Wisbech Hundred: Newton

Pages 201-206

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 4, City of Ely; Ely, N. and S. Witchford and Wisbech Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section


Newton is a village about 4 miles north of Wisbech, lying just west of the 'Roman Bank'. The parish, which in 1934 was increased by 551 acres from West Walton (Norf.), (fn. 1) is of the elongated shape usual in the marshland areas of the Isle and Holland, stretching from the light silt soils by the Nene through heavier silts around the village to peat on clay at the extreme western end in the fen. With an area of about 6 square miles it is smaller than the majority of Isle parishes.

Until 1934 the old course of the Well Stream formed the eastern boundary, which is also the county boundary. (fn. 2) The North Level Main Drain, the principal artificial watercourse of the district, forms part of the boundary between Newton and Tydd on the northwest. The boundary with Leverington on the south is not so clearly defined, and the small hamlet of Fitton End lies across this boundary. The Wisbech-Long Sutton main road (A 1101) crosses the eastern side of the parish. A second-class road (B 1165)-an alternative route from Wisbech to Spalding-forms the main street of the village, and there are several minor roads. The Peterborough-Wisbech-Sutton Bridge branch of British Railways (formerly Midland and Great Northern Joint), which was opened in 1866, (fn. 3) runs along the eastern border parallel to the Nene outfall and has a station about a mile east of the village, known as Ferry from the former crossing for foot passengers to Walton Dam. The centre of the parish is crossed from southwest to north-east by the main electricity transmission line from Peterborough to King's Lynn.

In 1839, out of a total of 2,771 acres of land in the parish surveyed in connexion with the tithe award, there were 1,751 acres of arable, 781 of meadow and pasture, and 62 acres of inclosed common. By an inclosure award made in 1849, 166 acres were distributed in small lots. A further 73 acres were distributed by a supplementary award of 1851. (fn. 4) At the present day a large part of the land is devoted to fruit, potatoes, and market-gardening, as in all the northern parishes of the Isle.


Like Leverington, Tydd, and other parishes on the 'North side', Newton was protected from the sea by the ancient sea bank. (fn. 5) By inquisition taken in 1437, a jury found that this bank beginning at Tydd Gote and extending to Bevis Cross in Wisbech ought to be kept 15 ft. high and 6 ft. wide at the top, and to be maintained by every tenant of lands in Wisbech, Leverington, Tydd St. Giles, and Newton according to the proportion of their holdings. (fn. 6) The marshlands of Newton were inclosed by decree of Chancery in 1665. William Colvile, as lord of the manor, claimed the ownership of the soil of all the common marshes, and that the inhabitants of Newton had only a right of common over them. These contentions were upheld by the inclosure commissioners, who awarded Colvile 371 acres out of the marsh, free from all claims of the Bishop of Ely and the inhabitants or others claiming under them. The remaining part of the marshland was allotted at the rate of 5 acres for each commonable house. Every tenant had 1s. for each lot added to his quit-rent. The allotments comprised a total of 518 acres, at five score to the hundred. The following roads were laid out: Sutton or Lincolnshire Road (10 a. 2 r. 28 p.). Hundred Acre or Wesel Hill Drove (now known as the Little Ramper) (3a. o r. 8 p.), Lott or Chapel Drove (2 a. 3 r. 11 p.), Ferry House Drove (2 a. 3 r. 36 p.), and the Drove or roadway below the Bank from Fitton Gold Gate to the Chapel on the Sea (3 a. o r. 28 p.). The marsh was first ploughed in 1667 or 1668.

By the award the Bishop of Ely became entitled to 50 acres of the newly inclosed marshlands. This land lay on the south side of the Little Ramper and abutted upon the Leverington border. (fn. 7) It was let on 21-year beneficial leases, which were generally renewed by the tenants some time before their expiry. In 1871 the Bishop sold all his rights to the then tenants for £2,550. (fn. 8)

The earliest terrier or town book extant, so far as is known, was made in 1688 by Thomas Skepp. (fn. 9) It comprised only the high lands (some 948 acres), held by 32 owners, (fn. 10) together with the manor house, 34 messuages, 2 tenements, and 2 cottages. The principal owners were the lord of the manor, William Colvile (520 a.), the heirs of John Colvile (67 a.), the Master of the Chapel, i.e. the Rector (97 a.), Thomas Edwards (83 a.), John Snell (44 a.) and Thomas Davis (32 a.). The next surviving terrier was made in 1712. It shows that there were then 518 acres in the Marsh and 818 in the Fen held by 10 and 11 owners respectively. (fn. 11) In 1744 John Lumpkin made a terrier of Newton Fen 'as it lyes now, since it has been drain'd and exchanged'. The drainage can only have been that carried out by Henry Dereham in 1635 (see Tydd St. Giles) and Lumpkin's words suggest that there had taken place in Newton after the drainage a wholesale reallotment of lands by exchange in order to bring dispersed holdings together into more manageable units. According to the 1744 terrier the Fen consisted of 818 acres. The chief owners were: the lord (417 a.); the heirs of Henry Pitchford (86 a.); Nicholas Lumpkin (76 a.); the Rector (68 a.); John Pitchford (57 a.); Robert Mears (37 a.). Only two houses are mentioned-both in Earl's Doles.

