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The Story of a Cambridgeshire Village
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Richard Willowes, Vicar of Meldreth, 1692-1736
Introduction Richard Willowes, who was vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Meldreth from 1692 to 1736, kept meticulous accounts during his time in Meldreth and from these it is possible to tell a great deal about the village. This lecture, therefore, was, as Palmer states in the first paragraph below, “to a large extent only a peg on which to hang a bag of facts about the Parish of Meldreth” during these years. The lecture was prepared for publicatio...
The Story of Our Project
Introduction This page was created as an ongoing record of our test pitting project in 2013. The most recent entries are at the top, so if you would like to read it in chronological order, please start at the bottom of the page. Any images referred to in the text can be seen in the photo gallery at the bottom of the page. 2015 Almost two years after the first pit was dug, we decided it was time we tied up a few loose ends on our project! Two of t...
Meldreth Village - Part Two
As mentioned in Part One, Sarah’s book was written in two parts, the first in 1972 with her memories from the beginning of the century and the second written in 1975 with her memories of village life from the 1920’s. However, as the books were written several years apart, some of the information is found in both parts. Sarah was very involved with fundraising for Meldreth Manor School and donated all the money from the sale of her books to the sc...
Meldreth Village - Part One
Sarah was born in 1890, the eleventh of thirteen children born to Samuel and Fanny Pepper of ‘Whitecroft’, Whitecroft Road, Meldreth. She lived there for most of her life until she and her husband Arthur moved into one of the new almshouses in the High Street when they were built in 1954. Sarah was widowed in the 1960’s but continued to live in the Almshouses until her death in 1980 shortly before her 90th birthday. Sarah’s book was written in tw...
The Valuation Office Survey (or Lloyd George's Domesday) 1910
These records were made for tax administration following the 1910 Budget and are sometimes referred to as the Land Values Duties returns. The Act provided for a valuation to be made of the land of the United Kingdom as at 30 April 1909. This valuation was to include all property, whether it was later considered exempt or not. The valuation process began during the summer of 1910. From August, landowners were sent a form which “an owner of land or...
The queries below include posts that were added to our Family History Message Board and to our previous Genealogical Enquiries page. We no longer have a message board so if you have a query about your family history, you may post a comment on this page or email us. For more information about using this site for tracing your family history, please see our Guidelines for Family Historians. Meldreth migrants to Lambeth, Croydon By Jon Casbon on 26/1...
My Meldreth - by Peter Oakman
Sadly, Peter Oakman died in 2013. He had begun to write his life history and the following was given to us by his widow, Marian, following his death. It is reproduced here with Marian’s kind permission. Mum and Dad My dad Percy Oakman was born on 31 March 1904 at Fenny Lane Farm, Meldreth. His mother died when he was quite young and he was brought up by his stepmother at Rose Cottage in Dolphin Lane, Melbourn. At one time he lived in Keys Cottage...
Home Guard Diary of No. 19 (Meldreth) Platoon 'C' Company, 4th Cambridgeshire Battalion
These entries have been taken from the Home Guard Diary written by Lieutenant J. Paterson between April 1943 and January 1945. The diary may be viewed by clicking on the download link at the bottom of this page. 1943 20th April O.C.”C” Company Clothing and Equipment Returning typed copy signed of Company Voucher No.63 dated 15.4.43 for 21 Denim suits and for chevrons Boot Repair Accounts Sending receipted bill for 6s. 6d on a/c repair of L/Cpl C....
Temple House on the High Street
Introduction With its distinctive half-timbered gable end and accompanying long black wooden barn, Temple House has stood on a gentle bend on Meldreth High Street since the 1600s. Originally a two-bay thatched cottage it has been known by at least three different names … Blacks or Blackes … Elmcroft … and Temple House. Once situated on a much larger land holding, and for many years closely associated with the Palmer family it, like almost all old...
The Warren in North End
Then you come to The Warren – another big house. They had a moonlight flit from there one day – people who lived there were there in the evening, but they weren’t there the next morning, run off – they disappeared over night! They hadn’t paid their rent. Bill Wing – Memories of a Meldreth Man written in 1993 Introduction Although Old Bill may not have realised it at the time, attempting to trace the occupants of the house known to us today as The...
Meldreth in 1941-42
The following sketch of Meldreth has been made possible by Miss Grace Palmer’s wonderful store of knowledge and by the kind permission of the late Dr. Palmer to make use of his writings. The aim of the present writer has been to put on record interesting facts and local peculiarities before they are entirely lost in this rapidly changing world of today. (signed) BEATRICE E. CLAY, 9th March 1942 [Please note that text in square brackets was added...
Lords, Leets and Barons
The Manorial Court at Topcliffe During the feudal period the manor was the principal administrative unit of landed estates and the manorial court was where it carried out its business. These manorial courts were at the base of the legal system – effectively the lowest courts of law in the land. The way in which they operated was complex, changed over time and had many local variations. Essentially, there were two types of manorial court: the cour...
