A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1978.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
The parish of Hinxton (fn. 1) lies on the east bank of the river Cam or Granta, 9 miles south-south-east of Cambridge and 5 miles north-west of Saffron Walden (Essex). The village, which is the only settlement in the parish, stands where the road from Cambridge to Saffron Walden running beside the river meets the edge of the chalk upland. The southern and eastern boundaries of the parish, which are also part of the county boundary, follow one branch of the ancient Icknield Way, and the northern boundary follows the other branch for about mile before diverging to run due east along field boundaries. (fn. 2) The river forms the western boundary of the parish for most of its length. Hinxton parish is compact and triangular in shape; its area was 1,503 a. until 1886, when 61 a. west of the river were transferred from Ickleton to Hinxton. (fn. 3)
Apart from the river valley, the whole parish lies on the Middle Chalk. (fn. 4) The soil is therefore well drained, brown, and chalky, becoming thinner towards the south-east; only in the north-west part of the parish is there a large area of alluvium and gravel, although the land by the river has always been liable to flooding. (fn. 5) The western half of Hinxton is flat and low-lying, except for the slight rise on which the village stands, but in the eastern half it slopes gently from 100 to 200 ft., and the eastern boundary stands at the foot of a steeper ascent. The parish has long been agricultural, and its farming is typical of its region in being predominantly arable. In the 19th century Hinxton was also known as good sporting country; it was described in 1884 as one of the best partridge manors in the eastern counties, and one of the fields was called Partridge Hill. (fn. 6)
Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age finds in the valley of the Cam or Granta indicate its use very early as a route from the south into Cambridgeshire. (fn. 7) Notwithstanding stray finds from earlier times, however, there is no firm evidence of settlement at Hinxton before the Saxon period, from which its name derives. (fn. 8) By 1086 the village was certainly well established, and Domesday Book mentions 38 inhabitants there. (fn. 9) Some expansion had taken place by 1279, when one of the two manors had at least 35 tenants, but population had probably fallen by 1377 when 115 people paid the poll tax in the parish. (fn. 10) Population appears to have changed little by the 16th century, when 46 inhabitants of Hinxton were taxed in 1525 and there were 43 householders in 1563. (fn. 11) Total population probably remained at c. 200 throughout the 16th and 17th centuries; there were 111 adults in 1676. (fn. 12) The number of inhabitants rose to 230 in 1728 and 269 in 1779, (fn. 13) and the 19th century saw a steady increase until Hinxton's population reached its highest point at 465 in 1851. (fn. 14) The decline after that date, which was attributed partly to emigration, continued until 1901 by which year the total had fallen to 266. Population in the 20th century has fluctuated between that figure and 325, until 1971 when it was 260. (fn. 15)
The village grew along the valley road, and is long but narrow, consisting of one main street 700 yd. long, with lanes running off it on both sides. Towards the northern end of the high street the Duxford road runs west to the river and crosses it at a ford. A similar road south of the village crosses to Ickleton by the only bridge in the parish. The high street once continued c. 200 yd. further south, to a point just south of Hinxton Hall, but, when the park around the Hall was made between 1833 and 1886, the street was cut short outside its gates and the Ickleton road was diverted to run round the north-west edge of the grounds. At the same time New Road, from the Hall gates east to the main road, was built. (fn. 16) The position of the village street, parallel to and c. 250 yd. west of the main road from Cambridge to Saffron Walden, suggests that the main road once ran through the village but has been moved. North of the village its line may be traced from old field boundaries as a continuation of the high street, while to the south an extension of the street and the probable course of the original road formed the boundary of early inclosures. (fn. 17) The village street and the main road were separate by 1615. (fn. 18) The main road was turnpiked in 1724, under the same Act as the road from Stump Cross to Newmarket, and both were disturnpiked by an Act of 1870. (fn. 19) The RoystonNewmarket road, which forms part of Hinxton's northern boundary, was a turnpike from 1769 to 1874, and a turnpike-house was built at Whittlesford Bridge. (fn. 20)
Sixteenth-century tax-lists show at least three substantial farmers in Hinxton, (fn. 21) and the Old Manor, Lordship Farm, Hall Farm, and Oak House all date from that period. The Red Lion is a 17th-century building, and has been used as a public house since at least 1841; there was an inn at Hinxton by 1744, (fn. 22) and the Red Lion's unusual plan suggests that it may have been built for that purpose. The narrow frontages of most of the houses of the 17th century and earlier suggest that the street was continuously built up. The many gaps between them may be partly due to serious fires: in 1665 or 1666 a fire damaged 'almost half the town' and the number of hearths taxed fell from 131 in 1664 to 99 in 1666; (fn. 23) major fires were also recorded in 1740 and 1744, (fn. 24) but there was apparently little rebuilding. The only substantial house of the 18th century is Hinxton Hall, originally of modest size, at the southern end of the high street.
The population increase of the 19th century led to further building. For the first time Hinxton had resident landlords, and the Green family at the Hall took a philanthropic interest in the village. Four cottages opposite the Red Lion date from c. 1820, and six more were built east of the high street and further south before 1886. (fn. 25) The 19th century also saw the building of the Congregational chapel in 1871, a new school in 1872, and the only houses away from the village when Hinxton Grange was erected c. 1835.
The village continued to grow in the early 20th century. By 1904 there was a reading room, which was converted into a village hall in 1968. (fn. 26) A row of council houses was built in North End Road before the Second World War, and a motor fillingstation flourished briefly c. 1933. (fn. 27) A few houses east of the street were built in the 1950s, and in the 1960s bungalows were built in Church Green and houses opposite in the high street. In spite of this infilling, however, the village was losing population and facilities. The King William IV public house, open by 1841, was closed c. 1950, as were both the chapel and school by 1961; all three were used as private houses in 1971. (fn. 28)
The main railway line from London to Cambridge, which follows the Cam or Granta valley and crosses the parish boundary several times, was opened in 1845. A branch line from Great Chesterford (Essex) to Newmarket was opened in 1848, but on the completion in 1851 of the line from Cambridge to Six Mile Bottom, the section between Chesterford and Six Mile Bottom was closed. (fn. 29) Its course, close to the road from Stump Cross to Newmarket, was still visible in 1971.
