Winding streets and varied architecture in Catworth

The village hall in Catworth was formally a school.

The village hall in Catworth was formally a school. - Credit: HUNTS POST

Catworth lies nine miles west of Huntingdon and was listed in the Domesday Book Cateworde. The population was 347, according to the 2011 Census.

Surrounded by farmland, with agriculture an important cog of the local economy, the village of Catworth features 143 houses.

It has winding streets and some varied architecture and stands on a hill on the B660 between Kimbolton and Thrapston, close to the A14.

The 13th Century church of St Leonard's has an octagonal spine and contains a monument to Rose Dryden, sister of the poet, John Dryden.

The village hall dates back to 1847 and according to village records, the original building was constructed as a Church of England School, which was expanded in 1873 to accommodate 150 pupils. 

Almost 100 years later, in 1968, the school was closed with the students forced to move to a new school in nearby Brington.

The Church of England gave the village first refusal to purchase the site so the local community could use the school building for a village hall or an amenity similar to that.

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The Rev Stanley Bridge, who was living at Tilbrook Rectory but Priest-in-Charge of Catworth and Covington, spearheaded the purchase of the building and it was acquired in September 1971 for £1,000. 

In 1996, Richard Pashler, as a gift to the village, gave his field access track between the village hall and churchyard, which meant the car park area could be increased.

The improvements and expansion didn’t stop there, though, as in 2010, after yet more fundraising, the main hall and kitchen were refurbished and a new toilet block was built, while in 2018, a new entrance lobby, meeting room, store room and safe play area were created.

Every year, the hall hosts an annual craft fayre, held in conjunction with the church’s patronal festival.

The church and village hall aren’t the only buildings steeped in history, with many listed buildings, including cottages, on the High Street and Church Road.

The village of Catworth is steeped in history.

The village of Catworth is steeped in history. - Credit: HUNTS POST

Catworth isn’t short of awards either; it won Huntingdonshire District Village of the Year in 1998 and 2002, as well as Cambridgeshire Village of the Year in 1998.