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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Sawston lies 7 miles south of Cambridge, and is notable as one of the very few industrial villages in the county. The parish covers 1,898 a., and is compact but irregular in shape; its western boundary follows the former course of the river Cam or Granta and part of its northern boundary follows the river Granta, called the Old River or Stapleford River in 1802. (fn. 1) The rest of the northern and eastern boundaries follow old field boundaries and trackways and a stream. Apart from Huckeridge Hill north of the village, the whole parish lies below 100 ft.
Sawston's streams and rivers have been beneficial as a source of fish, (fn. 2) and as the means of driving mills used by the paper industry; the high lime content of the streams encouraged the development of the leather and parchment industry. (fn. 3) The wet land by the rivers has, however, been of restricted use. It is drained by ditches, which required regular scouring, a responsibility assumed by the parish in the 16th century. (fn. 4) Peat and sedge were cut there in the Middle Ages, but livestock pastured on the commons by the river frequently suffered from disease. (fn. 5) Dernford Fen, 73 a. of undrained fen in the northwest part of the parish, was scheduled as a site of special scientific interest in 1951, and is the home of several rare plants, especially mosses, and birds. (fn. 6) The Hall Meadow, 17 a. of rough peaty pasture, once part of a much larger peat fen south-east of Sawston Hall, is also a protected site. (fn. 7) Since the construction of the railway embankment near the Cam or Granta in 1845, severe floods have from time to time affected the houses west of the village. (fn. 8)
The southern half of the parish lies on the Middle Chalk, and the northern on the Lower Chalk. The soil is generally light and chalky, becoming heavier and wetter towards the north. (fn. 9) There was a gravelpit on Huckeridge Hill in the 19th century. (fn. 10) The parish was predominantly agricultural from the 11th to the mid 19th century, when the paper and leather industries already established there began a rapid expansion. There were six open fields until inclosure in 1802. In 1972 the land north and east of the village was still agricultural, although new housing estates were constantly encroaching upon it.
Thirty-eight tenants were mentioned at Sawston in 1086, and c. 125 in 1279, (fn. 11) but population probably fell as a result of the Black Death in 13489 when many deaths were reported. (fn. 12) It had apparently recovered by 1525, when 80 people were assessed for the subsidy. (fn. 13) Although only 64 households were recorded there in 1563, there were 76 houses in the village in 1580, and c. 80 under Charles II. (fn. 14) In 1676 there were 209 adults, and c. 300 people in 1728. (fn. 15) In 1801 Sawston contained 466 people, and from then on the village grew steadily, overtaking all the surrounding parishes. In 1831 771 people were returned, but the vicar believed the true figure to be c. 1,000, paupers without legal settlement having been omitted. (fn. 16) Unlike most rural villages Sawston grew rapidly in the decade 185161 because of the success of its paper and leather industries, its population rising from 1,124 to 1,363. Expansion continued steadily until 1891, when the population was 1,882, but industrial depression and emigration led to a decline in the next three decades. Numbers rose gradually from 1,530 in 1921 to 1,684 in 1931. Since the Second World War the population has risen sharply to 2,133 in 1951, 3,377 in 1961, and 5,597 in 1971, as employment opportunities increased. (fn. 17)
The village grew up on the east bank of the Cam or Granta along the road from Cambridge to Saffron Walden, which may follow a prehistoric trackway. The Ashwell or Street way may be another prehistoric route traversing the parish, crossing the river at Whittlesford mill and following footpaths and Church Lane in a north-easterly direction to Copley Hill (in Babraham) and Fleam Dyke. (fn. 18) The north-south road, which became High Street, remained the focus of settlement, and as late as 1872 the village was described as mostly one long rather tortuous street, with lanes branching off towards the fields. (fn. 19) From the east side of High Street, Church Lane leads past the church but peters out into a track which joins Babraham Road, the only other road leading east from Sawston. To the west New Road (formerly Borough Mill Road) and Mill Lane join to become Mill Road, which crosses the river at the paper-mill (formerly Borough Mill) and probably once continued to Newton. Further south, Common Lane (formerly Water Lane) (fn. 20) led over the commons to the river until it was cut off by the construction of the railway. Between the roads alleys and lanes led into the fields. (fn. 21) The main road through Sawston was turnpiked in 1724 and disturnpiked in 1870, (fn. 22) a toll-house being built at the north end of the parish by Stapleford Bridge. (fn. 23) A new road bypassing the village on the west was opened in 1968. (fn. 24)
Finds from the Bronze Age and later, including a Saxon grave on Huckeridge Hill, were apparently associated with the road, (fn. 25) and the village was probably established by the Saxons. (fn. 26) Dernford Mill in the north part of the parish may have existed by the 10th century, (fn. 27) and the manor-site close to it suggests that a separate settlement may once have stood there. Borough or Burgh Mill may also have been the centre of a small settlement in the Middle Ages, when it was mentioned as the name of a hamlet. (fn. 28) The position of the early-12th-century church suggests that settlement began near the south end of the present village, as does the siting of the village cross at the junction of Church Lane and High Street; in the 16th century the cross was a tiled building like a market-cross, although no market is recorded at Sawston. The building was sold in 1815 so that only the stump of a cross remained; its top was renewed in the 1880s, and in 1919 it was further modified to become the village war memorial. (fn. 29)
Substantial 15th-and 16th-century houses confirm the evidence of 16th-century subsidy assessments that Sawston had some prosperous inhabitants. (fn. 30) The Old Vicarage, demolished in 1948, was a 15thcentury house, as is the Queen's Head. In 1580 houses extended from the Brook, flowing westwards through the parish c. 500 yd. south of the church, to just south of Babraham Road in the north, where there was a stone cross. The extremities were known as Brook End and Cambridge Town's End. (fn. 31) A few cottages were built on the roads leading off High Street, (fn. 32) but settlement was concentrated along the road, and apart from a small southern extension the area of the village remained much the same until the late 19th century. The Huddleston family, lords of two and eventually all of the manors, settled in Sawston in the early 16th century, and the family and their house, Sawston Hall, dominated the parish until modern times; several members of the family, especially in the 18th century, took a close personal interest in all aspects of parish life, perhaps encouraged by their Catholicism which barred them from other administrative and political activities.
Sawston also contained a number of prosperous yeoman farmers. Several houses had six, five, or four hearths in the later 17th century, (fn. 33) and more were built in the 18th century. (fn. 34) The village lacked professional or independent people, perhaps because of Sawston's lack of visual charm, (fn. 35) and only four professional people lived there in 1831. (fn. 36)
The industrial growth of the 19th century brought a great expansion in the working-class population without a corresponding increase in the middle and upper classes, enabling the small group of large employers to dominate the village. Most notorious was Thomas Sutton Evans, owner of the Old Yard leather and parchment works from 1850 to 1882, who in 1871 employed c. 250 people. (fn. 37) Evans carried on bitter feuds with the local doctor, baker, and manufacturer of mineral water, and to all three he established rivals in Sawston whom his employees were obliged to patronize. He set up a brewery at his skinyard and owned four public houses where his workmen had to receive part of their pay in beer, and after the Education Act of 1870 made elementary education compulsory he allowed boys from the skinyard to attend school only after a heavy morning's work. Evans opposed the co-operative movement in Sawston, and in competition with Edward Towgood, the owner of the paper-mill, he bought a mill in Wales which contributed to his financial downfall. After eloping with the vicar's daughter Evans obtained some control of church affairs, especially after his brother-in-law, Edwin Swann Daniel, became vicar in 1855. Eventually, however, he quarrelled with the ministers of both church and chapel, and forbade his employees to attend either. In 1853 he purchased some land at the southern tip of the parish and built a beerhouse and rows of cottages in South Terrace and along the main road for his workmen, who called the area the Spike, after the Irish penal settlement.
The other main employer in Sawston was Edward Towgood (d. 1889), who in 1871 employed nearly 400 people at the paper-mill. (fn. 38) In 1866 he rebuilt the National school, and after his purchase of the advowson in 1879 he and his brother Hamer were generous patrons of the church. Like Evans, Towgood built houses for his workmen, including five rows of brick terrace houses in New Road in 1878. (fn. 39) John Crampton (d. 1910), the proprietor of a general store, a printing-works, and a mineral-water factory, was the third leader of Sawston society in the later 19th century. He built Crampton Terrace, north of Mill Lane, in 1882; (fn. 40) Prince's Terrace, another private development, was built by Frederick Prince, village doctor from 1844 to 1889. (fn. 41) The tradition of the benevolent employer was continued in the 20th century by H. G. Spicer (d. 1944), who bought the paper-mill in 1917. He and his wife gave land for the village college in 1930, and in 1932 built a theatre, later converted to a cinema and closed in 1963. (fn. 42) His wife helped to found the Sawston maternity and infant welfare centre in 1918, to which H. G. Spicer left 1,000. (fn. 43) By 1961 the firm of Spicers owned more than 100 houses in the area, and in 1971 it held two blocks of flats and money in trust for necessitous former employees and their dependents. (fn. 44)
The physical development of Sawston was closely connected with economic fluctuations in its industries. In the early 1870s high rents, which only skilled workmen could pay, created a demand for cheap housing, and rapid building continued to fill the gaps in the medieval village plan: 40 or 50 villas and cottages were built in a few years before 1883, and more building was then in progress. (fn. 45) Discontent and poverty, however, led to emigration and strikes of agricultural labourers in 1872 and paper-workers c. 1890. (fn. 46) The Old Yard declined after T. S. Evans's death in 1882, and by 1895 30 cottages stood empty and there was no longer a demand for building land. (fn. 47) Another depression affected the leather industry in the 1920s and 1930s, but building continued. The first council houses were built in 1921 and by 1972 there were over 750 council houses in Sawston. (fn. 48) By 1950 much of Mill Lane and New Road was built up, and development had begun in Church Field where there had been no houses in 1933. (fn. 49) Building on the Church Field estate continued throughout the 1950s and by 1963 c. 40 of the 55 a. available were built over, (fn. 50) with further development by 1969. The 1960s also saw the creation of new housing estates north of Babraham Road, between New Road and Mill Lane, along Common Lane, and west of the main road between the Brook and the Spike. Much of the development was undertaken by private companies and consisted of mixed houses and bungalows, such as the Deal Grove estate, (fn. 51) and land and house prices were high. Further expansion of the village was planned in the 1970s with the intention that Sawston should be independent of Cambridge and become a centre for the surrounding area. (fn. 52) After the Second World War light industry was encouraged by the county council to settle in Sawston instead of Cambridge, and an industrial estate was built north-east of the village. (fn. 53)
A gas supply was provided in 1867, and the main street was first lit in 1882, (fn. 54) but the company was wound up in 1898. (fn. 55) By 1901 the church was lit with acetylene gas, which by 1904 had been extended to the rest of the village. (fn. 56) Main sewerage was provided c. 1878, when a drain was built along High Street with settling beds in Common Lane. (fn. 57) A new sewage works built in 1962 was already overloaded by 1972, and development in the village was discouraged until it had been extended. (fn. 58)
Several outbreaks of smallpox occurred in the 1870s, derived from infected rags used at the papermill. Typhoid also broke out periodically, because of impure water supplies: many cottages up to the Second World War had only surface wells or used a parish pump. (fn. 59) Piped water was introduced in 1937. Electricity was brought to the village in 1926.
