A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1978.
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The parish of Weston Colville, (fn. 1) 10 miles southeast of Cambridge and 6 miles south of Newmarket, forms an elongated parallelogram, covering 3,235 a., (fn. 2) and stretching from the Suffolk boundary in the south-east almost to the Newmarket road in the north-west. The longer north-eastern and southwestern boundaries mostly follow former fieldboundaries, the western half of that with Carlton on the north running along an ancient field-way. (fn. 3) The parish lies upon the chalk, surrounding patches of gravel in the north-western part and overlaid by boulder clay to the south-east. The ground rises rapidly from about 150 ft. in the extreme northwest to over 300 ft. east of Chilly Hill, then more slowly to over 400 ft. It then declines gradually to fairly level ground at c. 350 ft., where various streamlets unite to form the head waters of the river Stour, flowing northward into Carlton. (fn. 4)
The economy of the parish has been predominantly agricultural. The western half remained open-field land, under a triennial rotation, until inclosure in 1778. To the east lay ancient closes, probably produced by clearing woodland on the heavy clay soil. In 1086 there was woodland for 300 pigs. (fn. 5) The largest surviving ancient wood lies in the centre of the parish, and belonged to Colvilles manor, whose lord was selling 15 a. of timber there for felling in 1339. (fn. 6) In 1612 it covered 67 a. (fn. 7) Later a strip of pasture divided it into Great Colvilles (later Lower) wood to the south and Little Colvilles (later Great Covens) wood to the north, covering in 1912 43 a. and 34½ a. respectively. (fn. 8) A larger demesne wood at the south-east end of the parish called Weston wood was being felled in the 1590s, (fn. 9) and had by 1612 been cleared and converted to farmland, comprising c. 390 a. of inclosures. (fn. 10) The demesne wood of Moynes manor, covering 24 a. in 1279, 40 a. in 1368, (fn. 11) and 29 a. in 1612, after which date it was cleared, lay by the southern boundary, as did Gazeley wood, (fn. 12) recorded until 1629. (fn. 13) Lesser estates also possessed small inclosed woods, such as St. John's College's grove of 3 a. (fn. 14) The modern wood at Hill Crofts south of the Hall, covering in 1912 24 a., dates only from the early 19th century, having been established on former open-field land, as were the narrow belts lying along the axis of the parish further west, which in 1912 came to 55 a. (fn. 15)
Settlement was recorded at Weston by 974. (fn. 16) In 1086 40 people were enumerated there, (fn. 17) and in 1327 there were 49 taxpayers. (fn. 18) In 1377 119 people paid the poll tax. (fn. 19) In 1524 28 people were assessed for the subsidy, (fn. 20) and there were 26 households in 1563. (fn. 21) Between the 1610s and 1660s the population may have risen by a third, (fn. 22) and there were 140 adults in 1676. (fn. 23) Following a slight decline there were only 130 communicants in 45 households in 1728, (fn. 24) but numbers increased again from the 1730s, probably exceeding 200 during the rest of that century and reaching 318 by 1801. (fn. 25) Thenceforward the population rose steadily to a peak of 574 in 1851 before stabilizing at c. 530 until the 1880s. Numbers then declined slowly, falling to 334 by 1951. By 1971 they had recovered to 385. (fn. 26)
The church and rectory stand where a road called Cambridge way by 1500 (fn. 27) and running south-east from the main Newmarket road joins the LintonNewmarket road, the two running together for ½ mile. The former site of Colvilles manor was to the north-east of the church, and Colvilles farm, the site of the modern Hall, to the west. In 1612, however, there were only six dwellings in the settlement by the church, which was linked by parallel roads called Churchway and Holeway with the larger settlement ¾ mile south-east at Weston Green. Until inclosure in 1778 the green, where there were c. 18 houses in 1612, covered c. 20 a. (fn. 28) From the green minor roads led north towards Willingham Green, south-west past Moynes Townsend and manor farm to West Wratting, and south-east past the common and Weston wood towards Withersfield (Suff.). The old lines of the roads were mostly preserved at and after inclosure. (fn. 29)
The number of dwellings grew little between the late 17th century and the 19th, there being c. 45 under Charles II (fn. 30) and still only 48 in 1811. (fn. 31) Some 17th-century thatched cottages survive at Weston Green, and one or two larger timber-framed houses, such as Peacock Hall. After inclosure one farmhouse, Lark Hall, was built out in the former fields to the west, with labourers' cottages and dependent farmsteads called Spike Hall and Linnet Hall. The main farms at Weston Green, such as Pound and Street farms, received new white-brick, slated farmhouses. The Halls, lords of the manor, built a terrace of eight Tudoresque houses north of the church and later many red-brick estate cottages, and owned 57 cottages in 1912. (fn. 32) Of c. 115 houses in the parish c. 1860, some 80 were at and around the street along the former green and 20 near the church. (fn. 33) The next hundred years saw little new building, there being still only 119 houses in 1961, (fn. 34) but from the 1960s there was some infilling, council houses were built on the north-west side of the street, where most dwellings had previously stood on the south-east side, and the d'Abo estate put up a terrace north of the church.
