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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THE civil parish of Longstanton (fn. 1) was created in 1953 by uniting Long Stanton All Saints and Long Stanton St. Michael. (fn. 2) The form Longstanton, occasionally used earlier in the 20th century, (fn. 3) was the official name from 1953 and was increasingly adopted for other purposes, (fn. 4) but the ecclesiastical parish retained the style of Long Stanton, which is used here throughout. The two ancient parishes were perhaps regarded as distinct by 1086, when the manor corresponding to St. Michael's was said to lie 'in Stantune' and others 'in Stantone'. (fn. 5) They were certainly separate by the 1230s, distinguished as 'Stanton' and 'the other Stanton'. (fn. 6)
The single village stands 9 km. (5 ½ miles) NNW. of Cambridge on a low gravel ridge c. 1 km. wide. The land just north-east of the village also lies on gravel but most of the parish is covered with clay, except for small patches of alluvium in the north-west and greensand in the south. (fn. 7) The land rises gently from 6 m. (20 ft.) in the north to c. 20 m. (66 ft.) on the CambridgeHuntingdon road, which forms the south-western boundary. The irregular western boundary with Swavesey was determined by the furlongs of the open fields, while the northern boundary lies along tracks called mere ways (fn. 8) which divide Long Stanton from Over, Willingham, and Rampton. The easternmost extremity juts out to reach Beck brook but the rest of the southeast boundary with Oakington follows a single straight alignment, broken only by the extension into Oakington of a piece of Long Stanton called Bacon dole, the parochial situation of which was uncertain in 1627. (fn. 9) Bacon dole had been granted to the lord of Colvilles manor by the lord of Oakington in the early 13th century (fn. 10) and it was presumably attracted into Long Stanton through its ownership by the lords of Colvilles.
The original boundary between All Saints and St. Michael's parishes was probably determined by the location of lands belonging to the different manors. It was still perambulated in the early 18th century (fn. 11) but by the 1780s much of its course had been forgotten through the inattention of the inhabitants and the accumulation of most of the manors by the Hatton family, and because Sir Thomas Hatton from c. 1760 took the tithes of both parishes as lessee. James Atkins as rector of St. Michael's made vigorous but unsuccessful attempts between 1786 and 1794 to recover tithes which he believed due to him, claiming that the Hattons had greatly enlarged All Saints parish at the expense of St. Michael's in order to minimize their payment of tithes and rates in St. Michael's. The inclosure commissioners redrew the boundary in 1816 to place 1,938 a. in All Saints and 841 a. in St. Michael's, excluding from St. Michael's several areas which Atkins had regarded as detached parts surrounded by All Saints. (fn. 12) The new boundary ran from the Huntingdon road for c. 1.5 km. along Hatton's or Mansion House Road, then turned east to follow Meadow way to the edge of the village inclosures. After passing through the village, where it ran through one cottage, it doubled back north-west by Long Lane and then turned another right angle to follow More baulk to the Rampton boundary. (fn. 13) The united civil parish covered 1,124 ha. (2,777 a.) after 1953. (fn. 14) In 1985 the boundaries with Rampton and Oakington were straightened to follow the railway and a taxiway in the airfield respectively. Long Stanton afterwards covered 1,123 ha. (2,775 a.). (fn. 15)
The three open fields of each parish were inclosed in 1816. Mixed farming has been carried on over almost the whole area, the only part liable to flood being the extreme north-west corner, (fn. 16) where an embankment of uncertain date stands on the Swavesey side of the boundary. Landbrook, so named in the 17th century (fn. 17) but in 1331 called Longbrook, (fn. 18) enters Long Stanton from a culvert under the Huntingdon road. After flowing north-east for 3 km. it turns abruptly north to pass at first behind the village closes, then along the street for a few hundred metres before turning west then north into a straight cut alongside the Over road.
