2016 Guided Walk

LDHS – NOTES FOR GUIDED WALK – Walk 1

Longstanton Conservation area

Written by HAE Stroude (Version date: 6 March, 2016) 

Enjoy a lovely walk around the ancient Anglo-Saxon village site of Longstanton. See our two churches, an example of an Oakington pillbox and see the evidence of medieval farming and village life that remains within the landscape. The walk is rather a long one and at certain times of year can be muddy. If you are unable to carry our the walk the notes will still assist you if you are able to drive from one church to the other.

Disclaimer: The information contained here is merely to assist you understand the heritage as you walk around the Longstanton conservation area. LDHS cannot be liable in anyway if people walk around the village using this guide. Please park with consideration of legal requirements and our neighbours. Please remember the countryside code, remain on the footpaths and close gates where applicable. It is worth noting that on occasion cattle may graze The Manor farm paddocks. Although a footpath runs through the paddock LDHS would strongly advise that the last bit of this walk is avoided if livestock are present in the fields.

All Saints’ church via Long Lane to St Michael’s and back via footpath through Manor Farm paddocks.

Note 1 Time permitting the route from St Michael’s can double back on itself to go via Mills Lane.

Allow 20 minutes to look at each church. Duration of the walk is approx 2 hours and can be muddy in places. Please note St Michael’s church is not open except through prior arrangement. It is occasionally open on a Sunday afternoon, but this cannot be guaranteed. Please contact the former custodian, William Sellwood, via email for further information. He may be able to advise you where you can collect a key if the church is closed. His email address is williamsellwood@hotmail.co.uk

 

ALL SAINTS’ CHURCH

General Information

According to VCH All Saints’ and St Michael’s were both recorded in 1217. No evidence has been found for the dependence of either on the other so it is presumed that they originated from distinct manors. According to R McNeile in the book, Christianity in Southern Fenland, the Domesday Book gives us the information despite its silence about actual churches.

When William deprived the Saxon holders of their estates Count Alan de Zouches, earl of Brittany took over 69 manors of which 61 belonged to a Saxon lady of the name of Rose. In Longstanton there were two manors one of which fell to Count Allan (Colvilles) and the other to Picot, the Norman Sheriff. R McNeile says it is clear what happened. The lady Rose and her compeers built churches for their tenants irrespective of whether another church was close at hand. If two churches were built next door to each other so be it. This was just an accident. Other examples of this occurred in Swaffham Prior, Histon, Fulbourn and Duxford to name but a few.

We do not know if there was a Saxon church in Longstanton prior to the 13th Century – there is no evidence to date that I know of. What we do know is that the site of All Saints’ church is on one of the highest points in the village. The old cross stump (although not in its original location) and the presence of the blacksmith across the road suggests that this site could well be an ancient site of Christian worship.

It is recorded that the original church of All Saints’ burnt down on June 7, 1349 during what was probably the height of the Black Death in this area – the disease having been first recorded at Crowland Abbey lands in Oakington, Dry Drayton and Cottenham in October 1348. In the north wall of the sanctuary are what are said to be the sole remains of the previous church – a curious Early English niche and the sill of a window. Two small blocked up windows on either side of the chancel may also be earlier than the present building. All Saints’ church was rebuilt in the14th Century probably by the Cheyney lord who lived in Cheyneys manor which is sited across the road (now called The Manor). The church is considered a fine example of 14th Century Perpendicular architecture – hence its Grade 1 listed status.

 

The Old Cross Stump

A listed structure probably not located in its exact original position. It may have been originally sited near/on the road adjacent to All Saints’ church but to date we have no evidence as to the original location. Although the listing suggests that the cross stump is medieval, it has been suggested that the moulding could be Anglo- Saxon in origin. This would be consistent if we are right and the Longstanton Domesday village site remains beneath the Longstanton conservation area. The old cross stump was in very poor condition and its very survival hung in the balance. In autumn 2011 this cross stump was restored in memory of my late mother in the hope that it will survive long into the 21st Century.

The RAF Graves

There are two groups of RAF graves in All Saints’ churchyard. The group nearest the old vicarage are the War Graves. The other group are post war graves. There are 9 wartime and 9 post-war graves. Longstanton Cemetery on Hattons Road contains 7 RAF graves, all post-war. The WW2 deaths were largely the results of mid-air collisions; the Stirling Bomber being notoriously difficult to fly.

