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King Henry In Arbury?

'John of Ely' asks:

'What's the link between Arbury Road and King Henry VIII? I heard a modern folk song recently referring to it and the old Snowcat pub?'

As far as we know, King Henry VIII never had any links to the Cambridge Arbury Road, John. The song writer/s may have got mixed up with Arbury in Nuneaton - which did have history with a couple of kings of that name:

Arbury Hall, like so many other great country houses, was founded in Henry II’s reign as a monastery but suffered dissolution and confiscation at the hands of Henry VIII in 1536.

The 'Hedges' thing in Arbury comes from the inappropriately named 'King's Hedges' electoral ward/estate. King's Hedges was historically north of what is now the guided busway (see map) and the most likely source of the name is a hunting warren, a warren of hedges, planted to trap animals for hunting 'sport'. The Royal Manor of Chesterton, which included the whole of the Arbury area, belonged to the king - William the Conqueror having taken a fancy to it - and the hedges were an obvious landmark, hence 'The King's Hedges'.

The hedges on Arbury Road were simply field boundaries, and nothing to do with King's Hedges at all.

Council planners, the naming of King's Hedges School in the 1960s, and the huge expansion and redirection of King's Hedges Road in the late 1970s moved the name into the Arbury area by the old earthwork. There was no 'King's Hedges' history in that area to base it on.


  1. The bloke that wrote that song also said that the Snow Cat was in North Arbury (it was South Arbury) and that they started building King's Hedges Estate in 1959 - which was wrong. It was North Arbury. Nice song but it wasn't very factual.


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