Streets named after people
We have only two streets named after people (excluding the Queen!). One is Lawrance Lea and the other is Hurrell’s Row. The Lawrances first came to the village from Haughley in Suffolk in 1855 and had been blacksmiths in the village for 3 generations. Harry Lawrance was the last blacksmith and when he died in 1971 the smithy closed down for good. About this time Lawrance Lea was being built and it was named after Harry. However, when the road sign was produced Lawrance was misspelt as Lawrence!
But what about Hurrell’s Row? Most people are aware that the Hurrell family have been important landowners associated with Harston since the 1600s – first at Harston House and from 1854 at Park House. They employed many locals as servants and workers and in 1860s Hurrell’s Row was built, described later as ‘twelve mean dwellings built of clunch blocks’ although we have since been reliably informed it is made of claybat. Was it named because the Hurrells built it or because many of their workers lived there or both?
Streets named after places
But what about the derivations of other Harston street names? Some are obvious. It’s the place they go to – Haslingfield Rd, Royston Rd; the building they lead to – Church St, Chapel Lane; or what can or could be seen from there – Field View, High Meadow, Moorfields. But Harston has street names whose derivation might not be so obvious.
Where did The Limes get its name? Fairly straightforward, this one. The land upon which the houses now sit was once Lime Tree farm. In fact when the first estate agents adverts came out, this was called the Lime Tree Farm Estate.
Then there’s Green Man Lane. Again, not too difficult. The large building on the corner of the High St and Green Man Lane has been many things over the years but in the 19th and early 20th centuries it was a pub. No prizes for guessing its name!
Then we have roads with a change of name. We all know why Station Rd has that name – the station was in operation from the 1850s until 1963. But it couldn’t have had that name before we had a station so what could it be called? Well, the only building on the road prior to the station was Baggot Hall Farm, so the road was called Baggot Road. Even this was not its original name – a map of 1790s calls it Ridgeway. Incidentally the same map has Moor St for what we now call High St.
Sheepshead Lane sounds as though it is a very old name but was only given that name in 2012. Prior to that the houses had a High St address whilst many older residents referred to it as The Avenue and originally it was called Sheepshead Row!
Unusual or lost names
Button End is an unusual name, not so much the ‘End’ since many villages around here have Ends for the streets on edges but where did Button come from? There seems to be three possible explanations. There were coprolite diggings in the area we know as Button End and, as the Harston coprolites were relatively small in size, the diggers called them buttons. Or a more bloody version which involves the civil war battle which took place around 1647 in the area along the river. Buttons from the tunics of the defeated Royalist troops were dug up from time to time in the Button End area, hence the name. Or in medieval times, this was the area where the longbow was practised – from ‘The Butts’
Finally we have streets that seem to have disappeared. There are 19th and 20th century sales documents that refer to Reynolds Close, The Rookery, School Close amongst others. Does anyone know where these might have been?