A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1936.
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Ellington is a curiously shaped parish. From a central block containing the village is a long tongue of land projecting west and a shorter tongue running out to the east. It has an area of 2,700 acres, of which nearly three-quarters are grass land. The arable land grows chiefly wheat and beans. The soil and subsoil are Oxford Clay. The Ellington Brook flows from west to east through the parish, forming the southern boundary of the western tongue of land and skirting the north of the village, and joins the Alconbury Brook about two and a half miles to the east. Another stream rising in the parish of Spaldwick flows to the south of the village of Ellington into the Ellington Brook, about three-quarters of a mile east of the village. The land rises from these streams, where it is about 55 ft. above Ordnance datum, to 165 ft. at Belton's Hill and 161 ft. at Grove Barn on the north and to 172 ft. at Ellington Hill on the south. There was formerly much woodland in the parish. In 1086 a hide of land was said to be waste because of the King's Wood (fn. 1) which was subsequently assessed with the Forest of Weybridge. (fn. 2) There still remains a fair amount of woodland, including West Wood to the south of the village, Ellington Gorse, Underlands Wood, Sparrow's Spinney and Red Wood.
The road from Huntingdon to Thrapston passes through the parish, and around a loop in that road is the village on rising ground. In the middle of the loop on the south side of the road is the church with the vicarage house and the school built in 1870. To the west of a road leading south from the village is the Baptist chapel, built in 1837. There are several 17th-century timber-framed cottages in the main road. Red Lodge, on the east side of the village, is a late 17th-century house, built perhaps by the Throckmortons. It was probably the manor house of the chief manor, and the homestead moat in its grounds apparently marks the site of the earlier manor house of the tenants of Ramsey Abbey. St. Peter's College Farm, to the south-east of the church, is the Rectory Farm belonging to Peterhouse, Cambridge. On the Huntingdon Road a mile east of the village is an old toll-gate house.
Ellington Thorpe, formerly Sibthorpe, is a hamlet on the road called Breach Road leading south from the village, and now consists of a few 17th-century cottages. A little farther south on the west side of the road is Thorpe Lodge, in the grounds of which are the remains of a homestead moat, the site of the manor house of the Sibthorpes or Grims.
There was an Inclosure Award for 1,500 acres in 1774. (fn. 3)
There were two windmills in 1279, (fn. 4) but now there is only one. Thirteenth-century names are: Coten, now represented by Coton Barn, (fn. 5) a mile and a half north-west of the village; Krowenesthill, (fn. 6) Portweye, Chalpithanedyn, le Haye, Heyneswong; (fn. 7) and names occurring in a 17th-century terrier are: Nunneshill peice, Bryarhill, Womerdole, Milleholmes, Wakeland and Wickeland. (fn. 8)
According to the records of Ramsey Abbey, ELLINGTON was granted to them by Alfwold, brother of their founder, and by his wife Alfild, who held it for life. (fn. 9)
King Edgar, Edward the Confessor, and succeeding kings confirmed the place and all appurtenances as given in the time of King Edgar, (fn. 10) and in 1086 the abbot held a manor assessed at 10 hides. (fn. 11) The abbey continued in possession until the Dissolution, (fn. 12) holding it in demesne, with the exception of a period when William, steward of Henry I, held it, after which it was restored to the abbey and assigned for the monks' food. (fn. 13) It was seized by Geoffrey de Mandeville when he despoiled the abbey, but Abbot Walter recovered it. (fn. 14) It was attached to the barony of Ramsey and its tenants did suit at Broughton court. (fn. 15) With three other farm manors it rendered Lent farms, paid 40s. yearly instead of 5 lbs. of cheese and 5 lbs. of lard and, like all the farm manors, gave 16d. to the poor from Maundy acre on Maundy Thursday. (fn. 16) The abbot had gallows, tumbril, view of frankpledge, and amendment of the assize of bread and ale, waif, warren, hidage from Ellington and its hamlets when it ran; tallage, merchet, leyrwyte, poll-tax; wardship and marriage of his tenants. (fn. 17)
