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St Ives, Huntingdonshire

ST IVES, HUNTINGDONSHIRE, a market town and municipal borough in the northern parliamentary division of Huntingdonshire, England, mainly on the left (north) bank of the Ouse, 5 m. E. of Huntingdon by the Great Eastern railway. Pop. (1001) 2910. The river is crossed by an old bridge said to have been built by the abbots of Ramsey early in the 15th century. A building over the centre pier of the bridge was once used as a chapel. The causeway (1827) on the south side of the river is built on arches so as to assist the flow of the river in time of flood. The church of All Saints is Perpendicular, with earlier portions. A curious custom is practised annually in this church in connexion with a bequest made by a certain Dr Robert Wilde in 1678: it is the distribution of Bibles to six boys and six girls of the town. The original provision was that the Bibles should be cast for by dice on the Communion table. Oliver Cromwell was a resident in St Ives in 1634-1635, but the house which he inhabited Slepe Hall was demolished in the middle of the 19th century. St Ives has a considerable agricultural trade. It is governed by a mayor, 4 aldermen and 1 2 councillors. Area 2326 acres.

The manor of " Slepe " is said to have been given by /Ethelstan " Mannessune " to the abbot of Ramsey and confirmed to him by King Edgar. It owed its change of name to the supposed discovery of the grave of St Ive, a Persian bishop, in 1001, and a priory was founded in the same year by Abbot Ednoth as a cell to Ramsey. St Ives was chiefly noted for its fair, which was first granted to the abbot of Ramsey by Henry I. to be held on Monday in Easter week and eight days following. In the reign of Henry III. merchants from Flanders came to the fair, which had become so important that the king granted it to be continued beyond the eight days if the abbot agreed to pay a farm of 50 yearly for the extra days. The fair, with a market on Monday granted to the abbot in 1286, survives, and was purchased in 1874 by the corporation from the duke of Manchester. The town was incorporated in 1874.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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