About Dry Drayton

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Local and Family History

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Local Links

Dry Drayton Local History and Family History


On this page we have assembled a wide range of links to material relating to the History of Dry Drayton which we hope will be of interest to local and family historians.


• Fragments of Time: Dry Drayton in the 1900s

Life in Dry Drayton in the 1900s was very different to the life we know now. Alec Hawkes has produced a series of short videos about that era using interviews he made some time ago with several long-time residents of the village.

Hear about memorable Dry Drayton characters and snapshots of their lives. Among those, a three bedroom house with an acre of land for £350; a perilous pony and trap ride from Madingley; stories about the former pubs, post offices and shops in the village; beekeeping; the village in the war years; leaving school at 14; working on local farms; the digging of village wells; electricity and mains water arriving in the village and many other anecdotes from the past.

The recollections are illustrated and brought to life in the videos with photographs and information, much of which can be found in the Local History and Family History pages on the village website.


The videos are each approximately 8-10 minutes long. Episode 1 was released in February.  The YouTube link is:  https://youtu.be/0PJVfP-S5GQ - You can also find it at YouTube by typing: Fragments of Time Episode 1


In Episode 1 we meet John Hacker. John was one of four brothers with parents and grandparents who called Dry Drayton home for much of their lives. One brother and his family still live here. John was on the Parish Council for over 50 years and has wonderful but poignant recollections of village life.


In Episode 2 we meet Sid Martin whose parents moved to Dry Drayton when he was just 2. Sid was one of 5 siblings who grew up in the village in the early years of the 1900s. Sid became a Bee Disease Officer for much of East Anglia but kept his roots in Dry Drayton. Members of his family are still here. The Youtube link is: https://youtu.be/zA5S4iWW0MM


In Episode 3 we meet Joy Dunn and Violet Hawkes. Joy first came to the village in the war years. She produced Nativity plays in the church from the 1940s to the early 1960s. She was active with her family in the church and school and stayed connected with Dry Drayton for many years. Violet arrived at age 12 when her father became Rector of the Parish. Violet remained in the village for the rest of her 98 years. She was active in many aspects of village life and founded and ran the Country Cattery. Many of her family are still here. The Youtube link is: https://youtu.be/lTOXQxHYuTQ


In most of the episodes we also meet another long-time resident, Bob Martin. As interviewer, Bob keeps the stories flowing and often has John and Sid chuckling.


Several more episodes will follow in the next few months. YouTube links for these will appear in the e news (DryDrayton.net) and on the Dry Drayton People Facebook page.


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• Dry Drayton Chronicle, 160 years of local news   

The Dry Drayton Chronicle, is a listing of over 750 items about the village, which appeared in local newspapers, mainly the Cambridge Chronicle, from 1774 to 1930. We are extremely grateful to the following for their help and support in completing this project: Jo Hobbs, Marie Whittick, Mike Petty, Chris Jakes and the staff of the Cambridgeshire Collection. This link will take you to the Dry Drayton Chronicle and the Index to the Dry Drayton Chronicle


• Who lived in Dry Drayton ?    

Download a spreadsheet with the 1861 census return for Dry Drayton - 468 individuals in 118 households

Download a spreadsheet with the 1871 census return for Dry Drayton - 477 individuals in 116 households

Download a spreadsheet with the 1881 census return for Dry Drayton - 374 individuals in 90 households   

Download a spreadsheet with the 1891 census return for Dry Drayton - 345 individuals in 89 households.

Download a spreadsheet with the 1901 census return for Dry Drayton - 323 individuals in 82 households
Download a spreadsheet with the 1911 census return for Dry Drayton - 440 individuals in 104 households.
Download a spreadsheet with the 1939 Register returns for Dry Drayton - 417 individuals in 126 households.   


