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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GREAT AND LITTLE EVERSDEN
Lying side by side 6 miles WSW. of Cambridge, Great and Little Eversden are distinct parishes and were distinct by the 13th century. (fn. 1) The history of the two parishes is combined in a single account because the parish boundary between them was relevant neither to the manorial structure (fn. 2) nor to the traditional agricultural arrangements, (fn. 3) and also because in using the historical evidence it often is not possible to distinguish between Great and Little Eversden. The parishes lie between the Bourn brook, which marks the northern boundary of both of them, and the ancient ridgeway called the Mare Way, which marks the southern boundary of Great Eversden and, for 200 yds., of Little Eversden. The Roman road from Cambridge to Arrington Bridge and the minor road leading north from it to Comberton mark the south-east and east boundaries of Little Eversden, while parts of the western boundary of Great Eversden followed a stream and the lane called Armshold Lane leading to Toft; the boundary between Great and Little Eversden is not marked by any natural feature, following field boundaries and for part of its length a field road. The parish boundaries have remained unchanged since the early 19th century and presumably much earlier. Great Eversden, in shape roughly a rectangle 2 miles by 1¼ mile, covers 1,400 a.; Little Eversden, rather less regular and more elongated in shape, covers 790 a. (fn. 4)
The land is drained by small streams running north to the Bourn brook. From the 250 ft. contour on the chalk ridge on the south the land falls to 100 ft. near the centre of the parishes, and below that the land lying on the gault clay is relatively flat except for the spur called Claypit Hill in the northwest corner of Great Eversden. The soil has been exploited for clunch, clay, lime, and brick-earth. (fn. 5) Nearly all the land has long been agricultural. It formerly lay in open fields, of which part had been inclosed by 1600 and the remainder was inclosed in 1814. (fn. 6) Eversden wood, in the south-west corner of Great Eversden and extending into Wimpole and Kingston, presumably included the woodland recorded in 1279, when the lord of Eversden manor had a woodward, (fn. 7) and the wood was a source of profit in 1546 (fn. 8) as in 1787 when it belonged to the Wimpole estate. (fn. 9)
The villages of Great and Little Eversden lie close together on a road running across the parishes a little below a spring-line near the 125 ft. contour. Great Eversden was evidently the earlier, parent settlement, as is suggested by nomenclature, by the relative size of the two parishes, by the layout of the villages, and by the precedence in time of Great Eversden church. (fn. 10) The houses lie along the road called High Street and along the lane that crosses it at right-angles: south-west of High Street the lane was the Wimpole way of 1639, (fn. 11) and north-east of High Street it is known as Chapel Road after the former chapel, since 1967 the village hall, that stands there. (fn. 12) At the cross-roads stands the Hoops public house, open by 1851, and the former smithy. (fn. 13) To the south-east the village ends at the parish church, which may have been built there to make it relatively accessible to the inhabitants of Little Eversden before they had their own church. At the north-west end of the village, High Street makes a sharp bend northwards where its more direct course towards Kingston is prevented by the presence of Manor Farm on its moated site. (fn. 14) North of the bend are two farm-houses and a former public house, the Fox, built as a public house after 1811. South-east of the bend another moated site lies beside High Street, but apart from the fact that it had passed from John Finch to the earl of Hardwicke before 1814 (fn. 15) it is not known to which estate it belonged. Most of the houses in the village are of framing or the local white brick, but clunch was also used.
Little Eversden village was established just off the road linking the villages, on the lane leading north-east along a chalk spur towards Comberton. The church stands 200 yds. west of the village street, across a small brook, and near the source of the brook are the remains of a moated site. The older houses are of framing or clunch. In the later 19th century some houses were built near the junction of the village street with the road to Great Eversden, where the Plough public house has stood since before 1811, (fn. 16) and after the Second World War small houses were built south-east of the village just off the main road to Cambridge and north-east in continuation of the village street.
The size of the population of the Eversdens in 1086 is indicated by the enumeration of 26 inhabitants. (fn. 17) In 1279 46 messuages were recorded, (fn. 18) and it is likely that Great Eversden was then about twice the size of Little Eversden. (fn. 19) In the two together there were 54 people assessed for tax in 1327, (fn. 20) while 50 years later there were 148 people assessed for poll tax in Great Eversden, no return surviving for Little Eversden. (fn. 21) In 1525 Great Eversden contained 22 and Little Eversden 30 taxpayers. (fn. 22) In the mid 16th century Little Eversden was not much the smaller, being reported in 1563 to have 16 households compared with 18 at Great Eversden. (fn. 23) A hundred years later the relative sizes of the villages were much the same: 27 houses in Great Eversden paid hearth tax in 1666, and 22 in Little Eversden. (fn. 24) In 1676, however, the numbers of conformists (there being no papists or protestant dissenters) were given as 84 in Little Eversden and 76 in Great Eversden. (fn. 25) Throughout the 19th century the population of Great Eversden was the larger, rising from 212 in 1801 to a peak of 380 in 1871 and then falling to 170 in 1921, after which there was a slight rise. That of Little Eversden rose from 150 in 1801 to 288 in 1851 and then fell to 155 in 1931. As the result of new building it rose rapidly to 236 in 1951 and 295 in 1961, (fn. 26) and continued to rise thereafter.
