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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Of 17½ploughlands recorded in 1086 at least 6 probably belonged to the demesnes of the four manors, while on the other 30 villani, 9 bordars, and 13 cottars used between them nine teams. The yield of the whole vill fell by a quarter between 1066 and c. 1070 and had only slightly recovered by 1086 to £13 10s. (fn. 1)Probably between 1154 and 1168 Crowland abbey and the other lords by mutual agreement effected a new partition of the arable and meadow. By exchanges of lands they equalized the hides and concentrated their previously small, and long uncultivated, parcels of land into large furlongs. (fn. 2)
From the 13th century the demesnes probably occupied about half the arable. That of Crowlands included c. 480 a. in 1322, (fn. 3) while Swavesey priory had 120 a. c. 1340. (fn. 4) The other demesnes had by 1200 been considerably diminished by alienation. (fn. 5) In 1499 Chambres manor had 200 a. of arable, (fn. 6) while Barnwell priory's demesne was reckoned as 200 a. in 1552. (fn. 7)Most of Barnwell's tenanted land, c. 342 a. c. 1250 including three full and four half yardlands, was then held freely at standard rents of 8d. an acre and 10s. a yardland. The Giffards labour services had probably been light: a villein half yardlander owed just one day each of harrowing, haymaking, and carting the harvest. (fn. 8)
On the other two monastic manors villein works were heavier. Swavesey priory's customary tenants, probably numbering 13-14, owed 609 works between Michaelmas and Lammas and 231 dayworks and bedrips in harvest. (fn. 9)On Crowlands manor, (fn. 10)where there were 9-10 'cotsetlas' and 6 merely rent-paying cottagers, the 17-18 tenants with 30-a. yardlands and 4 with half yardlands owed weekwork between 7 June and Michaelmas, (fn. 11)besides substantial cash renders, including assize rents of 42s. each quarter, and commutations of ancient renders in kind, such as maltsilver and fishsilver. (fn. 12)Their collective annual aids and tallages increased from £4 before 1280 to £8 by the 1290s, £10 c. 1310, and £26 c. 1315. Their labour dues also increased after 1309. In the 1320s 22 full and half yardlanders each owed between Easter and Lammas 15 works and a day's hoeing, also 24 harvest works, 3 each week, and 3 loveboons. The crofters owed 8 works each. (fn. 13)In 1283 89 men had come to the principal harvest boon. Until the 1260s, up to six ploughing boons had been required yearly, and thereafter other boons were regularly exacted to mow the abbey's hay, shear its flock, and c. 1282 cart hay to other manors. Works were seldom excused or commuted before 1350, only 27 out of 959 available being sold in 1322. (fn. 14) Although two yardlands had been put at rent in the 1310s to the reeve, (fn. 15)that grant was cancelled in 1327 after the homage protested that as a result they were overcharged with works. (fn. 1)
In the late 13th and early 14th century (fn. 17) Crowland's demesne was mostly devoted to growing corn for consumption at the abbey. (fn. 18) The area sown yearly, perhaps between 385 and 425 a. until c. 1285, was probably then reduced to c. 330 a. until the 1320s. In the mid 1280s the number of plough teams regularly kept, each of 2 horses and 6 oxen, worked by two waged famuli, was apparently reduced from five to four. Before 1283 38-45 qr. of wheat and 15-20 qr. of barley were sown in one field, while 55-75 qr. of oats, increased c. 1270 to 100 qr., were sown in another. Later 30-35 qr. of wheat were sown, probably on 150-170 a., but the area probably dropped in the 1310s to 135-150 a. Of other winter crops 3-4 qr. of rye and 9-11 qr. of barley were usually sown, probably on 40- 50 a. together. The winter crops normally yielded almost a fourfold return. After 1283 the part of the spring-sown field under oats, often yielding barely more than twofold, was gradually reduced from c. 120 a., sown with 45-55 qr., to c. 100 a. in the late 1280s, sometimes only 75 a. later. The higher-yielding dredge, recorded from 1282-3, was initially grown on c. 30 a., but after 1300 on under 20 a. The area under peas increased from under 20 a. before the 1290s, to 25-35 a., sown with c. 10-14 qr. On the Swavesey demesne a third, 40 a., was under wheat at Christmas 1340. (fn. 19)
Two thirds to three quarters of Crowland's wheat crop, after deducting seed, was rendered in kind, along with almost half the barley and much of the dredge, being usually sent first through Cottenham, where the dredge was sometimes malted. (fn. 20) The oats and peas were mostly consumed on the manor. All the rye went towards the livery, 48-50 qr. a year, of the 10- 13 famuli, including 8-10 ploughmen, whose food included little wheat. From the 1290s up to a third was peas, replacing barley. (fn. 21)The villeins also by custom provided them with bread, but in 1311 refused to do so. (fn. 22) After 1270 the famuli did most of the ploughing, and all the routine work. After 1270 threshing, previously done partly by the villeins, was mostly performed by hired workers. In 1322 the villeins' services were mostly used for hoeing and harvesting. (fn. 23)
The Crowland manorial shepherd had charge of a flock of 190-220 grown sheep before 1280, increased later to 200-300 in the 1280s, and well over 400 in the early 1290s. Their wool, save for the fells of those, almost 100 in some years, which died in murrains, was regularly despatched to Crowland for sale. From c. 1300 the ewes were withdrawn entirely, leaving only 100-120 wethers, whose wool was sometimes between 1310 and 1315 sold directly by the reeve or farmed to him. In the 1390s a demesne flock of wethers was kept on the manor. (fn. 24)The manorial dovecot was at farm from c. 1305.
