August 2008

Whaddon Bits & Pieces

Stan Ralls

Death on the Road

In 1609 one James Sumerville, a gentleman of Edinburgh, died in the fields of Whaddon "as he travelled" and was buried in Whaddon Church yard. It was assumed that he was a Scot using the Old North Road and "following his King into the land of plenty".

Local Wrestling

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Whaddon, together with other villages in the area, was a centre for the sport of wrestling. (bare knuckle fighting). Wrestling matches were very common between this village and those of Bassingbourn (considered a good wrestling centre), Melbourn, Meldreth and the Mordens. However the fighting was not generally confined to the main contestants. If the day didn't end with a fight between the two villages involved in the match, the spectators would have gone home feeling cheated out of their complete entertainment for the day. One of the spots used for this sport was known as the Red Marsh. This field, today, is on the left of the A1198, just beyond Kneesworth opposite the footpath to Whaddon.On this spot there were many good fights watched by hundreds of spectators from the surrounding villages.

Prevention is Better than Cure

Whaddon was part of the Royston Union run by the Board of Guardians. Unions were set up in 1834 to administer the new Poor Law which provided help for the destitute. Twenty-eight villages in Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire were in this Union and each village had a representative on the Board of Guardians. The workhouse was situated on the Baldock Road in Royston. Arthur Coningsby was Whaddon's representative at the beginning of the 20th Century.

A Notice from the Workhouse (1866)

Precautions against Cholera and Diarrhoea

  • Boil all water to be used for drinking purposes fresh every day.
  • Lime wash inside your houses.
  • Clean out all Sinks and Drains.
  • Remove all dirt heaps and slop holes from near your doors.
  • Keep open the windows as much as possible.
  • Use Lime and other Disinfectants for Privies and Sinks or Drains
  • Always eat a crust of Bread in the morning before you go out to work.

Royston and District Family History Society


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