A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1978.
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The parish of Stetchworth, 3 miles south of Newmarket, (fn. 1) covers 2,891 a. (fn. 2) It stretches for 6 miles from Newmarket Heath in the north-west to the county boundary to the south-east, and is c. 1 mile wide. The land rises gradually from 100 ft. on the heath to 250 ft. near Lingay Hill, falls to c. 200 ft. where a stream crosses the parish and then rises more sharply to c. 325 ft., where the village lies near the centre of the parish, before levelling out in the south-eastern half. The soil overlies the chalk in the north-west, but above the 300-ft. contour the chalk is covered by boulder clay. That part of the parish was once well wooded, and the clearing of the woodland probably gave Stetchworth its name, signifying 'stump enclosure'. (fn. 3) A considerable amount of woodland remained in the south-eastern half of the parish where in the 18th and 19th centuries there were c. 335 a. of oak wood. (fn. 4) In that part of the parish Stetchworth Park was inclosed as a deer park in the 16th century. (fn. 5) Stetchworth was well known for its shooting in the 19th century, and in 1958 the first British Game Fair was held there. (fn. 6)
Woodland in the north-western half of the parish is composed of belts and small clumps of trees designed to provide shelter for the paddocks of the stud farms and training stables which have characterized Stetchworth since the 19th century. (fn. 7) They are there so as to be close to the Newmarket racecourses: the July Course finishes in the northern corner of the parish. It is part of the earlier Round Course which was already marked out in the 1660s. (fn. 8) There were several stands and stables there in 1770; the present stand was rebuilt by the Jockey Club in 1935. (fn. 9) The racing establishments include the National Stud and Egerton House, and a large riding school was opened in 1959. (fn. 10)
The north-eastern boundary of the parish, between Newmarket Heath and Camois Hall in Woodditton, follows the line of the Devil's Ditch, a post-Roman defensive structure which is the largest of the Cambridgeshire dykes. In 1951 it was scheduled as a site of special scientific interest because of its plant and animal life. (fn. 11) The Two Captains tumuli lie near the dyke, south-east of the London-Newmarket road. An early, possibly preRoman, trackway from the direction of Linton and Balsham closely skirted the woodland edge in Stetchworth. (fn. 12) Two turnpike roads crossed the northern end of the parish: that leading from Newmarket to London was turnpiked in 1724, and that from Newmarket Heath to Cambridge in 1744. The two were linked in 1774; a toll-gate was set up at London Gap where the two separated, and other gaps in the dyke were closed. (fn. 13) The roads were disturnpiked in 1871. (fn. 14) By 1976 the junction of the two roads had been moved south-westwards to meet the road from Stetchworth, and a roundabout had been built there. North-west of the village the parish is crossed by the Dullingham-Newmarket road, which crosses the dyke at Dullingham Gap. Until inclosure two roads ran roughly parallel for most of the length of the parish between the London-Newmarket road and Stetchworth Ley, from where roads run east to Ditton Green and south-east to Stetchworth Park; (fn. 15) north-west of the village the south-western road did not survive, and south-east of the village the northeastern road was stopped up at inclosure and survives only as a footpath. (fn. 16) Near the brook the parish is crossed by the Cambridge-Newmarket railway line, opened in 1848. (fn. 17) The nearest station is at Dullingham, 2 miles from the village.
The village of Stetchworth seems to have grown from a cluster of houses around the church and the manor-house near the north-eastern road along the parish, and spread southwards down the main street linking that road to the south-western road. Two 17th-century farm-houses stand in the northern part of the village, east of the main street. By the late 18th century there was another cluster of houses at the southern end of the street, spreading westwards from the Dullingham road along Mill Lane. (fn. 18) The village was described as large in the 18th century, but grew little between the mid 17th century and 1807, having 50–60 houses. (fn. 19) In 1770 Church Lane ran north of the church, between it and Stetchworth House; (fn. 20) by 1814 it had been diverted to run south of the church (fn. 21) as it did in 1976. Part of Camping Close, south of Church Lane, has been used as a burial ground since the early 20th century. At the junction of Church Lane and the main street is a small open space, in 1876 called the Green. There stood the May tree, used as a maypole in the 19th century. (fn. 22) Opposite it stands a group of early19th-century houses. Up to the mid 19th century land on the east side of the main street near the southern end of the village was left open. A school was built there in the 1860s, and in 1870 H. F. Eaton built c. 10 houses there. (fn. 23) The extent of the village changed little, and in 1976 Stetchworth House, Aislabie Stud (earlier known as Street Farm), and the mill site still formed the northern, southern, and western limit of building. From the later 19th century there were fewer houses around the church, but spaces along the main street were filled in. Many houses were built by the local authority between 1923 and 1973: a council estate was built on Coopers Close at the south-eastern end of the village and a small private estate was built in the same area. Other new houses have been built along Mill Lane, and the Dullingham road, known as Teakettle Lane. (fn. 24) In 1948 Lady Ellesmere gave c. 1 a. on the west side of the main street, on which stood Watson's Barn, for a village hall as a memorial to her husband John, earl of Ellesmere. In 1956 another plot was bought, at the south-eastern edge of the village, beyond Coopers Close, and a village hall was opened there in 1963, (fn. 25) with a playing field next to it. By 1976 several new houses had been built on the first site.
