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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Caldecote lies 6 miles west of Cambridge. In shape the parish is a long, narrow rectangle, containing 1,007 a., (fn. 1) of which 59 a. at its north-western corner were transferred from Bourn in 1949. (fn. 2) It may have originated as a hamlet of Bourn, upon which it was ecclesiastically dependent in the 12th century. The parish is bounded on the north by the road from St. Neots to Cambridge and on the south by the Bourn brook. A tributary of the Bourn brook running in a depression called Deep Dean forms part of the western boundary and Hardwick wood marks part of the eastern boundary. The land rises fairly sharply from 100 ft. in the south near the Bourn brook to 175 ft. and then gently to 225 ft. in the north of the parish, which is flatter. (fn. 3) The parish lies mainly on the gault, and has a heavy clay soil. (fn. 4)
Until it was inclosed in 1854, Caldecote was approached from the south by Strympole way, the road from Kingston and Toft which ran northwards for over half the length of the parish into the common in the north. (fn. 5) A number of paths and tracks led eastwards and westwards from Strympole way. Most of them were used for access to the common fields, but Caldecote was linked with Cambridge by Cambridge way which ran eastwards to meet the track later called Port way in Hardwick and Comberton. Further south, opposite the Fox inn, Cambridge Lane ran eastwards to the boundary of Caldecote with Toft before dividing into two branches, one leading eastwards across Toft and the other turning north to form the boundary beside Hardwick wood before joining Cambridge way. On the west St. Ives way ran north-westwards across Bourn parish. Caldecote was linked to Bourn village by a more southerly track called Bourn way. (fn. 6) When Caldecote was inclosed in 1854, (fn. 7) St. Ives way and Cambridge way became bridle ways, and Bourn way a footpath. Strympole way was extended as Broad way to join the road from St. Neots to Cambridge which formed the northern boundary of the parish. Until the end of the 19th century, however, Broad way was rarely used and within living memory it was a grass-grown track. (fn. 8) With the building of the Highfields estate access from the north became equally important with that from the south. A network of roads serving the estate grew up in the north-west part of the parish (fn. 9) and the other lateral roads in the south decayed until in 1962 they were all overgrown, rutted tracks used mainly for access to fields.
The former extent of the village was indicated before 1854 by the existence of old inclosures stretching along each side of Strympole way, which served as a village street. They extended northwards from the southern boundary for more than half the length of the parish. The southern group was separated by a stretch of open-field arable from the middle group. There was a further group to the north around Highfields. (fn. 10) Most of the old inclosures had contained inhabited houses, and probably dated from the 13th and 14th centuries or earlier. As the population declined the buildings decayed and the closes came to be used as groves or pasture. (fn. 11) By 1851 the shrunken village was concentrated about ½ mile north of the church, which lay near the southern boundary. (fn. 12) The focus of the concentration was the Fox inn, which was closed in 1960. (fn. 13) The large farm-houses, Manor Farm and Christ's College Farm were in the south end of the parish, near the church and vicarage, while Highfields, one of the Clare College farms, was in the north. The pattern of settlement changed in the 20th century, when a speculator bought a strip of land in the north end of the parish and divided it into individual smallholdings with attached bungalows. (fn. 14) The centre of village life moved from the south to the north end of the parish, and a village hall, post office, and shop were built to serve the new community.
Until the Highfields development Caldecote was a village entirely devoted to agriculture. A few substantial farmers employed the rest of the population as farm labourers. (fn. 15) The recorded population was 15 in 1086, (fn. 16) and there were 62 occupiers of land in 1279. (fn. 17) Numbers seem to have reached a peak during the 13th and 14th centuries. Twenty-five people paid tax in 1327, (fn. 18) and 78 contributed to the poll tax of 1377. (fn. 19) Thereafter the population fell sharply until in 1554 there were only 9 householders and Caldecote was described as 'a very small village'. (fn. 20) There were only 9 households in 1563. (fn. 21) About 1632 it was reckoned that there were not more than 20 families. (fn. 22) In 1638 there were only 16 families (fn. 23) and only 17 dwellings in 1666. (fn. 24) In 1728 Bishop Green thought there were 15 families, which he estimated at 50 souls. (fn. 25) By 1801 there was a population of 75. It increased gradually to 144 in 1851, but dropped sharply to 93 in 1861. By 1871 it was 120 but had fallen again to 92 by 1891. By 1911, when the first houses at Highfields had been built, it had risen by more than 50 per cent since 1901 to 160. (fn. 26) The building of more bungalows at Highfields made the population rise steadily to 396 in 1951, but it had declined to 368 by 1961. (fn. 27)
Manors and Other Estates.