The prosperity of the village perhaps declined from the early 14th century. The toll of the Crowland abbey mill, which before it was put at farm in 1294 had brought in 20-26 qr. a year, fell from the 22 qr. expected until the 1310s (fn. 25)to 16 qr. in 1314 and 13 qr. in 1326. (fn. 26) After averaging 15-16 qr. in the 1330s and 1340s, (fn. 27) it fell to 11 qr. in the 1350s. (fn. 28)In 1324 the abbot conceded to his tenants, because of their poverty and hardship, that for 12 years they need put only half their sheep in his fold, and cut their annual aid to £5. (fn. 29)
Nevertheless the manorial structure remained fundamentally unshaken until the 1360s. Occasionally tenants refused labour services, especially during harvest, (fn. 30) and perhaps more frequently in the 1340s. (fn. 31)They also failed to render suit to the abbey's mill and fold, (fn. 32) from which the free tenants claimed exemption in 1291 and 1345. (fn. 33)The lord sometimes sold tenants the right to keep their own folds. (fn. 34)No concerted defiance occurred save in 1335, when the community would not mow the lord's meadow at Cottenham. (fn. 35) From the 1330s small parcels of demesne, 3-5 a., were let at farm for 10-12 years. (fn. 36) Bondmen, if absent, usually purchased the lord's leave and paid chevage, (fn. 37) although one neif in 1328 successfully asserted his freedom after living for a year at Cambridge. (fn. 38)
Although almost 20 tenants on the abbey manor died in 1349, (fn. 39)many left kin to succeed them. (fn. 40) Even so some yardlands were temporarily committed to groups of 6-9 tenants, (fn. 41)and by 1359 parts of the demesne were being assigned to tenants to be kept in cultivation, which was sometimes neglected. (fn. 42) Opposition to labour services became more widespread, 8 men refusing harvest works in 1358 and 7-11 to manure the demesne c. 1365. (fn. 43)Although several longestablished neif families survived into the late 14th century, their members often lived elsewhere with impunity, and it became increasingly hard to let customary tenements. (fn. 44) Even those holding full yardlands might by c. 1400 flee the manor with their families, sometimes by night, leaving their standing crops and farm gear. (fn. 45)From the 1390s the homage was often ordered to provide new tenants for vacant holdings. (fn. 46)
The conditions of customary tenure on Crowlands manor were therefore gradually relaxed. In the early 14th century large entry fines, £2 6s. 8d. for a yardland, had been regularly demanded. (fn. 47) Widows, though exempt from entry fines, (fn. 48)had to pay heriots, (fn. 49)even if they had already surrendered their land to others. (fn. 50)In 1358 the lord claimed a heriot for each holding of a deceased tenant. (fn. 51)In 1432, however, if an outgoing tenant did not claim 'dower' from his land, no heriot was considered due. (fn. 52)From the 1350s customary tenements, beginning with croftlands, were increasingly granted for terms of years, solely for rent. (fn. 53) A yardland was first let for 10s. a year, besides the ancient rents, in place of all works, in 1367, (fn. 54)and others for 2 marks a year for all rents and services in 1369 and 1375. (fn. 55)Such grants at up to 22s. per yardland, occasionally for life, became more frequent from the 1390s, although sometimes haymaking boons or bedrips were reserved. (fn. 56) Some tenants still owed such services c. 1400. (fn. 57)
Entry fines, occasionally pardoned from the 1350s, (fn. 58) were reduced for holdings still rendering works in the 1360s to a level still constant c. 1400. (fn. 59) In the early 15th century they were often entirely remitted, (fn. 60)and remained low, at half the rent per yardland, even in the 1430s. (fn. 61)Rents had been fixed, probably c. 1410, certainly by 1430, virtually all works having been commuted, at a rate of 13s. 4d. for each yardland. (fn. 62) The abbot maintained his rights, particularly to fines on marriage, over certain remaining neif families into the mid 15th century, (fn. 63)when heriots were still required, (fn. 64)though probably not often received: most grants of land from the late 1410s were made to men and their wives for life. (fn. 65) Not until the 1470s were holdings again granted regularly on a hereditary basis. (fn. 66)On Coventrys manor the tenants claimed c. 1600 that admission fines should be only double the customary rents, successfully resisting John Hutton's attempts to exact more. (fn. 67)On Crowlands manor such fines came to be at the lord's will, (fn. 68)being eventually fixed by 1650 at two years' improved value, (fn. 69)and heriots remained payable until the mid 19th century. (fn. 70)
