Archives A to Z - T to Z

Tharp family of Chippenham

The Tharp family did not settle in Cambridgeshire until 1791-2, when John Tharp bought the Chippenham Park estate, itself largely the creation of Edward Russell, 1st Earl of Orford (1st creation).

For the previous century and a half Tharps had been planters in Jamaica; John Tharp remaining in Jamaica after his purchase of Chippenham Park until his death in 1804. The Chippenham estate was controlled by Chancery for much of the 19th century due to the lunacy of John Tharp's grandson, also named John, but remained in the hands of the Tharp and Bacon families through the 20th century.

The main sequence of papers (183/[R55/7]) comprises manorial records of Snailwell and Chippenham, with title deeds, estate and family papers, extending overall from the 13th to 20th centuries.

There is also a remarkable sequence of records relating to the Good Hope plantation and to the Tharps' seven other estates on Jamaica (R55/7/121-133).

An itemised list is available in the R55 searchroom catalogue, and also as an online searchable list on the Access to Archives (a2a) website. A separate handlist is also available in the searchroom, which includes biographical notes, a family tree and a note of publications.

Several sequences of supplementary papers (R63/20, R83/58, R84/29, R84/44, R86/33) have also been received for which summary lists are available in the searchroom.

A magnificent 1712 plan of the Chippenham estate (71/P3) is also held at Cambridgeshire Archives.

Tharp family papers are closed for 50 years from date of creation.

Thornhill Collection

The Thornhill family came from Fixby in Yorkshire, and moved to Diddington about 1730.

Besides having estates in Huntingdonshire, Offord Darcy, Southoe, Duloe and others, they held property in Cambridgeshire at Boxworth, Lincolnshire at Dowdyke Hall, and London in Bread Street, Holloway and Angel Islington.

Members of the family were rectors of Offord Darcy and Boxworth, and High Sheriffs of the county. Noel Thornhill died without issue in 1956, and the family's papers were deposited with Huntingdonshire Archives in that year (accession 148).

The collection was listed in 1970-71 with THN or THORN references and is available online.

Some estate maps had by then been transferred to the Map collection (in 1967-68) and given supplementary accession numbers, so these were omitted from the catalogue. The collection is rich in deeds and estate papers from the 18th and 19th centuries

Tithe records

A tithe was a payment by a farmer of one tenth of the annual production of his farm to maintain the established church. Originally the payment was in kind, but by the 1830s this was out of date, and the Tithe Commutation Act 1836 replaced payments in kind by a money payment (the 'tithe rentcharge').

A Tithe Commission was set up, which visited parishes across the country and settled the terms of the commutation of tithes, by drawing up a document setting out landowners' individual liabilities - the tithe apportionment. Each apportionment was supported by a map showing affected property. A copy of each map was then sent to the Diocese.

Not every parish had a tithe map drawn up: in others, allotments were made in lieu of tithes at the time of inclosure. Moreover the Commissioners were concerned only to identify the properties for which tithe was payable, so the maps are often not as detailed as researchers might hope.

William Foot's 'Maps for Local History' (PRO Readers Guide no. 9) contains a concise introduction to tithe maps. There are also relevant chapters in Paul Hindle 'Maps for Local History' (1988) and W.E.Tate 'The Parish Chest' (1951).

Tithe maps at Cambridgeshire Archives
List of available records and maps of land ownership in Cambridgeshire and Isle of Ely dating from the early Victorian period
Size: 246KBFile format: pdf
Maps at Huntingdonshire Archives
List of maps held for each parish within the Huntingdonshire area
Size: 936KBFile format: pdf

Torkington Collection

This comprises family and estate records of the Torkington family of Great Stukeley, 1539-1901, including deeds relating to many Huntingdonshire estates 1552-1804, manorial records 1640-1824, estate correspondence 18th and 19th centuries. Search the collection online.

Townley family of Fulbourn and Upwell

Fulbourn Manor has been the seat of the Townley family since the early 19th century (Victoria County History, vol.X, p.138); Richard Greaves Townley subsequently serving as MP for Cambridgeshire in 1831-1841 and 1847-1852.

