St Neots (/sənt ˈniːəts/ sənt NEE-əts) is a town and civil
parish in the non-metropolitan county of Cambridgeshire, England,
within the historic county of Huntingdonshire, next to the
Bedfordshire county border. It lies on the banks of the River Great
Ouse in the
Huntingdonshire District, 15 miles (24 km) west of
Cambridge and 50 miles (80 km) north of central London. St Neots
is the largest town in Cambridgeshire[note 1] with a population of
approximately 40,000 in 2014. The town is named after the Cornish monk
Saint Neot, whose bones were subject to translation from the hamlet of
Bodmin Moor on consecration of the Priory of
St Neots circa
St Neots 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,
stagecoach traffic, and railways. After the Second World War, the town
and its industry grew rapidly as
London councils paid for new housing
to be built in the town to rehouse families from London. The first
London overspill housing was completed in the early 1960s.
1.1 Early history
1.2 20th century to present
5.6 Recent developments
St Neots (Southern) Foot and Cycle Bridge
6 Sport and leisure
8 Notable residents
11 External links
Main article: History of St Neots
Remains of the Norman castle at Eaton Socon
In 2012, archaeological excavations discovered prehistoric Mesolithic,
Early Neolithic era, Iron Age, Roman and Early Middle Saxon items at
the new town centre cinema development. Some five years earlier,
Cambridge University Archaeologists uncovered significant remains of
Iron Age settlement of Round Houses during eastern town
excavations. These findings confirm settlements having existed for
over 3,000 years.
Roman, Saxon and Medieval finds have also been made in and around St
Neots. Early Saxon 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 Anglo Saxon Chronicles record that in 917 the Danish King of East
Huntingdon to attack Saxon settlements but was defeated
and killed at the
Battle of Tempsford near St Neots. The Normans
rebuilt the Priory near the river and, in 1113, the Priory of St Neots
was given its own manor, separate from Eyenesbury, which it had
previously been part of. The town formed was named St Neots, and
remained partially entwined with Eynesbury until approximately 1204,
when the two parishes were formally separated. A castle was built
in the 12th century on the riverbank at Eaton (modern Eaton Socon);
the earth-mound remnants still exist today.
The parish church was rebuilt in the 15th century, and is one of the
few currently extant churches of this period in England. A large part
of the original church remains, including stained glass windows
depicting the life of Christ.
The Great Ouse was made navigable from St Ives to Bedford, via St
Neots, in 1629, increasing river-borne trade in the town.
The separate village of Eynesbury became re-incorporated into St Neots
St.Neots Parish Church
20th century to present
Eaton Ford and Eaton Socon, two villages across the county boundary
formed by the
River Great Ouse
River Great Ouse in Bedfordshire, were merged into St
Neots in 1965.
Technology-based industries are located in 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, Love's Farm, and the Island,
Little Paxton bringing
the population above 40,000. It is projected that the population of
the town will be 65,000 by the end of the
Huntingdonshire Local Plan
The lowest tier of local government is for the civil parish, which in
the case of
St Neots is known as a town council. The town council
consists of twenty-one elected councillors who are elected for a term
of four years. A town mayor and a deputy town mayor are elected from
among the town councillors. The town council is elected by those
residents of the parish who have registered on the electoral roll. the
town council is responsible for providing and maintaining a variety of
local services including allotments and a cemetery; grass cutting and
tree planting within public open spaces or playing fields. The town
council reviews all planning applications that might affect the town
and makes recommendations to
Huntingdonshire District Council, which
is the local planning authority for the civil parish. The town council
also represents the views of the parish on issues such as local
transport, policing and the environment. The town council raises its
own tax to pay for these services, known as the parish precept, which
is collected as part of the Council Tax.
The second tier of local government is
Council which is a non-metropolitan district of
Cambridgeshire and has
its headquarters in Huntingdon.
