The History of Hatley St George
Back to map
(Transcription of Victoria County History, Cambs. pp.105-111 with annotations by
Bernard O’Connor May 2006)
The name of Hatley occurs as early as 986 (Hart, Early Charters of E. England, pp.45-46).
The Domesday Book of 1086 refers to three vills (villages – the others being Cockayne Hatley and East Hatley) (V.C.H. Cambs.
Vol. I, pp.375,377, VCH, Beds. Vol. I, p.259). By 1218
Hatley St George was distinguished from the others
by the name Hungry Hatley. That was its most common appellation in the Middle Ages and may reflect the poverty of the parish. The
style Hatley St George (de sancto Georgio) was used in
1279 but does not seem to have come general until the 17th century.
It is presumably derived from the St George family (P.N. Cambs. (E.P.N.S.), pp.54-55) who were the principal landowners in
the parish from the 13th century until 1658. The parish is situated
on relatively high ground for Cambridgeshire. The land in general slopes gently
eastwards from over 250 feet above sea level in the northeast to 200 feet in
the valley of Millbridge Brook. The soil is a heavy
clay. Drainage is principally effected by two streams
which merge to form Millbridge Brook flowing into Gamlingay. The parish includes
several ornamental lakes in Hatley
About one-third of the
parish is comprised in Hatley
Park, which includes
almost all the land south of the Gamlingay – Croydon road. The park is
principally pasture land with abundant shade provided by trees. The rest of the
parish is largely arable land with some patches of wood and some rough pasture
in the north.
Although the Gamlingay-Croydon road is the only modern
road through the parish, there is some evidence that in earlier times
north-south communications were of considerable importance. It has been
suggested that the original settlement of the Hatleys developed close to the
line of an ancient route which ran from the fens north of St Ives through Eltisley to Baldock (Herts.). a stretch of the route survives as Bar or Burr Lane to the west of Hatley St George
(R.C.H.M. Cambs. Vol.
I p.145). It may be significant that in 1279 the
villains (lowest class of feudal tenant) of Hatley St George were said to owe
an annual carrying-service to St Ives (Rot.
(Rec. Com.) Vol. 2, p.539). Park Farm, perhaps the
original site of the manor house of the St Georges, stands near Bar Lane (R.C.H.M. Cambs. Vol. I p.148-9). The ways to Cambridge and Royston were mentioned in 1639.
The Royston way may have followed the course of the modern road, but the Cambridge way perhaps ran north-eastwards across the
parish to join the Cambridge
way in Longstowe and continue on to the county town
as Port Way.
(C.U.L. Ely Dioc. Recs. H1/3). A drift way running north-eastwards went out of
use after 1839, and the principal drives to Hatley Park were made after 1841
With the exception of Hatley Park
house and Park Farm, a building probably dating from the 16th century
Vol. I p.145), most of the buildings in Hatley St George
are situated along the Gamlingay – Croydon road. Although no other village site
has been identified, there is evidence that the settlement was more widely
distributed over the parish. (Maybe cottages were demolished when Hatley Park
was developed). It is probable that ‘Heylegrange’
which belonged to Sawtry Abbey (Hunts.) stood in the north part of the parish
by the boundary with Little Gransden
(??Crooked Billet Farm) In 1839 there were three farmsteads standing well north
of the road, Hill Farm, its subsidiary farmhouse called Cottage Farm, and
William Ingle’s farmhouse (C.R.O. P88/27; R50/20/4), probably known as Broad
Leys in 1851 (H.O. 107/1758). All three farmsteads had disappeared by 1918
(C.U.L. Maps 53 (1)/91/158). The small and straggling village includes on the
south side the church and park lodges, and on the north side the former
rectory, deserted and derelict in 1967, Church Farm, the George beer-house, and
a number of dwellings. Many of the dwellings are 19th century estate
cottages, but there are some more modern. A village hall, given by Major Astor
of Hatley Park, was opened in 1960 to replace the
village institute (Cambs. Chron. 1st Dec. 1961). The village possessed
an alehouse in 1638 which was frequented by the rector. (Cambs.
Episc. Visit 1638 – 65, ed. Palmer, 87, where the
date is given as 1662) In 1839 the George stood south
of the road on the site later occupied by one of the park lodges (C.R.O.
P88/27; R50/20/4). A new George was built by Thomas St Quintin
in 1850 c. 350 yards east of the former house and on the opposite side of the
road (R.C.H.M. Cambs. Vol. I p.149).
Seventeen peasants were recorded in Hatley St George
in 1086 (R.C.H.M. Cambs. Vol. I pp.377, 384, 394). Thirteen
inhabitants were assessed to the subsidy of 1327 (Cambs. Lay Subsidy, 1327, 49) and only 69 paid poll tax in 1377,
the lowest number for any parish in the hundred (East Anglian, N.S. Vol. xii, p.241).
Similarly only 10 taxpayers lived there in 1525, and there were only 4 families
in 1563 (E179/81/161; M.M. Harl. MS. 594, f.198v).
Fifteen tenements, 9 of which had one or two hearths only, paid the hearth tax
(on the number of fireplaces) of 1662. The number of tenements, almost exactly
the same in 1666 and 1674, accords well with the statement in 1646 that there
were no more than fifteen families in the parish (Bodl.
MS. Bodl. 323, f. 28v).
There were said to be 12 families there in 1728 (B.M. Add. MS.
5828, f.94) and 15 in 1755 (C.U.L. Ely Dioc. Recs. G1/11). A considerable increase in population appears
to have occurred in the later 18th century (probably with the
development of Hatley Park) and there were 25 families, making 100 inhabitants,
c.1793, exclusive of Thomas St Quentin’s household of fifteen (Vancouver, Agric. in Cambs. pp.89-90). There were
101 inhabitants in 1801 and the population rose gradually until 1861 when it
stood at 164. The population was returned at only 97 in 1871, but by 1881 had
recovered to 132. Thereafter it declined and stood at only 49 in 1931 (V.C.H. Cambs. Vol. 2, p.137).