Estates at Upwell had been acquired in the late 18th century from the Beaupre family through marriage (Victoria County History, vol.IV, p.208). Fulbourn Manor remained in the Townley family through the 20th century.

The collection comprises several separate accessions (L30, L78/131-158, R52/24, R54/5) of deeds with family and estate papers from the 14th to 19th centuries, including curiosities such as false pedigrees of Fitzwilliam of Sprotborough (R52/24/44).

Itemised lists are available in the L, R52 and R53 searchroom catalogues. Some supplementary family papers, 1699-1890, have been received (R85/25), although these have as yet only been listed in summary.

Turnpike Trusts

Turnpikes were established in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by private Acts of Parliament which allowed the trustees to charge a toll in exchange for repairing and maintaining highways.

After 1871 roads were gradually disturnpiked, partly due to increased competition from the railways, and partly due to a growing awareness that highways should be under publicly accountable, local government control. The best study is William Albert 'The Turnpike Road System in England' (1972), although irritatingly this book stops in 1840 and so does not discuss the end of the turnpikes.

Huntingdonshire Turnpike Trusts

Very few records are held at Huntingdon:

  • Alconbury Hill to Wansford Bridge Trust (the 'Stilton Road' or Norman Cross turnpike, today part of the A1) - minutes 1827-1862: accession 86/1
  • Biggleswade to Alconbury Trust (A1 part): papers (including a list of trustees 1770- 1799, minute extracts 1806 and plan c.1852) in HINCH 11/96-103; typescript copy of the minutes, 1725-1745, in the searchroom library
  • Huntingdon to Somersham Trust ('Hartford Road Trust') - minutes 1814-1838: in Huntingdon Borough vols 39a, 39b
  • St Ives to Hartford Turnpike: papers re the road 1806-13 in HINCH 11/104-114
  • St Neots and Cambridge Trust: papers re winding up 1876 - accession 560/19
  • Southoe tollgate: receipt book and return 1845-46 - accession 63

Cambridgeshire Turnpike Trusts

With the exception of the Cambridge and Ely Trust, relatively few records survive of the various turnpike trusts which were established in Cambridgeshire:

  • Kneesworth and Caxton Trust Royston to Kisby’s Hut (A1198): includes minutes, 1795-1876, register of securities, 1801-1869, accounts, 1780-1876 etc. T/K
  • Newmarket Heath Trust Newmarket to Fulbourn (A1304/A11), Devil’s Ditch to Swaffham Bulbeck (A1303): includes minutes, 1763-1870, table of tolls, 1823, 1829, daily returns of tolls at Devil’s Ditch and Worsted Lodge gates, 1863-64, leases of tolls, 1830-70, accounts, 1823-65 [T/N]
  • Cambridge and Ely Trust
    • South District Cambridge to Ely (A10), Ely to   Soham (A142), Ely to Mepal (A142): extensive records include minutes, 1763-1822, draft minutes 1845-1852, committee reports, 1794-1873, assignments of tolls, 1763-1805, appointments of officers 1763-1868, title deeds, 1795-1837, sale particulars, 1767-1874, plans, 1763-1853, tables of tolls, 1763-1824, statute duty lists, 1763-1817 etc. The catalogue to this collection is now available online.)
    • North District Ely to Littleport and Downham (A10): includes minutes 1799-1822, accounts 1792-1837 [T/D])
    • North West District Littleport to Welney (A1101) Includes minutes, 1824-75, accounts, 1825-74 etc. [T/L]

Cambridgeshire Quarter Sessions records include Turnpike Trust returns for south Cambridgeshire transmitted to the Home Secretary, 1820-1833 [QS/8/2-4] and a volume of various turnpike trust acts, 1790-1822 [R60/15/1].

Minutes of the Hauxton and Dunsbridge Turnpike trust, 1828-72 and of the Arrington Turnpike Road, 1797-1870 are held at Cambridge University Library.

