Dry Drayton
Local government


Victoria County History



A. P. M. Wright & C. P. Lewis (Editors)

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'Dry Drayton: Local government', A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 9: Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds (1989), pp. 83-84. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=15333 Date accessed: 27 November 2014.


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About 1250 Peter of Savoy, lord of Richmond, withdrew the suit due to the hundred from Swavesey priory's manor, (fn. 84) and in the 1330s its customary tenants were attending the honor of Richmond's tourn. (fn. 85) Courts baron for that manor, later Coventrys, were recorded from the 16th century to the early 19th, (fn. 86) handling purely tenurial business. Court rolls survive only between 1621 and 1664. (fn. 87)

By the 17th century that manor's courts were merely supplementary to those held for Crowlands manor. (fn. 88) In 1299 Crowland abbey's prescriptive rights to view of frankpledge, waif, and infangthief on its Cambridgeshire manors were formally recognized. (fn. 89) The abbot perhaps had a gallows by the Huntingdon road: 12 skeletons were found buried close together there, (fn. 90) and Stone field included a Gallows furlong. (fn. 91) Court rolls survive for Crowlands manor for 1291- 1528 (fn. 92) and for 1633-91, (fn. 93) followed by court books for 1705-1873 and later. (fn. 94) Besides the view and tenurial business, the court in the Middle Ages enforced the assize of ale and occasionally of bread, usually naming two aletasters yearly from the late 13th century to the late 15th, (fn. 95) a practice revived in the mid 17th. (fn. 96) In 1441 an aletaster was amerced in the sheriff's tourn held at Lolworth. (fn. 97) In the 14th and early 15th century the court also appointed the hayward, who collected money recovered in the courts until a separate collector was appointed in the 1340s. (fn. 98) From the 1370s to the 1450s the homage usually named two for each office, from whom the steward might choose the hayward and collector, and after the demesne was leased the reeve also. By the 1410s two caronarii were named to certify death from disease among the demesne livestock. (fn. 99) Constables, sometimes fined from the early 14th century for not doing their duty, (fn. 1) were named in court from the 1380s, (fn. 2) a practice continued in the 17th century. (fn. 3)

Until c. 1400 the court regularly dealt with minor cases of disorder, assault, bloodshed, and raising the hue, and occasionally hamsocn (fn. 4) and scolding, (fn. 5) but only infrequently later. A man was banished from the vill after conviction on an appeal of burglary in 1316. (fn. 6) The court was still enforcing membership of tithings in the late 15th century. (fn. 7) The villagers commonly sued one another in it for debt, trespass, and other minor civil pleas, sometimes by wager of law, (fn. 8) until the 1410s, less often thereafter. (fn. 9) A tenant accused of theft was punished in 1335 for procuring from the archdeacon's official letters of excommunication for defamation. (fn. 10) The court still in the early 15th century discouraged tenants from suing in outside courts. (fn. 11)

The court enforced bylaws on farming, and particularly on commoning, from the early 14th century. (fn. 12) Made c. 1345 by 'the whole community' (fn. 13) and c. 1400 by the assent of the lord and tenants, (fn. 14) bylaws were formally recorded from the mid 15th century, (fn. 15) though regularly only from the 16th. (fn. 16) In the 17th century the court often made or renewed such bylaws, to be enforced by the hayward and the annually elected field reeves. (fn. 17) In making bylaws in the 18th century, however, the court acted as agent for the vestry composed of the principal farmers. (fn. 18) In the 1650s the court also enforced the villagers' duty to ditch their land for drainage and do one day's common work on the roads. (fn. 19) After the 1670s it was concerned almost entirely with tenurial business.

From the mid 17th century the parish was governed through the vestry, (fn. 20) which named and supervised constables and other officers. It managed the town stock and lands for the support of the poor, and occasionally apprenticed poor children. (fn. 21) In the 1640s it built or rented dwellings for poor widows. By 1771 the parish had a workhouse, inhabited by 5 or 6 families. (fn. 22) The cost of poor relief almost doubled between 1776 and 1785 to £110, and again to £220 by 1803, when 23 adults, mostly aged or sick, were regularly assisted, while 10 children were in a school of industry. (fn. 23) In the early 1810s the parish relieved 20-25 people regularly, and 50-60 more occasionally, at a cost of c. £410 a year in 1813- 14. Thereafter until 1830 expenditure on the poor ranged between £280 and £340, occasionally exceeding £400, and in 1833 reaching c. £480. (fn. 24) About 1830 large families received allowances from the rates, while labourers were apportioned among the farmers. (fn. 25) Dry Drayton was included in the Chesterton poor-law union in 1836, (fn. 26) and the workhouse was shortly sold. (fn. 27) Dry Drayton belonged to Chesterton R.D. from the 1890s (fn. 28) and to South Cambridgeshire district from 1974. (fn. 29)

