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.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
MANORS AND OTHER ESTATES
In 1086 the whole vill was possessed by Picot the sheriff. He had succeeded King Edward's sheriff, Blacwine, in 1 yardlands held under the bishop of Lincoln, had received lordship over 8 hides held in 1066 by seven royal sokemen, and had annexed 3 hides then held of the abbot of Ely by another 5 sokemen, 4 of whom had been free to withdraw. Another 3 hides probably in Madingley, held in 1066 by 4 men of Earl Waltheof, were in 1086 held by Picot of the earl's widow, Countess Judith. (fn. 1) By then Picot had had the vill's tax assessment reduced to 7 hides. (fn. 2) His manor, which at first descended in a probably cadet line of his family, was occasionally said from the early 13th century, (fn. 3) on account of the Ely holding, to be held of the bishop of Ely as 1 knight's fee. The Pecches, successors to Picot's barony of Bourn, were mesne lords under the bishop until their rights passed in 1284 to the Crown, whose possession was sometimes recorded in the early 14th century. (fn. 4) The bishop claimed his tenancy-in-chief in 1305, (fn. 5) and immediate lordship over the main manor, reckoned as 110 fee, was usually ascribed to him in the 16th and 17th centuries. (fn. 6)
Possession of that manor, styled BURLEWAS, corrupted from BURDELEYS, and later the SHIRE manor, descended with Comberton manor (fn. 7) from Michael Picot who held of William Peverel in the 1140s (fn. 8) to Eustace Picot (fl. 1166), and through Eustace's daughter Lauretta (d. 1224) to her son William Burdeleys, probably in possession of Madingley by 1199. (fn. 9) After his death c. 1229, when his widow Beatrice claimed dower in 2 carucates there, (fn. 10) the manor passed successively to his sons, William (fn. 11) (d. s.p. 1233), Hugh (d. s.p. 1251), lord in 1236, (fn. 12) and Geoffrey (d. 1264), whose son John held Madingley in 1279. (fn. 13) John's son Geoffrey, allowed free warren there in 1299, (fn. 14) shortly before his death in 1324 settled the manor for life on his younger son Simon, (fn. 15) from whom Geoffrey's widow recovered a third as dower in 1324. (fn. 16) When Simon died in 1336, his heir, his elder brother John's son John, was a minor. The king granted the custody from 1337 to John's kinsman by marriage, Walter Creyk, (fn. 17) named as its occupier in 1346. (fn. 18) When John died in 1347, his lands were partitioned between his sisters. Madingley was assigned to the elder, Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Marshall. (fn. 19) On her death without issue in 1361 it passed to her sister Joan, widow of Gilbert Chamber. (fn. 20) Joan had apparently alienated it before she settled her other inherited lands in 1369. (fn. 21)
The next known owner was Nicholas Stukeley of Great Stukeley (Hunts.), (fn. 22) who held at Madingley a manor which after his death his feoffees conveyed in 1380 to Nicholas Stukeley, probably his son. (fn. 23) The younger Nicholas, knighted by 1387, (fn. 24) died in 1394 leaving an heir under age, (fn. 25) probably Nicholas Stukeley, of age c. 1408. (fn. 26) That Nicholas, active in local affairs from the 1410s (fn. 27) and a knight by 1419, (fn. 28) owned Madingley in 1412 and 1428. (fn. 29) In 1448 he sold Burdeleys manor to five feoffees, (fn. 30) who were investing 200 for the county of Cambridge to provide wages for its knights of the shire. (fn. 31) The Shire manor remained with successive groups of feoffees for the county, who usually leased it to local men (fn. 32) until 1544. It was then vested by statute in John Hinde, serjeant-at-law, subject to a permanent rent charge of 10 for the knights' wages, (fn. 33) which had fallen into desuetude by the 18th century. (fn. 34)
