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Stories from Little Shelford's history

The historical stories include:

Highway robbery in Little Shelford

Rolls Royce used as a plough

Unusual burglary

Extra-quick marriage

The village's slavery link

David Jones's wade through the newspaper archive

Mike Petty's historical stores

Highway robbery in Little Shelford

The Ipswich Journal

Nov 1st 1777

On Saturday night, about 6 o’clock, the Rev. Mr Fisher of Duxford in Cambridgeshire, on his return from Cambridge, was stopped on the road between Little Shelford and Whittlesford by two highwaymen who robbed him of 3 guineas and quantity of silver

They were seen to follow Mr Fisher from this die (of) Trompington and soon after he passed through Shelford turnpike (in Whittlesford Road), one of them enquired of the keeper of the toll gate whose carriage it was that had just gone by, and immediately followed, when one of them with imprecations stopped the driver, while the other rode up to the chaise door, and tapped at the window, which being let down, he held a pistol to Mr Fisher’s breast and commanded him instantly to deliver his money or hew was a dead man which was complied with; he then demanded his pocket book, which Mr Fisher told him contained only some private memorandums; his companion at that instant opening the opposite door and leaning his body into the carriage;, with a large horse pistol in his hand, the pocket book was then delivered which they promised to return if it contained nothing of value.


The Rolls Royce used as a plough

Source: A Record of the Shelford Magna and Parva in Cambridgeshire by Fanny Wale in 1917

"Old Carter was gardener at the Manor House for many years in Miss Mary Walton’s time and old Godfrey worked with him .

"The Carters lived in Lime Cottage, and their son Albert married Elisa Agnes Watts and lived in High Street, near to Col Wood to whom he was chauffeur and valet.

"He was a very clever young man and during the great war with Germany he was employed at Cambridge railway station to help lift the wounded soldiers out of the trains into the motor cars which conveyed them to the Great Eastern Hospital at the back of the colleges where there were numbers of trained nurses waiting for them in a great number of  iron and asbestos huts in a grass field. Anyone having a private motor car lent it for this work. It was fortunate that every young woman had taken Lord Robert’s warning and learned nursing and many other useful employments which had always been considered only fit for men. And were henceforth allowed to have votes."

  • When Col Wood died, he left his grand car to his chauffeur Albert Carter. A photo below shows Albert using the car to pull a plough.


Unusual burglary

A bachelor once lived at the Manor House for a short time as a tenant. He went to travel abroad leaving some servants in charge of the house, who after a while received a letter to say that their master was dead and his body in its coffin was going to arrive at the Manor House to be interred in Little Shelford churchyard.


At the expected time some men brought a coffin and left it in a small room near the front door, but the little house dog was extremely angry and excited, it barked and sprang upon the coffin so furiously and persistently that the servants were obliged to open the coffin to see if everything was right inside, and there they discovered a live man surrounded with burglars tools, who evidently meant to steal when all was quiet at night. The bachelor was not dead. He came home a short time after, and he must have been very grateful to his faithful little dog.


From A Record of Shelford Parva by Fanny Wale


Quick marriage

Source Newcastle Courant

Date: September 26 1767

At Little Shelford, Cambridgeshire. The sorrowful widower, unable to bear the thoughts of a single state, set off the next morning and was married to a woman at Linton. At their return in the evening to Shelford, the dead wife was removed from his bed into a coffin to give way for the new-married couple to celebrate their nuptials. The coffin continued in the room all night.


Little Shelford slavery link


Mary Augusta Gray, who lived at the Manor House,  received compensation from the Government when slavery was abolished.


She is buried in the graveyard at All Saints Church in Little Shelford.

Mary Augusta Gray’s husband and father in law were owners of 144 slaves at the Virgin Valley Estate in St James in Jamaica.

She received a share of £2,800 in May 1837 as part of the compensation from the Government when slavery was abolished. 

Mary Gray was the widow of Charles Gordon Gray, who she married in 1820 but who died in Jamaica in 1823. She was also the daughter in law of Charles Gordon Gray who owned the Virgin Valley estate.

Mary Gray was living at the Manor House in Little Shelford when she died in 1870 aged 75.

It is not known when she returned from Jamaica, where her daughter Augusta was born, to live in the UK. In 1861, Mary Gray, then aged 65 was living at Bush Hall, Hatfield, Hertfordshire with her daughter, two cousins and six servants.

Little Shelford life over the last three centuries with the help of the British Newspaper Archive. Research by David Jones.

The British Newspaper archive (BNA) is a partnership between the British Library and findmypast to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library's vast collection.


Taking out a a subscription to the BNA has been amazingly rewarding given my interest in local history. I did it originally to help with research into our World War I commemorations for the Centenary of the Armistice. But I am now spending a little time at what else we can find from the archive about broader life in our Village and South Cambridgeshire. As we all sit at home wondering when Covid-19 will be defeated you will see our predecessors in the village had much to contend with as well as much to enjoy. Each week I will bring a snippet of village life as found in the Archive, starting with one of the oldest references I found to Little Shelford.

Highway Men at large

From the Ipswich Journal 1st November 1777

“On Saturday night fortnight, about 6 o’clock, the Reverend Mr Fisher, of Duxford in Cambridgeshire, on his return from Cambridge, was stopped on the road between Little Shelford and Whittlesford, by two highwaymen, who robbed him of 3 guineas and a quantity of silver. They were seen to follow Mr Fisher from this side of Trumpington, and soon after he passed through Shelford Turnpike, one of them enquired of the keeper of the toll gate, “whose carriage it was that had just gone by”, and immediately followed, when one of them with imprecations* stopped the driver, while the other rode up to the chaise door, and tapped to the window, which being let down, he held a pistol to Mr Fishers breast, and commanded him instantly to deliver his money or he was a dead man, which was complied with. He then demanded his pocketbook, which Mr Fisher told him only contained some private memorandums. The Highway mans companion opening the opposite door of the carriage, with a large pistol in his hand, the pocketbook was then delivered, which the Highwaymen promised to return it if it contained nothing of value!”

*Imprecations: Old English word for curse or offensive language according to the Cambridge Dictionary.

Speeding traffic and fly tippers are our 21st Century concern for Whittlesford Road, at least we don’t have to worry about Highwaymen brandishing large pistols.


Little Shelford Share Out Club

From the Cambridge Independent Press Friday 3 January 1913

“The annual dinner of the share-out club was held at the Prince Regent on Tuesday evening, when a very enjoyable time was spent. After the good things provided by Host and Hostess Lewin had been disposed of, the Honorary Secretary submitted the Balance Sheet, which showed that after deducting sick benefits, a substantial sum was left to be shared out among the members, numbering 63. Songs were sung during the evening by Messrs. Rodgers, Skipper, Pettitt, Goodwin, Darley, Lewin and others. The evening was brought to a close by the signing of “Auld Land Syne” and “God Save the King”

This meeting of the “Share-out Club” took place on Tuesday 31st December 1912 so was clearly also a New Years eve celebration. Share-out clubs were very common in rural England in the second half of the 19th Century and the first half of the 20th Century. They were unregistered clubs, locally organised and their primary purpose was to provide sickness and death benefits for their members. So, in this case 63 Villagers of Little Shelford (remember the male population of the Village at this time was only about 200) had decided to create this mutual society to give each other protection against sickness and death in a time when there was no health service. They would contribute weekly; the landlord of the local pub often held the money as “banker” and when someone was sick or there was a death amongst members the “Share-out club” would pay a benefit. At the end of each year any funds left would be equally shared amongst the contributing members. 1912 must have been a relatively healthy year as “a substantial sum was left to share out”.

Charles and Fanny Lewin were landlord and landlady at the Prince Regent for many years and lived in the Pub that until recently we knew as Sycamore House Restaurant at the Corner of Church Street and Hauxton Road, along with their Gardener son Edward Lewin. They most likely acted as the Bankers for the “Share-out Club” as well as hosting the New Year’s Eve party. The members mentioned as singing songs included well-known village families including Rodgers and Goodwin from the High Street and Pettitt from Back Lane. Its good to read that they had such a great time and were able to celebrate the New Year and the large pay out with song!

Just two years later, of course, many of these families sent their sons to war, Edward Lewin, Rupert Rodgers, Llewellyn Rodgers, John Goodwin and Ernest Darley all went to fight. Sadly, John Goodwin and Ernest Darley never returned.

This week I thought I would bring you this story of fisticuffs and gambling featuring not one pub but three of the Little Shelford pubs and their landlords in existence in 1888! In this tale of drunkenness and fighting at the Prince Regent you will see featured:

  • The Prince Regent Pub (now known as 1 Church Street and formerly Sycamore House Restaurant) and its landlord Charles Lewin. (The Prince Regent Pub and the Lewin’s appeared in the last article about the Share Out club) 

  • The King William IV Pub and its Landlord John Jennings (Now 93 High Street)

  • The Plough Pub (now the Navigator) and its landlord Robert Elbourn

  • Henry Larkin, a young man from Ickleton

  • PC Huckle, the Village Bobby from Hauxton, and

  • Colonel Wale, of Little Shelford Hall, sitting as one of the magistrates!


Enjoy the read and decide for your self who the guilty parties are? Was young Henry Larkin the innocent party or did our notorious Landlord John Jennings get a tough sentence for a justifiable quarrel. It seemed to be quite a fight and certainly attracted attention of South Cambridgeshire at the time. There will be more about John Jennings in later articles, he was quite a character!



Cambridge Independent 21st December 1888

At the Cambridge Division Petty Sessions on Saturday, before I. H. Wilkinson, Esq. (presiding), Col. Wale, Col. Dayrell. Capt. Harrell, and C. E. Ivatt, and H, Neville, Esqs., a charge of assault which excited a considerable amount of interest came on for hearing.

John Jennings, landlord of the King William IV, Little Shelford. and Robert Elbourn, landlord of The Plough, Little Shelford, were summoned for having assaulted a young man named Henry Larkin, who described himself as having no occupation, and residing at Ickleton, on the 10th December, in Little Shelford.

The court was crowded during the hearing of the case. Mr. J. Ellison, solicitor, of Cambridge, appeared for the complainant; Jennings was represented Mr. A. J. Lyon. solicitor, of Cambridge; and the defendant Elbourn was undefended. Mr. Ellison, in opening the case, stated that his client resided at Ickleton. and Monday, the 10th inst. he was his way to Hauxton for the purpose of visiting his uncle and aunt.

Passing through Little Shelford. he called at the Prince Regent public-house. While there, the defendant Jennings entered and challenged him to play a game at dominoes for half-a-crown. His client assented, and, losing the game, handed half-a-crown to Jennings. The latter then endeavoured to persuade Larkin to enter into tossing transaction for a sovereign. However, he declined, but—and his client was to blame for this—he placed a sovereign in the hands of a man who was in the room, to show Jennings that he had sovereign, being afraid that the defendants would jeer at him if he did not produce a sovereign.

After receiving the half-crown from Larkin, Jennings placed it between his teeth, and exclaimed It’s a **** bad one.” An altercation ensued, and Jennings struck the complainant across the table. Larkin returning the blow in self-defence. The landlord sent for a policeman, who at his request, cleared the house.

When the complainant went outside, he found both the defendants with their coats off, and immediately he made his appearance Jennings struck him on the shoulder. The police officer interfered, and Larkin, acting on the advice of the policeman, proceeded in the direction of Hauxton.

After walking a little distance, he heard footsteps behind him. Looking round he found that it was Elbourn, who struck him so violent a blow that it felled him to the ground, and while lying there Elbourn kicked him. The complainant called out “Murder,” and P.C. Huckle appeared on the scene.

He met the defendant Elbourn near the spot where the complainant was lying, and Elbourn said to him “I have left the old boy lying on the ground.” Mr. Ellison referred to the fact that both the defendants were publicans and ought therefore to know better than to go into another public-house and endeavour to induce a traveller to enter into a gambling transaction.

The complainant was then called and stated that he left his home at Ickleton just after two o’clock on Monday afternoon, the 10th instant, to visit an uncle and aunt who reside at Hauxton. He knew that his uncle and aunt would not beat home until the evening; so, he called at the Prince Regent. Little Shelford, for a little rest between three and four o’clock.

He had been in the public house for about an hour and a half when Elbourn entered, and, after some conversation, commenced playing dominoes for pots of beer. While they were playing, Jennings came in and challenged him (the complainant) to play for 2s. 6d. and a pot of beer. He accepted the challenge and lost. He handed half-a-crown to Jennings, who placed it between his teeth and said "The ****** is a bad one.” As a matter of fact, the coin was perfectly good, and eventually Jennings put it in his pocket, Jennings then challenged him to toss for 7s. 6d. then for 15s. and finally for a sovereign, but he declined.

The defendant kept jeering at him, in consequence of which (the complainant) pulled a sovereign out of his pocket and handed it to another man in the room, who asked Jennings to “cover” it. However, he did not do so. and when the sovereign was returned to him. he said to Jennings, I suppose you thought I had not got a sovereign.”

The defendant then struck him across the table with his fists, and he returned the blows in self-defence. A scuffle ensued, a police constable arrived, and. at the request of the landlord, he cleared the house. The defendant Elbourn wanted to strip and fight the policeman. At the constable’s request, he stayed in the house after the other people had gone out, and he gave him his correct name, address, and occupation.

After this, he left the house in company with the officer, and Jennings immediately struck him on the shoulder. had his coat off and was in fighting attitude. Elborn was also stripped to the shirt sleeves. The officer interfered and advised him (the complainant) to walk along the Hauxton-road, and he did so.

He had only proceeded about sixty yards when he some person running after him, and on looking round he saw that it was Elbourn, who, when he got up to him. showed him his knuckle, on which there was a slight abrasion, and accused him of having done it. He denied it. whereupon the defendant struck him such a severe blow on the head that he fell to the ground and while there his assailant again struck him. He cried out for assistance, and P.C. Huckle came up, and he afterwards went home.

Cross-examined by Mr. Lyon: The assault in the public house took place about nine o’clock. He had been in the house from four o’clock until that time, and had bad several drinks, but he was perfectly sober. It was not true that he struck the first blow.

Re-examined by Mr. Ellison: Prior to the arrival of the police officer, the landlord of the house had not done anything to suppress the disturbance. There would have been over a dozen persons in the house at the time, and they were all strangers to him. P.c. William Huckle, stationed at Harston, said that on Monday evening, the instant, in consequence of what had been told him, he went to the Prince Regent,” Little Shelford.

Before entering the house, he saw by the shadows on the blind that there was a disturbance inside. When he got into the taproom, the landlord said, That is right constable; stop that row,” At that time the complainant and Jennings were fighting across the table. They were striking each other as best they could. He requested them to desist, and. they did not. he collared hold of Jennings and separated them.

