This is an ongoing project to add the information, data and history of the pubs (Public Houses) that are in Cherry Hinton, both past and present. It is a fluid post with things being added to as I found out more along the way. Please do feel free to add your comments, which I can then approve to be added to the blog, if you so wish.
The Russian Arms Public House
The Russian Arms was a public house in Cherry Hinton, Cambridge, that was positioned on the east side of Cherry Hinton High Street, one house north from the Baptist Chapel, on the junction of Cherry Hinton High Street and Fisher's Lane. The records that I have found, so far, for this pub cover dates from 1867 to 1912. So, we know that it was in existence for at least 40 years as the ‘Russian Arms’.
The present-day map below shows the approximate position of the, now private, house which used to be known as the Russian Arms – marked with the red dot.
Here is a picture, below, of the building as it stands today. It is the building on the left, with the burgundy front door in the center. The top three windows from the left belong to this building, along with the 2 bay windows either side of the front door.
The only physical clue that we have to show us that there was once a pub on this site is the name above the front door, shown below, which states “Russian House 1867”
This clue gives us a solid date for this building and for, perhaps, its deliberate construction for use as a public house in 1867. There are no records of a public house upon this site, named the Russian Arms or otherwise before this date. Although, as we can see from this portion of the Cherry Hinton Enclosure Map of 1806, there were certainly buildings of some kind on this plot.
Here is the same map roughly overlaid onto a modern map - see if you can make out where the roads and buildings relate.
It is very likely, due to the angles at which both the older buildings depicted on the 1806 map and the later Russian House building stands, that they were positioned to face what was once one of the village greens in Cherry Hinton. Traditionally, the often thatched, cottages would line the edges of a village green to face inwards in order to be able to keep an eye of the cattle and livestock overnight when they were brought back in from the common land - just a little further down Fisher's Lane was a small common called Drayton Common (now built upon) which was in use throughout the medieval period. There is still some evidence today of the green at the corner of Fisher's Lane where it joins with the High Street. There was also a large pond (now filled in and built upon) on the other side of the road, on the High Street directly opposite the Baptist Chapel - giving clues to one of the features often associated with a village and it's green - a village pond. Perfect for keeping the livestock watered. It was very common to find a pub within this scene but as I have mentioned we have no records suggesting a pub on this site any earlier that our 1867 Russian House/Arms.
The records that I have found, that mention or relate to the Russian Arms, are as follows (in chronological order):
OCTOBER 29th 1881 – Cambridge Chronicle
“ “Russian Arms” Public House, and 18 tenements mostly brick and slate, ANNUAL RENTAL £133 14s. TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION BY WM. WALLIS, ON TUESDAY, November the 8th 1881, at the “Russian Arms”, Cherry Hinton, Cambs, at six for seven o’clock in the evening, by order of the Mortgagee with the power of sale in the following or other such lots as may be determined upon at the time of sale…….
LOT 4. All that New-built Brick and Slate PUBLIC-HOUSE, DOUBLE FRONTAGE, known by the sign of “The Russian Arms”, with a frontage of 66ft. 6in. The house is admirably adapted for business, having the above frontage with large Bay Windows and containing 8 Rooms with Club Room, good Cellar, Range and Copper, also a side gate Entrance to stable, Cart Shed, with lost over, Brick and Pantile outbuilding, etc. There is a Drying Ground to the back of this property with a width of 8ft. and a depth of 50ft. The above is let to Mr. W. H. Apthorpe on a lease expiring the 25th. March 1883 at a yearly rental of £35. Copyhold of the Manor of Hinton Netherhall.”
This is the first documentary evidence that I have found that discusses our pub. You can see from the record that it is regarding the sale of the property. We know from that date of the building, that it appears to have been constructed in 1867. 14 years later in 1881 it is being sold along with some other properties and the auction of all of these properties, along with the pub, is taking place at the Russian Arms itself. Auctions of property often took place in public houses in those days. What we can see from the description of the Russian Arms, is what it would have looked like and how that correlates to what remains today. The description lists the Russian Arms as 'new built', which in essence it was, being about only 14 years old. The large bay windows mentioned are still there today and we get a good description of what the building and pub itself would have been like, inside and out.
The seller of the property is William Wallis, an agent for the Netherhall Manor estate, and the property is copyhold of the Manor of Hinton Netherhall. There were once four manors in Cherry Hinton, two situated in Church End (the north part of Cherry Hinton) - Uphall Manor and Mallets Manor and two more situated in Mill End (the southern part of Cherry Hinton) - Rectory Manor and Netherhall Manor. Netherhall Manor was one of the largest Manors and would have been a physical manor house with a large administrative role in the village. Today there are no manor houses in physical form left -each one having fallen in to disrepair, gone out of use or pulled down. The only one that we do have some evidence of still standing, is that of Uphall Manor, which stands in Church End as a private house now. It was extensively remodelled and changed, the only clues to its original purpose hidden behind later brick encasement. (A separate blog is being done for the manors of Cherry Hinton, where you'll be able to read more there). At the time of this sale of the Russian Arms in 1881, Netherhall Manor was no longer a 'manor house' but was an administrative body which ran the estate and lands still belonging to what was Netherhall Manor.
