Skip to main content

Arbury Snippets Part 4: Arbury Terrace, Arbury Hedges, 19th Century Pugilists, Hunting & Escaped Prisoners At The Real King's Hedges And Suspects On The Arbury Meadows...

We've superimposed the old Arbury Meadows, Furlongs and Corner onto a 1900 map. Remember, the Manor Farm, which covered most of North Arbury (or the Council's inappropriately named 'King's Hedges Ward'), did not exist before the 1840s. Our 1900 map also features the details from the 1840 enclosures map. The names Arbury and Harborough were variations on each other and interchangeable. Whilst the 1840 enclosures map used the 'Harborough' form, an 1839 newspaper article (featured) used the 'Arbury' form. During the late 1800s, the 'Harborough' form all but disappeared. The Arbury name is derived from the Old English for 'earthwork', the earthwork surrounding the iron age settlement at Arbury Camp Farm (now Orchard Park, originally Arbury Park). The earthwork, or at least part of it, was a landscape feature for around 2000 years, and the part of the outline seen on this map is incorporated into the design of Ring Fort Road. Arbury was. for many years, thought to have been an undefended site, the earthwork simply being to protect the animals kept by the settlers from wolves or thieves. But excavations in recent times indicate that it may very well have been a fort. Until the late 1970s, King's Hedges Road was a dead end, terminating at the original King's Hedges, north of the modern day guided busway. In the late 1970s, it was redirected and extended across the old Arbury Meadows/Manor Farm - lopping off the original junction of the Histon/Cambridge Road and Arbury Road. Most of the modern King's Hedges Road dates from the late 1970s.

Travelling back through time is, of course, impossible. Well, as far as we know!

But vintage newspapers can give us more than a glimpse of recent centuries, and so we'll take a little trip back to Arbury and the REAL King's Hedges (or 'King's Hedge') of the 19th century as best we can - via some vintage newspaper articles.

                NOTICE OR 'TRIGGER WARNING'

The language and actions featured in the articles at times will not be approved of by many modern folk - and are not condoned by us Arbury Archivists, but this is the somewhat distant past. In the future many things we say and do today may meet with similar disapproval. If you are likely to find such articles in anyway distressing or 'triggering' please approach with caution or do not read any further.

Remember, in the case of King's Hedges, we are not referring to the area north of Arbury Road - strangely called 'King's Hedges Ward' by the Council but, far more appropriately, North Arbury by those of us 'in the know'. We're talking about the original King's Hedges/King's Hedge, north of what is now the Guided Busway. Similarly, the Arbury Meadows, which are mentioned in one of the newspaper articles from 1839, were not south of Arbury Road, where the Council's current Arbury electoral ward is situated, but north in the misnamed 'King's Hedges Estate/Ward' or, more accurately in the historical sense, North Arbury area.

Our old faithful map at the top of the article should help your orientation if you are not familiar with Arbury history.

Just remember: the historic Arbury Meadows = much of the Arbury part of the Council's 'King's Hedges Ward'; the real (historic) King's Hedges/King's Hedge = a small farm north of the Guided Busway.

Click on each article for a readable view.

So, off we go then. Seen the map? Got some chocolate and some fancy bottled water and a flask of tea or coffee? Away we go!

We arrive at the real King's Hedges ('a retired field'), north of what is now the guided busway, in April, 1824, to find a Cambridge student waxing lyrical about some organised fights on the land - eagerly attended by many - in Pierce Egan's Life In London. Not sure why this plot was selected as the venue for the fights, but it may tie in with the origins of the name as a hedged hunting warren - and so other 'sporting' events may naturally have been held there later. Please exercise caution before reading the article. Click on the article image for larger view:

Moving on to February 1828, and we remain at the original King's Hedges for the climax of a Quy Hunt. This report made us shudder more than a little but, as the most likely source of the King's Hedges name is tied in with blood sports (a hedged hunting warren), seems quite appropriate. Please consider before reading this - times have changed. Some of the Arbury Archivists found it upsetting to read - and none of us were happy with it. The real King's Hedges plot bordered on the 'lordship of Impington' - which was just the other side of the Mere Way, beginning with Impington Park. The parish of Impington (a different matter) ran further southwards, terminating across the Arbury Meadows (later Manor Farm) not far from Arbury Road.

