Capturing Cambridge
  • search
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
St Clement's Parish east of Bridge Street in 1886

Sedge Yard Estate

History of the Sedge Yard Estate

An Intimate History of the Parish of St Clement’s, T E Faber, 2006

In 1359, a William le Gode granted to Roger de Herlaston and three others ‘ a dovecot with a garden and other tofts adjoining the same garden and a grange on the common river bank in Cambridge’. This is very likely to refer to the areas later known as Sedge Yard Estate and Dove House Close. He seems to have purchased most if not all of the Anchor brewery site separately.

(see Dove House Close entry for early history of the combined site)

The road through the estate which became know as Thompson’s Lane – though it was also known as Sedge Yard Lane in 1859 – existed in embryonic form in 1688. The number of buildings to the south of the road increased up until 1886 by which time there was a house known as ‘The Paddock’ which seems to have been a cowyard or garden in 1859, and also a newish ‘Tobacco factory’ first noted in 1867.

St Clement’s Parish east of Bridge Street in 1886

On the north side of Thompson’s Lane the map shows the following sites:

a: an 18th century kiln, also a coal yard. By 1887 a narrow passage between (a) and (b) led to ‘Life Buoy at the Fish Runks‘. By 1891 ‘Whibley’s Sweet Factory’ occupied  half the site, and by 1893, a ‘nurses hostel‘ occupied the other. The factory and the hostel were let by St John’s to Magdalene College at this time.

b: sedge yard; by 1859 part of this site was in use as a stone yard; a firm of ‘coal, turf and sedge merchants’ had offices next to the boat yard in 1874. By 1887 this office was replaced by a stable. By 1893 a generating station for the Electric Light Company occupied (b) and (c). These buildings were later replaced by the flats known as Beaumont Place.

c: boat yard

Public House:

Census data:

1861 Sedge Yard

(1) vacant

(2) John Colwell, 34, tailor, b Cornwall

(3) Henry Parker, 35, journeyman tobacco maker, b York

(4) Eliza Hamm, 45, laundress, b Cambridge

(5) Sarah Page, 64, b Cambridge

(6) John Armstead, 37, coal merchant, b Ely

(7) Samuel Wells, 40, master waterman, b Reach

(8) Charles Attwood, 26, picture frame maker, b Trumpington

(9) George Wilson, 54, shopman, b Northants

(10) James Collen, 68, milkman, b Isleham

(11) John Lattimore, 37, waterman, b Cambridge

(12) John Cook, 80, gardener,  b Derbyshire

(13) William Mansfield, 52, bricklayer, b Chesterton

(14) Samuel Beales, 42, tailor, b Cambridge


Do you have any information about the people or places in this article? If so, then please let us know using the Contact page or by emailing

Dear Visitor,


Thank you for exploring historical Cambridgeshire! We hope you enjoy your visit.


Did you know that we are a small, independent Museum and that we rely on donations from people like you to survive?


If you love Capturing Cambridge, and you are able to, we’d appreciate your support today.


Every donation makes a world of difference.


Thank you,

The Museum of Cambridge