The royal vill had
before the Norman Conquest rendered a food
farm, including wheat, malt, and honey, which by 1086 had been commuted for £13 8s. 4d., besides £15 blanch in cash. Most of its arable, 12 out of 16 ploughlands, was apparently then in demesne, but there were only three ploughteams for it, even though there was meadow for four. Another four teams ploughed the land of the tenants, 2 villani, 16 bordars, and 6 cottars.
(fn. 96) The manor, which remained with the king until the 1190s, was occasionally restocked by the sheriff at some cost, as in 1155,
(fn. 97) in 1195 with 12 teams and 100 sheep,
(fn. 98) and in 1197 with seed also.
(fn. 99) The peasantry paid substantial aids, gifts, and tallages, rising from £2 to £5 by 1187 and 1198,
(fn. 1) and to £30 under King John.
Probably by 1200 the peasants fell into two classes: one possibly styled sokemen c. 1200
(fn. 3) and later reckoned to hold freely, the other customary tenants enjoying the privileges of ancient demesne tenure. Both still owed some works in the late 13th century.
(fn. 4) The freeholds, perhaps derived from grants of demesne after 1086, included by 1279 two of 120 a. each, including subtenanted land. A third, by then divided, had comprised 60 a., and at least five were of 15- 25 a. Each holding had to perform three boon ploughings a year and carry two loads of the lord's corn. Each freeholder was by the 1220s entitled to have his own fold and keep a bull and boar, also to fish with nets in the king's water on the Cam.
(fn. 5) The rectors, with similar rights to fold and fishery, were in the 13th century bound to do similar works, one ploughing each for the winter and spring sowings, and one for the fallow ploughing, while their undertenants owed services to the abbey equivalent to those of the head villein tenants.
The holders of the larger villein tenements, typically half yardlands, were lightly burdened.
(fn. 7) In 1279 and c. 1400, besides the three ploughings, later called 'sulbanes', they owed two days' harrowing, one day's work each for haymaking and for carrying the lord's hay, and in harvest five boons and one day to carry the lord's corn. About 1405 it was said that any customary tenant found ploughing with his own or a shared team between Monday and Thursday, except during certain holidays or in harvest, could be required to plough for the lord on the next Friday, but was excused if he had lent his team to a poorer neighbour. The cotlanders, numbering 15 in 1279, also owed the ploughing works, if sufficiently equipped, besides the various boons and haymaking works, also spreading manure, and had to sow the lord's corn twice a year for the winter and spring crops. The coterells, 15 in 1279, having only their dwellings, owed merely harvest boons. In addition, half yardlanders owed in 1400 rents of 2d., and cotlanders of 4d. an acre. In 1279 there had also been c. 30 smallholdings of field land which rendered only rents and no services. Tenants on the rectory manor also apparently then owed only quitrents to their immediate lord, the rector.
Out of c. 1,400 a. of arable recorded in 1279
(fn. 8) the Barnwell demesne accounted for 170 a. besides 95 a. of grass. Another 60 a. had been granted at farm, probably c. 1250, but was repossessed c. 1290.
(fn. 9) Freehold under the priory totalled 440 a. in 1279. The rectory estate, excluding the glebe, was then said to have c. 140 a. of tenanted land, but in 1334 c. 205 a., a quarter freehold, were held of the rectory.
(fn. 10) By 1279 there was no longer any uniformity of holdings on the main manor. Both freehold and customary tenements were split into fractions and there were many undertenants and extensive crosstenancies both within the larger freehold fees and between classes of landholding. About 55 a. of the customary land were held by freeholders and rectory tenants, and another 150 a. by outsiders. One freeholding family, the Houghtons, had 58 a. in hand in 1279, and retained an estate of 60-80 a. into the 1380s.
(fn. 11) On most of the other freeholds, save for Boxworth fee with its 55 a. in hand, the head tenant kept only 20-25 a. and a few were almost entirely subinfeudated. One free yardland had been acquired by the Dunnings of Cambridge by 1199, when it was formally divided in half.
(fn. 12) The customary holdings also varied in size. In 1279 there were three of 23-25 a. and four of 13-15 a. held immediately of the priory, but like other lesser ones they were often combined with fragments of freehold. Total holdings covered a wide range. Excluding the glebe and 110 a. possessed by outside lords and colleges, over 770 a. of the arable, including 180 a. owned by outsiders, belonged to 38 men with over 6 a. each, of whom 13 with 20 a. or more had c. 490 a. between them. Another 115 a. belonged to 44 tenants with less than 6 a. each, excluding the 32 a. held by the cotlanders and coterells and 40 a. belonging to outside smallholders. Similarly on the rectory manor in 1334 Robert the clerk held 52 a. and one other man 23 a., but most holdings were of 5 a. or less.
