Extract from Kelly's Directory of Cambridgeshire 1929
(kindly transcribed by Fiona Davis)
March is a parish and market town and the head of a county court district and petty sessional division, with an important junction station on the London and North Eastern Railway, 88 miles from London by rail, 29 north from Cambridge, 14 north-west from Ely and 9 south from Wisbech, in the hundred and union of North Witchford, Isle of Ely, rural deanery of March, archdeaconry of Wisbech and diocese of Ely.
The town is pleasantly situated on the banks of the Nene, which is here navigable, and facilitates the conveyance of coal, corn and timber to Cambridge, Wisbech, Lynn, Peterborough, St Ives, Bedford and various other places.
A handsome bridge of one arch was erected over the river Nene towards the north end of the town in 1850. The High Street, which is the chief thoroughfare, is continued over the bridge to Broad Street on the north side of the Nene, and the High causeway is lined with a fine avenue of elm and other trees.
A Local Board of Health was formed here in 1851, under the Act 14 and 15 Vict. C. 103 (1851), but under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1894 (56 and 57 Vict. C. 73), the town is now governed by an Urban District Council of 12 members, and is lighted with gas from works the property of the March Gas and Coke Co. Limited. The Wisbech Water Works Company, by a Provisional Order obtained in 1884, supplies the town with water, which is brought through mains from Wisbech, a distance of 10 miles.
The town is now divided into 4 ecclesiastical parishes which, with three others, were formed out of the parish of Doddington subsequently to 1868, according to the provisions of the Doddington Rectory Division Acts, 10 and 11 Vict. C. 3 (1847) and 19 and 20 Vict. C. 1 (1856).
The church of St Wendreda, anciently a chapel to Doddington, and about a mile from March bridge, on the London road, was originally erected about 1346, and is a building in the Gothic style, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave, aisles, south porch and an embattled western tower, with stone spire, containing a clock and 6 bells: the fine and elaborately carved oak roof was probably erected towards the close of the 15th century: the stained east window is a memorial to Mary Green d. 12th July 1874 and Caroline Hunt d. 29th December 1874: in 1909 two memorial windows were placed in the church, one to the Rev. C.E. Walker (22 years rector) and the other to Mrs T. Christmas: there are two brasses, one on the south wall, dated 1517, to Catherine (Southwell), wife of Anthony Hansart, with two kneeling figures and a child, and over these a representation of the angel Gabriel appearing to the Virgin; the other is said to commemorate William Dredeman, the reputed donor of the magnificent nave roof, who died in 1503, and his wife, but the inscription is now scarcely legible: the tower stands on open arches, forming a thoroughfare: beneath the parapet on the north side of the church are medallions of flint work with shields of arms: the church was partly rebuilt about 1450, when the aisles and porch were added, and restored in 1874-5 when a new chancel was erected and further in 1888, at a total cost of £2, 800, and now affords 400 sittings. The register dates from the year 1558, and fragments remain of a yet earlier date. The living was created a rectory by 10 and 11 Vict. c.3 (1847), amended by 19 and 20 Vict. c.1 (1856) and on the death of the Rev. A. Peyton, rector of Doddington, in 1868, it became a separate living; net yearly value £1, 000, with residence, in the gift of the Martyrs’ Memorial Trust, and held since 1909 by the Rev. George Sherbrooke Walker M.A. of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
St. Mary’s is an ecclesiastical parish, formed in 1868: the church, at Westry about 2 miles north of the town, was erected in 1874, at a cost of £2, 500, and is a building of stone in the Decorated style of the 14th century, consisting of apsidal chancel, nave, south porch, vestry and a western turret containing one bell: there are memorial windows to the Rev. T.T. Peyton M.A. rector here from 1882 to 1927: there are 200 sittings. The register dates from the year 1874. The living is a rectory, net yearly value £1, 656, with residence, in the gift of Sir Algernon Thomas Peyton bart. J.P. and held since 1928 by the Rev. Robert Jackson Peyton Peyton-Burbery M.A. of Christ’s College, Cambridge.
