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Toft, Cambridgeshire

 

The village of Toft lies 9km south-west of Cambridge and 18km south-east of St Neots, and 18km south-east of St Neots and centred on TL 3596 560. Toft is one of several parishes whose southern boundary is formed by the Bourn Brook, which rises a few miles west of Toft and joins the River Cam just south of Grantchester. Recent research on the Bourn Valley parishes has identified an extended system of medieval field boundaries and trackways covering an area of around 72km, many of which extend for over a kilometre across the valley.

The present village of Toft comprises a nucleated settlement arranged either side of two main axes joining around a bend in the main B1046 road. Two parallel rows of housing are located along High Street and School Lane, with another row running perpendicular to these along Comberton Road towards the top of the hill, with a further housing estate located just to the north in Miller's Road, Mill Lane and Glebe Close. The church is largely isolated south east of the present village.

The 19th century settlement was much smaller and more dispersed, arranged loosely around a square grid of lanes between Comberton Road and the Bourn Brook.  The most compact part of the settlement then was arranged as a linear row along the Comberton Road near its junction with Church Road.  Settlement along the northern end of the High Street was much more intermittent, constituting little more than a Methodist chapel and the Black Bull inn. This is separated by some 150m from a small single row of farms and cottages north of Brookside (then called Water Row), which appears to constitute a separate hamlet. The diffuse character of settlement in this area is further emphasised by the presence of just a couple of cottages along School Lane and Pinford Well Lane, and by the location of St Andrews Parish church nearly half a kilometre from the settlement along Comberton Road or Water Lane, with only the Rectory and a small terrace of three cottages for company. The historic parish church of Saint Andrews and associated rectory (Toft Manor) lie SE of the main residential settlement surrounded by fields on all sides with no evidence for previous housing near the church itself, one of the curious features of the modern village. The existence has been posited of a middle Saxon settlement near the present parish church of Saint Andrews, and abandoned medieval settlement identified along both sides of Bourn Brook.

 

Local Information Websites

Toft Historical Society

Toft Village Website

British History Online

Heritage Gateway

 

Projects by Year

2013

 

Test Pit Pottery Distribution Map 2013

Test Pit Flint and Burnt Stone Distribution Map 2013