Hinde, (fn. 35) who had been buying land at Madingley since the 1520s, (fn. 36) also acquired the other larger estates there, mostly derived from Burdeleys manor. The largest was Barnwell priory's, including the impropriate rectorial glebe. Of its 513 hides in 1279, of which 4 were in demesne, (fn. 37) most were granted by the Picots and after 1200 by tenants of the Burdeleyses. Michael Picot had allegedly given a hide and 20 a., Eustace Picot 100 a. The priory's acquisitions from freeholders, mostly between 1216 and the 1260s, included several half yardlands of 1520 a., 3 yardlands, one probably held by 1199 by the Dunnings of Cambridge (fn. 38) and all given by John Littlebury in 1253, (fn. 39) and the Sprot family's 80 a., acquired in 1238. In 1276 Barnwell obtained by exchange c. 30 a. given before 1233 to St. John's hospital, Cambridge. (fn. 40) The priory's largest single acquisition was the Morel family's 2 hides (200 a.), also part of the Peverel lordship, probably bought under Prior Hugh (115575). (fn. 41) Barnwell vindicated its title against the Morels c. 1195 and against Agnes Morel, who claimed that they were held at farm, in 1269. (fn. 42) Barnwell's MOOR BARNS grange, not enlarged after 1300, was sold by the Crown in 1543 to Serjeant Hinde, (fn. 43) who had been lessee of the rectory by 1530 and of Moor Barns by 1534, besides serving as the priory's chief steward. (fn. 44) The moated site, c. 35 m. wide and 100 m. long, south-west of the modern Moor Barns farmhouse, (fn. 45) is probably where the priory grange stood. (fn. 46)
The Hindes also acquired the estates styled MARHAMS or HARLESTONS, (fn. 47) partly derived from the holdings of the Madingley family. By 1219 William de Burdeleys had given 30 a. to Robert the clerk, husband of his sister Nichole. (fn. 48) By 1279 William son of Robert held 100 a., mostly in demesne. (fn. 49) His heir was presumably Sir Robert, son of William, of Madingley, a judge under Edward II, (fn. 50) who between 1300 and his death in 1321 bought up much land in small pieces from his fellow freeholders at Madingley. (fn. 51) His daughter Alice, who married Sir Thomas Heslarton (d. 1355), held that land until she died c. 1375. (fn. 52) John Marham, established at Madingley by 1385, (fn. 53) did homage to the bishop of Ely for Heslarton's land in 1409 (fn. 54) and settled 65 a. in 1427. (fn. 55) By 1390 John Marham probably also possessed much of the land that in 1279 had been held of the Hospitallers of Shingay (93 a.) and the Templars of Denny (c. 55 a.). (fn. 56) Marhams manor was said in 1550 to have been held of the Hospitallers, (fn. 57) and the Madingley estate still owed quitrents to Shingay manor in the 18th century. (fn. 58) By the 1470s Marham's land belonged to the Leyntons. John Leynton (d. s.p. 1506), son of William and grandson of John, left his lands in reversion to his nephew John (d. s.p. 1509), who devised them to his younger brother William (fn. 59) (d. s.p. 1521). William in turn left the reputed manors of Harlestons and Marhams, held of the Shire manor, to his sister Ellen, wife of Thomas Baron. (fn. 60) By 1550 both, with 350 a. of land, belonged to Sir John Hinde, (fn. 61) to whose son Francis they were released by Ellen and her son Thomas Baron in 1551. (fn. 62)
The manor house of Marhams, so named c. 1680, (fn. 63) was perhaps that standing west of the street and called the Manor House in modern times. Basically medieval, the timber-framed structure comprises a range with jettied solar and hall, the latter having a roof on crown posts, and a south-west wing reconstructed in the 17th century. (fn. 64)
Another estate derived from the Picots' manor was the 1 hide which Ernald Picot pledged to Chatteris abbey when he died on pilgrimage to Jerusalem c. 1180. In 1205 it was divided equally between his son Ranulph and the abbey, which took all the tenanted land. (fn. 65) Ranulph's part had probably come to Sir John Burdeleys, who owed rent to Chatteris, by 1279, when the abbey's 75 a. was occupied by tenants in villeinage. (fn. 66) The copyholders still paid assize rents to the abbey in the early 16th century, (fn. 67) and the Crown in 1575 and 1615 claimed 45 a. as having belonged to Chatteris. (fn. 68)
From the 1540s all the manors in Madingley were combined in the hands of the Hindes and their successors. John Hinde, knighted when appointed a justice of Common Pleas in 1545, (fn. 69) died in 1550, leaving as heir a son Francis, (fn. 70) of age in 1551. (fn. 71) Francis sat for Cambridgeshire in three parliaments and was knighted in 1578. (fn. 72) Between 1582 and 1589 he bought another 300 a. of freehold in Madingley. (fn. 73) When he died in 1596 all his lands in the neighbourhood descended to his eldest son William (fn. 74) (kt. 1603). (fn. 75) In 1599 William married Elizabeth, widow of John Hutton of Dry Drayton, upon whom he settled all his lands for her life. When he died childless in 1606, Elizabeth took over all the Hinde estates, procuring recognition of her rights from his brother and heir male Edward in 1607 in return for his immediate possession of the lands in Girton and Histon. (fn. 76) She and her third husband Sir Arthur Capell occupied the Madingley farmland until her death in 1625, (fn. 77) leasing the Hall to Edward from 1611 at a nominal rent. (fn. 78)