Some increase occurred by 1951 the population was 67 (Census 1951).
Sir Richard St George (d.1635), the second son of
Francis St George, the lord of the manor, was created Clarenceaux
king-of-arms in 1623 and conducted heraldic visitations of several counties.
His son Sir Henry became garter king-of-arms in 1644 and died the same year
(D.N.B. which makes Sir Richard the son of Thomas St George; cf. Visit. Cambs. (Harl. Soc. Xli), 91, a visitation
made by Sir Henry).
MANOR AND OTHER ESTATES
In 986 Athelstan Mannessune gave 2 hides (240 acres) in Hatley to his sister
and the remainder of his estate there to his kinsman, Leofsige.
Between 986 and 989 Athelstan and his wife Affa gave land in Hatley to Ramsey Abbey (Hunts.), and by
the will of Alfhelm Polga
in 989 Hatley, except for a donation to Osgar, was to
be divided between Alfmaer and Alfstan
(Proc. C.A.S. lvi-lvii,
pp.64-65). It is not known which Hatley is meant, although it has often been
assumed from associations with Potton (Beds.) that it is Cockayne Hatley.
Ramsey Abbey owned no land in Hatley in 1066 (e.g. D. Whitelock,
Anglo-Saxon Wills, p.136; V.C.H. Beds. Vol. ii, p.215).
In 1066 (following the Norman Conquest) Alward, a man of Robert Fitzwymark,
held 2 hides in Hatley St George and another hide was held by two of Robert’s sokemen (middle class citizens awarded with land for their
services but who had to provide ‘moderate’ labour in return for the property.
They could pass the land on to their heirs for one ‘heriot’
– a tribute or service to the lord of the manor). A further hide was held by
three of the King’s sokemen and a virgate
(30 acres) was held by Almar the man of Eddeva (V.C.H. Cambs.. Vol. i, pp. 377,384,394).
The virgate was held by Count Alain of Brittany in 1086 by the same Almar,
who was possibly the Almar who held an estate in East Hatley of the count (Ibid. p. 375,377). Eudes the sewer (steward) held the hide which had formerly
belonged to Robert’s sokemen and the remaining three
hides had come into the possession of Picot the sheriff. Picot claimed to hold
one of the hides in exchange for land in Rushden
(Herts.) (Ibid. pp.384,394. According to the BBC
History website, Picot, the sheriff
of Cambridge was a particularly nasty example of his kind: he was characterised
as: 'A hungry lion, a ravening wolf, a cunning fox, a dirty pig and an impudent
dog' by the Abbot of Ely, with whom he had more than one run-in.).
Eudes’s land cannot be traced unless it formed part of the
estate in Gamlingay and Hatley held by Remphrey son
of Roger in 1206. Remphrey was tenant of one of the
estates which had developed from Eudes’s manor of
Gamlingay (Feet of Fines (Rec. Com), i, p.319; Farrer, Feud. Cambs. p.60).
Although only one virgate in
Hatley St George had been held of Count Alain of Brittany
in 1086, the greater part of the vill(age) belonged to the honour of Richmond
(Surrey) in 1279. The honour’s lands then
comprised ½ knight’s fee, already held of Richmond
c.1235, one hide held in socage (as with sokemen), and 130a. held in free
arms (Rot.Hund. (Rec. Com), ii,
p.539; Liber de Bernewelle, p.245).
As in Caldecote, the overlordship
descended with the honour of Richmond.
In 1279the lands were held of Sir Simon de Furneaux,
lord of Barham manor in Linton (Cambs.), as an
intermediate lord under the honour of Richmond
(Rot.Hund. (Rec. Com), ii,
p.539; Farrer, Feud. Cambs. p.60; Sir Simon lived in Kilne manor, Somerset).
The Furneaux family had held Barham
since 1086 but no connection with Hatley has been traced before 1279 (Farrer, Feud. Cambs. pp.59-60, 166-7). Thereafter this portion of the vill(age),
and later the whole manor, was held of the lords of Barham
who in turn held the honour of Richmond.
(Cal. Inq. p.m.
Vol. ii, p.221; C140/38/50; Cal. Inq. p.m.
Hen. VII, Vol. i, p.60) In
an inquisition of 1617, referring to 1584, the manor was said to be held of the
heirs of Simon de Furneaux (C142/644/25). In 1701
John Millicent, lord of Barham, released to Sir
Robert Cotton a rent of 13s.4d. which may represent
the rent of 13s. 4d. paid in 1279 for the hide held in socage
(C.U.L. Doc.963; Rot.Hund. (Rec. Com), ii,
Robert de Sap held ½ knight’s fee in Hatley St George
of the honour of Richmond
c.1235. (Liber de Bernewelle, p.245).
Robert de Sap, perhaps the same man, had initiated litigation against the Abbot
of Sawtry (Hunts.) concerning land in Hatley in 1210 (Cur.Reg.R.vi.p.89). Gilbert de Sap had view of frankpledge (An Anglo-Saxon legal system
in which units or tithings composed of ten households
were formed, in each of which members were held responsible for one another's
conduct) there in Henry III’s
reign (Liber de Bernewelle, p.275).
In 1279 the 1/3 fee was held by Ellis of Gledseye,
probably in right of his wife Helen (Rot.Hund. (Rec. Com), ii, p.539). Helen’s ancestor had given land in
Hatley belonging to the fee to Sawtry Abbey; Ibid). Ellis still held it in
1202-3 (Feud. Aids, Vol.i,p.149). Simon of Bourn, lessee of the Sawtry (Abbey)
estate, may have been in possession of the 1/3 fee in Hatley in 1324 (Ibid.
i.p.188). In 1346 John son of Robert of Granchester
(Cambs.) held the estate (B.M. Harl. Ch.83.A.39; C.P. 40/250m.45d). Thereafter nothing is known
about its descent until 1428 when it was held by Joan, widow of Baldwin St
George (d.1425) (Ibid.p.188); thereafter Hatley St George descended as a single
It is probable that at least part of Picot’s Domesday estate in Hatley St George descended like the
manor of Kingston St George. In 1212 Maud de Dive (d.1218) was said to hold 1
fee in Kingston, Hatley St George, and Trumpington of
the honour of Peverel of Dover (recte Peverel
of Bourn) (Red Bk. Exch. (Rolls Ser.)
