Pre-history to the Dark Ages

The History of Huntingdon

Pre-historic to Dark Age Huntingdon (Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire)

Dark Age Caveman and T-Rex Cartoon

Very early man may of roamed the area, but does not appear to have settled for long nor in any great numbers. Signs of early tribal hunter-gatherers have been found nearby, a flint working site at St Neots (external website in new window), an early campsite of c. 6000BC at Hemingford Abbots (external website in new window), and possibly the remains of an Iron age farm near the town itself.

However Huntingdon was not the centre of habitation during the early years. Bearing in mind the wetness of the fen area before drainage, and that the Romans chose to base themselves on the south side of the River Ouse, at Godmanchester (external website in new window), with only a bridgehead on the northern side as protection. There are some indications that at least one villa was built on the Huntingdon side of the river. The Roman construction of Ermine Street, which runs north-west through the town made this an important crossing point for the River Ouse, traversing south to London and north to Lincoln and York

The first charter to refer to Huntingdon is dated 650AD, and mention is made in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of a Huntingdon town in 656AD.

It was the Anglo-Saxons defending themselves against the Danes that brought the town into prominence. The Dane Wars (ninth and tenth centuries) caused the town to be fortified by the Anglo-Saxons as chronicled in 917AD. Although it’s strategic location was not lost on the Danes who when in possession built defensive earthworks against the Saxon kings. Finally in 1010 the Danes once more ravaged the whole county.

A charter to Peterborough in 974 gives Huntingdon the right to a market. Then later the right to mint coins, the earliest are dated 955-959, although there may be earlier ones as yet undiscovered.

T-Rex eating a Dark Age Caveman Cartoon

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