Manors and Other Estates.
By 1086 Picot the sheriff had received for two manors 15 hides in Hinxton once held by 20 sokemen, mostly King Edward's men. (fn. 30) They passed with the rest of his property to the Peverel family. The estate, held originally as 1 knight's fee, descended to Asceline de Waterville, a sister and coheir of William Peverel (d. after 1147), and was eventually divided between her two daughters. (fn. 31)
One moiety of HINXTON manor was assigned to her daughter Asceline, whose son Roger Torpel inherited her lands in 1220. (fn. 32) On his death in 1225 the manor descended to his son Roger (d. 1229) whose son William died under age in 1242. The estate then passed to Roger's daughter Asceline, (fn. 33) later married to Ralph de Camoys (d. 1259). It was next held by their son Ralph (d. 1277), who was succeeded by his son John, (fn. 34) who held it as fee in 1284. By 1289 he had sold the manor to Sir John Lovetot, (fn. 35) who re-sold it in 1290 to Walter Stourton (d. by 1302) and his wife Gillian who possessed it in 1302 and 1316. (fn. 36) Their son John inherited the manor c. 1325, and settled it in 1326 on himself and his wife Alice. (fn. 37) He was dead by 1346, but the manor remained with Alice until her death in 1374 when she was buried in Hinxton church. Alice's daughter and heir Gillian Talmage had already c. 1371 granted the reversion of the manor to Sir William Clopton and his feoffees. (fn. 38) When Sir William died in 1378 it passed to his son, (fn. 39) Sir William Clopton the younger, who granted Hinxton in 1382 to Sir Thomas Skelton, later a chief steward of the duchy of Lancaster. (fn. 40) Before his death in 1416 Skelton had acquired the other purparties of the manor, being said to hold a whole fee in 1401, as were his successors in 1428. (fn. 41)
On the division of the manor in the 12th century the other moiety, also called HINXTON, was assigned to Asceline de Waterville's daughter Maud who married William de Dive. On her death in 1228 it was divided between her three granddaughters, whose descendants each held knight's fee. (fn. 42)
The first granddaughter was Maud (d. 1275), wife of Saher St. Andrew, who gave her third in 1268 to her younger son Laurence (d.s.p.). (fn. 43) On Maud's death, therefore, the lands passed to her grandson Roger St. Andrew, son of her elder son Robert. (fn. 44) Roger came of age c. 1281 and settled his third of the manor in 1307 upon his son Richard St. Andrew. (fn. 45) The land descended from Richard (d. 1330) to his son Sir John (d. 1360), whose son John died in 1368 and was succeeded by his brother Edmund. (fn. 46) Probably Edmund St. Andrew granted the property in Hinxton to Sir Thomas Skelton, to whom Robert St. Andrew, another son of Sir John, and Sir John's widow Gillian confirmed the grant in 1384. (fn. 47)
The second of Maud de Dive's three granddaughters, Alice, married Richard de Mucegros. She and her husband were both living in 1243. In 1279 their third of the manor was held of the heirs of Richard's son Robert de Mucegros (d. 1254) (fn. 48) by Walter of Glemsford, vicar of Hinxton from c. 1259 (d. 1299), whose heir was Thomas of Glemsford, son of Walter's kinsman Richard. (fn. 49) In 1323 Thomas settled the estate on his daughter Margery and her husband Robert Reyner. On Margery's death in 1374 it passed to their son Stephen, a cleric. (fn. 50)
The third granddaughter of Maud de Dive was Asceline, who married Richard de Mucegros's brother Simon. Both were still living in 1243. (fn. 51) Their son and heir John died in 1266 leaving his sisters Alice and Agatha as heirs to that third. (fn. 52) Alice, who married Ralph de Dive, tenant in 1279, died in 1305 and her purparty passed to Agatha's son John Ratingden. (fn. 53) He granted it in 1318 to Thomas Stevene (d. by 1335), whose son Andrew was succeeded in 1349 by his sister Maud Oky. (fn. 54) When she died in 1361 her heir was her cousin Ives (or Eudes) atte Ash who was succeeded in 1368 by his son John, (fn. 55) who came of age in 1385. By 1401 both those thirds had presumably been acquired by Sir Thomas Skelton. (fn. 56)
The reunited manors were granted by Sir Thomas in 1416 to Richard Vere, earl of Oxford, and his wife Alice. (fn. 57) Alice, who later married Nicholas Thorley (d. 1442), held them from the earl's death in 1417 to her own death in 1452. (fn. 58) Both Alice's son John and her grandson John, earls of Oxford, forfeited their lands to the Crown as Lancastrians and the land was granted in 1471 to Richard, duke of Gloucester, who as king granted it in 1483 to John Howard, duke of Norfolk. (fn. 59) The manors were restored in 1485 to John, 13th earl of Oxford (d. 1513), who granted them in 1494 to Earl's Colne priory (Essex). (fn. 60) Upon its dissolution in 1536 its site and property were immediately regranted to the earl of Oxford. (fn. 61) The Veres remained lords of the manor at Hinxton, until in 1588 Edward, the 17th earl, was forced by his debts to sell it to John Machell of Hackney (Mdx.). Machell, being himself indebted to Sir James Deane, a London alderman and draper, was induced to sell the manor in 1597 to Sir James's brother Richard; (fn. 62) Machell's family was still trying to recover the estate in 1641. (fn. 63) On Richard Deane's death in 1601 his property passed to Sir James, who died in 1608 without issue, devising his estate in Hinxton to be divided equally between five of his nephews, Richard and James Holdip and Walter, John, and James Chamberlain. (fn. 64) Two-fifths were immediately purchased from the Holdips by Edward Dod, a former fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, resident in Hinxton. (fn. 65) He died in 1616 leaving it to his son Thomas (fn. 66) (d. 1670). Thomas devised those two-fifths of the manor to his son Edward, (fn. 67) from whom they were bought in 1676 by Robert Flack, an attorney of Linton. (fn. 68)
The remaining three-fifths were held in 1624 by John and James Chamberlain, whose descendants sold them to Robert Flack and his son John in 1697. (fn. 69) Nevertheless the Flacks claimed to hold only fourfifths in 1698, when the manor was settled on Anne Barrington on her marriage to John Flack. (fn. 70) Six years later, however, Robert devised the four-fifths to his own wife Anne, who died soon after him, for life and then to trustees for his infant grandson Barrington Flack, the child of John and Anne. (fn. 71) After 1704 the manor was regarded as undivided.
