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.
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Manor and other estates
Rampton was divided in 1066 among five sokemen of Ely abbey and one of Eddeva the fair. After the Conquest the whole 6-hide vill was taken by Picot, sheriff of Cambridge, despite the abbot of Ely's claim to be overlord of 5 hides and 2 1/2 yardlands. (fn. 1) The entire parish later comprised the manor of RAMPTON LISLES. The bishop of Ely's overlordship was recorded throughout the 13th century, (fn. 2) but not after 1304. (fn. 3) Picot's lordship probably passed on the division of his successor William Peverel's estates in 1147-8 to William's sister Maud (d. 1185), wife of Hugh of Dover (d. 1172). (fn. 4) It was later held by the senior coheirs of William Peverel, the Pecche barons of Bourn. (fn. 5) Rampton's attachment to the Pecche fee, from 1284 in the king's hands, was last recorded in 1346. (fn. 6)
Picot's tenant at Rampton in 1086 was Roger. (fn. 7) In 1166 the manor was probably part of the knight's fee held of Hugh of Dover by Eustace Picot, (fn. 8) whose daughter and heir Lauretta mar ried Hugh Burdeleys (d. by 1185). (fn. 9) From the 1230s to the 1350s an intermediate lordship over Lisles descended with Burdeleys manor at Madingley. (fn. 10)
Eustace Picot granted 1 knight's fee at Rampton before c. 1156 to Ralph, chamberlain of Bishop Niel of Ely and ancestor of the Lisles. (fn. 11) About 1212 Robert de Lisle held it of the bishop of Ely. (fn. 12) In 1260 Geoffrey Burdeleys confirmed Rampton to Sir Robert de Lisle, the first Robert's son. (fn. 13) Sir Robert, who died between 1260 and 1262, was succeeded by his son Robert (d. 1284), who was granted free warren in 1264. (fn. 14) The younger Robert's heir was his son Warin (d. 1296), (fn. 15) whose widow Alice held 13/4; fees c. 1302. (fn. 16) Their son Robert, later reckoned Lord Lisle of Rougemont, took possession in 1310. (fn. 17) In 1339 he gave a life interest to his daughter Alice and feoffees, to be held of himself and his heirs, (fn. 18) permanently excluding Alice's husband Sir Thomas Seymour. (fn. 19) The settlement was confirmed by Robert's son John in 1339. (fn. 20) After Robert entered the Franciscan order in 1342 (fn. 21) Alice and her partners released the manor to John in 1343 for a 30-year term. (fn. 22) On John's death in 1355 Rampton reverted to Alice, (fn. 23) who released it in 1359 to John's son Robert, of age in 1357. (fn. 24)
In 1368 Robert de Lisle conveyed Rampton to feoffees for Sir William Windsor (later Lord Windsor, d. 1384), who was succeeded not by his heir at law, his sister, but by his eldest nephew John Windsor. (fn. 25) Lisle shortly ejected John from the manor and was ordered in 1390 to restore it, (fn. 26) but retained possession and sold it c. 1393 to Richard le Scrope, Lord Scrope of Bolton, who gave it to his son William. (fn. 27) William, earl of Wiltshire from 1397, was attainted and beheaded in 1399. (fn. 28) Rampton was forfeit to the Crown, which granted it to feoffees for the earl's brother Roger le Scrope. (fn. 29) Roger was in turn forcibly disseised by John Windsor, who fought off attempts to regain possession in 1404 and 1413. (fn. 30) The manor, later restored to the Scrope family, was presumably held by Roger's son Richard, Lord Scrope (d. 1420), whose widow Margaret held it from 1427 with her husband William Cressoner (d. 1454). (fn. 31) On Margaret's death in 1463 or 1464 the manor passed to her grandson John le Scrope, Lord Scrope (fn. 32) (d. 1498), from whom it descended to successive heirs in the male line, Henry (d. 1506), Henry (d. 1533), and John (d. 1549), Lords Scrope. (fn. 33) John's widow Catherine and her husband Sir Richard Cholmley held courts from 1561, (fn. 34) selling their life interest in 1575 to Thomas Alcocke, who had already bought the reversion from John le Scrope's son Henry. (fn. 35)