He was clearing the house, at the landlord’s request, when Elbourn came up to him. and said, Who the **** do you think you are?” (the witness) was in uniform, and Elbourn said would fight him if only he would take off his clothes. He replied, “I not a fighting man,” and Elbourn said. “I would like to have a ******* go at you.” He and Larkin left the house together, and Jennings, who was stripped, immediately came up to the complainant, and said, Now, you ****** I will fight you now” and struck him on the shoulder.

He cautioned the defendant that if he were not very careful, he would report, him. and he was prevented from striking Larkin again by several men seizing hold of him. Elbourn then came up. and, pulling his coat off, said, pointing to the complainant, "That is ******* well, Jack-the-Ripper. I will have the row out with him. He then struck Larkin. He (the witness) requested the complainant to away towards Hauxton and did so.

Immediately afterwards he heard Larkin call out “Police" and, on running along the road, he met Elbourn coming from the direction of Larkin. said. “That is what I have paid the old ***** and I have given him no more than he deserves”. He asked him for his name and address; but he refused to give either. He (the witness) went up to Larkin, who was lying on the ground, apparently in an unconscious state. In his opinion, Larkin was perfectly sober. The two defendants were both the worse for drink.

In answer to Col. Wale, the officer stated that he did not see the first blow struck in the public house. He went to the “Prince Regent” in consequence of girl coming to his house and making statement to him. Mr. Lyon: The complainant had a stick; but he did not see him strike Jennings with it. He was quite certain that Jennings struck Larkin outside the "Prince Regent.”

Mr. Lyon, for the defence, contended that the complainant was the first to commence the disturbance. He was engaged in some game with Jennings, at which he lost half-a-crown. The complainant then offered to toss for a sovereign; but Jennings declined, saying he could not afford to risk such a large amount. Larkin then struck his client a Violent blow across the table.

Of course, Jennings could not stand that, and he struck the complainant in self-defence, several blows were struck before the arrival of the police officer. Jennings was very much annoyed and was somewhat excited at being attacked in such a cowardly manner. If the magistrates were of the opinion that his client struck the complainant outside the public house, would urge, in consideration of the great provocation he had received, that they should not inflict a fine.

After hearing the evidence of the witnesses, he was about to call, he thought the bench would come to the conclusion that the facts he had stated were correct, and that Larkin had, in giving his version of the affair, committed most gross and deliberate perjury.

William Ellam residing at Little Shelford, was the first witness called. He stated that he was a yardman in the employ of Col. Wale. Monday, the 10th inst., he went into the Prince Regent about a quarter past eight o’clock. At the conclusion of the domino playing Larkin offered to toss Jennings for sovereign, but the latter refused, whereupon Larkin struck him. A scuffle ensued, during which P.C. Huckle appeared. He also saw Larkin strike Jennings with a stick. He did not see Jennings strike the complainant outside the public house. Mr. Ellison: Jennings had had a little drink, but he was not drunk. Elbourn was also sober, Both Jennings and the complainant said they would toss, but the former would not put his money down. Larkin was the worse for drink. By the Bench: he saw Jennings pull his coat off outside.

Herbert Melbourn, of Little Shelford, gave corroborative evidence. By Mr. Ellison: The complainant was the only stranger in the public house. All the other persons there were Shelford men. He did not see Jennings put the half-crown between his teeth, nor did he see Jennings take off his coat. Charles Sanders, a farmer, of Shelford, corroborated. By Mr. Ellison: Jennings offered to toss for 15 s., but he refused to toss for a sovereign. Was anyone in the house the worse for drink? No. What! wasn’t Larkin the worse for drink? No.

After about quarter of an hour’s deliberation, the Chairman said the magistrates had decided to convict the defendants. They had arrived at that decision mainly on what took place outside the public house. There was plenty of time for the hot blood to have cooled. The policeman had given his evidence in very satisfactory manner.

There was no doubt that Elbourn was the worst of the two. Jennings, he was sorry to say, had been before that court on a previous occasion on a very serious charge, but as that occurred eleven years ago, the magistrates would not take any notice of it. The judgment of the court was that each defendant should pay a fine of 20s. and costs—the latter amounted to £1 3s.—and in default each must undergo one month’s imprisonment.

Had Elbourn been charged with threatening to assault the police officer he might have found himself in a very serious position. Both the defendants were publicans, and it was very likely that they would hear something more about gambling in a public house. The money was paid in each case, and the defendants left the court with their friends.


This week I thought I would bring you this story of sheep stealing and the dramatic punshments received in the middle of the 19th Century for such crimes. This story will again feature:

  • The King William IV Pub (now 93 High Street, Little Shelford) and its former Landlord John Jennings (witness) and his Mother, now landlord of the King WIlliam, Frances Jennings

  • Alfred Runnicles, a 19-year-old butcher from Copford in Essex

  • John Tebbit, farmer, of Great Shelford

  • Mr H Gee, of Shelford

  • John Godfrey, shepherd, of little Shelford

  • Colonel Wale, of Little Shelford Hall, sitting as one of the magistrates.


  • Enjoy the read below and decide for yourself whether the length of punishment meted out to our Young Butchers apprentice was really justified. There is a cast of many involved in this story of sheep stealing and farming life.

So, what was that punishment? Well, at the Quarter Session Runnicles pleaded guilty and presumably hoped this plea would result in a lenient sentence. As it was, he received seven years penal servitude followed by five years police supervision! Sounds a severe punishment but at the sessions the Chief Constable of Colchester reported that Runnicles had previous convictions of stealing meat from 1876 and other charges against him that were not pressed as a result of his age.

As a postscript to this story, a search of the 1881 Census records finds Alfred Runnicles, at a young age of 24, a Prisoner and Wormwood Scrubs. Punishment indeed for stealing a lamb and two sheep!      



Cambridge Independent Press 19th August 1876

POLICE INTELLIGENCE. CAMBRIDGE DIVISION PETTY SESSIONS, Before I H Wilkinson (chairman), Colonel Wale, and Rev. F. Shaw.

Alfred Runnicles (19), butcher, of Copford, Essex, was charged with feloniously stealing a lamb, value 50 shillings on the 12th July; also two ewe sheep, value £6, on I5th July, at Little Shelford.

John Tebbit, farmer, of Great Shelford, said he had 95 white-faced ewes in one field, and 95 lambs in another field. Both fields were on the opposite side of the road to the farmhouse. He sold the ewes to Mr. H Gee, of Shelford, who came for them on 26th July. On counting the sheep two were found to be missing. Mr. Gee then called witness’ attention to two marked ewes in a close on the opposite side, and believed them be a portion of the flock, and then went away with Mr. Gee. The lambs had also been counted, and one was missing.

John Godfrey, shepherd, of little Shelford, said that three weeks last Monday he counted the lambs and missed one, a few days before that they were all right; they were half bred Leicester’s. He remembered Mr. Gee coming for the sheep Tuesday the 20th July. On the Monday previous to that, they were all right, they were also half-bred Leicester’s, and were not marked.

In consequence of a message sent to his house Wednesday, went to Dean’s close, and found two of the 95 sheep marked; he picked them out and turned them into another close, and went to The King William IV Public House to see the prisoner, but he was not there. After had them out he counted the rest and found two missing. He believed the two were a portion of their flock. The marks were fresh made.

John Jennings said he lived at The King William IV Public House. He knew the prisoner, who came to lodge at that house. Before he came to lodge at The King William, he was stranger to the neighbourhood. On the 13th July, the prisoner told John Jennings he had bought a lamb from Mr. Creek, of Whittlesford; he said gave 38 shillings for it. The same evening, he came home about ten, and said had fetched the lamb and put it with Mr Tibbitt’s lambs for company.

When the witness Jennings got next morning, prisoner asked him to go and look at the lamb, which was hanging up in an out-house: he was going to send it to London. On the following Monday he asked the witness if would go to Whittlesford with him to fetch two sheep. Jennings said was going to play cricket. Next morning the prisoner showed him two ewes and told him bought them from Mr Creek.

They were marked behind the ears on the top of the head with red ochre. He saw them again that day in his mother's close (Frances Jennings), from whence they could get into the lane and then into Mr Tebbitt’s field. The next day the prisoner left witness’ mother's house.

James Thompson, Shelford, goods manager of the G.E.R., produced an assignment note for packet of meat, which was sent by the prisoner on the 14th July to Messrs Lee and Coville of London. It weighed 1 Qtr and 27 lbs. The Prisoner said he had brought it from Mr Creek of Whittlesford. It was a whole carcase of a lamb. Francis Hull, of Chesterton, proved that the prisoner brought the skin of a half-bred lamb and offered it to him for sale, which was bought by witness’s father for 3s and 6d.

David Creek, publican, of Whittlesford, deposed that he never saw the prisoner in his life, nor ever sold him any sheep, nor had had any transactions with him whatever. Henry Drury, shepherd to Mr. Gee, said three weeks last Thursday he went to fetch some sheep from Mr. Tebbitt’s; the two which were found in the other close were put amongst their flock, and did not seem odd at all.

Amos Colville, labourer, of Little Shelford, said the prisoner lodged with him at The King William IV Public House. Three weeks last Thursday, he got up soon after three, and soon as he was down, the prisoner came down too and asked the witness if he would mind helping him get two sheep out of a close adjoining Mr. Jennings field. He went with the prisoner, who caught two sheep from the flock. They were ewes and were marked with red ochre. He took them and put them in the slaughterhouse, and he had bought them from Allen’s public house at Whittlesford.

Charles Jennings, of Little Shelford, said that three weeks ago last Tuesday, the prisoner came to his house and told him he had two sheep he wanted sell, which had bought of Mr Scruby of Whittlesford. He came a second time, and the witness then went with him to the slaughterhouse. He showed him two white-faced ewes, marked on the head with red ochre. He said he gave £5 10s for the two, and asked the witness if they were not worth a crown for buying. The Witness said would not buy any mutton until the end of the week. He thought they were worth about three guineas each.

Thomas Litchfield said, three weeks last Tuesday, the prisoner asked him to kill two sheep for him, which agreed to do after he had done his work. The same evening, witness went to The King William, at Little Shelford. Prisoner took him into a shed, and found the sheep were gone. They looked for them, and prisoner asked witness to and go and ask Tebbitt’s shepherd if had seen two marked sheep.

P.C. Redhouse said on the 3rd of August he went into Essex, and on the following day he found the prisoner in a wheat field at Copford. He charged him with stealing a lamb and two sheep, to which the prisoner replied: “I’ll swear I know nothing about it—l was not there.” As we were the road to Kelverton, he began to talk, and said; “It’s no use telling lies about it, I had the lamb and sheep, and must get out of it the best way I can”. He also told me where he had sold the lamb and said: Perhaps Mr. Gee will not press the charge for the sheep, as I did not sell them.

The prisoner was Committed for trial at the Quarter Sessions”.

This week I bring you a story of how radical politics was conducted in the late 19th Century. Described in the Cambridge Independent Press of 1889 simply as “Liberal Meeting at Little Shelford” the article reveals long speeches, calls for Irish Home Rule (the hot topic of the time), a large crowd of 1,000 people and a cricket match. What political meeting in Little Shelford could be without a cricket match!

The story this week features some visitors to Little Shelford as well as a resident (The speakers were all well-known Liberal politicians at the time) and some features of Little Shelford well known today:

  • Mr Hugh Edward Hoare, then resident at Shelford Hall and Liberal Candidate for the Western Division of Cambridgeshire and later MP for the area. Hugh Edward Hoare was the sixth son of Henry Hoare, banker, of Iden Park, Staplehurst, Kent and his wife Mary Lady Marsham, daughter of the 2nd Earl of Romney. He was educated at Eton College and Balliol College, Oxford, was a partner in the brewery company of Hoare and Company, Lower East Smithfield, and was on the boards of the New England Breweries and the United States Brewery Company. At the 1892 general election he was elected as Liberal member of parliament for the Western or Chesterton Division of Cambridgeshire, taking the seat from the Conservatives. He failed to hold the seat at the subsequent election in 1895 or regain it in 1900. He then retired from politics and devoted himself to his brewing interests and became a director of the National Provident Institution. He died suddenly at his residence, Bix Hall, Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire in July 1929, aged 75.

  • Mr J C Flynn MP, an Irish nationalist politician who served for 25 years as a member of the Irish Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons of what was then the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Flynn was elected at the 1885 general election as the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Cork and was re-elected unopposed at the next 5 general elections. He held his seat until he stood down from the Commons at the January 1910 general election. He was arrested under the Crimes Act in February 1888 for conspiracy, the year before he spoke in Little Shelford.

  • Captain H C F Luttrell, of the Rifle Brigade, one-time aide de camp to Lord Spencer (John Poyntz Spencer, 5th Earl Spencer), when he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and MP for Tavistock in Devon, who resigned from the Liberal Party in the Autumn of 1914 and joined the Independent Labour Party, as an expression of disgust with the decision of the Liberal Government to commit to war in Europe

  • The Rev Thomas Joseph Laurence, who presided over the meeting at Shelford Hall. The Rev Laurence was born in 1849 in Chesterton and was educated at the Perse Grammar School. In 1873 he was he was elected Vice-President of the Union Society and later a fellow of Downing College Cambridge. In 1883 he was appointed Deputy Professor of International Law and appointed Warden of Cavendish College. He went on to become the leading International Lawyer of his time as well as Canon of Salisbury Cathedral

  • Shelford Hall, since destroyed by Fire in 1922 (see Little Shelford Village History Web site)

  • The Little Shelford Cricket Pitch, still used by Little Shelford Cricket Club today, in the grounds of Shelford Hall (now the Wale Recreation Ground).

Enjoy the read of the article, which I have truncated as it was a very long article which seemed to capture the speeches in some detail. But I think you will get the feel for this amazing event from the extracts provided!

Liberal Meeting at Little Shelford

Cambridge Independent Press 20th September 1889

Speeches by Mr J C Flynn, MP, Mr Hugh E Hoare and Captain H C F Luttrell.

In beautiful weather a very successful Liberal demonstration took place Tuesday in the grounds of Shelford Hall, at which place Mr. Hugh E. Hoare, the Liberal candidate for the Western Division of Cambridgeshire, is now residing.

A cricket match was played during the day between teams representing the North and South of West Cambridgeshire. The former being captained by Mr. P. H. Young, of Cambridge, and the latter by Mr Hoare. After an enjoyable and most exciting game, the Southerners ware victorious five runs. Some capital cricket was shown by both sides, the most notable being the batting of H Carpenter, of the Essex County Eleven, for the winners, and the vigorous batting of George Watts, the Surrey Colt, for the losers. The captains of the respective teams also showed good form.

