A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1973.
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Orwell, (fn. 1) alleged to be named after the 'golden spring or well' which has its source in the village, lies equidistant between Cambridge and Royston, south of the road from Cambridge to Arrington Bridge. The parish includes Malton Farm, all that is left of the former village of Malton. Malton may have developed from an independent settlement, Mealca's farm, in the south-east part of Orwell parish. (fn. 2) It was not recorded in the Domesday survey, but by 1216 (fn. 3) it was a separate parish with a church, and was paying taxes independently by 1250. (fn. 4) Although Malton has remained separate from Orwell, Orwell constables had responsibility for Malton's dikes in the 17th century, (fn. 5) and from time to time Malton was considered to be a part of Orwell. In 1677 the Malton poor-rate was assessed with Orwell's (fn. 6) but in 1765 it was assessed separately. (fn. 7) Generally Malton was considered to be part of Orwell by the late 18th century.
Orwell parish is elongated and irregular in shape, broader at the south end and tapering gradually towards the north. The north-east boundary follows a chalk ridge along which a ridgeway, the Mare Way, runs from the main road across the tops of Fox Hill, Thorn Hill, and Sharp Hill. Beyond Sharp Hill the boundary turns south-south-east to the main road, which it follows west for c. ¾ mile, before continuing south to the river Cam or Rhee. The south boundary follows the river to below Malton bridge, and turns north to follow the Orwell-Malton road and an old bridle way running across a spur to join the main road. Throughout its history the parish has been agricultural, and there was a brief period at the end of the 19th century when coprolites were dug and a brewery was in operation.
The parish contains 2,083 a., lying over gault in the south, through which the river flows, and on the chalk ridge in the north. A spur of the chalk ridge projects south-west into the parish from Fox Hill, the highest point in the parish at 224 ft. The spur ends in Toot Hill, 110 ft. high, beneath which the village is situated. Several streams cross the parish, the largest being that called the Brook which runs south-east from Wimpole across the parish and into the river. The spring which gave the village its name rises just below the church and runs south-east for c. ¾ mile to join the Brook. In 1836 there were three public watering-places in Orwell village, Norma's pond on High Street, Stocks Lane well near the school, and Orwell well near the junction of Fisher's Lane and Town Green Road. (fn. 8)
The heavy gault in the south part of the parish and along the Brook made the land water-logged. Marsh close was recorded in 1590, (fn. 9) Malton Ponds and Brew in 1593, (fn. 10) and Meere furlong in 1600. (fn. 11) Parish officers were appointed to supervise the cleaning and repair of dikes in the 15th century, (fn. 12) and Nubbler's ditch had been made at least by 1600. (fn. 13) Baldock ditch had been excavated by 1631, (fn. 14) Hurdle, North, and Springwell ditches by 1756, (fn. 15) and by 1837 the Brook in Orwell had been straightened as a public drain. A second public drain made in 1837 followed the south-east boundary. (fn. 16) The Malton section of the Brook was straightened in 1848, and a little earlier two-thirds of the Malton land had been drained. (fn. 17) Two rectangular, contiguous moats exist at Malton south-east of the farm, on a watercourse running parallel to the river, and may once have drained the site of the settlement.
There was said to be an earthwork on the hillside below Orwell church to the south of Fisher's Lane, (fn. 18) where a mound named the Lordship stood in 1686. (fn. 19) The site was taken for the infants' school c. 1883. (fn. 20) Orwell probably grew up around the junction of an old way from Whaddon to Harlton with another from Wimpole to Barrington. In 1686 the parish was crossed by several roads which were closed at inclosure in 1837. Fisher's Lane continued northwest across the Cambridge road, the old Roman road, towards Wimpole, and east along High Street to Barrington. The Lunway, or Malton road, crossed the Barrington-Orwell road, and continued north over the hill to Harlton. Hurdleditch way continued south into Farthing way which skirted Malton and joined the Great Potter's way. The Great and Little Potter's ways ran as a continuous track in 1686 from the west boundary of the parish almost parallel to the river, across the south part of the parish to the hedge which inclosed Malton. It passed through the Potter's Gate set in the hedge. Holback, or Hoeback, way followed the west boundary of the parish to join the Little Potter's way. A second north-south road, the Great Toft way, probably a part of the old Whaddon road, ran from the Cambridge road through Oatland Field to the Great Potter's way. The Mill way ran north from the church and up the quarry hill, where at the top it turned right and continued to Harlton. The parish green lay around what survived in 1970 of Town Green road, which in 1686 continued across Hurdleditch to join the Great Toft way. The green had been partly inclosed by 1686 and probably once extended from Fisher's Lane to Hurdleditch. The green was circumvented on the east by Stocks Lane, and was crossed by Back Street; by 1836 the process of inclosure had hidden the green. (fn. 21)
The oldest houses in Orwell village are grouped around the former green, along Back Street, Stocks Lane, and Town Green Road, and are predominantly 16th- and 17th-century framed and plastered houses with thatched and tiled roofs. They include Meadowcroft Farm and barn, formerly Town Farm, which stands on Back Street, otherwise called Meadowcroft way; a farm-house and barn formerly occupied by Farrow Miller on the east side of Town Green Road; and a barn at Grove Farm which stands at the junction of Hurdleditch way with Town Green Road. By 1686 several smallholdings were established along High Street (fn. 22) and by 1836 the ribbon development was almost continuous. (fn. 23) Opposite Stocks Lane stands a framed and plastered house, originally medieval or of the 16th century, which may have been the Town House. Near it to the east stands Quarry Farm, a 17th-century framed and plastered house once occupied by the Palmer family. An 18th-century pigeon-house stands opposite the farm, in a garden enclosed by a long, thatched, clunch wall. West Farm at the east end of High Street is a red-brick, two-storeyed house, built in the mid 18th century, probably by the Bendyshe family.
At inclosure in 1837 the Potter's ways, Mill way, Great Toft way, and Farthing way were all closed. Town Green Road was altered and Hurdleditch way made up. (fn. 24) The Cambridge road had been turnpiked in 1797. (fn. 25) There was a bridge, known as King's Bridge, at the end of Farthing way in the 16th century (fn. 26) which was retained as a foot-bridge in 1837. There was a new bridge built on Town Green Road in 1837, across the Brook where previously Green ford had been. (fn. 27) There was probably a ford at Malton which has been replaced since inclosure by a bridge. There were said to be gates across the road at Malton in the 19th century. (fn. 28)
After inclosure settlement spread outside the village, and apart from Rectory Farm, which was established in 1854 north of the main road, (fn. 29) was confined to those roads not closed in 1837. Three new cottages were built at Malton Farm in 1884–5 and were later replaced by new houses. (fn. 30) The settlement known as Orwell (Cambridge Road) and New Wimpole was established in the 19th century. Both names are used because the parish boundary divides the settlement in two, along the main road. The brewery there and Oatlands House were built in 1873 (fn. 31) and by 1921 a row of cottages had been built for workers at the brewery site. (fn. 32) In 1923 four villas were being built next to the Grange, formerly Oatlands House. (fn. 33) Council houses were built north and west of Orwell village; those on Hurdleditch way were completed in 1931 and those on the main road in 1934. Others were built in the village; those on Fisher's Lane in 1937–8, those on Town Green Road in 1941, and the Meadowcroft estate was built between 1949 and 1968. (fn. 34) A row of private houses was put up west of the village in Petersfield in 1969 when main sewers were installed. (fn. 35) In 1970 framed and plastered houses alternated with later building, some of which replaced former houses.
