Huntingdon is located on the River Great Ouse, in the county of Cambridgeshire, approximately 66 miles north of London and 16 miles north-west of Cambridge.
The town has a population of around 17,500. Administratively it is the seat of the local government district of Huntingdonshire which covers an area of approximately 912 sq kms and which has a population of around 159,000.
It is an attractive and ancient market town which was once an important crossing point for the River Ouse on the Roman Ermine Street, and in more recent history was the county town of Huntingdonshire until being absorbed into Cambridgeshire in 1974. Primarily renowned as the birthplace of Oliver Cromwell there is much fine architecture, predominantly Georgian, and many notable historic features.
The town's history dates from Roman times although there is evidence of much earlier settlement in the area. It was first recorded as a Saxon town in a charter of 650AD, and in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles of 656AD. The Danes built earthwork fortifications here during the 9th century and, during the 10th century, Huntingdon had its own mint. A thriving market town during the Middle Ages, the black death devastated the town in the 14th century. The town was granted another charter by King John in 1205, confirming its status as a borough and allowing a weekly market. Oliver Cromwell was born here in 1599, becoming MP for Huntingdon in 1626. During the civil war, the town was at first held by the Parliamentarians. It was attacked by the Royalists, led by Charles I, falling to them in August 1645. Because of its position on the turnpike road north from London, the town prospered as a coaching stop during the 18th century. Huntingdon has a well preserved medieval bridge that used to serve as the main route of Ermine Street over the Great Ouse.
Historically the town's economy was based upon agriculture, and whilst this is still important, today the service industry is the largest sector employing 64% of all workers.
The name Huntingdon comes from the Old English name 'Hunta' plus 'inga' and 'feld' meaning 'hill of the huntsman, or of a man called Hunta'. In 973 the town was recorded as Huntandun, and in the Domesday Book in 1086 as Huntedun.