The village stands principally along both sides of a long almost straight street, aligned NNW. and SSE. Beyond the southern end the road bends sharply right then left on its way to Oakington and Cambridge. (fn. 19) Similarly at the northern end two right-angled corners take the road towards Willingham. The Over road leaves the village street near a bridge over Landbrook. Footpaths from the Over and Willingham roads converge on High Street further south, preserving part of the line of former back lanes. The village street was once connected with the Huntingdon road, a turnpike between 1745 and 1874, (fn. 20) by a number of field paths, principally Meadow way. (fn. 21) At least five baulks led northeast from the village, called from the north Ely way, Moor way, Purcell or Poswell way and More baulk, Broad way, and Stanwell way. Sir Thomas Hatton (d. 1787) built a private road from the turnpike almost directly to his house in the centre of the village; by 1816 there was a tollgate about half way along, probably near the intersection with Meadow way. The roads to Oakington, Willingham, and Over were unaltered at inclosure in 1816, a branch to Swavesey being laid out from the Over road. New Road, later School Lane, formed a new link between the village and Hatton's Road, and Poswell way became the main road to Rampton. (fn. 22) The Rampton road was in part only a bridleway in 1984, and the building of runways at R.A.F. Oakington necessitated the closure of the Oakington road during and after the Second World War. Even after the runways were abandoned the road remained out of use for most motor traffic in 1987. (fn. 23) The south-east end of the village street was then a quiet backwater, though Hatton's Road and the north part of High Street were part of a busy route from the Huntingdon road into the southern fens.
The railway from Cambridge to St. Ives opened in 1847 with a station by the Willingham road about half way between the village and the parish boundary. The station closed in 1970 but the line remained in use for goods traffic in 1987. (fn. 24)
Long Stanton was one of the most populous villages in the area. With 67 peasant tenants recorded in 1086 it ranked second only to Histon in the hundreds of Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth. By the 14th century it had been overtaken by Chesterton and some of the rapidly expanding fen-edge villages, but nevertheless had 267 adults taxed in 1377. (fn. 25) In 1563 there were 34 families in All Saints and 8 in St. Michael's (fn. 26) and in the late 17th century c. 60 and c. 12 respectively. (fn. 27) In 1801 there were still c. 60 families in All Saints but 24 in St. Michael's, making a total population of 400. Increases in the 1810s, 1820s, and 1840s brought it to over 600 by 1851, with roughly the same proportions in the two parishes. The population then fell gradually to c. 400 by 1911, the decline being greater in St. Michael's, which lost more than half its inhabitants and never had more than 100 residents between 1871 and 1931. The total population remained steady in the early 20th century but the creation of R.A.F. Oakington and an influx of servicemen and their families more than trebled it by 1951 to over 1,300. In that year there were nearly 500 airmen living in the barracks. The population continued to increase rapidly after 1951, reaching 2,355 in 1981. (fn. 28)
In the Middle Ages there were probably several clusters of settlement straggling over a considerable distance, principally along the 2-km. high street, distinguishing the village as Long Stanton from nearby Fen Stanton (Hunts.). (fn. 29) The two parish stand apart, St. Michael's near the southern end of the street with the site of Colvilles manor house 250 m. further south, All Saints near the centre. The street by each church and north of All Saints' was still lined in 1816 by regular tofts once occupied by medieval houses, but there was a gap in the tofts between the that probably had no dwellings in the Middle Ages. By the 17th century cottages later called Golden End had probably encroached on the north-east side of the street there. They may have included the one-hearth house described as standing upon the common in 1664. (fn. 30) By 1816 Golden End comprised a small group of dwellings set well back from the road; one thatched 18th-century house with gabled dormers survived in 1984. A settlement at Green End on the Over road probably existed by the mid 13th century (fn. 31) and certainly by the early 15th, when two men bearing the same name were distinguished by the epithets 'atte green' and 'atte bridge'. (fn. 32) It bordered a triangular green which survived until inclosed in 1816. (fn. 33) In 1984 a single 19th-century cottage remained there.
There were 70 houses with hearths in 1674 (fn. 34) and fewer than 80 dwellings in 1811. (fn. 35) High Street and Church Lane or Street in St. Michael's parish were both lined by houses and cottages in 1816. (fn. 36) Their number fell from 34 in 1851 to 24 in 1871, mainly affecting High Street, which was left with little more than the rectory and two farmhouses. In All Saints parish, Golden End and Green End in mid century each had c. 6 cottages, and up to three families lived at Fishpond Cottages 900 m. north of the village, but most houses stood along High Street and adjacent lanes. The southern end near All Saints' church and the northern part beside the stream were sometimes distinguished as Church End and Brook End, which by the beginning of the 19th century were separated by the park of the Hattons' manor house, extending over c. 22 a. of former tofts. South of Golden End and east of the road was a lane, eventually called Mills Lane after a family long resident there, parallel to Church Lane in St. Michael's and linked to it at the eastern end by a short arm. Church Cottages were built just north of All Saints' vicarage at various dates before inclosure, (fn. 36) and were demolished c. 1930. (fn. 37) The number of houses in All Saints rose from c. 60 in 1831 to nearly 100 by 1851. After the coming of the railway a few houses were built near the station, mostly for railway workers. In the late 19th and early 20th century the total number of houses declined to 115 in 1931.