[The article printed the whole scorecard but, for the record, the North team scored 147 runs and the South 152, Mr Carpenter scored 38 runs and Mr Watts 64 runs while Mr Young scored 37 and Mr Hoare 10]

Mr. Hoare entertained the cricketers and few friends to a capital luncheon, at the close of which Mr. J. M. Logan proposed “The Health of Mr. Hoare," which was honoured with enthusiasm. Mr. Hoare suitably responded. Mrs. Hoare and the young Hoare’s were not forgotten, a most cordial vote of thanks being accorded to that lady for the hearty and complete manner In which she had provided for the visitors wants.


In the evening a public meeting was held In a large marque erected la the grounds adjoining Shelford Hall, at which over 1,000 persons were present. The Rev. T J Lawrence presided over the meeting other noted attendees included Rev G Jones of Histon, Rev W Higgins of Melbourn, Rev J Cbanple of Melborn. [Many other worth locals were listed by name, from all over Cambridgeshire, while the clergy of Little and Great Shelford are notably absent!). Among the lady’s present were Lady Chesterfield, Mrs Hoare, Miss Briscoe, Mrs Lawrence, Miss Young, and deputation of Cambridge ladies [Who, of course, had no vote at the time!].

The Chairman (Rev Lawrence) said was exceedingly sorry to have to appear before them in the capacity of chairman that night (No, No). He was sorry first because knew he would be an indifferent chairman compared with their friend, Mr. Briscoe, who was announced to take the chair that night; and secondly, because Mr. Briscoe was kept away owing to attack of illness. He was sure that all empathised with Mr Briscoe, and hoped he would speedily recover (hear, hear). He was not going to stand long between the audience and the future member of Parliament for West Cambs. (cheers), and the eloquent Irish member of Parliament Mr Flynn); but before he sat down he would like to say a word or two about the Irish policy of the liberal party whom they were asked to support; and, secondly, about their English policy (hear, hear).

They, as Liberals, were sometimes asked what they meant by Home Rule for Ireland. He would give them brief definition; It was the application to Ireland of the principles of government which they enjoyed in England (hear, hear, and cheers). Here in England the people governed themselves; In Ireland, if a man obtained the enthusiastic support of a vast majority of his fellow countrymen and was returned to Parliament, instead of respecting his opinions, we sent him to prison. In England, it they returned majority members to Parliament to favour a particular Ministry or to favour a particular policy, they got It done. In Ireland, 87 out of 102 elected Parliamentary representatives favoured a particular policy, but unlike their English brethren, they could not get it carried out. The English Parliament said them “No, we know a great deal better in England how to rule you in Ireland than you know how to rale yourselves (shame). We shall now and again put your trusted leaders in prison; we shall laugh at every proposal bring toward In Parliament; shall accuse them of every crime under the sun on the evidence of perjurers end forgerers” (hear, bear, and cheers), and then they wondered why the Irish people were not contented. Get a man down and kick him and be is sure to be content. Bat those in favour of Home Rule know a little better than that. They thought that Irishmen after all — and believed that the same treatment which had made England, on the whole, happy and prosperous — would also make Ireland a happy and prosperous country (hear, hear).

With regard to the Liberal policy for England, he took it that they were getting through a democratic franchise Into a much more happy and a much more Christian frame of mind about their politics than they had often been in the past. Instead of regarding the piled-up wealth of the nation as the supreme object to be conserved by legislation, they were going to regard the well-being the individual (hear, bear). They were going to see that every child born into this world got an equal chance (hear, bear); they were going secure for every agricultural labourer a decent home, if he would live like decent man in it; they were going give the labourer chance of cultivating at a reasonable rental a reasonable patch of ground, with the opportunity, if he were frugal, of purchasing it at a fair price ; they were going to secure for every child a reasonable education, and for every citizen a voice in the management of the affairs of his parish or county, and last of all In the affairs of the nation itself; and they were going to arrange matters so that there should be fair reward for honest toil (cheers).

They had lately seen in London what the force of public opinion, led by that grand man, John Burns(note 1) (loud cheers) and aided by that noble specimen of the Christian ministry, Cardinal Manning (Note 2) (cheers) — would to God the Archbishop of Canterbury had taken the same course (hear, hear) — could do for the worst paid and the most casual of labour (cheers).

They of the Liberal party were beginning to think that legislation should have for its end and objective the elevation of the people (hear, hear) and they might depend upon it that if they would, putting aside for a moment thoughts of self, do justice to Ireland when the great question governing that country came before them at the next Election, they would exercise that great quality of mercy which blessed him that gave as well as him that received, and do that which was most conducive to their own true happiness (loud cheers).

Mr. Hoare, who was received with loud cheers, began by expressing hope that those of his audience who had witnessed the cricket match that day had enjoyed it as much he had done. They had had a good match, and he was glad to say that they had given the north a beating (laughter). He was pleased to see that many of those who had taken part in the match had remained behind for the meeting. He thought his auditors would agree with him when they saw the crowded state of that large marquee that this was the best meeting ever seen in Shelford! (hear. hear).

Some of them, no doubt, were at meeting held at Great Shelford last year. On that occasion, he remembered, they were subjected to some interruptions at the hands of one or two noisy individuals, but he did not think they need anticipate a renewal of those interruptions that night (a voice; They are converted now. And laughter). They were all met together that night in very friendly spirit (hear. hear).He saw before him Tory faces as well faces of their own side (a voice: They are Liberals now, and laughter). He could only say that be gave his Tory friends a verv hearty welcome (hear, hear).

The policy of the Liberal party had always been to hear both sides, and he had such confidence in the truth of the principles he advocated that be felt certain that if he were given a good chance, he could convert them to Radicalism (Laughter and cheers). When he called himself a Radical, he meant that he believed in the principle of equality, that the happiness of the poor man should be considered of precisely the same importance as the happiness of the rich man (cheers). Because a man happened to wear a black coat, he should not be considered any more than the man who happened to wear a dirty brown coat (hear, hear). The Radical creed had been well expressed in one short sentence — and that was that they sought to provide those measures which had for their object, not the good of one class, but the greatest good for the greatest number of people (hear, hear, and cheers).

One of their principal needs at the present time was. in his opinion, better education (hear, hear). Until they taught the people of this country to use the brains which had been given them, they would never make progress. Like every true Liberal, he had great faith in the rising generation and wished to see every man leave this world a little better off than he was when entered it (hear,hear). It was after all a miserable and unsatisfactory thing to work only for one’s self. It was only when they felt that they were working for others, when father felt that he was doing something to help and to benefit his children, that he experienced a true, genuine sense of satisfaction in his work. They certainly wanted better education, but they wanted it to be free (hear. hear).

The article goes on to report the rest of Mr Hoare’s speech where he set out the Liberal policy to seel at a fair price last to all agricultural workers so that they could have land to cultivate themselves. He said his ambition was an end to the poor laws and he wanted “to see in time the workhouses torn down altogether and made unnecessary”.

It then describes the speeches of Captain H C F Luttrell, who attacked Balfour’s (the Tory Prime Minister) policy on Ireland and particularly the use of the battering ram and he also had harsh words for the Unionists in Birmingham who had joined forces with the Tory’s. He went on to move a resolution expressing the meetings support for Mr Gladstone’s policy on Ireland (Home Rule) and to use its determined effort in securing the return of Mr Hoare as MP at the next election (something that was achieved in 1892!).

Mr Flynn, MP for North Cork, was asked to second Captain Luttrell’s resolution. It was noted by the Chairman that Mr Flynn had suffered a month’s imprisonment for the cause of his country. It was also noted that Mr Flynn received a “most enthusiastic reception”. Mr Flynn talked about a visit by many Liberal Ladies and Gentlemen to Ireland the previous week, to see for themselves the conditions that existed. He commented that “These Ladies and Gentlemen went over to Ireland on behalf of Mr Gladstone and were accorded a reception which not all the power of the Cabinet, not all the money of the Rothschilds could procure”. This comment met with loud cheers. He went on to attack the coercion policy of Mr Balfour and the violence that had been meted out on the crowds of protesters in Dublin. He also accused Balfour, Lord Hartington and Mr Chaplin of “lying abominably”  which brought about some strong heckling from some of the audience (who he said were Tories) and went on to inflame passions at the meeting further by claiming “the law of Coercion was born in infamy and would die in degradation”. He pointed out that John Burns actions in London, if carried out in Ireland under the Coercion Act, would have resulted in a sentence of 10 years hard labour. He closed with a comment that “The real Unionists were the men who sought to bring together the men of Ireland and those of Great Britain in common affection, and engaged in working out their own prosperity and the prosperity of the great Empire of which they formed a part” which was met with loud cheering. The resolution was finally put to the meeting and only six people present voted against.  

Note 1: John Elliot Burns (20 October 1858 – 24 January 1943) was an English trade unionist and politician, particularly associated with London politics and Battersea. He was a socialist and then a Liberal Member of Parliament and Minister. In 1889, he became a Progressive member of the first London County Council for Battersea. He was supported by his constituents, who subscribed an allowance of £2 a week. He devoted his efforts against private monopolies and introduced a motion in 1892 that all contracts for the County Council should be paid at trade union rates and carried out under trade union conditions. As a local politician, Burns is particularly noted for his role in the creation of Battersea's Latchmere Estate, the first municipal housing estate built using a council's own direct labour force, officially opened in 1903.

Note 2: Henry Edward Cardinal Manning (15 July 1808 – 14 January 1892) was an English prelate of the Roman Catholic church, and the second Archbishop of Westminster from 1865 until his death in 1892. Manning used this goodwill to promote a modern Roman Catholic view of social justice. In 1888 Manning was interviewed by social activist and journalist Virginia Crawford for the Pall Mall Gazette and was instrumental in settling the London dock strike of 1889 at the behest of Margaret Harkness.

This week I bring you a tale of the very odd goings on seen in the press from residents of Little Shelford over the last 250 years. One short story from one of the earliest articles I have found, 26th September 1767, recording “The Sorrowful Widower” who was very anxious (too anxious?) to re-marry and another more recent article from 7th May 1909, describing “A pugilistic Villager” who seemed to take a significant turn for the worse under the influence of too much drink!

I guess it takes all sorts to make a Village!

Newcastle Courant Saturday 26th September 1767

“A Sorrowful Widower”

At Little Shelford, Cambridgeshire, the sorrowful widower, having just lost his wife, and being unable to bear the thought of being in a single state, set off the next morning and was married to a woman at Linton. At their return in the evening to Little Shelford, the dead wife was removed from his bed into a coffin, to give way for the new-married couple to celebrate their nuptials. The coffin stayed in the room all night!

Cambridge Independent Press Friday 7th May 1909

“A Pugilistic Villager”

At the Cambridge Division Police Court on Saturday, William Hones, of Little Shelford, who failed to appear, was summoned for assaulting Pharaoh Archer at Little Shelford on April 24th. The complainant said that on the evening mentioned he was going down the Village Street with his hands in his pockets, when the defendant suddenly rushed out from near the Terrace and knocked him down. Striking him on the mouth and nose. The complainant had had no “words” with him and could not explain his conduct. Ambrose Godfrey, of Little Shelford, said he was standing with William Hones, the defendant, on the night in question when they saw Pharaoh Archer coming down the street. On receiving a reply in the affirmative, he said, “I’ll give him Archer. I’ll kill him”. He then rushed up to Archer and knocked him down, and was commencing to drag him up the street by his feet, when Godfrey remonstrated with him and made him desist. Superintendent Webb said this was rather a speciality of the defendant (William Hones) who was “like a madman” when he had had a drink and assaulted people for no earthly reason!

The Bench Sentenced the defendant to one month’s imprisonment without the option of a fine.

William Hones features in a few reports from Little Shelford and more coverage of his exploits will follow in due course. William, a labourer, who was 25 at the time, lived in one of the Cottages on the Terrace with his widowed mother and his elder brother and younger sister. While his friend, Ambrose Godfrey, a horse keeper, who was 23 at the time and already married and a father, lived in Lea Grove Cottages with his wife and baby daughter. All this information comes from the 1911 Census. Pharaoh Archer appears to have come from Saffron Walden but there is little information for him on Ancestry despite the unusual name.

This week I have tried to establish the history of our very own Brewery. We know the Village had a Brewery at some point as we commonly refer to the “Brewers House” on the Corner of Newton Road and Hauxton Road and we refer to the “Brewers Cottages”, the row of 19th Century Terraced Brick Cottages along Hauxton Road from the junction of Newton Road. But when did the Brewery open and what happened to it? The history of its rise and demise can be found in the Newspaper Archive!

We will start with what we generally know from the Little Shelford History Web site and British History on-line for Little Shelford.

British History On-Line – Little Shelford Entry 

“Arthur Austin (d. 1908), whose family had been long established in the area as windmill builders, farmed at Little Shelford from the 1890s. He was also a lime and coprolite merchant, and before 1875 he built a brewery on the Hauxton road. He may also have run a foundry for a time in the parish. (fn. 120) The brewery was disused in 1916 and had been demolished by 1966”.

This is a good start and if we look at the Little Shelford census records, we can see Arthur Austin living at Cherry Cottage in Newton Road in 1871 (Age 41) and working as a Lime Merchant. He must have been reasonably prosperous at the time as well as there were 5 children and a servant living in the Cottage. But when is there a first mention of the West End Brewery? Well, the earliest reference I can find is in 1873 when Arthur Austin, by now a Brewer, accused an employee of theft (see the first article below). By the time of the Census of 1881 Arthur Austin (Age 51) and his family have taken up residence at the “West End Brewery” in Little Shelford. The census notes that Arthur Austin is a Farmer (farming 158 Acres and employing 6 men and a boy) as well as a being a Brewer. So, it looks like Arthur Austin built the brewery between 1871 and 1873.

In 1892 the Brewery was let to Oliver St. John, and it was this action which resulted in the West End Brewery’s sad demise, although by then it was known as the Phoenix Brewery. Oliver St. John came from a wealthy family in Dulwich, South London. In 1861 (Age 3) he was living in Dulwich with his father, Frederick St John, and many siblings and servants. Frederick St. John, who was the Surveyor General of Customs, was related to George Richard St John, 3rd Viscount Bolingbroke and 4th Viscount St John.

But, as the story unfolds in the pages of our local papers, we can see that Oliver St John did not have a particularly good business acumen and this led to the Brewery’s sad demise! The story of Oliver St John’s involvement with local brewing starts in Whittlesford in 1887 and ends with bankruptcy in Little Shelford in 1894.