Huntingdonshire District Council has
52 councillors representing 29 district wards. Huntingdonshire
District Council collects the council tax, and provides services such
as building regulations, local planning, environmental health, leisure
St Neots is part of four district wards; St Neots
St Neots Eaton Socon,
St Neots Eynesbury, and St Neots
St Neots is represented on the district council by two
councillors for each district ward. District councillors serve
for four-year terms following elections to
St Neots the highest tier of local government is Cambridgeshire
County Council, which has administration buildings in Cambridge. The
county council provides county-wide services such as major road
infrastructure, fire and rescue, education, social services, libraries
and heritage services.
Cambridgeshire County Council consists of 69
councillors representing 60 electoral divisions.
St Neots is part
of two electoral divisions;
Little Paxton and
St Neots North; and St
Eaton Socon and Eynesbury.
St Neots is represented on the
county council by two councillors for each electoral division.
St Neots is in the parliamentary constituency of
Huntingdon, and elects one
Member of Parliament (MP) by the first
past the post system of election.
St Neots is represented in the House
of Commons by
Jonathan Djanogly (Conservative).
Jonathan Djanogly has
represented the constituency since 2001.
St Neots was in the safe
Conservative constituency of
Cambridgeshire South West from 1983 until
1997 when it was transferred to Huntingdon, whose MP at the time was
the then-Prime Minister
John Major (although he was briefly Leader of
the Opposition and then a backbencher for most of his four years in
the seat on those boundaries until his retirement). For the European
St Neots is part of the
East of England
East of England constituency, which
elects seven MEPs using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional
St Neots is approximately 49 miles north of London. It is close to the
south-western boundary of
Huntingdonshire District, and both the city
Cambridge and the county town of
Bedford are nearby.
Places adjacent to St Neots
St Neots lies 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 usually constrained in a
River Great Ouse, St Neots
Tributaries entering the Great Ouse in the town are the River Kym, Hen
Brook, Duloe Brook and
Colmworth Brook. The area is generally
low-lying. The Riverside Fields, an amenity area adjacent to St Neots
Bridge, is designed as a flood buffer area, and is under water at
times of flood, protecting dwelling and commercial property from
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 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.
The climate in the
United Kingdom is defined as a temperate oceanic
climate, or Cfb on the
Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification system, a
classification it shares with most of northwest Europe. Eastern
areas of the United Kingdom, such as East Anglia, are drier, cooler,
less windy and also experience the greatest daily and seasonal
temperature variations. Protected from the cool onshore coastal
breezes further to the east of the region,
Cambridgeshire is warm in
summer, and cold and frosty in winter.
Climate data for St Neots, 2000–2012
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days
Source: World Weather Online
In the period 1801 to 1901 the population of
St Neots was recorded
every ten years by the UK census. During this time the population was
in the range of 1,752 (the lowest was in 1801) and 3,321 (the highest
was in 1861).
From 1901, a census was taken every ten years with the exception of
1941 (due to the Second World War).
Except for 2011, all population census figures from report Historic
Cambridgeshire to 2011 by
2011 Census figure.
In 2011, the parish covered an area of 3,776 acres (1,528
hectares) and the population density of
St Neots in 2011 was
5,232.2 persons per square mile (2,020.3 per square kilometre).
St Neots railway station
St Neots railway station is located on the
East Coast Main Line
East Coast Main Line and
provides half-hourly trains south to
London King's Cross) and
north to Peterborough. Journey times to
London King's Cross typically
range from 36 minutes to one hour. The station is managed and served
by Great Northern.
A new footbridge opened in February 2014, linking the Love's Farm
housing development and Rowley Park Stadium to the railway station and
the rest of the town, as well as providing lifts to all platforms.
St Neots Market Square
Riverside Park, St Neots
St Neots is bypassed by the A1 which 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.
Until the three-mile £8 million A45
St Neots Bypass opened in
December 1985 (subsequently re-designated as the A428), traffic to and
Cambridge had to pass through the town centre.
The A421 begins at
Black Cat Roundabout
Black Cat Roundabout on the A1 just south of the
town, connecting with
Bedford and Milton Keynes, and carrying much of
the traffic between
Oxford and Cambridge.
