A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1932.
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HARTFORD CUM SAPLEY
The parish of Hartford covers 1,879 acres of which 12 acres are land covered by water. The soil is clay with a subsoil of gravel which occasionally comes to the surface and is worked in gravel pits. It is a good corn-growing district, and nearly two-thirds of the parish are arable land growing wheat and barley, and the grass land by the river gives good pasture. The parish is on the slope of the hill from Sapley in the north-west about 145 ft. above the ordnance datum, to the river Ouse in the south, which here forms the parish boundary, where the height is about 33 ft.
The village is on the southern border of the parish near the river along the road from Huntingdon to Ramsey and St. Ives about a mile and a quarter from Huntingdon station. The church is picturesquely situated on the north bank of the Ouse and the churchyard was frequently visited by the poet Cowper when living at Huntingdon. Hartford House, formerly Grove House, originally consisted of a red brick house of early 18th century date. It was held in 1822 by Richard Bateman Robson and Elizabeth his wife, from whom it passed to Sir Francis Thomas Hammond. It went to the Desborough family in 1854, who added to the estates and enlarged the house. The additions to the house have been pulled down, but the old part is now the residence of Mrs. Frith. Several modern houses have been built on the estate.
The Manor House, on the north side of the road, opposite Hartford House, is a half-timber house of two stories, built probably by Robert Taylor, lord of the manor, who died in 1608. It consists of a main block with central porch carried up to the roof, and a gabled wing on each side. It was much altered and enlarged and the interior refitted in the 18th century, possibly by the Cottons, who probably built the Manor Farm to the north of it.
In the Domesday Survey (1086), Hartford is given under the lands of the king and had been committed to the charge of Ranulf brother of Ilger, a minister of the crown. Edward the Confessor had held it and its value had depreciated considerably since his time. The manor was assessed at 15 hides and there were then a priest, two churches, two mills and a considerable quantity of woodland. (fn. 3) At the time of the Domesday Survey, Hartford included King's Ripton (q.v.), which accounts for the return of the two churches and mills. It was granted to St. Mary's Priory, Huntingdon, by Henry I at a fee farm rent of £12 by the year, (fn. 4) and was confirmed to that house by Pope Eugenius III in 1147. (fn. 5) This grant was again confirmed in 1253 and 1327. (fn. 6) In 1276 the Prior of Huntingdon claimed view of frankpledge in his manor of Hartford and presentments were made as to obstructions in the river Ouse partially caused by the prior's valuable mills, whereby ships could not reach Huntingdon. (fn. 7) The manor continued to belong to the Priory of St. Mary until the dissolution of that house in 1538. (fn. 8) In 1542 with other lands it was granted to Richard Williams alias Cromwell in exchange for the manor of Brampton and other property. (fn. 9) Before 1557 it had passed to Sir John Huddleston, who died in that year seised of the manor, leaving a wife Bridget and a son and heir Edmund. (fn. 10) It seems to have followed the descent of the fee farm rent issuing out of it (q.v.) (fn. 11) and to have been purchased from Sir Edmund Huddleston by Robert Taylor, who died in 1608 leaving a son Thomas. (fn. 12) In 1637 Elizabeth, widow of Thomas Taylor, and Daniel, their son, conveyed the rent to John Weld. (fn. 13) The title to the manor was evidently considered sufficiently defective for George and Thomas Whitmore 'the fishing grantees' to obtain a grant of it from the crown in 1611. (fn. 14) John, father of John Weld, had possibly taken the Whitmores' crown title, as he died in 1623 seised of the manor, which had been settled in 1620 on his wife Frances and his sons, Humphrey, John, and George. (fn. 15) In 1642 Sir John Weld, Frances Weld, widow, and Humphrey and George Weld conveyed the manor to William Middleton. (fn. 16) Elizabeth, daughter of William Middleton, married Thomas Bateman to whom the manor passed. (fn. 17) Thomas Bateman and Elizabeth his wife conveyed the manor with free fishing and view of frankpledge to Richard Harris in 1652. (fn. 18) About 1701 it passed to Thomas Cotton, (fn. 19) and from him to John Hart Cotton, who was holding in 1764, 1769 and 1771. (fn. 20) In 1782 he sold the manor with the fishery in the Ouse to William Feuilleton of Brompton Grove, Knightsbridge. (fn. 21) From Feuilleton the manor seems to have passed early in the 19th century to the Rev. Edward Maltby, D.D., who held it from 1811 to 1822. Before 1829 it passed to John Carstairs of Stratford Green, Essex, whose daughter and co-heir Johanna Jane married in 1840 Sir John Henry Pelly, second bart. At his death in 1864, Sir John left a son Sir Henry Carstairs Pelly who married in 1872 Lady Lilian Charteris. Sir Henry died in 1877 leaving two daughters, Annie Evelyn Pelly who married Captain Thomas Rivers Bulkeley, killed in action in 1914, and Constance Lilian Pelly who married in 1900 David twenty-seventh Earl of Crawford. (fn. 22) About 1918 the two sisters joined in selling the manor to Mrs. Fanny E. Spearing and Mrs. Mary F. Raynes.
