The History of Hatley St George

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(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 Park.


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. Hund. (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 (C.R.O. P88/27).


With the exception of Hatley Park house and Park Farm, a building probably dating from the 16th century (R.C.H.M. Cambs. 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).



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, p.539).


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 ( 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 manor.

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 and Gloucester 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 140/38/50; Cal. 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 in Kingston, 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. Eecs. 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;; 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. Cambs. i,149)


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 the manor.


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; 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. i,377,384,394).


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, p.539).


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. (C.U.L. Ely.Dioc.Recs. 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 plough.


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, Ely Episc. 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. Cantab to 1752-1900; C.U.L. 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).


The church 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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