Fletun, Fletone (xi cent.); Flettun (xii cent.);
Flectone, Fletton (xiii cent.).
The parish of Fletton lies to the south of Peterborough, separated from it by the river Nene, over
which there is a bridge in the middle of the boundary.
Fletton spring forms the south-eastern boundary of
the present Urban parish. Fletton, during the 19th
century, became a suburb of Peterborough, the
northern part of the parish having entirely lost its
rural character. The increase in population has
involved various reorganisations of its civil government.
New Fletton, as it had become designated, was
incorporated with the borough of Peterborough in
1874; the remainder of the parish was called Old
Fletton. Fletton Urban, the part added to Peterborough, contains 213 acres. Old Fletton, or
Fletton Rural, containing 757 acres, together with
Stanground South and Woodston Rural, was on
1 October 1905 formed into the Fletton Urban
District under section 36 of the Local Government
Act of 1894. (fn. 1) The ecclesiastical parish contains
both the civil parishes. The subsoil is Oxford Clay,
the character of the latter having led to the establishment of large brickworks and the industrialisation
of much of the parish. The works lie along the main
line of the London and North Eastern Railway, which
crosses the parish, and the station called Peterborough East, serving both the London and North
Eastern and the London Midland and Scottish
Railways, lies in New Fletton (Urban) to the south of
the river. Scattered in the parish various remains of
palæolithic man have been found, but the most
important was excavated in the yard of the London
Brick Company, where there are the remains of an
early Iron Age settlement. (fn. 2) Traces of an early
Roman settlement have also been discovered about
half a mile south of the church, while a little farther
north the line of a buried river running east and west
has been found on a ridge of gravel. (fn. 3) The gravel pits
of New Fletton have also yielded Anglo-Saxon remains
of some importance. (fn. 4) The old parish of Fletton was
inclosed by Act of Parliament in 1760, (fn. 5) the award
being enrolled on the Close Rolls at the Public
Record Office. (fn. 6)
Peterborough Abbey. Gules two crossed keys or.
The manor of FLETTON is said to
have been given to the Abbey of Peterborough by Leuiua de London, an important benefactress of the abbey, but Edward the
Confessor attempted to obtain possession of it.
Abbot Leuric, therefore, paid 8 gold marks to the
king to safeguard its possession to the abbey. (fn. 7) The
abbey held it in 1086, but there is a suggestion in the
'claims' at the end of the Huntingdonshire Domesday that at some period after
the reign of Edward the Confessor part of Fletton had
been taken from the abbey. (fn. 8)
The manor had originally
been assessed as 3 hides, (fn. 9)
but certainly before 1086 this
had been raised to 5 hides. (fn. 10)
In the 12th century (1125–28),
the abbey held it in demesne.
There were 6 full villeins and
10 half villeins, who paid an
annual rent of 10s. and worked
for their lord one day a week
from Michaelmas to Easter, besides doing other works.
They paid to the charity of St. Peter 4 sheep, 5 ells of
cloth, 10 dishes, 200 loaves, and 10 hens, as well as a
customary payment of 42 hens, 11 geese, 300 eggs.
Four cotters [cotsetes] and two freemen completed
the list of tenants. (fn. 11) Abbot William de Woodford
(1295–99) released to the monks a custom called
wether silver amounting to 16s. 6d. paid from the
manors of Fletton and Alwalton; the cellarer was to
retain 3s. 2d. and the remaining mark was to be given,
half to the convent and half to the poor. (fn. 12) Abbot
Andrew (1194–99) gave Fletton manor to the monks'
kitchen, but reserved the aid paid at Michaelmas. (fn. 13)
This aid—which, together with the aid paid from
Alwalton manor, was valued at 20 marks a year—was
released to the kitchen by Abbot Robert de Lindsey. (fn. 14)
At the time of the dissolution of the abbey, the rents
and profits of the manor, amounting to over 25l.,
pertained to the office of the cellarer. (fn. 15) Abbot
Benedict (1177–1193) withdrew his tenants from suit
at the Hundred court of Norman Cross (fn. 16) and presumably established the view of frankpledge at
Fletton, which was claimed by the abbot in 1278. (fn. 17)
In lieu of suit to the Hundred court, the manors of
Fletton and Alwalton paid an annual rent of 20s. to
the Abbey of Thorney, towards the rent paid by the
latter abbey to the Crown for the farm of the Hundred.
From about 1200 to 1292, this rent was withdrawn by
Peterborough and payment was resumed only after
lawsuits between the Exchequer and Thorney Abbey
and between the two abbeys. (fn. 18) After the dissolution
of Thorney Abbey, the rent was paid to the Crown
until 1576, when Elizabeth granted it to Sir Christopher Hatton. (fn. 19) The Abbot of Peterborough also
had gallows in Fletton, the chattels of his men
condemned as felons and fines arising from murders
or other forfeitures of his men, pleas of vetiti namii, the
return of writs and the collection of the king's debts in
his demesne lands. (fn. 20)
Proby. Ermine a fesse gules with a lion passant or thereon.