The fee farm rent of £12 reserved under the charter of Henry I to St. Mary's Priory, Huntingdon, was granted in 1358 to William de Risceby, the King's yeoman, for life. (fn. 23) In 1377 this rent was confirmed to William Gambon, yeoman of the chamber, for life, and in 1400 to Thomas Daton. (fn. 24) In 1431, however, 10 marks out of the £12 rent were granted, as from 1419, to John, Lord Tiptoft and Powys, (fn. 25) who died seised of it in 1443, leaving John his son and heir, aged 16 years. (fn. 26) John the son was created Earl of Worcester in 1449 and in 1468 granted 7 marks of the 10 marks to Henry Torkington for life. The Earl was attainted and beheaded for high treason in 1470, but his son Edward was restored and died a minor in 1485, seised of this rent. (fn. 27) On the partition of his property the rent went to Joan, widow of Sir Edmund Ingoldsthorpe, one of his heirs, (fn. 28) and on her death in 1494 it passed to one of her heirs Isabel, wife of William Huddleston. (fn. 29) From William and Isabel it went to their son Sir John Huddleston, who died in 1530 seised of the rent. (fn. 30) He left a son John who must have acquired the manor from Richard Williams alias Cromwell before his death in 1557 (fn. 31) when the rent would be practically extinguished. The rent was, however, sold by Sir Edmund Huddlestone, son of Sir John, to Robert Taylor, who died seised of it in 1608, leaving a son Thomas. (fn. 32) In 1637 Elizabeth Taylor of Nasing, co. Essex, widow of Thomas Taylor of Much Parndon, co. Essex, and her son Daniel Taylor, citizen and barber surgeon of London, sold the rent to John Welde son of Sir John Welde for £120. (fn. 33) From this date reference to the rent ceases.