Cambridge Independent Press - Saturday 24 May 1873



Before l.W. Pemberton, T. J. Ficklin, and I. H. Wilkinson, Esqs. Little Shelford: George Jackson, labourer of Bartlow, was brought up charged with stealing a hoe, valued at 1 shilling from the property of Arthur Austin, brewer, on the 19th of April. The prisoner had been engaged by prosecutor about a month before the theft to hoe some beans at Little Shelford. Having no hoe, Mr. Austin lent him one, and he remained in his employment till the 19th of April, when he left work and took the hoe with him. He was apprehended by p.c. Webb on the 15th May, at Harston, and the hoe was found in a shed where the prisoner had been sleeping. The prisoner said he intended to take the hoe back and he was discharged.

Cambridge Chronicle and Journal - Friday 06 May 1887 – A Dinner in Whittlesford for Brewery Staff

On Wednesday, the firm of Messrs. Saunders and Co. and Mr. Oliver St. John gave a dinner to their employees at the Phoenix Brewery, Whittlesford. There was a most substantial spread of roast beef, mutton, and plum pudding and the table was very prettily decorated. About twenty responded to the Invitation, and the hearty and jovial appearance of the men showed that all were delighted.

After dinner, Mr. Saunders said he had great pleasure in proposing the health of his worthy successor, Mr. Oliver St. John (who was taking over the Brewery). In replying, Mr. St. John said it was a most important step of his life, commencing in business, but trusted with kind and good treatment he would long enjoy the hearty support and sympathy of the workmen present, and be enabled to properly understand the depth of the enthusiasm for Mr. Saunders, their late master.

Mr. Harry Wootten, the manager, then expressed himself highly favoured in having the honour of presenting Mr. Saunders from the workmen a beautifully designed silver cigar case bearing the following inscription “Presented to H. E. Saunders, Esq. by the employees ef the Phoenix Brewery, Whittlesford, as a token of their esteem and regard. April 30th, 1887”. Mr. Saunders, replying, expressed himself greatly pleased not only with the article itself, but also with its coming as a great surprise and with such hearty expressions of good will from his former workmen for his future success and prosperity.

During the evening. Mr. Saunders sang several amusing and stirring songs, while most valuable assistance was given by Mrs. Saunders and Miss Silverthorne on the piano. Messrs. Hopwood, Howard, and Barham responded for the firm, expressing themselves highly satisfied with their late master, Mr. Saunders, and promising their full support to Mr. St. John. Mr. Evans brass band attended and played various selections during the evening. A vote of thanks to Mr. Harry Wootten, Messrs. White and St. John for their kind help, brought a most enjoyable evening to a close. Mrs. Saunders and Miss Silverthorne must be highly complimented for the manner in which the dinner was served.

Cambridge Chronicle and Journal - Friday 16 February 1894 – Phoenix Brewery Bankruptcy

CAMBRIDGE BANKRUPTCY COURT. Oliver St. John, of the Phoenix Brewery, Little Shelford, brewer, trading as Saunders and Co and residing at Great Shelford. In answer to the Official Receiver (Mr. J. Ellison) debtor said he commenced business about six years ago at Whittlesford, in succession to Messrs. Saunders and Co., from whom he purchased the business for £4,600. Of that sum the debtor borrowed £3.500 from his brother, the Rev. E. St John. The trade at Whittlesford did not realise his expectations, and during the five years he remained there lost every penny of his capital.

In March 1892, he rented the Phoenix Brewery at Little Shelford, and his brother lent him a further sum of £5OO. From that time to this had had other advances from his brother, making a total of about £8,000. The whole of the money had gone. He was pressed by his brother for security in December 1892, and debtor gave him bill of sale upon the brewery plant and other things.

No money was paid under the bill of sale and the result was his brother had put the bill of sale in force. An execution was put in at the same time, and that compelled Oliver St John to file his petition in bankruptcy. He had known for some considerable time past that his financial position had been very much crippled. The money advanced by his brother was not intended as a gift to him.

His deficiency of £9,000 and was as the result of unsuccessful trading.

Phoenix Brewery Sale Little Shelford - Cambridge Independent Press - Thursday 22 March 1894

UNRESERVED SALE. WEDNESDAY NEXT. Phoenix Brewery, Little Shelford.

About 1 mile from Shelford Station, G.E.R., and about 2 miles from Harston Station, G.N.R. A. M. ROBINSON & SON HAVE received instructions TO SELL BY AUCTION, without reserve, upon the Premises, above, on WEDNESDAY next, March 28th, 1894, half-past 2 o’clock,

The 5-QUARTER BREWING PLANT, Consisting of 5-Qr. Mash Tun with false bottom and arm Copper Spurger, 2 Fermenting Tuns (23 Barrels, 1 ,3 Horse-Power Horizontal Engine, 18 Barrel Steam Jacketed Copper, Set of 3 Throw Pumps (Pontifrex and Woods), Boiler, 14ft. by 44ft., mounted with Water Gauges, Safety and Stop Valves, Injector. Iron Stage, and Two Dampers, 30 Barrel Wrought Iron Tank, Two Wooden Coolers, 2 Malt Mills, a large quantity of Iron Piping and Utensils.

 N.B.— The Auctioneers have arranged so that all Lots may be removed without doing any damage.

Cambridge Daily News - Wednesday 22 October 1902 – Heavy Loses for Oliver St John

At the Cambridge County Court, before his Honour Judge Short, Oliver St- John, of the Phoenix Brewery, Little Shelford, brewer, trading as Saunders and Co., applied for his discharge from bankruptcy.

Mr. Howard Cox. the Official Receiver, in making his report, stated that the receiving order was made, on January 24th. 1894. on the debtor’s own petition. The order adjudication was made on 26th January 1894. Mr. C. F. Charlton was appointed trustee. The public examination concluded on March 14th, 1894.

According to the bankrupt’s statement of affairs, the liabilities to rank for dividend were estimated at £9.546 1s and 5d but the proofs submitted at this date (£8,221 55.) and the probable claims not yet admitted (£46 17s. 7d.) amounted to £8,268 2s. and 7d. This marked difference between the estimated and the actual and probable liabilities was due mainly to two creditors for money lent having proved for smaller amounts than those scheduled by the bankrupt.

The assets, in so far as they were not assigned to the creditors, wholly or partly secured, were estimated produce £449 8s. 1d., and they had actually realised £171 1s. and 2d. This considerable difference between the actual value of the assets and the bankrupt’s estimate was accounted for mainly by his having over-estimated the value of his furniture and the amount to be realised from book debts. The preferential and other claims payable in full were stated the bankrupt to be £l3 15s. 2d., and the amount of such claims was £4 10s. and 1d.

Therefore, the balance available for costs and for distribution amongst unsecured creditors was £166 10s. 4d, instead of £435 12s, as estimated by the bankrupt. The first dividend of 2d. in the £ was paid on proofs for £8.221. The trustee had now in his hands a balance of £2O, and since the bankrupt had applied for his discharge had disclosed the fact that had become entitled to a reversionary interest, of which the Official Receiver had not been able to ascertain the value. There was, therefore, a probability that at some future date a further dividend would be paid, but he did not anticipate that this would amount to 1s. in the £.

In 1887 the bankrupt started business as a brewer at Whittlesford. purchasing the business, a going concern, for £4,600. At that time, he had £2.000 of his own, and he borrowed £3.500 from his brother. In 1892 he left Whittlesford, having lost the whole of his own capital and the £3.500 loan previously mentioned, and also £5OO borrowed from another relative.

On leaving Whittlesford he became tenant of a brewery at Little Shelford. To enable him to start in business there his brother lent him £5OO. He was soon afterwards obliged to borrow further sums from his brother, and, at the date of the receiving order, the total amount advanced by his brother exceeded £B.OOO.

In December. 1892, the bankrupt was pressed his brother to give some security respect of the debt, and the 22nd that month gave a bill of sale in favour of his brother for the plant, barrels, and effects the brewery. In 1893 was also pressed other creditors, and the bill of sale holder seized and sold the goods comprised in his security shortly before the date of the receiving order.

The bankrupt was well aware of his insolvency when he left Whittlesford in 1892, but he had, notwithstanding this knowledge, continued to trade, and had incurred all the unsecured debts scheduled, except one for £593, amounting in all to £4,000. The Official Receiver added that the reversionary interest depended on three lives, and if they were all to end to-morrow it would not amount to more than £3.000. His Honour said that in view of these findings he could not suspend the discharge for less than three years.

Peace Celebration in Little Shelford

This week I have taken the opportunity of commemorating the 75th Anniversary of VE Day by having a look at how Little Shelford celebrated the end of conflicts in the past. I found an interesting article about the celebrations held in Little Shelford to celebrate the end of the Great War.

Although Great War hostilities ceased with the Armistice on 11 November 1918, the First World War did not end officially until the Treaty of Versailles was signed in June 1919. So, in Britain, peace was celebrated on 19 July that year, with a Victory Parade in London as the main event. A camp for the troops taking part was set up in Kensington Gardens and thousands of civilians flocked to the capital for the festivities. Nearly 15,000 British Empire servicemen took part in the parade, led by Allied commanders including Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig and Marshal Ferdinand Foch.

There were also grand celebrations in Cambridge with a feast given on Parkers Piece for 4,000 demobilised Cambridge soldiers as guests. A sumptuous menu was on offer:  Salmon and cucumber,  cold lamb,  boiled round of beef, Veal & Ham pie, hot new potatoes, pickles, salad and tomatoes, Jellies, creams, fruit-tart, boiled custards, cheese, rolls and butter, beer, minerals and cigarettes. The “demobbed” men agreed that there was nothing in the menu to remind them of Army biscuits and bully beef at the front in this menu!

The Little Shelford events was not on quite such a grand scale but clearly was great fun, if spoiled by some heavy rain later in the day. The story features some well-known Little Shelford characters:

John Frederick Eaden and his wife Isabella Margaret Eaden (nee Willis) then the residents of Shelford Hall. Isabella Margaret was a Grand Daughter of General Sir Charles Wale while John Frederick Eaden was a Solicitor in Cambridge. Prior to moving to the Hall the family lived at Kings Farmhouse in Little Shelford, where, as described in the Fanny Wale Book (Page 26), they commissioned significant improvements. John Eaden also kept a house at 12 Brookside in Cambridge and as they grew older the family would winter in Cambridge and return to Little Shelford when the warmer weather returned. There is a lot more about John Eaden on the Village History web site (link below) and there are also relatives of John Eaden still living in the Village.

Edward Charles Elbourne was the son of the Village Blacksmith, Edward Elbourne, who grew up with his parents at the Smithy’s at the junction of High Street, Hauxton Road and Church Street and can be seen there with the rest of the family in the 1901 and 1911 Census. He was an engineer by trade and signed up for the Territorials in 1912 and went to war with the Duke of Yorks Own Loyal Suffolk Hussars and shortly after demobilisation moved to Great Shelford. They Elbourne family had been in the Village for many years and feature in the Fanny Wale Book.

Fred Dockerill lived at “The Carriers Cottage” in High Street with his family (including his Brother Sid Dockerill who won the Military Medal during the war). He went to War in 1914 as a Trooper also in the Duke of Yorks Own Loyal Suffolk Hussars and left as a Lance Corporal. The Dockerill’s lived in the Village for many years and are also mentioned in the Fanny Wale Book  

Frederic Marshall was also from a well-known Village Family. He was a builder and worked on many developments in the Village including the cottages known as “Mount View” which are to be found on Garden Fields. He lived on the Terrace with his family in “Swiss Cottage” and the Marshall family is also mentioned in the Fanny Wale book several times.

Cambridge Independent Press and News Friday July 25th 1919


Old People, Children and Soldiers Entertained. DINNERS. TEAS, AND SPORTS

Saturday was a day of real enjoyment in the Cambridge Villages. The following reports are sent in by our correspondents.

Little Shelford.

On Saturday the village was en fête to celebrate Peace Day, when practically all the inhabitants turned out. The venue was the Park [of Shelford Hall], kindly leant by Mr J F Eaden

A long sports program was arranged in which two events for returned soldiers and sailors were included. The prizes for these events were valued at £2 and £1. In each race the winners were C Elbourne (1st) and F Dockerill (2nd). The tug of war after some exceptionally good pulling was won by the Comrades of the Great War and proved to be one of the most exciting events of the day.

At the interval a very substantial repast was provided which appeared to be much appreciated.  The adults were supplied with knife and fork tea, the children with jam and cake. Mr Eaden kindly gave tobacco and Cigarettes for the men and, Mrs Eaden, sweets for the Children. In the evening sports were resumed lasting until 5 o’clock. Cricket was also played, and swings provided for the Children. Dancing was indulged in until the rain descended too heavily.

The effigy of the Kaiser was burned, much to the amusement of the onlookers. At the close a hearty vote of thanks and cheers were given to Mrs Eaden for presenting the prizes, to Mr Eaden for the use of the Grounds, the members of the Women’s Institute, and Mr F Marshall for very valuable assistance.

The proceedings terminated with the singing of the National Anthem. The committee are to be congratulated on the excellent arrangements for the enjoyment of all present on this memorable day.


As it’s a strange time for our school Children right now, I thought I would look at how Great and Little Shelford School use to celebrate each successful academic year with a Fete in the summer. Many will recall that the School celebrated its 175th Anniversary in 2018, and for those who want to read the full history I strongly recommend reading “The Making of a Village School”, written by Marjorie Westbrook of Church Street, Little Shelford and published in 1993 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary. So, in the articles today we look back at the early school summer celebrations. Take note of the preponderance of plum cake and the willingness of the staff and parents to let the Children celebrate with a glass of wine!

The stories feature many well-known family names from Little Shelford characters, and I would highlight:

Mr John Hopkins, Mrs Mary Hopkins and Ms Susannah Hopkins: Mr John Hopkins was appointed as the first Headmaster in 1843, at the age of 47, and his daughter, Miss Susannah Hopkins, age 22, was appointed as School Mistress, very young for a School mistress in those days,. The salaries were not large, £50 a year for Mr Hopkins and £20 per year for his daughter. Susannah Hopkins sadly died on 1st May 1857, shortly after the second of the articles reproduced below. John Hopkins had retired from the Headship by 1864, no doubt sadly affected by his Daughters Death, but at the good age of 65 having lead the school for nearly 20 years. There are more details about The Hopkins family in” The making of a Village School”.

Rev James Edward Law: Owner of the Little Shelford Manor House, which had been bought by his father in 1800. James was Rector of All Saints Little Shelford and at the time of the 1851 Census was a widower and lived in the Manor House with his son, also James Edward Law, a Student at St John’s College, along with a housekeeper, two servants and a groom! The Manor House grounds is where the first Fete took place in 1851.   


Cambridge Independent Press - Saturday 02 August 1851

Great and Little Shelford – National School Fete

On Friday evening, the 25th July, the children, consisting of 103 girls, and 97 boys with their master and mistress, Mr. John Hopkins and has daughter, drank tea in the beautiful gardens of James Edward Law, Esq at Little Shelford. After partaking of tea, plum-cake, bread and butter in abundance, the gentlemen present amused the children in various sports.

