In 1938 Longstanton's association with the military started with the building
of RAF Oakington. The Air Ministry annexed 353 of Longstanton's 2,800 acres for the airfield and the hangers, barracks
and married quarters were built in Longstanton.
During the Second
World War two bomber squadrons and Bomber Command were operated from the airfield. After the war it was used for transport
and then training schools before being handed over to the Army in 1973 and being renamed Oakington Barracks.
In 1999 the Army left Oakington Barracks and the village population dropped substantially
until the married quarters were ultimately sold off. Some of the buildings that were part of the secure area of the Barracks
are currently in use as an Immigration reception Centre, although the Government has announced the eventual closure of this
site prior to the redevelopment of the whole site.
The Civil Parish of Longstanton
THE civil parish of Longstanton
was created in 1953 by uniting Long Stanton All Saints and Long Stanton St. Michael. The form Longstanton, occasionally used
earlier in the 20th century, was the official name from 1953 and was increasingly adopted for other purposes, but the ecclesiastical
parish retained the style of Long Stanton, which is used here throughout.
The two ancient parishes were perhaps regarded as distinct by 1086, when the manor corresponding to St. Michael's
was said to lie 'in Stantune' and others 'in Stantone'. They were certainly separate by the 1230s, distinguished
as 'Stanton' and 'the other Stanton'.
village stands 9 km. (5 ½ miles) NNW. of Cambridge on a low gravel ridge c. 1 km. wide. The land just north-east of
the village also lies on gravel but most of the parish is covered with clay, except for small patches of alluvium in the north-west
and greensand in the south. The land rises gently from 6 m. (20 ft.) in the north to c. 20 m. (66 ft.) on the CambridgeHuntingdon
road, which forms the south-western boundary.
The irregular western
boundary with Swavesey was determined by the furlongs of the open fields, while the northern boundary lies along tracks called
mere ways which divide Long Stanton from Over, Willingham, and Rampton.
The easternmost extremity juts out to reach Beck brook but the rest of the southeast boundary with Oakington follows
a single straight alignment, broken only by the extension into Oakington of a piece of Long Stanton called Bacon dole, the
parochial situation of which was uncertain in 1627. Bacon dole had been granted to the lord of Colvilles manor by the lord
of Oakington in the early 13th century and it was presumably attracted into Long Stanton through its ownership by the lords
St. Michael's Parishes
The original boundary between All Saints and St. Michael's
parishes was probably determined by the location of lands belonging to the different manors. It was still perambulated in
the early 18th century but by the 1780s much of its course had been forgotten through the inattention of the inhabitants and
the accumulation of most of the manors by the Hatton family, and because Sir Thomas Hatton from c. 1760 took the tithes of
both parishes as lessee.
Atkins as rector of St. Michael's made vigorous but unsuccessful attempts between 1786 and 1794 to recover tithes which
he believed due to him, claiming that the Hattons had greatly enlarged All Saints parish at the expense of St. Michael's
in order to minimize their payment of tithes and rates in St. Michael's. The inclosure commissioners redrew the boundary
in 1816 to place 1,938 a. in All Saints and 841 a. in St. Michael's, excluding from St. Michael's several areas which
Atkins had regarded as detached parts surrounded by All Saints.
The new boundary ran from the Huntingdon road for c. 1.5 km. along Hatton's or Mansion
House Road, then turned east to follow Meadow way to the edge of the village inclosures. After passing through the village,
where it ran through one cottage, it doubled back north-west by Long Lane and then turned another right angle to follow More
baulk to the Rampton boundary.
The united civil parish covered 1,124 ha. (2,777 a.) after 1953.
In 1985 the boundaries with Rampton and Oakington were straightened to follow the railway
and a taxiway in the airfield respectively.
Long Stanton afterwards covered 1,123 ha. (2,775 a.).
The three open fields of each parish
were inclosed in 1816. Mixed farming has been carried on over almost the whole area, the only part liable to flood being the
extreme north-west corner, where an embankment of uncertain date stands on the Swavesey side of the boundary. Landbrook, so
named in the 17th century but in 1331 called Longbrook, enters Long Stanton from a culvert under the Huntingdon road.
After flowing north-east for 3 km. it turns abruptly north to pass at first behind the
village closes, then along the street for a few hundred metres before turning west then north into a straight cut alongside
the Over road.
The village stands principally along both sides
of a long almost straight street, aligned NNW. and SSE. Beyond the southern end the road bends sharply right then left on
its way to Oakington and Cambridge. Similarly, at the northern end two right-angled corners take the road towards Willingham.