Sawston had a public library, maintained by subscriptions, in 1884. (fn. 60) After 1930 the village college became the centre of social, educational, and cultural life for the neighbouring villages. The parish council acquired a fire engine in 1896, (fn. 61) and a new fire station was built in 1971. (fn. 62) A health centre was opened in 1969.
A co-operative society was founded in the village in 1867 by a group of craftsmen from the leather works and elsewhere, who built a shop. In spite of opposition from T. S. Evans the society flourished, though in 1872 it was said that labourers could not use the shop because they were paid fortnightly and needed credit. (fn. 63) A lodge of the Oddfellows was recorded in 1883, and a court of the Foresters, recorded in 1890, (fn. 64) survived in 1972; a women's friendly society, founded c. 1892, had 44 members in 1900; the friendly society movement in Sawston was closely linked with the church. (fn. 65)
The London-Cambridge railway line, opened in 1845, runs through the parish on an embankment beside the Cam or Granta. The nearest stations were at Whittlesford and Great Shelford, both over a mile away, and a suggested station at the paper-mill was opposed by Edward Towgood. (fn. 66) A branch line from Shelford to Haverhill (Suff.), built in 1865, crossed the northern part of the parish. It was closed in 1967, and the tracks had been removed by 1972.
Sawston's position on a main road fostered the establishment of inns and public houses, and an inn called the Saracen's Head was mentioned in the 15th century. (fn. 67) Early inns included the White Horse, mentioned in 1633, (fn. 68) and the Green Man, open in 1711. (fn. 69) The Black Bull, open in 1687, was probably replaced by the Vine, mentioned in 1711 and renamed the Black Bull before 1755. (fn. 70) In 1872 there were 14 public houses and beer-retailers, and 13 in 1900. (fn. 71) Public houses and inns open in Sawston in 1972 were the White Horse and the Black Bull, mentioned above, the White Lion, open by 1757, the Queen's Head, open c. 1810, (fn. 72) the Greyhound and the King's Head, both open by 1847, (fn. 73) the University Arms at the Spike, built by T. S. Evans in the 1850s, and the Cross Keys and the Woolpack, recorded in 1937. (fn. 74)
The village feast was traditionally held on Easter Monday. (fn. 75) By the later 19th century an amusement fair was held around the cross in Easter week, lasting three days c. 1870 and a week by the 1890s, (fn. 76) and parishioners were resisting attempts by the county council to abolish the event. (fn. 77) Other feasts were held in the 18th century by the Huddlestons for their tenants, the sainfoin feast in December and the wood feast and the coal supper when the Hall's winter fuel was delivered. (fn. 78) The beating of the parish bounds on Gang Monday was another occasion of feasting and drinking. (fn. 79) The custom was observed in 1624 and 1725, but probably died out at inclosure. (fn. 80) On Plough Monday a plough was dragged through the village, and on Shrove Tuesday there were children's games in Camping Close, a custom which later developed into an annual amusement fair. (fn. 81) The picking of the Town Peas is described below. (fn. 82)
Manors and Other Estates.
Two of the 8 hides in Sawston were held freely in 1066 by Orgar from King Harold. After the Conquest William I granted the land, later called the manor of DERNFORD, to his half-brother Robert, count of Mortain, who gave it before 1086 to his father Herluin's Benedictine foundation at Grestain (Eure). (fn. 83) The abbey's estate at Sawston, which covered 332 a. in 1279, (fn. 84) was administered in the 13th century by Grestain's cell at Wilmington (Suss.). (fn. 85) In 1348 the abbey needed money for its patron's ransom, (fn. 86) and Dernford was demised on a 1,000-year lease to Tideman de Lymbergh, who by 1354 had conveyed the manor to Michael de la Pole and his brothers Thomas (d. 1361) and Edmund. (fn. 87) Michael, later earl of Suffolk, apparently released his rights in Dernford to Edmund, who had sole possession in 1356 and settled the manor on himself and his second wife Maud in 1373. Sir Edmund lived at Sawston, (fn. 88) where he was granted free warren in 1383. (fn. 89) Dernford thereafter descended with Pyratts manor, as described below. Dernford manor-house, recorded in 1279, (fn. 90) burnt down shortly before 1580, when the site was empty. (fn. 91) Dernford Farm was built on the same site north-west of the village before 1662, (fn. 92) and was rebuilt in the 19th century.
The main estate in Sawston at Domesday, comprising 4 hides, was held before the Conquest by three unfree sokemen from Alfric Campe. William I gave the land to Eudes the steward, (fn. 93) and it presumably became part of his honor, though no overlord was mentioned after 1086, and by 1236 the terre tenant held the estate in chief. (fn. 94) In 1086 it was held from Eudes by Pirot, and it became known as PYRATTS or SAWSTON manor. By c. 1210 it was held by Ralph Pirot, (fn. 95) presumably by direct descent from Pirot. Ralph died in 1222 and his son and heir Richard between 1224 and 1227. (fn. 96) The Sawston manor remained for her life with Ralph's widow Joan, who held 2 fees there with her second husband Richard Attaneston c. 1235, and died after 1256. (fn. 97) Richard Pirot's brother Ralph was lord over Pyratts manor in 1236 and 1242. (fn. 98) After Ralph's death in 1252 his son Ralph succeeded to the manor, which comprised 397 a. in 1279. (fn. 99) Shortly before he died in 1305 Ralph Pirot conveyed his land at Sawston to his younger son Simon; (fn. 100) Simon was alive in 1327, but by 1329 his widow Elizabeth was in possession as joint tenant. (fn. 101) She held it with her second husband, William Warde, until his death in 1357, and then alone until she died in 1375. (fn. 102) The reversion had been divided between Simon Pirot's two sisters, Catherine (d. by 1375), wife of Henry Wardedieu, and Emma, wife of Robert Deddam. Emma and Robert granted their interest to William Warde, who settled it on his daughter Margery and her husband Richard of Kelshall, a judge of the Common Pleas, after whose deaths without issue their heirs sold it in 1361 to Sir Robert Thorpe (d. 1372). Robert's brother and heir William conveyed the manor in 1376, subject to Henry Wardedieu's lifeinterest in one moiety, to Sir Edmund de la Pole, his wife Maud, and their son Walter, (fn. 103) who already held Dernford manor. (fn. 104)
Sir Edmund died in 1419, (fn. 105) and his son Sir Walter in 1434. The manors were thereupon settled for life on his second wife Margaret, who occupied them in 1466. (fn. 106) The heir, Sir Edmund Ingoldisthorpe of Burrough Green, son of Margaret, Sir Walter's daughter by his first wife Elizabeth, (fn. 107) had died in 1456; his daughter and heir Isabel (fn. 108) in 1457 married John Neville, later marquess of Montagu. (fn. 109) The Sawston estate, however, was held in 1473 by Sir Edmund's widow Joan, and on her death in 1494 probably passed to creditors for 6 years, then descending to Isabel Neville, one of Isabel's five daughters. (fn. 110)
Isabel Neville married William, a younger son of the family of Huddleston of Millom (Cumb.), and her descendants were lords of the manor in Sawston from the 16th to the 20th century. (fn. 111) Isabel was succeeded in 1516 by her son John (d. 1530), whose widow Elizabeth held the manor until her son John came of age in 1539. (fn. 112) Sir John Huddleston (kt. 1553), a J.P. and sheriff of Cambridgeshire under Edward VI, supported Queen Mary in the early days of her reign and by 1554 had been made vicechamberlain, a privy councillor, and captain of King Philip's guard in England. (fn. 113) He was succeeded in 1557 by his widow Bridget and son Sir Edmund (d. 1606), (fn. 114) who purchased the other two manors in Sawston in 1576.
