|'An Account of all the Inhabitants of the Parish of Croydon |
in the County of Cambridgeshire commencing from 1 January 1843'
|by Reverend Francis Fulford 1803-1868 (Rector at Croydon 1841-1845).|
Additional notes by Reverend R S B Sandilands (Rector 1845-1864).
The accounts following are not from Fulford's "Speculum Gregis" but are provided to give a historical context for the Parish of Croydon-cum-Clopton.
(Freely adapted from the Victoria County History Publication "A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely": Volume 8, Author A. P. M. Wright (editor), A. P. Baggs, S. M. Keeling, C. A. F. Meekings. Published 1982)
The parish of Croydon-cum-Clopton is 16 km south-west of Cambridge and covers approximately 1,106 hectares (2,734 acres), of which about 1,605 acres and 1,125 acres relate to the originally separate villages of Croydon and Clopton. The villages were united in 1561. The modern parish, approximately triangular, lies between the River Cam or Rhee to the South, and by ancient field boundaries along its other sides. Its southern half, resting upon gault [beds of clay and marl], rises gently from under 25 metres by the river to 45 metres at the foot of a chalk down mounting sharply to 75 metres. The northern part, a plateau at over 75 metres, is entirely overlaid with heavy boulder clay. The whole parish is devoted to agriculture. The open fields, once under a biennial [two yearly] rotation, were enclosed for animal pasture at Clopton about 1500, those at Croydon about 1640. From the late 18th century, the land reverted gradually to arable farming. In 1905 the parish had 34 acres of woodland.
The two villages stood on the chalk slope at the spring line, Croydon 1.5 km west of the Old North Road [Ermine Street - now the A1198], Clopton another 1.5 km further west. At Clopton, where there are traces of Roman occupation, an Anglo-Saxon village covering 30 acres had been established by the 10th century. There were 18 peasants there in 1086 [the Domesday Survey] and probably around 20 taxpayers in 1318. Some 32 people paid the wool levy in 1347. The medieval churchyard received four levels of graves between the 12th century and the 15th. By 1524, after the enclosure, the only households were those of the lady of the manor and five labourers. In 1561 only two households remained in the parish, and five or six scattered farms. The deserted site of the medieval village slopes downward from an ancient road just below the hill crest. The church and manor house stood facing one another in the northern half of the village, whose main street, diverted around the churchyard after 1200, ran from north-east to south-west between them. They were surrounded by the peasants' crofts, many of whose earthworks are still traceable. A cobbled area, repeatedly renewed, located just north of the church, may have served for the Friday market granted to Robert Hoo, lord of Clopton, in 1292.
Croydon contained around 28 peasants in 1086 [the Domesday Survey]. There were 24 taxpayers in 1327; 38 people owned wool in 1347, and 78 paid the poll tax in 1377. In 1524 20 people were assessed for the subsidy, and there were 19 households in 1563. After the union with Clopton in 1561 the population may have reached about 140 in the early 17th century, but probably fell to 90 under Charles II, when there were over 20 houses and in 1676 to 65 adults. In 1778 there were still only 22 families. From the 1750s numbers ranged between 150 and 190, and had reached 208 by 1801, when there were 34 families. The population then grew rapidly, doubling to around 440 in the 1830s and reaching a peak of 545 in 1871, when 3 families with 21 members lived at the site of Clopton. Thereafter numbers declined steadily to 426 by 1891 and about 325 in the 1900s. After 1920 the population fluctuated around 230, and in 1971 was only 205, below the level of 1801.
The modern village of Croydon stretches along the north side of a street running east and west along the hillside. Habitation probably once extended further north around the green, still so styled in 1750, which lay on the brow of the hill between the church and manor house, and also south along a lane leading between two moated sites towards the river. A few timber framed houses of the late 17th or early 18th century, such as Church Farm, survive on the street. Elsewhere the farmhouses out in the fields, probably of that period, recorded in 1750, had mostly decayed and been replaced by square grey-brick ones in the early 19th century. Most of the cottages in the village also date from that period. The number of inhabited dwellings rose from 41 in 1821 to 81 by 1831 and 105 by 1871, when nearly 60 stood along the street, and about 48 elsewhere, mostly by the new turnpike road. Later the village shrank again. There were only about 60 houses from 1920 to 1950, and still only 70 in 1971. A few council houses were built south of the street, but otherwise development was discouraged.