During the popular rising of 1381 a band of men attacked the manor-house at Great Eversden and carried off some of the lord's goods. (fn. 27)
Manors and Other Estates
In 1066 there were 27 men holding land in Eversden. Thirteen were sokemen of the king, eight were sokemen of Earl Alfgar who also had the soke of one hide of land held by Edwi, the abbot of Ely's man, two were sokemen of Archbishop Stigand, and three were sokemen of Eddeva the fair. After the Conquest most of the land passed into the lordship of Guy de Reimbercourt, who had 6 hides and 10 a., but in 1087 there were also three smaller estates: one hide that had been held by two of Eddeva's sokemen passed like most of her land to Count Alan of Brittany and was held of him by Robert and two Englishmen who may have been the pre-Conquest sokemen; the hide held by Edwi had been granted by the king to Hugh de Berners; and a yardland formerly held by one of Alfgar's sokemen was held by Durand of Hardwin de Scalers. (fn. 28)
Guy de Reimbercourt's lordship followed the descent of the barony of Chipping Warden (Northants.) (fn. 29) and in 1166 Robert Foliot, husband of Guy's granddaughter Margery, was lord of 1 knight's fee in Cambridgeshire, presumably at Eversden. (fn. 30) Robert's granddaughter Margaret married Wiscard Ledet who was overlord of Eversden c. 1230. (fn. 31) In 1243 Margaret's daughter and heir Christine Ledet held the overlordship, (fn. 32) which passed through her great-granddaughter Alice, wife of William le Latimer, Lord Latimer (d. 1304), to their grandson William, Lord Latimer (d. 1335). (fn. 33) The overlordship was recorded retrospectively c. 1400; (fn. 34) in 1471 Eversden was said, evidently in error, to be held of the earldom of Richmond. (fn. 35)
The greater part of Guy de Reimbercourt's holding, 5½ hides and 10 a., was held of him in 1087 by Humphrey de Andeville, (fn. 36) and descended in the Andeville family although in 1166 it was apparently the 1 knight's fee held of Robert Foliot by Ernulf de Bosco. (fn. 37) Hamelin de Andeville was lord of Eversden c. 1208. (fn. 38) About 1235 Richard de Andeville held 1 knight's fee of 5½ hides in Eversden for suit of court and pontage. (fn. 39) In 1279 Eversden was held of Lord Latimer as 1 knight's fee by Sir Robert Hoo, (fn. 40) whose wife Beatrice (fn. 41) is thought to have been the daughter of Alexander de Andeville. (fn. 42) Robert, who was granted free warren in Eversden in 1292, (fn. 43) died between 1302 and 1316, (fn. 44) perhaps in 1310, (fn. 45) and was survived by Beatrice who in 1316 settled Eversden on Richard Perrers and his wife Joan, (fn. 46) who may have been Beatrice's daughter. Richard and Joan's son Richard (fn. 47) died in 1335 seised of what was then called the manor of EVERSDEN (fn. 48) and was in 1403 called PERRERS manor. (fn. 49) The younger Richard left a son Edmund whose widow Joan was holding the fee in 1346. (fn. 50) The issue of Edmund and Joan evidently failed, so that the estate reverted according to the settlement of 1316 to Beatrice's heirs, for in 1373 and 1374 her grandson, Sir Thomas Hoo, (fn. 51) settled the manor on Sir Edmund Walsingham and his wife Isabel. (fn. 52)
Walsingham, a J.P., was killed at Ely in the rising of 1381, when his estate at Great Eversden was plundered. (fn. 53) His house there seems to have been standing empty in 1382, (fn. 54) but by 1389 it was occupied by Sir William Castleacre, (fn. 55) to whom a house and 136 a. in Great and Little Eversden were conveyed in 1382 by George St. Clowe and his wife Elizabeth. (fn. 56) Castleacre was arrested in 1397, (fn. 57) apparently because of his connexion with the lords appellant, (fn. 58) and Sir Thomas Hoo's son, Sir William, took possession of the manor, (fn. 59) which he afterwards claimed to hold by royal grant. Castleacre, presumably released under the general pardon of 1398, brought a suit in that year to recover the manor, (fn. 60) which Hoo quitclaimed to him in 1403. (fn. 61) Castleacre died in 1404 or soon after, and in 1409 Sir Pain Tiptoft bought the manor in reversion after the death of Castleacre's widow, Elizabeth. (fn. 62) She died between 1412 and 1420; (fn. 63) Tiptoft died between 1413 and 1427, (fn. 64) and his son John, Lord Tiptoft, (fn. 65) in 1428 held the knight's fee in Eversden formerly held by Joan widow of Edmund Perrers. (fn. 66) At Lord Tiptoft's death in 1443 he held, with his wife Joyce, Eversden manor and a tenement there called Courthoses; (fn. 67) Joyce died in or before 1445, and their son John, then a minor, (fn. 68) was in 1447 licensed to take possession. (fn. 69) He was created earl of Worcester in 1449 and was executed in 1470, (fn. 70) and his only surviving son, Edward, died under age in 1485. (fn. 71) When the Tiptoft estates were partitioned among coheirs, Joan, sister of John, earl of Worcester, and widow of Sir Edmund Ingaldsthorp, received Eversden. Joan gave the manor in 1491 to Queens' College, Cambridge, to endow a fellowship and to secure the yearly payment of £13 6s. 8d. to the London house of Blackfriars, (fn. 72) where she and her brother were buried. (fn. 73) The estate, then called Great Eversden manor, included land in Little Eversden and elsewhere, and amounted to c. 670 a. (fn. 74) The college retained the estate in Great and Little Eversden until 1948; in that and the following year it sold c. 530 a. in the two parishes, mostly to the farmers. (fn. 75)
The manor-house stood on the moated site at the west end of Great Eversden village street. The drawbridge and moat of the house were recorded in 1382, (fn. 76) and in 1389 Sir William Castleacre was licensed to have an oratory there. (fn. 77) John Tiptoft, earl of Worcester, was said to have been born in the house. (fn. 78) In 1597 Queens' College leased the 'manor place called the lordship place' to John Hale. (fn. 79) The site of the medieval manor-house was still marked in the earlier 17th century, but another house had been built near it. (fn. 80) That was presumably the house built c. 1600 which survives as Manor Farm, a twostoreyed framed building comprising a central range with cross wings. In the 18th century the house was remodelled and enlarged. (fn. 81)
Half a hide held of Guy de Reimbercourt by Picot the sheriff in 1086 (fn. 82) descended with Picot's other lands in Cambridgeshire which centred on his manor of Bourn. (fn. 83) In 1166 Hamon Pecche answered for three fees in Kingston, Wimpole, and Eversden, held of him by Eustace de Banks, (fn. 84) which Geoffrey de Banks was holding of another Hamon Pecche c. 1230 (fn. 85) and of Gilbert Pecche in 1242–3. (fn. 86) The three fees were among the lands sold to the king and queen by Gilbert Pecche in or before 1284 (fn. 87) which in 1293 were assigned by the Crown to Gilbert's widow Joan as her dower. (fn. 88) The Pecche overlordship, of which later record has not been found, was presumably then merged in the Crown.
