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Villagers: 750 Years Of Life In An English Village



Gamlingaye illustration

This image, redrawn from

Thomas Langdon's 1602 maps, is the earliest

one known of Gamlingay. Here are a few more images relating to the village. Simply click on an image to enlarge it.


From left to right, top row:

1. Neolithic arrowheads found beside Gamlingay brook.

2. Prehistoric cropmarks: Heath. Possibly enclosures and droveways.

3. Prehistoric cropmarks: Blacklands. Possibly part of an enclosure.

4. Church graffiti: hic est sedes Margarete Taylard ('this is the seat of Margarete Taylard'). Mid-15th century - she died in 1475.

5. Church graffiti: mors comparat umbre que semper sequitur corpus ('Death is like a shadow, that always following a body'). Probably carved soon after the Black Death.


Second row:

6. Church: misericord, c1445.

7. Church: Handgrip as an angel, choir stalls, c1445. Note the wear from centuries of use.

8. Tithe Barn, 1920s. Built in the 17th century, now demolished.

9. Crossroads, 1920s. Spot the policeman.

10. The Downing estate from the air in 1981, showing the site of the 18th century mansion, gardens and lake.


Third row:

11. The Moon in 1904. Downing's folly, and the last part of the estate still standing.

12. Church Street c1910.

13. Church, early 20th century.

14. Cottages, Waresley Road, 1926.

15. Cottages, Green End, 1924. This and the previous photograph are evidence of the appalling state of many village homes, even well into the 20th century.


Fourth row:

16. Cross Farm (17th century, left) and White Hall (c1585, right), at the crossroads in 1924. Both were demolished in the 1960s.

17. Gamlingay from the Church, 1894.

18. Lacemaking, Mrs Panter, or Paynter, c1910.

19. Girls' School, c1900. The faces tell their own story.

20. Class, 1928/9. Miss Margaret Gardiner back right. Her memoir A Scatter of Memories has a fascinating chapter on her year as a teacher in Gamlingay.

Fifth row:

21. Believed to be Mary Anne Croot, c1870.

22. Fred Tear's workforce in a beanfield, 1950s.

23. Merton Manor Farm, 1977.

24. William and Sarah Hills, c1900. He was born in 1824 in Gamlingay, she in Wrestlingworth in 1825. They are my Georgian great-great-grandparents.

25. Gamlingay station, June 1963.


Sixth row:

26. The feint circle with a cross inside is the cropmark of a previously unrecorded medieval post mill at Old Woodbury. It was spotted recently on Google Maps.

27. Cottage and The Spotted Cow pub in Green End. Both now demolished.

28. Dutter End in 1983.

29. Murfitt Way c1960

30. Windmills first appeared in England in the late 12th century. Gamlingay had post mills from at least as early as 1279. This photograph shows the last working windmill in the village, photographed c1930. It is a smock mill, and was built around 1812.

An ever-growing number of fascinating old photographs of Gamlingay can be found

on David Allen's excellent website at