Over (Ovre)

In 986 Athelstan Mannesson left Over to his wife, a kinswoman of St Oswald, one of the founders of Ramsey Abbey. By 1044, it had come to another relative, Eadnoth (Junior), bishop of Dorchester and a former monk at Ramsey, who in that year gave it to the abbey.

In 1066 Ramsey’s manor of Over comprised 10¾ hides of the 15 hide vill, a further 2 hides being held by its sokemen and 1 hide by its daughter house at Chatteris. In 1088 the abbot leased Over to William Pecche and his wife Aelfwynn for life, later abbots renewed the lease for a similar term for their son Hamen (d after 1178) and his son Geoffrey (d 1188).

Between 1194 and 1200 Geoffreys brother Gibert sued the abbot for 2 caracutes of demesne land. Gilbert son of Hamen abandoned the claim in 1237.

The abbey had a grant free warren from Henry 111 and retained the manor until the Dissolution. Probably under Henry 1 and certainly before 1187, the income from the it was assigned to the monks, and in the early 13th century it was paid to the cellarer.

The abbot of Ramsey was licensed to build a chapel at his manor house in 1254. The house stood West of Station Road, where there were fields called Berry Close in the 19th century. The garden was leased by 1406, but the cellarer of Ramsey kept the hall and chamber in repair until the 1420’s or later.

Godric the hawker (ANCIPITARIUS) held ½ hide under Baudry of St Ives by service of mewing a hawk provided by Baudry. Guy released 1 yardland to Ramsey in 1229.

In 1279 the estate may have belonged to John Freisel, who owed suit for 1hide to Ramsey baronial court at Broughton (Hunts). The nunnery of Chatteris held 1 hide in 1066, later known as the manor of Over Chatteris. It has been suggested that the manor was the estate called Chinnora left to Ramsey in 1007 by Athelstan Mannesson’s daughter Aelfwaru.

About 1210 a manor was held of Hugh de Scalers by Alan de Ferrgeres, who in 1218 released the hide held of Ramsey to the abbot in return for corrodies for himself and his wife.

In 1279 Robert Hall held 1¾ hides under the Bishop of Ely as ¼ knights fee, together with ½ a hide under Ramsey. The 1¼ hides held from him by Robert Mariot presumably represented the land of Ely domesday sokemen, while Ramsey’s ½ hide was probably part of the released by Alan de Ferrgeres in 1218. The remaining ½ hide, though said to be held of Ely, may have been the other part of the Ramsey holding. Robert was later said to hold the whole 2½ hides of Ely. On his death in 1286 he was succeeded by his son Henry, who with his partners held a ¼ knights fee c1302. By 1346 it had been divided into four parts and was later said to be held of Ramsey.

In 1086 the Abbot of Ramsey had a small home farm with one ploughman and enough arable land for a second and kept a few oxen, sheep and pigs.

Ramsey’s Manor was valued at £10 in 1066 and £8 in 1086. By leasing it to the Pecche family in the 12th century, the abbey received no more than £8 a year, but having recovered it in 1188 was deriving £51 in the 1270’s. About 1279 crops sold from the demense included wheat, barley, dredge, peas, and beans, and in 1296 the stock comprised horses, cattle, deer and swine, and included a bull and a boar.

In 1086 Ramsey’s tenants, mostly villani, had six plough teams, and room on their land for another 2½, four were worked by the tenants of the other manors. The only weekwork on the Ramsey manor in 1279 was Thursday ploughing by the six yardlanders. Each paid 5s – 10d rent when no boonworks were required and 1s – 10d when they were, though the works themselves were valued at 5s – 8d a year.

The 32 half yardlanders owed more onerous boons worth 7s – 1d, paying 1s – 2d when they were exacted and 3s – 2d when not. The crofters also did boonworks but cottagers and other smallholders owed only rent. The standard customary holdings on the Ramsey Manor in the 15th century were half yardlands but many were later divided into quarterlands before being combined again into larger holdings.

A tenant of Ramsey was presented in 1347 for cutting sallow rods. In the 14th century Ramsey’s tenants often infringed the manorial rights of fishery. In 1279 there were two windmills, on the holdings of Ramsey and Robert Mariot.

The principal manorial court was that of Ramsey manor. By the 1270s the abbot had view of frankpledge and the assize of bread and ale, exercised under a charter of King John; he also had a gallows and tumbrel and claimed infangenethef by grant of Edward the Confessor. Court rolls survive for 21 sessions between c1290 and 1365 and one in 1474.

In the early 14th century courts usually held in February and November dealt with tenurial matters, common assaults, and breaches of the assize and defended the lords rights. About 1400 a leet and one other court were held each year, later a single court usually sufficed.

The Church in Over was mentioned in 1178 in the possession of Ramsey Abbey, to which the advowson belonged until the Dissolution. The King presented rectors in 1231 and 1318 during vacancies. In 1332 the abbot was licensed to lease the advowson but the King presented twice on the grounds that the temporalities of Ramsey had been in royal hands in 1316.

The Church of St Mary had probably always been so named; the dedication is that of its patron Ramsey Abbey. The arms of Ramsey and probably Ely, now unrecognisable, flanked the sculptures of the Assumption on the West wall of the tower. Six chancel stalls which formerly stood against the screen were moved in 1858. All had misericords, one of which bears a rams head in reference to Ramsey Abbey.

The parish church of Over, was part of the Ramsey estate, built in 1086, it houses the miserecords stalls once used by the monks of Ramsey Abbey, on one of the stalls are carved three rams heads which connects them to Ramsey Abbey, the heads are facing head on instead of sideways as on the Ramsey shield, which implies that they were an after thought.

The arms of Ramsey mentioned above are in the form of a shield which is situated over the arch of the west door of the tower.

Over church and the holdings within the parish were confirmed to Ramsey Abbey by Pope Alexander in 1179.

The value of Ramsey Abbey estates in the Domesday Book of 1086, shows £10 for 1066, by 1095 it was down to £6, £11 in 1140 and £8 in 1201.