A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1973.
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The parish of Longstowe, comprising 1,544 a., lies about 10 miles west of Cambridge, on the borders of Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire. It is irregular in outline: its boundary with Bourn on the east follows the line of Ermine Street, later the Old North Road, for more than 2 miles, but its other boundaries are much less uniform. Longstowe lies on the southern boundary of the hundred which bears its name, but holds a central position between its eastern and western extremes. (fn. 1)
The parish lies in undulating country between the 200 ft. and 250 ft. contours. (fn. 2) It overlies clay on gault, and except for a number of ponds along the line of the village street and ornamental lakes in the grounds of Longstowe Hall the parish is not well watered. It was a matter for complaint in the 17th century that the village was 'unhappy for the want of good water . . . having neither springs nor brooks to supply that defect.' (fn. 3) Like many of its neighbours on the clay, it had plenty of woodland in the 11th century, (fn. 4) though that had largely been cleared by the end of the 13th century. (fn. 5) Some 40 a. were held by the lord of the manor by the 16th century, together with furze and heath. (fn. 6) Anthony Cage the elder, who purchased the manor in 1571, (fn. 7) made 'a little park for deer and a warren for conies' around his new house. (fn. 8) The amount of woodland attached to the manor had increased by the end of the 18th century, (fn. 9) and by 1857 it was said to be extremely well timbered with woods and plantations in a thriving state and an abundance of game. (fn. 10) The parish continues to be well timbered, particularly in the north, around the church and Longstowe Hall. (fn. 11) It is mainly agricultural and until inclosure in 1799 was farmed in three open fields. (fn. 12)
In terms of population, as in area, Longstowe is one of the smaller parishes in the hundred. Seventeen people were enumerated in 1086. (fn. 13) In 1327 31 people were assessed for tax. In 1377 97 paid tax, (fn. 14) and in 1563 24 families were recorded. The population remained fairly constant; in 1674 24 houses were enumerated (fn. 15) and in 1801 there were 175 inhabitants. There followed a steady rise to 296 in 1891, but within the next decade there was a fall of over 40, and from 1921 the total has fallen further in each decade. In 1961 the population was 218. (fn. 16)
Longstowe church, like its neighbours at Caxton and Arrington, (fn. 17) is sited a little distance away from the Old North Road, and is isolated from the present village, being virtually in the grounds of Longstowe Hall. It is not far removed from the site of St. Mary's Hospital which stood by the road; (fn. 18) that concentration in the north end of the parish, where an area was known c. 1800 as Town Green, (fn. 19) may have been the nucleus of the medieval village which, probably by the mid 13th century, had spread southwards. (fn. 20) The Old North Road seems to have been of no particular significance in Longstowe, for the built-up area did not extend to it until the late 19th century, (fn. 21) though the Golden Lion inn, later the Redhouse inn, was sited at the cross-roads with the Cambridge way, presumably to attract custom from two routes. The road pattern within the parish at the end of the 18th century was of two roughly parallel roads running westwards from the Old North Road, joined by a road running roughly north-south. The most northerly road, from Bourn, entered the parish at the Fox crossroads and still exists for a few hundred yards. West of its junction with the main street of the village, it once forked, the northern branch forming the 'ancient way' to the hall. The southern fork turned south and then west, leading towards Great Gransden. (fn. 22) Roughly parallel was a road in the south part of the parish known variously as the Cambridge way, (fn. 23) Gamlingay way, (fn. 24) or Porter's way. (fn. 25) Its eastern section was in 1966 a wide grassy track, its western half part of the road to Little Gransden and Gamlingay. The main street of the village once joined the two parallel roads. Its southern end was diverted for the construction of the Bedford and Cambridge railway, opened in 1862, (fn. 26) its earlier course leading to Copy Yard Farm.
That road pattern divided the parish into four unequal areas. In the north, by the time of inclosure in 1799, lay woods and parkland around the hall and church, together with a number of small closes. Similar closes clung to the main street as far as the Cambridge way. (fn. 27)
The modern settlement pattern of Longstowe is scattered. The main part of the village is little more than a loose collection of farm-houses, cottages, and the Three Horseshoes inn, built in 1865, (fn. 28) spreading for half a mile. Three farm-houses form a group of buildings south of the railway, and there is another group on the road south of the church. The opening of Old North Road railway station in 1862 (fn. 29) encouraged building development along the road, and sites became available south of the Fox cross-roads in 1870. (fn. 30) Rectory Home Farm, formerly Glebe Farm, was built early in the 17th century and restored in the 19th century. Middle Farm dates from the 17th century, and was remodelled in the mid 18th. A barn south of the Elms is of the 17th century. The Redhouse inn was built immediately after inclosure in 1800, under a covenant that all dung from the stables of the inn should become the property of the owner of Longstowe Hall. (fn. 31) By 1812 the inn was known as the Golden Lion (fn. 32) and in 1833 as the New Stables. (fn. 33) It became the property of the lord of the manor in 1874. (fn. 34)
Manors and Other Estates.