Cheyney (Hatton) Chapel

Originally known as the Cheyney Chapel (a lady chapel), the chapel was “taken over” by the Hatton Lords of the Manor once they came to Longstanton in the early 17th Century. It is worth noting the broken statues holders and the remains of medieval wall paintings here in the chapel. It is worth remembering that All Saints’ church and the Cheyney Chapel were originally Catholic in origin until Henry VIII broke from the Catholic church and established the Church of England.

The Golden Hind

Look around the church and you will see numerous golden hinds. This was the family emblem of the Hatton family. The first Hatton, Sir Christopher of Kirby Hall, purchased Collvilles Manor in 1616 and Cheyneys/ Walwyns in 1617 but he died in 1619. His father’s cousin was Sir Christopher Hatton (d 1591) Lord Chancellor to Elizabeth 1st. It is said that Sir Christopher (d 1591) financially supported Sir Francis Drake when he sailed around the world. It is said that as a mark of his gratitude Sir Francis renamed his ship The Golden Hind. Whether there is evidence for this story remains to be seen. A golden hind can also be seen on the village sign.

Sir Christopher’s (d 1619) son Christopher was of age by 1633 when he and his mother Alice sold Cheyneys, Walwyns and Collvilles manors to his Uncle Sir Thomas Hatton (died 1658).

Hatton Tomb

The tomb of Sir Thomas Hatton (died Sept. 1658) and his wife Mary. The statues are of Sir Thomas’ surviving children at the time of his death – 3 sons and 3 daughters. Compare this ornate tomb with the plain sepulchre nearby. By 1812, when Thomas Dingley Hatton was killed on what is now the A14, the Hatton family was in financial decline. At this time Longstanton and Oakington were witnessing the rise of the Linton family – an example of the up and coming middle class who increasingly took on the position of the landed gentry. Such a transition would have been witnessed in village after village across the country. By the time the Hatton estate was finally broken up and sold of in 1874 the Linton family were substantial and influential landowners in both Longstanton and Oakington.

 

7 Squadron Memorial Window and Roll of Honour

The existence of these memorials in All Saints’ church is largely attributable to Sqd. Leader Charles Lofthouse, whose grave can be seen outside the church near the path. Charles was an excellent calligrapher and was one of the forgers at Stalag Luft III, The Great Escape prison where many RAF Oakington officers were kept prisoner during WW2. The Memorial Window was designed by Gordon & Yvonne Monaghan. The dress of the three figures represents different phases of the Squadron’s history. The aircraft represented are the RE8 of 1917, the Virginia of the 1920’s and the Stirling and Lancaster of WW2. The window is dedicated to the airmen of the famous 7 Squadron Pathfinder Force. The myriad of stars symbolise the lives lost. The window was dedicated at a special service in 1992.

FROM ALL SAINTS’ CHURCH TURN LEFT AND FOLLOW RAMPTON ROAD UNTIL YOU COME TO THE OAKIINGTON PILLBOX, SITED NEXT TO THE ENTRANCE TO MAGDALENE CLOSE.

 

OAKINGTON PILLBOX, RAMPTON ROAD

The Oakington “mushroom-topped” pillbox was designed by F C Construction of Derby in the 1930’s. Only 40 were ever built.

The examples that remain from RAF Oakington are considered to be perhaps the best examples that remain of this rare structure. No one knows why they have the name Oakington – perhaps F C Construction built the first examples here? The Station Operational Record book shows that the first of the new design of round pillboxes was completed at RAF Oakington on 2nd March 1941. There are 10 of these pillboxes on record at RAF Oakington – a quarter of all the ones built. In 2011, LDHS submitted an application for these rare pillboxes to be protected and consequently English Heritage listed 9 out of 10 Oakington pillboxes. The pillbox on Wilson’s Road was not granted Grade II listed status as it is in such a poor state of repair. However, LDHS feels that this one needs to be restored so that the complete set of these rare structures is preserved.