When Henry II afforested the whole county he excepted Waybridge, Sapley, and Herthey forests, which had previously been royal demesne. (fn. 34) The boundaries of Sapley Forest in 1300 were 'from Sappelethorne as far as the ancient dyke extends which separates the field and the wood, up to the wood formerly belonging to Earl Simon, and so along the same dyke to Silakesmede, and thence going down to Herveswelle, excluding the grove which is called the Canons' Grove, and so again descending by the duct to Haselhul, and so ascending towards the south until between the arable lands and the covert as far as the road leading from Ripton to Sapley and thence as the dyke extends between the field and the covert to Sappelethorne.' (fn. 35)
The keepership of the forests of Waybridge and Sapley carried with it the right to appoint lieutenants for its execution. It was granted to John Lord Tiptoft and Powys in 1406 (fn. 36) in exchange for the manor of Stoke Harnyldon. (fn. 37) In 1417 the reversion of the office was granted by Queen Joan to Sir William Porter and confirmed in 1433. (fn. 38) Tiptoft died seised of the keepership in 1443. (fn. 39) In 1461 the office was granted to his son John Earl of Worcester and his heirs. (fn. 40) On the death without issue of the earl's son, Edward Earl of Worcester, and the partition of his property in 1488, the keepership fell to Philippa, widow of Thomas Lord Roos, whose son, Edmund Lord Roos, died without issue. Her daughter Eleanor had married Sir Robert Manners, kt., and the office passed to the Manners family. Edward Manners, third Earl of Rutland, conveyed it in 1580 to Sir Henry Williams alias Cromwell, kt., and Joan his wife, with all profits and commodities belonging to the office in Alconbury, Kings Ripton, Hartford, Stukeley Magna, Ellington, and Woolley. (fn. 41)
The forests were already leased in 1542 to Sir Richard Williams alias Cromwell (fn. 42) for 80 years. From this lease we learn that the forests were about seven miles in circuit, and that the number of deer (does) to be kept up by the lessee was 100. (fn. 43) The forests were granted in fee to Sir Edward North, kt., Chancellor of the Court of Augmentations, in 1543 (fn. 44) and were conveyed by Roger second Baron North in 1565 to Henry Williams alias Cromwell son of Sir Richard. (fn. 45) Thus Henry Cromwell became seised in fee of the forest and the office of keeper. (fn. 46) In 1612, Sir Oliver Williams alias Cromwell, kt., of Hinchinbrooke, with his brother Henry, of Upwood, and his own son Henry, mortgaged the forest of Sapley (without Waybridge) with the manor and advowson of Warboys to Richard Sutton and John Lane of London for £6,900. (fn. 47) After this the forest passed to John Goldesburgh, who died in 1618 seised of the forest and park of Sapley and a free fishery in Huntingdon, Hartford, Alconbury, Weston, Ellington, Brampton, Great Stukeley, Little Stukeley, Kings Ripton and Abbots Ripton. (fn. 48) The following year his son and heir John with Anthony Browne and Elizabeth wife of Anthony conveyed the forest and park to Alexander Temple and Thomas Slywright. (fn. 49) Anthony Goldesburgh was holding this property in 1640, and in that year conveyed it to Adam Hill. (fn. 50) In 1672 Mathias Taylor and Elizabeth his wife conveyed it to John Lowe. (fn. 51) It passed later to the Billiat family. Joseph Billiat, of Syston in co. Lincoln, and Hartfordhurst, co. Huntingdon, was lord of Sapley at his death in 1892, and was succeeded by his grandson, Joseph Billiat, now of Aisthorpe Hall, co. Lincoln, and of Hartfordhurst, co. Huntingdon, who is the present owner. (fn. 52)
The church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel (21¼ ft. by 13½ ft.), modern organ chamber and vestry on north of chancel (20 ft. by 6 ft.), nave (37 ft. by 17½ ft.), north aisle (5 ft. wide), south aisle (5 ft. wide), west tower (11 ft. by 11 ft.) and south porch. The walls are of pebble and stone rubble with stone dressings, and the roofs are tiled.
Of the church mentioned in the Domesday Survey (1086) nothing remains. The two arcades are of the extreme end of the 12th century, the northern perhaps slightly the earlier; the north and east walls of the chancel may be of the same date. The tower is of late 15th-century date. All the rest of the church was rebuilt in 1861, and a further restoration took place in 1885.
The chancel has a modern east window, but with inner jambs and rear-arch of the 14th century. The north wall has a modern arch and doorway to the organ chamber and vestry; and the south wall has two modern windows and a doorway. The chancel arch is also modern.
The late 12th-century nave has arcades of four bays on each side, but the western arches are modern; the arches on the north are round and on the south pointed, and all the columns are circular with moulded capitals and bases.
The south aisle has an apparently ancient east wall with no window in it; in the modern south wall are three windows (two three-light and one single-light) and a doorway which incorporates two ancient jamb shafts; the modern west wall has a single-light window.
The 15th-century tower has a two-centred arch to the nave, a blocked four-centred doorway in the west wall with a much restored three-light window above it, and two-light belfry windows; it has embattled parapets with crocketed pinnacles, and a crocketed arch over the central embrasure on each side. The stair-turret is at the south-west corner. Under the tower is an early 17th-century chest.