Stetchworth Ley, a mile south-east of the village, was described as a hamlet in the early 19th century. (fn. 26) There were about six houses there: Stetchworth Ley, Ley Farm, and the Park farm buildings survive. Bleak House, west of Ley Farm, has disappeared. A row of cottages and the distinctive Round House have been built since 1814. (fn. 27)
From the late 19th century there have been several houses at Stetchworth Heath in the north-west end of the parish, near the junction of the Cambridge and London roads. Heath Farm had been built next to the July race-course by 1876 and Egerton House was built in 1891. (fn. 28) A row of c. 10 cottages was built south-east of the Newmarket road in 1897 (fn. 29) and a school to the north-east in 1913. After Heath Farm was taken over by the National Stud in the 1960s some new houses and stables were built next to the race-course.
The White Horse, at the northern edge of the village opposite Church Lane by 1847, and rebuilt for the earl of Ellesmere by C. F. A. Voysey in 1905, ceased to be a public house in the 1930s. (fn. 30) From 1890 the Live and Let Live opposite the school, and from 1937 the Marquis of Granby on the corner of the main street and Teakettle Lane, were in use until 1961, but by 1973 the Marquis of Granby alone survived. (fn. 31)
Twenty-five inhabitants were recorded in Stetchworth in 1086, and 26 paid tax there in 1327, the lowest number in the hundred. (fn. 32) There were 106 adults in 1377. (fn. 33) In 1563 there were 46 householders in the parish, in 1664 62 houses were assessed for tax, but only 49 in 1674. (fn. 34) In 1685 Stetchworth had c. 60 families, but the number had fallen by 1728 to 53, containing c. 256 people. (fn. 35) By 1801 there were 342 inhabitants. The population rose sharply to 462 in 1821, and 671 in 1861, usually being fourth highest in the hundred. After a slight fall it rose to 864 in 1901, and then fell more slowly than in neighbouring parishes so that in 1921 at 659 it was the highest in the hundred. The fall continued, to 475 in 1951, but a subsequent increase brought it to 494 in 1971. (fn. 36)
Manors and Other Estates.
