Banner

Back to the English Counties Page
Facts

CAMBRIDGESHIRE

Owlbut

Owlbut

Break
FUN FACTS

Cambridgeshire is the 14th largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
Cambridgeshire has the 28th highest population in England.
Cambridgeshire is in 35th place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. There is a very obvious royal connection with Cambridge and that is that the future King of England, Prince William, has the title of Duke of Cambridge. He was given the title on the day he married Catherine Middleton in 2011. She, naturally, became the Duchess of Cambridge. There are, at present, six royal dukes.

    The others are the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, the Queen's husband, who was created a duke in 1947, the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, the Queen's second son who was given the title in 1986 and William's brother, Prince Harry, who was made Duke of Sussex on the day of his wedding in 2018. The final two are the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent, both cousins to the Queen. The Queen's third son, Edward, has the title of Earl of Wessex but it is believed that he will become Duke of Edinburgh on his father's death.

  3. Cambridgeshire Eats
  4. The pudding you see to the left is known as College Pudding or, sometimes, Cambridge Pudding. The earliest recipe is included in an English recipe compilation by John Murrell that was printed in London in 1617. The historic pudding was baked in the old kitchen's of Cambridge Queens College and served at the high table in the Dining Hall.

    Initially it was a steamed suet pudding filled with dried fruit, dates and spices. It is said to have been the first pudding cooked in a muslin cloth and could well have been the forerunner of the traditional Christmas Pudding. It was usually served with a pudding sauce, often a brandy sauce.

    The advantage of a suet pudding was that it was very filling but fairly cheap to make, both important factors for the students who had neither money to spare nor enough food to eat.

  5. Cambridgeshire VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in Cambridgeshire in the last 100 years:-
    Olivia Newton-John (Singer), the late Richard, Lord Attenborough (Actor and Film Director), Warwick Davis (Actor - Professor Filius Flitwick in Harry Potter), Amy Williams (Athlete - Olympic Gold Medallist in Skeleton), Louis Smith (Gymnast), Aston Marrygold (Singer - ex JLS) and Charli XCX (Singer and Record Producer).

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. Oliver Cromwell led the opposition to Charles I during the English Civil War in the 1640s. Cromwell was born in Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire on 25th April 1599. After the execution of Charles I, Cromwell took charge of the council that ran England and was made, or made himself, Lord Protector in 1553, a position he remained in until his death on 3rd September 1658.

    After Charles II came back to England anyone involved in the trial of his father was rounded up and hung, drawn and quartered. They didn't want the now dead Cromwell to miss out on this so his body was taken from his grave and hung alongside the others. His body was then taken down nad his head severed from the body. The head was then placed on a wooden spike above Westminster Hall. Some 24 years later, in 1685, a storm broke the pole upon which Cromwell's head stood, throwing it to the ground.

    Over the next nearly 300 years the head was in the possession of various collectors. From 1815 it was kept by the family of Josiah Henry Wilkinson. The final owner was Horace Wilkinson who died in 1957, leaving the head to his son. The son decided to organise a proper burial for the head and contacted Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge. The head was buried on 25th March 1960, still in the oak box in which the Wilkinson family had kept the head since 1815. The box was placed into an airtight container and buried with only a few witnesses. The secret burial was not announced until October 1962. Many have questioned whether it was really Cromwell's head and, to be honest, we will never know but whoever's head it is can now claim to be a permanent fixture in a Cambridge college. Weird.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. My sister, who hates all things mathematical or even involving figures, would not be happy about what happened at Queen's College Cambridge in 1749. A bridge was needed to connect two parts of the college. The designer, William Etheridge, and the builder, James King, came up with the creation that you can see in the picture. Although the bridge has never really been given an official name, it is commonly known as the Mathematical Bridge and is a Grade II listed building. Built in 1749, it has been rebuilt on two occasions, 1855 and 1905. It looks like an arched bridge but is made out of completely straight pieces of wood.

    My little sister's head will now explode when I tell you that the arrangement of timbers is a series of tangents that describe the arc of the bridge, with radial members to tie the tangents together and triangulate the structure, making it rigid and self-supporting. The bridge is 50 feet 8 inches (15.44 metres) long and uses multiple shorter lengths of timber. Even the horizontal strut is actually made up of six shorter pieces. The tangents would subscribe a circle with a radius of 32 ft. Hands up if your brain is still in one piece

    There are many myths surrounding the bridge. It was suggested it was designed and built by Sir Isaac Newton but sadly he had died twenty years before the bridge was even thought of so that one is out. Some people told stories that the bridge was built without any use of nuts or bolts and that is also untrue. People may have thought this because when it was first built iron spikes were driven into the timbers from the outer side, meaning those crossing the bridge could not see them.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. I remember a few more things about Cambridgeshire although it is also a non-coastal county and I have never stayed there. However, in the 1980s, I did work for a company who were based in Cambridge and travelled up there on quite a few occasions. I remember the large number of bicycles and open spaces, often with students sitting on them; the bicycles and the green spaces.

    But my most amusing memory of Cambridge came about on a day trip we made with some friends, again in the 1980s. While there, we decided to take a punt out on the River Cam, the river that runs through the city, For those of you that don't know, and have somehow avoided looking at the picture, a punt is a long, narrow boat with a flat bottom and square ends, moved by a person standing at one end and pushing on the bottom of the river with a long pole. Obviously these boats only work when the bottom of the river is shallower than the length of the pole.

    After very little discussion our friend was elected to be the man with pole, I had no desire to look an idiot and fall in, and off we set. Things were going really well until he pushed his pole in too far and lost his grip on it. At this stage he said "whoops" and we all turned round, or rather those of us facing forwards, to see Rick, standing on the back, empty handed and a pole stuck upright in the river a few yards behind him. With great effort using our hands as paddles, we managed to reverse our punt and he rescued his pole and all was well. Memories. Next time you're there, give it a try. By the way, the picture is not of that trip, merely a library picture I found.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. Uploading our last county before Christmas so I thought I should take note of the 12 days of Christmas song and tell you about the turtle dove. It's smaller and darker than the collared dove we looked at recently and slightly larger than a blackbird. As you can see it still has a sort of collar but its feathers are very mottled. Mottled means spotty or speckled. Sadly, the turtle dove has become quite rare and it is on the Red List of conservation concern. It eats seeds and people think it may be because of a lack of these that the population of turtle doves is declining.

    The mottled feathers are black, brown, blue, cream, grey, white, orange, pink and purple. The legs are brown, pink and red and the beak is thin, black and of medium length. It can mainly be seen in southern and eastern England and its natural habitats are woodland, farmland, grassland and heaths both in the country and in towns.

    The turtle dove is about 27cms in length, has a wingspan of between 47 and 53 cms and weighs between 130 and 180 grams. The turtle dove will arrive in late April and May, leaving again between July and September.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into Cambridgeshire check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020