The village's Horn fair, held in May or August, at which cattle were once sold, still flourished in the early 19th century but fell into disuse soon after 1900. (fn. 35) The Coopers Arms public house was recorded in 1778, (fn. 36) the Three Horseshoes, north of Weston Green, existed from 1800 (fn. 37) until 1957, (fn. 38) and the Fox and Hounds south of the green, open by 1851 and rebuilt c. 1940, (fn. 39) was still open in 1975. In the 19th century the Halls, lords of the manor, gave the village a sports field, and built c. 1885 at the north-west end of the green as a reading-room and library a building which was later also used as a village hall. (fn. 40)
The level ground south-east of the village was requisitioned during the Second World War for a bomber airfield called Wratting Common, in use from 1943 to 1947. (fn. 41) The buildings, which for a time housed 2,000 foreign refugees, were cleared after 1952 and the land was restored to agriculture. (fn. 42)
J. R. Withers (1812–92), called the Cambridgeshire poet, a self-educated labourer whose verses were published between 1856 and 1869, was born at Weston Colville, the son of the village shoemaker, but as an adult lived at Fordham. (fn. 43) One poem describes life at Weston during his boyhood. (fn. 44)
Manors and Other Estates.
Soon after 1000 Lustwine, husband of Ealdorman Beorhtnoth's daughter Leofwaru, devised a manor at Weston to Ely abbey. (fn. 45) The abbey did not immediately obtain possession, for Thurstan, probably Lustwine's son, held the manor when he died c. 1044. He then left it for life to Ethelswith, perhaps his mother's sister, and only after her death to Ely. (fn. 46) By 1066 7 hides at Weston were held under the abbey by Tochi, with whose other estates they were granted to William de Warenne (d. 1088), who held them in demesne in 1086. (fn. 47) The manor continued to be held of Warenne's descendants, the earls of Surrey, (fn. 48) as 1 knight's fee until the 14th century. (fn. 49) In 1316 John, earl of Surrey, ceded to Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, the honor of Castle Acre. (fn. 50) The honor apparently included lordship over the Weston fee, which was said to be held of Aymer at his death in 1324, (fn. 51) and later, incorrectly, of his heirs. (fn. 52) By 1346 the overlordship had returned to Earl John (d. 1347), (fn. 53) and the manor continued nominally to depend on his earldom until after 1520. (fn. 54) From 1546, perhaps following inspection of Domesday Book, it was alleged to be held of the bishop of Ely. (fn. 55)
By c. 1150 the main Weston estate, later COLVILLES manor, had been subinfeudated to the Stutvilles. From Osmund de Stutville (fl. 1166) (fn. 56) it had descended by 1172 to Roger de Stutville, (fn. 57) possibly the sheriff of Northumberland 1170–85 who died c. 1190, (fn. 58) and from Roger to Anselm de Stutville (fl. 1194–6). (fn. 59) Anselm was dead by 1198, (fn. 60) leaving as heirs his five sisters. When his lands were divided (fn. 61) Weston was assigned to Beatrice, married by 1200 to William de Colville, (fn. 62) lord of Castle Bytham (Lincs.). William died in 1230, leaving as heir his son by Beatrice, Roger de Colville, (fn. 63) who held the manor c. 1236 (fn. 64) and probably died c. 1252 when it was included in his widow Beatrice's dower. (fn. 65) She still occupied it when in 1265, her son Walter being in rebellion, the reversion was granted to Warin of Bassingbourn. (fn. 66) Walter was pardoned in 1267 (fn. 67) and held the Weston manor at his death in 1277. His son and heir Roger (fn. 68) died in 1288, leaving a new-born son Edmund (fn. 69) who came of age in 1309 and died in 1316. Edmund's son Robert, then aged 11, (fn. 70) held the manor until he died, having just survived his son Walter (d. 1367), early in 1368. His heir, Walter's son Robert, (fn. 71) died aged 5 in 1369, and the Colville inheritance passed to the descendants of Edmund's sisters Elizabeth and Alice. Weston Colville was assigned to Alice's son Sir John Gernon, who died in 1384, having settled it for life upon his widow Joan, (fn. 72) with reversion to his daughter Joan Botetourt's daughter Joan. Joan the granddaughter, who married Sir Robert Swinburne, (fn. 73) retained Weston in her own right after Robert's death in 1391. (fn. 74) She died, having survived all her sons, in 1433, and Weston passed to her daughter Margery Berners's daughter Catherine, wife of Sir Thomas Fynderne, (fn. 75) who later inherited the other Weston manors called Moynes and Leverers. (fn. 76)
Following Sir Thomas's forfeiture as a Lancastrian in 1461 his Weston properties were granted to Thomas St. Leger, (fn. 77) but by 1478 had been restored to Fynderne's son William, (fn. 78) knighted c. 1485. (fn. 79) Sir William was succeeded in 1516 by his son William's son Thomas, (fn. 80) upon whose death under age in 1524 the Weston estate passed, under a settlement by Sir William, to Thomas Elyot, whose mother Alice was daughter of Sir William's aunt Elizabeth. (fn. 81) Sir Thomas Elyot, diplomat and author, died without issue in 1546, (fn. 82) having settled Weston for life upon his widow Margaret, (fn. 83) who shortly married Sir James Dyer. In 1547 Elyot's nephew and heir at law Richard Puttenham sold his reversionary interest to John Lennard, (fn. 84) who obtained possession through a lease from the Dyers in 1561. (fn. 85)