The parish council set up in 1894 still maintained an old parish fire engine c. 1907. (fn. 30) About 1950 it sold to Chivers the worked-out gravel pit by the Huntingdon road allotted at inclosure. (fn. 31) In 1969 Bar Hill received its own parish council, (fn. 32) whose budget rose from c. £2,700 in 1974-5 to almost £30,000 by 1981-2. (fn. 33)


84 Assizes at Camb. 1260, 5.
85 P.R.O., SC 2/155/71, rott. 1-2.
86 e.g. C.R.O., L 77/56-60, 147-52; cf. Camb. Chron. 14 Feb. 1789.
87 Beds. R.O., Box 279.
88 e.g. ibid. Coventrys ct. roll 21 Jas. 1.
89 Plac. de Quo Warr. (Rec. Com.), 103.
90 Proc. C.A.S. lxxi. 91.
91 Beds. R.O., Box 279, terrier 1624.
92 For ct. rolls, dated almost solely by abbatial years until 1390s, in C.U.L., Queens' Coll. Mun.: below, Oakington, local govt. n.
93 Beds. R.O., Box 279.
94 C.R.O., 132/M 48-52.
95 C.U.L., Queens' Coll. Mun., Crowlands ct. rolls 15 Abbot Simon; 18 Edw. IV.
96 Beds. R.O., Box 279, ct. rolls 1651, 1655, 1660.
1 97 C.U.L., Queens' Coll. Mun., ct. roll 19 Hen. VI.
98 Ibid. 15 Abbot Simon; 33 Abbot Hen.; cf. Page, Crowland, 266 sqq.
99 e.g. C.U.L., Queens' Coll. Mun., ct. rolls 15 Abbot Thos.; 15 Ric. 11; 4, 6 Hen. V; 12, 31 Hen. VI.
1 Ibid. 6 Abbot Simon; 17 Hen. VI.
2 Ibid. 8 Abbot John.
3 Beds. R.O., ct. rolls 1638, 1645-6, 1657.
4 C.U.L., Queens' Coll. Mun., ct. roll 6 Abbot Hen.
5 Ibid. 17 Abbot Hen.
6 Ibid. 13 Abbot Simon.
7 e.g. ibid. 5, 9, 16 Edw. IV.
8 Ibid. 10 Abbot Simon; 5 Hen. V; 11 Hen. VI.
9 Last such pleas noted: ibid. 18, 30 Hen. VI.
10 Ibid. 21 Abbot Hen.
11 Ibid. 18 Ric. 11; 12 Hen. IV.
12 e.g. ibid. 24 Abbot Hen.
13 Ibid. 17 Edw. III; 21 Abbot Hen.
14 Ibid. 18 Ric. 11; 7 Hen. IV.
15 Ibid. 23 Hen. VI.
16 Ibid. 4-6 Hen. VIII.
17 Beds. R.O., Box 279, ct. rolls 1631 and later to 1673; C.R.O., 132/M 50, ff. 54v.-57v.
18 Cf. C.R.O., P 58/8/1, orders 1748.
19 Beds. R.O., ct. rolls 1651, 1654.
20 Para. based to 1770s mainly on C.R.O., P 58/8/1 (par. acct. bk. 1616-1757, unpaginated). Many par. rec. printed, Walker, Dry Drayton, ii. 37-103.
21 Cf. Hampson, Poverty in Cambs. 157.
22 Walker, Dry Drayton, ii. 50; Add. pt. i. 10.
23 Poor Law Abstract, 1804, 34-5.
24 Ibid. 1818, 28-9; Poor Rate Returns, 1816-21, 10; 1822- 4, 32; 1825-9, 15; 1830-4, 15.
25 Rep. H.L. Cttee. on Poor Laws, 320-1.
26 Poor Law Com. 2nd Rep. 512.
27 C.R.O., P 58/8/1, at front.
28 Census, 1911, 1931.
29 Ibid. 1971.
30 C.R.O., R 54/20/2A, pp. 35-6, 93, 98.
31 Ibid. pp. 192-4; ibid. R 54/20/2B, pp. 179-81, 185, 194; cf. ibid. Q/RDz 4, p. 342.
32 Camb. News, 17 July 1968; Camb. Evening News, 18 May 1977.
33 e.g. Camb. Evening News, 18 Dec. 1974; 23 Dec. 1981.