Village Focus: Bluntisham is home to a famous author
- Credit: ARCHANT
A Roman settlement, healing waters and a famous writer are all part of Bluntisham’s historic past.
The village, that lies around eight miles east of Huntingdon, was recorded in the Domesday Book and formerly known as “Bluntesham” and “Blondesham”.
In 1086 there were two manors at Bluntisham, with the annual rent paid to the lords of the manors in 1066 noted as being £5.
The Domesday Book does not give full details of the population in the area at the time, but it records that there were 16 households in the village.
The oldest church in Bluntisham is St Mary's Church on Rectory Road. It is likely to be the church mentioned in the Domesday record, however the original building no longer exists.
The chapel was built in the 1330s, and the west tower from 1370 to 1380.
The church has eight bells, three of which date from the 1500s.
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The church can list its rectors back to 1217, and counts among them Henry Sayers, father of crime writer and poet Dorothy L Sayers.
The church graveyard next to the elegant Regency-style rectory features the surnames of several characters from Sayers’ mystery novel The Nine Tailors.
It is believed that she was inspired to write the book following her father's restoration of the church bells in 1910.
The Sayers’ family home, The Old Rectory, now known as Bluntisham House, was built around 1720 with wings added in the 18th century and further alterations in the 19th Century.
The doorway was taken from the Old Slepe Hall in St Ives, the former home of Oliver Cromwell.
Healing waters were also noted in the area, when in the 18th century several attempts were made to make a spa from the spring surrounding Somersham Road.
The healing properties of its waters were recommended by John Addenbrooke, founder of Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.
The prime meridian passes through the western edge of Bluntisham.
There is also evidence to suggest that Neolithic and Roman inhabitants once settled in the area – with many artefacts discovered over the years.