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A local history and genealogy site for Wimpole, a village and parish in South Cambridgeshire.
Curated by Steve Odell.



War Memorial and Wimpole Lodge (c1920)
War Memorial and Wimpole Lodge (c1920)

A local history and genealogy page for the Parish of Wimpole.

The Wimpole Chronicles 1777-1894
Compiled by Jeffrey Barham
Transcribed by Susan Giddings

Extracts from the 'Cambridge Chronicle' and the 'University Journal'.
Occasional entries from the 'Cambridge Independent Press' (CIP after date).

26 April 1777
On Monday morning, as Thomas Worland and Edward Freeman, two labourers, were undermining a wall at Lord Hardwicke's, at Wimpole, in this county, it fell down sooner than they expected, and they were both unfortunately killed on the spot.

3 May 1777
We hear from Wimpole, in addition to the account of the unhappy accident there, mentioned in our last, that the [2nd] Earl of Hardwicke immediately ordered a proper provision to be made for the families of the two poor labourers at his own expense. The misfortune happened entirely from the carelessness of the two men, who took no notice of the warning that was given them.

25 January 1783
The [2nd] Earl of Hardwicke has given ...... of money to be expended in lessening the price of flour to the poor of the parish of Wimpole, and of the other parishes in which his estates lie in that neighbourhood.

22 February 1800
On Monday last, came on before the Court of Exchequer in Westminster Hall, the trial of Thomas Jackson, late butler to the [3rd] Earl of Hardwicke, for selling wine and spirits from his Lordship's house at Wimpole. It was proved by George Robinson the under butler, that some of the wine had been sent from Lord Hardwicke's cellar, and that other wines and spiritous liquors, had been deposited there for sale, and sent from the house, to the different persons who had purchased them of Jackson. The Lord Chief Baron, in summing up the evidence, said, that the public were much obliged to Lord Hardwicke, for suffering so flagrant a case to be brought before the Jury, who sentenced Jackson to be fined one hundred pounds, with costs of suit.

5 April 1806
Great preparations are making at the seat of the Right Hon the [3rd] Earl of Hardwicke, at Wimpole in this county, to celebrate the return of his Lordship from Ireland, after an absence of near five years. His arrival is daily expected.

24 January 1807
At the quarter sessions for this county on Friday last, Christopher Worland, for stealing two shirts, the property of John Mitchell of Wimpole, was sentenced to be transported seven years.

4 March 1809
"Mr. Editor, I have extracted the following paragraph from a newspaper entitled 'The Suffolk Mercury, or St. Edmundsbury Post,' which is dated October 9th 1721. If any of your readers can throw any light on this subject, by a reference to publications or otherwise, it will give great pleasure to yours, A. B."
"We have the following strange account from Wimpole in Cambridgeshire, viz. That the Lord Harley having ordered a vista from his fine house there to the north road, of about three miles in length, with a basin in the middle, the workmen, as they were digging the said ground for the basin, found the bones of fourteen human bodies, most of which had large nails drove through their skulls, which made it suspected those persons were murdered in a house in the neighbourhood, formerly known by the name of The New Inn, which is now a farmhouse".
[The Octagonal Basin still exists and can be found a few hundred yards south of the A603, two thirds of the way down the South Avenue from Wimpole Hall. It would be interesting to establish the location of The New Inn, which was probably built alongside what is now the A1198 or A603. I've also seen an alternative report which identifies weapons and the bodies as civil war militia. - Ed]

18 November 1809
Turnpike Road - The trustees of the turnpike road leading from Cambridge into the Old North Road at Arrington, will hold a meeting at the Red Lion Inn, in Cambridge, on Friday the 24th inst., precisely at eleven o'clock in the morning, to consider of erecting another Gate upon that part of the road which passes through the parish of Wimpole.
Christopher Pemberton, Cambridge, 15th November 1809

18 November 1814
On the 13th inst. an inquisition was taken at Wimpole, before John Ingle, Esq., coroner, on view of the body of ____ Drew, tailor, who had called at Wimpole mansion house last Friday evening, and on his return, owing to the darkness of the evening, is supposed to have missed his way, as the body was found in one of the ponds the next morning. Verdict:- Accidental death.