Ethelgiva (d. 985), wife of the ealdorman Ethelwin, gave to the monks of Ramsey Abbey (Hunts.) an estate at Longstowe. It included a hide at Bourn (fn. 35) which was a berewick of that estate in 1086 and remained connected with it until the late 13th century. (fn. 36) The Longstowe property was held by the abbey in demesne in 1066, when it was reckoned at 2 hides, but in 1086 it was occupied by a tenant, one Guy. (fn. 37) Subsequently the Ramsey land at Longstowe may have been appropriated by Picot the sheriff, for it was recovered from his successor, Pain Peverel, lord of Bourn, by Abbot Bernard (d. 1107). (fn. 38) The overlordship of the chief manor, called from one of its 12th-century tenants STOWE WYTHE, (fn. 39) was retained by the abbey until the Dissolution, after which it may have come to Richard Williams alias Cromwell, who acquired much Ramsey land from the Crown in 1540. (fn. 40) Richard's grandson, Sir Oliver Cromwell, of Hinchingbrooke (Hunts.) (d. 1635), was said to be overlord c. 1605. (fn. 41)
Reinald, abbot of Ramsey 1114–30, granted the abbey's demesne at Longstowe among other lands to Guy of Eu, whose son Gilbert soon after relinquished to Reinald most of the grant, excluding Longstowe, under an exchange. (fn. 42) Guy of Stowe, probably son of Gilbert, held 3½ hides of the abbot in 1166, (fn. 43) and he or a namesake, who held the 3½ hides c. 1185, was still alive in 1200, (fn. 44) and gave his lands during his lifetime to his son Stephen. Stephen was dead by 1204, when his son Richard was defending his title to the estate. (fn. 45) Richard was dead by 1228, when his widow Agnes held his lands in dower. His son William, then a minor, (fn. 46) probably soon died, for by 1230 2 hides at Longstowe were in dispute between Baldwin son of Stephen and William son of Gilbert, probably son of Guy of Stowe. (fn. 47) In 1234 they agreed to divide the estate equally between them, each taking one hide, which they held accordingly c. 1235, although Baldwin retained the overlordship and site of the manor-house. (fn. 48) He was probably still living c. 1251, (fn. 49) but by c. 1270 had been succeeded by his son William of Stowe, called also William Baldwin, (fn. 50) who reunited the manor by acquiring the other half of the fee c. 1272 from his kinsman John, son of William son of Gilbert and rector of Longstowe. John's brother Ethelbert renounced his interest for a life-annuity. William son of Baldwin held the whole manor in 1279, (fn. 51) and died after 1285. It had come to his son Baldwin by 1296 when it was settled upon him and his wife. (fn. 52) Baldwin, who was alive in 1327, was shortly succeeded by Philip of Stowe, perhaps his son, (fn. 53) who died c. 1337. (fn. 54) Philip's widow Maud held 2/3 of the manor in dower in 1339 when it was settled on Robert Wauton and his wife Maud, with successive remainders to their sons William, Bartholomew, Thomas, and John. (fn. 55) Robert held it in 1346. (fn. 56) By 1396 it had come to John Wauton, who died after 1412. (fn. 57) His daughter Margaret married William Denstone who held it in 1428 and died in 1433. (fn. 58) Denstone's son and successor John died in 1462, leaving as heir his daughter Anne, who had married John Broughton (fn. 59) (d. 1479). Their estates passed in succession to Broughton's sons, John (d. 1483) and Robert. (fn. 60) Sir Robert Broughton on his death in 1506 left Longstowe for life to his uncle John Leynton. Robert's heir was his son John, (fn. 61) who died in 1518, leaving as heir a son John who died, still a minor, in 1528. (fn. 62) His lands were divided between his sisters and coheirs, Longstowe being included in the share of Anne, who had livery in 1529 and died in 1562. She married Sir Thomas Cheyney, K.G. (d. 1558). (fn. 63) His son Henry's wardship was granted to Francis, earl of Bedford, (fn. 64) to