By the late Roy Dudley (written 1994)

In 1857 Huntingdonshire comprised 228,000 acres, with a population of around 54,000.

The Huntingdonshire Constabulary, comprising 41 officers, was formed on 6th. April 1857. The first Chief Constable to be appointed was Captain George Davies, who was also Chief Constable of the Cambridgeshire Constabulary; the two Forces remaining separate, however. One of the Police Stations for the new Force was designated to be in the Norman Cross area. During April, 1857, Mr. Copping was appointed Superintendent in Charge of the Norman Cross Division. He remained in the area until 1st. July, 1861, when he moved his residence to Fletton, but was still in charge of the Division.

The Norman Cross (Yaxley) Section was formed to cover the whole of the now defunct Norman Cross Rural District Council area, made up of the following parishes: Alwalton, Caldecote, Chesterton, Conington, Denton, Elton, Farcet, Folksworth, Glatton, Haddon, Holme, Stilton, Washingley, Watenewton and Yaxley. Also the parishes of Sawtry and Woodwalton, which were part of the old Huntingdonshire Rural District Council area. The total area covered by the Norman Cross Section was about one sixth of the the total area of Huntingdon County. The Section Sergeant was stationed at Norman Cross Police Station until 1938, when the Sergeant’s Station was moved to 165, Broadway, Yaxley. There were Constables stationed at Farcet, Holme, Sawtry, Chesterton/Alwalton, Watemewton/Stibbington, Stilton/Norman Cross and Yaxley.

The Huntingdonshire Constabulary continued in existence until 1st. April, 1965, when the Force, now consisting of 140 Officers, was amalgamated with those of Cambridge City, Cambridgeshire, Isle of Ely and Peterborough to form the Mid Anglia Constabulary. This was renamed the Cambridgeshire Constabulary on 1st. April 1974.

On the north side of the London Road, Norman Cross, in the Parish of Yaxley, approximately 150 yards east of the roundabout at the junction of the AI, London Road
(Al5) and the Folksworth Lane, stands the Victorian style building which housed the Norman Cross Magistrates Court, the Norman Cross Police Station, and the living
accommodation for the Section Sergeant. The Police Station contained three cells. The date on this building has been erased, but there is a similar building, which was a combined Court House/Police Station, at Arrington, Cambridgeshire, some six miles from Royston, which was built in 1864. It will be remembered that the government of the day built combined Court Houses/Police Stations at strategic points, close to main roads to assist the newly formed police forces to cope with the travelling criminals of the day. The ones at Arrington and Norman Cross came into this category.

The Norman Cross Magistrates’ Court was moved into a brand new Court House, built on the south side of High Street, Fletton, just east of the White Hart Public House, during 1929. The Police Station remained at Norman Cross until 1938 when it moved to Broadway, Yaxley and the Norman Cross building was banded back to Huntingdonshire County Council and later converted into three flats . for members of the council staff. The Yaxley Station was moved to 69, Middleton’s Road in July, 1970 and then to Queen Street, in October, 1975.

Constables of Yaxley

The early records are rather sketchy so there are a few gaps:

  • William Allen 1857-59
  • George Dickenson 1866
  • Francis Wright 1867-71
  • William Osbourne 1873
  • Jesse Hughes 1876
  • David Ayres 1878
  • Arthur Crowson 1884
  • Samuel Warrington 1886
  • Alfred Dilley (1) 1891
  • George Broughton 1900
  • James Mayle (2) 1904
  • Edward Hodson (3) 1910
  • ? Landin 1915
  • Albert Creamer 1924
  • Horace Green 1931
  • Alfred W. (Dick) Horsford 1938-43

Between 1943 and 1949 there were no regular Constables, the duties being covered by the Section Sergeant and the Police War Reserve until 1946, and then by other Constables within the Section, as and when required.

  • Lionel Elmore 1949
  • Roy Dudley (4) 1952-9
  • John Giffard 1953-5 796
  • Philip Cook 1955~2
  • Tom Graham 1959~5
  • Peter Hammond 1965~8
  • Kenneth Selby 1968-73
  • Derek Wren 1975-80
  • Norman Pipe 1952
  • C. Ridley Webster 1962-73
  • Dennis Fillingham (5) 1971-75
  • John Sharp (6) 1973-84
  • Robert Burgess 1975-80
  • Kenneth Burton 1978-89
  • Michael Gynn 1979-86
  • Paul Ward 1979-81
  • Andy Plumb (7) 1980-83
  • Richard Noble 1981-83
  • Martin Williams (8) 1984-87
  • D-.Md Stapleton 1987-92
  • James Robinson 1992-
  • Michael Gynn 1993-

Points of Interest: (1) In February, 1892, P.C. and Mrs. Dilley lost their small daughter, Mary, to diptheria. The loss was sympathetically reported in the Yaxley Deanery Magazine. (2) P.C. Mayle was promoted to Sergeant in 1910 and took up residence at Norman Cross. (3) P.C. Hodson was highly commended in 1914 for efforts to revive George Nightingale. (4 ) P.C. Dudley moved to Alwalton. (5) P.C. Fillingham was promoted to Sergeant and moved to Whittlesey. (6) P.C. Sharpe moved to Paterborough as Crime Prevention Officer. (7) P.C. Plumb was a member of the Underwater Search Unit and patrolled Yaxley when not required by the Unit. (8) P.C. Williams transferred to C.I.D.

Sergeants of Yaxley

Similarly there are gaps in the early records concerning Sergeants.

