Time Trails

Time Trail 1 (from early times to c.1300).
This is the first of a monthly series of historical snippets about our village, each focusing on a different century, spanning the 800 years which we are celebrating this year at St.Nicolas’ Church.Early Times
A few Neolithic implements have been found indicating that early humans had been in this area. An important Romano–British bronze statuette was discovered a few years before 1824.
The name Hail Weston derives from the river forming the northern and eastern parish boundaries (now called the River Kim), which was originally called the Hayle or Hail, and in earlier times the village was called Heilweston (12th Century), evolving to Hailweston and Haleweston later.

1042-1066
During the reign of Edward the Confessor the manor was held by two men- Saxi and Uluin Chit, who were Earl Harold’s Men. However their manor was not part of the great Kimbolton estate which was held by the Earl.

1066 – 1300
After the Norman Conquest, Hail Weston was split into four Manors – and there was much contention as to who owned them!

The Norman noble, William de Warenne (1stEarl of Surrey, d. 1088), who had fought with William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings, had been granted many lands throughout England. One of these was the Kimbolton Estate, and in 1086 William went to court to claim one of the Hail Weston Manors, believing that it formed part of the estate. The jurors ruled against him.

In 1086 two manors were held by Eustace of Boulogne, the Sheriff, but these were also disputed. Countess Judith of Lens, a niece of William the Conqueror, claimed one of the Manors as it had been held by her husband, Waltheof, Earl of Northumbria and Huntindon. She was not successful and the land was passed to Eustace’s successors the de Lovetots, as part of the manor of Southoe.

Eustaces’s other Manor was claimed by Robert Fafiton, whose ancestor Saxi Chit had held lands in Hail Weston, however the jurors found against him, as this particular property had not belonged to Saxi! Robert already held one manor in the village, from another relative Wulfwine Chit. This Manor was the one disputed by William de Warenne.

Another of the manors was owned by Algeat Tre and the last was held by an unnamed Englishman.

In the 13th Century the Manor of Hail Weston was apparently worth two thirds of a knight’s fee and was held by two sub-tenants, but the records are unclear as to their names.

Church History
Records show that services were taking place in the Church or Chapel of St Nicolas in 1209. The building existed in the 13th Century and the lancet window, double piscine and some stones in the south doorway date from this time. The early shape of nave and chancel under one roof is also indicative of the 13thcentury.

Originally it was a chapelry, annexed to Southoe and was in the gift (advowson – the right to appoint a member of clergy) of the de Lovetot family. In 1222 the de Lovetots assigned the Hail Weston chapel to Simon de Eynesbury as vicar. Later Southoe and Hail Weston were bequeathed to the priory of St. Mary in Huntingdon who took it over in 1255 – the earliest Prior mentioned in our parish records was Radulph de London. He was succeeded in 1286 by John de St Leofard and in 1295 Radulf de Cantabrig took over. They were all from the Huntingdon Priory.

EMcC.
(Sources ‘Kings and Lords of Conquest England’ by Robin Fleming. 2004
Cambridge University Press
and
‘A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2’ ed. W. Page,
G. Proby and S. Inskip Ladds. 1932. Victoria County History)

 

Time Trail 2 (c.1300 – 1500).
Continuing a monthly series of historical snippets about our village, spanning the 800 years which we are celebrating this year at St. Nicolas’ Church.In the 13th Century the Manor of Hail Weston was apparently worth two thirds of a knight’s fee and was held by two sub-tenants, but the records are unclear as to their names. However four sisters, Aubrey de Windlingbury or Launcelin, Agnes, wife of William of Grafham or Brampton, Felicia de Buckworth and Cecilia de Soke are recorded as tenants c.1244/5.The owners of the Manors at the start of the 14th Century are documented as being members of the Ferrers family of Eynesbury – here we have to go back to 1230 and 1242, to Roger de Quincy, Earl of Winchester, who held the Manors as a mesne of the Honour of Mortimer. In turn Roger passed the Manors to his daughters, Countess Margaret of Ferrers and Ellen de la Zouche.Countess Margaret held two thirds of the lands, her descendants, the Ferrers of Chartley and the Devereux, held the Manors until 1571, when they were sold to the Dyer family.The remaining third of the de Quincy holdings passed to Ellen, whose son Oliver la Zouche inherited them, along with the Eynesbury Bulkeley Manor. His descendant, Sir John Dyer also purchased the other two thirds from the Devereux, thus finally uniting the Manors.

