Wimpole Estate Sales 5 August 1891 & 15 June 1892

This page has potential to confuse! It is the tale of two sales. One that failed completely and a second that was moderately successful.

The Yorke family, Earls of Hardwicke, owned by far the largest estate in south-west Cambridgeshire, usually known as the Wimpole Estate after the family seat. The 5th Earl of Hardwicke, Charles Yorke (1836-1897) was nicknamed Champagne Charlie because of his love of the high life. It can be truly said that he lived to excess, as he could not fund his lifestyle. Then in 1870 the great agricultural depression began, which was a hammer blow for an estate based almost entirely on the agricultural economy. Despite various re-organisations of the Yorke family finances and estates and ever increasing support from their bankers, the Robartes, it was clear eventually that dramatic action was required. The Yorke family were bust.

In 1891 the Trustees of the Earl of Hardwicke’s Estate Act put the whole estate up for sale, some 11,111 acres. Lot 1 was Wimpole Hall and 7304 acres of contiguous land and and then split into 24 more lots were the holdings in the more distant villages, including Steeple Morden. These were collectively known as the Detached Portion.

The sale was to be conducted at auction and it was stated that the entire estate would be offered initially as one lot and if it did not sell, then Lot 1 the Hall and the 7304 acres of contiguous land would be offered next and if that lot did not sell then, that was it, all the other lots would be withdrawn and the auction terminated. That is exactly what happened, so nothing was sold. The Sale Particulars, with pages and maps below, are for the aborted sale on 5 August 1891.

The following year the Trustees, having removed the Hall and contiguous 7304 acres from the offering, put the holdings in the more distant villages (the Detached Portion) up for auction on 15 June 1892 at the Red Lion in Cambridge and this time some sales were achieved. Below is the summary of the lots in Steeple Morden Parish. The lots themselves were identical to those described in the 1891 Particulars, except the lot numbers were all reduced by one, as this time round the Hall and contiguous land were not offered. For example, Lot 12 Church & Moco Farms as sold in 1892, was Lot 13 in the 1891 Particulars, although with an identical description. The manuscript annotations on the Sale Particulars are modern and refer to the outcome of the 1892 Sale. Confused?

Lot Description Occupier Extent Purchaser Price
5 North Brook End Farm Various 268a 0r 3p Bought in £5,500
6 Occupation Close George Gray 2a 1r 28p E Prime of Comberton £125
8 Allotments Various 8a 0r 5p G J Chapman of Guilden Morden £250
11 Franklin’s Farm John Franklin 56a 3r 32p E O Fordham of Odsey £2,010
12 Church & Moco Farms, Closes etc F J Hunt  252a 1r 15p John Jarman, of Kneesworth £6,000
13 Small Holding F J Hunt 21a 3r 7p Bought in ——-
14 Small Holding George Duke 5a 1r 20p George Duke, tenant £370
15 Small Holding George Rule 12a 1r 8p E O Fordham of Odsey £410
16 Cottages etc Various 0a 3r 0d J Jarman £160
17 Bell PH, Cottages and Land Various 5a 2r 10p P & A Meyer of Orwell £1120
18 Pasture Rev Green 2a 0r 24p New College, Oxford £200
19 Cottages, Gardens and Allotments Various 5a 2r 9p Bought in ——-
22 Lower Gatley End Farm William Westrope 261a 0r 7p J Jarman £7,100
23 Upper Gatley End Farm, Cottages & Gardens S Armstrong etc 258a 1r 6p J O Vinter, coal merchant of Cambridge £5,700
24 Morden Heath and Thrift Farms, Plantation etc William Towler etc 909a 1r 30p Bought in £9,500


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Last Updated on April 18, 2023