whom Anne conveyed Longstowe manor in 1560, (fn. 65) but who evidently resettled it on Henry Cheyney, for the latter in 1563 granted it to Thomas Bownest or Downest. (fn. 66) In 1571 Bownest granted Longstowe to Anthony Cage the elder, (fn. 67) and the descent of the manor then followed that of Caxton for a century, (fn. 68) passing through the hands successively of Anthony Cage (d. 1603) and Sir John Cage (d. 1628) to John's son Sir Anthony. Sir Anthony sold it to Francis Bickley the younger in 1649, and he in turn sold it to Ralph (later Sir Ralph) Bovey in 1655. On Bovey's death in 1679 the manor, unlike that of Caxton, passed to the Revd. Thomas Davies, who took the additional name of Bovey. (fn. 69) His daughter and heir Catherine married Sir Thomas Alston, of Odell (Beds.), in 1750, and despite a separation two years later Alston retained the property until his death in 1774. (fn. 70) His widow then resumed ownership until her death in 1778, when the estate passed to John Wasse of Tempsford (Beds.), her illegitimate son. (fn. 71) Wasse assumed the name of Alston and, c. 1791, styled himself baronet. (fn. 72) He sold the property to the Revd. Robert Thomson in 1796. (fn. 73) Thomson, who soon took up residence in Longstowe, died in 1827, and the estate passed to his trustees, who sold it in 1840 to Richard Simpson (d. 1853). (fn. 74) Richard's son Joseph, of Bourn Hall, conveyed the property to Sidney Stanley (d. 1896) in 1858. (fn. 75) Stanley's son, Charles Wentworth Stanley (1860–1939), sold the manor in 1905 to W. A. Briscoe (1860–1934), (fn. 76) whose son, R. G. Briscoe (1893–1957), gave the manor, hall, and estate to his nephew, Mr. M. G. M. Bevan, in 1951. (fn. 77)
The medieval manor-house probably occupied the site of Longstowe Hall. It was surrounded by a great moat in the eastern part of which a young man was drowned in 1381. (fn. 78) Anthony Cage the elder (d. 1583) built a house which forms the centre of the garden front of Longstowe Hall. (fn. 79) Gabled extensions were erected to the left and right in the 19th century and in 1910 Sir John W. Simpson added a completely new entrance side in Edwardian Neo-Elizabethan or Neo-Jacobean style. Inside there is some Flemish panelling of c. 1550. (fn. 80)
Almar who held 1½ virgate in 1066 was still in possession as tenant of Count Alan twenty years later. (fn. 81) That holding was possibly the origin of the serjeanty held in 1212 by Aubrey of Stowe, who in that year was holding a virgate in Longstowe. (fn. 82) In 1250 the estate, then held by Aubrey of Stowe, otherwise Aubrey le Child, was charged with the service of providing for the king a truss of hay for his outer chamber when he came to Cambridge. (fn. 83) Part of the estate, c. 40 a., however, had already been alienated, and the serjeanty service was in that year converted into knight-service for 1/40 fee and a rent of 10s. a year. (fn. 84) Aubrey le Child died in 1252, holding nearly 30 a. of land and rents. His son and heir Aubrey (fn. 85) assigned a capital messuage, 20 a. of land, and the rents of 12 tenants to Master John of Ravelingham c. 1275. (fn. 86) That holding was again split and the part of the estate that was leased to tenants, comprising just over 30 a., had passed into the hands of John of Chertsey by 1314. (fn. 87) In that year Chertsey was succeeded by his brother Robert, who rendered 11s. each year to the king. (fn. 88) In 1316 Robert, known as Robert le Peyntour, granted the property to John Prat of Longstowe. (fn. 89) In 1366 Henry Valentine and Alice his wife were pardoned for acquiring the estate without licence from John, son of John Prat, who had acquired it from John Prat of Longstowe. (fn. 90) Alice retained the property at least until 1383 when it was granted to feoffees. (fn. 91) The subsequent history of the estate has not been traced.
