Cottage in Toft
Toft is a village in Cambridgeshire, some six miles to the west of Cambridge, and four miles from the M11 motorway. It has approximately 600 residents and 200 homes. Comberton Village College and Comberton Sixth Form falls within the Toft Parish boundary.
Just to the east of the village is Cambridge Meridian Golf Club which has the Greenwich Meridian running through the 14th fairway.
The name "Toft" is an Old Norse word, common in the names of Cambridgeshire lanes and fields, which means "curtilage" or "homestead".
- Church of England: St Andrews
- Methodist: Toft Methodist Church
The parish church has been dedicated to St Andrew since at least the 13th century and stands on the site of an earlier church. The present building contains some structure from the late 14th century but was largely rebuilt in 1863, apparently repeating the layout of the mediæval church. The mediæval tower was rebuilt in 1894.
In the 17th century, Toft became a centre of Puritanism and when the Archdeacon of Ely visited in 1685 he found that the church had been greatly neglected with cracks in the walls, and the building being used as a store for bricks and stones. The church was restored over the next few decades.
The church is in the patronage of Christ's College, Cambridge.
John Wesley is believed to have preached in a barn in the village, and in 1862 a Primitive Methodist chapel was built in the High Street.
The ancient parish of Toft consisted of 1285 acres between the villages of Comberton to the east and Caldecote to the west. At the time of the Domesday Book the parish extended up to the Cambridge to St Neots road, and thus included modern-day Hardwick until it became a separate parish.
The village probably sprang up during Anglo-Saxon times, when the wooded area began to be cleared for farming, though Danish farmers must have been here too, as the name of the village testifies. By the time of the Norman Conquest, the lands were owned by the king, the Abbot of Ely, and a lady named Eddeva. The Normans gave Eddeva's lands to Alan, Count of Brittany, who passed them to the manor of Swavesey. By 1109, the lands were all granted to the newly formed Bishopric of Ely.
Toft has 23 listed buildings of special architectural or historic interest. Among these is Toft Manor, formerly the Rectory, which was built in 1844 with several cottages.
In Toft there is a village shop, hair dresser's, a Chinese takeaway and a fish and chip shop. There is also a thriving social club. A post office first opened in the village in the 1870s as part of the village shop. A library was opened in 1913, but is no longer open.
At the end of the 19th century there were two pubs in the village, the Black Bull and the Red Lion (now housing the Chinese restaurant). Both are now closed.
Toft has an active historical society, the Toft Historical Society, which holds regular exhibitions and is building a web based archive about the history of the village.
- Football: The Toft Lions, a club set up in 2011
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material|
about Toft, Cambridgeshire)
- A. D. Mills (2003). A Dictionary of British Place-Names.
- A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely, Volume 5
- [http://www.toft.org.uk/history/index.php Toft: a brief history}}
- Kelly's Directory, 1896
- Toft Historical Society