Here’s a wonderful piece of research by local resident Jeremy Lander, produced in 2009, linking the area to Edith Swan-Neck, or ‘Eddeva the Fair’ as she was often called, landowner in and around Cambridge in 1066 and common-law wife of Harold II. It’s a wonderful tale, as Jeremy explains in the foreword:
My interest in the subject began when I moved to Nightingale Avenue in the Queen Edith area, a south-eastern suburb of Cambridge. At the time I had no idea of the connection between the area where we lived, the ‘Queen Edith’ school in Godwin Way (where my children went), and Harold II king of England in 1066; let alone an obscure Saxon noblewoman named Edith, or how our house came to be built on land that belonged to St Thomas’ Hospital in London. But I wondered about the naming of the area and why it was called Queen Edith’s. Left unsatisfied by the explanation that it was named after Queen Edith, wife of Edward the Confessor (especially when I found that there was no connection between her and the area) I dug a little deeper.
I owe my ‘eureka’ moment to novelist Julian Rathbone and his book ‘The Last English King’. In his fictionalised account of the life of Harold II he describes the love affair between Harold and the beautiful Saxon princess Edith Swan-Neck and it was while I read the paperback on holiday that the scales fell from my eyes. Could this have been the Edith that lived in 11th century Cambridgeshire, and the naming of the area be just a case of mistaken identity? A quick delve into the Victoria County History and all was revealed: the name Edith Swan-Neck, or ‘Eddeva the Fair’ as she was often called, landowner in and around Cambridge in 1066 and common-law wife of Harold II, was everywhere.
The full article goes on to tell the whole history of Cherry Hinton and Queen Edith’s to the present day, and is a fascinating tale.