  • Robert Hamilton 1857
  • Edwin Holland 1859
  • Richard Horton 1859
  • John Steward 1861
  • Thomas Spencer 1867
  • William Allen (1) 1870
  • Benjamin Hibbins 1880
  • Frederick Rayner 1880
  • William Freestone (2) 1887
  • Simeon Butler 1896
  • Arthur Pateman (Acting) 1901
  • George Gale 1902
  • James Mayle (3) 1910
  • Dale 1919
  • Hodson 1923
  • Upchurch 1925
  • Green (4) 1925
  • Varley 1927
  • Stopper 1931

When the Station was moved to Yaxley, in 1938, Sergeant Stopper moved with it.

  • Pateman 1946
  • Horsford 1959
  • Bloxham 1958
  • Roy Dudley 1963
  • Bennett 1967
  • Butcher 1971
  • E. Rosedale 1976
  • Butters 1978
  • Ayre 1981

From 1983 to 1993 there was no Sergeant allocated to the Yaxley Section, the duties of the Yaxley Constables coming under the direct control of the Duty Sergeant at Peterborough. As of January, 1993, the Sergeant-in-Charge was Sergeant Mylchreest.

Points of Iaterest: (1) P.Sgt. Allen had previously sexved as a Constable in Yaxley.(2) On Sunday, 12th. June, 1892 P.Sgt. Freestone arrested William Clay at Woodstone Hill, on a charge of causing the death of Thomas Parkinson, and conveyed him to the Norman Cross Police Station. (3) P.Sgt. Mayle was promoted straight from Yaxley. He retired in 1919, after 33 years sexvice. (4) P.Sgt. Green died in 1927 whilst serving at Norman Cross.

Special Constabulary

During the later part of 1937, as the war clouds loomed over Europe, recruiting for the Special Constabulaiy was stepped up. Early in 1937 a regular Police Officer, Sergeant J. Craghill, attended an Instructors’ Course at Falfield, on ‘Air Raid Precautions/War Duties’. On 1st. June of that year Sgt. Gragbill was moved from his Station at Spaldwick to Police Headquarters, Huntingdon to. form a special section, namely ‘War Duties Training’.

The newly recruited Special Constables were trained in police duties coupled with war duties, whilst the longer standing Special Constables received a refresher course, together with war duties. This was a wise move as the beginning of the war saw a number of the younger members of the Hnntingdonshire Constabulary being called up for duty in the Armed Forces and the Special Constables were to render valuable assistance to the regular Officers who were still performing Police duties in the Yaxley area.

The burden of duties were increased with the Army Camp built on the west side of London Road, Y axley, which was later converted into a Prisoner of War Camp; plus
the influx of building worlrers who were employed on the nearby aerodromes which were springing up in all areas surrounding Yaxley. (There were nine major
areodromes within Hnntingdonshire during the War.) There were also a number of mock airfields in the area. Additional problems were caused at the time of the
Evacuation of Dunkirk, in 1940, with the billeting of survivors in large buildings and with families in Yaxley.

The regular Officers based at Y axley at the outbreak of the war were Sgt. Harry Stopper and P.C. Dick Horsford Shortly after the war commenced these two officers were joined by George Sams, who, as Police War Reserve, served at Yaxley until the War Reserves were disbanded in 1946. George Sams had earlier served for a number of years as a Constable in the Lincolnshire Constabulary.

The following persons are known to have served in the Special Constabulary in the Yaxley area during the period of the war:

  • Ernest Pywell, owner of the Bluebird Garage (now Broodway Garage), who resided in the bungalow known as ‘The Moorings’, which was situated on the west side of the Garage.
  • Vic. Goodwin, owner of the building firm, R V. Goodwin Ltd., of 266, Broadway.
  • Jack Blott of Church Street, who after the war was the Manager of Eastwoods Brickyard at Y axley and Orton.
  • Joseph W. German, farmer of the The Folly, London Road.
  • Jim Whiteman, of London Road, Norman Cross, who for many years worked at West End, Yaxley, for W.T. Cook and Son- Engineers.
  • Wallace Haynes, of 220, Broadway, who in later years worked as a checker at Norman Cross Brickyards for the London Brick Company Ltd.
  • Frederick Stanley Beard, of Middleton’s Road, who in later years was employed at Noble’s Mushroom Farm, Yaxley. He was commended by the Chief Constable on 2nd March, 1943, for the arrest of a cycle thief.
  • George Hill, of Broadway, who in later years was employed by the London Brick Company Ltd. at Beeby’s Brickyard.
  • Jim Blake, of Windsor Road, who was later employed by British Railways. Jim remained in the Special Constabulary after the war and in the early 1950′s was a Special Sergeant.
  • David Cluer, of 241, Broadway, who in later years was the Quarry and Knothole Manager for the London Brick Co. Ltd. in the Peterborough area. He was also a Yaxley Parish Councillor.

The above mentioned Special Constables, together with others unknown now, performed allocated duties in various parts of Yaxley, thus releasing the regular Officers to perform more urgent duties, possibly in other parts of the Norman Cross (Yaxley) Section.

On Thursday, lOth. February, 1944, their Majesties King George Vl and Queen Elizabeth visited Huntingdonshire and made visits to various aerodromes within the County. A number of Special Constables were used to assist the Regular Force with their duties for the occasion.

At Ramsey Petty Sessional Court on 31st. July, 1946, the Chairman of the Norman Cross Division commended Special Sergeant Haylett of the Norman Cross Division for
smart work in the arrest of three youths for Larceny.