On Crowlands manor the ending of labour services was soon followed, probably c. 1415, (fn. 71)by the leasing of its demesne. In 1418 the manor was at farm, apparently to an outsider. (fn. 72)His successor c. 1430 was John Reynold, (fn. 73)of a prominent neif family, whose father had been reeve c. 1398-1407. (fn. 74)Swavesey priory's manor, in hand c. 1340, (fn. 75)was already at farm to a neighbouring rector from 1399, (fn. 76)and the Barnwell estate was similarly at farm by the late 15th century. (fn. 77)After 1500 the occupiers of the demesne were still mostly drawn from the tenants, even though the head lessees were outsiders, until the late 16th century, when John Hutton apparently took much of his farmland into his own hands. (fn. 78)Such local men were among the most prosperous villagers: Thomas Johnson, farmer of Coventrys demesne, was worth £50 in 1522. (fn. 79) Among other landholders there was probably considerable equality of wealth in 1524, when only two were taxed on goods worth £10 or more, but 17 were worth between £2 and £5 each, although another 17 taxpayers paid only on their wages. (fn. 80) During the 15th century, although many men still held only single full or half yardlands, the average size of holding was rising; 1½ yardlands were sometimes held together from the late 1410s, more often after the 1430s, (fn. 81)and two or more by the 1470s. (fn. 82) One man occupied 75 a. in 1528. (fn. 83)
By the early 14th century the arable lay in three common fields. (fn. 84) Of the three recorded c. 1320, Stone field, probably so named by 1150, (fn. 85) was north of the village, Caldwell field, renamed by the 17th century Callow field, (fn. 86)lay to the south, while the Mickle field, renamed between 1410 and 1465 the Long field, (fn. 87)stretched along the western side of the parish, east of the Dam brook. At inclosure in 1809 Stone field contained c. 660 a. by statute measure, the other two between them c. 1,360 a. (fn. 88)Until the 1780s the numerous baulks and headlands were carefully protected from being mown or grazed until the harvest was in. (fn. 89)Their herbage was sold for the use of the town before 1640, but by 1665 divided in lots among the commoners about May Day. (fn. 90) Wider strips of meadow, such as the Gore meadow mentioned in 1445, lay along the streams. (fn. 91)The Mickle meadow, recorded by 1415, (fn. 92)later called the Great meadow and Madwell common, of c. 65 a., (fn. 93) lay probably by 1200 (fn. 94) between two streams in the low-lying north-west corner. Certain land not divided into furlongs in the south-west angle, (fn. 95)if not held in severalty by the lord, was also perhaps permanent common. By the 1430s there were a few inclosed arable crofts scattered in the fields: one, Meadow croft, survived until inclosure. (fn. 96)
By the 1320s, and probably by the 1280s, the arable was under a triennial rotation, one field being sown with wheat and winter barley, another with dredge, oats, and peas. (fn. 97) In the early 17th century each field in turn was fallowed, then sown with winter, and then with spring corn. (fn. 98)In the Middle Ages less wheat may have been grown by the peasantry than on the demesnes: fugitive yardlanders in 1399 and 1409 left behind much less wheat than barley, dredge, and peas. (fn. 99)From the 17th century cattle owners were expected to lay down up to 1½ a. of leys in the fields for cow pasture. (fn. 100)The traditional rotation was virtually unchanged c. 1800, when one field was supposedly growing 350 a. of wheat and 250 a. of barley, the other 400 a. of oats and 200 a. of peas, beans, and clover. (fn. 101)
Both lords and tenants kept large numbers of sheep in the Middle Ages: one yardlander's widow kept 100 in 1335, another yardlander 400 in 1338. (fn. 102) Flocks of 40-60 were often recorded in the late 14th and the 15th century, (fn. 103) and some men kept up to 200. (fn. 104)In 1286, when Swavesey priory was accused of overcharging the common with 120 cattle and 600 sheep, each owner of a 140-a. hide was entitled by ancient custom to common 80 sheep, 6 cows, 6 plough oxen, and 2 horses. (fn. 105)Stints of that order persisted until the late 18th century, being from the 1520s more strictly enforced at the rate of one sheep per acre, as the common pasture became overburdened. (fn. 106)In the 17th century the stint for 60 a. was 50 sheep and 5 plough beasts, for 100 a. 80 and 10, besides 7 cows in the common herd of milking cattle, byherds being forbidden. By the 1670s each commonable house was allowed 4-6 sheep and 2 cattle. (fn. 107)New cottages