Hardwin de Scalers, lord of Caxton, had in 1086 a small estate of 3½ virgates in Longstowe, which had been owned in 1066 by a sokeman of Archbishop Stigand and three sokemen of the abbot of Ramsey. In 1086 it was held by a knight and two Englishmen. (fn. 92) It seems that the estate descended, unlike Caxton, in the half-barony of Whaddon, for c. 1235 Simon the Chamberlain, who had held land at Longstowe since 1204, was said to be holding a hide there in socage of Geoffrey de Scalers. (fn. 93) In 1279 an estate of 150 a. formerly held by Thomas son of Goda, was held of Richard de Freville, heir to the Shelford branch of the Scalers family, by John of Caxton. Under John of Caxton the estate was divided, and did not survive as a unit. (fn. 94)
By 1200 the priory of St. Mary Overy, Southwark, possessed an estate in Longstowe which by 1279 comprised nearly 180 a. (fn. 95) In the latter year it was held of the prior by Simon son of Roger of Stowe, (fn. 96) whose successor, Simon of Bourn, was assessed at almost the same sum as the lord of the manor in 1327. (fn. 97) Simon was succeeded by his kinsman, John Henry, in 1337 when the estate measured over 160 a. (fn. 98) In 1535 Southwark still retained an income of 60s. from the estate (fn. 99) but by 1543 William Gery is said to have held the property, then called BOURN'S COURT, of Sir Thomas Cheyney as of the manor of Longstowe. (fn. 100) In 1548 William Cooke, serjeant at law, acquired the estate from Gery and his wife. (fn. 101) William Bramfield sold half of Bourn's Court, then described as a manor, to Simon Wiseman in 1557; (fn. 102) Thomas Wiseman and his wife conveyed the whole manor to Robert Peck in 1564, (fn. 103) and it subsequently merged with the main manor, probably being purchased by Anthony Cage the elder. (fn. 104) Three other religious houses had small estates in Longstowe. Walter the chaplain, vicar of Longstowe, before 1250 gave 2 a. by Ermine Street, part of the serjeanty lands, as the site for St. Mary's Hospital. (fn. 105) By 1250 the sisters of the hospital had increased their holding to 12 a. and to over 16 a. by 1279. (fn. 106) The hospital was still in existence in 1392, but its lands were taken by the rector soon after, and had come into the king's hands before 1414. (fn. 107) Its subsequent history has not been traced. The abbey of Sawtry (Hunts.) held in 1279 6 a. formerly belonging to the serjeanty of Aubrey le Child, and retained the land until the Dissolution, when it probably passed with the Shakeldon estate in Gamlingay to Richard Cromwell and his successors. (fn. 108) A small holding belonged to the preceptory of Shingay when that house was surrendered. (fn. 109) About 1520 St. John's College, Cambridge, acquired land in Longstowe by Crown grant. A further 90 a. were purchased in 1711–12, (fn. 110) and the property, let to successive tenants, was sold to the lord of the manor in 1940. (fn. 111) By will dated 1692 Matthew Wilkes endowed some alms-houses in Leighton Buzzard (Beds.) with an estate of just over 50 a. in Longstowe. (fn. 112) The property, often simply known as 'Leighton Buzzard', (fn. 113) comprised by 1865 a farm and the Horseshoes inn. It remained the property of the charity until 1947. (fn. 114)
At the time of the Domesday survey the three estates in Longstowe, those held of the abbey of Ramsey, Count Alan, and Hardwin de Scalers, together comprised 3 hides and a virgate. Arable farming evidently predominated and there were 6½ ploughs and 6 oxen, forming part of a further plough-team, together with meadow land for those beasts. Two ploughs were attached to the abbot's demesne farm. There were 5 villani and 6 bordars on the abbot's land, 2 servi on Count Alan's, and 4 bordars on Hardwin's. The abbot had pasture for the cattle of the vill, and each estate had wood for fences and houses. The total value was £9 12s. T.R.E., when received £6, and in 1086 £6 2s., the greatest loss being incurred on the abbot's estate. (fn. 115)
In 1279 there seems to have been a comparatively simple tenurial structure, though the exact numbers of tenants cannot be determined. It is clear, however, that free tenants outnumbered customary tenants, for there were only eleven customary holdings in the whole vill. William of Stowe, the lord of the manor, held nearly 350 a. His estate was largely arable, and included only 15 a. of woodland, 5 a. of meadow, and 4 a. of pasture on the demesne. On that estate alone did customary tenants outnumber free tenants and cottars. John of Caxton's tenants on the fee of Richard de Freville were all free, but there were both free and customary tenants on the estate of St. Mary Overy. The serjeanty lands divided between William of Stowe and Master John of Ravelingham were held by free tenants only, mostly at low rents. (fn. 116)