The main east-west route through the parish formerly ran along a terrace on the hillside, past the villages and on to Tadlow. Along the northern boundary Croydon Old Lane led south-west towards the Hatleys. A minor track across the flatter ground south of the villages, called c1750 the Royston Road, was improved and partly realigned in 1826 to form part of the Cambridge to Biggleswade turnpike, and a road north over Croydon Hill towards the Hatleys was made in 1830. In 1827 Downing college established the "Downing Arms" at a farmhouse on the new turnpike. Rebuilt in the late 19th century, it was still open in 1979. In the 1830s two carpenters each opened public houses in the village; the "Carpenter's Arms" (later the "Axe and Compasses"), closed after 1937 believed burnt down by 1960, and the "Queen Adelaide", which incoporated a restaurant in 1975.
(Freely adapted from the Victoria County History Publication "A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely": Volume 8, Author A. P. M. Wright (editor), A. P. Baggs, S. M. Keeling, C. A. F. Meekings. Published 1982)
By 1086 Anschil and Alfred held under Picot the Sheriff respectively 2 and one eighth and 1 and one quarter hides [hide = a medieval land measure equal to the amount of land that could sustain one free family; usually 100 acres] in Croydon, owned in 1066 by two men of Robert FitzWymarc. Lordship over Anschil's manor descended with Picot's barony of Bourn to the Peverels, and was included in the portion which at the division of c1150 passed to the Pecches and by surrender in 1284 to the Crown. As TAILBOYS [from Tailbois, sometimes Talboys or Tallboys] manor, it was said to be held of the Crown, as of the honor of Peverel, from the 14th century.
By the early 12th century that manor, held usually as 1 knight's fee, belonged to one Hugh, who was succeeded by his son William and grandson Hugh of Croydon, tenant in 1166 (but dead by 1199). Hugh's son John, not of age until 1212, died in 1229. The manor probably remained with his widow Sibyl from 1230 to after 1261. In 1230 she had married Robert Sulman, named as lord about 1235. Hugh of Croydon, perhaps John's son, was dead by 1263 when his widow Mary released 50 acres to the Hospitallers of Shingay. In 1277 Philip of Croydon sold the manor to William of Brompton, a justice of the common pleas from 1278. In 1285 Brompton also acquired from the Andeville heiress a manor with 64 acres of demesne [demesne = manorial land retained for the private use of a feudal lord], derived from the 2 hides in Croydon held in 1086 by Humphrey de Andeville of Eudes the steward, which had descended with Clopton Bury manor. Brompton settled his lands, including over 330 acres in Croydon and Clopton, in 1286. He was disgraced for corruption in 1289, and his lands were temporarily confiscated, but he had recovered Croydon by 1302. He probably died in 1303.
William Tailboys, of a prominent Northumberland family had acquired it by 1315. He was still lord in 1347, but before his death in 1364, and probably by 1354, it had passed to another Northumberland man, Sir William Heron of Ford. When Heron died in 1379, Tailboys manor, with another 210 acres at Croydon held of other fees, and appendages in three neighbouring parishes, descended, unlike his north country lands, to his eldest son Sir Roger Heron. From 1389 to 1395 William Tailboys's grandson and heir Walter (died 1411) sued Sir Roger and his wife Margaret to regain the manor. Walter possibly recovered some rights, for his son Walter (died 1444) was named as lord of Croydon in 1428, and that Walter's son, the turbulent William Tailboys, was thought to have land there at his forfeiture following the Battle of Towton in 1461. [William got two things wrong. Firstly he was a Lancastrian and on the losing side in the War of the Roses, secondly the Yorkists found him hiding in a coal mine near Newcastle following the Battle of Hexham and "he hadde moche mony with hym, both golde and sylvyr, that shulde have gone unto King Harry", in other words he was on the run with a substantial amount of misappropriated Lancastrian funds. He was executed in 1464].