Valor Ecclesiasticus

This was a detailed valuation of parish churches, made in 1535. It was published by the Historic Manuscripts Commission in 1810-1834 and copies are available at both Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire Archives.  Please ask a member of staff if you wish to see them. The entries are in Latin.

Vehicle Registration

Registration of motor vehicles was made the responsibility of the clerks of County Councils in 1903. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centre (now DVLA) began to take over vehicle registration in 1971, and completed the transition in 1978. Further information can be found in Philip Riden 'How to trace the History of your Car' (1998).


From 1965 registration for both Huntingdonshire and Soke of Peterborough motor vehicles was administered by Peterborough Motor Vehicle Licences Department. 
Registers and record cards for EW-based registrations 1921-1965 (Hunts) and for EG and FL-based registrations 1903-1975 (Peterborough) are held at Huntingdonshire Archives.


Registers are held for the Isle of Ely series EB and JE (1903-1947) and later EB, JE and ER based records (1947-1966) Registers are also held for a few VE records.

Card series are held for the Isle of Ely, and Cambridgeshire offices, and the combined office after 1966. Series included are: CE, EB, ER, JE and VE based (AJE etc.) registrations but it should be noted that the series vary in their survival rate, some series having very few cards remaining.

All registers and cards are now fully catalogued and can be found on the CALM catalogue.

Registers of Registration Allocations give details of the distribution of registrations to car dealerships and others and can occasionally provide a further clue to the vehicle's history, but they do not mention make and model of vehicles.

Searches of the records can be carried out in person free of charge or by staff for a research fee of £20 (including a photocopy). This fee is payable even if the search is unsuccessful.

War Agricultural Executive Committee

The first County War Agricultural Committees were set up in 1915 to assist in increasing food production. In 1917 new County War Agricultural Executive Committees were appointed jointly by the Board of Agriculture and County Councils.

Re-formed in each county in 1939 they had powers to determine land use and the type of crops to be grown and to order the ploughing-up of land for arable. They were abolished in 1947. Records of their central organisation are held at the National Archives, Kew.

Huntingdonshire records

Records include:

  • photograph album and collection of news cuttings about the Huntingdonshire WAEC's work, 1939-1945 (accession 4167)
  • photographs of land reclamation work (accession 2113)
  • minute books of the War Agricultural Executive Committees of the 1914-1918 War.  Please consult catalogue number 12: County Council Records

Cambridgeshire records

Records include:

  •  minutes of Cambridgeshire War Agricultural Executive Committee, 1918-1920 [R67/012]
  • quarterly accounts of War Agricultural Executive Committee, 1920-1925 [R62/004]
  •  Ordnance Survey plans of Cambridgeshire marked by War Agricultural Committee or Ministry of Agriculture local office to show geology and field drainage apparently in connection with grant applications c.1940s-c.1960. [R106/107]
  • photographs of work of Cambridgeshire War Agricultural Executive Committee at Priory Farm, Burwell, including King's visit, and at Cottenham c.1942 [R96/052]

War Memorials and War Graves

The most frequently found war memorials relate to the First and Second World Wars, although occasionally other wars may be mentioned, such as the South African War. Details about individuals on memorials can vary greatly.

All known war memorials, rolls of honour and war graves in Huntingdonshire were transcribed by Marian Land during 1988-1991. Her transcripts have been bound into volumes, available in the searchroom.

The searchroom library also contains printed lists of those who died during the First Wolrd War from the Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battalion, the Cambridgeshire Regiment, the Bedfordshire Regiment, the Northamptonshire Regiment, and a few others. In the office library are copies of 'The War Graves of the British Empire', for cemeteries and churchyards in Huntingdonshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Peterborough and Rutland: please ask a member of staff if you wish to see these. 

Huntingdonshire Archives also has the Bedford and Northampton (including Hunts) volume of 'The National Roll of the Great War 1914-1918', which includes the names of all those who served. Please ask a member of staff if you wish to see this book.