24 April 1818
Died - On Monday last, deeply regretted, at the rectory, Wimpole, aged 66, the Rev. Thomas Sheepshanks, M.A. for nearly forty years an active magistrate for the isle of Ely and this county. He was formerly Fellow of St John's college. B.A. 1775, M.A. 1778.

29 December 1820
A most melancholy and fatal accident occurred on Saturday the 23 inst. at Wimpole, the seat of the Earl of Hardwicke, in this county - Lord Pollington, Mr Cocks, Mr H Lindsay, and his son, were shooting in the woods, when the gun of Mr Lindsay's son went off accidentally, by which unfortunate circumstances a young man by the name of [John William] Albon, acting as gamekeeper, lost his life; the contents of the gun having entered his head and produced instant death. The coroner's inquest was held on the following day - Verdict, accidental death.
The interment of the unfortunate young man took place on Wednesday the 27th, when he was attended to his grave [in Wimpole churchyard] by the afflicted youth, who had been the innocent cause of the accident, and by the other gentlemen, who had been spectators of the distressing scene. It gives us pleasure to add that a very liberal provision has been already made by Mr Lindsay for the surviving widow [Susannah] and two children [Elizabeth 6 and Anne 2].

27 March, 1829
John Kidd (25) was charged with feloniously taking from the premises of Mr Bird Porter, of Wimpole, a dark brown gelding, his property.
On the evening of the 15th of August last the horse was put into the prosecutor's close at Wimpole from which it was missing on the following morning. About twelve o'clock on the night of the robbery the prisoner was seen to go through the toll bar near Wimpole riding a horse; on the following morning about nine o'clock he offered the horse for sale at Thetford; he first asked twenty-five guineas, but ultimately consented to sell it for £15; upon being questioned respecting the manner by which he became possessed of the horse, he said he bought it near Royston, not far from the sea-side.
The prisoner was detained in custody at Thetford until the prosecutor, from information which he had received, arrived in that town and identified the horse. These facts were clearly proved by several witnesses, and the jury immediately returned a verdict of guilty.
Sentence of death was recorded.
[An expanded article was published in 'Family History Society Journal' issue for November 1982, pp212-214.]

11 June 1842
Wimpole - The infant of Lord and Lady Hardwicke was christened on Thursday, the 2nd inst, at Fulham, in the presence of a large and distinguished circle of friends. We have stated on a former occasion that the Queen had intimated to Lord Hardwicke her intention of standing sponsor to the child; her Majesty, however, was unable to attend the ceremony, but she transmitted a beautiful gold cup and knife and fork, bearing the inscription of "Victor Alexander Yorke, from his godmother, Queen Victoria." It is hardly necessary to add that this kind condescension on the part of his royal mistress is gratefully and proudly felt by the noble earl and amiable countess.

23 June 1849
Wimpole - Bankruptcy - George Smith, of Wimpole, wheelwright, appeared before Mr Commissioner Shepherd, on Monday last, for the third time, to pass his examination. He was adjourned sine die, declining to give up possession of premises held under Lord Hardwicke, or to pay a halfpenny for fees.

21 September 1850
Refusing to pay Toll. - At Arrington Petty Sessions, on the 9th. inst., John Ikett, coachman to the [4th] Right Hon the Earl of Hardwicke, was summoned at the instance of Mr Joseph Barrel, lessee of the Orwell gate, to show cause why he refused to pay the usual toll on passing through the said gate.
The case had been adjourned from time to time, to meet the convenience of his lordship, who, however, did not attend, and it was proceeded with in his absence. The collector said that, on the 12th Day of July, the defendant passed through the gate, driving his lordship's carriage, containing the family, and on being applied to, refused to pay the usual toll. The defendant did not deny the statement of the witness, and said he had only acted in accordance with his lordship's orders.
The gate, it may be recollected, was removed to its present position about twelve months since, with the sanction and under the direction of the Trustees of the road, much to the dissatisfaction of his lordship, who said he would never pay for going through. The Magistrates, however, thought that law-makers should not be law-breakers, and mulcted the defendant in the toll and costs, amounting to £1 7s.; thus establishing the right of the lessee to toll all persons passing through the gate who are not legally exempt, and of which no one except his lordship ever had any doubt.