Mr Law was honoured with large party ladies and gentlemen, among whom were Lady and Miss Cecil Wale, Captain and Mrs. Wale, Lieutenant Frederick Wale, Lieutenant Henry Wale, Rev. Wm. Law, the Rector, and Mrs. Law, Law junior Esq, Mrs Prest, Mrs. Finch and daughters, Mrs. and Miss Hawthorn, Mrs. Collyer and her three sons and sister. Miss Johnston, Rev. Mr. Metcalfe, the curate. Captain Ficklin, Peter Grain junior Esq, Mr George Finch, Miss Twiss, Mrs. Gunning, Miss Thurnall, Mr. and Mrs. William Headlv, with many others.

Th- evening was concluded by the children and company singing God save the Queen in full chorus, with three cheers for her Majesty and Prince Albert. Each boy and girl had a glass wine and plum cake before leaving.

Cambridge Chronicle and University Journal - Saturday 12 July 1856

Shelford National School Treat

On Tuesday afternoon the 8th inst., the children belonging to the Great and Little Shelford National Schools, also all the children from the Chesterton Union, with their masters and mistresses, assembled at the mansion of Lieut-Colonel Wale, Little Shelford. The early part of the afternoon being very wet, they sat down to tea, in a large and commodious tent. With a profusion of plum cake and bread and butter.

The Weather set fine and pleasant about five o'clock, when the children and the company met on the beautiful lawn in the front of the mansion. The Colonel and his lady used every means to afford their juvenile visitors all the pleasure they could, by joining in the amusements of the evening.

After the second tea, plum cake etc., the Union boys repeated several chapters from the Old and New Testaments, much to the credit of their schoolmaster: the Union girls also gave great satisfaction and pleasure to the company present, the mistress keeping them in good order. Prizes were distributed by Mrs Colonel Wale to the Union boys and girls viz., books, toys, tops, marbles, nine-pins, baskets etc. in abundance. The Rev. Frederik Metcalfe, curate of Little Shelford, delivered a suitable address to all the children before separating. Mr. and Miss Hopkins, the master and mistress of the Shelford school, as usual, kept the boys and girls fine order. When the Union children mounted the omnibus and van, which the Colonel kindly hired for the occasion, three cheers were loudly given for Colonel Wale and his lady, the whole concluding with “God save the Queen”.


A rather different tale this week. At the start of last week Brie Lury received an e-mail from Dr Jonathan Steel, a retired GP. Jonathan had contacted her in her capacity as a Parish Councillor.  Jonathan, who described himself as “a retired GP with a nerdy hobby of stamp collecting” was looking for a home for an envelope dated by the postman as 19th April 1851 and addressed to John H Beech of Little Shelford (That was in the early days of the Post Office when just a name, a village, a County and a stamp was all that was needed!).

The envelope is pictured here:

Brie shared this e-mail with me, Libby and David Martin along with an entry she had found via Google that a John Hawksley Beech had been at St John’s College in Cambridge and died in Little Shelford on July 19th, 1855 aged 59.

Brie set me a challenge, could I find out more about Mr Beech? Where in the Village he lived? How long was he in Little Shelford? Wouldn’t this be an interesting story for the Weekly Magazine if you could find out more?

Well, I couldn’t resist a challenge so my article this week is all about John Hawksle

y Beech and what I managed to find out about him. I have used multiple sources for this, the British Newspaper Archive,, The Fanny Wale Book and, of course, the ubiquitous research machine, Google!


John Hawksley Beech was born in Shoreditch in London in 1795, at that time Shoreditch was quite an affluent area. Indeed, John Hawksley Beech and his Farther, John Beech, are recorded as proprietors of £10 of unclaimed dividends in Government Stock in 1815, so they clearly had some means as the dividends had been left unclaimed for 5 years. He is then recorded as having attended Uppingham School, the famous private school in Rutland before entering St John’s College Cambridge on January 19th, 1814, at the age of 19, to study Mathematics.

He was awarded his BA in 1818, at the age of 23, and was the 20th Wrangler. While he was awarded his MA in 1821 at the age of 25. At the University of Cambridge, a "Wrangler" is a student who gains first-class honours in the third year of the University's undergraduate degree in mathematics. The highest-scoring student is the Senior Wrangler, the second highest is the Second Wrangler, and so on. So, as 20th Wrangler he was clearly a bright graduate, even if not the best.

He must have continued to live, teach and study at St Johns as he is also recorded as having voted in the Cambridge University election for an MP in 1822, he voted for William John Bankes Esq, a Tory, who was duly elected.  At that time the Cambridge University constituency was not a geographical area. Its electorate consisted of the graduates of the University and in 1822 the franchise was restricted to male graduates with a Doctorate or Master of Arts degree. In those days the vote was not secret, the vote of each graduate was published in a booklet for all to see!

At the age of 36 John Hawksley Beech was still living at St John’s College and in January of that year he acts as a witness regarding a poor law discharge case for a widowed lady called Elizabeth Ellis. In those days under the Poor Laws, in the event of the parish authorities discovering that a person was likely to become a financial burden and become chargeable to the parish the parish authorities undertook a Settlement Examination. The examination took place under the auspices of the Overseer of the Poor and a Justice of the Peace and was carried out to determine whether the person had a legitimate right to residency in any specific parish. In this case Elizabeth was claiming a poor law settlement in Worksop in Nottinghamshire rather than Bethnal Green in London, as she had been employed as a servant to John Beech’s mother, Sarah Beech, and had moved to Worksop with her. John Beech supports the claim of Elizabeth Ellis that she was discharged in Worksop and this she fell under their responsibility.

So, when did John Hawksley Beech move to Little Shelford?

He took residence in the Village in 1832 at the age of 37. He appears in the electoral registration list for Little Shelford that year. The first census was carried out in 1841, 9 years after he moved to the Village and in the census, he is 44 years old and living in High Street, with Hetty Medlock (30) his housekeeper and Mary Conder (20), a servant. He is clearly a Gentleman of independent means and is described as a “landowner and proprietor”, but he is unmarried. In 1844 and 1845 John Beech is also recorded as serving on two special jury’s for more complex financial legal trials in the Cambridge Newspapers.

John is still in High Street Little Shelford in the 1851 Census, age 54 and still unmarried. Again, he has two domestic servants working for him, Mary Conder, now 32, still with him after 10 years, but now as his housekeeper. While Fanny Northfield, aged 15, lives with them both and is described as a companion to Mary Conder.

Sadly, John Hawksley Beech died just 4 years later, on 19th July 1855 at the age of 59. He is not buried at All Saints Little Shelford as it was his express wish in his will to be buried close to his mother at St Helen’s New Church in the Isle of Wight, where a memorial tablet exists for him.


John’s Mother and his brother, Henry Beech, were clearly notable residents of St Helen’s Parish near Ryde in the Isle of Wight. Henry also has a memorial in the Church and the family house where his mother and Brother lived, Sea-field Villa, is mentioned in a number of Victorian Guides to the Isle of Wight, for example in “Brannon's Picture of The Isle of Wight or the Expeditious Traveller's Index To its Prominent Beauties & Objects of Interest” published in 1849 it states “The Environs of Ryde: May be characterized as being beautifully rural, enlivened by peeps or open prospects of the sea: for this is the best wooded quarter of the island, adorned with several charming seats and villas, and intersected by good roads. Sea-view is another pleasant hamlet, containing several lodging-houses: and having near it the beautiful villas of Sea-field (owned by Henry Beech), Fairy-hill, Sea-grove etc.”

Clearly John Beech kept in close touch with his family in the Isle of Wight, and one interesting observation is that Mary Conder, mentioned as John’s servant and housekeeper in the 1841 and 1851 census when in Little Shelford, is living in Sea-field Villa as Housekeeper to Henry Beech in the 1871 Census and on the day of the Census Charlotte Conder, her daughter, is also visiting Ryde. So, Henry had taken on John’s long-standing housekeeper and she has moved to the Isle of Wight to serve his Brother. Loyalty from both parties!

One mystery remains, where did John Hawksley Beech live in High Street? He was a Gentleman of independent means with servants, so which of the larger houses did he occupy? The census returns for 1841 and 1851 do not give details of house names or numbers just the name of the street.

However, in 1851 we know the next family in the census records were the Whites who lived in the Bakery, so John clearly lived at the Church Street end of the High Street. Well, the final clue to his exact residence is in Fanny Wales book on Shelford Parva, where he warrants only a very short mention but enough to identify his house!

“Kirby Lodge was once a small house and probably built by Howard the Farmer, who lived in it. The next person living there was a Mr Beech, who built the conservatories and was fond of gardening”. So, we know John Beech was resident in Kirby Lodge for at least 23 years.

The final piece of this story about the mysterious Mr John H Beech who appeared on the envelope is that as he had no immediate dependents his home and contents were immediately auctioned. The auction particulars, as published in the Cambridge newspapers, give a unique insight both into John Hawksley Beech’s love of gardening and the household of a Cambridge Gentleman and Academic of the mid-19th Century.

The house and possessions are described in detail in the sale-particulars published in the Cambridge Chronicle on September 22nd, 1855.


A Neat Villa Residence, GARDEN, ORCHARD, COACH-HOUSE, BARN, STABLE, and other Outbuildings, ARABLE AND PASTURE-LAND adjoining, and THREE COTTAGES, with Gardens, and ARABLE LAND, all Tithe-free.

TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, By JOHN SWAN & SON, At the Three Horse Shoes Public House. Little Shelford, on Monday next, Sept, the 24th 1855, at Five for Six o'clock in the evening. By direction of the Devisee the late John Hawksley Beech, Esq.

Lot I.—A neat VILLA RESIDENCE, comprising 2 parlours, 2 kitchens, and a dairy, with 4 bedrooms and store room over, approached from the high road by circular carriage drive, enclosed by trees and shrubs, with garden in front, tastefully laid out with grass-plots, flower beds and gravel walks, and circular sunk ornamental basin enriched with water plants.

The garden is planted with the choicest young fruit trees and grape vines that can obtained, regardless of expense, all in full bearing, grapery house and pit, and enclosed one side and end recently erected 14 in. high brick and stone Wall, and on the other side next the high road a plantation and shrubbery, and in front neat brick and boarded palisade fence, with orchard behind, in which has been recently erected a large kitchen with bedroom over, tool and potting house and offices, boarded and slate coach-house and stable, barn, bullock lodges, piggeries, and a small farm yard, with a pump of excellent water.

A plantation at back with boarded and slate cartlodge, and allotment of old enclosed productive Arable LAND adjoining, abutting north and west on land of C. B. Wale, Esq, and also a freehold old enclosed Allotment of Pasture LAND adjoining the above, with remainder of plantation, part of garden and arable land, (now lucern), fronting the same with all the timber and other trees growing thereon, abutting west on land of C. B. Wale, Esq, and south on land of Colonel Wale, and east on the high road, having a frontage of 323 ft., in the occupation of the late John Hawksley Beech, Esq and containing 7a. 2r. 3p. of which 2a. 0r. 37p. is Freehold and 5a. 1r. 6p. is Copyhold of the Manor of Little Shelford. Quit-rent, 10s and 2d. Apportioned Land-Tax, £1 15s. 10d.

Lot 2.—All that Allotment of productive Freehold Arable LAND, opposite Lot 1, on part of which erected Three Clay bat and slate Cottages, with, out-houses and gardens behind, and enclosed at one end by a recently erected 14 inch brick and stone wall, and at the front and back by a wood fence, abutting south on the late P. Butler’s estate; north and east of land of Willis. Esq, and west on the high road, having a frontage of 212 feet, and containing by admeasurement 2 roods and 5 perches, in the occupation of Robson, Peveral and Rider and the late J. H. Beech, Esq.  Apportioned Land-Tax 10s.

The above is situate in the pleasant and retired village of Little Shelford, and is only distant 1 mile from the station on the Eastern Counties line, and 1 and half miles from the Harston station, the Great Northern line, 5 miles from Cambridge, 7 miles from Royston, and 9 miles from Saffron Walden, all good Market Towns; and the Auctioneers feel assured that such a desirable opportunity as Lot 1 seldom offers for any gentleman wishing to purchase a compact country residence either for his own occupation or for investment, being all adjoining each other, and Lot 2 being all Freehold with great length of frontage next the high road is very desirable property for building purposes. Immediate possession will be given.

Further particulars may be had on application to Messrs W. Brackenridge & Sons, Solicitors, 16, Bartlett’s Buildings, Holborn or of John Swan & Son, Auctioneers, Land and Estate Agents, 19, Sidney-street, Cambridge, where a plan of the Estate may be seen, and of whom Tickets to view the same may be obtained.


Modern and Useful Household Furniture. EIGHT-DAY CLOCK, CHINA, GLASS, Kitchen and Dairy Utensils, CHOICE GRAPE VINES from Germany (in Pots), Ditto HOT-HOUSE and other PLANTS (in Ditto), CUCUMBER FRAMES. ROLL, Garden Tools, etc.

TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, By JOHN SWAN & SON, On Thursday, September 27th, 1855, punctually Eleven o’clock, (on account of the number of lots,) by direction of the Devise of the late John Hawksley Beech, Esq.

THE FURNITURE Comprises coach top, tent, and couch bedsteads, with chintz and dimity furnitures. Excellent bordered goose and other feather-beds; horsehair and wool mattresses, blankets, and counterpanes; Mahogany and japanned chests drawers; ditto washing and dressing tables and glasses; Brussels, Kidderminster, and Venetian carpets; Mahogany, Windsor, and japanned chairs; Mahogany dining, Pembroke, card, and other tables; excellent Spanish Mahogany Bookcase, with glass doors, with drawers and sliding shelves under, enclosed by folding-doors; neat cabriol sofa in chintz cover; chintz and muslin window curtains and brass poles; accurate 8-day clock, in wainscot case, by Watson, of Cambridge; barometer; bronzed and brass fenders and irons; excellent brass scales and weights; China, glass, kitchen, culinary and dairy utensils, etc.

THE GARDEN & OUT-DOOR EFFECTS Comprise choice vines from Germany, in pots; ditto hot-house and outdoor plants, in ditto; cucumber frames, garden roll, hand glasses; 2 boxes of greenhouse glass, 7 ½ by 5 ½; garden tools and pots, iron-bound water-tubs, work benches, carpenter’s and turner’s tools, posts, fencing, firewood, faggots, etc.

May be viewed the day before and morning of sale, where catalogues may be had, and at the Rose and Crown, Saffron Walden; Bull, Royston ; Swan, Linton; the principal Inns in the adjacent villages; and of John Swan & Son, Auctioneers, Valuers, Land and Estate Agents, 19, Sidney Street, Cambridge.