The other key piece of information within the sale details is that the Russian Arms was being let to Mr W. H. Apthorpe, his lease was due to expire in another two years.
Both William Henry Apthorpe junior and his father W H Apthorpe were both well known brewers and public house owners in Cambridge during the mid-late 1800's. In 1868 William Henry Apthorpe junior had acquired the Albion Brewery in Coronation Street in Cambridge. His father owned the Victoria Brewery in Napier Street. W H Apthorpe senior retired from brewing by 1875 and the pubs that his brewery controlled were passed on to his son. By 1895 the Albion Brewery had at least 50 tied pubs in Cambridge - presumably including our own Russian Arms.
It is wholly likely then, that beer brewed at Apthorpe's Albion Brewery, shown in the picture above, was sold and served in the Russian Arms, here in Cherry Hinton.
An article on Albion Brewery on capturingcambridge.org shows what happened to the brewery after this date:
1896: acquired hy Lacon
E Lacon & Co, brewers, wine and spirit merchants
H W Badcock, Granta View, Stapleford, manager
E Lacon Ltd, brewers wine and spirit merchants
Lacon taken over by Whitbreads. Site demolished soon after.
The last date of use of our Russian Arms, being a working pub in the village, is 1912. So from the information given above it would have seen at least one change of ownership and probably brewery - that of the change in 1896 to Lacon.
In the London Gazette 1862 we find further evidence as to which Apthrope - father or son - would have been involved with our Russian Arms:
"NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership sub- sisting between us the undersigned, William Henry Apthorpe and William Henry Apthorpe the younger, in the business of Maltsters and Brewers, carried on by us at the borough of Cambridge, under the firm of Apthorpe and Son, was this day dissolved by mutual consent. All debts due to and from the partnership will be received and paid by the said William Henry Aptborpe, by whom the busi- ness will in future solely be carried on.—Dated this 12th day of May, 1862.
W. H. Apthorpe.'
With our building being constructed in 1867, it would mean that the Russian Arms would be in the management of William Henry Apthorpe junior.
Shortly after the notice of sale, in November 1881 we find the following announcement:
NOVEMBER 12th 1881 – Cambridge Chronicle
“On Tuesday last, the following property, situate at Cherry Hinton, was sold at the “Russian Arms”, by Mr. Wm. Wallis:-………………
LOT 4. The “Russian Arms” public-house, with cart-shed, loft and brick and pantile outbuilding, copyhold of the Manor of Hinton Netherhall, fine certain, sold to Mr. W. H. Apthorpe for £480.”
This shows that Apthorpe junior goes ahead and buys the Russian Arms and becomes owner rather than the tenant of the property. It does make me wonder though...If the Apthorpe's were the first to run a pub there and if they didn't actually build the building itself (as tenants only, why would they have?) then perhaps the naming of the pub "The Russian Arms" was simply due to the house being called "Russian House" as we can see remains the name above the door today. This means rather than searching for reasons for naming a pub the Russian Arms, the line of enquiry falls to why the original building was named Russian House. I would, at this point, be inclined to think that the Russian Arms was so named after the house itself....although....having said that...surely it was built for use as a pub rather than converted - if we go by the sale description of the building? this is a little mystery to solve!
We can see that the pub was still in business in 1887 as it is mentioned indirectly when an announcement is made in the Cambridge Newspaper regarding two cottages that were being sold next door - notice that Fisher's Lane is referred to as "Chapel Lane" due to the Baptist Chapel which was built in 1870. This name doesn't seem to be used very often in the records and today retains the preferred "Fisher's Lane". There wasn't another small lane next to the Chapel which could have had this name that can be discovered as of yet.
March 4th 1887 – Cambridge Chronicle
“CHERRY HINTON, CAMBS
Two Freehold Cottages in Chapel Lane…..and Two Brick, Stud and Tiled Cottages, situate next “The Russian Arms” Public House, …..”
In 1888 we find an entry that shows the Russian Arms still going strong and playing its role as an integral part of the community, when an inquest is held at the pub - again, along with auctions, sales and various club meetings, village pubs were often used to hold inquests and court session.
JANUARY 20th 1888 – Cambridge Chronicle
“INQUEST – Mr. C. W. Palmer, the county coroner, on Wednesday, held an inquiry at the “Russian Arms”, Cherry Hinton, into the circumstances attending the death of Blackman Flack, aged 57. The deceased had been an outpatient at the Hospital, and died rather suddenly on the 11th inst. A post-mortem examination, made by Dr. Perkins, showed that death was occasioned by consumption, and a verdict to that effect was returned.”
In 1893 we again find reference to the Russian Arms through an announcement regarding the sale of some cottages next door.
