Victoria County History



A F Wareham, A P M Wright

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'Teversham ', A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10: Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (north-eastern Cambridgeshire) (2002), pp. 171-173. URL: http://british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=18838 Date accessed: 27 November 2014.


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The small parish of Teversham (fn. 23) lies about 2½ miles east of Cambridge, its former 1,221 a. (494 ha.) (fn. 24) being contained within an approximate triangle bounded by indented curves. To the west the boundary with Cherry Hinton partly follows angular former open-field edges. On the east, where fen pasture survived there into the early 19th century, the parish lies between the Caudle Ditch on the south-east and a small tributary running north-east from the site of Teversham village towards the Quy Water, which there bounds the parish on the north-east; in 1279 it was possibly called the 'meldich', perhaps as leading to Quy Mill. (fn. 25) At the north-east corner Teversham touches the northern section of the Fleam Dyke. (fn. 26) In 1810 the lord of Quy claimed 3 a. along Quy Water for maintaining both its banks, as he had since the 1730s, with fishing rights there. (fn. 27) In 1974 and 1984 the west end of the northern boundary was re-aligned to follow the main Cambridge- Newmarket road, Teversham losing more land than it gained. (fn. 28)

The land within Teversham, which lies almost entirely upon gault, overlaid in the far north-west with gravel and in the east of Teversham fen with peat, (fn. 29) is effectively level at c. 10 metres (30 ft.). No ancient woodland survives, but, probably c. 1600, Caius College spent over £160 on felling, grubbing up, and levelling half its manorial Gaynes wood (30 a.), which was then replanted with elm and ash. (fn. 30) Other manorial woods and groves near the village covered in 1810 c. 12 a. (fn. 31) In the 18th century lords of the main manor planted elms around Teversham Hall, (fn. 32) and at the rector's request trees on the green to 'ornament' the village. (fn. 33) The parish has always been devoted primarily to arable farming. From the 1930s an increasing area of the north-west of the parish was covered by Cambridge airport. (fn. 34) Save for one Middle Bronze Age axe, there is no known sign of prehistoric activity. (fn. 35)

Teversham Before Inclosure c. 1800

Teversham Before Inclosure c. 1800

The number of recorded villagers, 27 in 1086, (fn. 36) had risen to c. 90 by 1279, (fn. 37) and 24 people were taxed in 1327. (fn. 38) Numbers had fallen sharply by the 16th century, when there were barely 12 taxpayers in the 1520s (fn. 39) and 15 households in 1563. (fn. 40) In 1666 32 deaths were ascribed to plague. (fn. 41) By the 1660s there were c. 26 dwellings, (fn. 42) housing in 1676 100 adults. (fn. 43) At least 29 families were reported in 1728, (fn. 44) and 147 people in 1785. (fn. 45) By the early 19th century there were c. 35 families, including c. 155 people. The number of inhabitants rose steadily, most rapidly in the 1820s, to 238 by 1851. Emigration, partly to Australia, produced a slight fall in the 1850s, but numbers recovered, reaching a peak of 286 in 1871. Thereafter the population fell slowly, save in the 1880s, to 222 in 1901, (fn. 46) stabilizing at 240-65 in the early 20th century. New building doubled it by 1951 to 534 permanent residents, whose numbers grew subsequently to 789 in 1961, 868 by 1981, (fn. 47) and c. 1,010 by 1986, (fn. 48) before more than doubling to 2,452 in 1991. (fn. 49)

Teversham village probably grew from a site near the northern parish boundary, close to the head of the watercourse that runs into Quy Water. From the Middle Ages building was probably concentrated along a street (fn. 50) following a curving course south-eastwards from the church and an adjoining green, called the church green in 1594, (fn. 51) towards the moat around Engaines manor house, the modern Manor Farm. The street's north-west end was probably called Church lane from the 1540s. (fn. 52) In 1279 over 30 villagers had been accused of small encroachments, up to 3 ft. wide, on the king's highway, (fn. 53) presumably that street. In the 1660s only six dwellings had over 1-2 hearths. (fn. 54) Except for the manorial farmsteads few houses survive from before 1800, although one timberframed house just south of the green may preserve, within a jettied 17th-century range between its parlour and service wing, timber work from an earlier open hall. (fn. 55) At inclosure in 1810 only 9 houses and c. 13 cottages were standing, the sites or foundations of another 7 cottages formerly demolished being known. (fn. 56) Only one farmstead with two cottages was subsequently built away from the village, by the 1840s at latest; that was at Rectory farm to the west, and was demolished after 1923. (fn. 57)

