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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In 1086 half the 10 hides and 20 ploughlands in the vill belonged to Walter Giffard's demesne. It was staffed with 14 servi, but had only 6 ploughteams, the remaining 14 being owned by 25 villani with 12 bordars. (fn. 1) By 1168 Bottisham yielded in tallage 30 marks, 25 raised from four wealthy villagers. (fn. 2)
The Giffard demesne was probably in hand in 1194-5, when it yielded corn for sale, (fn. 3) and presumably remained so when divided after 1210 between Tonbridge and Anglesey priories; their actual demesnes, possibly twice their nominal 200 a. each, (fn. 4) may have occupied about half the open fields. In 1525 Tonbridge's supposedly comprised 500 a. of arable and 150 a. of grass. (fn. 5) Even after up to 200 a. had been alienated in the late 16th century, (fn. 6) its main demesne farm comprised 120 a. with 36 a. of inclosed grass c. 1620. (fn. 7) About 1535 Anglesey owned 400 a. of open-field arable and 34 a. of meadow. (fn. 8)
In 1279, when arable equivalent to over 31 yardlands lay outside those demesnes, implying that it had increased by a half since 1086, each priory had shared equally lordship over the relatively few customary tenements: each had, beside five cottagers, only six half yardlanders, who were little burdened with labour services. They had only to plough six times a year, mow and carry hay, and send one man to four harvest boons. Of the remaining tenanted land, all freehold, 1½ yardlands belonged to the two priories and ten others were held directly of the Clares by substantial freeholders, some with their own under-tenants. In practice by 1279 that freehold was very unequally divided. Thirteen holdings, including the two knights' fees, of a yardland or more, two being based at Lode and Longmeadow, comprised altogether c. 580 a., while eight others of 9 a. or more included 97 a. Another 35 tenants with up to 4 a. of fieldland, few having more than 1 a., occupied 34½ a. The 65 others possessing merely houses and crofts, two thirds owning no more than their dwellings, presumably supported themselves through wage labour or from the resources of the fen. (fn. 9)
Tonbridge priory was leasing its demesne by 1371, (fn. 10) as c. 1430. (fn. 11) By the 1340s it was granting some customary full and half yardlands at rent for life terms, (fn. 12) as was Anglesey by 1370. (fn. 13) Some tenants refused to perform labour services in the mid 14th century. (fn. 14) By 1430 Anglesey priory had long ceased to exact such services, even though it kept much of its Bottisham demesne in hand into the mid 15th century, sowing 80 a. with spring crops alone in 1431-2. About 1450 its threshed corn included 114 qr. of wheat and rye, but 183 qr. of barley. In 1431-2 over half the wheat was sold at Cambridge or to Swaffham men. By then the priory relied solely on hired labour. Up to 16 men did one day's harvesting; otherwise its land was worked by a permanent waged staff including 2 carters, two pairs of ploughmen, and a shepherd. Besides customary tenants' assize rents, increased since 1357 by almost £9, it received by 1430 over £30 through renting out 140-300 a. of its demesne to villagers for terms of up to 20 years. (fn. 15) By 1450 the leased land included several blocks of 5-10 a. each. (fn. 16) There was still relatively little copyhold in the 17th century: in 1694, when the lord of Anglesey received quitrents from c. 80 a. of closes and 155 a. of open-field land, only 25 messuages and 90 a. of arable were definitely copyhold. (fn. 17) In 1758 the copyhold held of Tunbridge manor comprised 95 a. (fn. 18) At inclosure in 1808 c. 215 a., including 86 a. for common rights, was allotted as copyhold, of which 93 a. was for land held of Anglesey and 122 a. of Tunbridge manors. (fn. 19)