I, 123). In 1279 the Hatley portion of the fee was
stated to be held of the heirs of Richard de Mucegros
of Arrington, husband of Maud’s granddaughter Alice, and Richard and Alice to
hold of the earl of Winchester who held of the
earl of Gloucester
(Rot.Hund. (Rec. Com), ii,
p.539). The references to the earldoms of Winchester
may have been by association with Arrington which was held of those fees. (Farrer, Feud. Cambs. pp.254-5). They do not recur in connexion with Hatley St
George. Nor is there any further reference to the overlordship
of the heirs of Richard de Mucergros. The St George
family, under-tenants of the fee, held a hide in socage
of the honour of Richmond
(Rot.Hund. (Rec. Com), ii, p.539), and it may be
significant that in 1324 the wardship of William St
George apparently lay in the gift of John de Furneaux
(C.P. 40/250 m.45d). By the 15th century the manor of Hatley St
George was held of the manor of Richmond (C
Inq.p.m. Hen.VII, i,p.60).
In 1086 Picot had enfeoffed
(allowed on payment of a fee) one Roger with lands in Hatley St George (V.C.H. Cambs. Vol. ii,
p.394). about 1235 William St George held 1 fee
Hatley St George and Trumpington of the fee of Maud
de Dive. John St George was also said to hold a geldable
(payment in gold) hide in Hatley of the same fee (Liber de Bernewelle, pp.245-6). It is not
known when the St George family established themselves there, but in 1182 William St
George held land in Kingston
(Visit. Cambs. (Harl. Soc. xli) pp.89-90), and until 1644 a plaque in Hatley St George
church commemorated his gift of land in Haslingfield
to Clerkenwell Priory (Mdx.)
in Henry II’s reign (‘Camb. Jnl.
of Wm. Dowsing’, ed. A.C. Moule, Hist. Teachers’ Miscellany, iv. p.107). In
1279 Baldwin St George held a capital messuage (a
dwelling house and its adjacent buildings and the adjacent land used by the
household) of the heirs of Richard de Mucegros and 1
hide of Simon de Furneaux (Rot.Hund. (Rec. Com), ii, p.539). He probably died
c.1284 (Bodl.MS. Gough Camb.
20, p.527) and was succeeded by his son William, whose widow Margaret was
returned as lady of the vill(age) in 1316 (Feud. Aids. i, 149,157; Misc. Gen. et Herald. NS iii, 77).
William’s grandson William, still a minor in 1324 (C.P. 40/250 m.45d), was in
possession of the estate in 1346 (Feud. Aids. i, 169) and was succeeded by his
son Baldwin (d.1383) (Cal. Fine R. 1377-83, 375). Baldwin’s
son, also Baldwin, died in 1425 (Ibid. 1383-91, 11; brass in Hatley St George
church) and the manor passed to his grandson William (d.1472) (Visit. Cambs. (Harl. Soc. xli) p.91), the visitation
was made by Henry St George and the pedigree is generally accurate; C
140/38/50) whose heir was his son Richard (d.1485) (Cal. Inq.p.m. Hen.VII, i,p.60). Richard’s
son Thomas, a minor at his father’s death, died in 1540 (E.D.R. (1909), 12;
C142/62/19) and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, Francis (d.1584) (Visit. Cambs. (Harl. Soc. xli) p.91; C142/644/25). Francis’s son and heir John St George the elder, a papist
(Protestant term for a Roman Catholic) C.U.L. Ely Dioc.
B2/28; cf. Cambs. Episc.
Visit. 1638 – 65, ed. Palmer, 78-91, which gives 1662 in error for 1638;
and for William St George, Alum. Cantab, to 1751 Douay Diaries
1598 – 1654 (Cath. Rec. Soc. x),I,104,364;
Cal. S.P. Dom 1611-18, 510,522; Acts of P.C.
1618-19, 197), died before 1646 and was succeeded by his son John, the
younger (Visit. Cambs.
(Harl. Soc. xli) p.91). The younger John, an
active supporter of Charles I, was taken prisoner by the parliamentary forces
at Grafton House (Northants.) in 1643 and three years later compounded
(imprisoned) for his delinquency (Cal. Cttee. for Compounding, 1588). In 1648 he was accused
of attempting to raise a rebellion in Cambridgeshire and was fined. In 1652 his
estate was ordered to be seized (Cal. S.P. Dom.
1648-9, 139 Cal.
Cttee. for Money, ii, 983,985). He died the same
year (Misc. Gen. et
Herald, N.S. iii, 79), and by 1653 the manor was in the possession of his
second son, Richard (C.R.O. R56/5/43). In 1658 Richard St George sold the manor to
Sir Thomas Cotton, Bt. of Connington (Hunts.) (C.R.O. R56/5/45; G.E.C. Baronetage,
i, 45-7). On Sir Thomas death in 1662 it
passed to his eldest son, Sir John Cotton, Bt., who in the next year settled it
upon his half-brother, Sir Robert Cotton (H.R. Moulton, Paleontology, Geneaology and Topography, 129; G.E.C. Baronetage, I, 45-7) on Sir Robert’s death in 1717 (Political State of Gt.
Britain, xiv, 303). He is to be distinguished from Sir Robert Cotton, Bt.