Alcocke died in 1602, leaving Rampton to his younger son Thomas (d. 1611), whose heir was his son Edward. (fn. 36) A recusant and heavily in debt, Edward obtained an Act of Parliament to enable him to sell the manor in 1624, (fn. 37) and in 1626 sold it to Sir John Leman, a former lord mayor of London. (fn. 38) On Leman's death in 1632, Rampton descended under an earlier settlement to his nephew William Leman, (fn. 39) already named as lord in 1631. (fn. 40) William Leman (cr. Bt. 1665, d. 1667) was succeeded by his son William (d. 1701), (fn. 41) whose heir was his grandson Sir William Leman (d. 1741). Sir William's sister and heir Lucy died unmarried in 1745, leaving Rampton to her cousin Richard Alie (d. 1749). His sister and heir Lucy died in 1753, devising Rampton to John Granger (d. s.p. 1781). (fn. 41) Both Alie and Granger took the name Leman. Granger's widow Elizabeth (d. 1790) and her husband William Strode (d. 1809) owned 450 a. in Rampton. (fn. 42)
The manorial rights were detached from the land in the sales by William Strode's executors after his death. (fn. 43) The lordship was bought with 60 a. by Sir T. D. Hatton (d. s.p. 1812) of Long Stanton, (fn. 44) and the lordship alone passed between 1818 and 1821 to the Revd. Walter Gee and his wife Sarah (d. 1846). (fn. 45) By will proved 1852 Gee left the manor to trustees for sale. (fn. 46) It was bought by Henry Everingham, who sold it in 1873 to Osmond Barnard. (fn. 47) Between 1888 and 1896 it passed to W. A. E. Staffurth (d. 1911), after whose time its ownership has not been traced. (fn. 48)
Francis Mann of Lolworth, the principal tenant of the Rampton estate, bought c. 110 a., including Manor farm, between 1812 and 1814. (fn. 49) His son and heir John in 1826 sold the farm, by then enlarged to nearly 150 a., to Robert Ivatt of Cottenham. (fn. 50) Ivatt had been buying land in Rampton since 1812 and continued to add to his estate in the 1820s and 1830s, while his son Thomas bought land on his own account before he succeeded his father (d. 1843). (fn. 51) After inclosure in 1852 Thomas held 444 a. (fn. 52) and at his death in 1869 his nephew and heir C. E. Ivatt succeeded to 467 a. (fn. 53) Ivatt put Manor Farm up for sale in 1914. (fn. 54) Cambridgeshire County Council, which bought 453 a., had already acquired 59 a. in Rampton in 1909 and went on to buy 140 a. in 1920-1 and 16 a. in 1971. After selling 35 a. it owned 632 a. (256 ha.) in 1985. (fn. 55)
In the 14th century the Lisle family often resided at Rampton, (fn. 56) and a domestic chapel was licensed for John de Lisle in 1344 and for Roger le Scrope in 1403. (fn. 57) An obscure reference in 1343 to a chamber 'in the moat' (fn. 58) suggests that the manor house stood on the platform within the moat of Giant's Hill. (fn. 59) In 1908 it was said that the foundations of buildings could still be traced and that there had been considerable remains of a house within living memory. (fn. 60) A park adjoined the moat and a building called Hall barn stood just outside it in 1754. (fn. 61) Like some manorial sites in nearby parishes, Rampton manor house appears to have been moved to drier ground later in the Middle Ages, (fn. 62) perhaps after a period in which the earlier house stood in ruins. The later house occupies Grandtofts close, (fn. 63) a name which dissociates the site from any early manorial use. In 1543-4 the tenement called Grandtofts was leased separately from the manor. (fn. 64) The house, Manor Farm, preserves a medieval plan of central hall range with screens passage at the west end and two cross wings. It was, however, entirely rebuilt in the early 17th century as a timber-framed house of two storeys with gabled wings. Early 17th-century fireplaces survive on both floors of the eastern parlour wing, which also retains its 17th-century roof. The wings were probably rebuilt before the hall range. In the late 17th century a new kitchen with a tumbled-brick gable was added behind the east wing, and in the early 18th the front of the house was cased in red brick with curvilinear gables. (fn. 65) Ranges of Victorian outbuildings were removed after 1976. (fn. 66)
By 1279 the Knights Templar of Denny held 10 a. in Rampton, part of which was evidently the 7 a. bought by Peter Templeman in 1261. (fn. 67) After the confiscation of Templar estates in 1308, the land evidently descended with the manor of Waterbeach cum Denny. (fn. 68)
Hobson's Workhouse Charity (from 1970 part of Cambridge United Charities) acquired 28 a. at the south end of the parish and 1 a. adjoining in Long Stanton between 1852 and 1897. It was sold in 1952. (fn. 69)