Sir Edmund's son and heir Henry, a Catholic, was involved in the Gunpowder Plot and amassed large debts, also forfeiting his Essex estates. (fn. 115) Despite extensive land transactions to pay debts and recusancy fines in the 17th century, the family retained the lordship of the four Sawston manors, (fn. 116) except that Huntingdons was sold in 1635 to John Byatt, descended in 1650 to his eight granddaughters of whom two died in 1658, (fn. 117) and had been reunited in the Huddlestons' possession by the early 18th century. (fn. 118) Henry Huddleston died in 1657 and his eldest son Sir Robert, who had kept the game for Charles I at Newmarket, (fn. 119) in the same year without surviving issue. Robert's brother and heir Henry, who had fought for the king and compounded, (fn. 120) was succeeded in 1665 by his son Henry (d. 1713), (fn. 121) whose son Richard (d. 1717) borrowed money abroad and improved the family's financial position. The estates were managed by a bailiff until the majority in 1735 of Richard's son Richard (d. 1760), (fn. 122) who was succeeded by his son Ferdinand (d. 1808). After inclosure in 1802 the family estate covered all of the parish east of the main road and a few plots to the west. (fn. 123) Ferdinand's son Richard died unmarried in 1847 and the manors passed to his brother Edward (d. 1852) and Edward's son Ferdinand. Under a settlement made by Ferdinand the estate descended in 1890 to his sister Isabella's son Denys Alexander Lawlor, (fn. 124) and then in 1921 to William Reginald Herbert (d. 1929), another of Ferdinand's nephews, each of whom added the name of Huddleston to their own. (fn. 125) In 1922 W. R. Herbert-Huddleston sold 1,045 a. in Sawston, leaving his successor Capt. R. F. Eyre-Huddleston, grandson of Ferdinand's sister Jane, only the Hall and grounds, a field of 11 a., and the lordship of the manors. (fn. 126) Capt. Eyre-Huddleston was succeeded in 1970 by his nephew, Major A. C. Eyre.
The early manor-house of Pyratts, built by 1279, stood near the church on a moated site close to the present house, where foundations are sometimes visible in dry weather. (fn. 127) In the mid 15th century it included a hall, two cross chambers, 30 other chambers, numerous outhouses, a gatehouse, two barns, two stables, and a dovecot. Sir Walter's widow Margaret de la Pole was alleged to have let the buildings deteriorate, but the house was inhabited by the Huddlestons in the early 16th century. (fn. 128)
The story of Queen Mary's flight to Sawston in 1553 and the subsequent destruction of the manorhouse has been embellished by its narrators, but is based on fact. (fn. 129) Mary certainly spent the night before or after the death of Edward VI on 6 July 1553 at the house, on her way to Norfolk to escape from the duke of Northumberland. (fn. 130) Tradition relates that she escaped the next morning in disguise, riding pillion behind John Huddleston or one of his servants, and that a Protestant mob from Cambridge set fire to the house behind her. The most likely culprit, however, was the duke of Northumberland himself, who left London for Cambridge on 14 July and began pillaging and burning the houses of Mary's supporters; (fn. 131) a mass-book and grail used by her were taken from Sawston, and by 18 July one of Huddleston's tenants was spreading the news that 'the tyrant hath burned good Master Huddleston's house and spoiled his goods'. (fn. 132) In addition to his knighthood, offices, and the manor of Great Wilbraham, (fn. 133) John Huddleston received from Queen Mary a grant of stone from Cambridge castle with which to rebuild his house. (fn. 134)
Date-stones of 1557 and 1584 may mark the beginning and end of the rebuilding of Sawston Hall. Some 15th- and early-16th-century architectural features in the hall range suggest that the house had not been totally destroyed in 1553 and that its remains were incorporated in the new building. The courtyard plan, with the hall on the north, service rooms on the west, and parlour on the east, could also be of medieval origin, although the principal elevations are contrived to be nearly symmetrical, the hall occupies only the ground floor, and there is a characteristically late-16th-century long gallery on the first floor of the south range. Much 16th- and 17th-century panelling and a contemporary priest's hole remain inside. The house was taxed on 17 hearths in 1662 and 1674; (fn. 135) there was some internal refitting in the 18th century but much of the older work survived and was consolidated in a general restoration of 1850. (fn. 136) In 1580 there was a 'large court being quadrant', (fn. 137) presumably before the north front, but there is no evidence that the house had a park of any size and much of the existing planting appears to be of the mid or late 19th century. The terraces and formal rose gardens are of recent origin.
The manor of DALE, held from the lords of Pyratts by service of sending a mounted serjeant with the lord to the king's host, (fn. 138) may be named from William de Dal who in 1197 held 8 a. from Master Benet of Sawston. (fn. 139) About 1236 John son of William of Sawston held of Ralph Pirot's 2 knights' fees. (fn. 140) John of Sawston purchased a messuage, a mill, and 30 a., held of Ralph Pirot, from Alice le Child in 1270. (fn. 141) By 1279 John had been succeeded by his son William, who then held 1 hide. (fn. 142) Sir William of Sawston died holding knight's fee in Sawston in 1308 and his lands passed to his son John (d. after 1366). (fn. 143) By 1376 the manor belonged to Thomas Sawston, (fn. 144) who by will dated 1392 devised it to his eldest son Ralph. (fn. 145) Ralph Sawston was alive in 1434, (fn. 146) but his widow Thomasina held the manor in 1435. Ralph's son John, lord in 1460, (fn. 147) was followed by 1483 by Thomas Sawston. Thomas died in 1513 leaving Dale manor to his son William, (fn. 148) whose lands were valued at 20 a year in 1525. (fn. 149) Ralph Sawston, William's son and heir, died c. 1542, and the manor was divided between his five sisters and coheirs. (fn. 150) Two of the fifths were bought in 1552 by Thomas Potto, a Sawston butcher, (fn. 151) and another was sold in 1554 to Thomas Rand. (fn. 152) Part of Dale manor was held c. 1570 by Ferdinand Parys of Linton, who sold the lordship to Sir Edmund Huddleston in 1576, (fn. 153) since when it has descended with the manors described above.
A sheep-walk and c. 60 a., formerly part of the manor, were bought by Dean Lloyd and settled by him before 1581 on Pembroke Hall, Cambridge. (fn. 154) The college leased the land to the Huddlestons from 1698, and in 1799 Ferdinand Huddleston purchased the estate, for which his son was allotted 71 a. at inclosure. (fn. 155)
The manor-house of Dale, recorded in 1279, (fn. 156) stood on a moated site later covered by Deal Grove, east of the road from Cambridge. It was leased with its dovecot and orchard in 1580 and 1592, (fn. 157) but had apparently disappeared by 1766. (fn. 158) Deal Farm was built beside the road near the grove after 1922.
The remaining 2 hides in Sawston, later HUNTINGDONS or SOMERYS manor, were held freely before the Conquest by Sigar, steward of Ansgar the staller. (fn. 159) By 1086 Roger de Somery held the land from Geoffrey de Mandeville, (fn. 160) whose grandson Geoffrey became earl of Essex in 1140. (fn. 161) Until the 15th century the estate and a court leet were held from the earls of Essex, passing with the earldom to Henry de Bohun, husband of Maud de Mandeville (d. 1236), (fn. 162) and descending to their heirs. Earl Humphrey de Bohun died in 1373 leaving two young daughters as coheirs, and the view of frankpledge was released to the elder, Eleanor, on her marriage in 1380 to Thomas, earl of Buckingham (fn. 163) (d. 1397). After Eleanor's death in 1399 her rights at Sawston were assigned to her elder daughter Anne, wife of Edmund, earl of Stafford (fn. 164) (d. 1403), and were held by Anne until 1421, (fn. 165) when the Bohun inheritance was divided between her and Henry V, as son and heir of Mary, Eleanor's younger sister; the view of frankpledge at Sawston fell to the king, (fn. 166) and was granted to Queen Catherine in dower in 1422. (fn. 167)
The mesne lordship over that manor descended from Roger de Somery to the Somery family who were lords of Haslingfield, (fn. 168) descending from Roger de Somery (d. c. 1198) to his son Miles. One third of a fee at Sawston held of Roger passed from Ralph de Somerville to his daughter Cecily, whose eldest son Hugh Archer ceded it before 1190 to Philip de Somery but recovered it from him in 1201. In 1204 Hugh's son Ralph ceded it for life to Juette, (fn. 169) perhaps the Juette de Somery whose grandson Robert claimed land at Sawston in 1225 and held of 2 fees c. 1235. (fn. 170) The estate was probably held c. 1246 by Walter de Somery. (fn. 171) By 1279 the manor, covering 249 a., was held as 1 knight's fee by Robert Bayard of Robert de Monteny, a grandson and coheir of Miles, under the earl of Essex. (fn. 172) Robert Bayard granted two-thirds of the manor in 1288 to Ralph of Coggeshall for 11 years. (fn. 173) In 1302 Robert's son John granted the estate, of which the other third was then held in dower by Hawise, wife of Reynold de Durenne, to Ralph Huntingdon and his wife Denise. (fn. 174) After Ralph's death Denise married before 1317 Geoffrey of Haverhill, who was the wealthiest man in Sawston in 1327. Both were living in 1335. (fn. 175) Ralph Huntingdon's son Hugh, the next lord, was succeeded c. 1360 by his brother Ralph. (fn. 176) Ralph's son John followed his father before 1390, and was succeeded between 1403 and 1412 by his son Walter Huntingdon (d. 1443). (fn. 177) Walter devised the manor to his mother Elizabeth for life, and then to his eldest son Thomas, (fn. 178) whose elder daughter Margaret, wife of John Parys, succeeded him in 1498. (fn. 179) In 1517 Margaret settled Huntingdons manor on her son Philip Parys, (fn. 180) who in 1542 settled it on John Huntingdon, probably the son of Robert, younger son of Walter (d. 1443), and on John's wife Joyce. (fn. 181) John died without issue in 1554, and Joyce married secondly Thomas Moore. By 1558 the manor had reverted to Sir Philip Parys (d. 1558), who settled it on his younger son Ferdinand. (fn. 182) Huntingdons was sold with Dale manor to Sir Edmund Huddleston in 1576. (fn. 183)
The original manor-house of Huntingdons, recorded in 1279, probably stood on the moated site just west of the present farm-house. (fn. 184) In 1580 the house was a tiled timber building with a hall, two parlours, a kitchen, and other chambers, and stood on one side of a courtyard with a gatehouse and extensive farm-buildings. (fn. 185) Huntingdons Farm in 1972 was a 17th-century house of hall and crosswing form, extensively remodelled in the 19th century.