Many old stones of 12th and 13th-century date are built into the walls, and there are others in the Rectory garden. (fn. 53)
There are six bells inscribed: 1. 'Robt. Taylor, St. Neots, fecit, 1799. Y'; 2. 'Robt. Taylor, fecit, 1796. Leonard Waller and Charles Beaumont, Overseers'; 3. 'Robt. Taylor, fecit, 1796. Joseph Butt and John Rippin, Churchwardens'; 4. 'Whilst thus we join in cheerful sound let love and loyalty abound. Taylor, fecit, 1796'; 5. 'The C. Wardens, the Overseers, Cauthorn Bleak and John Randal, the principal paritioners when we was cast, 1796'; 6. 'I to the Church the living call and to the grave do summon all. Taylor, fecit, 1796. Joseph Butt and John Rippin, Churchwardens.' In July 1552 there were five bells. (fn. 54) The bells were rehung in 1895.
There are monuments to the following:—In the chancel, to Jacob Julien Baumgartner, d. 1816; Tryce Mary, his wife, d. 1815; Robert Jacob, their son, d. 1810; and Tryce Mary Susanna, their daughter, d. 1835; John Thomas Baumgartner, of Godmanchester, d. 1874; and Phillipa, his wife, d. 1882; the Hon. Ursula [Cockburn Dickinson], daughter of Lord Londesborough, d. 1880; and a window to Francis Trevelyan Egerton Cockburn-Dickinson, d. 1885; and Reginald Charles Coleridge, d. 1912. In the nave, to John Sugar Thompson, d. 1846, and Susanna, his wife, d. 1842; War Memorial, 1914–1918; and floor slab to Robert Waller, d. 1730. In the north aisle, to Mary wife of John Waller, d. 1745; and Emily Lizette Gladwin, d. 1860, and a floor slab to E. L. G., 1860. In the south aisle, to John Trotter, d. 1746, and Elizabeth (Snagg), his wife, d. 1742; Leonard Waller, d. 1794, and Mary, his wife, d. 1764. In the tower, to the Rev. Viner Snell, B.D., Rector of Doddington, Cambs, d. 1751; Mary, his daughter, d. 1735; Margaret (Hall), his wife, d. 1794; and her sister, Mary Hall.
The registers are as follows: (i) baptisms, marriages and burials, 21 Sept. 1538 to 30 March 1766; the last marriage, 10 Oct. 1753; (ii) the official marriage book, 8 Oct. 1754 to 15 Dec. 1812; (iii) baptisms and burials, 26 March 1766 to 15 Dec. 1812. The usual modern books.
The church plate consists of the following: A silver cup inscribed 'Hertford in Com. Huntingdon' and hall-marked for 1689–90; a silver standing paten inscribed 'The gift of John Waller, gent: for the use of the Church of Harford in the County of Huntingdon 1748,' but it bears the hall-mark for 1749–50; a modern silver-gilt chalice inscribed 'All Saints Church Hartford Xmas 1906. In memoriam E.G.B. Priest. Sep. 23, 1903—i.e. Edward Gripper Banks, Rector, 1896–1903. It is hall-marked for 1903–4. A modern paten, inscribed as above, but hall-marked for 1904–5; a small silver-gilt flagon, inscribed in memory of Reginald Charles Coleridge, drowned in the Titanic, 15 April 1912; and hall-marked for 1912–13; and a large plated flagon.
The advowson of the church was held by Huntingdon Priory until the Dissolution, when it passed to the crown, who continued to hold it (fn. 55) until in 1870 it was sold to Miss Emily Ripley. In 1880 it was held by the incumbent, the Rev. Geo. Cockburn-Dickinson, M.A., and, at a later date, by him in conjunction with the late Hon. Mrs. Cockburn-Dickinson's children. It was held in 1896 by Major Beeching, the present owner.