Probably by the 1220s, and certainly by 1300, the arable had been divided into three common fields. (fn. 20) North field, (fn. 21) 802 a. (635 a.), extended by 1305 northwards from Bottisham village to the medieval fen edge. (fn. 22) South-east of the village White, (fn. 23) called c. 1800 Whiteland, field, 595 a. (645 a.), on the north-east, and Stoney field, (fn. 24) 624 a. (605 a.), on the south-west, stretched south-east towards the edge of the heath, which was reckoned in 1279 to stretch for two 'leagues' between Little Wilbraham field and 'Fukislowe'. (fn. 25) In 1793 340 a. of heath was still unploughed, but part had long been inclosed as Little field, of whose 48 a. the lord of Anglesey then owned almost half. (fn. 26) Possibly the 'little field' mentioned before 1200, (fn. 27) c. 1535 it supposedly contained 180 a. of several fieldland belonging to the Anglesey demesne. (fn. 28) By 1800 most of the heath was attached as several sheep pasture to the Anglesey (164 a.) and Tunbridge (90 a.) manorial estates and to one large freehold (80 a.). (fn. 29) Before 1500 most holdings in the three large fields consisted of small strips of ½-1 a., (fn. 30) but the monastic demesnes lay in larger pieces, some of 5-10 a. (fn. 31) Similarly, out of 240 a. of Anglesey demesne recorded in the late 17th century 210 a. lay in blocks of 3 a. and more, a few comprising 10-15 a. (fn. 32)
Some former common grassland had been unlawfully annexed as private meadows in the late 13th century. (fn. 33) In 1300 a villager complained that Anglesey priory and others had hindered his commoning throughout the year on 9 a. of such pasture. (fn. 34) Several areas of grassland, some common, survived, however, among the open fields: Anglesey priory's 4-a. Ox meadow west of the village, mentioned in 1535, (fn. 35) had in 1327 had adjoined such land, probably then called the Broding, (fn. 36) along the western border, by 1592 named the Bradens. (fn. 37) It remained common into the 1660s; (fn. 38) 45 a. of it survived as inclosed pasture until 1800. (fn. 39) To the east Goose green, mentioned c. 1450, (fn. 40) and Sowr moor, recorded with it in 1586, (fn. 41) which lay in an angle between fieldways, also remained common until 1677. Although 45 a. and 22 a. respectively of them were then nominally allotted in severalty, (fn. 42) they were still reckoned allottable common at inclosure. (fn. 43) Between them lay another 62 a. of pasture, called by 1677 Bush meadow, held c. 1800 in severalty by four freeholders, including the lords of Anglesey and Tunbridge. (fn. 44)
North of the fields and of the ancient closes around Lode, Anglesey priory occupied by 1300 inclosed meadow beside the Lode (fn. 45) and pasture closes, such as its Horse pasture, totalling by 1600 66 a. (fn. 46) Fenland there used until the late 17th century as common pasture (fn. 47) stretched northwards from Germans close, mentioned c. 1430, (fn. 48) adjoining North field, to the Cam. Longmeadow moor, so styled by 1596, (fn. 49) was linked to the village by a wide droveway. Craney to the west had adjoined North field in 1305. (fn. 50) By the late 16th century the fenland beyond them was distinguished for purposes of commoning (fn. 51) into Bylaw fen recorded in 1542; (fn. 52) White fen extending north-west beside Swaffham Lode; and High fen north-east of Bottisham Lode, to whose south-west lay Lode moor, mentioned in 1541. (fn. 53) South-west of Anglesey priory's medieval closes, the Quyalls and Off or Ou fen occupied c. 110 a. projecting into Quy parish. (fn. 54) In 1802 the remaining open fenland, which had been reckoned overall, before the 1670s, at 2,000 a., (fn. 55) covered c. 735 a. (fn. 56) Its management and drainage was supervised by fen wardens, later reeves, elected from the 14th century onwards, (fn. 57) and entitled from the 16th century to summon all landholders to send one man to perform one yearly common work in High fen. (fn. 58)
The common fields were probably under a triennial rotation by 1300. (fn. 59) In 1327-8 Anglesey priory sowed c. 125 qr. of winter corn in Stoney field and 140 qr. of spring corn in North field. Its priory grange then contained c. 300 qr. each of wheat and barley, 90 qr. each of rye and dredge. The peasantry may have grown more barley. The rectorial grange then yielded, presumably from tithe, 79 qr. of wheat and 53 qr. of rye, compared with 354 qr. of barley and 123 qr, of dredge. (fn. 60) In 1340 80 a. of arable were out of cultivation. (fn. 61) By the early 15th century rye and dredge were less important. In 1431-2 Anglesey's harvest from a smaller demesne yielded 145 qr. of wheat and 230 qr. of barley. (fn. 62) In the 16th and 17th centuries barley probably predominated, not only on peasant farms: (fn. 63) in 1625 the Tunbridge Hall lessee cropped 144 qr. of it. (fn. 64) Many villagers grew saffron, whose tithe the vicar was claiming by the 1530s, between the 1520s (fn. 65) and at least the 1570s. (fn. 66) Into the early 17th century the bylaws required open-field plots sown with it to be fenced in before Lammas. (fn. 67) The customary Cambridgeshire triennial rotation, still including some rye as in the early 17th century, remained in use into the 1790s. (fn. 68)
In the Middle Ages the fenland, which in 1086 rendered 400 eels to the lord, (fn. 69) provided a common fishery regulated under bylaws in the 14th century, (fn. 70) Its main function, however, was to provide grazing and fuel. Parts of it were intercommonable. In 1223 it was found that the bishop of Ely's tenants of Fen Ditton and Horningsea had since the mid 12th century exercised rights of common over the fen between their villages and Bottisham. An investigation attempted in the 1190s had failed to determine boundaries. Such intercommoning possibly continued c. 1390. (fn. 71) Some areas along Bottisham's north-western border were recognized as intercommon in 1719, (fn. 72) and such rights were allowed for when apportioning the Poor's Fen charity income in 1887. (fn. 73)
Many villagers probably owned sheep in the Middle Ages: in the 1330s several set up folds without liberty to do so. (fn. 74) In 1347, as c. 1540, the fen was allegedly being overcharged. (fn. 75) The Anglesey manor still had a demesne flock of c. 200 c. 1450. (fn. 76) From the 16th century the right to fold sheep was reserved to the large estates which shared the heath: Anglesey (fn. 77) and Tunbridge (fn. 78) manor farms had sheepwalk and foldage for 500 and 400 × 440 respectively, the Alington (fn. 79) and Forster (fn. 80) estates for 300 each. (fn. 81) In 1800 the 43 owners of 104 surviving or demolished commonable messuages were entitled to feed only horses and cows on the fallow field and common fen. (fn. 82) About 1720, when 30 people had between them owned c. 1,800 sheep, most belonged to four large flocks probably numbering 640, 520, 410, and 180. Cattle were more widely owned: 60 villagers had in all 380 cows, few over 20 apiece. (fn. 83) In 1794 1,800 Norfolk sheep were kept, (fn. 84) individual farms carrying 120-60 grown ones. (fn. 85) From the late 16th century to the early 18th regulations prescribed upon which commons each kind of beast could be fed, and when: (fn. 86) in 1605 no cattle might be put on Goose green except in the common herd, while sheep were excluded from Quyalls and Sowr moor in spring, and store sheep from Goose green, Lode moor, Craney, and Bylaw fen in winter. (fn. 87)
Digging turf in the fen was repeatedly regulated from the early 14th century, when those not holding tenements were barred from taking it; up to 15 men at a time broke those orders, sometimes carrying turf to Cambridge by boat. (fn. 88) By the early 16th century villagers were forbidden to sell turf and straw out of the parish, and were not allowed to send more than two men, after 1605 one, to dig turf, nor to cut it more than once a month or before sunrise. (fn. 89) From 1579 mowing in Bylaw fen was forbidden between Michaelmas and Mayday. (fn. 90) Such rules were, however, repeatedly defied c. 1600, often by c. 20 men a year. (fn. 91)
Part of Bottisham fen began to be divided into individual holdings, despite local opposition, from the 1630s; 140 a. of White fen were included in the Bedford Level in 1637. (fn. 92) The 2,000 a. allotted to the Adventurers in 1652, under a new Act for draining that Level, included 285 a., inclosed by 1660 as 'Drainers' grounds' in the north of Lode moor, and another 485 a. in White fen. (fn. 93) Some of the land taken was granted in lots of 50-100 a., several later subdivided; blocks in Lode moor were mostly of 11 or 22 a. (fn. 94) In 1664 and 1668 the Bedford Level Commissioners allotted to the Parkers as lords of Anglesey manor, partly for sheepwalk, 120 a. in Lode moor and Quyall; (fn. 95) by 1675 another 175 a, of Longmeadow moor, in 1793 partly called the Sheepwalk; (fn. 96) and by 1677 41 a. in Bylaw fen. (fn. 97) Also in 1677 the manorial lords and parish gentry, with the expected agreement of 45 owners of common rights, resolved to have most of the remaining common land similarly allotted in severalty, in lieu of the common rights attached to their houses. A decree of the Commissioners was expected to secure the partition against claims from any commoners who might stand out. (fn. 98) When that decree was issued later that year, c. 90 such owners, over 59 with only one commonable messuage each, received allotments that covered in all over 60 a. of grassland within the common fields, 192 a. in Lode moor, 92-4 a. in each of Craney and Bylaw fens, 107 a. in Longmeadow moor, and 385 a. in five 'furlongs' in High fen. The allotments made for single common rights mostly ranged from c. 5 a. up to 10 a.; those in Craney and Bylaw fen averaged 12-16 a. (fn. 99) The new arrangement considerably increased the area possessed by smaller landowners, especially as copyhold: by 1694 land so held of Anglesey manor included 250 a. in High fen, Lode moor, and Craney. (fn. 100)
At first the exercise of common rights over the allotted fenland probably ceased: agrarian bylaws reissued after 1677 were concerned solely with the open fields, (fn. 101) while lots or stints of several ground in the fen or marsh were regularly conveyed both with freehold and copyhold properties from the 1670s (fn. 102) until after 1800. (fn. 103) The fenland was not certainly divided with ditches: the existing drainage channels there, which follow the boundaries of the allotments made in 1802, were presumably laid out only thereafter. (fn. 104) Much of the land drained before 1700 may have been flooded by the 1750s: some had long been abandoned by 1765 owing to defects in the drainage system, eventually repaired by a Commission created under an Act of 1767 for draining Swaffham fen. (fn. 105) Some abandoned land apparently reverted by the 1720s to the Bedford Level Corporation and was resold. (fn. 106) In 1757 Bottisham included 570 a. of several 'fen grounds', held in blocks of 50-100 a., few of whose owners had any share in its open fields. Another 275 a. of 'low grounds' in lots of 11 or 22 a. presumably derived from the Adventurers' grants. The Hospital farm included 205 a. of 'low grounds', while 200 a. of another 293 a. belonged to the Anglesey, Downing, and Jenyns estates. (fn. 107) Since 1680, however, the amount of fenland held in severalty had been reduced by almost a third to c. 1,375 a. By the 1760s sedge was being cut in High fen, (fn. 108) and in 1794 the pastures skirting the fen were still often inundated by water from the uplands because the banks along the Cam were neglected. (fn. 109)
At inclosure a wide strip along the centre of the parish, running north-west from Craney through High fen to the Cam, was treated as freely allottable. At c. 735 a. its area almost matched the 767 a. of common fen reported in 1793, when another 210 a. of 'poor's land', still subject to common of turbary, largely adjoined it. Apart from the 768 a. of Adventurers' lands and c. 180 a. in the north of Lode moor, no land in the fen was treated in 1802 as owned in severalty. Another 720 a. of closes, old and new, around Anglesey, Lode, and Longmeadow, including the former Parker allotments, then separated the fen from the 112 a. remaining of Longmeadow moor, then called Bottisham piece, and from the 1,870 a. of open fields, which included 155 a. of baulks. Ancient closes around Bottisham village covered 190 a., while another 308 a. of inclosed grass lay to its east. (fn. 110)
Considerable inequality among landholders had continued in late medieval and early modern times. Of the open-field strips then adjoining the Vaux demesne's 117 a. of arable, half belonged to the Anglesey and Tunbridge demesnes, a quarter to four gentry families, including the Alingtons and Forsters, and only a quarter to lesser landowners. (fn. 111) Similarly, of the strips abutting the vicar's glebe in 1615, a third belonged to the three manorial farms, a third to locally resident gentry, and only a third to 17 yeomen. (fn. 112) In 1522 six residents had had land or goods worth £40 or more, and four others goods worth £16-30. (fn. 113) In 1524 at least 20 out of 70 villagers were taxed only on their wages or on goods worth £1, few on over £7. (fn. 114) Poverty was perhaps then increasing: in 1521 one man left 12d. among all householders who had no plough. (fn. 115)
Of the more substantial holdings, such as that of the Bunts of Lode, who had 100 a. from the late 15th century, (fn. 116) several were eventually acquired by the manor-owning families. (fn. 117) Of those that remained independent into the 19th century, the largest was that of the Forsters, recorded at Bottisham from the 1360s. (fn. 118) Though leasing 28 a. of Anglesey's demesne and serving as its stewards c. 1430, they were still then styled husbandmen, (fn. 119) but were reckoned gentry by the 1520s, (fn. 120) when their lands were worth 40 marks a year. (fn. 121) They retained a farm, comprising 150 a. of arable and 40 a. of inclosed grass c. 1600, (fn. 122) until its sale after 1677. (fn. 123) Similarly the Hasells, styled yeomen until after 1600, (fn. 124) but gentry by the 1640s, who worked their land in person from Bottisham Place until after 1700, (fn. 125) had a holding that covered 150 a. of fieldland and 27 a. of grass when owned in 1757 by their successors, the Dennises. (fn. 126) In the 1660s and 1670s the 9-10 dwellings with five hearths or more presumably mostly housed yeoman farmers. Although another 25-30 had three or four hearths, most villagers, including in 1664 almost 20 too poor to be taxed, had only one or two each. (fn. 127)
In 1757, when 1,925 a. of open-field arable was reported, with c. 300 a. of pasture closes and 1,375 a. of several fenland, (fn. 128) the large farms on the manorial and Bendish estates included c. 1,015 a. of those fields, and had 370 a. out of their 670 a. of grassland in the fen. Three landowners with 75-160 a. in the fields had also 120 a. of grass, while three more had 45-50 a. each of arable. The remaining ten owners outside the fen who had more than closes in the village possessed barely 127 a. Actual occupation was, however, slightly more widely spread, even though the Anglesey Abbey farm was, as c. 1680, leased as a single unit. The Newmans likewise in the 1750s leased all of St. Bartholomew's 392-a. farm. The other manorial estates were usually divided among two or three tenants, while two fen lots of 200 a. and 160 a. of Adventurers' land were each worked by four men. (fn. 129) By the 1790s, however, most of the larger estates had been consolidated into single farms, only the Dennises' 177 a. being then owneroccupied. (fn. 130)
After two of the three manorial estates had been united in 1799, (fn. 131) the new lord, the Revd. G. L. Jenyns, proposed an inclosure in 1800. (fn. 132) An Act was obtained in 1801, (fn. 133) all the larger landowners concurring and only 15 smallholders with 120 a. between them opposing it. (fn. 134) The allotments were set out and open-field cultivation was terminated in 1802, (fn. 135) but the award was delayed until 1808. (fn. 136) It covered in principle 3,290 a. of open fields and commons and 2,405 a. of several inclosures, (fn. 137) of which c. 350 a. were exchanged, mostly between the largest landowners. The 28 owners of c. 540 a. of inclosed fenland who had no share in the commonable lands were in practice unaffected, as were 18 smallholders with 75 a. in all, whose closes enjoyed no common rights. A plan to award to the owners of commonable cottages some pasture to be still fed in common by their occupants (fn. 138) was abandoned, each owner choosing to take separate allotments. Actual allotments solely for common rights were minuscule: c. 40 people received 2-3 roods each. Of 70 persons claiming an interest in the allottable lands at least 36, mostly smallholders, lived in the parish, half at Lode and Longmeadow, but 11 others in neighbouring villages, and 10 at Cambridge. (fn. 139)
Even after 720 a. had been allotted for tithes, the availability of extensive fenland spared most landowners any large reduction in acreage. (fn. 140) The combined Jenyns estates, which in 1800 had supposedly come to 1,135 a., including 610 a. of open-field land, (fn. 141) amounted, after exchanges, partly for Swaffham Bulbeck property, and the purchase of a 308-a. farm, to 1,335 a. altogether. Three larger corporate holdings, earlier comprising 380 a. of closes and 580 a. of arable, had 383 a. of closes and 658 a. of allotments after 1808. The Dennises' farm was not reduced, while nine other landowners with 50-100 a. each, mostly outsiders, previously having 211 a. of closes and 345 a. of arable, emerged with 640 a. including 397 a. of allotted land; 28 others, few with over 10 a., had in all 273 a. (fn. 142) The farmers' rents were doubled after inclosure. By 1810 Canon Jenyns had acquired a horsedrawn threshing machine. The number of sheep kept rose by 400, artificial grasses replacing fallow grazing in their diet. (fn. 143)
From the early 19th century the farmland in the south of the parish was mostly included in six or seven large farms managed from the village. The farmsteads built elsewhere were normally inhabited by labourers. (fn. 144) In 1831 the whole parish contained 14 substantial farmers with 42 others working a little land. (fn. 145) The larger farms were held, sometimes in combination, by dynasties of farmers mostly long native to the parish. Thus the Newmans, already leaseholders on the Anglesey estate by 1710, worked Parsonage farm, 490 a. 1800-1900, but 257 a. by 1910, from the 1740s (fn. 146) into the 1990s. (fn. 147) The Kings, whose head worked over 1,200 a. c. 1850-70, occupied Longmeadow Grange farm (325 a.) by the 1810s, Tunbridge Hall farm (420 a.) by 1825, and Bendish farm (222 a.) by 1855, (fn. 148) until extinguished locally in the 1890s. (fn. 149) Even some owner-occupiers survived the agricultural depression: the Pauls, heirs after 1820 to the Dennises on Town End farm (289 a.), were still there in 1990. (fn. 150) On the gradually reduced Jenyns estate, however, the Ambroses, who worked 600 a. from Hall farm by the 1840s, (fn. 151) also holding Anglesey Abbey farm (220 a.) 1800-50, (fn. 152) were replaced c. 1890 with a Scots farmer, who stopped growing barley, planted more potatoes, and sold to London milk from a herd of Ayrshire cattle. (fn. 153) In the mid 19th century the large southern farms covered altogether 3,500 a., while 2-3 smallholders there occupied barely 45-65 a. By 1910 seven large farms ranging from 200 a. up to 450-550 a. comprised 2,530 a. Another 260 a. were worked with large farms in neighbouring parishes, leaving 270 a. worked by smallholders.
In the fenland most 19th-century farms were relatively smaller. In 1841 ten farmers had worked it from Lode, twelve from farmsteads in the fen itself. In the 1850s and 1860s there were seven smallholders, mostly locally born, with 20-50 a. each, in all 250 a., in the fen, while in 1881 nine others at Lode occupied 225 a., and eleven in the fen 395 a. In 1910, although the Fisons of Station farm were working 600 a. of fen and two other farmers 235-50 a. each, five men each had 50-150 a. and ten others 15-50 a., and 22 smallholders shared 128 a. (fn. 154) About 1930 there were still almost 50 smaller farmers with under 50 a. each in the whole parish, three fifths of them in Lode, and still 43 c. 1950, but by 1970 only 11 occupying such smaller farms were reported. The number of larger farms also declined from 25 in 1930 to 11 by 1970, including three of 300-500 a. in the south. (fn. 155) About 1900 only a quarter of the farmland had been owner-occupied, and in 1970 over half was still rented. (fn. 156)
About 1835, when 150 labourers were thought enough to work all the farms, there were 120 adult and 50 younger workers. Up to 20 older men were often unemployed. (fn. 157) In the mid 19th century the adult labourers living in Bottisham village, besides 15-30 youths, usually totalled 70-80, a number that increased to 99 in 1871 before declining to 61 in 1881. At Lode the number of labourers had increased from 55 in 1841 to 70-80, besides up to 20 youths, into the 1870s before falling to 48 in 1881. Longmeadow and the scattered cottages in the fen usually housed 10-15 more. In the 1850s and 1860s the larger Bottisham farmers had usually employed 100-120 adult labourers between them with up to 40 boys, but by 1881 probably only 100. In Lode and the fen the numerous smallholders required only 2 or 3 men each. (fn. 158) The Newmans' horkeys for their workforce after harvest ceased only during the First World War. (fn. 159)
At inclosure the Poor's Fen, 97 a., the Turf or Queen's Fen, 77 a., south-west of Bottisham Lode, and 43½ a. on the Quy border were left unallotted so that the settled poor could still exercise common of turbary there. (fn. 160) In 1819, however, a leading farmer, serving as churchwarden and overseer, connived at those fens' being auctioned to meet unpaid fen drainage taxes, and bought them himself. Disputes following his attempt to stop the poor digging turf there eventually obliged him to agree in 1833 to return those fens to public use. (fn. 161) The fens continued to be nominally managed by fenreeves under rules of 1834 which forbade grazing store cattle and limited the sale of fodder outside the parish. In practice, by the 1850s, they were individually exploited by 100-150 labourers, especially those living nearest at Lode. Besides digging turf for sale, they were by 1855 making small pits to raise clay, gravel, and coprolites. Their weekly profits were reckoned equal to a week's wages. Some farmers also let their beasts feed there in passing, while smallholders sold the hay that they cut. (fn. 162) By 1860 coprolites were also being dug elsewhere, especially alongside Swaffham Lode and in Lode moor. (fn. 163) In 1871 c. 45 men, over half immigrants, were engaged in the diggings. (fn. 164) Many were thrown out of work when digging stopped in 1883, (fn. 165) but in 1888, when 60 labourers with families at Lode were out of work, specially in winter, the Poor's Fen charity trustees engaged a contractor to resume coprolite digging there. Proving unprofitable, the diggings ceased after 1891. (fn. 166)
In 1897 there was still much unemployment at Lode in winter. (fn. 167) About 1890 130 labourers were occupying allotments of up to 1 a. each, 60 of them on 20 a. of the Poor's Fen. (fn. 168) From the 1910s into the 1940s over 80 a. of glebe near Lode was let as smallholdings through the county council. (fn. 169) The number of farmworkers regularly employed in Bottisham fell from 103 in 1930 to 72 by 1950 and only 22, besides over 20 working farmers, by 1970; at Lode c. 65 were needed c. 1930-50, but only 9 by 1970 with 16 farmers, half part-timers. (fn. 170)
After the fenland had been brought under the plough following inclosure, most of the parish was cultivated into the early 20th century (fn. 171) on a four-course rotation. (fn. 172) Of that half of the arable, 2,000-2,500 a., devoted to grain, wheat usually occupied about half into the early 20th century, but was gradually reduced from the 1920s in favour of barley. Much sugar beet, 450-650 a., was also grown from 1930, and some mustard. In 1870, although the rotations included 550 a. of temporary grass, permanent grassland had been reduced to barely 320 a., but its area steadily increased thereafter to more than 1,400 a., over two thirds of it in Lode, by 1910 when there were another 975 a. of grass, besides 500 a. of heathland. The sheepflocks, in which grown sheep had numbered 2,500 or more until the 1910s, were gradually given up from the 1930s. There were still 550-650 cattle c. 1910-50, mostly for milking, but fewer than 200 were left by 1970. The total area of pasture was halved to 1,275 a. by 1950, and less than 200 a. remained in 1970, when cereals covered almost 3,000 a. Poultry farming was practised from the 1930s. There had been two market gardeners in the 1880s, one of whom traded into the 1930s, (fn. 173) and in 1970 c. 165 a. of vegetables, mostly carrots and peas, were being planted, three quarters in Lode. The larger farms were then devoted to cereals or general cropping. In 1988 one 513-a. farm in Lode sowed wheat both in winter and spring, also growing potatoes and sugar beet. (fn. 174)
In 1086 there were four water mills, all then attached to the Giffard manor, (fn. 175) and as many into the 14th century. In 1279 two belonged to the Tonbridge and Anglesey priory manors. Anglesey also had a windmill, (fn. 176) which it maintained in the late 1350s. (fn. 177) Its site until c. 1450 (fn. 178) is probably indicated by (Wind)millhill, mentioned in 1759 in the south-west of North field. (fn. 179) By the 1330s (fn. 180) the water mills were distinguished as the Knights mill, perhaps the 'little mill', of which a knightly family had given a half-share in free alms before 1200; (fn. 181) the Bridge mill; the 'Sonne' mill; and Robertots mill. (fn. 182) The Knights mill apparently stood c. 1365-80 on the stream north-east of the village, (fn. 183) downstream from the Bridge mill, (fn. 184) which was near Goose green. (fn. 185) In the early 14th century both were let at rent. (fn. 186) Of the four water mills all but the Knights mill (fn. 187) were still working in the late 1390s. (fn. 188)
Of the two water mills surviving in the 20th century, the Bridge mill, apparently used for fulling c. 1430, (fn. 189) was probably that owned by 1394 by William Wolf, which passed with his lands to the Alingtons. (fn. 190) Attached to their Bottisham Hall estate into the 18th century (fn. 191) and straddling the Swaffham border south-east of the Hall, (fn. 192) it later belonged to the Jenynses. About 1800 the Barkers, corn merchants at Newnham in Swaffham Bulbeck, sought to preserve their lease of it under the Bottisham inclosure Act. (fn. 193) Later called Park mill, it was rebuilt in grey brick along with the adjoining miller's house in the early 19th century. (fn. 194) It continued to be worked by lessees under the Jenynses into the mid 1940s. (fn. 195) The two-storeyed buildings still stood, containing the old wooden machinery, in 1991.
Anglesey priory's water mill west of Lode, which it was repairing c. 1430, (fn. 196) was still owned by the Parkers in 1716 (fn. 197) but was probably alienated soon after. (fn. 198) That mill, apparently rebuilt, was possessed between 1802 and the 1820s by the Barkers and their successor Thomas Bowyer; (fn. 199) reunited to the Abbey estate in 1851 by John Hailstone, it was sold in 1886. (fn. 200) By 1890 the new owner was grinding coprolites there. (fn. 201) In 1896 it was bought by the Bottisham Lode Mill Cement Co., which, latterly as tenants, produced cement there until c. 1930. Lord Fairhaven bought that mill c. 1935 (fn. 202) and removed the adjoining cement works. The two- storeyed, timber-framed mill, its weatherboarding concealed by modern cladding, along with its brick sluices renewed in 1841, survived in 1991, preserved by the National Trust. It retained an iron water wheel and other 19th-century machinery. (fn. 203)
In 1299 the earl of Gloucester claimed at Bottisham a weekly market on Mondays, (fn. 204) whose tolls were occasionally recorded into the 1370s, (fn. 205) as were, in 1342, the selds used for selling. (fn. 206) A butcher was fined for selling bad meat in 1328. (fn. 207) A smith, carpenters, and a tailor were recorded in 1279, (fn. 208) and other smiths and carpenters worked for Anglesey priory in the 14th century, and, with a wheelwright, in the 15th. (fn. 209) Another wheelwright was mentioned in 1579. (fn. 210) Two carpenters died in the 1650s (fn. 211) and a butcher in 1657. (fn. 212)
From the 1790s the village was well supplied with craftsmen, including smiths, wheelwrights, harness-makers, bricklayers, and plumbers, and with shops occupied by grocers, shoemakers, and a long-established tailor (d. 1831). (fn. 213) By 1831, when c. 195 men worked on the farms, 71 were employed in trades and crafts, including 8 carpenters, 4 smiths, 4 wheelwrights and a harness-maker, 3 plumbers, and 6 tailors. (fn. 214) Bottisham village was able to sustain numerous rural craftsmen into the early 20th century. (fn. 215) Besides several carpenters into the 1880s, one still working c. 1925, it still had one master blacksmith in the 1930s, along with a wheelwright and 1-2 shoemakers, while there had been a tailor and a saddler until c. 1910. The Howletts ran a builders' business from the 1840s into the 1930s. (fn. 216) The four or more village shops often included 2-3 grocers and a baker, and by 1937 a hairdresser. In 1991, when the village was served by a row of four shops, part new built in 1967, west of Pound Hill, (fn. 217) a traditional butcher and baker were still open. (fn. 218) Longmeadow had few craftsmen and no shops in the 19th century or later, although a builder was working there c. 1900-30. Lode hamlet, however, which also had builders and plumbers c. 1850-80, still supported its own blacksmith, wheelwright, and harness-maker into the 1930s, and had one small shop, besides a hairdresser, in 1991.
Brick kilns were apparently working by the lode, north-west of Lode, c. 1820 (fn. 219) and in the fen by the 1840s. (fn. 220) There were brickworks north of Station Farm c. 1900. (fn. 221) Light industry developed in the parish from the 1950s. Rank Bros. who in 1957 began to make precision scientific instruments at their garage on the village high street, (fn. 222) were still in business in 1990, when ten other firms were established at a small industrial estate south of Tunbridge Lane. Apart from a builder and a car repairer, several more, including Crystal Structures, opened by 1978, (fn. 223) were engaged in instrument making, electronics, and light engineering. One made cabinets for record players and office equipment, another repaired and hired out horse-drawn vehicles. The Old Court House accommodated firms making medical apparatus and tapestry, while others, one smoking meat and fish, another fitting out shops and offices, were scattered elsewhere in the village. Two computer equipment designers also worked from Northfields at Lode. (fn. 224) In 1970 four fifths of Bottisham village's working population had been employed outside the parish, three fifths working in Cambridge. (fn. 225) By 1981 only 2 per cent of the village's male population worked on its farms, but a quarter in manufacturing and building, and over half were engaged in various services. Four fifths drove to work elsewhere. (fn. 226) By 1991 only a sixth of Bottisham's households had no car, while almost half had two or more. (fn. 227)