Eustace and Geoffrey de Banks were descendants of Ralph de Banks, the Domesday tenant of Picot in the neighbouring manor of Kingston. (fn. 89) The fee in Eversden passed with Kingston, before 1279, to William Mortimer (d. 1297) (fn. 90) and to his son Constantine. (fn. 91) Before the mid 13th century it had been subinfeudated to the Beach family of Landbeach: c. 1235 Robert of Beach held ½ hide in Eversden of Geoffrey de Banks (fn. 92) and was succeeded by his sister Helen, who married Geoffrey le Bere of Ellington (Hunts.). Their grandson John le Bere (fn. 93) was William Mortimer's tenant in Eversden in 1279 (fn. 94) and 1298, (fn. 95) and his son Stephen held ¼ fee in Eversden of Constantine Mortimer (probably William's grandson) in 1346. (fn. 96)
The Mortimers' title continued to descend with Kingston Wood manor, (fn. 97) being held in 1428 by John FitzRalph whose tenant was John, Lord Tiptoft. (fn. 98) The estate was held by Edward Chamberlain at his death in 1541; (fn. 99) its subsequent ownership has not been traced. Tiptoft's tenure in demesne may have become merged in his lordship of Eversden manor.
Count Alan of Brittany's holding of one hide in 1086 was represented c. 1211 by ½ hide held of the honor of Richmond by Robert Toteneis (fn. 100) or Trocheadnesse, whose son Warin (surnamed Torchenesse) held the ½ hide of the honor c. 1235. Both Robert and Warin granted land in Eversden to St. Alban's Abbey. (fn. 101) In 1268 Alexander Peverel held 2 yardlands in Eversden by serjeanty from the honor of Richmond, (fn. 102) and in 1279 he and his tenants held a total of c. 42½ a. for which he owed suit at the honor's Cambridgeshire courts. (fn. 103) Eversden tenants still attended the honor's courts in 1334, (fn. 104) but by 1425 the suit had been commuted to a cash payment towards 'Richmond aid'. (fn. 105) The payment was recorded until 1456, on the death of Edmund Tudor, earl of Richmond, (fn. 106) and after 1485 was presumably due to the Crown.
The hide held by Hugh de Berners in 1086 was evidently the estate of 1 plough-land in Eversden which Robert de Langent claimed against Simon Lovel between 1199 and 1205. Robert said that Hugh de Berners had given it as her marriageportion to Wymark, from whose son Stephen it had passed to Robert's father Roger; Simon said that Ralph de Berners had given it as her marriageportion to his niece Mabel, whose son and heir Osbert was Simon's father. (fn. 107) In 1279 William Jake and his tenants held 83½ a., reckoned at ¼ knight's fee, from John Lovel, who held from Robert Tiptoft, who held from the bishop of Ely. (fn. 108) The Ely overlordship links the estate with that of ½ hide said to be held c. 1230 of the bishop's fee by James of Eversden, (fn. 109) and may relate to the fact that the holder of Hugh de Berners's estate T.R.E. was Edwi, the abbot of Ely's man. (fn. 110) William Jake, who may have taken his surname from James of Eversden, (fn. 111) was succeeded by Simon Jakes, who held the ¼ fee in 1302–3, and Simon by Nicholas Keyser, who held it in 1346. Nicholas's heirs were said to hold it in 1428, (fn. 112) but the later descent of the estate has not been traced.
The yardland held of Hardwin de Scalers in 1086 was held of the Scalers fee c. 1230 for suit of court and pontage by Richard and Philip le Rous. (fn. 113) The overlordship passed to Richard de Freville, from whom in 1279 Walter Martin held 71/8 a. in Eversden which John Crisp held from Walter. (fn. 114) Later record of the overlordship has not been found. Walter's mesne lordship, specified as in Little Eversden, was sold with his manor in Shepreth in 1311 and 1332. (fn. 115) The estate said to have been held successively by Richard le Rous and one Richard Crisp had passed to William FitzJohn apparently by the late 14th century; (fn. 116) John FitzJohn was returned as tenant in 1448, (fn. 117) and the holding, though recorded without the tenant's name in 1481, (fn. 118) has not been subsequently traced.