21 September 1850
Inquest. - An inquest was held at the "Queen Victoria" [Wimpole], yesterday (Friday) by Mr Marshall, on the body of Mary, the illegitimate child of Mary Gadd, who had been weak and ailing from its birth, five months back. A post mortem examination was made by Mr Metcalfe, of Melbourne, who found the lungs much diseased.
Verdict, "Died from inflammation of the lungs."

28 February 1852
Wimpole - Inquest - An inquest was holden at the "Queen Victoria" public-house in this village on Wednesday last, before Mr J E Marshall, on view of the body of the unbaptised male child of Mary Gadd, aged about 15 days. Deceased was a healthy child when born, but when about a week old was seized with violent purgings, and gradually sank and died from the exhaustion consequent thereon. Medical evidence proved this to be the case, and a verdict in accordance therewith was returned.

13 March 1852
Wimpole - The Post-Master General - The Earl of Hardwicke (the Post-Master General) has taken the Earl of Eglington's mansion (vacant by the noble earl's appointment to the vice-royalty), St James's Square, for the season.

17 April 1852
Wimpole - The Late Drawing Room - The Court Journal says - "We must not omit noticing the brilliant debut of Lady Jane St Maur Stanhope, the daughter of the late Earl of Harrington. The beauty of this lovely girl created quite a sensation, and it will, indeed, be surprising to us if she does not become the belle of the season. Her ladyship was presented by the sister of the late Earl, the Duchess of Bedford. Another charming debutante whom in our haste last week we omitted to chronicle, was Lady Elizabeth Yorke, the daughter of the Earl and Countess of Hardwicke. Here is another beautiful addition to the belles of the season. Both Lady Jane and Lady Elizabeth were dressed with the utmost simplicity."

1 May 1852
Wimpole - The Countess of Hardwicke's Assembly - On Thursday Evening, the Countess of Hardwicke gave her first Assembly this season, at her ladyship's new mansion, St James's Square. A numerous and distinguished list of the beau monde honoured it with their attendance, though many were prevented, owing to the extremely unfavourable nature of the weather, from paying their respects to the noble countess. His Grace the Duke of Wellington honoured Lady Hardwicke with his presence.

8 May 1852
Wimpole - The Countess of Hardwicke's Party - On Thursday evening, the Countess of Hardwicke entertained a numerous and distinguished circle of the beau monde at her Ladyship's mansion in St James's Square. His Grace the Duke of Wellington arrived at about half-past ten, and remained the guest of his noble hostess for a short period.

15 May 1852
Wimpole - The Earl of Hardwicke's Dinner - On Tuesday evening, the Earl and Countess of Hardwicke entertained a select circle at dinner,at their mansion, St James's Square. The guests were his Excellency the Russian Minister and the Baroness Brunow, his Excellency the Belgian Minister and Madame Van de Wayer, the Duke of Montrose, the Marquis of Winchester, the Earl and Countess of Derby, the Earl and Countess of Jersey and the Lady Clementina Villiers, the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Mrs Disraeli, Sir Edward Buliver Lytton, and Mr Liddell. The Countess had no assembly in the evening as stated by mistake in the fashionable arrangements of the week.

15 May 1852
On Thursday evening the Earl of Hardwicke, as Postmaster General, entertained, in honour of her Majesty's birthday, the following noblemen and gentlemen to dinner at his lordship's mansion, St James's Square:- Lord Clarina, Lord Downs, Sir Edward Buliver Lytton, Colonel Maberley, Mr Rowland Hill, Mr La Caita, Mr Adderley MP, Mr Herbert MP, Mr Henry Hope MP, Mr Smith Child, Sir L Oliver, Mr Goddard MP, Mr Farrer MP, Sir Richard Lopez MP, Mr Portal MP, Sir John Hope, Sir Edward Filmer MP, Mr Liddell, and Captain Lowther MP.

