Stapleford village is located approximately 4 miles to the south of Cambridge near the banks of the River Granta and between Great Shelford and Sawston. Stapleford is first mentioned in 956 when it was given the Latinised name of Stapelforda, formerly Stapleton. Unlike most parishes the spelling has hardly changed since then. The parish, however, was inhabited long before this. Wandlebury Ring, which lies within the parish boundary, is an Iron Age hill fort, originally built in the 3rd century BC but rebuilt with a double bank in the 1st century AD.
Around 1,900 people now live in the village, which has a Community Primary School, St Andrew’s Church, a church hall (the Johnson Memorial Hall), Stapleford Granary (a centre for arts, culture and education) and two pubs, The Three Horseshoes and The Rose. The pavilion, on Stapleford’s recreation ground, was renovated in 2012 and re-named the Jubilee Pavilion to mark the diamond jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II.
Stapleford is twinned with Villedômer in the Loire Valley, France.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Wandlebury, an ancient monument, is an Iron Age hill fort, originally built with a steep-sided ditch in the third century BC and rebuilt with a double bank in the first century AD. Evidence was found in excavations in 1995-6 of settlement in the area even before the fort was first built. The earthworks were extensively landscaped as an ornamental feature in the 18th Century by Lord Godolphin, as they lay in the park surrounding the house and stables which he began to build in 1729. Under the archway of the old stable block is buried the Godolphin Arabian which died at the age of 29 in 1753. It was one of three stallions from which most modern thoroughbreds are descended.
The family inherited the Dukedom of Leeds in 1859. In 1895 they sold the Wandlebury estate and it was eventually purchased in 1904 by Harold William Stannus Gray. Sir Harold died in 1951 and his wife two years later. Their son, Terence, presented the hill fort to the Cambridge Preservation Society in 1954. The Society at the same time bought the surrounding 38.67 hectares. The estate and Wandlebury Ring have since then been owned and managed by the Cambridge Preservation Society and are freely open to the public all year. The 18th century house was demolished in 1955, but the ditch and ramparts of the Iron Age earth works are still clearly defined. Also in evidence are:
- Granary – grade II listed building (early 15th century), removed from original site in Tadlow and re-erected here in 1980
- Stables, coach house and service block – grade II listed building (mid-late 18th century)
- The Lodge – grade II listed building (early 19th century) – circular plan and conical roof, with 20th century additions
- South stable block – grade II listed building (late 18th century)Causewayed enclosure and bowl barrow – another ancient monument, lying at Little Trees Hill, on the other side of the A1307 from Wandlebury
Magog Down is an impressive sweep of Cambridgeshire hillside, restored from the farmland to walks, woodlands and meadows, for conservation and informal recreation. The area of 163 acres, neighbouring the Wandlebury country park, was purchased in1989 by the Magog Trust, a registered charity, which was set up specifically for the task. This wildlife haven nurtures 24,000 trees and many species of wild flowers, grasses and abundant wildlife. The perimeter walk stretches for 2.25 miles and has been developed especially for dog walkers, allowing a leash-free walk around the site. In 1996 the Magog Trust was highly commended in the Henry Ford European Conservation Awards for Natural Environment projects. It is freely open to all, with a nominal parking charge.
- Dormer Cottage, No. 5 Bar Lane – grade II listed cottage built around 1750 with timber frame and tiled mansard roof
- No. 7 Bar Lane – grade II listed cottage built around 1800
- Stapleford Hall, Bar Lane – grade II listed building dated circa. 1630 – timber framed and thatched roof, extended c. 1700
- No. 2 and 4 Church Street – the two cottages are grade II listed buildings, with timber frame and thatched roof, dating from about 1700. They were transferred to South Cambridgeshire District Council which, together with the Cambridgeshire Cottage Improvement Society, restored them to their present condition. The administration and ownership of the cottages now rests with the Cottage Housing Society
- Slaughterhouse, Church Street – a grade II listed parish council property, built about 1840
- Dove Cottage, No. 4 Gog Magog Way – grade II listed building converted from a dovecot. Originally about 16th century, but the door and window openings are 20th century
- Middlefield and garden wall, Haverhill Road – grade II* listed building. Designed in 1908 by Sir Edwin Lutyens for Henry Bond of Trinity Hall, a Lecturer in Law. The house was later called Mount Blow, but has now reverted to its original name. Associated with Middlefield, though not themselves listed buildings, are Middlefield Lodge, now called The House on the Hill, Middlefield Cottage and Keeper’s Cottage, all of them probably designed in Lutyens’ workshop
- Galewood, Pinewood and The Towers, Hinton Way – grade II listed building, originally a single house by William Flockhart
- St. Andrew’s Church, Mingle Lane – grade II* listed building
- The White Cottage, No. 45 Mingle Lane – grade II listed building, 15th century, with mid-17th century alterations
- The Particular Baptist Chapel, Church Street – there was a congregation of Particular Baptists in Stapleford from about 1855, although they had met for worship in barns in the parish from as early as 1808. A site for a new chapel, named the Providence Baptist Chapel, was provided by Richard Headley in 1863. The chapel was slightly extended in 1947 but, following disagreement over church rules, was sold by the Midland Strict Baptist Association in 1975. It is now a private residence, 9A Church Street
- A blacksmith’s shop formerly stood at the junction of Church Street and London Road. It was later converted into three cottages, being known as The Triangle. The cottages became derelict and were purchased by the County Council from Beatrice Minnie Harris in 1913 to improve the road junction
- A windmill was built on the hill to the south of Haverhill Road in 1804. It had ceased to be used by 1905. The sails had been taken down by 1939 and the brick base was removed in 1961. See also: A History of the Windmill (PDF)
- A public pump in a tall wooden casing formerly stood in the road at the junction of Bar Lane and Bury Road. Before mains water came to the village in 1936 some residents depended on it for their supply, although many properties had their own wells. In 1948 it was reported to be out of order and the Parish Council asked for it to be dismantled. It had long been a landmark and continued to give a name to the local bus stop
- The Rose Public House in London Road dates in part from 1665 and the remainder from 1707 or earlier. It was probably licensed from at least 1728 and was called The Rainbow in 1740, but by 1764 had been renamed The Rose and Crown. It retained this name in legal records until 1897
- The Longbow Public House in Church Street was formerly the Three Horse Shows. The earliest licensee that can be traced was Daniel Rider in 1815. After closure and refurbishment it was reopened as The Longbow in 1976
- The Tree Public House in Bar Lane is recorded from 1895. It was rebuilt in 1979
- Other vanished public houses and beer houses were the Dolphin (1861-1920), commemorated in Dolphin Way, the Hammer and Anvil (1875-99), the Millwrights Arms, possibly the same as The Tree (1871), the Gipsy Weaver (1871) and The Bell (1774-82) which was no doubt the same as The Light Horse (1783-84)
Stapleford archaeological reports