(d.1749): G.E.C. Baronetage, i, 45-7). His heir was his daughter Alice, wife of
Samuel Trefusis of Trefusis
(in Mylor, Cornwall)
(J. Le Neve, Pedigree
of Kts. (Harl. Soc. Viii), 171; Gent. Mag., iv, 452). Alice
predeceased her husband, who died in 1724. His second wife, Margaret, who later married Sir John Hinde
Cotton, Bt. Of Madingley (Complete Peerage, iii, 321), appears to have held the estate until
her death in 1734. Robert Trefusis, son of Samuel and
Alice (Gent. Mag., iv,
452), sold the manor in 1732 to
Commissioner Pearce (C.P. 25 (2)/1102 6 Geo. II Hil.; B.M.Add.MS.5820,f.50).
Pearce’s son, Best (d.1796) (B.M.Add.MS.5820,f.50;
memorial tablet in Hatley St George church), sold it to Thomas Quintin, a wealthy glass manufacturer, in 1785 (Index to
feet of fines, Cambs. 25 Geo.III Trin. (file
of fines missing); Gent. Mag. Lxxvi(1),
186). Quintin died in 1806 and the manor descended in
his family, which assumed the name St Quintin, to
successive eldest sons: John Whitby (d.1833), Thomas (d.1852), and Thomas
(Burke, Land. Gent. (1871), ii, 1212; Alum. Cantab. 1752-1900
s.v. St Quintin; memorial
tablets in parish church), who, in 1868, sold it to John Carbery
Evans (d.1893) (C.U.L. Maps bb. 53(1)86/6; Kelly’s
Directory Cambs. (1879); memorial tablet in Hatley St
George church). The estate was offered for sale in 1895 (C.U.L. Maps bb.
53(1)89/21) and in the following year the company promoted Ernest Hooley was
said to be lord of the manor. He went bankrupt in 1898 (Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1896); cf. E.T. Hooley, Hooley’s Confessions (1925), 23, 233-4, 268-9; http://www.users.bigpond.com/burnside/Hooley.htm;
G.E.C. Baronetage, I, 45-7). By 1900,
however, the owner was Sir Charles Hamilton, Bt. (d.1928) (Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1900); Who Was Who 1916 – 28). Hamilton sold the manor to Ernest Ridgill in 1919 (C.U.L. Maps 53(1)/91/158; Cambs. Chron.
1 Dec. 1961). Between 1933 and 1937 it was obtained by (furniture manufacturer)
Herman (later Sir Herman) Lebus d.1957) (Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1933, 1937); Who Was Who 1951-60), who sold it in 1946
to Major the Hon. J. J. Astor (Cambs. Chron. 1 Dec. 1961), the owner in 1967.
Baldwin St George had a capital messuage
in Hatley St George in 1279 (Rot.Hund. (Rec. Com), ii, p.539). it has been
suggested that the site of the manor house in 1601 was that later occupied by
Park Farm (R.C.H.M. Cambs. i, 148). John Layer (d.1640) wrote that the ‘ancient
seat is decayed, a fine site of an old house, and a pretty gentlemanlike seat
now there built’ (John Layer C.A.S. 8vo ser.liii,
106). The early 17th century building appears to have formed the
nucleus of the present manor house called Hatley Park standing south-east of
Park Farm (R.C.H.M. Cambs. i, 148-9). The mansion was extensively rebuilt by Sir Robert
Cotton between 1662 and 1674 (E179/84/436; E179/244/13). Margaret Trefusis, later Cotton, (d.1734) enlarged the house
(Carter, Hist. Cambs. 199-200). It was again extended
in the late 19th or early 20th century, but the additions
were demolished in the 1960s (R.C.H.M.
Before 1164 Sawtry Abbey (Hunts.) had been granted the
‘grange’ of Hatley (B.M. Cott. MS. Aug.ii,116). In 1279 the abbot of Sawtry held a messuage called Heylegrange with
130 a. in free alms in Hatley St George by the gift of an ancestor of Helen,
wife of Ellis of Gledseye (Rot.Hund. (Rec. Com), ii, p.539). In 1316 Heylegrange, together with land in several neighbouring
parishes, was leased to Simon of Bourn for life by the abbot (B.M. Harl. Ch. 83
A.39). There is a Hayley Wood in the south
part of Little Gransden adjoining Hatley St George
and it is possible that two pieces of land in the north part of Hatley St
George, called in 1839 the Grange and the ploughed Grange, mark the site of Heyleygrange (C.R.O. P88/27; R50/20/4). The estate in
Hatley remained with Sawtry until the Dissolution (of the Monasteries) when a messuage or grange with its lands had been leased to John
Marshall for 59 years from 1506 (S.C. 6/Hen. VIII/1666 m.4d).
In 1537 the reversion and rent were granted to Richard Williams
alias Cromwell who in the next year was licensed to alienate it to John
Burgoyne (of Potton) and his son Thomas (L.
& P. Hen. VIII, xii(2),pp.468-9; xii(i),p.132). This was presumably the estate in Hatley leased
in 1575 to Thomas Marshall by John Burgoyne of Potton (Beds.) and conveyed to
the St George family in 1653 by William Romney in return for a rent-charge on
the manor (C.U.L. Doc.951). Thereafter the estate appears to have remained with
In 1806 Admiral Dacres was
returned as proprietor of an estate in Hatley St George (B.M. Add. MS. 9413,f.136); he was probably Vice-Admiral James Richard Dacres (d.1810) (Naval
Chron. xxvi,p.265). In 1841 his son, James
Richard Dacres, who had been appointed Rear-Admiral
in 1838, was the owner of 306a. in Hatley St George
(C.R.O. R50/20/4; O’Byrne’s Naval Biog.
i, 256; http://www.famousamericans.net/jamesricharddacres/).
The origin of the estate is unknown although it may be significant that
Rear-Admiral Dacres’s mother was said to be the
daughter of a Mr Pearce of Cambridge (O’Byrne’s Naval Biog. i, 256), suggesting a
possible connexion with the Pearse family which held
land in Hatley St George manor (B.M. Add. MS. 9413,f.136).
