BHO

Oakington: Local government

Pages 204-205

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9, Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1989.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

Citation:

Local government

In 1279, when jurisdiction over the tenants of the Lisle fee had been withdrawn for over 12 years to the honor of Richmond's tourn, the right to hold view of frankpledge without the royal bailiff's presence and the assize of bread and of ale were claimed for the former Burdeleys and the Olifard fees, held of the honor of Huntingdon, and for Crowland abbey. (fn. 1) John du Lay and the abbey were allowed such liberties by prescription in 1299, when the abbey also successfully claimed waif and infangthief: (fn. 2) a plot of demesne by the highway to Cambridge was still called Gallows grove in 1566. (fn. 3) Only for the abbey's court do court rolls survive, almost continuously from 1290 to 1538. (fn. 4) Later court rolls were extant in the 1830s. (fn. 5)

The abbey's court normally handled minor civil and criminal pleas, sometimes still settled by wager of law, (fn. 6) into the 1430s, while one man was convicted upon an appeal of robbery in 1323. (fn. 7) It regularly named manorial officers, sometimes elected by the whole homage, (fn. 8) including aletasters, haywards, (fn. 9) and constables, occasionally mentioned from the 1310s (fn. 10) to the 1520s. (fn. 11) Commonly enforcing the assize of ale, though only once that of bread, (fn. 12) it amerced an alewife in 1435 for brewing with bad water, and another in 1440 for taking down her alestake while she still had ale to sell. (fn. 13) Agrarian bylaws, ordained by the community by 1334, (fn. 14) were made by the assent of the lord and community from c. 1400, (fn. 15) although formally recorded on the rolls only from the 1460s. (fn. 16) The court also vindicated its own authority against members of the jury who dissented (fn. 17) or withdrew themselves before presentments were made, (fn. 18) and against suitors who took cases elsewhere, as to the justices of trailbaston in 1315, or to courts christian c. 1410. (fn. 19)

The vestry which ran the parish after 1700 was composed by the 1780s of the 3-5 principal farmers. It regularly elected the usual parish officers (not highway surveyors before c. 1780) and sometimes haywards. (fn. 20) The cost of poor relief rose from below £30 in 1776 to c. £80 by 1785 and had reached £263 by 1803, when 30 paupers, half of them old or sick, were permanently supported from the rates. (fn. 21) In the early 1810s c. 15 people were permanently and 15-20 occasionally assisted. The cost, after fall ing from £330 in 1813 to c. £190 by 1815, (fn. 22) was usually £325-375, sometimes over £450, until the late 1820s, (fn. 23) and rose above £500 in the early 1830s. The overseers then maintained 20-40 unemployed men digging gravel and making roads. (fn. 24) In 1834 the farmers resolved that they should take on unemployed labourers in proportion to the size of their holdings. (fn. 25) The parish was included from 1836 in Chesterton poor-law union; (fn. 26) in the late 1830s the guardians sold a former parish poorhouse by the churchyard. (fn. 27) From 1894 Oakington belonged to Chesterton rural district (fn. 28) and after 1974 to South Cambridgeshire district. (fn. 29)

About 1895 the new parish council hired unemployed villagers to work at the 1-a. gravel pit north of the village. (fn. 30) By 1845 Oakington had its own fire engine, worked by a volunteer fire brigade, still active in the 1920s and revived during the Second World War. (fn. 31)

Footnotes

  • 1. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 448.
  • 2. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 103-4.
  • 3. P.R.O., C 1/131, no. 13, answer.
  • 4. Ct. rolls 1290-1528: C.U.L., Queens' Coll. Mun., Box 3, Ad. 16: 11-22 Abbot Ric.; Ad. 35: 2-22 Abbot Simon; Ad. 36, Dd. 1, 4: 1-20, 21-5, 26-35 Abbot Hen.; Dd. 3: 2- 10 Abbot Thos. I; Box 4, Ad. 27: 11-19 Abbot Thos. I; Ad. 29, Ad. 23: 1-15, 16-22 Ric. II; Ed. 1: 1-12 Hen. IV; Dd. 9: 14 Hen. IV-1 Hen. V; Dd. 5: 3-7 Hen. V; Box 7, Ad. 32, Dd. 12, Dd, 7: 3-15, 16-32, 33-8, 49 Hen. VI; Ad. 31: 1- 20 Edw. IV; Fd. 5: 10-14 Hen. VII; Fd. 6, Dd. 2: 5-7, 14- 20 Hen. VIII. Abbatial years used for dating before 1370s conventionally start at Mich. Many ct. rolls 1290-1430 printed, Page, Crowland, 331-448.
  • 5. C.U.L., Doc. 647, no. 4. None listed in cat. of Queens' Coll. Mun.
  • 6. Ct. roll 3 Hen. VI.
  • 7. Ibid. (Ad. 35), 16 Edw. II.
  • 8. Ibid. 17 Abbot Hen.
  • 9. Regularly reported in ct. rolls in 15th cent.
  • 10. e.g. ibid. 6 Abbot Simon; 13 Abbot Hen.
  • 11. Ibid. 14 Hen. VIII.
  • 12. e.g. ibid. 28 Abbot Hen.; 16 Hen. VIII.
  • 13. Ibid. 14, 18 Hen. VI.
  • 14. Ibid. 10 Abbot Hen.; cf. ibid. 8 Ric. II.
  • 15. Ibid. 4 Hen. IV.
  • 16. Ibid. 7 Edw. IV.
  • 17. e.g. ibid. 21 Abbot Simon.
  • 18. e.g. ibid. 8 Hen. IV.
  • 19. Ibid. 13 Abbot Simon; 11 Hen. IV.
  • 20. C.R.O., P 126/5/1 (town bk. 1715-1858).
  • 21. Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 36-7.
  • 22. Ibid. 1818, 30-1.
  • 23. Poor Rate Returns, 1816-21, 11; 1822-4, 38; 1825-9, 16.
  • 24. Ibid. 1830-4, 16; Rep. H.L. Cttee. on Poor Laws, 323; cf. Census, 1831; C.J. lxxxvii. 175.
  • 25. Camb. Chron. 31 Jan. 1834.
  • 26. Poor Law Com. 2nd Rep. 512.
  • 27. C.R.O., R 54/25/1, pp. 12-13.
  • 28. Census, 1911, 1931.
  • 29. Ibid. 1971.
  • 30. C.R.O., R 54/25/1, pp. 7, 11, 140, 255; cf. ibid. Q/RDc 48, p. 37.
  • 31. Camb. Chron. 5 June 1852; Camb. Daily News, 12 Mar. 1940; C.R.O., R 54/25/1, pp. 7, 62, 108, 255; inf. from Mr. Warboys; cf. O.S. Map 6", Cambs. XXXIV. NE. (1903 edn.).