Notes by Keith Garrett of Heath House, Sutton Heath, Sutton



Early Charters:

664             Wulfhere, King of the Mercians to Medehamstead Monastery confirmation of             privileges and lands ….including Sutton.

972       Edgar King of Great Britain to Peterborough Abbey charter of refoundation (after    sack by Norsemen) certain lands including Sutton.

1070     William I, confirmation of above

1199     28 Dec 1199 King John confirmation of above


Early History (Source WT Mellows NRS)

The whole Soke of Peterborough was a woody swamp but Abbot Adulf (972-992) cleared it by degrees and built manor houses and granges. There were no churches – people came to Peterborough to pay church dues – but preaching would have taken place at Sutton Cross which dates from this period. In the time of Abbot Ernwulf (1107-1114), revenues were set aside for parochial ministers such as Castor.


Customarily a grange is a farmhouse with stables and out-buildings, but in certain cases, as at Sutton, it was a fully constituted manor with its manor house or hall, its home farm, open fields, and lands of villeins, who held their dwellings and small agricultural holdings for customary services in cultivating the Abbey’s home farm etc. At each grange a small chapel was often provided for use by the lay brothers, mass being celebrated by monks detailed for the purpose.


The Manor of Sutton and its income was allocated to the Almoner of the Abbey, who was also responsible for the leper hospital ( at the present site of Peterborough’s Spital Bridge). Probably the fitter lepers would have worked on the Almoner’s demesne lands in Sutton, which would explain the early dedication of Sutton’s chapel to St Giles, the patron saint of lepers and cripples.


The street layout of Sutton conforms to the traditional Saxon nucleated settlement, with a rectangle of streets surrounding a green (where cattle were driven in times of trouble), with the grange and chapel at one corner of the rectangle – in Sutton’s case on the main street leading to the ford across the River Nene, which the Grange would thus have controlled. This layout suggests that the present Grange rather than Manor Farm was always the chief building, though the existing building, incorporating earlier walling at South end of the West wing, was built in C17, and remodelled in 1880 by William Hopkinson (RCHM).


The Manor Farmhouse was also built in C17 by Bishop Dove who lived there. It was reconstructed in 1900 by William Hopkinson (RCHM).


Later History

There always seem to have been two main holdings in Sutton.. In C12, the Almoner held 2 Knights’ fees. In 1451, the Almoner, William Morton records Johnathon Eyre as Bailiff and Collector and Robert Conquest as farmer of Sutton. In 1541, the Manor of Sutton was granted to the Dean and Chapter of the new cathedral on the dissolution of the abbey, but in 1650 it was expropriated by the Commonwealth and sold to two grocers of the City of London, Thomas Matthews and Thomas Allen. The sale was rescinded on the Restoration of Charles II, and the manor restored to the Dean and Chapter. The 1768 Survey by J Landen of Milton shows the whole manor, including both grange and farm leased by the Dean and Chapter to William Hopkinson. In 1854 the manor was taken over by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners who sold it to the Rev W Hopkinson in 1898 for £2100. The 1901 Census shows Rev W Hopkinson at The Grange and his sister, Mrs J Metcalfe, a widow of independent means at Manor Farmhouse. In 1943 Manor Farm and some 1200 acres were sold by Mrs MEP Graeme, the daughter of Rev W Hopkinson, to WJT Button, whose daughters and son-in-law sold it to the present owner, Simon Scriven, in 1989.

The Grange and the Lordship of the Manor were sold by Mrs Victoria Hopkinson to Mr Mark Bishop, the present owner and Lord of the Manor in 1997. The Hopkinson family retained the Advowson, the right to nominate the parish priest, which is currently exercised by Mrs V Gunnery (Mrs Hopkinson’s daughter), in turn with Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland.