Hatley, Cambridgeshire

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Hatley St George, East Hatley
Churchstdenis 4216.JPG
Church of St Denis, East Hatley
Grid reference: TL281510
Location: 52°8’34"N, 0°7’44"W
Population: 205
Post town: Sandy
Postcode: SG19
Dialling code: 01767
Local Government
Council: South Cambridgeshire
South Cambridgeshire

Hatley in Cambridgeshire consists of two hamlets barely half a mile apart:

These villages are on the unclassified road between the villages of Gamlingay and Croydon, 12 miles south-west of the city of Cambridge and eight miles southeast of St Neots. The joint civil parish covers an area of 2,367 acres. Across the Bedfordshire border to the southwest is Cockayne Hatley, unlinked to its namesakes except by footpaths.

Around one-third of the parish is occupied by Hatley Park, an area of private landscaped parkland south of the road,[1] formerly owned by Sir John Astor MBE.[2]

Around half of the land in Hatley parish belongs to the Hatley Park Estate. 76% of land is used for crops or fallow land; 9.5% is covered by grass, 4.9% by woodland and 7.1% by set-aside. Wheat, barley and rapeseed are grown. In summer, the estate's parkland is grazed by beef cattle and by sheep in winter. The yard at Church Farm, owned by the estate, has been converted to small business units. One other farm is in the parish and two neighbouring farmers use land in it.[3]

In 2001, the population of the Hatleys was 205 people living in 77 households.

East Hatley

East Hatley is a row of houses along a smaller road (TL285505). It was formerly known as Castell Hatley.[1] In 1929, the hamlet was owned by the Master and Fellows of Downing College, Cambridge.[4] Sir George Downing, 1st Baronet, after whom Downing Street is named, owned land in East Hatley (his grandson, Sir George Downing, 3rd Baronet, founded Downing College).[5]

Historically, East Hatley housed local farm labourers. Now, few agricultural workers live there and it has been described as a 'small, middle-class commuter settlement'. The houses are mainly privately owned but there are three council-owned bungalows. There is little interaction between East Hatley and Hatley St George.[3]

East Hatley's church, dedicated to St Denis, has been disused since 1980. It is a Grade II* listed building.[6]

Hatley St George

Church of St George

Hatley St George consists of a row of houses along the Gamlingay-Croydon road. It has a small shop and post office,[7] (subsidised by the estate)[3] a playing field, playground and cricket club.

It is presumed that the hamlet's name is derived from that of the St George family, who were the principal landowners from the 13th century to 1658.[8] Hatley St George is an 'estate village' - Hatley Park Estate owns all the houses except for five. About a third are used for current and retired estate workers, with the others rented out.[3]

Hatley St George has a church, dedicated to St George, which was first built in 1352. It is a Grade II* listed building.[9]


The Hatley name was in use as early as 986,[8] derived from the Old English 'leag', a meadow or woodland clearing.[10] The spelling Hatelaie was used in the 1086 Domesday Book.

The parishes were known as 'Hungry Hatley' by 1218, possibly because the clay soil could not be cultivated effectively until mechanisation in the 20th century.[5] The adjoining parish of Cockayne Hatley, in Bedfordshire, is said to be unconnected to the Cambridgeshire Hatleys.[11]

In 1831, the population of the parish of Hatley St George was 105 people.[12] At the time of the census in 1921, it was 67 people.[13]

The parish was established in 1957 when the parish of Hatley St George was united with East Hatley.[8]

About the villages

Hatley village hall was built by the estate in 1960.[8] It was run as a social club before it became financially unviable, closing in 2005, and is now run by the Parish Council.[14]

Buff Wood

In addition to the two churches, two buildings in Hatley parish are listed: Hatley Park Lodge[15] and model farm buildings at Church Farm, Hatley St George.[16]

There are remnants of ancient woodland: Buff Wood, south-west of East Hatley, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) owned by the estate and managed by the local Wildlife Trust,[17] and Hayley Wood, another SSSI,[18] borders the parish in the north.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Hatley, Cambridgeshire)


  1. 1.0 1.1 "History walk". Hatley.info. http://www.hatley.info/leisure/historywalk.htm. Retrieved 24 April 2009. 
  2. "Sir John Astor obituary". Guardian.co.uk (London: The Guardian). 13 September 2000. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2000/sep/13/guardianobituaries2. Retrieved 24 April 2009. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "The Social Contribution of Land-based Industries to Rural Communities - Final report. Prepared for the Commission for Rural Communities by the Countryside and Community Research Unit, University of Gloucestershire". Commission for Rural Communities. http://www.ruralcommunities.gov.uk/files/Land-Comm%20final%20report_final.pdf. Retrieved 24 April 2009. 
  4. "East Hatley". Cambridgeshire. GENUKI. http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/CAM/EastHatley/. Retrieved 24 April 2009. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "A brief history". Hatley.info. http://www.hatley.info/about/briefhistory.htm. Retrieved 24 April 2009. 
  6. National Heritage List England no. 1128153: Church of St Denis
  7. "Shop and post office". Hatley.info. http://www.hatley.info/shop/index.htm. Retrieved 24 April 2009. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Parishes: Hatley St. George - History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 5}}
  9. National Heritage List England no. 1128154: Church of St George
  10. Mills, A.D. (1998). A Dictionary of English Place-names. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 170. ISBN 0-19-280074-4. 
  11. "About Hatley". Hatley.info. http://www.hatley.info/about/index.htm. Retrieved 24 April 2009. 
  12. "Hatley St George". Cambridgeshire History.com. http://www.cambridgeshirehistory.com/cambridgeshire/TownsandVillages/HatleyStGeorge/. Retrieved 24 April 2009. 
  13. "Hatley St George". Cambridgeshire. GENUKI. http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/eng/CAM/HatleyStGeorge/. Retrieved 24 April 2009. 
  14. "Village hall". Hatley.info. http://www.hatley.info/localgroups/sportsandsocial.htm. Retrieved 24 April 2009. 
  15. National Heritage List England no. 1330932: Lodge to Hatley Park
  16. National Heritage List England no. 1163986: Model farmbuildings
  17. "Buff Wood". Visit a reserve. The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Peterborough. http://www.wildlifebcnp.org/reserves/reserve.php?reserveid=40. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  18. "Hayley Wood". Visit a reserve. The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Peterborough. http://www.wildlifebcnp.org/reserves/reserve.php?reserveid=51. Retrieved 7 February 2010.