The bulk of the manor, however, remained with the Heron family. Sir Roger was dead by 1400. His son William also died that year, leaving a new-born son William. The manor remained with Margaret, for her life. In 1401 she married John Blacket, a king's esquire, who obtained William's wardship in 1407 and occupied the manor in 1412. William had livery in 1423, but died in 1425, leaving as heir a daughter Elizabeth, who in 1438 married John Heron of Ford, descended from a younger brother of Sir Roger. A Lancastrian, Sir John Heron was killed [at the Battle of Towton] and attainted [attainted = after a person has been condemned of a felony or treason, their property and title of influence are taken away from the condemned person and may not be passed on as an inheritance] in 1461, and the manor was granted in 1465 to Thomas Gray, esquire to Edward IV, in possession from 1462. Sir John's son Roger obtained a reversal of the attainder in 1472, and apparently gave Tailboys manor to William Tailboys's son Robert, who had married Roger's sister Elizabeth c1467.
Sir Robert Tailboys died holding Croydon in 1495 and was succeeded by his son George, knighted in 1497. Sir George Tailboys became insane [judged a lunatic 2 March 1517 and his person and lands taken into custody]. Many of his estates fell under the control of his son Gilbert. Gilbert was in 1529 created Lord Tailboys, but died a year later in 1530. His father survived to 1538. Gilbert's sons George and Robert died in 1540 and 1541, leaving as heir their sister Elizabeth. By 1542 she had married her father's widow's ward Thomas Wimbish. In 1545 he and Elizabeth sold Tailboys manor to Sir Robert Tyrwhitt, who in 1546 resold the manor with 360 acres of demesne to William Walter, already lord of Francis manor in Croydon, with which it thereafter descended.
FRANCIS manor possibly included the 1 and a quarter hide held by Alfred in 1086, for its tenants were said in the late 12th century to have held of the Picots of Boxworth, and were apparently parceners [parceners = the daughters of a man or woman who had their lands or tenements siezed but who inherit after the ancestor's death] with the Croydons c1212. In 1279 1 and a quarter hide, part of Francis manor, was held of Denise de Munchensy, a granddaughter of Gilbert Pecche (died 1212). In 1346 half the manor was held by her great-grandson, Lawrence Hastings, Earl of Pembroke. Another moiety [moiety = one of two parts into which an estate was divided: not necessarily a half], belonging in 1346 to the Scalers fee, was presumably derived from 3 hides held in 1086 by two knights of Hardwin de Scalers, lordship over which descended with the Whaddon half of the Scalers barony. About 1250 its lord Geoffrey de Scalers and his vassal Thomas of Whaddon were themselves said to occupy 2 hides in Croydon. A third fraction of the later Francis manor, including 30 acres. of demesne in 1279 and held of the fee of Brittany, probably represented the 7/8 hide held in 1066 under Eddeva and by 1086 of Count Alan by Almar of Bourn.
Probably by about 1150 those three estates had been consolidated by the Feugeres family, their tenants in demesne, descending until about 1270 with its Abington Pigotts manor. About 1199 Alan de Feugeres, then tenant, sued Ralph son of Joscelin for 1 hide at Croydon, which Ralph claimed to hold of Alan as a knight's fee. Ralph still held it c1235, and John Goscelin c1250 had 1 hide, which William Goscelin held in 1279 of Hamon Pichard, a Feugeres coheir, under the Scalers. By 1346 it had passed to the Hospitallers of Shingay. An associated fee of 1 hide belonged in the mid 13th century to Humphrey at Minster, and by 1302 to Robert at Church, also passing to the Hospitallers. In the 1570s a manor styled that of John of, or Humphrey at, the 'Monastery' was incorporated with Tailboys and Francis manors.
The latter estate had been divided among co-heirs when the Feugeres male line failed c. 1270. One fraction with 27 acres belonged by 1279 to Hamon Pichard, with whose Abington land it descended until the 1340s. By 1381 what was perhaps the same fraction with 60 acres belonged to the Herons. The greater part, with 115 acres of demesne, was owned in 1279 by Richard le Fraunceys, who had bought out two other Feugeres coheirs in 1272 and died after 1283. From his successor John Fraunceys, tenant in 1302 and 1327 (died c. 1337), that manor passed to Richard Fraunceys, tenant in 1346, whose daughter and heir Eleanor married first Sir John Norwich (d. s.p. 1373) and then by 1377 Geoffrey Cobbe. In 1380 Cobbe held with her 2 carucates at Croydon, briefly forfeited for his insurgency in 1381.