In the late 10th century Oswi gave Stetchworth to Ely on his son Elfwine's entry into the abbey. In the early 11th century, however, Stetchworth was held by Oswi's daughters, Alfwenne and Alfwith, and his wife Leofflaed left the reversion to the abbey, (fn. 37) which in 1066 held 9½ hides there. One yardland was held of the abbey by Hardwin de Scalers. Half a hide of meadow there was seized by Earl Ralph, but had been restored to the abbey by 1086. One and a half yardland had been taken by Siric de Oburville and given to the abbey of St. Wandrille (Seine Maritime), presumably as part of the abbey's Dullingham lands. (fn. 38) Bishop Niel assigned the manor of STETCHWORTH to the monks, who vindicated their title after a lengthy dispute with Henry, son of William le Breton, in the mid 12th century. (fn. 39) The manor remained with the cathedral priory until its dissolution, and in 1541 was granted to Sir Edward North, treasurer of the Court of Augmentations, created Lord North in 1554. (fn. 40) He was succeeded in 1564 by his son Roger who in 1577 was licensed to impark 500 a. in Stetchworth and Dullingham. (fn. 41) In 1600 Roger was succeeded by his grandson Dudley North, who in 1622 sold the manor to Sir William Russell of Chippenham, treasurer of the Navy. (fn. 42) In 1667 Russell's grandson Sir John Russell sold Stetchworth to Richard Gorges, Lord Gorges (d. 1712), who devised the estate to his nephew Henry Fleming. (fn. 43) Henry was succeeded in 1713 by his nephew Richard Fleming (d. 1740) and Richard by his brother William, a lunatic. (fn. 44) After William's death in 1766 Stetchworth passed with lands in North Stoneham (Hants) to distant cousins of the Flemings, Thomas and John Willis, who adopted the name Fleming. (fn. 45)
In 1770 John Willis Fleming, John Fleming's cousin, held the manor. It was offered for sale in the 1780s and bought in 1786 by Richard Eaton, (fn. 46) who after inclosure in 1820 owned over 2,655 a., almost all the land in the parish, (fn. 47) and died in 1843. He was succeeded by his son R. J. Eaton (d. 1847) and grandson H. F. Eaton (d. 1875). (fn. 48) About 1876 the Stetchworth Park estate was bought by Sir Roger W. H. Palmer, Bt., who sold it in 1883 to Francis Egerton, earl of Ellesmere (d. 1914). Stetchworth descended with the earldom to Francis's son John (d. 1944) and grandson John who held the estate in 1976, having become duke of Sutherland in 1963. (fn. 49)
The original manor-house probably stood within the large earthwork lying south and east of the church; the moat was probably once filled with water. In the 1640s Lord Gorges built a large brick house, with 13 hearths, (fn. 50) north-west of the church. Extensive walled gardens and a summer-house, presumably built then, survived in 1976. In 1796 Richard Eaton demolished the house and built the present Stetchworth House, (fn. 51) a three-storeyed brick house with a portico on the south side and terraces to the west and north. It was enlarged to the east and a porch was added to the south side c. 1870. After the Second World War the eastern part, containing the service quarters, was demolished. (fn. 52)
In 1086 Count Alan held ½ hide in Stetchworth which had been held by Grim, the man of Eddeva. (fn. 53) The overlordship descended with Alan's honor of Richmond and in 1280 Philip Patmer held 1 hide in Stetchworth of that honor. (fn. 54) Philip was dead by 1324 when his widow Alice had a life-interest in c. 220 a. with reversion to their sons Henry and Walter. (fn. 55) On her death in 1339, however, Alice was succeeded by John, son of John Patmer, a minor. (fn. 56) In 1412 the manor of PATMERS was probably held by Thomas Wykes. (fn. 57) In 1438 John Coo and others granted it to Ely priory, but in 1440 Coo sold the reversion of all his lands in Stetchworth, late Wykes's, to Richard Foster. (fn. 58) At his death in 1525 Thomas Hildersham held Patmers with Madfreys manor in Dullingham of the honor of Richmond. (fn. 59) Thomas was succeeded by his son John who held them in 1536. (fn. 60) In 1544 the two manors were settled on Thomas Hildersham the younger and his wife. He and his second wife Anne Pole, a niece of Cardinal Pole, were zealous Catholics, and disinherited their son Arthur, who became a puritan divine. In 1571 Thomas sold Patmers and Madfreys to James Altham. (fn. 61) Two years later Altham sold them to Roger North, Lord North, and they afterwards descended with Stetchworth manor. (fn. 62) A fee-farm rent of 3s. was still paid to the honor of Richmond in 1876. (fn. 63) The lands of Patmers were later known as Place farm, and in 1770 the farm-house stood at the northern end of the village, north-west of the church. (fn. 64) It had gone by 1814.