The church of St. Mary Magdalene, West Fen, erected in 1891, is a stone building in the Decorated style, and consists of chancel, nave, vestry and a turret containing one bell: there are 80 sittings.
St. John’s is an ecclesiastical parish, formed in 1872: the church, situated on the Station Road and built in 1872 is an edifice of stone in the Early English and Decorated styles, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch and a western turret containing one bell: in the chancel is a memorial window to Sir Algernon William Peyton bart. Of Swift’s House, Bicester, Oxon, a former patron, who died 25 March 1872: there are 500 sittings. The register dates from the year 1872. The living is a rectory, net yearly value £954, with residence, in the gift of the Capt. Sir Algernon Thomas Peyton bart. J.P. and held since 1898 by the Rev. Simpson Samuel Walton M.A. of University College, Durham.
St. Peter’s is an ecclesiastical parish, formed 26 Jan. 1881, and comprises a central part of the town: the church erected in 1880, at a cost of £11, 000, occupies a commanding position, and is an edifice of stone, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles and a lofty tower at the northwest angle, with spire, and containing one bell: the lower stage of the tower forms a porch: a stained east window in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s reign was inserted in 1906, a marble tablet was erected on the west wall in 1921, in memory of the parishoners who fell in the Great War, 1914-18: the church has 700 sittings. The register dates from the year 1881. The living is a rectory, net yearly value £1, 020, with residence and including 4 acres of glebe, in the gift of and held since 1916 by the Rev. David Alexander Stewart M.A. B.D. of Gonville and Cains College, Cambridge, who is a surrogate and rural dean of March.
There is a Roman Catholic church in St. John’s Road, dedicated to Our Lady and St. Peter.
The Centenary Baptist chapel, in High Street, erected in 1870, at a cost of £4, 600, is of brick in the Italian style and will seat 800 persons; the chapel was founded in 1700. Providence Particular Baptist chapel in Burrowmoor Road, erected in 1835 and rebuilt in 1873, is of brick with Bath stone dressings, and affords 750 sittings. There is also a Baptist chapel at Chain Bridge, erected in 1858 and seating 120 persons. The Wesleyan chapel, in High Street, erected in 1889, at a cost of £3, 500 is also of brick with stone dressings in the Gothic style, and seats 550 persons. The Congregational chapel, Station Road, erected in 1836, has sittings for 450. There is a Salvation Army hall in High Street.
The church and old churchyard and other graveyards were wholly or partially closed against interments May 4th 1855.
The Cemetery, on Station Road, formed in the year 1867 is about 5½ acres in extent: it is beautifully laid out, and has a mortuary chapel with tower and spire. The cemetery is under the control of the Urban District Council.
In Broad Street is a memorial on which is inscribed the names of the men of March who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-18.
The Town Hall, situated on the Market Place, was erected in 1900 at a cost of over
£3, 000, and is of red brick with stone dressings in the Renaissance style, from designs by Mr W.T. Unwin, surveyor to the Urban District Council, and includes a tower 110 feet in height, containing a clock, erected by public subscription, at a cost of £250, in commemoration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The building comprises a spacious council chamber and various public offices, and also a fine engine house, containing steam fire engine and motor pump, with all the necessary accessories.
The Guildhall, in High Street, erected in 1827, is a plain structure of brick.
The County Hall for the Isle of Ely County Council was opened in 1909. The cost of the building, which comprises a spacious council chamber, large committee rooms, strong rooms and offices for the staff of the council, was about £9, 000, including the cost of furniture and fittings. An extensive block of buildings, costing £7, 170, was erected in 1927 on the western side to hold the departments of the county accountant, county surveyor, county land agent, county medical officer, inspector of weights and measures and rating officer.
The Police Station is at the back of the County Court, High street. The Post Office, in Broad Street, was opened 6 April 1901.
The Temperance Hall, with hotel attached, was erected in 1885 by Miss P.H. Peckover, of Wisbech, at a cost of over £1, 000: the hall will hold 250 persons. The Railway Servants’ Mission services are held in the Temperance Hall.
The Conservative and Unionist Club, in Creek Road, was erected in 1899, and contains good billiard and reading rooms.