Thomas Casbon, James Scruby, and the Meldreth-Wayne County, Ohio Connection
...Terry Dash There was an orchard named Scruby's at Chiswick Farm until the late 1970's...
Not Quite But Nearly - Meldreth's Lost Waterway
Introduction The year is 1840 and visitors from near and far have gathered at the British Queen Public House to partake in Master Nathan Driver’s most famed and propitious monthly test of knowledge. As the anticipation reaches its peak Master Driver stands, rings his starting bell and the first inquiry is made… Which of the following is the odd one out, and why – the Red Planet, the Italian city of Venice, or the village of Meldreth? Mistress Mor...
...Monica Lilley (nee Coningsby) Thank you for putting John Gipson's obituary in Meldreth Matters. l was not well enough to go to his funeral so I was pleased to read about the service. I used to play with his girls when l was a child. John taught me bell ringing. l have been ringing now for 50 years. I met my husband David Lilley through bell ringing and still enjoy it. I lived in Melbourn and was born there. John knew my mother and father well....
The River Mel: Flooding and Riparian Responsibilities
Historical Flooding The medieval Topcliffe manorial court rolls are full of reports of flooding due to poor upkeep of mill pools, ditches and stretches of the river. Sometimes this was due to deliberate damming of the river, presumably to enhance the flow to a particular mill or ditch. Flooding in the 20th Century One major potential impact of the river on the village would have been flooding. We have no records of flooding until the 1930s. This...
Growing up in Meldreth in the 1940s & 1950s
Introduction Meldreth was a great village for young boys. We had four rivers; the Mel, Chiswick End waters and the Guilden Brook, all running into the Rhee. We had three pits for fishing and ice skating, two run-down watermills, a station yard in which to play and the Atlas line with abandoned bogey wheels. There were also three woods to explore, orchards (many of which were unkempt and overgrown), grass fields to play football and cricket in and...
Meldreth Council School Scholarships Board
The Scholarships Board The school’s Scholarships Board displays the names of all the pupils who were awarded scholarships from 1911 to 1940. It is still on display in Meldreth Primary School. Below is the information we have on the children whose names appear on the board. We would welcome further information on those listed; if you can help, please add a comment below. Scholarships 1911 Elizabeth Butler Admission no. 20. Started at the school on...
Meldreth Local History Group: a year-by-year record of our events and activities
Introduction The idea of starting a History Group in Meldreth was first mentioned in 2000 and initial meetings were held in 2005. However, it was not until 2007 that Meldreth Local History Group was founded. Its aims are to: research and record the history of the village and its environs create an archive of local history which can be passed on to future generations publish material, both in print and digital forms, for the benefit of the local c...
Birds of Meldreth and their Eggs
Introduction I shared this hobby mainly with Roger Hart and Michael Burgess. We had a keen interest in birds and could identify most that were likely to be seen in Meldreth. We also brought up and tamed young sparrowhawks and jackdaws but our main interest, as with many boys, was egg collecting. We each had our own collection and mine was kept in a large drawer lined with cotton wool. (I had only a small drawer for all my clothes!) I had 46 eg...
…an old house that stands back and then a little house by the side of the road… Bill Wing – Memories of a Meldreth Man 1993 Introduction This is one of a series of pages on our site on Orchard Cottage, neighbouring Sheene Cottage and some of their inhabitants. Orchard Cottage In the year King Charles II married Catherine of Braganza, sold Dunkirk to the French and introduced the Hearth Tax, so did a carpenter carve 1662 into a wooden beam in Orch...
The River Mel and the Local Economy
Introduction The Mel played a crucial part in the economic viability of the area. Agriculture, both arable and grazing, was dependent on well irrigated but not waterlogged soil. Water meadows also played an important role in ensuring the fertility of the land and preventing the ground from freezing (because the water was at a constant 10 degrees at the source and hence warmer than the land). Milling was totally dependent on a healthy river flow a...
Mary Course 1927-2007
Mary Course died suddenly on 18th January 2007. The Service of Thanksgiving held in Holy Trinity Church, Meldreth on Monday 29th January 2007 was attended by approximately 350 people: a testament to the high regard in which Mary was held. The following tributes to Mary appeared in the March 2007 issue of Meldreth Matters. From Cicely Murfitt, Chairman, SCDC Mary was a member of South Cambridgeshire District Council for Meldreth for 21 years and w...
The River Mel: a short history
Formation Chalk streams were formed about 10,000 years ago as the last ice sheets melted. The rushing water brought huge amounts of gravel down which now sit on their beds determining the rich ecology. Because they settled on flood plains they have never had sufficient energy to change their direction much over time, except through human intervention (and we have a mystery about a possible change in the course of the Mel, to be discussed later)....