Madingley is fortunate in having been spared from inappropriate development, and we strive to maintain its unspoilt character. Much of the village enjoys the protection of a Conservation Area. Located within the Cambridge Green Belt, from the elevated position of Madingley Rise, it enjoys unparalleled views over an historic Cambridgeshire landscape.
The essential features of the village have remained over the years: Madingley Hall, the Church, and the Three Horseshoes Pub, with the Village Hall a newer arrival.
At the centre of the village is Madingley Hall, a Grade 1 listed building. Sir John Hynde, Sergeant-at-Law, was given the village by Henry VIII, and he started building the Hall in 1543. In 1756, Sir John Hynde Cotton engaged Capability Brown to modernize the traditional grounds. This involved tearing down cottages, lowering the High Street, digging an ornamental lake, and cutting down native trees to open views, including making the Church appear to be part of the Hall grounds.
Col. Thomas Walter Harding bought the Madingley estate in 1905. He sensitively renovated the neglected house, outbuildings, and gardens, as well as the Church, with his son Walter Ambrose Harding continuing after him. The estate was bequeathed it to the University of Cambridge for a small sum, on condition that the University “maintain the character of the village”. The Hall now serves as the home of the University’s Institute for Continuing Education. The University is also responsible for the Sub-Department of Animal Behaviour (established in 1950), the ancient Madingley Wood (an SSSI) and its adjacent “800 Wood”, established in the University’s 800th year.
At the heart of village life, especially after the closure of the village school in 1978, is the Church of St. Mary Magdalene. Most of the present building dates back to the end of the 12th C. but there has been a church on the site since before 1092. Of more recent origin, but no less vital to village life, is the thatched Village Hall.
Madingley is also home to The Three Horseshoes, whose origins date back to at least 1765, and whose culinary reputation extends far beyond the village. Madingley’s Victorian schoolhouse now houses a pre-prep school run by the Stephen Perse Foundation.
Also in Madingley is the Cambridge American Military Cemetery and Memorial, the only permanent American World War II cemetery in the UK. The cemetery contains the remains of 3,812 US war dead and commemorates a further 5,127 missing in action. Most of those remembered died in the Battle of the Atlantic or in the strategic air bombardment of northwest Europe.
If you have any questions relating to the Parish Council, or about Madingley in general, please don’t hesitate to get in touch