Extensive Urban Survey - Cambridgeshire

Cambridgeshire County Council, 2017

Data copyright © Cambridgeshire County Council unless otherwise stated


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Ben Donnelly-Symes
Cambridgeshire County Council

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https://doi.org/10.5284/1045792
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Cambridgeshire County Council (2017) Extensive Urban Survey - Cambridgeshire [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] https://doi.org/10.5284/1045792

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Overview

The historic urban areas examined in these reports contain a wealth of information regarding past human activity in Cambridgeshire. This activity has its origins in the prehistoric era, however, for most of the county's towns it is in the Anglo-Saxon period that true urban settlement begins. Evidence for this takes several forms such as historical evidence, place-name or archaeological sites.

The archaeological and architectural evidence for the county's towns increases for the medieval period. It is also at this time the towns became centres for commerce and light industry. Research into these themes carries the possibility to reconstruct trade routes and study the potential of the built environment. It was also at this time that ecclesiastical institutions begin to influence, and indeed, encourage urban growth. The presence of these institutions often lead to documentary evidence being available for these towns, thereby enhancing their historical value.

It was during the post-medieval period that many of the county's urban areas became established centres of trade and studies into the details of this process may enhance our knowledge of the nature of commerce during this period. This process also lead to a growth in the size of the urban area, much of which services in good condition and many of these towns' listed buildings date to this era. The aesthetic value of the towns was enhances by the presence of these buildings and the open spaces laid out at this time.

The 28 reports relating to each of the towns present the findings of the assessment and characterisation stage. A further strategy document was undertaken to present a synopsis of the findings for the 12 most significant of these towns with reference to their relevance to specific research aims and conservation principles. The towns covered by the project are:

East Cambridgeshire District:

  • Burwell
  • Ely
  • Isleham
  • Littleport
  • Reach
  • Soham

Fenland District:

  • Chatteris
  • March
  • Whittlesey
  • Wisbech

Huntingdonshire District:

  • Buckden
  • Earith
  • Godmanchester
  • Huntingdon
  • Kimbolton
  • Ramsey
  • Sawtry
  • Somersham
  • Spaldwick
  • St. Ives
  • St. Neots
  • Stilton
  • Yaxley

South Cambridgeshire District:

  • Caxton
  • Cottenham
  • Histon and Impington
  • Linton
  • Swavesey

Cambridge was not included as it was covered by an earlier Urban Archaeological Database project undertaken between 1997 and 1999 by Cambridge Archaeological Unit on behalf of Cambridge City Council.