Almar who in 1066 held ½ hide in Caldecote had by 1086 become the man of Count Alan for that land. (fn. 28) Its overlordship thereafter followed the descent of Alan's honor of Richmond. (fn. 29) In the late 15th century it was included in land of that honor held in dower, being possessed in 1484 by Cecily, duchess of York, (fn. 30) and in 1493 and 1506 by Margaret Beaufort, countess of Richmond, (fn. 31) on whose death in 1509 the honor was finally united with the Crown. Francis Hinde, tenant from 1550 to 1565, was said to hold of the queen as of the honor of Richmond. (fn. 32) A hide probably held of the Richmond fee was owned by 1202 by a member of the Beach family. In that year one John son of William granted Alan de Feugeres a 20s. rent coming from it. (fn. 33) In 1222 Christine, widow of Robert de Feugeres, claimed that rent as dower, 15s. from Geoffrey Bere and 5s. from Geoffrey of Elington (fn. 34) from whom the whole rent was claimed in 1227 by Alan de Feugeres. (fn. 35) By c. 1235 the Richmond fee was divided between John of Elington and John son of Roger, each holding ½ hide, the latter for 1/16 knight's fee. (fn. 36) The fate of Elington's fee is uncertain. It may be identical with the 180 a. held by villeins of Henry of Walpole in 1279. Henry held it for 20s. a year from the heir of Godun le Bere, who held of Robert de Feugeres's heirs, and they in turn of Philip de Colville. Philip, however, held of the heirs of Werry de Caen of Croxton, who were tenants in chief. (fn. 37) Walpole's land may therefore represent the 50 a. held in Caldecote in 1066 by Sigar, man of Earl Waltheof, and in 1086 by David de Argentine, lord of Croxton. (fn. 38) The family of Caen had land at Croxton in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. (fn. 39)
The half-hide held c. 1235 by John son of Roger, who may have been son of the Roger of Duxford whose widow released dower in land at Caldecote in 1198, (fn. 40) was later styled, as the principal fee in the parish, CALDECOTE manor. By 1279 it was held by John le Lord of Caldecote (fl. 1260) from William Sudbury, who was tenant of the Richmond fee in Bourn. (fn. 41) In 1302 Thomas of Caldecote, probably John's son, held 1/16 knight's fee there. (fn. 42) He probably granted his lands, including some 120 a. and 5 marks rent in Caldecote, Toft, and Hardwick, to John son of Henry Scot of Abbotsley in 1313–14. (fn. 43) John sold them in 1319–20 to Luke of Over, who owned them in 1327. (fn. 44) Philip of Barton held the estate in 1344–5, for the life of his wife Alice, and was returned as lord in 1346. (fn. 45) John son of Luke of Over was disturbing his possession in 1347. (fn. 46) In 1348 Robert Stratford, bishop of Chichester, declared that the manor, held for Alice's life by her husband, had descended to him on the death in that year of his brother John, archbishop of Canterbury, and was to pass on Alice's death to Robert Thorp and his heirs. (fn. 47)
The manor, identifiable by its tenure of the honor of Richmond, came after 1359 (fn. 48) to the Avenels, also lords of Leventhorpe's manor in Toft. John Buckingham, bishop of Lincoln, claimed that Sir John Avenel (d. 1383) had granted Caldecote manor to him in 1363, presumably as a trustee. (fn. 49) In 1383 Buckingham purchased the wardship of Avenel's infant son Robert, (fn. 50) which he granted that year to Sir Robert Bealknap, settling the manor on Bealknap for 15 years, with reversion to Robert Avenel (d. 1387) and Bealknap's daughter Gillian whom Avenel was to marry. (fn. 51) Upon Bealknap's forfeiture in 1388 for counselling Richard II against the lords appellant, (fn. 52) the manor was temporarily committed to Thomas, duke of Gloucester. (fn. 53) When Bealknap's estates were divided in 1391, most of Caldecote manor was granted to William Wenlock, John Stukeley, and others and part to Sir William Castleacre. (fn. 54) It was later recovered by Gillian and her second husband Nicholas Kimbell, (fn. 55) who held it in 1412. (fn. 56) His son John Kimbell sold it in 1416 to Nicholas Coningston, John Meppershall, John Stanford, and William Breton, (fn. 57) three of whom quitclaimed it in 1424 and after to Meppershall, (fn. 58) who thus became sole owner. His daughter and heir Joan brought his estates to her husband John Butler, and their son John died in 1482, leaving as coheirs his daughters Joan and Florence. (fn. 59) Caldecote was assigned to Joan (d. 1489), who married first John Leventhorpe and then John Stanford who retained the estate by the curtesy (fn. 60) until his death in 1493. Caldecote then passed to Thomas Leventhorpe, Joan's son by her first husband, (fn. 61) who died in 1498 leaving as heir a son John aged 10. (fn. 62) Caldecote had however come, under a use, to Florence, formerly married to John Ashfield, before her death in 1506. (fn. 63) Her heir was her grandson George, who conveyed it in 1514 to feoffees to the use of Sir Robert Peyton (d. c. 1518). (fn. 64) Peyton's second son John sold the manor in 1540 to Sir John Hinde (fn. 65) (d. 1550) of Madingley, (fn. 66) whose son Sir Francis sold it in 1565 to Robert Pecke, a yeoman of Caldecote who rose into the gentry. (fn. 67) In 1595 Pecke's son Thomas sold the manor to Adam Thorogood, yeoman, of Eltisley, (fn. 68) who died in 1598 leaving his estate encumbered with debt. (fn. 69) His son Thomas also borrowed heavily, especially between 1615 and 1621. (fn. 70) In 1619–20 he made the manor over to his three principal creditors, North Harrison, Jeremy Chace, and Simon Folkes, who divided it between them. Folkes took the manor-house and the courts and services belonging to it and 191 a., Chace received Pecke's farm of 110 a., and Harrison had Dean's farm of 104 a. (fn. 71) which he sold to Chace in 1625–6. (fn. 72) The manorial rights followed the descent of Folkes's portion, which he owned in 1632. (fn. 73)