Long Stanton was transformed by the Air Ministry's acquisition in 1939 of 353 a. at the north-east end of St. Michael's parish for part of R.A.F. Oakington. (fn. 38) Although the airfield lay in Oakington, all the hangars, barracks, and other buildings were in Long Stanton. The station opened in 1940 and continuous operations began after concrete runways were laid in 1941. Two bomber squadrons operated throughout the Second World War and a photographic reconnaissance unit and a meteorological flight for part of it. The airfield was used by transport squadrons from 1945 to 1950 and by training schools after 1950. (fn. 39) The army took over the site in 1975 as Oakington Barracks; (fn. 40) in 1984 it accommodated an infantry battalion, a helicopter squadron, and an education centre.
After 1945 three housing estates were built in Long Stanton as married quarters for airmen. The smallest, with 30 dwellings on a spacious site, was south-west of High Street between the . North of All Saints' church the former park was almost entirely built over, and together with an extension on the east fronting Rampton Road contained nearly 200 houses and a N.A.A.F.I. in 1984. The third estate, detached from the village, adjoined the airfield on Rampton Road. The main estate, mostly semidetached red-brick houses, dominated the centre of Long Stanton in 1984. Over 100 council houses also stood in and just off High Street and several small private estates behind the principal streets, the largest comprising 38 houses, making the northern part of the village heavily built up in 1984. Post-war building in St. Michael's was restricted to a few more expensive houses, though there were also three residential caravan sites, originally established to provide temporary accommodation for the R.A.F. In 1984 they included at least 40 permanent dwellings and had room for touring caravans. (fn. 41) The southeastern stretch of the high street, renamed Woodside in its northern part and St. Michael's to the south, was nevertheless not fully built up and a well wooded open area remained around All Saints' church near the centre of the village in 1987.
There was some 20th-century ribbon development along the Over and Willingham roads, especially the latter around and north of the station, where several houses had market gardens. (fn. 42) A few farms were built in the former open fields after inclosure in 1816. In 1861 only the Bar House on Hatton's Road and Noon Folly Farm at the south end of the parish were inhabited. (fn. 43) New Close Farm near Noon Folly and New Farm near the station were both built shortly after the Finch-Hatton estate was broken up in 1874. (fn. 44) Inholms, perhaps dating from the same period, was demolished to make way for the airfield, (fn. 45) and the only other farmhouse outside the village in 1984, Brookfields on Rampton Road, was a modern bungalow.
The inn which in 1686 had 3 beds and stabling for 2 horses (fn. 46) was presumably the Black Bull c. 500 m. north-west of All Saints' church, (fn. 47) which had a cockpit in 1773. (fn. 48) The William IV was open by 1841 on the Huntingdon road, the Railway by 1851 next to the station, and the Red Cow by 1875 at Green End, but the last closed shortly after 1908, and the only public houses in 1984 were the Black Bull and the Hoops in St. Michael's, which began c. 1900 as a beer shop. (fn. 48) The village had a clothing club by 1844. (fn. 49) A small Village Institute was built in 1926 in High Street, (fn. 50) the cost being partly defrayed by the accumulated profits of the stone, gravel, and clay pits allotted for public use at inclosure. After 1968 it was known as the Longstanton Social Centre. (fn. 51) The parish council in 1951 purchased 8 a. by Over Road as a sports ground, on which a new pavilion was opened in 1971. (fn. 52)
The feast day of St. Michael's church was moved by the bishop in 1406 to the first Sunday after Trinity to allow the parishioners to attend Stourbridge fair without missing the dedication service. (fn. 53)
Lysons's misidentification of the Stanton at which Elizabeth I dined with the bishop of Ely in 1564 on her way from Cambridge to Huntingdon as Long Stanton (fn. 54) was repeated in 19th- and 20th-century directories, and a supposed episcopal palace has been marked on some maps, (fn. 55) but the dinner was presumably given at Bishop Cox's private house at Fen Stanton (Hunts.). (fn. 56)