Sir Edward (kt. 1615) (fn. 79) in 1608 settled all his land in possession or reversion in tail male upon his eldest son Anthony's marriage to Anne Gostwick. (fn. 80) When Anthony died fighting in Denmark in 1612, leaving a minor son Edward, (fn. 81) Anne returned her life interest to her father-inlaw for a rent charge. (fn. 82) In 1627 Sir Edward settled the whole Madingley estate in tail upon his grandson's marriage to Agnes Maples. (fn. 83) The grandson died accidentally in 1631, leaving an infant daughter Jane. After Sir Edward himself died in 1633, Agnes married John Stewkley, who despite claims by the Crown to Jane's wardship occupied the whole estate until the mid 1640s, even after Agnes's death in 1641. (fn. 84) In 1635 he obtained a release of it from Sir Edward's other son and heir male Robert. (fn. 85) Jane, however, survived to marry c. 1647 Sir John Cotton of Landwade (cr. Bt. 1641). She died in 1692, he in 1689, having moved his family seat to Madingley. (fn. 86)
Their son and heir Sir John Cotton, frequently Tory M.P. for Cambridge between 1689 and 1708, (fn. 87) died in 1713, and his sister Joan, on whom 450 a. mostly in Girton had been settled in 1672, (fn. 88) in 1708. (fn. 89) Sir John's son Sir John Hinde Cotton, a prominent Tory politician who repeatedly sat for the county and borough and was one of the last active English Jacobites, died in 1752, (fn. 90) and his son and namesake, M.P. for Cambridgeshire 176480, in 1795. (fn. 91) In 1791 financial difficulties had obliged him to transfer control of his lands to his eldest surviving son Charles, (fn. 92) from 1799 an admiral and knighted, who died in 1812. Sir Charles's son Sir St. Vincent Cotton (fn. 93) came of age in 1822. (fn. 94) An overenthusiastic sportsman and gambler, he died childless in 1863. (fn. 95) His debts had already obliged him in 1858 to transfer his lands around Madingley to his sisters, Maud Susanna, wife of Adm. Sir Richard King, and the spinster Philadelphia, who with their mother Philadelphia lived at the Hall until Lady Cotton's death in 1855. (fn. 96)
The sisters divided the estate in 1859. Philadelphia took the eastern half with Moor Barns farm and reputed manor, c. 1,142 a., Lady King the western part, the Hall and park (530 a.) with 880 a. of farmland in Madingley. (fn. 97) Philadelphia's portion passed after she died c. 1880 to her nephew Maj. W. A. King, after whose death in 1886 it was offered for sale in 1887. Frederick Crisp, who eventually acquired it in 1896, sold much of it in 1902 to Trinity College, Cambridge, (fn. 98) which in 1984 retained most of the 405 a. of Moor Barns farm save for 80 a. taken for roadworks. (fn. 99) After Lady King died in 1871, the Hall and her land were sold (fn. 100) to Henry Hurrell of Harston, who lived there until his death c. 1895. His son Henry William (fn. 102) sold the estate in 1905 to Col. Thomas Walter Harding, formerly a Leeds businessman, (fn. 103) who owned 1,230 a. at Madingley in 1910. (fn. 104) He died in 1927 and his son Walter Ambrose Heath Harding in 1942. (fn. 105) In 1948 his heirs sold Madingley to Cambridge university, which owned 1,150 a. there in 1984 and had a lease of Moor Barns from Trinity College for its experimental farm. (fn. 106)
Madingley Hall (fn. 107) was probably begun by Sir John Hinde, who had leave to close a way running across its site in 1546. (fn. 108) Heraldry and initials on his work refer to Catherine Parr as queen and to Edward VI as prince of Wales. From his building survives the main north-south range between matching turrets. Of red brick, dressed with limestone and clunch, it contains the ground-floor hall and great chamber above, each with an oriel window. Half the original stone fireplace survives in the hall. A false hammerbeam roof, to which the chamber was once perhaps open and extending over the whole range, was possibly brought from Anglesey priory. The two-storeyed porch leads into a screens passage south of the hall, which gives access through stone arches to the large former kitchen in the south-west wing, probably also mid 16th-century, which is faced with rough ashlar and has a mutilated hammerbeam roof. The house was completed by Sir Francis Hinde, who