Woodhurst has always been known as an Anglo-Saxon ring village, but an Archaeological dig in 2001 before Harradine Close was built discovered earlier inhabitants. They found skeletons, coins and pottery from Roman times and Birmingham University Archaeological Field Unit came to the conclusion that it was a lower order Roman settlement of particular importance as it gave a better understanding of the fen-edge landscape. Other Roman artefacts have been found around the village including part of a ring and a pottery cremation.
Anglo-Saxon remains were found in the Harradine Close site, and also in 1949 when Moot Way was being built. Here they found remains of an Anglo-Saxon hut with seven skeletons which were buried through the floor of the hut. It is thought these burials were plague burials.
It is likely that the Anglo-Saxons created the ring more-or-less as it is today . The road leading to the A141 was called the ancient Mill Way, but road leading to the Woodhurst crossroads was not built until the late 1700s. The road going that way used to start from the Manor House.. People also walked to St Ives down Butt Lane. For a long time the only buildings on the north side of Church Street were the church and the Manor House.
The name Woodhurst has over the years been spelt Wuduhyrst, Wodehyrst, Woodhurste and Wood Hurst. There are several explanations as to the original meaning of the name, but hurst was Old English for ‘a wooded hill’.
Woodhurst is not mentioned in the Domesday Book, however Slepe is. ( Slepe was the original name for St Ives). There are two sections to the Slepe entry and it us thought that the second part refers to Woodhurst, and Woodhurst church which was a chapelry of Slepe.The oldest part of the present church, the north wall of the nave was built in the 12th century. The south arcade was built in the 14th century, and the chancel rebuilt in 1830’s
Owing to two disastrous fires in the village in 1834 and 1877, there are few old houses in the village. ‘Horseshoe Cottage’ opposite the pond was built in the 17th century and was until 1922 a public house called The Horse Shoes. At one time there were six public houses in the parish of Woodhurst. The oldest house in the village is thought to be ‘Swan Weir’ which dates from the late 16th century.
For more details on the history of Woodhurst, or if you are interested in tracing ancestors who may have lived in the village, please contact the village historian Shirley Firth via the Church page