Huntingdon

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Huntingdon is a market town in Cambridgeshire, England. The town was chartered by King John in 1205. It is the traditional county town of Huntingdonshire, and is currently the seat of the Huntingdonshire district council. It is known as the birthplace in 1599 of Oliver Cromwell.

Huntingdon was founded by the Anglo-Saxons and Danes. Mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, it seems that it was a staging post for Danish raids outside of east Anglia until 917, when the Danes relocated to Tempsford, before being crushed by Edward the Elder. It prospered successively as a bridging point of the River Great Ouse, as a market town, and in the 18th and 19th centuries as a coaching centre, most notably The George Hotel. The town has a well-preserved medieval bridge that used to serve as the main route of Ermine Street over the river. The bridge only ceased to be the sole crossing point to Godmanchester in 1975, with the advent of what is now the A14 bypass.

Its valuable trading position was secured by the now vanished Huntingdon Castle. The site is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and is home to a beacon used to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Spanish Armada.

The town has been represented in parliament by two prominent MPs: Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century, and former Conservative Prime Minister John Major from 1979 to 2001.

Original historical documents relating to Huntingdon, including the original borough charter of 1205, are held by Cambridgeshire Archives and Local Studies at the County Record Office Huntingdon.

Between the railway station and the old hospital building stands a cannon. In the 1990s this replica cannon was installed to replace an original Crimean War one that stood until the Second World War, when it was scrapped for the war effort. When it was installed again in the 1990s it faced the opposite direction from the original.

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