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• Dry Drayton in Local Directories

Kelly's Directory of Cambridgeshire 1869

Kelly's Directory of Cambridgeshire 1879

Kelly's Directory of Cambridgeshire 1883

Kelly's Directory of Cambridgeshire 1892

Kelly's Directory of Cambridgeshire 1896

Kelly's Directory of Cambridgeshire 1904

Kelly's Directory of Cambridgeshire 1916

• Dry Drayton Photographs

Use this link if you wish to see images relating to Dry Drayton History from Flickr.com

Use this link to see images relating to Dry Drayton in general from Flickr.com


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• Village Memories   (Sid Martin and others)

We are most grateful to Chris and Gill Turner for putting together a series of Memories of Dry Drayton from some past residents. These are primarily the memories of Sid Martin, with additional contributions from Joy Dunn, Folly Rook, John Hacker and Dryton. Most of Sid’s memories were typed for him by his niece, Gillian Turner, nee Bilton. Gill’s husband, Chris, has compiled these memories from her files and from copies of Dry Drayton Village Newsletters held in the Cambridgeshire Collection at the Central Library, Cambridge. Use this link to download Memories of Dry Drayton (40 page 1Mb pdf).


• Village Memories (Cherry John Hacker)

Dry Drayton Remembered is a personal history of Dry Drayton by life-long resident Cherry John Hacker (1924-2005) with illustrations by Douglas Shapley. We are most grateful to John's daughters, Susan and Judith, for permission to make this publication available here.

Download Dry Drayton Remembered (35 page 1.6 Mb .pdf)


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• Antiquities


• Dry Drayton Pubs A paper on the six public houses in the village (Download 27 page .pdf)

• Dry Drayton Methodist Church, Centenary A booklet on the history of Dry Drayton Methodist Church 1866-1966, kindly loaned by Robert and Linda Hacker (Download 10 page .pdf)

• Old portraits of Dry Drayton folks from a Cambridge Studio   


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A history of the Village Hall by John Hacker and Cinnamon Bair


• A history of Dry Drayton's Village Reading Rooms   


• History of the Village Post Office and Post (download 15 page ,pdf)

• WW2 Aircraft crashes near Dry Drayton 

We received a request from a local historian who is trying to find out about a fatal wartime aircraft crash near the village. As a result we circulated an appeal from which we have assembled information on a number of crashes - we have published the list here as an act of remembrance.


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• Village History Quiz How well do you know your village? Try our quiz: historyquiz.asp


• Beating the bounds - living village history

Alec Hawkes has introduced an annual walk around the Parish Boundary, continuing a longstanding tradition to pass on, by word of mouth, important historical information about our place. You can read about it here.
This link will take you to information about the 2021 Boundary Walk. Short videos on the 2021 walk can be found on Youtube. The first is a standard video featuring footage from Adrian Bennetton and slides from Cinnamon and Alec and entitled Dry Drayton Boundary Walk 2021 full version: https://youtu.be/PXwJhs6ahFs. The second is a 3D version (viewable in 360 degrees) with footage just from Adrian and entitled Beating The Bounds in 3D: https://youtu.be/y-PRcPs-BE8.

• Would you like to help with these pages? We need your help

Have you got any old photos of Dry Drayton you are willing to share ? Here is how you can help

Do you recognise any locations mentioned in the newspaper reports ? Here is how you can help


• Local Families looking for information and contacts

This link will take you to a page relating to the history of families with local Dry Drayton connections.


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• Resources available to you from home    

During the current pandemic, Cambridgeshire Libraries have made Ancestry.com, the huge genealogical database, available to readers free of charge to use from home. The normal annual subscription is over £100. Archives from The Times and Guardian are also available free. So now might be a good time to start to research your family tree or other local history project. This link will help you find your way into the system - you will need your Cambridgeshire library card and PIN.


• If you want to find out more

If you are interested in an overall history of Dry Drayton, there are two publications you need to find. These are: Gallows Piece to Bee Garden, a Millennium History of Dry Drayton, Dry Drayton 2000, published 2000, and the much rarer History and Natural History of the Parish of Dry Drayton by Rev F.A.Walker, 1876.


If you are interested in tracing your family history you will find membership of the Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Family History Society very useful. They have extensive online resources and can offer free help and advice from fellow enthusiasts www.cfhs.org.uk.

The Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Family History Society have transcribed the Dry Drayton parish registers: all the Baptisms, Banns, Marriages and Burials 1564-1959 - you can get these for just £9.60 as a download or on a CD (also included are transcripts from Knapwell 1598-1959).


The Victoria County History is now available online. This link takes you to Vol 9 for Cambridgeshire and this link will take you to the introductory material on the history of Dry Drayton, from which you can access the other articles on the village.


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• Those interested in researching the history of our place will want to use the following collections and organisations:



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