The earliest part of Impington to be inhabited is the southern part near the junction of Cambridge Road with Arbury Road. Here there are the remains of a large ancient encampment. It is thought to have been built by the Ancient Britons, and subsequently taken over by the Romans when they invaded Britain. The Mereway and Villa Road in Impington are both thought to be based on Roman roads.
The name of the parish probably dates from the sixth century when a Saxon tribe called the Empings lived here. So the name ‘Impington’ means ‘the settlement of the Empings’.
Almost the earliest mention we have of the parish by name is in the year 991. Duke Brithnoth, a large landowner in the county was called up with many others to try to repulse the invading Danes. On his way to the muster he stayed with the Abbot of Ely, and knowing that the battle would be a desperate one he gave Impington and several other manors into the Abbot’s charge. As he had expected Brithnoth was killed fighting the Danes at the battle of Maldon in Essex, and Impington was owned by the Church at Ely for centuries to come. One of the few other things we know about Brithnoth is the prayer he wrote just before the battle.
To thee give I thanks thou Lord of all living
For all good hap in this life here.
Sore need I now, oh Maker mild,
That thou shouldst grant my spirit grace
That my soul to thee may depart in peace.
Soon after the Norman Conquest, Impington (as Epintone) was mentioned in the Doomsday Book (pop.143) in 1085 as belonging to the Church at Ely. It had been stolen for a while by Picot, the Norman Sheriff of Cambridge, but after a few years he was forced to return it to the Church by William the Conqueror.
By the end of the 12th century Impington come into the possession of the de Lisle family. In 1269, however, Simon de Lisle sold Impington to pay off a debt to the Jews.
In 1298 Impington had a royal visit. Edward the First visited the parish. It is thought he had been asked to give permission for an annual fair, and after his visit he duly gave his permission, and the fair was held for the first time in 1300.
In the 14th century, Impington, like so many other places was hit by the Black Death, which killed half the inhabitants, and the population did not recover until well into the 17th century.
After passing through the hands of the Chauvent and Colville families the manor came into the possession of the Burgoynes in 1428. A memorial brass to John Burgoyne is in Impington church. His heirs divided the manor into two parts and sold them.
In 1568 Christ’s College purchased the manor of Burgoynes, and by 1579 John Pepys was in possession of the other part, called Ferme-part, and had commenced the building of Impington Hall.