The pillbox is unique having 360 degrees of fire. The disc-shaped roof is of reinforced concrete supported by a cruciform wall at its centre. A 2 inch tubular steel rail is fixed inside the curtain wall. This was the support for a gun mount to which a machine gun would be fitted. The curtain wall and entrance would have been totally concealed by earthworks – not as we see it today. This example was revealed from the undergrowth by SCDC’s community service team in December 2010.

FOLLOW THE BY-WAY OPPOSITE THE PILL BOX.

 

LONG LANE

Although Long Lane is “L” shaped today it was not so prior to the construction of RAF Oakington in the late 1930’s. St Michael’s Lane and Long Lane continued across the airfield in two directions. On old maps it is interesting that the village houses did not appear to extend beyond Long Lane on what is now called Rampton Road (formerly Church Lane). It is now believed that Long Lane could be the back lane of the Anglo-Saxon village. The width of Long lane is interesting and the footpath opposite going towards Willingham makes me wonder if this could have been used as a drove road from the fens (Ely) to Cambridge. Further investigation into the history and origins of Long Lane is important to help us understand much about Longstanton and its relationship to the fen edge and neighbouring villages. Archaeological excavations could prove highly beneficial in this regard.

Points of interest as you walk up Long Lane:

Nethergrove

Immediately on your right as you enter Long Lane is Nethergrove. This grove of trees gave its name to the houses that are located on Rampton Road adjacent to All Saints’ church. Part of the manorial holding, this grove probably supplied timber to construct village houses and indeed Cheyney’s Manor itself.

The lakes

On your right immediately after Nethergrove is a fishing lake. For most of the 20th Century there were 3 lakes here which were originally part of the manorial site. Beyond the lakes is a row of trees which indicates the position of Newman’s Lane – an old path/track marked on some old maps.

Manor farm paddocks & the domesday village site

On your right after Newman’s Lane lie the Manor Farm paddocks. These paddocks were part of pre-Inclosure closes that are marked on old maps of Longstanton under the name Inholms. Inholms is a Danish (Viking) word meaning “island in the marsh”. Before the fens were drained Longstanton was probably just that – a gravel island surrounded by marshy land of some use perhaps during the drier summer months.

If you look to your right you can see evidence of old roads, tofts and medieval farming practises all clearly visible within the landscape. Although little archaeological excavation has been carried out on these ancient paddocks it is thought that this is the site of Domesday Longstanton. Many historical sites were ploughed up during WW2 to help maximise food production; however, we have evidence that these paddocks were spared the plough. Manor Farm was still worked by horses until the 1950’s and it was into these fields that the farm horses were turned out after their days work was done.

Raf oakington (oakington barracks) site

On your left for the entire length of Long Lane, is the former site of RAF Oakington, Oakington Barracks and the Immigration Centre. The Sergeants Mess used to stand near Long Lane but this building and most of the others have been demolished to make way for the Northstowe development. Lobbying by LDHS has ensured the survival of a number of RAF Oakington buildings and structures, an area referred to as the Heritage Core. This includes the former Officer’s Mess and Guard House where we hope to see a museum one day. The landowner the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) proposed to retain a number of buildings and structures in a press release dated 1st March 2011 and to date they remain standing. The buildings that you can see in the distance have only survived because of the work carried out by LDHS and our supporters. However, credit must also go to HCA for having the vision to realise that heritage is a vital part of creating a unique new town that has a good community spirit and a high sense of worth.

  • LDHS will continue to monitor the Northstowe development process to ensure that these buildings and structures are given long term legal protection and a museum is forthcoming. Current Northstowe proposals still fall short of providing a firm, legally binding commitment to provide a heritage facility/ museum for the new town. LDHS considers that provision of such an important social and educational resource is essential mitigation for the impact this development is already having on Longstanton and Oakington’s heritage. Failure to provide a serious commitment to a museum has already resulted in artefacts being lost to Northstowe, the existing villages and future generations.

As you turn the corner of the “L” part of Long Lane on your left was the site of the army rifle range. This was demolished a couple of years ago to make way for Northstowe.

AT THE END OF LONG LANE, TURN LEFT.