The preceptory of the Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem at Shingay had appropriated Sawston church by c. 1278. (fn. 186) In 1540 the preceptory's property was granted by the Crown to Sir Richard Long. (fn. 187) For the next 90 years the rectory estate, consisting in 1580 of 35 a. in Sawston with land in Babraham and Pampisford (fn. 188) and the great tithes worth 100 a year in 1685, (fn. 189) descended in the Long and Russell families like Temple manor in Duxford. (fn. 190) In 1631 it was conveyed by Francis, earl of Bedford, to Robert Balam, son-in-law of John Byatt who had farmed the rectory since at least 1625. (fn. 191) The rectory was apparently in Byatt's possession at his death in 1650, for it passed to his eight granddaughters, reduced to six by the deaths of Alice and Jane Balam in 1658, and thereafter descended in six parts. (fn. 192)
One part was sold in 1661 by Paul and Susan Calton to Arthur Stock, whose son Arthur sold it in 1689 to William Greenell. (fn. 193) Several of the other sixths were bought in 1662 and 1664 by John Greenell, perhaps the John Greenell, or Greenhalgh, of Harston who was impropriator in 1685 as guardian of his nephew. (fn. 194) William Greenell conveyed one-sixth in 1693 to agents for Henry Huddleston, (fn. 195) who was said to own the great tithes in 1707. (fn. 196) James Bostock, Henry's brother-in-law and probably acting for Henry's son, sold five-sixths in 1716 to Stephen Corby, a Sawston farmer, and his son John (d. 1723). Stephen died in 1727, leaving the rectory to his two daughters, who married Samuel Jaggard and William Clarke. Their children and heirs, Sarah Jaggard and John Clarke, sold their shares of the estate in 1790 to John Gosling, a wealthy farmer and tanner. In 1800 Gosling, who lived in the rectory farm-house and farmed its land, agreed to sell to Ferdinand Huddleston two more sixths, thus bringing the latter's portion up to half the rectory. (fn. 197) At inclosure Gosling received 130 a. for glebe and tithes, and Huddleston 182 a. (fn. 198) Both estates thereafter became merged with their owners' other lands. The rectory farm-house, known later as Goslings, stands east of the main road at the southern end of the village and is a symmetrically fronted red-brick house, probably of the mid 18th century. (fn. 199)
In 1086 Pirot's estate at Sawston was worth 8, Dernford 6, and Huntingdons 5, all three having maintained their value since before the Conquest. On Pirot's there were 2 demesne plough-teams, with 1 servus, and on Dernford 1 team; the 2 teams on Huntingdons were possibly demesne ones, and there was 1 servus there. In all 23 villani and 13 bordars, the largest group of each being on Pirot's estate, had 5 or 7 ploughteams between them. (fn. 200) Of c. 1,425 a. recorded in 1279 87 a. lay in closes and crofts. Of c. 105 a. of several meadow and pasture c. 70 a. belonged to the demesnes, as did c. 600 a. of the 1,240 a. of arable. Ralph Pirot held 165 a. of arable, and his vassal William of Sawston 128 a. Huntingdons included 140 a. and Grestain abbey had 160 a. Sawtry abbey (Hunts.) and Sir Roger Walsham each held 60 a. freely of Pirot, and two other freeholders 26 a. each. Of c. 55 other freeholders occupying c. 185 a. of arable no others possessed over 20 a., while 27 with 5 a. or less had only 42 a. altogether, and nine more only their messuages. Grestain abbey had no free tenants, but only 12 villeins and 13 cottagers. Of the other manors Pyratts included 26 villein tenements, but Huntingdons only 4, besides 14 cottagers. The villein holdings were also mostly small. Of c. 240 a. divided among 23 covering 5 a. or more, only five, including four held of Dernford, comprised even 20 a. each, and there were one of 15 a. and seven of 10 a. each. Of c. 55 other tenants in villeinage and cottagers 44, including 5 of 7 holding of William of Sawston, had only their homesteads and 12 a., with barely 15 a. of arable between them.
Like the free tenants the villeins all owed moneyrents which were heaviest on Dernford manor. Almost all, even the cottagers, were bound to send two or three men to two or three boon-works a year, and to do one or two days' mowing. On Dernford manor those doing boon-work were entitled to have bread, cheese, and herrings from the lord. On Pyratts nine of those holding 5 a. or more owed only such services, but five others also owed 40 works for every 5 a., and had to reap 4 a. at harvest. Several tenants on Huntingdons, especially cottagers, had to help lift the hay, and some on Dernford also had to cart the lord's corn. (fn. 201)
Tenants defaulting on their obligations to provide labour were fined in 1349, 1351, (fn. 202) and 1406, and in 1445 a copyholder was required to do one boonwork in harvest, and to help at the lord's haymaking. (fn. 203) Grain was supplied in 1453 to tenants of Pyratts for their boon-works. (fn. 204) The manors also employed permanent specialized labour: each estate was managed in the 14th century by a bailiff, and in 1364 Pyratts employed 2 carters, 3 ploughmen, 3 drivers, 1 dairyman, and 2 boys. (fn. 205) In 1352 there was also a shepherd, and in 1358 a hayward who held a copyhold tenement by virtue of his office. (fn. 206)
The chief crops grown in the 14th and 15th centuries were wheat and barley, with smaller amounts of oats. Other crops mentioned were beans, peas, vetches, and the mixed crops maslin and dredge. (fn. 207) The demesne of Pyratts produced 140 qr. of wheat, 34 qr. of maslin, and 5 qr. of peas in 13634, and 63 qr. of wheat and maslin, 74 qr. of barley, and 10 qr. of peas in 138990. (fn. 208)
Field-names recorded in the 13th and 14th centuries included Cambridge, Church, 'Crokelhel', Holme, Howcrouch, West, and White fields. (fn. 209) By 1515 there were at least four open fields, called Howe, Breach, Church, and Holme fields, (fn. 210) and in 1580 these and Great White field and Little White field were listed. (fn. 211) The division of the arable into six fields, probably then already long established, lasted until inclosure. The largest, Howe field, of 369 a. in 1580, covered the north-west part of the parish. East of it was Holme field of 180 a. Church field of 142 a., with another 91 a. inclosed by 1580, extended northwards from Church Lane. Great White field of 206 a., Little White field of 65 a., and Breach field (or the Brach) of 76 a., all west of the main road and north of New Road, (fn. 212) were reckoned to be the best arable land in the parish. (fn. 213)
The position of the parish between two rivers ensured that there was much meadow for cattle. One-quarter of the Dale estate in 1308 was meadow, (fn. 214) although other manors had smaller amounts. In 1314 Pyratts manor's meadow was valued at 2s. an acre while each arable acre was worth only 6d. (fn. 215) A tenant rented 15 of the lord's cows in 1349. In 1453 Pyratts demesne livestock included a bull, 4 bullocks, 5 cows, and 4 calves. (fn. 216) Pigs and geese as well as cattle were kept on the meadows, which provided hay for winter feed. (fn. 217) Cows remained the most numerous animals apart from sheep: many Sawston farmers in the later 17th century had dairies, with implements for making cheese, and Henry Huddleston had a small dairy-herd at his death in 1713. (fn. 218) In 1719 common rights were recognized for 123 cows, 20 bullocks, and 3 bulls, in addition to 3 cows and a bullock for each cottager. (fn. 219)
Sheep were the most important livestock kept in 1086 and remained important in Sawston's economy until inclosure. The Pyratts flock contained 120 sheep in 1352 and 74 a century later, and Dernford manor had 176 sheep in 1390. (fn. 220) Henry Huddleston sold 352 sheep in 1607, (fn. 221) and George Greenell, a wealthy farmer, had 173 couples of ewes and lambs and 76 dry sheep at his death in 1683. (fn. 222) There were c. 460 sheep at Sawston in 1792. (fn. 223) The lord's right of sheepfold was jealously guarded, and tenants were frequently fined in the 14th century for folding their sheep elsewhere. (fn. 224) Each of the four manors had a sheep-walk with foldage rights, although by 1581 that of Dale manor was owned by Pembroke College. The sheep-walks were leased in 1607 to the Huddlestons' steward, who could keep 400 sheep in the parish, with the feed of certain closes from All Saints' Day until 10 May. Henry Huddleston (d. 1713) became under-tenant of the Pembroke College sheep-walk for 200 sheep in 1685, undertaking to fold sheep on 20 a. of the tenant's land each year. (fn. 225) By 1802 Ferdinand Huddleston possessed all the rights of sheep-walk in the parish, except for half the sheep-walk for 60 ewes and a ram belonging to Brook farm. His own rights were without stint, said to be sufficient for c. 500 sheep, and were divided between the tenants of Home, Flowers, and Dernford farms. (fn. 226)
The frequency with which tenants were presented for encroaching on the commons in the Middle Ages and later suggests a shortage of pasture. The lord of Dale manor was presented in 1581 for pasturing cattle on Dale Moor before the town herd was put there. (fn. 227) Rights of common were restricted to householders, and later to ratepayers, with an exception for the poor who hired cows from the lord. (fn. 228) Although those rights were sometimes said to be unstinted, stints were occasionally fixed, usually allowing 3 or 4 cows and a horse to each commoner. (fn. 229) In 1580 there were at least 120 a. of common pasture, and there were c. 500 a. in 1802; some of the land was virtually unusable, such as Dernford Fen, but some was fertile though liable to flooding. Another 160 a. in 1802 were common mowing meadows, of which most belonged to Ferdinand Huddleston and became common after the hay harvest. (fn. 230) The town cattle were allowed on the stubble before the sheep, and there was pasture intercommonable with Babraham in the north-east corner of the parish. (fn. 231)