Mr Marshall The Builder

In my article in Edition 8 about how Little Shelford had celebrated the signing of the Armistice in July 1919 I reflected on one of the characters mentioned in the article. Frederick Marshall was mentioned as helping to put together the celebration in the grounds of Shelford Hall. I said about Frederick Marshall:

Frederic Marshall was also from a well-known Village Family. He was a builder and worked on many developments in the Village including the cottages known as “Mount View” which are to be found on Garden Fields. He lived on the Terrace with his family in “Swiss Cottage” and the Marshall family is also mentioned in the Fanny Wale book several times.

Penny and Ray Saich asked me a question about this when I met them walking around the village. They said, are you sure? And referred me to Margaret Wards book “Great and Little Shelford in old Picture Postcards” (a good book to have if you are interested in Local History) and to page 71, which pictures a Thatched Cottage on the corner of Newton Road and Hauxton Road which is described as the home of Frederick Marshall 


So, I promised Ray and Penny I would do additional research and see what I could come up with. Fortunately for me, I was both right and wrong! What my researches show is that there were two Marshall Brothers living in Little Shelford in the early 20th Century. In 1911 and both were builders. Both lived in Little Shelford and I am sure they would have worked together on projects such as the Mount View Cottages in Garden Fields. (Named as Mount View Cottages by the way because they looked out to St Margaret’s Mount or Maggots Mount, west of the village where the obelisk in memory of Gregory Wale of Shelford Old Hall stands, erected in 1739 and which still stands to this day).

I was wrong in that Frederick Marshall did live with his family in the Cottage pictured, at the corner of Newton Road and Hauxton Road, known as The Nutshell at the time, and those ladders were part of his building equipment. In the 1911 census he is 46 and is described as a “retired builder” He was living there with his wife, Agnes and three stepchildren, Winifred Currell, Frederic Currell and Phyllis Currell. Indeed, Frederick did not marry until 1911 and he and Agnes were married in Balham, Surrey earlier that year.

Frederick Albert Marshall was born in Little Shelford in 1865 and had two brothers, William Charles Marshall and Henry Marshall as well as two sisters Emily and Sarah. In the 1871 Census he is living in a house on Hauxton Road (quite possibly The Nutshell, its not possible to tell from the census records but Fanny Wale’s book seems to confirm it is the same house) with his parents John and Sarah Marshall. John is described in the 1871 census as a bricklayer and William is also described as a bricklayer, so already a family of builders. 

By the time of the 1911 Census William Charles Marshall is living with his family in “Swiss Cottage” on the Terrace (the house is still there and still known as Swiss Cottage) and he is also described as a builder. He lived with his wife, Susan, and three children, Edith, Arthur and and Eva. Arthur, aged 24, is also described as a bricklayer. This is a multi-generational building family!

The Marshall brothers are also mentioned in Fanny Wales “Record of Shelford Parva”:

“The Obelisk, in memory of Gregory Wale, on the top of the Hill was restored in 1909 by the Wale family. William Marshall made a strong concrete foundation in place of the frail brick base which required constant renewing because rabbits made burrows in it: W. Marshall also bought a portion of the garden-fields and built 8 cottages in groups of 4 in a row along the cart road behind the Blacksmith's Forge”


There is only a small yard with sheds behind these houses which are rough-cast and tiled; they were built by the father of William C. Marshall, No. 3 cottage of this row is inhabited by Mrs Stead, the widow of Captain Thornton's gardener who died in 1912. They changed houses with William Marshall in 1909. Stead was gardener at Shelford.

William C. Marshall lived for a great many years in No. 3 and most of his children were born there. All these cottages and many others were built by his father, John. Mrs William C. Marshall was a Peveritt; they have now gone to live at "Swiss Cottage" in the Terrace, where she lived as a child with her father. At the end of the strip of garden belonging to No. 3, and in the bend of the road to Newton, there is a large and picturesque thatched cottage, restored and improved by Frederick Marshal! in 1911-12. He also put a low cement wall all along the edge of the road. His workshop is at the end of this building; his mother, Mrs Thomas Marshall, lived and died here. He has lately married a widow named Currell with three children”.


So, we had two builder brothers in the Village in the early 20th Century. It is sad to note though that William Marshall died on 31st January 1914 hence the mention only of Frederick Marshall in the 1919 peace celebrations article. The two brothers were also responsible for building new or improving many cottages in the Village and so have left a major mark on the Village and how it looks today (just read Fanny Wale’s Book to see the number of Marshall building projects mentioned).

There is one remaining mystery, however, I noted looking into the life of Frederick Albert Marshall, who had lived in Little Shelford all his life, that he died in Cairo at the age of 68 on 30th March 1933. I have not had time to research how his brother William died in 1914 (before the Great War started) or why Frederick was in Cairo in 1933 at the age of 68. Perhaps he was an early silver tourist! He left £5,795 in his will; building was clearly a profitable trade even then! Can any of our readers shed light on the death in Cairo or his brother’s death in 1914? Let me know.

Other unusual visitors

While doing my research I have spotted a few other unusual visitors to our Village.

Robert Reynolds Naturalist 1851 guest at the Manor House

In edition 9 I wrote about some early celebrations of the end of term of the new Village School. In the first article the celebration was held in the grounds of the Manor House on Saturday 02 August 1851. The resident in the Manor House at that time was Rev James Edward Law. The Manor House had been bought by his father in 1800. James was Rector of All Saints Little Shelford and at the time of the 1851 Census was a widower and lived in the Manor House with his son, also James Edward Law, a Student at St John’s College, along with a housekeeper, two servants and a groom! The Manor House grounds is where the first Fete took place in 1851.

But in looking at the 1851 Census for the Manor House I also noticed the Rev Law had a very interesting guest staying with him at the time of the census. His name was Robert Reynolds, and what caught my eye was his description as a naturalist. As the Rev Law was a man of letters it wouldn’t be unusual for him to have friends who were also Gentlemen scientists, archaeologists or naturalists. So, I thought I would find out more about Robert Reynolds.

The census tells us he is from Thetford in Suffolk and I can find his family there in the census of 1851 but most interestingly I found a sales notice in the Bury St Edmunds Free Press on Saturday 6th August 1861.

It appears he was selling up and moving to a position working for the Liverpool Museum. He seems to be a very traditional naturalist, as he was obviously an expert in taxidermy too! Just look at the list of stuffed, mounted and encased animals. Some of which must have been quite rare species even then!

I found further evidence of this very Victorian approach to life as a naturalist in the 1845 publication of “The Zoologist” a compendium of comments and observations on natural history. It is only a small snippet but reads:

“Occurrence of the White Winged Crossbill near Thetford: Four or Five of these birds were observed on some fir trees near Thetford, in Norfolk, on 10th May last; one of which was shot and came into the possession of Mr Robert Reynolds, bird fancier of Thetford. About a week before this, Mr Reynolds purchased a specimen off a bird-stuffer at Bury St Edmunds, which had just been set up, and was obtained in that neighbourhood. Reported by C B Hunter, Downham, Norfolk, August 23rd 1846.

I also found Robert Reynolds in the census living in Liverpool with his family in 1881. I have not had time to research more about him but I was pleased to see on the RSPB web site that there were still an estimated 40,000 breeding pairs of the White Winged Crossbill in the UK!

Our Visitors from the Falkland Islands

This is an interesting story of a family from the Falkland Islands who came to Cambridge for a visit to enhance education but ended up caught in the Great War. This story comes from the Cambridge Press and News on July 5th 1918.

THE RESERVE FORCES ACT - Defendant Allowed to Sit in Front of the Dock- A SUCCESSFUL DEFENCE.

At the Cambridge Borough Police last Saturday morning, before the Mayor (Rev. Dr. E. Pearce;, in the chair, Lieut.-Col. B. W. Beales, Mr. A. C. Mansfield, Mr. George Smith, Mr. .H M. Taylor, and Mr. A. S. Campkin,

Earl Stanley Bound Petaluga [His full name including the capital of the Falkland Islands] (20), of Ingleside, Little Shelford, Cambs [now known as the Square House, Church Street], was charged that being a person amenable to the Reserve Forces Act, he absented himself without leave when called up for permanent service.—Mr. J. Dobb (London) appeared for the defence, and tendered a plea of ** Not guilty."

Capt. R. Fanthorpe (National Service Representative) called Capt. A. Peel, Assistant Director of National Service, to prove that defendant received his calling up papers June 14th, for June 22nd. At this point Mr. Dobb said he did not think that a man in the position of defendant should be put in the dock.

The Mayor: I don‘t really mind where he sits. Defendant then came round to the front of the dock and sat in one of the seats provided for the petty jury. Henry John Petaluga, father of the defendant, stated that by descent he was Italian, but he and his son wore born in the Falkland Isles, where had a large estate and bred large numbers of sheep, horses, and cattle.

He came to this country in May 1914, taking two-year return tickets. He came with the intention of giving his children the benefit of the education they would receive in England. His elder son—defendant—was put under a tutor, who. in 1910. joined up, and as could not return to the Falklands, owing the war, witness had deposited the tickets with the Steamship Navigation Company, Liverpool. took a house at Great Shelford. and had his son taught to drive a motor-car, and since March, 1917, defendant had been driving for the Government, and had been learning veterinary work, as he was to look after the estate as soon as he could get back.

It was still the witness’s intention to return to his permanent place of residence soon as he was able. Defendant, in the witness-box. said he had came over before the war. It was the first time had been out of the Falkland Isles. He was now a Volunteer driver under Col. Sherrer at Chelmsford. He was wearing the uniform authorised for owner drivers, which was an ordinary Army officer’s kit. without braid or badges of rank. drew 3s. day for billeting, and 6s. a day for the upkeep of the car, from the Command Paymaster of the Eastern Command.

The National Service Representative: He had no property in this country, and intended returning to the Falklands as soon as possible. Mr. A. A. Walker (called the solicitor for the defence) said he had been acting on behalf of Mr. Petaluga and his son for about three years. He had been in communication with the Colonial Office, and had received a letter (produced), showing that Mr. Petaluga was owner of the estate in the Falkland Isles.

Mr. Pelaluga, recalled, said was still keeping up the house and estate for his return. The magistrates retired, and on their return, the Mayor said they were unanimously of the opinion that defendant was not ordinarily resident in the British Isles, which was the question to be decided, and therefore the Act did not apply to him. The case would be dismissed.

Further research shows that the Petaluga Family did make their home in the Falklands and there is an extensive family history in the Falkland Government archives (search his name using Google). 

Earl Stanley Bound PITALUGA was born 6 June 1898 in the Falklands. In June 1917 Earl was living at Rustat House, Rustat Road, Cambridge, England, and was called up until he proved that he was a native of the Falkland Islands. Earl, a farmer, was married to Gertrude Greta HOWARD (not in the Falkland Islands) before 1926, a schoolteacher born in Cambridge. Earl died 13 March 1940 from heart failure and is buried in Grave N1161 on the Falklands. So, he clearly did return home.

Little Shelford sportsmen

Little Shelford is full of interesting people with a wide range of experiences, background and stories today as it has been over the centuries. We should be grateful that the Village has such a rich heritage and I hope the Village will continue to support the work of the History Society and the Village History web site (maintained by David Martin) over the coming years.

Please do think about what you might have to contribute to the Village archive, I fear many things are lost that in years to come will be of great interest to future historians, I am minded of the copy of the Memorial Service from 1919 when the All Saints War Memorial was dedicated, rescued by the diligence of Libby and her friendship with Tony Pulley, as in his nineties he shared his Village memories.

I will be continuing my research into Village History over the coming years. I have lighted on the fact that in the early 1600’s the Village was close to the centre of the court of James I, (which for months at a time relocated to his palace in Royston so that the King could hunt across the whole of South Cambridgeshire), while we had the 3rd Earl of Southampton (Shakespeare’s Patron) and hunting friend of James I, living in Little Shelford Manor House (He gave a Bell to All Saints which is still being rung) and the Palavicino Family, Bankers to Queen Elizabeth 1st and the Aristocracy, living in Babraham. I hope to research this much more in the future and will write about it for the Village History web site.


I thought I would finish with news of Sporting Hero’s buried at All Saints, Little Shelford. One is already well known to us and there is much information on the Village History Web Site, while another is a sporting hero new to me and which I wanted to share with the Village.

Arthur Tempest Blakiston Dunn

Arthur Dunn died on 25th February 1902, at the young age of 41 and his memorial cross can still be seen in the Graveyard, close to the entrance to the Vestry. His father, John, was a mathematics professor and Master of Arts tutor at Cambridge University, while his mother Mary Elizabeth (nee Bowen) came from Staffordshire and was a clergyman's daughter.

They lived in Little Shelford at Kirby Lodge; the Dunn family moved into Kirby Lodge after John H Beech had died and the house was sold (See my Article About Mr Beech in the 10th Edition).

The 1891 census shows Arthur Dunn living at Kirby Lodge in the High Street with his parents. In 1893. The Dunn’s acquired a certain amount of additional property when they purchased Kirby Lodge, including the Cottage I live in now at 73 High Street, and I have deeds with Arthur Dunn’s signature when the cottage was sold, so I feel a certain proximity to him.

Arthur’s sporting prowess was legendary in his time. Arthur Dunn captained the England Football Team, gaining four caps and scoring two goals. He also played in two FA Cup finals, becoming a byword for sportsmanship and was widely regarded as perhaps the best player of his generation. His legacy survives to this day in the shape of the Arthur Dunn Cup, still played for Public School Old Boys Football teams. If you visit the history web site you will see much more about him and some photos ( but while doing a little more research I found a very good article about him on the Old Harrovian Football Club web site ( and I repeat this below as I think it summarises his life and values very well and brings him to life as a character:

ARTHUR T. B. DUNN 1861 – 1902 – Captain of the England Football Team

Arthur Tempest Blakiston Dunn was the finest and most accomplished footballer of the 1880s. He was born in Whitby, North Yorkshire and, although his parents struggled to pay the fees, he was educated at Eton. Though diminutive in stature relative to his peers, Arthur was actively involved in sports, particularly football. He was also academically capable, though less interested, and went on to Cambridge University. At Cambridge he was more interested in socialising and sport than academic study and, much to the disappointment of his father, gained only a third-class honours degree.

At football, however, he excelled and played for the University. He never lost his attachment for his old school and if ever there was a conflict of interest between the University team and Old Etonians, it was always the school that claimed his services. In 1882 Arthur played for Old Etonians in the FA Cup Final when they defeated the then mighty Blackburn Rovers. In the 1883 Final Old Etonians lost to Blackburn Rovers in extra time. In the Press it was said that “Dunn, until injured (knee), played a capital game and it is undoubtedly to his absence that the Old Etonians owe their defeat”.