(THE RIGHT TURN MAY BE FOLLOWED (see Note1) AS AN ALTERNATIVE ROUTE ON THE RETURN JOURNEY FROM MICHAEL’S CHURCH. IT WILL ADD APPROX 15 MINUTES TO THE WALK BUT OFFERS A GOOD VIEW OF MANOR FARM PADDOCKS, A PRETTY THATCHED COTTAGE AND ONE OF THE VILLAGE’S OLD WATER PUMPS)

 

ST MICHAEL’S lane

As you exit Long Lane and head up St Michael’s Lane you will see the remains of ridge and furrow in the paddocks on either side. You will no longer see the roofs of the J hangers, which were the first hangers to be erected on site at the start of the war. The last hangar to remain standing was demolished in 2012 despite LDHS appeals to save this iconic structure. To date the water tower still stands as the chosen iconic backdrop to Northstowe and suggestions are requested as to potential uses for it. LDHS supports its use as a viewing platform so visitors to the Heritage Core and the new town can view both the old and new from a fantastic vantage point. The Longstanton conservation area and its listed buildings will be clearly visible. Views further afield towards Ely and Cambridge may add to the attraction of this iconic structure.

Across the paddocks towards the airfield there is an empty area of concrete (with some street lights visible) located behind St Michael’s Mount.  This area was reputedly used to house prisoners of war.

ST MICHAEL’S CHURCH HOLY WELL

The presence of the Holy Well suggests to some, perhaps erroneously that St Michael’s is built on a site of pre-Christian worship. There is no evidence for this that I know of, and the information provided in the book Christianity in Southern Fenland may suggest otherwise. The presence of the old cross stump near All Saints’ church, on what is one of the highest points of the parish, may suggest that the site of All Saints is the oldest site of Christian worship if we had to choose between the two. However, a very amateur assessment of land heights using a mobile phone app showed that the St Michael’s church site is fractionally higher than the All Saints’ church site, with The Manor being the third highest point in the village. It would be interesting to have a proper survey carried out to verify these findings.

Archaeological finds show a wide distribution of Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman sites across the parish. The proximity of the fen on both sides of the village would enable ancient rituals to be carried out in water without the need for a sacred stream. However, historical knowledge needs to be based on evidence and one day perhaps believers of the pre-Christian place of worship theory may be proved right. Only archaeological excavations centred on or near the two churches will answer the question as to which is the most ancient site.

ST MICHAEL’S CHURCH

Patronage of St Michael’s was determined by the Lords of the Manor until it was presented to Magdalene College in a will of 1584. Before the union of the parishes All Saints’ had a Vicarage and St Michael’s a Rectory. This hierarchy suggests that St Michaels’ church could have been originally the more important church in ecclesiastical terms and it could even suggest that St Michael’s church existed before All Saints’ church was built. Of course that does not mean that the Old English cross at All Saints’ was not a focal point of worship prior to the construction of a church building. I find this question fascinating and hopefully one day archaeology may provide us with an answer.

 

That argument aside, St Michael’s is now the oldest building that remains in Longstanton due to the fire that destroyed the original All Saints’ church. It is considered to be a fine example of Early English architecture. It has a little chancel, joined to a low, broad, aisled nave which lacks a clerestory. The nave is protected by a roof of thatch – one of only two that remain in Cambridgeshire. (The other one can be found nearby in the neighbouring village of Rampton).

Unification of the parishes of Long Stanton All Saints’ and Long Stanton St Michael’s occurred in the 1953 but the two churches had been unified years earlier under a Rector of St Michael and All Saints’, Longstanton in 1923.

Historically St Michael’s had been the poorer of the two parishes for centuries, and this was not helped by the Hatton family’s association with All Saints’; c 1792 the Rev John Atkins took Sir Thomas Hatton to court accusing the Lord of the Manor of extending his parkland to the financial detriment of St Michael’s church. ie: The Hatton’s mansion house was absorbing land which Rev Atkins said should be paying tithes to St Michael’s church.

The dedication of St Michael the Archangel is rare in Cambridgeshire and donates an early church. The structure of the present church has been dated to mid-13th Century although 12th Century ashlar fragments have been noted in the wall by the north door. Philip de Stanton (died c 1268) was Lord of Collvilles Manor (where St. Michael’s Mount is today) so he probably re-built St Michael’s church.

