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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The largest medieval estate in Girton was that of Ramsey abbey, derived from the gifts of the rich layman Godric in 992 and of Aethelric, bishop of Dorchester 1016-34. (fn. 1) In 1086 RAMSEY manor comprised 8 1/2; hides. (fn. 2) Abbot Aldwin, 1091-1102, 1107-12, gave it to Hervey the monk, but his successor Abbot Reynold recovered it in 1114. Abbot Bernard, 1102-7, had meanwhile repulsed claims by Pain Peverel, the new overlord of another Girton manor. (fn. 3) Girton remained thenceforth until the Dissolution a demesne manor of the abbey, being reckoned in 1279 at 6 1/2; hides. (fn. 4) The income from it was partly devoted from the mid 12th century to clothing the monks. (fn. 5) There was apparently no manor house, although under Henry I the abbey's lessee was required to build next to hiss own dwelling a house in which the abbot could honourably reside when he visited Girton. (fn. 6) In 1543 the Crown sold the manor, along with land in Girton attached to Barnwell priory's Moor Barns grange in Madingley, to Serjeant John Hinde, recorder of Cambridge since 1520, whose brother Thomas was rector of Girton. (fn. 7) John was established at Girton by the 1520s, (fn. 8) and had considerable property there in 1524, (fn. 9) making further minor purchases until the 1540s. (fn. 10) By his death in 1550 Hinde had acquired the other Girton manor. (fn. 11)
That manor, called ENDERBYS or PIGOTTS, derived from the union of two Domesday lordships. One was of 3 3/4; hides held in 1086 by William under Picot the sheriff. (fn. 12) Lordship over it passed after 1100 to Pain Peverel as part of the barony of Bourn, upon whose partition c. 1150 his rights over Girton were assigned to Pain's daughter Asceline. From her that tenancyin-chief descended (fn. 13) to her grandson Roger Torpel (d. 1225). In 1223 he successfully claimed the service of one knight from Roger de Quincy, earl of Winchester (d. s.p. 1264), whose title to it probably derived from his great-uncle Saher de Quincy (d. 1190), Asceline's second husband. (fn. 14) Mesne lordship over ¾; knight's fee, called the WINCHESTER fee, belonged to the Lords Ferrers of Groby, who were descended from one of Earl Roger's coheirs, and their heirs the Greys, eventually marquesses of Dorset, and was recognized until the late 15th century. (fn. 15)
Reynold the constable was said to have held the manor in demesne before 1135. His daughter and heir Maud allegedly married Reynold of Trumpington. (fn. 16) Maud's son William of Trumpington was in possession c. 1200, (fn. 17) and William's son Everard, who also acquired the Leicester fee treated below, had inherited the manor by 1219. (fn. 18) The Trumpingtons' Girton manors descended by the 1260s to Everard's son, Sir Roger of Trumpington (d. 1289), then to his son Sir Giles (fn. 19) (d. 1328), and by 1331 to Giles's grandson Sir Roger Trumpington (d. 1368). It then passed in successive generations to Roger Trumpington (fn. 20) (d. 1378), Sir Roger (d. 1415), and Sir Walter (fn. 21) (d. s.p.m. 1479). Sir Walter's daughter and heir Eleanor married Richard Enderby (d. 1487) (fn. 22) and died in 1510, holding Girton for her life by grant of their son John (d. 1508). John left as heir a daughter Eleanor, (fn. 23) who married Francis Pigott, with whom in 1546 she sold their Girton manors to the newly knighted John Hinde. (fn. 24)
The other half of ENDERBYS manor derived from c. 2 1/2; hides held in 1086 by Morin under Robert, count of Mortain. (fn. 25) Lordship over it passed by 1130 to the honor of Leicester. (fn. 26) After being in the king's hands from 1207, (fn. 27) half the honor was allowed in 1231 to Simon de Montfort, whose lordship over Girton was recognized by 1244. (fn. 28) His tenancy-in-chief passed after 1265 to the earls, later dukes, of Lancaster, of whom the tenants in demesne held the manor, by 1270 for £2 10s. a year, (fn. 29) after 1400 as 1/3; knight's fee, (fn. 30) and in the 16th century supposedly of the Crown by paying 1/2; mark for castle ward at Cambridge. (fn. 31)
