Category Archives: Features
The Most Haunted House in Soham…

Most Haunted? 

Originally built in 1510, this property was converted from a barn into a house around 1560. The original family house once stood on the land where Netherhall Manor now stands, in nearby Tanners Lane. In fact, the chimneys on his house are reputedly the only surviving pieces from the original medieval manor which once graced this site. To date we do not know why they moved to the barn, or when and why the manor was demolished. Further research would be of great value. Read More

Medieval Rebels
Geoffrey De Man

Geoffrey De Mandville’s tomb effigy

Geoffrey de Mandeville – Bandit of the Fens

Geoffrey, was remarkable for his prudence, inflexible spirit in adversity, and military skill. His wealth and his honours raised him above all the nobles of the realm. This lead to jealously, particularly amongst those who were connected with the king of the time – Stephen (B: 1092 or 1096, Reign: 22 December 1135 – 25 October 1154) Read More

Samuel Smiles – Reformer



Education in Wicken at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century was remarkable for its success. It produced a wide range of nationally successful professional men and one woman. Sir James Pope the engineer, Wally Redit the boxer, Johnny Bullman the cyclist, Anthony Day the painter, Frank  Barber the goat  judge. Reginald [Wick} Alsop the banker, and most recently Ruby Barton as a self-taught educationalist. Read More

Sir Henry Barton

Sir Henry Barton
• Yeoman of the King’s chamber by 13 July 1400.
• Purveyor of furs and pelts and skinner for the King’s household 5 Jan. 1405-22 May 1433.
• Sheriff, London and Mdx. Mich. 1405-6.
• Alderman of Farringdon Ward Without by 14 Apr. 1406-aft. 21 Feb. 1412,
• Cornhill Ward 12 Mar. 1412- d; mayor, London 13 Oct. 1416-17, 1428-9.
• Tax collector, London Dec. 1407.
• Collector of tunnage and poundage, London 12 June 1408-24. Jan. 1410, of the wool custom 26 July 1410-28 Feb. 1416.
If, as seems likely, it was Henry Barton, the distinguished London alderman, who obtained custody of the manor of Barton (now Barton Hartshorn), Buckinghamshire, in April 1421, then his ancestry can be traced back to the 12th century. Land elsewhere in the area had passed into the hands of his nephew and heir, Thomas Barton, by 1437, so there is a strong possibility that he came from a local family which had lived in Barton for over 200 years. Read More

Andrew Fuller – Baptist

Andrew Fuller (1754-1815):
A Brief Overview of His Life & Legacy

Founding father of the English Baptist Missionary Society; an advocate of evangelistic Calvinism

Andrew Fuller was born on February 5, 1754 in Wicken, Cambridgeshire, England. He was the son of poor Baptist farmers. Because Fuller ministered during the same era as George Whitefield and the Wesley brothers it would be easy for his name to get lost in their giant shadows. He pastored two congregations during his life at Soham (1775-1782) and at Kettering (1782-1806). Christianity in England was in a generally depressed condition at the time to which Fuller was born. Particular Baptists had fallen into a hyper-Calvinism that denied the need to evangelize the lost or even to offer salvation to anyone. Read More

Benjamin Laney – Bishop and Academic

Laney memorial in Ely cathedral - Taken by E L JohnstonA short and informative insight into a man who left a legacy, that continues to this day, for the benefit of the people of Soham.

Benjamin Laney was born in Ipswich in 1591.

He was a student at Christ’s College, Cambridge and became a Fellow of Pembroke Hall in 1616, becoming Master from 1630. Read More

Manorial Soham – Past & Present

DSC_1782As the Saxons invaded East Anglia the Iceni apparently withdrew to Soham and provided a Christian refuge for St Felix when he arrived in 653AD, to Christianise the East Angles. Soham was the first see of the Bishops of East Anglia. A situation regularised by the marriage of Etheldreda to Tonbert the last King of the Iceni. The first cathedral was founded here; subsequently moved to Ely about 820AD. The populace had gone to Soham Mereside to trade. The Danes changed the prows of their ships; could sail in and slaughtered the people, monks and sacked the monastic buildings. The manorial lands themselves, were settled by the Crown before the Norman Conquest and are documented in the Domesday Book. Soham is situated six and two thirds of a mile from Ely and Newmarket, because this is as far as a man could ride in a day to set up a fresh market. Soham’s market was apparently the first in the area. The statute ‘Quia Emptores’ of 1290, which still remains in force today, states that ‘no Lordship of the Manor can have a valid existence unless it existed prior to 1290’ when the act came into force. Not only did the manor of Soham pre date 1290, it did in fact predate the Conquest, and was even recorded in a visit and stay here by King Canute (in preference to Ely) –‘on skates proceeded by a fat man called Budde – (Pudding) as he crossed Soham. A Saxon carol records that as he followed the fat man over the Mere the monks of Ely sang loudly to no avail. Read More

Hazelmary Lyon – An eventful life


Hazelmary LyonMy great grandfather Alfred Clark the founder of Clark & Butcher Ltd married twice. His first extremely successful marriage was to Sarah Bovingdon. She had sisters who had also married into Soham families; both the Staples and the Cookes had a Bovingdon connection. Sarah died after giving birth to eight children in fairly rapid succession, leaving the young Alfred junior and Ellen to be brought up by his second wife. Read More

Hereward The Wake

According to the Gesta Herewardi, Hereward was exiled at the age of eighteen for disobedience to his father and disruptive behaviour. He was declared an outlaw by Edward the Confessor. At the time of the Norman invasion of England, he was still in exile in Europe, working as a successful mercenary for the Count of Flander, Baldwin V. According to the Gesta he took part in tournaments in Cambrai. At some point in his exile Hereward is said to have married Turfida, a Gallo-Germanic woman from a wealthy family in  Saint-OmerSaint. She is said in theGesta to have fallen in love with him before she met him, having heard of his heroic exploits. Read More

Soham Pubs
The Black Horse 1981

Many, many varied people have published information and books on Soham Pubs, brewery and ale houses; even the local papers have, including The Newmarket Journal and more recently Soham Town Forum, have both produced information, pictures and maps; but not many have the wealth of information gathered by Janet Murfet of Soham. Read More

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