The History of Warboys in Cambridgeshire

Historical notes about the town of Warboys in Cambridgehsire.

The Geography of Warboys

Warboys is a large parish on the eastern side of the county bordering on Cambridgeshire. It covers 8,435.5 acres, of which a considerable part in the north-east is fen-land, the higher land in the south being of stiff clay. The land falls from about 114 ft. above the ordnance datum in the south to 2 ft. in the fen-land in the north and north-east. Nearly three-quarters of the area is arable, upon which potatoes are largely grown and also corn, beans, etc. Warboys Wood and Pingle Wood are the only remaining pieces of woodland and cover about 110 acres.

The Village of Warboys

The fairly large village lies on high ground in the south-west part of the parish overlooking the fen to the north-east. It has grown up at the fork formed by the junction of the main road from St. Ives to Ramsey with the branch road leading eastward over Warboys Heath and to Fenton. The main road as it passes through the village is called Church Street and the branch road is the High Street.

Church of St Mary

Church of St Mary Magdalene in Warboys (circa 1911)

Church of St Mary Magdalene in Warboys (circa 1911)

 

The church is at the south end of the village and adjoining it to the north-west is the Manor House, now the residence of Mr. G. L. Ekins, J.P. It is an early 17th-century two-storied brick house with attics, probably built by Sir John Leman, who bought the manor in 1622 and died in 1632. The front has rounded and shaped gables and within is an original staircase. To the north of it is a contemporary brick barn. On the opposite side of the road is the rectory, an early 18th-century house. A good door with a hood over it formerly formed the main entrance, but has now been moved to the back of the house. Some architectural fragments in the garden are said to have come from Ramsey Abbey. There are three or four old cottages in the village, including the White Hart Inn on the north side of the High Street, a 17th-century brick house with a thatched roof. The eastern part of the village, where the railway station now stands, is called Mill End from the windmill which is situated in the fork of the road here. Near by are brickworks and a little west is the Baptist Chapel.

A memorial clock was erected in the village in 1887. In 1774 an Act was passed for draining certain lands in Warboys, including 300 acres called High Fen and 60 acres, part of New Pasture. Again, in 1795, an Act was passed for dividing, inclosing and draining the open common fields in Warboys. A further Act was passed in 1798 to amend the last Act as regards the lands allotted in lieu of tithes.

The Witches of Warboys

Warboys became conspicuous in 1593 by the trial and execution of three persons of the village for bewitching the five daughters of Robert Throckmorton, lessee of the manor, and Susan Lady Cromwell, Sir Henry Cromwell's wife.

Victoria County History - Published 1932