The appropriation of Great Eversden church to St. Alban's Abbey in the 12th century was the origin of the RECTORY manor of Great Eversden. (fn. 119) The abbey enlarged its estate and in 1279 held 27 a. of various lords, including 9 a., held of the honor of Brittany, which was presumably the land that had been granted to it by Robert and Warin Toteneis. (fn. 120) In 1291 the abbey had, in addition to the rectory valued at £13 6s. 8d., temporalities in Great Eversden valued at £5 16s. 10d. (fn. 121) In 1561 the rectory estate was in the hands of the Crown; (fn. 122) it was granted in 1599 to Oliver Warner of Eversden, (fn. 123) farmer of the rectory in 1590, (fn. 124) whose daughter Margaret married Thomas Dove, bishop of Peterborough (d. 1630). (fn. 125) In 1603 Thomas Warner conveyed the estate to Dove and his son William, (fn. 126) and William's son Thomas owned the estate c. 1639 (fn. 127) and sold it in 1650 to Charles Baron. (fn. 128) It then appears to have passed to Mrs. Anne Baron, whose heir was her servant and relative Elizabeth, wife of John Day (d. 1751). (fn. 129) Elizabeth Day was apparently in possession of the rectory at her death in 1781 or 1782, (fn. 130) and by 1814, when at inclosure he received 52 a. in place of glebe and 205 a. in place of tithes, the earl of Hardwicke had acquired it, possibly by purchase with other lands that he had bought from members of the Finch family, (fn. 131) descendants of John and Elizabeth Day. (fn. 132) By 1850 the rectory estate had passed to Samuel Carr, then vicar of Great Eversden and rector of Little Eversden, (fn. 133) and by 1900 to Thomas Agar-Robartes, Viscount Clifden. In 1933 it was evidently owned by one or more of the farmers. (fn. 134) It centred on the house called Church Farm, formerly Rectory Farm, which may have been built in the 17th century. (fn. 135)
Before the Conquest the 27 sokemen holding land in Eversden, all of whom were able to dispose of their estates, had between them a little under 8½ hides of land, in amounts ranging from 1 yardland to 1 hide. Of the four estates into which Eversden was divided after the Conquest only the largest, amounting to 6 hides and 10 a., was specifically stated to include demesne plough-land, and there the demesne included half the land, which was altogether enough to support 10 ploughs, but had one fewer than the 5 teams that it might have had. The one-hide estate of Hugh de Berners also seems to have included demesne land, since there was a servus there. In all there was land for 133/8 plough-teams. The tenants, with land for up to 83/8 teams, numbered 9 villani, 5 bordars, and 10 cottars; each of the bordars had 5 a., so the holdings of the villani are likely to have been relatively large, perhaps averaging ½ hide each. The quantity of meadow land matched the number of ploughs specified, except on the largest estate where there was enough meadow for only 2¼ teams. Two of the estates were stocked with considerable numbers of sheep and pigs. The estates had fallen in value after 1066 but recovered to varying extents by 1086, except for the smallest, a single yardland, which retained the same value throughout the period. (fn. 136)
In 1279 there were two demesne farms, of 200 a. and 20 a., belonging to Robert Hoo and William Jakes respectively. Twenty-seven villein and customary tenants held between them 260 a.; the 11 villeins on Robert Hoo's estate were each said to hold a half-yardland of 15 a., and two other halfyardlands were held by free tenants. The villeins and 9 other customary tenants of Robert Hoo owed a large number of services which were presumably sufficient in theory for the cultivation of the large demesne farm. The free tenants numbered in all c. 80, holding by various interlocking and overlapping tenures in amounts ranging from ¼ a. to 30 a. A holding of exceptional size was that of 100 a. which John of Boxworth held of Robert Hoo by unknown service; the same tenant held a half-yardland in villeinage of the same lord. Three-quarters of the free tenants held some land of Robert Hoo, whose estate included c. 950 a. out of 1,300 a. enumerated in Eversden. (fn. 137) In 1397 the larger demesne farm was evidently still kept in hand, and yielded quantities of wheat, malt, dredge, oats, hay, peas, sheep, pigs, and poultry. (fn. 138)
The arable land may have lain in only two open fields c. 1200, (fn. 139) to which the names Bournbrook field and Heydon field perhaps applied, (fn. 140) suggesting that the division was then as later between the lower and the higher ground. The selions in the open fields, apparently ranging from ¼ a. to ½ a. in size, were usually defined by the furlongs, rather than the fields, in which they lay. (fn. 141) References to land lying in 'le Brache', from c. 1186 on, (fn. 142) suggest an extension of the arable, perhaps over the higher ground in the west. (fn. 143) In the early 17th century the open-field land lay in two divisions, the high fields and the low fields, and in 24 named locations some of which were named as though they were fields but all of which are more likely to have been furlongs. (fn. 144) The same two-fold division seems to have persisted in the late 18th century (fn. 145) and presumably until parliamentary inclosure in 1814. Within the division between high and low fields, however, there were five separately named fields, Brook field and Wood field in Great Eversden, Church field and Low field in Little Eversden, and Quarry field partly in each. (fn. 146) The two parishes appear never to have had more than a single group of fields, the owners and occupiers in each township holding land indifferently in both parishes. (fn. 147) The five fields may have corresponded with the five-course rotation of crops noted in the early 19th century: wheat or barley, oats or beans, barley, grass for mowing, grass for feeding. (fn. 148) In the 17th century the Eversdens were said to be low and wet but fruitful in corn and grass. (fn. 149)
There had evidently been some inclosure of the open fields by 1600, when the lessee of the demesne claimed unlimited feeding on the commons for his sheep and the farmers were trying to stint him to 300 or 400. (fn. 150) Ridge and furrow survived around Great Eversden village in places which were inclosed before parliamentary inclosure (fn. 151) under an Act of 1811. (fn. 152) The Act appears to have been initiated by the earl of Hardwicke, as a freeholder, copyholder, and lessee of the Queens' College estate, in the face of reluctance from the college and, apparently, from the farmers. (fn. 153) The farmers' opposition to change had been manifested by their wrecking of a drainage system applied to the open fields by an 'industrious and intelligent young man', whom they would not allow to grow turnips in the open fields. (fn. 154) The inclosure award was made in 1814, and allotted 1,680 a. of open and common land, of which nearly twothirds was in Great Eversden parish. The old inclosures were reckoned to amount to 393 a., of which 291 a. were in Great Eversden; some old inclosures were exchanged under the award.
