Hinchingbrooke House Virtual Tour



The House

Virtual Tour





Learning Materials

Learning Materials

 The Owners and their changes

The Owners of Hinchingbrooke.

1. Benedictine nuns. (1200-1535)

These were the first owners. They moved to Hinchingbrooke in about 1200. It was originally called the Priory of St. James. The nunnery was dissolved (closed) in 1535 during Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. More about the Priory.

2. The Cromwells. (1538-1627).

Richard Williams (Cromwell) was given the property in 1538. It was inherited by his son Henry in 1545. Henry passed it to his eldest son Oliver in 1602 who sold the house in 1627. More about Cromwells.

3. The Montagu family. (1627-1962).

The house passed into the hands of the Montagu family when Oliver sold it to them in 1627. They held it until it was sold to the County Council in 1962. See portraits of Montagus. More about Montagus.

4. Huntingdonshire (later Cambridgeshire) County Council. (1962- present).

The building was restored and reopened as Hinchingbrooke School in 1970.


Use the sources available to find out what changes each of the owners made to Hinchingbrooke House.


A What changes did the Cromwell family make at Hinchingbrooke between 1538 and 1627?
Use the information on the Cromwells in the booklet and from the house itself to answer this section. There is more about the buildings here. Number your answers carefully.

1. Find out about how the Cromwells took over the site.
You need to look at the Dissolution of the monasteries and the role of Thomas Cromwell.

2. Why did Richard Cromwell choose Hinchingbrooke, out the four properties he acquired, as the site of a country house? Think about the geographical advantages that Huntingdon has, over Ramsey, for example.

3. Describe how the nunnery was converted into a house. Look at the changes made by Richard and later Cromwells.
Look at the physical evidence that remains, both inside to the interior and outside to the grounds. Look at the building materials they might have used and how they can be used to date the house building work.
You should use drawings for this section and label them clearly.

4. How important was the house?
Look at the history of the house and describe any events or visits by important people.
What do they tell you about the importance of the house and its owners?
What was the position of the owners in the local area?
Did they have any power?

B What changes were made by the Montagu family to Hinchingbrooke between 1637 and 1962?
(see photographs of the House taken in 1900)

1. Find out about how they acquired the house.

2. What changes did they make to the interior and outside of the house? Did they make any changes to the grounds?

3. Were there any famous events or visitors during their ownership of the house?

4. What was the position of the Montagu family in the Huntingdon area?

C What changes were made to the house and grounds when the house was converted into a school between 1962 and the present?

1. Find out about why the County Council bought the house from the Montagu family?

2. What changes have been made to the house and grounds since 1962?


Other Historical Links -

Oliver Cromwell

Hinchingbrooke's Local History Pages -

Samuel Pepys

Civil War

Brief History of the House

The House through the ages

Hinchingbrooke School Homepage