Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for ROYSTON

ROYSTON, a town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district, all registrationally in Herts, but part of the parish electorally in Cambridgeshire, and other parts of the district in Cambridgeshire and Essex. The town stands at the intersection of Icknield-street and Ermine-street, on the mutual boundary of Herts and Cambridgeshire, adjacent to the Hitchin and Cambridge railway, 13 miles E N E of Hitchin; is supposed to have originated in the time of William the Conqueror; took its name from Roisia de Vere, who put up a cross at it; had an Augustinian priory, founded in the time of Henry II.; had also a royal hunting-seat, built by James I., and occasionally occupied by that king and by Charles I.; is now a seat of petty-sessions and county courts, and a polling-place; gives the title of Viscount to Earl Hardwicke; is situated, in a bottom, among chalk downs; comprises several streets, chiefly edificed with brickhouses; and has a head post-office, ‡ a railway station, two banking offices, two chief inns, a market house, a public institute, a church, Independent and Unitarianchapels, national and British schools, and charities £42. The market house is a modern building. A sculpturedcave, 17 feet in diameter and 25½ feet high, was discovered under Melbourn-street, adjacent to the market house, in 1742; and is supposed to have been successively a Roman sepulchre and a Christian oratory. The public institute was built in 1856; and contains reading-rooms, class-rooms, a library, a museum, and alecture-hall. The church is the old church of the priory, and contains some ancient brasses and monuments. A weekly market is held on Wednesday; fairs are held on Ash-Wednesday, Easter-Wednesday, Whit-Wednesday, the first Wednesday of July, and the Wednesday after10 Oct.; and malting, brewing, and lime-burning arecarried on. The parish comprises 300 acres in Herts, and 20 in Cambridgeshire. Real property, £6, 824. Pop., 1, 387 and 495. Houses, 286 and 103. The manor belongs to Lord Dacre. Various antiquities are found, from time to time, in the neighbourhood of the town; and many barrows are on the hills to the E and the W. The Royston crow, Corvus cornix, visits the town about the beginning of winter, and migrates to Sweden and Germany in spring. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Rochester. Value, £107.* Patron, Lord Dacre.

The sub-district contains also the parishes of Kelshall, The rfield, Reed, Barkway, Barley, Ashwell, Hinxworth, Guilden-Morden, Steeple-Morden, Heydon, Great Chishall, and Little Chishall, the three last electorally in Essex, the two previous electorally in Cambridgeshire. Acres, 33, 204. Pop., 10, 175. Houses, 2, 100. The district comprehends also the sub-district of Buntingford, containing the parishes of Little Hormead, Great Hormead, Meesden, Anstey, Wyddiall, Buckland, Throcking, Layston, Aspeden, Westmill, Ardeley, Cottered, Rushden, Wallington, and Sandon, and the extra-parochial tracts of Wakeley and Broad field, all electorally in Herts; and the sub-district of Melbourn, containing the parishes of Melbourn, Bassingbourn, Litlington, Abington-in-the-Clay, Shingay, Wendy, Whaddon, Meldreth, Shepreth, Barrington, Foxton, Thriplow, and Foulmire, all electorally in Cambridgeshire. Acres of the district, 88, 791. Poor-rates in 1863, £15, 299. Pop. in 1851, 26, 355; in 1861, 25,014. Houses, 5, 207. Marriages in 1863, 155; births, 844, of which 47 wereillegitimate; deaths, 520, of which 216 were at ages under 5 years, and 20 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1, 689; births, 8, 308; deaths, 4, 757. The places of worship, in 1851, were 42 of the Church of England, with 8, 784 sittings; 24 of Independents, with 8, 826 s.; 2 of Baptists, with 570 s.; 1 of Unitarians, with 100 s.; 5 of Wesleyans, with 1,096 s.; and 2 of Primitive Methodists, with 140 s. The schools were40 public day-schools, with 3,038 scholars; 45 private day-schools, with 693 s.; 58 Sunday schools, with 4, 873s.; and 6 evening schools for adults, with 90 s. There are two workhouses, in respectively Layston and Bassingbourn.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district, all registrationally"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Royston AP/PA/CP       Royston SubD       Royston RegD       Cambridgeshire AncC       Essex AncC       Hertfordshire AncC
Place: Royston

Go to the linked place page for a location map, and for access to other historical writing about the place. Pages for linked administrative units may contain historical statistics and information on boundaries.