Eltisley’s ‘unusual’ two greens mark key part of village’s history
- Credit: HUNTS POST
Covering almost 2,000 acres, the village of Eltisley sits on a clay plateau about 200 feet above sea level. The name suggests the village’s origin came from an Anglo-Saxon settlement among woodland.
Unusual for boasting two village greens; the larger of the two sits in the village centre, at the junction of two ancient roads running from Cambridge to St Neots and St Ives to Potton.
Eltisley’s Al Saints Church stands west of the green, with several buildings from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries lining the edge of it.
Cricket has been a spine of the community; in 1854, Eltisley Cricket Club was established, with a thatched pavilion standing on the edge of the green.
In 1868, though, the green was enclosed – to close in on all sides – for the benefit of the villagers, likely because of the poor condition of the land, and is understood to be one of the last segments of land in Cambridgeshire to be enclosed.
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The other, smaller green was situated to the east. In 1456, residents were distinguished as living in two separate centres – ‘le Estende’ or ‘le Upende’ – but in 1868, the green was transformed into the ‘Allotment for the Labouring Poor’, a lot of which remains today. The remaining area is a pocket park and picnic area.
The parish's population doubled between 1801 and 1871, possibly because of its road links, while the lane towards Caxton may also have been important. After 1871, though, the population began to decline and, in 1961, only 253 people lived in Eltisley parish.
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During World War Two, several babies were born in Mill House on The Green, with the local nurse-midwife, Mrs Rose, taking in and caring for pregnant mothers and their newborn babies.
Over recent decades, Eltisley has seen its population rise once more, and in this year’s Census, it was reported that 421 people live in the parish.
Source: We wish to thank the Eltisley History Society.