MAY 26th 1893 – Cambridge Chronicle
“Two Cottages, Brick, Stud and Tile built. Situate next the Russian Arms Public House….To be sold.”
Then the final newspaper entry that I can find for our pub, dated 1894, is in regard to another inquest held at the premises:
SEPTEMBER 7th 1894 – Cambridge Chronicle
“A FATAL FIT
An inquest was held at the “Russian Arms”, Cherry Hinton, on Wednesday evening, by Mr. A.J. Lyon, County Coroner, on the body of Susan Merry aged 49, who died somewhat suddenly on the previous Tuesday morning. David Merry, a labourer, the husband of the deceased, said on Monday afternoon, while his wife was washing, she fell down in a fit. She was subject to fainting fits, but on this occasion she did not rally as usual, and she never spoke again. He did not send for a doctor, as he thought she would come round; he had known her to be in a fit for six hours. There was no change in her condition from the time when she was seized until just before she died.-
Mrs Sarah Watts said when she was called to the deceased she was lying insensible on the floor of the kitchen. She remained in that condition for two or three hours. The doctor was sent for when witness though the deceased was dying.-
Dr. Nicholls, of Fulbourn, said he had made a post mortem examination of the body, and was of the opinion that death was due to heart disease. It was doubtful if a doctor could have done any good had he been sent for at the time of the seizure. The jury returned a verdict of “Death from natural causes.”
It is worth now checking the census returns to see who was actually living in the building over the years and to see if we can find a solid date when the building stopped being a public house.
The first entry that we have for the Russian Arms is in the 1871 Census - about 4 years after being built. Census returns were done every 10 years, the previous return was for 1861 - before our building was erected. I did however search the entire Census entries from 1841 - when they started - through to 1861 just in case there was any evidence of a pub previously on the same site but there was none.
The following details are given in 1871 Census:
Russian Arms, High Street, Cherry Hinton, Cambridge
Thomas Merry, born in Cherry Hinton, aged 33, Head, Beer House Keeper - living with him are; Charlotte Merry, born Little Wilbraham, aged 32, shop keeper - along with Fred Merry, 1 year old and George Merry 1 month old, both born in Cherry Hinton.
Notice that Thomas is running the 'beer house' but that his wife Charlotte is noted as a shop keeper - was this her occupation elsewhere in the village or town of Cambridge or did she run a small shop from the pub premises?
A couple of doors up from Thomas and Charlotte are further members of the 'Merry' family - perhaps Thomas' parents. They are predominantly Agricultural labourers.
In the 1881 Census the following details are given:
Russian Arms, High Street, Cherry Hinton, Cambridge
Thomas Merry, born Cherry Hinton, aged 44, porter - living with him are;
Charlotte Merry, born Little Wilbraham, aged 44 - along with Mary A Merry, aged 13, scholar, George Merry, aged 11, scholar, Frederick Merry, aged 10, scholar, Sarah Merry, aged 7, scholar and Rosina Merry, aged 2.
No mention of Charlotte being a shopkeeper and Thomas is listed as a porter - beer porter? or an additional occupation? Their daughter Mary A Merry wasn't listed on the previous census, so was presumably staying with relatives when the last census was being taken. Frederick and George are still there and in the intervening ten years Sarah and Rosina Merry have been born.
In the County Directory, Thomas Merry is listed as a Beer Retailer and shop keeper in 1869 & 1879 and Beer Retailer in Cherry Hinton in 1883.
The 1891 Census tells us the following:
Russian Arms, High Street, Cherry Hinton, Cambridge-
Sarah Fuller, aged 58, born Essex, Little Bury, Widow, Publican
with her are her daughter Mary Ann Fuller, born Cherry Hinton, aged 36, Laundress and her son Charles Henry Fuller, born Cherry Hinton, aged 34, Carrier.
As you can see from the above, the Merry family are no longer at the premises. Sarah Fuller was married to Charles Fuller and they had previous lived in Mill End, Cherry Hinton. Charles senior had been a railway labourer. After he had died Sarah takes on the business of running the Russian Arms.
Sarah Fuller is listed in the County Directory as a Beer Retailer, Cherry Hinton in 1892.
1901 Census is more vague with its addresses and there is a possibility for the occupants of the Russian Arms, listed on the High Street, Cherry Hinton but it doesn't distinguish where exactly on the High Street or if it could be the Hopbine, Five Bells or the Russian Arms - all of which were on the High Street at this time. Annoyingly it does note the names of The Robin Hood, The Unicorn and The Red Lion - at least it rules those ones out. Even with reading through the addresses in succession it is still not completely clear - we do have an 'Inn Keeper' on the High Street called Jane Nightingale who is a widow from Barnwell, Cambridge and is living on which ever premises it is with six of his children aged from 11 -27 (all of whom were born in Trumpington - two of the girls are working as laundry workers - a well known Cherry Hinton profession). At the moment we can't say for certain if this is the family who are then living at our pub.