After the dissolution of Peterborough Abbey,
Fletton manor remained in the Crown, (fn. 21) and was sold
in 1552 by Edward VI to Edward Fynes, Lord Clinton
and Saye, together with all the rights and liberties
formerly held by the abbot, to hold by military
service. (fn. 22) In the same year, Lord Clinton alienated
it to Roger Forrest, (fn. 23) who died seised of the manor in
1554 and was succeeded by his nephew John Forrest. (fn. 24)
William Forrest, apparently John's successor, sold it
in 1595 to Edward Apsley, (fn. 25) who obtained a new
grant from the Crown in 1601. (fn. 26) He died in 1609,
and left the manor to trustees
to be sold for the payment of
his debts. (fn. 27) The sale did not
take place before 1614, when
parliamentary powers were
applied for. (fn. 28) In 1630 it appears to have come into the
possession of Francis Saye. (fn. 29)
It next passed to Onslow
Winch, (fn. 30) whose son Sir Humphrey Winch, bt., (fn. 31) sold it in
1676 to Sir Thomas Proby,
bt. (fn. 32) John Proby, the first
Lord Carysfort, was lord of
the manor in 1759, (fn. 33) and his
son and successor owned it in 1781. (fn. 34) By 1854 it
had passed to Nathaniel Hibbert, and in 1885 and
1894 it belonged to the trustees of the late Thomas
Mills. Mr. James Bristow acquired it before 1903, and
he died in 1926, when the estate was apparently sold
and the manorial rights lost. At the present day,
most of the land in Fletton is owned by the various
brick-making companies with works there.
A mill is mentioned, in general terms, in the grant
of the manor of Fletton in 1601 to Edward Apsley. (fn. 35)
In 1594, however, a windmill was sold by William
Forrest, the lord of the manor, and his wife Elizabeth
to William Hewett, (fn. 36) who died seised of it in the same
year, leaving his son John, a minor, as his heir. (fn. 37) In
1623 John Fletton and his wife Frances were seised
of a windmill. (fn. 38) The Fletton family, who are first
mentioned about 1278, (fn. 39) were said in the middle of
the 17th century to have been lords of the manor at
one time; (fn. 40) presumably they were leaseholders under
The Bridge fair held on 1–3 October by the Abbey
of Peterborough and their successors the Dean and
Chapter, though always looked upon as a fair belonging
to Peterborough, was, and still is, actually held in the
parish of Fletton. (fn. 41) In 1601, Queen Elizabeth granted
tolls of market and fairs, with the manor, to Sir
Edward Apsley. (fn. 42) Actually, however, the fair did
not belong to the lords of Fletton, but certain tolls
were paid to them for leave to erect booths, stalls,
etc. In 1759, these tolls amounted to some 3l. a
year, and on the inclosure of the parish it was arranged
that this amount was to be paid by the Dean and
Chapter, who were to choose a parcel of land, not
exceeding 50 acres, to be set aside for the fair ground. (fn. 43)
The church of ST. MARGARET consists of a chancel (28½ ft. by 13 ft.), organ
chamber and vestry on the north (19 ft.
by 16½ ft.), nave (40¾ ft. by 14 ft.), north aisle (53½ ft.
by 16 ft.), south aisle (40¾ ft. by 7 ft.), west tower
(8 ft. by 8 ft.) and south porch. The walls are of
rubble with stone dressings, and the roofs are covered
with stone-slates, slates and lead.
The church is mentioned in the Domesday Survey
(1086), but this church was evidently rebuilt in stone
as an aisleless nave and chancel, probably of the same
size as the present, c. 1150. Some fifteen years later
a north chapel and north aisle were added and the
chancel arch rebuilt. About 1300 a south aisle and
west tower were added, the north aisle was perhaps
rebuilt and the vestry built; possibly at this time the
wide western arch of the north arcade was built in
the place of two semicircular arches. (fn. 44) The church
was restored in 1872, when the porch was rebuilt; and
again in 1901, when the north aisle was rebuilt, widened
and extended to the east end of the chancel, absorbing
the former north chapel and vestry. In 1917 the spire
was struck by lightning and the upper part was rebuilt.
The mid 12th-century chancel has a three-light east
window of c. 1300, with modern reticulated tracery.
In the north wall is a late 12th-century arcade of two
arches of two chamfered orders resting on a circular
column having a scalloped capital with cruciform
abacus and a moulded base, and plain responds.
A square-headed doorway of c. 1300 opens into the
vestry. In the south wall are two early 14th-century
two-light windows with pointed heads and reticulated
tracery; a single-light low-side window with a square
head; a blocked original window visible on the outside
only; and a recess for a piscina but without a drain.