The Dacres estate was occupied as one farm by John
Ingle in 1841 (C.R.O. R50/20/4) and was known as Hill Farm in 1851 (H.O.
107/1758). In 1868 the owner of the estate was James Wagstaffe
(d.1904) of Potton Manor (Beds.) (C.U.L. Maps bb,53(1)/86/6;
Kelly’s Dir. Cambs. (1892); Kelly’s Dir. Beds.
(1910), 154). Wagstaffe
still owned it in 1895 (C.U.L. Maps bb,53(1)/89/21)
but by 1918 it had been incorporated into the Hatley Park
estate. The farm buildings were removed and most of the land was included in
Church Farm (Ibid. Maps 53(1)/91/158).
ECONOMIC HISTORY. In 1086
Hatley St George was assessed as 4 hides and 1 virgate (510 acres), a figure which exactly represented the
estimate that there was land for 4½ ploughs, but only two ploughs were employed
in 1086. a high proportion of the land was held in
demesne (The part of the lord's manorial lands reserved for his own use and not
allocated to his serfs or freeholder tenants. Serfs worked the demesne for a
specified numbers of days a week).
Only 20a. of Eudes the sewer’s hide was held by 3 bordars,
(They were either people 'assarting' (farming) peripheral land, or they were members
of the lord's demesne, who farmed an area in return for wages, which include
the right to food from the lord's table) and the plough which the land could have supported
was not in use. The value of that hide had fallen from 20s. to
5s. since 1066. On Picot’s estate only 2 of the 3
possible ploughs were in use and the value had fallen from £7 in 1066 to £1
10s. In 1086 it included 4 villani, 4 bordars, and six
cottars (A peasant or farm laborer who occupies a
cottage and sometimes a small holding of land, usually in return for services). No servi (slaves captured in war or born of slave parents) were recorded in the vill(age). Wood was
available for fences and houses (V.C.H. Cambs.
That the vill(age) was distinguished by 1218 as Hungry Hatley suggests
that it was not a prosperous place (P.N. Cambs.
(E.P.N.S,),54-5). In 1279 the parish was divided
between the estates of Baldwin St George and Ellis of Gledseye.
In demesne Baldwin had a capital messuage with 120a. of arable, 6a.
of several pasture, and 15a. of
wood, already emparked and called Heldepark
(Rot.Hund. (Rec. Com), ii,
p.539), which has been interpreted as ‘old park’ (P.N. Cambs. (E.P.N.S,),163). He also
held a hide and 20a. of wood of Simon de Furneaux in socage, 5a. of wood and 6a. of several pasture
in exchange for land in Kingston,
and some as free tenant of Ellis of Gledseye. Baldwin had 17 customary tenants each holding a messuage and 12a. From Michaelmas
(Feast of St Michael and All Angels, 29th September) until Lammas
(August 1st) each performed two-weeks works and ploughed ½ rood (1/8th
of an acre) of land each Friday. Each week during harvest each villain had to
reap 2a. of corn and perform one boon-work with two
men (helping to plough the lord’s land). After harvest he had to do four week’s
work until Michaelmas. He owed 2 carrying services
yearly, once to St Ives and once to Cambridge.
He rendered 4 hens, a cock, and 40 eggs at Christmas, 40 eggs at Easter, and 5
geese at Lammas. At Christmas he also had to thresh 2 qr. (quarters – c.50-56
pounds) of barley in his lord’s barn and have it milled and malted for the
lord’s bakery. His sheep lay in the lord’s fold from Hockday
(2nd Tuesday after Easter when Saxons celebrated the defeat and
expulsion of the Danes) to Martinmas (Feast of St
Martin, 11th November). Baldwin
also had 4 cottars who paid rent and owed some labour services. Only 9½ a. were
held by free tenants, one of whom was the abbot of Sawtry. Ellis’s demesne
comprised a messuage with 120a. of
arable, 2a. of meadow, and 6a. of
several pasture. He had 5 free tenants holding about 180a. the
largest tenant was the abbot of Sawtry who held c.140a. in
free alms. There were no villains, but 5 cottars paid rent for their cottages (Rot.Hund. (Rec. Com), ii,
The later Middle Ages saw the
consolidation and engrossing (enlarging) of the St George estate. Of a total
tax paid of 32s.7½d. (£1.56) in 1327, the second lowest in
the hundred, 20s ¼d. came from William St
George and Simon of Bourn (Cambs. Lay
Subsidy 1327,49). Twenty-seven people contributed
to the wool subsidy of 1342, William St George being by far the largest
producer (Caius Coll. Libr. MS, 498/267). After the St Georges had acquired the estate
formerly held by Ellis of Gledseye, the only other
known estate of any size in the parish was that owned by Sawtry Abbey (V.C.H.Cambs,p. 106).
The expansion of the manorial estate may underlie the complaint by William Howlett of Hatley St George that in 1460 William St George seized him and
took 20 qr. of wheat, 40 qr. of malt, 20 qr. of barley, and 20 qr. of oats. St
George claimed that Howlett was his villain but
juried found that he was a free man (C.P. 40/816 m 144 and d.).
The glebe terrier (book containing details of land
ownership and tenants) of Hatley St George of 1639 named only two landowners in
the parish besides the rector: John St George and a Mr Turpin (C.U.L. Ely Dioc. Recs H1/3). In 1641
John St George’s lands were taxed at £8 (Cambs. Subsidy Rolls,
1250-1695, 45). In 1653 the
manor took in what appears to have been the Sawtry Abbey estate (V.C.H. Cambs, p. 108), and in the same year the St
Georges were said to own 1,300 a. of pasture and 100 a. of arable in Hatley and
Gamlingay (C.R.O. R56/5/43). In 1657 there were about 15 farms rented at
between £20 and £60 a year. Some may have been very small: a single close was
valued at £20 a year. The estate was heavily encumbered as a result of St George’s royalist
activities. Several rents had recently been raised, some beyond the real value
of the land. Most of the farm-houses were without either barns or stables and
were out of repair (C.U.L. Doc.1444).
