0. 5.; income, about £400; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. The church is a noble edifice, in the later English style. A free school was founded by charter of Elizabeth in 1561, and endowed with land now producing a rental of £300, by Richard Robins, in 1576; but the only fund at present belonging to it is £20 per annum, from Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Several charities are supported, and the benefactions for apprenticing children amount to a considerable sum.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England by Samuel Lewis 1848


  • County: Huntingdonshire
  • Civil Registration District: Huntingdon
  • Probate Court: Court of the Commissary of the Bishop of Lincoln and of the Archdeacon in the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon
  • Diocese: Pre-1837 – Lincoln, Post-1836 – Ely
  • Rural Deanery: St Neots
  • Poor Law Union: Huntingdon
  • Hundred: Toseland
  • Province: Canterbury

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