  • Nave – 13th C.
  • Square headed windows – 14th C
  • The eastern most windows in the north and south walls are quite large and have elegant decorated tracery and are possibly Victorian.
  • The eastern ends of the aisles were used as chapels in the past. The northern one was probably the “little chapel behind the pulpit” in which a parishioner wished to be buried in his will of 1641.
  • The nave and aisles were renovated in 1889 at a cost of £ 350.
  • Originally the chancel would have been built in the 13 C and was thatched also. The original chancel was taken down in 1883 and rebuilt in 1884.
  • The westernmost window in the north wall contains some 13th C glass.

In the middle of the chancel floor is a brass plaque commemorating Thomas Burgoyne (who lived in Cheyney’s Manor) and was effectively Lord of The Manor prior to the arrival of the Hattons in the village. This is either Thomas who died in 1470 or his son. The Latin translates as:

 “As you are now so once was I; as I am, so will you be”.          

The west wall of the church was rebuilt in the 15th C, possibly to replace a fallen tower of which evidence may survive in the thickening of the western end of both arcade walls. Two bells, perhaps those recorded in 1552, were stolen in 1969. They were rung by climbing a stairway at the west end of the south aisle, going through a hole cut in the wall of the arcade; then climbing a ladder to a sort of hutch above the west window.

St Michael’s influence on Gothic Revival in US Church Architecture

This is the amazing story of how this little church came to have a major impact on the architecture of American churches.

In 1836 a group of English churchmen decided to form the Cambridge Camden Society which had the aim to influence the design of church buildings. They did this to counter what they saw as a growing secularism in Anglican buildings. In 1843 a leader of the Episcopal Church in America asked his friends at the Cambridge Camden Society to help him obtain plans for a simple church in correct ecclesiological taste.

He was sent plans and drawings of St Michael’s church, Longstanton. These designs were used to build the church of St James the Less in Philadelphia; hence a careful reproduction of St Michael’s appeared in America.

When St James the Less was being built it came to the attention of a leading architect Richard Upjohn, a leading member of the New York Ecclesiology Society. He not only built churches in the style of St James the Less, but he also sold plans and drawings at a modest fee, thus enabling the design of St Michael’s church to be reproduced by unskilled craftsmen in the impecunious parishes which were springing up across America. Other notable architects became adherents of the style ensuring that the style of St Michael’s church (the English parish style) was firmly established in America.

 

THE GRANGE (French lady’s manor)

On the death of William de Cheyney (of Cheyney’s Manor – more on him later) his youngest son Nicholas inherited what was to be later known as French Lady’s Manor. Being underage when his father died in 1269 Nicholas was made a ward of Queen Eleanor.

In 1274 French Lady’s manor was in the queen mother Eleanor’s hands, as guardian of Nicholas. (Eleanor of Provence – wife of Henry III. Her son Edward I was King of England by this time). This manor was small. Philip de Stanton enfeoffed William de Cheyney of Steeple Morden before 1250 with land in Long Stanton to be held as a ¼ Knight’s Fee. It was only a part of Colvilles manor and did not include the manor house. It is thought that William de Cheyney is the same man that owned Cheyney’s manor in Long Stanton. If he was it appears that his oldest son Henry’s line inherited Cheyney’s Manor whilst his younger son Nicholas inherited the Steeple Morden lands. In 1326 French lady’s manor was described as a “chamber and ox house”.

It is known that Nicholas eventually returned to Guernsey where his father had come from. Guernsey records indicate that Nicholas had a high ranking position in this important Norman territory. We know that his father William de Cheyney continued to hold lands in the Channel Islands throughout his life, and Nicholas appears to have inherited much of this estate after his death. Records will exist in Guernsey and it would be interesting to try and find out more information on Nicholas Cheyney and his father.

The lessee of French Lady’s manor in the 1580’s, Thomas Burgoyne, usurped the Lordship and sold parts of the manor, but they were recovered by the true owner Sir Fulke Greville (d 1606). (See note about the behaviour of the Burgoynes below. Their relatives at Impington were even worse and they are on record as giving the nuns of Denny Abbey an extremely hard time. At times their behaviour was little more than that of outlaws – a sign of the times?)

The Grange is reputedly built on the site of French Lady’s Manor. Salmon Linton, the brother of William Linton who built the Georgian frontage at The Manor / Cheyneys Manor (see below), purchased The Grange in the early 19th Century. It is him (or his son) who is commemorated by the east window in St Michael’s church.