were denied common rights from 1641, and taking in outsiders' cattle was repeatedly prohibited. (fn. 108) In 1783 the stint of sheep was cut to 14 for each 30 a., of which only half might be ewes with lambs. (fn. 109) Crowland abbey was still seeking to enforce its monopoly of folding rights over its tenants' sheep in the 1300s, (fn. 110)but in the early 15th century 2 or 3 sheepmasters started their own folds. (fn. 111) Later the demesne sheepmasters sought rather to exclude the tenants' sheep. The farmer of Covenstrys demense was forbidden in 1469 to keep those sheep out of his fold, (fn. 112) while in 1523 Crowland abbey's farmer was ordered not to exceed his stint, but to let its tenants fold their sheep with the demesne flock, only three foldgates being permitted. (fn. 113)In 1597 the tenants of Coventrys complained that since the 1570s John Hutton, entitled as its lessee to fold 100 sheep, had declined to run their sheep with the manorial flock, or to fold it on their copyhold land in due order, according to previous practice, the tenants paying part of the common shepherd's wages. (fn. 114)In 1622 Dame Elizabeth Capell and her husband, then occupying both manors, alleged that the more remote parts of the open fields, the south of Callow field and the north-west and north-east of Long and Stone fields, were reserved solely for the demesne flock of 600, whereas the tenants' flock of 400 might only feed on the fieldland nearer the village. There were then three folds, one for Crowlands demesne, one for its tenants, and a combined one for Coventrys demesne and tenants. (fn. 115)The Crowlands tenants' flock was in the 18th century managed by a group of foldmasters, each folding it on their own land in turn. (fn. 116)Just before inclosure the three foldmasters were entitled to 133 nights' folding, apparently averaging 6 per yardland for Crowland copyholders but 15 for each Coventry holding. (fn. 117)The three flocks were excluded from the stubble field until Michaelmas, but had the sole feeding of the fallow field from Christmas to May Day, (fn. 118)and could also by c. 1595 feed on the meadow from Michaelmas to Candlemas. (fn. 119)About 1795 c. 1,000 Cambridgeshire sheep were usually kept. Half had lately died of rot owing to poor drainage. (fn. 120)
From the early 17th century the copyholds declined in number but grew in size. Six leading tenants c. 1620 had respectively 75, 70, 60, 60, 42, and 30 a. (fn. 121)Several families possessed 60-a. copyholds on Crowlands from the mid 17th century, John Gifford, having 120 a. of arable in 1655. (fn. 122)The population was probably divided c. 1665 between the farmers and husbandmen, occupying c. 8 houses with 3 hearths or more, and the 45-50 families with only 1-2 hearths each. (fn. 123) Of the copyhold remaining in the 1730s, including c. 695 a. held of Crowlands and 225 a. of Coventrys, three tenants possessed respectively 132, 123, and 114 a., two others c. 96 a. each, four occupied two yardlands, and one a single 30-a. yardland. (fn. 124)
The main manorial estate included in 1632 three large farms, one attached to the 'mansion house', and up to six smallholdings of 30-70 a. (fn. 125) In the 1670s, when it comprised 941 a. of arable and 102 a. of pasture, one large leasehold, Great farm, covered 320 a. with 72 a. of grass, three lesser farms between 60 a. and 97 a., and three middling ones with 106 a., 120 a., and 154 a. of arable. (fn. 126)Of at least ten farms in 1706, besides smallholdings, only two were rented at over £100 each, while four smaller ones, including the two halves of Coventrys, were in hand. (fn. 127) Successive reorganizations reduced the number to six in all by the 1740s and five by the 1780s. (fn. 128)
Meanwhile the lords of the manor had been buying up much copyhold land, 54 a. in 1741, 64 a. in 1759, and 158 a. in 1800. (fn. 129) After 1800 there were only three substantial copyholds left, totalling at inclosure c. 437 a., of which 134 a. were held of Coventrys. (fn. 130)Only the Giffords' 93 a. was still c. 1800 owner-occupied. (fn. 131)One estate of 132 a. had been enlarged between 1740 and the 1780s to c. 297 a. by the Purchases, Cambridge brewers, (fn. 132) while another, c. 166 a., had also usually since the 1730s belonged to non-resident landlords. (fn. 133)In the late 18th century the land not included in the manorial estate was commonly divided among two or three large farms, at least one covering c. 200 a. Another was apparently held with one of the larger manorial farms in the 1780s. (fn. 134)By 1800 almost all the land was thus occupied by six or seven large farmers.