Sir Thomas Hatton
The Over road leaves the village street near a bridge
over Landbrook. Footpaths from the Over and Willingham roads converge on High Street further south, preserving part of the
line of former back lanes. The village street was once connected with the Huntingdon road, a turnpike between 1745 and 1874,
by a number of field paths, principally Meadow way.
At least five baulks led northeast from the village, called from the north Ely way, Moor way, Purcell
or Poswell way and More baulk, Broad way, and Stanwell way. Sir Thomas Hatton (d. 1787) built a private road from the turnpike
almost directly to his house in the centre of the village; by 1816 there was a tollgate about half way along, probably near
the intersection with Meadow way.
The roads to Oakington, Willingham, and Over were unaltered at inclosure in 1816, a branch to Swavesey being laid
out from the Over road. New Road, later School Lane, formed a new link between the village and Hatton's Road, and Poswell
way became the main road to Rampton. The Rampton road was in part only a bridleway in 1984, and the building of runways at
R.A.F. Oakington necessitated the closure of the Oakington road during and after the Second World War. Even after the runways
were abandoned the road remained out of use for most motor traffic in 1987.
The south-east end of the village street was then a quiet backwater, though Hatton's
Road and the north part of High Street were part of a busy route from the Huntingdon road into the southern fens.
The railway from Cambridge to St. Ives opened in 1847
with a station by the Willingham road about half way between the village and the parish boundary. The station closed in 1970
but the line remained in use for goods traffic in 1987.
Stanton was one of the most populous villages in the area. With 67 peasant tenants recorded in 1086 it ranked second only
to Histon in the hundreds of Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth. By the 14th century it had been overtaken by Chesterton
and some of the rapidly expanding fen-edge villages, but nevertheless had 267 adults taxed in 1377.
In 1563 there were 34 families in All Saints and 8 in St. Michael's and in the late
17th century c. 60 and c. 12 respectively. In 1801 there were still c. 60 families in All Saints but 24 in St. Michael's,
making a total population of 400. Increases in the 1810s, 1820s, and 1840s brought it to over 600 by 1851, with roughly the
same proportions in the two parishes.
The population then fell
gradually to c. 400 by 1911, the decline being greater in St. Michael's, which lost more than half its inhabitants and
never had more than 100 residents between 1871 and 1931.
total population remained steady in the early 20th century but the creation of R.A.F. Oakington and an influx of servicemen
and their families more than trebled it by 1951 to over 1,300. In that year there were nearly 500 airmen living in the barracks.
The population continued to increase rapidly after 1951, reaching 2,355 in 1981.
In the Middle Ages there were probably several clusters of settlement straggling over a considerable distance,
principally along the 2-km. high street, distinguishing the village as Long Stanton from nearby Fen Stanton (Hunts.) The two
parish stand apart, St. Michael's near the southern end of the street with the site of Colvilles manor house 250 m. further
south, All Saints near the centre.
The street by each church and north
of All Saints' was still lined in 1816 by regular tofts once occupied by medieval houses, but there was a gap in the tofts
between the that probably had no dwellings in the Middle Ages. By the 17th century cottages later called Golden End had probably
encroached on the north-east side of the street there. They may have included the one-hearth house described as standing upon
the common in 1664.
By 1816 Golden End comprised a small group
of dwellings set well back from the road; one thatched 18th-century house with gabled dormers survived in 1984. A settlement
at Green End on the Over road probably existed by the mid-13th century and certainly by the early 15th, when two men bearing
the same name were distinguished by the epithets 'atte green' and 'atte bridge'. It bordered a triangular
green which survived until inclosed in 1816. In 1984 a single 19th-century cottage remained there.
There were 70 houses with hearths in 1674 and fewer than 80 dwellings in 1811. High Street
and Church Lane or Street in St. Michael's parish were both lined by houses and cottages in 1816. Their number fell from
34 in 1851 to 24 in 1871, mainly affecting High Street, which was left with little more than the rectory and two farmhouses.
In All Saints parish, Golden End and Green End in mid-century each
had c. 6 cottages, and up to three families lived at Fishpond Cottages 900 m. north of the village, but most houses stood
along High Street and adjacent lanes.
Hattons' Manor House
The southern end near All Saints' church and the
northern part beside the stream were sometimes distinguished as Church End and Brook End, which by the beginning of the 19th
century were separated by the park of the Hattons' manor house, extending over c. 22 a. of former tofts.
