A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 8. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1982.
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The parish of Whaddon (fn. 1) lies east of the Old North Road, c. 6 km. north of Royston. It was said to cover 1,463 a. in 1841, but after 1891 1,519 a. until 1955 when 23 a. on the eastern boundary were transferred from Meldreth to Whaddon which thereafter covered 622 ha. (1,538 a.). (fn. 2)
Despite its name, meaning 'wheat hill', (fn. 3) the parish is nearly flat, rising from the river Cam or Rhee in the north to c. 23 metres in the south and west. It lies mainly on the Lower Chalk which overlies the Gault except in the northern corner of the parish, and there is a narrow strip of alluvium along the river valley. (fn. 4) Whaddon is roughly triangular in shape, the northern boundary following the river and most of the south-eastern boundary following the Hoback stream. The western boundary follows the Old North Road. (fn. 5)
The parish has long been predominantly arable, although sheep were also important until the 19th century, and in the 18th century the pastures along the watercourses supported dairy cattle. Most of Whaddon was part of the extensive Wimpole estate from the 18th century, and the earl of Hardwicke was thus able to exchange lands so that by the end of that century much of the parish was already inclosed. The remaining open-field land was inclosed in 1841. (fn. 6) The northern corner of Whaddon was affected by the landscaping of Wimpole Park: the South Avenue, two double rows of elms planted in 1720, extended for c. 2 km. into Whaddon, and the Basin, an octagonal pool c. 150 metres across, was dug in 1721 south of the river. It had to be cleared in the mid 18th century, and was filled with vegetation in 1968. (fn. 7) In 1979 the avenue was being replanted with oak and lime. (fn. 8) Apart from Fillands wood, c. 18 a. north of the village, there was little woodland in the parish in the mid 19th century or in the 20th when Fillands had been cleared. (fn. 9)
The Old North Road runs along the western boundary; the village street is part of a road leading from it to Meldreth. Until the 19th century that road ran south-west from Town Farm, at the southwestern end of Whaddon village, to Kneesworth turnpike, a course still followed in 1979 by a footpath known as Penny Lane, but the road was diverted in 1818 to run almost due west, meeting the turnpike road at Whaddon Gap. (fn. 10) In the 17th century and earlier a road ran from Whaddon through Orwell to Harlton, (fn. 11) but it had disappeared by the 19th century. Howard's Lane, a northward continuation of the eastern part of the village street, may mark the beginning of its course. (fn. 12) Shingles or Shingay Lane, recorded from the early 18th century, led from the western part of the village street north-west across the Avenue to the main road, and thence to Shingay. It was confirmed as a footpath in 1840. (fn. 13) Bridge Street leads from Ridgeway corner, at the west end of the village, southwards to Dyers Green continuing as a trackway towards Kneesworth. No railway crosses the parish; the nearest station is c. 3 km. from the village at Meldreth. An Act of 1812 authorized the cutting of a canal from Whaddon to Sawston, as a branch of the Stort Navigation. (fn. 14) The plan was still under discussion in 1828, (fn. 15) but was never implemented.
Whaddon has never been more than a small village. Forty-eight inhabitants were recorded in 1086, (fn. 16) and in 1327 19 people were assessed to the subsidy. (fn. 17) Numbers had risen by 1347 when 70 people contributed to the wool levy, (fn. 18) and in 1377 there were 170 adults. (fn. 19) In 1524 48 men were taxed there, and 33 households were recorded in 1563. (fn. 20) Numbers remained fairly constant: 37 houses were recorded in 1672 and 61 adults in 1676. (fn. 21) By 1728 the population had fallen to 30 families, (fn. 22) rising to 48, c. 220 people, in 1801. The increase continued until 1841 when there were 345 inhabitants; numbers then fell, partly through emigration, until 1871 when the coprolite diggings brought the population to 384. It fell steadily thereafter, to 196 in 1951, after which the building of houses for Bassingbourn R.A.F. station caused numbers to rise, reaching 433 in 1971, almost half of whom belonged to Service families. (fn. 23)
There were perhaps three centres of settlement, Whaddon village south and west of the church and manor house, Whaddon Green to the east on the Meldreth road, and Dyers Green near the southern boundary. By the 18th century at the latest some cottages had been built between the village street and Dyers Green along Bridge Street, named from the bridges leading to each house across the stream along the western side of the road, but the gap between Whaddon Green and the village remained in 1979. Along the course of the Hoback stream through Whaddon lie seven or eight moated sites, one at Dyers Green, four in the village, one or two near Whaddon Green, and one at Hoback Farm. (fn. 24) Several 16th- and 17th-century farmhouses survive, including Jarman's, now called the Grange, Town, Rectory, Green, College, and Chestnut farms; the village also contains some 17th-century timber-framed cottages.
The village streets form the west, north, and east sides of a rectangle at the south-east corner of the parish. On the fourth side lie the stream and a footpath linking Ridgeway corner with Whaddon Green. The manor house, church, rectory, and vicarage house stand within that rectangle, and most houses were built along its western side. Land at the southern edge was in the 19th century called the Garden (fn. 25) or the Great Green, to distinguish it from Whaddon Green along the Meldreth road. That other green was bounded on the north by the stream, and the older houses stand north of the stream, well back from the modern road. By 1851 there were 4 houses at Dyers Green, c. 20 along Bridge Street, c. 20 on High Street, and 14 at Whaddon Green. (fn. 26) The number of houses thereafter remained fairly constant. A terrace of six brick cottages was built on Whaddon Green, south of the stream, in the later 19th century, but otherwise the village changed little until the 20th century. Six council houses and c. five other dwellings were built on Bridge Street between the wars, and since the Second World War other houses have been built there, including eight council houses, and along the Meldreth road. In 1972 a group of bungalows for old people was built at Ridgeway corner. (fn. 27) Between 1951 and 1961 the number of houses in Whaddon more than doubled with the building of R.A.F. houses (fn. 28) south-west of the village along the main road. North Road Farm, standing near Arrington Bridge since at least the 17th century, is the only farmhouse outside the village.
The Lucas family were victuallers in Whaddon in the early 18th century, (fn. 29) and the Pickering Arms, recorded as an inn from 1841 to c. 1900, occupied a late 16th-century house. (fn. 30) It later became a farmhouse, and was burnt down c. 1970. The Home, a tavern for coprolite workers, was open at Whaddon Green from c. 1870 until the early 20th century. (fn. 31) The Queen Adelaide south of Whaddon Green, in that part of Whaddon transferred from Meldreth, was a public house from c. 1900 to 1956. (fn. 32)
Whaddon sometimes had a shop in the 19th and 20th centuries, but mostly inhabitants had to rely on visiting tradesmen from neighbouring parishes. (fn. 33) In the mid 18th century and until 1880 a feast was held on Whit Monday, latterly near the Queen Adelaide. Attempts to revive it during the 1940s failed. (fn. 34) A traditional Whitsun song was sung in the parish until the early 20th century. (fn. 35)
A church room was built c. 1909 on land given by Viscount Clifden next to the school. By the 1960s it was no longer much used, the school housing most local activities. (fn. 36) North of the school was a close called the Steel or Stack Yard where the villagers had long played cricket; it was formally bought as a recreation ground c. 1960. (fn. 37)
Manors and other Estates
The 2½ hides in Whaddon held of Ely abbey in 1066 were probably the Armingford estate confirmed to the monks by King Edward; by 1086 they had been acquired by Hardwin de Scalers, along with 17/8 hide previously held by men of Earl Alfgar, Ansgar the staller, and Archbishop Stigand. (fn. 38) A yardland which in 1066 had been held of Eddeva the fair, and had later been forfeited by Ralph Guader after his rebellion, was also held in 1086 by Hardwin of Richard son of Count Gilbert. (fn. 39)
After Hardwin's death his lands were divided between his two sons, Whaddon passing to Hugh, who became a monk at Lewes priory, and from Hugh's son Henry to Henry's son Hugh who held it in 1201 and 1208. (fn. 40) Hugh had died by 1218 when Whaddon was assigned as dower to his widow Ala. Their son Henry died on crusade c. 1221, (fn. 41) and was succeeded by his brother Geoffrey who held 2 fees in Whaddon, the later SCALERS or CHALERS manor, c. 1242 (fn. 42) Geoffrey was succeeded after 1258 by his son, also Geoffrey, who was granted free warren there in 1260. (fn. 43) On the younger Geoffrey's death in 1267 custody of his lands and of his son Thomas was granted to his widow Eleanor, (fn. 44) who after 1279 married Robert Angot. (fn. 45) Thomas came of age in 1284; (fn. 46) he also acquired Ladybury manor through his wife Elizabeth and held 2¼ fees in Whaddon until his death in 1341 when he was succeeded by his son Thomas (d. 1364). (fn. 47) Thomas's heir was his second son John, a minor. (fn. 48) Sir John Scalers died in 1388. Whaddon had been settled on his widow, Margaret, (fn. 49) who later married Sir John Heveningham. (fn. 50) Her son Thomas Scalers came of age c. 1402 and held Whaddon in 1407. (fn. 51) On his death in 1443 he was succeeded by his son Sir John (fn. 52) who died in 1467 leaving three daughters and coheirs, Alice wife of John More, Margaret who later married Henry Moyne, and Anne wife of John Harecourt. (fn. 53)
His estate was divided and Whaddon passed to Alice More (d. 1478). On her husband John's death in 1493 it passed to their son George's son John, (fn. 54) of age in 1508. (fn. 55) He died in 1542 and was succeeded by his son Thomas (d. 1561). Thomas purchased other lands in Whaddon and in 1560 settled all his estate there on his wife Joyce for life. (fn. 56) Their son William held Whaddon by 1581, having bought Lillyes reputed manor in 1573, (fn. 57) and died in 1608, having settled Whaddon on his eldest daughter Elizabeth, wife of William Tempest. (fn. 58) Tempest held the lease of the rectory, which thereafter descended with Scalers manor. His son Thomas had by c. 1621 acquired Turpins manor also (fn. 59) and thus owned almost the whole parish. He was recorded as a recusant in 1641, (fn. 60) and died in 1648, leaving Whaddon for life to his widow Martha, with remainder to their son, also Thomas. (fn. 61) The estate was, however, sold to Sir Henry Pickering (cr. bt. 1661), a colonel in the New Model Army and M.P. for Cambridgeshire, who died in 1668, leaving a son, also Henry, a minor. (fn. 62) The younger Sir Henry also sat for the county; c. 1693 he went to Barbados, dying there in 1705 with no male issue. (fn. 63) His second wife, Grace, sold Whaddon in 1716 to Edward Harley, earl of Oxford, with whose Wimpole estate it thereafter descended. (fn. 64)
It was sold with Wimpole in 1739 to Philip Yorke, first earl of Hardwicke (d. 1764), and descended in turn to his son Philip (d. 1790), and the latter's nephew Philip Yorke (d. 1834). He was succeeded by his nephew Charles Philip Yorke, earl of Hardwicke (d. 1873), who in 1842 owned c. 1,200 a. in Whaddon and leased other land there. His son and namesake (fn. 65) mortgaged the Wimpole estate to Thomas Charles Agar-Robartes, later Viscount Clifden, to whom it passed in 1891 and who sold c. 550 a. in Whaddon to the Cambridgeshire county council in 1914. (fn. 66) The remaining land was afterwards sold to tenants. (fn. 67)
The Scalers manor house stood on a moated site south-east of the church. (fn. 68) It was one of the main residences of the Scalers and their successors until the 16th century, (fn. 69) but in 1593 it was leased with the manor. (fn. 70) The Tempests probably lived there in the 1640s as did their successor Sir Henry Pickering, whose house there had 19 hearths, (fn. 71) and Dame Grace Pickering. In 1733 there was a collection of pictures at Whaddon, presumably in the manor house. (fn. 72) The house was leased in 1753 and was demolished in the early 19th century. (fn. 73) The remnants of an avenue of elms leading to the site survived in the 1950s. Iron gates from that avenue were said to have been moved to Royston's Priory Gardens. (fn. 74)
The 5¼ hides in Whaddon held of the honor of Richmond in 1086 included 2¼ hides held by Odo the chamberlain which in 1066 had been held by Eddeva the fair; Colswein had held ½ hide from her which he retained under Count Alan. A sokeman of Colswein's and one holding of Ely abbey had in 1066 shared a yardland held in 1086 of Count Alan. A further 2¼ hides, held in 1066 by Lewi the man of Ansgar the staller, were held in 1086 by Ralph the priest. (fn. 75)
In the late 1190s Agnes of Whaddon occupied 3 yardlands in Whaddon, paying rent to Ralph of Soham for half of that land. She was perhaps the Agnes Blund who c. 1218 held ½ knight's fee in Whaddon of the honor of Richmond. After Agnes's death the land should have been divided equally between Ralph and her son, Stephen Turpin, but in 1220 Geoffrey Turpin, Stephen's son, complained that Warin of Soham, Ralph's brother and heir, still held all of it, and enforced the agreed partition. (fn. 76) Geoffrey held his share, later TURPINS manor, c. 1235, and perhaps still in 1275, of the honor of Richmond. (fn. 77) By 1279 it had passed to Richard Turpin; (fn. 78) in 1302 it was held by his heirs, (fn. 79) and in 1327 and 1329 a John Turpin was recorded at Whaddon. (fn. 80) By 1346 another Richard Turpin held of the honor of Richmond ¼ fee there, (fn. 81) which was in dispute c. 1410 between Nicholas Turpin and John and Joan Lilly. (fn. 82) Joan Lilly held the ¼ fee by 1428, (fn. 83) presumably for life, since the Turpin family continued to hold Turpins manor until the 17th century. Nicholas Turpin was succeeded by his eldest son, also Nicholas (fl. 1454), although the manor may have been settled on his younger son John for life. (fn. 84) The younger Nicholas had died by c. 1520 and was succeeded in turn by his second son George (d. by 1540) and George's son Martin. (fn. 85) John Turpin held the manor in 1588. (fn. 86) In 1596 it was settled on the marriage of his son Robert (d. 1617) to Maria Cotton. Their son John was only 17 at Robert's death. (fn. 87) He held the manor with his mother, who had married Edmund Robinson, until its sale c. 1621 to Thomas Tempest, (fn. 88) lord of Chalers manor with which Turpins thereafter descended.
No manor house for Turpins has been traced, but in the 1970s Town Farm, a T-shaped house with a 17th-century front and 18th-century back wing, altered in the 19th century, was known as Turpins. South of that house lay a deserted moated site. (fn. 89)
A Richard Lilly occurs in Whaddon in 1443, and in 1539 John Lilly (fl. from 1524) sold land there to Thomas Cartwright. (fn. 90) In 1573 John Cartwright sold it to William More (fn. 91) and most of it thereafter descended with Chalers manor, being still distinguished as LILLYES in 1740. (fn. 92) In the early 17th century however Nicholas Hoake bought from Henry Halfhead a tenement in Whaddon called Lillyes, with 75 a. of land. (fn. 93)
Warin of Soham (d. 1235) held land in Whaddon of the honor of Richmond c. 1210, and after 1220 retained half of the land which Agnes of Whaddon had formerly held of his brother Ralph. (fn. 94) He was succeeded by his son Ralph, tenant in 1242 (d. by 1271), whose widow Basile held land there in 1275. (fn. 95) In 1279 her second husband Baldwin St. George held that fee of the honor of Richmond. (fn. 96) By 1302 it had been divided, (fn. 97) half passing to Thomas de Scalers (d. 1341) through his wife Elizabeth, perhaps Ralph of Soham's daughter, and descending with Chalers manor as LADYBURY manor. (fn. 98) A moated site at the north-east end of Bridge Street is known as Lady Bury moat, and the surrounding land was in the mid 19th century called Lady Pleices. (fn. 99)
The other half of Ralph of Soham's land passed to Thomas of Elsworth (d. 1316) who was succeeded by his son John. (fn. 100) John held ¼ fee in Whaddon in 1346 and 1350, then and later said to be held of the Scalers, not the Richmond fee. (fn. 101) By 1428 that ¼ fee was held by William Rokesbergh (fn. 102) and in 1459, as ELSWORTH manor, it was granted by Agnes, widow of Sir William Porter, to a chantry in Wimpole church. (fn. 103) On the chantry's dissolution its lands were sold to Sir Robert Chester, along with 80 a. owned in 1546 by the Bassingbourn Trinity guild. From Chester they passed in 1553 to William Brock. (fn. 104) Brock settled his land in Whaddon on his son, also William, in 1592 and died in 1599. (fn. 105) The younger William and his wife Anne held it c. 1600. (fn. 106) The land later passed, perhaps through Nevil Butler, to Bruno Disborow (d. 1641) who was succeeded by his son Edward. (fn. 107) It has not been traced later.
In 1553 the chantry land had been leased to Thomas Chicheley (fn. 108) who retained some land in Whaddon. His great-grandson Sir Thomas Chicheley (d. 1616) held land there of the honor of Richmond; (fn. 109) it presumably descended with his Wimpole estate, merging in the 18th century with the earl of Oxford's other lands in Whaddon. (fn. 110)
The dean and canons of St. George's chapel, Windsor, appropriated the rectory of Whaddon soon after being granted the advowson in 1351. (fn. 111) They retained it, save during the Interregnum, when the rectory was purchased by Sir Henry Pickering, then lessee, (fn. 112) until 1867 when it was vested in the Ecclesiastical Commissioners. (fn. 113) It was sold to the tenant in 1953. (fn. 114) The beneficial lease of the rectory belonged from the early 17th century to the 19th to William Tempest and his successors as lords of Chalers manor. (fn. 115)
A rectory house was recorded in 1359 when Henry Tatton, rector of Bassingbourn, probably lived there. (fn. 116) The present house, on a moated site (fn. 117) east of the church, retains at its centre the structure of a late medieval house of two bays. Early in the 17th century (fn. 118) a porch was added on the north side, the ends of the house were rebuilt as cross wings, new chimney stacks being built at each end of the hall, and an upper floor was put in. Both staircases appear to have been renewed in the later 17th century and there was a general refenestration in the early 19th century. A square 18th-century brick dovecot stands in the grounds.
In 1224 Maud, widow of Ernald of Whaddon, held ½ yardland in Whaddon in dower, (fn. 119) and in 1234 Richard of Whaddon held land there. (fn. 120) About 1235 Thomas of Whaddon held under Geoffrey de Scalers land recorded c. 1242 as ¾ of ¼ fee. (fn. 121) Thomas was killed at the battle of Evesham in 1265 and his lands were granted to Roger of Leyburn, but Thomas's brother and heir Henry recovered the Whaddon land and held 1 hide there in 1279. (fn. 122) The estate has not been traced later.
The abbot of Lavendon (Bucks.) held 1/12 fee in Whaddon c. 1242 and in 1279, (fn. 123) and Lavendon still held a little land there at its dissolution in 1536. (fn. 124) That land was sold by the Crown in 1544 and resold c. 1546. (fn. 125) In 1548 it was bought by Thomas More, (fn. 126) thereafter descending with Chalers manor.
Before 1275 Martin Chamberlain and Ralph of Dunton had held ¼ fee of the honor of Richmond. (fn. 127) Martin's share descended with Chamberlain's or Brache manor in Kneesworth (fn. 128) and passed with it to Christ's College, Cambridge, (fn. 129) which held land in Whaddon in 1545. (fn. 130) About 1575 the college acquired 2 a. and a house in Whaddon known as Rowses which gave its name to the whole college estate there. (fn. 131) In the early 18th century that estate included c. 135 a. and after inclosure in 1841 c. 144 a. (fn. 132) It was the only substantial estate in the parish not absorbed into the Wimpole estate, but from the 17th century to the mid 19th was nevertheless leased to the lords of Chalers. (fn. 133) In 1978 the college sold it to its tenants C. L. and P. J. Marr. (fn. 134) The farmhouse, standing at the northern edge of the village, dates from the 17th century.
In 1086 the arable in Whaddon was approximately equally divided between demesne and villein land, and three estates included meadow and pasture. There were 4 servi on Ralph's demesne and 2 on Odo's. (fn. 135) By the later 13th century the Scalers demesne included 240 a. of arable, 12 a. of meadow, and some several pasture, (fn. 136) but by 1341 only 80 a. of arable were in hand, of which 60 a. were sown while the rest lay in common; there were 3 a. of meadow. (fn. 137) At that date the Ladybury demesne included c. 100 a. (fn. 138) and the rectory estate had 40 a. of arable and some inclosed meadow. (fn. 139) Some of the Scalers demesne may have been leased to tenants in 1341, since in 1443 it again covered 220 a. of arable and 6 a. of meadow, (fn. 140) but by 1468 the arable was said to have been reduced to 31 a. (fn. 141) Ladybury in the 15th century had c. 50 a. of demesne arable. (fn. 142) Crops recorded in the 14th century include wheat, barley, and peas. (fn. 143)
Demesne flocks in Whaddon amounted to 247 sheep in 1086, the largest flock being on Ralph's estate. There were also 28 cattle and 81 pigs. (fn. 144) In 1347 over 96 stone of wool were contributed to the levy in Whaddon, indicating a flock of almost 1,000. Thomas de Scalers accounted for approximately a fifth of the total and other substantial flocks belonged to John of Elsworth, Giles of Hinxton, and Henry le Moyne. (fn. 145)
Sixteen sokemen had held land in Whaddon in 1066: by 1086 15 of the inhabitants were villani, 5 were bordars, and 20 were cottars. (fn. 146) In 1279 Adam of Wangford and other tenants owed labour services for land held of Richmond honor. (fn. 147) Ten customary tenants of Chalers manor owed in 1284 3 days work each week, three owed 2 days, and one owed 1 day a week. (fn. 148) By 1341 there were only six customary tenants, who performed 206 works between Michaelmas and Lammas and 45 between Lammas and Michaelmas. (fn. 149)
In 1327 the wealthiest men in Whaddon were the lords of Turpins and Chalers manors; five others there contributed 5s. or more to the subsidy. (fn. 150) From 1382, when St. George's chapel was licensed to farm out Whaddon church, the rectory estate was regularly leased out to local farmers. (fn. 151) The lord of Chalers manor remained pre-eminent in the parish. In 1522 John More of Whaddon was thought to own £166 worth of land, one of the highest assessments in the county. (fn. 152) In 1524 he and John Lilly were the only men in Whaddon taxed on lands, although 5 men there paid on goods worth £8 or more; 12 paid on goods between £5 and £1, c. 15 on £1 worth of goods, and c. 13 on wages. (fn. 153) By 1641 Thomas Tempest, lord of Chalers, possessed Turpins, the Lavendon abbey land, and the leases of the rectory and Christ's College's farm; (fn. 154) in that year he paid on £9 to the subsidy, but only two others paid on over £1. (fn. 155) In 1660 Henry Pickering paid six sevenths of the parish's tax assessment (fn. 156) The enlarged estate was divided between tenant farmers, prominent amongst whom from the 17th century to the 19th were the Moule family. (fn. 157)
The demesne of Chalers manor was leased in 1593 when the lessee held another two farms in Whaddon and occupied the rectory estate. (fn. 158) The lord of Chalers regularly sublet both the rectory and Christ's College farms. (fn. 159) The division of the land in the 17th century was perhaps much as it was in the early 19th and several farmhouses date from the late 16th or 17th century. (fn. 160) In 1626 Nemans, probably the later Hoback farm, included c. 100 a. of open-field arable and meadow, c. 3½ a. of inclosed meadow, and 6 a. of inclosed arable. (fn. 161) The rectory estate in the mid 17th century had 2½ a. of inclosed pasture, c. 5½ a. of meadow, and 98 a. of open-field arable. (fn. 162) In 1617 Turpins manor had 72 a. of arable, (fn. 163) and in 1648 Turpins, Chalers, and Ladybury together had c. 200 a. of arable. (fn. 164)
In the 17th century open fields called Homeback or Hoback, Ridgeway, and North-hill field lay north or west of the village, and there were closes of pasture and arable nearer to it. There was Lammas ground in the common meadow, presumably in the north by the river, and the various estates had sheepfold and cow commons. (fn. 165) In 1727 Christ's College farm of c. 135 a. included c. 65 a. of inclosed land, some of it recently inclosed, (fn. 166) and in 1740 another farm of c. 250 a. included 90 a. of inclosures. The manor then had sheep walk for 240 sheep and liberty of fold for 600. (fn. 167) Barley was a common crop in the 16th century and in 1585 saffron was being grown. (fn. 168) In the 1630s one farm had 50 a. sown with barley, 20 a. with wheat, 20 a. with peas, 6 a. with maslin or rye, 6 a. with lentils and tares, and 2 a. with oats. (fn. 169) Fruit was also grown: a fruiterer was recorded in Whaddon in 1771. (fn. 170) Both sheep and cattle remained important in the parish: shepherds were recorded there in 1618 and c. 1700. (fn. 171) In 1753 Whaddon was among those parishes known as the Dairies because of the rich pasture along the river Cam or Rhee, supporting cattle which produced excellent butter and cheese. (fn. 172) In 1801 a Whaddon farmer was taking cattle in 'to straw' through the winter. (fn. 173)
A mercer occurs in Whaddon in 1553, (fn. 174) tailors in 1565 and 1772, and a family of weavers between c. 1636 and 1702; but other craftsmen recorded such as wheelwrights or carpenters were closely linked with agriculture which remained the parish's main and sometimes its only occupation. (fn. 175)
In the late 18th century Lord Hardwicke, who owned almost all the parish, achieved the effects of inclosure by laying his farms together. (fn. 176) The vicar complained that he had been deprived of his sheep and cow commons, (fn. 177) but the change led generally to an improvement in the quality of Whaddon's sheep, and allowed the draining of low-lying land. On improved land a rotation of beans, fallow, barley, beans, wheat, and a ley was followed. (fn. 178) Land around Whaddon Green, Dyers Green, and Meldreth Holme was intercommonable with Meldreth, and the Meldreth inclosure commissioners allotted c. 115 a. in those areas to Whaddon proprietors. (fn. 179) In the early 19th century Lord Hardwicke assigned c. 8 a. in Whaddon for poor families to keep cows on, (fn. 180) and most labourers' cottages had gardens attached. (fn. 181) About 1830 between 50 and 60 men and c. 40 boys were employed in Whaddon on six farms. (fn. 182)
All the land in the south was inclosed after the 1810s, including Ridgeway field near the western boundary, and land north of College and Hoback farms. The remaining uninclosed open fields comprised Road field in the west, Middle field stretching from the old inclosures to the northern boundary, River field along the river Cam, and Meldreth Holme. (fn. 183) In the 1830s Lord Hardwicke promoted further exchanges of land and eventually secured parliamentary inclosure to confirm the changes he had made and complete the consolidation of estates in Whaddon. (fn. 184) The award made in 1841 allotted 725 a. of open-field land, of which c. 550 a. went to the Hardwicke estate, 93 a. to Christ's College, and c. 80 a. to St. George's, Windsor as rectorial glebe. (fn. 185) The earl of Hardwicke thereafter controlled the whole parish, which in the mid 19th century was divided between eight farms: North Road farm, c. 140 a., in the north; Hoback farm, c. 275 a., north-east of Whaddon Green; Green and Chestnut farms, both with houses near the Green, together c. 125 a.; Rectory or Whaddon Field farm, south of the village, c. 170 a.; Town farm, c. 350 a. south and west of the village; Jarman's or Fountain's farm at Dyers Green, c. 125 a.; and College farm, north of the village, c. 144 a. (fn. 186) Prominent farming families in the 19th and 20th centuries included the Jarmans, Beaumonts, Bells, Judds, Moules, and Coningsbys. The parish has continued to be divided between about eight farms. (fn. 187)
In 1842 Whaddon had c. 260 a. of pasture, mostly around the village, at Dyers Green, and along the river, and 1,090 a. of arable. (fn. 188) The chief crops were wheat, beans, and barley, and most farmers kept some sheep and cattle. North Road and Green farms had a high proportion of pasture, and shepherds were recorded in 1851 and 1871. (fn. 189) By 1905 the area of pasture had changed little, (fn. 190) and in the early 20th century Green farm was a dairy farm. (fn. 191) Hoback, Fountains, and North Road farms also kept dairy cattle but there were by then few sheep. (fn. 192) During the 20th century livestock farming further declined. By 1979 there was no dairy herd in Whaddon, but a small flock of sheep was kept at Rectory farm. (fn. 193)
In the earlier 19th century almost the whole of Whaddon's population was engaged in agriculture. (fn. 194) In 1841 the parish was described as generally very poor, (fn. 195) but from the 1860s coprolites were dug in Whaddon; the landowners were paid c. £100 an acre (fn. 196) and the labourers were afforded alternative employment, so that wages rose; by 1867 F. C. Carver of Hoback farm employed c. 120 diggers and Messrs. Roads employed others. (fn. 197) In 1871 72 inhabitants were coprolite labourers compared with 54 agricultural labourers. (fn. 198) Other employment was scarce, and Whaddon in the 19th century had few craftsmen except a carpenter, a blacksmith, and a shoemaker. (fn. 199)
There was a mill on Ralph's estate in Whaddon in 1086. (fn. 200) A mill worth £1 was attached to Chalers manor in 1284, (fn. 201) presumably the ruinous water mill there in 1388. (fn. 202) In the mid 14th century Windmill field was recorded near the Ridgeway in the west of the parish. (fn. 203) No other reference to a windmill has been traced although Mill Hill was recorded in Ridgeway field in the 17th century. (fn. 204) The former Wimpole chantry estate included a water mill in 1592 and until 1641. (fn. 205) It has not been traced later.
In 1260, when there was perhaps a lock-up, Geoffrey de Scalers (d. 1267) was allowed a suicide's forfeited goods (fn. 206) and had right of gallows in Whaddon. (fn. 207) In 1299 Thomas de Scalers and his wife Elizabeth claimed view of frankpledge, the assize of bread and of ale, and gallows for Chalers and Ladybury manors. (fn. 208) Courts baron for those manors were held in the 13th and 14th centuries, (fn. 209) but no court rolls survive.
In 1275 Basile of Soham also claimed view of frankpledge and the assize of bread and of ale in Whaddon. Turpins manor then owed suit to the tourn of the honor of Richmond, (fn. 210) to which in 1334 it sent two customary tenants as suitors; that tourn had the assize of ale. (fn. 211)
The parish's expenditure on poor relief rose from c. £55 in 1776 to £170 in 1803, when 16 adults and 14 children received permanent relief. (fn. 212) It then fell to c. £90 in 1815 when only 6 people were relieved (fn. 213) before rising sharply to £300 by 1820. Expenditure then fluctuated, more than the average in the hundred, between c. £160 and £280 until 1832 when over £300 was again spent on relief. (fn. 214) In 1831 it was proposed to let a rood of land to each labourer, and coal was sold to the poor at a reduced rate. (fn. 215)
In 1834 Whaddon joined the Royston poor law union, passing in 1894 to the Melbourn rural district and in 1934 to the South Cambridgeshire R.D. (fn. 216) From 1974 it was part of the South Cambridgeshire district.
There was presumably a church in 1086, when Ralph the priest held land in Whaddon. (fn. 217) About 1140 Hugh son of Hardwin de Scalers, whose descendants were presumably the patrons, gave Whaddon church to Lewes priory (Suss.) where he became a monk. (fn. 218) Lewes presented to the rectory (fn. 219) until 1351 when the church was granted to the king in return for the denization of the priory, (fn. 220) and immediately regranted to the dean and canons of St. George's chapel, Windsor. Soon afterwards the rectory was appropriated to the chapel and a vicarage ordained. (fn. 221) The advowson of the vicarage has remained with St. George's chapel. (fn. 222) In 1932 the benefice was united with Meldreth: that union was dissolved in 1952 and Whaddon has since been held with Bassingbourn. (fn. 223)
Whaddon rectory was worth between £20 and £26 in the later 13th century. (fn. 224) In 1350 it was still worth c. £27, (fn. 225) including some tithes from Kneesworth commuted for 20s. a year in 1504. (fn. 226) In 1351 the vicarage was endowed with a pension, usually paid by the lessee of the rectory, (fn. 227) the small tithes, and a house. In 1535 the vicarage was worth £7 2s. 2d. (fn. 228) and £21 by 1650. (fn. 229) Its income was increased by a bequest by William Chamberlain (d. 1666), a canon of Windsor and rector of Orwell, of lands to augment four poor livings in Windsor's gift, including Whaddon. (fn. 230) It was worth £45 by 1728, (fn. 231) when the income was further augmented by the gift from Grace Pickering of £200, used to buy an estate in Bourn. In 1783 the vicar's income was over £67, (fn. 232) £166 by 1830, and £194 in 1871. (fn. 233) In 1882 it was endowed with a further £67 a year by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, (fn. 234) and in 1885 it was worth £269. (fn. 235)
The small tithes, worth £13 6s. 8d. in 1650 and £17 in 1783 (fn. 236) were compounded for £50 in 1799 and £83 in 1838. (fn. 237) In 1841 they were commuted for a rent charge of £105 4s. (fn. 238) In the later 13th century the rector of Whaddon gave to his vicar and his successors c. 4 a. there (fn. 239) but the land is not recorded later. In the mid 17th century the vicarage was a small old house standing on 1½ r. of land. (fn. 240) It had perhaps been rebuilt by 1665 when it had four hearths, and in 1685 it was described as a very good house. (fn. 241) In the 1790s the vicar had only a room in an old cottage, probably the old vicarage, which was enlarged in the early 19th century, (fn. 242) and again c. 1877. (fn. 243) The house was burnt down in 1904 and a new one built on the same site, west of the church, in 1905. (fn. 244) The vicar ceased to live there in 1952; in 1958 the vicarage house was offered for sale (fn. 245) and it was a private house by 1978.
John More (d. 1493) left a house at 'Southend' to Whaddon church. (fn. 246) In the late 19th century parishioners believed that some land and cottages belonging to the church had been lost. (fn. 247)
Rectors of Whaddon are recorded from the mid 12th century. (fn. 248) In 1244 the rector was licensed to hold a second cure, (fn. 249) and he and other incumbents, often foreigners or absentees, employed vicars to serve Whaddon. (fn. 250) In 1347 besides a vicar there were two chaplains. (fn. 251) Vicars were regularly presented after the appropriation of the rectory. In 1354 the vicar was licensed for two years' absence. (fn. 252) Chaplains are recorded in the early 15th century and there were curates in the early 16th. (fn. 253) In 1539 the vicar was licensed to hold a second cure, and he employed curates at Whaddon, as did some of his sucessors. (fn. 254)
Whaddon was vacant in 1560, (fn. 255) and the next year the vicar was reported not to preach, read the homilies, or celebrate communion; the church had no great bible or homilies. (fn. 256) In 1569 two parishioners were accused of concealing a cope. (fn. 257) The cure was again vacant from 1601 to 1604. (fn. 258) There was perhaps some local puritan feeling, for in 1638 parishioners were ordered to receive communion in the chancel. (fn. 259) William Pickering, vicar from 1624, was sequestered in 1648; (fn. 260) by 1649 the cure was served by Henry Lilly, an able preacher but reported to be a 'company keeper'. (fn. 261) He was followed by a Cambridge scholar. (fn. 262) In the 1660s and 1670s some parishioners were presented for absence from church or for attending conventicles. (fn. 263)
Charles Plumptre, vicar from 1745, was succeeded in 1752 by his brother Robert (d. 1788), also rector of Wimpole and president of Queens' College. (fn. 264) In 1775 Robert lived at Wimpole, but his curate lived at Whaddon where he held one or two Sunday services. (fn. 265) Robert Hurlock, vicar 1797–1852, also held Shepreth, but in 1807 lived at Whaddon, serving those churches alternately on Sunday morning and afternoon. Holy communion was administered thrice yearly to a few communicants, whose numbers had increased only slightly by 1836. (fn. 266) From the 1840s Hurlock employed a curate: in 1851 c. 130 adults and 60 children attended the Sunday service, held in the afternoon. (fn. 267) Hurlock's successor, A. T. Russell, a hymn writer, held Whaddon until 1863 (fn. 268) when he was succeeded by I. O. Powell who held two Sunday services there and monthly sacraments. When he left in 1881 Powell claimed to have greatly increased attendance at church, and decreased the number of dissenters besides spending much on the church fabric. During restoration work in 1869 services had been held in the schoolroom, a cottage of Lord Hardwicke's enlarged as a temporary church. (fn. 269) Powell's successor, W. M. Ireland, wished to leave the cure after only three years, and from 1885 he employed a curate who lived at Whaddon and kept a boys' school in the vicarage. (fn. 270) By 1897 there were twice-monthly communions for c. 40 communicants, a Sunday school, a bible class, a mothers' meeting, and a choir. (fn. 271) The incumbents of the united benefice lived at Whaddon from 1932 until 1952, but thereafter at Bassingbourn. (fn. 272)
The church of ST. MARY, so called in 1493, (fn. 273) is built of stone and flint and consists of a chancel, five-bay aisled and clerestoried nave, south porch, and west tower. The chancel and the chancel arch, which has some dog-tooth moulding, date from the late 13th century. The nave and tower were rebuilt in the later 14th century. The tall two-light aisle windows are square-headed and the clerestory has quatrefoil windows in square surrounds. The arcade is composed of tall octagonal pillars and the tower arch is also very tall. In the 15th century a new three-light west window was put in, the nave was reroofed, and the chancel screen was installed. In the later 16th century the chancel was apparently neglected. (fn. 274) In 1644 William Dowsing destroyed c. 20 superstitious pictures and removed two brass inscriptions. (fn. 275) In 1685 the church needed cleaning and repairing. (fn. 276) In 1746 the chancel was reroofed and repaired by Philip, earl of Hardwicke. (fn. 277)
By c. 1850 the aisle windows were damaged and the west window was blocked. (fn. 278) The church was restored in 1869 by Ewan Christian: the north aisle was rebuilt and extended to provide an organ chamber, the nave and chancel roofs were much repaired and the rest of the fabric was restored. Money was raised by a public subscription led by Lady Hardwicke and J. F. Beaumont, a prominent farmer. (fn. 279) The top part of the tower was taken down c. 1886; it was rebuilt and the rest of the tower repaired in 1894. (fn. 280) In an earlier restoration the floor of the chancel had been raised; in 1949 the level was restored, revealing several monuments. (fn. 281) Against the north wall of the chancel stands the tomb of John Scalers (d. 1467). There are also monuments to Thomas Scalers (d. 1364), perhaps to Sir John Scalers (d. 1388), and to John More (d. 1493), besides members of the Tempest and Pickering families.
In 1552 the church had one silver chalice. (fn. 282) In 1692 it had a large communion cup and paten. Elizabeth Pickering (d. 1694) gave a silver flagon and and Grace Pickering gave two silver salvers in 1707. (fn. 283) The flagon and one salver were damaged in a fire in 1904 and the remains of the flagon were sold in 1920. (fn. 284) Whaddon had three large bells and a small bell in 1552. (fn. 285) Two of the five bells cast for the church by Michael Derby in 1671 were sold or stolen in the later 19th century. A third, which was cracked, was sold in 1951. (fn. 286) In 1857 J. F. Beaumont gave the church an 18th-century organ made by Sneltzer and enlarged by Walker of London. (fn. 287) A prayer book and bible of c. 1686 given by Grace Pickering in 1710 (fn. 288) survived in 1979 as did a 1572 bible, damaged in a fire at North Road Farm in 1856. (fn. 289)
The registers begin in 1691, with several gaps between 1714 and 1745, partly filled by the bishops' transcripts. (fn. 290)
In 1580 a catholic priest was reported to have taken refuge at a kinsman's house in Whaddon (fn. 291) and in the early 17th century there were recusant lords of the manor, (fn. 292) but no record of popular catholicism has survived.
In 1676 there were only two protestant nonconformists in the parish, (fn. 293) although in the 1690s some families from Whaddon attended the Independent meeting at Croydon. (fn. 294) In 1728 there were five or six families of Presbyterians in Whaddon and their numbers increased. (fn. 295) They had no regular meeting place, but several houses were licensed for Protestant worship in the 1820s. (fn. 296) In the 1850s Congregationalist and Baptist meetings were held in Whaddon, and the parish also became a centre of Mormonism in the area, with a resident minister and visiting missionaries. (fn. 297) By 1873 however the Mormon meetings were poorly attended. (fn. 298)
In 1900 a Wesleyan Methodist chapel was registered in Whaddon, on Meldreth Road south of the Green. (fn. 299) It was burnt down in 1935 and a new chapel was built south-east of College Farm, with accommodation for 60. (fn. 300) It was still in use in 1979.
In 1610 the vicar of Whaddon had a licence to teach there, (fn. 301) but there was no regular school until the later 19th century. By 1818 c. 12 girls were taught reading, sewing, and knitting at Lady Hardwicke's expense. (fn. 302) In 1833 Lord Hardwicke supported a day school attended by 11 boys and 24 girls paying schoolpence. (fn. 303) After his death in 1834 it had to close c. 1836. (fn. 304) It had perhaps been revived by 1846 when Whaddon had a National Sunday school attended by 55 children and a dame school attended by 18 boys and 32 girls, probably in the cottage on the main street known as the old school house. (fn. 305) By 1859 Lady Hardwicke was supporting plans to build a new school. (fn. 306) The old schoolroom was enlarged c. 1869 and in 1873 c. 23 boys and 21 girls attended a day school there. (fn. 307)
In 1875 a new school was built opposite the old school house, and a church school was established there, supported by subscriptions and school pence and attended by c. 30 children. (fn. 308) Numbers rose to 68 in 1884 and then fell gradually to 47 in 1898. From c. 1914 attendance fell steadily, to only 13 in 1938. (fn. 309) The seniors had been transferred to Meldreth and Bassingbourn in 1924 and later attended Bassingbourn village college. In 1961 there were 10 juniors, who in the following year were transferred to Petersfield school, Orwell. Whaddon school was then closed. (fn. 310) In 1978 the school building was used as a village hall.
Charities for the Poor.
The Alfred John Palmer trust was established by the will of his widow Mary proved 1927. She left the income from £200 stock to be given in coal to Whaddon widows. In 1976 nine widows received c. £1.50 each. (fn. 311)