The Surrounding Area: Histon

Histon Brook and Village Green (© Nigel Cox)

Histon's archaeological past dates back to the prehistoric periods and the same prehistoric track way that goes though Oakington also goes though Histon and the Iron Ring fort at Arbury Camp (Impington) to the south west. Evidence suggests that there are at least three known Bronze Age barrows in the west, and three Neolithic polished axes have been found in the area.

Like Oakington there is some limited Roman activity, with small amounts of pottery and possible evidence of farming. Currently the only Anglo-Saxon activity we know about is a single loom-weight from around the school grounds; this is a domestic artefact which would have been used to keep warp yarn (woollen threads) taught whilst a weaver was working on an upright loom. However, there is probably more evidence to find as Histon is named in the Doomsday book and the name Histon is Anglo-Saxon being a combination of Hyse and tun (young man's farm/house).

In the medieval period Histon parish was managed by the bishop of Lincoln in 1086, through two manors. One of these manors was given to Eynsham Abbey in Oxfordshire, where it was held until the dissolution of the monasteries. On this property one of two medieval churches was erected in and was used until the late 16th century, currently all that survives of this church is the chancel, the nave and the tower.

The second medieval church in Histon is called St Andrews and was built close to Histon Manor. This building saw continuous phases of redevelopment both in the 17th and 18th centuries; and the introduction of a rectangular water-filled moat. The park surrounding the manor was also extended during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Evidence suggests that the original village layout was focused around two centres. Firstly, a large oval green and secondly, Church End – which occupied the space between the two churches. Church end appears to be the earliest place with settlement and building here were focused around a grid system.

In 1086 is estimated at 375 people lived in Histon, by 1279 this had tripled to 945. This declined in the 16th century and was around 523 by 1801 by 1851 census the population was around 1000.