c. 1591 built a long north wing (fn. 109) between two north-facing turrets, with a bay window to the south and a first-floor gallery 87 ft. long. Since the ground drops away to the north, that front is supported on a basement loggia, once mostly open, with arches between squat Ionic pilasters. Crude paintings of hunting and hawking scenes in a third-floor room at the south end of the main range perhaps date from the time of Sir Edward, who had many horses and kept his own bulls to bait. (fn. 110) In 1689 the Hall, which had contained some 20 hearths in the 1660s, (fn. 111) included, besides the gallery and lord's chamber, a great parlour and drawing room, where many of Sir John Cotton's pictures from Landwade were installed. (fn. 112)
The Hall probably retained its Tudor form until the late 1720s, (fn. 113) when Sir John Hinde Cotton added a dark red-brick range of four bays and three storeys, partly filling the west courtyard, and remodelled the stair hall at the west end of the north wing, giving it a spacious staircase in three flights, rising from Corinthian columns. The round-headed sash windows to the west resemble those then inserted in the saloon converted from the great chamber, which received a curvilinear plaster ceiling, a marble chimney piece, bolection panelling, and an oak doorcase. Neighbouring rooms retain simpler contemporary panelling and marble fireplaces. By the 1740s the long gallery had become a picture gallery, accommodating much of the Cotton collection, including family portraits and many Italian and Flemish paintings. (fn. 114) The second Sir John Hinde Cotton in the 1750s refitted the four ground-floor rooms of the north wing, including the great parlour, dining room, and library. (fn. 115) The existing dining room ceiling compartmented in Jacobean style and ascribed to James Essex was perhaps installed in 1757. In 1758 Sir John built the stables, in red brick, comprising three sides of a square, (fn. 116) and placed as an entrance to them a Gothic arch taken from the former doorway of the Old Schools at Cambridge.
The Hall was until the 1750s adjoined to north and east by elaborate formal gardens with topiary and square ponds. (fn. 117) The deer previously kept in the park, enlarged in 1743, (fn. 118) were removed to protect Sir John's new plantations. In 1756 he engaged 'Capability' Brown to remodel the grounds. The old basins and canals were filled in, save for one converted to a curving lake, and level lawns were laid out around the house. Brown drove vistas through the new woodlands to north, west, and east, lowering the village street to provide the last. (fn. 119) Thereafter, besides gardens covering 3 a., the grounds comprised c. 190 a. of partly wooded parkland west of the street and 50 a. of dispersed woodland. A wood south-west of the house contained an ice house. (fn. 120)
Occupied mostly by dowagers from 1800, the Hall was let by Lady King in 1860 as a residence for Edward, prince of Wales, while he was studying at Cambridge. Prince Albert came there to admonish his son in November 1861. (fn. 121) The prince's household then numbered 14, besides 2 policemen. (fn. 122) The contents of the Hall were sold soon after Lady King died in 1871. (fn. 123) Henry Hurrell pulled down the east end of the north wing, building a one-storey drawing room on part of the site. During his family's occupation the fabric fell into a bad state. Col. Harding undertook extensive reconstruction between 1906 and 1910 to designs by J. A. Gotch. He partly rebuilt the north wing, completing it to the east with a new bay window and matching stair turret, added a tall brick water tower to the south wing, and laid out new gardens in the Italian style north of the house. Inside he also restored the hall, installing a wooden screen and other elaborately carved panelling, a new overmantel, and an ornamental plaster ceiling, all in the Elizabethan style to designs by R. D. Oliver. (fn. 124) In the 1930s W. A. H. Harding converted the former kitchen into a library. The furnishings having again been sold between 1946 and 1948, (fn. 125) the university converted the Hall to house c. 50 research students. (fn. 126) About 1975, when the stables were rebuilt as residential quarters, retaining their old ground plan and silhouette, the Hall itself became the permanent headquarters of the Board of Extra-Mural Studies, which had already used it for vacation courses. (fn. 127)