Godmanchester

The town was first chartered  by King John in 12.12, though it had been a market town and royal manor for some years. There is archaeological evidence of Celtic and earlier habitation prior to the establishment of a key Roman town and a Mansio (inn), so the area has probably been continuously occupied for more than 2000 years. The settlement was at a crossroads of Roman roads, with Ermine Street, the Via Devana (from Cambridge, between Colchester and Chester) and a military road from Sandy, Bedfordshire, all passing through. The Roman settlement was sacked by Anglo-Saxons in the third century. In contrast to Huntingdon, there have been vast amounts of archaeological finds in the centre of Godmanchester, which has two conversation areas with a large number of timber-framed Tudor houses, the largest being Tudor Farm, dating from 1600 and restored in 1995.

One of the town's best-known features is its Chinese Bridge. There are several bridges across the Great Ouse to Huntingdon, but until 1975 Old Bridge, Huntingdon, a medieval bridge, was the only one. It is now used only for light traffic, and a parallel footbridge has been built for pedestrians. Construction of the A14 bypass means that heavy traffic now flows over a modern bridge. Local legend has it that when the Chinese Bridge was built without the use of nails or any other fixings. A number of years later, an architect applied to the council for permission to deconstruct the bridge to discover how exactly this had been accomplished. This being done, they tried to reconstruct the bridge again, but found that they could not get it to support itself under its own weight! Today the Chinese Bridge is held together by nails

Original historical documents relating to Godmanchester, including the original church parish registers, local government records, maps, photographs and the surviving borough charters, are held by Cambridgeshire Archive and Local Studies at the County Record Office Huntingdon.
 
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