Almost all the 45-50 dwellings reported in the mid 19th century still stood along the high street or close to it, (fn. 58) as in 1910 did most of the 11 houses and 44 cottages then recorded. (fn. 59) In 1881 8 out of 62 houses in the parish were unoccupied. (fn. 60) The number of dwellings inhabited doubled to 164 between 1931 and 1951, another 90 being added in the 1950s and 60 in the 1970s. (fn. 61) Save for a little ribbon building by the 1950s near the parish boundary east of the Fulbourn road, settlement did not grow much beyond the line of the village street until the 1940s. New blocks of closely packed housing were then laid out south-west of it, initially opposite Hall Farm each side of the Hinton road. In the late 1970s c. 90 more dwellings went up to the south-east between Pembroke and Manor Farms. (fn. 62) That second development partly overran a former caravan site, previously accommodating c. 35 caravans. (fn. 63) Much of the new building consisted of council housing, which by 1981 accounted for half the houses in Teversham. (fn. 64) By the late 1980s suburban development spread across the south-western border from Cherry Hinton, over 700 new dwellings being built in that decade. (fn. 65) Growth of settlement was assisted by the building in the 1970s of a sewage plant east of the village. (fn. 66)

At inclosure the three main roads linking Teversham to neighbouring villages were left to follow their ancient slightly curving courses, (fn. 67) as was the Cambridge-Newmarket road, called by the 14th century the Portway, (fn. 68) after 1600 the Causeway. (fn. 69) Other fieldways recorded since the Middle Ages, such as Woodway, were then stopped up, save for Mill Ditch way, leading north-east from the south-east end of the street. (fn. 70) In 1972 the old road leading north-west from Church Lane was closed, and a new bypass was constructed west of the village to make way for the enlargement of Cambridge airport. (fn. 71)

About 1750 the traditional village feast was held on the second Sunday after Trinity. (fn. 72) In 1810 Teversham's Camping close belonged to the lord of a manor. (fn. 73) The village's sole public house, the Rose and Crown, recorded from 1764, (fn. 74) remained open in the 1990s. (fn. 75) In 1863 the farmers had successfully opposed a petition by 40 labourers for another to be licensed. (fn. 76) By 1960, when there were several social and sporting clubs, Teversham had a well equipped recreation ground east of the village, though no village hall. (fn. 77)


