History of Littlebury
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.
History of Littlebury >> White's Directory 1848
White's Directory of Essex 1848
LITTLEBURY village is pleasantly situated on the London and Newmarket road, and the river Cam or Granta. It has a station on the North-Eastern Railway, 2 miles North West of Saffron Walden, and its parish contains 822 souls, and 3408A.2R.19P. of land, including the small scattered villages of Catmere End, Chapel Green, and Littlebury Green, from 1 to 2 miles West and South West of the church.
From the ninth century till the dissolution of the monasteries, this parish belonged to Ely Abbey. The manor was retained by the Crown, from 1639 till 1600, when it was granted to Thomas Sutton, Esq. It was afterwards held by the Earls of Suffolk, whose descendant, the Marquis of Bristol, sold it to Lord Braybroke, the present lord of the manor, and owner of a great part of the parish.
Mr. Thomas Moule, and many smaller owners, have estates here, mostly copyhold, subject to certain fines.
A Roman road crossed the parish at Littlebury Green, which in some records is called Streetly Green.
Holy Trinity Church, Littlebury.
© Copyright John Salmon contributor to the Geograph Project and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The CHURCH (Holy Trinity,) stands within the area of a Roman camp, and is a plain building, of great antiquity. It has a nave, side aisles, and chancel, and a square embattled tower, containing six bells. The font is beautiful, and has a splendid oak canopy.
The sinecure rectory, valued in K.B. at £26.13s.4d., and in 1831 at only £30, is in the patronage of the Bishop of Ely, and is now enjoyed by the Rev. John Henry Sparke, M.A., of Gunthorpe, Norfolk, who is also patron of the discharged vicarage, valued in K.B. at £10.2s,1d., and in 1831 at £209, and now in the incumbency of the Rev. Joseph Wix, B.A., who has a good residence, and 158A. of glebe, mostly allotted in lieu of tithes, at the enclosure, in 1801. Part of the rectorial tithes are held by the lord of the manor, of the Dean and Chapter of Ely, together with the small manor called Bourdeaux.
Catmere Hall was a large ancient building, surrounded by a double moat, and its site may still be distinguished. It was held by the Gate family in the 16th century, and was then called Gatemere Hall. There was anciently a chapel, on Chapel green, but no traces of it are now extant.
Henry Winstanly, the celebrated architect, who was clerk of the King's works at Newmarket and Audley-End, under Charles II. and James I., was a resident of Littlebury. He built the first Eddystone Light House, on the dangerous rock near the entrance to Hamoaze Bay, and was so confident in the strength of the work, that he expressed a wish to be in it during an extraordinary storm. His wish was gratified, in the dreadful tempest of Nov. 27th. 1703, when the lighthouse was carried away, with the architect and all who were with him.
LITTLEBURY FREE SCHOOL was founded by Dame Jane Bradbury, at an early period, but the grant and feoffment being lost, the land with which she endowed it was seized by the lady of the manor, in 1657, and re-granted to the school trustees in the same year.
Since the enclosure in 1801, the school property has consisted of about 23A. of land, 3 cottages. and 2 stables, let in eight lots, at rents now amounting to £52 per annum; exclusive of the school-house, garden, and 2R. of land, occupied by the master, who is appointed by the lord of the manor. The school is open for free instruction to all th children born in the parish, without distinction, except that they must be seven years of age when admitted. The girls are instructed by the master's wife.
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