Meeting Corner Cottages, North Brook End

These three cottages appear to have been known also as Rotten Row and Black Lane, although Meeting Corner seems to have been the predominate name. One of the cottages was built originally about 1795-1805 to serve as a Congregational Meeting Room, with a Sunday School attached. How long this Meeting continued its independent existence with its own pastor is unclear, although by 1839 the Meeting Room is no longer mentioned and instead there are three cottages. There is more here about the early days of Congregationalism in Steeple Morden.

The photograph above was taken for the Cambridge Antiquarian Society and a contemporary print was annotated “The Diggers Inn, Guilden Morden taken in bad light before a storm on 27 April 1928”. The Diggings beerhouse was built about 1864 and the cottages would appear to have been built in two stages. That part nearer to The Diggings looks likely to have been the Meeting as it is outwardly large and commodious for a labourer’s cottage.

The site of the Cottages is shown below on the Inclosure Map 1817 and Tithe Map 1839. The land was Copyhold of Shingay Manor and in this area of North Brook End there were a number of old enclosures, established prior to the Parliamentary Enclosure of the open fields, which in Steeple Morden began in 1808 and was completed in 1816. These old enclosures were in various ownerships and generally did not feature in the Enclosure Award, except that plot number 29 on the map was described as “old inclosure exchanged from Jesus College to Lucy Wescomb, freehold, part of Nutt Grove 0a 2r 0p. Adjoining on north east and south east remaining part of Nutt Grove, south east old inclosure of Lord Willoughby de Broke, south west ancient lane and north west Shingay Road”.

By marriage and descent, Lucy Wescomb had inherited land that had belonged to the Gatward family, which for many years had substantial land holdings at North Brook End and the family were also the long-term lessees of the Jesus College land there.  She had been recorded as owner in the 1839 Tithe Apportionment and her tenant was Henry Theobalds. The holdings then were:

Plot No Description Use Extent
312 Tithe Free Close [Tithe free] Pasture 1a 1r 31p
313 Tithe Free Close [Tithe free] Pasture 2a 1r 29p
314 Cottage and Garden [Tithe Free] 0a 2r 16p
315 Close [Tithable] Arable 0a 2r 7p

Lucy sold her estate, including the leasehold interest in 1855 and the Sale Particulars are reproduced below. Plot 14 on the map is these cottages

Tenants of Meeting Corner Cottages identified to date:

When the land for The Diggings was sold in 1863, the tenants of the cottages were recorded in the conveyance as George Gray, William Worboys and James Webb.

Date Tenant One Tenant Two Tenant Three
1841 James Webb William Oyston William Jackson
1851 James Webb William Worboys James Worboys
1861 James Webb William Worboys James Worboys
1863 James Webb William Worboys George Gray
1871 Kezia Webb William Worboys George Gray
1881 Kezia Webb Edward Webb George Gray
1891 Kezia Webb Edward Webb John Rayner
1901 Ebenezer Larkins Edward Webb John Rayner
1911 William Paul Clark Edward Webb John Rayner


Destroyed by Fire 1948

The cottages caught fire overnight Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 October 1948 and were completely destroyed, with only their brick built detached domestic buildings and pigsties remaining. The Diggings, despite its proximity, also survived. Ten people were homeless as a result.


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Last Updated on January 17, 2021