23 This history was completed in 1995. For the parish, O.S. Maps 6", Cambs. XL. SE.; XLVII. NE.; XLVIII. NW. (1889-90 and later edns.); 1/10,000, TL 45 NE., TL 55 NW. (1960 and later edns.).
24 Census, 1891, 1971.
25 Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 436.
26 Cf. R.C.H.M. Cambs. ii. 144-7.
27 C.U.L., Add. MS. 6079, f. 17; ibid. Doc. 658, nos. 41, 48; cf. C.R.O., P 153/3/1.
28 South Cambs. Parishes Order, 1974; Census, 1991.
29 Geol. Surv. Map, 1/50,000, solid and drift, sheet 188 (1974 edn.).
30 Caius College Mun., XV/3 f, g.
31 C.R.O., Q/RDc 22 (incl. map 1810-15), schedule of property.
32 Below, manors (Warbletons).
33 C.U.L., Doc. 658, no. 58.
34 Below, econ. hist.
35 V.C.H. Cambs. i. 273 n, 303.
36 Ibid. 407.
37 Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 432-6.
38 Cambs. Lay Subsidy, 1327, 13.
39 P.R.O., E 179/81/132, m. D5; E 179/81/147, m. C8.
40 B.L. Harl. MS. 594. f. 198.
41 C.R.O., P 153/1/1, note s.a. 1666 (from cat.).
42 e.g. P.R.O., E 179/84/437, rot. 62v.; E 179/244/22, f. 83v.
43 Compton Census, ed. Whiteman, 163.
44 C.U.L., E.D.R., B 8/1, f. 31v.
45 C.R.O., P 153/1/2, note s.a. 1785 (from cat.).
46 Census, 1801-1901; cf. S.C. Holt, 'Family, Kinship, etc. in Emigration from Camb., 1840-67' (M.A. thesis, La Trobe Univ., Australia, 1987), (copy in C.R.O.), p. 212.
47 Census, 1911-81. An apparent drop in 1971 is due to 10 resident families being away.
48 S. Cambs. local plan, 1989: copy, Cambs. Colln.
49 Census, 1991.
50 For layout and older bldgs., R.C.H.M. Cambs. ii. 134, 137-8; cf. C.R.O., Q/RDc 22. See map 15.
51 P.R.O., PROB 11/85, f. 38v.
52 B.L. Add. MS. 5861, f. 23; Caius Coll. Mun., XV/7, ct. roll 26 Eliz. I.
53 Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 431.
54 e.g. P.R.O., E 179/244/22, f. 83v.
55 M.H.L.G. list, no. 6/198.
56 Listed on C.R.O., Q/RDc 22; cf. C.U.L., Add. MS. 6079, esp. ff. 11, 17, 29v.-30v.; Add. MS. 6078, ff. 22v.-23.
57 Cf. P.R.O., HO 107/1759, f. 493; C.R.O., P 153/3/16.
58 e.g. P.R.O., HO 107/1759, ff. 493-504; ibid. RG 9/1020, ff. 41-48v.; RG 10/1581, ff. 37-46v.; RG 11/1661, ff. 90-8.
59 C.R.O., 497/O 73-4.
60 Census, 1881.
61 Ibid. 1931-81.
62 O.S. Map 1/2,500, TL 45, 55 (1956, 1972, 1981 edns.); cf. S. Cambs. local plan, 1989; Camb. News, 3 June 1967; Camb. Evening News, 9 May 1974; 8 Jan. 1976.
63 e.g. Camb. Evening News, 21 Jan. 1973; 21 Apr. 1973; 9 Dec. 1975.
64 Census, 1981.
65 S. Cambs. local plan, 1989; Census, 1991; cf. Camb. Evening News, 6 Sept. 1984.
66 Cf. O.S. Map 1/2,500, TL 55 (1972, 1981 edns.); S. Cambs. local plan, 1989.
67 C.R.O., Q/RDz 8, p. 14; cf. ibid. Q/RDc 22.
68 e.g. Caius Coll. Mun., XV/1 a, deed 20 Edw. III; XIV/1, deed 2 Hen. IV; ibid. XIV/9-12, terrier 1502.
69 e.g. ibid. XIV/11, terrier 1636.
70 Named, e.g. Caius Coll. Mun., XV/4-6, terriers 1569 and later; XIV/9-12, terriers 1502 and later.
71 e.g. Camb. Ind. Press, 18 Oct. 1968; Camb. Evening News, 11 Oct. 1971; 30 Mar., 1 Apr. 1972.
72 E. Carter, Hist. Cambs. (1753), 273.
73 C.U.L., Add. MS. 6078, ff. 22v.-23.
74 e.g. C.R.O., Q/RLv 2, p. 17; Q/RLv 6, p. 239 (from cat.); cf. C.U.L., Add. MS. 6079, f. 22; C.R.O., L 76/270.
75 e.g. P.R.O., HO 107/67, f. 6; Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1864-1937).
76 Camb. Chron. 5 Sept. 1863, p. 4.
77 Camb. Ind. Press, 22 Apr. 1960; cf. Camb. News, 15 Dec. 1965; Camb. Evening News, 25 Sept. 1971.