29th May 1852
Wimpole - Cabinet Dinner - On Wednesday evening, the Earl of Hardwicke entertained the Cabinet ministers at dinner, at his Lordship's mansion, St James' Square. The ministers present were - the Lord Chancellor, the Earl of Derby, the Earl of Malmesbury, the Earl of Lonsdale, the Duke of Northumberland, the Marquis of Salisbury, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr J C Herries, Mr J W Henley, Mr Spencer Walpole, Sir John Pakington, and Lord John Manners.

12 June 1852
Wimpole - The Earl and Countess of Hardwicke left St James' Square on Saturday for Fulham, on a visit to the Bishop of London; they afterwards proceeded to Windsor to join the distinguished party invited by her Majesty to witness Ascot Races.

19 June 1852
Wimpole - In the year 1839, the late Dr Chalmers visted the north of Scotland. On Saturday, August 17, he arrived at Tarbet House, the seat of Mr Hay Mackenzie. In the journal of his tour, just published in Dr Hanna's Life, under the above date, we read as follows:- "Lord and Lady Hardwicke are guests here - he a navel officer, and most intelligent person, who succeeded to his uncle, the family name being Yorke - she, the sister of Lady Normanby, but of decided Conservative principles, as her husband and all are here. She exceedingly gracious and pleasant; a fine specimen of the English lady, and one of the most marvellous singers I ever heard."

24 July 1852
Wimpole - The Royal Cruise - The Queen and the Court have been making an excursion by sea this week to Plymouth and the coast of Devon. The Earl of Hardwicke was in attendance upon her Majesty.

18 September 1852
Wimpole - Love and Pistols - At the Bow Street Police Office on Monday, Mr Robert Lawrence Walker, a gentlemanly-looking man, described as a farmer, of Teversham, near Cambridge, was placed at the bar, before Mr Jardine, charged upon a warrant with having addressed a hostile letter to Mr David Matthews, a magistrate of Canterbury, inciting him to fight a duel.
It transpired when application was made for the warrant, that both gentleman had been paying their addresses to Miss Elizabeth Anne Elliston, a young lady residing at the village of Wimpole [Editor's note: Elizabeth was the daughter of Robert Elliston, the farmer at Thornberry Hill Farm]. The preference being eventually given to Mr Matthews, the present complainant, the necessary arrangements were made for their marriage forthwith in London, pending which the lady was entertained in the house of a friend residing in Holborn. The wedding was fixed for Saturday morning last, and was just about to take place, when the bridegroom, who had been staying at Radley's Hotel, received the letter in question.
It was dated from Cambridge, but bore the post-mark of Canterbury, and was couched in unmistakable language, the writer's "friend" being formally named, and the "instrument" specified. The handwriting was at once identified by the lady as that of her rejected suitor. A conference was held, the clergyman was consulted, and the wedding was postponed until measures had been taken to place the belligerent writer under such restraint as would prevent his interference with their future happiness.
Accordingly the bride and groom sought an interview with Mr Henry, the magistrate, who granted a warrant for Walker's immediate apprehension. Peterkin, an officer attached to the court, was despatched with the warrant to Cambridge, from which he returned with the defendant on Sunday evening,when the latter was safely lodged in custody at Bow Street.
The defendant, who was much younger than the complainant, pleaded guilty to the charge, but remained perfectly silent as to the alleged cause of his hostile intentions.
Mr Matthews, the complainant, stated that he felt it was his duty on public grounds, as a justice of the peace, to take the present proceedings against the defendant. He was not acquainted with that gentleman, and had had no personal quarrel with him; but it was necessary that he should state - . Mr Jardine
[interrupted?] There was no necessity to go into the case now. The defendant has pleaded guilty to the charge, and my course is simply to bind him over to keep the peace.
It was stated that he [Walker] was a farmer and land-owner in Cambridgeshire. His Worship ordered him to enter into his own recognizances in 150l [150 florins? = £15.00], and find two sureties of 75l [75 florins? = £7.50] each, to keep the peace for six months towards Mr Matthews and all other of her Majesty's subjects.
Mr G King, a tradesman, and Mr D King, a solicitor, both of Cambridge, having been accepted as the required sureties, the defendant was discharged.
[Spoiler alert. There is an unreported postscript to this event. The Marriage Register for Wimpole has the following entry for the 24th January 1853: Robert Lawrence Walker, bachelor farmer of Teversham, son of William farmer, married Elizabeth Ann Elliston, spinster daughter of Robert, farmer.]