The Liberal Club is at 47 High street.
The market, formerly held on Friday, was altered in 1850 to Wednesday, and has now become a thriving market for corn and seeds, cattle, sheep and pigs, and is well attended.
The market rights have been acquired by the Urban District Council by purchase from the lord of the manor.
Fairs are held on the first Monday before Whit Sunday and the third Tuesday in October.
The local charities, known as the March Educational Foundation Charities, are now administered under a scheme framed by the Charity Commissioners and dated 29th June, 1888, and amended 8th November 1898. The management is vested in 15 governors, of whom 5 are co-optative and 10 representative, 6 of the latter being chosen by the Education Committee of the Isle of Ely County Council, 3 by the March Urban District Council and 1 by the Council of the Senate of the University of Cambridge. With the exception of a sum of £223. 5s, which is allocated to the March Alms houses and Pensions Charities, administered by the same body, the whole income of the charities is devoted to educational purposes, viz.: In maintaining a Grammar School. The Almshouses, near St. Wendreda’s church, were built in 1851, and will hold four married couples and four single people. The allowance to the former is 6s. 6d per week and to the latter 4s. 6d.
The country round March is flat, and the land, which is mostly under tillage, yields heavy crops of wheat, oats and potatoes. The land, for the purpose of effecting a drainage, is divided into six districts, comprising in all about 20, 000 acres; and much land has been reclaimed and brought under cultivation. The Fen droveways within the first, fourth and fifth drainage districts have been converted into gravel roads at the expense of the owners and occupiers, and similar improvements carried out in some of the other districts in this parish.
In 1730 three urns, full of burnt bones, and some small Roman coins, were dug up in a place called Robin Goodfellow’s Lane near this town.
The area of the entire civil parish and urban district is 19, 669 acres of land and 108 of water; the population in 1921 was 8, 960; the principal crops are wheat, potatoes and oats.
The population of the ecclesiastical parishes in 1921 was:- St. John, 5, 030; St. Mary, 623; St. Peter, 2, 057, and St. Wendreda, 1, 250.
Norwood half a mile and March Chain 2 miles, lie to the north; Hobbs Lot 2½ miles, Granford and White Moor 1½ miles north-west; Burrow Moor 1 mile south-west; Eusimoor and Binnimoor 2 miles east; Ranson Moor and Linwood 2½ miles south.
Sexton, St. Wendreda, Henry Giddings, 101, Elwyn Road.
Verger, St. Peter’s, David Bratley, 107, Creek Road.
OFFICIAL ESTABLISHMENTS, LOCAL INSTITUTIONS &C.
Post Office (head office) (letters should have Cambs added), at which business of all kinds is transacted, Broad Street.
There is a telegraph office at the Railway Station, with delivery on railway premises, always open.
Town Sub-Post & M.O. Offices:-
Town Sub-Post Office, The Avenue
URBAN DISTRICT COUNCIL
Offices, Town Hall, Market place
Meets the first Monday in each month.
All retire April, 1931.
Chairman, J.H.S. Green
George Brewin J.P.
Joseph S. Collingwood
Herbert Geo. Singlehurst
Herbert Hy. Truman J.P.
Fredk. Donald Grounds J.P.
Thomas Morton J.P.
Clerk, Charles Greenwood, Town Hall, Market place
Medical Officer of Health, Frank Arthur Evison L.R.C.P. Lond., M.R.C.S. Eng. 23 Station road.
Treasurers, Barclays Bank Ltd.
Surveyor and Sanitary Inspector, Harry Hopkins M. Inst. M. & Cy. E. & A.R. San.I. Town Hall, Market place.
Collector, Herbert Halls, Town Hall, Market place.
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE FOR MARCH
(SUB-DIVISION) PETTY SESSIONAL DIVISION
Asplin Frederick William
Smith Joseph Elliott Johnson
Truman Herbert Henry
Moate James Henry
Morton Frederick William
The Chairman, for the time being, of the March Urban District Council is an ex-officio justice of the peace.
Clerk, Arthur Frank Sharman, High street.
