Soham is a small town located in East Cambridgeshire. As of 2011, it had a population of just over 11,000 people. While it’s not a huge place, it is home to some interesting places to visit.
Certainly there were people in this area from very early on and in the region between Devil’s Dyke and the line between Littleport and Shippea Hill there have been a remarkable amount of archaeological findings of the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. More than likely, the vicinity appealed to people for its wealth of minerals and fertile land.
Investigations in the surrounding area produced a couple of hoards of bronze objects which were found in the area of Soham, including one with swords and spearheads of the later Bronze Age. There was a gold torc, retrieved in 1938 found there as well. Archaeologists also uncovered an extensive ditch system, not previously visible on aerial photographs. That, as well as a wooden trackway 800 m (870 yd) in length was uncovered between Fordey Farm and Little Thetford. There were also finds of associated shards from the later Bronze Age pottery.
Other things worth mentioning about Soham is that St Felix of Burgundy founded an abbey near Soham around 630 AD, but it was destroyed by the Danes in 870 AD. A few centuries later, Luttingus, an Anglo-Saxon nobleman, built a cathedral and palace at Soham around 900 AD. This was constructed on the same site as the present day Church of St Andrew’s and its adjacent land. While St. Andrews Church dates from the 12th century. Traces of the Saxon cathedral still exist within the church.
Then in 1102, Hubert de Burgh, Chief Justice of England, granted ‘Ranulph’ certain lands in trust for the Church of St Andrew’s. Ranulph is recorded as the first Vicar of Soham and had a hand in designing the ‘new’ Norman church. Today, the current church is mainly comprised of most of the later construction. With the tower being the latest addition in the 15th century. This tower was built to replace a fallen crossing tower and now contains ten bells. The sound is nothing short of heavenly when the bells are struck.
Notable residents of Soham include the first black British author and abolition activist, Olaudah Equiano, also known as Gustavus Vassa. He married a local girl, Susannah Cullen, at St Andrew’s Church, on 7 April 1792 and the couple lived in the town for a while, both of their children were born there.
They had two daughters. Anna Maria was born on 16 October 1793, and was baptised in St Andrew’s Church on 30 January 1794. Their second child, Joanna Vassa, was born on 11 April 1795, and who was baptised in St Andrew’s Church on 29 April 1795.
The most famous son of Soham was most certainly, William Case Morris “Dr Barnardo of Argentina” who acquired his notoriety in South America. He was born in Soham on 16 February 1864, and later, both he and his father left Soham in search of a new life in 1872 after the death of his mother in 1868. They finally settled in Argentina in the year 1874.
William was completely horrified by the terrible poverty of the street children he found there. This led led him to found several children’s homes in Buenos Aires. These homes are credited with saving thousands of youngsters from abject poverty and a life on the streets. Morris returned to Soham shortly before his death on 15 September 1932, and was buried in the Fordham Road cemetery. William Case Morris is still one of Argentina’s best-loved social reformers and is highly regarded. They have even dedicated a statue standing in Buenos Aires to him and his name is on railway stations, football stadia and a town. His legacy lives on with the Biblioteca Popular William C. Morris and ‘Hogar el Alba’ children’s homes located in Buenos Aires which still help impoverished children to this day.
While you’re in the area, why not check out one of the four Medusa Juice Vape Shops nearby? In King’s Lynn you can visit the regular store on the kiosk in the bus station, or if you prefer, get your vape gear at the store in Norwich or Peterborough. Any and all can get you sorted and well on your way to enjoying your stay in Soham.
Soham is home to the South Angle Farm Park, Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve and other exciting places to spend your time. While out and about in the area, don’t forget to check out Oliver Cromwell’s House and while there, enjoy a vape on one of the benches nearby.