Enjoying the privileges of ancient demesne the customary tenants could freely alienate their land:
(fn. 14) although it normally passed by hereditary descent, it could be settled upon younger children,
(fn. 15) and by the 1280s at latest conveyed to executors to be sold.
(fn. 16) In 1355, however, a deathbed devise for sale was declared to be against custom.
(fn. 17) Tenants of both sexes, like those in socage, could alienate their land when aged 14.
(fn. 18) There was therefore a busy market in small parcels of customary land, usually of 1 a. or less. Barely a tenth of customary holdings passing by inheritance exceeded 10 a. in the late 13th century, and after 1300 few were of more than 5 a.
(fn. 19) In the late 13th and early 14th century the land market was also driven by population pressures, aggravated by recurrent agrarian crises. In the famine of 1316-17 at least 25 customary tenants perished.
(fn. 20) About 1400 the average customary holding was still small: in 1406, 14 tenants with more than 3 a. shared 79 a. out of 115 a. recorded, 26 with 3 a. or less the rest, while 12 others had only dwellings and crofts, mostly divided. Of 36 'customplaces', probably equivalent to the 'halfyardplaces' mentioned in the 14th century, only 12 remained in single ownership in 1406, 10 being in halves, 6 in thirds, 6 in quarters, and 2 in sixths.
(fn. 21) Closes were similarly divided in the 1570s.
(fn. 22) The only restraint on land dealings was the fine due to the lord, payable within a year on pain of escheat.
(fn. 23) Fines for inclosed land were variable in the Middle Ages. Those for arable stood at 4s. an acre by the 1280s,
(fn. 24) and, after falling slightly between 1295 and 1305,
(fn. 25) were again 4s. in the 1340s,
c. 1405, and later.
Land so easily transferable attracted outside investment, over 220 a. being held in 1279 by outsiders, some from neighbouring villages, such as Waterbeach, Landbeach, and Fen Ditton, but most from Cambridge. Townsmen held 120 a. in all in 1279. One, John Porthors, who then had 70 a.,
(fn. 28) bought and sold 250 a. of Chesterton land in lots of up to 10 a. between the 1270s and the early 1310s.
(fn. 29) Other Cambridge burgess families, such as the Tulyets, retained holdings of up to 20 a. there into the 1350s,
(fn. 30) while the Cambridges by 1336 owned 42 a. of customary land, split up by sales c. 1350.
(fn. 32) the customary tenants complained that Barnwell priory was demanding excessive labour services; exacting arbitrary entry fines beyond the accustomed rates; trying to exclude the tenants from enjoying common rights, apparently along the highways;
(fn. 33) and threatening their status as ancient demesne tenants both by demanding oaths of fealty to the prior as chief lord instead of the king, and by treating them as ordinary bondmen. They offered to hold the vill at fee farm in place of the prior at a higher rent. In the summer of 1404 eighty tenants, supported by over 100 others, some from elsewhere, confederated to resist the prior's authority, levying £200 to maintain a lawsuit against him, and attacked his bailiff when he tried to distrain for services. Barnwell retaliated by having them indicted under the Act of 1377 forbidding villeins to appeal to Domesday Book. The tenants eventually yielded entirely, and a jury found against them on all points. Only Thomas Paunfeld, perhaps the ringleader, held out. Intermittently imprisoned at the prior's suit for trespass until 1414, he was still then submitting to parliament petitions against the prior's tyranny. Barnwell had already procured the other tenants' pardons from the Crown.
In 1405, however, the priory undertook to observe an award made before the king and council.
(fn. 34) Although disputes with the tenants apparently recurred in 1461, when the priory obtained an exemplification of the earlier lawsuit,
(fn. 35) the tenants believed in the late 16th century that a composition with the priory shortly after 1405 released all their services and day works in return for an increase in their rents.
(fn. 36) In the 1560s they claimed the right to lease their copyhold land, as a whole or in parcels, for any length of time, and to fell timber and demolish buildings on it without the lord's licence. Rents and entry fines upon the copyhold lands, which the court rolls regularly described as being held 'according to the custom of the manor', but not 'at the lord's will', were due only on death or alienation, and were fixed respectively at 2d. and 12d. per arable acre, while fines for inclosures had been set at 13s. 4d. an acre. Payment of fines could be long postponed, for custom allowed copyholders to hold jointly with two or three feoffees, and only when all were dead was a succession upon death to be presented.
(fn. 37) The possibility of friction with the lord was reduced after Barnwell, by the 1490s at latest, let the demesne at farm, largely to villagers. The principal lessee occupied the site of the manor, and many others rented shares in the arable and grass, mostly in small lots. The ferry, fishery, and 'sulbanes' were also leased.