In 1086 c. 20 people were enumerated in Orwell, (fn. 36) and in 1327 in Malton and Orwell 56 people were assessed for tax. (fn. 37) Malton was said to have only 3 residents in 1428 (fn. 38) and in 1524 in Malton and Orwell together c. 50 people were assessed for tax. (fn. 39) In 1563 there were 46 families there. (fn. 40) The two settlements were being assessed as one by 1801 when there were 375 inhabitants. The population rose from 463 in 1831 to 800 in 1871 because of the increased demand for labour engendered by the coprolite diggings. It had dropped again to 505 in 1911, but rose steadily throughout the early 20th century to 619 in 1961. (fn. 41)
In 1756 there were two public houses in Orwell (fn. 42) and by 1852 there were five. By 1882 there were seven, and six in 1936, (fn. 43) but in 1970 only the Chequers remained, a two-storeyed framed and plastered building, standing on Town Green Road.
Orwell maypole once stood to the west of Maypole Farm on Fox Hill in Harlton parish. It was pulled down in the 1870s (fn. 44) and the site ploughed up in 1943. (fn. 45) There was a reading room in Orwell in 1888 which was supported by public subscription. (fn. 46) The village hall was built soon after 1930. (fn. 47) The former infants' school was being used as a youth centre in 1970. (fn. 48)
Manors and Other Estatates.
Six sokemen of King Edward held 1 hide and 1⅓ virgate in 1066, which Roger, earl of Shrewsbury, held as the largest fee in Orwell in 1086. (fn. 49) ORWELL manor became part of the honor of Gloucester with Roger's other land, and the overlordship descended with the honor. (fn. 50)
The Quincys, earls of Winchester, and later their heirs were mesne lords of Orwell, and the mesne lordship, first recorded in 1261, descended as it did at Arrington. (fn. 51) The manor was said to be held in 1302 of Sir Alan la Zouche and in 1322 of his son-inlaw Sir Robert Holland. (fn. 52)
By 1161 the manor was held by Asceline, daughter or niece of Pain Peverel of Bourn, wife first of Geoffrey de Waterville (d. 1162), and then of Saher de Quincy (d. 1190). (fn. 53) It descended to her daughter Asceline de Waterville, wife of Roger Torpel (d. 1176), (fn. 54) and to their son Roger (d. 1225). (fn. 55) Mabel, widow of Roger or his son Roger (d. by 1229), (fn. 56) was granted dower in the estate in 1232. The chancellor had custody of the land, and wardship and marriage of the heir, during the minority of her son, (fn. 57) William, who died childless in 1242, whereupon his sister Asceline, wife of Ralph Camoys (d. 1259), inherited. (fn. 58) The manor descended to Ralph's son, Ralph Camoys (d. 1277), (fn. 59) and to his son John (d. 1298), (fn. 60) who held it in 1279, but had granted it by 1284 to John Kirkby, bishop of Ely, and John Lovetot. (fn. 61) The bishop died in 1290, and was succeeded by his brother William, (fn. 62) who granted Orwell for life to John Cobham (d. 1300) and his wife Matania, (fn. 63) who still held it in 1316. (fn. 64) William Kirkby died in 1302, whereupon his lands were divided between his four sisters and coheirs. The reversion of Orwell was assigned to one of them, Alice wife of Peter Prilly, (fn. 65) who held the manor by 1322. Peter and his son Hugh both died in that year. Hugh's heir was his son Peter, a minor. (fn. 66) In 1345 Peter and his mother Margaret conveyed the manor to Sir Thomas Scalers, reserving a life-interest to themselves. (fn. 67) Both died in 1349, (fn. 68) and Scalers held the manor by 1351. (fn. 69) In 1362 he granted its reversion after his death to Sir Richard Pembridge, (fn. 70) who succeeded when Scalers died in 1364. (fn. 71) Pembridge died in 1375, as did his young son and heir Henry. (fn. 72) The heirs were the sons of Sir Richard's sisters. Orwell was assigned to Henry's cousin Sir Richard Burley, son of the elder sister Amy. (fn. 73) Burley died in 1387. His brother and heir William, (fn. 74) together with his widow Beatrice (d. 1415), (fn. 75) agreed to grant their interests to Richard's uncle Sir Simon Burley, whose estates were forfeited on his execution in 1388. Beatrice claimed, however, that no conveyance of Orwell had been executed, and although its confiscation was ordered in 1388 (fn. 76) it may not have been enforced, for after William's death c. 1389 his brother and heir, Sir Roger Burley, (fn. 77) released the manor to John, duke of Lancaster (d. 1399). (fn. 78) Lancaster probably settled it upon his illegitimate son John Beaufort, earl of Somerset, who held it by 1401. (fn. 79) Upon his death in 1410 it passed to his son Henry, a minor. (fn. 80) A third was assigned as dower to Margaret, duchess of Clarence and former wife of John Beaufort. Henry died without issue in 1418 (fn. 81) leaving as heir his brother John, a minor, later duke of Somerset, who died in 1444. (fn. 82) Apparently the whole manor passed to the duke's daughter and heir Margaret, who married Edmund Tudor, earl of Richmond (d. 1456). (fn. 83) As countess of Richmond and Derby she died in 1509 and Orwell descended to her grandson Henry VIII. (fn. 84) Thereafter a succession of bailiffs and stewards were appointed (fn. 85) and by the late 16th century parts of the manor were being leased by the Crown. (fn. 86) In 1619 Charles, prince of Wales, held the manor, (fn. 87) and in 1623 it was leased to the city of London for 99 years. (fn. 88) The city in turn leased the manor at fee farm (fn. 89) and in 1648 Thomas Chicheley was the lessee for a time. (fn. 90) He purchased the fee farm in 1671 (fn. 91) and sold the manor to Sir John Cutler in 1686. (fn. 92) Cutler devised his Cambridgeshire estate to his daughter Elizabeth who died without issue in 1697, (fn. 93) and her husband Charles Bodville Robartes, earl of Radnor, (fn. 94) sold the manor in 1708 to Thomas Bendyshe of Barrington. (fn. 95) The manor remained with the Bendyshe family until the early 20th century, descending to Thomas's son Thomas by 1714, (fn. 96) to General Richard Bendyshe by 1776, to his nephew Richard's son John by 1826, (fn. 97) and to John's son John, who died childless in 1865. He was succeeded by his brother, the Revd. Richard Bendyshe, (fn. 98) who died in 1914. Col. R. N. Bendyshe was in possession in 1915, and Mrs. E. M. Bendyshe, a widow, in 1918. John Nelson Bendyshe of Devon was lord of the manor in 1926 and 1938. (fn. 99)
