Long Stanton: Economic history

Pages 227-230

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 12 hides at which Long Stanton was rated in 1066 contained only one manorial estate, of 4 1/2; hides; the remainder was divided among 29 sokemen who probably held between 1/2; yardland and 2 yardlands each. By 1086 the Normans had re-formed the vill into three manors, with one holding of 1/2; yardland left out. Each of the manors had a home farm with two demesne teams in 1086. There were three servion Hugh Hubald's manor but most work on the others was probably done by villein labour, there being only a single servuson Picot's manor and none on Guy de Reimbercourt's. (fn. 1) Colvilles manor had a home farm in 1236 (fn. 2) and in 1279 there were four, of 180 a., 133 a., 120 a., and 56 a., all using villein services. (fn. 3) Later in the Middle Ages Nicholas Cheyney had 140 a. of demesne arable at his death in 1326, (fn. 4) and Colvilles had a home farm of 100 a. in the 1420s. (fn. 5)

Peasant holdings were probably mostly small in 1086, when there were 28 bordars, 24 cottars, and only 11 villanidivided between two manors. The manor without villaniwas underequipped, having only 1/2; ploughteam worked by 6 bordars and 5 cottars on land needing 2 teams, and had fallen further in value after 1066 than either of the others. The 12 bordars each holding 5 a. on the Richmond manor, (fn. 6) later Colvilles, correspond to the 12 villein holdings of 5 a. recorded on the manor in the late 13th and early 14th century. Six or seven holdings were retained by the same family from 1251 to 1279, two of which continued to 1327. (fn. 7) The manor still had 12 neif tenants in the 1420s. (fn. 8) There were 73 villein tenements in all in 1279, of which 57 were certainly of 5 a.; the 16 on Cheyneys manor were said to contain 15 a. each, possibly in error. On the Colville fee, Nicholas Cheyney's villeins owed works and each paid a rent of 3s., whereas tenants of the three lords of other parts of the fee, none of whom had any significant amount of demesne, did no works but paid 9s. a year. Villeins with standard holdings on the other manors owed slightly different works and paid differing rents, 4s. on Cheyneys manor and 1s. 8d. on each of the three manors held from Tonys fee. Nicholas Cheyney's villeins were the most heavily burdened and the only ones performing weekwork, which amounted only to ploughing one selion each Friday for about two thirds of the year. Meadowland called 'Denhalvaker' was allotted to the villeins on all the manors at haymaking. A few crofters assisted at harvest and haymaking but 13 men holding of Philip de Colville's tenant Adam Leyr were free crofters who owed no services. In 1279 there were over 500 a. of demesne arable, 365 a. or 525 a. in villeinage, and c. 250 a. of free holdings. The only substantial freeholder was John Bennett, who held 102 a. from Robert de Caen, about half in hand and half sublet. (fn. 9)

The amount of fallow mentioned in an extent of 1326 suggests that the vill's open fields were then farmed on a three-course rotation, (fn. 10) but it has not proved possible to reconstruct the original field system. Numerous field names were recorded in the late 16th century, evidently corresponding, with one exception, to the six fields of the late 18th century, three in each parish. (fn. 11) In St. Michael's, Little Moor field lay south-west of the village and Michelow field, named from the parish, by the Huntingdon road. Michelow was recorded from 1251 (fn. 12) and Little Moor from 1320. (fn. 13) The field north-east of St. Michael's village street was known at different times as Poswell, Haverill, Stanwell, and Great Moor, presumably the names of furlongs. The south-western part of All Saints parish was in the late 16th century divided between Dale field near the village and Dale field far field or Allhallows field. As in St. Michael's the southwestern extremity took its name from the parish. Dale and Hallow fields were distinct by the beginning of the 14th century. (fn. 14) The third field, in the 16th century called Mare field and in 1816 Willingham field, evidently contained all the arable north and north-east of the village. (fn. 15) In the late 18th century Dale and Allhallows fields were cropped as one and the third field was divided between Hill field immediately north of the village and Mare field to the north-east. (fn. 16) North-east of the village closes Inholms (fn. 17) in the late 16th and 17th century included a few regular selions, but probably the greater part was farmed in temporary arable closes which were thrown open as a common after harvest. (fn. 18)