The estate next passed to John Walter of Orwell, who had land at Croydon by 1363 and occupied a manor there in 1381. He was succeeded between 1388 and 1405 by John Walter, probably his son, lord of Francis manor in 1428. That John died in 1460, leaving a son Walter (d. c. 1470). Walter left a life interest in the manor to his widow Agnes with remainder in tail male to his illegitimate son John, who turned Agnes out after a lawsuit in 1488, but had himself died without issue by 1499. The manor then came to Henry Walter, a London scrivener [someone employed to make written copies of documents and manuscripts], son of John's uncle Henry. The younger Henry died in 1527, leaving it to his son William. Francis manor was then said to be held in socage of the Hospitallers of Shingay, and later of their successors there. On William's death in 1559 Francis and Tailboys manors descended to his son John (d. 1582), who in 1579 transferred that estate to his son William. The latter leased and mortgaged it in 1585 to Anthony Cage of Longstowe, selling out to him in 1591.
Cage died in 1603, having devised Croydon to two younger sons, who were bought out in 1606 by his eldest son John, knighted in 1609. In 1616 Sir John acquired from Richard Godfrey all his lands, including c. 230 acres of the former Tailboys demesne which Richard's ancestor Luke Godfrey had bought from Sir Robert Tyrwhitt in 1554. Sir John died in 1628. His son and heir Anthony was heavily indebted long before he was fined as a royalist in 1648. In 1643 he had mortgaged to Rose Hale, who took possession in 1645, c. 655 acres in the south of Croydon, which her representatives retained until after 1675. In 1655 Ralph Bovey foreclosed on a mortgage of another 850 acres including the Wilds farm. After Bovey's death in 1679 his widow sold that land in 1681 to John Gape the younger of St. Albans (Herts.) (d. 1734). Meanwhile Sir Anthony Cage had died in 1668, leaving his little remaining land in Croydon to his son William Cage, and his other rights there to his daughter Anne and her husband Henry Slingsby to be sold to pay off the mortgages. Instead they at once settled the manor on themselves. In 1676 William Cage conveyed up to 120 acres in Croydon to Sir George Downing, already owner of Clopton, whose family's estates later included c. 647 acres in the south of Croydon, probably derived through the 1643 mortgage. Henry Slingsby died in 1690 and Anne in 1695. Their younger son Anthony (d. s.p. 1697) inherited the manorial rights and devised them to his sister Elizabeth and her husband Adelard Cage, who in 1704 conveyed their last 25 acres at Croydon to John Gape.
The manorial estate, thus partly reunited, and comprising in 1747 c. 840 a. and in 1839 899 a., descended from John Gape (d. 1734) in successive generations to William Gape (d. 1742), Thomas Gape (d. 1799), the Revd. James Carpenter Gape (d. 1827), and Thomas Foreman Gape (d. s.p. 1857). The latter's brother George (d. 1874) was succeeded by his son James John (d. 1904) whose grandson and heir W. N. W. Gape died in 1942, leaving his lands to his widow Sibyl. About 1949 she sold the Croydon farms, mainly to their tenants.
A manor house, perhaps that of Tailboys manor, probably stood on a moated site on the high ground 600 metres north-west of the church. About 1840 a new farmhouse was built slightly west of it for Manor farm. Four other moats south of the village are perhaps attributable to the lesser estates combined into Francis manor. A regular moat, 90 metres square, was made in the north end of the parish by the Cages in the early 17th century around a house described by 1648 as the 'mansion house upon the Wilds'. It was later also named Croydon Tower from the square tower which stood in the middle of the brick E-plan house. In 1664 it had 14 hearths. Later used as the farmhouse for Croydon Wilds farm, its surviving northern part was demolished c. 1957 by the farmer.
Three yardlands at Croydon held by Earl Roger in 1086 presumably passed with his Shingay manor to the Hospitallers, who had about 50 acres in Croydon in 1279 and 1338. Much land there was still attached to the Shingay estate in 1547 and 1615, but it was probably included, along with the rectorial glebe once appropriated by Barnwell priory, in the Russells' sale of their Croydon land to Sir John Cage in 1618. In the 13th century small properties in Croydon were acquired and let at fee farm by Warden Abbey (Bedfordshire.) and Sawtry Abbey (Huntingdonshire).