The parish fields in Newton are as follows. In the high land: Meadow and West Fields, Fall Him, New Croft, Goole or Gull and Long Fields, Hard Croft, Crofts, Fitton Croft, Old Rowles and Gaul Fields, Whirler's Hill, Parrock Field, Short Lands, Fen Lands, Karrow or Seagate Field, Church Croft, Mud Croft, Dooles or Gotelands, Sterts or Sterdyke Field, and New Lands. In the fen: Leets Lane End, Earl's Doles, Hundred Acre, Black Lane, Bar, Midlinham, Richolme, Queen's Dolfe and Turnore Fields, (fn. 12) and Watery Pits.


Newton is not mentioned in Domesday Book. The first authentic reference occurs c. 1210, (fn. 13) and the name of the village suggests that it may have been a very late settlement, like Elm (q.v.). It is significant also that Newton is not mentioned at all in the earliest (1221) of the Ely episcopal cartularies, (fn. 14) and only in a cursory manner in that of 1251. (fn. 15)

As in all the manors of the Isle that were not explicitly reserved to the prior and convent in 1109, the Bishop of Ely was overlord, and he was by implication still so considered in 1851. (fn. 16) Butfor many centuries before he had held no immediate rights in Newton. At the beginning of the 13th century there was one tenant by military service, Stephen de Marisco, who held 1 fee of the bishop in Newton and Walsoken (Norf.). (fn. 17) It seems that during the next half century the manor was subinfeudated to his family, for in 1267 Geoffrey de Marisco, Stephen's son, was granted free warren in his demesnes at Newton. (fn. 18) The 1251 cartulary shows that the bishop held no demesne in Newton in severally, nor are any of his customary tenants mentioned. (fn. 19) The rents payable to the bishop moreover amounted to no more than 12d. Stephen (sic) de Marisco, (fn. 20) on the other hand, held an unspecified amount of land by military service which had been commuted for 6s. 8d.

Geoffrey de Marisco was the last in the male line, and his daughter Desiree, by her marriage to Sir Roger Colvile of Carlton Colvile (Suff.), brought the manor to the family which was so prominently associated with Newton until the end of the 18th century. (fn. 21) Several of the Colviles were men of mark. Sir Geoffrey (d. 1317), son of Roger and Desirée, was knighted in company with Edward Prince of Wales (1306). His son Sir John I fought at Crécy and took part in the later French campaigns of Edward III. To him the grant of free warren, made to de Marisco in 1267, was confirmed in 1353. (fn. 22) Before his death (1361) he settled the manor for his own benefit should he return from France, or for that of his son, another John. In 1361 the manor was extended at 6s. 8d. for the site of the manor house, 200 acres of arable demesne at 1s. 6d. an acre, 40 acres of pasture (4d. an acre), a windmill worth 15s., rents of £160s. 4d., commutation of labour services 40s., and perquisites of court 20s. It was stated to be held by socage. (fn. 23) John Colvile II, who succeeded his father, (fn. 24) was knighted in 1367 and died in 1394. (fn. 25) His eldest son, Sir John Colvile III, was perhaps the most remarkable member of the family. In 1409 he was sent by Henry IV on an important mission to Italy, (fn. 26) and at the end of the following year he was appointed Constable of Wisbech Castle, a position which he held until at least 1446. (fn. 27) In 1412 he accompanied an expedition to France against the Duke of Orleans, and the following year commanded a naval force which won a victory over the French in the English Channel. He fought at Agincourt, and for these and other services was granted a pension of £40 a year for life. He was the founder of the College of St. Mary by the Sea in Newton. (fn. 28) Sir John Colvile IV, his eldest son, was sheriff in 1459 and died ten years later. (fn. 29) His eldest surviving son Francis was then an infant, and the family estates were entrusted to the Bishop of Lincoln, who sold the custody to Anne, John's relict. Anne's second husband, Sir Robert Brandon, forcibly excluded Francis from his lands when he came of age, and he apparently never enjoyed them, as Anne outlived him by a few months. At her death in 1494 the manor passed to Richard Colvile, Francis's son; it comprised 12 messuages, 10 cottages, land, estimated at 100 acres of arable, meadow, and marsh severally, together worth £30, and £10 rents in Wisbech, Leverington, Newton, and Tydd. (fn. 30) At Richard's death in 1525 the manor, with lands in the village and in Leverington, Tydd St. Giles, and Wisbech, was valued at £30. (fn. 31)

