Eltisley Origins

The name ‘Eltisley’ hints at its origin as an Anglo-Saxon settlement among woodland. Eltisley (Hecteslei) is mentioned in the Domesday Book:

“In Longstow Hundred. The Canons of Bayeux hold 3 hides in Eltisley. Land for 9 ploughs. In lordship 1½ hides; 3 ploughs there; 6 villagers with 10 smallholders have 6 ploughs. 5 cottagers; 6 slaves. Meadow for 3 ploughs; woodland, 20 pigs. The total value is and always was £13. Earl Algar held this manor”.

Eltisley has a large village green which was the junction of two ancient roads running from Cambridge to St Neots and from St Ives to Potton. The church stands immediately west of the green and several buildings from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries stand along its edge, suggesting that the green has been at the centre of the village for a long time. In 1868 it was earmarked for parishioners’ recreation and exercise and cricket is played there in summer. Eltisley Cricket Club was established in 1854 and a thatched pavilion stands on the village green. The Prisoner episode, The Girl who was Death used this cricket green for filming.

Until 1868, when it was turned into allotments, another green was sited to the east and in 1456, villagers were distinguished as living in either ‘le Estende’ or ‘le Upende’; it appears that there have been at least two centres to the village since medieval times.

The parish’s population doubled between 1801 and 1871, possibly because of its good road links. In addition to the St Neots-Cambridge and St Ives-Potton roads, the lane towards Caxton may also have been important. After 1871, the population began to decline; in 1961, only 253 people lived in Eltisley parish.

During World War II, several babies were born in Mill House on The Green in Eltisley; the local nurse-midwife, Mrs. Rose, having taken in pregnant mothers for their confinements. In 2000, the Eltisley Historical Society published The Eltisley Millennium Book, which records the history of the village and the village as it was in the year 2000.