Thence to Stilton, slowly paced,
With no bloome nor blossome graced,
With no plums nor apples stored,
But smoothen, like an old man’s fore’d.
Yet with Innes so well provided,
Men are pleased when they have tryde it.
Stilton is a large village located in north-west Cambridgeshire, around six miles south west of Peterborough and around 70 miles north of London on the Great North Road – the A1(M). This section of the website provides an insight into the history of the village, and perhaps explains why it has a reputation as a hard-working and hospitable community!
The birthplace of Stilton cheese
The village gave its name to the world’s best-known cheese and, not surprisingly, one of the first questions that visitors ask is “Where’s the cheese factory?” Well, we’re sorry to disappoint you, but there isn’t one….. yet! For more about the history of Stilton cheese, and to find out how we’re hoping to rewrite that history, go to the Stilton Cheese page.
But there’s a lot more to Stilton than the cheese. On this website you will find a glimpse of some of the more colourful aspects of Stilton’s history, as well as an insight into our village life. Stilton is, above all, a living village. You won’t find “tourist traps”, souvenir shops, or odd characters in period costume, just good honest people living and working together.
Happily, we are indeed still “so well provided” with inns. Here you will find a variety of hotels, pubs and restaurants providing excellent accommodation and refreshments, just as they did to those hardy souls who travelled the Great North Road in horse-drawn coaches.
Visitor, why not stay and enjoy our hospitality? And when you have refreshed yourself, follow our Village Trail. Walk off an excellent lunch and take a peep back into a bygone age. Picture Stilton as a frenzied bustle of horses, drivers, passengers, blacksmiths and inn-keepers, while travellers of every description made their way along our High Street. If you listen very carefully you may even hear the ghostly sound of Black Bess’s hooves as Dick Turpin makes his escape….
A place to live, work and play
Stilton’s dependence on the main road has been its undoing twice: in the middle of the 19th century when the railway line passed to the east through Holme and Yaxley, and in 1959 when the present A1 bypass was opened. Stilton became a ghost village; businesses disappeared and even the Bell Inn closed and fell into dereliction.
But times have changed for the better. The Great North Road which once brought business and visitors straight into the village now provides easy access to one of the most economically important regions of Britain. Residents enjoy excellent road and rail communication to London, Cambridge, the industrial midlands and the agricultural fenlands. As a result, Stilton is today a vibrant community of people from all walks of life. Businesses thrive here and the Bell Inn has become one of the finest inns in the country.
In 1962 Tom McDonald of The Talbot and Malcolm Moyer of The Bell, aided and abetted by telephone engineer Fred Linstead, who provided a telegraph pole, cheered up their drinkers by organising the first ever Cheese Rolling along a course on the High Street on Easter Monday. It quickly became an important annual May Day festival, attracting media attention from around the world.
The last half-century has seen Stilton grow considerably, with trim new housing estates, but it still retains its village character, with many thriving organisations, pubs and restaurants, an excellent primary school, shops (including a Post Office and pharmacy), playing field, pavilion, and SCAN, the always eagerly awaited monthly newsletter.
The 2011 census revealed a community of skilled and qualified people who work hard at worthwhile careers, are generally fit and healthy, and live in comfortable homes.
Thinking of joining us?
As a genuine village community, Stilton offers a wide variety of homes to suit every type of household, from apartments and starter homes, through a range of family homes to some excellent retirement properties, all within walking distance of the school, church, shops, pubs and community facilities.