Some consolidation of the arable had taken place by 1600. (fn. 19) Many selions covered 1/2; a. (fn. 20) and some strips consisted of more than one selion. (fn. 21) The 'through lands' recorded in Mare field in 1587 and 1749 (fn. 22) probably resulted from the ploughing together in one long strip of selions lying end-to-end in adjacent furlongs. More usual, particularly in Inholms and Michelow field, was the engrossing of strips lying side by side to form wider arable plots called pieces. Red dole and Bacon dole, containing 64 and 29 selions, were in existence by 1434 and the early 13th century respectively. (fn. 23) In 1596 Sir Fulke Greville owned 16 pieces covering between 4 a. and 24 a. each and averaging 9 1/4; a. Some of them had been inclosed (fn. 24) and Collins piece at the south-east end of the village street was called newly inclosed in 1590. (fn. 25) New Close, c. 3 a. near the south end of St. Michael's parish, existed by 1587. (fn. 26) In the 1620s Lord Brooke attempted further inclosure, successfully opposed by the Hattons' tenants and the freeholders. (fn. 27) Some of the closes around the village were probably made in the 16th century, (fn. 28) but there were only a few amongst the open fields in 1816. (fn. 29)

Enough meadowland to support the demesne ploughteams was recorded in 1086. (fn. 30) In the late 17th century the great meadow, so called in 1343, (fn. 31) lay along both sides of Landbrook in the south-western third of the township and contained 671 1/2; doles, possibly c. 188 a. (fn. 32) Great Moor, stretching between Moor way and Moor baulk along the Rampton boundary, was probably always grazing land, as on the eve of inclosure. (fn. 33) The other important grassland was Ox meadow (fn. 34) in the low-lying north-west corner, the most likely location for the fen which in 1086 produced a render of 3,200 eels a year. (fn. 35) It was called Cow common and covered over 150 a. c. 1810. (fn. 36) Leys among the open fields, frequently mentioned in the 17th century, seem mostly to have been grouped near the meadows and were probably permanent grassland in areas too illdrained to be ploughed. (fn. 37)

The principal resident gentry in the mid 16th century were the Burgoynes, who were having to sell land in the 1570s and 1580s. (fn. 38) By 1600 much land was leased by absentee owners to local yeomen. The Greville estate in the early 17th century was mostly let to one man, whose lease enjoined him not to sublet any of it to the Burgoynes' successor at Colvilles manor, Henry Holford. (fn. 39) The Vaux family in 1609 leased c. 100 a. to each of two Long Stanton farmers. (fn. 40) The Hattons, rectory lessees from 1583, dominated the village after buying Colvilles manor in 1616 and Cheyneys and Walwyns in 1617. (fn. 41) Their estate was divided among numerous tenants in 1620, when the largest farm was rented for £50, 5 medium ones for £7-£12 10s., and 17 smaller ones for £5 or less; (fn. 42) the rectory manor and Colvilles, taken over on the death of Henry Holford's widow in 1626, were leased separately. (fn. 43) The estate was managed at first by a Long Stanton yeoman, who farmed Colvilles for himself. (fn. 44) About 1690 Sir Christopher Hatton divided the estate into more equal farms; in 1757 there was one of 330 a. and seven others covered 100-180 a. each. (fn. 45) At inclosure the Hatton estate in Long Stanton was divided among seven principal occupiers holding between 100 a. and 320 a. (fn. 46) Three freeholders in 1757 shared 250 a. (fn. 47)