For the Second World War, the office library has copies of 'The War Dead of the Commonwealth', covering cemeteries and churchyards in Huntingdonshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire; please ask a member of staff if you wish to see these.

Wills and probate records


Before 1858 wills were proved at local ecclesiastical courts. For the vast majority of people living in Huntingdonshire this would have meant the Archdeaconry Court of Huntingdon (or the 'Commissary Court of the Bishop of Lincoln and of the Archdeacon in the Archdeaconry of Huntingdon', to give it its proper title).

Those individuals with some property outside the Archdeaconry's jurisdiction would have had their wills proved at either the Consistory Court of Lincoln (from 1837 the Consistory Court of Ely) or, above that, the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, although few Huntingdonshire wills made it up that far.

Brampton parishioners had their wills proved at Brampton Peculiar Court, Buckden parishioners at Buckden Peculiar Court, Leighton Bromswold parishioners at Leighton Bromswold Prebendal Court, and people living in Barham, Little Catworth, Easton, Spaldwick and Stow Longa at Stow Longa Prebendal Court.

Washingley parish was within the jurisdiction of the Consistory Court of Peterborough.

Original records of the Archdeaconry Court of Huntingdon, the Peculiar Courts and the Prebendal Courts mentioned above are all held at Huntingdonshire Archives. Surviving records include some of the original wills themselves, the will registers (which contain copies of the wills), inventories and administrations. Some records are only available for consultation on microfilm.

There have been various different lists and indexes compiled over the years, which are all available in the searchroom.


Before 1858 wills were proved at local ecclesiastical courts. For people living in Cambridgeshire this would usually have meant one of three courts:

  • The Consistory Court of Ely (the Isle of Ely and most of the central part of old Cambridgeshire)
  • The Archdeaconry Court of Ely (much of west Cambridgeshire)
  • The Archdeaconry Court of Sudbury (Newmarket area)

Exceptions to this would be people with complex land holdings who may have used the Prerogative Court of Canterbury, or members and privileged servants of the University of Cambridge (the Vice-Chancellor's Court), or those in a church 'Peculiar' such as Thorney, Isleham or Ely College.

Cambridgeshire Archives can provide access to indexes for all of the above. The P.C.C. wills can be  accessed through the National Archives' website.

Original records of the Archdeaconry Court of Ely, the Peculiars of Thorney and Ely College, and the Consistory Court of Ely mentioned above are all held at Cambridgeshire Archives. Surviving records include many of the original wills themselves, the will registers (which contain copies of the wills), inventories and administrations.

Most records are available for consultation on microfilm, and in order to avoid further wear and tear on these very precious documents, researchers are asked to use microfilm whenever possible.

Microfilm and an index of wills proved (granted probate) at the Vice-Chancellor's Court are available in the searchroom.

Indexes to Archdeaconry of Sudbury wills are available in the searchroom, but the actual wills are held by Suffolk Record Office at Bury St Edmunds. Records of the Peculiar of Isleham are complex: searchroom staff can advise researchers.

'Genealogical Sources in Cambridgeshire' (1994, but currently out of print) offers a full explanation of the complexities of the minor courts, and can be consulted in the searchroom.

After 1858 responsibility for probate was passed to the civil authorities. Indexes to wills (or more correctly Calendars of Grants) at the Principal Probate Registry (national probate) are available in the searchroom, 1858-1966, and give an outline of key facts such as date and place of death and name of executor.

Wills are popular sources for family and community history, so there is a great deal of literature on how to use and interpret them. Eve McLaughlin's 'Wills before 1858' (1995) is perhaps the most concise introduction for newcomers to wills. Anne Tarver's 'Church Court Records' (1995) places probate business within the context of the overall operation of the ecclesiastical courts. The introduction to J.S.W.Gibson's 'Probate Jurisdictions' (1997) includes a glossary of terms commonly found in wills.

Finding your way around probate records can often be difficult, but the archives staff are always available to help.