By c. 1200 the LEICESTER fee was possessed by the earl of Leicester's man, Gilbert de Mynors. (fn. 32) When Gilbert adhered to the king of France in 1204, King John seized his Girton estate, then at farm to a chaplain, and gave it to be held during the royal pleasure to his familiar knight Brian de Lisle, (fn. 33) who kept it, taking its revenues, until his death in 1234. (fn. 34) Later in 1234 Brian's interest was assigned to the king's clerk, Robert of Canterbury. (fn. 35) What Robert actually received was a £2 farm from Everard of Trumpington, who, having probably obtained possession from a previous farmer, was reckoned tenant in demesne by 1235. (fn. 36) In 1236-7 Simon de Montfort claimed his rights over 2 hides at Girton from Robert and Everard. (fn. 37) The farm or rent had been granted before 1550, probably by Henry, duke of Lancaster (d. 1361), to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, (fn. 38) to which it was still payable in the late 19th century. (fn. 39) At inclosure in 1808 the college claimed the lord's allotment for right of soil. (fn. 40) The land had passed with the Trumpingtons' other Girton manor from the 13th century. (fn. 41)
From the mid 16th century until the mid 19th century all the Girton manors passed with John Hinde's Madingley estate to his descendants and their heirs the Cottons. (fn. 42) The Cottons steadily bought up the smaller properties in the parish, (fn. 43) so that at inclosure in 1813 they emerged with 1,368 a. out of 1,676 a. (fn. 44) The only other large non-corporate estate was a 130-a. farm in the north owned until the 1880s or later by the Cockaynes and Ryders. (fn. 45) In 1847 Sir St. Vincent Cotton, to pay his debts, sold all his 725 a. in Girton parish north of the Huntingdon road, by auction. (fn. 46) Most of the Cotton land to the south, c. 735 a. in 1856, (fn. 47) was, on the division of the estate in 1859, assigned to Miss Philadelphia Cotton. (fn. 48) After her heir Maj. W. A. King died in 1886, c. 666 a. in Girton, including Catch Hall and Howe House farms, were sold with the Moor Barns estate in Madingley, in 1895 to Frederick Crisp and in 1903 to Trinity College, Cambridge. (fn. 49) The college still retained most of the 560 a., that it had owned in 1910, (fn. 50) in 1984, although Howe Hill farm was acquired by the university in 1923 and c. 80 a. was taken for road works c. 1975. (fn. 51)
The manor house of Enderbys mentioned c. 1555 (fn. 52) was perhaps that occupied in 1608 by Sir Edward Hinde (d. 1633). (fn. 53) A manor house was mentioned c. 1700. (fn. 54) The house called Manor Farm, part of the Cotton estate from the 17th century, had probably belonged to a Histon holding and stood just north of Girton's original northern boundary. (fn. 55)
The Cotton estate in the north of Girton was split up in 1847. Most of the cottages and closes in the village, c. 70 a., including Manor farm, partly in Histon parish, were bought by Anna Maria Cotton, daughter of Sir St. Vincent's uncle, the rector Alexander Cotton. In 1853 she married her cousin Richard Archer Houblon (d. s.p. 1894), of Bartlow House. (fn. 56) Until her death in 1883 she acted as lady of the manor. Her husband briefly succeeded her, occupying the substantial house with mullioned bay windows, styled her cottage, built by 1851 west of the school for her to inhabit on visits of inspection. (fn. 57) After his nephew and heir George Bramston Houblon died in 1913, the estate was sold piecemeal. (fn. 58)
A 235-a. farm south-west of the village belonged to the Smiths of Cambridge from 1847 to 1923 or later. (fn. 59) St. John's College, Cambridge, bought a 240-a. farm west of the village in 1848, (fn. 60) and still owned most of it in 1984. (fn. 61) Dr. Theophilus Dillingham, master of Clare College 1654-78, devised 18 1/2; a. of freehold to his college, (fn. 62) which was allotted 14 a. in 1813, (fn. 63) and retained the land until the 1920s or later. (fn. 64)