The inclosure of All Saints parish was effected under an Act of 1811 and of St. Michael's under one of 1813. (fn. 48) The same commissioners worked on both parishes together, common rights being stopped in January 1813 and November 1814 respectively, and both awards were completed in 1816. (fn. 49) Of nearly 2,400 a. allotted, over 1,500 a. went to the Hatton heirs, who were also lessees of the 325 a. allotted to the bishop of Ely as impropriator of All Saints rectory. Another 325 a. belonged to Lord Willoughby de Broke, and the remaining quarter of the land allotted was divided between the two incumbents and four Cambridge colleges (218 a.) and 33 individuals, (fn. 50) of whom the two largest were the brothers Anthony and Richard Phypers with 35 a. and 25 a. respectively. (fn. 51) Anthony (d. 1839) held a small tenancy from the Hattons, (fn. 52) later greatly enlarged, and his son William (d. 1891) owned Noon Folly farm and in 1874 at the FinchHatton sale bought three more farms which he was already occupying as a tenant, Hattons farm, Old farm, and Home farm. (fn. 53) William's son Anthony predeceased him and in 1905 the whole estate of over 1,000 a. was sold off. (fn. 54) Despite the rise of the Phypers family, the amount of land farmed by men living in Long Stanton fell from over 3,000 a. on 10 farms in 1871 to c. 2,150 a. on only 4 in 1881. (fn. 55) The number of holdings fell from 43 in 1875 to 25 in 1905, when almost nine times as much land was rented as was owner occupied. Some farms were divided in the early 20th century for orchards and market gardens. The number of holdings of 1-5 a. rose from 3 in 1905 to 47 in 1915, partly because Cambridgeshire County Council bought c. 135 a. for smallholdings in 1909. In 1985 the council's land was let as two farms and two other holdings. (fn. 56) There were still 25 farms under 20 a. in 1955 and 10 less than 10 ha. (c. 25 a.) in 1980. (fn. 57)

Barley was important in the late 16th century. (fn. 58) Crops grown on the Hattons' land in the 1620s included white and grey peas, Kentish wheat, maslin, and grey wheat. Rye was also grown. (fn. 59) A Saffron close was mentioned in 1581, (fn. 60) though no direct reference to the crop has been found. In the 1790s one of the Hattons' tenants reckoned his land suitable for turnips and clover, which he thought would be more generally grown if the open fields were inclosed and better drained, (fn. 61) while Lord Willoughby de Broke's tenant grew a few acres of turnips and in some years as much as 20 a. of coleseed as feed for his sheep. (fn. 62) Wheat was the most important cereal in the late 19th century, though in most years barley ran it a close second. (fn. 63) The total cereal acreage fell from c. 1,400 a. in 1866 to just over 1,000 a. in 1905 as more land was put down to grass and fodder crops, particularly clover and turnips. The arable retreated again after 1918, and in 1935 the grassland, at c. 900 a., was marginally more extensive than the land under cereals, wheat still predominating. In 1980 there were 295 ha. (730 a.) of wheat, 168 ha. (415 a.) of barley, and 86 ha. (213 a.) of rape.

Sheep were long the dominant livestock. Over 400 were divided between the three manorial flocks in 1086. (fn. 64) In 1279 the villeins of Nicholas and Henry Cheyney owed suit of fold, while an inclosed pasture big enough for 84 sheep was divided between the chief lord of Tonys fee and the holders of the two sub-manors. (fn. 65) In the mid 17th century commoners were allowed to keep 10 sheep for each house and 20 more for each 20 a. they held, though the stints were temporarily reduced to 7 and 14 in 1654. (fn. 66) In 1640 the township had two shepherds. (fn. 67) Considerable flocks were kept by the freeholders in the 1750s. (fn. 68) In 1866 there were c. 1,750 sheep, though the number fell by nearly half before 1900 and few were kept after 1945. (fn. 69) By then cattle were more numerous than at any time previously. (fn. 70) In the 1790s one tenant farmer had kept only enough to meet his household's dairy needs. (fn. 71) Brookfields farm had a large pig unit in 1982. (fn. 72)

Market gardens and commercial orchards covered c. 40 a. in 1885. In the 1920s there were c. 175 a. of orchards, nearly all in the northern part of the parish near the railway station. Almost all had been grubbed up by 1980, when market gardens covered c. 300 a. There were usually four or five market gardening businesses in the late 19th century and a few more in the early 20th. (fn. 73) Cambridgeshire Growers Ltd., established in 1949, packed and marketed local produce from premises by the station until 1968 or later. (fn. 74) In 1984 Noon Folly farm was being rented by the National Institute of Agricultural Botany for its work in the certification of seeds. (fn. 75)

By 1279 there was a windmill on each of the three fees, the most valuable being that of Robert de Caen, mentioned in 1228 in the possession of his forebear Werry de Caen. The others were owned by Henry Cheyney and William Gringley. (fn. 76) In 1590 Lord Vaux's estate had a windmill and a horse mill. (fn. 77) The Hattons owned the only windmill recorded in the 17th century, (fn. 78) which was mentioned until 1789. (fn. 79)