An interesting article in Ale -Cambridge & District Branch Newsletter Issue 391 February 2019 - discusses the interesting character of Joe Nightingale from Trumpington who's second wife was Jane Nightingale. They had been running the Volunteer pub in Trumpington. When Jane was widowed she came to Cherry Hinton and was running the Russian Arms in 1901. So it would seem it was the Nightgales at the Russian Arms at this date.
"....his evidently very sturdy widow probably carried on in the Volunteer for a short time, but by 1901 she (along with much of her brood) had moved on to the Russian Arms in Cherry Hinton...."
You can read more about this here: https://www.cambridge-camra.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/pdf/Ale391.pdf
The image above shows us what the Russian Arms would have looked like during its working existence, this is very roughly dated to around 1910. I will place a zoomed in version below so that we can see the pub and its sign a little better.
We have more luck with the 1911 Census, which gives the following information:
Russian Arms, High Street, Cherry Hinton, Cambridge;
George Burch, Head, aged 38, born Ipswich, Publican.
Annie Burch, wife, aged 36, born Eastmeon, Hants, married for 15 years, 7 children - all survived, assisting in the business.
Florence Burch, born Eastbourn, Sussex, aged 14, domestic day girl.
Winnifred Burch, born Eastbourne, Sussex, aged 13, school.
Daisy Burch, born Eastbourne, Sussex, aged 11, school.
Fred Burch, born Portsmouth, aged 10, school.
Edgar Burch, born Cambridge, aged 9, school.
Dorothy Burch, born Cambridge, aged 6, school.
Edward Burch, born Cherry Hinton, aged 2.
We can see that the pub is still running in 1911, the Burch family in residence. Given the age of Edward Burch, their youngest at 2 years old and being the first of the children born in Cherry Hinton, suggests that the family are relatively new to the village and therefore perhaps not that long in the pub itself.
We cannot yet access the 1921 Census until January 2022 when it is to be released. So now I shall turn to the County and Village Directories to see if we can find out anything else.
So far, I have been hitting a dead end for anything after 1911 to say that the pub was still in use and no records coming up for the Burch family placing them still there, so as it stands we know that the pub was still going in 1911 but that is currently the end date we have for its use.
The Lost Pubs (www.closedpubs.co.uk) project gives us the following information:
"The Russian Arms was situated on Cherry Hinton High Street. This pub closed in 1912 under the 1904 Compensation Act."
Mike Petty (www.mikepetty.org.uk) also mentions this, in his compilation on Cherry Hinton, taken from historical newspaper reports:
1912 07 26
Licensing: Cherry Hinton Russian Arms, 12 07 26
1912 11 15
Licensing compensation for Cherry Hinton Russian Arms
1935 07 05 The Five Bells was one of five fully-licensed houses in Cherry Hinton. In 1920 the Hop Bine, next door, was done away with and the Russian Arms had been closed in 1912. Lacons the brewers said the extra penny on beer had hit sales. The Five Bells had been ringing harmoniously for a good many years to the comfort and convenience of the inhabitants and should be allowed to continue to ring a litter longer. The licence was renewed - 35 07 05b
From these reports we can see that the Russian Arms ceased trading in 1912 and became a private dwelling house.
The Russian Arms had closed as a result of the 1904 Licensing Act. It seems that the idea was to reduce the numbers of licences in congested areas, and compensation was paid under the Act.
Under the Licensing Act, 1904, in the seven years from 1905 to 1911, 7,318 licensed premises were closed with compensation. Of these, 6,880 were in England and 438 in Wales. http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/acts/licensing-act-1904
Please do get in touch if you would like to make a comment or have any further information. More history and information on the other pubs in Cherry Hinton coming soon....
If you'd like to support the work that I do, why not buy me a virtual coffee, I'd be really grateful and it will help keep me going :)
A little exploration into one of the old farms of Cherry Hinton. Ventress Farm was one of the old farms that stood in Cherry Hinton village, positioned just off of, what is now, Cherry Hinton Road. There would appear to be nothing remaining of it to see today...or is there?...
So as you can see from the two little video clips above, it may be that there is something of the old farm buildings remaining, that we can see today, hidden away from sight and only there if you go exploring and have a look. The question is, is that older looking house, within the more modern Ventress Farm Court Flats, actually the old Ventress farm house? or even on the site of the Ventress Farm. Given the name of the site today as Ventress Farm Court, it seems a fairly obvious clue that this was at the least the site of the old farm. So let's take a look at the things I can tell you about Ventress Farm, that I know of already and then see if we can decide if that house is, in fact the old farm house. Firstly lets get our position clearer in the landscape.
This is the southern end of Cherry Hinton. You can see the grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall top left and the blue pool is Giant's Grave, which is at the crossroads at the start of Cherry Hinton High Street, with the Robin Hood pub opposite bottom right corner. The yellow X marks the entrance to Ventress Farm Court and the start of video clip 1, the yellow circle marks the potential old Ventress Farm building in video clip 2.
