Carlton Green Essay
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This is an essay donated to this site by L. Fletcher, of Carlton Green, about Carlton Green (an outlying hamlet of Carlton-cum-Willingham). It was finished in March 2000. It has been reformatted by this site. Click on the thumbnail pictures to make them larger.



A small rural community

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Carlton Green is an old, isolated settlement in the uplands of Cambridgeshire 1, it is just under two miles from the village of Carlton and is mainly in the parish of Carlton-cum-Willingham. The parish church, St. Peters, appears in the Domesday Book, as does Carlton Green then known as Little Carlton, which was entered under Weston Colville.

The hamlet is an open, high and exposed community comprising seven occupied buildings (excluding barns) and one other closely connected by history. It is located on the Cambridgeshire Suffolk border, about 20 miles from Cambridge and 10 miles from Newmarket. It is on boulder clay overlying the chalk escarpment, that marks this South East border of Cambridgeshire. The area is dotted with small sections of woodland, the remains of the ancient woods that covered the whole area. It is completely surrounded by farmland and agriculture used to be the main way of life here. It is the sort of place that people speed through and think pretty, but who would want to live there. Well us Carlton Green Hillbillies do!

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The hamlet contains only 9 households. The community of Carlton Green follows the line of the old 17 acre green shown on an estate map of 1612 2, this is a hand painted map kept by Cambridge University. The present building line is the same as both the 1612 map and a later Enclosure Map of 1799, kept in Cambridge County Records Office and although the green is now farmland, the old hedges and the road pattern still preserve its boundaries.

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The road pattern at the bottom of the green has changed slightly since 1612. There used to be a road leading from the bottom of the green, through a settlement at Cocksedge Farm to the road linking Weston Colville to Newmarket. This road appears on the 1799 Enclosure map but disappears by a map produced in 1836 by The Ordnance Survey, which shows the road stopping at Cocksedge Farm. Today this road is seen only as a field boundary, although according to a retired local farm manager. Brian Langford, it is still possible to see the sites where houses existed on this road from a tractor.

The population of Carlton Green has seen a few fluctuations over the years, even the VCH can get it wrong, they mention that there were only four houses there in 1612, but on the 1612 estate map there are eleven if you include Cocksedge and Lophams. Today there is about the same population as 1900 but during the 2nd World War Carlton Green became a hive of activity! The Ministry of Defence built an airfield at Wratting Common, just down the road, and Carlton Green became the site of the WAAF camp, actually built on the site of the old green. One wireless operator from the airfield told me that he used to get his laundry done by the lady who lived in my house. The wood behind the house still has brick built underground air-raid shelters. After the war the WAAF camp became a displaced person camp which swelled the population considerably.

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Each house in Carlton Green is sympathetic with its surroundings whatever its age, although apart from one they were all built before 1900. The first house that you meet coming from Carlton is 'the jewel in the crown', Lophams Hall, a listed building. There has been a house on this site since from before the Domesday Book, but the present house is Tudor 3 probably from a moated house built for Sir Thomas Fynderne in the 15th century, surrounded by parkland, the extent of which is preserved in the existing field boundaries 4. It is a timber-framed house with a stepped brick chimney and a very high upper floor. The exterior is now rendered and the building is set in a valley with landscaped grounds. The interior, which is not really part of this assessment, is stunning with carvings of elephants and other exotic animals in the beams of the first floor ceiling.

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The next house you meet as you leave Lophams and head away from Carlton is 172-171 Carlton Green, or to the people who live there, Appletree Cottage and Buntings. This is a semi-detached pair of cottages built for labourers in the early 18th Century. They were originally only one and a half rooms downstairs with a room reached by a ladder in the eaves, timber framed with wattle and daub walls and thatched roofs. They were still this way in 1929 5, probably in the 1930's they had the thatch removed and the roof raised to accommodate a higher first floor, and weather boarded externally. When the white paint was rubbed down about 15 years ago, camouflage paint was found underneath, a remnant of the 2nd World War. Internally they both have original beams and framing, although due to the uncaring nature of a previous owner the bread ovens that were part of the fireplaces no longer exist. One quite amusing point about these houses is their numbering, these two houses were numbered as 171 & 172 on the tied cottage register of the Six Mile Bottom Estate. When numbers were put on these cottages they bore no relation to where they were in Carlton Green, but people in the community took them to be the number in the road where they stood and numbered  their houses accordingly. Thus against the natural order of things, 170 & 169 are further down the road from Carlton than 172 & 171, also there have never been 172 houses in Carlton Green.

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Next to Appletree Cottage and Buntings are 170-169 Carlton Green, these as far as I can tell are late 18th Century or 19th Century timber framed semi-detached cottages, now greatly extended. The exterior was probably wattle and daub now rendered. What was quite unusual and charming about them is that they had Dutch Barn roofs, as a photograph from 1926 shows 6. Like 172-171 the roofs were raised in the 1930's.

The house next to these cottages is Woodman House, this is a 1960's house built on the site of a Victorian cottage 7 pulled down in the 1950's. This house blends in quite well with the rest of Carlton Green and follows the building line of the house on the edge of the original green.

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Woodman Cottage follows Woodman House and is on the junction of the Thurlow road. This cottage is an old beer house which was called The Woodman and appears on 1930's Ordnance Survey maps, I believe it lost its licence in 1937, if it could only have held on for the airfield! This building is probably early 18th Century, timber framed, wattle and daub and originally thatched. The publican in 1883 was Ely Ezekiel according to Kelly's Directory 8. The roof of the house is now tiled and is a very attractive property from the outside.

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Finchley Farm marks the end of Carlton Green on the West Wickham road. This is probably a late 18th or 19th Century house built on the site of an earlier house as the barn and the stables appear to be from an earlier date. The original name of the house was Finchley Gate Farm, which suggests that it may have been a gatehouse to Lophams Hall and its park. The house is your first view of Carlton Green as you approach up the hill from Weston Colville. A very imposing house at first sight but when you go inside you realise that it is only one room wide, which makes it very shallow. The barn on the right hand side, the remains of the original stables and the old well beside the stables give the impression that this was originally a 16-17th Century settlement.


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When you go down the Thurlow road opposite Woodman Cottage you come to Rood Hall, which marks the boundary of the old green. Set well back from the road this house is on the site of a house on the 1612 map, marking the edge of the original green. It might even be the same house I'm not sure. This house before it was rendered, is of brick construction, which is unusual in this area and suggests that the house was built by a wealthy man. This may be conjecture but the house is on the edge of the Knights Templar land at Temple End so maybe it was a house built by a returning crusader!

Although I have described these houses individually they should be considered as a group. A close knit community surrounding the site of the old green and the manor house, Lophams Hall, set in its previous parkland, which is still defined by the existing field boundaries.

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The community is set in the highest point of old Cambridgeshire (before parts of Hertfordshire were incorporated) at 375ft above sea level and has good views on all entrances to the hamlet. There are ancient woodlands that still survive such as Lophams Wood and College Grove, which is part of Long Stocking shown on the 1612 map.

The Victoria History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely Volume VI.
2  'View of Weston Colville and Carlton Parva' 1612, Cambridge University Library Map Room
3  Cambridgeshire, Norman Scarfe, Faber & Faber, 1983
Study of the Impact of Imparkment on the Social Landscape of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, Twigs Way, 1997.
5  Photograph, Cambridge Collection
6  Photograph, Cambridge Collection
7  Photograph, Cambridge Collection
8  1883 Kelly's Directory , Cambridge Collection

Copyright L.Fletcher, 2000,2002