Great Paxton 1,000 Year Time Line

A 1,000 year time line erected along the church path from the entrance gate to the church door during the latter part of 2020 with some significant dates in the 1,000 year history of the village. The dates and events chosen are those that happened in the village or externally to the village that will have had effects that would have been felt here directly.

The posts are double sided, each hung with two tiles that came from the chancel roof during a restoration in 2019. The red tiles will have been made elsewhere and are up to 170 years old, the yellow tiles will have been made in the village at a brick works active in the area to the sides of River Lane from the 1600's to 1896.

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1020 - Work Begins on the Church.

The village of Great Paxton began in Saxon times over 1,000 years ago. The original village was to your left near the edge of what was a water meadow leading down to the river, about where the railway now runs.

Name – Pachstone, Parchestune

Monarch: King Cnut the Great (Canute)

England population: 1.7 million 1000 years ago

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1020 - King Cnut the Great (Canute).

England is part of the North Sea Empire, Cnut is:

"King of all England and Denmark and the Norwegians and of some of the Swedes"

Great Paxton church is a rare and very special building. It is the only Saxon church in the country with two aisles.

Work on the church, originally a “Minster” that served the wider area, began in 1020. It was for the time a massive building. Stone buildings were very rare, everything else in the village and surrounding area would have been timber-framed with wattle and daub walls.

Originally there was no tower, the nave was longer and the church was cruciform (cross shaped) probably with a short wooden spire over the crossing and with a thatched roof. It has undergone great changes over the centuries.

The biggest mystery is why such a large and at the time, regionally important minster church, was built here.

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1066 - The Norman Conquest End of the Saxon era and the beginning of the Norman era.

The Norse are driven from England in September.

The Normans invade in October.

People spoke Old English.

Ƿes hāl, Hū ᵹǣþ? Ēadiᵹ, þeċ tō mētenne
Hello, how are you? Pleased to meet you.

Pronunciation: Wess haal, hoo gath? May lee-koh-deh thetch toe gray-ten-neh.

Monarchs: King Harold Godwinson
William I - The Conqueror

954 years ago

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1086 - The Domesday (Doomsday) Book.

Great Paxton is recorded as a large and important settlement of 69 households (probably 240-350 people). It belongs to the Countess Judith, William the Conqueror’s niece. Houses are spaced along Church Lane, Adams Lane, the High Street and London Lane.

Monarch: William I - The Conqueror

England population: 1.7 million

934 years ago

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1258 - House of Commons is Established.

Parliament meets regularly with representatives from each county for the first time. The Monarch still rules the country however and there is no voting of representatives by ordinary people.

The House initially approves (or otherwise) taxes proposed by the Crown. It begins to address the people’s grievances and develops the power to make and enforce laws.

Name: Pastona, Pacstonia

Monarch: Henry III of Winchester

England population: 4.2 million

762 years ago

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1274 - Chancel Rebuilt.

The first major change to the church came about 250 years after it was built when the chancel was rebuilt following a collapse. The original was possibly apsidal (rounded). It was rebuilt rectangular as you see today.

Name - Magna Pastona or Magna Paxton

Little Paxton is now established across the river, so our name changes to distinguish the two, and this large Minster church makes us the more important village.

Monarch: Edward I – Edward Longshanks

England population: 4.4 million

746 years ago

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1348-1351 - Black Death.

At the time, it was known as the "Great Pestilence" or the "Great Mortality".

About 40-45% of the population of England (and Europe) is killed in just a few years, this has major effects on society.

Economically, life generally improves for ordinary people as the value of workers increases.

Monarch: Edward III

England population: 4.8 falling to 2.6 million

673-669 years ago

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1350-1400 - Church Remodelled.

1350 – Porch added with stone benches for “jurors” to witness marriages.

1380 – Tower built following partial removal of the end of the nave.
1400 – Bells installed, they arrived by river. Bell Ford was constructed to unload them, thus giving its name to the adjacent Bell Ford Meadow. There are now six bells regularly rung after refurbishment in 2018.

