Historical notes about Wyton

Historical notes about Wyton, a village in Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire, UK

 

The Parish Church

The Church of All Saints Wyton was sadly de-consecrated in the 1980s, when the oak pews were removed to be used in St Mary Magdalene in Hilton, replacing their Victorian pine pews. The Communion table of oak dating from the 16th Century was also taken to Hilton.

This church was of more architectural interest than Houghton. It had a 13th Century north doorway which was rebuilt at the time of the restoration, with a pointed head shafted jambs and the wooden door was rebuilt using the original ornate metal strap work.

Its name is typical of a dedication dating from after the reformation, there is some that think its original dedication was St Margaret. The same as at Houghton, no trace remains of the original Saxon structure. There is evidence from the Norman period, the nave walls contain stones carved with chevrons, also the south wall of the nave and chancel are much thicker indicating a date of around the 12th Century, but it would have been a much smaller building at this time. The rest of the building grew up over the 13th and 14th Centuries.

As in many other churches the Victorians felt the need to add ‘improvements’, in the case of Wyton, at some point it had acquired a wooden tower and spire, in 1836 this was replaced by a brick one. Only 20 years later this had to be removed because the structure was unsound, and the present tower and spire were built. As in many other instances they did not stop there and went on to completely rebuild the north aisle, a vestry and south porch were added, and a large four light window was built into the west wall. The roof was replaced at this time; increasing the pitch and incorporating the gargoyles that had been part of the failed brick tower and spire into the new north aisle wall.

In the corner of the churchyard is a reserved corner for the RAF, which contains a number of stones dedicated to the Canadian and Australian young men who died during the last world war. The RAF has memorials here dating back to 1917.

The churchyard was also closed in the beginning of the last century, when the new combined churchyard was opened on the outskirts of Houghton, at the foot of Houghton Hill.

The Rectory

Was built west of the church on the site of an existing building, as when work was being carried out a large stone chimney and fireplace were revealed, the house was a double-cross-winged structure. When the parishes of Houghton and Wyton were reunited in 1966 a new rectory was built north of Wyton church, making both the old rectories at Houghton and Wyton redundant.

There is a small area of grass, which could be called a village green, but is small for this title. Across the road is THE THREE JOLLY BUTCHERS, one of the most interesting buildings in Wyton, and now a pub and restaurant.

The Three Jolly Butchers

No one is certain when this became a public house. It is dated 1622 on its central chimney, now a tiled building it was originally thatched. A long building fronting the road, built on at its westwards end, with a plastered front painted white which in the summer has hanging baskets outside to add colour. Inside there is a carved ceiling beam and in one room a wall painting dating back to Queen Caroline, of unique design it was discovered during restoration work last century.

RAF Wyton

Was established during the 1st world war, with grass runways and a few small hangers. During the 2nd world war its’ size was increased dramatically, turning into one of the front line airfields of the region, and keeping that status right up to the end of the cold war. The ground to air missiles were very obvious on all sides of the base boundary for many years. Now it is a logistics centre, also keeping track of the weather. The only planes flying from the field now are the 2 university squadrons of London and Cambridge, much to the delight of the base Air Training Corp.

The camp is used to house RAF personnel although no doubt that will soon be scaled down, and civilians will be living on the edge of this still busy base.