Longstowe seems to have suffered a serious decline before the Black Death. In 1341 less than half of the ninth could be collected because the greater part of the village lay fallow and several messuages were empty. The lands were said to be nearly waste because of the inability of the tenants who were troubled and ruined by frequent taxes and tallages and by the coming of the keepers of the king's horses. (fn. 117) In 1342, however, the parish produced over 75 stone of wool. (fn. 118)
The growth and consolidation of the demesne lands of the manor can be traced from inclosure of arable land in 1490–1 by Sir Robert Broughton. (fn. 119) By 1560 the estate appears to have consisted of about 280 a., (fn. 120) by 1571 of over 300 a., (fn. 121) and by 1594 a further 100 a. had been added. (fn. 122) During the next two centuries the estate probably varied little in size, but by 1827 it had grown to nearly 800 a. (fn. 123) and to 860 a. by 1833. (fn. 124) By 1857 the estate was said to be over 1,020 a. in extent (fn. 125) and further small purchases were made, including lands in Caxton, (fn. 126) in 1860, 1868, and 1921. (fn. 127) In 1921 former glebe property including Copy Yard farm was purchased, and in 1940 the estate of St. John's College, Cambridge, was acquired. (fn. 128)
Consolidated holdings within the estate had emerged by the mid 18th century. Glebe farm, given to the rectory in 1729, (fn. 129) was already a unit of about 100 a. with a house. (fn. 130) By 1750 Lordship, Middle, Townsend, and Further farms were formed, (fn. 131) though the names changed, often with the tenants. Thus Middle farm had become Great Papworth farm by 1814 (fn. 132) and continued to be so called at least until 1857. (fn. 133) The holding of Christopher Hawke in 1800 (fn. 134) was still known as Hawke's farm in 1857 (fn. 135) but later became Bellam's farm. Lower farm was known as Purser's in 1814. (fn. 136) On the rectory estate Glebe farm was sometimes known as Rectory farm, and Copy Yard farm was earlier known as Little Papworth farm. (fn. 137) The holdings varied in size. In 1833 Home farm comprised over 280 a., Great Papworth 236 a., Hawke's and Purser's each over 100 a. (fn. 138)
Some arable land was inclosed in Longstowe in the late 15th century but in 1772 about half the parish, 757 a., was still in open-field cultivation. (fn. 139) Most of the old inclosures were concentrated around the village although a few lay in the open field in the south part of the parish. There is some evidence to suggest that a rearrangement of the open fields took place between 1787 and 1799. The three fields which were marked out neatly by the roads in 1787 bore different names and to some extent covered different areas from those recorded in 1799. In 1787 Holbrook, or East, field lay east of the village street and extended across the Cambridge way to the southern boundary of the parish. Ridgeway, or West, field lay west of the village street, the Cambridge way forming its southern boundary. Townsend, or North, field lay to the north, crossing the road to Great Gransden. (fn. 140) By 1799 Little field had replaced Holbrook field but did not extend south of the Cambridge way, and Great field seems to have been a combination of Ridgway and Townsend fields. The land south of the Cambridge way had become Long field, with the Great Common at its western end. (fn. 141)
In 1799 the half of the parish remaining under open-field cultivation was inclosed under an Act obtained in 1798. The rector received for his glebe and commuted tithes c. 405 a., including exchanges of old inclosures. Dr. Thomson, lord of the manor, obtained 417 a. including similar exchanges. St. John's College was allotted 79 a., the charity estate 30 a., the Leighton Buzzard alms-houses 28 a., and the vicar of Bourn c. 22 a. Four small landowners received 33 a. between them. (fn. 142) It was reported in 1801 that already less corn was being grown, though still some 550 a. were given over to oats, barley, and wheat, and that the process was likely to continue. (fn. 143) Similarly calf-rearing had given way to fattening for the London market. Sheep, which were badly hit by rot in 1793, (fn. 144) were also formerly reared in the parish, but like calves were then kept only for fattening. About 1816 the parish was suffering a depression and many holdings were deserted and unoccupied. The inclosures were given as a reason for rising prices of animal food. (fn. 145) Alterations and improvements were nevertheless made in the village after inclosure. Wright's, Hawke's, and Purser's farms were repaired before 1833 and Withers's land south of the Red House inn had 'lately been drained at a heavy expense, and in a few years will doubtless be increased in value'. (fn. 146) St. John's College made regular repairs to its property, which was, however, unlet in 182930, and again between 1833 and 1837, while a rent allowance was made in 1849–50. (fn. 147)