A good place to start is the old Enclosure map of Cherry Hinton, which is from 1806, when Enclosure took place in Cherry Hinton (more on that in another blog coming soon). This is one of the earliest maps that we have for the village in any detail and we can get to see what buildings were there at that time.
The Enclosure Map, 1806, of Cherry Hinton, showing the portion that we are examining. I have coloured in the Giant's Grave and the brook and marked two of the roads so that you might get your bearings. I have also put a red dot on the spot where Cherry Hinton Hall was to be built later, and a red X to mark where the Robin Hood pub now stands. I have circled in yellow the two sets of buildings on the road, around the area that Ventress Farm once stood.
So in 1806, we can see that there are two sets of buildings around the site. The ones, in the larger yellow circle, look more like a set of related buildings which make them a more likely candidate for a farm and then the second singular building in the smaller yellow circle further to the left. Let's have a go at overlaying the modern map with the Enclosure map to see if we can sort the position out better.
Hopefully you'll be able to make out a little of what is showing through the overlaid maps above. We can now rule out the building shown previously, in the smaller yellow circle, and turn our attention to the collection of buildings, within the plot of the larger yellow circle. As you can more or less make out in the overlaid maps above, the left hand L shaped building seems to lay beneath what is now a road way - (the second part of Ventress Farm Court roadway, which comes off of Greystoke Road). The building that is shown on the picture above, in the yellow circle above is the one to focus on. If it is not the building that remains today, it would have stood upon the same spot and may relate to those bricks that were reused to make the back wall, shown in video clip 2.
As you can see there are two L shaped buildings within this one plot, numbered 113, and marked as owned by Caius College. In fact look a little closer within the plot and you'll see another small, square building, by the roadside. The dark line going across the picture is where Cherry Hinton Road now lays (this used to be called Long Drove). It does not name the site as Ventress Farm on this map. I need to do several things to make this information clearer at this stage but given the lockdown that we are in, some things will just have to wait until another day - one of which is a trip to Caius College to have a look in their archives, as it will be good to see what they have on Cherry Hinton in general but also to see what this site was called in previous years to the Enclosure. I also need to pop back up to Cambridge Archives, which is now in Ely, in its new building there, and go over both the Enclosure and accompanying pre-Enclosure maps of Cherry Hinton, getting some new and clearer pictures of them to share with you. I will then also be able to look through the Enclosure award book to see what and who else may be listed, for the plot that we are looking at. I do have all these records here but hidden in piles of archives, in boxes, so it's just as well to go and get some newer pictures with better camera. As I get more data I will keep adding to this post.
In the old medieval open field system within the parish of Cherry Hinton, the site lay in a large parcel of land called Fendon Field. The written survey, of parts of the village in 1592, by Christopher Saxton, describes many of the smaller parcels of land within Fendon Field, most of which are owned by Gilbert Wise and his family but it doesn’t mention any buildings, only the size of the land parcels. The same can be said for the survey of the land carried out in 1733 by John Tracey, some of the land within Fendon Field still being owned by the Wise family, descendants of Gilbert Wise.As we've just seen, on the Enclosure map of 1806 we can see that Gonville and Caius (Cambridge College) are marked as owning the site. Here's a little more information relating to that for now.
“In 1503 Thomas Willows granted c.45 acres to Gonville Hall (Cambridge), to which in 1708 W. Peters left 66 acres copyhold of Netherhall manor. After inclosure  Caius College's main Hinton holdings were in Fendon field… Between 1830 and 1857 its land was leased out to William Ventris. Its lands were sold off piecemeal in the 20th century, and in 1998 it retained 20 acres....In account of Caius' building expenses between 1564 and 1573, amounting to £1,837, includes purchase of timber-trees from Warboys and Ramsey woods, freestone and rubble from Ramsey [Abbey] and Barnwell [Priory], freestone from King's Cliffe and Weldon, clunch from Haslingfield and Barrington and lime from Reach and Cherry Hinton.”
“From the 16th century Caius College owned other lands in Teversham, called WILLOWES. In 1502 Thomas Willows, a Cambridge glover, had devised his purchased lands, c. 79 a., in Teversham, Fen Ditton, Fulbourn, and Cherry Hinton, to Gonville Hall, for 99 years, to help maintain a fellow and bible clerk. The Teversham portion, which, with other land in Fulbourn and Fen Ditton, became Willowes farm.” [in Teversham]
(A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Victoria County History, London, 2002.)
The next thing we can do is to take a quick look at the site from the air.