Shortly after Arthur had left Cambridge, he became a master at Elstree School where he spent seven happy years without interrupting his football career. He played three times for England against Ireland; he captained England against Wales and Scotland. Against Scotland, as an amateur, he once captained a team of ten professionals and the Press recorded that “it was thought that his position would be irksome but, as it happened, these particular professionals turned out to be men of easy and gentlemanly demeanour and they found their captain a very sociable companion”.

Even as his football career was coming to an end, his exploits were still being reported yet he never basked in self-glory. In fact, it was a characteristic of his sporting modesty that he slipped away one morning without telling his wife, Helen, that he was going off to captain England. Arthur was an all-round sportsman and was a particularly good cricketer, a “neat and determined left-handed bat and a fast-round-arm bowler”. With more time and opportunity for practice, he would certainly have appeared in first-class cricket and played with the greats of his day – W.G. Grace, C.B. Fry, etc. Once, on a tour in Ireland, he took five wickets in an over when overs consisted of five balls. When Arthur found he could play less football, he confided to friends that he wished that he had given his time to cricket which one can play into middle age.

Arthur greatly enjoyed his time at Elstree but there was a problem. Elstree prepared boys chiefly for Harrow and Arthur believed that his true vocation would be to prepare boys for Eton. So, he founded Ludgrove, and in May 1892 he opened the school with T R Pelly as his only pupil. Many of the traditions at Elstree were transferred to Ludgrove where life included “some enjoyment of boyhood. Keenness was taught as a subject and games were given full scope. It was something to be taught football by a captain of England”. [Ludgrove School still thrives:]

The workload at Ludgrove was intense because Arthur bore total responsibility for the school. He did all the administration; he taught in class and he joined in the football. He lived on his nerves and by the end of each term he was always utterly exhausted. It is not surprising that he became irritable at times, but it was his nervous energy which drove him to ‘electrify’ the masters and boys. On 18 February 1902 he played a game of hockey on ice and, for the first time in his life, he had complained of feeling slow.

The next day was to be his last and, in recording his death, The Times said “it would be difficult to find another man of his age and position whose premature loss has been more widely and genuinely mourned”.

Arthur and Helen had been blessed with three children – John, Margery and Mary. At the turn of the century the rift between amateurs and professionals was deep indeed. Shortly before his death, Arthur had expressed concern over the growing impression that amateur football was on the decline and that its ultimate insignificance was merely a matter of time: “There’s nothing for it but an old boy association but who has the time to start it?”

Arthur did not have time to follow this thought through but, just three weeks after his untimely death, an informal meeting of Old Boys was convened at which it was resolved that a trophy, to be called The Arthur Dunn Memorial Cup, or some such title, be provided for competition, to be held by the winners for one year. Arthur’s beloved Old Etonians had to wait 103 years before adding their name to the list of winners.


Richard John Marsh – A Racehorse Trainer to Two Kings

Richard Marsh MVO [Member of the Royal Victorian Order] died in 1933 and is buried in All Saints Church Yard along with his second wife, Grace who died some years later. He was one of the most successful racehorse trainers that has ever lived.

After his promising career as a jockey was ended by his rising weight, Marsh set up as a trainer in 1874.He trained from several stables, before eventually making his base at Egerton House in Newmarket, Suffolk. Egerton House was leased to Marsh by Francis Charles Granville Egerton, 3rd Earl of Ellesmere, who developed it as a racing establishment. Lord Ellesmere's land agent approached Richard to see whether he was interested in being the tenant there, he accepted and moved 53 horses to Egerton. Owners of the horses at Egerton House included the Duke of Hamilton and also Spencer Compton Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire but Richard was then offered the opportunity to train the horses of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and 8 of the Kings horses arrived at the beginning of 1893.

Two of the most famous horses to be trained at Egerton were the Prince's Persimmon, which won the Derby in 1896, and Diamond Jubilee, the triple crown winner of 1900. Royal horses continued to be trained at Egerton, under Marsh and his successor Willie Jarvis, until Jarvis's death in 1943.

 In a training career of fifty years, Marsh trained the winners of twelve British Classic Races and many other major races. His greatest success sprang from his association with the Prince of Wales who later became King Edward VII, for whom he trained three winners of The Derby. He was then trainer to King George for a while but with less success before retiring from his position at Egerton in 1924. His retirement was not without controversy as can be gleaned from this article in the People published on 9th November 1924 just after his retirement was announced.


His retirement was marked by the King making him a Member of the Royal Victorian Order (A dynastic order of knighthood established in 1896 by Queen Victoria recognising distinguished personal service to the monarch), retirement dinners and presentations. One of his cherished gifts was a gilded family bible given to him by the stable boys and staff at Egerton House. When Marsh moved into Egerton House a chapel was constructed and during his tenure every Sunday the staff and families of those working there (approximately 50 people) would attend the chapel each Sunday, and a full choir was maintained, including the stable boys.

On retirement he and his wife, Grace, retired to Great Shelford and lived at Abberley House on Granhams Road [Since demolished and replaced by the Abberley Wood development]. His funeral was held in St Mary’s Church in Great Shelford, but he was buried at All Saints. The reasons for this isn’t entirely clear but would indicate that he and his wife worshipped at All Saints, and St Mary’s was used because of the large number of attendees at his funeral, including a representative of King George.


Richard Marsh wrote an autobiography in retirement, called “A Trainer to Two Kings” which has some marvellous plates in it both of Marsh and his winning horses.

However, the best article I have found summing up his achievements, the man and the life he created at Egerton House is reproduced below. It appeared in the Vancouver Magazine in 1908.

Richard Marsh, the King’s Trainer - Vancouver Magazine, January 1st 1908

KING EDWARD can boast of quite a goodly number of successes on the turf this year, the most recent of these having been gained with his horse Coxcomb, which won the much-prized Welter Handicap at Doncaster from a strong field. The result of this race, which the King witnessed, is known to have pleased his Majesty greatly, and a day or two afterward he sent for his trainer, Richard Marsh, and congratulated him warmly on the satisfactory showing made by the royal stables.

“It is no use giving you any more pins,” said the King and placing a small package in the trainer's hand he added, “therefore I ask you to accept this as a little souvenir for your wife.”

The little souvenir was a handsome enamelled brooch, studded with diamonds and representing a racehorse at full gallop with a jockey wearing the royal colours. The incident illustrates both the good nature of the King and the high appreciation of Marsh’s services. Not only is Marsh the trainer of the King’s horses, but since the silken jacket of purple and gold flashed first past the post in all the most important races of the first year of this century, he has been known in England as the king of horse trainers. For purple and gold are the royal racing colours and Diamond Jubilee, the greatest winner among racehorses in any one year, was trained for King Edward VII by Marsh.

Dick Marsh the great trainer is familiarly called. He owns the most palatial training establishment in the world. Over it—Egerton House, Newmarket—blaze the Royal arms. There are gathered an hundred blue-blooded race horses owned by the King, and some half dozen of the wealthiest noblemen and gentlemen on the British turf.

Marsh has been a trainer for twenty years. Before that he was a steeplechase jockey and before that again a jockey on the flat. Without question he is a genius in his profession. Carlyle says, genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains. It has been Marsh’s capacity that has won for him his present enviable position in the horse world.

Since he has been hall marked by the appointment as the royal trainer gold has streamed in Marsh’s direction. Horses he has trained have won races valued at a total of over $2,500,000. The average winnings at Egerton House have been $125,000 per year. These stakes have just about paid the owners their expenses, for Marsh’s annual income from his training establishment alone is one hundred thousand dollars a year, and it is safe to say that his percentage of winnings and gifts from winning owners totals up to a grand total of between $125,000 and $150,000. He can properly claim the position of being the highest paid trainer in the world. Being a shrewd man he values his own opinion and backs it. So that with his winnings in a good year his annual receipts will about equal a quarter of a million dollars.

But Egerton House is an expensive establishment. There is a small army of employes from stable boys to typewriters in the office. The training quarters make up a small village, with its own shops and school and chapel, which has a surpliced choir of stable lads. There are long lines of model stables and enclosures where are quartered troops of thoroughbreds from unraced two-yearolds to aged veterans. And there is also a model farm with many prize cattle, and a stud farm.

The King’s trainer looks the typical British gentleman farmer or breeder. He is a big, robust man of 55, weighing close on two hundred pounds, clean shaven and always faultlessly dressed. He has a cheery manner, a hearty hand-grasp and is one, of the most popular men on the British turf. Marsh has a master mind for horses. This is proved by the fact that he is the most successful racehorse trainer of the day. He is a good man of business, too, which is shown by the systematic and ordered way in which his princely establishment is conducted.  [Photo: L to R – King Edward VII, Richard Marsh and Persimmon]


The story of his career, never yet fully written, is most interesting.

Ever so many years ago the coast town of Margate held open pony races on the seashore. Margate, even in those days, was the Atlantic City of England. One day a number of Grammar school boys from neighbouring Folkestone went to see the races. An owner who at the last minute was short a jockey asked the knot of boys if any of them could ride. A sturdy little chap of thirteen advanced and said he could. The owner quickly gave him a leg up and that boy and pony won the race. It was Dick Marsh’s first mount in a race. There was much bargaining to secure the boy as jockey for subsequent races. Marsh rode in five that afternoon and won all of them. He was decidedly the infant prodigy. For his share of the sport he won a gold watch. Urged on by his experience and the flattery of admirers, he then and there decided to be a jockey. His father opposed him, but finally relented on the understanding that Dick would first graduate from the grammar school in Folkestone. He was born on December 31, 1851, at Smeeth, in the Garden County of England, Kent. Smeeth is a little hamlet not far from Canterbury. His father was a farmer and hop grower and owned quite a few horses which the boy learned to ride bare backed.

Racing in those days was somewhat different to what it is now, but Dick Marsh had no trouble in becoming a jockey. His first public mount as a professional was on a horse named Manrico at Dover. The horse won in a canter by six lengths. Luckily for Marsh the late Captain Machell was present and saw the race. Captain Machell was, in his time, one of the most prominent racing men in England. He took a fancy to Marsh and put him in his own stable. The young jockey rode in all the big races in England and with much success. But he put on flesh too quickly and Captain Machell advised him to become a steeplechaser. His strength, nerve and good hands did wonders over the jumps, and he was recognized as one of the best riders of his time. He won important steeple and hurdle races for the late Duke of Hamilton, the Marquis of Hartington (now Duke of Devonshire) and the Earl of Dudley, the late Viceroy of Ireland. He had quite a few. accidents in races, both here and on the continent, and broke a few ribs and an occasional collar bone. He kept adding on weight, however, and was then advised by the late Duke of Hamilton to go into the business of a trainer. So Marsh rented Lordship farm, near Newmarket, turned it into training quarters and became a public trainer. He secured the stables of the Duke of Hamilton, Lord Dudley, Lord Hartington, Captain D’Orsay and the Brothers Baltazzi.

Classical and important races fell one after the other to Marsh’s horses and he found, toward the end of the eighties, that Lordship farm was not big enough. So with the help and advice of his patrons, Egerton House was projected. Marsh was looking forward when he planned and the consequence was the erection of the most magnificent training stable in the world. His old patrons moved to the new establishment with him and there soon followed the horses of Lords William and Marcus Beresford, the Duke of Marlborough, the Earl of Warwick, Lord Wolverton, Lord Charles Montague, uncle of the Duke of Manchester, and Messrs. R. G. Heaton and J. W. Larnach.

Marsh soon equalled the records of the other great training stables, Manton and Beckhampton and so on. Very shortly he had passed them and was in the front flight. The horses of the King, then Prince of Wales, had not been doing very well, and Lord Marcus Beresford was appointed Master of the Royal Racing Stud. He promptly turned all the royal horses, from two-year-olds to aged, over to the care of Marsh and up went the royal arms over Egerton House.

That Marsh has a peculiar aptitude for pleasing his patrons is shown by a little trick he turned last summer. The King had bred a slashing filly at Sandringham; she was the favourite of the royal princesses and was christened by Princess Victoria after herself. Victoria was entered in an important stake at Sandown on May 31.

When Marsh found out that was also to be the wedding day of the Queen of Spain he devoted the most particular pains to getting the filly Victoria in shape. She won the race in a canter, the first race of the season for the King and at the very hour that his niece became Queen Victoria of Spain. The victory, being such a happy augury, pleased the royal family immensely and also the public.

Horses trained by Marsh have time and time again captured practically all the important races in different seasons, but it was not until 1896 that he won the blue ribbon of the turf, the Derby. This was also the first Derby that the King won and so it was doubly a triumph. Marsh had first scored that year for the King with the filly Thais in the One Thousand Guineas. Persimmon, his candidate for the Derby, had been previously beaten by Leopold de Rothschild’s St. Frusquin, and there' was great rivalry between the two horses. St. Frusquin was favourite, and Persimmon second in favor. The King’s horse was the bigger, and Marsh declared his longer stride in the long race would mean his victory. He was right, for though St. Frusquin led all the way to the stretch, Persimmon’s longer stride wore him down and in a tremendous finish the King’s horse won by a short neck. The scene that ensued was one of unparalleled excitement. The King himself led the winner through the cheering crowd to the paddock. Persimmon later won the St. Leger and the Gold Cup at Ascot, among the big events for his royal owner.

Marsh won his next Derby in 1898 for Mr. Larnach with Jeddah at the odds of 100 to i. In 1900 came the triple crown of classic events when the King’s Diamond Jubilee won the Two Thousand Guineas, the Derby and the St. Leger. Diamond Jubilee also won other big races and these victories stamped Marsh as the premier trainer of England, for never was there a more difficult horse to train. Diamond Jubilee’s temper was renowned as the worst of any horse in years. Watts, the King’s jockey, could not go near much less ride him.

The horse showed an affection for his stable boy, Herbert Jones, and so Marsh gave the boy personal tuition and turned him out a first-class jockey. Jones is now the recognized royal jockey and in the first flight and in great demand by other owners at Egerton House.

Marsh’s successes caused many wealthy racing men to seek his services, but only two, Lord Gerard and Arthur James, senior steward of the Jockey Club, were added to his list of patrons. Egerton House is now a very exclusive place and before Marsh gives room to racing strings he lays the applications before the King for his approval.

Nursery of famous winners is what turf writers commonly call Egerton House nowadays. Lord Ellesmere built it for Marsh on the valuable Stetchworth estate under special and long leases. It took two years to build. The architecture is of the early Norman style and everything is built in a solid and imposing fashion. The main house is Marsh’s private residence. It is like the mansion of a country squire. There Mr. Marsh and his family live. His first wife was . the daughter of Mr. Thirlwell, of Sussex, and left a daughter who is now grown up. Mr. Marsh married a second time, two years ago, Miss Darling, the youthful daughter of the celebrated trainer of Galtee More.