The chancel has original clasping buttresses at the
angles and a shallow buttress on the south, the latter
having a modern buttress built against it; two original
string-courses, and an original nebuly corbel-table
below the eaves. The late 12th-century chancel arch
is two-centred and of two plain orders resting on
responds having semicircular attached shafts under
the inner order and detached shafts at the sides;
the capitals of the former are scalloped and of the
latter carved with the water leaf, and all have moulded
The modern organ chamber and vestry, which are
under one continuous roof with the north aisle,
incorporate the east wall of the vestry of c. 1300, in
which is a square-headed three-light window; the
north wall has a modern square-headed two-light
window and a plain doorway; and the west wall of
the vestry has a cruciform loop with lobed ends.
There is no structural division between the organ
chamber and the aisle.
Fletton: 12th-Century Cross in Churchyard From a drawing in the Dryden Collection (Public Library, Northampton)
The mid 12th-century nave seems originally to have
had a north arcade of four bays of semicircular
arches of two slightly chamfered orders on circular
columns with scalloped cruciform capitals and
moulded bases, and similar half columns at the
responds, but about 1300 one column seems to have
been destroyed and the space of the two arches
supported by it was spanned by a wide sprawling arch
of two chamfered orders.
The south arcade, c. 1300, has three segmental
pointed arches of two chamfered orders on tall
octagonal columns with moulded capitals and bases,
and similar half columns at the responds. The
capitals are of irregular shape following the lines of the
orders of the arches. The clearstory, c. 1300, has
three square-headed two-light windows on each side.
The rood-stairs are in the north-east corner, the lower
doorway being in the north aisle, and the upper doorway has been destroyed and the opening in the wall
The modern north aisle has five square-headed
windows in the north wall, two two-lights and three
three-lights; and a reset rectangular locker. The
old north wall was dilapidated and propped up with
brick sloping buttresses and had three square-headed
Part of the west wall is of c. 1300, and has a threelight window.
The south aisle, c. 1300, has an original three-light
east window. The south wall has an original squareheaded three-light window; two similar windows, but
modern; and an original south doorway with a
pointed arch of two continuous chamfered orders.
The west window is similar to that in the east wall.
The west tower, c. 1300, has a pointed tower arch
of three chamfered orders, the inner order resting on
semi-octagonal attached shafts with moulded capitals.
The west window is a two-light with a quatrefoil in
the head; and in the stage above is a square-headed
single-light window. The belfry windows are twolights with pointed heads and a pierced spandrel.
The tower has buttresses square with the angles
and is finished with a moulded cornice with ballflower ornament, from which rises an octagonal broach
spire having two tiers of lights, the lower two-lights
and the upper single-lights, both on the cardinal faces.
There are no stairs.
The modern porch has a pointed outer arch, the
lower order carried on attached semicircular shafts
with moulded capitals and bases. It follows, generally, the form of the ancient porch.
The late 16th-century font has an octagonal bowl
with panelled and fluted sides on an octagonal stem
with deeply hollowed sides and moulded capital and
There are three bells, inscribed: (1) s. palle;
(2) Omnia fiant ad gloriam Dei. 1620; (3) William
Wates made me 1590. The first by Edward Newcome, the second by Tobias Norris I, and the third
by Wm. Watts.
In the north aisle are two 15th-century bench-ends
with carved poppy-heads.
Built into the south wall of the chancel (inside) are
two pre-Conquest stones, perhaps 10th-century, with
carved figures of an angel and a saint under round
arches. (fn. 45) Built into the south-eastern clasping
buttress are six other stones, two with figures of
angels and scroll work, one with three saints' heads,
one with grotesque animals and interlaced scrolls,
one with a man between two grotesque animals and
scrolls, and one with interlaced scrolls. These carvings
are very similar to those of Abbot Hedda's monument
and the stone in the south transept of Peterborough
Cathedral, and are probably of the 8th century;
the stones are reddened in places, perhaps due to
fire. On the same buttress is a 12th-century stone
carved with a foliated cross and saltire.
In the churchyard, at the west end of the tower, is
a late 12th-century cross with broken wheel-head
and richly carved stem, the western face inscribed
'radulfi filivs [w]ielm,' and two medallions containing foliage and animal forms; the eastern
face with a large figure, perhaps the Agnus Dei, and
two medallions; the sides with foliage. There are
also fragments of two coffins, and a 13th-century
coped slab with cross.
In the rectory garden is a stone obelisk inscribed:
CUI PLACET CURAS AGERE SÆCULORUM DE QUERCUBUS
COGITET CONSERENDIS PPRE MDCCLXXVII. The upper
part, upon the back of which the inscription has been
cut, is an early 14th-century coped and tapering
coffin-lid with a cross on a calvary. It is said to have
been set up by Peter Peckard, rector at the time.