Carpenters, a shoemaker, a thatcher, and a ropemaker worked in the village in the late 16th and early 17th century. (fn. 80) In the 19th there were blacksmiths, carpenters, wheelwrights, thatchers, shoemakers, and cordwainers. The number of craftsmen declined from the 1870s with the fall in population, and in the early 20th century there were only a blacksmith, a boot repairer, and for c. 20 years a carpenter. (fn. 81)

About 1850 there were five shops in the village, and after 1900 usually three or four. (fn. 82) The increase of population after the Second World War allowed three shops to remain open in 1984. In 1972 R.A.F. Oakington employed 154 civilians. (fn. 83) Thoday and Son, a corn and later seed merchants' business originally in Willingham, moved to the railway station before 1900 and was still there in 1984, having taken over several other similar firms and changed its name to Nutting & Speed. (fn. 84) Lurmark Ltd. began manufacturing spray nozzles in premises in the centre of Long Stanton in 1954 and moved to a new building in Station Road in 1979. (fn. 85) Each business employed 30-35 people in Long Stanton in 1984.


  • 1. V.C.H. Cambs. i. 426.
  • 2. Close R. 1234-7, 299.
  • 3. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 460-3.
  • 4. Cal. Inq. p.m. vi, p. 475.
  • 5. P.R.O., SC 6/1122/23.
  • 6. V.C.H. Cambs. i. 426.
  • 7. Cal. Chart. R. 1226-57, 356; Rot. Hund. ii. 460; Cal. Close, 1327-30, 104.
  • 8. P.R.O., SC 6/1122/23.
  • 9. Rot. Hund. ii. 460-3.
  • 10. P.R.O., C 134/103, no. 2, m. 3, calendared at Cal. Inq. p.m. vi, p. 475.
  • 11. Rest of para. based on C.R.O., P 111/27/7; P 111/28/51; P 111/28/53; ibid. Q/RDc 26; Q/RDc 27. The evidence of late 16th- and early 17th-cent. terriers is summarized by Clark, 'Agrarian hist. of Longstanton', with MS. maps: C.R.O., 325/P 1.
  • 12. Cal. Chart. R. 1226-57, 355.
  • 13. Pemb. Coll. Mun., Longstanton A 17.
  • 14. e.g. ibid. A 2, A 7, A 14.
  • 15. e.g. ibid. A 11.
  • 16. C.R.O., P 111/27/6.
  • 17. B.L. Eg. Ch. 730, 733.
  • 18. C.R.O., L 1/112.
  • 19. Clark, 'Agrarian hist. of Longstanton', 28-40.
  • 20. C.R.O., P 111/28/18; P 111/28/51.
  • 21. Ibid. P 111/28/52.
  • 22. Ibid. P 111/28/51; ibid. R 53/15/19; cf. Pemb. Coll. Mun., Longstanton C 6.
  • 23. B.L. Add. Ch. 22601; Crowland Cart. f. 252v.
  • 24. B.L. Eg. Ch. 729; cf. Northants. R.O., FH 3613.
  • 25. Northants. R.O., FH 3613.
  • 26. C.R.O., P 111/28/51.
  • 27. Northants. R.O., FH 1382, 1385, 1386.
  • 28. e.g. B.L. Eg. Ch. 729; Eg. Roll 1898.
  • 29. C.R.O., Q/RDc 26; Q/RDc 27.
  • 30. V.C.H. Cambs. i. 426.
  • 31. C.U.L., Doc. 3642.
  • 32. C.R.O., P 111/28/54.
  • 33. Ibid. 124/P 65.
  • 34. Cf. ibid. P 111/28/52.
  • 35. V.C.H. Cambs. i. 383.
  • 36. C.R.O., 124/P 65; ibid. Q/RDc 27; Vancouver, Agric. in Cambs. 124.
  • 37. B.L. Eg. Ch. 729-31; C.R.O., P 111/28/52; P 111/28/53; Northants. R.O., FH 2535; cf. Clark, 'Agrarian hist. of Longstanton', 12.