The rectory of Stetchworth was granted to Ely priory in 1191. It has since descended with Stetchworth manor. At inclosure in 1820 Richard Eaton was allotted 500 a. in the north-west end of the parish in place of the great tithes. That land afterwards formed Heath farm. (fn. 65)
Of 10 hides in Stetchworth in 1086 3½ hides of land and ½ hide of meadow were held by Ely abbey in demesne. One yardland was held by Hardwin de Scalers, and the rest of the abbot's land was worked by 16 villani and by 5 bordars who had 5 a. each. There were four servi on the demesne, and three plough-teams although there was land enough for five. The woodland was sufficient for 260 pigs. On the rest of the land there were six teams and might have been seven. There was half a team on Count Alan's ½ hide. The Ely estate had fallen in value from £12; T.R.E. to £10 in 1086. (fn. 66)
The amount of cultivated land was considerably extended by the clearing of woodland in the southeast end of the parish, indicated by the irregular boundaries of the remaining woodland, and the smaller, irregular fields south-east of the village. Ley farm there was recorded from 1250. (fn. 67) The cleared lands and leasowes were still valued separately in the 17th century. (fn. 68) In the 16th century 500 a. at the south-east end of Stetchworth and Dullingham were imparked. (fn. 69) The whole of the south-eastern part of Stetchworth was inclosed long before the land north-west of the village. (fn. 70) In 1770 Park farm had 330 a. of inclosed land, Hall farm 295 a., and Place farm 240 a. (fn. 71)
Heathland in the extreme north-west of the parish, amounting in the 18th century to c. 860 a., stretched from the parish boundary to south-east of the London-Newmarket road. (fn. 72) In the 16th century the smallest of the three several heaths, belonging to the vicar, supported 200 sheep and in 1615 covered 180 a. (fn. 73) In 1770 Hall farm had 350 a. of heath, and Place farm over 300 a. (fn. 74) There were 1,200 sheep in the parish in 1806. (fn. 75) Between the heath and the village lay the open arable. In the 18th century most of it was divided between three fields: the largest, Naughts Hill, covered 390 a., Middle or Waste field covered 360 a., and Ditch field 270 a., all divided into unequal furlongs. (fn. 76) Mill field also occurs, west of the village, at one time intercommoned with Dullingham. (fn. 77) In the Middle Ages the chief crop seems to have been barley, (fn. 78) as in the 19th century. In 1801 340 a. were sown with barley, 300 a. with wheat, 200 a. with oats, and a few acres only with rye, peas, and potatoes. (fn. 79) In the early 19th century the thin chalky soil was said to produce good wheat, but the heavy wet lands needed improvement through inclosure. (fn. 80)
By the 18th century there were three large farms in the parish, Place, Hall, and Park farms. Place farm was the old manor of Patmers, which in 1438 had had 140 a. of arable, 4 a. of meadow, and 10 a. of underwood. (fn. 81) Hall farm was probably based on the demesne of Stetchworth manor; that demesne had been farmed out from the 15th century. (fn. 82) By 1770 all three farms belonged to John Fleming. (fn. 83) The parish was inclosed under an Act of 1814, and the allotment completed by 1820. By then Richard Eaton held almost all the land in the parish, having bought 10 other holdings besides Fleming's. He was allotted over 1,500 a. of the 1,730 a. of open and common land. The vicar received 130 a. and 11 others shared 22 a., none receiving more than 6 a. In all Eaton held over 2,650 a. (fn. 84) Only 4 a. of copyhold land occurred in the award, but in 1876 21 copyhold tenants were paying what were called quit-rents, worth £2 15s. a year. In the early 20th century the remaining copyholds were enfranchised. (fn. 85)
After inclosure the largest farm was Hall farm, formed from Eaton's allotment between the Dullingham-Newmarket and London-Newmarket roads. The farm-house had been built in the middle of the allotment by 1824. Cottages were built there by Sir Roger Palmer in the late 1870s, and a large stable block and house were added in 1887. (fn. 86) The farm covered over 900 a. in 1876, and was kept in hand by the duke of Sutherland in 1976 when the estate's other farms were leased. (fn. 87) By the 1870s Heath Farm had been built adjoining the July Course, near the junction of the London and Cambridge roads, on 240 a. allotted for tithe. (fn. 88) Park or Ditton Park farm covered c. 330 a. in 1876. It was leased from the Ellesmere estate until sold in 1957, when its brickbuilt farm-house had already been demolished. (fn. 89)