Son succeeded father for another three generations, (fn. 32) until the death (1611) of Thomas Colvile (knighted 1611). (fn. 33) He left no son and no will, and his brother Richard succeeded. Richard's eldest son John was accidentally killed at the age of 7, (fn. 34) and on his death in 1650 (fn. 35) he was succeeded by William, his second son, who was a devoted Royalist and sheriff in 1660. He died without surviving issue, and was succeeded by his brother Jeffrey (d. 1699), who lived at Walsoken. Richard, Jeffrey's surviving son, was a member of the Inner Temple and resided chiefly there or at Harrow. He died childless in 1723. He devised all his lands, subject to the life interest of his relict, to his nephew Robert Barker for life with remainder to his issue in tail. In default of issue the lands were to go to his nephew Colvile Lumpkin, son of Richard's sister Susannah by her second marriage to John Lumpkin, in like manner. (fn. 36) Portions of the estate had to be sold or assigned to meet debts and legacies, (fn. 37) and when Robert Barker (who assumed the name and arms of Colvile) succeeded his uncle the estate was much encumbered. He immediately began the task of restoring the fortunes of the family. He would rise early to see that the work on the estate was properly carried out, and gave his personal attention to every particular. In his time the estate was richly wooded, chiefly with oak and ash, and he would not allow any felling. Church services had to wait until he had taken his seat, and no one was allowed to walk out of church before him. In spite of his severity and reserve he was greatly loved by all the villagers, and long after his death personal anecdotes were current in Newton. (fn. 38) He was a county magistrate, sheriffin 1739 and Town Bailiff of Wisbech in 1769; he possessed much property in the town in the right of his second wife. His only son Richard, who succeeded him in 1778, was also Town Bailiff of Wisbech, but his tenure of that office was unfortunate. (fn. 39) He had the reputation of a spendthrift, and at his death (1784) the estate subject to incumbrances devolved upon his son Robert, the last of the Colviles to enjoy the property. Robert Colvile was amiable but unbusinesslike, and in 1792 contracted to sell the whole to James Redin for £47,532. The estate comprised manorial rights in Newton, Walpole, and West Walton, the Hall, and nine farms comprising 1,682 acres. (fn. 40) Redin sold the estate in lots at a considerable profit and demolished the Hall, (fn. 41) replacing it by a farmhouse which still exists. His son, another James Redin, lived there until 1824. A subsequent owner (1864-71) was Richard Young, M.P., the Wisbech shipowner. His representatives retained possession until 1901, when the Hall was bought by John Wing (d. 1910). In 1920 it was sold by John Wing's trustees to G. F. Hoyles, who lived there until his death in 1951.

The manorial rights and certain other parts of the estate were bought by Steed Girdlestone, a Wisbech solicitor, in 1814 for £11,900. By 1851 (fn. 42) they had come to the Jackson family of Wisbech, another wellknown lawyer family, and were held by trustees of this family in 1933. (fn. 43)

In 1232-3 William de Lirling held, of the honour of Wormegay, (fn. 44) 1 fee in Larling, Rushworth (Norf.), and Newton, and in 1253 he had a grant of free warren in all these places. (fn. 45) Maud de Lyrling, the last of this family, in 1302-3 (fn. 46) held ¼ fee in Newton of the same honour, for 10s. (fn. 47) In 1346 this was held by her grandson John Cunvyle, (fn. 48) and in 1428 by Edmund Gonvile. (fn. 49) The estate descended twice through female lines to his great-granddaughter Anne, relict of John Scrope of Bolton, knight. (fn. 50) At her death in 1498 it is described as a manor, worth 6 marks and held of the Bishop of Ely, again at ¼ fee. (fn. 51) Before Anne's death the manor had been settled upon trustees to the use of John son of Henry Scrope. Trustees were dealing with the manor in 1499, (fn. 52) and again in 1528, when the manor was estimated at 200 acres of land, 20 of meadow, 40 of pasture, 10 of wood, and 40s. rent. (fn. 53) John Scrope of Hambleden (Bucks.) and Spennithorne (Yorks.), to whom the manor had been devised in 1498, is found in possession c. 1538-44, when he was at issue with Robert Boswell over the tenancy of a messuage and 20 acres held of the manor of LARLINGS HALL by homage, fealty, and 12s. rent. (fn. 54) By 1592 this manor had become vested in John Colvile of Newton, who then entailed it; (fn. 55) after this it descended with the main manor.

