Pretty village which hosts annual regatta

The pretty village of Hemingford Grey

The pretty village of Hemingford Grey organises a regatta with the neighbouring village of Hemingford Abbots. - Credit: HUNTS POST

Hemingford Grey lies approximately four miles east of Huntingdon and has a population of 2,532 according to the 2011 Census.

In Anglo-Saxon times the neighbouring villages of Hemingford Grey and Hemingford Abbots were a single estate. In the 9th Century they were split into two. In 1066 "Little Hemingford", as it was known, was acquired by nearby Ramsey Abbey.

Hemingford Grey was listed in the Domesday Book in the Hundred of Toseland in Huntingdonshire; the name of the settlement was written as alia Emingeforde and Emingeforde.

In 1086, there were three manors at Hemingford Grey; the annual rent paid to the lords of the manors in 1066 was £17. There were 29 households at Hemingford Grey, which means the population was somewhere between 101 and 145.

The name Hemingford means "the ford of the people of Hemma or Hemmi", where Hemma is believed to be the name of a Saxon chief. The village was at different times known as East Hemingeford (11th Century), Hamicheford (12th), Hemmingeforde Turbervill (13th–14th), Hemmingeforde Parva (13th–14th) and Hemingford Priors (14th–15th).

In around 1140 Payn of Hemingford began the construction of Hemingford Manor, one of the oldest inhabited buildings in England, as well as the present church. The manor was then owned by the Turberville family who for a while gave their name to the village.

In 1276 the village was given its present name by the de Grey family. The manor remained in the possession of the Greys until seized by Henry VII in the 15th Century after George Grey, second Earl of Kent was unable to settle his debts.

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The manor was subsequently leased by the crown to a number of people, including Sir Richard Williams (the great-grandfather of Oliver Cromwell); Sir George Howard; Helena, Marchioness of Northampton; and John, Earl of Holderness. In 1721 the manor was sold by the crown, together with half the manor of Hemingford Abbots, to James Mitchell of Fowlmere. 

Hemingford Grey is a vibrant community with many and varied voluntary organisations providing recreation, education and sporting facilities for residents. Among note is the annual Hemingfords' Regatta, held annually with the adjoining village of Hemingford Abbots since 1901 and believed to be among the oldest village regattas in the country

It is believed St James Church was first built in the first half of the 12th Century by Payn of Hemingford, a tenant of Ramsey Abbey, and was enlarged over the following centuries. Parts of the medieval church still survive in the south aisle and nave.

The spire collapsed during a hurricane in 1741 and instead of being rebuilt was replaced with eight ball finials at its base.