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 ESTATE.
The parish included two manors, Cheveley itself (the core of the Cheveley estate) and the much smaller and later Bansteads. In 1022 Ely abbey gave CHEVELEY to King Cnut in exchange for Woodditton. (fn. 1) In 1066 it comprised five sixths of the township. (fn. 2) Between 1086 and 1130 the Crown granted the manor to Alan de DinanBécherel (d. c. 1157), (fn. 3) whose son Roland gave it to his sister Emma when she married Robert de Vitré, (fn. 4) retaining an overlordship which by 1168 was forfeited to the Crown. (fn. 5) The lordship may then have been divided, since until the 1180s both the bishop of Ely and Aubrey de Vere, earl of Oxford, had interests in Cheveley. (fn. 6)
Robert de Vitré died in 1173. His son Andrew later gave the manor to his brother Robert the clerk, (fn. 7) and their niece Gervaise and her husband Richard Marshal recovered their rights over the tenant in 1229. (fn. 8) The Marshal lordship was allotted in 1246 to Richard's sister Maud, countess of Norfolk, and descended with the earldom (later dukedom) of Norfolk, (fn. 9) last being recorded in 1526. (fn. 10)
The Pecche undertenants of Cheveley later forged a charter to claim that they were put in possession by Roger (d. after 1131), son of Richard son of Count Gilbert, (fn. 11) a predecessor elsewhere of Richard Marshal. (fn. 12) More likely they were given Cheveley by the bishop of Ely, their lord elsewhere in Cambridgeshire. (fn. 13) The first undertenant was perhaps Ralph Pecche (fl. 1130), (fn. 14) on whose death without issue his estates passed to his brother Hamon (d. after 1178). (fn. 15) Hamon's younger son Gilbert took possession in 1199, (fn. 16) died in 1212, and was succeeded by his son Hamon (d. 1241). (fn. 17) That Hamon's son Gilbert (d. 1291) surrendered his barony of Bourn to the Crown in 1284, (fn. 18) but transferred Cheveley to his eldest son John, (fn. 19) who in 1286 gave it to Sibyl and her husband Sir Roger Loveday. (fn. 20) Loveday died in 1287. (fn. 21) Sibyl then married and outlived William Ormsby, (fn. 22) holding the manor until her own death after 1338. (fn. 23)
Sibyl Loveday's daughter and heir Catherine married Roger Tichborne, who sold the reversion of Cheveley to John Pulteney in 1336. (fn. 24) Pulteney, knighted in 1337 and in possession by 1340, (fn. 25) died in 1349, and in 1350 his widow Margaret married Nicholas Loveyn (knighted 1351). (fn. 26) The Loveyns initially settled the manor after their deaths on Margaret's son Sir William Pulteney, (fn. 27) who died in 1367 (fn. 28) and was survived by Loveyn. At Loveyn's death in 1375 he left Cheveley in the hands of his feoffees for 15 years or until his only son Nicholas should come of age. The latter evidently did not reach maturity, and the feoffees probably sold the manor to William Rickhill in or after 1390. Rickhill, who bought the neighbouring manor of Ditton Camoys from one of Loveyn's executors in 1393, certainly had the advowson of Cheveley by 1405 and the manor by 1407, and died in 1407 or 1408. (fn. 29) His son John owned the manor in 1412 and a younger son Nicholas in 1428. (fn. 30) By 1431 Sir Nicholas Loveyn's grandson and heir Richard Chamberlain claimed and perhaps controlled the manor, (fn. 31) but in 1434 it belonged to John Rickhill's daughter and heir Joan and her husband Richard Bruyn. (fn. 32) They sold it in 1450 to William Cotton, (fn. 33) a feoffee since 1443 or earlier. (fn. 34)
Cheveley descended with Landwade in the direct male line of the Cotton family for 170 years, (fn. 35) successively from William (d. 1455), (fn. 36) to Sir Thomas (d. 1499), (fn. 37) Sir Robert (d. 1517), (fn. 38) Sir John (d. 1593), (fn. 39) and Sir John (d. 1620). (fn. 40) From 1528 the estate was augmented at intervals by purchases of freehold land. (fn. 41) The second Sir John's widow Anne married and outlived Sir John Carleton, Bt. (d. 1637). (fn. 42) Her son Sir John Cotton was in possession from 1637, was made a baronet in 1641, (fn. 43) and sold the manor in 1671 to Martin Folkes, (fn. 44) perhaps on behalf of the Roman Catholic courtier Henry Jermyn, who owned it by 1674. Jermyn (cr. Lord Dover 1685, succeeded as Lord Jermyn 1703) died in 1708, leaving Cheveley for life to his widow Judith (d. 1726), then to his great-nephew Sir Jermyn Davers, Bt., (fn. 45) who sold it in 1732 to Charles Seymour, duke of Somerset. (fn. 46)
Somerset, who greatly increased the estate, (fn. 47) died in 1748, (fn. 48) leaving it to his daughters Frances and Charlotte. In 1750 they married John Manners and Heneage Finch, sons and heirs respectively of the duke of Rutland and the earl of Aylesford, (fn. 49) and together held Cheveley until Frances died in 1761, (fn. 50) when it came to her son Charles Manners. He succeeded his grandfather as 4th duke of Rutland in 1779 and died in 1787. Successive owners in the Manners family were Charles's son John Henry (5th duke, d. 1857), his son Charles Cecil John (6th duke, d. 1888), and the latter's brother John James Robert (7th duke). (fn. 51) The last leased the estate in 1890 and sold it in 1893 to Harry Leslie Blundell McCalmont, heir to a banking fortune (d. 1902). (fn. 52) After McCalmont's widow disclaimed her life interest in 1919, (fn. 53) his trustees and heir sold the estate in 1920 to the Jockey Club, which resold most of it in smaller lots. (fn. 54) The manorial rights were acquired by a firm of Cambridge solicitors. (fn. 55)
John Pulteney had permission to crenellate his house in 1341. (fn. 56) Cheveley castle occupied an isolated moated site 750 m. north-west of the church and well away from the village. The building stood on a rectangular platform 45 m. by 38 m. within a ditch 25 m. wide and 8 m. deep. Traces survive of a curtain wall with circular towers at the north-west and south-east corners and a rectangular building at the southwest. Entry was in the centre of the north side, through a gatehouse of which the footings remained in the 1990s. (fn. 57) The walls and towers were still standing in the early 17th century. (fn. 58)
A park may have been created around the castle by John Pulteney. Sir Robert Cotton's imparkment of 12 a. c. 1510 was probably an addition, (fn. 59) and perhaps marked the abandonment of the castle for a new site. (fn. 60) His grandson Sir John Cotton (d. 1620) built a brick house at the south-west corner of the park. (fn. 61) In the 1660s and 1674 it had 21 hearths. (fn. 62) Henry Jermyn rebuilt it by 1681, when two views were painted for him by Jan Siberechts. (fn. 63) The main rooms occupied a double-pile east wing, of two storeys with attics and basements, facing down an avenue leading from the northern end of the village high street. Its brick seven-bay entrance front was flanked by short projecting wings of two bays containing closets. The great hall in the north wing had presumably been incorporated from the Cottons' house. Service rooms occupied a block to its west. Many of the overdoors and overmantels were by Siberechts, and in 1730 other fine paintings, including a Rubens, hung in the principal rooms. The hall housed portraits of royalist favourites: Henrietta Maria, Prince Rupert, and James II's wives. During the ownership of the Catholic courtier Lord Dover, a protestant mob attacked the house in 1688, gutting the chapel. (fn. 64) The contents were dispersed in 1730 after his widow's death. (fn. 65)
Cheveley Park was much altered by the duke of Somerset after 1732. (fn. 66) Initially he divided the great hall into a kitchen and pantry and removed the closet wings from the east front. Later he extended the front laterally with pavilions at each end, and lengthened the north and west wings. Internally the rooms remained small. (fn. 67) The east and west wings were demolished in 1857-8, when the surviving north range was enlarged and refurbished by the architect William Burn. (fn. 68)
Harry McCalmont demolished that house, building on its site between 1896 and 1898, to designs by R. W. Edis, a large and lavishly appointed neo-Classical mansion also called Cheveley Park, which boasted a 70-ft. long banqueting hall with a minstrels' gallery. (fn. 69) It in turn was stripped of its contents in 1920 and demolished, (fn. 70) the site being occupied in the 1990s by woodland.