Edward Newman was described as lord of Caldecote manor under Charles I. (fn. 74) By 1664 it belonged to William Green. (fn. 75) Thomas Green, owner in 1673, (fn. 76) conveyed it in 1679–80 to John Edwards, (fn. 77) who was in possession in 1705. (fn. 78) The manor was offered for sale in 1768. (fn. 79) From the Hardiman family, perhaps lords about that time, it passed in 1788 to James Butler. (fn. 80) In 1810 it was conveyed to Joseph Westrope (d. 1851) of Ashwell (Herts.), (fn. 81) who married Elizabeth Butler in 1813. (fn. 82) The estate remained with the Westropes, who were the largest landowners in Caldecote apart from the colleges, (fn. 83) until 1894, when it passed to Joseph Clarke, nephew of Joseph Westrope. Clarke was succeeded in 1944 by his son Leslie, who owned the manor in 1962. (fn. 84) Manor Farm has a late-16thcentury farm-house, timber-framed in two storeys, which was enlarged to the east in the 19th century. (fn. 85)
The half of Caldecote manor assigned to Jeremy Chace in 1625, (fn. 86) passed to his son John who sold it in 1671 to Richard Mills of London, lessee since 1666. (fn. 87) Richard Mills, probably his nephew, sold the estate in 1680 to Dr. Samuel Blythe of Clare Hall. (fn. 88) Blythe died in 1713 leaving his property in trust for the college, which leased it as Blythe's benefaction (fn. 89) separately from the other estate which it had in Caldecote, known as Crisp's lands. The Crisp family held land in Caldedote from the late 13th until the early 16th century, (fn. 90) when Henry Hornby bought 85 a. of it and devised them to Clare by will dated 1517. (fn. 91) In 1814 the college bought a third estate, Gregory's farm, and in 1815 divided the three between two farms, Chapman's and Highfields. (fn. 92) In 1932 H. Game, a land speculator, bought Highfields and divided the land into plots for bungalows, extending the earlier development in the north part of the parish, and Mr. A. Clarke, brother of the owner of Caldecote manor, bought Highfields, (fn. 93) which included a house rebuilt in 1808 in the Georgian style. (fn. 94)
In 1066 two sokemen held 100 a. under Eddeva the fair, which by 1086 had come to Hardwin de Scalers. (fn. 95) The overlordship passed to the senior branch of Hardwin's family, descended from his son Richard, (fn. 96) which held it until the heiress Lucy de Scalers married Baldwin de Freville (d. by 1257). (fn. 97) Their son Richard was overlord of the Caldecote manor in 1279. (fn. 98) His rights probably descended with the Freville manor in Caxton, to which land at Caldecote belonged when it was being partitioned in 1532–3. (fn. 99) That property was sold in the early 17th century to the Cage family. (fn. 100) In 1086 two knights held the Caldecote land under Hardwin. (fn. 101) In 1166 Robert le Guiz held ½ fee, partly there, of Stephen de Scalers. (fn. 102) He or a namesake survived until 1199. (fn. 103) By c. 1235 ½ hide in Caldecote held for 1/8 fee, belonged to Tibbald son of Fulk. (fn. 104) By 1279 it had been divided into numerous fragments. The largest, 42 a., belonged to William Mortimer of Kingston, who also held 6½ a. of the Peverel fee. (fn. 105) William's son Constantine was returned as lord of Kingston with Caldecote in 1316. (fn. 106) His rights descended with Kingston manor to the Fitzralphs and Chamberlains. (fn. 107) In 1603–4 the estate was held of Fitzralph Chamberlain's manor of Kingston. (fn. 108) The connexion was maintained throughout the 17th century. (fn. 109) The land itself was held at that time by William Richardson. (fn. 110) At inclosure in 1854 four Caldedote landowners held by copyhold of Kingston manor. (fn. 111)
The fee in Caldecote associated with the barony of Bourn may have derived from lands later incorporated into Caldecote, held by Picot, lord of Bourn in 1086, as part of that vill. After the division of his lands following the death of William Peverel c. 1147, (fn. 112) the overlordship of Caldecote would in that case have come to Asceline, wife of Geoffrey de Waterville, of whose grandson and coheir Roger Torpel (fn. 113) (d. 1225) (fn. 114) a fee there and at Girton was held in 1225 by Roger de Quincy, earl of Winchester. (fn. 115) Quincy's interest may have come through a grant to his ancestors by his great-uncle Saher de Quincy (d. 1190), who had been Asceline's second husband. (fn. 116) Although the earl died in 1264, (fn. 117) he was nevertheless returned as a tenant-in-chief at Caldecote in 1279, (fn. 118) but there is no evidence that his coheirs had any interest there. The manor there was said c. 1235 to be held of the Peverel fee in Orwell, then owned by Roger Torpel's grandson William. (fn. 119) Torpel's heir held that fee in 1279 of the earl of Winchester's heirs under the earl of Gloucester. (fn. 120) Everard of Trumpington was mesne lord c. 1235, (fn. 121) under the Peverel heirs, and Roger of Trumpington in 1279 under the 'earl of Winchester'. Roger's kinsman Michael held 67 a. of the fee in demesne and had tenants occupying probably another 42 a. (fn. 122) A mesne lordship remained with the Trumpington family until at least 1428. (fn. 123)
By 1236 John Croxy was holding 1 virgate of that estate for ¼ knight's fee of Everard of Trumpington. (fn. 124) His estate passed to John Carpenter and Gillian of Whitwell, who held 2 virgates of Roger in 1279, but owed suit to the honor of Richmond's court held at Babraham. (fn. 125) Walter Carpenter held the ¼ fee in 1302–3, and had by 1346 been succeeded by Thomas son of William of Caldecote and John son of Stephen. (fn. 126) Roger Faceby was tenant in 1428. (fn. 127) By 1603–4 property called Faceby's belonged to Roger Smith, (fn. 128) but it has not been traced later.
