Castor is a village and civil parish in the City of Peterborough unitary authority, about 4 miles (6.4 km) west of the city centre. The parish is part of the former Soke of Peterborough, which was once considered part of Northamptonshire but was more recently part of Cambridgeshire.
Castor is internationally known among archaeologists as the
centre of an important Roman settlement along the
In 650AD, St Kyneburgha, a daughter of King Penda of
One of the earliest recorded descriptions of Castor as a village is by a travelling historian, William Camden who, in 1612, wrote:
Avon or Nen
river, running under a beautiful bridge at Walmesford (Wansford),
passes by Durobrivae, a very ancient city, called in Saxon Dormancaster, took
up a great deal of ground on each side of the river in both counties. For the
*Extract from ‘Five Parishes: Their People and Places’ by The CAMUS Project 2004. Available in full on line at http://www.thearchive.org.uk/thebook/thebook.htm
Ailsworth or Ailesworth is a neighbouring village and civil parish in the City of Peterborough unitary authority, about 4.5 miles (7.2 km) west of the city centre. There is no parish church, only a small Methodist chapel. Instead it shares the church with neighbouring Castor. The parish is part of the former Soke of Peterborough and is now in Cambridgeshire. The village's toponym comes from the Old English Ćgeleswurth. The Domesday Book of 1086 records it as Eglesworde. The common lands of Ailsworth and the neighbouring parish of Castor were not enclosed until 1898. In 2001 the population was 413.
THE CAMUS PROJECT - Named after 5 neighbouring villages of which Castor is the largest (Castor, Ailsworth, Milton, Upton and Sutton) The Camus Project grew out of the Castor Parish Church Archive Group which was concerned with researching, collecting and indexing material about the history of the five villages. The writing of the book commenced in 2002 and by 2004 the limited edition was sold out and there was no reprint, although it may still be available on CD and it is published in its entirety at http://thearchive.org.uk/thebook/thebook.htm, with a foreword by the late Sir Stephen Hastings. It was edited by the Rector of Castor, the Rev William Burke, who promoted and organised the whole enterprise. It is packed with descriptions of life in the villages from Prehistoric and Roman Times up to the present day.
King Henry VIII began the systemic recording of births, marriages and deaths by using the church to record by parish. 1837 saw the introduction of the national secular system of recording Births, Marriages and Death, Church Parish Records continued with their records of church celebration - baptisms, marriages and funerals.
The original Castor Parish records of marriages 1754 - 1812 and 1813 – 1864 are deposited in Northants County Record Office but these lists of marriages, along with those from 1995 to 2002 for Castor, Marholm, Sutton and Upton are available at http://www.thearchive.org.uk/im.htm
Baptismal records from 1538 to 1751 as well as 1996 to 2002 are available at http://www.thearchive.org.uk/ib.htm
A limited list of funerals from 1998 to 2001 is available for Castor and Marholm at http://www.thearchive.org.uk/if.htm
Family tree material for the Fordham and Sargeant families of Castor is available at http://www.thearchive.org.uk/families.htm
To look for those from Castor and Ailsworth who served in the 1914-18 war go to
For a more detailed pen pictures and photographs of those who gave their lives in WW1 and WW2, refer to http://www.thearchive.org.uk/military/war_memorial/c&a_war_memorial_file.htm
For detailed reminiscences of those who served in WW2 transcribed following in depth interviews got to http://www.thearchive.org.uk/militar.htm
Transcribed interviews undertaken with villagers still living in 2002/3 are available at
A miscellany of information taken from various local papers/documents such as -; 1536 Muster Rolls; Nassaburg Hundred Militia Lists – 1762; 1844 Tithe Register and Extracts from letters, books and lists etc may be obtained at http://www.thearchive.org.uk/parish.htm
Lists of prescribed properties are available at http://www.thearchive.org.uk/build.htm
Although much is repeated under the Parish Officers’ Records, there are other interesting sources of local history information at http://www.thearchive.org.uk/history.htm Here you will find an extract of the Doomsday Book for Ailsworth; An 1801 Census Return; Extracts in Latin relevant to Castor from the unique White Book of Peterborough which is a manuscript dating from the days of Peterborough Abbey (C13c/14c) and much more.
Many references to the historically fascinating church of St Kyneburgha’s in Castor (unique dedication to this Saxon princess who founded a convent in the remains of the demolished Roman Praetorium) are available at http://www.thearchive.org.uk/churches.htm This link also has some information about the long gone chapel of ease at Ailsworth and lists of Rectors of Castor (1217-1995) including the Bishop of Peterborough.
Two references at http://www.thearchive.org.uk/archaeo.htm describing a Roman aqueduct and the Water Newton Treasure (now in the British Museum) which although strictly not found in Castor but in the neighbouring parish of Water Newton, one theory is that it came from the Roman Palace at Castor.
Clicking on http://www.thearchive.org.uk/transpor/t1004.htm
will take one to a description of the
Information about the two great landowners in this area in times gone by, The Fitzwilliam Family at Milton and the Dean & Chapter of Peterborough Cathedral is available at http://www.thearchive.org.uk/estates.htm
Read Avril Morris's account of the story of
the daughter of the heathen King Penda of
The above information was kindly provided by Richard Perkins (email@example.com)