Stone Corner Cottage Update

1806 Enclosure Map – Stone Corner and Environs

By Eleanor Whitehead

I have been asked to add a little more to the history of the area of Stone Corner Cottage which around 1800 seem to be the most outlying dwelling of Church End Histon. I was reminded by a reader that Stone Corner outbuildings were demolished around 1929 in order to widen Cottenham Road (see photograph – the existing cottage known as stone corner cottage is just visible along the road. Note the outbuilding has a brick encasing and chimney. This strongly suggests that it had been converted to a dwelling; probably during the 1840s).

And another comment – ‘Does anyone know what happened to the stones or anything regarding their origin?’ Can you help?

According to the deeds of 21, Cottenham Road (my house opposite!), the construction of the ‘Abbey Estate’ did not begin until 1935.

Using information from the enclosure award of 1806, the census of 1841 and church registers, a little more can be inferred regarding the history of Stone Corner Cottage and its outbuilding in the foreground.

c. 1925 The Stone Corner Cottage outbuilding with two boulders protecting its walls. Camb. Coll.

The first maps to record the position of Stone Corner Cottage were prepared in 1801 and 1806 (part reproduced below and annotated) when Histon and Impington lands were enclosed. Enclosure 518, known then as Drage’s Homestead, shows the hall house with a central north wing extension and a large range of outbuildings parallel to the highway. As you can see there are no dwellings recorded further towards Cottenham (until you reach what was the junction with Pig Lane – now Glebe Road). John and Elizabeth Drage appear to have left the village shortly after their infant sons died in 1749 and 1751. In the Census of 1841, Stone Corner Cottage was called Panton Hall and was home to William Gotobed, farm labourer, and his family.

One can also deduce that the Chivers family were established just beyond Primes Corner (top of 518). The brick terraced houses near to Stone Corner Cottage currently on what was enclosure 517 have been erected since 1806. Those next to Stone Corner Cottage were occupied by farmer John Papworth who could afford a family servant, John Stead school master and gardener who could also afford a servant (Alstead Road is named after a son) and the recently widowed Elizabeth Wayment, agricultural labourer, and her young family.

1806 Enclosure map with lot numbers. Oates Coll. and Uni. Lib.

Subsequent censuses reveal that the Papworth, Chivers and Stead descendants thrived but Elizabeth and family disappear from Histon and Impington records.

The highway is now called Cottenham Road but for a time Stone Corner to Kingsway was known as Clay Street. In documents the cottage is recorded as at the beginning of Cottenham Road or at the beginning of Clay Street which can cause confusion. As is the case today, the site can be accessed from the south or west of the highway to Cottenham. The T junction at Stone Corner may also cause confusion. The downgraded Penny Lane led south to the churches of Histon St Andrew and the long lost Histon St Etheldreda. On enclosure the lane became part of the Abbey Farm estate owned by Thomas Panton. Today it is overgrown and hidden by trees. As late as 1990 the massive stumps of elms, which once lined this lane, could be observed.

As a matter of interest, it was at enclosure that ancient Gun’s Lane, bounded by 700 and 729, was downgraded from the King’s Highway to Rampton to the bridleway that we know today.

April 2020