After the Dissolution the rectory was leased to Sir Richard Cromwell, after whose death in 1544 Sir Edward North agreed that John Baudes should have the parsonage of Hartford. (fn. 56) The rectories of Stukeley and Hartford were settled in 1559–60 (fn. 57) and 1579. (fn. 58) In the latter year they were leased for 21 years to Sir Henry Williams alias Cromwell, (fn. 59) and two years later a fresh lease for life was granted to Dame Joan, wife of Sir Henry, with remainder to Sir Henry's sons, Oliver and Robert. (fn. 60) From these leases all tithes from the demesne lands, formerly occupied for the maintenance of hospitality by the prior, as well as from lands called the Croftlands which belonged to Hartford vicarage, from the rectory barn of Hartford and a close and garden adjacent, and also all mines and quarries, were excepted. These tithes had been granted in 1577 to John Farnham, gentleman pensioner, (fn. 61) who in 1583 sued Sir Henry for them. Sir Henry maintained that the lands which he held in Hartford were tithe free as having been priory lands, and affirmed that other lands formerly priory lands in the common fields of Huntingdon and Stukeley were tithe free. It was stated in the proceedings that, having a lease from the queen of the parsonage of Hartford, Cromwell had 'neglected to repair the chancel, which is in great ruin and decay, very indecent and unmeet for the administration of the sacraments, being both unthatched [un]glazed and [un]paved, no place in it fit for any preacher or minister to sit in.' (fn. 62) In 1590 the rectories and churches of Stukeley and Hartford were sold for £860 to Sir Henry, (fn. 63) who settled them on Lady Susan, his wife, and his son Oliver. (fn. 64) Oliver succeeded his father in 1603, and in 1631 conveyed the rectory to Richard Okely and Richard Owen. (fn. 65) In 1685 the rectory had passed to Robert Bernard of Brampton. (fn. 66) He, as Sir Robert Bernard, bart, with Walter St. John, bart, Francis St. John, Thomas Browne and Mary, his wife, Lucy Bernard, spinster, and Frances Bernard, spinster, all connected with the Cromwells by marriage as with himself, settled it in 1692. (fn. 67) The rectory after this descended with the Bernards' manor of Brampton and now belongs to the Duke of Manchester.
The Rev. George Cockburn Dickinson, by his will, proved 15 Feb. 1916, gave the sum of £180, the interest to be applied towards the relief of sick poor, regardless of creed or church attendance. The endowment of the charity now consists of £189 9s. 5d. 5 per cent. War Stock 1929–47, with the Official Trustees producing £9 9s. 6d. annually in dividends, which are distributed by the vicar in accordance with the directions contained in the will. In 1925 the income was distributed to 8 sick poor in milk and money.
Walter Thong, by his will dated 6 July 1716, gave to the minister and churchwardens a rentcharge of £4 per annum, issuing out of his estate in Hartford, for the purpose of apprenticing poor boys of the parish. The rentcharge was redeemed in 1907 by the transfer to the Official Trustees of a sum of £160 Consols producing £4 yearly in dividends. By a scheme of the Charity Commissioners dated 29 Oct. 1907 the original trusts were varied and provided, inter alia, that the premiums to be paid upon the apprenticing of a boy should be £10, and the amount paid to a boy upon the expiration of the term of apprenticeship should be £4, with power to the trustees to increase those sums if sufficient income available. In 1925 £10 was expended in apprenticing and £12 in outfitting a boy. The vicar and churchwardens of the parish are the trustees of the charity.
Church Land. Out of the inclosure in this parish an allotment of 6 a. 3 r. 32 p. was set out for the repairs or service of the church in lieu of certain balks and headlands in the open fields. The endowment now consists of 7 acres of land in Hartford in the occupation of Mr. A. Fisher, at a yearly rental of £16, which is applied by the vicar and churchwardens towards church expenses.
John Banks, by his will, dated 19 November 1907, gave to the minister, churchwardens and overseers a rentcharge of £4 per annum issuing out of his estate in Hartford to the poor of the parish. The land charged is now in the occupation of Mr. G. Bath, and the payment of £4 yearly is distributed in cash and coals to poor people.