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Church Rate Walk

History of Church Rate Walk

Church Rate Walk is a narrow path for pedestrians and cyclists which runs south from the top of Malting Lane to Summerfield.79 It seems likely to have been part of an ancient Roman pathway leading across Grantchester Meadows to Grantchester.80 It has a wall and fence on the east side hiding the houses and gardens of Church Rate Corner in Malting Lane and of St Botolph’s Rectory in Summerfield. On the west side are some houses, followed by a wall concealing the gardens of Nos.2-5 Wordsworth Grove.

It seems clear, however, that until the end of the 19th century Church Rate Walk was part of Newnham Walk, which extended from the east end of Summerfield to the top of Malting Lane, where Brookfield is located, and then round the left-hand corner to where The Pightle is placed near Newnham College. It was only at the turn of the century that the first part of Newnham Walk was relabelled Church Rate Walk, leaving Newnham Walk confined to the second part. Thus, Church Rate Walk is not mentioned in Spalding’s street directories until 1904. A document dated 29.5.1952 refers explicitly to “2 Church Rate Walk, formerly known as 2 Newnham Walk”.

(See No.3 Summerfield)

No 3 Summerfield, Cambridge – A House, Street and Area History

(1) Kingfisher Cottage

It was the setting for Sally Vickers’s novel Dancing Backwards: she had trained with Michael Briant and had visited the cottage a couple of times. He recalls that the Deeds (currently mislaid) indicate that the house was built in 1853.86 It seems possible that it was built for the assistant foreman at the Malthouse in Malting Lane, with the more substantial No.2 being built for the foreman at the same time.


(1) Kingfisher Cottage

Frank Henry Cable

(2) Mrs F W T Hards

(3) Harry Swallowe


(1) Mrs E Cable

(2) B Wickstead

(3) Henry Swallowe

(Lane End) Fraser Haskell



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