The Nine Hills of Cambridge

The Nine Hills of Cambridge


Someone recently reminded me that there are 9 street names ending with hill in Cambridge.  Strange for a notoriously flat town.


So where are these hills?


Castle Hill

The hill is the site of the original Cambridge settlement, north of the River Cam. The Romans created a town called Durolipons here. It was a convenient place to cross the river. At the time it was at the head of the navigable part of the river, then known as the River Granta. As any local cyclist will know this is a ‘hill’.


Honey Hill

Possibly a joke about a muddy area.   Locals also mention the name as alluding to the Honey wagon – a euphorism for the vehicle that used to collect the night soil

It is located southwest of Castle Hill on the other side of Castle Street. To the south is Northampton Street.

Gogmagog Hills

Gog Magog Hills are a range of low chalk hills, extending for several miles to the southeast of Cambridge in England. A real hill – especially when trying to cycle up it!

Lime Kiln Hill

Another real hill. Running along a chalk outcrop near Cherry Hinton where there used to be a Limekiln.

A hoard of Roman coins were found around Lime Kiln Hill.

Market Hill

It is thought that this might have been called Cooks Row prior to being named Market Hill. Market Hill (aka the Market Square) is the location of the marketplace in central Cambridge.  Operating as a marketplace since Saxon times, a daily outdoor market with stalls continues to run there.

Peas Hill

This was the home of the fish market ‘peas’ may have come from the Latin pisces, a fish. Records state that this hill was once at the top of a hill that led from the River Cam.  Prior to the arrival of Kings College, and other Colleges along the famous Backs, the area along the river front was teaming with wharves and warehouses and bustling locals using the river for trading purposes.

Pound Hill

Was near the former Pound Green where stray animals were rounded up by the ‘pindar’.  Part of the old outer ring of the Roman settlement.


Senate House Hill

This is where the Senate House, designed by James Gibbs in 1722, stands.

King’s Parade, with Trinity Street, was the High Street in the C16 when it was lined with shops and tenements, even after King’s College Chapel was built. In 1828, King’s

College screen was erected, sweeping away the humble buildings, and creating a

dividing line between the colleges on the west and the town on the east.

St Andrew’s Hill

Hard to find evidence of this Hill! It runs along the side of St Andrew the Great 1842-3 built on the site of a medieval church.







About The Real Cambridge

There is more to Cambridge than Colleges. A rich and vibrant social history and one steeped in contrast, and often, conflict, with its more famous academia. View all posts by The Real Cambridge

3 responses to “The Nine Hills of Cambridge

  • Cambridge: A living museum | Swift Ink

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  • Tony Finch

    There is also “Mount Pleasant” 🙂

    I understand that the city centre “hills” were enough higher than the surrounding roads to warrant the name – less prone to flooding and suchlike. The church yard of St Bene’t’s gives you an indication of the height difference.

    • therealcambridge

      Today’s landscape hides the gradients of these hills – and you are right St Bene’ts does show us how much higher the land it today. In her book on Cambridge Alison Taylor mentions one of the reasons why the land has gained in height is due to burial of hundreds of years of rubbish.

      Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and comment.

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