In the early 14thcentury a William Launcelyn of Hail Weston took over the Manor of Heydon in Essex. (Was he related to Aubrey de Windlingbury or Launcelin? – see above.)

The following details about our village during this period were found in the National Archives, dated 1377:

John Dengayne, the sheriff of Huntingdon, petitioned the King about the ‘feebleness of the prisons in his keeping’ allowing some prisoners to escape. Mentioned here was a John Skelton of Hail Weston, but apparently the prisoners had already been pardoned by the King’s grandfather!

The Prior and Convent of St Mary, Huntingdon applied to the Crown to appropriate the church of Southoe and the chapel of Hail Weston and also to alienate some land there.

An ancient bridge over the River Kym (or Hail) was also mentioned in 1377.

Church History
The Font dates from the late 13th century. The east and south windows of the chancel date from the 15th century, the eastern wall having largely been rebuilt during this period. One of the south windows of the nave is a modern (1884) copy of a 15th century 3 light. The fine carved eastern tie-beam of the nave dates from the late 15th century, as do some of the other roof timbers. The oak screen between the nave and chancel contains original wood from the same period.

Our parish records show a high turnover in rectors during this period – 1377 was a particularly busy year- possibly due to St. Mary’s convent finally appropriating the church, although it is more likely that the dates were unclear in the ancient records. It seems a long gap from 1377 to 1464, or did John Ebbotte really live that long?!

1303 John de Clipeston
1334 John de Chelmesford
1349 Hugh Atte Well
1355 Elias de Trykingham
1361 William Lovetot
1367 Robert de Holme
1368 Thomas Cook
1374 Thomas Rosewold
1377 John de Mulshoo
John Tubbe
John Ebbotte
1464 Stephen Brasyer
Edward Shuldham
1477 Gilbert Crooke
1491 William Carpenter

EMcC.
Sources ‘The National Archives:
SC8 Petitions to the King; To the King and Council: To the
Council; To the Parliament; and the Like.
C143 Chancery: Inquisitions Ad Quo Damnum, Henry III to Richard III
and
‘A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2 ed. W. Page,
G. Proby and S. Inskip Ladds. 1932. Victoria County History)

 

Time Trail 3 (from c.1500 to c.1600).
More historical snippets about our village, spanning the 800 years which we are celebrating this year at St. Nicolas’ Church.At the start of the 16thcentury, part of Hail Weston, called Harvey’s Manor was held by Sir George Harvey who died c. 1521 or 1522. Having no direct heirs, he left it to Gerard (a son of Margaret Smart). There is conjecture that Gerard may have been an illegitimate son of Sir George. Documents relate that Gerard settled the manor on himself and his heirs in 1534.The rest of the lands at Hail Weston were held by Lord Ferrers of Chartley and the Bulkeley Family.The Priories of St. Neots, St. Mary’s Huntingdon, Hinchinbroke and Stonely also held lands here until the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII, which started in 1536 with the smaller monasteries. The larger religious houses began to be broken up and closed down in 1539. Thomas Cromwell, Henry’s Vicar General, had previously assessed the wealth of the monasteries, and his men caused much destruction; statues were smashed, stained glass broken, paintings defaced and church lands seized.(One wonders if this is when the Rood Screen was sawn off in St. Nicolas Church – or was it some of Oliver Cromwell’s men just over a hundred years later? If anyone has any further information about this, I would welcome it, as the missing rood screen is a mystery.)