So one last little thing to try before I start telling you about the tragic and interesting history from what I already know about Ventress Farm... let's overlay the Enclosure map with the aerial view to see just where that building lands, more or less ;)
Mr & Mrs Ventris lived and ran the farm on our site in the early 19th century, and it was called Ventris Farm - later, by the end of the 19th century the spelling had changed to Ventress. You can read more about the tragic incident that occurred, in 1813, to Mrs Ventris and her young child below:
The following is gleaned from old newspaper records about the Ventress (Ventris) family in Cherry Hinton and Ventress Farm:
Mrs Ventris, Relief of poor, May 1801 (Cherry Hinton Chronicle, E.Filby)
Relief of the poor in Cambridge and the neighbouring villages. Second subscription. Mrs Ventris, Cherry Hinton paid 10s 6d
Melancholy Event, September 24th 1813 (Cherry Hinton Chronicle, E.Filby)
We are much concerned in stating, that on Monday morning last, Mrs. Ventris, wife of Mr. Ventris of this place was found drowned in a ditch in the Parish of Cherry Hinton. She had left Cambridge on the preceding day, and took one of her children with her, a girl about 16 months old, who we regret to say, was also drowned, being found within a few feet of her mother. The Coroner's jury returned a verdict "found drowned".
This terrible thing happened and the verdict just seems so plain... 'Found drowned'. Perhaps it was as simple and as tragic as that. I presume that the ditch in question was most likely a point somewhere along the Hinton Brook, only across the road from Ventris Farm, which flows from Giant's Grave at the High Street crossroads, through the grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall and on towards Coldham's Common, before joining the River Cam at Stourbridge Common. You have to bear in mind that the Hinton Brook had far more depth and the area was covered in marshy boggy places, with natural springs and their little ditches cropping out in various places. This was before the drainage of the parish took place and before the water reservoirs were built on top of Lime Kiln Hill in the late 19th century, which in turn lessened the flow of water in the Hinton Brook. So perhaps it was just that, a tragic accident. It is natural to wonder if there was more to it such as foul play or even suicide, perhaps due to something like postnatal illness or such like but we can not presume or surmise anything like that because we do not have the full facts and can only give our respectful thoughts and prayers to the memory of Mrs Ventris, her young child and her family, acknowledging the sad incident, now part of our Cherry Hinton history.
I have started a family tree for the Ventris family, on Ancestry, so that I can get further records and information about them, which I'll add here as I discover facts.
Mrs Ventris was called Mary and she was buried, at Cherry Hinton, 23rd September 1813 (FHL Film No. 2149251)
The child, who died with her, was called Elizabeth Ventris, as she is shown as also being buried in Cherry Hinton on 23rd September 1813. (FHL Film no. 214251).
The gravestone of Thomas Ventris (possibly William's father) and the only Ventris gravestone I could find on my social distancing walk this afternoon, in St Andrew's Churchyard, Cherry Hinton. This little patch would have been the Ventris family grave area though. Back in around 2005, I, along with Graeme Clarke, surveyed the entire graveyard here and reproduced the grave plan and written grave records for the vicar at the time. I will dig that file out and check for more info on the Ventris family and put here later.
The main and only village burial site from the medieval period onwards was St Andrew's Church at the top end of the village in Church End - There was a large Saxon burial site further down Church End, pre-dating the main church today, which was discovered and excavated about 2009. Before that we've got isolated burials all over the place, from the skeletons of those massacred in long gone battles, found up on top of Lime Kiln Hill, at the War Ditches - to the boundary marker, bronze age burials around the parish and more besides. I'm not sure if the Baptist Chapel on Fisher Lane ever allowed any burials there but on the whole everyone was buried in St Andrew's Church yard - before the creation of the Cambridge Cemetery on Newmarket Road. I have long thought that there may have been some earlier, collective burial site, down the south end of the village (Mill End) somewhere, because Church End (in the north) and Mill End (south) were quite separate from one another before drainage took place in the late 1800's. Perhaps there is still a Saxon burial site to be discovered in Mill End somewhere - the only indication of something religious down that end at the moment, is an odd reference to "God's House" which keeps cropping up on old surveys and documents - it seems to lay somewhere off of the High Street, opposite the Post Office, in that area. So much to explore and discover still...:)
You can visit the tree that I have now started on Ancestry, to learn more about the Ventris family by clicking this link: www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/pt/RSVP.aspx?dat=MTY5MDQ0MzkwOzswMWU5NDJkNS0wMDA2LTAwMDAtMDAwMC0wMDAwMDAwMDAwMDA7MjAyMDA1MTIwNzE3MDI7MQ==&mac=KJIo8AoL8hQtxxf6g8vMBA==
The basics are:
Mr Ventris was William Richmond Ventris and he married Mrs Ventris - Mary Lawrence in Cambridge on 28th December 1796 at Saint Andrew the Great Church.
Mr Ventris was born around 1765 and his parents were from Teversham. He was married first to Martha Plume (born 1764 - died 1788) and they had 2 or 3 children together. He then married Mary and they had 4 or 5 children together.
William and Mary had a baby called Sarah in June 1812 and who was then buried in Cherry Hinton in June 1812. Mary and her daughter Elizabeth died the in September 1813 - the newspaper article saying that Elizabeth was about 16 months old - I wonder if Sarah and Elizabeth had been twins? - a quick check of the records confirms this to be the case, as both Elizabeth and Sarah are baptised together in Cherry Hinton on 6th June 1812.
