Think you know the area? Well, it Saint necessarily so!

* BOB Burn-Murdoch is the curator of the Norris Museum, in St Ives. The museum tells the story of Huntingdonshire from earliest times to the present day. There are displays of fossils, archaeology and local history, with an art gallery and temporary exhib

* BOB Burn-Murdoch is the curator of the Norris Museum, in St Ives. The museum tells the story of Huntingdonshire from earliest times to the present day. There are displays of fossils, archaeology and local history, with an art gallery and temporary exhibition room. The museum is in the Broadway, St Ives, beside the river, and is set in an attractive riverside garden.

The Norris is open Monday to Saturday from 10am-5pm, and Sunday from 2-5pm.

Until the end of September, the museum is holding a special exhibition called Inland Waterway to mark the IWA National Festival. Using paintings and prints, the display looks at how the Great Ouse in St Ives has changed over the last 300 years. Admission is free.

1 Saint Ivo, who gave the town its name, was supposed to be a Persian bishop who came here as a missionary. His bones were discovered by a ploughman in April 1001.


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2 The Cornish town of St Ives is named after someone different - Saint Ia, an Irish princess who sailed to Cornwall on a cabbage leaf (like you do).

3 But St Neots, while we're on the subject, has the same name as a town in Cornwall because the monks there stole the bones of Saint Neot from his shrine in the West Country and brought them back to Huntingdonshire.

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4 The chapel on St Ives bridge is dedicated to Saint Leger, bishop of Autun in France in the Dark Ages, and nothing to do with the horse race.

5 The Bridge Chapel is one of only four in the whole country. The others are at Wakefield and Rotherham in Yorkshire, and Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire - but ours is much prettier than theirs.

6 The St Ives bridge and its chapel were built in the 1420s, replacing a wooden bridge built on the same spot in about 1100. Before that, there was a ford across the river in the same place.

7 St Ives bridge was partly demolished in 1645 when Oliver Cromwell and the Roundheads were afraid of a Royalist attack across the Ouse. They pulled down two arches of the bridge and replaced them with a drawbridge - you can see that those two arches, rebuilt after the Civil War, are a slightly different shape from the others.

8 St Ives parish church is the only church in the country to collide with an aeroplane. Lots of churches were damaged by bombing in two world wars but at St Ives, the pilot (a student pilot from Royal Flying Corps Wyton, who never lived to qualify) flew into the spire, in March 1918.

9 There was another air crash in St Ives six months earlier. Another RFC pilot clipped the trees in a garden just behind the church and crashed onto the lawn. He walked unharmed from the wreckage and later became a flying instructor.

10 The parish church spire had been demolished before - in September 1741 when a hurricane blew it down, as well as the spire at Hemingford Grey church just up the river. The laid back folk at Hemingford Grey haven't rebuilt their spire yet.

11 There are rabbits on the door of St Ives parish church. Look closely at the 15th century door at the base of the tower. Right up at the top of it you can see the carved head of a rabbit looking out of its hole, and on the opposite half of the door the back end of another rabbit disappearing down its hole again.

12 Laurence Sterne, author of the 18th century comic novel Tristram Shandy, was curate at St Ives parish church in 1737.

13 Bible dicing is a unique event that takes place once a year at St Ives. Children throw dice to win Bibles - the ceremony was set up under the will of Dr Robert Wild in 1679.

14 Robert Langley established another annual ceremony when he made his will a few years before Dr Wild, in 1656. He left money to pay for the "Langley Bread" - nowadays parcels of groceries - to be handed out to elderly St Ives residents every January.

15 The crest of St Ives is four bulls' heads, a reminder of the big cattle markets held in the town in the

18th and 19th centuries and said to be second only to Smithfield.

16 The motto of St Ives is "Sudore non Sopore." It's Latin for "By Sweat not by Sleep", meaning that we should all work hard and not laze about, but the "Sleep" bit is also a pun on "Slepe", the old name for the town before Saint Ivo came along.

17 In 1086, St Ives, then still called Slepe, was valued at just £16. That was in William the Conqueror's Domesday Book, which also recorded the population at just 52 men - nobody bothered to count the women and children.

18 St Ives Staunch, the lock on the river just below the town which keeps the water deep enough for boats to reach the IWA festival site, was built in 1676.