In 1534 the curate at Hail Weston was paid an annual stipend of £5 6s.8d. (about £5.36 in today’s money) by the vicar at Southoe.

Between 1553 and 1558 in one of the sittings in the Star Chamber, Robert Sapcotes, William Long and others were charged with destroying fences and killing deer in the parishes of Great Staughton and Hail Weston. This is a clue to the more wooded landscape of those days.

There is a document in the national archives dated 28th November 1581 written by a Hail Weston man, John Barnard, to John Bulkeley. It tells how William and Robert Bulkeley granted an annuity of £40.00 out of lands in Meagre(Magry) and Great Paxton. (Could this be the origin of the name of Meagre Farm?)

Church History

There are some 16thcentury features still discernible in the current church building, the south wall being the main one. There are two doorways from this period, one in the south wall and the other leading into the tower room. Two three light windows date from this time too, although the one in the north wall is a modern copy.

The tower was built in the 16thcentury – it was replaced in the 1890s, however the original tower was of wood covered with rough weather boarding.

Our oldest bell is dated 1589 and bears the inscription ‘Feare God and Obeai the Quene’

There were only four changes of incumbent during this time, however the church and congregation must have seen many changes during this period of great religious upheaval.

1507 Nicolas Both
1543 Richard Sargeson
1544 Gilbert Courtman
1582 Henry Ince

EMcC.
Sources ‘The National Archives :
Court of Star Chamber: Proceedings Philp and Mary
STAC 4/6/77
Quit claim IM53/1303
and
‘A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2’ ed. W. Page,
G. Proby and S. Inskip Ladds. 1932. Victoria County History)

Time Trail 4 (from c.1600 to c.1700).
More historical snippets about our village, spanning the 800 years which we are celebrating this year at St. Nicolas’ Church.The Manors
In 1617 Sir William Dyer bought a Manor in Hail Weston and it remained in his family until a different William Dyer (possibly a great-nephew) sold it to Henry Carter in 1699.
One other manor in Hail Weston was sold by Nicholas Luke to John Rawlins and Richard Weaver in 1638. Richard Weaver was chief tax-collector in the Hundreds of Hurstingstone, Leightonstone and Toseland for Charles II. The parish of Hail Weston was part of the Toseland Hundred at that time. From documents in the National Archive it appears that Richard Weaver had a warrant issued to him for arrears in the payment of those taxes of £800 in 1665. His widow Jane Weaver was left to clear the arrears after his death.As there are many, many records to trawl through regarding Hail Weston during this period, there is not space to record all the details here, so I have listed some of the names and occupations of folk who lived and worked in Hail Weston in the 17thCentury. Anyone wishing to research deeper into the wealth of records should try the excellent National Archive website and the County Records Archive at Huntingdon. Parish records for Hail Weston are available from 1644, plus a few from the late 1500s.From some of the probate records the following residents of Hail Weston left wills:

1616 – Thomas Dove – gentleman, 1621 – George Morningham,
1646 – Hellen Bridges – widow, 1648 – Richard Weaver- yeoman,
1654 – George Thody – yeoman, 1658 – RoseRogers – widow,
1672 – William Cowley, 1686 – John Cox,
1676 – John Whittlesey, 1688 – Joseph Yarnes – shoemaker,
1699 – Ursula Dyer

There are several records to do with the Sibley Family – leaving land in Hail Weston during this time. Also the records of the Manor of Hail Weston and Meagreyes (a reference to Meagre Farm?) show that the following held lands :- Matthew Hobbs, Robert Pulleyn, Mary Geye, Anne Jaye, John Thoday, Thomas Topham, Thomas Smith, Henry Thodie, Joseph Yarness (the shoemaker?)

Tax records from the Royal Exchequer show that Hail Weston residents of the 17thCentury were taxed several times to fund variously, James 1’s court in 1622( 5d per month), Charles I (4d) and warships for Charles II (1d). Several other records of taxes can be found in the National Archives.