The first specific mention of WINSLOW'S estate in Caldecote occurs in 1384–5 when John Winslow of London granted land there. (fn. 129) It was, however, closely connected with Crochman alias Beaufeu manor in Trumpington. The William Crochman who paid 3s. 4d. tax, the third largest sum in Caldecote, in 1327, (fn. 130) may have been the William Crouchman who held a manor in Trumpington in 1346, (fn. 131) or his father who held land in Thriplow in 1302, when the Trumpington manor was held by William Beaufeu. (fn. 132) Mary, daughter of William Beaufeu's son John, married William Winslow. (fn. 133) In 1387 John Winslow held 'the manor of Trumpington called Crochman's and Beaufeu' and a tenement in Caldecote. (fn. 134) It is not certain when the Winslow estate in Caldecote became a manor, but it was probably some time during the 15th century. A deed of 1420 mentions land in Caldecote fields abutting on land 'belonging to the manor called Crochmans' but it is not clear whether the manor referred to was in Trumpington or Caldecote. (fn. 135) The Caldecote manor, with a court, was certainly in being by 1461. (fn. 136) It passed to William Huntingdon, (fn. 137) and in 1550 John Huntingdon of Sawston sold the estate, described as the manor of Winslow's, to Robert Pecke, yeoman, of Caldecote. (fn. 138) Pecke's son, Thomas, sold the property to George Downam, Randolf Eardley, Robert Snowden, Thomas Gray, and William Bolton in 1592. (fn. 139) In 1622 Downam and Gray conveyed the estate to Christ's College. (fn. 140) The college sold it in 1938 to Mr. L. Gordon, owner in 1962. (fn. 141)
Barnwell Priory held a small estate in Caldecote by 1279, including ½ virgate of the Scalers fee (fn. 142) and another ½ virgate of the Richmond fee given in alms long before. (fn. 143) The priory's temporalities in Caldecote were valued in 1291 at £2 8s. 10d. (fn. 144) It is uncertain whether Barnwell lost the property before the Dissolution. It was not separately mentioned after 1343–4, (fn. 145) and may have been confounded with land of the rectory. Rent of 10s. a year, perhaps from such land, came with the rectory and advowson to the Crown at the Dissolution and was sold to Francis Wise and John Tebold in 1552. (fn. 146) They in turn granted it to Christ's College in 1553. (fn. 147) William Richardson, however, held land c. 1553 that was described as 'late Barnwell's'. (fn. 148)
The preceptory of the Knights Hospitallers at Shingay held by 1282 ½ virgate in alms of the Richmond fee. (fn. 149) It still held 13 a. in demesne in 1279 (fn. 150) but by 1540 when the order was suppressed all the property was put out to rent. (fn. 151) The preceptory was granted to Sir Richard Long in the same year. (fn. 152) Quit-rents were still due to the manor of Shingay in the 18th century. (fn. 153)
St. John's Hospital in Cambridge held land in Caldecote in 1279, (fn. 154) which, when the hospital was converted into St. John's College in 1511, was transferred to the college. (fn. 155) For 1 a. which it owned in Caldecote, leased out from the 17th to the 19th century, (fn. 156) the college was allotted at inclosure in 1848 a narrow strip on the eastern side of Broad way, in the northern part of the parish, (fn. 157) which it sold in 1932. The village hall was built on the site. (fn. 158)
In 1086 Caldecote comprised 4½ ploughlands, two on the Scalers manor, one on Argentine's, the rest on Almar's estate. All were in demesne, except on the last where 3 bordars provided half a team. There was meadow enough for all the plough-teams, and wood for fencing. The peasantry consisted of 13 bordars and cottars, besides 2 servi on Almar's land. The manors, which had together been worth £5 12s. in 1066, had maintained their value, save for a 5s. reduction on Argentine's manor. (fn. 159)
By 1279 (fn. 160) the manors in Caldecote were much split up. Of the two Richmond fees one was held by rent-paying mesne tenants and was almost entirely divided between villeins and a few free tenants. On the other John le Lord held ½ hide in demesne. Another 62 a. were held by his undertenants for money rents. The Peverel fee was held by John Carpenter and Gillian of Whitwell who had one virgate in demesne. Their rent-paying tenants held 152½ a. and an under-tenant of one of those held 43½ a. The Scalers fee consisted of 161 a. which in 1279 was divided among tenants, many of whom paid scutage.
As elsewhere in south Cambridgeshire, free rent-paying tenants predominated over customary tenants in Caldecote. That was probably due in part to the smallness of the estates and to the absence of large ecclesiastical manors. Several small estates had been carved out of the larger fees. Barnwell Priory had 19½ a. in demesne, 13 a. held from it by Geoffrey Crisp, and rent from 4½ a. By 1295 rent-paying free tenants held 37½ a. from it. (fn. 161) The Knights Hospitallers of Shingay had 13 a. in demesne and 28 a. held by rent-paying tenants with rent from a further 10 a. Stourbridge and St. John's hospitals in Cambridge also had small properties. Of the three lay estates of over 30 a., the largest consisted of c. 110 a. held by Michael of Trumpington, probably related to Roger of Trumpington, and therefore a member of the knightly class, as was William Mortimer who held 48½ a. Robert of Bourn had 36 a. held of seven different lords, and probably belonged to a rising peasant family.
