Capturing Cambridge
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King’s Ditch

History of the King's Ditch

According to the 1959 Royal Commission on Historical Monuments Survey of Cambridge, the King’s Ditch was the original boundary and defensive ditch to the S and E of the old town, possibly pre-Conquest and remodelled in the 13th century.

Little visible remains; in Richard Lyne’s street map of 1574 the ditch is shown and can be traced along the line of the modern roads starting at the Cam with Mill Lane, running along Pembroke Street, across the site of the old Botanic Gardens, along St Tibb’s Row and Hobson Street, across the fellow’s garden of Sidney Sussex College and along Park Street to rejoin the river nearly opposite the Pepys Building of Magdalene College.

The only surface remains are near the squash court in the Fellows’ garden, Sidney Sussex College.

There was a ditch north of the Cam of which no surface remains survive. It was possibly a stream that had been canalised.


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