10 December 1853
Wimpole - The Right Hon Benjamin and Mrs Disraeli have been on a visit to Lord and Lady Hardwicke at Wimpole. They returned to their residence at Grosvenor Gate in the early part of the week.

17 December 1853
Wimpole - The Earl of Hardwicke, the Earl of Malmesbury, Mr Disraeli, and other political friends of the Earl of Derby, have been spending the past week at Knowsley, the seat of the noble earl. We rejoice to say that the late premier has completely recovered from his attack of gout, and joined the part in the sports of the field with his usual spirit.

18 February 1854
Wimpole - Destruction of Rabbits - The Earl of Hardwicke is determined to have the Rabbits killed on his estate, and has given his tenants leave to have a few day's amusement. On Tuesday the 14th instant, a large party gathered together, with their guns, and in the evening enjoyed themselves at the Hardwicke Arms.

4 March 1854
Wimpole - We have to complain that an inhabitant of this place, whose hand-writing has been identified, sent us some erroneous information touching an assemblage of the tenants of the Earl of Hardwicke for the purpose of a day's rabbit-shooting, and their good-fellowship afterwards at the Hardwicke Arms. The paragraph seems to have been written for the purpose of injuring one of Lord Hardwicke's servants; and we take this opportunity of stating that a great deal of it had no foundation, and of expressing a hope that the writer of it will refrain from practical jokes of a like dangerous kind for the future.

13th June 1857
Wimpole - A marriage is arranged, and will shortly take place, between the Lady Mary Yorke, daughter of the Earl and Countess of Hardwicke, and Mr W G Craven, of the 1st Life Guards, nephew of the Earl of Craven.

18th July 1857
Wimpole - Approaching Marriage - The nuptials of Lady Mary Yorke, daughter of the Earl and Countess of Hardwicke, and Mr Craven, of the 1st Life Guards, will be solemnised on Monday next, the 20th instant, at St Paul's, Knightbridge.

25 July 1857
Wimpole - The Crops - The crops around here are in capital condition, and we expect a harvest, the like of which has not been seen for many years. Before our next number is issued, we suppose operations will have been commenced; and we trust our sanguine hopes of a bountiful harvest will be fully realised.

2 January 1875
Yesterday, C.W. Palmer, Esq., deputy coroner, held an inquest in the Queen Victoria, Orwell [now Wimpole], on the body of Joseph Miller, 56, labourer, who died suddenly on Wednesday night. The wife of the deceased stated that her husband went to his work on Wednesday in his usual state of health, and returned in the evening. He went to bed about 9 o'clock, and about half an hour afterwards he gave two or three sighs and expired. Mr C.W. Parkinson, surgeon, of Melbourn, was of the opinion that death resulted from fatty degeneration of the heart, and a verdict was returned in accordance with this testimony.

18 December 1875
An inquest was held before C.W. Palmer, Esq., deputy county coroner, at the Queen Victoria, Orwell [now Wimpole], on Monday, touching the death of Samuel Spackman and David Clark, two boys, who lost their lives by drowning in the gault pits situated in Mr Dudley's brick fields at Wimpole, on Saturday morning last.
It appeared from the evidence that the deceased were sliding on the ice on the pit named when the ice broke and they went into the water. Both struggled to get out. Spackman got on the top of the ice, and then Clark caught hold of him and pulled him down. They struggled for some time, but were unable to save themselves, and sank before assistance arrived.
Harry Gadd, a boy, who was playing at the pit at the time of the accident, gave an alarm, and several men were soon on the spot. When the bodies were recovered, life was quite extinct. William Whitby, labourer, who was working on Saturday at the brick fields in question, warned the boys off the ice, and they left, but they appeared to have returned again when Whitby was absent. Verdict, "Accidental death".

