57 High Street, Lincoln House

John Roadley

57 High Street 2014
1971 Aerial view of 57 High St with open fronted barn and piggeries behind
57 High Street, the refurbished barn before conversion to a residence

Probably dating from the 16th century, Lincoln House was owned by the Allen family (who also had tenancy of Harston water mill) until 1818 when it was sold on the death of James Allen. (Likely plot 100 on 1799 Inclosure map which in 1802 was owned by William Allen.) The sale was advertised in the Cambridgeshire Chronicle & Journal on 7 & 14 August & 11 September as:

‘Sale (by T Cockett) of Mr Allen’s estates in Harston, Newton, Melbourn, Chrishall. His residence, with hall, parlour, kitchen, wash-house, brew-house, pantry, 4 bedrooms with closets, 2 attics, good cellaring, inclosed yard, 3 barns, 2 stables, cow-house, granary, poultry-house, 2 pig-sties, hayshed, 2 gardens, orchard of more than 300 fruit trees in 2 acres and a rood. Garden wall with peach & nectarine trees & grape vine. 2 Cottages with yards & gardens. 128 acres, 2 roods, 13 perches of arable land in the parishes of Harston & Newton. The dwelling house is situate at an agreeable distance from the High road, commanding pleasing views with a delightful frontage garden containing numerous espalier fruit trees, fenced from the north by a lofty wall clothed with fine healthy peach and nectarine trees, and a large luxuriant grape vine in front of the house. View on application to Mr James Northfield of Harston’.

James Allen’s farming animals, implements, produce and lands were sold by auction as advertised in the Cambridgeshire Chronicle & Journal of 17 July 1818:

‘Auction by T. Cockett for the executors of Mr James Allen deceased. 4 draught horses, a mare, a yearling filly, 6 cows, 2 in-pigged sows, 5 fat hogs, 5 store hogs, a narrow-wheeled waggon with iron arms, 2 narrow- and 1 wide-wheeled dung carts, 1 broad-wheeled mould cart with iron arms, a 1-horse cart & harness, 6 ploughs, 2 sets of harrows, 2 oak rolls, barn implements, sacks, cow cribs, hog troughs, hurdles, cart & plough harness for 8 horses, straw, manure, a hogshead brewing copper with mashing & working tubs, 2 large thatched stacks of last year’s cinquefoil hay, a stack of pasture hay etc. Plus, valuable growing crops of corn at Harston, 41 acres of wheat, 34 of barley, 4 of oats, 11 of peas. £10 deposit to be paid at the sale; the rest on credit until Christmas, given the usual security’.

It is believed that the Wallman family purchased the house at the 1818 sale.  Lincoln house and the cottages next door were all part of the small Wallman’s farm until 1918 upon the death of the owners when they were sold as two lots as advertised in the Cambridge Daily News & Cambridge Independent Press on 31 May, 3, 4  & 7 June 1818 as:

‘For sale by Carter Jonas & Sons, auctioneers, 3 lots in Harston. Lot 1, an old-fashioned residence fronting the High Street with gardens in front, including numerous farm buildings and a large orchard, previously occupied by the late Mrs Wallman, 3 acres, 3 roods, 0 perches. Lot 2, two houses with gardens and orchards in fruit front and back, yard, buildings – adjacent to lot 1, let to Mrs Stoney & R J Sheldrick at rents totalling £25 pa, 2 roods 27 perches. Lot 3, arable field on the summit of Newton Hill, let to Thomas Hayes, ca. 3 acres’.

Until this sale the ownership of No 57 included the land occupied by Nos 51, 53 & 59 and was part of the Manor of Tiptofts. An outside brick passage from the priest hole by the fireplace in No 53 to No 57is still visible.

The buildings immediately to the right of No 57 were the farm’s cattle shed/barns and behind these was an open-fronted barn shown in the aerial view.

The house was purchased at the 1918 sale by George Robert Topham from Lincoln, hence its name. In about 1930 Mr Topham sold to Thompsons Coaches the land and cattle sheds which then became No 59 High Street. He died in 1954 and is buried with his wife in Button End cemetery. The property passed to his son George Edward. He had his own garage in George IV Street, Cambridge, but lived in Harston. He enjoyed rearing pigs there helped by Eli Northrop’s brother-in-law Arthur. The piggery buildings are still there  seen in aerial photo. The cattle sheds were converted to garages and used by Thompson Coaches, Premier Travel Coach & Bus Co and then re-modelled in 1970 for Fletchers Cars. During the time of Premier Travel, there was a cottage called Castle Cottage half way down the plot on the left; Premier’s mechanic Mr Law lived here with his family.

George’s wife Brenda was a civil servant working for the Property Services Agency at Brooklands Avenue. George died in 1987 and the house was purchased by Andy Bowden in 1989

About 1990 Fletchers car buildings shown in aerial photo were demolished and rebuilt as now by Stocks Builders, becoming Lancaster Volvo, then Lex Ford, then Tim Brinton Peugeot, Subaru and now( 2023) Ducati motorbikes.

The open-fronted barn was in poor repair in 1989; a further single storey building towards the northern boundary being added about 1992. About 2000 part of this added building was leased by the Royal Mail to use as a Sorting/Delivery Office; this continued until mid 2014, when it was used as a Bag Drop until late 2014.

In 2012 the open-fronted barn was converted to a dwelling, being given the postal address of No 57A, but remaining within the ownership of No 57, sharing the same driveway.

This page was added on 15/05/2024.

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