Facts about Huntingdon
Huntingdon is a market town in Cambridgeshire, England, chartered by King John in 1205. Having been the county town of historic Huntingdonshire, it is now the seat of the Huntingdonshire District Council. It is well known as the birthplace of Oliver Cromwell, who was born there in 1599 and its Member of Parliament (MP) for the town in the 17th century. The former Conservative Prime Minister John Major served as the MP for Huntingdon from 1979 until his retirement in 2001.
Huntingdon was founded by the Anglo-Saxons and Danes. It is first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 921, where it appears as Huntandun. It appears as Huntedun in the Domesday Book of 1086. The name means “The huntsman’s hill” or possibly “Hunta’s hill”. It seems that Huntingdon was a staging post for Danish raids outside of East Anglia until 917 when the Danes moved to Tempsford in Bedfordshire before they were crushed by Edward the Elder.
In 1746, the botanists Wood and Ingram of nearby Brampton developed an elm-tree cultivar, Ulmus × hollandica ‘Vegeta’, which they named the “Huntingdon Elm” after the town. Original documents on Huntingdon’s history, including the borough charter of 1205, are held by Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies at the County Record Office, Huntingdon. Parts of Huntingdon, including the town centre, were struck by an F1/T3 tornado on 23 November 1981, during a record-breaking nationwide tornado outbreak on that day.