Huntingdon was founded by the Anglo-Saxons and Danes. Mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, it seems that it was a staging post for Danish raids outside of east Anglia until 917, when the Danes relocated to Tempsford, before being crushed by Edward the Elder.
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It prospered successively as a bridging point of the River Great Ouse, as a market town, and in the 18th and 19th centuries as a coaching centre, most notably The George Hotel. The town has a well-preserved medieval bridge that used to serve as the main route of Ermine Street over the river. The bridge only ceased to be the sole crossing point to Godmanchester in 1975, with the advent of what is now the A14 bypass.
Sebastopol Cannon Huntingdon
Its valuable trading position was secured by the now vanished Huntingdon Castle. The site is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and is home to a beacon used to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Spanish Armada.
In 1746, the botanists Wood & Ingram of nearby Brampton developed a cultivar species of elm tree, Ulmus × hollandica ‘Vegeta’, which was named the “Huntingdon Elm” after the town.
Original historical documents relating to Huntingdon, including the borough charter of 1205, are held by Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies at the County Record Office Huntingdon.
Huntingdon welcome sign
Between the railway station and the old hospital building, stands a replica cannon. In the 1990s the replica was installed to replace an original Crimean War one, that stood there until theSecond World War, being scrapped for the war effort. When the replica was installed it was placed in the opposite direction to the original.
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