Quickly (and gladly) leaving that particular scene, we return to the Arbury land south of what is now the Guided busway, and make our way towards the Cambridge/Histon Road...

... to Arbury Hedges, June, 1829, for a sale of  oak, ash, elm and willow trees. Arbury Hedges? Premises up by the Histon Road, apparently. From the lengthily titled Cambridge, Wisbech, Ely, Chatteris, Manea, Upwell, Thorney, Whittlesea, Newmarket, Soham, Linton and Royston Advertiser.

In May, 1830, two prisoners escaped from the Cambridgeshire County jail, via several ladders 'incautiously' left unattended by workmen, and made their way to the original King's Hedges, where the police lost sight of them... the trail eventually led to Sawston and Waltham Abbey...

Cambridge Chronicle, March, 1839: We're back from the real King's Hedges. north of the modern day guided busway, to the land north of Arbury Road - the Arbury Meadows - for the next stop-off. Newspaper articles tended - and still tend - to report the highs and lows of life, and this one focuses on a crime. A Histon farmer was robbed on the highway and police investigations led to four men in a tent on Arbury Meadows. We're glad that the judge strictly adhered to 'Innocent Until Proven Guilty'.

1859 - Weekly Dispatch: Arbury Camp is mentioned in this 'atlas' of Cambridgeshire - as is Wandlebury (or 'Vandlebury' as it's spelt here).


Cambridge Chronicle, May, 1891: In the 1800s, Chesterton habitations boomed way beyond the village, due to its proximity to Cambridge. It would not be drawn into what was then Cambridge town's boundary until 1911. The Victorian New Chesterton development saw huge development - and the Arbury name was not ignored. There was quite a lot of interest in the history of the prehistoric camp at that time. The sale announcement above reveals the presence of an Arbury Terrace by the junction of the Chesterton and Milton Roads. Is it still there and has the name simply dropped out of use? We're not sure, but we'll examine the Cambridge Street Directories and report back at a later date. 

There was also an 'Arbury House' in Chesterton Road. Once again, we shall research further and report back.

More 'snippets' soon.

UPDATE 19/09/2023

This was a view we took of the shops on Milton Road from the top deck of the Arbury bus going into town a few years ago!

We have just heard from Jim Smith, a fellow local history researcher and enthusiast, who has sent us a photograph of pages from the 1887 Street Directory, featuring Arbury Terrace and its occupants at that time. Many thanks to Jim. 

When what was then often termed 'the gyratory traffic system' was established in the late 1960s, the large houses on the traffic island were marooned. They were previously on the corner of Milton Road. Their back gardens became the roadway at the back of the houses. It seems that Arbury Terrace has been incorporated into the row of shops/businesses on Milton Road opposite the Portland Arms.

Looking down Milton Road from Chesterton Road in the early 20th Century - Arbury Terrace (each house 'substantially built of brick with stone bay window and dressings') was on the right and, we believe, is featured in the photograph. Photo: Cambridgeshire Collection.

Jim Smith's photograph of the 1887 Cambridge Street Directory featuring Arbury Terrace.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What Did The Romans Ever Do for Arbury? Jim Smith

Our trusty old Arbury map showing location details before the Manor Farm was established. The red line, inserted by Jim Smith, indicates the course of the Roman road - Akeman Street or the Mere Way. The land north of Arbury Road was the Arbury or Harborough Meadows, Arbury/Harborough furlongs and Arbury Camp, King's Hedges was in its original position, north of the railway (now guided busway) and Arbury Road ran from the Ely/Milton Road to the Histon/Cambridge Road - as it did until the late 1970s. Introduction - by the Arbury Archivists Jim Smith is a local history researcher and a good friend of the Arbury Cambridge Blog. He has been researching Roman finds in the historic Arbury area and has written this article for us. We are most grateful! He follows the adventures of those who scraped away centuries of soil to reveal ancient findings beneath.  Of course, as always, we deal with historic Arbury here, not council planners' estates or electoral wards, which are both prone to

Exploring The REAL King's Hedges...