The copyholders' privileges were challenged after the manor passed into lay hands in 1540. The copy of the old composition kept in the church vanished c. 1555, and Richard Brakyn claimed the ancient labour services, releasing them, under an unratified agreement of 1558, only in return for the tenants' release to him of their rights in common pasture which he had lately inclosed.
(fn. 39) About 1572 Brakyn also demanded fines for every lease of copyhold land made for more than a year, and had his steward present forfeiture for waste upon a copyhold when the homage refused to do so.
(fn. 40) The tenants combined to resist him, partly meeting their legal costs out of the town stock. Some vowed to sell their copyholds rather than submit to losing their ancient rights.
(fn. 41) A new composition was made in 1576, which in substance conceded all the tenants' claims and settled other disputes, in return for their paying Brakyn 13s. 4d. for each acre of inclosed, and 6s. 8d. for each acre of uninclosed, copyhold, a total of £150, and for a final confirmation of the lord's new inclosures.
(fn. 42) Further quarrels were forestalled by the breakup of the manorial estate, and the copyholds on the main manor continued to be held for fixed fines of a year's ancient rent, by a tenure considered in the 19th century as good as freehold.
(fn. 43) At inclosure in 1838 copyholders of the main and the rectory manors claimed respectively 478 a. and 52 a. of arable, besides 38 a. copyhold of Merton manor, and 38 a. were allotted for 45 a. of copyhold closes, compared with 1,850 a. then held freely, exclusive of the manorial and college estates.
By the mid 13th century
(fn. 45) the arable had been divided, as it continued to be until inclosure, into three large open fields, stretching northwest from the road through the village, which were called by the 1250s the East, Middle, and West fields, the first and last being sometimes styled the fields toward Milton and Cambridge. Their layout remained substantially unchanged from the 1250s to the 1830s: of some 75 names for furlongs and field ways recorded before 1350 almost half were still in use in 1540, and many even in the 1830s. In 1540 the East field covered, by local measure, 746 a. of arable, the Middle one 600 a., and the West one 665 a. They were divided into 352013;40 furlongs, largely in turn divided into 12;-a. selions by 1300. At inclosure the fields, including some ancient meadows (at least 45 a.) and newer leys (126 a.),
(fn. 46) comprised respectively about 730 a., 700 a., and 585 a. by statute measure.
In the 1790s, as presumably since the Middle Ages, the arable was cultivated under a triennial rotation.
(fn. 47) The fallow field was often mentioned in the 16th century,
(fn. 48) and the wheat and barley fields in 1632.
(fn. 49) Barley probably predominated in the 14th century and in the 16th and 17th: in 1398 2013/9 the crops threshed on the rectory estate, presumably including tithe, comprised 77 qr. of wheat and maslin, but 265 qr. of barley, and in 1399 2013/1400 only 49 qr. of wheat and 4 qr. of maslin, but 403 qr. of barley, of which two thirds was malted.
(fn. 50) The Great Church crofts, southwest of the village, which until their appropriation by the lord in the 1550s had been reckoned as 'every year's land', and were commonable between Michaelmas and Lady Day when they were not under winter crops,
(fn. 51) were well known c. 1630 for producing good crops of barley, often sold in Cambridge for malting.
(fn. 52) About 1500 some closes let by Barnwell priory had been newly planted with saffron.
(fn. 53) In the late 16th century gleaning was forbidden until the 'parson' had cried 'horkey'. In the 1590s it was restricted to those aged under 10 or over 60.
(fn. 54) Some field land had been laid down as leys by the late 17th century: on the Hobson estate in 1662 they comprised 56 a. out of 216 a.
(fn. 55) In 1801 the crops reported included 284 a. of wheat and 211 a. of barley, but only 28 a. of oats and 54 a. of peas and beans.
(fn. 56) In the 1810s the arable was thought to be impaired by the perpetual succession of the same crops, wheat being followed by barley with oats, then a fallow, perhaps sown partly with beans, and inclosure was recommended to allow part to be put down to grass.
(fn. 57) In the 1830s the cropped area, c. 1,090 a., was still, however, reckoned to include 335 a. each of wheat, barley, and oats with peas and beans, but 84 a. were under clover and seeds.
The main permanent pastures lay along the eastern and north-western edges of the parish. To the east was Chesterton fen, recorded by 1300 as the common marsh beside East field.
(fn. 59) It was said to cover at least 47 a. in 1637,
(fn. 60) and 158 a. at inclosure.
(fn. 61) By the 1320s it was separated by the Fen ditch from the adjoining open fields.
