History

HACONBY

(Submitted by A Ewer)

The name is Scandinavian meaning Haakon's Place or village, and over the years has changed its spelling from Hacunesbi and many other variations.

There was life in the village before humans inhabited the earth, viz remains of animal 70 million years old found on the Fen edge.

The Romans knew Haconby so established a Saltern on the far N.E. corner of the fen.

Little evidence has been discovered of their having lived here, however they did cut Car Dyke which was navigable, although some local historians may dispute that. When the dyke was dredged in the 18th century a body was found in the dyke and a large Roman anchor in its bed.

The Scandinavians did however settle here, some evidence of their story has been found at the Fen edge and to the West.  Their main inhabitation is believed to have been West along the road to Haconby top towards the A 15.

St Andrew's Church installed its first priest in 1220 so, in all probability, stands on the site of a previous Church mentioned in the Domesday Book. Rumours exist that a small priory was built near to the Church and was lost in C14. So little excavation has been carried out in Haconby that it is difficult to be quite certain.

It is known in 1307 the King kept one Gerfalcon in the village and interestingly, aC18 map shows the second smallest plot of land as belonging to Royalty. Was this perhaps the Falconer's territory?

The oldest building in the village is Heggie's cottage, built in the 16th century and restored in very recent years.  This is believed to have been the priest's house and certainly there is a track by its southern side which leads directly to the Main door of the Church, which was still in use in the 18th Century.

In 1605, while Guy Falkes plotted to blow up Parliament, some previous resident of Haconby set about the entirely more peaceful pursuit of building himself a home and this home, much altered exists today as "Ferndale Farm", Chapel Street.

The "Hare and Hounds" Public House, built in 1617, and subsequently enlarged, still stands, its original name having been “The Red Lion”, and later "The Sportsman" which was at one time run by the Sensicle family.

Then came Haconby Hall built C1630 at the time of the Civil War by General Finne, one of Cromwell's men, an ancestor of the present owner.  One suspects that he also built the Manor House in Church Street.  The Manor house still exists, again much altered; it was once a moated site.

Until the School was built in Main Street in 1866 by Lord Ancaster, children were educated in the Church and proof of their presence is to be found in the stonework at the Chantry Chapel where pupils have engraved their names in the wall.  The School served the village until the 1970s when despite protests and demonstrations on the part of the parents, the School was closed.  It still exists as a private dwelling.

Across the fields to the North stood an Ale House “The Recruiting Sgt”, and two or four cottages adjoined. A Mrs Edi Bradshaw lived in one of the cottages, her Grandfather ran the Pub; the sign has never been found.
Haconby also had a quarry sited to the N.E. of School Field.

The Baptist Chapel, in Chapel Street, is the smallest in England. It was built in 1867 especially for the congregation by one Mr Wm Brown in the grounds of his own home, Haconby House.

Whether its size was an error in the measurements given to the builder, or whether the builder misread them is a matter for conjecture.  The problem was overcome by building a balcony to the E and W, it is almost possible, but not quite, to join hands from one balcony to another.

Haconby never had a railway station but did have a halt, where goods were picked up and set down.  This fell to Dr Beeching's axe in the great winding down of the railways which began in the 1960s.

The Chestnut tree on the green was planted to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

At the end of the C19 Haconby boasted a Tailor, a wheelwright, a grocer, draper, a post office, a butcher, baker and jeweller.  The population in 1909 was 322, 1999 there were 311 registered electors.

In the 19th century, Haconby was still regarded as a closed village, where most of the families worked on the land owned by the large land owners such as the Earl of Ancaster, Thomas Lawrence of Haconby Hall, William Lawrence of Dunsby and Thomas Brown.  If the workers were able to establish a long association with Haconby or their worthiness, they were allocated one of 22 acres of land, known as the allotments in the area of the A15 at Haconby Top, which they rented from Lord Ancaster, upon which they were allowed to grow crops.  Haconby and Stainfield Parish Council still own most of these allotments.