The largest allotments were to the earl of Hardwicke, who received 387 a. for his freehold and copyhold estates and 257 a. as impropriator of Great Eversden rectory, to Queens' College, which received 293 a. for the land held from it by lease, the greater part being leased to the earl of Hardwicke, and to the rector of Little Eversden, who received 168 a. for glebe and tithes; 24 a. were allotted to Great Eversden vicarage, which was then held by the same incumbent. The remaining allotments were to 14 freeholders and 16 copyholders, 26 people in all since 4 held both freeholds and copyholds. The 16 allotments for copyholds, excluding the 122 a. allotted to the earl of Hardwicke for copyhold, totalled 489 a.: the largest were of 129 a. and 111 a., five were between 15 a. and 80 a., and seven were less than 3 a. The 14 allotments for freeholds totalled 130 a.: only three were more than 15 a., and six were of 5 a. or less. (fn. 155)
Copyhold tenure survived in Eversden until at least 1903, when an estate held by copy from Queens' College was compulsorily enfranchised under the Copyhold Act, 1894. (fn. 156) In general the post-inclosure farms were relatively large. In 1851 there were sixteen farmers, of whom six had the same surnames as allottees under the inclosure award and only four farmed less than 40 a. (fn. 157) In later years the number of general farms declined, but was augmented by a few specialist fruit-farms. (fn. 158) The Queens' College land was divided among seven farms, but until 1909 the two largest holdings, amounting together to over 400 a., were let to the same tenant. (fn. 159) In 1894 one of the larger but apparently typical farms, Church farm occupied by William Hagger, comprised 362 a., of which 342 a. was arable and 20 a. was grassland; the crops included sainfoin, beans, barley, and wheat, and the livestock included 24 cattle, 380 sheep, 55 pigs, and 250 head of poultry. (fn. 160) In 1905 in Great and Little Eversden together the arable land totalled 1,525 a., compared with 364 a. of grassland and 89 a. of woods and plantations. (fn. 161) In the 1930s the proportions were much the same, the grassland lying mainly round the villages and in a strip running along the Bourn brook and up to Little Eversden. (fn. 162)
A windmill in Eversden was said in 1229 to have belonged to the lord of Eversden, Hamelin de Andeville. (fn. 163) It may have been the mill with which Alexander the miller in 1327 (fn. 164) and 1342 and Robert the miller in 1342 were connected. (fn. 165) A mill was included in Eversden manor in 1409, (fn. 166) but later record of it has not been found. Blacksmiths were recorded in Eversden from the late 12th (fn. 167) to the mid 14th century, when there were also a weaver, a fuller, and a cooper. (fn. 168) In later times not many people plied a trade in Eversden, though there were blacksmiths until the 1930s and tailors and shoemakers in the 19th century. (fn. 169) Some employment was presumably provided by the quarrying industry. Clunch ashlar from Eversden was used at St. John's College in the second decade of the 16th century, (fn. 170) but by 1546 the quarry belonging to Eversden manor was no longer productive. (fn. 171) Stone from Eversden was used at Corpus Christi College in the 1580s and at Trinity College in 1604–5 and 1614–15. (fn. 172) The quarry then used was evidently the one above Little Eversden, where there was renewed activity c. 1750. (fn. 173) Clay-pits for getting lime or marl had been opened by the early 17th century, (fn. 174) and in the mid 19th century large quantities of lime were burned. (fn. 175) A tramway which in 1886 ran south from the clunch pit on Claypit Hill (fn. 176) may have been for carrying lime. A brick-kiln had been built near the Little Eversden quarry by the early 19th century. (fn. 177) There were two brick-makers in Great Eversden in 1841 (fn. 178) and one in 1864, (fn. 179) but the brickyard there, at the north end of the village, was out of use by 1909. (fn. 180)
The abbot of St. Alban's claimed view of frankpledge and the assize of bread and ale in 1279, though it was not known by what warrant; his claim may have extended to the whole of the joint township of Great and Little Eversden, (fn. 181) but in 1334 leet jurisdiction and the assize for at least part of Eversden was exercised in the honor of Richmond's court at Wendy. (fn. 182) There survive court rolls for 1382–98 and 1644–55, (fn. 183) and isolated rolls of a manor court of Eversden held in 1497, 1501, and 1502: the manor was evidently that of Queens' College, and in addition to tenurial matters the court heard pleas of debt and trespass, and received presentments about roads, watercourses, fields, strays, and the breach of orders made by the community of the whole township. (fn. 184) A court, evidently including a court leet, for the college's manor of Eversden was being held in 1545 and c. 1565, (fn. 185) and a court leet and court baron for Great and Little Eversden were held c. 1639 (fn. 186) and in 1652. (fn. 187) A court for Great and Little Eversden was being held in 1740 (fn. 188) and in the mid 19th century for the grant and surrender of copyholds. (fn. 189) The fragmentary evidence about the manor court suggests that the two parishes were not separate for manorial government, notwithstanding the record in 1285 of a constable specified as of Great Eversden, (fn. 190) and the suggestion is corroborated by statements in the 17th and 18th centuries. The two parishes were said to be assessed in all taxes as one and to have two constables indistinct in duties, (fn. 191) though they were separately assessed for the hearth tax of 1666, (fn. 192) and in 1727 they were described as distinct parishes with distinct officers that nevertheless made a single township with only one constable. (fn. 193) Under the inclosure award of 1814 drainage of the fields, as of the roads, became the responsibility of the surveyors of highways of the two parishes. (fn. 194)
The two parishes were separate for poor-law purposes in the later 18th century. In each expenditure on the poor ran at c. £30 a year in the 1770s and rose in the first two decades of the 19th century to up to £140 in Little Eversden and to c. £200 in Great Eversden. (fn. 195) In both it tended to be lower in the late twenties and early thirties. (fn. 196) In 1835 the parishes became part of the Caxton and Arrington poor law union, (fn. 197) and were transferred from the Caxton and Arrington R.D. to the newly formed South Cambridgeshire R.D. in 1934. (fn. 198) A plague-house in Little Eversden was recorded in 1639. (fn. 199)
