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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GREAT AND LITTLE ABINGTON
The two parishes of Great and Little Abington, (fn. 1) 7 miles south-east of Cambridge, are divided by the river Granta. Although their history is recorded here in a single article, they were distinct parishes and remain so. Great Abington, to the south, covers 1,588 a., Little Abington, to the north, 1,309 a. (fn. 2) The southern boundary of Great Abington is also the county boundary; the northern boundary of Little Abington runs along the ancient Wool Street. To the west both parishes are bounded by a branch of the Icknield Way. The boundary between them follows the river, diverging near the centre along a former channel south of the main surviving stream. The intermediate area was formerly Little Abington's Midsummer Meadow. (fn. 3) A modern channel, south of the parish boundary, may have been made or straightened c. 1710 to form a canal in the grounds of Abington Hall. (fn. 4) Further west a channel north of the boundary was made in the 1650s to draw off water for the Babraham water-meadows. (fn. 5)
The soil of both parishes lies mainly upon chalk, overlaid upon the high ground near the county boundary with boulder clay, and in the north part of Little Abington with glacial gravels. Along the river runs a broad strip of alluvium and gravel. The ground there is predominantly level at about 100 ft. Further south it swells gradually and then more rapidly to a down of over 300 ft. The Brent Ditch (fn. 6) runs from Pampisford diagonally across the southwestern corner of Great Abington. To the north the ground rises to a plateau of over 200 ft. covering much of the north part of Little Abington. Both parishes have been predominantly agrarian. Their open fields were inclosed under Acts of 1801.
Great Abington parish is comparatively well wooded. In 1086 it had woodland for 20 pigs. (fn. 7) By the southern boundary lay until after 1700 a demesne wood of the earls of Oxford, perhaps once part of a continuous belt of woodland along the ridge, and called by 1200 Abington grove. (fn. 8) It was said to cover 28 a. in 1263 (fn. 9) and c. 53 a. about 1600. (fn. 10) It suffered much in the Middle Ages from tenants seeking firewood and building materials there, (fn. 11) who claimed a right to gather rods to thatch their tenements. (fn. 12) Lessees of the demesne also often neglected to keep it adequately fenced, or overcropped the timber. (fn. 13) In 1716 the enclosure in which the wood lay contained 66 a., (fn. 14) but it was probably cleared soon after, for c. 1726 it was spoken of as partly pasture. (fn. 15) By 1801 only 10 a. of wood, called Bush Park, survived at its north-western corner, the remainder, called the Great Park, being under grass. (fn. 16) By the late 19th century there was a smaller wood of 13 a. further north, called South grove. The park around Abington Hall, c. 87 a. in 1929, was and remains well stocked with trees. (fn. 17) Little Abington, although containing woodland for 20 pigs in 1086, (fn. 18) was later less wooded; after inclosure small plantations, amounting by 1929 to c. 35 a., were made. (fn. 19)
The population of Great Abington has generally been larger than that of Little Abington, although in 1086 there were 16 peasants and 4 bondmen in Little Abington and only 14 peasants in Great Abington. (fn. 20) In 1279, however, Great Abington included c. 48 tenants, Little Abington only c. 35. (fn. 21) In 1327 the former contained 37 taxpayers, the latter 27. (fn. 22) Later Little Abington's population was for some time only half that of Great Abington, where there were 96 adults in 1377 and 19 people taxed in 1524. Great Abington had 32 families in 1563 and 205 inhabitants in 1686. In contrast Little Abington contained 45 adults in 1377, 7 taxpayers in 1524, and only 15 families in 1563. (fn. 23) By the late 17th century its population was about two-thirds of Great Abington's. Thus in 1676 there were 53 adults there, compared with 82 at Great Abington. (fn. 24) In 1728 Great Abington had 47 families with 222 members, Little Abington 32 with 168 members. (fn. 25) Great Abington's population rose from 274 in 1811 to 382 by 1831, but thereafter fell almost continuously to 331 in 1851, 279 in 1881, and 219 in 1921. Little Abington's increased from 168 in 1811 to 307 by 1851 and in 1871 at 339 exceeded Great Abington's, but fell by 1881 to 264 and had declined to 188 in 1931. Following new building, numbers at Great Abington more than doubled to 503 in 1951 and 690 in 1971, when those at Little Abington were 341. (fn. 26)
Until modern times most of the dwellings in the two villages of Great and Little Abington lay along a street that runs south from the main Cambridge Linton road north of the river. (fn. 27) A hump-backed bridge, probably late-19th-century and bombed in 1940, (fn. 28) used to carry the street across the river. In Great Abington many timber-framed and thatched cottages survive along the street. In each village the church stands west of the street, and in Little Abington the original settlement turned along a lane leading towards the church. (fn. 29) In 1666 Little Abington contained c. 20 houses, and there were 48 in Great Abington in 1686. (fn. 30) Except for the Hall and the inns at Bourn Bridge, where the Icknield Way crosses the Granta, there were no dwellings far from either village until farmsteads were built in the fields after inclosure. About 1800, when the villages were very overcrowded, many cottages being doubly and trebly tenanted, (fn. 31) there were 34 houses in Little Abington and 47 in Great Abington. The number of inhabited houses in Great Abington remained constant between 1821 and 1921 at between 60 and 70. At Little Abington it had risen from 47 in 1821 to 70 by 1871, but fell to 55 in 1931. (fn. 32) Thereafter both villages expanded. In Great Abington from the 1930s the Land Settlement Association built c. 45 houses to a standard design along roads laid out across the middle of the parish. (fn. 33) After 1950 several housing estates, partly council built, partly speculative, were built around closes east of the high street, raising the number of dwellings from 137 in 1951 to 203 in 1971. In Little Abington c. 45 more expensive houses in large gardens were laid out along the Cambridge road and, in the 1960s, along Bournbridge Road, north-east of the church. The village had 85 houses in 1951, 130 in 1971. (fn. 34) Many timberframed, thatched cottages at the heart of the village, sold from the Hall estate in 1930, were bought in 1954 and renovated by the Cambridgeshire Cottage Improvement Society. (fn. 35) Two were converted into a studio pottery. (fn. 36)
The Three Tuns in Great Abington village, a 17th-century building, was open, possibly in 1687, (fn. 37) certainly by 1756. (fn. 38) From 1922 until after 1937 it was run by the People's Refreshment House Association, a temperance organization. (fn. 39) It was still open in 1973, as was the Crown in Little Abington, where the Bricklayers' Arms, open in 1861, was sold in 1912, (fn. 40) and the Princess (later Prince) of Wales, open by 1896, was closed c. 1963. (fn. 41)
The principal link with the outside world was once the Cambridge-Linton road, north of the river, called until the 18th century the Portway. (fn. 42) In Little Abington three fieldways ran north towards Woolstreet Way. (fn. 43) From Great Abington the Broadway ran south from the village street towards the wood and village common, and Sawston and Whittlesford ways ran across the parish. (fn. 44) The road through the villages towards Hildersham and Linton was turnpiked in 1765, (fn. 45) several tollgates being put up on the outskirts, (fn. 46) and was disturnpiked in 1876. (fn. 47) A bypass running north-east of the villages (fn. 48) was opened in 1969. (fn. 49) The main road along the western boundary, between Stump Cross and Newmarket, was a turnpike from 1724 (fn. 50) until 1870. (fn. 51)
On that road at Bourn Bridge, which existed by 1279, (fn. 52) an inn had been established north of the bridge by 1687, when it had 9 beds and stabling for 22. (fn. 53) The King's Arms, as it was called after 1700, was kept from c. 1703 to 1720 by William Cole, father of the antiquary William Cole, who was born there in 1714. After 1720 the inn was rebuilt in brick on a larger scale to serve as a posting house. County balls and assemblies were held there, J.P.s and turnpike trustees convened there, fox-hounds and beagles met there. For some time after c. 1750 the inn was eclipsed by the White Hart, south of the bridge, which had gradually been enlarged from a toll cottage by its tenants Robert Lagden (d. 1777) and his wife Emma (d. 1781), who although a Quaker was noted for her gallantries. Smuggled tea hidden there may have given her son Jeremiah Lagden, a substantial Little Abington landowner, a local reputation as a highwayman. The White Hart was closed after 1797. (fn. 54) The King's Arms was closed shortly before 1850 because of the advent of the railway. Only its stables, converted into five cottages, survived in 1973. (fn. 55) The Cambridge-Haverhill railway line, opened in 1865 across Great Abington parish a little south of the village, was closed in 1967. (fn. 56)
In 1299 the earl of Oxford claimed free warren in Great Abington under a charter of 1251. (fn. 57) His game included hares, rabbits, and partridges, which his tenants and even the vicar regularly poached. (fn. 58) In the late 17th century John Bennet, then lord, tried to establish a decoy pond. (fn. 59) His successors, the Westerns, had put up a new dovecot by 1720, and reserved in their leases all sporting rights, sometimes let, as in the 1770s to Lord Grosvenor. (fn. 60) In the 1920s the parishes were said to produce up to 2,000 partridges in a season, up to 1,000 pheasants, and hares. (fn. 61)
The village feast was held in the 19th century on 2930 May, enlivened by the visits of travelling gipsy showmen. (fn. 62) Ancient harvest customs maintained in the 1860s included adorning the last load of corn reaped with branches and flowers and the traditional horkeys or harvest suppers. (fn. 63) Cricket flourished at Abington from that period, encouraged by the squire, E. J. Mortlock, whose daughter, Mrs. Mortlock, bought the customary cricket ground north of the school for the village after 1930. (fn. 64) Great Abington had a Working Men's Institute by 1896. J. J. Emerson, owner of the Hall estate, built in 1909 a village institute, (fn. 65) which was used by the local Working Men's Club until its dissolution in 1925 (fn. 66) and was bought for the villages in 1954. (fn. 67) By 1907 Abington had a Rifle Association which was still flourishing in the 1930s. (fn. 68) The picturesque quality of Great Abington's main street was recognized in 1972 by putting all electrical cables underground. (fn. 69)
Manors and Other Estates.
Before the Conquest King Edward's thegn, Wulfwin son of Alfwin, held 6 hides at Great Abington, whose reversion he had promised to Ramsey abbey. The Conqueror, however, granted all Wulfwin's lands to Aubrey de Vere, who in 1086 held the whole township, (fn. 70) which descended to his heirs male, later earls of Oxford, (fn. 71) as the manor of GREAT ABINGTON. Aubrey had also before 1086 seized yardland previously held by Almar, a sokeman of King Edward, but Picot the sheriff recovered it from him, and held it on the king's behalf in 1086. (fn. 72) Half a yardland was farmed from the Crown in 1166 by the sheriff, (fn. 73) and from 1176 until after 1216 by Simon the clerk. (fn. 74) By 1230 it had been incorporated in the principal manor. (fn. 75)
The earls of Oxford retained that manor with few interruptions until the late 16th century. (fn. 76) The whole manor was frequently assigned to dowagers, who often held it for long periods. Thus Alice, widow of Earl Aubrey (d. 1214), had it until after 1244; (fn. 77) Alice, widow of Earl Robert (d. 1296), until 1312; (fn. 78) and Maud, widow of Earl Thomas (d. 1371), until 1413. (fn. 79) The dowagers are said to have used the manor-house as a dower-house. (fn. 80) The reversion of the manor, forfeited in 1388 by the condemnation of Earl Robert, Richard II's favourite, was restored to Robert's cousin and heir Richard in 1406. (fn. 81) Richard's son John, a Lancastrian, was executed in 1462, and the manor was granted to Richard, duke of Gloucester. (fn. 82) John's son John, a minor, was restored in 1463, (fn. 83) but forfeited his lands in 1471, whereupon Great Abington was again given to Gloucester, (fn. 84) who as Richard III granted it in 1484 to Sir Robert Percy. (fn. 85) Earl John was restored by Henry VII in 1485. (fn. 86) On his death in 1513 the manor, always previously considered to be held in chief, (fn. 87) was erroneously stated to be held of the honor of Boulogne, (fn. 88) a mistake that persisted. (fn. 89) John's nephew and heir John died in 1526, and from then to 1559 his wife Anne held Great Abington in dower. (fn. 90) The heir male Edward, earl of Oxford, who came of age in 1571, had sold Great Abington manor by 1578 to Robert Taylor of Babraham, (fn. 91) who in 1590 also purchased Little Abington, (fn. 92) the two manors afterwards descending together.
Robert Taylor died probably in 1596. (fn. 93) In 1599 his successor Robert Taylor sold both manors to Sir John Spencer (fn. 94) (d. 1610), the London financier whose daughter and heir Elizabeth married William, Lord Compton, created earl of Northampton in 1618. The earl died in 1630 (fn. 95) and his wife in 1632. Their son Spencer, the royalist earl, was killed in battle in 1643. His son Earl James, (fn. 96) fined as a royalist in 1651, (fn. 97) in 1652 sold the Abington manors, then occupied by his mother Mary, (fn. 98) to John Bennet, (fn. 99) a cousin of the owners of Babraham. (fn. 100) Bennet died in 1663, leaving Little Abington to his young son John and Great Abington for life to his wife Elizabeth, who released her interest to her son in 1678. The younger John died in a debtors' prison in 1712, leaving one son, John, who was dead without issue by 1720. His father had in 1690 mortgaged most of the Abington estate to Thomas Western, (fn. 101) a wealthy London ironmonger, who took possession in 1697. At his death in 1707 Western left his interest to his third son Maximilian, (fn. 102) who foreclosed in 1709 (fn. 103) and died in 1720. (fn. 104) After the estate had been many years in Chancery (fn. 105) Maximilian's son Thomas bought out the rights of Bennet's heirs-at-law in those properties at Abington mortgaged to others. (fn. 106) Thomas Western died in 1754, leaving both manors to his eldest son Thomas (fn. 107) (d. 1781). (fn. 108) Thomas's son and heir, the Revd. Charles Western, sold the estate, apparently in 1784, to James Pierson, (fn. 109) a London merchant, who resold it in 1800 to John Mortlock, (fn. 110) the Cambridge banker and boroughmonger. (fn. 111)
Mortlock died in 1816, leaving the estate to his second and fourth sons, Thomas and Frederick Cheetham Mortlock. (fn. 112) Frederick resigned his interest c. 1820 and died in 1838. His son John Frederick asserted that his uncles had cheated him out of his inheritance, pursued them with lawsuits and pamphlets, and was transported in 1843 for shooting at his uncle E. D. Mortlock, vicar of Great Abington. (fn. 113) Thomas Mortlock died in 1859, leaving his property to his nephew Edmund John Mortlock (fn. 114) (d. 1902), who sold the estate in 1901 to John James Emerson (d. 1918). (fn. 115) Emerson later bought the lay rectory and vicarage lands, so uniting almost the whole of both parishes in a single ownership. When his son James John Emerson sold the estate in 1929 several of the farms were acquired by their tenants, including H. W. Cowell, who bought most of the Great Abington property, c. 1,240 a. In 1936 he sold 690 a. of it to the Land Settlement Association, the owner in 1973. About 490 a. in Little Abington were bought in 1929 by James Binney of Pampisford Hall. Abington Hall and the Hall farm, with the lordship of the manor, were acquired by Julius Bertram, (fn. 116) a London solicitor (d. 1944); (fn. 117) the Hall and 24 a. were sold in 1946 to the British Welding Research Association, the owner in 1973. (fn. 118)
Abington Hall stands a little west of Great Abington village and presumably on the site of the medieval manor-house of the earls of Oxford, which c. 1350 included a hall and possibly a chapel. (fn. 119) In 1417 the dowager countess Alice had a hall and two solars demolished; (fn. 120) a house called the knight-chamber, ruinous through its neglect by the earl's farmers, was repaired c. 1432. (fn. 121) The Bennets had a substantial house there, with 24 hearths in 1664 (fn. 122) and consisting c. 1716 of five bays. About 1712 Maximilian Western did much rebuilding, put up the stables, and began to lay out an ornamental canal. (fn. 123)
The house was incorporated, probably in the late 18th century, in a three-storey building of nine bays, in red brick with stone dressings. It has a north porch with Roman Doric columns, and a pedimented south front with an iron verandah at ground level. Inside much late-18th-century decorative work survived in 1951, including doorheads and fireplaces. The hall had a screen with Tuscan columns, the former dining room a similar screen. The Westerns and their successors usually let the house from c. 1770 to after 1900, (fn. 124) the tenants including Sir Sampson Gideon, Bt., in the 1770s, (fn. 125) the earl of Chatham up to 1820, and Lord Maryborough, the duke of Wellington's brother, c. 1822. (fn. 126) The Emersons lived at the Hall, but it was empty in 1937. (fn. 127) The British Welding Research Association converted the Hall into flats and offices and the stables into workshops, and in the 1950s built two laboratories there. (fn. 128)
The Mortlocks usually lived at Abington Lodge, which stands just south of the bridge. It was built or rebuilt by Capt. Roger Sizer (d. 1724), tenant of the largest farm, and bought c. 1730 by Col. Vachell, who enlarged it substantially. (fn. 129) The interior contains a large, earlier fireplace. The house stands in landscaped grounds, once covering 22 a. From 1775 to 1780 Lord Grosvenor used it as a shooting-box. (fn. 130) It was bought in 1812 from Frances, widow of Thomas Holt (d. by 1800), by John Mortlock, (fn. 131) whose grandson E. J. Mortlock lived there and left it at his death in 1902 to his daughter Alice Mortlock (d. 1950). (fn. 132)
Five hides at Little Abington held by Eddeva the fair before the Conquest had by 1086 been granted with her other lands to Count Alan, lord of Richmond, (fn. 133) with which honor the overlordship subsequently descended. (fn. 134) Another hide, held of Eddeva by a priest who could not withdraw himself without leave, had been seized by 1086 by Aubrey de Vere, although Count Alan maintained his claim. (fn. 135) By the mid 12th century LITTLE ABINGTON manor was held of the earls of Richmond by Alan son of Emery, among whose heirs it was later disputed. (fn. 136) About 1195 Simon le Bret, who had inherited land from Alan at Ainderby (Yorks. N.R.), sued Hamon and William, sons of another Alan and apparently grandsons of Alan son of Emery, and John de Lanvaley, probably their cousin, in the Richmond honorial court for 5 hides at Little Abington, of which John held 1 hide. Hamon and William lost their shares by default. (fn. 137) After they had released their interests to John, he sued Simon in 1199 for the 5 hides of the manor, which Simon later claimed to hold in pledge. (fn. 138) In 1201 Simon agreed to release the half of the manor which he then held as knight's fee to John's kinsman William de Lanvaley (fn. 139) (d. 1204). (fn. 140) The same year William, or his son and heir William, entailed the other half, to be held of him as knight's fee, upon John, (fn. 141) who died without issue after 1214. John's wife Christine probably retained a life-interest (fn. 142) until c. 1229, when the manor had reverted to Hawise, daughter and heir of the younger William de Lanvaley (d. 1217), whom her guardian the justiciar Hubert de Burgh had married by 1227 to his son John. (fn. 143) By 1236 John de Burgh had subinfeudated the manor to his follower Hugh de Vaux. (fn. 144) John died in 1274 and his son and heir John, (fn. 145) implied as overlord in 1279, (fn. 146) died in 1280, whereupon his lands were divided between two daughters as coheirs. (fn. 147) None of their descendants, however, is recorded to have had any rights over Little Abington. In 1248 Hugh de Vaux settled the reversion of his estate on his nephew William de Vaux (fn. 148) (d. by 1251). (fn. 149) William's heir was his brother John, (fn. 150) described as mesne lord in 1279. (fn. 151) On John's death in 1287 only the advowson of Little Abington was included in the partition of his lands among his daughters and coheirs. (fn. 152) In 1309 the manor was said to be held of his elder daughter Parnel of Narford by a nominal service. (fn. 153) Thereafter the rights of the Vauxes, as of the Burgh coheirs, were forgotten, and the manor was often stated to be held directly of the honor of Richmond. (fn. 154)
Before 1276 John de Vaux had further subinfeudated Little Abington to Robert Tuddenham of Ereswell (Suff.), who held it in demesne as 1 knight's fee in 1279. (fn. 155) Robert died in 1309, leaving his lands to his elder son Robert (fn. 156) (d. c. 1336), whose heir was his brother Thomas's son Robert, then a minor. (fn. 157) That Robert died in 1361 and was succeeded by his son John. (fn. 158) Sir John Tuddenham died in 1392 and his son and heir Robert (fn. 159) late in 1405. (fn. 160) Little Abington was probably thereupon included in the dower of Robert's wife Margaret, for her second husband, Thomas Misterton (d. 1434), (fn. 161) was said to be lord in 1428. (fn. 162) On Margaret's death the manor passed to Robert's eldest surviving son Thomas. (fn. 163) Sir Thomas Tuddenham, a prominent Lancastrian, was beheaded for conspiracy in 1462. (fn. 164) His lands, including Little Abington, were restored in 1465 to his sister and heir Margaret, widow of Edmund Bedingfield. (fn. 165) After her death in 1476 they descended to her grandson Edmund Bedingfield, (fn. 166) who died holding the manor in 1496. (fn. 167) Under his will the manor passed on his widow Margaret's death in 1514 to his second son Robert, (fn. 168) who died as rector of Oxburgh (Norf.) in 1539, (fn. 169) whereupon it went to a third son, Sir Edmund Bedingfield (fn. 170) (d. 1554), (fn. 171) who settled it on his fifth son Edmund. Edmund died in 1565, leaving it to his wife Grace (fn. 172) who with her second husband, James Taverner, sold twothirds in 1568 to George Fuller, (fn. 173) rector of Hildersham (d. 1591). (fn. 174) In 1582 Edmund's son Christopher released the remaining third to Fuller. (fn. 175) In 1590 Fuller sold the manor to Robert Taylor, already lord of Great Abington, who also acquired c. 140 a. in Little Abington and elsewhere in 1591 from Fuller's brother John and from Francis Robinson. (fn. 176) His manors and other acquisitions afterwards descended together. No evidence has been found giving the site of Little Abington manor-house.
Two fees in Little Abington were separated from the chief manor in the 13th century. One, perhaps that held c. 1236 by Hervey Fitz Pain, (fn. 177) whom Simon son of Simon le Bret had unsuccessfully sued for a carucate there in 1214 and 1235, (fn. 178) was said in 1279 to be held of the heirs of Hugh of Windsor, tenants under John de Burgh, by John Gerunde who occupied 100 a. in demesne. (fn. 179) John was succeeded between 1284 and 1302 by Richard Gerunde. (fn. 180) Richard or a namesake and his wife Alice had 114 a. settled on them in 1335, (fn. 181) which Richard held in 1346. He died after 1363. (fn. 182) The Gerunde fee may eventually have come to the Bustelers and Paryses, successively lords of Hildersham, (fn. 183) of whom land at Little Abington, formerly of Richard Gerunde, was held in 1512. (fn. 184) William le Busteler (d. by 1336) had in 1309 been leasing Little Abington manor from Robert Tuddenham, and was named as its lord in 1316. (fn. 185) His son Robert owned land there, over which he was granted free warren in 1336. (fn. 186) Land at Great and Little Abington was included in the estate which passed from the Busteler coheirs to Robert Parys (fn. 187) and his descendants. In the early 16th century the Paryses owned a substantial estate there called Westleys, (fn. 188) of which Sir Philip Parys sold 160 a., probably the demesne, to John Chapman in 1554. (fn. 189) By 1600 Westleys, then c. 120 a., belonged to Edward Lucas of Thriplow (d. 1603), who was succeeded by his wife. (fn. 190) In 1722 120 a., perhaps the same estate, belonged to Richard Lucas. (fn. 191) The Paryses and their successors, however, retained after 1554 lordship over much freehold and copyhold land in Little Abington, usually held to be attached to their manor at Hildersham, which was therefore styled Hildersham with Little Abington manor. (fn. 192) From 1801 to 1811 it was briefly owned by John Mortlock, lord of the Abingtons. (fn. 193)
Another part of Little Abington continued, after the lawsuit of c. 1200, to be held of Simon le Bret's heirs. One William of Wissant then held of the chief fee over 30 a. which his wife Helewise later, probably after 1227, gave in marriage with their daughter Maud to Robert Butler. Maud in her widowhood granted the land to St. Radegund's nunnery, Cambridge, which held 60 a. in demesne in 1279. (fn. 194) The nunnery retained the property until its suppression in 1496, when its estates passed to the newly founded Jesus College, (fn. 195) which held c. 80 a. at Little Abington in the 17th century and c. 63 a. in the 18th, (fn. 196) for which 49 a. were allotted at inclosure in 1801. (fn. 197) In 1813 the estate was exchanged for land at West Wratting with J. C. Perne, impropriator of Little Abington rectory, (fn. 198) with which the Jesus estate thereafter passed.
In 1279 Waltham abbey (Essex) held of Robert Tuddenham c. 90 a. in Little Abington, including 60 a. in demesne and half a mill. (fn. 199) The land had been given by various tenants of the manor, including Ralph son of Ernald who c. 1200 gave 30 a. that he had held of William of Wissant. (fn. 200) The abbey apparently retained some land in the early 16th century, which in the 18th was said to belong to Jeremiah Lagden (fn. 201) (d. 1804). The 94 a. allotted for Lagden's lands at inclosure (fn. 202) had by 1821 been combined with Little Abington rectory estate. (fn. 203) Sawtry abbey (Hunts.) in 1279 held c. 18 a. of Robert Tuddenham, (fn. 204) which had been sold by 1556 to George Gill. (fn. 205)
In 1279 Roger son of John and Richard of Bassingbourn held half a mill each and 85 a. and 53 a. respectively in Great Abington, apparently following the division of a larger estate, and in Little Abington, as parceners, c. 155 a. (fn. 206) In 1324 240 a. in the Abingtons and Hildersham and half a mill were settled on Roger of Abington with remainder to his son Edmund (fn. 207) (d. before 1393). John Abington succeeded his father John in 1398 (fn. 208) and died in 1431, when he held 80 a. in Great Abington. (fn. 209) In 1448 his son John Abington sold that land to King's College, Cambridge, (fn. 210) which c. 1640 owned c. 70 a. in Great Abington and c. 67 a. in Little Abington. (fn. 211) At inclosure the college was allotted 56 a. in Great Abington and 34 a. in Little Abington, (fn. 212) which it sold to Thomas Mortlock in 1859. (fn. 213) Clare College also had an estate in Little Abington, derived from John Bolton's lands conveyed to feoffees for the college in 1524. (fn. 214) The college was allotted c. 50 a. at inclosure, (fn. 215) and in 1873 owned 55 a., then on lease to E. J. Mortlock, who had bought the freehold by 1900. (fn. 216)
Most of 1 hide at Little Abington, held in 1279 of Robert Tuddenham by Robert Christian, (fn. 217) had by 1500 come to William son of John Mars, who held two-thirds of it of the honor of Richmond, together with other holdings called Leverers, amounting in 1540 to 170 a., and Willinghams, both held of John Parys. Mars died in 1511 and his daughter and heir Margaret (fn. 218) married Nicholas Smith (d. after 1538). (fn. 219) Leverers belonged by 1602 to Sir John Spencer, lord of the manor. (fn. 220) Willinghams, c. 80 a., was sold in 1563 by Margaret Smith to Robert Chapman, (fn. 221) who soon after sold it to Thomas Amy (d. 1583). Amy's daughter and heir Joan (d. 1617) married Robert Higham (d. 1609). Her son and heir James Higham (fn. 222) (d. 1658) left his land to his daughter Amy Smee whose son John Smee in 1688 sold part of it to John Bennet the younger. (fn. 223) In 1730 certain trustees sold 120 a. of Smee's estate, including Willinghams, to Thomas Western. (fn. 224) By the mid 18th century only one other large property still belonged to a locally resident family, that of the Wards. John Ward, who succeeded his father in 1760, left c. 90 a. on his death in 1762 to his cousin Mary, wife of William Fairchild; (fn. 225) she and her son Joseph were dead by 1804. Their lands, for which c. 125 a. were allotted at inclosure, were conveyed in 1805 to Benjamin Keene and in 1808 to William Sanxter. (fn. 226) By 1811 they had been annexed to the Mortlock estate. (fn. 227)
The impropriate rectories of Great and Little Abington were sold in 1540 to Sir Philip Parys, (fn. 228) after whose death in 1558 they passed in turn to his grandson Robert (d.s.p. 1572) and his younger son Ferdinand. (fn. 229) The latter sold them c. 1576 to Thomas Dalton of Hildersham, already perhaps lessee of Little Abington rectory. (fn. 230) On Dalton's death in 1602 Great Abington rectory passed to his youngest son Thomas (fn. 231) (d. before 1619). His successor was his eldest brother Michael's second son Thomas, who died in 1639, leaving it to his son Michael, a minor. (fn. 232) Michael was dead by 1656; his brother and heir Richard Dalton (fn. 233) sold Great Abington rectory in 1679 to John Bennet, lord of the manors, (fn. 234) with which it descended thereafter. At inclosure c. 230 a. were allotted for the rectorial tithes in Great Abington. (fn. 235)
Thomas Dalton (d. 1602) was succeeded in Little Abington rectory by his eldest son Michael, (fn. 236) who, having survived his eldest son Oliver (d. 1619), settled it in 1639 on the marriage of Oliver's son Michael to Susan Tyrell. (fn. 237) The younger Michael was succeeded between 1647 and 1661 by his son Tyrell Dalton (fn. 238) (d. 1682). (fn. 239) Tyrell's son Tyrell (d. 1730) (fn. 240) sold the rectory with 50 a. in 1701 to John Perne (fn. 241) (d. 1715). Perne's estate probably passed to his son Chester Perne, who lived at Little Abington and on his death in 1753 left his estates to the children of his brothers John (d. 1770) and Andrew (d. 1772), both clergymen. (fn. 242) Andrew's son Andrew, to whom 175 a. were allotted for rectorial tithes at inclosure, was succeeded in 1807 (fn. 243) by his second son, John Chester Perne (d. 1823). The next owner, Andrew's widow Susan, said to hold the impropriation c. 1830, died in 1836. (fn. 244) By 1841 the Perne lands belonged to F. P. Newcome. (fn. 245) In 1850 the rectory estate, with the former Jesus College and Lagden lands, was sold to Benjamin and Joseph Kent. (fn. 246) Benjamin owned the whole farm by his death in 1863. His successor, Alfred Oslar Kent, died c. 1900, whereupon it was sold to J. A. Wootten of Cambridge and resold in 1909 to J. J. Emerson, lord of the manors. (fn. 247) When the manorial estate was broken up in 1929, Lay Rectory farm, c. 370 a., was bought by S. E. Franklin. (fn. 248)
Little Abington rectory house may have stood just north of the bridge on the site of the Old House, a timber-framed building probably of the 17th century, its front rendered in 18th-century style. It was apparently occupied in the late 18th century by Jeremiah Lagden, and was styled the rectory house in 1850. (fn. 249) About 1951 it was bought by the marquess of Cambridge, who lived there in 1973. (fn. 250)
The 6 hides at Great Abington in 1086 included demesne land for 3 plough-teams, and there were 9 villani with land for 5 plough-teams, and 5 bordars. The value of the manor, apparently at farm, had been raised from 6 to 8 since 1066. Of the 5 hides at Little Abington half was in demesne, with 3 plough-teams and 5 servi, while 11 villani had 5 teams; the manor was worth 10, as much as in 1066. (fn. 251)
At Great Abington the arable was probably being extended up to the early 13th century when assarts were recorded near Abington grove and Hildersham wood. (fn. 252) In 1279 of c. 1,080 a. of arable recorded, the demesne comprised c. 500 a. In 1263 it had been said to come to 241 a. 'on one side' and 455 a. 'on the other', but in 1296 included only 520 a. Free tenants in 1279 held c. 250 a., of which 130 a. were shared by Roger son of John and Richard Bassingbourn, one man had 44 a. and two others 1 yardland each. Fourteen lesser freeholders had only 36 a. between them, mostly in one-acre lots, for which rents of 2s. an acre were usually charged. About 300 a. were held in villeinage, including 16 half-yardlands of 16 a. Their holders were liable to do 2 week-works throughout the year, and 5 a week in harvest, besides 2 harvest-boons and averages. The 5 tenants of quarter-yardlands, each of 8 a., owed the same services, except that they and the 5 cottars did only 1 week-work. Each half-yardlander had also to plough 7 a. a year for the lord. By 1279 week-works could be commuted at d. each, or 1d. in harvest, and ploughing at 4d. an acre. The reeve was excused his services during his year of office. The lord could tallage his tenants at will. (fn. 253)
At Little Abington there was much more free land. Robert Tuddenham's demesne included only 240 a. in 1279 (210 a. in 1309), and John Gerunde's only 100 a., out of c. 1, 130 a. of arable. Neither Gerunde nor St. Radegund's had any villeins, and Tuddenham had only 4 half-yardlanders, with 60 a. between them, and 1 cottar. Those tenants owed 2 week-works throughout the year and 3 by 1309, except in harvest when they had to reap 10 a. each and render a harvest-boon; they had also to plough 10 a. a year. The freeholders ranged from Robert Christian, with 157 a. altogether, through 4 others with over 120 a. between them, to 25 small tenants sharing 180 a. A few freeholders had land in both parishes. Most free tenants in Little Abington owed scutage, sheriff's aid, and castle-ward pence to Richmond castle. (fn. 254)
Great Abington manor's yield of 30 in 1263 included 12 from rents. (fn. 255) The demesne was estimated at 300 a. in 1331. (fn. 256) In 1371 it probably amounted to 540 a., of which c. 360 a. were under cultivation in any one year. (fn. 257) In 1350 94 a. out of 371 a. in the sown fields were left unsown, and in 1366 78 a. of 362 a., on account of 'debility'. In the mid 14th century the lord received only a small cash profit from his demesne farming, only 5 in 134950, compared with 10 arising from rents and commutations. Little corn was sold, what was not needed for seed going in liveries to farm servants, who included 6 ploughmen, a carter, and a shepherd. The village smith held his smithy by making the lord's ploughshares. Wheat, pigs, and poultry were delivered to the lord's household when he was living near by. Most profit probably came from the demesne flock: in 1366 287 fleeces fetched 10. Timber was sold from time to time: in 1350 16 a. of the wood were sold for 28, perhaps to offset a decline in other receipts caused by the Black Death, which had struck the village severely. Five of 15 half-yardlands and 2 of 4 nine-acre 'warelands' had been thrown into the lord's hands. Only 2 were soon re-let at rents. Some holdings were still held on customary terms in 1366, their works being used mainly for threshing and thatching, and only a seventh of the works they owed were commuted. Their harvest-boons were exacted in full. Ten half-yardlands, however, and all four smaller holdings were rendering no works, being nominally in the lord's hands, and in practice soon let for rents. (fn. 258) From the 1360s to the 1420s most customary half-yardlands were usually let for terms of 310 years; thereafter some prospective tenants expected grants for terms of life. (fn. 259) The lord found 8 vacant tenements falling into ruin in 1418. (fn. 260) Some neifs left the manor. A whole family fled c. 1393, allegedly to escape maltreatment by the lord's farmer, and in 1413 eleven neifs were known to be absent. (fn. 261) From the 16th century copyholds were regularly, as previously in practice, inherited by the youngest son, or by daughters jointly; on transfer, through death or otherwise, the lord received a fine that was nominally arbitrary but usually of 1 year's rent. (fn. 262) The demesne had been put to farm by 1368 and remained at farm thereafter, (fn. 263) except between 1407 and 1411, when the bailiff cheated the lord, sowing the lord's seed and using the lord's ploughs on his own land. (fn. 264)
By the 14th century Great Abington was being cultivated on a triennial rotation, (fn. 265) but it is unclear how the various small furlongs and doles whose names survive (fn. 266) were grouped together. About 1350 the demesne arable under cultivation was said to lie in Hildersham field, Stocking, and Canonsdown, of which the first and second were sown both with winter crops (wheat, rye, and dredge) and with barley, while spring corn (barley and oats) was sown in the second and third. Similarly in 1366 barley and dredge were sown in both winter and spring. (fn. 267) About 1575 it was said that the ancient custom was three sowings, for wheat and rye, for barley, and for oats. (fn. 268) About 1600 the arable was apparently divided into three large fields, West, Stumping Cross, and Ditch fields, the last perhaps lying south of the Brent Ditch. (fn. 269) In the late 16th century some men possessed inclosed crofts within the common fields, and were ordered not to sow them independently, but to remove their fences and let beasts common there when the field lay fallow. (fn. 270) The principal peasant crop was usually barley: (fn. 271) c. 1620 one farmer had sown 52 a. of barley and oats but only 12 a. of wheat and rye. (fn. 272) From the early 16th century saffron was also grown in the fields, and required protection from commoning beasts. (fn. 273) Great Abington's meadows along the river were liable to flooding. (fn. 274) A permanent common, amounting c. 1600 to 60 a., lay next to Abington grove and was partly intercommonable with Hildersham. (fn. 275)
Great Abington usually supported many sheep. In 1086 Aubrey de Vere had a flock of 120, and his men were said to have driven away 380 sheep from a half-yardland which he had usurped. (fn. 276) In 1347 the village rendered 70 stone to a levy of wool, of which 44 stone came from 15 villagers charged with over 1 stone each, 15 stone from 38 others, and 11 stone from the demesne, (fn. 277) on which c. 1350 there were from 260 to 320 sheep. Sometimes sheep were brought from the lord's other manors to feed at Great Abington after harvest. (fn. 278) In 1575 the lord was said to have a right to fold 500 sheep, (fn. 279) and in 1606 Sir John Spencer directed his lessee to keep a sheep for every acre of his farm. (fn. 280) In the 15th century some villagers were keeping 100 or 120 sheep, and c. 1433 a shepherd in charge of 600 trespassed in the lord's wood. (fn. 281) Ancient rights of common and foldage began to be reduced in the early 16th century: the King's College fold, claimed for 300 sheep, was reduced in 1535 to 80 sheep, while Westleys was restricted to 140 sheep-commons and the other tenants to 200 altogether. The college's and Parys's farmers were ordered not to take in strangers' sheep while villagers were willing to make up numbers in their folds from their own sheep. (fn. 282) Cattle were stinted in 1560 at 6 for each plough kept, and in 1591 commoners were forbidden to take in outsiders' cattle. (fn. 283) By 1679 copyholders were permitted to keep only one sheep in the lord's fold for every 2 a. they owned. The lord was still being requested to provide a parish bull and boar in 1737. (fn. 284)
The fields of Little Abington were also divided into relatively small blocks, some of which were called fields. (fn. 285) By 1600 they were grouped into three, Mill, Middle, and West fields. (fn. 286) The usual three-field rotation was followed, barley, the principal crop, being apparently sown in both the winter and spring fields. By 1700 clover and sainfoin, and by 1748 vetches and lentils, had been added to the traditional crops. (fn. 287) Saffron was probably grown on the Jesus College estate from the late 15th century, (fn. 288) and the vicar William Bolton (d. 1500) had saffron gardens by the boundary with Babraham. (fn. 289) There was little if any permanent common pasture. As at Great Abington extensive rights of common were attached to some ancient tenements: Willinghams with 80 a. might pasture 80 sheep. (fn. 290) The village raised 71 stone of wool for the levy of 1347, mostly from villagers. (fn. 291)
In the early 16th century most of the land in Great Abington outside the demesne was divided among c. 17 copyholders, one or two of whom by combining several half-yardlands occupied 50 a. or more. (fn. 292) The largest free tenement, then owned by King's College, was often leased to the lords of the manor. (fn. 293) Few villagers were prosperous. Of 19 taxpayers in 1524 only John Martin, farmer of Westleys, was taxed at 5, the others being taxed at 2 or less, and 16 at 1. (fn. 294) Among the more prominent yeoman families were those of Bilduck, Beteyn, and Amy, which flourished, the last in several branches, in both parishes until the late 17th century. (fn. 295) Robert Amy was lessee of Great Abington rectory when he died in 1588. (fn. 296) About 1600, out of c. 370 a. of copyhold, three Amys held c. 80 a., Robert Higham, successor by marriage to another Amy, held 53 a., Robert Beteyn held 73 a., and the remainder was divided among 21 men, of whom 5 had over 20 a. each. Some 37 a. was held of the lord by tenants at will or on lease. The demesne, besides 30 a. of inclosed meadow, included 457 a. in the fields. (fn. 297) In the early 17th century it included several middlesized farms, one of 123 a. near the wood, another of c. 160 a. Sir John Spencer apparently kept the latter, which included the land around the hall, in hand for a time, converting a 40-a. close from tillage to pasture. (fn. 298)
Little Abington, though less populous than its neighbour, was perhaps more prosperous. Seven people taxed there in 1524 had between them goods worth 33, compared with 25 altogether at Great Abington, (fn. 299) and under Charles II there were proportionately more dwellings with more than two hearths at Little than at Great Abington. (fn. 300) By 1600, however, Little Abington also was dominated by the demesne land, then called Cardinals, which comprised c. 466 a., including 430 a. of arable, divided into two farms. By then the lord also owned Leverers farm, c. 178 a., and thus controlled almost half the parish. Sir John Spencer agreed c. 1600 to sell the land he owned west of the Newmarket road to Sir Horatio Palavicino, (fn. 301) into whose Babraham estate it was thereafter incorporated. From 1663 to c. 1765 the Bennets of Babraham and their successors held the lease of the Jesus College estate in Little Abington with other land amounting to 140 a. (fn. 302) The number of substantial independent landholders in the parish declined from about 10 in the early 16th century (fn. 303) to about 7 by the 17th (fn. 304) and only 3 in the mid 18th century, as successive lords bought up more property. (fn. 305)
In 1653 the manorial estate included one substantial farm, perhaps in Little Abington, and six smaller holdings. Some land in Great Abington may have been in hand, for John Bennet the elder bought farming equipment with the estate. (fn. 306) From the late 17th century the area in Great Abington under independent yeoman owners diminished as the manorial estate was enlarged. John Bennet the younger began from 1683 to buy copyholds amounting to c. 100 a., including land of the Smee, Amy, and Beteyn families. (fn. 307) He consolidated his demesne, presumably by exchange and agreement, into large inclosed fields covering most of the eastern half and southern end of the parish. The western side and a few blocks along the eastern edge were left divided in the traditional fashion into strips, shared among 13 owners. The copyholders released their rights of common over the newly inclosed fields in 1686, and the process had probably been completed by 1687. (fn. 308) In the upshot, of a manorial estate amounting in 1716 to 636 a., c. 465 a. lay in the new inclosures and only 11 a. in the uninclosed fields to the west. There were also c. 70 a. of ancient closes around the Hall. (fn. 309) John Bennet sowed sainfoin on c. 35 a. which he had kept in hand. (fn. 310) He also installed engines c. 1690 to water the grounds round the Hall and a 100a. plot, but his underground pipes broke. (fn. 311) His enterprises were imprudently financed, (fn. 312) and he became bankrupt in 1697. The Great Abington estate included c. 1726 a great farm of 444 a. comprising most of the new inclosures and farmed from New House farm, built south-east of the Hall by 1716, another farm including c. 55 a. of pasture closes near the Hall and c. 35 a. of arable run from the old farmstead east of the Hall, and c. 60 a. of small holdings. The smaller farm, called Hall farm, covered 200 a. by 1771. (fn. 313) Thomas Western (d. 1754) went on buying out the copyholders, (fn. 314) and by 1800 the Hall estate included most of the parish.
At Little Abington the land was still being farmed in the customary open fields c. 1794, (fn. 315) and even at Great Abington traditional methods probably continued on the uninclosed lands, over which rights of common were being regulated in 1737 (fn. 316) In 1801 Great Abington produced 176 a. of wheat, 92 a. of rye, 245 a. of barley, and 127 a. of oats; 20 a. of turnips were also grown. (fn. 317) In that year, shortly after John Mortlock had bought the manors, inclosure Acts were procured for both parishes, unopposed except by Mortlock's principal tenant. The Act for Little Abington provided for most of the land west of the turnpike to be allotted to the Adeane estate in Babraham. (fn. 318) The land of each parish was probably divided the same year, and the Great Abington award was executed in 1804, that for Little Abington not until 1807. (fn. 319) At Great Abington, where the earlier inclosures were included in the award, almost the whole parish was allotted to John Mortlock who emerged with 1,131 a. out of 1,532 a., besides his ancient closes. The vicar received c. 79 a. and King's College 56 a. along the eastern boundary. Seven men who were allotted 13 a. between them for common rights had been bought out by Mortlock before 1818. (fn. 320) At Little Abington, where 1,166 a. were allotted, Mortlock received 585 a. in the west part of the parish, and Andrew Perne, the impropriator, c. 224 a. in the east. The centre was divided between the vicar with 71 a. and Jesus, King's, and Clare colleges with c. 135 a. together. The Lagden estate received c. 94 a. by the eastern edge, and the Fairchild devisees 126 a. Two other allottees had just over 3 a. (fn. 321) During the next 110 years virtually the whole of both parishes was gradually incorporated into the Abington Hall estate.
By 1818 Great Abington, apart from the glebe, had been divided into three large farms, an arrangement that survived until the 1930s. The Hall farm, covering in 1929 229 a., included the land nearest the village. South of the main eastwest road lay New House farm, comprising 657 a. in 1818, 634 a. in 1929. The southern third of the parish, including the 60 a. of former woodland called Great Park, formed Abington Park farm, covering 543 a. in 1818, 539 a. in 1929. A new farm-house north of the Park had been built by 1818. In Little Abington the Mortlock land south of the Cambridge road, probably farmed until the 1830s with Hall farm, later became Bancroft farm, of 119 a. in 1929. Its ancient timberframed farm-house was burnt down in a family feud in the 1860s. North of the road was Grange farm, 475 a. in 1929, for which a new farmstead was built out in the fields. Similarly the consolidated Lay Rectory farm of c. 360 a. had a large farm-house built just outside the village, and by 1871 an extra farmstead in the fields, called New Barns. Between 1850 and 1900 it was farmed by its owners, the Kents. The smaller glebe and college properties in the middle of the parish were consolidated after their absorption into the Hall estate as College Field farm, covering in 1929 156 a. (fn. 322)
In both parishes most of the land was arable. In 1818 only 78 a. of 1,215 a. on the larger farms in Great Abington were under permanent grass. New House farm was then being cultivated on a four-year rotation. (fn. 323) John Mortlock had earlier kept a considerable flock of Southdown sheep, fed partly on hay and turnips, (fn. 324) and the two parishes together provided employment for up to 12 shepherds in the mid 19th century. (fn. 325) Lay Rectory farm was described as an excellent turnip farm in 1850. (fn. 326) In 1929 there were still only 85 a. of permanent grass in Great Abington and 120 a. in Little Abington. (fn. 327)
Most of the working population throughout the 19th century were farm labourers. In each parish in 1831 44 families were dependent on agriculture, and only 7 on crafts and trade. (fn. 328) In 1851 69 men and boys were employed on the farms at Great Abington; in 1871 41 men and 23 boys worked at Great, and 27 men and 16 boys at Little, Abington. (fn. 329) In 1873 it was estimated that c. 250 out of 300 inhabitants at Great Abington were of the labouring class. At Little Abington c. 1877 the proportion was twothirds. (fn. 330) In the early 20th century 4 a. of the Hall estate were let as allotments for them. (fn. 331) Fourteen people in 1871 were attached to the households at the Hall and Lodge as gardeners, grooms, and game- keepers. (fn. 332) From 1843 to c. 1922 John Rickett and his son J. J. Rickett kept a stonemason's and builder's business. (fn. 333) Otherwise neither parish usually had more than two or three craftsmen such as carpenters, blacksmiths, wheelwrights, shoemakers, and tailors. (fn. 334) After 1900 even those few disappeared. (fn. 335) A new element entered parish life when in 1936 the Land Settlement Association bought New House farm to divide it into 10-a. smallholdings for people from areas such as South Wales and County Durham for market-gardening and pig- and poultry-rearing. By 1962 46 such holdings had been established. From c. 1950 the produce included tomatoes and lettuces, and glass-houses covered 9 a. of the estate by 1968. (fn. 336) The Welding Research Association at Abington Hall employed a staff that increased from 40 in 1946 to 125 in 1958. (fn. 337) From the 1950s the village began to have a large proportion of middleclass residents, who mostly worked in Cambridge and large neighbouring villages. (fn. 338)
By a charter of 1257 the earl of Oxford was granted a weekly market at Great Abington on Fridays and a three-day fair at the feast of St. Lawrence. (fn. 339) Neither is recorded later.
Aubrey de Vere had a water-mill at Great Abington in 1086. (fn. 340) By 1279 it was apparently attached to the free tenement divided between Richard Bassingbourn and Roger son of John. (fn. 341) Roger's half had come by 1342 to Roger Abington, with whose lands it was conveyed to King's College in 1448. (fn. 342) In 1318 the miller was accused of forbidding the earl's customary tenants to grind their own grain, (fn. 343) and a successor in 1405 was not keeping his dams in repair. (fn. 344) The mill was not recorded after 1500. Little Abington manor also included a mill in 1086. (fn. 345) About 1200 John de Lanvaley and later his widow Christine released a mill, with the customary yardland of Ralph Sexmere, to Waltham abbey, (fn. 346) of which Walter Sexmere held it in 1279. (fn. 347) By 1395 Sexmere mill belonged to Robert Parys, who had lately moved its floodgates to a new place, causing flooding in Great Abington's meadows. (fn. 348) His widow Catherine and brother Nicholas continued the nuisance between 1409 and 1416. (fn. 349) Half a mill included in a conveyance of 1554 by Sir Philip Parys to John Chapman (fn. 350) is not recorded later. The site of neither mill has been traced. A windmill may have stood on or near Windmill hill in Little Abington by 1600, (fn. 351) but there was no mill in either parish by the 19th century. (fn. 352)
Under Edward I the earl of Oxford had at Great Abington view of frankpledge, which he claimed in 1299 by prescription, with the assize of bread and of ale and a gallows and tumbrel. (fn. 353) By custom 4s. of the court issues were paid twice yearly to the bailiff of the hundred. (fn. 354) In 1376 the goods found on a thief who escaped were seized for the lord. (fn. 355) In the 14th and 15th centuries a court leet was usually held annually at Trinity, and one or more courts baron in spring or autumn. After 1500 a single session for all purposes was held once a year, and later at longer intervals. (fn. 356) In 1403 two men were fined for revealing the counsels of the leet and opposing its decisions in open court. (fn. 357) By ancient custom the reeve was to be elected by the villeins out of court, (fn. 358) but the court regularly chose two ale-tasters, (fn. 359) one or two constables or underconstables, (fn. 360) and haywards. (fn. 361) After 1530 it sometimes appointed two men to oversee the fields. (fn. 362) The court undertook the usual leet jurisdiction down to the early 17th century. As late as 1653 it was forbidding inhabitants to harbour strange inmates, or to build cottages on the waste without the assent of the township. (fn. 363) In 1681 eleven such inmates were being sheltered and three non-commonable dwellings had been built. (fn. 364) It also enforced regulations and customs concerning agriculture, (fn. 365) a practice continued at intervals until 1737 or later by verdicts of the jury; (fn. 366) after 1663 (fn. 367) the verdicts ceased to be recorded on the rolls, which were thereafter solely a record of copyholds. Court rolls survive for 1318, 13212, and, with gaps, for 13541435, 14501, 148599, 152748, and 15581694, and court books for 17111841. (fn. 368)
It was said in 1276 that the bailiff of the honor of Richmond had made himself steward to Robert Tuddenham and usurped view of frankpledge and the assize of bread and of ale at Little Abington, also withdrawing the Gerunde and St. Radegund fees from the sheriff's tourn. (fn. 369) In 1334 the reeve and four men from Little Abington did suit to the honor court at Linton, at which the assize of ale was enforced for their township; (fn. 370) although Tuddenham was said to have view of frankpledge in 1279, in 1309 his tenants were said not to render suit of court. (fn. 371) Leet jurisdiction at Little Abington may therefore have been absorbed by the Richmond court. No evidence has been found after 1279 for the existence of a separate court for Little Abington manor. In the early 18th century the Great Abington court occasionally appointed one constable for each parish. (fn. 372) In the 18th and 19th centuries, perhaps owing to the absence of a court for Little Abington, the transfer of some copyholds there was made in the court of Hildersham with Little Abington manor; (fn. 373) that court was also appointing a constable and a pinder for Little Abington in the 1720s. (fn. 374)
In the early 19th century Great Abington was apparently administered by a small vestry, comprising a churchwarden, two overseers, and two or three of the wealthier parishioners. (fn. 375) Expenditure on the poor had increased from c. 60 in 1776 to 96 by 17835 and 166 in 1803 when 22 people were on permanent relief. (fn. 376) Those regularly supported from the rates still numbered between 22 and 28 from 1813 to 1815. The cost between 1813 (fn. 377) and 1834 was usually over 300, and sometimes exceeded 350. (fn. 378) About 1830 the farmers were expected to find work for the able poor in proportion to the size of their farms, and large families had an allowance from the rates. (fn. 379) In practice over two-thirds of the money spent in the early 1830s apparently went to widows and the aged. (fn. 380)
At Little Abington the amount spent on the poor and the numbers relieved were smaller. The cost rose from 6 in 1776 to 38 in 17835 and 80 by 1803 when 9 persons were permanently supported. In 1814 13 persons were on permanent relief, and the total cost was 156. (fn. 381) About 1830 large families were assisted from the rates, and of the then normal expenditure of c. 160 about half usually went to the aged, mostly widows, and less than a quarter on casual relief, given mostly to large families and the sick. Men working for the parish seldom took over 10 a year, and might be employed on the road or, as in 18302, on repairing the parish houses. (fn. 382) Those houses, three cottages occupied in 1836 by paupers rent-free, were sold in 1837 to help meet the cost of building Linton workhouse. (fn. 383)
Both parishes were from 1835 part of the Linton poor-law union, (fn. 384) were incorporated with the Linton R.D. in 1934 into the South Cambridgeshire R.D., (fn. 385) and were included in South Cambridgeshire in 1974.
The church of Little Abington includes fabric which may be of c. 1100; demesne tithes there were granted c. 1130, and the advowson was recorded c. 1200. Great Abington had its own church by 1217: (fn. 386) the advowson was attached until the early 14th century to the manor of the earls of Oxford, (fn. 387) who sometimes presented relatives, such as Earl Robert's son Gilbert de Vere, rector while still a minor c. 1289. (fn. 388) Before 1217 the earls had granted two-thirds of their demesne tithes to Hatfield Broadoak priory (Essex), to which the rector was ordered to pay 17s. 4d. a year. Earl Hugh (d. 1263) granted the priory a site for a barn to store its tithes, (fn. 389) which were worth 5 marks in 1254 and 1291. (fn. 390) In 1329 the earl was licensed to grant the rectory itself to the priory for appropriation, (fn. 391) which had been accomplished by 1344. A vicarage was ordained, of which the advowson remained with Hatfield priory until its dissolution in 1536. (fn. 392) In 1538 two yeomen presented under a grant for that turn made by the priory. (fn. 393) In 1540 the advowson was granted to Philip Parys with the impropriate rectory, (fn. 394) with which it descended in the Parys and Dalton families until bought by John Bennet in 1679, after which it passed with the manors until 1929. (fn. 395)
At Little Abington the advowson was attached to the manor by c. 1200, when Simon le Bret granted half the advowson to Waltham abbey (Essex). Simon, however, failed in warranting the grant in 1204, when William de Lanvaley the younger, to whom he had meanwhile released the manor, recovered the advowson. (fn. 396) William's successor John de Burgh granted it in 1239 to Hugh de Vaux, (fn. 397) whose heir John de Vaux did not subinfeudate it with the manor to Robert Tuddenham, but retained it until his death in 1287, whereupon it was included in the purparty of his elder daughter Parnel, wife of William of Narford (fn. 398) (d. 1302). (fn. 399) In 1316 Parnel granted the advowson, said erroneously to be held of Robert Tuddenham, to Pentney priory (Norf.). The priory had appropriated the rectory by 1341, (fn. 400) and retained it until its dissolution in 1537, (fn. 401) but the advowson of the vicarage was reserved to the bishop of Ely, who continued to collate to it until the 16th century. (fn. 402) Being in the bishop's patronage the vicarage was exempted from the archdeacon of Ely's jurisdiction until the 18th century. (fn. 403) The Crown occasionally presented during vacancies of the see. (fn. 404) In 1540 the grant of Little Abington rectory to Philip Parys purported to include the advowson of the vicarage, (fn. 405) so Parys's successor Michael Dalton claimed to present upon a vacancy in 1604. Bishop Heton conceded his claim in 1608, but the bishop's nominee retained the living, (fn. 406) and the bishops continued to collate vicars until the mid 18th century. (fn. 407) By the 1730s, when for 70 years it had been the practice for both benefices to be held by the same man, the bishop had agreed with the Westerns, as patrons of Great Abington, that since the two livings were separately too poor to attract clergymen, the two patrons should nominate to both alternately. In 1736 the bishop collated to Little Abington independently, but within two months his nominee resigned in favour of the man presented to Great Abington by Thomas Western. Thereafter the bishop apparently no longer exercised the patronage, (fn. 408) and was last recorded as patron c. 1792; (fn. 409) Little Abington vicarage was served by the vicars or sequestrators who held Great Abington. In 1802 the Crown presented to Little Abington, for reasons unknown, the man who had already held Great Abington for 10 years. (fn. 410) Andrew Perne, the impropriator, was said to be patron of Little Abington in 1800, and his widow in 1836, (fn. 411) probably in error. Thomas Mortlock was styled patron in 1851 (fn. 412) and E. J. Mortlock from 1877. The patronage of both livings passed with the manors to the Emersons, (fn. 413) and was sold in 1930 to the Martyrs' Memorial Trust to which it still belonged in 1973. (fn. 414) In 1947 the two benefices were formally united, the ecclesiastical parishes remaining distinct. (fn. 415)
About 1130 Count Stephen, lord of Richmond, granted demesne tithes at Little Abington to St. Mary's Abbey, York, (fn. 416) to whose dependent priory at Rumburgh (Suff.) they were being paid by 1291, when they were worth 4 marks. (fn. 417) In 1326 Alan, abbot of St. Mary's, leased them to Pentney priory, which retained them until 1463 when after 10 years' non-payment the abbey took possession again. (fn. 418) Rumburgh's properties were annexed in 1528 to Wolsey's proposed college at Ipswich and were sold by the Crown in 1531. (fn. 419)
In the early 13th century the two rectories, after deducting monastic portions, were of almost equal value, Great Abington being taxed at 10 marks in 1217 and 1254, Little Abington at 9 marks. In 1276, however, they were worth respectively 30 and 13 marks, but in 1291 16 and 12 marks. (fn. 420)
The glebe of Great Abington rectory, 30 a. in 1279, (fn. 421) was included in the appropriation to Hatfield priory. The vicar had only 1 rood near his vicarage. Besides the small tithes, levied c. 1700 according to an ancient modus, he received from the rectory a cash pension of 2 a year and 6 qr. of corn, and from 10 copyhold messuages 245 eggs and 14 bu. of barley. (fn. 422) At inclosure in 1801 the vicar was allotted c. 78 a. for his glebe and tithes. (fn. 423) The pension, charged in 1929 on Abington Hall, was redeemed c. 1958. (fn. 424)
Of Little Abington's rectorial glebe, 40 a. in 1279, (fn. 425) 12 a. were assigned to the vicar, (fn. 426) who had also the small tithes, levied by a modus by 1700, and tithes of hay. A pension due to him from the rectory, 33s. 4d. c. 1700, (fn. 427) had been increased by 1877 to 5 a year, which in 1929 was charged on Lay Rectory farm. (fn. 428) At inclosure the vicar was allotted c. 71 a. for his glebe and tithes. (fn. 429) The glebe of both vicarages was sold in 1907 to J. J. Emerson. (fn. 430) Following appropriation the two vicarages were almost equally poor, Great Abington being worth 7 16s. 2d. in 1535, Little Abington 7 6s. 4d. (fn. 431) In 1650 Great Abington yielded only 18 a year, while the vicar of Little Abington, having received in 1649 a substantial augmentation, was supposed to have 30 a year. (fn. 432) About 1728 their respective incomes were 22 and 20. (fn. 433) Following an augmentation by lot of 200 from Queen Anne's Bounty in 1778 (fn. 434) the value of Great Abington had risen to c. 80 by 1830 and 160 gross in 1877. That of Little Abington stood at 87 in the early 19th century, and in 1877 included c. 105 from the glebe. (fn. 435)
Great Abington vicarage house, ruinous in 1615, was burnt down probably in the 1660s and not rebuilt. (fn. 436) Its site has not been traced. Resident vicars later lived in Little Abington vicarage house, (fn. 437) which stood a little east of the church, close to the river. (fn. 438) It was reconstructed c. 1810 by the then vicar, and c. 1830 Queen Anne's Bounty lent 327 for similar rebuilding. (fn. 439) When during the 19th century Great Abington again had vicars of its own, they sometimes lived at Ivy Lodge, (fn. 440) a Georgian house on the Hildersham road. Little Abington vicarage was sold in 1961, (fn. 441) and a new house built at the north end of its grounds.
In 1521 Great Abington contained a guild of St. Anne, (fn. 442) and in 1524 possibly also a guild of All Saints. (fn. 443) In 1561 the earl of Oxford granted the guildhall or church house to John Amy as copyhold. (fn. 444) It may have been the long timber-framed building by the path to the church. Land in the two parishes left for lights and obits was sold by the Crown in 1548, 1568, and 1571. (fn. 445) Under John Bolton's will proved 1509 each church received 3s. a year for repairs and 4d. for the curate, and there was a provision for masses. When Bolton's lands were settled on Clare College in 1524 it was agreed that a fellow of Clare should preach in Little Abington church on the first Sunday in Lent. (fn. 446) The sermons probably continued in the early 18th century; (fn. 447) the churchwardens of each parish still received 3s. 4d. for repairs in the 20th century. (fn. 448)
Little Abington saw a rapid turnover of seven vicars through exchanges between 1389 and 1402. (fn. 449) John Drury, vicar from 1435, was bound over in 1448 not to molest the duke of Somerset's tenants, and was deprived in 1465. (fn. 450) Early-16th-century vicars of each parish were usually resident, (fn. 451) and some, such as Henry Amy, at Little Abington c. 1532c. 1552, and Robert Thurger, at Great Abington c. 1538c. 1552, (fn. 452) were probably from local families. (fn. 453) After 1560 the two livings were sometimes held jointly. Thomas Chamber was vicar of Great and curate of Little Abington in 1564 when he was alleged not to catechize or read the homilies. (fn. 454) Thomas Goodman, vicar of Little Abington by 1567, was then curate and sequestrator of Great Abington to which he was presented in 1573. (fn. 455) He used to serve both churches on the same day. The parishioners complained in 1578 that he attended more diligently to his husbandry than to his pastoral duties, in 1590 that he did not preach regularly, and in 1594 that he was found in the alehouse while they awaited him in church. (fn. 456) After his death in 1604 (fn. 457) the livings were again separated. Roger Wincoll retained Little Abington from 1635 until his death in 1655 despite his poverty, company-keeping, and (by 1650) imbecility. (fn. 458) Henry Taverner at Great Abington also retained his living in 1650, although he frequented alehouses and opposed parliament. (fn. 459) Before 1660, however, he had had two successors, one probably a Presbyterian. (fn. 460)
From 1661 to 1828 the two cures were again held jointly, Great Abington being probably sometimes held by sequestration. John Boughton, vicar 1666 93, combined them with a fellowship at St. John's. His successor, Thomas Colbatch (16931732), an Oxford man, (fn. 461) was conscientious but eccentric. (fn. 462) In 1728 he was holding two Sunday services alternately at each church, with communion at the three principal feasts, a practice continued until the 1830s. (fn. 463) William Benning, vicar 175392, (fn. 464) lived in Essex in 1775 and employed a curate who held services twice on Sundays, probably alternately at each church, (fn. 465) as was done in 1825 when the same congregation was said to have long attended both. (fn. 466) In the late 18th century it was proposed to demolish Great Abington church because of its damp situation and unite the two parishes. (fn. 467) George Barlow, vicar 1792 1828, was resident in 1825 but employed a curate, being himself curate at Saffron Walden. There were then c. 40 communicants. (fn. 468) After his death the livings were separated.
The next vicar of Great Abington also held Newmarket St. Mary and Woodditton. (fn. 469) In 1835 Thomas Mortlock presented his own brother, Edmund Davy Mortlock, a fellow of Christ's College, where he lived, staying when in Great Abington at Thomas's cottage in the village. He introduced a second Sunday service, preached every Sunday, and had in 1836 c. 70 communicants. His contemporary at Little Abington, Charles Townley (182870), also held two Sunday services, and claimed 45 communicants and in 1851 an afternoon congregation of 140. E. D. Mortlock resigned in 1845. (fn. 470) Of his successors, Robert Goodwin (184588) also held Hildersham, and J. A. H. Law (18903) Babraham, (fn. 471) and they usually lived at their other benefices. The successive vicars of Little Abington lived in their own parish. (fn. 472) Goodwin, who employed two curates and held two Sunday services at Great Abington, claimed in 1873 that 250 out of his 300 parishioners came to church, and an average of 18 out of 50 communicants attended monthly communions. E. L. Pearson, who held similar services at Little Abington, had in 1877 a congregation of up to 150, including 57 communicants. (fn. 473) A. W. Smyth, who held both livings from 1893, (fn. 474) began to celebrate communion every Sunday and introduced special services for Lent and saints' days. In 1897 there were 82 communicants. (fn. 475) The two vicarages were afterwards always held by the same man. (fn. 476) From the 1920s the vicar complained of very poor attendance at church. (fn. 477) In 1973 the two churches were still used alternately, on Sunday mornings and evenings, by a congregation drawn from both villages. (fn. 478)
The church of ST. MARY, so called in 1518, (fn. 479) at Great Abington comprises a chancel, nave with south aisle and porch, and west tower. It is built of field stones with ashlar dressings. The fabric of the nave and chancel is early-13th-century at latest. Several lancets remain, including some small ones in the north wall of the chancel set in deep round-headed embrasures, perhaps of an earlier period. The twostorey west tower, surmounted by a short leaded spire, is also 13th-century, having no buttresses. Its west window consists of three lancets under a continuous moulding. Its arch is probably of the early 14th century, when also the south aisle with its four-bay arcade of quatrefoil piers was added. In the 15th century new windows were inserted in the nave and south aisle, and a three-light east window replaced three lancets in the chancel. A little medieval glass survived until 1816. (fn. 480) The south porch is 14th-century, and the south door probably medieval, but the doorway mouldings have been renewed. A similar north doorway was blocked and a modern window inserted there. The nave was still thatched in 1783, and the chancel as late as 1816. (fn. 481) There is no chancel arch, and a continuous waggonroof, panelled and probably put up after 1605, extends as in 1742 over nave and chancel. (fn. 482) The font is early, with a plain round top on an octagonal base. In the south wall of the chancel is a double piscina. Stairs in the north wall of the nave, under a small window high up, probably led to the rood-screen which was still in place in 1742. The pulpit had formerly a sounding board of 1634. (fn. 483) Against the north wall of the chancel stands the monument of Sir William Halton (d. 1639), with his armoured figure recumbent on its side; as lessee of the manor, he probably lived at Abington Hall. (fn. 484) In 1644 William Dowsing destroyed 2 crosses and 40 superstitious pictures. (fn. 485) The south side of the church needed repair in 1665, and the whole was in bad condition in 1685. (fn. 486) It was found to be very dirty in 1783, the windows in decay and partly stopped with plaster. (fn. 487) In 1816 the east end of the aisle was used as a manorial pew, and a singing gallery stood by the tower. (fn. 488) The church had 250 sittings, 169 of them free, in 1873, when the children sat in the chancel. (fn. 489) The tower was repaired by 1897, and the whole church was restored between 1895 and 1900, (fn. 490) when the interior walls were left stripped of their plaster, and the fittings entirely renewed. A brightly painted organ in the chancel was brought from Pampisford church, probably between 1891 and 1897. (fn. 491) The churchyard was closed in 1885 because it was liable to flooding. (fn. 492)
The church had one chalice c. 1278, and two in 1552 with a silver cross. (fn. 493) Sir William Halton left it a communion cup worth 10, (fn. 494) presumably the silver cup and paten dated 1638 which the church still possessed in 1973, with an almsdish of 1727 and a plated flagon of 1876. (fn. 495) There were two bells in 1552 and three in 1742. (fn. 496) Of the five bells in 1783 three were broken. (fn. 497) In 1816 there were two bells, one of 1663 by Miles Gray, and recast in 1817 by Thomas Mears, the other recast in 1789. (fn. 498) Both survived in 1973. The registers are virtually complete from 1664; a register beginning in 1538 had been lost by 1783. (fn. 499)
The church of ST. MARY, so called in 1520, (fn. 500) at Little Abington, consists of a chancel, nave with north chapel and south porch, and west tower. It is built of field stones with ashlar dressings and was formerly much patched with brick. (fn. 501) The fabric of the nave may be of c. 1100. Its surviving doorways have round arches and heavy stonework. The blocked north doorway has rough chip-carving on its abacus. The chancel was rebuilt in the 13th century, of which period are its arch and the lancets in the north wall. The three stepped lancets, originally in the east wall, reinstated at the restoration of 1885, had been replaced by a three-light Perpendicular window, which retained until after 1742 some fragments of glass with donors' figures, dated 1526. (fn. 502) The three-storey tower is probably 14th-century, having a renewed Decorated west window and substantial buttresses. The belfry windows are cusped. In the south wall of the tower is a medieval tomb-recess. Bequests for leading the steeple were made in 1508 and 1520. (fn. 503) The tower arch and the western windows of the nave are probably also 14th-century. The eastern windows in the south wall of the nave are rectangular and were probably inserted in the late 15th century. The date of the small north chapel, which stands beyond an arch, is uncertain, for its windows were redesigned in the 19th century. (fn. 504) The south porch, though medieval, was much repaired in brick. (fn. 505) The chancel contains an early piscina with dog-tooth carving. The font, also early, has a massive square basin set on five columns.
The church was said to be badly covered c. 1300, (fn. 506) but was probably tiled by 1619. (fn. 507) The timbers of the roof were replaced in the 19th century, except for a few of the principal beams. A block of late medieval seating, surviving in the nave, was copied for the Victorian seating. Of the rood-screen, for which William Bolton (d. 1500) left 2 and which survived in 1742, (fn. 508) only fragments remain, made up in a modern framework on a thick stone base. The threedecker pulpit, with a sounding board dated 1675, was removed, along with the high pews, in 1873. (fn. 509) The chancel contains a wall-monument, with miniature obelisks and caryatids, to Oliver Dalton (d. 1619) and tablets to members of the Perne and Fasset families.
The chancel was in great decay in the 1560s, through the fault of the tenant of the rectory, (fn. 510) and needed plastering and whitewashing in 1665 and 1685. (fn. 511) In 1816 the tower arch was still blocked with plaster and a singing gallery. (fn. 512) The church had 226 sittings, 140 free, in 1877. (fn. 513) It was thoroughly restored in 1885 at the expense of A. H. D. Hutton, then vicar, with J. P. St. Aubyn as architect, (fn. 514) but box-pews on the south side of the chancel were not removed until 1916. An organ, replacing a barrelorgan, was given in 1897 and fills the north chapel. (fn. 515) The church had a silver-gilt chalice c. 1278, and two, with a silver cross, in 1552. (fn. 516) In 1973 it had a paten of 1728 and a cup and paten of 1828. (fn. 517) There were three bells in 1552 and 1742, (fn. 518) but only one, dated 1620 and possibly by Brian Eldridge, survived in 1973. (fn. 519) The surviving registers begin in 1687, and are virtually complete. (fn. 520)
In 1675 six people were presented for not coming to church at Great Abington, (fn. 521) and there were six dissenters there in 1676, but none at Little Abington. (fn. 522) A Quaker member of the Amy family was imprisoned in 1678 for refusing to pay tithe on wild pigeons. (fn. 523) In 1728 Great Abington was said to have five dissenting families, and Little Abington six dissenters; (fn. 524) in 1783 Little Abington alone had a dissenting family. (fn. 525) Although a house there was registered for dissenting worship in 1798, (fn. 526) the parish still included only two dissenting families, both of long standing, in 1825, when at Great Abington the only recorded dissenter was one labourer. (fn. 527) In 1826, however, two men registered their houses for such worship, as did a preacher from Linton in 1833. (fn. 528) Neither parish had any permanent nonconformist congregation until after the 1870s, (fn. 529) when the Congregationalists from Sawston began mission work at Little Abington, (fn. 530) having a preaching station there from c. 1888. (fn. 531) The vicar believed their main audience to be drawn from immigrant labourers. (fn. 532) Although the meeting-house had 60 sittings in 1899 there were only seven full members in 1905 and 10 in 1916. Numbers varied thereafter between five and eight. (fn. 533) The chapel was still in use in 1973, being affiliated to the United Reformed Church.
Although there was said to be a schoolmaster at Little Abington c. 1607, (fn. 534) neither village had a regular school in the 18th century. (fn. 535) Shortly before 1818 a school on Dr. Bell's system, with up to 55 pupils, was set up for both parishes. Being supported mainly by the wealthy tenants of the Hall, it collapsed when the Hall became vacant in the 1820s. (fn. 536) From then until 1870 the Abingtons were served mainly by dame schools and Sunday schools. Day and Sunday schools, supported by the new vicars, began in 1829 at Little Abington and in 1832 or 1833 at Great Abington, but appear to have been short-lived. In 1833 two other schools had c. 40 pupils, partly paid for by their parents. A new tenant of the Hall probably supported a school for 30 girls. Two Sunday-school teachers also taught adults to read on winter evenings. (fn. 537) About 1846 two dame schools had together 40 paying pupils, mostly girls. (fn. 538) The vicar of Little Abington usually paid for at least the eldest child in each family to be made literate. (fn. 539) In 1877, after the establishment of a board school, the vicar still maintained an evening school for adults at Little Abington. (fn. 540)
In 1873, at the suggestion of the squire, E. J. Mortlock, a school board was formed for the two parishes, with the support of the two vicars. Mortlock provided the site in Great Abington at a nominal rent, and paid for building the school, which was opened in 1874. (fn. 541) In 1897 the vicar was teaching in the school before normal lessons began. (fn. 542) Average attendance was 68 in 1876, 83 in 1896, (fn. 543) 71 in 1919, and 79 in 1936. (fn. 544) The building belonged to the lord of the manor until 1930 when the county council bought it. (fn. 545) In 1908 J. J. Emerson built a new house for the master, elaborately thatched and timbered, south of the school. (fn. 546) By 1905 the school had a separate infants department. (fn. 547) In 1937 the older children were transferred to Linton village college, and Abington school, partly rebuilt, was reorganized in junior mixed and infants departments. (fn. 548) It was again enlarged in 1962, (fn. 549) and was still open in 1973.
Charities for the Poor.
John Bolton, by will proved 1509, left a contingent reversion of all his lands to pay 3s. 4d. a year each to the churches of Great and Little Abington and Hildersham, the residue going to pay the taxes falling on the poor folk of the three parishes, and any surplus being for masses and preaching. (fn. 550) In 1524 the land was settled on Clare College, subject to its finding a fellow in orders to preach and say mass in accordance with the will and paying 6s. 8d. to each parish, of which 3s. was for church repairs, 4d. for the curate, and 3s. 4d. for the poor, sums which the college was paying in 1546. (fn. 551) Little Abington was still receiving 3s. 4d. for its poor in 1786; Great Abington's share had then been unpaid for many years, (fn. 552) but payment was resumed in 1788. In 1837, of the 6s. 8d. received by each parish, half was given at Little Abington to the aged and widows, and at Great Abington half had until lately been distributed among the poor. (fn. 553) In 1863 also the money went to the poor. (fn. 554) In 1929 the payment was charged upon the Hall, (fn. 555) whose owners redeemed it in 1966 for 10 paid to 'John a Bolton's' charity in each parish. (fn. 556)
John Jefferies by will dated 1674 charged his land in Little Abington with rendering yearly a comb of barley or its price, to be divided among the poor there. Payment had ceased long before 1786. (fn. 557) Alice Margaret Foakes, formerly resident at the Old House, Little Abington, (fn. 558) by will proved 1927, left 100 for the poor of both parishes. A Scheme of 1936 governed the use of the income. Little had been spent before 1944. (fn. 559)