In 1494 Francis Colvile died seised of the manor of BODERS or BEDERS, held of the Bishop of Ely by knight's service. (fn. 56) This manor is not again recorded, but it was perhaps the same as the manor of BUSSEY'S or RUDHALL'S with which John Colvile was dealing in 1584. (fn. 57) Rudhall's thereafter descended like Larlings, with which it is invariably associated.


Adjoining the west end of the churchyard is an old house, formerly the property of Robert Jackson, who succeeded to it on the death of his mother Margaret about the year 1659. (fn. 58) He in turn gave it by will to his daughter Ann, who in 17 20 sold it to John Lump kin of Newton. (fn. 59) The latter was born in 1681 and was the eldest son of John Lumpkin of Park House, Leverington (q.v.), but settled at Newton and in 1709 married Susan daughter and heiress of Jeffrey Colvile, owner of the Newton Hall estate. Jeffrey Colvile had died in 1699 leaving Susan, his only surviving child, who had married as her first husband Robert Barker. Robert Barker the father had died in 1708 leaving a son Robert who thus became the heir presumptive to the great Colvile property; and when his mother married John Lumpkin as her second husband and had issue by him an only son, Colvile Lumpkin, born in 1712, the boy was designated as next heir in the event of his half-brother's prior death. (fn. 60) According to tradition (fn. 61) young Robert Barker was sent to sea, not without the connivance (so it was said) of the Lumpkins, and was badly injured by a falling spar which crushed his foot and made him lame for life. Apart from this he returned unscathed to Newton in time to succeed to his uncle Richard Colvile's estate on the latter's death in 1723, subject to the life interest of Frances, Richard Colvile's relict. Robert Barker assumed the name and arms of Colvile in accordance with his uncle's will.

Meanwhile John Lumpkin had established himself in the house next the church, which he appears to have rebuilt, and took a very active part in the life of the village and church (see Church). He purchased much land in Newton, Tydd St. Giles, and West Walton. By will dated 2 September 1760 (fn. 62) he gave his Newton properties to his wife for life and then to his daughter Elizabeth Harber and her two children.

Elizabeth, upon whom the Lumpkin House thus devolved, was John's only surviving daughter by his second marriage. She married Bartholomew Harber (or Arbor), (fn. 63) who died in 1753. John Harber, her son, was succeeded by his son Bartholomew, who died intestate in 1853 and the Lumpkin House passed to his daughter Elizabeth Lumpkin Harber. She died in 1893, when the house and 7½ acres of land were sold to Canon A. R. Evans, Rector of Newton, who subsequently gave a portion of the land for enlarging the churchyard and sold the remainder to the late Thomas Eyre. The old house has now been converted into two cottages and belongs to Mr. Gee, but in earlier days it had a number of attractive features. A stone panel carved with the Lumpkin arms extended over the front door, with the date 1728 and the initials J. and E. L. (fn. 64) The door opened into a square entrance hall from which a handsome flight of stairs led to the first floor. There were two other staircases; and a fourth (outside) staircase of stonework used to exist but has long since been taken down to make room for a pantry. Some wood panelling lined what was probably the drawing-room, and there were until recently remains of old carving and Dutch tiles.

ABBEY GREEN, so called from John Abby who lived there, was originally part of the Colville estate and was included in the sale to James Redin in 1793. Redin resold to Francis Taylor of Newton, afterwards of Wisbech, who died in 1818, devising his Newton property to his wife Sarah. From the Taylors it passed to the Pecks, who added to the house the block of large rooms on the south side. Thomas Patrick of Lynn, who married into that family, sold the property early in the present century to the late Thomas Eyre, whose son Mr. T. E. Eyre now owns it and resides there.

THE SHRUBBERIES lies in Crofts, near the corner formed by High Green or the Newton High Street, and Mill Lane. The predecessor of the present house belonged to Thomas Edwards the elder, of Wisbech, who in 1702 settled it upon his son Thomas Edwards of Isleworth (Mdx.) on the latter's marriage with Joyce Sawyer of St. Martin in the Fields. The younger Thomas devised the property by will dated 1725 to trustees, the survivor of whom sold it in 1748 to Samuel Shepheard of Exning (Suff.). In 1793 Shepheard's trustees sold the house and about 145 acres to John Taylor, then tenant, for £5,000. He was succeeded by his only son John, who died in 1802 v.p., leaving the Revd. John Taylor his son and heir. It is probable that it was he who rebuilt the Shrubberies. He died in 1867, and his son Edward Whitty Taylor sold the whole property in lots, when the house and 62 acres were purchased by Matthew Webster. It was acquired eventually by John Wing, who died in 1910, and was sold by his Trustees in 1945 to Mr. G. J. Smith, whose son Mr. G. T. Smith is now (1951) the owner and occupier of it.