The poet Michael Drayton immortalised Hail Weston (Harlweston) in the 22nd Song of his patriotic poem, Poly-Olbion – 1622, when describing the River Ouse in Huntingdonshire.

As the work is copy writer, I shall summarise:-

This part of the poem relates the tale of two nymphs, whose torrid love lives resulted in them being turned into the two springs in Hail Weston. One was salty and cured dimness of sight, the other was sweet and cured painful itch and leprosy.

To access the poem in full go to archive.org and type in Michael Drayton Complete Works on their search engine and you can read the book, including Poly-Olbion.

Church History

There are few 17thcentury features in the church. The main ones are the bell of 1655 inscribed Christopher Graie made me and the unusual early 17thcentury communion table with turned legs and carving. This is now surmounted by a 19th century board and covered with an alter fall.

During this period the following parishioners were excommunicated according to the records of the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon (available at the records office in Huntingdon):
12th August 1687- John Marshall, John Atwood, Hannah Fish, Robert Glover.
6th March 1693 – Thomas Sutton.

Incumbents

  • 1600 John Payne
  • 1635 William Readinge
  • 1684 Rob Whitehead
  • 1686 Benjamin Pulleyn
  • 1690 Thomas Pyke
  • 1692 John Lord

In 1691 a United Reformed Church was founded in Hail Weston, later it moved to St Neots.

EMcC.

Sources ‘The National Archives, Cambridgeshire Archive Catalogue

‘A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2’ ed. W.

Page, G. Proby and S. Inskip Ladds. 1932. Victoria County

History)

archive.org

 

Time Trail 5 (from c.1700 to c.1800).

More historical snippets about our village, spanning the 800 years which we are celebrating this year at St. Nicolas’ Church.

The Manors

Henry Carter acquired the Manor in 1699, however he became bankrupt and it was sold in 1715 to Sir William Scawen. (The only Knight of this name I could trace was the Cornish Member of Parliament, who was also a governor of the Bank of England from 1697 – 1699.) He soon sold the manor to Richard Houlditch in 1720, who resold it in the same year to William Astell. He was a merchant and member of the ill fated South Sea Company (of the South Sea Bubble – the original credit crunch!), and he in turn, had to sell the manor again. It was auctioned on 6th November 1723.

By 1730 the Manor had passed into the hands of a powerful lady, Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough (a direct forebear of Princess Diana), who left it to her grandson, John Spencer, in 1744. He was created Earl Spencer in 1765. On his death in 1783 the Manor had passed to his son George John, second Earl Spencer.

As for the previous century there are many, many records to trawl through, regarding Hail Weston during this period, there is not space to record all the details here, so I have listed some of the names and occupations of folk who lived and worked in Hail Weston in the 17thCentury. Anyone wishing to research deeper into the wealth of records should try the excellent National Archive website and the County Records Archive at Huntingdon. Parish records for Hail Weston are available from 1644, plus a few from the late 1500s.

Probate records show the following residents of Hail Weston left wills:

  • 1712 – Dr. George Howe left premises in Hail Weston to his children.
  • 1717 – John Cotton, yeoman.
  • 1767 – Robert Throckmorton.
  • 1739 – there are records of a highway in Hail Weston.
  • 1740 – Thomas Wright was a wheelwright in the village.
  • 1766 – mortgages related to an orchard and meadows in Hail Weston
  • 1779 – the overseers of the Poor gave allowances (of 1 shilling per child and 1 shilling for the spouse of a militia man) to the family of Thomas King
  • 1793 – Thomas King was discharged from the Huntingdonshire Militia, aged 41 after 18 years and 4 months service.

