Hillcroft was previously known as the Axe and Saw public house (and also the Carpenter's Arms) and was renamed by the last landlord, Edward Palmer, when he bought the house from the Greene Kings brewery. The photo above was taken in 2000. It is a grade II listed building (see here).
|The above June 1971 picture is copyright Skyviews Aerial Photography. It shows the original garden/smallholding before it was split down it's length to build "The Gables". There is one small outbuilding where the larger barns once stood. Across the road is Hillview Cottage.|
The rather dramatically lit picture below was taken in 1984 (by David Leeves I believe). It shows the house before the re-roofing in 1989 which added the dormer windows.
Note "The Gables" has been built and is visible on either side.
Below on the left is a photograph (held by the CC) of Hillcroft (formerly the Axe and Saw public house) in around 1929. To the right is Hillcroft in 2002, it has lost the wooden lean-to shed on the right, as well as the low extension on the left. The door next to the left most downstairs window has disappeared as well. The main chimney appears a lot shorter.
Miss Palmer lived in the house, I believe until her death in around 1989. She was known in the village for keeping a rescue pony, called Peggy, who was fed on bread and tea (possibly as a result of having originally being a working pony). There are also stories that the pony used to stand in the pond at the front of the house. A wooden stable block built at the back of the house was directly opposite the kitchen windows (presumably to see the horse in the morning!). This shed has since been moved. When Peggy died Miss Palmer arranged to have the body taken away, but was so upset that she didn't want to see the removal operation. And so she missed seeing the lorry knock down the brick gateposts at the end of the drive.
The front room of the house (to the left in the above pictures) was renowned for being so wet that it was regularly occupied by newts in the cracks between the floor bricks.
During the Second World War officers from the West Wratting Woods airfield were billeted at Miss Palmer's house, she used to disapprove of them bringing their girlfriends around!
The single storey extension in seen in the black and white photograph above (on the left) used to be a grain store. It was knocked down in around 1945, allegedly because of the large number of rats living there.
In 1989 a lot of work was done on the west wall of the house and that wing had a new roof fitted the whole way along, with three new west facing dormer windows being introduced, to match the three that face the road. Unfortunately this building work did not fix many of the structural problems at the base of this wall, which is now being replaced in 2004-5. At the same time many of the floors were dug down and new concrete floors with damp proof plastic were added. Also the walls were injected against damp - quite what good this is supposed to do for a timber framed house I'm not sure.
The name probably derives from the saw pit that used to be on the site, roughly where The Gables stands today. So it is quite likely that most of the wood sawn to build the older houses in Carlton was cut using this saw pit.
On 29th September 1923 the contract was signed by Greene King & Sons Ltd to sell the "freehold messuage premises and land formerly known as The Axe & Saw Beerhouse Carlton in the County of Cambridge, but now unlicensed" to Mr Edward Palmer for the sum of Two Hundred and Twenty-Five pounds.
The property "abutted on the road leading from Carlton to Brinkley with the barns, stables, outbuildings, gardens and the close of pasture situate at the back of the said messuage and appurtenances thereto belonging together with three several pieces of freehold land comprising three acres, one rood and twenty perches, Two acres and twenty three perches, and one acre three roods and twenty perches (more or less)".
One covenant applied however, "that he or they will not at any time use any part of the said premises for the sale of beer of intoxicating liquor and such covenant shall be deemed to run with the land".
|The signature of Edward Palmer on the deeds of Hillcroft|
The mortgage of One Hundred and Eighty pounds, which was taken out for the purchase, was underwritten by Greene Kings on 30th September 1923, and was paid off in full by Edward Palmer on the 23rd October 1933.
Edward Palmer had two daughters, Olive Iris Palmer, and Lilian May Millicent Palmer. Hillcroft, even now after 16 years, is still sometimes referred to as "Miss Palmer's House".
Hillcroft is mentioned in the Kelly's directories over many years, originally under the name of Axe & Saw. Before this it is under the name Carpenter's Arms in the licensing registers. The following table lists a known occupier for a particular date, and any extra information derived from the source (the dates hyperlink to references). Information is also shown from census data, parish records, and references to other documents.
|Date & Ref||Occupier||Other Comments|
|1772,1774||William Maling||Carpenters Arms|
|1775||William Edrop||Carpenters Arms|
|1776-77||Edward Turner||Carpenters Arms|
|1778-1786||John Withers||Carpenters Arms|
|1787-1794||Edward Quy||Carpenters Arms, and Axe & Saw from 1788|
|1841||William Quy||Carpenters Arms (+Harriet)|
|1847||William Quy||'Axe & Saw'. Letters are left at the Axe & Saw inn through the Newmarket office.|
|1851||William Quy||Axe & Saw Inn, ( & Harriet) [Dies 1867]|
|1861||William Woods||The Axe & Saw, Brinkley Road (& Susan & James & George & Susan)|
|1864||William Woods||Axe & Saw|
|1871||William Woods||The Carpenter's Arms (& Susan Woods, George Woods, George Howard & Matilda Howard)|
|1875||William Woods||Axe & Saw|
|1875||Susan Woods||Died this year in Carlton. Buried 22nd November 1875.|
|1879||William Woods||Died in June 1879, Carlton.|
|1880||George Woods commits suicide||Shot himself, May 9th, 1880, less than a year after the death of his father|
|1881||James Lindsell||Axe & Saw, Licensed Victualler, (+ Betsy, Allen, & Rose)|
|1883||James Alexander Lindsell||Axe & Saw|
|1891||George Shaw||Carpenter's Arms, Stocks Green (& Eliza)|
|1892||George Shaw||Axe & Saw P.H.|
|1896||Thomas Kent||Axe & Saw P.H.|
|1900||Arthur Mower||Axe & Saw P.H.|
|1901||Arthur W. Mower (52)||Axe & Saw, Street. (& Hannah & Lydia M. Murfil & Emily M. Murfil & Frank W. Mower)|
|Axe & Saw P.H.|
|1910||Walter Murton||Axe & Saw (owned by Tredway and Percy)|
|Axe & Saw P.H.|
|1923||Edward Palmer||Purchases the Axe & Saw from Greene Kings Brewery|
|1933, 1937||Edwd. Palmer||Small Holder, Hillcroft|
It's worth noting that William Quy ran the Axe and Saw in 1847, but by 1864 there is a Mrs Harriet Quy as a receiver at the post office. So we assume that she moved and the post office followed.
Birth Jun 1895, Palmer, Olive Iris, Peterbro' 3b 258
Olive Iris Palmer (Electoral register 1948).
Birth Jun 1903, Palmer, Lilian May M, Peterbro' 3b 244
Marriage Jun 1888, PALMER, Edward Sisson, Peterbro' 3b 413
|Name:||Lillian Emily Palmer|
|Birth Date:||25 Sep 1905|
|Death Registration Month/Year:||Jun 1988|
|Registration District:||Norwich Outer|
|Edward Palmer||36||Cambs Soham||Soke Of Peterborough||St John Baptist Peterborough||Drayman Mineral Water|
|Olive Palmer||5||Norths Peterboro||Soke Of Peterborough||St John Baptist Peterborough|