Between 1834 and 1905 the amount of arable cultivated in Stetchworth fell from c. 2,100 a. to 1,800 a., and the areas of grass and woodland increased from 400 a. and 270 a. to 680 a. and 519 a. respectively. (fn. 90) The changes reflect the development of stud farms and training stables. Stetchworth Park Stud was established in 1833. (fn. 91) In the 1880s Heath farm was leased to Matthew Dawson, one of a wellknown northern family of trainers. (fn. 92) In the 1920s it was a stud farm, and since the 1960s has housed the National Stud. (fn. 93) In 1891 Egerton House and stables were built by the earl of Ellesmere, with profits made from the Stetchworth Park Stud. It was planned as the most up-to-date training establishment in the country; the stables, which took 2½ years to build, could accommodate up to 80 horses, and 120 a. of arable was converted to grassland, with extensive belts of trees. Egerton House was leased until 1925 to Richard Marsh who was trainer to the prince of Wales, later Edward VII, and to George V. (fn. 94) The ownership apparently passed to the earl of Ellesmere's third son, T. H. F. Egerton, who in 1925 sold it to Henry Lascelles, Viscount Lascelles, later earl of Harewood (d. 1947). Marsh was followed by W. Jarvis, also a royal trainer. In 1943 Egerton was sold to the Hon. Mrs. Macdonald-Buchanan who still owned it in 1976 when it was run as Egerton Stud. (fn. 95) Since 1903 there has also been Aislabie Stud in the village. (fn. 96)
In 1924 Egerton House alone employed 54 racing staff, and in 1973 the racing establishments and agriculture provided almost all the local employment. (fn. 97) From 1908 until 1954 there was a dairy farm at Stetchworth Ley which provided milk for the Stetchworth Dairy. The dairy, a large concern with shops in Newmarket, Cambridge, and Bury St. Edmunds, retained the name after its connexion with the parish had ceased. (fn. 98) In the 14th century there was a tailor at Stetchworth, (fn. 99) but few other non-agricultural workers occur until the 20th century. About 1950 a woodworking business was established in the village, and in 1961 had c. 20 employees. (fn. 100)
A windmill stood at the end of Mill Lane in the early 16th century, and was continuously recorded between 1674 and 1901. (fn. 101) By 1876 it was a wind and steam mill. It had ceased working by the late 1930s when it was converted to a private house. (fn. 102)
Patmers manor, for which no separate courts are recorded, owed suit to the Cambridgeshire tourn of the honor of Richmond. (fn. 103) The prior of Ely claimed liberties including view of frankpledge, the assize of bread and of ale, infangthief, and waifs and strays in Stetchworth as in his other lands. (fn. 104) Court rolls survive for Stetchworth manor for 1422–60, 1509–58, and 1626–1924 with a few gaps. (fn. 105) In the 15th and 16th centuries courts baron were held once or twice a year, combined with a view of frankpledge usually once a year. By the 17th century meetings were more irregular, with an average of one court a year which was not always a court leet, and from the mid 18th century were even less frequent. In the 15th and 16th centuries the leet dealt with cases of assault, theft, and breaking the peace, and in the 16th and 17th centuries heard charges of adultery and immorality. From the 15th century a hayward and a pinder were appointed, and from the 16th century constables and ale-tasters. The amount of agricultural regulation declined in the 18th century, and from the 1770s the court was concerned only with tenurial matters.
In 1629 the parish acquired a poorhouse, called the town house or guildhall, which probably stood at the corner of Church Lane, south of the green. It was administered and repaired by the overseers, but by 1814 it was in so bad a condition that it was demolished. A new poorhouse was built by the parish, on land given by Richard Eaton. (fn. 106) Besides cash payments to the poor, the overseers sometimes paid rent or boarding-fees and provided nursing, medicines, food, and clothing. (fn. 107) In 1813 five people were housed in the poorhouse and 24 received permanent outside relief. (fn. 108) Expenditure on poor relief rose from £85 in 1776 to £490 in 1834. Stetchworth's expenditure was usually among the lowest in the hundred, but in 1834 it was the second highest. In 1803 the number who received permanent outside relief was 26, the highest in the hundred. (fn. 109) In 1835 Stetchworth became part of the Newmarket poor-law union, remaining in the 1930s in the Newmarket R.D. (fn. 110) and in 1974 being included in East Cambridgeshire.