Anne Flack married as her second husband Sutton John Cony, and they and Barrington Flack were lords of the manor in 1725. (fn. 72) After Cony's death in 1748 Anne retained part of the lordship until her own death, probably in 1755. (fn. 73) Barrington Flack died in 1749, having devised his estate to his wife Susanna for life and then to her brother Fitzwilliams Barrington. (fn. 74) Susanna Flack was still in sole possession of the manor in 1775, but by 1781 it had passed to her brother, (fn. 75) who sold it to Ebenezer Hollick of Whittlesford (d. 1792). (fn. 76) Ebenezer left the manor to his nephew William Hollick. On William's death in 1817 it passed to his daughter Anne and her husband Wedd William Nash, a Royston solicitor who had for many years acted as William Hollick's steward at Hinxton. (fn. 77) Nash's heir, his grandson Charles Nash, lord by 1858, was succeeded in 1869 by his son Charles Herbert Nash. (fn. 78) All Nash's lands and rights at Hinxton were sold in 1884 to Major E. H. Green de Freville (formerly Green) of Hinxton Hall. (fn. 79) The lordship and lands passed by sale c. 1899 to P. L. Hudson, who resold them in 1900. (fn. 80) By 1904 the manor was held by R. B. Wilkinson (d. 1931), who gave it to trustees between 1916 and 1922. His brother-in-law, C. L. P. Robinson, was described as squire of Hinxton at his death in 1936. (fn. 81)
Two hides in Hinxton, held before 1066 by Siward from Earl Harold, became after the Conquest part of the bishop of Lincoln's fee, and were held in 1086 by Robert. (fn. 82) By c. 1235 that land was held as knight's fee by William Barbedor (I), after whose family it was named BARBEDORS manor. (fn. 83) Probably by 1279 the manor was held by William's younger son Roger, the elder son, William (II), having entered a religious order. (fn. 84) Both Roger and his son William (III) were living in 13034. In 1335 George Barbedor died possessed of the manor, which passed to his infant son William (IV). (fn. 85) Sir Philip Limbury had probably acquired it by 1360. On his death at Constantinople in 1367 his lands passed to his wife Joan (fn. 86) (d. 1388), and next to his daughter Elizabeth, wife of Sir Thomas Trivet (d. 1388). (fn. 87) By 1391 Elizabeth was probably remarried to Sir Thomas Swinburne. In 1408 they sold the manor to Sir Thomas Skelton. (fn. 88) Skelton apparently held it at his death in 1416, but in 1428, with the two manors which Skelton had granted to Richard, earl of Oxford, in 1416, it was held by Alice, formerly the earl's wife. (fn. 89) Thereafter it descended with the other Hinxton manors.
Each of the Hinxton manors had at least one house attached to it in the late 13th or early 14th century. (fn. 90) That of the St. Andrew manor was described as ruinous in 1330, but two years later part of it was assigned as dower. (fn. 91)
There was a single manor-house by c. 1600, when the manor court was held in its courtyard. (fn. 92) The house was said in 1698 to adjoin Dovehouse Close, an area west of the high street at the southern end of the village, (fn. 93) and may possibly be identified with the house known in the 20th century as the Old Manor. The house appears to have been built c. 1500 as a court-house and to have been converted for occupation as a manor-house about 100 years later. It was extensively restored in the 1960s. Lordship Farm was the manor farm by 1802, and was later occupied by the lord's steward. (fn. 94) Its site close to the mill, and the existence of a moat partly surrounding it, suggest that an earlier manor-house may have stood there. At least one wing of the present house is of the 16th century, but it was remodelled and extended in the earlier 19th century.