There was evidently a church, perhaps serving both Great and Little Eversden, by 1092, for by then Picot the sheriff had granted twothirds of the tithes of Eversden to his foundation of Barnwell Priory. (fn. 200) The priory later granted the tithes to St. Alban's Abbey, which had appropriated Great Eversden church, in exchange for the abbey's tithes in Comberton. (fn. 201) The exchange was made between the mid 12th century (fn. 202) and c. 1208, (fn. 203) though the priory retained temporalities in Eversden valued at 10s. 6d. in 1291. (fn. 204)
The church of Eversden was granted to St. Alban's Abbey apparently in the early 12th century by members of the Andeville family, for in the later 12th century Thomas de Andeville confirmed to the abbey almoner the gift of the church by his father and grandfather. (fn. 205) Clement III (1187–91) confirmed the church to the abbey for the support of the poor, (fn. 206) so it was evidently already appropriated. From later evidence it is clear that it was Great Eversden church. The rectory estate remained with the abbey until the Dissolution; (fn. 207) its subsequent ownership is discussed above. (fn. 208) The first known reference to a vicarage was in 1304 (fn. 209) and St. Alban's Abbey presented vicars until the Dissolution. (fn. 210) The Crown, which had presented a vicar in 1349 when there was no abbot, (fn. 211) retained the advowson from the 16th to the 20th century. (fn. 212) In 1916 the vicarage of Great Eversden was united with the rectory of Little Eversden, and the Lord Chancellor, exercising the Crown's patronage, was given every third turn. (fn. 213)
The church of Little Eversden existed apparently in 1229, when Thomas the chaplain of what seems to have been Little Eversden church was party to a dispute about tithes, (fn. 214) and certainly in 1254, when Markyate Priory had a pension of 5 marks a year from the rectory. (fn. 215) The priory also held 15 a. of land in Eversden in 1279 and had the advowson of Little Eversden church. (fn. 216) The last presentation to the rectory by Markyate Priory was in 1520; Edward Watson, the bishop of Lincoln's registrar, presented in 1525 by virtue of a grant from the priory, and the king was patron in 1537. (fn. 217) The Crown granted the advowson in 1544 to Thomas Hall of Huntingdon, (fn. 218) whose daughter Dorothy with her husband Henry Blackham of Huntingdon sold it to John Chetham of Great Livermere (Suff.) in 1567. (fn. 219) Chetham sold the advowson in 1570 to Queens' College, Cambridge, (fn. 220) which in 1586–7 successfully resisted a claim to it by Sir Francis Hinde, (fn. 221) relying, presumably, on a grant of 1545 to his father John Hinde by Thomas Hall. (fn. 222) The Crown presented by lapse in 1691, (fn. 223) but the college retained the advowson, having in 1970 two out of three turns to the united benefice. (fn. 224)
The vicar of Great Eversden in 1304 received allowances of corn and 1 mark a year from St. Alban's Abbey, (fn. 225) and in 1535 the vicarage was valued at £6 14s. 1d. (fn. 226) A stipend of £5 6s. 8d. was being paid to the vicar out of the rectory in 1541, (fn. 227) and the rectory was charged with that sum when granted by the Crown in 1599. (fn. 228) In the early 17th century the vicar's only glebe, apart from the churchyard, was an acre of pasture called the vicarage close, and although he received most of the small tithes, some in the form of fixed cash payments, his living was less than £20 a year in 1639. (fn. 229) The vicarage was said to be worth £14 in 1646, (fn. 230) £10 in 1650, (fn. 231) and £20 c. 1728. (fn. 232) It was augmented by capital grants of £200 out of Queen Anne's Bounty in 1766 and from Parliament in 1810. (fn. 233) At inclosure in 1814 the vicar received 1½ a. for glebe and 22 a. for tithes; the payment of £5 6s. 8d. from the rectory was not commuted. (fn. 234) In 1639 there had been no vicarage house for 60 years or more, though there was a tradition that there had once been one. (fn. 235) The vicarage house was described as a mean cottage in 1783, and was occupied by a labourer in 1836. (fn. 236)
Presumably because of its small income the vicarage did not often have resident incumbents. John Peak, admitted to the vicarage in 1471 (fn. 237) and still vicar in 1504, (fn. 238) held other livings at various times, including near-by Barton. (fn. 239) The vicarage remained vacant from 1570 to 1577, when it was served by a curate. (fn. 240) Though vicars were recorded in the late 16th century and early 17th, (fn. 241) in the 1640s the living was vacant for three years because of its small worth, and the Commonwealth government ordered it to be annexed to Little Eversden. (fn. 242) By 1725 it had become habitual for the living to be in the hands of a sequestrator. (fn. 243) From 1778 onwards Great Eversden vicarage was held with the rectory of Little Eversden, except for the period 1854–63, (fn. 244) and the arrangement was regularized by the union of the benefices.
Little Eversden rectory was valued at £4 in 1254 (fn. 245) and £6 13s. 4d. in 1291, (fn. 246) in each instance excluding Markyate Priory's portion. In 1535 the value was put at only £5 2s. 6d., when a pension of £1 was paid to the priory. (fn. 247) The living was assessed at £60 in the 1650s (fn. 248) and £70 c. 1728, when the rector was said to have made £100 a year out of it. (fn. 249) The glebe amounted to a little over 40 a. in 1615 and 1639, (fn. 250) and at inclosure in 1814 the rector was allotted 33 a. for his glebe in the lands that formerly lay open and 134 a. for tithes. (fn. 251) The rectory house, recorded in 1615 and 1639, (fn. 252) was left very dilapidated by Ferdinando Smythies, rector 1691–1725, (fn. 253) and his successor John Ward began a rebuilding that was completed after 1730, when he left the living. (fn. 254) The house is square in plan, of two storeys, timberframed and plastered, with some later additions, perhaps of 1826, in white brick; (fn. 255) it remained the glebe house in 1970.