Upon inheriting the manorial estate in 1808, Samuel Smith promoted an inclosure Act, (fn. 135)passed in 1809 without opposition from the larger landowners, (fn. 136)although some labourers resented the stopping up of footpaths. (fn. 137)The allotments were set out later that year, (fn. 138)although the award was not executed until 1811. It covered 2,132 a. of open fields and commons and 221 a. of old inclosures, (fn. 139)of which c. 70 a. were exchanged. Smith emerged with 427 a. as rector and c. 1,253 a. for his lay property. For the three large independent estates 155 a., 130 a., and 103 a. were set out in the south-east and north-west, two others receiving 55 a. each, while 31 a. went to 10 smallholders, including 12 a. in 1½-a. lots for common rights. About 256 a. were allotted for Coventrys copyholds, but only 160 a. for those of Crowlands manor, (fn. 140)the latter being mostly enfranchised between the 1840s and 1860s. (fn. 141)
After inclosure the Smith estate was divided into seven farms. North of the village were Meadow, later Bar House farm (242 a.), Crafts farm (164 a.), 46 a. later attached to the Five Bells public house, and the later Trinity farm (203 a.). To the south Rectory and Edinburgh farms (255 a. and 127 a.), often leased together, were separated by Scotland Road from View farm (246 a.) to the east, while New, later Scotland, farm (c. 340 a.) stretched across the far south. (fn. 142)That arrangement of the farmland persisted with little alteration well into the 20th century. (fn. 143)The three independent farms remained owner-occupied from the 1830s to 1866, (fn. 144)but most farms changed tenants frequently.
About 1830 the parish contained c. 60 adult labourers, of whom only 4-5 were out of work. (fn. 145) From the 1840s much arson was suspected, perhaps caused by discontent. Two farmsteads were attacked in 1847 and 1849, (fn. 146)three fired at night in 1850, (fn. 147)and two more in 1852-3. (fn. 148)In the mid 19th century there were usually 75-80 adult labourers. In 1861 the 12 farmers had work for 75 men and 20 boys. (fn. 149)More than 20 men also worked on the farm in Childerley, loss of employment there in the 1870s causing some depopulation in Dry Drayton, (fn. 150)where the number regularly employed on the farms then fell to c. 45 men and 18-22 boys. (fn. 151)The labourers were assisted by allotments, provided by the charity, (fn. 152) the parish, which let 29 a. in 1895, (fn. 153)the rector, (10 a. from the 1840s, and 29 a. through the county council by 1930), the farmers, and the Shepherds' friendly society. (fn. 154)
About 1880 most of the farms changed hands. One 400-a. farm was abandoned by successive tenants in 1880 and 1892, a third going bankrupt in 1893, and was relet c. 1895 at a sixth of the 1880 rent. (fn. 155)Scotland farm was usually left on its owner's hands in the 1880s and 1890s. (fn. 156)Frederick Crisp made it the centre of his local estate, on which he was employing 100 men c. 1897. (fn. 157) In 1910 c. 710 a. were farmed from that farm, 420 a. from Bar House farm, and 385 a. from Rectory farm, while 103 a. were attached to the Frohocks' farm in Lolworth, and three other farms comprised 179 a., 136 a., and 117 a. (fn. 158)
Although many sheep were still kept after inclosure, the farmers gradually substituting Leicester sheep for the traditional Cambridgeshire breed in the 1810s, (fn. 159)Dry Drayton remained predominantly arable. In 1840 the Smith estate comprised c. 1,185 a. of arable but only 244 a. of grass, mostly in the ancient closes around the village. (fn. 160)That proportion was altered in the late 19th century as the arable under corn crops, mostly wheat, barley, and oats, declined from c. 1,050 a. in 1875 to c. 880 a. by 1895, while that under permanent grass increased from 362 a. in 1875 to c. 650 a. from the 1880s to 1905. From 1915 it was reduced below 400 a. again. The number of grown sheep nevertheless fell from almost 1,000 in the 1870s and 1880s to under 600 by 1895 and under 300 until the 1930s; c. 485 were still kept in 1955. (fn. 161)T. F. Hooley, who c. 1910 built opposite his farmhouse at Scotland Farm a large new model farmstead and established a herd of pedigree pigs, restored the amount of arable there to c. 530 a. out of 703 a. (fn. 162) The parish suffered again from a farming depression in the late 1920s: c. 1930 the tenant quitted the glebe farm, and its rent was cut to a quarter in 1934. (fn. 163)