The manor was granted by Edward VI in 1547 to Sir Walter Hendle kt. (fn. 18) and in 1552 it was conveyed by Sir John Mason kt. and Elizabeth his wife with 1,000 acres of wood and several fishing to Gabriel Throckmorton. (fn. 19) Gabriel Throckmorton was son of Richard Throckmorton of Higham Ferrers, and married Emma, daughter of John Lawrence of Ramsey. He was father of the five girls who figured in the case of the 'Witches of Warboys.' He died in 1553 and was succeeded by his only son, Robert, aged 1 year, (fn. 20) who married Elizabeth, daughter of John Pickering of Titchmarsh. Robert held the manor of Ellington, in capite, for the fourth part of a knight's fee, and seems to have died in 1613–14, leaving a son and heir Gabriel. (fn. 21) Gabriel Throckmorton, who was born in 1577, married Alice, only daughter of William Bedell. He apparently joined his father-in-law, in 1601, in the purchase of two messuages and 120 acres of land, etc., in Ellington; (fn. 22) and this purchase seems to have given rise to chancery proceedings between Henry and George Bedell, and William and Edward Bedell and others, the former claiming that William Bedell, senior, had misapplied trust money to the purchase of the land. (fn. 23) Gabriel died in January 1626–7, leaving a son Robert. (fn. 24) Robert, who was born in 1607, lived for part of his life in America, where he had grants of considerable estates; (fn. 25) he had two wives, Anne (d. 1655) and Judith (d. 1686). He died at Offord Cluny, 1657, but his will was not proved until 1664. (fn. 26) He made a settlement of the manor of Ellington in 1633. (fn. 27) His heir was his eldest son Albion, who died without issue at Offord Cluny in 1680, being succeeded by his brother Robert, who also died without issue at Offord Cluny in 1681. The third son, John, had died in America in 1678, and the manor passed to his son Robert, born in 1662, who came to England; he died at Little Paxton in March 1698–9, (fn. 28) leaving the manor of Ellington to his second son Robert, and two estates in America to his brothers Albion and Gabriel respectively. Robert, who was a minor at the time of his father's death, seems to have come of age (at 18) in 1713, (fn. 29) and sold the manor of Ellington, in 1720, to John Merrill and Thomas Curtis, (fn. 30) presumably nominees for the Rt. Hon. Thomas Handasyd. (fn. 31) He, however, retained some of the land, and dying at Hail Weston in 1767, left his property in Ellington to John Throckmorton, eldest son of his cousin Robert, son of Gabriel Throckmorton, in America. (fn. 32) John came to England and sold the estate, which consisted of 2 messuages, 4 barns, 130 acres of land, etc., in Ellington, to Sir Robert Bernard, bart. (fn. 33) John returned to America, and died there in 1775.
Thomas Handasyd was lord of the manor from 1720 to 1729, when he was succeeded by his son Roger, afterwards Lieut.-General Handasyd, who held it until his death in 1763, when he was followed by Clifford Handasyd, his brother. (fn. 34) In 1771 Clifford, with his son and heir George, suffered a recovery and sold the manor to William Watson, Doctor of Physic, afterwards Sir William Watson. (fn. 35) Sir William died in 1787 (fn. 36) and was succeeded by his son, another William, who was knighted in 1796 and died about 1825. (fn. 37) The property went to his sister Mary, widow of the Rev. Edward Beadon, (fn. 38) and in the following year was held by the Rev. John Watson Beadon, apparently her son, who held it until 1835. It then went to the Rev. Frederick Flemming Beadon, who died in 1880. Lieut.-Colonel Reginald Henry Beadon, his son, held it from 1880 to 1922, when his executors sold it to Mr. Kenneth Hunnybun.