In 1066 two sokemen, one the man of King Edward, had 3⅓ virgates which Durand held in 1086 of Hardwin de Scalers. (fn. 100) Alan of Orwell was holding an estate in Orwell in 1202 (fn. 101) which was probably the 80 a. which Robert of Orwell was holding c. 1235 of Henry of Boxworth. (fn. 102) In 1279 Eborard of Orwell was holding a hide of Henry of Boxworth, who held in turn of Richard de Freville, the heir of half of the Scalers estate. (fn. 103) Hugh son of Peter Prilly, who held it by 1316 of John of Boxworth's heirs, died in 1322, and his son and heir Peter (fn. 104) in 1349, when his son and heir Hugh succeeded only to that estate. In 1349 the king had granted the wardship of Hugh (d. 1350) and any succeeding minor heir to Walter White, who in 1359 transferred it to Henry Mulshoe, who in turn conveyed it to Sir Thomas Scalers, lord of the chief manor. (fn. 105) Hugh's brother and heir William probably granted Scalers's successor Pembridge his remaining interests in Orwell, for he held no land there at his death in 1375. (fn. 106)
In 1066 one sokeman of King Edward had 1 virgate in Orwell which Robert Gernon held in 1086. Turbert held 3¼ virgates of Eddeva the fair in 1066, and in 1086 Picot held the same land of Count Alan. Chatteris Abbey held ¼ virgate in 1066 and 1086, (fn. 107) and the three fees together in Orwell later comprised the manor of MALTON. The overlordships of Chatteris and of the honors of Richmond and Munfitchet were recorded in 1279. (fn. 108) After Margaret, countess of Richmond had acquired the manor in the early 16th century, the overlordship descended with the honor of Richmond. (fn. 109)
About 1235 Nicholas le Vavassour was holding a fee in Malton (fn. 110) and in 1265 he divided his manor between his two daughters and their husbands, Agnes and Roger Thornton, and Amphelise and Philip St. Clowe. (fn. 111) Roger Thornton was alive in 1292 (fn. 112) but by 1299 Eleanor, daughter of Bartholomew Thornton, was his heir. (fn. 113) She had married Ralph, son of William FitzRalph of Shepreth, by 1312 (fn. 114) and the Thornton estate descended to their son Richard. When Richard died, his son John (d. after 1348) was a minor, and Richard left the estate to his brother Thomas for life. (fn. 115) Thomas was in possession in 1346. (fn. 116) The FitzRalph estate had passed by 1349 to Elizabeth wife of Edmund Flambard, although Audrey, probably Richard's widow, retained a life-interest in a third. (fn. 117) Elizabeth held the estate as a widow in 1383 (fn. 118) and died in 1394. (fn. 119) Her daughter Eleanor's husband Walter Tyrell succeeded her. (fn. 120) By 1428 his son Edward Tyrell held the estate. (fn. 121) Edward's nephew Thomas succeeded him after 1442. (fn. 122) Thomas died in 1477, when his grandson Thomas inherited, (fn. 123) and in 1504 Thomas and his wife Beatrice sold the estate to Margaret, countess of Richmond, who also acquired the other half of Malton manor. (fn. 124)
The St. Clowe (fn. 125) half of the Vavassour manor was held by Philip's son Nicholas in 1302, (fn. 126) by John St. Clowe in 1346, (fn. 127) by George St. Clowe in 1378, (fn. 128) and by Edmund St. Clowe in 1410. (fn. 129) In 1443 Edmund, probably son of Edmund, granted the estate to William Horn, a London draper, (fn. 130) and husband of his daughter Elizabeth. (fn. 131) Horn died in 1469 (fn. 132) and his son Nicholas succeeded him, but by 1473 another son, Thomas Horn alias Littlebury, had inherited the estate. (fn. 133) In 1485 the manor was delivered to Thomas Oxenbridge in satisfaction of a bond on which Thomas Horn had defaulted. (fn. 134) Oxenbridge sold the estate in 1492 to William Cheyne and James Docwra, who in the same year granted it to William Felton. (fn. 135) William's son William granted the estate to Elizabeth, widow of William Cheyne, in 1501 (fn. 136) and she later married Ralph Chamberlain. (fn. 137) They conveyed the estate in 1503 to William Smith, bishop of Lincoln, who was acting for Margaret, countess of Richmond, (fn. 138) and she received the estate in 1506, thus acquiring the whole of Malton manor. (fn. 139) In the same year she granted the manor to Christ's College, Cambridge, (fn. 140) and the college still owned the manor as Malton farm in 1970.
A small estate containing 78 a. and called Elys was added to the St. Clowe estate in 1457 by grant of Nicholas and Edmund Elys, sons of Elizabeth Elys, daughter of Nicholas Ankeleyne of Malton. (fn. 141) The estate remained with the St. Clowe land and was absorbed into Malton manor.
An estate in Malton called Rosamund's Manor was probably granted by Henry Chicheley, archbishop of Canterbury, to his great-nephew Henry Chicheley, who held it in 1474. (fn. 142) Henry's son Henry settled it in 1491 on his brother William. (fn. 143) In 1508 the brothers granted it to Margaret, countess of Richmond. She evidently gave it to Christ's College, against which William's son Thomas later claimed it. (fn. 144)
In 1279 Anketin Bonhomme was holding ¼ fee in Malton of Isabel Paunton, and she in turn of William de Huntingfield of Harlton. (fn. 145) Sir William Heron held c. 40 a. in Malton of the manor of Harlton at his death in 1380. (fn. 146)
Malton Farm, partly two-storeyed with attics and partly three-storeyed, is mainly a timber-framed and plaster house. It was probably a 15th-century, L-shaped, single-storey house, with an open hall and may have been built by William Horn or his son Thomas. About 1510 the house was extensively altered under the will of Margaret, countess of Richmond. (fn. 147) The hall range was heightened and reroofed, some of the smoke-blackened 15th-century timber being re-used in the roof. A ceiling of moulded beams was inserted in the hall. An extension in the angle of the L may have been built partly at the same time and partly in the late 16th century. The south-west cross-wing was altered in 1906–7. (fn. 148) Margaret, countess of Richmond, intended that the enlarged Malton house should serve as a retreat for Christ's College, but it built a larger house near by, which was demolished in the period 1609–22. (fn. 149) The house and farm were occupied by a succession of tenants.
