Drawing of Kingston village well and pump
Kingston History

A Brief History of Kingston Village

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The Victoria County History of Cambridgeshire, originally published in 1973 and now available on the British History Online website, offers a detailed overview of Kingston's history  https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/cambs/vol5/pp111-120

Here, we offer a few snippets for general interest. Further information and links can be found in the 'Further Reading' section below.

The parish of Kingston covers 1907 acres and is bordered by Bourn Brook to the north, Armshold Lane to the east, Porter's Way to the west, and the Mare Way to the south. Mare Way is a prehistoric ridgeway, one of the oldest identified tracks in Cambridgeshire.

There are three moated sites in the parish: Moat House Farm, probably the site of the manor of Kingston St George; a small moat in Eversden wood in the southern part of the parish; and Kingston Wood Farm, probably once the manor of William the Conqueror's sheriff Picot.

In 1269 Baldwin St George of Kingston St George manor owned a deer park in Kingston. William Mortimer of Kingston Wood manor is recorded in 1279 as having a windmill.

Carousing in Kingston

In 1593 Margaret Baker was presented for 'suffering divers persons to tipple, swill, drink, and keep evil rule in their house at time of divine service to the offence of honest parishioners'

Religious non-conformity was strong in South Cambridgeshire in the 17th century, and particularly so in Kingston.  Bishop Compton's Census of 1676 recorded 11 dissenters and 84 conformists.

Plough in Church

The visitation sent by the Bishop of Ely in 1578 to check on the state of religious observance in the area, demanded the removal of the town plough from the Church where it was being stored, presumably for general village use.

It was estimated in 1793 that there were 160 inhabitants in the village - and 450 sheep! In 1831, 65 of the 74 families in the village were engaged in farming. The 1891 census recorded 278 people living in the village. It also listed two pubs: the Rose and Crown and the Chequers;  a British School; a blacksmith's shop and a Congregational chapel.

The Muffin Man

In the early 20th century the Muffin Man visited regularly: he walked around the village with a tray on his head covered with a green cloth, ringing a bell, selling muffins and crumpets.

Electricity and mains water was not available in the village until after the Second World War. Previously villagers had to rely on the town well or farm pumps for their water.


In about 1920 a flare dropped from a low-flying aircraft set fire to the thatched roof of a bungalow on Claypit Hill. The pilot realised and wrote a note which he attached to a heavy object and dropped in a nearby farmyard to raise the alarm. Some household goods and furniture were salvaged, but the house was unfortunately burnt down.

Further Reading

"Some of my first memories were in the summer of 1944... in the village of Kingston..."  Read more from this article by Terry Osborne

Memoirs of former Kingston resident Terry Osborne  [opens external site]

Kingston Remembered by Louis Jacklin and others [download a pdf document]

Historical notes on local pubs [opens external site]

Snippets from local newspapers: Toft Scrapbook 1897 to 1990  [opens external site]

Snippets from local newspapers: Caldecote Scrapbook 1897 to 1990  [opens external site]