|Trumpington Local History Group
Background to the name
|Copyright © Trumpington Local History Group, 2015. Updated 28 December 2015.
|Street signs on
looking across the play
area. Photo: Andrew
Roberts, 20 November
|Cornwell Road is one of the roads in the Clay Farm development in the south of Trumpington.
Part of the Abode and Paragon developments, Cornwell Road is the first turn to the right off
Hobson Avenue, continuing from the Abode development into the Paragon development and
forming the western and northern sides of the central play area. The road has a number of arms,
forming a sort of inverted F shape. The homes were constructed in 2012-14 and occupied from
|Cornwell Road. Source: © OpenStreetMap contributors (Howard Slatter).
|Randall Evans gave a presentation about the origin of the name 'Cornwell
Road' at the Local History Group meeting on 12 November 2015. It is
one of a number of streets named after local families, in this case the
Cornwell family that was involved with farming in Trumpington from the
1930s to the 1970s.
There is a separate page with information about the derivation of street
|Street signs at the junction of Cornwell Road
and Ellis Road. Photo: Andrew Roberts, 20
|Street signs at the junction of Fawcett Road
and Cornwell Road. Photo: Andrew Roberts,
20 November 2015.
|Street signs at the junction of Cornwell Road
near the play area. Photo: Andrew Roberts, 20
|The name Cornwell was not uncommon for a farmer (presumably, if they grew corn well!), for
example, the Wendens Ambo entry in the 1874 Post Office Directory of Essex lists Thomas
Cornwell, farmer, Wenden Hall, and William Cornwell, farmer, Wenden Place.
When the parish of Trumpington was enclosed in 1804-09, the farmland to the east of the village
on both sides of Hobson's Brook and south of Long Road was awarded to F.C.J. Pemberton,
and known as Manor Farm and Clay Farm.
|Manor Farm, Clay Farm and Trinity Farm, 1950s.
|The Cornwells remembered in the name of the road were two of Trumpington's tenant farmers.
Reginald John Cornwell worked on his father Robert Ephraim Cornwell' s farm at Lode near
Newmarket. He and his father took over the tenancy of Manor Farm in 1929. The core of
Manor Farm was developed as housing and the King George V playing field and Fawcett School
in the mid 20th century and some of the earliest residents who moved in to new houses still live
in the village. Manor Farm House was near the Village Hall; it was demolished in 1968-71 and
Beverley Way constructed across the site.
In 1931, Robert Ephraim and Reg Cornwell also took over the tenancy of Clay Farm. Clay Farm
was in the east of the parish, either side of Hobson's Brook, limited to the east by the Great
Northern railway line. The farm was also cut by the Cambridge to Bedford part of the London &
North Western railway line, the railway route now used by the busway. The farm extended to
the south beyond the line of Addenbrooke's Road. Clay Farm house had been built in the 19th
century, after enclosure, to the south of Long Road.
|Reg Cornwell drilling sugar beet on Clay
Farm, 1940. Photograph from Rachel
Tarry, Trumpington Past & Present, p. 25.
|Unfortunately Cornwell senior died in late 1932 and Reg carried on working both farms. During
World War II, Reg Cornwell supplied milk to the soldiers in the army camp just off Long Road.
By renting more land from the Pemberton estate, Trinity Farm, Reg was able to farm right up to
Hills Road and as far as the railway line on the north side. Reg Cornwell died in 1973.
When the Local History Group and the Residents' Association were proposing names for streets
in the Clay Farm development, it seemed very appropriate to include the name Cornwell.
One of the hazards of farming was the threat of crop fires caused by unwanted emissions from
steam trains. Writing in November 2010, David Stubbings added his memories of lineside fires,
which "were a danger in the era of steam locomotives, as these engines could belch out red hot
cinders, especially when working hard, and ignite wayside vegetation. I recall two periods in the
1940s when conflagrations occurred in the Parish of Trumpington. The situation concerning the
LNER (ex GE) mainline was different. Fires here occurred generally at the height of the harvest.
The fields to the west of the line were at that time, entirely arable, this was before the
showground was established, and wheat and barley were among the crops grown. It seemed to
be a hazard which farmers accepted that their corn could catch fire from the trains, and which
did happen. One I remember in particular was when, to the south of the farm trackway (also a
public right of way) from the High Street, next to the Village Hall to the Red Cross on Hills Road
(no Paget Road, Foster Road or Addenbrooke's then), a field of barley next to the line was
extensively burnt. Once the farmer, possibly Mr Cornwell, had given permission, those villagers
with poultry, etc., including myself, descended on the charred field to glean the heads of barley
lying scorched on the ground. But burnt wheat crops were preferred! Many of us kept hens at
that time, as eggs in the shops were rationed, and enough little-damaged grain could be gleaned
to last several months. Presumably the railway company compensated the farmer. That is how I
remember the lineside fires."
As well as Cornwell Road, the Cornwell family is commemorated in a public art installation in
the Aura development, just south of Long Road. This has been designed by artist Sean Edwards
and installed in autumn 2015 with the help of Wayne Tanswell, a signwriter from Sudbury who
did some of the sign writing for the Lovejoy series on television. The work has been designed as
a reminder of the previous use of the land that the development is built on. It has been painted
on the wall to appear already aged, strangely predating the building it is on. The first image was
overwritten by a second, updated image, also suitably aged. The gleaning is remembered in the
second image. In this way, the Cornwell name will continue on the land they used to farm. The
sign is on the side of a building in Forbes Close, which is parallel with Lime Avenue, to the right
of the southern arm of Plantation Avenue (November 2015: just visible beyond building
hoardings.) It will be visible from the main road but not intrusive.
|Designs for the Cornwell sign, lower layer and upper layer.
Source: Sean Edwards, 2015.
|The 'Cornwell' sign, just visible on the side of a
building in Forbes Close. Photo: Wendy
Roberts, 21 November 2015.