A cattle dealer and a corn dealer were among the inhabitants of Longstowe in 1851. (fn. 148) Brick-kilns, from which Brick Kiln close derived its name, were probably fired for use only within the parish. (fn. 149) There was a windmill on William of Stowe's estate in 1279, (fn. 150) and the field name Mill furlong south-west of the Red House inn may mark its site. (fn. 151)
No court rolls for Longstowe have survived and no detailed records of local government before the 19th century. In 1841 the rector said that there was no vestry clerk and that it was not customary to take minutes. (fn. 152) Expenditure on the poor was £31 in 1776, an average of £35 in the years 1783–5, and £83 in 1803. (fn. 153) After 1816 the figure was around £100, reaching a peak of £135 in 1823. (fn. 154) Longstowe became part of the Caxton and Arrington union in 1835, (fn. 155) and in 1934 was transferred from the Caxton and Arrington R.D. to the South Cambridgeshire R.D. (fn. 156)
There was probably a church at Longstowe by c. 1100, belonging to Ramsey Abbey, for Abbot Reinald reserved half the tithe when he granted the manor to Guy of Eu. (fn. 157) The advowson subsequently descended with the manor held by the family of Stowe. When the manor was divided in 1234 between Baldwin and William of Stowe, each took half the advowson. (fn. 158) William's son and successor John was later made rector. William son of Baldwin held the whole advowson in 1279, (fn. 159) and from that year it descended with the manor until the death of Sir Ralph Bovey in 1679, (fn. 160) though feoffees presented in 1406, (fn. 161) the Crown in 1546 during a minority, (fn. 162) and the bishop of Ely in 1556 after a deprivation. (fn. 163) Elizabeth Simmonds of Longstowe, Bovey's trustee, granted the advowson for one turn to John Crosse, rector 1679–1716, who presented his own son John, rector 1716–74. The patronage then reverted to the lords of the manor who exercised it until 1815. John Dyer presented in that year and in 1819, and the patronage then passed to Peter Cowling of Fen Stanton (1820), William Fowler (1825), Henry Hollaway, who presented himself in 1832, Thomas Price (1839), and H. A. Bishop, who presented himself in 1839. (fn. 164) By 1852 John Sharp had acquired the advowson, and presented his son-in-law, James Rushton, rector 1852–95. (fn. 165) The patronage descended on Rushton's death in 1895 to his widow, (fn. 166) and on her death by 1903 to her brother, J. P. Sharp, rector 1895–1906. J. H. Sharp presented in 1907. (fn. 167) A. A. Sharp, rector 1916–22, son of J. P. Sharp, acquired the advowson, and in 1928 gave it to Selwyn College, Cambridge, the patrons in 1966. (fn. 168) The benefice has always been a rectory, though vicars were appointed in the 13th century. (fn. 169)
After several variations of assessment during the 13th century, the rectory was finally valued in 1291 at £13 6s. 8d. (fn. 170) By 1535, however, its value had fallen sharply to £4 8s. 2d., (fn. 171) and was the smallest in the deanery and one of the smallest in the county. The value was given as £50 in 1650. (fn. 172) The acquisition of the glebe farm in 1729 (fn. 173) and the improvements following inclosure in 1799 raised the value to £120 by 1800, (fn. 174) and in 1812 it was said that the income of the rectory was £449. (fn. 175)
The glebe in the Middle Ages comprised a few small closes mostly around the church and parsonage part of which was probably that acquired by Walter the chaplain, vicar in the 13th century. (fn. 176) Thomas Okey, rector of Longstowe 1396–1406, unlawfully acquired the property of the defunct hospital, but it had been taken into the king's hands by 1414. (fn. 177) The glebe remained small until 1729 when, under the will of John Crosse, rector 1679–1716, a farm of c. 100 a. was added to the living. (fn. 178) In 1799 at inclosure the rector was allotted just over 90 a. in place of glebe and common, and over 243 a. in place of all tithes, together a little more than a quarter of the area of the whole parish. (fn. 179) In the late 19th century the rector was farming the land himself with the aid of a bailiff. (fn. 180) Most of the property lay in the east and south parts of the parish and included Little Papworth, later Copy Yard, farm. (fn. 181) In 1921 the glebe was sold except for 11 a. (fn. 182)