The overlordship of ELLINGTON THORPE or SIBTHORPE or GRYMES MANOR belonged to Ramsey Abbey as a member of the barony of Broughton. (fn. 39) Eustace de Sibthorpe held lands in Alconbury about 1200. (fn. 40) Walter de Sibthorpe granted lands in Sibthorpe to Hugh, abbot of Ramsey (fn. 41) (1216–31), and his son Robert conveyed a virgate of land in Sibthorpe to William de Beville and Isolda, his wife, in 1240. (fn. 42) Robert married Cecily, daughter and co-heir of Richard de Beville of Upton (q.v.).
He was succeeded by James de Sibthorpe 'his heir,' whose wardship and marriage were granted by the abbot to Geoffrey de Mortimer. (fn. 43) James seems to have taken the name of Grim and in 1279 as James Grim was holding a knight's fee in Sibthorpe of the Abbot of Ramsey jointly with Nicholas de Grafham. (fn. 44) His demesne land in Sibthorpe included a carucate of land and a windmill for which he paid 10s. yearly to the shrine of St. Ive. (fn. 45) He was succeeded by Robert Grim, who died seised of the manors of Sibthorpe and Upton in 1298, leaving a brother and heir Ralph. (fn. 46) In 1316 Alice, apparently widow of Ralph, was holding Upton, (fn. 47) but by 1338 Robert Grim, possibly son of Ralph and Alice, settled the manor of Upton on himself and Katherine his wife. Robert died seised of Sibthorpe in 1349, leaving a son Robert, aged 15 years. (fn. 48) The last Robert was born at Sibthorpe on Monday after the feast of St. Dunstan 1335; his birth, it is stated in the proof of age, was entered in the missal of Ellington church, and on the Sunday previous the great bell of the church of Alconbury, when being rung for mass, fell to the ground and was broken to pieces. (fn. 49) Robert married Margery Greenham, who after his death married Sir Thomas Burton of Tolethorpe (Rutl.), and in 1372 Katherine Grim, daughter of Robert and Margery, conveyed Sibthorpe to Sir Thomas Burton and her mother, Margery, for their lives. Sir Thomas Burton died in 1382, but Margery was living in 1412. (fn. 50) The manor seems to have passed to Ralph Grim, from whom it went to three co-heirs, who were the wives of Thomas Punt, John Sapcote and William Par. Thomas Punt, late of London, died in 1454 seised of a third part of lands in Ellington and Sibthorpe lately belonging to Ralph Grim. He left a son Robert, whose wardship was delivered by his mother to the Abbot of Ramsey as chief lord. (fn. 51) In 1552 Robert, son of Thomas Punt and Margaret his wife, possibly the grandson of the previous Robert, conveyed a considerable property in Ellington, Sibthorpe and Alconbury to William Hensune. (fn. 52) In 1566 Richard Henson and Alice his wife granted a property in the same places to William Laurence. (fn. 53) Between 1560 and 1570 William Laurence was acquiring lands in these places from the Sapcotes and Holcotes, who seem to have been the representatives of the co-heirs. (fn. 54) The manor at this time was known as the manor of Grymes, but its later descent is lost.
The church of ALL SAINTS consists of a chancel (34¾ ft. by 18 ft.), nave (48¼ ft. by 18¼ ft.), north aisle (10¾ ft. wide), south aisle (12 ft. wide), west tower and spire (11¾ ft. by 10½ ft.) and north and south porches. The walls are of rubble and pebble rubble with stone dressings, and the roofs are covered with lead, slates and tiles.
The church is mentioned in the Domesday Survey (1086), but nothing earlier than the 13th century remains, and of this period only the chancel arch is in situ. The walls of the chancel probably remained, much altered, until 1863; and the nave was probably of the same length as at present, for the south aisle was added or rebuilt early in the 14th century. At the end of the century the west tower was added or rebuilt, and about 1400 the nave arcades, north aisle and north porch were rebuilt. The south wall of the south aisle was largely rebuilt towards the end of the 15th century, when new windows were also inserted in its east and west walls; and the clearstory was added to the nave about the same time. The south porch was built in the 16th century. The chancel was rebuilt in 1863, the spire restored in 1889, and the nave roof in 1907–8.
