NEOTS (ST.), a market town and parish in the hundred of TOSELAND, county Of HUNTINGDON, 9 Miles (S.S.W.) from Huntingdon, and 56 (N.N.W.) from London, containing 2272, inhabitants. The name of this place is derived from St. Neot, a learned Christian missionary, whose body was transferred hither from Neot stock in Cornwall, and in honour of whom a monastery was founded here, which was subsequently endowed, by Earl Leofric, as a priory of monks subordinate to Ely: about 1113, it became a cell to the abbey of Bec in Normandy, but, being afterwards made independent, it existed till the time of Henry VIII., when it's revenue was £256.1.34. After the death of Charles I., the Earl of Holland took up arms here in favour of the royal cause, but was eventually defeated, in July 1648, and, being subsequently taken prisoner at St. Ives, he suffered on the scaffold. The town is situated on the east bank of the river Ouse, over which is a stone bridge of one central arch, with two smaller ones over the stream, and six others forming a causeway over the low lands adjoining: it consists of three principal streets, and, from its low situation, is exposed to occasional inundations, which have sometimes rendered it necessary to navigate the streets; the back streets are usually flooded every year to the depth of from one to two feet. The manufacture of paper is carried on to a considerable extent, by means of patent machinery introduced by Mons. Fourdrinier, in a mill upon the river Ouse, which is navigable from Bedford to Lynn, and furnishes the means of conveyance for corn, coal, wine, iron, timber, and grocery: the market, held under a grant, from Henry I., is on Thursday, for corn; and there are fairs on Holy Thursday, that day three weeks, and December 17th, and a statute fair for hiring servants on the 1st of August: the market-place is very spacious and convenient. A manorial court is held annually. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Huntingdon, and diocese of Lincoln, rated in the king's books at £10, endowed with £200 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Crown. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a remarkably fine specimen of the later style of English architecture, with an elegant tower; in the interior is a fine timber roof, also some ancient screen-work. There are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyan Methodists. A free school was founded and endowed with the interest of £100, bequeathed by Loftus Hatley, in 1736, which was augmented by Alderman Newton, of Leicester, and others, for the clothing and educating of thirty-five poor boys.
For further reading see the St. Neots Town website.
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on: 5 January 2002
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