St Ives
Cambridgeshire




Click Oliver Cromwell (who once lived here) to go to contents list.


A personal view
by Philip Grosset




Places to see
The 15th century bridge with the St Ledger Chapel halfway across it. (St Ledger was a 7th century martyr who had been Bishop of Autun in France.)
Around 1420, the original bridge was replaced with the stone one that still stands today. It has an unusual feature: a little stone chapel halfway across it, that once served as a tollhouse (its interior can be seen in the photo on the right). When the St Ives priory was closed down in 1539, the last prior was allowed to live here for the rest of his life. It was subsequently used as a shop, lock-up, disreputable inn, and house (for which two more storeys were added in the 18th century. These were removed in 1930). Some say it was also the town brothel!

The two arches on the left of the bridge seen above are rounded, so do not match the older pointed ones on the right. This is because the bridge was deliberately broken by the Roundhead garrison during the Civil War in 1645, when a drawbridge was inserted that could easily be removed if Royalists attacked the town - although they never did. It was not repaired until 1746.
In the background is the spire of the parish church of All Saints, and on the right of the picture is the much changed so-called "
Manor House" (now shops and restaurants) dating back to about 1600, that is also seen below. 
The view from the bridge looking along Bridge Street towards the centre of town. The old Jacobean house is in the left foreground.



Oliver Cromwell's statue is on Market Hill. Cromwell farmed in St. Ives as a young man from 1631 to 1636. His statue was unveiled here in 1901 - his birthplace of Huntingdon having rejected it! This is the top end of Market Hill which (like The Broadway) is a very wide street that used to be the site of the great annual fair. It later became the sheep market. Old photos show it full of sheep pens. Hidden beneath the statue is the sealed well that once supplied St Ives with its water supply. The town pump here was accidentally burnt down during the Mafeking Night celebrations in 1900, when a huge bonfire on Market Hill got out of control! By then it was no longer being used as its water was contaminated, and piped water had recently been introduced.



The market is held on Market Hill every Monday (with a smaller one on Fridays). It's particularly good for fruit, vegetables, fish (the fish stall is there on some other days too), and plants, as well as lots of clothes and other stalls - including a useful picture framing one. There's a much bigger market on Bank Holidays - but with many more fripperies and less necessities! Cromwell's statue, as seen here, keeps an eye over it all. There's another page of market photos, and there's a local shops page too.



Cromwell on market day
The Mill. Potto Brown (of Houghton) began building this automatic steam-driven corn mill in 1854, and it operated until 1888 when cheap imports of American grain made it badly situated to compete. It was then used as a warehouse, and subsequently it became a printing works. Later on, it was occupied by Clive Sinclair's electronics company, when (in 1972) the world's first pocket calculators were produced here.
It is now converted into flats with a small marina alongside it. There used to be a railway bridge across the river just on this side of the mill, so in those days it had easy access to the river, the railway and the old London Road behind it.




Go on to MORE PLACES TO SEE


OPENING PAGE
BRIEF HISTORY
ANSWER TO RIDDLE
PLACES TO SEE
OLD PHOTOGRAPHS
MARKET DAY
SHOPS
OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
ST IVES IN THE SUMMER
SUMMER CARNIVALS
ODDITIES OF ST IVES
UNUSUAL PHOTOS
EATING PLACES
FURTHER AFIELD
NEWS FROM ST IVES
CHRISTMAS MARKET
FLOODS
SNOW:JAN 2003
LOCAL WEBSITES
WHAT YOU SAY
MEMORIES OF ST IVES
MAP
AERIAL PHOTOS
ESTATE AGENTS
GUEST BOOK
CONTENTS LIST
SEARCH ENGINE