Regular local buses are provided by
St Neots is served by the cross country X5 service that
Cambridge and Oxford.
There is also the Route 66, run by
Stagecoach which goes into
St Neots is within an hour's drive from
London Luton Airport and
London Stansted Airport
St Neots Foot and Cycle Bridge
The route and location of the
St Neots (Southern) Foot and Cycle
St Neots is on Route 12 of the
Sustrans national cycle route that
Oxford via Harwich, Felixstowe, Ipswich, Bury
St Edmunds, Cambridge, Huntingdon, Sandy,
Bedford and Milton Keynes.
St Neots (Southern) Foot and Cycle Bridge
A foot and cycle bridge across the
River Great Ouse
River Great Ouse was opened in
2011, connecting the communities of
Eaton Socon and Eynesbury. A
public consultation on the scheme was held in 2003 with public
exhibitions held in December 2008. The new bow string arch bridge has
a span of 346 m (1,135 ft) (including access ramps), and
includes lighting and improvements to the connecting cycle paths.
The scheme was supported by
Cambridgeshire County Council,
Huntingdonshire District Council and is a
The bridge had an estimated construction cost of £3.5 million with
Sustrans contributing an additional £700,000. The construction
started in January 2011 and was completed on time and within budget
during September 2011. The use of a
Compulsory Purchase Order for the
necessary land was approved. The route of the cycle way has connected
Shakespeare Road, in Eaton Socon, to Barford Road, in Eynesbury and
follows the southern boundary of
St Neots Community School.
Sport and leisure
St Neots has a semi-professional non-League football team, St Neots
Town F.C., who play at Rowley Park Stadium. The club are currently
members of the Southern Football League Premier Division. The town
also has a rugby club
St Neots RUFC, a rowing club
St Neots Rowing
Dragon Boat teams and a table tennis club, the St Neots
Table Tennis club, which plays in both the
Bedford and District Table
Tennis League and the
Cambridgeshire Table Tennis League.
The Rowley Arts Centre was opened in May 2014. The development
includes a piazza walkway line with popular national chain restaurants
and state-of-the-art cinema complex. The development is named after
Peter Rowley, an American playwright, author and critic who was Lord
of the Manor of St Neots. He donated £1 million towards the
The cinema contains six screens capable of accommodating 900 people.
The build specification is in accordance with Cineworld deluxe
standard and nearly all screens are equipped with the latest 3D
projection. The Rowley Auditorium also provides a venue for live
performances, with adapted seating area and spotlighting. There are
also lifts and box seating for disabled visitors.
St Neots Museum, housed in the town's Victorian Police Station and
Magistrates Court, has local history collections covering the town's
rich past including a display about James Toller, the Eynesbury Giant,
a resident from the 18th century who measured over 8 ft in
height. There is also a gallery with temporary exhibitions by local
creatives including fine art, ceramics, sculpture and illustration.
Local notable music venues include the Priory Centre, and has been
host to many great entertainers as well as holding productions by
local amateur dramatic groups and the Pig and Falcon, which has live
music every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and regular open mic
The town has a community radio station, co-founded by BBC radio
presenter, Tony Gillham and was granted an FM radio licence by
Ofcom in 2015. The station has been broadcasting under the name Black
Cat 107 regularly since April 2017.
There is a thriving theatre community with four active groups –
Riverside Theatre Company who stage productions, run workshops and
have groups for all ages; VAMPS formed in 1961 as the
St Neots and
District Operatic Society and stage popular musicals and variety
St Neots Players, formed in the late 1920s
as a play-reading group with past members who used to perform the
annual Shakespeare, Pantomime and other mid-season productions at the
Kings Head Hotel in the Stables Theatre; and Stageworks, a
performing arts group offering classes, holiday programmes, workshops
and a college offering full-time training to students aged 16 years
and over that prepares students for musical theatre and acting.
