A History of the Road Names in Milton
(revised by Dr Derek Booth in 2017)
The Original Milton Roads
The naming of the original roads in Milton viz. Cambridge Road, High Street and Ely Road is indicative of the main route through Milton from Cambridge to Ely. However, in the past going north from Milton, there have been diversions from the High Street via the Milton end of the Landbeach Road and the Waterbeach/Ely Road, due to shifting the route that was close to Milton Hall in the late 18th century to outside the western periphery of the Hall grounds. But in the early 1960’s the main trunk road from Milton to Ely was restored once again as a straight road through The Hall grounds.
Butt Lane is shrouded in history. This road over 200 years ago led only to the Roman road (the Mere Way or Akeman Street) which runs north from Cambridge along the western boundary of Milton parish and across the fens towards Ely. Butt Lane literally ‘butted’ on to the Mere Way and only after around 1800 did it continue to Impington. During the time of the Romans, Butt Lane may well have connected the Mere Way with the River Cam via Fen Road for the transport of goods.
Fen Road and Church Lane – the names of these roads is obvious, but they are the oldest roads in Milton other than the High Street and Butt Lane.
Ad Hoc Post 2nd World War developments
Bene’t Close was built immediately after the War on land adjacent to Bene’t Farm which was last farmed by the Easy family before the Rowans development. Bene’t is presumably short for Benedict, as with Bene’t Street in Cambridge.
Coles Road is the ‘backbone’ of the first large estate built in the village and was named after the antiquarian the Rev William Cole who restored Milton House, Fen Road in 1768 and lived there until he died in 1782.
Old School Lane leads off Coles Road, partially developed on land to the rear of the old school in Fen Road.
Pryor Close is named after the Pryor family who lived at Milton Hall in the late 19th century.
Wilson Way is named after a farming family connected with Milton for several centuries.
Cherry Close is built on the site of an old cherry orchard.
Goding Way is a corruption of Goodin, the family farm which once stood on this site off Fen Road.
Knights Way is built on the site of the main drive to Milton Hall where the Knight family lived after they built the Hall in the late 18th century.
Lyndhurst Close is built on earlier farm land behind Lyndhurst Farm house on Butt Lane.
Hall End was developed next to the site of the old school in Fen Road and the name could be an earlier name for this part of Fen Road which ran along the southern boundary of the manorial estate of Milton Hall.
Shirley Close arose on land behind Shirley Lodge (demolished in the late 1980’s) and was owned by Mrs Shirley in the early 19th century.
Pearson Close and Court developed on land to the rear of Fen Farm, Fen Road where members of the old Milton family, the Pearsons once lived.
Willow Crescent named after Willow House, an early 19th century farm house which stood behind the village pond and next to Ambassador Lodge, part of the farm complex at that time. Willow House was demolished in the late 1950’s.
Winship Road at the industrial estate named after the land owner.
Recreation Close is simply sited by the recreation ground.
Milton Park – The Rowans and Sycamores
The Rowans, Sycamores, Oaks, Elms and Walnut Close were all named by the developer after trees, but not an earlier context, since there were glasshouses here associated with the nurseries, not woods.
Faulkner Close is named after the head teacher of the old school in Fen Road in the 1930’s.
James Carlton Court is named in memory of the one time organist at All Saints’ Church.
This spinal road of the housing development north of Butt Lane has a number of cul-de-sacs leading off it. It is named after Ken Humphries who was not only a councillor with the parish and district councils, but he was also a keen local historian producing several reports on the history and archaeology of the village; he has another road named after him, Ken’s Way on the site of Ken’s house off Butt Lane.
David Bull Way is named after a recent local farmer and parish councillor who lived at Rectory Farm.
Starling Close as Derek Booth put it, “there was, and is a murmuring of Starlings” in the village, once a Jack Starling kept a cycle shop at the centre of the village.
Woodman Way is named after a botanist Dr Roland Woodman who lived at Willow House before it was demolished making way for the building development at Willow Crescent.
Townsend Close behind this name hides a story reflecting the serious and lighter moments of village life as recorded by Ken Humphries, clerk to the parish council in July 1973. George Townsend at 80, fell into Middleton pit (now filled in between the Community Centre and the Country Park), and “was saved by the timely action of a villager [Sally Summerfield] and her observant dog”.
Froment Way is named after another old Milton family. Its Closes take the names of village families such as Mansfield, Burling, Butcher (the blacksmith), Lander (past landlord of the Waggon & Horses), Conder is named in memory of Arthur Conder who owned a baker, confectioner and grocer shop in the High Street where he lived with his family. Garner a trader in the High Street (post office and shops near the Waggon & Horses). Two head teachers of the old school in Fen Road are remembered as Closes. One, Ballard was a master at the beginning of the 20th century, the other Sutton was a mistress in the 1940’s. Finally, Bulteel Close is named after Major John Bulteel DSO living in Milton Hall in 1929.
Other Recent Devlopments
Coulson Close and Peter Goodin Close are named after old trading families in the village.
Walkling Way is named in memory of Eric Walkling, nurseryman, and parish and district councillor for 42 years.
Edmund Close takes the name of Messrs. Edmunds who operated the Alexandra Nurseries on the area which is now the Rowans and Sycamores until 1961 when Edmund House was founded.
Gunnell Close the Gunnells were an important Milton farming family in the 18th and 19th centuries who lived at Willow House, and at houses in the High Street and in Fen Road.
Fox’s Close is named after Sir Cyril Fox the one time eminent Cambridge archaeologist and historian (note his book, ‘The Archaeology of the Cambridge Region’, published by the C.U.P. 1923). Sir Cyril lived at Red Gables (also referred to in some references as “The Red House”) opposite Butt Lane and next to The White Horse public house where new white gabled houses exist today.
Barnabas Court is named after Barnabas Shipp who was at one time employed by the Parish as a ‘roadman’. In 1961 the parish council reported that he was voluntarily sweeping and cleaning the bus shelter near the entrance to the present sheltered housing; he was then aged 90! Barnabas Shipp lived to be over 100 and at one time there was a plan to name part of the Old School Lane after him. However, he finally got his immortality in 1998 when the sheltered housing development was named after him.
North Lodge Park
This housing development was completed in 2015 on land that essentially was a ‘brown field’ site having been workshops for the regional supply of electricity; the site was behind Milton Hall. The developers were Bellways Homes. A condition of the development was that due to the historic context of the site, the site must retain the landscape features enjoyed by what had been the parkland of Milton Hall, including its boating lake to allow a relatively clear vista across grass land to the lake and beyond as seen from the rear of Milton Hall today. Another condition was that football pitches with a pavilion were to be constructed to the east of the housing development for use by the village as a whole. The development has four roads as follows: North Lodge Park, the main spine road, Lodge Close, Repton Gardens, and Daniels Park named after a local family devoted to many activities in the village including Jim Daniels who was the parish clerk for many years before retirement in recent years.