Most other free tenants, however, had much smaller farms. Only one had more than 20 a., 6 had between 12 a. and 16 a., 3 between 6 a. and 9 a. while 31 had less than 6 a., of whom 7 had units of 4 a. Other holdings also consisted of 4 a. units. Thirteen comprised only an acre or less, probably consisting of a messuage and croft. Most of that land was held for money rent, though the amount was seldom proportionate to the acreage of their land.
The only two villeins on John le Lord's estate held 13 a. each for 3s. a year, rendering a loaf and 2 hens at Christmas and paying merchet. Thirteen acres, perhaps a half-yardland, was the normal unit for villein holdings in Caldecote. Twelve villeins (fn. 162) of Henry of Walpole on the second Richmond fee, who had 13 a. each, owed 3s. 10d. for harvest works, 1½d. for mowing, and food renders at Christmas, and paid merchet and tallage at their lord's will. By 1279 their services had been commuted for 14s. 8d. a year. Two others of Henry's men, one of whom was probably the village blacksmith, were free tenants, holding by charter and money rent. Two villeins also held land freely from other mesne lords in Caldecote.
Of the thirty-six families represented among the names of free peasant tenants in Caldecote in 1279, four were probably related to the nine families which held in villeinage only. Since children often held land during their fathers' lifetime, family holdings could be fragmented into very small units. Even the brothers and son of John le Lord held small plots.
The 14th century saw Caldecote tolerably prosperous. The population was not to be so high again until the 19th century. A few peasant families were already accumulating land, a tendency furthered by a decline in population after 1377. (fn. 163) The Bourn family owned land in Caldecote at least from 1273 to 1347 (fn. 164) while the Kimwells flourished from 1273 to 1415. (fn. 165) The Gelyn family was recorded at Caldecote from 1327 to 1464. (fn. 166) From the 1440's to the early 16th century, the Adam, Roger, and Eversden families were prominent in land dealings. (fn. 167) Even more important in the period were the Days and Crisps. Geoffrey Crisp was in 1273 a small free tenant of Barnwell Priory, and in 1279 held 13 a. of the Scalers fee for rent and scutage. (fn. 168) John Crisp paid 1s. 9d. for the 1327 tax. (fn. 169) A namesake was still adding to his land at the end of the 14th century. (fn. 170) The family fortunes probably reached their height in the next century under Robert Crisp (d. 1472). (fn. 171) Richard Crisp, who sold the Crisp lands, (fn. 172) was dead by 1525, after which his family disappeared from Caldecote. (fn. 173) Nicholas Day (fn. 174) paid 1s. 10d. for the tax of 1327. (fn. 175) Several members of the Day family bought and sold land throughout the 14th and 15th centuries. (fn. 176) By 1472 there were two probably related families. (fn. 177) Thomas Day (d. before 1525) left his property to his daughter Elizabeth, who married William Richardson. (fn. 178) The other line, descended from John Day (fl. 1472), continued to hold land in Caldecote until the late 17th century. (fn. 179)
Of the 9 householders in Caldecote in 1554 three, Thomas Smith, William Richardson, and Richard Angood, though husbandmen, were described as 'men of great substance'. (fn. 180) Thomas Smith paid £20 towards the loan of 1522. (fn. 181) He leased Winslow manor from John Huntingdon who accused him c. 1548 of altering his landmarks so that Huntingdon could not distinguish his lands from Smith's own. (fn. 182) Thomas's grandson Robert at his death in 1603–4 held 110 a. in Caldecote, Bourn, and Kingston. (fn. 183) Another Robert Smith was holding land in Caldecote in 1625–6. (fn. 184) William Richardson in 1525 owned land in Caldecote through his marriage with Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Thomas Day, (fn. 185) and his descendants accumulated land throughout the 16th century. (fn. 186) By the early 17th century the Richardsons had a substantial estate in Caldecote, but were not mentioned after 1624. (fn. 187) Richard Angood's family flourished in Caldecote from c. 1525 to c. 1564. (fn. 188) The most notable inhabitant in 1554, however, was Robert Pecke, grandson of William Pecke (fl. 1510). (fn. 189) Robert became a clerk of the peace and was eventually recognized as a gentleman, though described as a yeoman in 1550 when he bought Winslow manor. (fn. 190) He also bought Caldecote manor from Sir Francis Hinde in 1565. (fn. 191) Robert Pecke was accused in 1554 of seizing the chalice belonging to Caldecote church and of extorting money for the duke of Northumberland's rebellion. He explained that in 1549 Caldecote was required to supply four men for the army against the Norfolk rebels under Ket. Since it was too poor to do so the whole town agreed that Pecke should pawn the chalice at Cambridge. The inhabitants later refused to redeem it. In 1553 Sir Francis Hinde, as lord of the manor, appointed Richardson, Smith, and Angood to find and equip three men for the duke. They gave Pecke 4 marks to give to Hinde to discharge them of the obligation. Pecke denied that he had kept it for himself or supported Lady Jane Grey. (fn. 192) What was left of his estate after his eldest son Thomas had sold Winslow manor in 1592 and Caldecote manor in 1595 (fn. 193) had been sold by William and John Pecke before 1610. (fn. 194)
In 1728 there were six farms in Caldecote, (fn. 195) a pattern apparently dating from the division of Caldecote manor after 1620. The farms were Caldecote manor farm, owned in 1625–6 by Simon Folkes; Chace's portion of the manor, later called Blythe's benefaction; Christ's College farm; Clare College farm; (fn. 196) and two farms derived from the accumulation of holdings by prosperous peasants in the 16th century. One of them, owned by Robert Smith in 1590, James Coppin in 1695, (fn. 197) Thomas Cocksedge in 1788, (fn. 198) and John Haggerston in 1809 when it contained 122 a. in Caldecote, Bourn, and Toft, (fn. 199) was possibly the estate which passed to Dr. Webb, master of Clare, in 1841 and which remained in his family until 1910. (fn. 200) The other, owned in 1590 by William Richardson, (fn. 201) passed to the Peast family (fn. 202) and then to Thomas Gregory who sold it to Clare College in 1814. (fn. 203) Since almost all the owners were absentees, the six farms were normally leased.