Going back a more than a century, I have more information on the two springs in Hail Weston during the Elizabethan period. Chris Dunn, in his excellent article ‘Taking the Waters’ (Cambridgeshire Journal, October 2001), quotes a contemporary account:

In Hail Weston ‘where two springs are known to be, of which the one is verrie sweet and fresh, the other brackish and salt; this is good for scabs and leaperie the other for dimness of sight sweet and cured painful itch and leprosy was salty and cured dimnesse of sight. … Verrie many also doo make their reparie unto them for sundrie diseases, some returning whole, and some nothing at all amended, because their cure is without the reach and working of those waters. Never went people so fast from church, …as they go to these wels …discovered in this year of grace 1597’ Chris Dunn also found out that it cost 5 shillings per month to use the waters at this time or sixpence for a quart to take away – a costly experience. He also records an account from 1770 noting the efficaciousness of the waters for curing disorders of the eyes and skin.

Church History

Very little of the church fabric was altered in the 18th century, however it is recorded that there were three bells in 1709. In 1710 John Banks and John Smith were Overseers of the Poor and Churchwardens in Hail Weston and in 1796 Richard Brittain had this post. (Local names?).

During this time the morals of parishioners were much more closely monitored than today, and the following were recorded as having been guilty of fornication:-
1703 – William Mansfield
1717- Mary Barth with Henry Crouchley

Incumbents

  • 1692 John Lord
  • 1747 Peter Whaley
  • 1748 James Pointer
  • 1796 Robert Pointer

The Baptist Chapel was founded in Hail Weston in 1787.

 

EMcC.
Sources: The National Archives, Cambridgeshire Archive
Catalogue (archive.org)

‘A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2’ ed. W.
Page, G. Proby and S. Inskip Ladds. 1932. Victoria County
History)

Chris Dunn ‘Taking the Waters’ (Cambridgeshire Journal,
October 2001)

 

Time Trail 6 (from c.1800 to c.1900).

More historical snippets about our village, spanning the 800 years which we are celebrating this year at St. Nicolas’ Church.

The Manors
By 1803 the manor had been sold to John Pyne and was passed to the Rev. Hele Selby Hele in 1811. In 1814 John Hyde bought the manor. A long association with the Reynolds family, started with Lawrence Reynolds in 1819, whose trustees continued to hold the manor in 1841. Edward Reynolds of Little Paxton took over in 1885 and was succeeded by his son, another Edward, who died in 1893. The Edwards family paid for the extensive refurbishment and restoration of St Nicolas Church around this time and the stained glass east window commemorates this. In 1893, after the death of his father, Captain Edward Reynolds inherited the manor.

There are monuments to the Reynolds family in the church yard, which are situated over in the north-west corner and are surrounded by iron railings – a folk rumour exists that the Reynolds family had a falling out with Little Paxton and reburied some of their relative’s remains in those plots. I have not been able to verify this, and would welcome further information.

There is a wealth of information from this period – May Parker has written a fascinating article on the history of Hail Weston for County Life and this can be accessed from the Hail Weston Parish Council website. Her article includes information from this period, which is based on data from the 1881 Census. The Census information is also available on the Community Pages of the Parish Council Website (many thanks to Martin Baughan).

Details from the census show that in 1881 there were 3 Public Houses, The Royal Oak, The Crown and another unknown one ( any details, please let us know). Most people were agricultural labourers (68) – as might be expected. There were 6 farmers, a shepherd, a stock keeper, 4 horsekeepers, a bailiff, a gamekeeper, a cook, 10 servants and 4 gardeners.

A large number of children (109) meant that 2 school mistresses and a pupil teacher were required. The village had 5 sawyers, 4 brickmakers, a builder, 6 carpenters, a butcher and his assistant, a baker, a milkman, 4 shopkeepers, a milliner, 3 dressmakers, a tailoress, a charwoman and a shoemaker – it must have been a bustling self- sufficient community in those days of limited travel.

Ten women worked as lacemakers (from home?) and another 11 worked as paper makers, probably at the local paper mills – St Neots Paper Mill had been in existence in 1799. There were also 2 clerks, a postmistress, 2 carriers and a letter carrier, a Baptist Minister to serve the chapel in the High Street.

