|Trumpington Local History Group
John and Agnes Stokton
When the base of Trumpington's medieval village cross was uncovered in
1921, it was realised it was dedicated to John and Agnes Stokton who had
lived in Trumpington in the 15th century. This paper describes the
discovery and what we know about the Stokton's, based on a presentation
given at a Group meeting on 22 November 2012.
|The stone base of the
former village cross,
October 2011. Andrew
Erection of the War Memorial at Cross Hill, Trumpington, 1921
When workmen were erecting the Trumpington War Memorial on 17 August 1921, they
discovered the base of the village cross. The Rev. A.C. Moule recorded the discovery of the
Barnack stone base and the socket which would have held the wooden shaft of the cross, writing
"the top has been much damaged by the pickaxes of road-menders, and has in recent years been
partly covered with tar, so near the surface of the road was it" and "one corner of the stone has
been very roughly knocked off by workmen who were laying a gas-pipe about 20 years ago".
|Illustration from the brochure about the dedication of the
War Memorial, Cross Hill, 1921.
|The unveiling of the War Memorial, 11 December 1921.
Photograph used by Percy Robinson during lectures in
Trumpington War Memorial, 13
November 2011. Andrew
According to an Act of Parliament of 1643, village crosses should have been removed and
defaced, but the base at least of the Trumpington cross must have survived. The cross may still
have been in use in the late 1600s, as there is an entry in the Vestry Audit Book dated April
1691 with "And lastly wee doe order an Exact Coppy of these presents to be forthwith written
out; and affixed on the publick Crosse of the Town of Trumpington". The cross does seem to
have disappeared before the early 19th century, as it was not marked on the Inclosure Map in
1804. The name 'Cross Hill' seems to have survived in use, although it was not recorded on the
Inclosure Map or Ordnance Survey maps until after the War Memorial was placed in the same
location in 1921.
In 1921, the stone base of the cross was given to the Parish Church and can be seen at the foot
of the church tower near the stairs to the organ loft. The base has an inscription on 3 faces,
including the name 'Stokton' on the front face. The full inscription was interpreted by Rev.
Moule as reading "Orate pro animab[us] Joh[ann]is Stokton et Agnetis uxoris ei[us]" [Pray for
the souls of John Stokton and of Agnes his wife]. The base currently has a stone placed in its
|Trumpington Church, October
2011. Andrew Roberts.
|Three faces of the stone base of
the former village cross, known
as the Stokton Cross,
Trumpington Church, October
2011. Andrew Roberts.
What do we know about John and Agnes Stokton?
From the inscription, it seems probable that John Stokton left money in his will for the erection
of the village cross.
We know that John Stokton was alive in the 1450s, as he was referred to in the tax records for
that date, there being no escape from tax even in those days. The collection of an income tax
was granted by Parliament in April 1450 and the Subsidy Rolls for that tax list a number of
taxpayers in Trumpington.
|Extract from the
Cambridgeshire Subsidy Rolls
for 1450 (Palmer, 1912, p. 142).
John Stokton died before 1476: a deed held by Jesus College and quoted by Rev. Moule shows
that Agnes Stokton was a widow in 1476. The information in the deed indicates that John and
Agnes Stokton probably lived in a house on the north west side of Church Lane (in the area
now occupied by The Lord Byron pub (formerly the Unicorn pub)):
"Nouerint vniuersi per presentes nos agnetem Stokton viduam nuper vxorem Johannis Stokton
de Trumpynton ..."
"All men by these presents we know Stokton Agnes widow the late wife of John Stokton
|Extract from deed referring to
Agnew Stokton and the Stokton
property (Moule, 1922, p. 107).
|The Unicorn public house, May 2009. Andrew
|Church Lane from the War Memorial, April
2011. Andrew Roberts.
From this evidence, the cross was probably erected at the 'Cross Hill' location about 1480.
It seems that Stokton was a farmer, as 'Stokton Farm' appears in deeds, etc., in the late 1500s
and early 1600s:
Grantor: Henry Clerke, alderman of Cambridge. Grantee: Edward Lucas, of London,
gentleman. Place or Subject: Stokton Farm (Stocktons) in Trumpington (Terumpyngton,
Trumpyngton). County: Cambs [The National Archives, C 147/339, 17 November 1586 - 16
"William Pychard had before his death in 1614 added to his manorial land over 250 a.,
including the Hatchers' 120 a. and Stokton farm, 100 a., owned until 1599 by the Clarkes."
[Victoria County History, Trumpington]
Curiously, in the 1940s and 1950s, the four houses just west of the former church school, in
what was then called Church Lane or School Lane (now Grantchester Road), were called
|Looking from Trumpington
church tower along
Grantchester Road and Church
Lane, across the probable
location of Stokton's farm, April
2012. Andrew Roberts.
Moule, A.C. (1922). 'Some Trumpington Inscriptions, with Special Reference to the Base of
the Old Village Cross', Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, 24, p. 95-109.
Palmer, William Mortlock (1912). Cambridgeshire Subsidy Rolls, 1250-1695. Reprinted from
The East Anglian. Norwich: Goose & Son.