 

FROM ST MICHAELS FOLLOW THE ROAD TOWARDS WOODSIDE IN THE DIRECTION OF All SAINTS’’ CHURCH. (TAKE THE ALTERNATIVE ROUTE IF YOU WISH – SEE Note1 ABOVE).

 

Thatchers wood

Marked on sales particulars for The Manor as the “notable fox covert”, it remained as woodland until WW2. During the war explosives were used to blow up the trees and Nissan huts were placed on the site; as was the case in many parts of Longstanton. A small rural village prior to the war, Longstanton suddenly become a large militarised complex where hundreds of RAF Oakington personnel lived and worked. Many were housed in temporary Nissan huts located on Hatton parkland, near All Saints’ church, and on various sites near St Michael’s church. In the early 1950’s the temporary accommodation was made permanent with the developments of Thatchers Wood, Thornhill Place and Magdalene Close. The mobile home parks of Badgers Holt, Toad Acre and Falcon Park were also born from the necessity to provide long term accommodation for people who had come to Longstanton at the start of the war. By the time the war ended Longstanton had become home to many and they didn’t wish to (or couldn’t) move away.

 

OPPOSITE THATCHERS WOOD IS THE ENTRANCE TO A FOOTPATH THAT CROSSES THE MANOR FARM PADDOCKS. FOLLOW THIS PATH AND IT WILL BRING YOU OUT ON RAMPTON ROAD NEAR ALL SAINTS’ CHURCH. THERE MAY BE LIVESTOCK IN THIS FIELD SO PLEASE BE CAREFUL AND KEEP DOGS ON A LEAD.

 

CHEYNEY’S MANOR & THE MANOR FARM PADDOCKS

The 3 hides which later formed Long Stanton or Cheyneys manor were held in 1066 by 15 sokemen. One, a man of the king’s thegn Sexi, held 1/2 hide unfreely; 3 had 1 hide from Ely Abbey, and the 11 sokemen held the remaining 1 1/2 hides. Their lands were given after the Conquest to Picot Sheriff of Cambridge. The overlordship descended with Picot’s successors until it was surrendered to the Crown in 1284. In 1304 the Bishop of Ely tried to reclaim the 1 hide held before the Conquest, but was unsuccessful.

The manor was said c 1235 to be held by William de Cheyney. William originally came from the Norman island of Guernsey. In 1242-3 he held 1/2 hide and remained in possession in 1247. Henry, son of William held it in 1279 and 1283. Margery Cheyney in 1302-3 and a series of John’s held Cheyney’s manor between 1316 and 1377. The last lord of the manor was a John Cheyney who was Rector of St Michael’s. Why this occurred we can only speculate. The consequence of this was that John Cheyney had no children and Cheyney’s manor passed to Sir William Cheyney of Fen Ditton Hall, and descended thereafter through the Fen Ditton line.

About 1473 Cheyneys manor was occupied by Alice and Thomas Burgoyne (as tenants) and comprised c 315 acres of arable and meadow. In 1989 the house that stands on the site today was derelict but fortunately it was saved and converted into offices. During the conversion a timber frame was uncovered in the rear range of the house. Some of the timbers were lost but fortunately enough survived to enable me to identify the origins of the house.

Research and dendrochronology dating has shown that, part of the rear range of the house that stands to day, is the remains of a medieval hall house dated from 1450 – 1475. This date ties in well with the tenure of Alice and Thomas Burgoyne, so the theory proposed is that after the original Cheyney’s manor was tenanted by Alice and Thomas, they modernised/ rebuilt the original Cheyneys manor with the version that still exists today. From what we know of the Burgoynes they were a law unto themselves and ended up in dispute with their landlords, the Cheyney lords of Fen Ditton. Perhaps they did not ask permission to carry out the modernisation. The documented behaviour of the Burgoynes suggests that this sort of nicety would not have been important to them. Today you can stand in what was the hall of the Medieval Hall House (now a sitting room) and be in a room that was being lived in before Kings College Chapel in Cambridge was completed.

