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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Manors and other estates
. In 986 Athelstan Mannesson left Over to his wife, a kinswoman of St. Oswald, the founder of Ramsey abbey. By 1044 it had come to another relative, Eadnoth II, bishop of Dorchester and a former monk of Ramsey, who in that year gave it to the abbey. (fn. 1) In 1066 Ramsey's manor of OVER comprised 10¾ hides of the 15-hide vill, a further 2 hides being held by its sokemen and 1 hide by its daughter house Chatteris. (fn. 2) In 1088 the abbot leased Over to William Pecche and his wife Aelfwynn (fn. 3) for life, (fn. 4) later abbots renewing the lease for a similar term for their son Hamon (d. after 1178) and his son Geoffrey (d. 1188). (fn. 5) Between 1194 and 1200 Geoffrey's brother Gilbert sued the abbot for 2 carucates of demesne land. (fn. 6) Gilbert's son Hamon abandoned the claim in 1237. (fn. 7) The abbey had a grant of free warren from Henry III (fn. 8) and retained the manor until the Dissolution. (fn. 9) Probably under Henry I and certainly before 1187 the income from it was assigned to the monks (fn. 10) and in the early 13th century it was paid to the cellarer. (fn. 11)
The Crown retained the manor from the Dissolution (fn. 12) until 1619, when James I gave it to George Villiers, marquess (later duke) of Buckingham. Apart from rents and valuable common rights, it comprised only 37 a. of meadow and marsh. (fn. 13) Buckingham sold it in 1622 to two Londoners, Richard Miller and Samuel Paske, (fn. 14) who evidently sold it to Francis Bickley soon after the partial inclosure of 1628, together with 210 a. allotted for common rights. (fn. 15) Bickley was later said to have been succeeded c. 1636 by Sackville Wade. (fn. 16) Charles I gave the reserved fee-farm rent in 1637 to James Stuart, duke of Lennox (cr. duke of Richmond 1641). (fn. 17) It was wrongly supposed in 1645 that the duke owned the manor. (fn. 18)
Wade (d. 1677) (fn. 19) was succeeded by his infant daughter Elizabeth, who married her guardian, the rectorial lessee Matthew Kirby (fn. 20) (d. 1721). (fn. 21) On her death in 1730 her heir was her daughter Mary (d. 1739), wife of Sir James Edwards, Bt. (fn. 22) Edwards was declared insane in 1744, when Over was committed to his sister and heir Jane (d. 1746) and her husband Jenkin Thomas Phillips (d. 1755). Their successor James Taylor, half-nephew of Sir James Edwards, (fn. 23) was followed in 1800 by James Nathaniel Taylor (d. 1838). (fn. 24) The next lord, Robert Cunningham Taylor, (fn. 25) had 420 a. after inclosure in 1840. (fn. 26) In 1844 he sold the lordship and 82 a. The manorial rights were bought by the Cambridge solicitor Ebenezer Foster (d. 1875), (fn. 27) whose family sold them in 1959 to Mr. E. G. Papworth of Over, lord of the manor in 1983. (fn. 28) The Taylor family retained 340 a. until 1981, when they were bought by F. W. Deptford (Over) Ltd. (fn. 29)
The abbot of Ramsey was licensed to build a chapel at his manor house in 1254. (fn. 30) The house stood west of Station Road, where there were fields called Berry close in the 19th century. (fn. 31) The garden was leased by 1406 but the cellarer of Ramsey kept the hall and chamber in repair until the 1420s or later. (fn. 32) By 1575 all trace of the house had gone but its site, then called the Berry yard, was remembered. (fn. 33) Francis Bickley probably resided in the village by 1630. (fn. 34) His successor Sackville Wade had a house with six hearths in 1666 and nine in 1674. (fn. 35) Demolished by 1800, (fn. 36) it was later said to have stood opposite the recreation ground, where the lord owned a garden in 1840. It supposedly had a chapel which remained in use as a barn until 1891. (fn. 37)
Godric the hawker (ancipitrarius) held ½ hide of Ramsey in 1066, which in 1086 was held by Sawin the hawker under Picot, sheriff of Cambridge. (fn. 38) Picot's barony was divided in the mid 12th century among three coheirs, one of whom, Alice, married into the Pecche family. (fn. 39) About 1196 Guy of Over held the ½ hide under Baudry of St. Ives by the service of mewing a hawk provided by Baudry. (fn. 40) Guy released 1 yardland to Ramsey in 1229. (fn. 41) Baudry's intermediate lordship came to his son Roger Hawker (le ostricer) (fn. 42) (d. by 1263), (fn. 43) whose heir was his son Alan. (fn. 44) In 1279 the estate may have belonged to John Freisel, who owed suit for 1 hide to Ramsey's baronial court at Broughton (Hunts.). Freisel perhaps also had lordship over ½ hide held by Richard Baudry under Nicholas of St. Ives. (fn. 45) Simon Hawker or his tenant owed suit at Broughton in the 1350s (fn. 46) but the holding has not been traced further.