Many names, some still evident in the village today, are recorded in the census: the Barnetts, the Pages, the Barkers, the Baxters, the Catlings, the Carters, the Abrahams, the Bruces, the Kings, the Nicholls, the Lees, the Hancocks, the Handcocks, the Gilberts, the Horners, the Tingeys, the Solloways, the Veals, to name a few.

The Humbley family are worth a mention – they lived in the Manor House and were Churchwardens for number of years.

A number of thefts and robberies, mostly of livestock, hay and corn from Hail Weston farmers, are documented in the National Archives – notably Thomas Barker was convicted in 1855 of stealing 7 fowls and in 1856 he stole two lambs – he was sentenced to 15 years transportation.

Chris Dunn, in ‘Taking the Waters’ (Cambridgeshire Journal, October 2001), notes that the Hail Weston Springs had dwindled in popularity by the middle of the 19th Century; the springs were sold to the Hail Weston Springs Company who aerated, bottled and sold the water. The site of their bottling plant was at Hail Bridge adjacent to the A1.

Church History

The Church underwent a major restoration in 1884, by Edward Reynolds of Paxton Hall. It cost £1,000. The South Porch was added, new timbers were incorporated into the roof and many pews and much woodwork were replaced. The tower was considerably strengthened. The encaustic floor tiles by the altar, the pulpit, the choir stalls, the lectern and the altar rail date from this time.

Incumbents

  • 1796 Robert Pointer
  • 1838 John Standley
  • 1848 Joseph Moorsom
  • 1895 Richard Moorsom

EMcC.
Sources: The National Archives, Cambridgeshire Archive Catalogue (archive.org)
1881 Census – the Community Pages of the Parish Council Website
‘A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2’ ed.
W. Page, G. Proby and S.Inskip Ladds. 1932. Victoria County History
Chris Dunn ‘Taking the Waters’ (Cambridgeshire Journal, October 2001)

 

Time Trail 7 (from c.1900 to the present day).

Time Trail 7 (from c.1900 to now).

More historical snippets about our village, spanning the 800 years which we are celebrating this year at St. Nicolas’ Church.

The 20th Century, a century of very rapid change, has a vast amount of recorded, and often photographed, history for our village. There are a lot of living memories that should be recorded – enough to fill a large volume! (What a treasure it would be to have an oral history of our village – is anyone interested in creating one?).

Mr Ken Parren made a fascinating video of the recent history of the village and local farms – documenting who lived where, and also full of local reminiscences. During St Nicolas’ Church 800th Anniversary celebrations his video was played and we also had a photographic display in the Village Hall by Sam Malt, to which several villagers contributed.

I have chosen just a few interesting (and some obscure details!) to include in this last time trail.

The Manors

Captain Edward Reynolds held the manor at the start of the 20th Century. It then passed top Mrs Irene Larson and Miss Gwendoline Reynolds – sisters of the Captain. The Manor was bought in 1920, by an interesting character, Robert Holmes Edleston. He was an eccentric antiquarian from Durham, who gloried in the title of Baron de Montalbo, which was granted to him by the Republic of San Merino (a small state within Italy, near Rimini). He seems to have had a passion for collecting Manors and manorial rights, having purchased a number of lordships and manors, several in Cambridgeshire – including Hail Weston. To date I have not been able to find out who, if anyone, holds the Manor today – please let May or I know if you have any information.

In 1901 the population of the village was 251; quite a decline from the 423 names recorded in the 1851 census.

By 1951 numbers were up to 282, and again in 1971, to 302. By 1991 the population was 584 as many more houses had been built.

In the early 1950s Hail Weston Springs Company was sold by Mr Page to Mr Bath, a local farmer. By 1954 the bottling plant had closed and the two wells were capped off. The mixed water from the two springs still flows into the River Kim near Hail Bridge. I have spoken to villagers who used the waters as a remedy during their childhood years.

The School, which was a Church School, had 45 pupils in 1921; 26 boys and 19 girls. Later Mrs Brightman taught there and will be remembered by villagers who went there. Sadly the School closed in 1966. The building was leased to the Parish Council and became the Village Hall. There is a flourishing Pre-School Activity Group which is based in the Hall and the building is administered by the Village Hall Management Committee.