As both lord of the manor and farmer of the rectory, Wedd William Nash was able at inclosure in 1833, by exchanging parcels between the manorial and rectorial allotments, to consolidate his holding so that it covered almost all the northern half of the parish; c. 1835 he built a house, Hinxton Grange, on his new estate, (fn. 95) and also a lodge on the road from Cambridge to Saffron Walden, a farmstead later known as New Farm, and three cottages. (fn. 96) The lodge had been pulled down by 1971. The Nash family lived at the Grange until c. 1875 when they left Hinxton. (fn. 97) Their whole estate of over 1,000 a., including Hinxton Grange, New farm, Lordship farm, and 15 cottages in the village, was purchased in 1884 by the de Frevilles, and thereafter passed with the de Freville estate. (fn. 98)
Barnwell priory, besides the impropriate rectory, which was leased to William Barbedor (I) in the mid 13th century, (fn. 99) apparently owned other small plots partly leased after its dissolution with the rectory; (fn. 100) other former Barnwell property was sold in 15702. (fn. 101)
The rectory estate, belonging to the bishop of Ely from 1562, consisted of tithes of corn and hay and a farm with c. 80 a. dispersed in Church, Middle, and Bridge fields, which was let on long leases for years or lives. (fn. 102) From 1535 to c. 1577 the lessee was John Baker, who was succeeded by his stepson Thomas Norton of Hinxton. (fn. 103) Although the Crown granted leases to Francis Neale, the bishop's auditor, in 1590 and 1593 while the bishopric was vacant, (fn. 104) Thomas Norton still occupied the farm, presumably as undertenant, in 1595 and was succeeded by his daughter Mary. (fn. 105) The head-lease was granted to Sir Thomas Smith, clerk of the Parliaments and the Privy Council, and his family in 1601, 1604, and 1608, (fn. 106) under whom the farmer from 1610 until his death in 1633 was Sir Edward Hinde, who had married Mary Norton. (fn. 107) Sir Edward's second wife, Barbara, retained possession until at least 1648 and probably until her death in 1667, having obtained in 1640 a lease to Sir Thomas Dayrell, her son by a previous marriage. (fn. 108) Thereafter the Dayrells held the rectory for several generations, though after c. 1660 they lived at Castle Camps and Shudy Camps and not at Hinxton. (fn. 109) In 1664 and 1666 Sir Thomas possessed an 11-hearth house, the largest in the village, occupied in 1674 by William Nunn. (fn. 110) William Hollick purchased the lease from Marmaduke Dayrell in 1811 and devised it in 1817 to his daughter, (fn. 111) whose husband Wedd William Nash was lessee in 1820 and 1836. (fn. 112) In 1833 the rectory farm-house stood west and south of the churchyard, but the site was empty by 1884. At inclosure in 1833 42 a. were allotted to the impropriator for glebe and 193 a. for tithes. The exchanges made by Nash with the bishop's consent between rectorial and manorial land meant that the former manor-house became part of the rectory estate; in 1884, however, it was included in the sale of the Nash family's lands in Hinxton. (fn. 113)
In 1506 the Cambridge college of Michaelhouse was licensed to acquire land in mortmain in Hinxton. (fn. 114) Soon afterwards the college owned c. 75 a. in the three fields and a tenement in the village. (fn. 115) The whole estate was surrendered to the Crown in 1546 to be immediately regranted to Trinity College as part of its original endowment. (fn. 116) The college was allotted 14 a. at inclosure, and held 17 a. in 1873, which was sold in 19023 to R. B. Wilkinson. (fn. 117)
The first substantial house on the site of Hinxton Hall was built, probably after 1737, by Joseph Richardson of Horseheath, who owned it from 1748. Richardson's friend William Cole described it as 'a pretty neat box'. (fn. 118) The property was sold in 1748 to Thomas Brown of Ickleton, whose nephew Richard Holden settled it on his daughter Mary. (fn. 119) Mary's first husband, John Bromwell Jones, pulled down Richardson's house and built Hinxton Hall between 1748 and 1756. (fn. 120) Mary outlived her second husband John Younghusband and in 1775 surrendered her estate to her daughter Mary and son-inlaw William Vachell, who were already resident at the Hall. (fn. 121) Each owner had added to the property, and Vachell continued to acquire land until in 1798 he sold an estate of 130 a. to Edward Green. (fn. 122) Green died in 1804, directing that his estate should be sold; the purchaser, Jonathan Miles, mortgaged it back to Green's family which continued to live at the Hall. (fn. 123) In 1806 Miles sold the Hall with 139 a. (fn. 124) it was re-sold in 1832, (fn. 125) and was occupied by Charles Newberry in 1833. (fn. 126) Edward Humphrys Green, the son of Edward Green, was resident and probably owned the Hall from c. 1834. (fn. 127) The park had grown to 13 a. by 1860. (fn. 128) Both Green and his cousin Edward Henry Green, who succeeded him in 1868, took the name de Freville. (fn. 129) The Hall, sold with the rest of their estate c. 1899, and again in 1900, (fn. 130) was subsequently owned by R. B. Wilkinson and then by his trustees, and was occupied from c. 1917 to 1953 by the Robinson family. (fn. 131) By 1953 it belonged to Col. R. P. W. Adeane of Babraham, who in that year sold it with the surrounding park to Tube Investments Ltd. for use as research laboratories.
Hinxton Hall is a substantial red-brick house. The central portion, which has principal fronts of five bays, and is of two storeys with an attic, was built in the mid 18th century, and partly remodelled, inside and out, in the late 18th or early 19th century. Those alterations coincided with the enlargement of the house by the addition of two-storeyed projecting wings. The principal, north-eastern, room in the new work was decorated with wall-paintings in the Pompeian style. (fn. 132) The house was further enlarged to the south in the early 20th century. New buildings in the grounds for laboratories and staff facilities were erected by Tube Investments between 1954 and 1958, (fn. 133) although the 19th-century stables and much of the setting of lawns and trees have been preserved.
An early addition to the Hall estate was a copyhold farm centred on a house now in New Road. In the 16th and 17th centuries it belonged to the Howsdens, a prominent yeoman family of Hinxton, and was acquired from them by Henry Meriton, rector of Oxburgh (Norf.), who sold the farm-house and 13 a. in 1681 to Arthur Joscelyn of Babraham. Arthur's son and namesake succeeded in 1699. (fn. 134) Joscelyn's daughter married William Greaves, vicar of Little Abington, who inherited her large fortune and estate. (fn. 135) The house and 73 a. were sold to William Vachell by Greaves in 1771, and bought by Edward Green in 1798. (fn. 136)
Ameys farm, which grew from 79 a. of freehold in the 18th century to 219 a. of freehold and copyhold by 1803, was named from the Amey family whose first member in Hinxton was apparently Roger, John Machell's steward of the manor in 1588. (fn. 137) The estate descended in the family until 1742, when it passed on the foreclosure of a mortgage to John Hanchett of Ickleton, who sold it in 1752 to George Saville of Horseheath. Thomas Saville, George's cousin, inherited the farm in 1757. In 1758 Thomas's daughter Ellen Pettit sold it to Charles Amey, whose daughter Martha Claydon held it until 1803, (fn. 138) when it was purchased by Edward Green. (fn. 139)
The largest estate in Hinxton in 1086 was that of Picot the sheriff. Seven hides and 3 yardlands were in his demesne, which was large enough for 4 plough-teams although only one was kept. There were 12 bordars, each holding 1 a., and 20 villani with 9 ploughs between them had replaced the 20 sokemen there before the Conquest. The other small estates contained arable for 5 ploughteams; of the 4 which were there, 3 belonged to the 9 villani. There were also 5 bordars, of whom 2 held 1 a. each, and 2 servi. The livestock recorded included 268 sheep. The number of pigs (fn. 140) suggests the presence of woodland.
The manor held by Ralph de Camoys until 1277 was then said to include 160 a. of demesne arable, 4 a. of meadow, and a little pasture. His 13 villeins owed services worth 4 1s. 7d., and 14 cottars services worth 25s. 5d. The rents of free tenants yielded 11s. 10d. a year. (fn. 141)
The other moiety was divided into three in 1279, the respective demesnes including altogether 78 a., 49 a., and 35 a., while c. 330 a. were held of them by free and villein tenants. Of its 16 freeholders with c. 150 a. John Herdleston and Roger Barbedor had substantial holdings of 62 a. and 61 a., and one man 9 a., but no others held more than 3 a., and some had only one-acre crofts. Barbedor paid only nominal quit-rents. The rates of money rent paid by the other free tenants varied widely from d. to 6s. an acre. Of the 14 villein tenants 11 held 15 a. each, and were bound to plough 7 a., mow and carry the lord's hay, reap and gather stubble for 5 days, and send 2 men to 4 harvest-boons. Three others and four cottagers held only 1 a. each, rendering 14d. and 3 harvest-boons each. (fn. 142) By 1305 at least 3 cottagers and 2 villeins paid only money rents. (fn. 143)
In 1332 the open fields included South field, Bridge field, Northcroft, Middle field (also called Foxhole field), and Burgh field, and the permanent grassland included Short meadow. (fn. 144) The pattern was basically the same in the 16th and 17th centuries. (fn. 145) South field then lay south and south-east of the village; Church field east of it extended to the north-east corner of the parish; Middle field lay north and north-east of the village; and Bridge, or Whittlesford Bridge, field covered the north-west portion of the parish. (fn. 146) Sheep moor and Cow moor in the north-west part of the parish provided common grazing: there was a common herdsman in 1674. (fn. 147) The land by the river, too wet for cultivation, was inclosed at an early date and used for pasture. Some small parcels of land west and south of the village, the largest being Bardhouse close of c. 40 a., had been inclosed by 1698, (fn. 148) but ancient inclosures amounted to only 141 a. in the whole parish in 1833. (fn. 149)
The manorial demesne in 1698 consisted of 565 a. of arable, 56 a. of inclosures, and 48 a. of meadow, all of which was leased. (fn. 150) Other holdings too had grown since the Middle Ages, and a group of small yeoman farmers had emerged; (fn. 151) estates of 100 a. or more were rare before the 19th century.
Crops grown in the parish from the 16th century included rye and barley. (fn. 152) Much of the barley grown in southern Cambridgeshire was used for malting, (fn. 153) and some of the wealthiest men at Hinxton in the 17th and 18th centuries were maltsters. (fn. 154) Other crops grown in the 18th and 19th centuries were wheat, oats, rye, peas, rape, and potatoes; turnips were tried without success. (fn. 155) In 1792 the parish was following a three-course rotation: first wheat and rye, then barley, peas, and oats, and in the third year fallow. Some farmers also sowed sainfoin and other grasses for livestock. (fn. 156) A less common crop was saffron, which was grown in small plots and gardens in the 16th and 17th centuries and was tithed at 2s. a rood in 1692. (fn. 157) A dealer in saffron lived at Hinxton in 1772, and its cultivation there apparently died out only in the early 19th century. (fn. 158)
By custom three flocks of sheep were kept in the parish. Amounting to 450 or 500 animals (fn. 159) they belonged respectively to the lord of the manor, Ameys farm, and the cottagers with rights of common. The cottagers' flock was turned into the fallow field in spring with the manorial flock, until William Spencer, tenant of the manor farm c. 1780, refused to allow any but his own and the other farm's sheep to graze there. The cottagers were obliged to sell their sheep, and to give up raising turkeys each autumn in the common fields, formerly 'a great benefit to the poorer sort'. (fn. 160)
Inclosure of the parish, although advocated in the late 18th century, was opposed by William Hollick as lord of the manor. (fn. 161) An inclosure Act was obtained only in 1820, and the award was neither signed nor put into effect until 1833. (fn. 162) The allotment of the 1,365 a. of newly inclosed land and 141 a. of ancient inclosure increased the dominance of a few large landowners. Wedd William Nash received 982 a., nearly two-thirds of the parish, as lord of the manor and lay rector. Edward Green, who later settled at Hinxton Hall, received 124 a., and one farmer 107 a. The vicar, Trinity College, and three other owners were allotted between 9 a. and 65 a. each, but none of the remaining 20 landholders and commoners received more than 4 a. (fn. 163) Within two years of inclosure most of the copyhold land in the parish had been enfranchised, although some small plots were omitted accidentally and a few tenements remained unenfranchised in 1884. (fn. 164) In spite of the greater efficiency made possible by inclosure, and the widespread adoption of a four-course rotation, (fn. 165) agriculture was depressed in the late 1840s, and farmers at Hinxton were among those unable to pay their rents in 1849. (fn. 166) The rest of the community also suffered, for there was little alternative employment: in 1851 92 men, out of 107 householders, were agricultural labourers. Many women worked as domestic servants, charwomen, laundresses, and dressmakers. (fn. 167)
In 1888, under the Allotments Act of 1887 (fn. 168) and on the initiative of the vicar, a Hinxton Village Dairy Association was formed to protect local cowkeepers with less than 20 a. of land, and to promote the supply of milk and free butter to the cottagers. (fn. 169) Cows continued to graze on the road-side verges, but land was specially acquired for allotment gardens for the poor. The area south of Church Green, formerly the site of the rectory farm and presumably given by Nash, was already used for the purpose by 1884, and remained in use until bungalows were built there in the 1960s; (fn. 170) in 1889, again on the vicar's initiative, more land was given for allotments, probably in the area east of the village assigned to the vicar at inclosure. (fn. 171)
Three large farms and one smallholding occupied all the agricultural land in the parish in 1861 and 1900, and all but c. 220 a. was under arable cultivation. (fn. 172) The three farmsHinxton Hall farm, New farm at Hinxton Grange, and Lordship farmwere in 1971 growing mainly wheat, barley, and sugarbeet, with some cattle and sheep at New farm. They employed only a few local people, and most of the inhabitants worked at Duxford, Sawston, or Cambridge. (fn. 173) Tube Investments Ltd. at Hinxton Hall were the largest employers in the parish, but their work-force was drawn mainly from Cambridge, Saffron Walden, and Haverhill (Suff.). (fn. 174)
Apart from domestic rural crafts such as shoemaking, no industry has ever been practised at Hinxton, though in the 18th century some villagers combined agriculture with spinning for a Colchester clothier and baize-exporter. (fn. 175)
There has been a corn-mill on the river at Hinxton since at least 1086, when three mills, worth 21s., 8s., and 4d. a year, were enumerated. (fn. 176) A water-mill was shared between the manors in and after 1279. (fn. 177) By 1698 the mill was on its present site close to Lordship Farm, (fn. 178) where it may well have stood since the 11th century. The wheel drove three pairs of stones in 1884. (fn. 179) The mill was closed c. 1950. (fn. 180) A plot known as Fulling Mill croft in South field in the 18th century (fn. 181) derived its name from the Great Chesterford fulling mill near by, not from any Hinxton mill.
In 1279 John de Camoys and his coparceners claimed view of frankpledge, the assize of bread and of ale, and estreats at Hinxton. (fn. 182) A court leet was being held for the manor of the St. Andrew family by 1332. (fn. 183) Courts were held at least once a year by Earl's Colne priory and by the earl of Oxford in the early 16th century. (fn. 184) Edward Hinde, as lessee of the manor from John Machell, held courts at the end of the 16th century in the courtyard of the manor-house. (fn. 185) All the lords of the manor from 1698 or earlier held courts baron for their tenants, probably combined with view of frankpledge. (fn. 186) The manor-house was still the meeting-place of the court in 1804. (fn. 187) No manorial records for Hinxton are known to have survived, although court rolls were extant in 1792. (fn. 188)
By 1552 there were two churchwardens, (fn. 189) and there were two or more constables by 1661. (fn. 190) The churchwardens may have been the only overseers of the poor during the 17th century, for in 1671 an order concerning the poorhouse was addressed to them. (fn. 191) There were, however, separate overseers of the poor by 1833, as well as surveyors of highways. (fn. 192)
A small plot of ground in the village was leased to the churchwardens and parishioners in 1656 to build a house for the poor. (fn. 193) Known as the town house or guildhall, it stood east of the high street and north of Ameys Farm. (fn. 194) Until the late 18th century parish resources were adequate to deal with poverty; poor widows were housed in the town house, the poor-rate averaged c. 28, and paupers without settlement were removed from the parish only when they became chargeable. (fn. 195) From 1777 the poor-rate rose rapidly to 627 in 1801, and later it was always over 200. (fn. 196) By 1802 there were three town houses, comprising eight tenements, and Edward Green owned four tenements known as the widows' cottage. (fn. 197) Twelve people lived on permanent relief in 1815. (fn. 198) Poor-relief in and out of the poorhouse was farmed in 1833 to two Essex sackmakers, who also undertook to repair the unturnpiked roads in Hinxton. (fn. 199) The parish was included in the Linton poor-law union in 1835, and was transferred with the rest of Linton R.D. to the South Cambridgeshire R.D. in 1934, (fn. 200) becoming part of South Cambridgeshire in 1974.
One of the town houses listed in 1802 on Church Green may have been the 'engine house' on the green in 1833. (fn. 201) Sarah Stutter, daughter of a lessee of the manor farm, had in 1830 left 100 to the parish to buy a fire-engine, (fn. 202) which was actually used at a fire in 1882. (fn. 203) The building on Church Green, still standing in 1886, was described as the fire-engine house in 1903. (fn. 204) It had disappeared by 1971, although the fire-engine itself was still extant in a collection at Ickleton. (fn. 205)
At inclosure one rood was allotted to the church clerk for land apparently belonging to his office. (fn. 206) From 1920 the rent was paid to the parish council. The land was sold for development in 1963, and the proceeds invested in trust for the council. (fn. 207)
A church at Hinxton existed by 1092, when Picot the sheriff granted it to his newly founded house of canons in Cambridge, later Barnwell priory. (fn. 208) In 1229 the prior was referred to as parson of Hinxton, which may indicate that the benefice was already appropriated to Barnwell, and a vicarage had been ordained by 1259 when Walter of Glemsford was vicar. (fn. 209) The priory continued to own the rectory and advowson until its dissolution. (fn. 210) The crown granted the rectory to the bishop of Ely in 1562 in an exchange of property. (fn. 211) A presentation to the vicarage in 1539 was probably made under a previous grant by Barnwell. (fn. 212) In 1558 the advowson was given at the request of Bishop Thirlby to Jesus College, Cambridge. (fn. 213) The Crown presented in 1716, and the bishop in 1725 by lapse, but the advowson still belonged to Jesus College in 1971. In 1930 the vicarage was united with that of Ickleton, with alternate presentations by the college and the Lord Chancellor; the union was greatly resented in Hinxton, and in 1955 it was dissolved and a separate vicar presented, with the help of a legacy to the Church Commissioners from a parishioner. (fn. 214) Since that date Hinxton and Ickleton have been held as distinct benefices.
The earliest known valuation of the vicarage, in 1535, estimated it to yield 8 5s. 2d. a year. (fn. 215) The vicar also received 2 a year from Barnwell priory, a payment continued by lessees of the rectory after the Dissolution. (fn. 216) The vicarage was worth c. 37 in 1685 and had been recently augmented under the will of Bishop Gunning. (fn. 217) About 1830 its average annual value was 150 gross, and it remained at that figure until 1862 when it was augmented with 192 a year from the Proby Fund by Jesus College. (fn. 218) The college augmented the living again five years later, and the Ecclesiastical Commission added 30 a year in 1882. (fn. 219)
The vicar's tithes on garden-produce, with the exception of saffron, were commuted for a money payment in 1524 after a long dispute between the vicar and the parishioners. Married couples were to pay 2d., other householders 1d., and other communicants d. twice a year, while all parishioners paid d. to the vicar four times a year, to cover mortuaries and oblations as well as garden tithes. (fn. 220) The vicar received 64 a. in place of his tithes at inclosure in 1833. (fn. 221)
The vicarial glebe was said in 1615, 1663, and 1692 to consist only of the 1 a. around the vicarage house, (fn. 222) and at inclosure 1 a. was allotted to the vicar for glebe. (fn. 223) Part of the 65 a. owned from 1833 was sold in 1863 for the Newmarket and Chesterford railway, and the remainder was later sold to the de Freville family. In 1955 the only glebe remaining to the united benefices of Hinxton and Ickleton, a piece of land in Ickleton village, was allotted to Hinxton as the poorer living. (fn. 224)
In the 17th century the vicarage was a thatched house east of the churchyard, with a hall, parlour, small kitchen, and two little chambers. (fn. 225) By 1800, however, it stood south of the churchyard; (fn. 226) described in 1851 as a handsome new building, (fn. 227) it remained the vicar's residence until its sale in 1930. (fn. 228) A new house east of the churchyard was built in 1959. (fn. 229)
Wills of 1518, 1522, and 1525 mentioned a guild of St. Mary. (fn. 230) At the Hinxton end of Whittlesford Bridge there was by 1401 a chapel dedicated to St. Anne and served by a hermit. (fn. 231) The vicar of Hinxton celebrated mass once a year in the chapel, while the hermit was required to assist in the parish church on Christmas Day and to pay the vicar 2 a year. (fn. 232) A house and 2 a. formerly held by the hermit were occupied by the parson in 1585, when they were alleged to be concealed lands. (fn. 233)
Lay interest in the church c. 1300 is suggested by the gift of a chasuble by Gillian Stourton. (fn. 234) Some early-16th-century vicars seem to have been ill educated or non-resident: Thomas Palmer, 15224, was required to submit himself for further examination on the Bible, and William Grant, 15245, was prior of the Cambridge convent of Austin friars and suffragan bishop of Panada to the bishop of Ely. (fn. 235) In the later 16th century the incumbents were frequently fellows of Jesus or other Cambridge colleges, who consequently lived elsewhere and neglected the parish. (fn. 236) The first resident vicar, John Conway, 161757, escaped ejectment, and during the Interregnum was licensed as the registrar for civil marriages. (fn. 237) During the 16th century the living had occasionally been held by sequestrators, appointed to serve the cure and receive the vicar's revenues without being instituted, and from the later 17th century the device was used more frequently. Between 1747 and 1805 no vicar was appointed. (fn. 238) The sequestrators were all members of Cambridge colleges, and they included some distinguished men; among them were the antiquary James Nasmith, c. 1763 to 1773, who served for many years as chairman of the county quarter sessions, (fn. 239) and an amateur playwright, James Plumptre, 17971805, whose activities included the vaccination of parishioners. (fn. 240) Vicars presented after 1805 were either resident or provided a curate, and in the later 19th century took an active interest in the social welfare of their parishioners. (fn. 241) There were morning and afternoon services on Sundays throughout the 19th century, and monthly communions from at least 1877. (fn. 242) Attendance at services reached a peak of 230 in 1897, nearly as many people as the church would hold; numbers of communicants were also at their highest in 1897 at c. 42, having been estimated at between 20 and 30 since 1825. (fn. 243)
The church of ST. MARY AND ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST has borne that name since the later 19th century, before which it was dedicated only to St. Mary. (fn. 244) The church is built of rubble with ashlar dressings and has a chancel with transeptal south chapel, nave with south aisle and porch, and west tower with a lead-covered spire. Parts of the nave and west tower survive from a late-12th-century building, and the chancel was probably rebuilt in the earlier 14th century when the south chapel was added. The chapel incorporates an east window of 13th-century design, completely restored in the 19th century, which may have been reset from the earlier chancel. The nave was refurbished later in the 14th century, when its north windows and roof were renewed and the south porch was added. The south aisle, which occupies the space between the porch and the chapel, was built under a bequest of Sir Thomas Skelton (d. 1416), (fn. 245) whose brass lies in the chapel flanked by those of his two wives. All three may also be commemorated on the corbels to the aisle arches. Later in the 15th century the west tower was remodelled, new windows were put into the chancel and the south wall of the nave and chapel, and a new south doorway was made for the nave. The chapel was also provided with a new roof and diagonal buttresses. Part of the 15th-century rood-screen survives, and there was a loft approached by a stair in the north wall of the nave.
During the 16th and early 17th century the chancel was reported as ruinous, (fn. 246) and when it was repaired, possibly by Sir Edward Hinde (d. 1633), it may have been shortened, the original 14th-century buttresses being reset against a thin east wall. The chancel roof probably dates from that period of repair. The chancel contains many monuments to members of the Dayrell family between 1669 and 1729. More extensive repairs were carried out from the mid 19th century onwards. Much of the ashlar was renewed, and it is not certain that the east window or the stonework followed the medieval patterns.
In the 16th century there were three large bells, and a sanctus bell in the steeple (fn. 247) which survived in 1971. Two were replaced in 1665 and 1667 with bells by Miles Gray, (fn. 248) but the third was sold c. 1785 after it had cracked. (fn. 249) An annual gift of 7d. from Great Chesterford church to Hinxton church, established in the 17th century for bell-ropes, was normally deducted from the payment to Great Chesterford under Anne Howsden's charity. (fn. 250) The church plate in 1552 included three silver chalices. (fn. 251) A silver paten and remade cup given by the Revd.
James Plumptre in 1805 and a pewter flagon and plate were in 1837 the only vessels. (fn. 252) A paten and wafer box have been added since 1900. The registers begin in 1538 and are complete.
A Hinxton woman, probably a Catholic, was imprisoned and fined 260 for refusal to attend church in 1598, and another was presented as a recusant in 1622 and 1638. (fn. 253) Catholic recusancy at Hinxton was, however, confined to individuals, and there were no recusants in 1676. (fn. 254)
Only one protestant dissenter was reported at Hinxton in 1676, (fn. 255) although 18 people had been presented in the previous year for refusing to receive communion. (fn. 256) In 1704 a house there was licensed for nonconformist worship, (fn. 257) but the number of dissenters remained low throughout the 18th century: there were six Presbyterians and two Anabaptists in 1728, (fn. 258) one Presbyterian family in 1779, and in 1799 about six families described as Methodists, although they were more likely Congregationalists. (fn. 259) With the building of the Congregational chapel at Duxford in 1794, the number of dissenters in neighbouring parishes began to increase. (fn. 260) A house in Hinxton was licensed as a meeting-house in 1826. (fn. 261) Nonconformity at Hinxton received much encouragement from the Nashes, lords of the manor 181784, who were themselves dissenters. Wedd William Nash, lessee of the rectory, refused to pay the parish clerk's wages, (fn. 262) and the family declined to donate land for a Church school. (fn. 263) Having acquired the rectory farmstead at inclosure, Wedd William Nash conveyed part of it in 1836 to trustees, for nonconformist preaching and education. A barn was repaired for use as a meeting-house with 170 sittings, and from c. 1844 the British school was held in the same building. (fn. 264) In 1871 a Congregational chapel was built on the site of the barn, west of the churchyard, but the congregation continued to be served by the minister from Duxford. (fn. 265) Average attendance in 1851 was 130, and the vicar reported in 1877 that most families in the parish regularly attended both church and chapel. (fn. 266) By 1897, however, the number of dissenters in Hinxton was estimated at only forty. (fn. 267) The chapel had been unused for some years in 1949; it was sold in 1950 and converted into a private house. (fn. 268)
A schoolmaster licensed at Hinxton in 1580 had gone by 1593, (fn. 269) and education was evidently only intermittently provided there until the late 18th century. Thomas Billett, a nonconformist, was by 1798 running an evening school in Hinxton, assisted by the nonconformist teacher at Duxford, and Billett's wife kept a day-school. (fn. 270) Another school was taught by the parish clerk. (fn. 271) A day-school with c. 30 children flourished throughout the earlier 19th century, supported by subscriptions and payments from the parents, though its numbers had fallen to 15 by 1847. (fn. 272) There was also a Sunday school, held from at least 1807 in the church and attended by almost 60 children in 1847. (fn. 273) In 1833 a nonconformist Sunday school with 44 pupils was recorded. (fn. 274) A schoolmaster and schoolmistress were recorded in 1841, and from c. 1844 there was a British school at Hinxton, (fn. 275) held in the barn which also served as the Congregational chapel: it had been set up by Wedd William or Charles Nash. (fn. 276) School-pence were paid according to the parents' means, and there was an average attendance of 50 children. (fn. 277)
A new school for 75 pupils was built on the west side of the high street in 1872, with the aid of a government grant, to replace the British school. (fn. 278) The incumbents of Hinxton provided religious teaching in the new school under the terms of its trust deed, and some vicars also held a night-school. (fn. 279) The day-school had 60 pupils in 1877 and 59 in 1897, but average attendance remained between 40 and 50. (fn. 280) The Church school building was renovated and redecorated in 1904, most of the expense being borne by R. B. Wilkinson. (fn. 281) The school was closed in 1960, since when the children of Hinxton have attended schools at Duxford and Sawston. (fn. 282)
Charities for the Poor.
Hinxton was one of the parishes to benefit under the charity of Lettice Martin. (fn. 283) The parish received 13s. 4d. a year in the later 18th century. (fn. 284) In 1837 26s. was distributed in small sums among widows, the aged, and large families. Only 1 was received in 1900; (fn. 285) in 1957 1 1s. was paid to each of 6 recipients, and gifts of 2s. 6d. were made to 12 others.
Anne Howsden, by indenture dated 1631, gave a messuage and 49 a. at Moggerhanger, in Blunham (Beds.), to provide 15 a year for the poor of Hinxton. Another 2 each was to be paid yearly to the churches of Hinxton and Great Chesterford, and the trustees might spend 1 on an annual feast. In 1775 the sexton was paid 4s. for tending the graves of the Howsden family, and the trustees held their dinner after the annual distribution on 12 November. (fn. 286) At the inclosure of Blunham in 1796 the trustees were allotted 33 a. Income had risen to 60 a year by 1867, (fn. 287) and in the 1890s it was distributed in coal and cash to the aged. The charity was regulated by a Scheme of 1896 confirmed in 1966; separate charities were formed in 1896 for the payments to Hinxton and Great Chesterford churches, which continued in 1969, and for poor-relief. A memorial in Hinxton churchyard to Anne Howsden was set up in 1903. In 1969 the charity received from the land and investments c. 110 mostly disbursed in coal.
By will proved c. 1877 a Miss Clarkson of Hinxton left 200 from which 1 guinea was to be given every Christmas to each of 6 poor people, preferably widows. The charity continued in 1962, when its income was c. 6 10s.