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Arbury Camp Farm and St Fillans, Arbury Road

History of Arbury Camp Farm

Arbury Camp Farm OS 1925

Location of Arbury Camp and St Fillans


Edward James Burkett, widower, 62, assistant overseer to the poor, b Histon [Edward’s father was James Burkett of Histon. The family had lived in Grape Vine Villa, Histon]

Christine, 19, housekeeper, b Histon

Millicent, 18, school student teacher, b Histon

Dorothy Muriel, 16, school student teacher, b Histon

Edward John, 13, b Histon

See Grape Vine Villa, Histon


Edward James Burkett, Arbury Road


Arbury Camp:

Millicent Burkett, b 1892, school teacher

Dorothy M Burkett, b 1894, school teacher


St Fillans:

Edward James Burkett, b 1897, metal turner maintenance and food preserving factory

Mary, b 1898 [née Mary Irvine Speirs – married in Paisley July 1928]

Kathleen Mary, b 1929

Elizabeth Ann, b 1936

Mary used to take holidays at St Fillans on Loch Earn. She met Edward in Belgium after WWI.

IP wrote to Capturing Cambridge  in 2021 with the following notes (and maps):

My grandfather and grandmother (James Edward Burkett and Mary Burkett) and great aunts (Milicent and Dorothy Burkett) owned and occupied two properties on the Kings Hedges Road. My great aunts lived in a house called Arbury Camp and my grandparents lived in a house to the east, called St Fillans, after the village in Scotland my grandmother came from at the eastern end of Loch Earn.

Arbury Camp would be the eastern half of the semi-detached property just below and left of the letter A in Arbury on the 1925 map. St. Fillans is not shown but does show a later map from 1950. My grandfather farmed the orchard between the two houses until his death. My sisters and I regularly stayed at St Fillans as children and hold special memories. Most notably my grandfather shooting rabbits with his small-bore shotgun from the bedroom windows in the early morning! Health and safety was not as well developed then as it is now. He also regularly set fire to the hedge between the two houses after knocking his pipe out on the trunk of a box hedge!

The Burketts were a well-known family in Impington and Histon, being cousins to the Chiver and Unwin families. The road Burkett Way in Histon was named after the family.

Another family member, SB wrote in 2021:

My grandfather and IP’s was called Edward John Burkett. He married Mary Irvine Speirs in Paisley in July 1928. Paisley was her home town. My grandmother took holidays at St Fillans situated on Loch Earn which is why their home was named thus. She was a Scottish lass that married an Englishman that she met on a beach in Belgium between the two world wars. She moved to Histon, a long way from home. My grandparents had two daughters, my mother Kathleen Mary Burkett born in September 1929 and Elizabeth Ann Burkett ( known as Ann) in January 1936. My mother Kathleen died in 2014. 

My grandfather Edward John Burkett was born in 1897 to Edward James Burkett and Maud May Burkett (née Griffin). My Great Great Grandfather was James Burkett of Histon. The Burkett family lived then at Grape Vine Villa, situated at the left hand side of the Green in Histon. James Burkett gave land in his garden at this property to enable the building of the first Baptist Church in Histon. Both Burkett and Chivers families were heavily connected to the Baptist Church in Histon; my grandfather sang in the choir until his death in February 1978. Grape Vine Villa ( as I understand ) passed to Edward James Burkett’s sister Lizetta and the family moved out to Arbury Road and the house there. The Burketts and Chivers families married into each other twice over the generations, the Chivers becoming more famous! Both were originally farmers and fruit growers from Cottenham.

My grandfather, Edward John Burkett, grew up at Arbury Camp, then a detached property built on Arbury Road. He lived with his parents and three older sisters Christina (Chrissy), Millicent (Milly) and Dorothy (Dolly). My great grandmother Maud died prematurely in Addenbrookes Hospital in 1906 when my grandfather was 9 years old. Maud Burkett ( née Griffin) came from Burwell and was one of the first properly trained and qualified teachers in the country. She moved to Histon as headmistress of the village school where she met my great grandfather. I have failed to establish where Maud was buried and would love to have this information. Christina left Histon to become housekeeper for Albert Webb in Bury St Edmonds; she later became his wife. Millicent and Dorothy Burkett both became teachers in Cambridge and lived at Arbury Camp together until January 1978, for the rest of Milly’s life. Dolly remained at Arbury Camp until early 1981 when she moved into sheltered accommodation in Histon, dying six years later.

Their home Arbury Camp was named after the Roman camp in that area. The house originally was detached but was at some point ‘divided in two’ to form two properties. The Arbury Camp we knew as children was the right hand half of the house; the left hand half became ‘The Poultry Farm’. My grandparents lived at St Fillans , a house built by Unwins the builders ( relatives of the Chivers) for them on their marriage in 1928. The house was built on land then owned by my great grandfather, Edward James Burkett. The Burkett’s were fruit growers and their orchard lay between the two properties on Arbury Road. The packing sheds remained at the Arbury Camp end of the ‘site’.

Arbury Camp, Arbury Road , Histon , Cambs CB4 4PQ and St Fillans, Arbury Road, Histon , Cambs CB4 4PQ now lie under a housing estate. I returned to the area four years ago not expecting to find anything familiar. There is still a section of the familiar hedge that bordered the allotments on Arbury Road that were sited opposite our ancestors homes. I understand that when the boundaries changed ‘our’ properties moved to within the city boundary hence their re development etc. Prior to this they were ‘safe’.

My siblings and I were all born in Cambridge and lived there with our parents Richard Frederic Pauley and Kathleen Mary Pauley (née Burkett) until April 1964 when we moved to Chelmsford. One positive of that move was that we as children got to stay at St Fillans with our grandparents for one week every May half term. Other visits were too brief. I have such fond memories of the times spent there; of picking bunches of snowdrops from under the fruit trees and seeing my granny’s stockings used to fend the birds off the cherries. Of my grandfather ‘papa’ rushing down the landing in his ‘long Johns’ with a shot gun to shoot pigeons from the bathroom window.

When my sister Alison died in 2014 I moved some snowdrops from her garden to a new home under my apple trees. The Burkett gene of ‘growing’ and ‘propagation’ has continued. I am never happier than when I’m either in the garden or on my allotment tending my plants and ‘toiling the land’. Our sister’s snowdrops continue to do grow well in Hampshire.


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