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Burwell

Trip Planner Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  Cambridgeshire  /  Burwell
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Things to do: museums
Burwell is a large fen-edge village and civil parish in Cambridgeshire, England, about 10 miles (16 km) north east of Cambridge. It is situated on the south-eastern edge of The Fens, a large area of relatively flat former marshland which lies close to sea level and covers the majority of Cambridgeshire and neighbouring Lincolnshire. The fens to the west of the village are drained with the help of the man-made Cambridgeshire Lode waterways, including Burwell Lode which has been important in the growth of the village.HistoryEtymologyThe name "Burwell" is of Anglo-Saxon origin and refers to a fort (burh-) located close to a spring (-well). The first record of the name in the area dates from 1060 and the village is recorded in the Domesday Book under the spellings Burewelle, Burwella and Burwelle. A spring is situated in the south of the village close to the remains of 12th century Burwell Castle, although there is evidence of prior settlement on or near the castle site.Old maps sometimes label the village as the plural "Burwells", which refer to either Burwell St Mary and Burwell St Andrew parishes or the split between the High Town around the churches in the south of the village and the newer North Street and Newnham parts of the village which were separated by a causeway.Early settlementThere is evidence of human activity in the vicinity of Burwell since prehistory. Flint tools including axes dating from the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic have been found on the west side of the village. Further burned and worked flint has been found close to the spring dating from the late Neolithic but the majority of activity in the area at the time seemed to be on the actual Fen to the west of the village, where the discovery of a large number of flint and stone tools on a raised piece of ground suggests that there was already settlement in the parish before the onset of the Bronze Age. During the Neolithic, peat had begun to form on the fens around the village which has partly buried prehistoric sites.
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