William and Mary's son, Edward Ventris (b.1802 -d.1886) went on to live in Cambridge (3, Bateman Street, Cambridge) and was the Vicar of the parish church in Stow-Cum-Quy.
William Ventris died in 1827.
More newspaper clips and information regarding Ventris Farm:
27th September and 4th October 1816 (Cherry Hinton Chronicle, E.Filby)
Parish of Cherry Hinton in the County of Cambridge
Whereas the GAME within this Parish has been much destroyed by poachers and unqualified persons, and considerable damage done by persons sporting amongst standing crops and other acts of unsportsmanlike conduct, obliges us to adopt this mode of proceeding. We the undersigned being owners and occupiers of Lands within the said parish, do hereby give notice, that such persons found trespassing will be prosecuted, and qualified persons are requested not to sport.
T.S. Headly, R. Johnson, R.Rickard, R.Emson, W.Capp, J.Barrance, R.Granger sen., R. Granger jun., J.Truslove, John Headly, John Green, W.R. Ventris, William Tagg, Thomas Hart, J.Clements, William Coe.
October 15th 1819 (Cherry Hinton Chronicle, E.Filby)
Furniture - Cherry Hinton
To be sold by auction by Elliot Smith on the premises of Mrs Ventris, deceased, on Tuesday next the 19th October at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Consisting of bedsteads and furnishings, beds and bedding, 8 day clock, a bureau, corner cupboard, kitchen utensils, hooks and various other articles. May be viewed morning of sale. Catelogues to be had at the Coach and Horses, Fulbourn, Red Lion, Cherry Hinton, and Elliot Smith.
January 1st 1822 (Cherry Hinton Chronicle, E.Filby)
On Friday last, an inquest was held before John Ingle Esq., one of the coroners for this County, on view of the body of Thomas Lane, servant at Mr. Ventris's farm, at Cherry Hinton. It appeared that the deceased, who had been unwell for some time, but not so much so as to prevent his going about his usual avocations, retired to bed after eating a hearty supper. In the night a person in the adjoining room was awoke by the cries of a lad, who slept with the deceased. He immediately got up and only arrived in time to see the poor fellow expire. Verdict, died by the visitation of God.
September 14th 1832 (Cherry Hinton Chronicle, E.Filby)
On Sunday night last or early on the following morning, a post chaise was stolen from the premises of Mrs. Ventris of Cherry Hinton.
October 21st 1882 (Cherry Hinton Chronicle, E.Filby)
J.Barton will supply
Daily pure MILK from the cow
8 pints for 1 shilling.
Deliveries to all part of the Town.
All orders received at Ventris Farm, Cherry Hinton.
Owners and occupiers of Ventris (Ventress) farm over the years:
The 1888 Os Map (https://cherry-hinton.ccan.co.uk/content/catalogue_item/map-of-1888) showing Ventress Farm, as a collection of buildings in a square layout. P. indicates a pump and our building that stands today is upon the spot along the southside of this complex. Notice how the little building on the far left, which was shown on the 1806 Enclosure map, still stands.
Both the 1851 and 1861 Census do not record Ventris Farm by name but records a John Spencer as a farmer in the vicinity of where Ventris Farm would have been, on Cambridge Road (called Fulbourn Road 1861) - but we can not say for certainty that this is the same site, so for now we'll just note that, rather that say for definite.
In the news, which may relate to Ventris Farm, if Mr Spencer did indeed farm and live there, the following entry in the Cambridge Chronicle appears:
November 17th 1849
On the night of Tuesday last, about 12 o'clock, a fire broke out in a wheat stack situate in a field on the farm of Mr. Spencer, of this parish. The flames speedily communicated to a contiguous wheat stack and a barley cob, and the three were reduced to ashes. The stacks were at some distance from the Homestead and there is no doubt that they were maliciously fired. The conflagration, from the solidity of the Stacks, lasted for a considerable period, and created a great deal of alarm in Cambridge. Mr Spencer is insured, but we have not heard an estimate of the loss, which must be considerable.
(Cherry Hinton Chronicle, E.Filby)
Both the 1871 and 1881 Census do not record Ventris Farm by name but records a Remmington Pratt as a farmer in the vicinity of where Ventris Farm would have been, on Cambridge Road - but we can not say for certainty that this is the same site, so as with 1851 and 1861 previously, for now we'll just note that, rather that say for definite.
OS map 1885 shows the name spelt Ventress rather than Ventris.
On the 1891 Census, Ventris Farm isn't named but approximately where it would be expected a farm is listed but called Barton's Farm - perhaps a temporary change? this needs more investigation. As it corresponds to the site, it is worth mentioning the details here:
Barton's Farm -
James Bass, Head, married, aged 60, Farm Bailiff, employed, born in Oxford
Emma Bass, wife, aged 61, born Bucks
William Bass, son, single, aged 37, Book Cavasser, born Bucks
Louisa Bass, daughter, single, aged 23, born Trumpington
Walter Bass, son, single, aged 19, Stationary Engine Driver, employed, born Trumpington
*note how the son, Walter is a stationary engine driver - this suggests that he was working for the Pamplin family of Cherry Hinton who ran the steam plough works (where there were stationary engines working the plough) in the village and are recorded as owning the Ventris Farm site in 1913 - perhaps they owned it from this date, 1891
The 1901 Census doesn't name Ventris Farm, just the road, but we can presume with some degree of certainty that Daniel Coe who is shown as Farm Baliff and is on the 1911 Census (see below) as a Farm Steward, living at Ventris Farm, is at the same place in 1901.
