Saturday 17th June 2017

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Brampton is a large village with some 5,000 residents and is situated 2 miles south west of Huntingdon. It is 16 miles from Cambridge and an hour from Kings Cross by train. It has direct access to the A1 and A14 and nearby rail links to London, Peterborough and beyond. There is also a recently introduced guided bus that goes from St. Ives to Cambridge with a link from Huntingdon. A regular bus service passes through the village en route from Huntingdon and St Neots.

The village is large and rather straggling and stands partly along the branch road from the Great North Road to the Huntingdon to Thrapston road, but mainly along the winding High Street, which runs westward from the branch road back to the Great North Road. The northern part of the village is called Bell End, the south part Bridge End, from the bridge over the brook here, the cutwaters of which are the remains of a 17th-century bridge, and the west part Brook End, West End or Green End, from the village green on the south side of the street. The church stands on the east side of the road to Bell End and on the south side of the churchyard is the Old Black Bull public house, an early 17th-century house with an 18thcentury addition. South of this house is the Manor Farm. There are a few timber-framed cottages in the High Street, and at West End, fixed over a spring, is the stone base of a cross of the 13th or 14th century. The base is square brought to an octagon with bold angle stops. Perhaps it was part of one of the ‘four stone crosses’ which Cardinal Pole, at his visitation in 1556, ordered the parishioners to rebuild. The Manor House is on the opposite side of the road to the church. It was rebuilt in 1875, but probably stands where there was a royal residence from before the Norman Conquest until the 13th century. Henry I stayed here; Stephen spent the autumn of 1136 hunting at Brampton; Henry II visited it immediately after his accession, and here it was that he promised a new charter to the Abbot of Ramsey in order to restore the abbey after its sufferings in Stephen’s reign. His houses and birds are mentioned. Henry was here in July 1174, when his corrody was accounted for at £18 4s. King John also stayed here on 4 January 1213, and Henry III on 22 November 1227. The principal lay manor having been alienated by John, and Harthay granted by him in 1215 to the bishops of Lincoln, the royal visits ceased. The hall is mentioned in 1251, and in 1348 it is said to have been destroyed by floods. In 1595 the ‘site of the manor or tenement called Lordship’s house’ is mentioned, and it was called Brampton Berry in 1652.

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The Black Bull is one of the oldest pubs in Brampton. The house is basically 16th century with 17th & 18th century additions.

It is known that Samuel Pepys, the diarist, who lived in the 17th century, took his ale here. His patron was the Earl of Sandwich who lived at Hinchingbrooke House, now a school.
The Black Bull was once the court of the manor where cases concerning the estate of the Earl of Sandwich were dealt with.

John Pepys, father of Samuel Pepys the diarist, inherited from his elder brother Robert a property of about £80 a year in Brampton. He resided here from 1661 until 1668, when Paulina Pepys married John Jackson and he went to live with them at Ellington. Samuel’s nephew John Jackson, to whom he left his library, is called ‘son of John Jackson of Brampton.’ The house in which the Pepys lived is still pointed out, and an iron pot of silver coins, discovered at the foot of the garden wall about 1842, is believed to have been hidden by Samuel Pepys during the Plague, when he hid his gold.

Sir Henry Hawkins, the eminent Judge, was created Baron Brampton of Brampton in 1899, having inherited a small farm here from his father’s halfbrother. The peerage became extinct when he died childless in 1907.

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