Towns, Cities, Villages and Hamlets
Samuel Lewis's Topographical Gazeetter 1831
PARSON-DROVE, a chapelry in the parish of LEVERINGTON, hundred of WISBEACH, Isle of ELY, county of CAMBRIDGE, 4¾ miles (W. by S.) from Wisbeach, containing 675 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, with the rectory of Leverington, in the peculiar jurisdiction of the Bishop of Ely. The chapel is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. A school is supported by annual subscriptions amounting to about £15.
Domesday Book Entry
Parson Drove is not mentioned in the Domesday Book as it was only formed from the parish of Leverington.
The war memorial and the men on it have been documented on the Roll-of-Honour Cambridgeshire page
PARSON DROVE is a chapelry in Leverington civil parish, 2½ miles north from Murrow station on the London and North Eastern railway from March to Doncaster, and the Peterborough to Sutton Bridge branch of the Midland and Great Northern joint railway and 6 south-west from Wisbech, in the hundred union, petty sessional division, county court district, rural deanery and archdeaconry of Wisbech and diocese of Ely. The ecclesiastical parish was formed in 1870 from the civil parish of Leverington. The Church of St. John the Baptist is an edifice of stone and brick in the Early English style, cosisting of nave, aisles, north and south porches, and an embattled western tower containing 5 bells; in 1895 the roof of the church was raised and restored; there are 400 sittings. The register dates from the year 1657. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £646, with glebe and residence, in the gift of the Bishop of Ely, and held since 1918 by the Rev. Arthur Parnham, of Chichester College. The parish shares one-third of the interest of £90, left by John Bend in 1593, the remaining two-thirds being assigned to Wisbech St. Mary. There is no manor. The soil is rich loam; subsoil, clay and silt. The chief crops are wheat, oats, potatoes, beans and fruit. The area is 4,078 acres of land and 18 of water; the population in 1921 was, of the civil parish 959 and of the ecclesiastical parish 200.
[Extracted from Kelly's Directory - Cambridgeshire - 1929]
The beautiful medieval church of St. John Baptist lies on the B1166 at the Church End part of the village. The chancel was said to have been washed away in the floods of 1613 and the church itself has been unused since 1974 but is still maintained by the Redundant Churches Fund. At the western end of the village a long green skirting the road is planted with oaks and has an old village cage, which was later used as a fire engine shed, surmounted by a Victorian Jubilee clock. The remains of a woad mill which used to stand in this parish are now in Wisbech museum.
[The Cambridgeshire Fens - BBC Radio Cambridgeshire]
Near Murrow, Parson Drove is a long, scattered village built on a green drove that was wider than the present road. Here stood one of the last woad mills in England until 1910. Samuel Pepys came here on 17th and 18th September, 1663 and, of course, set down his impressions. They were unfavourable. He came to see to the affairs of his late aunt Beatrice and mentions his uncle Perkins, husband of another aunt, Jane Pepys, who were living in poverty in Parson Drove. Samuel lodged at the Swan Inn which much later, in 1834, belonged to Charles Boucher, a brewer, who altered it drastically. Pepys made it clear he loathed the fen country with its crude dwellings, rough roads and mosquitoes driving him to distraction and Parson Drove had more than its share of these. The village’s separate existence from Leverington was recognised in 1784 when the Parson Drove School Board was established. The school was replaced in 1933, the new one being dedicated to Alderman Payne of Cambridge. The jailhouse had a clocktower added to it to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897.
MARSHLAND VILLAGES - Anthony Day
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