The history of the Huntingdonshire village of Old Hurst

St Peter's Church in Oldhurst is a Grade II Listed building.

St Peter's Church in Old Hurst is a Grade II Listed building. - Credit: HUNTS POST

Old Hurst lies approximately five miles north-east of Huntingdon and its population, according to the 2011 Census, is 256.

The village of Old Hurst has a interesting history.

The village of Old Hurst has a interesting history. - Credit: HUNTS POST

The small parish church of St Peter's dates from the 12th/13th Century and is a Grade II listed building.

Records show it was possibly built by Ralph Mowin who is said to have presented it in the reign of Henry II (1154-89).  The thickness of the north wall suggests that it dates from the 12th Century, but the church itself was rebuilt in the late 13th Century. A considerable restoration took place in 1868, and the east wall was rebuilt in 1903.

The roof is almost entirely modern and the division between chancel and nave is marked externally by an oak cross with a floral figure on each side, bearing a strong resemblance to a crucifix and its attendant figures. It was erected in 1868 by the vicar, the Rev. C. D. Goldie.

Villagers want to raise money for a new village hall.

Villagers want to raise money for a new village hall. - Credit: HUNTS POST

At one time, along the road between Old Hurst and St Ives there was what was described as a "low chair-shaped hunk of stone" called the Hursting Stone, or the Abbot's Chair.

This glacial relic served many functions throughout the centuries, having been sculpted into a curious chair-shaped mass. Folklore has it that it in the Middle Ages it formed the base of a plinth that held an stone cross upright.

Open-air trials were also held here and so later it earned the name Abbot's Chair which stems from the belief that monks would sit in it and rest while travelling.

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This antiquity now rests against a wall just outside the Norris Museum in St Ives and, according to the writer Daniel Codd, there is a belief that it is haunted. There is also a belief that if the stone should ever sink beneath the earth then the streets of Bluntisham would run red with blood!

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