St Neots

St Neots

infobox UK place

country = England
latitude= 52.23
longitude= -0.26
official_name= St Neots
population = 26,390
shire_district= Huntingdonshire
shire_county = Cambridgeshire
region= East of England

constituency_westminster= Huntingdon
post_town= ST NEOTS
postcode_district = PE19
postcode_area= PE
dial_code= 01480
os_grid_reference= TL185605

St Neots is a town of about 29,000 people on the River Great Ouse. It is the largest town in Cambridgeshire, England, (Cambridge and Peterborough are both cities). The town lies in Huntingdonshire District and is named after the Saxon monk St Neot whose bones were housed in the nearby priory of the same name.

The pilgrim trade brought prosperity for the town, and it was granted a market charter in 1130. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the town enjoyed further prosperity through corn milling, brewing, stagecoaching, and railways.


Today, St Neots is a thriving market town. The modern town incorporates Eynesbury (originally the main settlement and the oldest part of the town) and two areas across the river, Eaton Ford and Eaton Socon (originally separate villages). Already the largest town in Cambridgeshire, the town continues to grow rapidly due to a huge demand for modern housing on the outskirts of St Neots. The town takes its share of the increasing population in the area in and around Cambridge. Technology-based industries now operate from some of the town's light industrial estates, and there is a gas turbine power station at Little Barford on the edge of the town.Recent development has added Eynesbury Manor and The Island, Little Paxton bringing the population above 30,000. There are also plans for over 1200 new homes to the east of the East Coast Main Line railway.By the river, next to the Priory Centre, lies St Neots Rowing Club. This club has produced international athletes and many national champions.

Local geography

St Neots lies close to the south-western edge of Huntingdonshire district and is situated in the valley of the River Great Ouse, partly on the flood plain and partly on slightly higher ground a little further from the water. The Great Ouse is a mature river, once wide and shallow but now controlled by weirs and sluices and restrained in a well-defined channel. Tributaries entering the Ouse in the town are the River Kym, Hen Brook, Duloe Brook, and Colmworth Brook. Because the area is generally low lying (compared to the higher lands to the north), the river often swells and bursts its banks due to heavy rainfall. The flood waters affect a large proportion of the town. The vast majority of Riverside Park is flooded at these times and many urban areas around the Ouse's tributary rivers/brooks flood as well leaving many homes saturated which in turn, will devastate the house's value because of its flood-prone location.

St Neots developed at the site of a ford where overland routes converged. This was replaced by a medieval bridge, and today there are two further crossings just outside the town, one to the north and another to the south. The three-mile £8m A45 St Neots Bypass opened in December 1985 and was subsequently redesignated as the A428.The soil is mainly light, overlying gravel beds, and gravel extraction is one of the local industries. Older disused gravel pits form useful nature reserves and amenity areas at nearby Paxton Pits and at the Wyboston Leisure Park. Away from the river, the higher land is mainly a heavy clay soil with few large settlements. Much of the land is used for arable farming.

St Neots is close to Cambridge, Bedford and Peterborough. The A1 links the town by road with London to the south and Peterborough to the north while the nearby A14 provides access to the Midlands and East Anglia. There is also a good rail service from Peterborough via St Neots to London, taking 45 minutes to Kings Cross. The A421 begins at a junction on the A1 just south of the town, connecting with Bedford and Milton Keynes, and carrying much of the traffic between Oxford and Cambridge.


Although Roman and even pre-Roman finds have been made in and around St Neots, there was no significant settlement until Saxon times. Early developments were in Eynesbury, Eaton Socon and Eaton Ford, which still exist as part of the town today; and Maltman's Green and Crosshall Ford which are no longer recognised.

The Normans rebuilt the Priory near the river and the town of St Neots grew up against its southern wall.

Famous Residents

* John Bellingham the only man to assassinate a British Prime Minister, Spencer Perceval on 11 May in 1812 lived in St Neots. He had been unhappy that he was unable to obtain compensation for being unfairly imprisoned in Russia. He was found guilty and hanged on Monday May 18 1812. [ BBC Cambridgeshire]
* Australian evangelist Pastor Peter Foxhall was born in St Neots.
* Olympic Swimmer Mark Foster lives in St Neots. [] The town to have the first surviving quadruplets born in the world. They were born in 1935.


St Neots has two major expansion projects planned, at Love's Farm to the east of the railway line, where construction has already begun, and on the site of the Samuel Jones paper mill at Little Paxton. The old water-powered mill was developed by Bloor Homes recently as an "executive" estate but the new development will be a mixture of properties including social housing.

Some residents have criticised the new developments as they are technically outside the town's boundaries, meaning that while they will use and depend on the town's infrastructure, the new residents' council tax will not contribute towards St Neots' coffers. It is planned that the town boundaries will be re-drawn to include these developments, as well as the whole of Little Paxton, in 2011.

Nearby settlements

* Cities - Cambridge, Peterborough
* Towns - Bedford, Biggleswade, Godmanchester, Higham Ferrers, Huntingdon, Raunds, Royston, Rushden, Sandy, St Ives, Thrapston
* Villages - Abbotsley, Bolnhurst, Buckden, Caxton, Chawston, Colesden, Colmworth, Croxton, Diddington, Duloe, Eltisley, Gamlingay, Graveley, Great Paxton, Great Staughton, Hail Weston, Keysoe, Keysoe Row, Kimbolton, Little Barford, Little Paxton, Little Staughton, Offord Cluny, Offord D'Arcy, Perry, Pertenhall, Roxton, Staughton Green, Staughton Highway, Southoe, Staploe, Stonely, Tempsford, Toseland, Wyboston, Yelling

ee also

* Saint Neot (historical person)
* St Neots Town F.C.


* [ Population figures]

External links

* [ Town Council]
* [ St Neots Community Pages] (residents' forums)
* [ Churches]
* [ Football Club]
* [ Museum]
* [ The Priory Centre]
* [ Train times]
* [ Youth Town Council]

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