The History of Bury in Cambridgeshire

Historical notes about the town of Bury in Cambridgehsire.

The parish of Bury cum Hepmangrove lies to the south of Ramsey. It is of very irregular shape, projecting a considerable distance into the fen on the east side of the road from Ramsey to St. Ives. From east to west at its widest part, it is about 2.5 miles and from north to south about 1.75 miles. It consists of 1446 acres of which 896 are highland and 489 fen. The land rises on both sides of the brook which runs through the parish from north-east to south-west from 16 ft. above ordnance datum at the brook to 66 ft. on the north-east side and 50 ft. on the south-west. All the fenland and much of the highland is ploughed. The soil is a strong black loam and the subsoil clay. The main crops are wheat, oats, beans and peas on the highland, and potatoes, celery, sugar-beet and the ordinary cereals on the fenland.

Hepmangrove seems originally to have been connected with Ramsey parish, and the brook running through the village of Bury formed the boundary between it and Bury. From the deeds relating to tenements and lands situated within its boundaries, it appears to have been, before the Dissolution of the Monasteries, a populous suburb of Ramsey. Both Bury and Hepmangrove lay within the Banlieu.

Bury and Hepmangrove, which now form one village, lie somewhat scattered along the road from Ramsey to St. Ives. They still retain several 17th-century half-timber thatched or tiled cottages, some of which have been refaced with brick, but most of the houses are of brick with slate or tiled roofs. At the southern end of the village is Bury Hall, a brick house with a slate roof, built by Mr. Abraham Staffurth about 1860, and now the residence of Mr. William Cordell. A short distance northward, after passing some cottages and some recently built county council houses, is the church, occupying a commanding position on a slight eminence. To the east of the church is the rectory built by Lady Olivia Bernard Sparrow in 1845 and conveyed to the living in 1850. Opposite the church is the old Manor House of Bury, a late 16th-century half-timber building with tiled roof, which is now divided into two tenements. The land falls somewhat steeply here to the brook; the former ancient stone bridge of one arch which crossed it was replaced in 1925 by the present somewhat wider bridge. The north-west side of the bridge is in Hepmangrove in which the greater part of the village lies. On the north side of the road is the parish school built by Lady Olivia Bernard Sparrow in or about 1845 and handed over to the rector and churchwardens in 1878 by the Duke of Manchester. Further along the road towards Ramsey is a 17th-century timber-framed house with diagonal chimney shafts, the residence of Miss Rowell. On the north side of a barn belonging to the house are the letters [see below] showing presumably that the house was built by John Campion, who in 1671 married Alice Cox and died in 1712.


Bury Barn Inscription

Inscription on barn (see paragraph above)


Next to this house is Hepmangrove Manor House, a white brick house faced with stone and tiled, the residence of Mr. E. Rowell.

The Bury Shire

The Bury Shire 'Prince William' owned by J Rowell of Hepmangrove Manor

The Bury Shire 'Prince William' owned by J Rowell of Hepmangrove Manor


A little way down the road to Upwood is the Green Dragon, formerly a public house (now a private residence), behind which in a little field the church of Hepmangrove is said to have stood, but no remains of it exist above ground. Further north along the road are the Britannia Iron Works, formerly the type foundry of Messrs. Hughes and Kimber but now disused. Northward of this is Ramsey railway station, which is in Bury parish. Manor Farm House, a white brick house with a tiled roof, in the southern part of the parish, was built by Lady Olivia Bernard Sparrow about 1855 and is now the property of Mr. Joseph Mitcham.

In a field south of the old Manor House of Bury, the site of a Roman Camp is marked on the Ordnance Survey map of 1900, but there seems to be no evidence of such a camp, nor that a mound marked in the same field is a tumulus.

J. A. Poulter, the engraver, lived in Bury and produced many etchings of the neighbourhood at the end of the 19th century.