Romano-British pottery has been unearthed in fields across the parish. A Middle Saxon gilded bronze pendent or brooch has also been found. A silver penny of the Saxon king Aethelred II was also found nearby.
It was known as Acheham in the Domesday Book. Its place name is possibly derived from Old English - 'homestead of a man called Aca'. The abandoned St. Mary's church suffered bomb damage during World War II and is maintained by the organisation Friends of Friendless Churches. This little lost church was the scene of one of the great ecclesiastical scandals of the 19th century, a scandal that occupied the national press for a year or more; a scandal that reached the highest courts in the land, and ultimately led to a change in the law, in the form of the Burial Laws Amendment Act 1880. See here for more detail of the Akenham Burial Case.
Rise Hall near the church is a late Georgian building on the site of an ancient manor house, formerly the residence of the Le Ruse or Rous family in the 13th century. To the south of Rise Hall here is a small moated site with a central island 14.0m across and 0.3m high. The ditch is water-filled on the W side and parts of the N and S sides, the remainder is merely marshy. There are traces of a causeway in the middle of the E side. On the lower W side there are small fragments of a probable retaining wall for the moat. Site lies just S of Rise Hall and it is likely that this moat accommodated a timber-framed dovecote. This could be a precursor site for Rise Hall. How unusual is it for a dovecot to moated? A moat might protect the dovecot from poachers but would be expensive to build and maintain. On the other hand reusing an existing moat would make sense. The mound is small and there is no attached bailey, Rise Hall being about 50m to the north, in an oval enclosure partly defined by ponds. Mottes slightly separate from baileys do occasionally occur but make no sense as defensive features. Was this moated mound a fundamentally symbolic feature?
A pair of 6th century cruciform brooches were found ante 1911 at Akenham Hall which possibly indicates an inhumation site.
There are a few small businesses operating out of former agricultural buildings including Stealth Electronics which specialise in security equipment, based at Akenham Hall Farm. Chives Montessori School is located in the parish. The school was established 14 years ago and is very much a community school serving local needs.