The Justices hold their meetings for the March portion of the North Witchford petty sessional division at the Court House, on the second and fourth Tuesdays in each month and they sit at Chatteris on the first Tuesday.
The following places are included in the March portion of the Petty Sessional Division:- March, Wimblington & Doddington (see also Chatteris)
GOVERNORS OF THE MARCH CONSOLIDATED CHARITIES
Rev. Simpson Samuel Walton M.A. Chairman; George Sharman, J.P. William Edward Vawser, William Golden, Rev. Benjamin John Northfield & Henry Green Morton, co-optative governors; Rev. Simpson Samuel Walton M.A., Joseph Elliott Johnson Smith J.P., Hughes Davis Collingwood, Arthur D. Burton, Matthew Laxon and Frank Sole, nominated by the Education Committee of the Isle of Ely County Council; Herbert Henry Truman J.P. & George Brewin J.P. nominated by March Urban District Council; the Rev. David Alexander Stewart M.A., B.D. nominated by the Council of the Senate of the University of Cambridge; Arthur Frank Sharman, Grays Lane, Clerk.
Almshouses, The Avenue
Cemetery, Station Road, Charles Greenwood, clerk; William Tolliday, superintendent
Constabulary for Isle of Ely; office back of County Court house.
County Hall for the Isle of Ely, County road
County Court, held at the Court house, High street,
His Honour Henry Gatebell Farrant M.A., J.P., judge; Charles Wimpenny King M.A., L.L.B., registrar & high bailiff; Harry Burn, registrar’s clerk; Henry Wilson, bailiff. Sittings are held here once in two months; the following parishes and places are comprised within this jurisdiction:-- Benwick, Benwick Fen, Chatteris, Doddington, Manea, Manea Fen, March, March Fen, Welches Dam & Wimblington.
For Bankruptcy purposes this court is included in that of Peterborough; F.H. Langmaid, 41, Sidney Street, Cambridge, official receiver.
County library, County hall & (branch) Guildhall, High Street, Miss Alice M. Philip, librarian.
Fire Engine Station, Market place.
Guildhall, High street.
Isle of Ely Education Offices, County hall, E.J.P. Osborne M.A., director of education.
Isle of Ely Insurance Committee, Nene parade, W.V. Fundrey, chairman; A.R. Edwards, clerk.
Ministry of Labour Employment Exchange, Market place, Charles Greenwood, branch manager.
St. John’s Hall, Broad street.
Temperance Hall, Station road.
Town hall, Market place.
Urban District Isolation Hospital, Gaul road, Frank Arthur Evison M.R.C.S. Eng., L.R.C.P. Lond., medical officer; Mrs Elizabeth Edgar, nurse.
COUNTY COUNCIL OFFICIALS
Clerk to the Council, Col. Charles Edward Fraser Copeman C.M.G., M.A., D.L.,J.P., County hall.
Assistant clerk, George Williamson, County hall.
County Accountant & Local Taxation & Road Fund License Officer, Alfred Nash, County hall.
Coroner for the Northern Division of the Isle of Ely, Thomas Richards Dawbarn, 1, York Row, Wisbech.
Deputy Coroner for the Northern Division of the Isle of Ely, Thomas Richards Dawbarn, 1, York Row, Wisbech.
Director of Education to the Isle of Ely Education Committee, E.J.P. Osborne M.A. Education offices, County hall.
Inspector of Weights & Measures, William Alfred Davenport, County hall.
Land Agent & Director of Agriculture, Alfred Guy Trice Martin, P.A.S.I., County hall.
Medical Officer of Health & Tuberculosis Officer,
Surveyor, Reginald Samuel Wellock Perkins, M.I.M.C.E., County hall.
Veterinary Inspector under the Diseases of Animals Acts for March Petty Sessional Division, Herbert Henry Truman M.R.C.V.S., J.P., 108, High street.
Accountant to the Middle Level Drainage Commissioners, Charles Percival Burling L.A.A. Dartford road.
Certifying Factory Surgeon, Frank Arthur Evison L.R.C.P. Lond., M.R.C.S. Eng., 23, Station road.
