Karl Brockett writes about the history of St Ives

St Ives Cattle Market took place on Mondays and the pubs were open all day.

St Ives Cattle Market took place on Mondays and the pubs were open all day. - Credit: NORRIS MUSEUM

The town of St Ives was referred to as Slepe in the Doomsday Book. The original Slepe Hall and a residential home of Oliver Cromwell has long gone and it thought that the town acquired its name from a Persian bishop called Ivo.

He travelled through the town preaching At the end of the 6th Century.

St Ives is also known for its old cattle and live stock market and many older residents will remember this. A charter was granted from King Edward I around 1290.

A great part of the town centre was destroyed by fire in 1630, and this broke out near White Hart Lane. The fire, on April 30, consumed everything in its path across Sheep’s Market down to the riverside 

Many families lost their homes and the cost of the damage was said to be in excess of £13,000 which was a very substantial amount of money back then.

A bridge crosses the River Great Ouse  and this is said to have been built by the abbots of Ramsey. Two of the stone bridge archways were rebuilt in 1716 and the arches were also widened in 1724.

This was probably to benefit the busy port and the amount of the working water boat traffic passing down the river. Near the centre, over one of its piers is a an ancient building, the lower part is an old chapel.

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Adjoining the bridge on the south side is a brick causeway on arches which was erected in 1822.

There is a bronze statue of Oliver Cromwell modelled by a Mr Pomerey and erected by public subscription on the Market Hill where the protector resided in his earlier years.

The statue was unveiled in 1901 by MP Lord Fitzmaurice. On the Broadway, there is a stone drinking fountain erected in commemoration of the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. 

There also have been some very busy public houses over the centuries in St Ives. Many people may also remember before pubs opened up all day that on market day the pubs always opened up all day for the Monday market trader and buyers. A very busy day for everyone who visited.

More information on the Huntingdonshire Community Nostalgia Facebook page.