The last Cheyney to own the Long Stanton manor was Elizabeth Cheyney, who was given the manor, by her father, on her marriage to Thomas Vaux, later Lord Vaux of Harrowden. Long Stanton was settled on his younger son Nicholas who sold the manor to his older brother William, Lord Vaux in 1561. William died in 1595 but prior to this, in 1593, the manors of Cheyneys and Walwyns (where the Hatton Mansion House stood) were forfeit to the Crown because of William’s refusal to pay fines for recusancy (ie: failing to renounce his Catholic faith). Although there is no evidence to suggest it I cannot help wondering whether Cheyney’s Manor was ever used to provide refuge to Catholics prior to the property being confiscated. The Vaux family certainly were friends with Catholics who were well known for sheltering Catholic priests.

On William’s death the title and estates passed to his grandson Edward who came of age in 1612. He immediately made a settlement which frustrated the Crowns attempts to confiscate the lands again for recusancy. Long Stanton was formerly restored in 1612 and 1613. In 1617 Edward sold Long Stanton to Sir Christopher Hatton (d 1619) of Kirby Hall. Sir Christopher had already bought Collvilles Manor in 1616, and acquired at around the same time the lease to the Rectory Estate (land near and associated with All Saints’ church, which had once been owned by the family of Lady Jane Grey).

The Hatton family then dominated the village until the death of Sir Thomas Dingley Hatton in 1812. It was not until 1874 that the Hatton estate (including what had been Colvilles, Cheyneys and Walwyns manors) were broken up and sold off. With the death of Sir Thomas Dingley Hatton the title became extinct.

Why did Cheyneys Manor survive?

Fortunately the Hatton’s decided to build their new mansion house on Walwyns manor site (or nearby). Cheyneys manor became the principal farm for the estate and was tenanted by many associated with the Hatton family. Since the death of John Cheyney, and the modernisation of Alice and Thomas Burgoyne, the medieval manor became largely frozen in time. Looked after for tenants it was not modernised to any great extent until William Linton (a copyhold tenant of the Hatton’s) built the Georgian frontage c 1816. It was at this time that we think the evidence of its medieval origins was hidden from view. As William Linton did not own Cheyneys manor, he could not knock down the medieval structure, which he was to do some years later (when he left Cheyneys manor after the death of his mother) to build Westwick Hall.

The setting of Cheyneys Manor

In 1984 when “Jack” Jones, the last farmer died, The Manor was sited within the paddocks themselves. Most of the boundary hedge you see today was planted in 2004. What you are looking at on the ground is the ancient relationship that existed between the church, The Manor and the village site. If you look at a map of this locality you will see that time and time again the manor and church are located next to each other. Today what we see before us is the history of Longstanton preserved within the landscape. This preservation can be attributed to the strong hold on the village that the various Lords of The Manor had from the 13th Century until the Hatton estate was sold in 1874. Even after this date the Linton family (and the Swann family who are relatives of the Linton’s) took on the traditional landed gentry/ farmer role, and helped preserve a traditional way of life into the 20th Century. It was only on the death of Salmon and Marian Swann, in the early 1930’s, that the traditional “Lords of The Manor” structure of Longstanton society came to a close. You can find the graves of the Swann family near the south door of St Michael’s church.

From the 1930’s, to the end of the 20th Century, development largely followed the old closes and boundaries defined on old Longstanton maps. With the exception of Hattons Road, it has only been the development of the by-pass and the Home Farm development, at the start of the 21st Century that has finally broken what was an ancient mould. That Longstanton survived intact for so long is quite incredible.

 

Conclusion

Circumstances have enabled 1000 years of Longstanton’s history to be preserved in our midst, hidden within the landscape and our buildings. We all have a duty to ensure that Longstanton’s history is not destroyed by the Northstowe development but is preserved for future generations to enjoy. If we fail to do this we will be failing not only ourselves but also past and future residents of Longstanton/ Northstowe.

I hope that you have enjoyed your walk and will help us protect this unique heritage for others to enjoy. For further information on the Longstanton & District Heritage Society please see our Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/Longstanton-District-Heritage-Society-175316876176234/

Thank you.

Further Reading:

Victoria County History (VCH) Cambridgeshire & Isle of Ely volume.(Cambridge Central Library)

Historic Environment Record(Cambridgeshire County Council)

Research by HAE Stroude and J A Lane(Cambridgeshire Collection)

 

Whilst LDHS can take no responsibility if people undertake this walk but we do hope that you will enjoy the experience and find these notes useful.