The Cambridge and St Ives Branch railway line is now the Guided Busway. Where was King's Hedges historically? How did the name come about? Why is the majority of King's Hedges Road no more historic than late 1970s - and nothing to do with the course of the original road? What have council planners of the 1960s and 1970s and the needs of motorists got to do with the King's Hedges presence in the historic Arbury district? All will be revealed... We're going to leave Arbury briefly and go to King's Hedges. No, not King's Hedges Ward - that area is, in reality, one of the most Arbury of Arbury areas in Cambridge historically, but the REAL King's Hedges. North of the Guided Busway. You see, the land north of Arbury Road is the site of the Arbury Camp, the Arbury/Harborough (a variation on the Arbury name) Meadows and the Arbury fields of Manor Farm.  It has absolutely nothing to do with King's Hedges at all. And King's Hedges was never a district. Land no

Main Streets of Arbury: Campkin Road - Part 1

Left: work begins on Campkin Road in 1961. Numbers 1 and 2 Manor Farm Cottages have been demolished, but the intention is to preserve the old trees lining the old Manor Farm Drive. Right: a similar view in more modern times, with the Arbury Town Park and Campkin Road. In 1982, Campkin Road was described as the 'Hauptstrasse of North Arbury' by local journalist Sara Payne. Ms Payne's local history articles in the Cambridge Weekly News were hugely popular and, for each one, Ms Payne visited a street in Cambridge and talked to the residents, collecting their memories for publication and producing a fascinating series of 'Then and Now' style articles. 'Cambridge Weekly News', 1982. Down Your Street followed in the footsteps of a similar series in the local press in the early 1960s - by Erica Dimmock - and both now make fascinating reading. We're starting our look at Campkin Road with material from the 'Arbury 1980' project and accounts from locals

Manor School Memories Part 1

The Manor School on Arbury Road was one of the main focuses of life for North and South Arbury for decades. With its evening classes and youth centre, and various community activities - like the annual Christmas party for the elderly and the annual school play in the 1980s ( Annie Get Your Gun and Dracula Spectacular spring to mind) - the Manor opened as separate boys' and girls' schools in 1959 (the girls had to share the boys' buildings at first as their own were still under construction). The school later became co-ed.      An aerial view of t he Manor Schools - Boys' and Girls', around 1960, with a section of Arbury Road and Arbury Court. Note Arbury Court was yet to gain its library and large supermarket building, and Campkin Road was still the Manor Farm Drive. The side of the Manor School 'new block', built in the early 1970s, the tower block and boys' gym beyond. The school was built in the Park Meadow of the old Manor Farm - which is how the &

Arbury Court - Part Of The 'Centre' Of The Original Arbury Estate...

A view across Arbury Court, looking towards Arbury Road, in 1976. Arbury Court is part of the 'centre' of the original Arbury Estate in Cambridge. The Court, with its pub, supermarket, hardware store and post office, chip shop, newsagent, TV shop, greengrocer, hairdresser, chemist, supermarket and branch library, is part of the 'hub' of the estate. The historic Arbury district. The Arbury or Harborough (the names were variations on each other and interchangeable) Meadows covered most of the land north of Arbury Road. The road ran from Milton Road to the Histon/Cambridge Road until the late 1970s. The Manor Farm was formed in the years following the 1840 Chesterton Enclosures. Orchard Park (originally Arbury Park and, before that, Arbury Camp Farm) features the outline of part of the Arbury prehistoric settlement at Ring Fort Road. We've inserted the sites of Arbury Court, the Guided Busway and Campkin Road. Arbury Road marks the boundary of North and South Arbury, a