The nunnery of Chatteris held 1 hide in 1066, (fn. 47) later known as the manor of OVER CHATTERIS. It has been suggested that the manor was the estate called Chinnora left to Ramsey in 1007 by Athelstan Mannesson's daughter Aelfwaru, but the etymological grounds for linking Chinnora with Over are slight. (fn. 48) The nunnery was placed under the bishop of Ely in 1127, (fn. 49) and in the 13th century the abbess held land at Over from his successor. (fn. 50) Chatteris retained the manor until its dissolution in 1538. (fn. 51) The Crown sold it in 1562 to Peter Grey and Francis Russell, earl of Bedford, (fn. 52) and after further piecemeal sales c. 92 a. of arable and meadow formerly belonging to Chatteris were held by the Crown's tenants in socage in 1575. (fn. 53)
The small manor of FYNORS FEE derived from land held by Walter Fynor of Eversden and his wife Mariot in 1293, (fn. 54) Richard Fynor in 1309, and John Fynor in 1357. By 1372 it was held by Thomas Caldecote (d. after 1383). Margaret Caldecote, lady in 1393, may have been Thomas's widow and the Margaret who with her husband Robert Sutton held the manor between 1400 and 1407. (fn. 55) It passed before 1438 to Sir John Prisot, chief justice of Common Pleas, (fn. 56) who released it to feoffees in 1450. (fn. 57) In 1468 their manor was said to have formerly belonged to Roger Faceby and his wife Catherine. (fn. 58) Later feoffees conveyed it in 1473 to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. (fn. 59) It comprised c. 37 a. in 1575 (fn. 60) and was reduced to 30 a. at inclosure in 1840 (fn. 61) and sold by the college in 1938. (fn. 62)
The ELY fee derived from land held in 1086 by Ralph under Hardwin de Scalers: it comprised 1 hide formerly belonging to seven sokemen of Ramsey abbey and 1¼ hides once held by three sokemen of Ely abbey. (fn. 63) Both abbeys later reasserted their lordship over all or part of it. An intermediate lordship descended with the Whaddon half of the Scalers barony. (fn. 64) About 1210 the manor was held of Hugh de Scalers by Alan de Feugeres, (fn. 65) who in 1218 released the hide held of Ramsey to the abbot in return for corrodies for himself and his wife. (fn. 66) The same or another Alan c. 1235 and c. 1246 held 1/3 knight's fee of the bishop of Ely. (fn. 67) A second intermediate lordship may have descended with the holding in Abington Pigotts of the Feugeres family, which died out in the male line shortly after 1268. (fn. 68)
In 1279 Robert Hall held 1¾hides under the bishop of Ely as ¼ knight's fee, together with ½ hide under Ramsey. The 1¼ hides held from him by Robert Mariot (fn. 69) presumably represented the land of Ely's Domesday sokemen, while Ramsey's½ hide was probably part of the estate released by Alan de Feugeres in 1218. The remaining ½ hide, though said to be held of Ely, may have been the other part of the Ramsey holding. Robert was later said to hold the whole 2¼ hides of Ely. On his death after 1286 he was succeeded by his son Henry, (fn. 70) who with his partners held ¼ knight's fee c. 1302. (fn. 71) By 1346 it had been divided into four parts and was later said to be held of Ramsey.