Monarch: Edward III

670-620 years ago

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1540 - Bridge Built.

John Pische (who lived near to where Brookside is now) leaves 6 shillings and 8 pence in his will to build a wooden bridge over Sallow Brook at the bottom of Paxton Hill to replace the ford. People and animals can now cross for the first time with dry feet.

Name: Much Paxton / Magna Paxton

Monarch: Henry VIII

England population: 2.8 million

480 years ago

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1588 - Spanish Armada.

Great Paxton churchwarden’s accounts record a list as preparation against possible Spanish invaders.

"A note of what Furniture of Armor belongeth to Much Paxton taken the vijth Julie 1588"

Fortunately the arms recorded are not needed.

Name: Much Paxton / Magna Paxton

Monarch: Elizabeth I

England population: 3.6 million

432 years ago

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1605 - Guy Fawkes and Gunpowder Plot.

A failed attempt to blow up King James I and Parliament on November 5th, 1605.

Bonfire Night with fireworks and the burning of a “Guy” has remembered this event ever since.

Monarch: James I

England population: 4.2 million

415 years ago

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1642 -1651 - English Civil War.

Roundheads and Cavaliers fought 3 wars over 9 years. Great Paxton church was under the protection of Oliver Cromwell (leader of the Roundheads) who was living at Huntingdon for part of this time.

Monarch: Charles I – beheaded 1649

England population: 5 million

371 years ago

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1803-15 - Napoleonic Wars – Battle of Waterloo.

Taxation to pay for the war and changes in the law such as enclosure in 1811-12 and the removal of commons rights such as wood gathering, clay collection for bricks, and gleaning grain for food, made this a hard time for many in Great Paxton.

Name: Great Paxton

Monarch: George III

England population: 7.8 - 8.8 million

217-205 years ago

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1808 - Annie Izzard the Great Paxton Witch.

Annie Izzard, who lived with her family in a house along the spinney, is accused of witchcraft by villagers and attacked. Annie is given support from the Rev. Nicholson (his grave is in the church). Her tormentors are tried first at Huntingdon and then in London at the highest court in England before being imprisoned.

Great Paxton population: 217 in 36 households, half the village were in receipt of charity.

212 years ago

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1837 - Victoria Becomes Queen at just 18 years old.

She will reign for nearly 64 years.

The Victorian period was one of enormous social, economic and technological change. Britain became a world leading industrial power, the British Empire expanded, slavery was abolished, the railway boom begins, vaccination for the poor is introduced, public parks are opened and the first peacetime income tax introduced, all in the first ten years.

England population: 14.9 million

183 years ago

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1850 - Railway Arrives.

The railway passes by Great Paxton but doesn’t stop here; St. Neots and Offord get stations. Long distances can be travelled quickly and fairly cheaply by ordinary people for the first time, after walking to the station.

Monarch: Victoria

England population: 15.3 million

170 years ago

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1914-1918 - First World War.

The “Great War”, the war to end all wars

Great Paxton 1914 population: 268
33 went to war, 11 didn’t return. Their names are inscribed on the stone memorial nearby.

Monarch: George V

England population: 34 million

106-102 years ago

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

1939-1945 - Second World War.

3 young men from Great Paxton lost their lives in the Second World War, their names are inscribed on the stone memorial nearby.

On Christmas Eve 1944, 7 young men lost their lives when their Lancaster bomber PB366 crashed behind where Brookside is now just after take-off from Graveley airfield.

At the end of the war in 1945, the welfare state and NHS were introduced.

Monarch: George VI

England population: 38 million

81-75 years ago

Great Paxton 1000 year time line

2020 - 1000th Anniversary of the Church.

Covid-19 Pandemic, the most significant nationwide event since WW2.
Lockdown, travel restrictions, huge changes to how people work, schools shut, little traffic, the quiet of 100 years ago.

Monarch: Elizabeth II

England population: 57 million