Wisbech crew lists and shipping records

Records held at Cambridgeshire Archives

The Port of Wisbech has for much of its history struggled with the poor outfall of the River Nene and the ever-changing course of the Ouse.

Nevertheless, in 1566 13 'keles barges botes and lighters' were recorded at the port engaged in carrying 'grayne and sea cole'.

Cambridgeshire Archives holds records of vessels registered at Wisbech (1836-1994) and crew lists (1863-1913). The Cambridgeshire Family History Society has produced an index and partial transcript of the latter which is available in the searchroom.

Improvement schemes

In 1631, Vermuyden constructed a new sluice at Horseshoes Corner to improve the outflow to sea. Increased trade meant that by 1680 the Borough Corporation gained independence for their port from Kings Lynn. 

Further improvements were opposed by the Commissioners of Sewers for the Hundred of Wisbech and in 1721, fearful of harm to their port, the Borough Corporation encouraged the demolition in a 'riotous manner' of Bedford Level Corporation works. By the 1750’s the port was so chocked by silt that engineer Nathaniel Kinderley noted vessels drawing only 6 feet of water could travel no closer than 6 miles to the town.

By 1771 the attempted cut of 1721 was finally made and the port developed rapidly as similar initiatives followed.


By 1825 the port was clearing over 1,200 vessels per annum and in 1847,  the annual gross tonnage handled rose to a peak of 167,442. Most vessels were engaged in the 'home' trade only,  exporting grain and rapeseed oil to London or east coast ports and importing coal and timber.

By 1894 Wisbech had become the greatest importer of Baltic timber on the East Anglian coast.

The nineteenth century boom in shipping activity was initially served by ships registered to the port itself: 213 vessels in the two decades before 1856. By the turn of the twentieth century vessels registered elsewhere met the port’s needs. Only two steamers and 12 fishing vessels remained on the books by 1909.

Women's organisations

Political organisations and interest groups

'Wild Women who want votes' (1914); Reverend Lawrence Fisher on discontinuing weekday services because of disruption caused by suffragists. [P150/3/13] 

The Great Reform Act of 1832 began a widening of the male franchise which, in turn, led to increasingly vocal calls for votes for women. The election to power of a Liberal Government raised hopes further and focussed pressure. This is the period of the 'suffragist' - 'suffragette' was a derogatory term used by their opponents and is sometimes used to distinguish the militants, such as the Pankhursts, from campaigners using more constitutional methods.

  • Cambridge Association for Women's Suffrage, (from 1919, The Cambridge Association for the Political Equality of Women and from 1920, the Cambridge Standing Committee for Equal Citizenship) a non-militant organisation founded in 1884.  Records include: minutes, 1884-1930; accounts, 1885-92; press books, 1914-25; papers and printed pamphlets; 1896-1939 [455/Q1-137, 550/Q1-8] and annual reports, 1886-1918 [789/Q143-144] Catalogues available on the A2A website.
  • West Cambridgeshire Suffrage Society: directory and accounts, 1912-14 [455/Q138]. Catalogue available on A2A website.
  • Cambridge and County Women's Liberal Association (Cambridge and County Women’s Liberal Club): minute books, 1913-1930 are mainly concerned with arranging social and fund-raising activities, such as garden parties, but do address political issues like female suffrage and cooperative societies [507/Q1-4] Catalogue available on the A2A website.
  • Cambridge Trades Council and Labour Party Women's Central Committee: minutes, 1948-1952; papers, 1949-1961 [R85/41]
  • Cambridge and District Women's Citizens' Association: formed from a committee of the N.U.W.W in 1918, the Association was largely concerned with furthering the involvement of women in municipal affairs. Records include committee minutes, 1922-25, 1929-33; papers, 1919-31 [455/Q139-62] Catalogue available on A2A website. Also committee minutes, 1925-29, 1933-43, 1948-84; annual meeting minutes and sub-committee minutes, 1929-84; annual reports, 1920-84 etc. [R84/91]
  • Women's Social and Political Union, Cambridge Branch: photocopy of petition, 1914 [720/Q1]
  • Cambridge Women's Liberation Archive Group: records comprise newsletters, 1973-1986 [R97/69] minutes 1974, 1979; various reports, 1970-74; publications, 1971-74; miscellaneous articles on squatters, working women, Nursery Action Group, etc., 1972-77; Cambridge Pregnancy Advisory Group, correspondence and leaflets, 1979-80 etc. [R97/77]Records transferred to Girton College archives, June 2009
  • Cambridge Borough Women's Unionist and Conservative Association: records compriseminutes, 1921-65, executive committee and advisory council minutes, 1959-66 [R99/51]
  • International Women's Year, 1975 Cambridge Committee minutes; accounts; newsheets etc., 1974-75 [R76/21]