There was a church at Stetchworth in 1191 when the rectory was annexed to Ely priory and a vicarage was ordained. (fn. 111) The advowson of the vicarage descended with Stetchworth manor. Throughout the 13th century the vicarage was valued at 20 marks. In the 14th century there was reference to its poverty, and in the 15th century, when worth £4, it was exempt from paying tenths. In 1534 it was valued at £10 12s. 2d. (fn. 112) In the early 17th century there were c. 46 a. of glebe in the open fields. The vicar also had a sheep-course for 200 sheep and a several heath whose boundaries had been decided by a Chancery suit in the 16th century. He received the small tithes of Stetchworth, tithe hay from certain lands in Dullingham, and a yearly pension of 23s. 4d. from Sir John North. (fn. 113) In 1658 the income was c. £42, and Lord Russell asked for an augmentation of £50. (fn. 114) By 1787 the vicar had ceased to receive the pension and the tithes from Dullingham, although he was awarded 6½ a. when that parish was inclosed. (fn. 115) At the inclosure of Stetchworth he was awarded 132 a., mostly on Newmarket Heath, 111 a. of which had been sold by 1892. (fn. 116) In 1835 the income of the vicarage was £174, and in 1877 £291. (fn. 117) A vicarage house with five hearths was built c. 1655 by Sir Francis Russell. (fn. 118) In 1728 the vicar did not live there, but boarded with a parishioner, but the house was in good repair in 1775, and until the early 18th century. In 1836 it was said to be built of lath and plaster on a timber frame. (fn. 119) The vicarage, on the west side of the main street, was probably rebuilt in the later 19th century. It was a private house by 1976.
There was a chaplain in Stetchworth in 1400, and probably in 1515, (fn. 120) and a village guild dedicated to St. Peter in 1491 and 1527. (fn. 121) In the early 16th century a parishioner refused to receive communion, and another was accused of sleeping in church. (fn. 122) The vicar in 1561 was not a graduate and was not licensed to preach. (fn. 123) In 1623 the vicar was accused of playing cards on Easter Monday instead of reading prayers. (fn. 124) Robert Poole, vicar in 1650, used the old service book. His living was sequestered in 1650 but restored in 1660, and Poole served until his death in 1675. (fn. 125) In 1662 a number of his parishioners refused to attend church. (fn. 126) In 1728 there were two Sunday services at Stetchworth, and quarterly sacraments with c. 20 communicants. (fn. 127) From 1743 John Symonds was vicar of Stetchworth, but lived in his other parish, Dullingham. His son, also John, served Stetchworth as curate, and from 1778 to 1808 as vicar. He was also vicar of Swaffham Bulbeck and curate of Woodditton. (fn. 128) In 1775 only one Sunday service was held, and three communions a year. (fn. 129)
In 1836 the non-resident vicar provided a curate, and in 1857 both vicar and curate were resident. (fn. 130) By 1836 two Sunday schools had been started, but only one survived in 1851 and it was poorly attended. There were then two Sunday services, attended by c. 100 in the morning and 150 in the afternoon. (fn. 131) By 1877 there were monthly communions. A mission was held in 1887; by 1897 there were three Sunday services, two on weekdays, and weekly communions. (fn. 132) From 1946 Stetchworth was held with Woodditton, where the vicar lived. (fn. 133) In 1976 the vicar of Dullingham was in charge of Stetchworth.
A wooden chapel was built for the Egerton stables between 1897 (fn. 134) and 1901. From 1901 to 1907 it was served by its own chaplain, who also served as a hospital chaplain. After 1907 evening services were held there each Sunday by clergy from neighbouring parishes. It remained in use until after the Second World War, and in 1976 the building still stood next to Egerton Cottage. (fn. 135)
The church of ST. PETER, so called in the 13th century, (fn. 136) has a chancel, aisled nave, and west tower. (fn. 137) The chancel, which has lancet windows, dates from the 13th century. The chancel arch and nave of four bays were rebuilt towards the end of the 14th century, and the tower arch dates from the same period, although the tower seems to have been altered or rebuilt in the 15th century. The octagonal font is 16th-century, although its base may be older. After the mid 18th century a south porch and doorway were removed, as was the chancel screen, and the 'odd square Presbyterian' east window was replaced by one in 14th-century style, and two quatrefoil windows were inserted in each aisle. The nave and aisles were restored in 1894, when the roof was partly rebuilt, although the original tie-beams remain. In 1907 the chancel was restored, and in 1971 the tower. (fn. 138) There was a gallery in 1876, for the lord of the manor, (fn. 139) but it was probably removed during the restoration of 1894. A large monument to Henry Gorges (d. 1674), son of Lord Gorges, including his effigy in Roman dress and the demifigures of his parents in 17th-century costume, stands in the north aisle. (fn. 140) There is also an early15th-century brass to John and Eleanor Coo.
