Footpath 16 (East Hatley)
Direction NW – SE, then NNE – SSW Distance: c.850 m. Back to map
Footpath 16 starts at about 76 metres above sea level on east side of East Hatley village street, before you get to Manor Farm and The Palace (TL 286504). According to the Victoria County History of West Cambridgeshire, The Palace is ’a high, gaunt house erected for members of Downing College to occupy while supervising the College estate (P.R.O., RG 10/1577; Cambs. Ind. Press, 1st Dec. 1961). The parish had fallen into such a poor agricultural state in the early 19th century that the College began investing. They had acquired Sir George Downing’s estate in 1800 (see Gamlingay Footpath 8 for details of the Downing story). Small cottages began to be built on the village street in the 1850s and there were six farms by the 1870s. The college bursar is said to have moved in to The Palace as the estate manager.
The Moats marked on the O.S. map and other earthworks in the vicinity of the footpath are referred to in the Royal Commission of Historic Monuments:
(15) MOATED SITE (Class A1 (a); N.G. TL 285503), immediately N.E. of The Palace on the S.E. side of East Hatley village street. From the interior of the moat, now a kitchen garden, pottery of the 13th to 18th centuries has been collected. A trapezoidal area 160 ft. N.W. by 125 ft. N.E. by 164 ft. S.E. by 150 ft. S.W. is surrounded by a wet ditch 20 ft. to 30 ft. wide and 2 ft. to 2 ˝ ft. deep. There is a causeway, perhaps original, 20 ft. wide, in the centre of the N.W. side, the ditch of which is doubled near the N. angle.
…S.E. of the green are other ditched enclosures. That furthest to the N.E., 230 ft. N.E. to S.W. by 90 ft. with ditches 15 ft. to 20 ft. wide and 1 ft. to 2 ft. deep, is cut by the modern road. Immediately S.W. of this are remains of five or more similar enclosures, approximately 100 ft. to 120 ft. square. S.E. of these, adjoining ridge and furrow, cobbles and pottery of the 11th to 17th centuries occur; more irregular remains to the S.W. are probably further building sites. Kinks in the hedge parallel to the S.E. side of the green suggest long crofts behind the ditched building enclosures, later destroyed and ploughed or reploughed into the existing fields.
(R.C.H.M. (1968), Inventory Vol. I, West Cambs. p. 150)
After about 300 metres it crosses a footbridge across a drainage ditch (TL 288503) and begins to descend the valley in a south-easterly direction. The village used to have sixty acres of meadow along this water-course, thought to have been separated by two double rows of furlongs, 220 yard long strips. The NW- SE rectangular shape of the fields to the south and east of East Hatley mostly lie across the length of the medieval furlongs, 220 yard long strips behind the small crofts, farms that used to line the south-eastern side of the triangular village green. About 450 m. further down before the bottom of the valley it crosses another footbridge (TL 289501) at 61 metres above sea level and then turns south-southwest and follows the north-western side of the valley for about 400 m. to meet Bridleway 14 at the bridge over the stream (TL 287497). Bridleway 14 takes you northwest back up the hill towards Bridleway 3 and Buff Wood or southeast towards Hart’s Old Farm and Croydon.