After the advowson of Little Eversden rectory had been acquired by Queens' College in 1570 it became usual for the living to be held by fellows of the college who retained their fellowships. (fn. 256) There is little evidence, however, of persistent non-residence. In 1590 both morning and evening services were apparently held at Little Eversden. (fn. 257) In 1596 the rector was said to be non-resident and to have failed to preach monthly sermons. (fn. 258) Among the parishioners some were presented for not attending church in the 1590s and the 1660s, (fn. 259) and in 1638 several inhabitants of the Eversdens signed the petition against Bishop Wren, (fn. 260) at whose visitation that year four parishioners of Little Eversden were presented for refusing to follow ceremonies. (fn. 261) Thomas Marley, rector from 1639, was ejected in 1644 for nonresidence, drunkenness, and the observance of ceremonies. (fn. 262) From 1778 it was the practice to hold morning service each Sunday at Little Eversden and afternoon service in the larger church of Great Eversden. In 1807 there were few communicants at the four communion services held each year at Little Eversden. (fn. 263) The two parishes were served by a curate, in the absence of the incumbent, from 1830 to 1854. By 1836 communion was celebrated seven or eight times a year for the joint congregations, (fn. 264) and by 1896 twice a month. (fn. 265)
In the early 16th century there were parcels of land and a guildhall belonging to a guild of St. Helen in Little Eversden church and to obits and lights there. (fn. 266) Charles Baron Deer (d. 1774) by his will gave £100 in trust for church repairs; the capital was vested in Queens' College, which paid £5 a year, and when the college sold its Eversden estate the payment was made a rent-charge on Manor farm. (fn. 267)
The church at Great Eversden, which apparently bore its invocation to ST. MARY by the 13th century, (fn. 268) is a building of field stones and clunch, having a chancel, nave with north porch, and west tower. Nothing of the 12th-century church has remained visible. The earliest feature is a late-14thcentury window reset in the tower, apparently at the rebuilding for which indulgences were granted in 1466 following a fire when the church and its belltower were struck by lightning. (fn. 269) The chancel, nave, and tower are all of that time, as is also the rood-screen. The plan follows closely that of Little Eversden church, but is slightly longer. The north porch is timber-framed, and has on the plasterwork the date 1636, which is the approximate date of the communion table. The organ is 18th-century. The church was restored in 1864, when seats similar to those by G. F. Bodley at Little Eversden were put in the chancel, and again in 1920. (fn. 270)
In the chancel is a mural monument to John Day (d. 1751), the lay rector, and his wife Elizabeth. The windows include some glass of the late 15th or early 16th century. (fn. 271) There were three bells and a sanctus bell in 1552. (fn. 272) Of the three bells in 1970, one of 1767 and another undated came apparently from the Whitechapel foundry, and the third was made by Miles Gray, 1639. (fn. 273) The plate in 1552 comprised a silver chalice and paten of 10½ oz. (fn. 274) There is an inscribed 17th-century paten and an inscribed cup of 1791. The registers begin in 1541 and are virtually complete.
The church of ST. HELEN at Little Eversden, which bore that invocation by 1341, (fn. 275) is built of field stones and clunch rubble, largely plastered on the outside, and has a chancel, nave with north porch, and west tower. No part of the 13th-century church remains visible, and none of the fabric is apparently older than the earlier 14th century, when the nave and chancel were rebuilt. The eastern window in the south wall was added a little later, and the tower and the timber porch c. 1400. A new window was placed in the south wall of the chancel in the 16th century, and the nave roof was renewed in the 17th. (fn. 276) The church was restored in 1891–2, when the chancel was given stalls designed by G.F. Bodley brought from Queens' College chapel. (fn. 277)
The font-bowl, which has been restored, is of the 13th century. In 1439 there were two bells or more, (fn. 278) and in 1552 there were three bells and a sanctus bell. (fn. 279) The four surviving bells are: (i) 'MG', presumably for Miles Gray; (ii) 1756, J. Eayre of St. Neots; (iii) 1629, Miles Gray; (iv) 1666, Christopher Gray. (fn. 280) In 1552 the plate included two chalices with patens and a silver pyx; (fn. 281) a cup by Thomas Buttell dated 1569 and a paten of c. 1570 remain in the church. The registers begin in 1703; there is an imperfect set of bishop's transcripts from 1599. (fn. 282)
There were said to be no nonconformists in the Eversdens in 1676. (fn. 283) After Francis Holcroft's ejection from the living at Bassingbourn in 1662 part of his congregation continued to meet at Great Eversden, and Holcroft was imprisoned in 1663 for preaching there. (fn. 284) In 1672 John Day's house there was licensed as a Presbyterian meeting-place, (fn. 285) although it was more probably Congregational. (fn. 286) A house was registered in 1704 as an Independent meeting-place, (fn. 287) and in 1706 a newly built house was vested in trustees for the same purpose. (fn. 288) Another house was registered by protestants in 1732, and a barn by Independents in 1742. (fn. 289) The Congregational meetings of Great Eversden and Barrington were united either before or after Holcroft's death in 1692, (fn. 290) and under Thomas Jennings, minister for the joint meeting from 1694, (fn. 291) the congregation grew to become the second largest of its denomination in the county, (fn. 292) with 800 members. (fn. 293) Following a decline in numbers, (fn. 294) there were said to be only six families of protestant dissenters among the parishioners of Great Eversden in 1755. (fn. 295) In 1774 the Congregational meeting had c. 40 members and a gross attendance of 475, (fn. 296) and in 1783 the vicar said that nearly two-thirds of his parishioners were dissenters. (fn. 297) After the death in 1794 of William Bond, minister from 1750, the Barrington and Great Eversden meetings separated. (fn. 298)