The modern chancel has a large four-light east window with modern geometrical tracery, but having some old stones in the jambs and mullions, and with late 13th-century inner splays having angle shafts with capitals carved with stiff-leaf foliage and moulded bases. The north wall has two modern two-light windows with geometrical tracery, and a late 15th-century two-light window with a transom and a four-centred head. The south wall has two modern two-light windows similar to those on the north; a late 15th-century two-light window with a transom and a four-centred head, one of the lower lights being rebated for a shutter, the two hooks of which still remain; a reset late 13th-century doorway with a two-centred head of two moulded orders resting on jambs having one attached and one detached jamb-shaft, all with moulded capitals and bases; and a modern piscina with a late 14th-century sexfoiled basin.
The late 13th-century chancel arch is two-centred, of two chamfered orders, the inner order resting on semicircular attached shafts with stiff-leaf capitals and moulded bases; on the east side of the south respond there is part of a small attached shaft with a moulded base. Built into the wall, south of the arch, is part of a 13th-century apex-stone with foliated top.
Before 1863 the east window was cut off at the springing line and finished with a debased square head; the south wall had a square-headed two-light window, and the late 15th-century two-light and the 13th-century doorway in their present positions; the north wall was apparently the same except that it had no doorway; the walls were finished with a plain parapet and the roof was of flat pitch. (fn. 55)
The nave, c. 1400, has an arcade of four bays on each side, having two-centred arches of two moulded orders resting on columns composed of four semicircular shafts with hollow mouldings between them and having moulded capitals and bases; the responds are formed by the continuation downwards of the outer order of the arch, with an attached shaft, similar to those of the columns, to carry the inner order. The labels over the arches curve up at the apex and run into the string-course under the clearstory windows. The rood-stairs are at the southeast angle; the blocked lower doorway has a fourcentred head, but only small parts of the upper doorway remain. The weathering of the earlier low-pitched roof of the nave remains on the east wall of the tower.
The late 15th-century clearstory has on each side four three-light windows with four-centred heads. The parapets are embattled and there are three carved gargoyles on each side, the central one on the north being especially fine. The contemporary roof has moulded beams with arched braces and embattled collars, and intermediate principals having carved angels with outstretched wings at their feet. The jack-legs of the main principals are carved with standing figures.
The north aisle, c. 1400, has a three-light east window with tracery in a four-centred head. In the north wall are three similar windows and a reset mid 13th-century doorway with a two-centred arch of two richly moulded orders resting on jambs having one detached shaft and two attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. In the west wall is a window similar to that at the east end. The contemporary roof has moulded beams, jack-legs and braces; the jack-legs have carved figures of saints, and the feet of the intermediate beams are carved with angels holding musical instruments.
The early 14th-century south aisle, altered late in the 15th century, has a late 15th-century threelight east window with a four-centred head. The south wall has three similar windows; a 14thcentury doorway with a two-centred head and continuous moulded jambs; and a 14th-century piscina with ogee head and a square basin. There is a low segmental-pointed arched recess on the outside, perhaps a tomb recess, but now obstructed by a late 15th-century buttress. The west window is similar to that at the east. The late 15th-century roof is very similar to that of the north aisle, but some of the timbers are not moulded and others are much mutilated.
The late 14th-century west tower has a two-centred tower arch of two chamfered orders on the east and five on the west, the lowest order resting on attached semicircular shafts with moulded capitals but no bases; the second order is continuous and the others die into the walls. The west doorway has a twocentred arch of two continuous moulded orders; and the window above it is a two-light with a twocentred head. The corbels and springing stones of a vault to the ground-floor stage remain. The next stage has a window which is a smaller copy of that below. The belfry windows are coupled two-lights with quatrefoiled transoms and with tracery in twocentred heads. The tower has square buttresses set in from the angles, rising to the full height of the tower, and just below the spire is a band of quatrefoils. The octagonal broach spire has three tiers of spire-lights, the bottom and top tiers on the cardinal faces; the first and second tiers being two-lights, and the third single-lights.
