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, Trumpington Church, October 2011. Andrew Roberts.
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 the 1920s-1940s.
Remembrance Sunday, Trumpington War Memorial, 13 November 2011. Andrew Roberts.
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 socket.
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.
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).
“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 Trumpynton …”
Extract from deed referring to Agnew Stokton and the Stokton property (Moule, 1922, p. 107).
The Unicorn public house, May 2009. Andrew Roberts.
Church Lane from the War Memorial, April 2011. Andrew Roberts.
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 November 1587]
“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 Stockton Cottages.
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.