(fn. 62) In 1300 2013/1 the men of Milton were ordered to repair the bridge into the fen for beasts from Chesterton crossing to feed there.
(fn. 63) The fen was then apparently used primarily for cattle. In 1331 the court barred sheep from the common marsh facing Fen Ditton between November and August, except for three days for dipping and shearing them.
(fn. 64) In the south-west corner of Chesterton the Castle dole just outside the castle ditches, 22 a. c. 1540,
(fn. 65) was still then reckoned as part of the lord's waste and in the 1620s as commonable for the villagers' sheep and cattle. Their hayward was then impounding cattle from Cambridge put to feed there.
To the north-west along the Impington boundary lay Arbury meadow, covering 78 a. in 1540,
(fn. 67) and the occasionally tilled Albrach, so named by 1278,
(fn. 68) of c. 30 a. On Arbury until inclosure and on Albrach until the 1550s the villagers had common for sheep and cattle each year from Lammas to Lady Day, though by 1800 only until Christmas, and all the year when the adjoining field was fallowed.
(fn. 69) Some rights of intercommoning thereabout had probably belonged to the men of Impington by the mid 13th century,
(fn. 70) and at inclosure the lord of Impington was allotted 26 a. for his rights of sheepwalk there.
(fn. 71) Other smaller pieces of permanent meadow, totalling 28 a. in 1567, lay within the open fields by the late 13th century.
In 1558 the copyholders agreed that Richard Brakyn might inclose and hold in severalty the Great Church crofts (30 a.), all 34 a. of Albrach, thereafter called Kings Hedges, and c. 30 a. of Arbury meadow, leaving 45 a. of it open. They finally renounced all rights of common in his new closes in 1576: in 1839 the manorial estate still included closes covering 19 a. in the east of Arbury and 25 a. at Kings Hedges.
(fn. 73) Brakyn had given four substantial villagers long leases of the right to feed six oxen each in Arbury.
(fn. 74) When, however, Thomas Brakyn tried in 1584 to inclose Baldwins meadow in West field and plant it with willows, the villagers, led by Thomas Parish, combined to resist him. Within six months the new hedges were broken down at night and the willows felled. An outsider claimed to have done all the damage single-handed out of sympathy for the Chesterton men's loss of common rights there.
(fn. 75) Willows were more usually grown on holts by the river.
(fn. 76) About 1542 the villagers complained that their new lord, Thomas Brakyn, had obstructed their access to the fen by inclosing land to plant willows.
Until the 16th century only Chesterton and the rectory manors had folds. William Swayne, the priory's bailiff and chief lessee, in the 1520s kept a flock of up to 400 sheep, hoping to set up a fold for his large leasehold and copyhold estate.
(fn. 78) Some of the freeholders may have had their own folds by then. About 1540 Thomas Brakyn challenged Edward Batisford's right to keep one, but after arbitration had to allow him to fold 200 sheep within the manor.
(fn. 79) Common for 180 sheep was attached to the Batisford estate in 1556
(fn. 80) and in 1656.
(fn. 81) Likewise the Cook estate included c. 1550 a quarter of a fold for 140 sheep, possibly acquired in 1552 with the Lovells' lands.
(fn. 82) In the 16th century and later the manorial right of sheepwalk and foldage was usually reckoned to be for 600 sheep.
(fn. 83) From the 1560s, however, the Brakyns alienated on long leases at least 270 sheepgates, and perhaps 379, mostly in lots of 40 2013/80, probably with proportionate shares in the fold.
(fn. 84) The Parishes acquired a quarter of that fold with 100 sheepgates.
(fn. 85) When sold in 1584, the manor retained foldage and common for only 280 sheep.
(fn. 86) At inclosure, however, it had sheepwalk for two flocks of 600 and 200, the second perhaps for the former Batisford lands.
In 1576 the stint for copyholders was fixed at 40 sheep and 9 bullocks for every 80 a. of ploughland, with another 4 great cattle for every further 80 a. owned, and on the fen, from which sheep were still excluded, 4 more great cattle between May and Michaelmas for each dwelling house. Of oxen and other plough beasts 4 might be kept for 60 a. and 6 for 80 a., but 12 for 120 a. No one not keeping a plough might put cattle on the fields before stray time. As the composition allowed, to prevent overcharging,
(fn. 88) the stint was reduced in 1762 to 7 cattle for each 80 a. and 3 bullocks per cottage, 2 if it were sublet, while in 1770 taking in outsiders' beasts was prohibited.
(fn. 89) At inclosure, when common rights were allowed for 92 messuages, and for 100 cows for openfield land,
(fn. 90) the recognized stint was of 3 cows for a cottage and 3 for each 15 a.