The north porch, c. 1400, has a two-centred outer arch of two continuous moulded orders under a square label; and having spandrels carved with the wheat-ear. Above the arch is a small niche with projecting crocketed ogee head and a carved bracket below. The side walls each have a two-light window with a four-centred head; and the east wall has a mutilated stoup. The porch has a moulded plinth, embattled parapets, remains of crocketed pinnacles at the angles, and diagonal buttresses.
The 16th-century south porch has a two-centred outer arch of two chamfered orders, the inner order resting on semi-octagonal attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; above it is a small niche with four-centred head and much worn bracket. The side walls each have a two-light window with a four-centred head. The porch has plain parapets with an earlier reset apex-stone, and low diagonal buttresses.
The 15th-century font has an octagonal bowl with panelled sides and a moulded and curved under-side; the stem, which had semi-hexagonal angle-shafts, has been lost, but the moulded base with the attached lower parts of the shafts remains.
There are four bells, inscribed: (1) R.C. 1699. (2) Vox Augustini sonet in Aure Dei. (3) Sancta Margareta ora pro nobis. (4) Robt. Taylor St. Neots fecit 1788. Thos. Ladds & Henry Hanger C. Wardens. The first is by Richard Chandler III, of Drayton Parslow, Bucks; the second by John Walgrave (c. 1418–1440); the third by John Danyell (c. 1440–1460). In 1552 there were four bells and a sanctus bell. (fn. 56)
In the south aisle is a 13th-century stone coffin with shaped place for head, which was found under the floor of the eastern end of the south aisle in 1915, and the lower part of a stone effigy of a lady, broken in two, apparently the cover of this coffin, has recently been found in the churchyard. A 13th-century coped coffin-lid lies on the churchyard wall by the south gate. In the churchyard, to the south of the church, some quatrefoil panelling has been built up as a double table-tomb. (fn. 57)
The registers are as follows: (i) baptisms, marriages and burials 18 March 1607/8 to 14 April 1710, unbound, in very bad condition, and has evidently lost some earlier leaves; (ii) the same 20 April 1710 to 1 November 1812, marriages end 27 November 1753; (iii) marriages 22 October 1754 to 25 November 1812, except the years 1783 to 1798; (iv) marriages 10 November 1783 to 11 October 1798.
There was a church on the land of the Abbot of Ramsey in 1086, (fn. 60) and from that date the advowson and the rectory belonged to the abbey until the Dissolution in 1539. The abbot leased them at divers times, and a little before the Dissolution John Lawrence, the last abbot, leased the advowson to Thomas Audley (Awdeley), whose executors conveyed the unexpired term of the lease to Richard Bedell, who presented in 1558. (fn. 61) In 1553 the reversion in fee of the advowson and rectory was granted to Sir Edward Seymour, (fn. 62) from whom it passed before 1563 to Sir Edward North, who settled the rectory in that year on Sir Roger North, his son, with remainders over. (fn. 63) The advowson and rectory were held by William Cordell in 1566 (fn. 64) and later reverted to the Crown. On 5 March 1574 Queen Elizabeth granted the advowson, rectory and church of Ellington, with licence to appropriate and establish a perpetual vicarage, to Peterhouse, Cambridge. (fn. 65) The bishop confirmed the appropriation in 1576, (fn. 66) and the master and fellows of Peterhouse have continued to be patrons ever since.
The Town Lands consist of about 63 acres of land in Ellington let in allotments and 3 roods of land in Alconbury. The rents, amounting to about £57 per annum, are carried to the churchwardens' account.
The endowment of the charity known as Doles consists of two rentcharges of £1 6s. 8d. per annum and 5s. per annum respectively issuing out of land in Ellington. These charges are regularly paid and distributed in bread to the poor on Good Friday.