One quarter, held in 1346 by Alice Roberts and her son Richard, (fn. 72) was later called ROBERTS. Under a settlement made by Richard in 1361, his widow Aline and her husband John Bookland in 1401 held c. 82 a. for life with remainder to Richard's son John Roberts. John's brother Richard's widow Ellen died in 1421 holding it by knight service of the bishop of Ely. Her heir was her son Thomas, (fn. 73) who held half the Ely fee in 1428 (fn. 74) and still in 1478. His son and heir Thomas sold it in 1499 to Jesus College, Cambridge, in return for a life lease. The college took possession in 1532. (fn. 75) In 1544 it bought the reversion of another farm of c. 73 a. and a house and common rights, taking possession of the farm in 1550. (fn. 76) The farmhouse, later Church Farm, stands in the lane north-east of the church. (fn. 77) It is L-shaped and has an early 18thcentury red-brick front of five bays and two storeys with two hipped dormers. The college had 192 a. after inclosure in 1840 (fn. 78) and sold part in 1920 (fn. 79) and the remainder in 1962 and 1963. (fn. 80)
The other quarters of the Ely fee were held in 1346 by John Paynel, Nicholas Lettice, and Robert Pygas (d. by 1355). (fn. 81) Robert's daughter Elizabeth married John Lettice of Over c. 1336, (fn. 82) perhaps uniting two quarters. Half the Ely fee belonged in 1428 to John Lucas, (fn. 83) perhaps a descendant of Robert Mariot, undertenant of part of the fee in 1279. (fn. 84) In 1481 land was described as formerly of William Lucas and others; it was perhaps the land bought by Cottenham parish in 1523 or 1543. (fn. 85)
In 1066 Godwine cild held½hide under Earl Waltheof (d. 1076). (fn. 86) The overlordship descended with the earl's widow Judith's honor of Huntingdon until the early 14th century. (fn. 87) The manor was reckoned as 1/8 knight's fee. (fn. 88) The Roger who held it from Judith in 1086 was probably the ancestor of the Olifard family, who retained it with their Oakington manor in 1279. Half, later the manor of GAVELOCKS, was held in 1279 under the Olifards by Simon Pelrim, (fn. 89) who was succeeded before 1317 by John Northbrook. In 1342 William Northbrook held 30 a., (fn. 90) which he conveyed in 1350 to feoffees who sold it in 1352 to John Gavelock (d. after 1371). (fn. 91) John's widow Alice and son William possessed the manor in 1373. When William's son John died without issue it passed under a settlement of 1371 to the rector and churchwardens of Over, (fn. 92) who sold it in 1450 to John Fishwick of Cambridge. (fn. 93) Under a settlement by Fishwick's widow Alice in 1474 it shortly came to Robert Woodlark, who gave it in 1477 to his foundation of Catharine Hall, Cambridge (later St. Catharine's College). (fn. 94) The 64 a. allotted to the college at inclosure in 1840 were sold in 1919. (fn. 95)
By the mid 12th century the other half of the Huntingdon fee, later the manor of OVER MERTON, was attached to the manor of the Dunning family in Cambridge. Richard Dunning sold it in 1271 to Walter of Merton, founder of Merton College, Oxford, (fn. 96) who gave it to his college. It was at first reckoned part of the manor of Merton Hall in Cambridge. (fn. 97) Merton College's freeholders held c. 38 a. in Over in 1575. (fn. 98) In 1633 the lordship was confirmed as a separate manor. (fn. 99) The college enfranchised the last 16 a. of copyholds after 1873. (fn. 100)
The impropriate rectory belonged to Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1546. (fn. 101) In the late 16th century it comprised the great tithes, 50 a. of arable, and 41 a. in Ouse fen in lieu of hay tithes. (fn. 102) Lessees resident in Over included John Pope (d. 1630) and his son Dudley (fn. 103) (d. 1672). (fn. 104) Thomas Kirby, lessee by 1675, (fn. 105) was succeeded in the early 18th century by Matthew Kirby; (fn. 106) later in the century the lease passed through several hands, sometimes in rapid succession. (fn. 107) It was bought in 1802 by Thomas Robinson of Over, (fn. 108) whose family held it until 1880. (fn. 109) The lessee in 1840, Frederick Robinson, was allotted 61 a. for the rectorial glebe and 351 a. for the great tithes. (fn. 110) The college bought Hill farm of 103 a. in 1886 (fn. 111) and c. 17 a. between 1895 and 1905. (fn. 112) It sold 92 a. in 1939 and the remainder of its land in 1943. (fn. 113) The rectory farmhouse became the vicarage house in 1840. (fn. 114)
The trustees of Hobson's Workhouse charity, Cambridge, bought 37½ a. in Over and Willingham in 1634, (fn. 115) which were reduced to 25 a. after inclosure in 1840. (fn. 116) The charity sold 18 a. 1952-6, retaining the rest in 1985. (fn. 117) Hobson's Conduit charity in 1809 bought a commonable house and 10 a., (fn. 118) for which 8 a. were allotted in 1840; (fn. 119) they were sold in 1914. (fn. 120) By will proved 1653, (fn. 121) Robert Metcalfe left 47 a. at Over to the mayor and corporation of Beverley (Yorks. E.R.) to support his charitable foundations in the town. After 1840 it comprised 27 a., (fn. 122) sold in 1861. (fn. 123) The trustees of the church and causeway estate at Cottenham bought c. 29 a. in 1523 and 45 a. in 1543. After the inclosure of 1628 they held 108 a., which was reduced after that of 1840 to 57 a. (fn. 124) They sold the land in 1943 and 1953. (fn. 125) Needham's charity school in Ely bought 11 a. in 1767 (fn. 126) and sold them after 1909. (fn. 127)