From 1674 to 1721 Christ's College leased its estate for 21-year terms for £20 a year and a 'well-fed and fat boar for bacon' or £4 every five years. (fn. 204) Subsequent leases were for varying terms. (fn. 205) In 1730 the lessee, Nathan Peast, sub-leased the farm. (fn. 206) For most of the 18th century the Clare estate was held on 21-year leases. (fn. 207) With the acquisition of the Blythe lands in 1713 Clare became the largest landowner in Caldecote. (fn. 208) None of the Caldecote estates seems to have been very profitable either to the landlord or the tenant. Although the landlords bore the full cost of repairs, (fn. 209) several tenants were unable to pay their rents and were forced to sell to the landlord in liquidation of their debts. (fn. 210) The landlords derived a profit from timber which was reserved for them in all leases. (fn. 211) In 1828 Christ's sold 90 trees for £171. (fn. 212) Nevertheless profits were meagre. From 1848 to 1899, following a sharp drop in its rents, Clare College made a net profit of only £265 in 51 years. (fn. 213)
Caldecote before inclosure had three open fields, Brook field west of the main street, Dams field (or North field) in the north and west and extending across the street to the north-east, and Hardwick field (or East field) in the east. Hardwick field may have been divided into two, the southern portion being called Croft field. (fn. 214) By 1851 there were 620 a. of arable, 100 a. of meadow or pasture, and 30 a. of woodland. (fn. 215) By 1805 the meadow or dean was confined to a strip called Deep Dean along the western borders of the parish, and to Callow Dean, which joined Deep Dean. (fn. 216)
The common pasture lay in the north and west parts of the parish and either side of the northern part of the main street. (fn. 217) In 1743 Christ's College had rights of common at the rate of one cow for every 20 a. of arable. (fn. 218) Despite the heavy nature of the clay soil, cattle were a relatively minor part of the farming economy. Arable farming was the most important item. In 1671 the principal crops were barley and oats. (fn. 219) Pigs and sheep were kept in considerable numbers. In 1698 a man with only 2 heifers kept 16 pigs. (fn. 220) Landowners might common one sheep for every 2 a. they owned. (fn. 221) Each manor had foldage and sheep-walk. In 1592 Winslow manor had sheep-walk for 200 sheep. (fn. 222) When Caldecote manor was divided, the right of foldage was also divided. (fn. 223) By 1767 the college manor had sheepwalk for 70 sheep, and all the profit was then in sheep-walk since the arable lands were very poor. (fn. 224) In 1671 there were 80 sheep on John Chace's farm, which contained 160 a. of arable of which 43 a. were fallow. (fn. 225)
Several of the old closes, especially Highfields and those in the south-east, were pasture. (fn. 226) Others contained wood: the college timber came from old inclosures. (fn. 227) A few were ploughed. (fn. 228) Many of them retained the names of their former occupants. (fn. 229) In 1805 they were described as small, dispersed, and expensive. (fn. 230) The parish was inclosed by an award of 1854 under the annual Act of 1848 and the general Act of 1845. The old inclosures were reallotted by the award. The largest allotments were those to Clare College with 367 a., of which 298 a. belonged to the Blythe benefaction estate, Joseph Westrope with 177 a., Christ's College with 141 a., and Dr. William Webb with 90 a. There were six allotments of less than 10 a. (fn. 231)
Farming has remained the main occupation of the people. Most of the land is under grass for cattle or given over to wheat and barley. Scientific pig-farming under the auspices of Cambridge University has recently been undertaken in the parish. (fn. 232) The settlement at Highfields was built in the early 20th century for self-supporting smallholders, but few of its inhabitants are entirely supported by the produce of their holdings: some have stalls in markets in Cambridge and St. Neots, but many work in a variety of occupations outside the village, and use their land as gardens or allotments. (fn. 233)
There was a windmill in Caldecote in 1252–3, (fn. 234) and Laurence the miller of Caldecote was mentioned in 1285–6. (fn. 235) No further record has been found of a mill in Caldecote. (fn. 236) Mill Hill balk, in Brook field, was probably so called because it connected Caldecote with Mill Hill in Bourn. (fn. 237)
The whole vill lay within the geldable c. 1235, but by 1260 part had been withdrawn into the liberty of the honor of Richmond. In 1273–4 the men of the liberty and the geldable were separately charged with paying an amercement. (fn. 238) The officers of the honor may have held a court leet and view of frankpledge for Caldecote manor, at least from 1334 to 1457. (fn. 239) The right to hold such a court may have passed to the owners of that manor before 1594, (fn. 240) but no court rolls survive. The manor of Winslows, later owned by Christ's College, also had a court. One court roll for 1461 survives. (fn. 241)
There were two constables in 1377. (fn. 242) In 1638 there were two churchwardens, (fn. 243) but apparently only one in 1679. (fn. 244) There was still only one in 1825 but two were appointed in 1849. (fn. 245) There were two overseers in 1700. (fn. 246) There were two overseers, two surveyors of the highway, and one constable for most of the 19th century. (fn. 247) Owing to the smallness of Caldecote's population it was difficult to fill parish offices. In 1638 the clerk was illiterate but 'cannot be supplied otherwise because of the scarcity of people in the town'. (fn. 248) Often the same men served for many years. (fn. 249) Sometimes one man held more than one office. J. Chapman was a surveyor of the highways as well as constable in 1862. (fn. 250) In 1863 the vestry meeting was held at the Fox inn. (fn. 251)