Peterhouse, Cambridge, owned c. 26 a. of land in Orwell in 1669 and 1837. (fn. 150)
Orwell, with Malton, has been a predominantly agricultural parish since the 11th century, although several inhabitants in 1279 bore names such as faber, mercator, and textor. (fn. 151) Some stock has been kept, but the land has been generally under cultivation. There is little woodland, and until the Victoria Plantation was established some time after 1837 there was nothing more than small planted groves. (fn. 152) The low-lying land in the south part of the parish, along the banks of the river and the Brook, provided rough pasture after it had been drained.
In 1086 the 4 hides which comprised Orwell were said to be worth 101s. 8d., a decline of 61s. since 1066 when 13 tenants held the land. Only one estate was over 1 hide in 1086 and had been created out of 7 small estates. The other estates contained 1 or 3 virgates, and altogether supported 8 freemen, 3 villani, 4 bordars, and 4 cottars. One virgate valued at 2s. belonged to Harlton, and 1½ hide was demesne land, on which there was 1 servus. There was arable land for at least 6½ ploughs, including 1½ possessed by the villani, and meadow for at least 3 plough-teams. Three watch and carrying services had been owed in 1086. (fn. 153)
By 1279 Malton had emerged as a separate parish and had probably been created out of land formerly belonging to Orwell. Orwell was divided into two manors by 1279; that of John Camoys, whose tenants held c. 450 a., and that of Eborard of Orwell, including c. 120 a. in demesne, whose tenants held c. 215 a. Of c. 415 a. held by free tenants, Camoys held another 100 a. of Eborard, and two others held 80 a. each of Camoys. The 38 villeins had 378 a., mostly in holdings of 10 a., and 17 cottagers held c. 11 a. The 29 villeins of Camoys each owed 152 works and 3 boon-works a year, besides rents in kind; Eborard's 6 villeins had their works permanently farmed. The free tenants and cottagers paid rent and scutage.
At Malton, of c. 170 a. enumerated in 1279 Roger Thornton and Philip St. Clowe together held over 56 a. excluding their main demesne. Between them they had 7 villeins with 53 a., mostly in 10-a. holdings, and 10 cottagers with c. 9 a., besides 3 free tenants occupying 7½ a. Minor estates, mostly held freely, amounted to over 45 a. (fn. 154)
As a royal manor until the late 17th century Orwell was leased to a succession of tenants. The demesne known as Gourdlands (fn. 155) or Burylands contained 240 a. (fn. 156) and was leased separately, being worth £40 a year in 1628. (fn. 157) Copyhold tenures long predominated: in 1413 32 villeins paid rents totalling £20, (fn. 158) and in 1607 there were 38 copyhold tenants who were heriotable. (fn. 159) During the late 17th century Sir Thomas Chicheley effected a series of exchanges so that most of the land in Wimpole held of Orwell manor was exchanged for land in Orwell held of Wimpole manor. (fn. 160) Probably as a result of that consolidation larger copyhold tenements emerged, although in 1696 there were still 45 copyholders. (fn. 161) By 1707 four large copyhold farms existed; that of James Swan contained 185 a., that of William Ronall 166 a., that called Burylands 280 a., (fn. 162) and that of William Fairchild at least 54 a. Fairchild's farm passed to the Woodham family and thence to Edward Prime of Barrington, and contained 96 a. (fn. 163) After the manor had ceased to be a royal estate, its lords continued to be absentees. Consequently no manor-house was built, and the economic life of the parish evolved around the large copyhold farms.
It seems likely that Malton was being farmed as a single estate by the late 14th century because the parish was said to be depopulated by 1428 (fn. 164) and by 1493 inclosure was under way. (fn. 165) Most of the estate was surrounded by a hedge by 1594, leaving a further 192 a. outside in the fields of Orwell. (fn. 166) Early-16thcentury rents from Malton's own open fields totalled £6 8s., (fn. 167) and by 1770 265 a. were inclosed in Malton and 126 a. lay in the Orwell fields. Malton had the right of sheepwalk in Orwell's fields for every ewe the manor could keep, and it seems probable that intercommoning took place in the fields close to Malton's boundary. (fn. 168) By 1820 the estate contained 451 a. (fn. 169)
The open fields of Orwell were farmed in three shifts in 1785, (fn. 170) and in 1836 were apparently supposed by tradition to have numbered three. (fn. 171) The fields may have been confused with the shifts, for in 1836 there were actually five open fields of unequal size which may have been differently divided for crop rotation. (fn. 172) Highfield lay north of the Cambridge road and contained c. 560 a.; Oatland field lay west of the Brook and mostly south of the main road and contained c. 320 a.; River field lay south-west of the village, between the Brook and the river, and contained c.560 a.; Aycroft field lay along the eastern boundary of the parish, between the Malton road and the Brook, and contained c. 150 a.; and Millfield lay in the north-east corner of the parish between the main road and the Malton road and contained c. 118 a. (fn. 173)
Some closes existed in Orwell by 1591 (fn. 174) and by the time of inclosure in 1837 over 389 a. of land in the parish consisted of old inclosures, including c. 85 a. at its centre and c. 305 a. of Malton farm. The open fields and waste totalled 1,634 a. of which 358 a. were allotted to the rector in lieu of tithes, and 468 a. were allotted to Orwell manor, and let as Manor farm and West farm. Of the other holdings over 50 a. only two were freehold and six were still copyhold, including one of 101 a. of the earl of Hardwicke's estate. (fn. 175) The tenant-farmers gradually acquired the freehold of their farms. Farrow Miller occupied a farm-house in 1788, (fn. 176) probably that later known as Town Farm, and 56 a. copyhold. (fn. 177) He died in 1838 and his son Joseph inherited. Joseph died in 1871 and his sister Jane, wife of Humphrey Course of Meldreth, inherited. (fn. 178) William Prime, originally from Barrington, held land in Orwell in 1736, (fn. 179) and it was from that and a holding of William Fairchild (fn. 180) that Prime's farm, containing c. 176 a., was created. (fn. 181) By 1837 his great-grandson Edward was holding only 55 a. and he was still holding it in 