Street Names: Locations and Origins
Whilst the main highways in the parish are ancient in origin, their widths and trajectories owe much to the Enclosure Award of 1816, when the open fields were enclosed and the parish roads laid out. This list is in geographic order east, north, south and west starting from the centre of the village.
The Cross: at the centre of the village, colloquial name for junction of Church Street, Hay Street and Cheyney Street; by the Churchyard. More of a T than a X today, although historically there was likely a roadway running west alongside the Churchyard (route of current footpath next to School), which provided access to the large manor house, that anciently stood behind Church and the School site, until it was demolished in 1765. That would have completed the cross, which suggests the name goes back in time?
Cheyney Street: runs from The Cross to Litlington Road. The name comes from the Cheyney family, granted a half-manor in Steeple Morden in 1248, which by 1400 was known as Cheyney’s Manor. Cheyney Water Farm at the east end of Cheyney Street, was built c1680 and replaced a previous manor house.
Russell Close: northwards off Cheyney Street, a cul de sac constructed for access to a residential development, which began in 1963 and gathered pace in 1965. Named after Russell Fordham, District Councillor, who lived in Hay Street and promoted the role of local authority housing.
Russell End: the small spur southwards off Russell Close, where building began in 1973.
Jubilee Way: northwards off Russell Close, a cul de sac constructed for access to residential development that Planning records suggest began in 1989, although it is named after the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, which was in 2002?
Jubilee End: eastwards off Jubilee Way, a cul de sac constructed for access to residential development that began in 2005.
Cheyney Close: off south side of Cheyney Street, a cul de sac constructed for access to a residential development that began in 1962. Origin of name self-evident!
Black Lane: anciently this was a road that provided access to fields and was a back or possibly the main entrance to Church Farm. Its use as a road declined as the access it offered was no longer needed and it gradually reduced to a footpath. Traditionally known as the Cinder Path, it is uncertain when and how it was given the official name Black Lane, although if you walked along it, before the days of street lights, late at night in the middle of winter, it is a name that might naturally suggest itself.
Litlington Road: continuation of Cheyney Street, from Brook End junction, carries on to Litlington parish. Known as Royston Road in the past.
The Green: a hamlet east of the village, accessed by road via a junction with Litlington Road and on foot by the footpath Black Lane off Cheyney Street. The Green is name of road and the hamlet. Possibly known as Jeeve’s Green in the past?
Brook End: runs from Cheyney Street/Litlington Road junction to Hillside Farm, where it turns sharp left and crosses Cheyney Water and then sharp right to run on to join Bogs Gap Lane. Originally, it did not cross Cheyney Water, but continued through what is now the farmyard at Hillside Farm to give access to fields and a couple of cottages beyond. It was a dead end, hence, Brook End. The name Brokhende was in use as early as 1282.
Bogs Gap: runs from Hay Street/Between Towns/Trap Road cross-roads to Abington Pigotts parish boundary. Name derives from the marshy ground in the past, when this was a route through. Bogs Close was a field name in 1839. Also known previously as Abington Pigotts Road.
Trap Road: runs from the Hay Street/Between Towns/Bogs Gap cross-roads to Guilden Morden parish boundary, where Trap Bridge crosses West Brook. Also known as Guilden Morden Road in the past.
Tween Towns: also known as Between Towns, was the name of an open field in multiple ownership, which extended south to north from the village to North Brook End and east to west from boundary with Abington Pigotts to West Brook, the boundary with Guilden Morden. The road through the middle took on the name of the field, although today it is usually called North Brook End.
North Brook End: the name of a hamlet, to the north of the village, and also the road joining the two. Today North Brook End starts at the Hay Street/Bogs Gap/Trap Road junction and runs on through North Brook End, the hamlet, to the Guilden Morden Road/Shingay Road junction. In the past the first part was known as Tween Towns Road and North Brook End the road, as well as North Brook End the hamlet, started at Hill Farm.
Guilden Morden Road: runs west from the north end of North Brook End Road to the parish of Guilden Morden. A name that is not widely used, although the Land Registry prefers it, whilst others consider this a south-westerly extension of Fleck’s Lane. There is only one property on this road and North Brook End House alone may serve as sufficient address?