The local creative community is served by art youth club, Vir2oso,
which runs regular workshops and clubs for 8 and 17 year-olds at the
Bargoves Centre and aims to encourage and support children who feel
despondent and dejected in their school life and those with learning
difficulties. There is also Neotists, a group for creative
professionals with members covering design, illustration, art,
photography and IT, which commissions local creatives to collaborate
on projects, run workshops and events for the community and provide
opportunities and connections for professionals working in the
John Bellingham, the only man to assassinate a British Prime Minister
Spencer Perceval on 11 May 1812), lived in St Neots.
Footballers John Gregory, Lee Philpott, and
Tim Breacker are from the
town, as well as Olympic High Jump Bronze medallist
Robbie Grabarz and
Olympic fencer Graham Paul. Multiple World short course swimming
champion Mark Foster also lives in St Neots. Other people from the
town include actor Rula Lenska. Blues guitarist Mark Christian
Hawkins is also a resident.
^ There are two larger settlements in the ceremonial county of
Cambridge and Peterborough, but these are both cities
^ a b c Page, William; Proby, Granville; Inskipp Ladds, S, eds.
(1932). "Parishes: St Neots". A History of the County of Huntingdon.
London: Victoria County History. 2: 337–346. Retrieved 26 July
^ a b "
Huntingdonshire District Council: Councillors".
Huntingdonshire District Council.
Retrieved 23 February 2016.
Huntingdonshire District Council". www.huntingdonshire.gov.uk.
Huntingdonshire District Council. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
^ a b c "Ordnance Survey Election Maps". www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk.
Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
Cambridgeshire County Council". www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk.
Cambridgeshire County Council. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
^ a b "
Cambridgeshire County Council: Councillors".
Cambridgeshire County Council. Retrieved 15
^ Peel, M. C.; Finlayson, B. L.; McMahon, T. A. (2007). "Updated world
map of the Köppen–Geiger climate classification". Hydrol. Earth
Syst. Sci. 11: 1633–1644. doi:10.5194/hess-11-1633-2007.
ISSN 1027-5606. (direct: Final Revised Paper)
St Neots 2000–2012". World Weather Online. Retrieved 26 June
^ a b c "Historic Census figures
Cambridgeshire to 2011" (xlsx -
Retrieved 12 February 2016.
^ "Neighbourhood Statistics: Lead Key Figures 2011 Census: St Neots
(Parish)". www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk. Office for National
Statistics. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
St Neots (Southern) Foot and Cycle Bridge".
Council. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
^ The bridge is known locally as the Willow Bridge. "St Neots
(Southern) Foot and Cycle Bridge Briefing Note" (PDF). Cambridgeshire
County Council. 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-07.
^ "Priory Centre".
^ "Black Cat Radio launching in
St Neots on 87.7FM". Hunts Post.
^ "Riverside Theatre Company".
St Neots Players".
^ Bell, John (2002), The
St Neots assassin, BBC Cambridgeshire,
^ "Foster covets first Olympic medal". BBC News. 15 July 2008.
^ "Rula Lenska". bfi.ork.uk. British Film Institute. Retrieved 25 July
Official tourism website for St Neots
River Great Ouse, England
(upstream to downstream)
(upstream to downstream by confluence)
River Ouzel (or Lovat)
River Little Ouse
(upstream to downstream)
A428 Turvey bridge
A428 Bromham bypass
Bedford Town Bridge
Great Barford Bridge
A428 Bridge St Neots
St Neots Town Bridge
Godmanchester Chinese Bridge
A14 bridge, River Great Ouse
Huntingdon Old Bridge
St Ives Bridge
Longest UK rivers
Ceremonial county of Cambridgeshire
City of Peterborough
Boroughs or districts
City of Cambridge
District of East Cambridgeshire
District of Fenland
District of Huntingdonshire
District of South Cambridgeshire
See also: List of civil parishes in Cambridgeshire
Great Ouse (Old Bedford
Population of major settlements
Grade I listed buildings
Diocese of Ely
Diocese of Peterborough
Isle of Ely
Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely
Soke of Peterborough
Huntingdon and Peterborough