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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Perhaps from its foundation, (fn. 1) Crowland abbey possessed an estate at Dry Drayton, assessed in 1086 at 7½ hides, (fn. 2)which remained a demesne manor of the abbey until its surrender in 1539. (fn. 3) In 1543 CROWLANDS manor was sold by the Crown to Thomas Hutton, (fn. 4) who already possessed a substantial estate in the parish, (fn. 5) besides being lessee of the abbey demesne since 1539. (fn. 6) He died in 1552. His son and heir John Hutton (fn. 7) (d. s.p. 1596) devised all his lands to his wife Elizabeth. (fn. 8) She married successively in 1597 Sir William Hinde (d. s.p. 1606) of Madingley, (fn. 9) with whom she obtained in 1603 a release of Dry Drayton from John Hutton's nephew and heir male Roger Hutton, (fn. 10) and in 1609 Sir Arthur Capell (d. 1632) of Little Hadham (Herts.). (fn. 11)When she died without issue in 1626, it passed to her brother Robert Lawrence of Brockdish (Norf.). (fn. 12) Robert died in 1637 and his eldest son and heir William (fn. 13) without issue in 1649, leaving Dry Drayton to his younger brother Aslack Lawrence. (fn. 14)
In 1652 Aslack sold the whole estate to Anne, widow of Sir John Cutts (d. 1646) of Childerley. (fn. 15)Under her settlements it passed after her death c. 1658 (fn. 16) first to her son Sir John Cutts (d. s.p. 1670), and then mostly to her brother, the crypto-Catholic courtier Humphrey Weld, of Lulworth Castle (Dors.). (fn. 17)After he died, heavily in debt, c. 1685, his mortgages (fn. 18) bought out the Cutts claim in 1687. (fn. 19) The principal mortgagee, John Howland (d. 1686) of Streatham (Surr.), acquired Dry Drayton for himself. His widow Elizabeth was styled lady of the manor in 1689. (fn. 20) His daughter and heir Elizabeth married in 1695 Wriothesley Russell, duke of Bedford (d. 1711), (fn. 21)and retained Dry Drayton as dowager duchess until her death in 1724. (fn. 22)It was then assigned to her younger son John Russell, (fn. 23) who succeeded as 4th duke in 1732 and died in 1771. (fn. 24) About 1760 he transferred the whole estate, which in 1758 comprised 2,526 a., including Bird's Pastures farm in Boxworth, to his eldest son Francis (d. v.p. 1767). (fn. 25)
Francis's son and namesake, the next duke, sold his whole estate at Dry Drayton in 1795 to Dr. Samuel Smith, (fn. 26) rector there since 1785. (fn. 27) Smith's son Samuel succeeded him as lord of the 87: Beds. R.O., Russell title deeds reg. I (Photostat), pp. 550-4; cf. ibid. Box 279, Crowlands ct. rolls 1652-68. manor and rector in 1808, (fn. 28)and after inclosure possessed over 1,675 a. of the parish's fields, including his rectorial glebe. (fn. 29)After he died in 1841, the manorial estate was under his will (fn. 30) sold and split up the same year. The lordship, to which there remained attached only the right to receive the copyholders' fines and quitrents, (fn. 31) was acquired by Dr. Joseph Procter, master of St. Catharine's College, Cambridge, (fn. 32) who since 1821 had owned a 103-a. farm. (fn. 33)The farm remained with his nephew and heir, the Revd. Francis Procter (d. 1905), being sold by 1910. (fn. 34) The manorial rights passed successively in 1843 to James Gidden, a Cambridge solicitor, (fn. 35) and in 1853 to Henry Everingham, who conveyed them to Robert Warren in 1873. (fn. 36) Those lords enfranchised almost all the remaining copyhold land. (fn. 37)Warren sold the titular lordship in 1884 to William Brown (d. 1890), of Tring (Herts.), whose widow and son sold it c. 1907 to Richard Winkfield, then rector, styled lord until his own death in 1929. (fn. 38)