1875. (fn. 182) Aleph and George Palmer held 93 a. in 1837 (fn. 183) and Aleph's holding became known as Quarry farm in 1858 because it lay near the clunch pit on Toot Hill. By 1872 William Palmer had inherited and was still in possession in 1881. (fn. 184) The Merry family have lived in Orwell since the early 18th century and in 1837 held a total of c. 210 a. (fn. 185) Although they sold one holding including a farm-house to Edward Prime in 1857, (fn. 186) they continued to be prominent farmers until the end of the century. Of the freehold farms, Prior Johnson held 48 a. in 1837, (fn. 187) and in 1889 the farm belonged to J. Pearce and was known as Grove farm. (fn. 188) Manor farm was the home farm of the manor estate, which in 1837 contained 468 a. The farm descended with the manor until c. 1920 when the Peters family bought it. (fn. 189) From the large rectorial allotment of 1837, north of the Cambridge road, Rectory farm was created, and it was leased until bought c. 1936 by the Wimpole estate. (fn. 190)
By the time of inclosure Malton was being run as a single farm, and was allotted 151 a. in Orwell in addition to the 304 a. already inclosed. (fn. 191) Increased drainage improved the land and Christ's College continued to improve the farm. There were five farms in Orwell in 1970 including Rectory farm. Manor farm and Grove farm were owned by the Miller family. Town farm had been renamed Meadowcroft farm and was owned by a Mr. Parcel, a member of the Miller family. West farm, the second holding of the Bendyshe family, was owned by the Rugby Portland Cement Co. (fn. 192)
It was said in 1854 with reference to agriculture in Orwell that the aspect was very gloomy, rents were reduced, and the area had suffered continuously from 'withering blights' for five or six years. (fn. 193) The damp condition of the land probably made unfavourable conditions worse, particularly as the farmers concentrated on arable farming. In 1677 only 338 a. were used for pasture, compared with 1,392 a. under cultivation, (fn. 194) and the proportion was much the same at inclosure. Wheat, oats, beans, and barley for malt were grown, (fn. 195) and some saffron into the late 17th century. (fn. 196) Sheep were the most common stock kept and strict regulations for their grazing were made and from time to time abused. Richard Bendyshe of Barrington had acquired a bad reputation by 1788 for assuming pasture rights which were not his. (fn. 197) In 1756 it was made clear that only farmers with over 10 a. of land could pasture their horses on the strays, and the numbers that they could pasture increased to a maximum of four as the size of the holdings increased. (fn. 198) Pasture rights generally were carefully guarded, and, in addition to common shared with Malton, Orwell intercommoned with the men of Wimpole in 1515 in Wrotford Green, (fn. 199) which probably lay near the Old Leys Common in the north-west corner of the parish. (fn. 200) In the 17th century Orwell had c. 200 a. of meadow, commonable to all tenants. (fn. 201) Some of the inclosures around the town green were described as orchards in 1686. (fn. 202) Several survived in 1970. A new commercial orchard was made in 1933 on the Cambridge road at its junction with the Brook. (fn. 203)
In 1086 there was a mill worth 8s. in the Scalers fee in Orwell. (fn. 204) A mill owned by John Camoys (d. 1298) (fn. 205) was presumably the windmill that had its sailyards repaired in 1413. (fn. 206) Millfield apparently took its name from the presence of a windmill which stood above the clunch pit on Toot Hill. It belonged to James Tuck in 1837, (fn. 207) and in 1847, when it was sold, it was described as a post windmill with grinding stones and going gears. (fn. 208) The Gernon fee, which became part of Malton, had a mill worth 12s. in 1086. (fn. 209) The mill has not been found in any later records but may have stood near Malton Farm, on the river Cam or Rhee, at a place where the banks have been artificially widened, next to the bridge on the Orwell-Meldreth road. (fn. 210)
Between 1863 and 1879 coprolites were dug in Malton (fn. 211) and in 1865 licences to dig were granted in Orwell. (fn. 212) The quarry in Toot Hill supplied clunch and in 1970 was producing chalk, quarried by the Rugby Portland Cement Co. An old malt-house was recorded in Malton in 1770 and it was repaired in 1848. (fn. 213) In 1873 a brewery was built in Orwell (Cambridge Road), in the north corner of Oatland field. (fn. 214) It was disused by 1902; (fn. 215) by 1912 it had become an engineering works; (fn. 216) and by 1921 it was no longer used. (fn. 217) Hannah Merry occupied a blacksmith's shop in 1755, (fn. 218) and in 1848 a blacksmith's shop was pulled down in Malton; (fn. 219) another was recorded in Orwell in 1887, standing opposite the junction of Stocks Lane and the High Street. (fn. 220) Another smithy had been built in Orwell (Cambridge Road), next to the brewery. It was closed and pulled down in 1953 and a café built on its site in 1967. (fn. 221) There was a wheelwright's shop in Orwell in 1882. (fn. 222) Some time before 1876 a brick kiln was built in the south-west corner of the field behind Grove Farm, and in that year it was in full working order and had a plentiful supply of clay. (fn. 223) It was still standing in 1901. (fn. 224) In 1254 Ralph Camoys the younger was granted a weekly Thursday market in Orwell, and a yearly fair on the eve, day, and morrow of Trinity. (fn. 225) The market was still held in 1522 (fn. 226) but neither market nor fair have been found later.
There are court rolls for Orwell for 1459, 1512–15, (fn. 227) 1531–7, 1581, 1588–92, 1618, 1626–49, 1657–65, 1680, 1685–8, 1696, (fn. 228) and 1714–1936; (fn. 229) and there is one 14thcentury roll for Malton. (fn. 230) In the 11th century Picot the sheriff lent Earl Roger 3 sokemen to hold his pleas, but the earl usurped and kept them. (fn. 231) Courts leet and baron were held in Orwell up to 1936. The assize of bread and ale belonged to the lord of the manor, who claimed infangthief in 1299 (fn. 232) and had gallows recognized in Orwell. (fn. 233) At the end of the 16th century 2 constables, 2 fieldreeves (for supervising ditching), and 2 haywards were elected, and although the numbers varied, there were never more than 2 of each officer until the mid 18th century, when 4 field-reeves were elected.