By 1573 the rectory house consisted of a hall with a chamber over, a parlour and buttery, each with chambers over, and a kitchen. It was surrounded by a complex of buildings including barns, a pigeon-house, a malt-house, a hay-house, and a kiln-house, together with two gatehouses and two stables, one of each described as 'without the moat'. The buildings were of timber with brick foundations and were thatched and were in a poor state of repair. (fn. 183) The parsonage was replaced by a masonry building before the end of the 18th century, when the rector, Richard Haighton, was said to have greatly improved it. (fn. 184) In 1810 the property was in decay through wilful negligence, and in 1812 the house was extensively remodelled under John Bushell of Huntingdon. (fn. 185) The house was rebuilt in 1839. (fn. 186)
The poverty of the benefice may account for considerable pluralism among the rectors of Longstowe, and for the employment of vicars in the 13th century. (fn. 187) A parochial chaplain occurs in the 15th century. (fn. 188) Curates occur regularly from the late 16th century when the rectors held other cures. (fn. 189) Thomas Parneby, rector 1556–73, was also vicar of Hinton 1535–73; William Howgrave, rector 1573–95, held the rectory of Stanton St. Michael at the same time; and William Stanton, rector 1605–34, was incumbent of Knapwell 1613–27 and of Bourn 1631–4. His successor, John Stanton, 'a very weak man', (fn. 190) rector 1634–74, held Knapwell together with Hatley St. George for some time until his death in 1674. (fn. 191) Richard Haighton, rector 1774–1810, was vicar of Bourn 1778–83 and rector of Croxton 1786–1810. Both Stanton and Haighton's resided at Longstowe. John Murray, Haighton's curate in 1799, was paid £40 a year. (fn. 192) Murray's successor by 1807, Ralph Tatham, who was curate of both Longstowe and Caxton, resided at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he held a fellowship and was master 1839–57. (fn. 193)
In 1644 twelve cherubim in the church were broken down, and the steps were ordered to be levelled. (fn. 194) In 1678 pigeons entered the unglazed windows, the town plough was kept in the nave, the west end was cracked, and furniture, books, and plate were lacking or needed repair as did the chancel. (fn. 195) In 1685 the chancel was still 'in a woeful case' and little had been done towards the other repairs and renewals. (fn. 196) The church was 'in good repair and very decent' in 1779, though the north chapel needed attention, and the whole interior required a coat of whitewash. (fn. 197)
A sermon was preached once every Sunday by 1807 and communion was celebrated four times a year, though few attended. (fn. 198) In 1825 two sermons a Sunday 'have never been done', and communion was then given at Christmas and Easter only and the rector taught children in his own home every Sunday. (fn. 199) By 1841, however, two sermons were preached each Sunday and the rector catechized in a Sunday school which was held in the church. (fn. 200) Two services were held in 1884. (fn. 201) A parish room was opened in 1899 and a mothers' meeting and a reading room were immediately begun. (fn. 202)
By 1279 Henry the cobbler, a cottar of the lord of the manor, held some land for which he gave 8 lb. of wax annually to the altar of St. Ethelbert in Longstowe church. (fn. 203) In 1825 the rector recorded a charitable endowment which traditionally was partly for repairs to the church, but which had not been properly applied. (fn. 204)
The church of ST. MARY has a chancel, nave, north chapel, south porch, and west tower, all except the tower being of the 19th century. The medieval church appears to have had only a chancel, nave, south porch, and the late 14th-century tower. In 1609 Sir John Cage built a transeptal chapel, on the south side of the nave, which later contained his tomb, and on the north side of the nave Sir John's son Anthony built a similar chapel. The church contained a number of memorials to members of the Cage family including, in the chancel, one to Anthony Cage (d. 1603), and a quantity of armorial glass. (fn. 205) The north chapel was subsequently used as the family vault of the Bovey family and it contained a monument to Sir Ralph Bovey (d. 1679). By 1727 the south chapel was in ruins, and in 1779 it was fenced off from the churchyard with a brick wall. (fn. 206) In 1863–4 the church was rebuilt, probably following the old outlines, in red and blue brick with stone dressings. The architect was W. M. Fawcett of Cambridge (fn. 207) and the rector, James Rushton, and his wife are said to have borne nearly the whole cost. (fn. 208) The surviving monuments and some armorial glass were reset in the north chapel. Before the rebuilding the bells included one, which survives, of c. 1450, attributed to John Sturdy of London, and two others which were probably 16th-century. Eight tubular bells were given by Mrs. Rushton in 1898. (fn. 209) In 1552 the church possessed two chalices, and a copper gilt cross. (fn. 210) The surviving plate includes a cup of 1780, a paten of 1720–1, and a cup, paten, and flagon of 1867. The registers begin in 1569 and are largely complete.
