The History of St Neots

St Neots has seen great changes during the last 50 years. In 1965 it absorbed and joined with the villages of Eaton Socon and Eaton Ford. It had already joined with the village of Eynesbury, thus creating the mass of modern day St Neots, the third largest development in the county, with Peterborough and Cambridge being the two largest.

For the interested or just curious, there are a number of books available which go into the History of St. Neots in much more detail. Many of these books are obtainable from the Tourist Information Centre and many of the artefacts that have been found here are available to view at the St. Neots Museum

St Neots

The town of St Neots had its origin in the foundation of a small monastery, by Earl Alric and his Countess Ethelfleda about the year 974. This was burnt by the Danes in 1010, but was re-founded as a cell of the Monastery of Bec, in Normandy, in 1078 by Richard Clare and Rohais his wife. In 1409 the House was made an indigenous priory, and so remained until the Dissolution, when the site of the Priory and its demesne lands were granted to Sir Richard Cromwell. Round this little monastery the town of St Neots sprang up upon the land which really formed part of Eynesbury; it quickly, however obtained the name of Neotsbury, from which its present name has been evolved. It has a very fine market place, and an ancient bridge (1910) over the River Ouse. The manor was granted by James I in 1620, to Richard Lucy, by whom it was sold in 1631, to Sir Sidney Montagu, ancestor of the Earl of Sandwich, who is now Lord (1910).

Eynesbury

Eynesbury belonged at the time of the Domesday Survey, to the Countess Judith, from whom it passed to her son-in-law, St de Liz, whose daughter appears to have brought it in marriage to Saher de Quincy, who however, held it as of the Honour of Huntingdon. On the death of Roger de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, in 1264, two thirds of the manor passed to his eldest daughter, Margaret, wife of William Ferrers, Earl of Darby, from whom they descended to the Lords Ferrers of Chartley, in which family it remained until 1548. The other third part of the Manor passed to Roger’s second daughter, Elena, wife of Alan la Zouche, of Ashby de la Zouche, and so came to Maurice Berkeley.

The sub-manor of Eynesbury Berkeleys, was given to Thomas Lord Berkeley, on his marriage with Joan, daughter of William de Ferrers and Margaret Quincy, and it remained in his family until 1538. Eynesbury Cressener’s was a sub-manor held in the 15th century from the Lords of Ferrers of Chartley by the Cressener family. Eynesbury Buckley derives its name from the Buckleys who held it in the 16th century.

All the above four manors were held by the Dyers, of Great Staughton, from about 1590 to 1621, about which time they were sold to Sir Oliver Luke, and after some changed of ownership, came by purchase to Sir Sidney Montague, ancestor of the present Lord, the Earl of Sandwich (1910).

James Toller “the young English giant,” was born in Eynesbury in August 1798. At the age of eighteen he stood 8 feet 1.5 inches in height, his feet measuring 15 inches each in length. He lived only about twenty years, and was buried in the church.