Donkey Hall was the name given to a group of four cottages located near the corner of Kneesworth Road and Whaddon Road. They were clunch built one-up/one-down dwellings. The cottages were pulled down by Charlie Plumb after 1931 when West Way was built as most of the occupants of the cottages moved there.
“Donkey Hall, for which two explanations are offered; one that the corner dwelling was occupied by a man who kept donkeys, the other and more lurid, that the aforesaid householder was wont to yoke his wife with his donkey to draw the plough!” Beatrice Clay
CENSUS RECORDS show the families living at Donkey Hall
JACKLIN David (b.1837) Labourer Wife Jane (b.1838) Children: David (b.1857) and Thomas (b.1860)
SELL L Widow (b.1801) Charwoman Children: M. (b.1849) Servant and A.(b.1852) Servant
SELL Andrew (b.1780) Gardener Son H (b.1826) Gardener Son’s Wife H b.(b.1839) Children JA (b.1858) and J (b.1860)
BULLEN Joseph (b.1802) Labourer Wife Ann (b.1803) Son J. (b.1829) Tailor Son’s wife Ann (b.1833)
SELL Harradine (b.1822) Wife Hannah (b.1839) Children Lillian (b.1859) Julia (b.1860) Elizabeth (b.1865)
JACKLIN David (b.1836) Wife Jane (b.1838) Children: David (b.1857) Thomas (1861)
RUMBLE John (b.1805) Wife Sarah (b.1815) Grandchild Harper Bertha (b.1870)
MEAD William (b.1830) Wife Lucy (b.1833) Children: George (b. 1855), Arthur (b.1858) Samuel (b.1860), Letitia (b.1865) Alfred (b.1870) Frederick (b.1870)
JACKLIN David (b.1836) Engine Driver Threshing Machine Wife Jane (b.1838) Children: David (b.1857) Agricultural Labourer, Thomas (1861) Agricultural Labourer
SELL Letitia (b.1810) Widow Living of parish relief
RUMBLE Sarah (b.1815) Widow In receipt of parish relief Grandchild Harper Bertha (b.1870) Scholar
SELL Harradine (b.1822) Jobbing gardener Children Lillian (b.1859) Elizabeth (b.1865) Domestic servant Mother-in-law
BARNES Ruth Widow (b.1807)
STALLABRASS Thomas Widower (b.1855) Agricultural Labourer Children: Maude (b.1876) Rose (b.1882) Mary (b.1883) Jonathan (b.1885) William (b.1888)
PLUMB William (b.1860) Carpenter Journeyman Wife Eliza A (b.1866) Children: Eliza (b. 1883) Minnie (b.1884) Lydia (b.1887) Margaret (b.1891) DASH Charles (b.1858) Agricultural Labourer Wife Naomi (b.1859) Children: William (b.1882) Lily (b.1882) Florence (b.1886) Thomas (b.1888)
SELL Harradine (b.1822) Small cart owner Wife Hannah (b.1839) Child Lillian (b.1859)
JACKLIN Alfred (b.1872) Cement labourer Wife Charlotte (b.1871) Children: Ernest (b.1893) Emma (b.1895) Harry(b.1897) John (b.1898) Maud (b.1900).
PLUMB William (b.1860) Carpenter Wife Eliza (b.1866) Children: Margaret (b.1891) Madeline(b.1894) Edward(b.1896) Walter (b.1900)
SELL Hannah Widow (b.1839) Living on own means Child Lilian (b.1858)
PLUMB William (b.1860) Carpenter Wife Eliza Ann (b.1866) Children:Margaret (b.1891) Laundress, Edward (b.1896) Farm labourer, Walter (b.1900) School, Charles William (b.1902) School Emily Kathleen (b.1906) School
SELL Hannah Widow (b.1839) Living on own means Child Lilian (b.1858) COX Percival William Cox (b.1884) Blacksmith, Shoeing General, Wife Charlotte Elizabeth (b.1886) Children: Mona Gwendoline (b.1908) Lester Jack (b.1909)
The Thurley and Jacklin families were living at Donkey Hall prior to the cottages being condemned and demolished by Charlie Plumb. “On 16th March 1947, a day of high winds, almost half the trees were blown down. Also blown down that day was the Lombardy poplar at Donkey Hall crossroads.” Ken Winter
Daphne Pepper’s (nee Plumb) Memories of William Plumb at Donkey Hall
Click on the audio bar at the top of the page to hear Daphne talking about her grandfather.
Now my grandfather, I do remember him quite well. I can’t remember what year he died but he lived in one of those cottages on the corner of Donkey Hall. There was a row of cottages, there were four actually and they lived in the second one from Whaddon Road side and an aunt of mine lived with him. His name was William Plumb and he was a carpenter in Meldreth. He used to do signs I think he was a really marvellous carpenter. I’ll tell you where he did do a really lovely sign, you know there used to be a grocery shop in the High Street, Leveringtons had it, you remember that? Well he made a lovely sign for that shop, I don’t know what happened to it and he also made the gates at the cemetery in Fenny Lane. I mean those gates there are the original ones that he made. He was self-employed and as far as I can remember he didn’t employ anyone and was on his own. And he used to make signs and carpentry. You know that barn that stands there now, that big black barn that stands where the cottages used to be, well he made that. I don’t know how old he is in the photograph, he was quite old. There was a big family of them and my father was the youngest and I think you know they were getting on before he was born even and I always remember him like that but I can’t remember when he died, my grandmother I can. I can soon find out because of the cemetery, the dates in the cemetery. It will be in the thirties I’m sure. I don’t think he was alive when the War started.
(Transcription by Gloria Willers)
Daphne Pepper’s Memories of the Plumb Family
Click on the audio bar at the top of the page to hear Daphne talking about her father’s family.
There was a big family of my father. There were three boys and I don’t know how many girls, several I suppose, there must have been about seven of them altogether. There was my dad who was the youngest and then there was Ted and Walt and Min and Lydia and Liza, oh dear and Kit, yes that’s seven, that’s about it I should think. But I mean, the girls all married and went away you know, none of them were local.
(Transcription by Gloria Willers)
Keith Jacklin’s Memories of Donkey Hall and West Way
Click on the audio bar at the top of the page to hear Keith talking about his memories of Donkey Hall
There were four cottages on the corner of Whaddon Road and Kneesworth Road, The first one nearest to the Whaddon Road was my grandmother and grandfather who brought up ten children there, one room up and one room down and a little lean-to at the back. The way they worked it was as soon as ever the girls were old enough to leave school they were put out into service. Fortunately in that way, they had more girls than they did boys so that kept the numbers down a bit. The youngest boy, Alf, I can remember a long time him sleeping in a lean-to at the back of the house that somebody had built. When they built the Council houses (in West Way), three of the people who lived in these cottages, which was my grandmother and them and then a Mr William Plumb and then the woman that owned it, a Miss Sell, she owned it and she also owned a donkey which I think was the reason they called it Donkey Hall, and then there was Mr and Mrs William or Bill Thurley as we know them. Now, as soon as those six houses were built up there, the Thurleys and the Plumbs and my grandmother and them moved up there. The cottages were so old they wouldn’t consider having them repaired; they had to come down straight away as soon as the people moved out. Well I say they had to, Mr Plumb down the end, Norman Plumb he bought the land with the houses on it and I think he had them dismantled with the hope that he was going to build a house there for himself and his wife but they refused him planning permission.(Transcription by Gloria Willers)