In 1086 a manor of 1 hide at Clopton, to which 2 hides at Croydon and 1 hide at East Hatley were attached, was held by Humphrey de Andeville of Eudes the steward (d. s.p. 1120). Eudes's barony was later divided: the lordship over Clopton was included in the portion granted by Henry II to his chamberlain Warin FitzGerold (d. s.p. 1159), whose brother Henry was overlord in 1166. From Henry's elder son Warin the overlordship passed through a daughter to the Redvers earls of Devon. Upon the death of Isabel, countess of Aumale, in 1293, the FitzGerold inheritance came to Warin de Lisle of Rougemont (d. 1296), great-grandson of Henry FitzGerold's younger son Henry. In 1326 Clopton was held as knight's fee of Warin's son Robert (d. 1344), whose grandson Robert (d. c. 1395) surrendered his 86 knight's fees, including Clopton, to the Crown in 1368. Under Henry VI the manor was still said to be held of Lisles fee, but by 1471, perhaps from confusion with Clopton (Northants.), the overlordship was ascribed to Thorney Abbey, whose successor at Thorney, Sir William Russell, was named as overlord in 1596.
CLOPTON BURY manor also called WAKEFIELDS around 1480 and in 1530, was held in demesne by 1166 by Thomas de Andeville, whose son Hamelin (fl. 11981217) was succeeded by Richard de Andeville, lord c. 1235 and in 1242. The next lord Alexander de Andeville died between 1271 and 1274. His widow Beatrice held Clopton in dower in 1279. By 1283 their daughter Beatrice had married Robert Hoo, who was granted free warren there in 1292. In 1298 they granted the manor for his life to William Bereford, chief justice of the Common Pleas 130926, to whom, after Robert's death in 1310, Beatrice released the freehold in 1313.
When Bereford died in 1326 his heir was his eldest surviving son Edmund, already in holy orders and a pluralist. Of Edmund's three illegitimate sons, upon whom he settled his extensive lands before his death in 1354, the second, Baldwin, received Clopton in tail male in 1342, subject to a life interest for Margaret, countess of Hereford, and succeeded to the remaining lands in 1356. In 1372 Sir Baldwin Bereford sold Clopton manor to William Newport, a London fishmonger, who died in 1391 having provided for its sale. By 1393 it had been acquired by the brothers Richard and Thomas Haselden of Guilden Morden, after whose deaths possession came in 1405 to their illegitimate cousin Hugh Haselden. In 1406, however, following the aged Sir Baldwin Bereford's death in 1405, the descendants of Edmund Bereford's three sisters and lawful heirs, Joan, Agnes, and Margaret, won their claim to the manor on the expiry of the entail. They divided the manor into fractions between them.
Agnes's interest, descending through the Argentines of Melbourn, came to the descendants of her three granddaughters, Elizabeth, Joan, and Maud. Elizabeth's son, Sir Baldwin St. George (d. 1425), was succeeded by his grandson William St. George, named as a coparcener in 1428. Joan Argentine's rights passed through her daughter Margaret Bokenham, whose daughter Margaret and her husband Robert FitzRalph sold their share in 1431 to Robert Clopton, a London draper. Maud married Sir Ives FitzWarin of Dorset, who died in 1414, holding supposedly a sixth of Clopton manor. His daughter and heir Eleanor, then wife of Sir John Chidiock (d. 1415), married Ralph Bush in 1416 and died in 1433. When Bush died in 1441, the ninth of Clopton Bury which he still held passed to his stepson Sir John Chidiock, whose rights were inherited by two daughters.
From Joan Bereford, wife of Sir Gilbert Chels-field, a reversionary title to a third of the manor descended to two great-granddaughters, Joan, wife of Thomas Loundres, a plaintiff in 1406 but not recorded at Clopton later, and Anne, whose daughter Joan married John Hore of Childerley, another plaintiff, still tenant in 1428. Hore died soon after 1434, leaving half of a third of Clopton manor to his son Gilbert who in 1445 sold it to Alderman Robert Clopton.