The town's land was recorded in 1736 (fn. 234) and 1788. (fn. 235) At inclosure in 1837 the churchwardens and overseers claimed the town mead (fn. 236) but it was included in the allotment to the church lands trustees, which totalled 29 a. 1 r. 22 p. The churchwardens and overseers were given 1 r. 16 p. including the poorhouse. Other poorhouses and gardens occupying 1 r. 27 p. were included with the church lands. (fn. 237) There was a town house or poorhouse standing on the east side of the church in 1686, (fn. 238) and in 1837 it occupied 36 p. (fn. 239) An alms-house was recorded in 1807 (fn. 240) and 1830. (fn. 241) In 1776 the total poor-rate of £110 13s. in Orwell was the highest in the hundred, but by 1803, when 50 people, including 4 non-parishioners, received relief, Orwell's expense on the poor was fourth highest. (fn. 242) By 1830 the poor-rate had risen to £341 and coals were being given as additional relief to the poor. (fn. 243) No separate poor-returns exist for Malton. Orwell became part of the Caxton and Arrington poor law union in 1835, (fn. 244) and in 1934 was transferred from the Caxton and Arrington R.D. to the South Cambridgeshire R.D. (fn. 245)
Orwell probably had an incumbent rector until the early 14th century (fn. 246) when the church became a sinecure rectory. A vicar, sometimes called a stipendiary curate, was appointed in 1341 and later, upon the presentation of the rector, (fn. 247) until 1835 when the vicarage and rectory were united. (fn. 248) The church may have belonged in the late 11th century to Earl Roger, who granted tithes in Orwell to St. Martin's Abbey, Sées (Orne). (fn. 249) In 1201 Asceline de Waterville, then holding the earl's manor, and William of Orwell were disputing the advowson of the rectory, (fn. 250) and in 1202 William released his claim to Asceline. (fn. 251) The advowson descended with Orwell manor, although in 1302 Matania, widow of John Cobham, was holding a life-interest by grant of the lord of the manor. (fn. 252) In 1344 Margaret, widow of Hugh Prilly, and their son Peter, granted the advowson to Margaret (d. 1347), widow of Robert Kendal, and her son Edward (d. 1373). (fn. 253) Edward's son Thomas Kendal, clerk, died seised of the advowson in 1374 and was succeeded by his sister Beatrice, wife of Sir Robert Turk. (fn. 254) They were both dead by 1400, (fn. 255) and their daughter Joan and her husband John Waleys conveyed the advowson in 1402 to Richard Hargar and his heirs and John de la Vale. (fn. 256) In 1404 Hargar and de la Vale proposed to grant the advowson to Michaelhouse, Cambridge, and in 1417 the transactions were completed. (fn. 257) After Michaelhouse was incorporated into Trinity College, that college retained the advowson (fn. 258) and continued as patron until 1933 when the advowson was transferred to the Ely Diocesan Patronage Board. (fn. 259)
The church was taxed at 15 marks in 1217, and at 12 marks in 1256, when St. Martin's Abbey, Sées, owned a portion of 20s., probably through Earl Roger's gift. (fn. 260) In 1291 the rectory was valued at £16 13s. 4d. (fn. 261) In the 1340s the patrons planned an appropriation of the great tithes, but without effect. (fn. 262) In 1539 the rectory was said to be worth £19 17s. 7d., (fn. 263) and £150 c. 1728. (fn. 264) At inclosure in 1837 the rectory combined with the vicarage was allotted c. 340 a. in lieu of tithes and 15 a. in lieu of glebe and right of common. (fn. 265) In 1866 the proceeds from coprolite diggings on the glebe were invested to endow the rectory and the rector was paid from the investment trust. (fn. 266) By 1873 the rectorial gross income had risen to over £400 (fn. 267) but by 1896 had fallen to £223. (fn. 268)
In 1539 the vicarage was valued at £7 10s. (fn. 269) and in 1615 the vicarial glebe contained c. 10 a. (fn. 270) By 1662 the vicarage was said to be worth £20. (fn. 271) The vicarial glebe was let for £14 c. 1724 and the small tithes for £13, and c. 1728 the vicar received a stipend of £25. (fn. 272) In 1830 the gross vicarial income was £78. (fn. 273)
There was a vicarage in 1561 in great disrepair (fn. 274) and by 1662 the house and out-buildings were dilapidated. (fn. 275) In 1783 it was recorded that there was no longer a vicarage house, and the vicar may have used the rectory house until 1835. (fn. 276) The rectory was in need of repair in 1651 (fn. 277) but thereafter was maintained in reasonable condition. (fn. 278) In 1859 the rector was granted £600 by Trinity College to build a rectory house. (fn. 279)
The earliest recorded rector, William Elmham, was presented to Orwell in June 1329 and was replaced in October the same year. (fn. 280) The rectory changed hands frequently thereafter and it was not until the 16th century that a rectorial tenure of over 10 years was recorded. (fn. 281) The vicarage was similarly subject to frequent change and occasionally a curate was appointed instead. (fn. 282) Only two instances of the appointment of both a vicar and a curate were recorded; one in 1579 when a curate was appointed to assist an old vicar, (fn. 283) and one in 1807 when the vicar had another benefice. (fn. 284) Between 1747 and 1786 sequestrators were appointed to serve the cure on seven occasions, apparently in succession. (fn. 285) After Trinity College acquired the patronage the rector was usually one of the fellows and by 1664, according to statute, was the senior fellow. (fn. 286) The rector was usually an absentee and lived in college, and the rectory was sequestrated in 1619 (fn. 287) and again in 1645, when Dr. Rowe, vice-master of Trinity, was charged with negligence and absenteeism and was ejected. He was reinstated c. 1660. (fn. 288)
Several eminent scholars held the rectory: Henry Hornby, master of Peterhouse, was rector 1508– 18; (fn. 289) Jeremiah Radcliffe, vice-master of Trinity College and one of the translators of the Bible, was rector 1590–1612; (fn. 290) Wolfran Stubbs, vice-master of Trinity College, was rector 1703–19; (fn. 291) and Dr. John Colbatch, who founded and endowed a school in Orwell, was rector 1720–48. (fn. 292) In 1970 the rectories of Orwell and Wimpole and the vicarage of Arrington were held in plurality. (fn. 293) About 1728 there were 20 communicants in Orwell and a communion service was held three times a year. There were two Sunday services (fn. 294) which continued until 1807 when a single Sunday service was held, either in the morning or evening, alternating with Arrington which was served by the same curate. In 1807 there were five communicants. (fn. 295) Churchgoers were increasing in 1873 when three Sunday services were held and there were 29 communicants for a monthly communion service. (fn. 296) In 1897 the congregation was between 40 and 110 people, of whom 20 formed the choir. Communion was held twice monthly in winter and four times a month in the summer, for 17 communicants. (fn. 297) In 1970 joint services were being held with the Methodist chapel several times a year. (fn. 298)
The church of ST. ANDREW, mostly built of clunch and field stones, has a chancel with sacristy, aisled and clerestoried nave with south porch, and west tower. By 1200 there were a nave and chancel, and the tower had been started. It was finished in the 13th century, when the upper stages, buttresses, and tower arch were built. The nave aisles and porch were added c. 1300. The chancel and sacristy were probably built after 1398 under a bequest from Richard Anlaby, rector 1388–97, and the roof bosses and window glass formerly had elaborate heraldic and iconographic illustrations in memory of Anlaby and Sir Simon Burley (d. 1388) and others associated with the young Richard II. (fn. 299) The clerestory windows, the side wall of the south aisle, and perhaps also the north aisle were renewed in the 15th century, and the screen and rood-loft were probably of the same period. Part of the rood probably remained in 1561. (fn. 300) In 1554 the roofs were of thatch but greatly decayed, (fn. 301) and it was soon afterwards that the nave roof was rebuilt at its low pitch.