Clerk to the Guardians of North Witchford Union & Superintendent Registrar of North Witchford District, H. Percy Sharman, Broad street.
Clerk to the Six Local Drainage Commissioners, Henry Coy, Grays Lane.
Clerk to the Middle Level Drainage Commissioners, Thomas Richards Dawbarn, Dartford Road.
Collector to the Guardians & Vaccination Officer, March district, North Witchford Union, A.E. Crowson, Bridge House, High street.
Engineer to the Middle Level Drainage Commissioners, Maj. R.G. Clark A.M. Inst. C.E. M.I. Mech. I Dartford road.
Market Toll Collector, Stanley Beavis.
Medical Officer & Public Vaccinator, No. 2 district, North Witchford Union & Medical Officer to H.M. Post Office & Board of Education, Frank Arthur Evison L.R.C.P. Lond., M.R.C.S. Eng. 23, Station road.
Medical Officer No. 3. District, North Witchford Union, Alfred Charles Stanley Waters, L.R.C.P. Lond., M.R.C.S. Eng., 93, High street.
Rating Officer, Henry Coy, Gray’s lane.
Registrar of Births, Deaths & Marriages, March Sub-district, North Witchford Union,
A.E. Crowson, Bridge House, High street; Deputy, William Leslie Crowson, Bridge House, High street.
Steward of the Manor of Doddington, Arthur Frank Sharman
Town Crier, Harry John Walker, 27, High street.
PLACES OF WORSHIP
St. Wendreda’s Church, Rev. George Sherbrooke Walker M.A. rector.
St. Peter’s Church, High street, Rev. David Alexander Stewart M.A., B.D. rector, surrogate & rural dean.
St. Mary’s Church, Westry, Rev. Robert Jackson Peyton Peyton-Burbery M.A. rector.
St. Mary Magdalene Church if Ease, West fen, served by rector of St. Mary’s Church.
St. John’s Church, Station road, Rev. Simpson Samuel Walton M.A. rector.
Our Lady & St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, St. John’s road, Rev. Wallace Clare, priest.
Baptist (Centenary), High street, Rev. James Grieg Douglas.
Baptist (Particular) (Providence), Burrowmoor road, Rev. Benjamin John Northfield.
Baptist, Chain Bridge.
Congregational, Station road, Rev. Albert William Clarke.
Salvation Army, High street.
Primitive Methodist, Station road (Wisbech circuit), Rev. J.A. Leafe.
Wesleyan Methodist, High street (Chatteris circuit), Rev. William James.
Temperance Hall, Station road (Railway Servants & Temperance Mission services conducted by the Railway Servants).
The Grammar School, Station road, founded in 1696 by William Neale for the education of eight boys in Latin & English, & endowed with lands in White’s Fen, was rebuilt in 1876 by the Charity Governors, with an increased endowment from the charity funds: in 1903 a new laboratory was erected at a cost of £550 and in 1910 entirely new buildings were erected: the present number of boys is about 160, of whom a few are boarders: the school is now carried on under a scheme of the Charity Commissioners framed in 1876, & administered by a governing body of 15 persons. There are two leaving exhibitions given annually for a period of two years at a university or institution of similar standing. Arnold Heathcote B.A. head master, with 8 assistant masters.
Secondary High School for Girls, County road, opened in 1905 & maintained by the Isle of Ely County Council & managed by a body of governors appointed by the Education Committee of the Council; the Very Rev. A.F. Kirkpatrick D.D. dean of Ely, chairman; J.E.J. Smith esq. J.P. vice-chairman; E.J.P. Osborne M.A. hon.sec. The new buildings erected by the Isle of Ely County Council are of two storeys, and comprise a large central hall, six lofty and well-lighted classrooms, & well arranged science laboratory, art room, music rooms, dining room, cookery & laundry rooms &c. & the preparatory school with a separate entrance and cloak rooms: the school will hold 150: Miss Eliza John M.A. Lond. Head mistress.
Railway Station (L. & N.E.)
Wisbech – Matthew Pollington, sat.; returning same day.
Omnibus services several times daily to the principal surrounding towns.
Last Updated on: 7 April 2000
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