NEWTON HOUSE, in New Croft, belonged to the Colvile family on the break-up of the estate, and was ultimately purchased by Thomas Foster. The latter sold it for £4,100 to Robert West of Newton, who dying in 1803 was succeeded by his son Robert. The latter died in 1852, devising the property to two of his sons, Samuel and Stephen. Stephen, the sixth and youngest son, lived at Newton House and farmed extensively in the village. The farm was sold by his executors in 1898 to John Wing, who resided there until 1901, when he purchased Newton Hall (q.v.). In 1920 Newton House and lands were sold by John Wing's Trustees to Mr. John Mills Wilson, whose son Mr. Gordon Mills Wilson now resides there.


The advowson of the church has always been with the Bishop of Ely, and like most of the churches on episcopal manors, Newton was never appropriated. The value was £13 6s. 8d. in 1217, £23 6s. 8d. in 1254, and £40 in 1291. (fn. 65) The same amount was returned in 1341 (fn. 66) but reduced to £16 13s. 4d. because 1,520 acres of land formerly arable were devastated and submerged by the waters. (fn. 67) In 1535 the value, including the chapel of St. Mary in the Marsh, was £18 14s. 8d. (fn. 68) This chapel, which had belonged to the Chantry or College of St. Mary by the Sea founded early in the 15th century, (fn. 69) was one of the few of its kind to remain after the suppression of chantries under Edward VI, being specifically excepted in the Act of Suppression of 1548. (fn. 70) The endowments of the college, of which the Rector of Newton was Master, (fn. 71) were transferred to the rectory of Newton, which explains the large amount of glebe-at one time some 400 acres in 11 neighbouring parishes-attached to the living. In 1839, when the tithes were commuted for a rent charge of £710, there were 176 acres of glebe. (fn. 72) In 1918 about 324 acres of the Newton glebe, comprising all the parts in other parishes and some in Newton itself, were sold in 46 lots. (fn. 73)

There were two guilds at Newton in 1452, those of St. Katherine and St. John. In that year each received a legacy of 20d. under the will of John Gowe of Newton. (fn. 74) The former at least was still in existence in 1525, when it was the contingent residuary legatee in respect of £240 left by Richard Colvile. (fn. 75) Lights of the Blessed Virgin, the Crucifix, St. Katherine, and St. John are mentioned in the will of Katherine Austin of Newton, 1455. (fn. 76) The third and fourth of these were doubtless maintained by the guilds of St. Katherine and St. John.

The church of ST. JAMES, formerly of St. Katherine, (fn. 77) consists of chancel, small north organ chamber, nave, aisles, south porch, and west tower. The walls are covered with cement and the roofs are leaded. The fabric is of late-12th-century origin, to which period belong the columns of the nave arcades. In the 14th century the aisles were rebuilt and widened, the south porch added, and the present tower erected. Early in the 15th century the eastern part of the north aisle was fitted up as a lady chapel by Sir John Colvile III (d. 1446); figures of him and his wife Alice (Wythe) existed in stained glass in the second window in the aisle in Cole's time (1744) (fn. 78) but have now disappeared. For many generations members of the Colvile family were buried in a vault at the east end of this aisle. During the 14th century the arches of the arcades were rebuilt and the piers raised, a clerestory added, and the chancel rebuilt. In 1718 John Lumpkin (d. 1762), churchwarden for 51 years, (fn. 79) carried out some decorations. 'The whole church', says Cole, 'was neatly painted and adorned with figures and sentences and the pillars painted like marble. The pulpit', he adds, which stood against the last pillar in the middle aisle, was 'curiously painted and gilt with a fine gilt canopy'. (fn. 80) Lumpkin and his three wives were buried just below the altar step of the north aisle but the grave slabs have gone. (fn. 81) The church was restored between 1853 and 1878, when new roofs were provided and the organ chamber built. Until 1879 two bays of each aisle were bricked off. That of the north aisle has been used as a vestry and a British school. The other had contained the staircase to the organ gallery, which occupied the west end of the nave. The brick walls and other partitions were then removed. At the same time the font was removed from the centre of the cross aisles to the south aisle, a new heating apparatus was installed, a part of the north aisle was enclosed by a low screen to form a vestry, and the organ was placed on the floor towards the west end of the nave. In 1890-3 a new organ, choir stalls, altar table, rood screen, and two stained glass windows were provided at the cost of Canon A. R. Evans, rector 1885-1907. (fn. 82)

Plan of St. James's Church

The chancel has an east window of four lights with renewed tracery of 15th-century character. There are angle buttresses and two windows in the north and south walls which are of two cinquefoiled lights with rectilinear tracery under a square head. The 15thcentury chancel arch is two-centred and of two orders with moulded caps; the bases are concealed.