17 June 1876
Inquest. - On Monday last an inquest was held at the Fox and Hounds public house [Wimpole], before F. Barlow, Esq., county coroner, concerning the death of Annie Elizabeth Goats, aged 21 months, the daughter of John Goats, farm labourer, Wimpole. The child died after considerable vomiting; and Mr C.W. Parkinson, the surgeon who made the post mortem examination, was of the opinion that the child was suffocated by a large worm getting entangled in the trachea. Verdict "Died by the visitation of God".

30 January 1885
Shocking Accident. - Yesterday a man named John Chater, an engine driver, in the employ of Mr Meyer the brewer, was engaged in oiling his machine, when by some means or other his right hand was caught by some cog wheels and was so severely crushed that it was deemed necessary to take him to Addenbrooke's Hospital, where the injured limb was amputated above the wrist.

4 September 1885
Inquest. - An inquest was held at the 'Fox and Hounds', Orwell [now Wimpole], on Wednesday last. C.W.J. Palmer, county coroner, touching the death of John Whitby, aged 57 years. It appeared from the evidence of a veterinary surgeon, that he found the deceased lying on the ground beside a horse and cart on the New Road, leading to Bassingbourn. He drew the man to the side of the road and saw he was quite dead. The deceased was then removed to the 'Fox and Hounds' public house. The evidence of the medical man who saw the body showed that the cause of death was syncope, consequent upon the failure of the action of the heart. The jury found a verdict accordingly.

4 July 1890
A Fatal Fall. - On Saturday, Mr C.W. Palmer, county coroner, held an inquest at the 'Queen Victoria', Orwell [now Wimpole], on the body of William Bullen, 68, labourer, of Wimpole. The evidence showed that on the previous Monday he was at work on a haystack belonging to Mr Gifford in company with two men, named Parcell and Whitby. He was working at the edge of the stack and fell to the ground, a distance of 18 feet. Mr Hubert Reynolds, a surgeon, residing at Melbourn, stated that he was called to see the deceased on the day of the accident. He found him lying in bed suffering from shock and complaining of great pain in his abdomen. He examined him and discovered crepitation. He suspected fracture of the pelvis. He continued to attend him until he died and did all he could to ease the pain. Peritonitis set in and deceased died on Friday. The cause of death was peritonitis consequent on fracture of the pelvis. A verdict of 'accidental death' was returned.

24 July 1891
Severe Storm. - About 5 o'clock on Friday afternoon last, a very heavy thunderstorm passed over this village. The lightning was very vivid, several trees being struck. The rain and hail which accompanied did a great deal of damage to the produce of the fields and gardens. New Orwell and Wimpole appear to have been in the centre of the storm and consequently suffered most severely, especially the farms of Rev. R. Bendyshe, and Messrs. Meyer and J. Haggar. Hailstones, many of them an inch in diameter, broke a large amount of glass at Wimpole, hardly a house in the village escaping. In one house alone 37 panes of glass were broken. A horse standing outside the 'Fox and Hounds' was so stunned by the hailstones that it fell over.
The beautiful gardens of Messrs Meyer ['Orwell Grange'] also suffered terribly, much glass being broken and the flowers, plants, etc, literally cut to pieces. These gardens were just at their best. Indeed, extra trouble had been taken with them this year in view of the coming horticultural show, on which occasion they are to be thrown open to the public. Therefore it must be very disappointing to both owners and gardener to see the fruits of their labour so suddenly destroyed.
Equally disappointing it must be to those cottagers and amateurs who had made preparations for the coming show.

28 April 1893
Fatal Fall. - The county coroner (Mr A.J. Lyon) held an inquest on Saturday concerning the death of the landlord of the 'Fox and Hounds', Orwell [now Wimpole], who died on the previous day from a result of a fall downstairs on Thursday night, compression of the brain being caused by an extravasation of blood.
A verdict of 'accidental death' was returned.

9 February 1894
Incendiary fire. - Two valuable oat stacks, the property of Messrs. Meyer, standing in a field adjoining the Wimpole Road, were burnt down early on Sunday morning. A young man, named Frederick Arthur, was brought before the Melbourn bench of magistrates, on Monday, charged with the offence, and committed for trial at the Cambridge assizes.



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