The church suffered during the Commonwealth and lost a cross from the steeple and at least 16 pictures. (fn. 302) The nave roof was not waterproof in 1685 (fn. 303) and was renewed to an altered form by John Colbatch. (fn. 304) The screen still existed in 1743. (fn. 305) In 1783 a large town plough was kept in the church. (fn. 306) The north aisle was rebuilt in brick in the early 19th century. There was a restoration in 1860 and another in 1883 when the south aisle, porch, and chancel were extensively rebuilt and the heraldry of the chancel roof was rearranged and some new coats introduced. (fn. 307) In 1552 there was a silver chalice, and four bells and a hand-bell. (fn. 308) In 1678 the fourth bell was cracked and had to be recast. (fn. 309) In 1970 there were five bells: (i) 1694, Charles Newman, recast 1931; (ii) 1616, W. Haulsey of St. Ives; (iii) 1665, Miles Graye III; (iv) 1615, Miles Graye II; (v) 1679, Toby Norris of Stamford. The plate includes a cup of 1860 and an alms dish of 1741. A paten of 1741 has disappeared in the 20th century. There is a clock in the south wall of the tower which is a remodelling of an early-17th-century clock given by Trinity College in 1726. (fn. 310)
The font is a 12th-century bowl with a later medieval stem. There is a late-14th-century halffigure of a cleric with attached inscription plate and invocation scroll in brass on the north side of the chancel, and a rectangular inscription plate, probably medieval, on the south side. Fragments of yellowstain late medieval glass have survived in the second window in the north side of the chancel. There are traces of an early-14th-century clunch reredos at the east end of the south aisle and of a 16th-century carved surround immediately east of the south doorway. In the chancel stalls are eleven simply carved late medieval misericords and in the south aisle are the arms of James II dated 1686, on canvas. On the south wall is a painted clunch monument to Jeremiah Radcliffe, including an effigy. The parish registers begin in 1599.
In 1911 Philip Meyer left £1,000 to Orwell church for the repair of the fabric. It was in use in 1958. (fn. 311) In 1721 26 a. were given to the church, for which an allotment was made at inclosure in 1837; the land was sold in 1944 and the proceeds of the sale were invested. (fn. 312)
Malton church had the right of sanctuary in 1216. (fn. 313) In 1265 Agnes Thornton inherited the advowson of the rectory from her father Nicholas le Vavassour, and it descended with her manor. (fn. 314) William Muchet, a trustee of the FitzRalph estate, presented in 1344 and 1350. (fn. 315) The advowson was granted to Margaret, countess of Richmond, in 1504, and the rectory appropriated to Christ's College in 1505. The college was licensed to serve the cure by a fellow instead of endowing a vicarage. (fn. 316)
Malton church was valued separately in 1256 at 4 marks, (fn. 317) and in 1291 at £8. (fn. 318) In 1779 an annual pension of 2s. was payable to the bishop of Ely by the impropriator, and had been owed at least since the 15th century. (fn. 319) The rectory house was probably the 15th-century building from which Malton Farm developed.
Ralph Oliver of Sandon was recorded as rector in 1316. (fn. 320) His successor was replaced in 1337 by John Gleyne, who was licensed to be absent for three years, and leased the church for the last three years of his six-year tenure. (fn. 321) Generally the rectors had short tenures, an exception being Thomas Percy, rector 1449–73. (fn. 322) The last recorded rector was Thomas Todd who was presented in 1486 by Thomas Tyrell. (fn. 323) The church had fallen into disuse by c. 1600, but c. 1620 the curate from Shepreth served the church for a stipend of £10 a year paid by the tenant of Malton, Thomas Sterne. (fn. 324) No later minister was recorded. By the mid 18th century Malton was included in Orwell parish. (fn. 325)
The church of ST. NICHOLAS stood on high ground to the west of Malton Farm. It was a small church, which was all pulled down in 1509–10, except for the chancel, (fn. 326) which by c. 1600 was itself in decay and being used as a cow shed, although it had probably been reconsecrated by c. 1620 and was described as a chapel in 1638. (fn. 327) It was being used as a barn in 1747, but retained a thatched roof, three small windows, and 'elegant pillars'. (fn. 328) By 1792 the church was a ruin. (fn. 329)
Orwell was one of the most important Congregational meeting-places in the county during the later 17th century. (fn. 330) In 1669 a conventicle meeting at the houses of three men, all excommunicated, was attended by 30 or 40 parishioners besides strangers. The teachers were Samuel Corbin, Joseph Oddy, Thomas Lock, and George Smith, (fn. 331) of whom the first three were assistants of Francis Holcroft. (fn. 332) The teachers have been described as Presbyterians, (fn. 333) and a house was licensed as a Presbyterian meeting-place in 1672, (fn. 334) but it seems more likely that both were Congregational. (fn. 335) In 1675 the combined membership of the Congregational communities of Barrington, Thriplow, Croydon, and Orwell was said to number 124, (fn. 336) and in 1676 58 dissenters were recorded in Orwell itself, (fn. 337) the largest number for any parish in the county. (fn. 338) Eight parishioners were presented in 1679 for absence from church and for attending conventicles, (fn. 339) and c. 34 in 1682. (fn. 340) In 1685, although it was reported that there was no conventicle, there were many dissenters and about 30 disciples, most of them excommunicated, of Holcroft and Oddy. (fn. 341) Five years later Ickleton, Thriplow, Toft, Orwell, and Little Gransden agreed that one of two preachers would preach to each of them once every third Sunday. (fn. 342) By 1716, however, it seems that Great Eversden had replaced Orwell as a Congregational centre. (fn. 343)
There were ten families of dissenters in the parish in 1728, (fn. 344) and in 1759 William Hicks, vicar of Wrestlingworth (Beds.), preached there, (fn. 345) an event later regarded as the start of Methodism in Orwell. (fn. 346) A Methodist meeting-place was registered in 1761, (fn. 347) but in 1783 there was no meeting-house, although there were many dissenters and Methodists. (fn. 348) Eight or ten families of dissenters were recorded in 1807, (fn. 349) a barn was registered apparently for Methodist worship in 1822, (fn. 350) and a Wesleyan Methodist chapel was built (fn. 351) on Town Green Road and registered for worship in 1823. (fn. 352) The chapel was on the Cambridge circuit in 1836, (fn. 353) and it had a congregation of 160 for afternoon services in 1851, when it could seat 200. (fn. 354)
In 1873 the rector said that most of the dissenters went to church sometimes and that many church people felt free to go to chapel. Three or four Sunday services were held in the chapel, (fn. 355) which had an estimated congregation of about 100 in 1897. (fn. 356)
Cornish Methodists working on the Wimpole Park estate, the movement of Yorkshire farming families into the district, and the disbanding of the local Salvation Army helped to increase the number of Methodists in the later 19th century. A new brick chapel was built on the existing site, and was opened in 1906 together with a schoolroom. (fn. 357) The chapel was registered for worship in the same year, (fn. 358) and for marriage in 1910, (fn. 359) and it had an average attendance of 16 in 1969. (fn. 360)
