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Melbourn, Village sign and War Memorial - - 876471.jpg
Cambridgeshire UK location map.svg
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Location within Cambridgeshire
Population4,689 2011 [1]
OS grid reference TL385445
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town ROYSTON
Postcode district SG8
Dialling code 01763
Police Cambridgeshire
Fire Cambridgeshire
Ambulance East of England
List of places
52°04′55″N0°01′14″E / 52.081975°N 0.020516°E / 52.081975; 0.020516 Coordinates: 52°04′55″N0°01′14″E / 52.081975°N 0.020516°E / 52.081975; 0.020516

Melbourn ( /ˈmɛlbɔːrn/ ) is a large, clustered village in the far south-west of Cambridgeshire, England. Its traditional high street is bypassed by the A10, intersecting the settlement's other main axis exactly 3 miles (4.8 km) northwest of the traditional focal point of Royston, Hertfordshire, the nearest larger settlement. It has over 4,600 inhabitants and is in the South Cambridgeshire district.


The Prime Meridian passes to the west of Melbourn.


The parish has a long history of occupation, stemming from the presence of springs at Melbourn Bury and the several ancient trackways that cross the parish; the Icknield Way runs to the south of the parish and Ashwell Street and the Roman Cambridge-Royston road are also believed to follow prehistoric trackways. Pottery and burial finds show evidence of Bronze Age residents, and a Roman settlement has been found at the north-east edge of the village. Excavations in the 1950s discovered 28 graves from a 7th-century Christian burial site close to Ashwell Street. [2]

Melbourn appears in five entries in Domesday Book. [3]

The name "Melbourn" comes from Meldeburn, the "stream of a man named Melde". [4]


Spring blossom and tower of the oldest church in Melbourn, its Anglican church Spring blossom at All Saints' Church - - 1211237.jpg
Spring blossom and tower of the oldest church in Melbourn, its Anglican church

The finding of a Saxon cemetery shows that Christianity has been present in Melbourn since the 7th century. The village also probably had an 11th-century chapel but the first record of a church is from 1152. The present church, dedicated to All Saints, is Grade II* listed. [5] R.R. Rowe conducted a major restoration in 1882 but the church includes sections of the 13th-century building, including the chancel arch and sections of the tower. [5] The font is 11th century. [2]

Village life

It has a primary school and a state secondary school, Melbourn Village College. There is also a well-known science park. There is a butcher's, a co-op food shop, five hairdressers, a barber shop, two estate agents, two pubs, a newsagent, a sub-post office, two garages and three churches (Anglican, Baptist and URC). Sheene Mill, on the River Mel northwest of the village, is now a hotel and restaurant, formerly owned by the television chef Steven Saunders. [6]

The nearest railway station is Meldreth, in the neighbouring village, which opened in 1851 on the Cambridge line. [2]


Melbourn was much visited by travellers by the 17th century and is listed as having an inn in 1622. By the late 18th century the village supported three: the Dog, of unknown history, the Red Lion, that closed towards the end of the 19th century, and the Hoops, that closed in the early 20th century. In 1865 the village had 11 inns and pubs, including the Black Horse, the Star, the White Lion, the Anchor, the Carriers Arms and the Red Cow. The Rose Inn and the Coach and Horses opened in around 1850. [2]

The oldest of the two present public houses is the Dolphin, which dates from 1818. [2] The other is the Black Horse. [7]

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  1. "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 A. P. M. Wright (1982). A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 8. Victoria County History. pp. 67–82.
  3. "Melbourn | Domesday Book".
  4. Walter Skeat (1901). The Placenames of Cambridgeshire.
  5. 1 2 Historic England. "Parish Church of All Saints (1127546)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  6. Peel, Adrian (26 April 2021). "Master chef Steven Saunders signs Cambridge Country Club deal". Cambridge Independent. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  7. "The Black Horse, Melbourn". What Pub. Camra. Retrieved 16 November 2019.