Arbury Archaeology and History: Part 1

Imagine an iron age settlement. It is surrounded by a circular earthwork. People live here. There are houses, and pens for animals within the enclosure. Until recent years, it was not believed to be a fort. The settlement is larger than some, but believed to be very much the equivalent of what we now call a village - the earthwork simply to defend it from wolves and animal thieves. The earthwork is filled with water, and reeds and rushes grow there. Despite the naming of the Arbury earthwork as 'Ring Fort Road' in the Arbury Camp Farm Arbury/Orchard Park development, the original height of the earthwork and its enclosed area were not believed to indicate that Arbury was a fort (compare to Wandlebury), and the findings of archaeologists from Cambridge and London from the early 1960s to 1970 discounted the notion. Comment from Arbury Camp, Cambridge, A Preliminary Report on Excavations - by John Alexander and David Trump, 1970: The excavations therefore tend to confirm earlier s

Ask Arbury: The Roman Villa in Arbury

     E-mail to Arbury Cambridge blog: Was a Roman villa found at King's Hedges? I recently saw an outside display in North Arbury/King's Hedges Ward called 'The Roman Landscape in King's Hedges' which claims there was one. And is King's Hedges Road Roman?  We've seen that display. Electoral wards are not historic areas and local historians really do need to be mindful of that fact. The answer to your question regarding the Roman villa and King's Hedges Road is no. The Roman villa was found on the site of King's Hedges School, which is not part of the historic King's Hedges acres. Historically, King's Hedges was simply a named property, a farm, of fifty eight acres, and is now north of the guided busway. It was never a district. King's Hedges School is dearly loved by many of us and we treasure it, but those in the know accept it's not actually in any historically meaningful King's Hedges district, and the site had nothing to do w

What Arbury Means To You...

We thought it would be good to invite comments (or emails - arburyestate@btinternet.com) from readers about what Arbury means to you. Of course, many have already made their views plain on here, but we like the idea of a dedicated blog post. Please be aware that we are referring to the original Arbury area here, the area between Gilbert Road and King's Hedges Road, not modern electoral wards/misnamed apparently 'separate' housing estates. From 'Arbury is Where We Live!' (1981): Community action has always been important in Arbury. The first Arbury community groups were formed with the building of South Arbury in the 1950s, and North Arbury has seen many fantastic community efforts - resulting in the likes of the Arbury Adventure Playground, Arbury Carnival, Arbury Community Centre and the Arbury Town Park. So, what does Arbury mean to YOU? How long have you lived here? Are you interested in Arbury history? What do you like about Arbury? What do you dislike? What mak

Manor School Memories - Part 2

Lads from the Manor Boys' School in 1960. D. Claton, M. Farrow, R. Mitchell, C. Peck, I. Skeels, R. Potter and G. Paine are present. Do any readers remember who is who? School's back in - Manor School/Community College on Arbury Road that is (now North Cambridge Academy). Here is the second part of our series on Manor Memories - Part 1 is here . Pupils' foreign holiday, 1960: the first Manor girls to go on a joint foreign holiday with Manor boys: G. Anderson, J. Barnes, C. Blackwell, H. Brown, S. Budd, L. Carter, A. Clarke, L. Doggett, C. Doughty, P. Drake, S. Hardy, E. Harradine, B. Kaspar, D. Miller, J. Parker, L. Phillips, J. Reeves, J. Spencer, J. Symonds, with headmistress Mrs Firman. Note the Manor Schools' caretaker's house can be seen in the background, and the trees of the old Manor Farm orchard. October 1960, and here is a view of the Manor Boys' and Girls' schools from the car park at the Snow Cat public house (now the Cambridge Gurdwara). A view