(fn. 91) About 1740 Thomas Hobson was believed to have bought up some of the stints created in 1576: at his death in 1631 he had 400 sheepgates. Those rights had by 1740 been converted into the 'town flock',
(fn. 92) represented at inclosure by 480 sheepgates then allowed to the Wragg estate. The rectory's claim to a separate fold was not admitted.
In the early 17th century the bylaws on commoning were enforced by pairs of field and fen reeves, annually elected,
(fn. 94) perhaps successors to the field keepers appointed by Barnwell priory c. 1405.
(fn. 95) In the 1770s and later the four fen reeves, regularly chosen along with four field reeves until after 1800,
(fn. 96) could require occupiers to clear the drainage channels, and could levy up to 00A3/20 a year in rates to drain and improve the arable.
(fn. 97) Besides the hayward the parish also employed common herdsmen. A swineherd was mentioned in 1632,
(fn. 98) a common shepherd probably in 1636,
(fn. 99) and a cowherd in 1660. The cows could enter the fen in May only after he had blown his horn.
(fn. 1) Byherds were excluded from the fallow until after harvest.
The actual number of beasts kept was often probably below that allowed by the stints. About 1637 tithe was paid upon 730 grown sheep, of of cotlanders which all but 95 belonged to three large farmers.
(fn. 3) In 1789 tithe was due for 128 cattle kept by 17 farmers, of whom only two had more than 20, while the 860 sheep included 440 in the manor farm flock and 300 on the Chettoe property.
(fn. 4) In 1838 the manorial farm stocked only 630 out of its permitted 800 sheep.
The manorial demesne retained the largest share of the parish in 1567, when, after alienations totalling at least 100 a., it comprised nominally 669 a., of which 463 a. were arable. Of c. 200 a. of demesne grass, 69 a. were commonable, and 67 a. unshared, meadow, including the newly inclosed Arbury. Other pasture closes covered 75 a., including the 44-a. Kings Hedges closes. The lord only cultivated 180 a. of arable himself, also occupying 30 a. of the Great Church crofts, 23 a. of meadow, and 51 a. of pasture closes. He had leased the remainder, 68 a. of grass and 223 a. of arable, in large lots to the leading villagers. Three occupied 74 a., 71 a., and 54 a., others 21 2013/27 a. each. By the 1580s at least 420 a. of the arable and most of the closes, even those newly created, were held on unusually long leases. The largest lessees, such as the Parishes, were considerable landowners in their own right.
In the 16th century, as earlier, there was a considerable gap between the few large farmers and a mass of smallholders and labourers. In 1522 two villagers were supposed to have goods worth 00A3/80 or more, five others had 00A3/30 2013/40, and six more 00A3/20.
(fn. 7) In 1524 Henry Cook, worth 00A3/300 in 1522, was taxed on 00A3/120, a quarter of the sum assessed on Chesterton, four others with 00A3/30 2013/ 50 each owned another 00A3/148, and five worth c. 00A3 20 each, 00A3;118. Five with 00A3;102013;12 possessed only 00A3;44 in all, eight with 00A3;22013;6 00A3;33, and 32 were taxed only on their wages.
(fn. 8) In the 1570s and 1580s the bulk of c. 385 a. of copyhold recorded, excluding the 45-a. town land, was concentrated in the hands of only three or four tenants, two of them with almost 70 a., while 25 with less than 12 a. each shared 82 a., and 23 copyholders had only fractions of messuages. In 1585 the five copyholds of 36 a. or more totalled 295 a.
(fn. 9) At that period most of the larger holdings belonged to families originating in the village, such as the Cooks, Batisfords, and Parishes, but from the 1580s much land was purchased by outsiders, among them the Hobsons, Ellises,
(fn. 10) and Ventrises, who c. 1590 bought up 602013;80 a. of copyhold.
Outside the larger estates there continued in the late 17th and 18th century to be numerous smaller copyholds of only a few acres, while some farms of up to 15 a. still descended in the same families.
(fn. 12) The Graves family possessed 40 a. from the 1680s to the 1740s, when they were probably living elsewhere,
(fn. 13) and another family owned c. 100 a. until the 1760s.
(fn. 14) More than half the 100 houses recorded under Charles II had a single hearth each.
(fn. 15) By the late 18th century most of the larger farms were occupied by leasehold farmers under absentee landlords.
The manorial estate, which after 1670 probably derived largely from the former Batisford lands, by 1709 comprised 255 a. of arable and c. 50 a. of pasture, and then included two relatively large farms of 85 a. each, one run from the manor house of 65 a. of arable, and three more of only 35 a., while 50 a. of pasture was divided among eight smallholders.