Professional organisations

  • The Cambridge Branch of the National Council of Women (NCW), which was known as the National Union of Women Workers from 1918. The NUWW was a society for professional women (teachers, nurses, etc.) and rather than simply concentrating upon the issue of suffrage, the NCW concerned itself with a broad spectrum of social problems including housing for working women, women in local government, health and welfare. Records include minutes, 1912-72; accounts, 1960-65; annual reports, 1913-72 [789/Q1-117] Catalogue available on the Access to Archives website.
  • The Cambridge Association of the British Federation of University Women was established in the city in 1909. The self-proclaimed aim of the national organisation was to promote women's work on public bodies, to work for the removal of sexual disabilities, to facilitate the intercommunication and co-operation of university women and to afford opportunity for the expression of a united opinion by university women on subjects of special interest to them. Records include minute books, 1909-1971 and various papers and correspondence [838/Q1-39];  minutes, 1971-78; lists of offices and members, 1971-87 and card index of members c. 1960-80,  [R97/114]
  • Cambridge Women's Housing Association was founded to provide accommodation, other than lodgings, at a reasonable rent for business and professional women. Three properties were acquired; 65 Lensfield Road, 19 Bateman Street and 2 Fitzwilliam Terrace then converted into self-contained flats. Records include: minutes, 1926-48 [789/Q118-120]; papers, 1948-9 [789/Q121-138];accounts and members register, 1926-48 [City/]
  • Cambridge Business and Professional Women's Club Menu and photograph, 1947; bulletins, 1964, 1966; national programme, 1958-60 etc. [R89/58] annual general meeting minutes, 1947-2002; executive committee minutes, 1980-2001; club meeting minutes, 1958-80, 1988-2001; accounts, 1946-56, 1983-2002; list of elected officers, 1949-85; subscriptions register, 1956-78; attendance register, 1989-2001; programmes, 1985-2001 etc. [R102/136]
  • Chesterton Townswomen's Guild: minutes, 1951-83; music group minutes 1957-69; account books, 1951-72; membership register, 1960-83 etc. [R99/98]
  • Soroptimist International of Cambridge: records include minutes 1947-92; accounts 1947-94; membership lists, 1964-96; indexes of members 1947-89; newsletters, 1977-91; annual programmes, 1948-96; draft history, 1983; published history by Barbara Megson, 1996 etc. [R98/102]
  • Standing Conference of Women's Organisations in Cambridge and District: minutes, 1970-81; accounts, 1956-81. [R81/49]

Social and discussion groups

  • Electrical Association of Women, Cambridge Branch. Initially set up to educate and encourage women in the use of electricity and appliances, this organisation also acted as a social club. Records comprise committee minutes, 1959-76; monthly branch meeting minutes, 1959-76 [R87/100]
  • Cambridge Ladies Discussion Society formed in 1886 'to bring together ladies who are interested in the discussion of social questions..hearing papers read and discussing subjects arising' Amalgamated with the N.U.W.W, 1913. Minutes with membership lists, 1886-1921; directory and newscuttings, 1903- c.1926 [789/Q139-142] Catalogue available on the A2A website.

Women's Institutes

Initially formed during the First World War under the auspices of the Agricultural Organisation Society to encourage country women to grow and preserve food. Records of a number of local Women's Institutes have been deposited.

