St Neots /sɛnʔ ˈniːəts/[b] is a town and civil parish in the Huntingdonshire District of the county of Cambridgeshire, England, approximately 50 miles (80 km) north of central London. The town straddles the River Great Ouse and is served by a railway station on the East Coast Main Line. It is 14 miles (23 km) west of Cambridge, to which it is linked by the A428 arterial road. It is the largest town in Cambridgeshire and had a population of 30,811 in the 2011 census.[c]
The town is named after the Cornish monk Saint Neot, whose bones were moved to the Priory here from the hamlet of St Neot on Bodmin Moor in around 980 AD. Pilgrimage to the priory church and parish church brought prosperity to the settlement and the town was granted a market charter in 1130. In the 18th and 19th centuries the town enjoyed further prosperity through corn milling, brewing, stagecoach traffic and railways.
After the Second World War the town and its industry were chosen for rapid growth as London councils paid for new housing to be built to rehouse families from London. The first London overspill housing was completed in the early 1960s and new housing has continued at a slightly lower rate such that the population, including the areas transferred from Bedfordshire, is approximately four times that of the 1920s.