(fn. 16) By 1800 the largest farm was again based on that estate, farmed by the Sparrows, resident at Chesterton since the 1760s, who had gradually built up a copyhold property of 80 a.
(fn. 17) In the 1830s Robert Sparrow of Manor Farm worked 840 a., including 410 a. of the Benson estate. J. A. Wiles's farm of 380 a. combined the rectorial glebe, 88 a., with c. 90 a. of his own and 143 a. of the Wragg estate, of which another 257 a. were still owner-occupied. Those three farms then included 1,023 a. out of 1,762 a. of arable, and 144 a. out of 226 a. of pasture. Another five farms of 802013;115 a. covered together 465 a., and four more of 45 a. each were largely created by combining leaseholds under Cambridge colleges, only the Wagstaffs' 96 a. being owner-occupied. Some 15 smallholders with 30 a. or less then occupied c. 150 a.
(fn. 18) The manorial estate included 200 a. of open-field arable and 150 a. of old inclosures, of which 45 a. lay near the north-western boundary, 452013; 50 a. around the village, and 40 a. in the low grounds to the east.
Inclosure, when proposed in 1814, was prevented by the determined opposition of the parish's leading farmers,
(fn. 20) but was initiated in 1835 by their successors and other lesser landowners, the lady of the manor and collegiate rector merely acquiescing.
(fn. 21) After deliberate delay,
(fn. 22) an Act was obtained in 1838,
(fn. 23) following much argument.
(fn. 24) The allotments were set out and the traditional farming system ended after the harvest of 1838.
(fn. 25) The award of 1840 covered 2,729 a., including 321 a. of old inclosures, of which all but 65 a. lay around the village, 1,975 a. of arable, of which at least 1,858 a., including 136 a. of leys, was comprised in the open fields, 170 a. of meadow and pasture, and 180 a. of common and waste, mainly in the fen.
Previously c. 485 a. of the arable, including the rectorial glebe, had belonged to six Cambridge colleges, and 440 a. to the Wraggs. Another 212 a. were owned by the Wileses and Wagstaffs, while 220 a. were included in four other holdings of 402013;80 a. and 190 a. in nine of 152013;35 a., while holdings of 10 a. or less accounted for only 58 a.
(fn. 27) After the award the manorial estate emerged with 661 a. and the colleges with 520 a., while 99 a. went to the vicar and the Church and Town lands. The Wraggs had 485 a., and three other local farming families with between 80 a. and 120 a. each, in all 304 a. The lesser allotments, many to outsiders from Cambridge and elsewhere, included eight of 302013;50 a., totalling 303 a., another eight of 132013;25 a., in all 175 a., and 53 smaller ones, few of over 5 a., comprising 123 a., out of which 3312; a., mostly in the fen, were allotted in 112;-a. plots for 23 claims made solely for rights of common.
Save in the south-west corner Chesterton remained mostly devoted to arable farming until after 1900. The area reported as farmland, c. 1,900 a. until the 1880s, of which three fifths was normally under corn crops, mostly wheat and barley, declined from the 1890s to c. 1,600 a., half still growing corn. The amount of permanent grass, under 350 a. before the 1870s, had increased by 100 a. by 1895 and another 120 a. by 1905, even though the number of grown sheep kept, 1,1502013;1,500 before the 1880s, fell to 300 in the 1890s.
(fn. 29) Two large farms, the Wraggs' Hall farm of 3502013;430 a., usually cultivated from the 1840s by tenant farmers, and Manor farm of 5002013;560 a., occupied by Robert Sparrow into the early 1870s, covered most of the land southwest of the village. Smaller farms to the northeast were mostly based on college properties. In the 1840s there were 7 or 8 large farms of 100 a. or more, comprising 1,8002013;1,850 a. In the 1860s 5 or 6 covered c. 1,375 a., while up to 9 smaller ones contained only 200 a. between them.
(fn. 30) About 1895 four farms, totalling 1,227 a., a third under grass, were for a time in one hand.
(fn. 31) Few farms remained long with the same farmers. In 1910 Manor farm was 390 a. and another 257 a. Three farmers worked 1302013;160 a. each, and five others 652013;80 a.
Although in the mid 19th century there were usually c. 150 adult labourers and 252013;30 youths in the village, the farmers employed fewer than 60 men and 50 boys.
(fn. 33) Some labourers perhaps worked instead in the coprolite diggings occasionally undertaken from the late 1850s.
(fn. 34) In 1873 many coprolite diggers joined the Agricultural Labourers' Union after a meeting on the green.
(fn. 35) In 1889 the village labourers themselves formed an allotment society to which 52 a. were shortly offered for letting.
(fn. 36) By the 1910s Mrs. Wragg Gurney was letting 53 a. to the society.
