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Burwell (St. Mary) in Cambridge County England History and Geography

BURWELL (ST. MARY), a parish in the hundred of STAPLOE, county of CAMBRIDGE, 4 miles (N.W. by W.) from Newmarket, containing 1518 inhabitants. The living is a discharged vicarage, with which the rectory of Burwell-St.-Andrew is consolidated, in the archdeaconry of Sudbury, and diocese of Norwich, rated jointly in the king's books at 30. 14. 2., endowed with 200 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Earl of Guilford, on the nomination of the University of Cambridge. The church is a beautiful edifice, in the decorated style of English architecture: the rental of one hundred acres of arable land is appropriated for preserving it in repair. The church of St. Andrew has long been demolished, and the cemetery converted into pasture land. The village consists principally of one irregular street, about three quarters of a mile long, the houses in which are built with a peculiar kind of stone obtained in quarries in the vicinity, in which pyrites, and sharks teeth in good preservation, have been found. A great fair for horses is held annually on Rogation-Monday, at Reach, once a market-town, now an insignificant hamlet, partly in this parish. A navigable cut extends from this place. Here are the ruins of a castle, surrounded by a moat, which was besieged in the war between Stephen and the Empress Matilda, by Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, who was shot by an arrow from the walls. The parish register contains the record of a melancholy event arising from a fire that broke out in a barn, in the evening of the 8th of September, 1727, whereby seventy-eight persons who had assembled to witness a puppetshow, lost their lives; the mangled and half consumed bodies of the sufferers were promiscuously interred in two pits, dug for them in the church-yard.

From Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England 1831, courtesy of Databases 4 Sale

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