Stretham, Cambridgeshire


This village, that lies to the south of Ely at the crossroads of the A1123 and the A10, has a restored perpendicular church and spire and a cross which is thought to date from about 1400. There is also a pretty converted windmill at the start of the village just off the A10.

The Stretham Beam Engine, housed in a pump house, is a rare example of 19th century beam pumping engines used in Fen drainage. Built in 1831 the engine drove a scoop wheel 37 feet in diameter which lifted water at the rate of 24 tons a minute. It is an impressive engineering construction, well worth the detour and open to the public all year, although parking is limited and difficult. The engine is nicely situated by the Great Ouse river.

Chapel Square, Stretham
Chapel Square, Stretham - start of the 20th century

From Samuel Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England 1831.

STRETHAM, a parish in the southern division of the hundred of WITCHFORD, Isle of Ely, county of CAMBRIDGE, 4¼ miles (S.W. by S.) from Ely, containing, with the chapelry of Thetford, 1104 inhabitants. The living is a rectory, in the peculiar jurisdiction and patronage of the Bishop of Ely, rated in the king's books at 22. The church is dedicated to St. James. There are places of worship for Baptists and Wesleyan Methodists.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF ELY and neighbouring villages in the Isle by J.H. Clements 1868

"This parish, four miles W. of Ely, and twelve N.E.E. from Cambridge, contains a population of about 1,200 souls. Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester, purchased the manor of Stretham, and presented it to the monks of Ely ; it was afterwards annexed to the see of Ely, from which it was alienated to the Crown by Bishop Heton in 1600. It has since passed through the hands of several families. The church is dedicated to St. James. The living is a rectory, with the curacy of Thetford, in the deancry of Ely, rated in the K. B. at 22., and now worth about 800. nett. The Bishop of Ely is patron, and the Rev. H. H. Baber, about 90 years of age, incumbent."

The Church - An Extract from
Kelly's Directory- Cambridgeshire - 1929

"The church of St. Mary, anciently belonging, according to the inscriptions on the tomb of Alan de Walsinghm, sub-prior ans sacristan of Ely cathedral, to the church of Ely, is a building of flint and stone in the Early English style, consisting of chancel, nave, south porch and a western turret containing one bell : the chancel was restored by the Rev. Charles S. Harris LL.M. rector (1876-84), and the church in 1905 at a cost of 600 : in 1908 the interior was reseated and a vestry added at a cost of 200 : there are 100 sittings. The register dates from the year 1559."

Stretham War Memorial covering World War 1 and 2 with details of those who fell can be found in the Memorials section.

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Last Updated on: 13 May 2000
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