In 1816 the Quintin’s estate
consisted of about 1,400 acres of which 500 was
totally abandoned, 300a. let at a reduced rent, and
the remaining 600a. in hand (Agric. State of Kingdom, 1816, 117). The poor rates were rising
and, in 1834, 7 able-bodied men out of 15 labourers in the parish were employed
in road-work because the farmers preferred, through lack of ready money, the
relatively infrequent demands of the poor-rate to the payment of regular weekly
wages (Rep.Com.Poor Laws H.C. 44, p.244 (1834), xxviii). In 1841 the parish, excluding the 50a. of
the park, was largely divided between four farms, of which three were held by
Thomas St Quentin’s tenants (C.R.O. R56/5/43). In 1851 the four farms employed
19 adult labourers and 8 boys (H.O. 107/1758) later the number of labourers on
the farms decreased, and the Hatley
Park estate became a
major source of employment. Broad Leys farm was taken into another farm, and
Hill Farm was merged with the Hatley
Park estate before
1918. By then almost all the land
outside the Park estate formed part of Church farm (C.U.L. Maps 53(1)/86/6:
89/21), which by 1950 was worked as a single unit with North Lodge Farm in
Gamlingay (Ibid. Maps 53(1)/95/11). Hatley Park, which
comprised 115a. in 1868, had been enlarged by
1895 to 256a. including pleasure grounds and
plantations, and seems to have been intended as a sporting estate on a small
scale (Ibid. Maps 53(1)/95/11). In 1905 work on the estate was provided to
avoid unemployment (E.D.R. (1905),12). In 1961 it was
said that most of the inhabitants were employed on the estate, which included
Major Astor’s stud farm (Cambs. Chron. 1 Dec. 1961).
Arable farming appears to have predominated up to the
17th century. In 1639 there were three open fields, East Field,
Middle Field, and the field next to Little Gransden.
Not much consolidation had taken place, and a few of the ridges of the glebe
(church land whose profits went to the rector) arable were larger than ½ a.
H1/3). In 1657 there was grazing in the parish for 200
sheep (C.U.L. Doc.1444). Some inclosure (fencing off)
of the demesne may have been effected by 1601, when land in Gamlingay belonging
to Hatley St George manor was said to have been enclosed (V.C.H. Cambs. Vol. ii, p.77).
About 1793 farming was mixed, and wheat, black oats,
peas, and clover were grown together with barley and turnips on the better
land. The whole parish was inclosed by then; it is
not known when the process was completed. In the north-east of the parish there
were about 100a. of ’very rich and luxuriant herbage’
and in all about half of the land appears to have been permanent grass. A
rotation of two crops and a fallow was followed, as specified in the tenants’
leases. The leases were short, running for between 3 and 12 years, and giving
no encouragement to the farmers to improve drainage. An acre was said to
produce either 17 bu(shels – about 1.24 cubic feet) of
wheat or peas and beans or 22 bu. of barley or oats.
One third of the flock of 900 sheep had perished of disease in 1792 (Vancouver, Agric. in Cambs. 88-90). In 1841 the parish contained almost equal
quantities of arable and pasture, and former pasture had been brought under the
Baldwin St George had a windmill at Hatley in 1279 (Rot.Hund. (Rec.Com.),ii,539), which was evidently the
mill that was burnt down in 1280 (Cal.Inq.Misc.i,p.597).
no more about it has been discovered.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT. In 1279 Baldwin St George had a view of frankpledge (An Anglo-Saxon legal system
in which units or tithings composed of ten households
were formed, in each of which members were held responsible for one another's
conduct.) in Hatley and the assize (A ruling from a court session.) of bread and ale of his
tenants twice a year (Rot.Hund. (Rec.Com.),ii,539), John St George had a court
leet (session) there in the early 17th
century (Bodl. MS. Gough Camb.19,p.135), and a view
of frankpledge was mentioned among the manorial appurtenances (A right, privilege, or
property that is considered incident to the principal property for purposes
such as passage of title, conveyance, or inheritance.) as late as 1785 (Index to feet of fines, Cambs. 25 Geo.III Trin. (file
of fines missing)). No court rolls have been traced.
A constable was mentioned in 1644 (Hist. Teachers’ Misc. iv,107). In 1638 there
was a churchwarden and an assistant chosen by the rector and parishioners (Cambs. Episc.
Visit 1638-65, ed. Palmer,89). In general there
seems to to have been only one full churchwarden (Gibbons,
Recs. 314; Bodl. MS. Gough Eccl. Top. 3 f.192). Only one overseer of the poor was recorded in 1834
(Rep. Com. Poor Laws, H.C. 44,p.244 (1834),xxviii). In the early 19th century
the poor rates (local council tax on businesses to be used for the poor, widows
and orphans) were rising and reached a peak of £141 in 1819 (Poor Rate Returns 1816-21,10;
1822-4,38). Between 1832 and 1834 expensiture on poor
relief averaged about £108 a year (Ibid. 1830-4, 16). In 1835 Hatley St George
was included in the Caxton and Arrington poor law
union (Poor Law Com. 1st
Rep. 248), and in 1934 was transferred to the Caxton
and Arrington R.D. (Rural District) (Census 1931, pt.ii).
CHURCH. The church
of Hatley St George is not mentioned
until a survey probably dating from 1217 (Val.
of Norwich, ed.Lunt,537), although Picot the
sheriff probably gave the canons of St Giles (later Barnwell Priory), Cambridge, a portion of
the tithes (10% of annual income) of his knights there in 1092 (Liber de Bernewelle, 40).