The land by the rivers, suitable only for meadow and pasture, was probably inclosed from the date of Sawston's settlement. By the 14th century land at Sunderlands, east of Church field, was also inclosed by the lords of Pyratts manor, who had 70 a. of inclosed arable there in 1390, besides some pasture. (fn. 232) Further inclosure at Sunderlands may have taken place shortly before 1580, when Edmund Huddleston had 92 a. of arable there. (fn. 233) About 50 a. of closes lay round Sawston Hall in 1581. (fn. 234) By 1802 the southern half of the parish contained 408 a. of inclosed land, of which four-fifths belonged to Ferdinand Huddleston. (fn. 235)
Saffron, the most important of several new crops introduced to the parish in the 16th century, was mentioned in 1525, and was apparently well established by the 1540s. (fn. 236) Its cultivation continued throughout the 17th century, but died out after c. 1735. (fn. 237) Hops were also grown in 15801. (fn. 238) Lentils were mentioned from 1662, (fn. 239) and turnips had been introduced by 1719. (fn. 240) Shortly before 1718 Henry Huddleston divided the inclosures at Sunderlands into strips and leased them for growing sainfoin. (fn. 241)
The concentration of the land and wealth of the parish in the hands of the Huddlestons discouraged the emergence of any other large landowner at Sawston. In 1525 John Huddleston and John Huntingdon between them paid more than half the village's contribution to the subsidy, and about half the taxpayers were assessed as wage-earners. (fn. 242) Dernford manor in 1581 had 20 copyholders but no free tenants, but Pyratts had 11 free tenants, as well as 10 tenants at will whose holdings later developed into Home, Huntingdon, and Dernford farms which were tenanted on long leases. (fn. 243) After the Huddlestons bought Dale manor in 1576, the demesnes were divided among about 10 leading inhabitants, but many of them had most of their land outside the parish and no new group of landowners arose. In 1707 33 people occupied land in Sawston: only four, the tenants of Huntingdon, Home, and two other farms, farmed more than 90 a., and 22 held less than 10 a. (fn. 244) Ferdinand Huddleston was owner or tenant of 9 farms in 1802, when there were c. 38 freeholders and copyholders in the parish, only 7 or 8 of them substantial. (fn. 245)
Copyhold tenure survived well into the 19th century at Sawston, though many copyholders enfranchised their property at inclosure. Copyholds descended to the eldest son or to daughters jointly, and could be sold or let for not more than 3 years, subject to entry fines. (fn. 246) Most copyhold properties were also subject to heriots: 20 out of Dernford's 22 copyhold tenements in 1581 were heriotable, and 8 of the 9 in Pyratts. (fn. 247) Heriots were frequently recorded in the Middle Ages, and in the 16th century the lord took a tenant's best animal or a piece of pewter. (fn. 248) A feather bed was taken as a heriot in 1755. A copyholder resisted a claim to a cow in 1757, and as late as 1803 the bailiff was authorized to seize one of a deceased tenant's best goods. (fn. 249)
The parish was inclosed under an Act of 1802, before any other parish in Whittlesford hundred, though the neighbouring parishes of Little Shelford and Pampisford preceded it by a few years. The decision was made by Ferdinand Huddleston alone, with the sometimes reluctant consent of the major farmers. (fn. 250) The process of allotment was virtually complete by 1803, though the award was not enrolled until 1811. (fn. 251) The award related to 1,408 a. of open field and common. A proposal to leave some common pasture for cottagers was rejected, and separate allotments were given instead. (fn. 252) Just over half the parish, 972 a. including 274 a. of old inclosure, was awarded to Ferdinand Huddleston, (fn. 253) whose son paid almost 3,000 as his share of inclosure expenses. (fn. 254) Charles Martindale received 148 a. around Borough Mill, which he owned, and John Gosling was awarded 153 a. in scattered parcels, mostly for his half-share of the great tithes. The vicar received 82 a. for tithes and rights of common. Apart from one farmer and the trustees of Huntingdon's charity, no other proprietor obtained more than 50 a.; three received between 10 and 25 a., seven between 5 and 10 a., and all the other 34 landholders less than 5 a., 16 of them receiving 1 a. or less.
The Huddleston allotment was immediately divided between the various farms on the estate and leased as it had been in the 18th century. North Farm, the only new farm-house, was built by Ferdinand Huddleston (d. 1808) after 1803 in the north-east part of the parish. (fn. 255) Only in 1922, with the sale of the Huddleston estate, did Huntingdon's, Church, Dernford, and North farms pass into separate ownership. (fn. 256) Gosling's Farm in High Street with 120 a. was sold in 1913, much of it for building. (fn. 257) The tenants of the farms in the later 19th century were often the owners of Sawston's industrial concerns; Edward Towgood employed 10 men and boys in farming 186 a. at Mill farm in 1871, and T. S. Evans farmed 488 a. with 30 employees at Church farm, on a lease later taken over by John Crampton who already farmed over 300 a. at Huntingdon's farm. (fn. 258)
Pasture farming declined at Sawston after inclosure, and by 1905 1,036 a. were arable and only 284 a. were permanent grassland. (fn. 259) Cattle and breeding flocks of sheep continued to be kept on a small scale. Poultry-farming was carried on in the 1930s, and pig-farming in the 1970s. (fn. 260) The demand for labour on enlarged arable farms was at first sufficient to absorb the 19th-century increase in population, but in 1823 agricultural labourers rioted at Sawston for higher wages. (fn. 261) The development of industry in the village created competition between farm-workers and artisans for cottages, rents soared, and in 1872 the agricultural labourers again demanded higher wages. (fn. 262) In 1831 equal numbers of families were supported by agriculture and by trade and industry, and Sawston became steadily less agricultural; by 1963 fewer than 40 men worked on the land. (fn. 263) In 1972 there were four working farms in the parish, growing mainly wheat, barley, and oats, and raising pigs and cattle.
A windmill stood by the Babraham road in 1811. It was still working in 1892, but had been demolished by 1930. (fn. 264) The estate of Roger de Somery, later Huntingdons manor, included a mill in 1086, and in 1279 there was a water-mill near Borough Mill, but no later references to a mill attached to Huntingdons manor have been found. (fn. 265) Pirot held two mills in 1086, which were granted by Alice le Child in the late 13th century to John of Sawston as part of the estate which became Dale manor, (fn. 266) and Borough Mill or Mills, so called by 1300, descended with the lordship. (fn. 267) The mill was later owned by the Ellis, Rand, and Symons families of Whittlesford. (fn. 268) Borough Mill was a grist-mill in 1719, held by Gilbert Cockerton and later by his son. (fn. 269) From c. 1753 it became a paper-mill, as described below.
The other medieval mill at Sawston belonged to Dernford manor. It may have been the mill at 'Dereforda' given with the vill of Stapleford by King Eadred to Ely abbey c. 955, (fn. 270) and a mill was part of the manor in 1086, though it was not recorded in 1279. (fn. 271) Dernford Mill was grinding corn in the mid 14th century. (fn. 272) The surname Fuller occurred at Sawston from c. 1310, borne by at least one Dernford man, and in 1433 Dernford Mill was used for fulling. (fn. 273) It was a fulling-mill in 1525 and 1581, (fn. 274) and probably so continued until c. 1665. Tenter meadow was close to Dernford Mill in the north-east tip of the parish. (fn. 275) No other evidence of a cloth industry at Sawston has been found, except for references to a weaver in 1619 and a shearman in 1659. (fn. 276)
The manufacture of paper at Sawston probably dates from 1664 or 1665, when Richard Allen, a paper-maker, became the tenant of Dernford Mill, which was described as a fulling-mill lately occupied by a clothworker. (fn. 277) Another paper-maker, Joseph Carby, took the mill on a long lease in 1695 and left stocks of paper and rags there at his death in 1719. (fn. 278) William Tassell and John Sparke made paper at Dernford Mill in the 18th century, but it was in poor repair in 1771 and was inconveniently situated. (fn. 279) By 1786 the tenant was Charles Martindale, who in 1791 bought Borough Mill and from c. 1796 ceased to manufacture paper at Dernford. (fn. 280) In 1806 James Nutter, a corn-merchant, took over Martindale's lease of Dernford Mill, which was described as a flour mill in 1851, (fn. 281) though sometimes also used as an oil mill for the tanning industry. (fn. 282) The mill eventually became ruinous and was demolished in 1927. (fn. 283)
Paper had been made at Borough Mill since c. 1753, when the mill was bought by Joseph Keir, a paper-maker, and William Fairchild. (fn. 284) They built a new mill adjoining the old one and insured both in 1760 and 1778, although only one was recorded thereafter. Fairchild went bankrupt in 1779, and in 1784 Borough Mill was bought by Joseph Vowell, a London stationer, whose heir sold it in 1791 to Charles Martindale. (fn. 285) The mill had two vats in 1778 and 1791. (fn. 286) The Fourdrinier family, inventors of paper-making machines, were associated with the mill by 1780, and some of the earliest machinery in England was installed there. (fn. 287) By 1835 Martindale's widow Elizabeth had leased Borough Mill to Edward Towgood, a paper-maker of St. Neots (Hunts.), who in that year transferred his lease to his brother Matthew. (fn. 288) The mill was owned and worked for the rest of the 19th century by Edward's sons, Edward and Hamer Towgood, (fn. 289) and it became the largest industrial concern in Sawston, employing nearly 400 people in 1871. (fn. 290) Steam-power was introduced, and a new factory was built in 1851. (fn. 291) Many women, and children over 12, were employed in the mill, where the work was generally cleaner and more regular, though less well paid, than in the leather industry. (fn. 292) About 1890 falling wages caused an unsuccessful strike. (fn. 293) In 1917 after the death of Hamer Towgood the business was sold to Spicer Bros. Ltd., and continued as Edward Towgood & Sons Ltd. to produce high quality paper, employing 160 people in 1972. (fn. 294) In 1963 the mill had recently been modernized and reconstructed to produce topgrade stationery paper and processed paper with a plastic base. (fn. 295) A large paper-conversion factory, built near the railway by Spicers in 1925 and considerably enlarged in 1964, produced items such as envelopes, waxed wrappings, and account books. In 1972 it employed 600 people, and like Towgoods was part of the Reed International Group. (fn. 296) A subsidiary of the Spicers group, Dufay-Chromex Ltd., was established at Sawston in the 1920s to develop the manufacture of non-inflammable colour film, and continued production there until 1951. (fn. 297)
The leather industry probably settled at Sawston because running water with a high lime content and local supplies of sheepskins were available. (fn. 298) There may have been leather-workers in the parish in the Middle Ages, and in the mid 17th century the Goole family had a tanyard north of the Brook, later the site of the Old Yard. (fn. 299) William Priest, the Gooles' successor, had stocks of bark, a barkmill, and hides and backs worth 150 at his death in 1681. (fn. 300) Priest was succeeded by William Harris and his two sons, by Henry Guiver, and by Stephen and Thomas Adams in the 18th century, all of whom worked in the tanyard on the Brook. (fn. 301)
Parchment-making was introduced in the early 19th century, and by 1841 there were 13 parchmentmakers in Sawston besides 5 skinners and 7 fellmongers. (fn. 302) The chief employer was Thomas Evans, a Welsh leather-worker who bought the tanyard in 1844. His son Thomas Sutton Evans succeeded him in 1850 and greatly expanded the business. Steampower was introduced, (fn. 303) and in 1871 Evans employed 186 men, 4 women, and 54 boys at the Old Yard, mostly as fellmongers, skinners, parchment-makers, leather-dressers, glove-cutters, and makers of chamois leather, a manufacture which he introduced to Sawston. (fn. 304) The main destination of parchment and leather from Sawston was the United States, where a slump in the later 1870s caused a depression in the leather industry (fn. 305) when Evans was already in financial difficulties. Thomas Frederick Evans inherited the business from his father in 1882 but was unable to revive its fortunes, and in 1884 the firm became a limited liability company. (fn. 306) Another decline in the 1930s was blamed on foreign competition. (fn. 307) After several changes of ownership, a controlling interest in the company was bought in 1938 by Charles Bowers, formerly the manager, whose son was the director in 1972. (fn. 308) As T. S. Evans & Son the firm specialized in making high quality chamois leather and in 1972 employed c. 40 people. (fn. 309)
The Eastern Counties Leather Co. Ltd., set up in 1879 by a group including John Crampton, Frederick Prince, and the Congregational minister J. McC. Uffen, to provide employment for workers dismissed by T. S. Evans, built a new tannery known as the New Yard at Langford Arch, just over the parish boundary in Pampisford. (fn. 310) The venture suffered at first from competition with the Old Yard, but by 1972 it was employing c. 100 people making sheepskin coats, hats, and rugs, and chamois leather. (fn. 311) The New Yard also produced gloves, which became a local speciality, and at least three other firms were making gloves and chamois leather in the parish in 1963. (fn. 312) In 1966 the South of England Hide Market Ltd. built a tannery in Sawston, to export hides and serve as a depot. (fn. 313)
John Crampton took over a local printing-works in 1860, opened the Sawston Emporium, a post office and general store, in 1861, and by 1863 owned a factory for bottling mineral-water. The printing business moved to a new factory in 1900. The depression of the 1920s forced the mineral-water plant to close in 1928, but Crampton's printing-works were still active in 1972. T. S. Evans opened a rival mineral-water factory, the Sawston Aerated Water Co., in 1878. That company became insolvent after 1939 and its premises were taken over by J. N. Baldry, the proprietor of another mineral-water company, for use as a depot which was later closed. (fn. 314)
Rope-making was mentioned in 1766 and 1807. (fn. 315) Seven rope-makers were recorded at Sawston in 1841, and three in 1871, (fn. 316) but the trade apparently died out in the later 19th century. Catley's Walk, a short track at the southern end of the village, derives its name from a rope-maker who used it as a rope-walk for over 20 years. (fn. 317)
Bricklayers were mentioned in 1576, 1662, and 1766, (fn. 318) and in 1847 there were four builders active. (fn. 319) Among firms settled at Sawston in 1972 were Camtiles Ltd., on the Babraham Road industrial site, which employed c. 100 people making roofing tiles and concrete pipes, and another company making prefabricated houses. (fn. 320) One of the larger firms was Simplex of Cambridge Ltd., employing c. 500 people in the manufacture of advanced farming equipment. (fn. 321) British Home Stores had their largest warehouse at Sawston in 1972. (fn. 322) About a quarter of the employed population worked in manufacturing in 1972, and firms inside the parish provided employment for almost half of the working population of Sawston. (fn. 323)
In 1279 the earl of Essex claimed view of frankpledge and tumbrel in Sawston, and the view was held by the tenant of Huntingdons manor. (fn. 324) It descended with the overlordship of Huntingdons, and payments for holding courts leet at Sawston were occasionally recorded on the court rolls of the honor of Mandeville in the 14th and 15th centuries. (fn. 325) The lords of Huntingdons manor afterwards held the view of frankpledge as tenants of the honor. (fn. 326) Court rolls of the Huntingdons court leet, which from the 14th century until c. 1550 was held on the morrow (10 June) of St. Barnabas, survive for 1412, 141415, 1452, 14568, and for most years between 1520 and 1576. (fn. 327) Besides making agricultural orders, the court elected aletasters in the 16th century. (fn. 328) Court rolls of Pyratts manor survive for 1336, most years between 1345 and 1362, between 1386 and 1407, and 14357, 1455, and spasmodically from 1512. (fn. 329) Dernford manor's court rolls cover most years in the periods 134973, 1390 1407, and for the same years as Pyratts from 1435. (fn. 330) In 1466 Edward IV granted leet jurisdiction then belonging to the Crown, presumably that acquired by Henry V, to Margaret de la Pole, with remainder to her heirs the lords of Pyratts and Dernford. (fn. 331) By 1455 courts for those two manors were usually held on the same day and recorded on the same roll. (fn. 332) In the 16th century courts with view of frankpledge were held at Sawston Hall at irregular intervals, sometimes as often as four times a year, for Pyratts and Dernford. (fn. 333) The lords of Dale manor held a court baron, whose records survive for 14067, 1435, 1460, 1517, and 15723, before it was absorbed into the Huddleston estate. (fn. 334) In the 17th and 18th centuries courts baron were held for all four manors, and courts leet for Pyratts, Dernford, and Huntingdons. Court rolls for all the courts, which were entered together, survive for most years between 1576 and 1731 with a few of later date. (fn. 335)
A hayward had been elected in 1349 by the Pyratts court, (fn. 336) which continued to appoint the hayward in the 16th century and later, probably for the whole parish. (fn. 337) Similarly the election of one or two constables, mentioned in 1316 and 1407, was gradually assumed for the whole parish by Pyratts. (fn. 338) Other officers were a herdsman, 2 drivers of the commons, 2 pinders, and in 1608 2 testatores whose function is not clear. (fn. 339) Agricultural orders by the Pyratts court, such as prohibition of ploughing up balks, took substantially the same form from the 16th to the 18th century.
The relief of the poor was financed for many years by John Huntingdon's charity, as described below; rates for the poor were collected only in years when the charity's income was insufficient, and became regular only from 1695. (fn. 340) Part of the overseers' expenditure was on rents for the poor, and in 1742 the charity trustees bought a house in Mill Lane as a town house. (fn. 341) Some light work such as spinning was provided, but many of the inmates were classed as impotent poor. (fn. 342) Able-bodied paupers were employed outside the town house on tasks such as digging gravel or cutting willows. In 1792 the parish adopted the roundsman system, but the overseers often had to supplement wages. (fn. 343)
Numbers of paupers and the expense of poorrelief increased at Sawston in the late 18th century, but the parish was probably better off than its neighbours because of the employment provided by industry. By 1804, however, 22 families were receiving outdoor relief, and there were 30 or 40 paupers in the town house and other parish workhouses in Mill Lane. (fn. 344) Paupers were vaccinated in 1817 and 1826. (fn. 345) The old town house was not used after 1811, and was eventually demolished and replaced by the Huntingdon's charity alms-houses. (fn. 346) The cost of poor-relief continued to rise in the 1830s, from 518 in 1829 to almost 900 in 1832. (fn. 347) Sawston became part of 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. 348) and included in South Cambridgeshire in 1974.
Sawston church was probably founded by the Pirot family. Ralph Pirot (fl. 116695) was said to have pledged it to the Hospitallers' preceptory of Shingay, as security for a loan of barley, which he failed to repay, and the church, with a messuage and 1 yardland, passed to Shingay. (fn. 349) By c. 1278 the church was appropriated to the preceptory and a vicarage had been ordained. (fn. 350) Master Benet of Sawston, mentioned in 1197, may have been an incumbent, and several chaplains and deacons witnessed deeds in the early 13th century. (fn. 351)
Apart from one instance in 1383 when Richard Maisterman successfully claimed the patronage and the vicar resigned and was presented anew, (fn. 352) all known presentations to the vicarage before 1540 were made by the prior of Shingay. The advowson thereafter descended with the rectory as described above. The Crown presented to the living in 1580, (fn. 353) Henry Long in 1570, and Sir Charles Morrison, who had married Long's widow Elizabeth, and his wife Dorothy in 1587. (fn. 354) Elizabeth Balam and her father John Byatt were patrons for one turn in 1639, and as Elizabeth Blundell she presented with Arthur Stock and John Greenell in 1664. In 1671 and 1674 George Greenell held the advowson, and John Greenell presented in 1683. (fn. 355) For much of the 18th century Sawston was held by sequestrators appointed by the bishop. (fn. 356) In 1836 the Crown presented by lapse, and John Gosling, the joint owner of the advowson, presented in 1855, Ferdinand Huddleston being a papist. (fn. 357) Gosling's son James and Ferdinand Huddleston sold the advowson in 1877 and the Revd. R. B. Kingsford presented in 1878. (fn. 358) In the following year the advowson was bought by Edward Towgood, the owner of the paper-mill, (fn. 359) whose brother and heir Hamer Towgood (d. 1914) devised the advowson to trustees, who still held it in 1972. The archbishop of Canterbury presented in 1931 by lapse. (fn. 360)
Sawston vicarage was assessed at 7 marks in 1276 and 5 in 1291. (fn. 361) After disputes with the parishioners, the vicar agreed in 1471 to receive offerings on All Saints' Day in place of mortuary fees. (fn. 362) The vicarage was valued at 13 10s. 2d. in 1535, 20 in 1650, and 15 in 1685. (fn. 363) Its income remained low throughout the 18th century, and the incumbent was nominated as one of the diocese's ten 'poor vicars' in 1792. (fn. 364) Income rose sharply after inclosure when the vicar received 81 a. for the small tithes; by 1806 the value was said to have more than doubled, and c. 1830 it was 118 net, part of which came from a parliamentary augmentation of 1816. (fn. 365) Gross income in 1877 had recently increased from 170 to 214. (fn. 366) The living was augmented again under the will of Edward Towgood (d. 1889), and was worth 245 net in 1897. (fn. 367)
Before inclosure the vicar had no glebe. (fn. 368) The value of the small tithes had fallen by 1685 through the loss of those of saffron, although that crop was still grown in the parish. (fn. 369) By 1756 there was a modus for the small tithes. (fn. 370) The vicar in 1802 claimed tithes on all produce except corn and hay, including lambs' wool. (fn. 371)
At inclosure in 1802 the vicar received 82 a. for tithes and rights of common. (fn. 372) With the proceeds of 3 a. sold to the railway company in 1845 25 a. in Little Shelford were bought for the living. That land and 56 a. at Dernford were sold in 1921, and in 1947 21 a. of glebe remained, (fn. 373) reduced to 16 a. by 1972. (fn. 374)
There was no vicarage house at Sawston in the 17th century, (fn. 375) and none had been mentioned during the Middle Ages. Elizabeth Wakelin, by will proved 1637, left her house in High Street near the church and 1 a. to the incumbent, provided that he lived in the parish, preached an annual sermon, and paid certain sums to the poor. (fn. 376) Few vicars chose to live in the house, which was used as an alehouse in 1685 and was described by the vicar in 1836 as a miserable wretched cottage. (fn. 377) Between 1828 and 1836 the churchwardens managed the property, after the vicar had refused to fulfil the conditions of the bequest. Resident 19th-century incumbents lived in lodgings or in their own houses until 1882, when a new vicarage was built on land in Church Lane given by Ferdinand Huddleston, much of the cost being borne by Edward Towgood. (fn. 378) Elizabeth Wakelin's house partly collapsed in 1935 and was demolished in 1948. (fn. 379)
The church estate or Ward's charity, a house and c. 35 a. in Sawston, Babraham, and Pampisford, was given for the upkeep of the church in the 16th century, probably by John Ward, rector of St. Peter's, Duxford (d. 1526), an uncle of John Huntingdon. (fn. 380) Income was 21 a year in 1783, which may have been misapplied, for the church was then in disrepair. (fn. 381) By 1860 the income was 90, making church rates in the parish unnecessary. (fn. 382) At inclosure in 1802 the trustees received 19 a., a small part of which was sold in 1896 and the rest in 1925. (fn. 383) The income of the charity was in 1972 still used for church repairs. The house, standing east of the High Street, is a 16th-century timber-framed and plastered building with 17th-century additions, much restored in the 19th century.
There were three guilds at Sawston in 1389, in honour of the Invention of the Holy Cross and the Nativities of St. John the Baptist and of the Blessed Virgin. All three had been recently founded to assist the repair of the church. (fn. 384) Two guilds of St. Mary and St. Margaret were mentioned in the early 16th century. (fn. 385) A cottage called the guildhall, sold by the Crown in 1549 and again in 1571, and probably included in another grant of 1592, (fn. 386) was demolished in the 17th century. (fn. 387) Land in Sawston given for obits was granted by the Crown to the earl of Warwick in 1550. (fn. 388) John Huntingdon, who had also bought obit lands from the king, devised them in 1554 to the owners of Huntingdons manor after the death of his wife, with the obligation to plant peas for the poor, (fn. 389) and the land subsequently descended with the manor.
Chaplains and curates attended manorial courts far more often than the vicars in the Middle Ages, and many incumbents were probably non-resident. (fn. 390) Few were graduates, and the more learned vicars in the 15th and 16th centuries held Sawston in plurality with other livings. (fn. 391) William Marshall was presented in 1526 on condition that he be examined by the bishop after two years of study. His successor, Richard Marshall, employed a stipendiary curate in 15434. (fn. 392) Two men charged with strange heretical opinions in 1540 may have misunderstood protestant ideas. (fn. 393) John Huntingdon, lord of Huntingdons manor, made a strongly protestant will in 1554. (fn. 394) Robert Baker, vicar 156070, and Anthony Fletcher, vicar 15719, both also held the vicarage of Pampisford, but served the cure themselves. (fn. 395) William Bromstead, vicar 15807, was a drunkard. (fn. 396) Seventeenth-century incumbents were mostly graduates, but many held more than one living, and the church was allowed to fall into disrepair. (fn. 397) Most of the twenty men who served the cure in the 18th century were fellows of Cambridge colleges and lived in Cambridge, where they performed some Sawston marriages in college chapels. (fn. 398) None retained the living for more than ten years, except Thomas Cautley, vicar 17861835, whose father-in-law Francis Henson and brother-in-law of the same name had both served the cure. (fn. 399)
All the incumbents after Cautley were resident and grappled with the problems arising from Sawston's rapid growth. Edwin Daniel, vicar 183655, kept a Sunday school and held a second service on Sunday afternoons, attended by 320 people on Census Sunday in 1851. (fn. 400) To help to support his large family, he kept a school for gentlemen's sons in his house. (fn. 401) The next vicar, his son Edwin Swann Daniel, 185577, began the restoration of the church. (fn. 402) Edward Towgood, who gave many new furnishings for the church, in 1887 built the church institute for the recreation of male members of the congregation. (fn. 403) By his will he left money for the institute and for the surpliced choir introduced c. 1885. (fn. 404) Edward's brother Hamer made further gifts, including a cricket ground for the church institute, which still flourished in 1972, (fn. 405) and an extension of the graveyard, consecrated in 1898; the old churchyard had been closed in 1880, and a cemetery north of the village with a small brick chapel was opened in its place. (fn. 406)
C. E. Crump, vicar 18861904, a follower of the Oxford Movement, continued the renovation of the church. Bible-teaching was restored to the curriculum of the village schools, (fn. 407) and Church and Chapel maintained keen rivalry for members. By 1897 communion services were held six times a month, and there were then 240 communicants in the parish. (fn. 408) Two hundred communicants attended a Christmas service in 1904. (fn. 409) Church life in the parish has maintained its vigour in the 20th century, although church membership has not kept pace with the increase in population.
The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN, so called by 1521, (fn. 410) is of rubble with ashlar dressings and has a chancel with north chapel, an aisled and clerestoried nave of five bays with a north porch, and a west tower with south vestry. Its earliest architectural feature is the head of an early-12th-century doorway, reset in the chancel in the 13th century, suggesting an earlier chancel occupying the area that became the eastern end of the nave. An aisled nave of three bays was built on to the chancel late in the 12th century. Further enlargement of the church took place in the earlier 13th century: the nave and aisles were extended two bays eastwards, and a new chancel was built beyond them. The south chapel was built to replace the east end of the south aisle in the earlier 14th century, and at about the same time the western part of the aisle was rebuilt, its predecessor having presumably been narrower, and the west tower was added, possibly on earlier footings. Later in the 14th century the whole of the north aisle was rebuilt and the north porch was added. Other work of the 15th and early 16th centuries included the west window, new windows in the chancel, two chapels north of the chancel, the clerestory, the chancel arch and screen, and parclose screens in the aisles.
From the mid 16th century onwards the structural history of the church is largely a record of repeated decay and repairs. One north chapel was pulled down c. 1760, (fn. 411) and a west gallery was put in soon after 1815 and removed in 1878. (fn. 412) Most of the old fittings including the chancel screen and chapel screens were removed in 1870. (fn. 413) The church was restored in 1890, 1892, and 1900, and the vestry against the tower was added in 1899. (fn. 414)
There were four bells and a sanctus bell in 1552, five bells in 1757, and six in 1815. (fn. 415) Two new bells by Mears and Stainbank were added in 1885, and all the bells were rehung in 1891. (fn. 416) Of the six older bells, one of 1678 was by John and Christopher Hodson, one of 1755 was probably by Joseph Eayre, and four of 17745 were by Edward Arnold of St. Neots. (fn. 417)
The parish had only two chalices c. 1278. (fn. 418) The number had increased to three by 1552, including one recently given by Richard Godding. (fn. 419) The plate in 1972 included a silver chalice and paten of 1661. (fn. 420) The registers begin in 1641, but bishop's transcripts exist from 1599. (fn. 421)
The Huddlestons were one of the most prominent Catholic families in Cambridgeshire. Henry Huddleston (d. 1657) was converted by the Jesuit John Gerard c. 1593, and always kept at least one Catholic priest in his household. (fn. 422) The best-known priest's hole at Sawston Hall, said to have been constructed by Nicholas Owen, dates from the late 16th century, and there are two other hiding-places of a later date. (fn. 423) The Hall contained a private chapel, described in 1757 as 'a gloomy garret and no ways ornamented', (fn. 424) and in the late 18th century a room at the east end of the south range was converted into a more permanent chapel. Jesuit priests lived at the Hall as chaplains throughout the 18th century, and some were buried in Sawston parish church. (fn. 425)
Apart from the Huddleston family, one man was presented for recusancy in 1577, one woman in 1582 and 1622, and four women in 1638. (fn. 426) In 1619 a recusant's grave was dug secretly in the churchyard at night, (fn. 427) and a Catholic was accused in 1624 of converting two women in Sawston. (fn. 428) Three people who refused to receive the sacrament in 1675 were probably the same as the three papists reported in 1676. (fn. 429) The Huddlestons were the only Catholic family in the district in 1783. (fn. 430) Their private chapel, registered for public worship in 1791, was opened to the public whenever services were held, (fn. 431) and congregations on Census Sunday in 1851 numbered 20 in the morning and 30 in the afternoon, drawn from a wide area. (fn. 432)
Industrial development in the 20th century attracted Polish, Italian, and Irish immigrants to Sawston, and the Catholic congregation eventually outgrew the chapel in the Hall. (fn. 433) In 1958 the church of Our Lady of Lourdes was built on a site given by Capt. Eyre-Huddleston, and it became the parish church for a large area in southern Cambridgeshire. (fn. 434)
There were no protestant nonconformists at Sawston in 1676, (fn. 435) but in 1728 twelve families of Independents lived there and attended their licensed meetinghouse about once a year. (fn. 436) Their numbers had fallen to two or three families in 1783. (fn. 437) A building was licensed in 1798 for Baptist worship; its congregation was described as Anabaptist by the vicar in 1807, (fn. 438) and may have been the same as the Congregational group which until 1810 met in a barn in Common Lane. (fn. 439)
The first Congregational chapel, a small plain red-brick building, was built in 1811. Its membership soon included nonconformists from other villages who had previously attended the chapel at Duxford, and was described by the minister in 1837 as 'Calvinistic of the old school'. (fn. 440) By 1851 the chapel was attracting congregations of 200, mainly poor agricultural labourers, at the afternoon service. (fn. 441) The vicars of Sawston from 1836 to 1877, Edwin and E. S. Daniel, who shared the Congregational minister's strong anti-Catholic feelings, sometimes attended the chapel. From 1886, however, when a High Church vicar was appointed, strife between Church and Chapel divided the village. The most notable Congregational minister was James McClune Uffen, 186784, who attacked T. S. Evans's use of the drink trade, was the first chairman of the school board, and was instrumental in opening the new non-denominational cemetery in 1881. (fn. 442) During Uffen's ministry at Sawston a new Congregational chapel was built in 1879, a large red-brick building with stone dressings, in an early Gothic style, designed by J. Sulman, standing between High Street and the old chapel, which was converted into a lecture hall and later a reading room. (fn. 443) There were 216 church members in 1899, 147 in 1916, 70 in 1945, and 56 in 19678. (fn. 444)
Houses licensed for dissenting worship in 1822 and 1834 may have been used by Methodists, (fn. 445) who in the 1830s probably met in the building that later became the National school. (fn. 446) A Primitive Methodist chapel, of brick with a slate roof, was built in 1861. (fn. 447) Miss Jane Wakefield, who kept one of the village shops, by will proved 1916 left money in trust to the chapel, (fn. 448) which had 19 members in 1964, but was closed by 1972.
There was a Salvation Army barracks at Sawston between 1887 and 1904. (fn. 449)
In 1561 Mr. Dale taught boys Latin privately in Sawston, though he was unlicensed and accused of recusancy. (fn. 450) Joyce Moore (d. 1564), formerly wife of John Huntingdon, gave 40s. a year for a clerk to teach school in Sawston, (fn. 451) and there was a schoolmaster in 1596, from 1601 to 1610, (fn. 452) and for 7 years before 1650. (fn. 453) About 1728 Mr. Alcock taught 16 children at their parents' expense. (fn. 454)
There was no school in the parish in 1818, (fn. 455) but one had been established by 1825, perhaps kept by the parish clerk, a shoemaker. (fn. 456) In 1833 six dayschools with 97 children probably included a school for tradesmen's sons. (fn. 457) A nonconformist Sunday school had 40 pupils, and the Church Sunday school, founded in 1832, had over 100. (fn. 458) There was also a British school, taught by the postmaster and held in a barn in Mill Lane and from 1861 in the new Primitive Methodist chapel. By 1861 64 children attended the British school, where numbers were increasing rapidly and the master held an evening school three days a week. (fn. 459)
The first Church day-school was opened in 1841, when the vicars of Sawston, Pampisford, and Babraham purchased a double cottage, formerly a meetinghouse, with the help of a grant from the National Society. Children who also attended the Church Sunday school paid 1d. a week and others 2d., and by 1844 there was an average attendance of 28 boys and 16 girls. (fn. 460) The low-church teaching of the vicar kept numbers low, and Richard Huddleston (d. 1847) founded a private Catholic school at the Hall. (fn. 461) The National school was apparently closed by 1862, perhaps for lack of suitable accommodation, leaving the parish ill provided. (fn. 462)
The National school was revived in 1866 when it was rebuilt by Edward Towgood for 250 children. (fn. 463) A school board for Sawston was formed in 1872; it built a new school in 1875 for boys and rented the National school building for girls. (fn. 464) Pupils paid between 2d. and 6d. a week according to their parents' means, and in 1877 120 boys, 97 girls, and 96 infants attended the schools. (fn. 465) An infants' school was built in 1882. (fn. 466) Numbers at the three schools reached almost 400 c. 1896, and a night school, discontinued before 1877, was restarted in 1893, and was still held in the winter in 1913. (fn. 467)
The first village college in Cambridgeshire was built at Sawston in 1930, on a site of 4 a., later enlarged to 26 a., given by H. G. Spicer. (fn. 468) Senior pupils from the schools in Sawston and nine surrounding villages were transferred to the village college in that year, and in 1972 there were 793 children aged 1116 at the college. The old infants' school, renamed the John Falkner County Infants' School after the boys' schoolmaster 18931926, accommodated 265 children aged 57 in 1972. In 1963 a new primary school was opened, renamed the John Paxton County Primary School in 1972 after a 16th-century steward of the manors, and by 1972 it had 350 pupils. The Icknield County Primary School was opened in 1972 with 52 children aged 511 from the Babraham Road estates. (fn. 469)
Charities for the Poor.
By will proved 1555 John Huntingdon left the reversion of three estates for the poor of Sawston, with doles of 8 at Christmas and Easter; in 1590 Sawston's lands, Swets's lands, and Pott's lands amounted to 96 a. (fn. 470) From 1622 the income, amounting to 28 in 1615, was given to the parish overseers after payment of the doles, and the charity became entangled with parish poor-relief. Under a Scheme made at the request of the inhabitants in 1738 the overseers became the trustees, until a dispute in 1765 led to the appointment of new trustees. In the earlier 18th century the income was spent on rents, medical aid, and gifts of fuel and money; after the lawsuit in the 1760s the charity was in debt for many years. (fn. 471)
The trustees were awarded 66 a. in Sawston at inclosure in 1802, (fn. 472) besides land in Pampisford and Babraham. In 1835 28 a. were let to the poor as allotments. (fn. 473) In 1927 33 a. were sold and another 13 a. in 1943. In 1972 the trustees held c. 30 a. in Sawston and 12 a. in Pampisford and Babraham. (fn. 474) The income, over 100 a year in the 19th century, was usually spent on coal, which was sold cheaply to the settled poor in 1835. (fn. 475) Coal was distributed to 229 people in 1892, 276 in 1904, and 127 in 1939. (fn. 476) Over 100 was spent on coal in 1965, and in 1970 the charity had assets of over 2,500, besides the land. Four alms-houses of red brick with slate roofs were built by the trustees in 1819 to replace the former town house. (fn. 477) In 1847 they were occupied by eight people who received coal and a weekly allowance, but by 1862 sixteen people lived in them, two to a room. (fn. 478) By 1939 the alms-houses were occupied rent-free as eight one-room tenements. The building was condemned and demolished in 1966. Two acres of charity land were sold to the county council in 1972 for an old people's home. (fn. 479)
Huntingdon's charity was administered in the 19th century by the handful of landowners and manufacturers who managed every other aspect of parish life, and since tradesmen were unwilling to incur unpopularity by becoming trustees, it was the trustees who occupied most of the charity lands. (fn. 480) In the 1870s T. S. Evans was accused of confining the distribution of charity coal to his own employees. (fn. 481) The charity was regulated by Schemes of 1917 and 1972.
The Town Peas charity was also founded under John Huntingdon's will, which provided that 2 a. should be sown each year with white peas for the poor of Sawston. (fn. 482) Each year a day in July was appointed for the picking, described in 1835 as 'a complete scene of scramble and confusion, attended with occasional conflicts'. (fn. 483) The vicar in 1862 wanted to abolish the custom, but between 200 and 500 people took part and it was greatly valued in Sawston. The obligation to grow the peas was a condition of the sale of Huntingdons farm in 1922. (fn. 484) The town pea-picking was still held in 1972, although since the early 20th century it has no longer been confined to the poor.
By will proved 1636 John Jefferie charged his lands in Sawston and neighbouring parishes with the yearly distribution to the poor of 4 bushels of rye and 4 of barley on St. Thomas's day and of 6s. in twopenny bread on Gang Monday. (fn. 485) The charity apparently lapsed between c. 1787 and 1800. (fn. 486)
Elizabeth Wakelin by will dated 1637 charged the house left for the vicar with annual payments of 40s. to the poor and 6s. in bread to poor children. (fn. 487) In 1835 the 40s. was distributed among 20 poor parishioners, (fn. 488) and in 1862 among 27 widows. Sixty-two penny loaves were given away in 1862, and the gift of bread to poor children continued until the 1880s, when the 6s. was added to the 40s. for general distribution. (fn. 489) The charity was regulated by Schemes of 1884 and 1921, and in 1970 the income was given in coal to two people.
Alexandrina, widow of D. Lawlor Huddleston, by will proved 1936 gave 500 for the sick and poor of Sawston aged over 60. The first distribution was made in 1938, and in 1961 the charity's income was c. 15. (fn. 490)