Crowland abbey's manor house probably occupied from the 11th century part of the 14-a. moated site in the south-east quarter of the village, called in modern times the Park. (fn. 39)After Montfortian rebels from the Isle of Ely burnt the manor in 1266, (fn. 40) the abbey in 1267-8 built a new hall and carthouse there and repaired the gates toward the churchyard. (fn. 41)Probably in the 1560s John Hutton rebuilt the manor house slightly to the east. He enlarged the surrounding closes, blocking off c. 1565 and 1580 three lanes that had led north of it from 'Middletown' towards the church, and made a stone-walled courtyard to the north and a garden to the east. (fn. 42) Timber-framed outbuildings, perhaps 16thcentury, and reconstructed in the 1590s, were remodeled in brick in the 1620s. (fn. 43)
About 1670 the house contained a hall, a little parlour, a dining room, and six chambers, including 'Mr. Lawrence's', (fn. 44)and had c. 18 hearths. Humphrey Weld, who occupied it by 1674, (fn. 45)substantially remodelled it again: in 1678 he was said to have 'lately erected and built' the 'Lordship house'. (fn. 46) He apparently refaced it in red brick. Thereafter it had a six-bay north front of three storeys, the third hipped, and three-bay sides, with short wings on the south side. A statue stood each side of the approach from the north, while a range of barns and stables lay to the east. Described in the early 19th century as 'dark and Gothic', the house contained some four parlours and six or seven bedrooms. Until the 1730s the dukes of Bedford maintained the Great House as an occasional residence, but from the 1750s, when it was already said to be going to ruin, it was usually inhabited by tenant farmers. It was supposedly demolished in 1817, its materials partly being used to build Scotland Farm. (fn. 47)In 1831, however, materials including wainscot panelling and a staircase from a 'mansion house', just taken down, either the manor house or the old rectory, were for sale. (fn. 48) Dr. Samuel Smith devised the empty Great close 'commonly called the Park', alone of his Dry Drayton property to his son William to go with the latter's rectory house. (fn. 49) The uneven ground there still marks the former site of the manorial buildings and the earthworks of the gardens. The area was partly excavated in 1978-9. (fn. 50)
On the division of the manorial estate Scotland farm, c. 445 a., was purchased by the Revd. Joseph Fenn, (fn. 51) whose heir, John Fenn, owned it from c. 1859 to the 1870s. (fn. 52)Thomas Dence, its owner from c. 1875, (fn. 53) in 1886 acquired also View farm, 248 a., to the north-east, (fn. 54) which had been bought in 1841 by William Chafyn (d. 1843), master of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and sold in 1876 after his son W. W. Chafyn died in 1873. (fn. 55) About 1895 (fn. 56) the combined properties were acquired by Frederick Crisp. After he died, they were sold in 1905 to Terah Franklin Hooley, who owned and farmed them until his retirement in 1944. (fn. 57) Succeeding owners added in 1951 c. 296 a. of the former glebe lands to the north-west, so that at its sale in 1955 the Dry Drayton estate of 1,117 a. comprised almost all the southern half of the parish. (fn. 58) From the mid 1950s it belonged to Dr. I. A. W. Peck and his family. (fn. 59) North of the village most of the Smiths' former land, c. 298 a., later Bar House and Crafts farms, belonged 1875-96 to J. O. Daintree of Swavesey. (fn. 60)One farm of 180 a. to the northeast was acquired in 1876 by Trinity College, Cambridge, (fn. 61) which sold it in 1945 to Chivers Ltd. (fn. 62)That firm had possessed one 136-a. farm east of the village since 1904 (fn. 63) and Bar House farm by 1935. (fn. 64) By the 1950s it occupied as owner or lessee five of the farms in the north, 450 a. in all, which it disposed of in 1959. (fn. 65)