The Roll of Honour for the 1914 – 1918 War, on the outside of the east wall of the church is curious as it includes all those who served in the Great War, survivors too, not just those who died.

There is a trig point/waymark (cut bench mark type) carved into the NE supporting wall of the church. The mark is on the east angle of the church and is 0.6m above the ground. It was last verified in 1956 at 33.0748m above sea level.

Last century saw the demise of The Post Office and last remaining shop, the closure of the Baptist Chapel and the Crown Public House closed in 2001. Happily the Royal Oak still provides a warm welcome for villagers and visitors.

Church History

Until more recent years there was a large choir. The notes in 1921 give us information that choir salaries were £14.19s.3d whereas the Church Insurance only cost £1.19s.2½d. For many years there were 8 ladies and 10-12 men. Mrs. Peacock was the last lady member. The last male member of the choir was Mr. Frank Catling who retired in 1985. He had been Manager of the Church School in Hail Weston until 1966 and was Church Warden for 46 years. There is a plaque to his memory near the pew where he used to sit.

The Mothers Union was founded in 1913 by Mrs. Charles Banks. It played an important part in the village and celebrated its fifty years in 1963. It sadly closed in the mid seventies. The blue banner still, stands by the Altar in the Church. The oil fired heating system was installed in September 1955 In 1974 the oak panelling at the back of the Altar was installed by Dora Mildren and her brother in memory of their parents Charles and Irene Banks.

In 1976 the old oak gate was replaced by a new wrought iron one. The gate was given by Mrs. Adlam in memory of her husband who was Church Warden for many years. In each corner of the gate is a set of initials FC: GW: EF: and BA thus recording four individuals who did much to help the Church. Frank Catling (Church Warden), George Whitlock (Vicar), Eric Foxley (Church Warden) and Bernard Adlam (Churchwarden).

The current organ was built by Roger Henthorne, Priest, and the case was made by Mr. Victor Irons, a local resident in 1975.

In 1983 the external drainage system was replaced and in November 1986 the church roof was completely retiled. In December 1988 the whole of the rainwater gutters and downpipes were renewed in cast iron. Many parts of the church fabric needed urgent attention at that time- walls, stonework to the East Window, the tower buttresses and stone base and the blue brick drain to name a few. Much of this work was completed in 1991. Also the windows were made good and the interior of the church was repaired and redecorated, carpeted throughout (apart from the sanctuary), and thoroughly cleaned. This restoration took place due to a bequest from a Miss Halford of Oxford, who was a regular visitor to Hail Weston as a child, coming to stay here with her grandmother Mrs Lee in the earlier part of the 20th Century. There is a plaque to her memory by the south door.

During this century we have rebuilt the churchyard wall to the High Street and a new path allowing better access has been laid.

St Nicolas Church has been at the centre of village life for 800 years. Will the church still be here in another 800 years? The future lies in our hands. Without much more regular support from all villagers this lovely little church will not be able to survive as a worshipping community. Can you spare a little time or money each month to ensure that we hand on a thriving church and building to future generations?

Incumbents

1918

C.S.K. Ryan

1986

Andrew Smith

1919

H.F.A. Rotton

1989

W. Neville Brook

1954

G. W. Whittaker

1997

Richard Bending

1952

S. Bates

1999

David Marshall

1961

George Whitlock

2001

Owen Swann

1985

David Prosser

2002

Judi Clarke

EMcC.
Sources: The National Archives, Cambridgeshire Archive Catalogue (archive.org)
1881 Census – the Community Pages of the Parish Council Website
‘A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 2’ ed. W. Page, G. Proby and S.Inskip Ladds. 1932. Victoria County History)
1.Chris Dunn ‘Taking the Waters’ (Cambridgeshire Journal, October 2001)
Martin Edwards @genuweb.