The advowson (nominating the rector) of the church,
which has remained a rectory, was held by Ellis of Gledseye
in 1279 (Rot. Hund. (Rec.Com.), ii,539). In 1298 Gledseye and his
wife Helen conveyed it to Guy le Especer of Cambridge (C.P.
25(1)/25/46). In 1324 Adam FitzSimmons unsuccessfully
claimed the right to present (the rector), as guardian of William St John (recte St George),
against Simon of Bourn (C.P. 40/250 m.45d.). Sir Thomas de Scalers,
Robert Musters, and John Riggesby were the patrons in
1349, acting perhaps as trustees or feoffees (people
granted land for a fee) (E.D.R.
(1893), 95). By 1398 the advowson had passed to
Baldwin St George (Ibid.(1898),56) and thereafter descended with the manor
until the early 20th century, although the queen presented in 1589
and Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1795 (Gibbons, Ely Episc. Recs.445; P.R.O. Inst. Bks.).
Sir Charles Hamilton, Bt. (d.1928), remained patron after selling the manor in
1919 (Crockford, (1926); V.C.H. Cambs. Vol. ii, p.107). The advowson later passed to H.T. Lloyd-Johnes
who had been rector of Hatley St George 1920-27 (Crockford,
(1935). In 1940 his eldest son, H.J. Lloyd-Johnes,
was patron (Ibid.(1940); Who’s Who (1966)). The bishop of Ely had the advowson
in 1951 (Crockford, (1951-2), but in the same year it
passed to Downing College, Cambridge, which was already patron of Tadlow with
East Hatley, with which Hatley St George was held in plurality. The college
remained the patron in 1967 although the bishop had suspended the right of
presentation to the benefice for at least three years (Ex inf.
The Revd. J.H. Hornby,
rector of St George 1959-66).
The rectory was assessed at only 3 marks in a
valuation made probably in 1217, at 4 marks in 1254, and at 8 marks in 1291,
being the poorest benefice in Bourn deanery (Val. of Norwich, ed. Lunt, 225,537). It was valued at £8 in 1535 (Valor Eccl. (Rec.Com.),iii,502).
In 1646 it was said to be worth £60 (Lamb.Pal.MS.904,f.316),
and the rector claimed c.1730 that its value was no greater (B.M. Add. MS.5828 f.94). In 1881 the incumbents gross income was said
to be £200 (C.U.L. Ely Dioc.Recs. C3/28).
Picot’s gift in 1092 of 2/3 of the tithes of his
knights in Hatley and elsewhere to the canons of St Giles failed to specify
which Hatley was meant (Liber de Bernewelle, p.40),
Picot having land in both East Hatley and Hatley St George (V.C.H. Cambs.,i,392,394). In 1291, however, the
prior of Barnwell owned a portion of the Hatley St George tithes worth 5s.(Tax Eccl.(Rec.Com.)269).
It appears to have been lost before the Dissolution (of the Monasteries)
(P.R.O. List of Lands of Dissolved
Religious Houses (Lists and Indexes, supp.ser.iii),I,p.42). In 1657 the lord of the manor paid £50 annually to
the incumbent in composition for tithes (C.U.L. Doc.1444). By an agreement of
1838 the tithes were commuted for a rent-charge of £165 (C.R.O. R50/20/4). It
is possible that ½ a. in Hatley St George conveyed with the advowson
in 1298 represented glebe land (C.P.25(1)/26/46). In 1639 the rector had c.30a. of
glebe with a house and a barn of 3 bays (C.U.L. Ely Dioc.
Recs. H 1/3). By 1791 the glebe had been reduced to 12a. of
pasture (Ibid. terrier of glebe lands, 1791). The building called the Old
Rectory stands on the site occupied by the rectory in 1839 (C.R.O. P88/27). It
is a two-storey high 19th century brick building. It was said to be
in need of repair when offered for sale in 1961 (Ibid. SP 88/1) and was still
unsold in 1967 when it was much dilapidated (Local information).
Incumbencies in the Middle
Ages tended to be short. Between 1401 and 1406 the benefice was exchanged at
least seven times (E.D.R. (1898),108,126,143,159; Cal.Pat. 1405-8,30). Few rectors before the
16th century are known to have been graduates. An exception was John
of Potton alias King, rector 1370-98, a notary public and official of
the archdeacon of Ely. He twice sought an additional benefice and was from 1394
rector of Barley (Herts.) (Emden, Biog.Reg.Univ.Camb.).
In the later 16th century the rectors were commonly resident. In
1590 the rector was presented for not wearing a surplice (C.U.L. Ely Dioc. Recs. B2/11). John Skelton,
who held the benefice until his death in 1665 (B.M. Add.MS,
5823,f.145v), also served the cure (of the souls) at
Cockayne Hatley (Beds.) in 1638 but resided at Hatley St George. Although he
laboured to reform them, six people were presented as papists (Roman Catholic),
three being members of the St George family (Cambs. Episc.
Visit, 1638-65, ed. Palmer,78-91, where the date
of the return is stated in error to be 1662). In 1641 five people, including
four named St George, were taxed as recusants (refused to acknowledge
Protestant Church of England) (Cambs. Subsidy Rolls, i.147).
(The Puritan iconoclast – image breaker)
William Dowsing’s men visited Hatley in 1644 and
broke 10 ‘superstitious pictures’, a picture of Christ, and the inscription
recalling William St George’s gift of land in Haslingfield
to Clerkenwell Priory. The rector was told to level
the steps to the altar (Trans, C.H.A.S. iii,88).
In 1646 an order was made by the Committee for Plundered Ministers to unite
Hatley St George with East Hatley. The reasons
given were the small populations of the two parishes, the recent ejection of
the rector of East Hatley, and the possession of the advowson
of Hatley St George by John St George, a papist and delinquent (Bodl. MS. Bodl.323,f,28v). The
union, however, was not effected.