Lennard died in 1591, leaving the estate to his son Sampson. (fn. 86) Sampson's son Henry inherited the barony of Dacre of the South from his mother in 1612 and Weston on Sampson's death in 1615, (fn. 87) and himself died in 1616. The Weston manors descended with the barony to his son Richard (d. 1630) and grandson Francis (fn. 88) (d. 1662). Francis's son Thomas, created earl of Sussex in 1674, sold much land to pay his debts in 1708. (fn. 89) Weston Colville was bought, probably in that year, (fn. 90) by John Carter, a London linen-draper, (fn. 91) who died in 1723, leaving it to his son John, (fn. 92) who sometimes lived in the parish and died in 1759. His son and heir John (fn. 93) after 1770 took the additional name of Pollard. (fn. 94) He died in 1806, leaving no children. (fn. 95) His sister Elizabeth had married Gen. Thomas Hall (d. 1809), whose son John (1767–1860) succeeded to Carter Pollard's estate. (fn. 96) From him it passed successively to his sons Gen. John Hall (1797–1872) and Maj. Charles Webb Hall (1802–80), and, neither son leaving issue, to his daughter Charlotte's son, (fn. 97) William Henry Bullock, who succeeded to it in 1880, taking the name of Hall. He died in 1904. His son and heir Alexander Cross Hall (fn. 98) sold his Six Mile Bottom estate, including the Weston property, in 1912 (fn. 99) to the financier Sir Ernest Cassel. On Cassel's death in 1921 the estate passed to his granddaughter Ruth Mary Clarisse Ashley. She married successively Capt. A. S. Cunningham-Reid (divorced 1940), Maj. E. L. Gardine (divorced 1943), and T. P. H. Cholmondeley, Lord Delamere (divorced 1955). (fn. 100) In 1975 her estate still included the western end of the parish, but the rest had been sold, Weston Colville Hall farm having been bought c. 1960 for the d'Abo estate in West Wratting. (fn. 101)
The manor-house of Colvilles probably stood in a square moat ¼ mile east of the church. (fn. 102) The field to the south was in 1560 called Hall field. (fn. 103) The site was then empty, and in 1612 Colvilles demesne was cultivated from a farm-house west of the church. (fn. 104) The modern Weston Colville Hall was built at the site of the farm-house, probably by the Carters, in the early 18th century. The five-bay front has in the centre two giant Corinthian pilasters. John Carter Pollard ceased to live there in 1786, (fn. 105) and before 1806 it was used as a farm-house. John Hall (d. 1860) later remodelled it for his own residence. (fn. 106) After the 1860s his family removed to Six Mile Bottom, (fn. 107) and the Hall reverted to being a farm-house. (fn. 108)
In 1066 Godwin Child held under Eddeva the fair 1½ hide at Weston, which passed with her estates to Count Alan, of whom Wihomarc his steward held it in 1086. (fn. 109) The overlordship of that estate, later MOYNES manor, remained with the honor of Richmond. (fn. 110) Probably by 1130 the manor was held by Roger son of Tingry, (fn. 111) a Yorkshire landowner, living c. 1167, (fn. 112) whose son Richard was recorded in 1175 and 1188. (fn. 113) Roger son of Richard (fn. 114) held ¼ knight's fee at Weston in 1212. Probably between 1216 (fn. 115) and 1223 the manor was acquired by Hugh Grandin, (fn. 116) who held it c. 1236. (fn. 117) He died after 1245 and his widow Eleanor, tenant in 1254, was succeeded c. 1255 by their son William. (fn. 118) William went on crusade in 1270 and apparently did not return. (fn. 119) In 1277 ⅓ of 2 carucates at Weston, the inheritance of Christine, perhaps William's daughter and coheir, was assigned by Christine's husband Roger Gobyun and John de Musters to Maud, perhaps Christine's fellow coheir, who was widow of John le Moyne (d. 1274) of Shelford. (fn. 120) Maud held the manor in 1279. (fn. 121) The next known tenant was Moyne's younger son, Sir John le Moyne, who held the ¼ fee by 1299 and died after 1316. (fn. 122) By 1346 it was held by Sir John Sutton of Wivenhoe (Essex), (fn. 123) perhaps in right of his wife Margery. (fn. 124) In 1364 the Suttons sold Moynes to John Bunting, (fn. 125) who died while indicted for robbery in 1368. His lands, then in the king's hands, were eventually restored to his widow Agnes and son John. (fn. 126) John the son held land at Weston in 1402, (fn. 127) and died after 1410. (fn. 128) In 1425 John Chamberlain and his wife Agnes, and Thomas Caley, who claimed to be kinsman and heir of John le Moyne, each released a moiety of the manor to William Alington and others, (fn. 129) probably as feoffees for Sir William Fynderne, who held Moynes in 1428 (fn. 130) and died in 1445. His son and heir Sir Thomas Fynderne (fn. 131) held the manor in 1461.