The church had one chalice in the 13th century, (fn. 141) and in 1552 there were two silver chalices and patens. (fn. 142) The plate includes a 16th-century silver chalice and paten, and also a second paten, a flagon, and an alms-dish given by Lady Gorges in 1674, 1675, and 1677. (fn. 143) In the 16th century there were four bells, (fn. 144) and in the 20th century five: (i and ii) 1608, R. Holdfield of Cambridge; (iii) c. 1570, probably by Richard Nicholson; (iv) 1450, made at Bury St. Edmunds; (v) 1564, Stephen Tonne. (fn. 145) The parish registers begin in 1666 and are complete. (fn. 146)
Some Stetchworth people who refused to attend church in the 1660s were probably protestant dissenters. (fn. 147) There were two nonconformists in 1676, and one Independent in 1728. (fn. 148) In 1807 there were two Presbyterians, and by 1825 two or three attended a Baptist meeting at Kirtling and a few others a Methodist meeting elsewhere. (fn. 149) In 1843 a house was registered for protestant worship, and a building was registered for Primitive Methodists from 1867 to 1933. (fn. 150)
In 1877 the parish had c. 12 dissenters. (fn. 151) In 1870 Robert Fenn and others had given land in Stetchworth for a gospel hall, with rent for its upkeep. The hall, an iron building with 400 sittings, was registered for Congregationalist use in 1885. (fn. 152) In 1897 there were c. 250 dissenters in the parish. By 1955 the number of Congregationalist church members had fallen to seven, but in 1967 there were eighteen. (fn. 153) By 1961 the old gospel hall had been demolished and services were being held in a local hall. (fn. 154) In 1964 a new brick-built church was opened on the site of the old hall on the eastern side of the main street. (fn. 155)
There was no schoolmaster in the parish in 1636. (fn. 156) A century later there was still no school, but some children were taught to read. By 1825 there was a schoolmaster, and in 1833 three day-schools taught c. 50 children. (fn. 157) In the 1860s a school was built and supported by public subscription. It was altered and a classroom added in or after 1876. In 1877 c. 75 children attended; numbers rose and in 1892 the earl of Ellesmere enlarged the school to accommodate 150. (fn. 158) In 1897 he enlarged it further and built a new infant school. (fn. 159) Attendance reached a total of 168 in 1905–6, and then fell steadily to 33 in 1938. In 1947 the seniors were transferred to Bottisham village college. (fn. 160) In 1973 19 children attended the primary school, which was planned to be closed, (fn. 161) but the old school was still in use in 1976.
In 1913 the county council built a school in the north-west end of the parish at Stetchworth Heath; c. 21 attended in the first year. Numbers rose to 38 in 1919 and 1927, but had fallen to 26 by 1938. The seniors were transferred to Bottisham in 1947. (fn. 162) The junior mixed and infant school remained in 1976.
Charities for the Poor.
In 1700 Lord Gorges and his wife established an alms-house in Stetchworth, endowed with a rent-charge of £30 on Hall farm, for two men and two women who would be given 2s. a week, 20s. a year for fuel, and a new coat or dress every two years. In 1805 Richard Eaton rebuilt the house on a different site. Payments were being made regularly in 1863. (fn. 163) The second alms-house, which stood on the west side of the main street, was a two-storeyed, thatched building, divided into two pairs of two-roomed dwellings, each with a garden. In 1952, when the alms-house was in urgent need of repair and improvement, having no piped water, drainage, sanitation, or lighting, the rent-charge was redeemed with £1,200 of treasury stock. Under a Scheme of 1954 the almshouse was sold in 1956 to Newmarket R.D.C. after the death or departure of the last occupants. The alms-house was renovated and still stood in the southern part of the village in 1976. Under another Scheme of 1960 the income from the £150 proceeds of sale and the £1,200 stock was to be used for the benefit of the poor of Stetchworth, Dullingham, and Woodditton in cases of hardship or sickness, and to help with occupational training. The income was so distributed in 1976. (fn. 164)
In 1783 there were three pieces of land of unknown origin whose rent was devoted to the poor. At inclosure trustees were allotted 1 a. which, with 5 a. of Richard Eaton's, was let to the poor as gardens. Up to 1837 the income was distributed in blankets, and in 1863 in food. (fn. 165) In 1951 the yearly income of £1 15s. was spent on coal. By 1965 there were no tenants for the allotments, and in 1971 the land, which lay behind the old alms-house, was sold to Newmarket R.D.C. By a Scheme of 1975 income from the £4,000 so raised was to be spent on general relief in the parish. (fn. 166)