Huntingdonshire Archives

The Huntingdon and Peterborough Federation of Women's Institutes has deposited records from  institutes across Huntingdonshire. A draft list is available on request. Other records deposited by individual WIs are listed in the Societies handlist on the searchroom shelves.

Other lists of records created by women's organisations can also be found in this handlist and include some records for the following:

  • The Electrical Association for Women, Peterborough Branch [Acc 4313]
  • Huntingdon Ladies Hockey Club [Acc 1920]

Workhouses after 1835

From 1835 parishes were combined into poor law unions, and they were allowed to spread the cost of building and running a workhouse between them. The late 1830s therefore saw a large number of institutions being built. At the time, these were state-of-the-art, clean, smart buildings; only later did they decay into the grim institutions we read about in Dickens.


Three such workhouses were built in Huntingdonshire - one in Great Stukeley to serve the Huntingdon Union area, one in Hemingford Grey to serve the St Ives Union, and one just across the river from St Neots. 

Huntingdonshire Archives has superb collections of records for the Huntingdon and St Ives workhouses, including registers of admissions and discharges, birth and death registers, punishment books, and occasionally plans. Much less survives for the St Neots workhouse, sadly.


Records here include a number concerning inmates; such as registers of births, deaths, creeds and punishments; plans of the workhouse buildings and the records of other workhouse officers, like the Master or medical officer.

The Cambridge Union records also include a number of Settlement papers while the Caxton records include account books for alcohol and tobacco as well as registers of 'seclusion and mechanical restraint'.

Many of these records do not offer complete coverage for the lifetime of the workhouse. A full list of the records for post-1834 workhouses can be found in the Poor Law Unions catalogue on the searchroom shelf.

There is an excellent book about the setting up of Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire's workhouses, 'In and Out of the Workhouse' (WEA, 1978), which is available in both searchrooms.

Census returns are also a valuable source as they provide a list of those in the workhouse on enumeration night.

Workhouses before 1835

Before 1835, individual parishes sometimes had their own workhouses, which were often little more than run- down cottages. These buildings housed the poor who had no homes of their own. Very few records survive.  


The eighteenth century saw the foundation of a number of workhouses in Cambridgeshire under the impetus of the 1723 General Workhouse Act. This act established a statutory basis for the setting up of workhouses and allowed smaller parishes to join together to form 'unions' in order to build shared workhouses.

Further information about the pre-1834 workhouses can be found in 'The Treatment of Poverty in Cambridgeshire' which is available in the searchroom.


Try our online CALM database.

World War One

Yorke Family

The Yorke Family, Yorke family Earls of Hardwicke, and Bambridge family of Wimpole Hall

Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke, bought Wimpole Hall in 1739 from Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford. The estate remained in the Yorke family until its sale, firstly to T.G. Agar-Robartes in 1891, and then to Captain George Bambridge in 1930, from whose widow it passed into the hands of the National Trust in 1976.

The Wimpole Hall collection (154/[R52/12]) comprises manorial records from 1400, with deeds and estate papers from the 16th to 19th centuries. An itemised list is available in the R52 searchroom catalogue.

Some further estate records and Yorke family papers from 1723 onwards have been received through the National Trust (R92/41, R93/62 and later small accessions), including a 1638 survey of the Wimpole estate (R77/1) and 19th and 20th century deeds (R103/044), these last not yet having been described.

Related papers at Cambridgeshire Archives also include: an estate book of the 4th Earl of Hardwicke (R99/14), 1834-1873; some late 18th century correspondence and papers formerly in possession of G.J. Yorke (408/); and two small bundles of letters (R53/8/1-2) of the 3rd Earl, 1824-1832, for which a list is available in the R53/ searchroom catalogue.

Cambridgeshire Archives holds only a very small proportion of the surviving papers of the Yorke family, the greatest collection of these being the Hardwicke Manuscripts at the British Library (Add. 35349-36278, Add. 45030-45047).