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March in 1851

MARCH, a market and post town in the chapelry of March in the parish of Doddington, in the northern division of Witchford hundred in the Isle of Ely, Cambridgeshire, 92 miles north of London, viz. 72 miles by the Eastern Counties Railway to Ely, and from thence 20 miles by coach-road through Chatteris to March. The area of Doddington parish is 38,240 statute acres, that of the chapelry of March 20,440 acres ; the population of the parish in 1841 was 8,648,

of whom 5,706 were in the chapelry of March. The population of the chapelry at the former enumerations was, in 1801, 2,514 ; 1811, 3,098 ; 1821, 3,850 ; 1831, 5,117. The number of houses in the chapelry in 1831 was 1,016, inhabited by 1,023 families ; 42 uninhabited and 16 building ; in 1841 it was 1,163 inhabited, 32 uninhabited, and 12 building. In these returns the town is not distinguished from the rural districts of the chapelry.

The town consists principally of two streets, in the form of the letter T : the street which forms the stem of the letter runs north and south, and is lined with houses on both sides ; the cross street runs in an irregular line on the north bank of the old river Nene, having scarcely any houses except on the north side of the street, the south side being for the most part closely skirted by the river, which is crossed by a bridge at the junction of the two streets. The church, or rather chapel, stands at the southern extremity of the town : it is dedicated according to some statements to St. Mary, according to others to St. Wendreda, and is said to have been erected in the middle of the fourteenth century ; it is a handsome Gothic structure, with a spire at the west end. There is a modern and commodious town-hall, where manorial courts are held. The town is within the jurisdiction of a Court of Requests established in the Isle of Ely for the recovery of debts under 10 shillings. There is a weekly market on Friday for butcher's meat, and there are two yearly fairs. Some trade in agricultural produce is carried on by means of the river Nene, which is navigable.

The chapelry of March is united with the vicarage of Doddington; the clear yearly value of the united benefices is £7,306, with a glebe-house ; they are in the rural deanery, archdeaconry, and diocese of Ely. There were in the chapelry in 1833 nine day-schools, with 552 children of both sexes, giving not one in nine of the population (according to the census of 1831) under daily instruction. Two of the schools, with 304 children, were national schools supported by various endowments, and attended by the children on Sunday also ; and there were two other Sunday-schools supported by Dissenters, with 170 children.