A house in Great Eversden registered in 1811 for dissenting worship (fn. 299) was presumably for Independents, and the congregation flourished in 1819. (fn. 300) A new brick chapel for 500 people was built on the site of the former meeting in 1845; it contained a library of 700 books. (fn. 301) A copyhold cottage, enfranchised in 1858, was given as a manse in 1852, and with the chapel was vested in the Cambridgeshire Congregational Union in 1921. (fn. 302) The congregation, averaging 300 in 1851, (fn. 303) began to decline in the late 19th century. In 1897 there were 13 chapel families in Great Eversden, compared with 38 church families, (fn. 304) and membership fell from 26 for Eversden in 1900 to 22 for Eversden and Kingston jointly in 1937 and 11 in 1954. (fn. 305) By 1965 the Eversden chapel was closed, (fn. 306) and its former members went to Kingston chapel. The manse was sold in 1966, and in 1967 the chapel was sold to the parish council as a village hall. (fn. 307)
Francis Holcroft is supposed to have given by his will 8 a. for the use of the Independent congregations of Great Eversden and Barrington. (fn. 308) By 1774 part of the income was used for Great Gransden (Hunts.); (fn. 309) in 1941 Great Eversden and Barrington each received £3 10s. a year net, and Great Gransden £1 10s. The land was sold in 1953, and in 1969 accumulated dividends amounted to £366. (fn. 310) Robert Leete by will proved 1836 gave £200 for the maintenance of the chapel and its minister and £100 for poor members of the congregation; Stephen Leete by will proved 1837 gave £100 for the maintenance of the chapel and its minister. The capital was invested in stock, and in 1969 a Scheme for both charities was being made. Nearly all of the £300 given by Lydia Leete by will proved 1854 went towards the purchase and enfranchisement of the manse. (fn. 311)
In Little Eversden a house was registered by Independents in 1726. (fn. 312) There were five or six families of dissenters with a meeting-house, and some Methodists, in 1783. (fn. 313) By 1897 there were only three dissenting families. (fn. 314)
The curate of Little Eversden in 1599 was also described as schoolmaster, (fn. 315) and there was a schoolmaster in the parish in 1608. (fn. 316) In 1727 there was apparently a schoolmaster in Great Eversden. (fn. 317) A dissenter in 1783 was teaching a school in Little Eversden (fn. 318) which seems to have been replaced by a dame school by 1787, when there was also a small school in Great Eversden. (fn. 319) In 1819 there were three dame schools in Little Eversden with 12, 9, and 5 children respectively, one at Great Eversden with 5 children, and a day-school for 20 children kept by the minister at the Independent chapel, which also had a Sunday school with 40 children. The Sunday school at Little Eversden parish church also provided for Great Eversden and had 30 children. (fn. 320)
A National school at Little Eversden was built in 1828 on land given by Queens' College. The school's income comprised school pence at the uniform rate of 1d. a week, voluntary contributions, and grants from Queens' College and the National Society. (fn. 321) A government grant was received from 1875. (fn. 322) The buildings were enlarged in 1871. (fn. 323) Although it was a C. of E. school, from c. 1880 one or two nonconformists were co-opted to the committee of management. (fn. 324) Children from Great Eversden attended the school, and average attendance rose from 37 in 1835 (fn. 325) to 81 in 1889. (fn. 326) In 1896 there was also an evening-school with an attendance of 40. (fn. 327) Attendance at the day-school fell to 21 in 1931. (fn. 328) The school became an aided school in 1951. (fn. 329)
A British school at Great Eversden was built in 1847 by the Independents on a site given by John Phillips of Royston. (fn. 330) The school had 13 boys and 14 girls in 1871, (fn. 331) but by 1881 had ceased to function as a day-school. (fn. 332) The school building appears to have been the cottage, formerly a school, which Louisa Nixon gave with a plot of land to the Congregational minister and other trustees for the welfare of the people of Great Eversden. In 1961 the cottage was known as Nixon's Hall. (fn. 333)
Charities for the Poor.
The Great Eversden town lands originated in the gift of £5 by John Hastings Burged by will of 1703 to buy land. By 1837 1½ a. was let for £3, and a town house for 7s., distributed in coal. By 1858 the land was divided into allotments, which the local farmers administered inequitably, according to the vicar. The annual rent from the allotments, distributed in coal in the 1930s, was £2 5s. and was allowed to accumulate in the 1950s. In 1968 not many of the allotments were let. By 1962 the town house had long since disappeared, and the site in Church Lane had been sold by 1968. (fn. 334) Before 1788 an unknown donor gave £25 which yielded £1 5s. a year to the poor not on parish relief, (fn. 335) but by 1837 the charity had evidently been lost. (fn. 336)
Charles Baron Deer by will dated 1772 gave £50 to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, on condition that the hospital admitted one patient from Little Eversden at a time. In 1837 the parish sent an average of a patient a month, which was thought to be too many. (fn. 337) No later record of the charity has been found. Lydia Leete by will proved 1854 gave £100 to Addenbrooke's Hospital for the admission of a patient from Little Eversden, and £300 for clothing and fuel; in 1968 the income of £7 10s. from the £300 was spent on coal. (fn. 338) Half an acre of meadow given to Little Eversden by an unknown donor before 1783 (fn. 339) for apprenticing poor boys, which yielded 18s. c. 1787 and £1 5s. by 1837 when the rent was not regularly used, was by 1857 being used for the poor generally or for helping emigrants to Australia. The charity was regulated by a Scheme of 1936 and transferred to educational purposes in 1951. (fn. 340)