Author Archive

What are your memories?

This month’s post is one asking you if you have any childhood or adult memories of Haslingfield in the past. Perhaps you can remember a traumatic incident at school or, if you’re of an age, about wartime in Haslingfield. Do you remember any amazing local sporting feats? Are there any ‘characters’ who used to live in the village? What were the old pubs like that are no longer with us?

If you have any memories you’d like to share, drop me an e-mail at
I’m happy to guarantee your anonymity if the stories are not too scurrilous!

In the meantime, seasonal wishes to you all!

Old Haslingfield in the News – a new book

This month’s post is in the form of an advertisement.

Regular readers will have noticed that the postings this year have been based upon news items printed in the ‘Cambridge Independent Press’ between 1901 and 1920. The Village Society is now publishing all the news items referring to Haslingfield in a book entitled ‘Haslingfield in the News, 1901-1920’. The book is 120 pages long, contains a large number of photographs, and will retail at only £6. It will be available from local shops, at Village Society events and directly from me at All profits will go to the Village Society.

The book contains a range of stories including fires, accidents, scandals and biographies. It is the ideal Christmas stocking-filler for members and friends of the family in Haslingfield, and for those who have moved away. It follows on directly from ‘The Haslingfield Chronicle, 1776-1900’ which is still on sale for £3.50. We hope to publish news items after 1920 as they become available.

Buy, and enjoy!

Old Haslingfield in the News: A Debtor’s End

Being in debt, and ill, was not a good state to be in in 1901. Thomas Purkin, or possibly Purkis, a 55-year-old labourer from Haslingfield, was committed to the County Gaol on September 27th. He was examined by the prison surgeon, and found to be suffering from “bonal disease of the thigh”. He was immediately sent to the hospital ward, and put on a special diet. He apparently knew of his serious condition, and said he was dying in greater comfort than he would have at home. He then developed pneumonia. Read more

Old Haslingfield in the News – Where Can I Vote?

In a month when one particular election is very much in the news, I thought that this item from the Cambridge Independent Press in September 1913 would be of some interest.

Registering for a vote seems to have been quite complicated then. A Mr. Finney, the son of the Lord’s Bridge stationmaster, had to attend a hearing to claim for a lodger’s vote at the premises. Unfortunately for him, his father’s house was in two parishes – Haslingfield and Barton.

The son wanted to be able to vote in Haslingfield. The father pointed out that when his son was in bed his head was in Haslingfield and his feet were in Barton.

This caused understandable mirth in the court. Alas, the resolution of the case was not recorded.

Old Haslingfield in the News – Tragic Accident in the School Holidays

At the beginning of the 20th century the school holidays in Cambridgeshire schools coincided with the period of harvest time, and many local pupils were employed to help bring it in. Percy Barnard was eleven in August 1918 when local farmer Mr. Watson employed him to lead the horses in one of his fields. Percy was leading a horse and cart loaded with corn down a slope when the horse bolted, and the cart seemingly ran over the boy. Dr. Young of Harston was summoned to the boy’s house immediately, but found no evidence of external injury. Sadly Percy had suffered severe internal injuries, and died the next day. A witness thought that the horse rather than the cart had inflicted the damage, and tragically the boy died the next day.

The coroner’s jury recorded a verdict of accidental death, with no blame attaching to anyone.

Old Haslingfield in the News: Annual Flower Show, July 1909

Every year, at the beginning of the last century, an annual flower show was held involving the villages of Great and Little Eversden, Harlton, Kingston, Comberton and Haslingfield (no Harston!). In July 1909 it was Haslingfield’s turn to host, and the show was held on Mrs. Wallis’ land. It was a splendid affair, with swing boats and roundabouts, a bowls tournament and a cricket match, where Haslingfield beat Comberton by 50 runs…. Read more

Old Haslingfield in the News: Exemption from Military Service, 1916

When conscription was introduced during the First World War, in 1916, those seeking exemption from military service were required to appear before local Tribunals, consisting of civilian as well as military personnel. For the inhabitants of Haslingfield, ‘local’ meant a trek to Chesterton.

The first of these cases was being heard in the summer of 1916. On June 9th Philip Watson, a local farmer of 430 acres as well as a meal dealer, was granted a conditional exemption, a Mr. Flack deeming it “a worthy case”. Read more

Old Haslingfield in the News: Cricket in 1913

On May 1st 1913  Haslingfield CC held its annual meeting. Prizes were donated by the President, Mr. J. Chapman. The winners of the various prizes were:
Batting, Mr. L. Barnard, with an average of 16;
Bowling, Mr. W. A. Wisbey, average 6 runs per wicket;
Fielding, Mr. Sidney Gifford.
The first match of the season was played at Eversden, and was won by Haslingfield by ten runs, the scores being 21 for the home team, and 31 for the visitors. Mr. J. Ling was responsible for 14 of the latter total.

Personal experience suggests that the wicket at Eversden has improved considerably over the last 100 years!

Old Haslingfield in the News: ‘A Bit of War Work’

In April 1917, at the height of World War I, a group of villagers embarked on what they termed “a bit of war work”. They organised a sale, presumably in the school rooms (although the press report does not mention a venue) in aid of the Red Cross. There was some disappointment when a Red Cross nurse failed to appear to open the sale, but the Head Teacher Mr. Royston stepped in… Read more

Old Haslingfield in the News – Temperance in 1913

The Band of Hope was an organisation formed within the Methodist Church in Leeds in 1847 to promote temperance. It soon became a national movement, and indeed spread to New Zealand and the USA. It also spread to Haslingfield, which with its seven pubs in the early part of the twentieth century would have been regarded as a ripe recruitment area. The Band met regularly in the old Primitive Methodist Chapel which still stands just off the High Street, where it put on entertainments to attract the young to “sign the pledge”. One such entertainment took place on March 14th, 1913. Read more

Haslingfield in the News: A Case of Slander, 1904

I’ve started to transcribe news items relating to the village between 1901 and 1945, with a view to publishing a follow-up to ‘The Haslingfield Chronicle’ later this year. In the meantime I will try to find stories occurring in each of the months of the year.   Read More below. Read more

Christmas 1914

The Cambridge Chronicle posted a reassuring view of life in the trenches:

“Tommy at War – They lie in the slush of the trench bottom and discuss the merits of football players at home and argue which is the better team, and make bets which club will be at the top of the League and – and then they have a shot at the Germans and the Germans have a shot at them”.  (Please click ‘Read More’ below for more information). Read more

Armistice Day 1918

Unsurprisingly, Armistice Day in Cambridge in  November 1918 was as raucous an affair as elsewhere. The Cambridge Chronicle reported:

The news reached Cambridge about 11 o’clock, and spread like wildfire. The first signal was given by the hoisting of the Union Jack at the Town Hall [now the Guildhall], and the churches and colleges quickly followed suit in setting joy-bunting floating. In a few moments youngsters were shrilly cheering in the streets … With feverish speed all Cambridge hung out bunting, and women and children bedecked themselves with miniatures flags or trappings of red, white and blue.

An effigy of the Kaiser was paraded around the town. Unfortunately the bells of Great St. Mary’s failed to ring because a group of over-enthusiastic youths damaged them, but there was no such problem in Haslingfield. The bells there rang for two hours from noon.