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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MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES.
In the 940s Edwin son of Othwulf gave Oda, archbishop of Canterbury, five hides at Burwell. About 970 Oda's kinsman Oswald, then bishop of Worcester, gave those hides to Ramsey abbey upon its foundation, also inducing King Edgar to give another five hides there to help pay for building the abbey. Before 975 Ramsey's patron Ealdorman Aethelwine bought out the claims of the priest Athelstan, another kinsman of Oda, to half Edwin's former holding. After King Edgar's death Wynsige, a distant kinsman of Othwulf, seized five hides as his alleged inheritance, but under pressure from Aethelwine restored them to the abbey in exchange for land at Dillington (Hunts.). Aelfgar, a client of Aethelwine, gave Ramsey c. 3½ hides more at Burwell. (fn. 1) Abbot Aelfwine (1043-80) received from Aelfsige of Landwade and his wife Leva the reversion on their deaths of a Burwell estate which the abbot then gave for life to their kinsman Godwin to hold at farm. After 1066 Earl Ralph of East Anglia seized it from Godwin, and Ramsey did not recover it; (fn. 2) in 1086 it held at Burwell only the estate, with a reduced assessment, that had originally belonged to it in demesne. (fn. 3) The abbey, occasionally buying freehold tenements, (fn. 4) retained RAMSEYS manor, over which it was granted free warren in 1251, (fn. 5) and whose demesne was reckoned to include 533 a. in 1650 (fn. 6) and 580 a. of arable (424 a. statute measure) in 1806, (fn. 7) until its surrender in 1538. (fn. 8) Burwell was among the manors granted in 1541 to Sir Edward North, then treasurer of the Court of Augmentations. (fn. 9) Having large sums missing from his accounts, he was obliged to return it to the Crown in 1545. (fn. 10)
Thenceforth into the late 20th century Ramseys manor remained part of the Crown estate. (fn. 11) In the 16th century it was initially leased to local families such as the Wheteleys and Gardiners, (fn. 12) later for long terms to courtiers, as in 1580 to Sir Thomas Walsingham. (fn. 13) The stewardship and court profits were let separately into the 1620s. (fn. 14) From 1629 the manor was included, formally through 99-year terms granted to trustees, successively in the dowers of Queen Henrietta Maria (d. 1669) and Queen Catherine of Braganza (d. 1705), (fn. 15) for whom it was granted on beneficial leases for lives. The demesne lessees were effectively lords of the manor, whose courts were held in their name from the 1660s to the 1830s; (fn. 16) holding from 1637 the lease of those courts they took all the manorial 'royalties', including entry fines, but probably not the tenants' quitrents. (fn. 17) Justinian Povey, Queen Henrietta's attorney general, obtained the leases in 1637 and 1640. (fn. 18) When the Crown lands were sold after 1649, Povey, before his death in 1651-2, bought the fee simple of the manor also. He devised it for his eldest son Thomas, also a civil servant. (fn. 19) Thomas was again the Crown lessee from 1660 (fn. 20) until 1683, when the lease was transferred to Charles North, lord North (d. 1691), whose executors c. 1694 ceded it to his creditor Richard Daston. (fn. 21) Thenceforth lessee, Daston (d. 1711) left his lands to his illegitimate son Richard Daston, (fn. 22) who at his death in 1758 devised his estates to his daughter Katherine and her husband, the Revd. William Affleck. (fn. 23) After Affleck's death in 1806 the lease passed to his son Col. Gilbert Affleck (d. 1831), (fn. 24) although courts were held 1808-33 for William's executors, then for Gilbert's widow Joan. In 1838, when the last beneficial lease expired, the enjoyment of the manorial rights reverted with Hall farm to the Crown. (fn. 25) The Afflecks retained, however, c. 300 a., including 255 a. in the fen, held in their own right, until after 1849. (fn. 26)
In 1677 the Crown estate had been augmented with at least 366 a. in Burwell fen allotted, mostly in the north-east, for its rights of soil and sheepwalk. (fn. 27) At inclosure 352 a. were allotted in 1817 for the Affleck share (368 a.) of its demesne arable, another 60 a. for the remains (76 a.) of smallholdings let separately since the early 17th century. (fn. 28) In 1841 the Crown, having sold its 171 a. of heath, owned c. 490 a. in the upland, including the 400-a. Burwell Hall farm, besides c. 280 a. of fen. (fn. 29) In 1910 the Crown had at least 444 a. of upland and 472 a. of fen. (fn. 30) In 1961 it sold all its Burwell farmland, 945 a., to the county council, (fn. 31) which since the 1910s had acquired land there to let as smallholdings. It had bought 315 a. in 1913-14, (fn. 32) and 433 a. c. 1920, including in 1919 the 286-a. Warbraham farm south-east of the village. (fn. 33) Following other small purchases, (fn. 34) the council, owning altogether 1,720 a., was in the 1980s the largest landowner in Burwell. It began to sell its holdings in the early 1990s. (fn. 35)
Ramsey abbey's manorial farmstead, including c. 1325 and 1400 a kitchen with the usual farmbuildings, (fn. 36) probably already occupied the site c. 300 metres west of the high street, of the present Hall Farm, where the western portion of a double moat has its ditches still wet. In 1650 the house, called Burwell Hall and surrounded by 30 a. of closes, included a hall, parlour, and kitchen, with four chambers upstairs. (fn. 37) It retains at its north end the timber-framed cross wing from the south part of a medieval house, extended southward in the 17th century. (fn. 38) A Perpendicular window was discovered when part was demolished c. 1925. (fn. 39)
By 1086 Hardwin de Scalers had seized, and held of the king, ½ hide possessed in 1066 by Thurkil, a man of Ramsey abbey. (fn. 40) Under Henry I that ½ hide, part of the abbey's fee, was held heritably in fee farm of Hardwin's son Stephen by Walter Buistard who subinfeudated it to Bernard. (fn. 41)
Before 1066, as in 1086, Chatteris abbey had ½ hide, (fn. 42) granted by 1279 to five freeholders paying for 50 a. quitrents (fn. 43) rendered to the Crown in 1540. (fn. 44) It was presumably thereafter incorporated into Ramseys manor.
Two other manors derived from 3¾ hides possessed in 1066 by three sokemen under Eddeva the fair and by 1086 divided by her successor Count Alan between his men Alan, who had 2½ hides, and Geoffrey, given 1¼ hide. (fn. 45) Both fees were later held by knight service of Alan's honor of Richmond; (fn. 46) the larger, by 1443 called TIPTOFTS, (fn. 47) was often from the 1250s until after 1410 supposedly held as 1 fee of a mesne lordship ascribed to the Vere earls of Oxford. (fn. 48)
By 1213 the larger fee was probably held by Ralph de Camoys, (fn. 49) who had succeeded his father Stephen c. 1199. (fn. 50) The two hides at Burwell that Ralph held until his death in 1259 passed to his son and namesake (fn. 51) (d. 1277), whose son and heir John de Camoys (fn. 52) at once sold it to Sir Robert de Tybotot (Tiptoft). (fn. 53) Sir Robert died in 1298, holding that manor, including 200 a. of demesne, jointly with his wife Eve (d. 1300). Their son Payn, of age in 1299, (fn. 54) was summoned to parliament from 1307 and fell at Bannockburn in 1314. (fn. 55) That estate was then included in his widow Agnes's dower. In 1315 (fn. 56) Agnes (d. 1328) married Thomas de Vere, who occupied it until his death in 1329. (fn. 57) Payn's son John, Lord Tybotot, of age in 1334, (fn. 58) died in 1367, having settled the reversion of his Burwell manor, 1362 × 1365, in tail male on his third son Payn, (fn. 59) in possession by 1373. (fn. 60) Payn (kt. by 1387) held it until his death in 1413. (fn. 61) It descended to his son, (fn. 62) the Lancastrian minister, Sir John Tiptoft, a baron from 1426. Lord Tiptoft (fn. 63) held that manor at his death in 1443, as did his son John, earl of Worcester (ex. 1470). After the earl's son Edward (fn. 64) died without issue in 1485, (fn. 65) Burwell Tiptofts, probably occupied for a time by Earl John's widow Elizabeth (d. 1498) and her second husband Sir William Stanley (ex. 1495), (fn. 66) passed, by 1513 at latest, to Sir Thomas Lovell, who had married Isabel, daughter of Earl John's eldest sister Philippa. (fn. 67)
Dying without issue in 1524, Lovell left that manor in tail male to his brother Sir Gregory's younger son Francis Lovell of East Harling (Norf.), (fn. 68) later knighted, who died in 1552. His son and heir Thomas (kt. 1553, d. 1567) left Tiptofts for life to his widow Elizabeth. Their son Sir Thomas (fn. 69) owned it until his death in 1604. His son Sir Francis (fn. 70) sold Burwell Tiptofts in 1607 to William Barrow of Westhorpe (Suff.), (fn. 71) who died in 1613. His heir was his minor son Maurice. (fn. 72) In 1624 William's widow Elizabeth acquired from Barnabe Turner, also lessee of Tiptofts, the underlease of Ramseys manor. (fn. 73) Maurice Barrow probably settled Tiptofts in 1632. (fn. 74) From 1643 it belonged to Thomas Marsh (d. 1657) whose widow Margaret (fn. 75) (d. 1678) owned it in 1675. (fn. 76)
Their grandson (Sir) Thomas Marsh (d. 1677) had settled it in 1669. (fn. 77) Samuel Clarke of Snailwell, lord from 1680 into the 1690s, (fn. 78) in 1681 sold off c. 180 a. of Tiptofts land, including 100 a. of the 276 a. of fenland allotted in 1677 to Margaret Marsh for its manorial rights, besides its sheepwalk. Other fenland had been alienated by the 1770s. (fn. 79) Clarke, cr. Bt. 1698, died in 1719 and was succeeded in his remaining Burwell lands by his son Sir Robert Clarke, (fn. 80) lord 1723-9. (fn. 81) Probably in 1730 Tiptofts was acquired by Charles Seymour, duke of Somerset, after whose death in 1748 it passed to his younger daughters. Presumably c. 1763 it was assigned to Charlotte, (fn. 82) wife of Heneage Finch, earl of Aylesford (d. 1777), lord by 1772. Their son Heneage, the next earl, was lord until 1812 when he sold that manor (fn. 83) to John Harwood of Exning, who then owned 650 a. in Burwell, including 120 a. of fen, and died in 1815. (fn. 84)
Harwood's heirs, who were allotted 338 a. in 1817 (fn. 85) and in 1829 had 166 a. of fen, (fn. 86) were his daughters Mary, Anne, and Elizabeth. Mary and Anne remained unmarried until they died 1862 × 1864. (fn. 87) Elizabeth (d. 1842) married in 1834 Capt., later Admiral, Richard Thomas Hancock (d. 1846). Of that couple's original third share in the lordship two thirds belonged from 1850 to the 1890s to their surviving son Richard Gustavus Hancock, a third to his sister Jane Mary and William Hussey, her husband by 1846. (fn. 88) The whole Hancock third belonged from 1908 to the 1920s to Edward Richard Kinver Hancock. (fn. 89) Elizabeth's sisters' two thirds of the manorial rights, which had belonged between 1864 and 1874 to Thomas William Green, (fn. 90) were shared from 1877 equally between his kinswomen Mary (d. 1901) and Fanny Beaumont; Fanny had all that share into the 1920s. (fn. 91)
Of the Harwood land in Burwell cultivated in 1840 Anne Harwood had owned c. 180 a., and Capt. Hancock c. 200 a. (fn. 92) The Beaumonts' share of that farmland was probably alienated before 1880, (fn. 93) Gravelpit farm (158 a.) being sold in 1866. (fn. 94) E. R. K. Hancock, who still owned Crownall farm with c. 250 a. in 1910, (fn. 95) sold that farm (145 a.) in 1920 to Robert Stephenson, the Hall farm lessee since the 1870s, who had owned 430 a. in 1910. After his death in 1929 300 a. of his Manor House estate were sold 1930-2. (fn. 96)
Tiptofts manorial farmstead, mentioned c. 1300-30, (fn. 97) may be represented by the Manor House, standing at the south end of High Town, which by 1841 belonged to Salisbury Dunn (III). It was sold in 1930. (fn. 98) A two-storeyed timber-framed house, originally early 17thcentury, later brick-cased and tiled, it contains 18th-century panelling and fireplaces brought from London's West End in the 20th century. The outbuildings included c. 1960 a clunchwalled, thatched barn of 1751, and a 12-bayed late 18th-century granary and maltkiln. (fn. 99) By the 1960s the house was inhabited by a retired colonel, whose widow Margaret O'Callaghan left Margaret field off the Swaffham road for parish use. After their deaths the house was bought c. 1984 by a computer consultant, who repaired the kiln and granary, again restored after a fire in 1990 for conversion to offices. (fn. 100)
About 1235 the other 1¼ hide of the Richmond fee was held by Henry son of Robert under the Burghs of Burrough Green, (fn. 101) who as mesne lords could in 1279 claim only gilt spurs from his successor Henry, son of Eudes, of Swaffham Bulbeck. Henry's Burwell demesne then covered 180 a., half granted for life in 1275 to Robert son of Henry, of Burwell. (fn. 102) The younger Henry was dead by 1299. His son Thomas, still under age in 1302, was lord in 1316. (fn. 103) In 1339 John Dullingham (d. c. 1349) settled that manor with c. 80 a. on his marriage. (fn. 104) Lands and manorial rights in Burwell, once in his family, were acquired in 1377 for Maurice Tove of Bottisham, (fn. 105) dead by 1396. In 1400 Nicholas Tove conveyed DULLINGHAMS manor, largely in Burwell, with over 200 a., for William Vaux. (fn. 106) That manor, by 1443 granted by Vaux to John, lord Tiptoft, (fn. 107) possibly belonged to his son, John, earl of Worcester (d. 1470). (fn. 108) In 1507 Ely priory was licensed to acquire in mortmain from unnamed donors Dullinghams manor, (fn. 109) which it retained with 60 a. in Burwell, still held of the honor of Richmond, until its surrender in 1539. (fn. 110)
Granted to, and recovered from, Sir Edward North in the 1540s with Ramseys manor, (fn. 111) Dullinghams remained with the Crown for eighty years. From 1561 it was leased to Lord Keeper Sir Nicholas Bacon and his family, who transferred the lease to local men; (fn. 112) from 1582 it was let for lives to Henry Warner. In 1600 Warner conveyed his interest in Dullinghams and over 200 a. to Isaac Barrow of Wicken. (fn. 113) In 1626 the Crown sold that manor to the speculators Edward and Robert Ramsay. (fn. 114)
By the mid 17th century Dullinghams belonged to 'Cropwell of London', (fn. 115) presumably the London merchant Edward Cropley (d. 1648) or his son John Cropley of Clerkenwell (cr. Bt. 1665, d. 1676), whose grandson Sir John Cropley, Bt., (fn. 116) was lord from 1682. (fn. 117) Sir John (d. s.p. 1713) left his Cambridgeshire estates, including 'Bullinghams', mostly to his friend Thomas Micklethwaite, (fn. 118) lord in 1715 (d. s.p. 1718). Thomas in turn left his lands to his brother Joseph, created in 1727 viscount Micklethwaite (d. s.p. 1734). Joseph devised all his property to Anne Ewer, successively their mistress. (fn. 119) Lady of Dullinghams from 1734, Mrs. Ewer died in 1739, entailing her lands on her nephew Anthony Ewer, its lord until 1746. (fn. 120) In 1747 he sold it with c. 200 a. in Burwell to the duke of Somerset. (fn. 121) The duke's younger daughters and their husbands were joint owners between 1748 and 1763, when it was included in the share of one daughter, Charlotte, and her husband the earl of Aylesford. In 1812 his son sold it to John Harwood with Tiptofts, (fn. 122) with which it passed thenceforth, being partitioned in the same way. (fn. 123) About 1500 Dullinghams manor house stood east of North Street. (fn. 124)
The estate, styled by 1400 ST OMERS manor, (fn. 125) often corrupted to 'St. Thomas' or 'Tom(b)ers'. (fn. 126), probably derived from one or more of the large freeholds, which in 1279 had their own undertenants, held of Ramsey manor. (fn. 127) In 1320 John le Waleys acquired by marriage c. 160 a. (fn. 128) held for life by Robert Beverlay in 1325, when John sold its reversion to William Wigmore. (fn. 129) In 1336 Wigmore alienated its reversion on his death to Bertram de St. Omer (fl. to 1360) for life with reversion to Bertram's father Sir William (fn. 130) (d. by 1351) of Norfolk. (fn. 131) Sir William's eldest son and successor Sir Thomas de St. Omer died in 1364, leaving two or more daughters as coheirs. (fn. 132) In 1406 Catherine (d. 1409), widow of Sir John de Burgh, gave St. Omers manor, comprising 10 marks' rent, to endow her chantry in Burrough Green church, (fn. 133) but that endowment had apparently not been effected when her grandson Sir Edmund Ingoldisthorpe died in 1456. (fn. 134) The manor belonged to the chantry until its suppression in 1547, when it included land held of Ramseys, Dullinghams, and Chatteris manors. (fn. 135)
In 1553 the Crown sold the chantry's Burwell land to Sir John Butler and Thomas Chaworth. (fn. 136) Butler sold it in 1562 to Thomas Folkes, (fn. 137) who had also acquired in 1570 from Thomas Gardiner the impropriate rectory of St. Andrew's, Burwell, formerly owned by Fordham priory, which the Crown had sold in 1564. (fn. 138) Gardiner also probably assigned to Folkes the lease made in 1556 of the other rectory, St. Mary's, that he held under Cambridge university: (fn. 139) the leases of the two rectories were thenceforth possessed together. Folkes's heirs when he died 1584 × 1588 were his daughters, Agnes, wife by 1574 of Theodore Goodwin of Reach, and Anne, wife of John Grange of Swaffham Bulbeck. (fn. 140) Goodwin died in 1607, having in 1597 entailed St. Omers manor on the marriage of his eldest son Thomas, who no longer held it at his death in 1623. (fn. 141) In 1639 Ambrose Goodwin, not his heir, conveyed it with 200 a. to Walter Clopton. (fn. 142)
Meanwhile in 1600 Theodore Goodwin had combined with the Granges to sell the rectories with over 100 a. to Thomas Gerard, (fn. 143) who died at Burwell, possessing both, in 1613. (fn. 144) In 1622 his executors married his daughter Elizabeth to Sir William Russell, treasurer of the navy, and assigned the rectories to Russell, who bought out Gerard's son and heir Edward in 1624. (fn. 145) Sir William (cr. Bt. 1629, d. 1654) (fn. 146) in 1638 sold them to Isaac Barrow of Spinney and his son Isaac, of Burwell. (fn. 147) In 1646 the younger Isaac sold St. Andrew's rectory in trust for Cambridge university, (fn. 148) receiving in return beneficial leases of both rectories, which he surrendered in 1655. (fn. 149) In 1659 the university leased both rectories to Russell's younger son William, later knighted, (fn. 150) who, having bought St. Omers manor after 1646 from Walter Clopton, died, wilfully intestate, in 1663. His Burwell manor and leases had been settled as the jointure of his wife Anne Bendish (d. 1717). (fn. 151) Dame Anne retained both the beneficial leases, formally granted separately, though always simultaneously, until her death. (fn. 152) They were next held, until after 1743, by her unmarried kinswoman Susannah Russell of Bury St, Edmunds (Suff.), and in 1763 by Peter Bowlby and his wife Elizabeth. (fn. 153) After those leases expired in 1764 the university let the rectories to Burwell farmers. (fn. 154) Until then the rectory manor courts had been held in the lessees' names. (fn. 155)
In 1663 the fee simple of St. Omers manor had been claimed against Sir William Russell's younger brother and expected heir Gerard Russell by his eldest brother, Sir Francis (d. 1664), of Chippenham, (fn. 156) whose younger children may have had rights in it in 1678. (fn. 157) About 1711-12 it was acquired from five coheiresses and their husbands, lords by 1703, by Stephen Isaacson, of a well established Burwell family. (fn. 158) Dying in 1736 Stephen divided his Burwell land, over 230 a., among his ten sons and daughters, assigning the titular lordship of St. Omers with its manor house and 30 a. to one daughter Mary, but its manorial sheepwalk and heathland (100 a.) to his eldest son John. (fn. 159) Courts were held for Mary 1738-58, then, 1764-91, for her sister Diana, also unmarried, and from 1806 for William Sandiver, a Newmarket surgeon, son of their sister Hannah (d. 1743) by William Sandiver, surgeon. (fn. 160) About 1813 the lordship was bought by John Harwood, and descended thereafter with Tiptofts, undergoing the same divisions. (fn. 161)
From the 18th century the Isaacsons occupied a medieval house surviving in the 1990s at the south end of High Town. (fn. 162) Built of clunch with chamfered limestone plinths, the house, originally 14th-century, may be a west range of lodgings for a larger house. They apparently once comprised six chambers, three to a floor; a gatehouse to the east was demolished by the 1830s. The west front to the street was once divided by buttresses, almost all cut away after 1700, into four bays, each containing square-headed windows, later blocked, of four trefoiled lights on each floor; there was an arched doorway to the south. Garderobe turrets survive at the north end and in the centre of the east front, where some matching four-light windows are visible, along with pairs of medieval doorways on two levels; the ogee-headed, upper ones presumably once led to a staircase. The gabled south wall retains straight-headed two- and four-light 14th-century windows, the north wall internally an arched medieval fireplace. The Isaacsons altered the house in the 18th century, inserting six bays of sash windows in the west front, rebuilding the two southern chimney stacks, and installing panelling. Three stone shields, found after 1900 in the cellar walls, with black crosses, have been associated with the Hospitallers, (fn. 163) and, if so, were possibly brought from Chippenham in the 17th century.
Another holding, 54 a. acquired in 1342 by John of Castle Martin (Pemb.) (fn. 164) may have been the source of part of the 47 a. in Burwell and Wicken given in 1392 to Pembroke College, Cambridge: (fn. 165) the college's farmhouse in High Town, rebuilt 1844 × 1853, was later called Castle Martins. (fn. 166) Queens' College, Cambridge, which bought 12 a. at Burwell in 1537, owned 43 a. there by 1595. (fn. 167) In 1817 those colleges were allotted 44 a. and 37 a. for their 54 a. and 46 a. of arable. Pembroke also had 38 a. of heath. (fn. 168) They owned respectively 97 a. and 48 a. in Burwell in 1873 and later; Pembroke had sold 20 a. by 1910, (fn. 169) the rest before 1956. (fn. 170) Queens' sold Lark Hall farm, 48 a., to the county council in 1913. (fn. 171)
Salisbury Dunn (d. 1803), who from 1780 held both rectories on lease, (fn. 172) built up an estate in Burwell, which by 1814, when his son and namesake owned it along with those leases, totalled c. 450 a.: (fn. 173) it was then the largest nonmanorial holding in the parish. The 394 a., mostly south-east of the village, allotted for Dunn's open-field land in 1817 (fn. 174) were divided after his death in 1823 among his sons, who in 1841 still owned over 510 a., (fn. 175) mostly alienated by the 1870s. Their Warbraham farm, 286 a. beside the Devil's Ditch, owned by the 1860s by the Chaplins, was sold in 1919 to the county council. (fn. 176) The rectorial lease had passed in 1837 from Salisbury Dunn (III) to his kinsman by marriage Edward Ball, (fn. 177) whose three sons owned c. 345 a. in Burwell by 1870. (fn. 178) Burwell House, a substantial, irregular greybrick house on the east of North Street, was probably built by Salisbury Dunn (I) c. 1787 and reconstructed c. 1822 for Edward Ball. (fn. 179) He and his family often occupied it in the mid 19th century, (fn. 180) and were succeeded, c. 1890-1920, by their partner G. H. Colchester. It was bought c. 1964 by the county council for use as a further education centre. (fn. 181)