The History of Southoe and Midloe in Cambridgeshire

Historical notes about the town of Southoe and Midloe in Cambridgehsire.

The Parish of Southoe

The Parish of Southoe is bounded on the east by the Ouse, dividing it from Great Paxton, which is reached by a ferry. The ground near the river is liable to floods, and nowhere in the parish rises to more than about 150 ft. above ordnance datum. The area is 1,487 acres of land and 12 acres of land covered by water. The soil is gravelly, and the subsoil clay. The chief crops grown are wheat, barley, and oats.

The village lies along a by-road about a quarter of a mile west of the main road from Bedford to Huntingdon on ground rising westward from the River Ouse. The church stands near the crossing of two roads, and to the west of it is the rectory, with the Rectory Farm. To the east of the rectory is a homestead moat which probably marks the site of the house of the Lovetots which they made their chief home, where John de Lovetot was born in 1298. The house was said to be in ruin in 1350 and probably was not rebuilt, as the property shortly afterwards went to the Earls of Gloucester, who had many houses elsewhere. On the east side of the village street, south-east of the church, is a 16th-century timber-framed house with tiled roof which, although now three cottages, was once of more importance. It consists of a central block and two wings, the southern of which was added a century later than the main building. The upper story projects and is supported on a carved beam. There are other timber-framed houses and cottages in the village street, at the south end of which is Manor Farm, where there is another homestead moat, within which probably stood the house of Ferrers or Winchester Manor (q.v.). East of the church is the pound and to the south of it the school and the smithy, the Old Horseshoe Inn, commemorative of the Ferrers arms, lying west of it. There is another homestead moat at Town Orchard, south-west of the church, which indicates the position of another medieval house. The hamlet of Boughton lies partly in this parish and partly in Diddington, which adjoins it on the north-east. The Manor Farm at Boughton, about a mile east of the village, now two tenements, was originally built in the 17th century, possibly in 1650, when the manor was leased for 99 years to Peter and Giles Vandeputh. The house has been much altered and received additions in the 18th century and later, when much of it was refaced with brick and the roofs covered with slates. There is a dovecot in the grounds. About a quarter of a mile to the south of it, and west of the Ouse, is Boughton Lodge, another 17th-century house now almost a ruin.

At the south-east angle of the parish, bounded by the Ouse and by a tributary stream, is Wrayhouse, Wrayhouse Farm being across the border in Little Paxton.

The Parish of Midloe

The Parish of Midloe, covering nearly 881 acres, was formerly extra-parochial, and is still reputed to be so for ecclesiastical purposes. The land rises from the river Kym on the south-west and the Diddington Brook on the north-east and the parish is crossed by a small stream running into the Ouse. The soil is clay, growing wheat, oats and beans, and the land is mostly arable, only about a third being pasture with some 27 acres of woodland at Midloe Wood, Honey Hill Plantation and Hangman's Spinney. The nearest railway station is at St. Neots, about four miles away to the south-east.

There is neither a church nor a village; the population, which in 1921 numbered 33, being scattered in farmhouses and labourers' cottages. Midloe Grange, a short distance from the southern boundary, apparently marks the site of the grange of Warden Abbey, mentioned in the 12th century. The present house was probably built by Robert Payne, of St. Neots, about 1590. He, his son, Sir Robert Payne, and grandson, another Robert, are described as of Midloe and doubtless lived here. The house is timber framed and plastered, with a tiled roof. It consists of a central block and two wings. The southern wing, which formerly projected, has been under-built and the northern wing was lengthened on the west side in the 18th century. The house was surrounded by a moat, the east side of which has been filled in.

Other farms are Highfield Farm, where Midloe narrows to a mere strip between Staughton and Diddington; and Redhill Farm, near Redhill Bridge, on the northern boundary.

Victoria County History - Published 1932