Histon: Local government

Pages 101-102

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9, Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1989.

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By 1279 the abbot of Eynsham and the Colville family each held the view of frankpledge and the assize of bread and of ale in Histon. (fn. 1) Both manors had tenants in Impington. (fn. 2)

Court records for both Histon manors survive from 1627 to 1935, with a gap 1698-1700. (fn. 3) Courts for St. Andrew's and St. Etheldred's were nearly always held on the same day but separately and with different jurors. Business was almost entirely tenurial, though agricultural bylaws were drawn up from time to time. (fn. 4) In the mid 18th century the jurors elected four field reeves and a pinder, (fn. 5) the latter office still being filled in 1871. (fn. 6)

In the late 17th century and the early 18th the overseers demanded bonds that apprentices and others would not become a charge on the parish. (fn. 7) Expenditure on the poor in the late 18th century was relatively low for the district, even when it more than doubled after 1776 to c. 11s. for each head of population in 1803. At that date there were 28 adult parishioners and 19 children on permanent relief and 100 being given occasional assistance, (fn. 8) little more than a quarter of the population in all. The overseers in 1799 bought wool and paid poor women to spin it, and in 1812 briefly employed children in spinning and knitting. (fn. 9) In common with neighbouring parishes, the cost of poor relief remained high during and after the Napoleonic wars, though it did not increase as sharply as elsewhere, reaching a peak of £973, c. 24s. a head, in 1833. (fn. 10)

Histon was part of Chesterton poor-law union from 1836, (fn. 11) Chesterton rural district from 1894, (fn. 12) and South Cambridgeshire district from 1974. (fn. 13)


  • 1. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 411-13; Eynsham Cart. i, p. 382.
  • 2. Below, Impington, local govt.
  • 3. C.R.O., 305, ct. rolls, bks., and min. bk. (24 items, uncat.).
  • 4. Above, econ. hist.
  • 5. C.R.O., 305, ct. bk. L, 1728-53, pp. 22, 525 (uncat.).
  • 6. Ibid. ct. bk. St. Andrew 1863-1935, p. 87 (uncat.).
  • 7. Hampson, Poverty in Cambs. 128 n., 162.
  • 8. Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 34-5.
  • 9. Hampson, Poverty in Cambs. 209-10, citing C.R.O., P 93/12/16.
  • 10. Poor Law Abstract, 1818, 28-9; Poor Rate Returns, 1816-21, 10; 1822-4, 37; 1825-9, 15; 1830-4, 15.
  • 11. Poor Law Com. 2nd Rep. 512.
  • 12. Census, 1911.
  • 13. Ibid. 1971.