So for 1901 it is likely that the following applies:
Cambridge Road, Cherry Hinton -
Daniel Coe, Head, married, aged 48, Farm Baliff, worker, born in Cherry Hinton
Emma Coe (Emily on 1911 Census), wife, aged 47 years, born Cherry Hinton
Lizzie Coe (Lucy on 1911 Census), daughter, aged 20, Dressmaker, born in Cherry Hinton
Ada F Coe, daughter, aged 16, born Cherry Hinton
Any other the families shown either side of the Coe's on this Census could also be living on the site but without a link we can not presume to add them at this point.
In 1909 a sad incident took place at the farm:
On the 1911 Census for Cherry Hinton, there are three people listed as living at Ventris (spelt the original way) Farm, as follows:
Obdiah John Malting, head of the household, aged 52, married for 30 years, 3 children born alive, 2 living, one died. Horse keeper, worker. born in Suffolk.
Caroline Malting, wife, aged 51, born in Suffolk
Harry Joseph Malting, son, aged 20, single. Born in Suffolk.
The house is listed as having 4 rooms (not inc. any scullery, landing, lobby, closet, bathroom nor warehouse, office or shop)
Also on the 1911 Census, shown living as separate family (and most likely building with in complex) at Ventris Farm were:
Daniel Coe, Head, aged 59, married for 40 years, Farm Steward, Farmer, Worker, born in Cherry Hinton.
Emily Coe, wife, aged 59, 5 children born alive and 5 children living, born in Cherry Hinton.
Lucy Coe, daughter, aged 30, single, dressmaker, born in Cherry Hinton
c. 1913 - The two farms at Cherry Hinton owned by Pamplins were Ventris Farm and Sidney Farm. Ventris Farm stood on the left of Cherry Hinton Road as you left the Robin Hood public house and made your way towards Cambridge, the farmhouse stood on the site that is now a brand new housing complex of flats called Ventress Farm Court. (M. Bullivant, Cherry Hinton Community Archives (CCAN). You can read more about the Pamplin Bros. here - https://cherry-hinton.ccan.co.uk/wp-search/ventris)
Harold Ridgeon and his family are living at Ventress Farm in the 1960's - a well known Cambridge family, involved with the Sindalls Company, which had a site further down Cherry Hinton Road, opposite Wulfstan Way.
The record on the Cambridgeshire Historic Environment Record database is as follows:
Which we now know isn't quite correct, the farm isn't completely demolished. So I have written to them to request the record now be updated with the new information provided by this post. You'd never know it was there, unless you live in Ventris Farm Court and saw that odd building in the middle as different, or if you didn't just come off road and explore because it can not been seen from the road side at all.
This welcome comment was posted to this article by Ivan who said the following:
"Not sure if you found it already but if you search for planning reference C/75/0116 on the greater Cambridge planning portal, you find : "Address: Ventress Farm House Cherry Hinton Road Cambridge Cambridgeshire. Proposal: Erection of two-storey extention to existing dwelling to from flats.Change of use of existing dwelling to flats". Dated 02 Apr 1975. The application was granted - maybe this is as straightforward as it sounds - the house was there at that time and was converted to flats then?"
If you go onto the planning portal yourself, you will find the information he is referring to and you'll see that it does indeed give the date for which the flats we see today at Ventress Farm were approved for construction in 1975 and that it also says they are to be extended from the farmhouse that stood on the site. It also suggests that the house itself is converted to flats. Here's a screen shot of part of the original application:
Many thanks to Ivan for this information - and remember, if you have any information you'd like to add or ideas you want to suggest please do get in touch. In addition, you are more than welcome to share you memories of Ventress Farm and the site, living in the flats and so on, to this site - just drop me a line :)
If you'd like to support the work that I do, why not buy me a coffee, I'd be really grateful and it will help keep me going :)
This is the blog page for my articles, memories and archives relating to the archaeology and local history of Cherry Hinton, a village to the south east of Cambridge UK. The area covered is the old Parish of Cherry Hinton which today includes the Ward of Queen Edith's. Please feel free to browse, you can submit comments or get in touch using the 'Contact Me' button on the main menu above. These are my own thoughts and theories which are always a work in progress as research never ends, it's a place to put my working notes. If you would like to use or reference any of my work, please do get in touch and be sure to reference writing or pictures in the correct way, thanks in advance :) As this section gets more populated with posts, you will be able to use the search bar above or the A-Z menu below to search any items of interest.