By the beginning of the nineteenth century the village of Cherry Burton was beginning to take its present form. By the 1830’s parliamentary enclosure had taken place. Instead of the old strips which had been formed by the medieval farmers, blocks of land had been allocated to land owners on the basis of how much they had previously had, and the fields as we see them today took shape, with their hedges, ditches and the wide road verges. Many of the smaller land owners were unable to afford the hedging which was their responsibility and so sold out to the bigger ones, and so we find many names disappearing from the lists of landholders of the time. There were still farmers who worked from their farms and yards in the Main Street, or Town Street as it was then known, but slowly the pattern was changing. Farmhouse and yards were being built in the parish countryside, away from the village itself. Men were still being employed for the year at hiring fairs and although horses were to remain a very common sight for many years to come, mechanism began to be seen around the farms.
In 1823 the population was about 417 people. By 1871 it had increased to 454. Ten years later it had only increased to 429. From then on, there was a general decrease until in 1931 it was down to 321 people. Nearly all of them would have been connected with agriculture. Of other trades, it was common to find tailors and shoemakers. Frequently one can see in directories of the time that people undertook several jobs in the community – such as a man who was the schoolmaster, who in 1823 was also land surveyor and parish clerk. From 1897 through until 1925 John Frederick Saynor doubles as a Professor of Music and assistant Overseer of the poor.
The nineteenth century not only saw changes in the countryside, but also in the village itself. Nearly every year something new was built, or something altered. Major changes included the building of a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in 1824 and a Primitive Methodist Chapel in 1851. In the early 1850’s the village church was rebuilt. In the 1860’s the railway arrived, and later still the school was built in 1872. A reading room was opened in 1894. Some of these buildings are no longer part of the village scene, while others have changed their use. Whilst the Primitive Methodist Chapel has gone, the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel has been altered and is now the village hall. The school of 1872 has gone, and the station building is now a private house.
It is at about this stage in the history of the village that photographs came into their own. The ones that appear here cover a period from 1890 onwards. Much has happened to the village since that year. However, two World Wars hardly changed it in the way planners and developers have managed to do in the twenty-five years since they, together with Dr. Beeching, took a hand in the affairs of Cherry Burton.
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