There were two dissenters in Longstowe in 1731 (fn. 211) but apparently none in 1755 (fn. 212) or 1807. (fn. 213) Meeting-places were licensed in 1814, (fn. 214) 1821, (fn. 215) and 1827. (fn. 216) In 1825 seven heads of families were said to be Baptists, though their wives and children went to church. They were all labourers, and a cottage was used as a meeting- house. They had various teachers, whom the rector thought to be not licensed. (fn. 217) A chapel was licensed in 1849, (fn. 218) but no nonconformist meeting-place was listed in 1851. (fn. 219) There was a small Baptist chapel in 1900. (fn. 220) A chapel was registered in 1852, (fn. 221) probably for Primitive Methodists, which in 1897 was attended by about 50 people. (fn. 222) Neither chapel survived in 1966.
A school had been established by the rector in Longstowe by 1818, when 25 children were educated on Sundays and on two evenings during the week. (fn. 223) This school was short-lived, but a similar school was opened in 1826. Described as a day and Sunday school, it was supported by the rector and the principal inhabitants. All poor children were taught gratuitously but a few of the more prosperous children contributed. The mistress received a salary and coal and lived in a house provided rent-free by the rector. The school was attended by 15 boys and 25 girls in 1835, (fn. 224) and by 13 boys and 15 girls in 1846–7, when it was held on Sundays only in part of the church. The children of farmers and small tradesmen attended the dayschool at Bourn. (fn. 225)
A Church of England school was built in 1854 and a teacher's house attached to it was built in 1866. The school was maintained by voluntary contributions, by school pence depending on the economic status of the parents, (fn. 226) and, from 1876, by annual parliamentary grants. (fn. 227) Accommodation until 1896 was for 58 and thereafter for 70. Average attendance rose from 45 in 1871 (fn. 228) to 58 in 1878, (fn. 229) but fell to 44 in 1900. (fn. 230) It was 27 in 1927 (fn. 231) and 23 in 1938. (fn. 232) The school was transferred to the council in 1927, (fn. 233) and closed in 1962. (fn. 234)
Charities for the Poor.
By will dated 1541 Richard Baley devised to the churchwardens of Longstowe a yard called Cranham's Yard and 5 a. of land. In 1637 the yard was still enjoyed by the inhabitants but the rent of the land was concealed. Before 1628 John Pate the elder, John Peck, and others purchased a messuage and 20 a. in Longstowe 'for the easing and benefits of the said town in harms [and] public charges'. For several years up to 1637 the tenants had paid nothing. (fn. 235) The estate may have been the origin of the Town Lands, which by 1788 produced an annual rent of £9, used for the repair of the church, and generally for poorrelief. (fn. 236) In 1801, following inclosure, 26 a. situated in Long field and three tenements, possibly the town houses, (fn. 237) were conveyed in trust for the church and the poor. In 1807 the benefaction was thought to be for the poor only. In 1825 the land produced £15 rent, though formerly £22 had been paid. (fn. 238) In 1837 the land was let for £22, but most of the income had been spent on inclosure expenses and repairs to the church and to the town houses. (fn. 239) According to a Scheme of 1862 any money left after paying for the repairs of the church was to be equally divided, one half to provide coal and clothing for the poor or education for orphans, the other half to accumulate, to form a fund for the church. The income in 1952 was £38. (fn. 240)
There were three alms-houses in Longstowe in 1727. (fn. 241) They were probably the three thatched, clay dwellings occupied rent-free by the poor and known in 1788 as the town houses. (fn. 242) In 1807 there were six houses, all inhabited by the poor. (fn. 243) In 1837 there were two cottages, one divided into two dwellings and the other into four. Each dwelling was occupied by one person at an annual rent of £1 5s. The money received was administered with the Town Lands charity. (fn. 244) In 1867 there were eight dwellings in a very bad state. (fn. 245) The cottages were still standing in 1897, (fn. 246) but later evidence of them has not been found.