Shingay Road: alternative name for Flecks Lane, runs east from junction of North Brook End/Guilden Morden Road to boundary with Shingay.
Flecks Lane: runs east from junction of North Brook End/Guilden Morden Road, traditional name for Shingay Road, with various spellings, of which Flex Lane and Flax Lane are two. Also used for road running south-westerly from North Brook End junction. known also as Guilden Morden Road. The origin of Flecks is uncertain, although Fleckes Close was recorded in 1675 and Flecks Lane in 1821.
Hay Street: the main street running south north through the northern part of the village; also known as North Road in the past. It used to be much wider, in the days when highways did not have precise boundaries. Cottages at Nos 63, 67 and 73, plus another adjoining, since demolished, were built around 1800 on the Lord’s Waste, effectively part of Hay Street and various chunks of the traditional highway were granted to adjoining owners in the Enclosure Award in 1816. This all suggests that originally this wide highway had verges that did indeed provide a crop of hay for the smaller farmers and those without their own meadows.
Craft Way: eastwards off Hay Street, a cul de sac constructed for access to a residential development begun in 1971. Named after the ancient small open field, which extended over much of the area bounded by Hay Street, Bogs Gap, Brook End and Cheyney Street and known as The Crofts or Crafts, of which the Glebe land sold to the developers was part. Believed that Lew Hitch suggested the name to the Parish Council, to maintain a little history, as the field name was falling out of use.
Church Street: runs south from The Cross to just past The Wagon & Horses. It used to continue to the junction with Church Farm Lane, but that section is now considered the start of Station Road.
Church Farm Lane: cul de sac that runs east from Station Road to Church Farm.
Station Road: runs from Church Street south to Odsey and the A505. Known as Odsey Way and sometimes Ashwell Road or South Way in the past, until the arrival of the railway in 1850 and the opening of Ashwell Station resulted in an almost inevitable change of name.
Odsey Way: this first came into its own with the Enclosure Award 1816, when it became the chosen route to the Baldock-Royston road, now A505. It remained a fairly inconsequential route through the fields, until the railway came in 1850, from whence its status grew and eventually it became Station Road. There was no precise change-over date and there are some who still hanker after the name Odsey Way.
Ashwell Road: runs west from Station Road to boundary with Guilden Morden. it is not certain that there was a road here in the proper sense, until the Enclosure Award in 1816. It was often called Mill Street or might be referenced as Miller’s Water or West Brook. It is in relatively modern times that it became firmly Ashwell Road.
Mill Courtyard: north off Ashwell Road, a cul de sac constructed for access to a residential development, begun in 2005. Named for the windmill that stands on part of the overall plot of land.
Mill View: south off Ashwell Road, a cul de sac constructed for access to a residential development, begun in 2007. Named for the view of the windmill to the north on the opposite side of Ashwell Road
Plough Close: west off Station Road, a cul de sac constructed for access to a residential development, begun in 1999. Named after The Plough PH, which stood on the corner of Ashwell Road and Station Road and had a substantial plot of land associated with it.
Westbrook Close: west off Station Road, a cul de sac constructed for access to a residential development begun in 1973. Named after the West Brook that lies some way to the west.
Ashwell Street: known locally as The Strete, it runs east-west, along a natural spring line, from Ashwell through to Litlington and beyond, crossing Station Road in Steeple Morden. If you use it combined with the Icknield Way, you can start on Salisbury Plain and end up at Hunstanton, provided you remember to turn left in Norfolk. There is some debate as to how ancient Ashwell Street itself actually is, although we know that it owes its straightness to 19th century enclosure and not the Romans. Today it is a byway, although by Road Traffic Order the entire length of Ashwell Street in Steeple Morden Parish is closed to four wheel traffic, including quad bikes, except for the short tarmac surfaced road to Gatley End Farm, which is open to all traffic, until you come to the bollards!
Gatley End: the short length of tarmac surfaced road running east from Station Road along Ashwell Street to Gatley End Farm. The origin of the name Gatley will be discussed elsewhere.
Last Updated on August 30, 2020