Village History

A History of Abbots Ripton


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Riptone (x cent.), Riptune (xi cent.), Magna Riptona, Ryptone or Riptone Abbatis (xii & xiii cent.), St John's Ripton (xvi cent.).


The parish of Abbots Ripton lies near the centre of the old county of Huntingdonshire, directly north of Huntingdon itself. The land is flat and low-lying; a stream rising in the west of the parish runs through it, passing a little to the north of the village by Abbots Ripton Hall, and on into Kings Ripton. Local farming is important to the inhabitants; the principal crops grown are wheat, barley and beans. The soil is gravel with a sub-soil of Oxford clay.


There was once a fair amount of woodland in the extreme east and west of the parish. Early records show that the parish, with Somersham Chase and Sapley Forest nearby, was at one time much more heavily wooded. In 1341, the Bishop of Ely claimed the right to hunt deer freely 'throughout the whole forest of Somersham, to wit, as the highway passes from Huntingdon to Ramsey through Ripton'. The Foresters contended that the woods bordering that road were the King's Forest and not the Bishop's free Chase.


The timber on the manor at the time of the Dissolution was reckoned a substantial part of its value and, whilst it remained in the King's hands, the wood on it was reserved by the Surveyor of Woods for the Crown, and its sale was not included in the ordinary accounts of the manor. It was probably soon after this, when the property came to the St John family, that the value of the woodland began to fall quickly. In the troublesome years following the grant to the St Johns, it is evident that the inhabitants of the manor were impoverished by high rents and reduced privileges and, in return, constant actions for damage to trees and unauthorised cutting of timber, were brought by the Lord againsy his tenants. An account is also found about this time of the decay of houses in the manor.


The modern village lies somewhat scattered. The church stands surrounded by trees on the road from Huntingdon to Woodwalton. On its north side is the Rectory; elsewhere, there are a combination of modern houses, 18th century houses and some 17th century timber-framed cottages. East of these cottages is the later 16th century manor house now called Moat Farm.


The hamlet of Wennington lies nearly a mile to the north of the village. Most of the cottages there are timber-framed with roofs of thatch or tiles and are of 16th century date or later.





Monumental inscriptions for this parish have not yet been recorded by the Huntingdonshire FHS.




Census information for this parish (1841 - 1891) is held in the Huntingdon Records Office.


The full 1841 Census of Abbots Ripton Parish is included on Fiche Set C110.


The full 1841 Census of Abbots Ripton Parish is included on Fiche Set C60.


A surname index of the 1881 Census of the Huntingdon Registration District, in which Abbots Ripton (RG11/1604, Folios 100a - 106a) and Wennington (RG11/1604, Folios 106b - 109a) were enumerated, and which took place on 3rd April 1881, is included on Fiche Set C3.


A full transcription of the 1891 Census of the Huntingdon Registration District (RG12/1237) in which Abbotts Ripton was enumerated, and which took place on 5th April 1891, is included on Fiche C9.


The fiche sets mentioned above are published by the Huntingdonshire FHS.


Church History


OS Grid Square TL 231780.


The church of St Andrew consists of a chancel, north chapel, nave, north aisle, south aisle, west tower and south porch. Although there was a church here at the time of the Domesday survey of 1086, the earliest evidence of the present buildings is of a church gradually reconstructed and enlarged during the third and fourth decades of he 13th century. This church, which consisted apparently of a chancel, nave south aisle with south porch, and perhaps a north aisle, was dedicated by the Bishop of Lincoln in 1242.


At the beginning of the 16th century, it was evidently intended to rebuild the church. The chancel was, at that date, rebuilt and the north chapel added. A new arcade on the north side of the nave was erected and, from the evidence of the west respond of the south arcade, it was apparently proposed to rebuild that side also. It is probable that, instead of doing so, this arcade was taken down and rebuilt with the same material. The tower is part of the same scheme of reconstruction, but of a little later date than the rest of the work.


The church was restored by subscription in 1858, and in 1868 the roofs of the nave and the south aisle were restored as a memorial to Frances Rooper by her brothers and sisters.


Church Records


Baptisms: 1558-1598 (remains of paper registers), 1558/9-1684, 1684-1724, 1724-1768, 1768-1812, 1813-1885. Banns: 1755-1812, 1825-1976. Marriages: 1559-1684, 1684-1744, 1735 (one marriage only), 1744-1753, 1762, 1754-1812, 1813-1838. Burials: 1559-1684, 1684-1724, 1724-1768, 1768-1812, 1813-1989 (indexed). Bishop's Transcripts: 1604-5, 1608-10, 1612, 1618-19, 1625-7, 1660-72/1679-80, 1682, 1684-8, 1690-1702, 1704-16, 1718, 1720, 1722-8, 1730-53/1754-1813/1813-24/1825-6, 1828-42, 1851-4.


These are available in the Huntingdon Records Office.


The Huntingdonshire Marriage Indexes include marriages from this parish. These are, at present, issued in alphabetical listings in series: 1601-1700, and 1701-1754, and are available from the Huntingdonshire FHS.


Civil Registration


The parish of Abbots Ripton has been in the Registration District of Huntingdon continuously from 1st July 1837.


Description and Travel


A GENWEB page on Abbots Ripton is available.




An old map of the parish of Abbots Ripton in the 19th century is available.




Population in 1801 - 327.

Population in 1851 - 377.

Population in 1901 - 386.

Population in 1951 - 357.

Population in 1971 - 283.

Population in 1991 - 253.


Poorhouses, Poor Law etc


The parish of Abbots Ripton was in the Huntingdon Union for Poor Law administration.

Births and Deaths registered in the Huntingdon Union Workhouse (1838 - 1949) are available from the Huntingdonshire FHS Bookstall.




Abbots Ripton occupies 4191 acres of land.