Fruit growing was introduced especially on the land occupied by Chivers after 1900. (fn. 164)Two other fruit growers were also in business from the 1910s to the 1930s. (fn. 165)The area used for orchards rose from 27 a. in 1905 to 58 a. by 1925 and c. 160 a. in 1935, mostly growing plums. It stood at 114 a. in 1955. There were also 50 a. under small fruit by 1915 and almost 100 a. in 1935. In 1980 the four remaining large cereal farmers were growing c. 635 ha. (c. 1,600 a.) of wheat and barley, while two livestock farmers kept almost 1,000 pigs and 28,500 broiler fowl. The number of labourers regularly working on the farms had fallen by then from c. 60 in the 1930s to c. 10. (fn. 166)On Scotland farm the owneroccupiers, the Pecks, gradually gave up keeping sheep, dairy cattle, and pigs, turning entirely to cereals. In 1983 they converted Hooley's old piggeries and model dairy into 12 workshops for light industry. (fn. 167)
Swavesey priory had an old windmill in 1340, (fn. 168) and Crowland abbey owned another, rebuilt after the rebels burnt it in 1266, from the 1250s. At first in hand, it was usually let to farmers from c. 1290 (fn. 169) to 1355. It apparently remained in use until the 1390s, being relet in 1391 to be substantially repaired. (fn. 170)It was not recorded after 1400. It probably stood on Mill hill in the southern part of Long field. (fn. 171)A mill, on lease, belonged to the manorial estate in 1632. (fn. 172)A new smock mill, built in 1782 on a site by the Huntingdon road which the duke of Bedford had leased for 40 years in 1779, (fn. 173)was removed apparently c. 1820, (fn. 174)certainly by 1840. (fn. 175)
In the late 13th and early 14th century Crowland abbey regularly paid up to 2 marks a year to a smith. (fn. 176)Resident craftsmen were seldom recorded in early modern times, but in the 1810s there were c. 18 families supported by crafts, and 34 by 1831, half the number engaged in farmwork. (fn. 177)In the 1770s a small farmer traded as a butcher, (fn. 178) and a butcher's shop and slaughterhouse was for sale in 1824. (fn. 179) There were two butchers in 1841, five by 1851, and usually 2-3 until the 1880s. There were also 3-4 blacksmiths until the 1860s, one until c. 1912, usually 2 carpenters, 3-5 wheelwrights from the 1840s to the 1870s and one in the 1890s, 2 shoemakers until the 1920s, and a tailor until the late 1930s. The Annables worked as bricklayers from c. 1850 to c. 1916. In the mid 19th. century the village had two or three shops, but all had closed by the late 1880s, and no more were reported until c. 1925. (fn. 180)There was one in 1985.
Bar Hill from the 1970s contained depots for large firms, such as Boots and Philips, and numerous small firms, producing consumer goods or engaged in light engineering and electronics. Among the first to arrive in 1968-9 was Cambridge Consultants, electronic designers, (fn. 181) and a firm making power presses, both from Cambridge. (fn. 182)Others included a maker of veterinary drugs, a specialist publisher, and firms making plaster packaging, electronic cash registers, and transformers. (fn. 183)Altogether there were 10 firms established by 1975, (fn. 184)c. 30 by 1977, and despite some departures nearly 35 in 1984. Among them were producers and suppliers of metallic paints, pharmaceuticals, basketwork, pipe organs, insulating materials, machine tools, and a small aircraft repairer.