History of Christchurch

Recording the history of the village of Christchurch (originally Brimstone Hill) in Cambridgeshire

Timeline

500 BCFirst construction at Stonea Camp. [1]
1651Sixteen Foot River constructed. [5]
1776Earliest records for the Surveyor’s Arms (now called The Dun Cow).
1785The Old Post Office (Syringa House) was built (although it may have been built earlier in 1740).
1830Christchurch Farm was built.
Provisional date for the Old Toll House construction (although it is likely to be before this date)
1833First United Methodist congregation.
1836The Rose and Crown Public House opened.
1837First recorded instance of The Dun Cow‘s name.
1861According to the 1861 Census, there were blacksmiths, wheelwrights, a grocer, a draper and cordwainers. [5]
Webb’s Mill in Poulter’s Drove is the earliest record currently known.
1862Christ Church becomes its own parish.
1863The Parish church (The Church of Christ) is built.
The Ark is built to house workmen constructing the church.
1865Parish church (The Church of Christ) is consecrated.
The village changed its name from Brimstone Hill to Christ Church.
The Old School was established.
1872Methodist Chapel was built.
1874General Store opens as a Co-Op shop.
1878Elgoods Brewery takes ownership of the Dun Cow.
1879All four pubs in the village are listed as open in Kelly’s Directory of the Counties of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk (Dun Cow, Farmers Boy, Rose and Crown and the Wheatsheaf)
The Snipe and Duck Public House opens at the bottom of Euximoor Drove.
Kelly’s Directory of 1879 lists two grocers, a tailor, a wheelwright and four blacksmiths. [5]
1881The Rose and Crown closes.
1882Post Office was opened in 1882 in the Grocers (Christchurch Cottage – opposite The Old Post Office).
1892Kelly’s Directory of 1892 lists two grocers and drapers, a tailor, a boot maker, a carpenter and a blacksmith. [5]
Webb’s Mill in Poulter’s Drove is presumed still operating.
1900The village’s name is contracted to Christchurch. [3]
The Institute/Memorial Hall was built around the turn of the century. [5]
1903The Old Police House was built.
1910Syringa House becomes the village Post Office.
Last known entry for the Snipe and Duck Public House.
1911The first block of Council Houses started on Jackson’s Road (now Upwell Road) and Wayside Estate junction.
1912There was drought affecting the village. [5]
Water was piped to the village in 1912 and to locals it was known as Marham water because it came from a spring in a small Norfolk village called Marham. [4]
1916A gale tore off one of the Key’s Mill sails and blows it across the Sixteen Foot River.
1920A War memorial was added to the churchyard.
1922Kelly’s Directory of Cambridgeshire still lists one grocer, a draper, three carpenters and one blacksmith. [5]
1925Christchurch Tower Mill is known to be derelict.
1930Singles vs Married cricket match takes place.
1932Townley School opened.
1934
January
The Nine Tailors is written by Dorothy L. Sayers.
Hot school lunch provision starts at Townley School.
1938Euximoor Methodist Chapel opened.
1939The second block of Council Houses along Wayside Estate started.
1940May 31A two-week special holiday from Townley School so the children could assist in the agricultural effort.
Christchurch Fire Brigade was featured in a local newspaper.
1947Dame School building demolished.
Council houses on Crown Avenue were constructed.
Key’s Mill was replaced by the Bedlam Bridge pumping station.
1950NovemberTownley School bus begins operation and the electricity supply was first connected.
The sails for Key’s Mill are removed and it is converted into a house.
1950s –> 1960sThe Old Post Office was used as the Doctor’s surgery for the village.
1952Webb’s Mill in Poulter’s Drove was demolished.
1955Townley School changes to cater for infants and juniors only.
1957The Wheatsheaf Public House closes.
1958Key’s Mill site becomes derelict.
1963The Grocers Shop at Christchurch Cottage closes.
1969FebruaryMemorial Hall and Social Centre re-opens after refurbishment and renovation.
1972The only shops are one General Store, Blacksmiths and Garage, and a Cycle Shop. [5]
1997October 15Post Office closed.
1998October 19Post Office reopened in the General Store.
1999The Farmers Boy Public House closes.
2008December 15Post Office closed after an armed robbery.
2009JanuaryMobile Post Office service starts.
2022OctoberThe church closed needing repair.

Notes

  1. It is noted that Stonea Camp does not lie within the boundaries of Christchurch. However, such an important historical monument so close to the village is at least worth considering. In addition as one of the few islands in the vicinity, it is possible that there is some connection, even if only transitory.
  2. Other archaeological sites can be found here: https://historyofchristchurch.uk/archeological-sites/
  3. https://wikishire.co.uk/wiki/Christchurch,_Cambridgeshire
  4. The Cambridgeshire Village Book
  5. Study of a Fenland Village