19 Before the locks on the Great Ouse were built in the 17th century, the river in its natural state was navigable as far upstream as St Ives which, therefore, became an important inland port.

20 No Man's Friend is the sinister name of a bend in the river, where the water is unusually deep, between St Ives and Fenstanton. Not recommended for swimming!

21 But why have anything to do with water at all when there are so many fine pubs in St Ives and there used to be lots more? Today, we have 18 pubs serving a population of 18,000 but in 1840 there were 70 pubs and only 3,500 people - so one pub for every 50 inhabitants. To have the same ratio nowadays we'd need 360.

22 Oliver Cromwell lived in St Ives as a young man before he became famous. He was born in Huntingdon but we've got his statue here because when the idea of commemorating him was raised in 1899, his 300th birthday, Huntingdon was still such a Royalist town that they didn't want the statue.

23 His name wasn't really Oliver Cromwell anyway. The Cromwells were a Welsh family called Williams, but they were related to Henry VIII's minister Thomas Cromwell and changed their own name to Cromwell to suck up to their famous uncle. So the Lord Protector's real name was Oliver Williams.

24 Fenstanton, just along the river from St Ives, has its own boating connections. It was the birthplace of John Howland, one of the Pilgrim Fathers, who sailed across the Atlantic in The Mayflower in 1620 to found a new colony in Massachusetts.

25 Capability Brown, the famous landscape gardener, was Lord of the Manor of Fenstanton and Hilton and is buried at Fenstanton church.

26 Go upstream to Hemingford Grey and the Manor House there was the birthplace of "The Beautiful Miss Gunnings", two sisters who came to London in the 1750s and married Lords. Elizabeth Gunning married the Duke of Hamilton, and then the Duke of Argyll after her first husband died. Her sister Maria became Countess of Coventry.

27 Lucy Boston, the writer, lived in the Manor House in Hemingford in the second half of the 20th century and immortalised it as "Green Knowe" in her books for children. The garden she created and some of the wonderful patchwork quilts she made can still be seen there today.

28 The riddle "As I Was Going to St Ives" was known as far back as the 18th century - and different versions of it, not mentioning St Ives but using the same idea of multiplying things by seven, go back to the Middle Ages. One version was recorded on an Egyptian papyrus 4,000 years ago.

29 The St Ives New Bridges, the viaduct close to the festival site, were the longest brick viaduct in the country when built in 1822.

30 The one-and-a-quarter million bricks needed to build the New Bridges were made locally, at the St Ives brickworks just upstream from the town. The holes the clay was dug from are still there - they now form hazards on the St Ives Golf Course.

31 St Ives Fair was one of the four biggest fairs in the country during the Middle Ages. Merchants came from all over Europe to buy locally-woven woollen cloth. King Henry III, Edward I and Edward II were among the customers at St Ives fair, sending servants to buy cloth.

32 St Ives Monday market was started in AD1200 when King John granted a charter.

33 The world's first pocket calculator, the Sinclair Executive, was made in St Ives in 1972 by Sir Clive Sinclair in his factory in the Old Mill.

34 St Ives once had its own traction engine factory. Fowell and Co built more than 100 traction engines at their factory in New Road between 1877 and 1923.

35 The Great Fire of St Ives happened 23 years after the Great Fire of London, in April 1689 - 122 houses were burned down after fire broke out behind the White Hart pub.

36 St Ives got egg on its face in 1973 when its new police station was built in Pig Lane - the name of the road was hastily changed to Broad Leas.

37 The St Ives Mercury was one of the country's earliest local newspapers. It was founded in 1719 and lasted just three years. Then it printed something that offended Sir Edward Lawrence, the biggest landowner in the town, and was forced to close.

38 St Ives had its own railway station from 1847 until 1970, with lines to Huntingdon, Cambridge, Wisbech and Ely.

39 St Ives has got a second-hand church. The Church of the Sacred Heart, in Needingworth Road, was originally St Andrew's Church in Cambridge. When the new Catholic church was built in Cambridge, their old church was taken down brick by brick and rebuilt here in 1902.

40 The University boat race commemorates a former St Ives resident every year. Before the main race, the Oxford and Cambridge second boats race each other and the Cambridge second boat is called "Goldie". It was named after John Goldie, a famous Cambridge rower of the 1870s, and the son of the vicar of St Ives.

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