The house is surrounded by gardens and lawns. Back of these are the enclosed stable yards and stables. They are entered through a big archway. Here are situated the business offices in charge of the trainer’s private secretary, with a staff of clerks and typewriters. Here are to be found in glass cases the racing jackets of all the past and present patrons of the establishment, and also the racing plates of winning horses. Inside the plates are painted the titles of the races, and the amount of the stakes. It is a complete record.

The stables are model ones, splendidly ventilated and with all the latest improvements and all lighted by electricity. There are stalls and loose boxes and a hospital, where the animals are fed on ale and stout, codliver oil and prepared baby foods. On one side of the stables are the dormitories for the grooms, stable and exercise lads. Further afield are houses and cottages in which live the various heads of departments and other higher employes. On the other side of the main stables are the dining and recreation rooms, the Turkish and swimming baths and the chapel-. Behind the stables is the stud farm and some hundred yards from that is the model farm with its prize porkers, sheep and horned cattle, and its barns and work houses. The shops and electric power house are just beside the private race course on one side of the stables. The miles upon miles of Newmarket heath which stretch out toward the town of Newmarket, two miles away and in all other directions, is the exercising ground. Here can be seen every morning many strings totalling from fifty to a hundred horses doing different exercise.

The boys at Marsh’s come from the better classes. They are most strictly looked after. Those who need it go to night school. All must go to church on Sunday. The surpliced choir in Marsh’s private chapel is made up of eighteen boys and men.

In the trainer’s private residence there are any number of valuable racing mementoes and curiosities. The walls are covered with oil paintings of the famous winners he has trained. The dining room is decorated with gold and silver cups he has won or which have been presented to him by patrons.

Visitors to Egerton House have been surprised to find it such a truly palatial place, but they have been more surprised to find that the chiefs of departments and higher employes are university graduates and get big salaries. Even the woman clerks are of a high class. But as his employes come a great deal in contact with his patrons, Marsh sought out only those of refinement and education. The training business has many good openings nowadays. Among recent trainers are two men of title and several retired officers of the army.

Mike Petty's historical stories from Little Shelford


May 1919 - Little Shelford political meeting pelted.


Jan 1914  Mr. Hamer Towgood,—During the week, agriculture has sustained a severe loss by the death of Mr. Hamer Twogood of Sanfoins. Little Shelford, and the tidings of the demise of this prominent breeder of shire horses will be received with general regret in the agricultural counties of England. A son of Mr. Edward Towgood, of Paxton Hall, St. Neots, the deceased gentleman took up residence at Santfoins about 50 years ago. On the death of his father, he inherited a considerable interest in the Sawston paper mills, and for a long period he controlled this business. Agriculture, however, made a strong appeal to him, and he devoted; much of his time to the study of shire horses, and to the breeding of first-class animals. As judge, prize donor or exhibitor, Mr. Hamer Towgood was known to agricultural societies throughout the country, and the Cambs. and Isle of Ely Agricultural Society, of which he was a Vice-President and a generous supporter, has lost a great friend by reason of his death. The deceased gentleman was one of the original members of the Cambridgeshire County Council, representing the Sawston electoral division until his resignation in 1900. He was 71.


March 1916 Miraculous Escape. — Among the passengers on the P and O liner Maloja which was mined between Folkestone and Dover on Sunday morning and went down with a loss of about 150 lives was Miss Lily Dockerill daughter of Mr. Walter Dockerill, Little Shelford. Miss Dockerill had a marvellous escape and her parents were greatly relieved on Tuesday to hear of her safety. She was on her way to Bombay to be married and among her luggage, which has been entirely lost was the whole of her wedding trousseau and presents.


April 1919. Fire, — A fire, caused by some children smoking, broke out on the premises of Mr, James Dickerson, hurdle maker. Little Shelford, on Tuesday at 12.40 p.m. Mr. Bright Smith and Mr. Granville Austin (gateman at the railway station) both rendered valuable assistance and succeeded in saving a spring cart, which, together with a four-wheel van and a quantity of straw were in a burning shed. The van, straw, and shed were destroyed


March 1922 John Clay, University printer. Lord of Manor of Little Shelford – obituary


October 1925 The handsome village hall which has been erected by the people of Little Shelford as part of their memorial to the men and women who served in the Great War was opened in the presence of a fairly large company. It has seating accommodation for over 300 persons. A stage has been provided for plays and behind is an operating box so that cinema shows can be given. A kitchen, dressing room etc are also attached. The hall was a record of the great united effort made by everybody in the village, men and women, young and old, for King and Country & was inspired by the same spirit of unity that had won the war.


November 1926 The County Agricultural Organiser gave an interesting lecture on the destruction of rats at Little Shelford village hall. People did not pay enough attention to the rat menace. There were far too many rats about Cambridge for his liking and if they held a Little Shelford Rat Week it would do a world of good. Everybody should kill rats whenever they got the change. If each person killed one a week it would be doing some good.


April 1927 An inquest returned that a Lt Shelford woman found in a well had committed suicide while of unsound mind following an attack of influenza. She had had two lapses of memory. A month ago she had lost her memory for a day and “woke up” in the evening and found her way home after the people in the village had been looking for her all day. Then she had gone to the butcher’s but did not arrive and woke up to find herself in the main road in the dark eight miles from home. On Friday they noticed the lid of the well was open and looking down they saw her with her head under the water.


August 1928 Mr J.M. Barr of Wisconsin, an American beekeeper of great repute was the guest at the apiary established at Manor Farm, Lt Shelford. Several patterns of hives were shown, including one of an American type and here Mr Barr, in trying to pick up a bee from the alighting board received a sting. His host, Mr Clay had to apologise for the unfriendly reception accorded to the distinguished foreigner. The company then adjourned to tea in the garden room, a spacious verandah which just accommodated the whole party of 30 people.


January 1932 The Sanitary Inspector said that seven cottages at Hauxton Road, Little Shelford, were in a very bad state of repair and nothing had been done to them since August 1927. Notice of a closing order had been served and all the tenants with the exception of one man vacated the property. The owner did not deny the houses were unfit and past repair and there was no alternative to a demolition order.


February 1942 Shelford House Gutted. — A spark from a chimney falling on to the thatched roof on Friday evening started a fire which caused extensive damage to the Old, Enclosure, a house in Newton Road, Little Shelford. There was no loss of life. The occupier is Mr, F. Bagnell, who lived at the house with his two sisters. Mr. Bagnell was alone in the house at about 8 p.m. when a neighbour came to the door and told him a chimney was on fire. Once ignited, the Norfolk blazed fiercely and Mr. Bagnell's efforts to control the flames with stirrup pump and chemical extinguisher were ineffectual, and the Fire Services were called. The fire was brought under control by ten o'clock. Nevertheless, the roof and. most of the interior were completely burnt out, and a large part of the furniture and other property were destroyed. In the house was a very valuable gold watch and chain belonging to Mr. Bagnell, which have not yet been recovered.


January 1948 Cambridgeshire has been well to the fore in implementing the proposals in the Children's Bill. Under the Bill responsibility for the care of children who have no normal home life is placed squarely on the shoulders of the local authority. I think I am right in saying that ours is one of the first County Council's to anticipate legislation. A Children's Committee has been set up, a full-time Children's officer appointed, an office established, and authorisation obtained for adding what staff is found necessary. The Committee has inherited a number of foster homes and the "Red House", Little Shelford and Ross Street Homes from the Public Assistance Committee. Council Chairman M.C. Burkitt said they were anxious that these homes shall be similar in atmosphere to an old-fashioned Victorian family


Nov 1950 Sir, during the past months in Little Shelford three boys in the age range of 8-11 have been knocked down by motor vehicles. There are at least two spots that are sheer death traps for children, at the Prince Regent crossroads and the exit from the recreation ground in Whittlesford Road. It would be best to have the whole village brought within the speed limit, but what howls that would produce from the overburdened ratepayers. But would such ‘evidence of distress’ be comparable with that of a maimed and crippled child, or probably one sent to eternity – ‘Anxious parent’


March 1952 When Chesterton RDC acquired land to erect 2,000 council houses in “necklace villages” in order to accommodate the “over-spilled” population of Cambridge they should obtain sufficient land to allow for private building as well, said a councillor. Council houses were subsidised to the extent of £35 12s. and building private houses would ease the financial burden. The sewerage of the parishes of Milton and Great and Little Shelford was already in and they should be the first villages to be developed. Fulbourn, Stapleford, Harston, Barton and Coton were also on the priority list.


Dec 1953 At Winston House Boys’ Hostel, Brooklands Avenue, Cambridge each lad had presents sent from “Fairy Godmothers” who invited a number of them for dinner. For those who remained there was roast chicken and Christmas pudding. At The Grange Children’s’ Home, Swavesey the children hopefully hung up their stockings at the foot of the bed and on awaking found they had been filled. There was no shortage of presents at the Little Shelford Children’s’ Home, partly due to the generosity of the American servicemen station in the vicinity. An American ‘Father Christmas’ arrived from Wimpole Park bringing tennis racquets, bagatelle, darts, dolls and tea sets.


July 1954 Some villages have been ‘jumping the queue’ with main sewerage ahead of Cottenham, a councillor claimed. They had been promised a main drainage scheme some 25 years ago and the drains are in such a deplorable condition that nothing can be done. Their only sanitary accommodation is an open cesspool a few feet from the kitchen door. With all the new development sewage was the utmost priority. But there were major problems at Little Shelford where 47 per cent of people don’t have sinks in their homes and this was a matter of urgency on public health grounds. Pampisford was promised water seven years ago but the village is still not supplied.

September 1957 Little Shelford was an unspoilt village – it was a miracle it had been spared in view of its proximity to Cambridge – and with careful planning it could be kept a ‘picture village’, an Inquiry was told. A building firm withdrew its plans for the erection of 92 houses but appealed for 13 others, however the ‘Black Ditch’ was over-flowing and could not take even one more house.


Aug 1959 A fuel cell which produces useful quantities of electricity by consuming hydrogen and oxygen has been invented by F.T. Bacon of Little Shelford and developed by Marshall’s under a National Development Corporation contract. The present cell, containing two electrodes immersed in a solution of caustic soda or potash, is still in its rudimentary stages but it can supply enough electricity to operate a circular saw, a fork lift truck or even carry out welding. The Americans are interested in using it for manned space stations or space rockets.


April 1961 Little Shelford church used to have five bells in its tower and they pealed each Sunday morning. Now it is gaining another with the addition of a treble bell. When a strange bell is added to a peal the rest A Cambridgeshire Scrapbook 1897 to 1990 by Mike Petty 2456 Please make what use of this you may. Kindly remember where it came from. It has to be re-tuned which means sending them to a London foundry. A completely new frame has to be built into the tower to carry the bells, the oldest of which dates back to 1701. In a few weeks they will ring out once more

August 1961 Arthur Melbourne-Cooper was the builder of St Alban’s first cinema, a photographer and film-maker who was also a stunt man and acting coach. Having trained in his father’s photographic business he became cameraman to Birt Acres, a scientist who in 1892 was experimenting with ‘moving projection figures’. Arthur made short films which were presented by the showmen who travelled Hertfordshire showgrounds then set up a company and filmed extensively. Spectators often tried to disrupt proceedings and a crowd of undergraduates attacked his cast and camera crew when filming in Cambridge. He retired to Little Shelford.


May 1962 Little Shelford shop keeper inquest


May 1962 Fuel cells may soon provide power for motor cars, writes Rodney Tibbs, News motoring correspondent. The cells, which were developed by Mr Bacon of Great (sic) Shelford, have an ability to produce electric current. I remember that at the original demonstration in Cambridge the cell was shown operating a fork lift truck. Now the Chrysler Corporation say they may take the place of conventional car power units within the next ten years. The immediate goal is to produce a cell which will use a simple hydrocarbon fuel such as petrol mixed with air in place of dangerous gases


January 1963 Little Shelford residents protested against building a factory producing scientific and electronic glassware at the rear of a thatched cottage fronting Church Street. It was an important industry and some work was of a secret nature for the Atomic Energy Commission. It did nobody any harm as there was no noise, smell or fumes. It had grown over 10 years from a part-time concern and would employ up to 30. The land had existing industrial rights and was formerly used as a ropeworks. But neighbours said it would overlook their gardens and spoil the view.


Feb 1965 Gypsy couple with caravan by roadside at Little Shelford – Loveridge family


September 1973 The environmental effects on the Cambridgeshire countryside and a number of villages in the building of the Cambridge bypasses are given in the Government's go-ahead to the projects. The inspector concludes that at Grantchester environmental intrusion would be mitigated by a properly conceived planting scheme & the effects on the village would not be serious. At Hauxton and Little Shelford the environmental effects, though great, would not be intolerable. The Inspector does not support Girton's claims that the area will be severed in any practical sense by the Cambridge Northern Bypass. The new road would pass in a cutting and noise screening is recommended.


November 1974 Tomorrow Arnold Parker will put the final batch of loaves from his oven at Little Shelford. So ends a century-old baking tradition and so passes that delicious crusty loaf which arrived warm on the dwindling rapidly in recent years. In 1971 there were half a dozen left, and now the numbers are very small. The economic situation will probably kill them all off in the next few tables of homes in surrounding villages. Private bakeries have been


Jan 1976 Little Shelford has said “no” to further housing estates being built in the village because, say the parish council, probably three-quarters of the residents of the existing Courtyards estate seem not yet to have fully integrated into the village community. The council feels Little Shelford should be allowed to keep its own identity and not be merged with other villages or be over-developed.


Feb 1977 Planners took a long hard look around Cambridge to see where development could best be accommodated. They soon dismissed Histon or Girton because they have relatively limited potential for longer-term growth. At Milton there is considerable opportunity for expansion within the new road framework. Both Bar Hill and Waterbeach possess characteristics suitable for growth, but Cottenham is less accessible to Cambridge. Growth of up to 4,000 might be contemplated in the Teversham/Fulbourn area and the same at Bottisham. To the south it would be possible to develop the Clay Farm area of Trumpington and the Shelfords but Sawston seems to have the greatest development potential


Dec 1982 Prince Regent, Little Shelford, reopened


Nov 1985 People of Little Shelford and Harston have spent £3,000 to repair a magnificent obelisk which presides over open fields near Harston. However the man it commemorates appears to have left no mark in history. Gregory Wale died in 1739. He was a Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, county treasurer and Conservator of the River Cam. The memorial says he lived an advocate for liberty, was an agreeable companion, faithful friend and a useful member of society. But it remains a mystery why such a splendid monument should be erected to so unremarkable a man.

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