Impington: Local government

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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'Impington: Local government', in A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9, Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds, (London, 1989) pp. 135-136. British History Online [accessed 13 April 2024]


The bishop of Ely's men in Impington had been withdrawn from the sheriff's tourn by 1275, presumably to attend the court in which the bishop exercised the franchises that he claimed in Chesterton hun dred, return of writs, pleas of vee de naam, a gallows, and the assize of bread and of ale. (fn. 1) By 1279 Peter de Chauvent was holding the view of frankpledge for his manor twice a year without either the king's or the bishop's permission, (fn. 2) as he alleged Simon de Lisle had earlier. His right to the view and to a gallows in Impington was successfully challenged by the Crown in 1298- 9. (fn. 3)

Chauvent's successors as lords of Burgoynes manor evidently did not re-establish a court in Impington before 1480, when leet jurisdiction there belonged wholly to the abbot of Eynsham's and the abbess of Denny's manors in Histon, both of which had land and tenants in Imping ton. (fn. 4) By 1531 the lords of Impington had usurped a leet for their manor, which was con firmed as the court for their tenants and other residents of the village in 1565. (fn. 5) The record of a court held in 1546 has survived. (fn. 6) In 1568 Christ's College and Edmund Thursby agreed to hold an annual court leet on the green in front of the old manor gate and share the profits. (fn. 7)

From the 1580s Christ's College held a separ ate court for Burgoynes manor. Court rolls survive for c. 63 courts between 1581 and 1744 (fn. 8) and minute books cover the years 1776-1806 and 1816-1940. (fn. 9) In the late 16th century some public order offences and agricultural matters were dealt with but business after that time was exclusively tenurial. The manor of Ferme Part has surviving court books for 1709-1878, record ing only tenurial matters. (fn. 10)

The cost of poor relief rose much faster than the average for the district throughout the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, in the early part from an average of nearly £37 in 1783-5 to over £88 in 1803, nearly £1 for each head of population. There were then 11 adults and 9 children on permanent relief with 8 adults receiving occasional payments. (fn. 11) The numbers were not much different in 1813, though the cost was then £227. Expenditure was afterwards cut back sharply, that level not being reached again under the old poor law despite Impington's growing population. From 1824 it was probably always less than £1 a head. (fn. 12)

Impington joined Chesterton poor-law union in 1836, (fn. 13) and was in Chesterton rural district from 1894 and South Cambridgeshire district from 1974. Despite the fact that from the late 19th century the boundary with Histon zigzagged confusingly through a built-up area, Impington successfully resisted suggestions that the two parish councils should merge. (fn. 14) It also avoided absorption by Cambridge. (fn. 15)


  • 1. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), i. 49, 51.
  • 2. Ibid. ii. 464.
  • 3. Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 105.
  • 4. Cal. Close, 1476-85, 217-18; Cal. Pat. 1476-85, 304; P.R.O., C 1/40, no. 32.
  • 5. P.R.O., C 78/25, no. 29; ibid. REQ 2/258/4.
  • 6. C.U.L., Doc. 580.
  • 7. Ibid. Add. MS. 3957, ff. 9v., 29.
  • 8. Christ's Coll. Mun., Impington aW and five unlisted ct. rolls; C.R.O., L 62/3 (ct. of 1597).
  • 9. C.R.O., R 59/14/7/2; ibid. 107 (uncat. ct. min. bk. 1816-1940).
  • 10. Devon R.O., 2309 B/M 6/1-3.
  • 11. Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 36-7.
  • 12. Ibid. 1818, 28-9; Poor Rate Returns, 1816-21, 10; 1822- 4, 38; 1824-9, 16; 1830-4, 16.
  • 13. Poor Law Com. 2nd Rep. 512.
  • 14. e.g. Camb. Evening News, 6 Nov. 1973; 17 May 1977.
  • 15. Camb. News, 14 Nov. 1968.