The remaining third of Clopton Bury manor came in 1406 to Sir Philip Sinclair of Kent, descended through the Audleys, lords of Horseheath, from Margaret Bereford. Sir Philip died in 1408, and his third passed in succession to his sons John (d. s.p. 1418 aged 21), and Thomas, of age in 1423, who died in 1435, leaving three daughters. Thomas's third share was assigned to Elizabeth, the eldest daughter, who with her husband William Lovell sold it in 1457 to Robert Clopton the younger. He was kinsman and successor to the elder Robert Clopton, an alderman from 1434 and mayor of London 1412 (d. 1448), who had probably acquired all the other fractions of Bury manor. In 1457 2/3 of it were settled in tail upon the marriage of his namesake. When the younger Robert died without issue in 1471, the whole manor passed to his brother William. In 1486 William promised to sell his estate to Thomas Thoresby, a merchant of King's Lynn (Norfolk), then in possession as lessee and mortgagee. In 1489, however, he sold it instead, except for the manor house which he reserved for himself and his wife Gillian to live in, to John Fisher, serjeant-at-law. Fisher bought out Thoresby's claim, but had many disputes with William Clopton (d. after 1501).
When Fisher, a justice of the Common Pleas 15019, died in 1510, Clopton descended to his son Michael. However, just before Gillian died, still occupying the manor house, in 1525 the estate was seized by Thomas Chicheley of Wimpole, claiming as grandson and heir of Alderman Clopton's daughter Alice. In 1527, following arbitration, he sold his interest to Michael Fisher, who was knighted by 1529 and died in 1549. His heir was his daughter Agnes, wife of Oliver St. John, created in 1559 Lord St. John of Bletsoe, who died in 1582. From his eldest son John (d. 1596) Clopton Bury passed to John's daughter Anne, who in 1597 married William Howard, by courtesy Lord Howard of Effingham (d. s.p. 1615). In 1616 Anne sold Clopton to Francis Russell, then Lord Russell of Thornhaugh and from 1627 earl of Bedford (d. 1641). Clopton was probably used to support Earl Francis's fifth son Edward. (fn. 219) In 1677 the Russells sold it to Sir George Downing, with whose Cambridgeshire lands it descended thereafter, passing in 1800 to Downing College, Cambridge. The college sold its farms in Croydon and Clopton in 1947, mostly to the tenants. The manor house, called in 1490 the Bury, presumably stood within the round moat towards the north-east corner of the former village. It was last recorded in 1525. The farmhouse which replaced it, itself rebuilt in brick in the early 18th century, declined after 1750 into cottages and was demolished soon after 1900.
Another manor in Clopton, ROWSES, derived from the 3 hides held in 1086 by the bishop of Winchester, with whose Steeple Morden estate the land passed in Stephen's reign to the honor of Boulogne. Rowses was later held of that honor, the lords of Cheyneys manor in Steeple Morden being mesne lords of 1 hide of it. Another 1 hide was held of Lesnes abbey (Kent), founded in 1178, to which Robert de Rokelle gave it in free alms. In 1196 Simon le Rous, whose father William had been tenant in Henry I's reign, successfully sued the abbey's tenant Ralph son of Everard for that half manor, which the Rouses thenceforth held of the abbey as 1/5 fee, for 2 10s. a year regularly paid until the 15th century. Simon (fl. 1209) was succeeded by William le Rous, probably his son, tenant from 1217 to his death in 1250. His son and heir Geoffrey (d. 1267) left a son Robert aged 4, who in 1294 sold the Clopton land to Hugh Clopton. When Hugh died in 1306 Rowses and 80 acres held of Bury manor passed to an infant kinswoman Maud, whose wardship was purchased by Hugh le Rous of Oakington, lord c. 1317. John le Rous, lord by 1327, held 120 a. at Clopton in 1345 and died in 1356. The lord of Cheyneys then granted Rowses to William Childerley. William Newport (d. 1391) probably owned it by 1381, and it passed with Bury manor to the Haseldens. In 1430, when Rowses was occupied by Sir Robert Hakebeche and his wife Joan for her life, John Middleton sold the reversion to Alderman Clopton, to whom Richard Haselden's grandson William released it in 1445. Thereafter it passed with the Bury manor, into which it merged after 1550. Its manor house possibly stood near Rowses wood.
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