Dry Drayton contained two other monastic estates. One of 3 hides, owned by Eddeva in 1066, had been given by her successor Count Alan to the abbey of St. Sergius and St. Bacchus, Angers (Maine-et-Loire), by 1086, when it was already annexed to the abbey's cell, Swavesey priory, (fn. 66) which retained it (fn. 67) until 1393. It was then with the priory transferred to the Carthusian priory of St. Anne, Coventry, (fn. 68) in whose hands it remained until the Dissolution. (fn. 69) In 1562 COVENTRYS manor was included with Swavesey priory among those estates which passed to the bishopric of Ely in an enforced exchange of lands with the Crown. (fn. 70)Under the successors of the Gower family in an 80-year lease of 1537, (fn. 71) John Hutton and his heirs actually occupied that manor's demesne by the 1580s. (fn. 72) By the 1620s, and probably by 1617, the head lease was held by Sir John Cutts (d. 1646). (fn. 73) Actual possession of the manor apparently remained with Elizabeth, Lady Capell, and her heirs the Lawrences, in whose name its courts were held, until the 1650s. (fn. 74)Cutts's son Sir John (d. 1670) devised the manor, held under a lease for three lives, to his aunt Dorothy Weld (fn. 75)(d. 1707). By 1670 she had married Sir John's executor, Edward Pickering (d. 1701), (fn. 76)lord of Coventrys with her in 1676. (fn. 77) By 1693 the lease belonged to Mrs. Elizabeth Howland. In the 18th century Coventrys was held with Swavesey rectory by the dukes of Bedford and their successors as lords of Crowlands on leases from the bishops for three lives, (fn. 78) the last issued in 1840. (fn. 79)Its demesne farm, c. 100 a. in 1340, (fn. 80) was split in two by 1700 (fn. 81) and was divided among the Crowlands estate farmers in the 18th century. (fn. 82) After inclosure Coventrys manor was represented, apart from quitrents and fines, only by the 4 a. by the southern turnpike allotted to the bishop of Ely for his right of soil. (fn. 83)In 1910 the Ecclesiastical Commissioners sold the fee simple to T. F. Hooley. (fn. 84) The manorial farmstead had probably stood in a 2a. close, near Home Farm, called Coventrys in 1841. (fn. 85)
The other monastic estate, later Barnwell priory's, derived from 3 hides held in 1066 by men of Earl Waltheof; 3 yardlands held in 1086 under the earl's widow Judith by one Roger, also her tenant at Oakington, have not been traced later. The 3 hides, earlier held by Sigar, were by 1086 held by Avesgot of Robert Fafiton. (fn. 86)The tenancy-in-chief over that fee, reckoned as ½ knight's fee, had by 1200 passed with a mesne lordship over Fafiton's manor at Grantchester to the Mortimers of Wigmore, whose rights were recognized until c. 1310. (fn. 87) Under them it was held in demesne by a family perhaps descended from the Domesday juror Giffard of Drayton. (fn. 88)Robert Giffard, lord c. 1160, (fn. 89) was succeeded by his son Reynold. His gift, probably before 1180, of 2 yardlands to Crowland abbey was confirmed by Eustace Picot of Madingley, apparently as mesne lord. (fn. 90)About 1198 Reynold and his sons attacked the abbey's manor house at Dry Drayton. (fn. 91) Before his death c. 1208, leaving as heir his son Roger, (fn. 92)Reynold had distributed much of his land in full and half yardlands among his younger sons: (fn. 93) by 1250, when its demesne comprised c. 85 a., junior lines of Giffards occupied 72 a. of the 342 a. of freehold. (fn. 94) From Roger (d. 1224) his son Roger inherited only 1 carucate. (fn. 95)He shortly confirmed to Crowland 2 yardlands formerly alienated by a cadet line. (fn. 96) In 1235 Roger sold 60 a. to Jeremy of Caxton, then sheriff, (fn. 97) and by 1250 had probably granted another 51 a. to Barnwell priory, which had lately paid off family debts to the Jews. (fn. 98) Roger's successor by 1260, Ralph Giffard, (fn. 99)granted Barnwell more land in 1286, (fn. 100) and by 1290 the priory owned 140 a. in the vill. (fn. 101) In 1302 Ralph granted his last remaining land to John le Porter, (fn. 102) who then shared the Giffard fee with Barnwell. (fn. 103) Porter's part, held in 1346 and 1353 by Henry Alveve, of a local family, (fn. 104) has not been traced later. Barnwell retained its share, perhaps owning the whole Giffard fee by 1428, (fn. 105) until the Dissolution. (fn. 106)In 1543 it was sold by the Crown to Thomas Hutton with Crowlands manor, (fn. 107) with which it descended thereafter. (fn. 108)
