Who deserves a place in history?

A NINTH century monk, an assassin and a giant will all go head-to-head next month in a bid to become immortalised in St Neots history. And you can decide… A public debate is to take place in May to decide which notable St Neots figure deserves a new pla

A NINTH century monk, an assassin and a giant will all go head-to-head next month in a bid to become immortalised in St Neots' history.

And you can decide...

A public debate is to take place in May to decide which notable St Neots figure deserves a new plaque in the town.

Organised as part of the St Neots Local History Month, the debate will be held in St Neots Library on May 15 at 7.30pm.


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In the running for the blue plaque honour is the Saxon monk St Neot, John Bellingham who shot PM Spencer Perceval in 1812 and James Toller, aka the Eynesbury Giant who grew to more than 8ft tall and is believed to have been buried within Eynesbury Parish Church to avoid body snatchers.

However, there are also three other contenders. George Cornelius Gorham, who was born at 22 Market Square and was a Fellow of Queen's College in Cambridge, Julia Griffiths Croft who ran a girls school in St Neots, and William Eayres, a St Neots clock and watchmaker.

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Anna Mercer, curator of St Neots Museum, said: "There have been some great characters in St Neots. The competition is going to be tough as John Bellingham is infamous for what he did, while St Neot had a lot of connections to the town.

"All six of these people did something for St Neots and it is up to the public to decide which one of them is worthy of a plaque."

The event will see six speakers representing the merits of some of the town's most famous historical figures. At the end of the evening the audience will vote for their favourite. Those unable to attend the event can take part by filling in a voting slip available from the library or museum.

Last year the St Neots Local History Society unveiled a plaque to George Bower and the St Neots Quads on the sites of their former homes.

Other attractions taking place as part of St Neots Local History Month include a Call My Bluff mystery object quiz at Eynesbury CofE School on May 2 at 7.30pm, and an Eaton's History Project exhibition on May 3 and 5 at St Mary's Church in Eaton Socon.

INFORMATION: Entry to the debate is £2.50 and tickets are available from St Neots Library. Who should get the honour and why? E-mail your views to: editor@huntspost.co.uk or write to The Hunts Post, 30 High Street, Huntingdon, Cambs, PE29 3TB.

The contenders:

NAME: St Neot

TITLE: Saint/Saxon monk

LIVED: 9th century

FAMED FOR: Miracles

NAME: JOHN BELLINGHAM

TITLE: Assassin

LIVED: 1776-1812

FAMED FOR: Shooting. Tried to kill Prime Minister Spencer Perceval

NAME: James Toller

TITLE: Giant

LIVED: 1898-1818

FAMED FOR: Growing. At 18 he was more than 8ft tall

NAME: GEORGE CORNELIUS GORHAM

TITLE: Scholar

LIVES: 1787-1857

FAMED FOR: Brains. Study sciences, theology and history. Wrote definitive History of St Neots in 1820.

NAME: JULIA GRIFFETHS CROFT

TITLE: Teacher and campaigner

LIVED: 1811-1895

FAMED FOR: Campaigned against slavery and ran a school for girls in St Neots at The Cross.

NAME: William Eayres

TITLE: Foundry founder and watchmaker

LIVED: Unknwn-1772

FAMED FOR: Established foundry in town and workshops. Made bells for churches and clocks and watches.

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