A house was registered for protestant dissenting worship in 1824, (fn. 361) there were a few Independents of 'the lowest order' in 1825, (fn. 362) and a room was registered for protestant dissenting worship in 1852. (fn. 363) In 1886 a barn was registered for the Salvation Army, (fn. 364) and some Baptists were recorded in 1897. (fn. 365)
There was an unlicensed schoolmaster in 1579; (fn. 366) in 1587 Robert Clark, apparently B.A. (Cantab.), was licensed to teach grammar, (fn. 367) and a schoolmaster was recorded at intervals between 1590 and 1618. (fn. 368) There was a public school in 1661, (fn. 369) and a schoolmaster in 1692. (fn. 370) In 1728 £10 was given to teach poor children. (fn. 371)
John Colbatch, rector of Orwell, founded a charity school c. 1743 when he gave a farm-house and 82 a. in Eaton Socon (Beds.) on trust to pay £15 a year to a master to teach boys to read, write, and cast accounts, and £10 a year to a mistress to teach girls to read, spin, knit, and sew. Detailed provisions were made for religious instruction and worship. (fn. 372) In 1749 Elizabeth Colbatch, John's niece, and the Revd. Francis Hooper gave 68 a. in Blunham and Moggerhanger (Beds.), and c. 3 a. in Orwell, to the trustees of the Orwell school, to provide books for poor children at the school, and to use the surplus to apprentice poor children. (fn. 373) By 1808 the school site had apparently been added to the gift of 1749, (fn. 374) and the trustees of the school were allotted c. 5 a. in Orwell at inclosure in 1837. (fn. 375) The school site remained copyhold of Orwell manor until the 20th century. (fn. 376)
Until 1883 John Colbatch's gift and Colbatch and Hooper's gift were administered together, the rent from the latter apparently being applied to the general maintenance of the school before apprenticeships were provided. (fn. 377) In 1783 the master received £17 and the mistress £13, and after £5 had been paid to the poor the remaining income was used for apprenticing. (fn. 378) There were said to have been only two apprenticeships between c. 1786 and 1798, (fn. 379) and between c. 1831 and 1837 £60 was spent on apprenticeships, which were made outside the parish in order to give settlements elsewhere. The teachers' salaries were £40 and £25 respectively by 1837 when the combined income of both charities was £113 13s. (fn. 380) In 1863–4 £161 was spent on education and £15 on apprenticeships, (fn. 381) although it was complained that there were no apprenticeships. (fn. 382) Five pupils were apprenticed or rewarded on leaving school in 1866, (fn. 383) but in 1882 the rector said that there had been no apprenticeships since 1870. (fn. 384) The combined income of both charities was £261 in 1879. (fn. 385)
The boys' and the girls' schools each had 30 pupils in 1818, (fn. 386) and in 1833 both were free to children aged 5 to 14. (fn. 387) There were two school- rooms and a teacher's house in 1837, when dissenters' children were admitted as a matter of indulgence. The pupils were mainly poor children, but farmers' sons also attended, and children of those not legally settled were admitted as paying pupils. (fn. 388) New school buildings were erected in 1839. (fn. 389) In 1871 there were 43 boys and 50 girls, (fn. 390) and there was a certificated teacher in 1874, (fn. 391) but an annual grant was not received until 1881, (fn. 392) when the children of Orwell (Cambridge Road) went to school at Wimpole. (fn. 393)
In 1884 the trustees reluctantly agreed, under the Charity Commissioners' threat of legal proceedings, to stop using the income from Colbatch and Hooper's gift for the general maintenance of the school, (fn. 394) which thenceforth received money from that charity only for books. (fn. 395) The trustees charged school pence in 1885 in order to maintain the school, and 34 people were fined for failing to send their children to school, having refused to pay school pence. (fn. 396) Average attendance was 69 in 1893, when c. £47 was received from the endowment, (fn. 397) and an evening school was recorded in 1873, (fn. 398) 1879, (fn. 399) and from 1895 to 1901. (fn. 400)
There was still a considerable demand for apprenticeships in 1904 (fn. 401) when, by order of the Charity Commissioners, Colbatch and Hooper's Educational Foundation was established with the endowment of Colbatch and Hooper's charity less £5 a year. (fn. 402) The Orwell land, excluding the school site, was sold c. 1943, and the Blunham and Moggerhanger farm in 1945, the proceeds of sale being invested in stock. The Revd. John Colbatch Foundation was regulated by a Board of Education Scheme in 1905, by which the master and mistress were to receive £15 and £10 a year respectively, regulations were made for spending the residue, and the school was continued as a Church of England school. The Eaton Socon farm was sold c. 1941, and the proceeds of sale invested in stock. (fn. 403) The school became an Aided school in 1951 (fn. 404) and in 1956 the two foundations were amalgamated as Colbatch and Hooper's Educational Foundation by a Ministry of Education Scheme, under which the school was to continue as a Voluntary Church of England school. (fn. 405) The school was closed in 1961, (fn. 406) and the buildings and site, on the east corner of Town Green Road and the High Street, were sold in 1969. (fn. 407)
From 1869 the trustees wished to enlarge the school apparently to take more infants. (fn. 408) The school building was too small in 1873; (fn. 409) children under five were not accepted in 1879, (fn. 410) and a school board was formed compulsorily in 1883, (fn. 411) because the trustees were unwilling to accept a Scheme to enable them to provide more accommodation. (fn. 412) An infants' board school was opened in 1885 (fn. 413) on the west side of Town Green Road opposite the Church of England school. (fn. 414) School pence were 1d., and there was a certificated teacher. (fn. 415) Average attendance was 67 in 1887, (fn. 416) 34 in 1909, (fn. 417) and 15 in 1938. (fn. 418) The school was closed in 1963.
Orwell Petersfield Church of England Aided school was opened in 1962. In 1970 there were 133 children from Orwell, Arrington, Croydon, Whaddon, and Wimpole, and children over 11 went to Bassingbourn village college. (fn. 419)
Charities for the Poor.
In 1660 widow Benning gave £5 on trust that the interest should be distributed among five poor widows. (fn. 420) In 1807 5s. a year was distributed among poor women (fn. 421) but by 1838 the distribution had ceased. (fn. 422)
Thomas Whaley, rector of Orwell, (fn. 423) by will dated 1637 gave £50 as a stock for the poor. His brother and executor, John Whaley, by will dated 1638 added £30 to the £50, which had remained unused, and left £80 to produce £4 a year for the poor. By 1652 John Whaley's gift had not been effected, and a decree directed that it should be. It was thought in 1838 that the church lands (fn. 424) might have been bought with the money.
In 1783 £5 a year from Colbatch and Hooper's gift (fn. 425) was distributed to the poor at Christmas, (fn. 426) and between c. 1831 and 1837 £5 10s. was spent on blankets for the poor and £25 was distributed to the poor at Christmas; £5 was distributed in 1863–4. (fn. 427) In 1904 the gift of £5 was established as Colbatch and Hooper's Charity for the Poor, and in 1955 £5 was distributed to 15 people.