Surprisingly, in view of Caldecote's remoteness from the main roads, the burials of several vagrants appear in the parish registers. (fn. 252) Some of them may have received relief from the parish, though in 1700 John Day 'a lame and very aged man, having but one hand' and a member of a family that had been in Caldecote for centuries, was refused relief by the overseers. They were overruled by a local magistrate and ordered to allow Day 2s. a week and to provide him with a house. (fn. 253)
Poor-relief was costing only about £25 a year in the 1770s and 1780s, but the expense had risen to £69 by 1803 when 7 persons were occasionally and 7 permanently relieved, besides 11 children. (fn. 254) In 1813 £76 was spent on maintaining 7 people on permanent relief and 3 others who were casually relieved. By 1815 the expense had been cut to £68. (fn. 255) In 1835 Caldecote was included in the Caxton and Arrington poor law union, (fn. 256) and in 1934 was transferred from the Caxton and Arrington R.D. to the Chesterton R.D. (fn. 257)
Picot the sheriff included the chapel of Caldecote, and 2/3 of the tithes of his knights' demesnes there, with the church of Bourn, among his grants to his foundation of St. Giles, later Barnwell Priory. (fn. 258) By c. 1200 the chapelry had become an independent parish, and was taxed as such in 1217. (fn. 259) It was for a time lost by the priory, to which it was restored by Bishop Longchamp between 1189 and 1196, and was perhaps then appropriated. (fn. 260) A vicarage had certainly been established by c. 1275. (fn. 261) Its advowson remained with the priory until the Dissolution, although under Henry VIII turns were occasionally granted to others, as in 1526 to William Richard and Thomas Fitzhugh of Eton, (fn. 262) and later to Richard Cokman and John Badcock, whose nominee claimed the living c. 1544. The advowson had, however, by then come to the Crown, which had presented in 1543. (fn. 263) In 1552 it was sold to Francis Wise and John Tebold (fn. 264) who a year later granted it to Christ's College, who have since remained patrons. (fn. 265) The impropriate rectory passed with the advowson.
The vicarage was valued at 5 marks in 1217 (fn. 266) as also in 1254, (fn. 267) and at £8 in 1291. (fn. 268) It was probably always a poor living, and was thought in the 15th century insufficient to support a resident vicar. (fn. 269) In 1535 it was worth only £3 11s., (fn. 270) although Barnwell Priory had for many years allowed the vicar to receive all the tithes, great and small. In 1537 the priory formally augmented the vicarage by granting it all tithes and oblations, (fn. 271) but after the Dissolution certain tithes were attached to the impropriate rectory, and came with it to Christ's College. (fn. 272) When the tithes were commuted, however, by an award of 1844, confirmed in 1851, the incumbent was said to be entitled to all of them, and was allotted £135. (fn. 273) The vicarage had been worth £43 17s. 6d. in 1728 (fn. 274) and £78 7s. 2d. in 1786 when it was united with the rectory of Toft, another Christ's College living. It was then said that their combined incomes would be no more than sufficient to maintain the incumbent decently. (fn. 275) Thereafter only the combined value is recorded. About 1830 it was £287. (fn. 276) In 1853 Christ's assisted the incumbent, E. A. Powell, by leasing its Caldecote farm to him at a nominal rent, so long as he continued to hold the benefice. (fn. 277)
In the 17th century there were 32 or 34 a. of glebe, usually styled parsonage land, which was probably vicarial glebe, (fn. 278) built up from grants to vicars and chaplains of Caldecote, such as those made by Simon Carpenter in 1343–4, (fn. 279) or Roger Faceby in 1424–5. (fn. 280) That glebe was still in existence c. 1800, (fn. 281) but when the tithes were commuted in 1851, the incumbent had only 1½ a., called rectorial glebe, (fn. 282) perhaps because he was also rector of Toft. The original rectorial glebe had probably been absorbed in the estate of the appropriator, Barnwell Priory. (fn. 283) Its successor, Christ's College, however, included the vicarage house and Church close in a lease to the vicar in 1853. (fn. 284)
A vicarage house, which had been damaged by fire before 1607, had not yet been rebuilt in 1615. (fn. 285) By 1664 the vicar had a dwelling-house standing by the churchyard, (fn. 286) said in 1728 to be 'in pretty good order' and let with all the other dues. (fn. 287) After the union of Caldecote with Toft in 1786 it became the curate's residence. (fn. 288) The former Vicarage stands just north of the church. Its south wing, dating from c. 1500, is timber-framed in two storeys. It was much added to later, and the northern part is 19th-century. (fn. 289)
A guild dedicated to All Saints was mentioned in 1472. (fn. 290)
Many vicars were absentees, while their cure was served by chaplains and curates. (fn. 291) In 1338 the vicar, Andrew, was indicted but acquitted for assaulting a man at Caldecote, and other crimes had been alleged against him. (fn. 292) After Caldecote became a Christ's College living, the practice grew of appointing college fellows to the vicarage, (fn. 293) and many of them were non-resident. (fn. 294) After the union of 1786 the joint incumbent usually resided at Toft. (fn. 295) About 1830 the curate at Caldecote was paid £80 a year. (fn. 296)