The nave arcades are of five bays with 15th-century two-centred arches of two orders resting on octagonal moulded caps; the piers are round with square bases and are of the end of the 12th century. The responds belong to the 15th-century reconstruction and have rounded shafts and moulded caps. The clerestory windows are of two cinquefoiled lights. The tower arch is two-centred and of two orders with moulded caps to the responds, the bases of which are concealed; it is of the 14th century. All the aisle windows are 14thcentury work and of two lights, except the east and west windows of the north aisle and the east window of the south aisle, which are of three lights; all are trefoilheaded. The north doorway has continuous mouldings to its two-centred arch, and a hood-mould. The north aisle (the Colvile Chapel) has buttresses with two setoffs, and the south aisle buttresses are gabled with one set-off. The rood stair is contrived in the south-east angle of the north aisle, with plain upper and lower doorways both in the aisle, the upper being connected with an opening in the north-east angle of the nave wall by a small bridge of brick; the whole arrangement belongs to the latter part of the 15th century. There is a piscina in the north aisle with cinquefoiled head. The 14th-century porch has a two-centred outer arch with a hood-mould; the columns are of two orders with moulded caps and bases. There are two-light windows on the east and west. The inner doorway has continuous mouldings and a hood terminating in the heads of a king and queen.

The tower is of three stages, with gabled angle buttresses on the west and diagonal buttresses on the east, also gabled. The newel stair is contrived in the southwest angle. The west doorway has a two-centred arch and continuous mouldings, with a hood terminating in heads, now much decayed. Above is a window of three lights with mid-14th-century tracery and a hood terminating in heads. The middle stage has single trefoil-headed lights on the north, south, and west, and the belfry windows have two cinquefoiled lights which appear to be 15th-century insertions. There is an embattled parapet.

All the roofs are modern.

The 15th-century font has a hexagonal bowl, the sides of which have sunk quatrefoils containing blank shields; the shaft is panelled. There is a 13th-century stone coffin-lid in the chancel with a foliated cross, much weathered as a result of having long served as a part of the coping of the churchyard wall. Above the tower arch on the west wall of the nave is a blazon, the royal arms of George IV, on canvas of tympanic form, which was originally in the chancel arch.

The plate consists of a communion cup, paten, and flagon, all of 1663 and silver gilt, and an alms dish of silver, 1662. The first three items were presented by the executors of Bishop Laney in 1674. (fn. 83) In 1552 there were 3 large and 3 small bells and a sanctus bell. (fn. 84) Shortly before 1641-2, 3 of these bells were cast into 4 and new frames provided. (fn. 85) The tower now contains six bells by T. Osborn of Downham, 1786, which were rehung in a steel frame in 1912. (fn. 86)

The registers begin in 1653 and are complete.

In c. 1547 the rector lived in the College of St. Mary. (fn. 87) The present rectory is a comely late Georgian house of two stories with attics and a back addition of 3 stories.

The chapel of St. Mary in the Marsh stood in the grounds of the present rectory. The building, though recognizable in 1572 (fn. 88) and in the later 18th century, (fn. 89) has long since disappeared, but incumbents of Newton are still inducted into the rectory of Newton with St. Mary in the Marsh.


There were no recusants in Newton in 1676. (fn. 90) In 1869 both the Free and Primitive Methodists erected chapels. The latter chapel was closed before 1900 and was converted into cottages, which in that year were sold by James Smith to John Wing. (fn. 91) The cottages are at the western end of the village, nearly opposite the Woodman's Arms Inn. The Free Methodist chapel, which has a Sunday school, is a brick building seating 130 persons. (fn. 92) It is in the High Street of the village.