Sir Thomas also owned by 1452 (fn. 132) an estate called LEVERERS, described as a manor (fn. 133) and later said to be held of the earls of Surrey, (fn. 134) which had presumably belonged to Richard Leverer who died without surviving issue in 1428. (fn. 135) The land may previously have been held by the brothers Roger and Geoffrey Leverer of Carlton (fl. 1225–50), (fn. 136) by William Leverer (fl. 1260–90) who settled 30 a. at Weston on his son Hugh in 1289, (fn. 137) by John Leverer (fl. 1350), (fn. 138) and by Thomas Leverer, whose Weston property included 60 a. acquired in 1377 and who probably died between 1409 (fn. 139) and 1412. (fn. 140)
Moynes and Leverers descended from the 1460s with the principal manor, (fn. 141) except that Richard, Lord Dacre (d. 1630), settled their lands on his younger son Thomas, (fn. 142) on whose death they returned to the main Lennard line in 1674. Moynes demesne then included 200 a. and Leverers 185 a. (fn. 143) Moynes manor-house stood in 1612 at the moat west of Weston Green where a farmstead still bears the name of Mines. The site of Leverers is probably marked by the modern Pound Farm, the field south of which was called in 1612 Leveretts Stocking. (fn. 144)
In 1249 St. Radegund's nunnery, Cambridge, acquired 12 a. at Weston. (fn. 145) At inclosure its successor, Jesus College, was allotted 2 a. adjoining West Wratting. (fn. 146) St. John's College, Cambridge, bought in 1518 from Richard Brown c. 45 a., with 30 a. of heath, (fn. 147) which had been assembled by the Mareys family in the early 14th century (fn. 148) and had passed by marriage to the Browns after 1364. (fn. 149) After inclosure the college had a 70-a. farm north of Weston Green, (fn. 150) which it sold in 1945. (fn. 151) The former college farm-house, a long, low, thatched house, probably of the 17th century, survived in 1975.
In 1086 4 out of the 7 hides on the Warenne manor were in demesne, with 5 servi and land for 3 plough-teams, and the 19 villani had 12 teams between them; the value had risen from £10 to £16 a year. On the Richmond fee 2 of the 3 plough-lands were in demesne, and the 3 villani had only 1 team. (fn. 152) In 1203, after two of William de Colville's tenants had conveyed property by fines, his steward claimed them, unsuccessfully, as villeins. (fn. 153) In 1279 Roger de Colville's demesne included 400 a. of arable. He had 7 villeins holding 15 a. and 8 holding 10 a. each, and his 6 cottars had 20 a. together. Of over 410 a. held of him as freehold 5 tenants owned over 260 a. The rest belonged to c. 30 others, of whom 23 holding between them c. 110 a. were under-tenants of 3 substantial freeholders. On Moynes manor there were 220 a. of demesne arable, but only 3 villeins, holding respectively 15 a., 10 a., and 2 a. About 105 a. were divided among c. 25 freeholds, including 4 of 15 a. A smith held 3 a. by rendering 2 ploughshares yearly. Labour-services were valued but not enumerated on both manors, suggesting frequent commutation. (fn. 154)
The demesne of Colvilles covered some 305 a. c. 1500, (fn. 155) and the arable of Moynes came to 280 a. in 1368, when no labour-services were recorded but only £4 of assised rents. (fn. 156) The combined manors had in 1598 only 6 copyholds compared with 19 freeholds, (fn. 157) and at inclosure only ¼ a. was allotted for copyhold of the Weston manors, although 32 a. were assigned for copyholds of Great Carlton manor. (fn. 158) In the 13th and 14th centuries there were 8 or 9 substantial freeholding families at Weston, including those of Robertot, Rangilun, Cobbe, and Mareys. (fn. 159) John Mareys (d. c. 1364) left household goods worth over £8, cattle and sheep worth £11, and crops worth over £11. His dwelling included a chamber, pantry, larder, and bakehouse. (fn. 160) His lands eventually passed to St. John's College. The other larger freeholds were eventually merged with the demesne, as was that of the Cobbes, over 36 a. c. 1410, (fn. 161) which by c. 1580 had become a demesne farm. (fn. 162)
By the 15th century at latest (fn. 163) the cultivated land was divided between open fields to the north-west and ancient inclosures to the south-east, (fn. 164) where a great assart was mentioned c. 1236. (fn. 165) By the northwestern boundary lay c. 250 a. of heath, all except St. John's College's 30 a. annexed to the demesne by 1612, when 126 a. belonged to Colvilles and 96½ a. to Moynes and Leverers. South-east of the heath were the main open fields covering c. 1,220 a. By the 15th century there were three, which had probably absorbed smaller fields recorded c. 1236, some of whose names, such as Chillowe, (fn. 166) later Chilly Hill, have survived. The boundaries between them were approximately parallel to those of the parish. To the north-east was the field towards Willingham, so named by 1314, (fn. 167) also called in the 15th century Bewel field; (fn. 168) to the south-west the field towards Wratting, (fn. 169) also called before 1500 Wardlow (fn. 170) or Chalkpit field; (fn. 171) and between them Middle field, so named by 1316, (fn. 172) widening at its north-western end. By 1612 well over two-thirds of the arable in those fields belonged to the lord, over 340 a. of whose land lay in blocks of 5 a. or more. Three demesne blocks of 30 a. or more at the north-western end probably derived from encroachments on the heath: in 1214 several freeholders had sued William de Colville for depriving them of their common of pasture. (fn. 173) Further south-east, and south of the church and manor closes, was a group of smaller fields, recorded from c. 1300, Galisley (fn. 174) (later Gazeley), Wydewell (fn. 175) (later Woodwall), and Broadcroft (fn. 176) fields, together c. 160 a. North-east of them was Mill field, so called before 1500; (fn. 177) beyond it c. 140 a. of demesne closes surrounded Colvilles wood. Weston Brook field, c. 65 a., adjoined Carlton Brook field; although intercommonable with Carlton, it remained part of Weston's fields until inclosure, after which it was formally annexed to Carlton parish. (fn. 178) South-east of Weston Green, beyond c. 160 a. of closes belonging to Moynes and Leverers, lay Cleanley meadow (fn. 179) by the Wratting border, and further south-east was the village common. In 1279 the villagers had had 100 a. of common pasture on their green, (fn. 180) presumably the 116 a. called in 1612 the Shrub, which bordered on Weston wood. Inclosures north-west of the green, including c. 90 a. of demesne, had by 1450 absorbed a field called Stod field. (fn. 181)
