Horningsea: Local government

Page 167

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.

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The bishop of Ely as overlord of Horningsea had return of writs, view of frankpledge, and the assize of bread and of ale, and had a gallows in 1279. (fn. 1) Tenants of Edmund Pecche attended a court which was probably held at Eye by the 1270s. A few court rolls for Eye manor survive from between 1378 and 1398. (fn. 2) By then the court sometimes met twice a year and handled tenurial and other business; two wardens for the manor were mentioned in 1378. (fn. 3) In the late 16th and early 17th centuries Eye manor court books dealt with the repair of water courses, as well as with agricultural business. (fn. 4) The parish had two collectors for the poor after 1574 and two churchwardens in 1579. Two constables were serving in 1674, and two overseers in 1696. (fn. 5) From the late 18th century into the 19th parish affairs were managed by the principal farmers, and some officers served over long periods. (fn. 6) The churchwardens and overseers received £5 for the parish from the farmers of Free fen in 1609 and continued to do so until the 1840s. (fn. 7)

Horningsea, Fen Ditton, and Milton combined in 1800 to convert a row of cottages in Horningsea into a Gilbert union workhouse, managed by three guardians, three visitors, and a governor; it remained in use until c. 1836. (fn. 8) In 1802-3 £39 was spent on indoor poor relief, and £133 on outdoor relief. (fn. 9) Between 1816 and 1820 expenditure fluctuated around £263, but between 1821 and 1834 ranged between £136 and £209. From 1836 Horningsea was incorporated in the Chesterton poor-law union, from 1894 in Chesterton rural district, and from 1974 in South Cambridgeshire district. (fn. 10)


  • 1. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 431, 442. For Fen Ditton with Horningsea manor's manorial court, above, Fen Ditton, local govt.
  • 2. P.R.O., C 111/80.
  • 3. Ibid., mm. 3, 5, 12d.
  • 4. Ibid. LR 3/60-1.
  • 5. C.R.O., P 94/1/1; C.U.L., E.D.R., D 2/10, ff. 11v., 233.
  • 6. C.R.O., P 94/4/1; P 94/11/1; P 94/12/1.
  • 7. Ibid. P 94/1/1; P 94/11/1.
  • 8. Ibid. P 94/18/1-6.
  • 9. Poor relief figures based on Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 36-7; Poor Rate Returns, 1816-21, 10-11; 1822-24, 37-8; 1825-9, 15-17; 1830-4, 15-16.
  • 10. Youngs, Guide, i. 51, 575.