Thomas Thory, rector 1677-1709, combined Hatley St George with the
vicarage of Caxton after 1693 and was succeeded in
both benefices by his son John (d.1728) (Alum. Cantab to 1751). Both were buried at Hatley
(R.C.H.M. Cambs. i,147). John Whalley, rector
1728-9 and 1731-2, was a fellow of Pembroke
College, Cambridge, where he resided (C.U.L. Ely Dioc. Recs. B8/1; Alum. Cantab to 1751). William Say, rector 1746-51,
combined the benefice with Tadlow and East Hatley
which he had held since 1722. He was followed in both livings by Francis Say
(d.1796), perhaps his nephew (Alum. Cantab to 1751).
Shortly before his death Francis Say resigned Hatley St George on behalf of his
son, Francis Edward Say (Admissions to Peterhouse,
1615-1911, p.281), who held it until his death in 1846 together with the
vicarage of Braughing (Herts.), where he resided (Alum.
Ely Dioc. Recs. B3/21). He
employed a curate for Hatley St George (C.U.L. Ely Dioc.
Recs. C1/4,6: C3/21).
In 1638 two Sunday services were held and
communion was administered three times a year (Cambs. Episc.
Visit, 1638-65, ed. Palmer,78-91). In 1807 there
were no dissenters (people attending churches other than Church of England) but
some parishioners were said to be very negligent in their attendance at church
(C.U.L. Ely Dioc. Recs. C1/4).
In 1825 there was one service each Sunday, alternately morning and afternoon.
Communion was administered four times a year to 6 or 7 communicants (Ibid.
C1/6). In 1881, when the rector was resident, three services were held each
Sunday and on saints’ days. There were eight communicants on average (Ibid.
C3/28). Since 1920
Hatley St George has been held in plurality with
one or more neighbouring parishes (Crockford (1926
and later edns.). From 1951 to 1966 it was
held with the rectory of Croydon with Clopton and the vicarage of Tadlow with East Hatley, the rector residing at Croydon. (Ibid. (1951-2, 1966-7). In 1966 it was held with the
vicarage of Gamlingay (Ex inf. The
Rev. J.H. Hornby).
of ST GEORGE, standing on the edge of Hatley Park,
has a chancel with adjuncts to north and south, nave, and west tower with a
north vestry. A church was consecrated at Hatley St George in 1352 (E.D.R. (1894),197),
and the plan of the nave and chancel are of that date or earlier. The tower was
added in the 15th century and about the same time the nave was refenstrated (new windows put in). A late medieval piscina (bowl for holy water) in the south wall of the nave
indicates that there was a secondary altar there. The top stage of the tower
was rebuilt in brick in 1625 (R.C.H.M.
Cambs.,i,146), and later in the
century the earliest group of the wooden shields, which bear the arms of the St
Georges with alliances, was put in to surround a portrait of Charles I (Mon.Iscr.Cambs.
78). Margaret Trefusis (d.1734) ‘repaired the church
the most elegant in the county’ (Carter, Hist. Cambs. 199-200), presumably providing the new font and pulpit. In
1799 the church was described as very pretty and in very good repair (C.U.L.
E.D.R. B7/1/2), but in 1875 the nave had to be restored and reroofed
(Ibid. C3/28) and in 1892 the chancel was rebuilt from the ground (Ibid.
C3/36). Shortly before 1967 the chancel was partitioned from the nave by a
wall, and in 1970 was no longer in use.
In 1552 the church possessed a silver chalice with a
gilt paten (communion plate) (Cambs. Ch.
Goods, temp. Edw.VI, 52). In 1638 there was a cup with a cover and a flagon of
pewter (Cambs. Episc. Visit, 1638-65, ed. Palmer,81). In 1748 the
church was said to have the ‘finest furniture for the altar and pulpit I ever
saw, being crimson richly fringed and laced with gold’, with plate
‘correspondent thereunto’ (B.M. Add. MS. 5820,f.49v). the plate includes a cup. paten,
flagon, and two dishes, all made in London
in 1722 and given to the church by Margaret Trefusis
in 1723 ((R.C.H.M. Cambs.,i,146). In 1552 there were three bells and a sanctus bell (Cambs. Ch. Goods, temp. Edw.VI, 52).they were out of repair in 1638 (Cambs. Episc.
Visit, 1638-65, ed. Palmer,81). There were three bells in 1851 (Gardner’s Dir. Cambs. (1851),331)
but only two in 1900 (Kelly’s Dir. Cambs.(1900).
Both are by Toby Norris of Stamford (Lincs.), one given by Sir Robert Cotton
dated 1682, the other by Sir Thomas Cotton, Bt. Dated 1662 (Cambs. Bells. (C.A.S.
8vo ser.xviii,xix)). The
registers begin in 1850 and are virtually complete.
NONCONFORMITY. Apart from references to Roman
Catholicism in the earlier 17th century mentioned above, no evidence
of religious nonconformity has been found.
EDUCATION. In 1838 Thomas Engledew, the parish
clerk, kept a school at his house and catechized (taught the catechism – basic
Christian beliefs - by rote) the children in church (Cambs.
Episc. Visit, 1638-65, ed. Palmer,81).
There was no school in 1787 (C.U.L. Ely Dioc. Recs.
B6/1/1) but in 1819 there was a school where 6 or 7 children were taught
reading and writing (Educ. of Poor Digest, 60). In 1835 there was
no school of any kind in Hatley St George (Educ. Enquiry Abstract, 57). By 1851 about 8 children attended a Sunday
school in the parish (H.O.129/7/185). In 1871 the children had to go to schools
in Gamlingay and Croydon (Returns
relating to Elem. Educ. H.C.201,pp.23-4
(1871).lv). A Church of England school with
accommodation for 105 children was built in 1873 for the parishes of East Hatley and Hatley St George. It was situated just
within the boundaries of east Hatley (Returns
of Non-Provided Schs. H.C. 178,p.27
(1906),lxxxvii) to which parish its history belongs.
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