The Duke of Wellington (now Wellington Cottage.)

By David Miller

Photo:Wellington Cottage, 2010

Wellington Cottage, 2010

This delightful house, situated at the junction of Lotfield Street and Stocks Lane, was once, as its name indicates, the Duke of Wellington public house. It has been improved substantially from its more modest beginnings as the home of a smallholder and beer seller.

As can be seen from an early sketch map of Orwell which is dated 1836 (below),

Photo:1836 pre- enclosure sketch map.

1836 pre- enclosure sketch map.

the property was once on a corner where the Back Street (now known as Lotfield Street) turned sharp left and became Cross Lane.  The Enclosure Awards of 1836 made alterations to the roads layout here, so that a new piece of road was created between The Duke of Wellington and the road to the High Street . This new road is now known as Stocks Lane. The road boundary was originally hard up against the front of the house, but it has now been altered so that the house has a small front garden to keep the traffic away.

The sketch map allows us to date The Duke as being pre 1836. It seems likely that the left hand end of the building (as seen from the road) is somewhat earlier than that, as its construction is different, and its roof was thatched, while the main building was brick built with a slate roof and appears to be purpose built as a pub around 1830 or shortly before. The left hand end of the building also shows signs of the roof having been raised, and no doubt this was done when the main building was constructed. It was also skinned in brick, in order to protect the clunch walls.  Some of the clunch is still there but it cannot be seen.

Royston Fine Ales were sold there by Charles Marshall from 1881 until 1891 (per Census) but like many publicans, he did not rely entirely on making his living from this trade, but was also a master bootmaker, employing four men. The property was owned at that time by the Meyer Brothers, who lived in Orwell at what is now the Cambridge Private Hospital, but who had connections with J. & J.E. Phillips of Royston who owned or financed many of the pubs in this area.

There were also farming connections, and a small amount of land went with the property, it being farmed as a part of Meadowcroft Farm. The Meyers were farmers, with land in Arrington.

In the 1901 Census, the property is referred to as ‘Lotfield Tavern,’ and the occupier is Henry Norfield, but we cannot trace the tenant in the 1911 Census. The property was copyhold, and was enfranchised at about that time, so it should be possible to find the earlier copyhold details. In 1938, the Landlord was Henry Parcell, who was also a coal and coke merchant and farmer.  He had the land which went with the property, and in 1946, Henry bought the freehold.

A sketch map, prepared by David Miller, who spent much of his childhood years there and also lived there for a while after his Uncle Henry had moved out, shows not only the kind of business carried on, but also the use of each individual room in the house and outbuildings. Henry Parcell remained  the landlord until 1956 when the property was de-licenced, but by then Henry and his wife Mabel had moved their farming business to the adjoining Meadowcroft Farm. The licenced trade had diminished to just a few regulars in the latter years. The Tap Room was reached through the front door of the main building, while the other door, in the left hand part of the building, gave access to the private front room of the property and the stairs. Behind the tap room, there were several other rooms used for the purposes of Henry’s business. The beer was kept in a half cellar.

On the sketch, the Stocks Lane/ Lotfield Street roadway is shown going from left to right at the bottom of the page, and the main house is opposite the opening marked as Cross Lane.

Photo:David Miller's sketch showing the arrangement of the farm.

David Miller's sketch showing the arrangement of the farm.

As can be seen from the photographs, the left hand end of the building was thatched. The thatch caught fire in ???? (see photo) when the property was in the occupation of a family called Stevenson,  and no doubt it was re-roofed in slate at that time.  

Having bought Meadowcroft Farm from Mrs. Roads in 1950, Henry and Mabel Parcel moved into the farmhouse, (behind Meadowcroft Cottage), and The Duke was let out to various tenants including David and Audrey Miller (see above). It was re-named "Wayside Cottage" in order to distance itself from its associations with the alcohol trade, but older Orwell residents still called it “The Duke.” (See the photo below captioned 'View from Wayside' which must have been taken from The Duke looking down Lotfield Street towards the Meadowcroft farm barns.) Henry continued to use the outbuildings at the Duke, but he and his wife Mabel lived at Meadowcroft Farm until his death in 1974, and Mabel then moved to the bungalow (10 Lotfield Street) they had recently built next to Wayside. A second bungalow was built and Wayside itself was bought in 1985 by John and Julia Mantle. They re-named it “Wellington Cottage.” 

The Mantles embarked upon a series of extensions and improvements to accommodate their family as it grew, the most recent addition in 2000 being a very successful construction of a wing on the southern end of the property to match the one on the other end. Even the windows upstairs are in the same ‘Cambridge sliding sash’ style, so the match is virtually complete. The original tap room floor slabs have been re-used in the room behind the present front door. Some of the original studwork for the interior walls has been retained.

Photo:The Duke of Wellington - about 1960

The Duke of Wellington - about 1960

The front door of the pub has now gone (it would an unusual property in Orwell which had not had its front door moved several times) but the door to the house remains in its original position. Inside there is little to see of its earlier use.

The photographs tell their own story. Captions to the photos appear if they are clicked on.

Photo:Fire in the thatch.

Fire in the thatch.


Photo:View from Wayside (see text.)

View from Wayside (see text.)

Photo:1915: Another rear view of the building
Photo:Rear view  -  before the fire.
Photo:Family group in the garden
Photo:Mr. and Mrs. William Parcell
Photo:Lorry in the yard of The Duke.
Photo:Henry Parcell's hay cart - there's a horse under there somewhere!
Photo:Doreen Kneller with Henry Parcell's working horses
Photo:Replacement and extension works at the rear of the property.
Photo:Original stud wall, and floor slabs from the Tap Room.
Photo:The fire has been re-positioned, but is similar in style to the earlier one in the Tap Room.
This gallery was added by David Miller on 26/07/2015.

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