A schoolmaster, Roger Pinchbeck, was appointed at Newton in 1582. (fn. 93) At the end of the 18th century there were about 10 boys and 10 girls at the village school out of a total child population of 49, of which about two-thirds required free education. The schoolmistress received £8 a year from the parish, and £2 2s. as a donation from the rector; some of the inhabitants were paying 3d. a week for their children's education, and 3d. was also payable for girls learning needlework. The boys, as was generally the case, were removed from school as soon as capable of farm work. (fn. 94) This school was held in the vestry of the church, and in 1851 in the tower. (fn. 95) A better state of things was inaugurated in this year, when Dr. G. E. Corrie, Master of Jesus College, was appointed rector. In 1853 he built at his sole cost a permanent school for about 100 children, (fn. 96) which in 1876 was reported to be 'amply supplied with funds by private contributors'. (fn. 97) In 1910 the recognized accommodation, which had been 114, was reduced to 93 (71 mixed, 22 infants). During the early years of the 20th century Newton, like other marshland parishes, had an increasing population, and by 1916 the school was so crowded that the infants had to be taught in the parish room. The situation was aggravated by the deterioration of the buildings. In 1926 one classroom was declared unusable, but it was found impossible to raise money voluntarily to improve the buildings and in 1928 the school was transferred to the County Council. A new school was erected on a new site, and named on its opening (1930) the Colvile County Primary School, after the family so long associated with the lordship of the manor. This school, which provided 124 places, cost £4,400; it included a practical instruction room, and in 1938 additional land was bought for a school garden and playing-fields. As a new building, the school has not so far been 'decapitated', and since 1933 has taken the senior children from Tydd St. Giles. The resultant overcrowding (140 on the roll, 1949) was remedied by the erection of a twoclassroom hut in 1950. (fn. 98) The old school has been purchased by the Newton Women's Institute.


  • 1. By the M. of H. Prov. Orders Conf. (Ely, Holland and Norf.) Act, 1933.
  • 2. The 551 acres transferred from West Walton in 1934 represent the area between the former and present courses of the Nene.
  • 3. V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 132-3.
  • 4. Awards at County Hall, March.
  • 5. a. See plate facing p. 90.
  • 6. W. Dugdale, Hist. Imbanking, 319.
  • 7. The substance of the award and the information about ploughing the marsh are entered in the terrier of 1688-see note 8 below.
  • 8. Wisb. MSS.
  • 9. Copy penes Mr. G. M. G. Woodgate. There are earlier terriers of the glebe alone (Bp.'s Mun., H. 1).
  • 10. The Court R. (in Wisb. Mus.) show the names of a number of copyholders or small freeholders whose names do not appear in the terrier, so that the latter cannot be regarded as completely exact, unless such owners as were entitled held their lands in the Fen.
  • 11. Copy penes Mr. G. M. G. Woodgate.
  • 12. Cf. Turnover Bank in this field.
  • 13. Newton is mentioned in the (probably spurious) charter of Wulfhere to Peterborough, 664. The ref. in P. N. Cambs. (E.P.N.S.), 274, to A. J. Robertson, Angl. Sax. Chart. 192, 440, probably refers to Newton (Suff.).
  • 14. B.M. Cott. MS. Tib. B. II.
  • 15. Ibid. Claud. C. XI, f. 86a.
  • 16. R. Gardner, Dir. Cambs, 555.
  • 17. Bk. of Fees, 629.
  • 18. Cal. Chart. R., 1257-1300, 99.
  • 19. B.M. Cott. MS. Claud. C. XI, f. 86a.
  • 20. The fact that a long-dead de Marisco tenant is still set down as holding by military service suggests that this section of the cartulary was compiled from earlier ones and not checked on the spot.
  • 21. A privately printed Hist. of the Colvile Family, by Sir C., C. R., and Z. Colvile, 1896, from which many of the following references are taken. It includes a detailed survey of the manor, 1395.
  • 22. Cal. Pat. 1350-4, 406.
  • 23. C 135/155/15.
  • 24. Cal. Inq. p.m. xii, no. 461 (p. 435).
  • 25. Hist. of the Colvile Family.
  • 26. Ibid.
  • 27. Ely Dioc. Remembrancer, no. 208, p. 181.
  • 28. For an account of this foundation, see V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 312-14.
  • 29. Will dated 5 Mar. 1469 (P.C.C. Godwyn 30).
  • 30. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, no. 1098, p. 468.
  • 31. C 142/43/63.
  • 32. Richard Colvile, will dated 28 Aug. 1525 (P.C.C. Bodfield 39), Geoffrey Colvile, will dated 20 Oct. 1571 (P.C.C. Pyckering 58), John Colvile, will dated 1 Apr. 1590 (P.C.C. Harrington 4).
  • 33. To illustrate the rise in values then taking place, the one-third value of the estate payable as dower to Sir Thomas's relict amounted to £350 a year (Wisb. MSS.). She was also assigned, amongst other things, a coach with three horses, a road mare, one small hand basin, a ewer of silver, and other effects.
  • 34. 'John son of Richard Colvile Esq. of Newton a boy of 7 years, suddenly, by a fall from his horse and receiving a mortal wound from the horse's hoof was killed 7 September and buried the following day' (entry in Newton Parish Reg.).
  • 35. Will proved Dec. 1723 (P.C.C. Richmond 253).
  • 36. Ibid.
  • 37. Copy of conveyance penes Mr. G. M. G. Woodgate.
  • 38. Hist. of the Colvile Family.
  • 39. See p. 257.
  • 40. Copy of deeds of Lease and Release 1793, penes Mr. G. W. G. Woodgate.
  • 41. A view of the Hall prior to its demolition, showing the gardens overgrown into shrubberies, is in W. Watson, Hist. Wisb. (1827). It is supposed that the cellars under the present dwelling house are those of the old Hall.
  • 42. Gardner, Dir. Cambs. 555.
  • 43. Kelly, Dir. Cambs.
  • 44. Bk. Fees, 1466.
  • 45. Cal. Chart. R. 1226-57, 418.
  • 46. F. Blomefield, Norf. i, 285.
  • 47. Feud. Aids, i, 141, 151.
  • 48. Ibid. 172.
  • 49. Ibid. 191.
  • 50. Complete Peerage, xi, 545.
  • 51. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, ii, no. 193 (p. 127).
  • 52. C.P. 25(1)/30/101.
  • 53. C.P. 25(2)/4/19.
  • 54. C 1/1069/5.
  • 55. C 142/233/98/3.
  • 56. Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. VII, i, no. 1098 (p. 468). It was, with the main manor of Newton, worth £40 yearly.
  • 57. C.P. 25(2)/93/849.
  • 58. He was admitted to the copyhold portion in 1659 (Wisb. Mus., Newton Ct. R.).
  • 59. Ibid.
  • 60. P.C.C. Richmond 253.
  • 61. Hist. of the Colvile Family.
  • 62. Office copy will among Wisbech MSS.
  • 63. Marriage settlement dated 3 Dec. 1737 comprising Harber property in Leverington; followed by a settlement of about 32 acres of Lumpkin land in Newton dated 7 and 8 Mar. 1744, of which latter settlement the Rector of Leverington and the Vicar of Elm were the Trustees (Wisbech MSS.).
  • 64. No authority for their use has been found and it must be assumed that the user was arbitrary. The arms consisted of two bars gemel on a plain field with a crescent for difference.
  • 65. W. E. Lunt, Valuation of Norw., 539.
  • 66. Ibid.
  • 67. Inq. Non. (Rec. Com.), 203.
  • 68. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii, 500.
  • 69. V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 312-14.
  • 70. 1 Edw. VI, c. 14, s. 15. Printed in Stat. of the Realm, iv, 28.
  • 71. S.C. 12/6/19.
  • 72. 2,771 acres of land were surveyed.
  • 73. Much of the proceeds of the sale was devoted to the augmentation of benefices in the diocese.
  • 74. B.M. Add. MS. 5805, f. 104.
  • 75. P.C.C. 39 Bodfield.
  • 76. W. M. Palmer, Village Gilds of Cambs. 396.
  • 77. So called in will of Beatrice Edmonde of Leverington, proved 1454 in Ely Consistory Ct., and in Newton Terrier of 1688 (copy penes Mr. G. M. G. Woodgate).
  • 78. B.M. Add. MS. 5805, ff. 111-15.
  • 79. As recorded in the entry of his burial in the parish reg.
  • 80. B.M. Add. MS. 5805, f. 114.
  • 81. Ibid. f. 113.
  • 82. Memo. at end of Newton parish reg., Vol. II, printed in W. Watson, Hist. Wisb., 481.
  • 83. There is a note to this effect in Newton parish reg.
  • 84. E 315/495, p. 156.
  • 85. C 3/424/55.
  • 86. Kelly, Dir. Cambs. (1933).
  • 87. S.C. 12/6/19.
  • 88. V.C.H. Cambs. ii, 313.
  • 89. Parish Map of Newton in Wisb. Mus.
  • 90. Bp.'s Mun., Ely, A 6.
  • 91. Title Deeds.
  • 92. Meth. Ch. Bldgs. Stat. Returns as at 1 July 1940 (priv. printed 1947).
  • 93. A. Gibbons, Ely Episc. Rec., 187.
  • 94. Bp.'s Mun., Ely, B 6.
  • 95. Gardner, Dir. Cambs. 556.
  • 96. Kelly, Dir. Cambs. (1900).
  • 97. M. of Ed. File no. 12/41.
  • 98. M. of Ed. File no. 12/41.