In the rectory orchard is the octagonal shaft of a
15th-century cross on a square base; the moulded
capital lies near it. The cross has probably been
moved from the churchyard.
There are the following monuments: in the chancel,
to Mary, daughter of the Rev. John Wakelin, formerly
Rector, no date; the Rev. William Judd Upton, formerly Rector, d. 1894, and Mary Elizabeth Edwina
his wife, d. 1902; Annie Frances Hume Dowman,
wife of the Rector, d. 1923; in the nave, to
Henry William Page, d. 1900; and floor slabs to Mary
(Tompson), wife of the Rev. John Wakelin, Rector,
d. 1812, and Jane their infant daughter; Catherine,
wife of Robert Wright, d. 1812, and Robert Wright,
d. 1818; in the north aisle, to John Henery, d. 1832;
in the south aisle, to Edward Elgie Page, son of Henry
William Page, d. 1890; Henry Bates, d. 1922; and
glass window as a War Memorial, 1914–18; in the
tower, floor slabs to the Rev. John Wakelin, Rector,
d. 1759, and Martha his daughter, d. 1759; Ann,
relict of the Rev. John Wakelin, d. 1773, and Jane their
daughter, d. 1770.
The registers are as follows: (i) baptisms, marriages and burials, 1604 to 23 March 1770, but many
years are blank; (ii) marriages, 11 October 1760 to
11 November 1811.
The church plate consists of a silver cup hallmarked for 1897–8; a silver paten similarly hallmarked and inscribed 'To the Glory of God and
in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of Her
Most Gracious Majesty the Queen this service for
Holy Communion was Presented to St. Margaret's
Fletton Parish Church by the Communicants. 1897.
Charles Dowman, Rector. H. W. Page, W. E. Streatfield, Churchwardens'; a silver-mounted glass flagon
similarly hall-marked. (fn. 46)
The church was held with the
manor (q.v.) by Peterborough Abbey
before 1086. It was confirmed to
the abbot and convent by Pope Eugenius III in
1146. (fn. 47) The advowson of the rectory belonged
to the abbey until its dissolution (fn. 48) and then passed
to the subsequent lords of the manor. (fn. 49) In 1829,
the year after his death, the trustees of John Joshua
Proby, 2nd Lord Carysfort, presented to the rectory,
but they apparently sold it to Earl Fitzwilliam,
who presented in 1830. (fn. 50) He left his Huntingdonshire property to his younger son, the Hon. George
Wentworth Fitzwilliam; (fn. 51) the executors of his son,
Mr. G. C. Wentworth Fitzwilliam, are now patrons.
In 1279 an ancient endowment of a messuage and
8 acres of land was attached to the church. (fn. 52)
A guild, of unknown origin and dedication, existed
at the Dissolution of the Chantries, in connection
with the parish church. (fn. 53) It was possibly already
in existence in 1278, when Thomas the Chaplain
held a toft of land with a curtilage, for which he paid
an annual rent of 2s. to the Abbot of Peterborough. (fn. 54)
In 1547, the endowment of the guild consisted of
'le ley' and five parcels of meadow, in the hands of
the churchwardens. (fn. 55) In 1570, Elizabeth granted
this land to Hugh Councell and Robert Pistor to
hold in socage of the manor of East Greenwich. (fn. 56)
The William Judd Upton Fund.—
William Judd Upton, by will proved
22 December 1919, bequeathed £350
to the rector and churchwardens for the poor of the
parish. This sum was invested in the purchase of
£411 2s. 11d. 5 per cent. War Stock, in the name of
the Official Trustees and the interest is distributed
to the poor in coals and food at Christmas.
Mary Walsham, by will dated 19 January 1744, gave
to the minister, churchwardens and overseers £100,
the interest to be applied for the benefit of the poor
of the parish. To this amount was added £10, given
by John Henry.
William Charlton bequeathed to the minister,
churchwardens and overseers £10, the interest to
be distributed among the poor of the parish; and
Charlton Wyldbore, by his will dated 2 August 1764,
after reciting that he had in his hands the said sum
of £10 bequeathed by his uncle William Charlton,
directed that his nephew John Wright should, so
soon as he came of age, assure the payment of 20s. a
year to be distributed amongst poor housekeepers of
the parish. This rentcharge is now secured upon a
farm at Stanground near Peterborough.
Robert Wright, by will proved 14 April 1818, gave
the sum of £10, the interest to be distributed by
the minister and churchwardens among the poor of
the parish. This sum, together with the funds arising
from the charities of Mary Walsham and John Henry,
was invested in the purchase of £122 15s. 11d.
4½ per cent. War Stock, and the interest, together with
the rentcharge of £1 per annum, is distributed in coal
to the poor of the parish.