The north-western open fields were in 1612 cultivated in three shifts. (fn. 182) The crops included wheat, barley, rye, maslin, and bullymong. (fn. 183) Saffron was being grown in closes in the 1560s. (fn. 184) There had been 535 sheep on the Warenne manor in 1086. (fn. 185) In 1347 Colvilles manor contributed 12 stone to the levy on the vill of 58 stone of wool, the rest being supplied by c. 60 people, only 5 of whom rendered 1 stone or more. (fn. 186) In 1674 Moynes farm had liberty of fold for 200 sheep, and Leverers for 300. (fn. 187) The St. John's estate included a sheep-gate, confirmed by the lord in 1542, for 120 sheep. (fn. 188) The tenants' rights of common were reckoned in cattle in 1598, when they were entitled, upon paying agistment to the lord, to run 53 bullocks from 1 May to 1 November on the Shrub. (fn. 189) John Webb (d. 1584) left 15 cattle and 27 mares and colts, (fn. 190) and 20 milch-cows and 20 horses were fed on two closes near Colvilles wood until they were converted to arable c. 1570. (fn. 191)
Of the £65 assessed on the parish in 1524 9 men with £4–6 owned £42, while another 19 had only £23 altogether. (fn. 192) The more prosperous were probably the lessees of the demesne farms, such as John Webb (d. 1584) who occupied Cobbes and Cosens on lease. He left land in neighbouring villages and c. £80 of legacies, besides £83 in loans. (fn. 193) In 1561 Thomas Gallant, a gentleman-farmer from Wilburton, had acquired by marriage a 40-year lease of Colvilles farm, said to include 300 a. of arable. He afterwards sublet much of the land, but incurred, as he later claimed, much trouble and expense on building repairs and implements. After John Lennard had obtained possession of the manor, he sought to evict Gallant, alleging against him absenteeism and unlicensed tree-felling. (fn. 194) By 1598 the manor included four other substantial farms and thirteen smaller leaseholds. (fn. 195) About 1674 the demesne included, apart from Colvilles farm and Finchley farm southeast of the village, 278 a. of inclosures and 419 a. of open-field arable, divided among two large farms which together covered c. 365 a. and six smaller ones totalling c. 310 a. (fn. 196)
By the 1770s John Carter Pollard, who held the St. John's estate on lease, (fn. 197) possessed virtually the whole parish. An inclosure Act was obtained in 1777, (fn. 198) and the land was divided and the award made in 1778. The area for allotment came to 1,927 a., including 1,547 a. of open fields and c. 380 a. of common and heath. Pollard received, after exchanges, c. 1,755 a. having ceded to the rector 268 a. of old inclosures and to St. John's College 27 a. near its farmstead. The rector also obtained 40½ a. of the former fields, and other clergy, colleges, and corporations c. 30 a. The remainder was divided between the lord of Carlton (26½ a.), his copyholders (25 a.), and 17 smallholders. (fn. 199) Although after inclosure some farmers kept for a time to the old rotation much improvement was said to have followed. Of the 1,355 a. cropped in 1801 there were 424 a. of wheat, double the pre-inclosure area, 493 a. of barley, whose yield was doubled, and 150 a. of oats. The area under peas had declined to 100 a., but there were 178 a. of potatoes. The use of leys proved more productive than the old-fashioned fallows. Although there was less feeding grass more artificial grasses were grown, and a flock of 1,200 Norfolk ewes had replaced one of 1,000 wethers with coarser wool. The number of cows had fallen by almost half to c. 50, because some smallholders and cottagers had ploughed up their allotments. The annual rental of the parish had by 1805 more than doubled. (fn. 200)
In the 1790s the manorial estate included, in the anciently inclosed area to the south-east, Moynes farm of 205 a., Pound (formerly Leverers) farm of 113 a., Finchley farm near Little Carlton Green of 141 a., and two others of 131 a. and 110 a. The former open fields were divided between Hall (formerly Colvilles) farm, and the newly established Lennard (later Linnet) Hall farm. (fn. 201) In 1851 Hall farm was partly in hand, and in 1871 when it incorporated the previously separate Lark and Linnet Hall farmsteads it covered 1,300 a.; the rest of the former open fields belonged to Church End farm, reduced from 900 a. in 1851 to 400 a. by 1871. Further south-east Mines (formerly Moynes), Pound, and Finchley farms, of c. 250 a., 320 a., and 125 a. respectively, remained distinct until the late 1870s. Only one of seven farms in the parish was of less than 100 a. (fn. 202) In 1912 the Hall family's estate comprised c. 2,680 a. of the parish, including c. 2, 240 a. of arable and only 186 a. of grass. Several of its nine farms were let to the same tenants, so that 686 a. were farmed from Lark Hall in the northwest, 707 a. from Hall farm, and 743 a. from Pound farm. Three smaller farms to the south-east covered 40 a., 160 a., and 100 a. (fn. 203) The late 19th century saw some decline in productivity in the parish especially, perhaps, on the former heath and woodland at its extremities. The Halls kept Lark Hall farm in hand for almost 25 years after 1890, and two others also from 1896 to 1905. (fn. 204) The rent of the rector's Weston Woods farm, with 364 a. on a cold and hungry clay, fell from £380 in 1878 to £80 in 1910. By 1912 112 a. of it was out of cultivation and reverting to scrub. (fn. 205) In the 1970s the parish was still devoted to arable farming, growing the traditional wheat and barley. (fn. 206)
