Soham


Soham

Infobox UK place
country = England
official_name= Soham
latitude= 52.333831
longitude= 0.336063
civil_parish= Soham
population = 9,102 (2001)
shire_district= East Cambridgeshire
shire_county= Cambridgeshire
region= East of England
constituency_westminster= South East Cambridgeshire
post_town= ELY
postcode_district = CB7
postcode_area= CB
dial_code= 01353
os_grid_reference= TL591732

Soham is a small town in the English county of Cambridgeshire. It lies just off the A142 between Ely and Newmarket (Suffolk). Its population is 9,102 (2001 census), and it is within the district of East Cambridgeshire.

History

Archaeology

The region between Devil's Dyke and the line between Littleport and Shippea Hill shows a remarkable amount of archaeological findings of the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. A couple of hoards of bronze objects are found in the area of Soham, including one with swords and spearheads of the later Bronze Age as well as a gold torc (1938). [cite book|title= Fenland survey : an essay in landscape and persistence / David Hall and John Coles |first=David|last=Hall|origdate=1994|publisher=London; English Heritage|id=ISBN 1-85074-477-7 , p. 81-88] An extensive ditch system was found, not visible on aerial photographs, as well as a wooden track-way 800 m in length between Fordey Farm (Barway) and Little Thetford with associated shards of later Bronze Age pottery (1935).Fact|date=February 2007

t. Felix Of Burgundy 'Apostle Of The East Angles'

St Felix of Burgundy founded an Abbey here during the 7th century in around 630AD but this was later destroyed by the Danes in 870AD. A Saxon nobleman called Luttingus built a Cathedral and Palace at Soham around 900AD and was situated on the site of the present day Church of St. Andrews and adjacent land. St. Andrew's Church dates back to the 12th century and traces of the Saxon Cathedral still exist within the fabric of church today. In 1102 AD Hubert de Burgh, Chief Justice of England, granted 'Ranulph' certain lands in trust for the Church of St. Andrews. Ranulph is recorded as the first Vicar of Soham and had a hand in designing the 'new' Norman Church.The current church is mainly later with the tower being the latest addition in the 15th century. This tower was built to replace a fallen crossing tower and now has a peal of ten bells. The back 6 were cast in 1788 with two new trebles and two bells recast in 1808.

Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa 'The African'

The first black British author and anti-slave activist, Olaudah Equiano otherwise known as Gustavus Vassa, married a local girl Susannah Cullen at St. Andrew's Church, Soham on 7th April 1792 and the couple took up residence in the town for a while.They had two daughters, Anna Maria was born on 16th October 1793, and was baptised in St. Andrew's Church on 30th January 1794. Their second child, Joanna Vassa was born on 11th April 1795, and was baptised in St. Andrew's Church on 29th April 1795.

William Case Morris 'Dr Barnardo of Argentina'

The most famous son of Soham was William Case Morris who made his mark many miles away in South America. Born in the town on the 16th February 1864, he and his father left Soham after the death of his mother in search of a new life, eventually settling in Argentina. William was horrified by the terrible poverty of the street children, which led to him founding a network of children's homes across Argentina saving thousands of youngsters from abject poverty and a life on the streets. He returned to Soham a poor elderly man where he died on the 15th September 1932 and is buried in the Fordham Road cemetery. He is still one of Argentina's best-loved social reformers and is highly regarded, with a statue standing in Buenos Aires as well as railway stations and football stadia named after him. His legacy still lives on with the 'Hogar el Alba' children's homes located in Buenos Aires, Argentina which are still in use to this day to help impoverished children.

oham Rail Disaster

The town narrowly escaped destruction on June 2, 1944, during the Second World War, when a fire developed on the lead wagon of a heavy ammunition train travelling slowly along the line through the town. The town was saved by the bravery of four railway staff, Benjamin Gimbert (Driver), James Nightall (Fireman), Frank Bridges (Signalman) and Herbert Clarke (Guard), who uncoupled the rest of the train and drove the engine and lead wagon clear of the town, where it exploded, killing Jim Nightall and Frank Bridges but causing no further deaths. Ben Gimbert survived and spent seven weeks in hospital. Although small in comparison to what would have happened if the entire train had blown up, the explosion caused substantial property damage. Gimbert and Nightall were both awarded the George Cross (Nightall posthumously). A permanent memorial was unveiled on Saturday 2nd June 2007 by HRH Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester followed by a service in St. Andrew's Church. The memorial is constructed of Portland Stone with a bronze inlay depicting interpretive artwork of the damaged train as well as text detailing the incident.

oham Murders

In August 2002, Soham became the centre of international media attention due to the Soham murders. The victims were two 10-year-old girls living in the town, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman. They disappeared on the evening of 4 August and were found dead some 10 miles away, near RAF Lakenheath, on 17 August. Ian Huntley, a caretaker from the local college was later found guilty of their murders in December 2003 and was sentenced to life imprisonment, with the High Court later fixing a 40-year minimum term.

chools in Soham

* Soham Village College
* St Andrew's Primary School
* [http://www.weatheralls.cambs.sch.uk The Weatheralls Primary School (Soham)]

ee also

* List of places in Cambridgeshire
* Soham Abbey
* Soham Town Rangers Football Club
* [http://www.sohamtowncolts.co.uk Soham Town Colts Football Club]
* [http://www.sohamunited.co.uk Soham United Football Club]
* [http://www.sohammuseum.org Soham Museum]

References

External links

* [http://www.soham.org.uk Soham On-Line Community Website] (used as a reference)
* [http://www.soham-tc.gov.uk Soham Town Council]
* [http://www.forum.soham.org.uk Soham Town Forum]
* [http://www.sohamandwicken.org.uk St. Andrew's Church]
* [http://www.sohammuseum.org Soham Community History Museum]
* [http://sohamroots.co.uk/ Soham Roots] contains local history and genealogical resources
* [http://www.sohamgrammar.org.uk/ Soham Grammarians] The history, staff and pupils of Soham Grammar School which in 1972 became part of Soham Village College
* [http://www.ccan.co.uk/group.aspx?GroupID=yyy6 Soham Community Archive]
* [http://www.equiano.soham.org.uk Remembering Equiano - Soham at the Time of the Abolition] Soham Community History Museum & Soham Action 4 Youth
* [http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/CBB6EBCC-B5D0-4067-BF75-A972B6E3C64B/0/Soham.pdf 2001 Census]


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