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Arrington - Origin of Parish/Village Name  

The name Arrington is derived from the Erningas who were a group or tribe of people who lived in Armingford (the ancient district roughly covering Arrington, East Hatley, Steeple Morden, Royston, Melbourn, Whaddon and points between) in Anglo-Saxon times.  

The suffix tun or ton, originally fence or enclosure in Anglo-Saxon, broadened its meaning to become "homestead" and finally "collection of homesteads," or "village"; the suffix inga, combined with a personal name, indicated the followers or kinsmen of a leader.  

So Arrington can be fairly be explained as 'Earna's village', 'the village of the Earnlings' or 'farmstead of the family or followers of a man called Earn(a)'.  

The earliest known forms of 'Arrington' are Earnningtone (in an Anglo-Saxon will of c950), Oarningetune and Erlingtona (in documents allied to the Domesday Survey) and Erlingtona or Aerningetun (in the Domesday Book itself, 1086). Similar -ingatun names are found elsewhere in South Cambridgeshire and are usually associated with the earliest period of English settlement.  

By the thirteenth century Arrington had virtually acquired its modern form as Aring(e)ton(e).  

The Anglo-Saxon name for the Roman road 'that passed through the land of the Earningas' was 'Earninga Straete' (1012). This became Ermine Street. Thus 'Arrington' and 'Ermine Street' are both Anglo-Saxon names that share a similar origin.  

As far as it can be determined from church records, no-one with the family name of Arrington has been recorded as living in the parish of Arrington.

The surname Arrington is certainly recorded in Cambridgeshire and London from the sixteenth century in parish records and it probably originated in the form 'of or from Arrington'. Early examples include Margareta Arrington who married Randulus Pate at Elsworth in Cambridgeshire in 1529 and Thomas Arrington who married Amicia Shingleton in 1583 at St Botolphs Church in Cambridge. An early London example was John Arington (as spelt), who married Margaret Grynne at St Dunstans, Stepney in 1574.  


Arrington Bridge

Aringetone Brycg (13th cent, Anglo-Saxon)

For at least two thousand years, there has been a crossing on the River Rhee (Cam) at the southernmost tip of Arrington parish. Until the thirteenth century the crossing was a ford and the only suitable crossing point on the river for some miles in each direction,

This made the ford important, a source of prosperity, but presumably also some tension, not only in terms of a practical and dependable river crossing but as a strategic asset worth defending. This was well understood by the Roman engineers when they planned the route of their new road between London and York. Ermine Street points straight at the crossing point from both directions.

The crossing is still there. The road carriageway narrows within nondescript brick parapets over a small river that sometimes flows little more than a stream. Drive along Ermine Street (the modern A1198) and you'll probably not even notice it.

During construction of the modern road bridge, layers of gravel was found from which were recovered Roman pottery, a spear, knife, oxgoad and two hippo-sandels (Roman horseshoes).

The northern bank of the ford was also the junction between two major Roman Roads - Ermine Street and Akeman Street (modern A603) , the Roman road running eastwards to the settlement at Cambridge (Duroliponte) and the Isle of Ely. A minor Roman road, thought to be Vistores 176, ran westwards from Arrington Bridge to Little Brickhill.

An extensive Roman settlement grew up around this cross-roads and the ford. Recent studies have described the settlement as being a post station, known as a mansio, a kind of Roman 'motorway service area'.

It is believed the first bridge across the Rhee at this point was built around 1285, and it has been rebuilt a number of times over the centuries.