Weston Colville seldom had much non-agricultural work, although craftsmen, such as a tailor in 1474, (fn. 207) were occasionally recorded. In 1831 82 families depended on farming, only 19 on crafts or trade. (fn. 208) Some 90 adult farm-labourers were then paid 10s. a week. (fn. 209) In the mid 19th century, when there were c. 145 labourers, including c. 95 adults, the farmers usually employed c. 100 men and 40 boys. Otherwise, there were a carpenter's shop, one or two wheelwrights and shoemakers, and two, but by 1861 only one, smiths. (fn. 210) The smithy at the west end of the green was still working in 1937. (fn. 211) In 1897 there were said to be 95 farm-labourers' families and 18 with other occupations, and many young people were leaving the parish. (fn. 212) The Hall estate was letting c. 14 a. as allotments for labourers in 1912. (fn. 213) In the 1960s many inhabitants worked in the neighbouring small towns or at Cambridge. (fn. 214)
By 1612 a windmill, from which a neighbouring field was named, stood on the 400-ft. ridge by the road from the church to Weston Green. (fn. 215) It was rebuilt c. 1830 as a smock-mill. (fn. 216) It was working throughout the 19th century, and c. 1880 was bought from the Livermore family by the Hall estate, (fn. 217) but closed between 1904 and 1912. (fn. 218) Only the stump, under conversion to a house, survived in 1975. (fn. 219)
In 1279 the lords of both Colvilles and Moynes manors claimed to have view of frankpledge and the assizes of bread and of ale, with gallows, tumbrel, and pillory. (fn. 220) In 1334 tenants from Weston Colville attended a tourn held for the honor of Richmond at Newmarket. (fn. 221) In the 1560s the steward took the jurors of the court baron to view the stumps of oak trees felled on the demesne without licence. (fn. 222) No court records have been traced. A constable was recorded in 1381. (fn. 223)
In the early 19th century the rector and parishioners chose the churchwardens jointly. (fn. 224) Expenditure on the poor more than doubled from £66 in 1776 to almost £140 by 1785 and again to £287 by 1803, when 21 adults received assistance. (fn. 225) By 1813 26 people were on permanent relief, and almost 40 more obtained occasional help. The cost was £695, (fn. 226) and afterwards only once fell below £300, while frequently exceeding £500. (fn. 227) Large families were receiving allowances from the rates c. 1830, and labourers were apportioned among the farmers according to the size of the farms. (fn. 228) In 1832 £231, almost half of the total spent, was paid to paupers working for the parish. (fn. 229) From 1834 Weston Colville was part of the Linton poor-law union, (fn. 230) and as part of the Linton R.D. was transferred in 1934 to the South Cambridgeshire R.D., (fn. 231) being included in 1974 in South Cambridgeshire.
About 1044 Thurstan left land at Weston to the village church. (fn. 232) William de Warenne (d. 1088) gave Weston church with its advowson to Lewes priory, (fn. 233) to which his son Earl William (d. 1138) confirmed a grant of the church made in the 1120s by his chaplain Stephen, perhaps the incumbent. (fn. 234) Weston, however, was never appropriated. Under Henry II Osmund de Stutville presented one Reynold as parson, but his successor Anselm de Stutville released the advowson to the priory, which in 1203 vindicated its title against Anselm's sister Beatrice and her husband. (fn. 235) A claim by their son Roger de Colville in 1233 also failed, (fn. 236) and the priory remained patron until the 15th century. (fn. 237) In 1459 Sir Thomas Fynderne claimed to present. An episcopal inquest found that he was entitled to one turn, the next, to the priory's two, and wrongly, that his predecessor Sir Robert Swinburne had presented a rector recorded c. 1377. (fn. 238) In the event the bishop collated by lapse, (fn. 239) as he did again, following a similar claim by Sir William Fynderne, in 1490. (fn. 240) A compromise then made, allowing the lord of the manor to name a clerk whom the prior of Lewes was to present, (fn. 241) remained in force until Sir Thomas Elyot acquired the advowson with Great Carlton manor. (fn. 242) After Elyot's estates were divided the advowson of Weston Colville was formally conveyed with Great Carlton manor until the 17th century, (fn. 243) but was apparently exercised by the lords of the Weston Colville manors, (fn. 244) conveyances of which included the advowson after 1676. (fn. 245) Turns were granted to Sir Nathaniel Curzon (d. 1758), patron in 1747, to John Dowse, patron in 1793, (fn. 246) and to Col. John Scriven, patron in 1865. (fn. 247) A. C. Hall retained the advowson after selling the estate, and it passed after his death in 1920 to his widow, and by 1930 to his son A. J. Hall, still named as patron in 1973. (fn. 248)
William de Warenne also granted to Lewes priory the tithe of his Weston demesne. (fn. 249) In 1236 the priory vindicated against the rector there its right to 2/3 of the tithes not only of Colvilles demesne but also of 20 a. of alienated demesne. It had also an ancient pension of 2s. 6d. (fn. 250) The priory's tithes, usually taxed at 5 marks, were often farmed, (fn. 251) sometimes to the rector who offered £11 13s. 4d. for them in 1328. (fn. 252) About 1500 three-fifths of the demesne tithes went to the rector and only two-fifths to the priory, (fn. 253) which, it was alleged in 1459, had in return to furnish a monk to say mass at Weston every Wednesday and Friday. (fn. 254) The priory's tithe portion, valued at £1 c. 1540, (fn. 255) and pension descended with Great Carlton manor. (fn. 256) At inclosure in 1778 Thomas Brand, owner of Carlton, obtained for those tithes a £28 rent-charge upon Colvilles farm. (fn. 257) Hatfield Broadoak priory (Essex) had a portion in Weston, taxed at 10s. in 1254 and 2 marks in 1291, which it retained in 1340. (fn. 258)
The rector, besides the remaining tithes from Weston and tithes of 7 a. in Brinkley and Willingham, had a glebe comprising in 1279 20 a., (fn. 259) and in 1615 7 a. of closes and 51 a. of open-field arable. (fn. 260) At inclosure he was allotted 40½ a. for open-field glebe, and for the tithes received from John Carter Pollard 268 a. at the south-east end of the parish. (fn. 261) In 1832 the rector exchanged his ancient closes and glebe allotment with John Hall for 94½ a. adjoining the tithe allotment, (fn. 262) making a holding called Weston Woods farm of 364 a. Its rent having fallen sharply, it was sold in 1912 to C. F. Ryder, (fn. 263) who owned Little Carlton farm to the north. Ryder's daughter, later Mrs. Cheshire, retained it in 1960. (fn. 264) In 1887 Anne, widow of Maj. Charles Hall, gave £6,000 to augment the rector's income. (fn. 265)
The rectory was taxed at £12 in 1217 and at £28 gross in 1276, but in 1291 at only £16 13s. 4d. (fn. 266) It was valued at £21 12s. 2d. in 1535, at £108 by 1650, (fn. 267) and in 1728 at £120, though really worth nearly £200 a year. (fn. 268) The rector's income rose from £200 c. 1830 to over £380 by 1851. (fn. 269)
The rectory house originally stood south-west of the churchyard. (fn. 270) Rebuilt after a fire in the mid 18th century, it was later let to poor people, (fn. 271) and although a curate lived there in 1807, (fn. 272) was described as unfit c. 1830. (fn. 273) In 1832 the site was exchanged with John Hall for another, across the road, (fn. 274) upon which a new house was nearly complete in 1836. The rectors lived there until the 1930s, (fn. 275) but it was let from 1951. (fn. 276)
A guildhall, converted into a town house, was sold for the Crown in 1572. (fn. 277)
About 1225 the bishop established at Weston a perpetual vicar, nominated by Eustace Fauconberg, the absentee rector, who was to receive from the living a pension of 1 mark a year. (fn. 278) The next rector, instituted by 1236, served in person, the vicarage presumably lapsing. (fn. 279) The rectors' occupations were frequently secular. One had by 1323 accumulated a debt of £400 to a knight. (fn. 280) His successor decamped c. 1340, having farmed the living to his brother. (fn. 281) The rector from 1348, a goldsmith from Verdun in the service of Joan of Bar, dowager countess of Surrey, was only in minor orders and was nonresident in 1352. (fn. 282) Lewes priory later presented clergy from Sussex, such as John Wodeway, rector 1401–5. (fn. 283) In 1404 he was licensed to remain absent, as was his successor in 1405. (fn. 284) Parish chaplains were recorded in 1406, 1463, and 1487, (fn. 285) the last employed by the pluralist canon lawyer Henry Rud, rector 1478–90. (fn. 286) Edmund Natures, master of Clare College (d. 1549), obtained the rectory in 1517 presumably through being executor to Sir William Fynderne. (fn. 287) He endowed an annual sermon at Weston, (fn. 288) and served the parish through curates. (fn. 289)
The rector in 1561 resided, but was thought incapable of preaching. (fn. 290) Simon Hackesup, rector 1583–1605, preached every Sunday but neglected certain prayers on weekdays. (fn. 291) Abraham Gates, rector 1605–45, acquired considerable property in the neighbourhood and left c. £600 among his children and grandchildren, one of whom, Ralph Garnons, was rector 1663–80. (fn. 292) Robert Haynes, presented in 1645 (fn. 293) and described in 1650 as a preaching minister, (fn. 294) retained the rectory until his death in 1663. (fn. 295) In 1680 the earl of Sussex presented his former chaplain Thomas Tipping, rector until 1732, who resided on his cure and assisted his neighbours by his knowledge of law and physic. In 1728 he held two services every Sunday and had 37 communicants. (fn. 296) George Wallis, rector 1742–7, lived on his Wiltshire benefices, leaving Weston to be served by the vicar of West Wratting, (fn. 297) and Thomas Cook, rector 1747–93, lived at his other living of Semer (Suff.) in 1775, employing a curate at Weston, as did in 1807 his successor H. A. Lagden, rector 1793– 1832. Lagden also held Ware (Herts.) from 1791 and later lived on his estate at Balsham. In the 18th century there were usually three or four communions a year, and one Sunday service. (fn. 298) From the 1820s there were two Sunday services, and the number of communicants rose from under 20 in 1825 to 50 by 1836, when a new rector, William Acton, who lived with his father-in-law at Wratting Park, was serving in person. (fn. 299) In 1877 37 people attended the monthly communions and up to 100 came regularly to church; (fn. 300) in 1897 the rector believed that 62 out of 113 households adhered to the church, and 15 others might attend either church or chapel. (fn. 301) From 1936 Weston was held with Westley Waterless by the Revd. R. J. Davies until he resigned, aged 92, in 1975. (fn. 302)
The church of ST. MARY (fn. 303) was built mainly of field stones. Its stone dressings were largely replaced by grey brick in the 1820s. It consists of a chancel with north vestry, nave with south porch, and west tower. The nave, whose three south windows retained Decorated tracery in 1746, (fn. 304) was built in the early 14th century, as were the chancel arch and surviving original fragments of the chancel, where windows once contained the arms of Warenne, Colville, and Ufford. (fn. 305) The elaborately moulded south doorway and the porch, where an ogee-headed niche once contained an image of the Virgin, (fn. 306) are probably late-14th-century. A three-storey tower (fn. 307) was built in the 15th century. The north wall of the nave contains a large cusped niche, possibly once leading to the rood-stair. Money was left in 1521 for making straight the rood-loft and painting the figures above it. (fn. 308) The whole screen survived in 1746, but only its stone base by 1908. (fn. 309) Wide wall-spaces each side of the chancel arch gave room for altars. The brasses of a man, woman, and child, from the tomb of Richard Leverer (d. 1428), (fn. 310) were removed thither from the chancel, where a wall-monument with kneeling figures to Abraham Gates (d. 1645) and his wife remains.
In 1644 William Dowsing destroyed many 'superstitious pictures'. (fn. 311) Although the church was in good repair in 1728, (fn. 312) the tiled roof and the leads of the steeple were in decay by 1783, (fn. 313) and the tower collapsed in 1824. Within a year it was reconstructed, (fn. 314) mostly in grey brick; probably at the same time the chancel and the north wall of the nave were largely rebuilt, lancets with brick dressings and vertical bands of brick being inserted. The fittings are mainly early19th-century and include a font replacing a wooden one that was still in use in 1841. (fn. 315) The late-19thcentury vestry may be on the site of the Hall family vault. (fn. 316) The interior was restored in 1875. (fn. 317) In the 1880s the east window received new tracery in Perpendicular style. (fn. 318)
There was only one chalice c. 1277 (fn. 319) and one silver chalice with a paten in 1552. (fn. 320) The existing cup and paten were given in 1635, and another paten of 1840 in 1842. (fn. 321) There were four bells in 1552, (fn. 322) and five by 1746. (fn. 323) All but one were broken when the tower fell in 1824, and the existing five bells were cast by Thomas Mears of London in 1825. (fn. 324) The surviving parish registers begin only in 1700. (fn. 325)
No dissenters were recorded at Weston until buildings were registered for dissenting worship in 1823 and 1826. (fn. 326) In 1843 and 1846 the village grocer had his house registered for worship, (fn. 327) and he probably promoted the building in 1847 of a Primitive Methodist chapel, called by 1854 the Rehoboth chapel. (fn. 328) The chapel had 180 sittings in 1851 when its minister claimed congregations of 250–300 at two of the three Sunday services, (fn. 329) and there was a flourishing Sunday school. (fn. 330) In 1877 50 or 60 people were said to attend the chapel, and in 1897 33 families were chapel-goers. (fn. 331) The chapel was still open in 1975, being then served from Saffron Walden.
Although the curate was teaching a school at Weston in 1607, (fn. 332) the parish had no established school (fn. 333) until 1832, when a Sunday school with 42 pupils and a day-school with 20 girls, both supported by subscriptions, were started. (fn. 334) In 1868 Gen. and Miss Hall built a schoolroom and teacher's house just east of the church. The 40–50 children paid school pence in 1872. (fn. 335) The building was enlarged in 1876 and again in 1884, (fn. 336) and attendance rose from 46 in 1876 to 78 by 1889. (fn. 337) In 1897, despite £90 a year from subscriptions, the school was in financial difficulties. (fn. 338) Until the 1890s the school was kept by a master and his wife, thereafter by a mistress. (fn. 339) Attendance was 85 in 1910, (fn. 340) and the school was divided into mixed and infants' classes by 1913, when it was transferred to the county council. (fn. 341) Numbers fluctuated around 60 from 1919 until 1936, but after 1937, when the seniors were sent to Linton village college, fell to 27. The school was closed in 1971, the junior children going to Balsham. (fn. 342)
Charities for the Poor.
Robert Cooper by will proved 1612 left the interest on £1 for yearly distribution to the poor of Weston, (fn. 343) and John Flanner by will proved 1640 left £10 as a stock. (fn. 344) Neither bequest is recorded later. Edward Briggs by will proved 1735 left a rent-charge of £1 for the poor of Weston at Christmas. That was being distributed in 1775, but the money was not received between 1807 and 1822. (fn. 345) At inclosure in 1778 1½ a. called the poor's plot was allotted in place of the right to cut fuel on the common, the rent to be distri- buted to the poor at Christmas. (fn. 346) In 1837 it was let for £1 10s. a year. In the 1830s that and Briggs's charity were collected every four years, and the accumulated £10 distributed indiscriminately. (fn. 347) Those charities were not recorded separately after c. 1880, (fn. 348) being perhaps administered with the bequest of Maj. Charles Hall's widow Anne who in 1895 gave £3,000 to found the Major Charles Hall Memorial Charity. The income was to be used for medical expenses, especially for children, or to provide fuel, clothing, or food, especially for the sick. The rector began by using the income mainly to support a coal club that he had just started, and was alleged to favour church-people. In the late 1960s the income was still spent on coal, milk, and medical expenses. Re-investment raised it from £75 in 1970 to £225 by 1973, spent mainly on milk and groceries. (fn. 349)