The house as rebuilt by Henry Jermyn stood surrounded by formal courts and elaborate flower gardens. To the south a mid 17th-century stable block closed off a court with an oval pond. To the north a large garden had along its east side a raised terrace walk 366 ft. long adorned at 12-ft. intervals by pairs of urns. The entrance court outside the east front lay between walled formal gardens, and west and south-west of the house there were orchards and farm buildings. (fn. 71) The entrance court was incorporated into the park after the creation of Duchess Drive in 1813. (fn. 72) McCalmont retained the terrace walk and the stable, building to its south new farm buildings and houses for estate workers. (fn. 73) The terrace acted as a grandstand for a National Hunt race meeting held in the park in 1893. (fn. 74) The stable was subdivided and converted into houses before the Second World War, and the farm buildings in the 1980s. (fn. 75)
The Cottons' park was extended by Henry Jermyn (fn. 76) to cover 250 a. (fn. 77) In the 18th century the central area was heavily wooded, with avenues giving prospects from the house to the north and north-east besides a distant view of Dalham Hall (Suff.) along the great avenue to the east. Paddocks covered 25 a. along the west side. Clearance of the woodland had begun north of the house by 1775, (fn. 78) and by 1844 had progressed to leave a dozen romantically scattered copses. (fn. 79) A herd of deer was removed in the 1830s. (fn. 80) In the late 19th century an icehouse was dug into the platform of the castle. McCalmont divided the old park into grazing land on the east and stud and dairy farms with new stables and other buildings on the west, adding to it 400 a. to the north, covering all the land between Duchess Drive and the Ashley road. A sinuous carriage road, Centre Drive, led from the north front of the house through the new park to the outskirts of Newmarket. (fn. 81) After the sale of the estate in 1920 the new park was divided into stud farms and building lots. (fn. 82) Most of the trees in the old park were cleared in the mid 20th century, leaving shelter belts and a few plantations. (fn. 83)
BANSTEADS, first called a manor in 1359, (fn. 84) originated with the purchase of c. 300 a. of freehold land in 1308 by John Benstede, an influential minister of Edward I who was knighted that year. (fn. 85) It was held of Cheveley manor in 1582. (fn. 86) Benstede (d. 1323) (fn. 87) settled the estate on his widow Parnel, who died in 1342 having survived her sons Guy and Edmund. The estate passed to Edmund's son John Benstede (d. 1358), (fn. 88) whose eldest son John died a minor in 1359 or 1360 and was succeeded by his brother Edward. (fn. 89) Edward (d. 1432) left as heir his son Sir Edmund (d. 1438), but the manor was held as dower successively by their widows Joan (d. 1448) and Eleanor (d. 1451) before coming to Edmund and Eleanor's grandson Sir John Benstede (d. 1471). (fn. 90) Sir John's son William conveyed the manor to feoffees for Richard Stuteville in 1484. (fn. 91)
Bansteads descended in the male line of the Stutevilles from Richard (d. 1506) to Thomas (d. 1514), Thomas (d. 1571), and Thomas (d. 1606). (fn. 92) The last sold the manor and probably all his land in Cheveley in 1587, the manor and 260 a. out of 486 a. to (Sir) John Cotton, (fn. 93) owner of Cheveley manor, who sold Bansteads to Simon Folkes in 1620. (fn. 94)
Folkes (d. 1642) left the estate for life to his kinsman John Raven, with reversion to his nephew Simon Folkes, (fn. 95) who succeeded between 1652 and 1662 (fn. 96) and died in 1669. (fn. 97) His son John (d. 1708) was succeeded by his son Martin (d. 1746) and the latter by his son, another Martin (d. 1785), whose heirs were his daughters Fanny (d. 1829) and Mary (d. 1828), wives respectively of the rector of Cheveley, the Revd. James Thomas Hand (d. 1834), and the latter's father Christopher (d. 1797). (fn. 98) Both marriages were childless and the estate passed to Christopher's grandson Philip Bennet (d. 1853), whose son and namesake (fn. 99) had sold it with 226 a. by 1858. (fn. 100) William Allison bought it in 1861, (fn. 101) and sold it in 1871 to Thomas Smith, (fn. 102) who sold it in 1876 to his son-in-law Samuel Webb Slater. (fn. 103) It was later sold successively in 1895 to the owner of the Cheveley estate, Harry McCalmont, in 1919 by McCalmont's trustees and heir to Capt. Charles Ashe Windham, in 1923 to James Bennie Reid, and in 1925 to associates of Henry Ernest Morriss. (fn. 104) As Banstead Manor Stud Ltd. the estate was owned by members of the Morriss family until 1987, when they sold it to Prince Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms Ltd. (fn. 105)
The house called Banstead Manor occupies a former moated site of medieval origin. Three arms of the moat, enclosing a platform 40 m. by 53 m., survived in 1844 (fn. 106) but had been mostly filled in by 1885 (fn. 107) and only traces survived in the 1990s. The 17th-century house on the site had seven hearths. (fn. 108) It was replaced in the late 18th century, (fn. 109) evidently in 1792 for Christopher and Mary Hand, by a double-pile house of five bays in brick with stone dressings and slate mansard roofs with dormers. (fn. 110) Many of the architectural details were similar to the contemporary rectory house, built evidently for James Thomas and Fanny Hand; (fn. 111) the story that identical houses had been built for two sisters was current in the village in 1989. (fn. 112) The house was demolished in 1926 and replaced in 1927 with a larger Lutyens-influenced house extended c. 1937. (fn. 113) It has sweeping roofs, prominent chimney stacks, and mullioned windows. The original Chinese furnishings imported by H. E. Morriss had gone by 1989, except for a statue in the grounds.
One sixth of the township of Cheveley was held in 1066 by Eddeva the fair's tenant Heoruwulf, in 1086 by Enisan Musard from Eddeva's successor Count Alan, (fn. 114) and in 1236 by William son of Luke from Henry de Kemesek. (fn. 115) The overlordship was recorded until 1457 as belonging to Count Alan's honor of Richmond; (fn. 116) no undertenant is known after 1236.