(fn. 37) In the 1920s, when it had 400 members, it occupied a 200-a. belt of allotments across the south-west of the parish north of the suburb. After 1945 its allotments were moved to a 50-a. field south of Arbury Road, still in use in the 1980s, when 55 allotments were let.
In the late 19th century the area used for market gardening increased from 17 a. in 1885 to 55 a. by 1895, besides 5 a. of nurseries. There had already been three nurserymen in the 1870s.
(fn. 39) By the 1880s there were two nurseries west of the Histon road, the Clive Vale and the Ainger, both still in business c. 1950. The Cumbria nurseries near the Huntingdon road were in business into the 1920s; the Scotland nurseries, north-west of the village, were replaced after the 1920s by housing, as were the Long Reach nurseries, started by 1927 on 6 a. near the railway line, in the 1950s.
(fn. 40) Meanwhile the county council divided its newly acquired Manor farm among smallholders, numbering 39 by 1910, of whom four occupied 100 a. between them.
(fn. 41) Much of that land remained as smallholdings in the 1950s. The farmhouse, rebuilt c. 1880, after housing the county land agent for many years, was demolished in the 1960s to make way for development.
No mill was included in the manorial estate in the Middle Ages or later.
(fn. 43) One presumably stood by 1300 in Middle field near the Mill way that led north-westward from the village,
(fn. 44) and the site of a former mill belonged to the rectory manor by then.
(fn. 45) By 1567 a windmill stood in a clay pit rented from the main manor.
(fn. 46) In the 18th century there were two windmills. A copyhold one, built by 1730 in West field, was shortly acquired by a Cambridge baker and was bought in 1806 by a miller from Essex.
(fn. 47) A freehold mill, recently rebuilt as a post mill when bought in 1785 by a Histon miller, often changed hands c. 1800.
(fn. 48) By the 1810s the only mill was probably that in West field a little east of the castle,
(fn. 49) presumably the one rebuilt partly in brick in 1827.
(fn. 50) After 1840
(fn. 51) it was succeeded by two others. A brick tower mill, north of the Milton road, disused by the 1920s and demolished in the 1950s,
(fn. 52) was perhaps that worked in 1841 by a miller living in the village.
(fn. 53) It was probably managed in 1850, and certainly owned in 1862, by the Frenches, who also occupied by the 1860s the other mill off Victoria Road, called Chesterton Mills and partly burnt down in 1885. In 1861 they employed three men, in 1871 six, and from the 1860s to the 1920s were using both wind and steam there and trading in corn.
(fn. 54) The brick smock mill, of five storeys, was working c. 1930, but derelict by 1974.
(fn. 55) It still stood in 1987 with the former miller's house at the north end of French's Road.
Craftsmen recorded at Chesterton in the Middle Ages included carpenters, bakers, and tailors,
(fn. 56) and in the 18th and early 19th century carpenters, blacksmiths, and wheelwrights.
(fn. 57) One wheelwright died in 1820 after fifty years in business.
(fn. 58) As early as the late 14th century some villagers were working for employers in Cambridge.
(fn. 59) Local craftsmen were still numerous in the early 19th century. In 1821 trades or crafts supported 65 out of 210 families, and in 1831 90 of 220.
(fn. 60) In the mid 19th century the village included 22013;3 blacksmiths, 72013;13 carpenters, 62013;12 tailors, and 72013;9 shoemakers, besides occasionally plumbers, painters, and some fellmongers, although some may have been employed in the town. There were usually 32013;4 each of butchers and bakers, and as many shops. Chesterton still had a working smithy in the 1920s, while the Townsends remained in business there as wheelwrights from the 1840s to the 1920s.
(fn. 61) From the 1930s the Hallens in the high street made cycles and repaired cars, and were still active in the mid 1980s. The old village retained a considerable range of small shops and craftsmen in the 1920s and 1930s, a branch of the Cambridge Co-operative Society trading on the high street from 1925 to c. 1970.
(fn. 62) By the 1960s, however, many shops there had been displaced by road widening,
(fn. 63) although one new terrace of shops was put up.
By the early 19th century Chesterton was locally noted for making bricks and tiles.
(fn. 65) In 1622 Talbot Pepys had workmen digging brickearth in Arbury meadow and piling bricks in clamps.
(fn. 66) Brickhills lane in West field was mentioned in 1634,
(fn. 67) and brick and tile grounds in the parish were for sale in 1792.
(fn. 68) By the 1830s much brickearth was dug near the castle. In 1839 there were three kilns with their associated brick grounds there, on what was still nominally open-field land. The largest was 4 a. owned by the Fishers of Cambridge, in business since 1800. In 1832 the Wraggs leased 3 a. in Castle piece to another Cambridge builder to set up a kiln.