Despite the poverty of the living, Caldecote before the Reformation had a good collection of service books, plate, and vestments, (fn. 297) some of which were still in use in 1552. (fn. 298) Puritanism does not seem to have affected Caldecote before the 1640s. Bishop Wren probably found the altar at the east end in 1638. (fn. 299) Thomas Sanders, presented in 1638, was an uncompromising royalist and Laudian. He was a 'constant practiser of ceremonies and innovations'; he had railed in the communion table, bowed to the east and at the name of Jesus, and told those who refused to take the sacrament at the rails: 'you are all damned, you are none of this congregation'. He said that papists were the king's best subjects, and read the king's proclamations, but refused to read those of parliament. Sanders's congregation, however, probably did not share his views, for fear for his life drove him c. 1643 from the parish, which was left for six months without a minister. (fn. 300) Caldecote was visited by William Dowsing in 1644 and 'superstitious pictures', a crucifix, and a picture of Christ were destroyed. (fn. 301) The same year Sanders was ejected as a 'scandalous minister'. (fn. 302) The liturgical books were scattered, the holy table removed from the church to a private house for domestic use, the font overturned, and the poor box broken. George Biker, who was not in holy orders, became minister. (fn. 303) When Sanders died in 1650, Thomas Smith, a fellow of Christ's, was presented. (fn. 304)
After the Restoration, Caldecote fell into neglect and apathy. Vicars were absentees, fellows of Christ's notable mainly for their interest in college politics. William Towers, vicar 1716–24, a zealous Whig, became master of Christ's College and vicechancellor of Cambridge. He was described as having a 'morose, sour, and rough manner', but as being honest and a good historian who spent his summers travelling, adding to his knowledge of the families and villages of England. (fn. 305) Three vicars were benefactors of the parish. Thomas Sitwell (1731–7) and John Preston (1807–27) founded charities. (fn. 306) E. A. Powell (1843–92) augmented a charity and generally enriched the parish during his long incumbency, the latter part of which was spent at Caldecote vicarage. (fn. 307) In 1825 a service was regularly held by the curate on Sundays, and also on Good Friday and Christmas Day. Communion was administered three times a year to about 10 communicants and the children were taught the catechism in a Sunday school. (fn. 308)
The church of ST. MICHAEL AND ALL ANGELS has a chancel, nave with north and south porches, and west tower. It is built mostly of field stones. There was a chapel at Caldecote in the 12th century, but if anything remains of that building it cannot be more than parts of the north and east walls of the nave. Late in the 14th century the nave, south porch, tower, and possibly the chancel were built. The screen is 15th-century and there is no provision for a stair to a rood loft, although there was in the 18th century an overthrow in the chancel arch. (fn. 309) There was a medieval north porch.
In 1678 the chancel was said to be 'ruinous and likely to fall', (fn. 310) and subsequently its south side was rebuilt. In 1743 the altar was not railed in or raised 'but lies in a very indecent manner'. (fn. 311) In 1859 the chancel and north porch were completely rebuilt by Kett and in 1899 the remaining medieval portions of the building were extensively restored. (fn. 312)
In 1962 Caldecote retained the three bells which it had had at least as early as 1552: (fn. 313) (i) no inscription, probably medieval; (fn. 314) (ii) a coin bell, probably cast at Reading by John White c. 1550; (fn. 315) (iii) inscribed with a king's head, attributed to John Rufford of Toddington (Beds.)c. 1360. (fn. 316)
The registers are complete from 1662. (fn. 317)
In 1676 2 dissenters were reported, but none in 1679. (fn. 318) There were 15 Independents at Caldecote in 1728. (fn. 319) Houses were licensed for worship by protestant dissenters in 1741 and 1820. (fn. 320) There were no dissenters, however, in 1825 (fn. 321) and no further mention has been found of nonconformity in Caldecote.
No school existed in Caldecote until 1963 when one was built at Highfields. Before that time children at the southern end of the village had attended Toft school, and those at the northern end the Childerley Gate school in Bourn. When the second was demolished in 1942, the children were taught in halls, at least one of which seems to have been at the northern tip of Caldecote. (fn. 322)
Charities for the Poor.
From at least 1590 the parish owned town lands, described in 1837 as the common property of the parish from time immemorial. They consisted of 4 a. freehold in scattered parcels, (fn. 323) for which 3 a. were allotted at inclosure. (fn. 324) In 1837 the lands were being let and the proceeds distributed with Sitwell's charity in coal for the poor.
By will dated 1736, Thomas Sitwell, then vicar, gave £20 in trust to Christ's College to invest and administer as they thought fit. It yielded 16s. in 1786–8, (fn. 325) and £1 by 1837, when the churchwardens distributed the income with that of the town lands. In 1952 18s. 4d. was paid out to three recipients, the income from both charities being £1 12s.
An unknown person left £10 to be used for the poor, which may have yielded the 17s. a year being given to them in 1728, but that charity was probably sunk in a bankruptcy c. 1757, and no more is known of it. (fn. 326)