A Timeline of Soham History

C.1070 AD - Hereward the Wake

It was during the very early part of the Norman occupation that the legend of Hereward the Wake was set. He foiled a military attempt to gain access to the Isle of Ely and denied the Norman invaders access until he was betrayed. The story had been set, by ancient monks, in Aldreth, however, modern research identifies the oldest causeway to Ely as existing at Barway. Thus, this very famous legend can be relocated to Soham, where it is supported by the existence of Norman earthworks and architecture, as well as the existence of early military droves.

1102 AD - The Church of St. Andrew

In 1102 AD Hubert de Burgh, Chief Justice of England, granted 'Ranulph' certain lands in trust for the Church of St Andrew. Ranulph is recorded as the first Vicar of Soham and had a hand in designing the 'new' Norman Church.

1120 AD - William de Malmesburys Ruins

The great recorder of social history, William de Malmesbury, writes that, at this date, the ruins of the Abbey of St Felix are still visible.

C.1400 AD - Medieval Port

The Medieval period saw Soham flourish as a centre of trade. Existing buildings indicated medieval prosperity through the establishment of an inland port. Early documents reveal that Soham was navigable to The Wash via the West River or the Old River Ouse, and to Cambridge via The Cam.

1451 AD - The Church of St. Andrew is Granted to Pembroke College

On 3rd August 1451, Soham Parsonage and Vicarage were granted to Pembroke College. This was confirmed by the signature of King Henry VI in 1454.  The College still maintains a strong connection with the Church today. The earliest church registers date from 1558 onwards.

1496 AD - Sir William Brandon is Killed by Richard III at Bosworth Field

The Battle of Bosworth Field which took place on the 22nd August 1485 near Market Bosworth in Leicestershire marked the end of the War of the Roses. The Battle was fought between the supporters of King Richard III and Henry Tudor. As the battle progressed with a stalemate to his front, Henry accompanied by a bodyguard of about 200 knights including Sir William Brandon of Soham (his standard bearer), decided to ride across to the Stanleys to see if he could persuade them to enter into the fray on his side. Richard observed Henry's dragon banner moving across the battlefield and saw an opportunity to end the battle at one fell stroke. Richard led the charge of his knights (approximately 1,000 men) downhill towards Henry's banner. With the whole power of the charge behind him, Richard transfixed Sir William Brandon of Soham with his lance. The lance broke and Sir William Brandon and the dragon banner crashed to the ground. The battle was eventually won by Henry Tudor with the death of Richard III and as a result he became King Henry VII of England and Wales.

1496 AD - A New Church Tower

Right at the end of the Norman period, William Yaxle bequeathed to the Church, money to build a new Church tower on the foundation of the old round tower. During the building works, a new bay was added to the Church building in order to join it to the tower.

1581 AD - Thomas Peachey Established 12 Almshouses


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