(fn. 69) One brick pit there was still working in the 1880s, but had closed by 1903.
(fn. 70) In the mid 19th century there were usually 102013;15 brickmakers in the village, besides up to 20 bricklayers, presumably employed by its 2 or 3 builders. The Unwins, in business as builders from the 1860s to the early 1890s, employed 12 in 1881.
Most of the inhabitants of New Chesterton probably worked in the town, including many college servants. In 1911 it was said that at least three quarters, and perhaps nine tenths, of the whole population of the parish did so.
(fn. 72) The suburb was by the 1890s inhabited by numerous small tradesmen engaged in the provision, clothing, and building trades; there were also whitesmiths, photographers, cabinet makers, several piano teachers, and by 1900 cycle makers, and a tinplate works on the Milton road. The larger employers included H. J. Gray 0026; Sons, making cricket, football, and other sports equipment from the 1890s to the 1920s on Searle Street, and by 1929 at the Playfair Works on Benson Street; and the Victoria Works, north of the east end of Victoria Road, where Brimley, Whibley 0026; Co. produced soap and candles by 1874. After 1904 the works was taken over by W. Pollard & Co. who made confectionery there until c. 1940. In the 1950s they were used as a chemical works, c. 1970 by machine tool makers. The site was redeveloped in the 1980s.
By the mid 20th century the largest single employer in Chesterton was probably the electronics firm of Pye. Its founder, W. C. Pye, began to make apparatus for scientific experiments at home c. 1896, and opened his new Granta Works off Mill Lane in 1897. In 1913, when he had 40 employees, he moved them to a new site southwest of the old parish church, upon which the Pye factory was gradually enlarged from 20,000 sq. ft. c. 1925 to 120,000 sq. ft. by 1935. Its manual workforce was largely female. Pye began to make wireless equipment in 1919, to give work to ex-servicemen, and was manufacturing it on a considerable scale by 1925. In 1928 the making of radios there was taken over by an Irish entrepreneur, C. O. Stanley, who controlled Pye Radio Co., established in 1920, until his retirement in 1965. The firm, after doing much work during the Second World War on radio for military purposes, became from the 1950s a large producer of television sets, and later also of portable radios. Following financial troubles, Stanley's son lost control in 1966. The Dutch electronics firm of Philips took a majority shareholding in 1967 and became the sole owners in 1977.
By the 1970s the company's Chesterton works, besides housing its research laboratories, was mostly concerned with making radio telephones and similar equipment, upon which 6002013;700 people were employed by Pye Telecom. In 1978 Pye moved its Chesterton operations to an extensive new building, on a site south of St. Andrew's Road, erected from 1975. It accommodated the company headquarters and laboratories (67,000 sq. ft.) towards the road, and the radio communications factory (200,000 sq. ft.) facing the river. The total initial workforce in Chesterton was c. 1,200, but the number employed there was reduced in the 1980s. The old factory site became a car park. Pye's sports and social clubs, started c. 1960, occupied much land along the river, occasionally lent for use by the villagers.
The neighbourhood of the university encouraged the growth in Chesterton of other sciencebased industries. In 1970 Trinity College decided to develop upon its 85 a. of farmland north of the railway to St. Ives, spolit for agricultural use after tanks and other ordnance had been stored there during the Second World War, a Science Park to accommodate firms engaged in scientific research and its application in electronics and other forms of high technology. Work started on 14 a. in 1972. In the first phase 16 factories covering 100,000 sq. ft. were put up. When the Park was formally opened in 1975, by which time the 13 firms already installed there were employing 150 people, it covered 30 a., and was extended by 1979 to 58 a., by 1982 to 86 a., and in 1985 to 112 a. The first extension to the north provided for the extensive offices and laboratories (110,000 sq. ft.) of the pharmaceutical firm of Napp, built to a design with a striking demi-hexagonal profile by Arthur Erickson. In 1982 a social club was opened to promote intellectual contacts. The firms installed there numbered 25 by 1983 and 63 by 1986, besides the University Microelectronics Laboratory, and employed altogether 1,800 people. Most of them were engaged in computers, electronics, robotics, lasers, biotechnology, and medical research. Among the larger firms in 1986 were Cambridge Consultants, Goodfellow Metals, producing special materials for industry, Intervet Laboratories, making veterinary medicines, LaserScan and LKB Biochrom, which had arrived in 1973 and 1974, and Napps, which from 1983 employed 320 people.
(fn. 76) The success of the Trinity College Park induced St. John's College to start, upon the 17 a. left of its adjoining farm after the bypass was built, its own Innovation Centre for business, opened in