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Hemingford Grey is a village in the English county of Cambridgeshire.

Location

It is situated on the southern bank of the River Great Ouse in the county of Cambridgeshire and until 1965 it was in Huntingdonshiremarker. From then until 1974 it was in the short-lived county of Huntingdon and Peterborough. It adjoins Hemingford Abbotsmarker to the west and St Ivesmarker on the north of the river and the A14 trunk road passes through the parish about a mile south of the main settlement.

History

In Anglo-Saxon times the neighbouring villages of Hemingford Grey and Hemingford Abbotsmarker were a single estate. In the ninth century they were split into two. In 1066 "Little Hemingford", as it was known, was acquired by nearby Ramsey Abbey. In around 1140 Payn of Hemingford began the construction of Hemingford Manormarker, one of the oldest inhabited buildings in England, as well as the present church.

In 1276 the village was given its present name by the de Grey family. The manor remained in the possession of the Greys until seized by Henry VII in the fifteenth century after George Grey, 2nd Earl of Kent was unable to settle his debts. The manor was subsequently leased to a number of people, including the great-grandfather of Oliver Cromwell.

The name Hemingford means "the ford of the people of Hemma or Hemmi", where Hemma is believed to be the name of a Saxon chief.

St James' Church

St James' Church, alongside the Ouse
The church was first built in the first half of the twelfth century by Payn of Hemingford, a tenant of Ramsey Abbey, and was enlarged over the following centuries. Parts of the medieval church still survive in the south aisle and nave.

The spire collapsed during a hurricane in the eighteenth century and instead of being rebuilt was replaced with eight ball finials at its base.

Urban centre

The centre of the village has an attractive mixture of buildings including thatched timber-framed cottages and the church with its unique truncated spire. Along the riverside path is the Norman Manor House 'The Manormarker', claimed to be the oldest inhabited house in the United Kingdommarker, where Lucy Boston the children's writer lived and which is open to the public by prior arrangement.

Development

Hemingford Grey grew considerably in the 19th century especially in the area of the London Road which is about a mile east of the village centre and nearer to St Ives. Here there has been some industrial development, a petrol station and the St Ives Motel. The village continued to grow between the wars when simple and attractive bungalows with good- sized gardens were built followed, in more recent years, by several small estate developments.

Industry

Farming is still the main land-use with large arable fields to the south and meadows on the low ground near the river. There is limited employment in the village but in recent years there has been a considerable increase in the number of people working from home. This has led to many services being available in the village.

Community

Hemingford Grey is a vibrant community with many and varied voluntary organisations providing recreation, education and sporting facilities for residents. Among note is the annual Hemingfords' Regatta, held annually with the adjoining village of Hemingford Abbotsmarker since 1901 and believed to be among the oldest village regattas in the country.

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