Branches of the Giffards, recorded at Dry Drayton in the late 14th century, (fn. 109) were possibly related to the Giffards or Giffords regularly recorded between 1400 and 1800 as customary tenants on Crowlands manor. (fn. 110) About 1600 the name was used by almost half the village's more substantial yeomen, occupying 1 or 2 yardlands each. (fn. 111) One line soon after held over 120 a., including 100 a. under the former Hospitaller manor of Shingay, (fn. 112) possibly representing the Drayton land which in 1256 paid rent to the Templars of Denny. (fn. 113)
In 1066 6 hides were occupied by six sokemen of King Edward, five of the abbot of Ely, and four each of Crowland abbey and Eddeva. All their land was by 1086 combined into one manor held by Pain under Hardwin de Scalers. (fn. 114) After Hardwin's barony was divided, the tenancy-inchief over that manor passed to his son Richard, lord of Little Shelford, and his Scalers and Freville descendants. (fn. 115) About 1350 it was probably held of the Frevilles by Pain's successor, Henry of Boxworth, as mesne lord under them. (fn. 116)
Probably c. 1150 William son of Roger, then tenant in demesne under the lords of Boxworth, with Stephen de Scaler's consent, restored to Crowland abbey 5 yardlands held by its men in 1066 and later seized by Hardwin. William's son Roger, lord by the 1160s, (fn. 117) probably died c. 1199, when his widow Alice claimed dower from his son Richard, later called of Drayton, and the tenants of 8 yardlands alienated by her husband. (fn. 118) Richard was still lord in the 1230s, selling a yardland in 1232 to Jeremy of Caxton. (fn. 119)
What little remained of the manor was held, probably by 1279, certainly by 1302, by John de la Chambre. (fn. 120) Simon de la Chambre was pardoned in 1339 for the death of a Drayton man. (fn. 121) By 1349 Simon's son Henry was mesne lord of 50 a. given by Agatha of Stanton to a chantry. (fn. 122)The residue of CHAMBRES manor, so styled c. 1500, (fn. 123)perhaps divided by 1312, was possessed in demesne by 1339 by George, (fn. 124)newly of age, son of John (d. c. 1340), of Brompton. (fn. 125) George (d. 1361) left as heir his sister Alice. (fn. 126) By 1428 his Drayton land belonged to John Burgoyne. (fn. 127)
John Burgoyne, probably the younger of two Cambridgeshire namesakes, (fn. 128) served as steward of Crowland abbey's Cambridgeshire manors c. 1390-1435, (fn. 129)and as escheator and M.P. for the county. (fn. 130)He was settled and landed at Dry Drayton by 1410, (fn. 131)and died in 1435. His Drayton estate passed to an apparently younger son William, (fn. 132)of Caxton, who died in 1456. William's son Richard (fn. 133) died in 1464, leaving a son John, of age in 1479, (fn. 134) who died in 1487. Before his son Richard, then aged seven, (fn. 135)died without issue in 1506, (fn. 136)and perhaps by 1499, (fn. 137)Chambres manor, said to be held of Crowland abbey, had been acquired by Archdeacon Thomas Hutton, descending on his death in 1506 to his brother John's son Thomas, (fn. 138)settled at Drayton by 1536. (fn. 139) It passed thereafter with the other manors. (fn. 140)
Some 15 a., acquired by 1364 by St. John's hospital, Cambridge, (fn. 141) passed to its successor, St. John's College. (fn. 142)Leased to local men in the 17th century, (fn. 143) they had been alienated by 1810. (fn. 144)