  • 38. P.R.O., CP 25(2)/93/842/20 Eliz. I Trin. no. 6; ibid. REQ 2/272/16; Northants. R.O., FH 1071; cf. above, manors (Colvilles).
  • 39. B.L. Eg. Ch. 729-31.
  • 40. Northants. R.O., FH 997, 999, 2339.
  • 41. Above, manors.
  • 42. Northants. R.O., FH 3607; cf. ibid. FH 2534.
  • 43. Ibid. FH 888, 933, 1388, 2534.
  • 44. Ibid. FH 888, 1384, 1388, 1390-1, 3565.
  • 45. P.R.O., C 78/1966, no. 1.
  • 46. C.R.O., 124/P 66; 124/P 69.
  • 47. P.R.O., C 78/1966, no. 1.
  • 48. Long Stanton All Saints Incl. Act, 51 Geo. III, c. 36 (Local and Personal, not printed); Long Stanton St. Michael Incl. Act, 53 Geo. III, c. 73 (Local and Personal, not printed).
  • 49. C.U.L., Add. MS. 6053, ff. 30-61v.; Add. MS. 6056, ff. 30-50v.
  • 50. C.R.O., Q/RDz 8, pp. 218-32, 245-63.
  • 51. Ibid. pp. 213-14 (2nd nos.), 255-6; fam. details from ibid. All Saints par. reg. transcript.
  • 52. Ibid. 124/P 66.
  • 53. C.U.L., Maps PSQ × 18/14; Camb. Chron. 30 May 1874, p. 8.
  • 54. C.U.L., Maps PSQ 19/105.
  • 55. P.R.O., RG 10/1579, ff. 47-64; RG 11/1658, ff. 55- 73.
  • 56. Inf. from Chief Land Agent, Shire Hall, Camb.
  • 57. P.R.O., MAF 68/403, 973, 1543, 2113, 2683, 3232, 3752, 4489; Cambs. Agric Returns, 1980.
  • 58. Clark, 'Agrarian hist. of Longstanton', 42.
  • 59. Northants. R.O., FH 1391, 2527.
  • 60. Magd. Coll. Mun., A/13, no. 4.
  • 61. Vancouver, Agric. in Cambs. 124-5.
  • 62. C.R.O., P 111/27/4.
  • 63. Para. based on P.R.O., MAF 68/7-8, 403, 973, 1543, 2113, 2683, 3232, 3752, 4489; Cambs. Agric. Returns, 1980.
  • 64. V.C.H. Cambs. i. 426.
  • 65. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 461-2.
  • 66. C.R.O., L 1/112, rott. 3-4.
  • 67. Ibid. rot. 1.
  • 68. P.R.O., C 78/1966, no. 1.
  • 69. Ibid. MAF 68/7-8, 403, 973, 1543, 2113, 2683, 3232, 3752, 4489; Cambs. Agric. Returns, 1980.
  • 70. Cf. Camb. Evening News, 30 July 1976.
  • 71. C.R.O., P 111/27/4.
  • 72. Camb. Evening News, 27 Nov. 1982.
  • 73. Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1847-1937); O.S. Maps 25", Cambs. XXXIII. 8; XXXIII. 12 (1887, 1902, 1926 edns.).
  • 74. Camb. Ind. Press, 23 Sept. 1960; 1 Dec. 1967; Long Stanton Par. Guide, 1968(copy in Cambs. Colln.).
  • 75. Inf. from Mr. K. C. Batcheler, Secretary, N.I.A.B.
  • 76. Rot. Hund. ii. 461-3; P.R.O., CP 25(1)/23/12, no. 14.
  • 77. B.L. Harl. MS. 2296, f. 132v.
  • 78. Northants. R.O., FH 2534, 4095.
  • 79. Camb. Chron. 28 Feb. 1789, p. 2.
  • 80. C.R.O., P 111/28/51; ibid. R 53/15/13; ibid. L 1/112, rot. 1 and d.; Northants. R.O., FH 2530, 3566; P.R.O., PROB 11/225, ff. 276v.-277.
  • 81. Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1847 and later edns.); Census, 1831; P.R.O., HO 107/69/6-8; HO 107/1759, ff. 110-38v.; ibid. RG 9/1019, ff. 1-18v.; RG 10/1579, ff. 47-64; RG 11/1658, ff. 55-73.
  • 82. Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1847-1937).
  • 83. Camb. Evening News, 4 Mar. 1972.
  • 84. Ibid.; inf. from chairman, Mr. I. F. E. Thoday.
  • 85. Inf. from marketing director, Mr. M. Lury.