Kings and Queens feature in Kimbolton's history

The centre of Kimbolton retains its charm.

The centre of Kimbolton retains its charm. - Credit: ARCHANT

Kimbolton’s legacy is found in the grandeur of its stately castle, charming shops and charitable community spirit. 

The village is about nine miles west of Huntingdon and its parish includes the hamlet of Stonely. 

Archaeological finds in the area of the airfield suggest that there may have been a small Roman settlement.  

The name Kimbolton, however, is Anglo-Saxon meaning "Cenebald's Ton" or estate. 

Kimbolton was the only estate of King Harold in Huntingdonshire.  

It is believed that Harold had a hunting lodge nearby and the town was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. 

The survey records that there were 20 ploughlands at Kimbolton in 1086 and, in addition to the arable land, there were 70 acres of meadows, 3,784 acres of woodland and a water mill.  

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Kimbolton Castle, constructed after the Norman conquest and greatly remodelled in the 17th century, is best known for its associations with Catherine of Aragon.  

Catherine of Aragon after her divorce from Henry VIII died at Kimbolton Castle in 1536. 

Her time at the castle also coincided with one of a series of rebuilds which it had undergone. The most significant of which, by Vanbrugh and Hawkesmoor in the early 18th Century, left much the same appearance as it is today. 

Other notable guests of the castle include Sir John Popham, the presiding judge at the trials of Guy Fawkes and Sir Walter Raleigh, and the second Earl of Manchester, who led parliamentary forces in the Civil War, until Oliver Cromwell's succession. 

In the Norman period, a motte and bailey castle were erected at Kimbolton, though not on the same site.  

When King John granted the Earl of Essex the right to hold a market at Kimbolton, a new castle was built at the opposite end of a market place from the parish church. 

Now a school, the castle is available for group visits and has a limited number of public opening dates. 

Visitors can still see the impressive range of state rooms, with an outstanding set of murals by Pellegrini.  

Kimbolton Castle had another claim to fame - it being the name given to a locomotive in 1927.