South of Golden End and east of the road was a lane, eventually called Mills Lane after
a family long resident there, parallel to Church Lane in St. Michael's and linked to it at the eastern end by a short
arm. Church Cottages were built just north of All Saints' vicarage at various dates before inclosure, and were demolished
The number of houses in All Saints rose from c. 60 in
1831 to nearly 100 by 1851. After the coming of the railway a few houses were built near the station, mostly for railway workers.
In the late 19th and early 20th century the total number of houses declined to 115 in 1931.
Long Stanton was transformed by the Air Ministry's acquisition in 1939 of 353 a. at the north-east
end of St. Michael's parish for part of R.A.F. Oakington. Although the airfield lay in Oakington, all the hangars, barracks,
and other buildings were in Long Stanton.
The station opened
in 1940 and continuous operations began after concrete runways were laid in 1941. Two bomber squadrons operated throughout
the Second World War and a photographic reconnaissance unit and a meteorological flight for part of it.
The airfield was used by transport squadrons from 1945 to 1950 and by training schools
after 1950. The army took over the site in 1975 as Oakington Barracks; (Footnote 88) in 1984 it accommodated an infantry battalion,
a helicopter squadron, and an education centre.
After 1945 three
housing estates were built in Long Stanton as married quarters for airmen. The smallest, with 30 dwellings on a spacious site,
was south-west of High Street between the . North of All Saints' church the former park was almost entirely built over,
and together with an extension on the east fronting Rampton Road contained nearly 200 houses and a N.A.A.F.I. in 1984.
The third estate, detached from the village, adjoined the airfield
on Rampton Road. The main estate, mostly semidetached red-brick houses, dominated the centre of Long Stanton in 1984.
Over 100 council houses also stood in and just off High Street and
several small private estates behind the principal streets, the largest comprising 38 houses, making the northern part of
the village heavily built up in 1984. Post-war building in St. Michael's was restricted to a few more expensive houses,
though there were also three residential caravan sites, originally established to provide temporary accommodation for the
In 1984 they included at least 40 permanent dwellings
and had room for touring caravans.
The south-eastern stretch of
the high street, renamed Woodside in its northern part and St. Michael's to the south, was nevertheless not fully built
up and a well wooded open area remained around All Saints' church near the centre of the village in 1987.
There was some 20th-century ribbon development along the Over and Willingham roads, especially
the latter around and north of the station, where several houses had market gardens. A few farms were built in the former
open fields after inclosure in 1816. In 1861 only the Bar House on Hatton's Road and Noon Folly Farm at the south end
of the parish were inhabited.
New Close Farm near Noon Folly
and New Farm near the station were both built shortly after the Finch-Hatton estate was broken up in 1874. Inholms, perhaps
dating from the same period, was demolished to make way for the airfield, and the only other farmhouse outside the village
in 1984, Brookfields on Rampton Road, was a modern bungalow.
inn which in 1686 had 3 beds and stabling for 2 horses was presumably the Black Bull c. 500 m. north-west of All Saints'
church, which had a cockpit in 1773. The William IV was open by 1841 on the Huntingdon road, the Railway by 1851 next to the
station, and the Red Cow by 1875 at Green End, but the last closed shortly after 1908, and the only public houses in 1984
were the Black Bull and the Hoops in St. Michael's, which began c. 1900 as a beer shop.
The village had a clothing club by 1844. A small Village
Institute was built in 1926 in High Street, the cost being partly defrayed by the accumulated profits of the stone, gravel,
and clay pits allotted for public use at inclosure. After 1968 it was known as the Longstanton Social Centre.
The parish council in 1951 purchased 8 a. by Over
Road as a sports ground, on which a new pavilion was opened in 1971.
The feast day of St. Michael's church was moved by the bishop in 1406 to the first
Sunday after Trinity to allow the parishioners to attend Stourbridge fair without missing the dedication service.
Lysons's misidentification of the Stanton at
which Elizabeth I dined with the bishop of Ely in 1564 on her way from Cambridge to Huntingdon as Long Stanton was repeated
in 19th- and 20th-century directories, and a supposed episcopal palace has been marked on some maps, but the dinner was presumably
given at Bishop Cox's private house at Fen Stanton (Hunts.).
From: 'Long Stanton: Introduction', A History of the County of Cambridge and the
Isle of Ely: Volume 9: Chesterton, Northstowe, and Papworth Hundreds (1989), pp. 220-23. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp