The History of Broughton in Cambridgeshire

Historical notes about the town of Broughton in Cambridgehsire.

The Village of Broughton

The parish of Broughton lies on the Oxford Clay and is watered by a stream running from Kings Ripton north-eastward to Wistow. The northern part of the parish, which is only 50 ft. above ordnance datum, is liable to floods, but the land rises towards the south near Hungry Farm to 131 ft. The total area is 2,372 acres, of which about three-quarters are arable land producing wheat, barley and beans, and one quarter permanent grass. There is no woodland.

The picturesque little village lies about 55 ft. above ordnance datum in the valley formed by the stream which runs through the parish and is here crossed by a bridge called Bull Bridge. It stands about a mile from the road from St. Ives to Warboys and about an equal distance from the less important road from Huntingdon to Wistow. The cottages, mostly timber framed with thatched or tiled roofs, are built round the church. To the west of the church is the rectory, originally built about 1600, probably by Sir Oliver Cromwell, the patron of the living, but added to at later dates. It is a timber framed house of two stories with attics, and a tiled roof. The chimney stack of the main block bears the date 1[6]76. On the west side of the road leading south from the church is a typical late 17th-century brick house with tiled roofs having Dutch gables and large central chimney stack. The entrance front has a porch which is carried up to the second story and has a hipped roof. The Manor Farm in Bull Lane is a modern building and is now the residence of Mr. Harry Mann. Adjoining it is a 17th-century barn of five bays. At the east side of the village is White Hall Farm, a brick house, in the porch of which are the initials R.P. and date 1647. Here at the end of the 19th century lived Mr. James How, a breeder of specially pure bred shorthorns. To the south-east of this farm is a 16th-century timber framed house with thatched roof, now ruinous.

The Barony of Broughton

Adjoining the stream to the north-east of the village is a moated inclosure, called The Moat, in which are remains of the foundations of the Hall where the Courts of the Barony of Broughton were held. We know nothing of the hall except that in the time of the anarchy of Stephen's reign, Daniel, the evil disposed monk of Ramsey, built a tower here with many hiding places.

The manor with the hall was frequently in lease, the lessee having to bear all the costs of the abbot's steward with six or seven men and their horses attending once a year to hold the court leet, when he was not to demand any compensation for trespass in his corn or grass by the suitors coming to the court. The abbot, on the other hand, maintained all the buildings within the moat, but the lessee was to provide board for the carpenters and labourers.

Victoria County History - Huntingdonshire - Printed in 1932