An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Cambridgeshire, Volume 1, West Cambridgshire. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1968.
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ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE ANCIENT AND HISTORICAL MONUMENTS AND CONSTRUCTIONS OF ENGLAND
We, the undersigned Commissioners, appointed to make an Inventory of the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions connected with or illustrative of the contemporary culture, civilisation and conditions of life of the people of England, excluding Monmouthshire, from the earliest times to the year 1714, and such further Monuments and Constructions subsequent to that year as may seem in our discretion to be worthy of mention therein, and to specify those which seem most worthy of preservation, do humbly submit to Your Majesty the following Report, being the twenty-third Report on the work of the Commission since its first appointment.
2. It is with great regret that we have to record the loss in our counsels through death of Miss Rose Graham, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Doctor of Letters, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, of Sir Albert Richardson, Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, Past President of the Royal Academy, Doctor of Letters, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, of Professor Sir Ian Richmond, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, President of the Society of Antiquaries, Doctor of Letters, Doctor of Literature, Doctor of Laws, Fellow of the British Academy, and of Sir James Mann, Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, Past President of the Society of Antiquaries, Fellow of the British Academy. We have further to record the loss by retirement upon expiry of term of office of Vivian Hunter Galbraith, Esquire, Doctor of Literature, Doctor of Letters, Fellow of the British Academy, and upon relinquishing appointment as Your Majesty's Lord Lieutenant in the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely of Roger Henry Parker, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, upon whom has been conferred the Decoration of the Military Cross.
3. We have to thank Your Majesty for the issue of a Commission under Your Majesty's Royal Sign Manual dated 28th September 1963, revoking the Warrant of 29th March 1946 and subsequent Warrants, naming sixteen new Commissioners, including eleven from the old Commission, but instituting limitation upon the time in office, reiterating the terms of reference given in the Warrant of 29th March 1946 and, additionally, directing the Commissioners to assume the general control and management of the National Buildings Record (excluding that part relating solely to Your Majesty's Principality of Wales and to Monmouthshire) and to arrange as we may decide for the creation of any wider record or collection containing architectural, archaeological and historical information concerning important sites and buildings throughout England.
4. We have to thank Your Majesty for the appointment to the Commission of Professor William Francis Grimes, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Doctor of Letters, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, under Your Majesty's Royal Sign Manual dated 23rd October 1964, and of Mr. Maurice Willmore Barley, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and Professor Sheppard Sunderland Frere, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, under Your Majesty's Royal Sign Manual dated 21st March 1966.
6. Following our usual practice we have prepared a full illustrated Inventory of the monuments in West Cambridgeshire, which will be issued as a non-Parliamentary publication. As in the Inventory of Cambridge City accompanying the twenty-first Report, the Commissioners have adopted the terminal date 1850 for the momuments included in the Inventory.
7. The methods adopted in previous Inventories of describing monuments have been adhered to in general, but in West Cambridgeshire rather more attention has been paid to topography and to the form and development of the man-made landscape in which the monuments are set. To illustrate this aspect, maps of each village or parish have been provided in the text; these serve not only to indicate the position of most of the monuments described in the Inventory but also to show the layout of the villages. In recording the smaller dwellings in the area, specific types have been identified and classified according to plan and form; by reference to these classified types, which are explained in the Inventory, some repetitive description in the entries has been avoided.
8. The descriptions of the monuments in West Cambridgeshire have been referred to the appropriate incumbents of churches and to many owners of houses, and we are satisfied that no important standing monument dating from between earliest times and the year 1850 has been omitted.
9. Our special thanks are due to incumbents and churchwardens and to owners and occupiers who have allowed access by our staff to the monuments in their charge. We are indebted to the Custodians of libraries and museums in London, Oxford and Cambridge for their ready co-operation, and to Lt.-Col. C. H. Antrobus, Mr. D. King, F.S.A., Professor E. Miller, M.A., Mrs. F. R. Salter and Mr. J. Saltmarsh, M.A., for their help over many points of detail. We wish also to record our gratitude to Mr. T. D. Tremlett who has continued to advise the Commission on heraldic questions. The reproduction of early plans and drawings in the Inventory has been made possible through the kind co-operation of: the British Museum; Sir John Soane's Museum; the Bodleian Library; Cambridge University Library; Merton College, Oxford; Downing College, Cambridge; the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, and the Cambridgeshire County Record Office. We are much indebted to Mrs. E. Bambridge for kindness in allowing us to reproduce some of the important Wimpole drawings in her possession.
10. The proximity of the City of Cambridge as a growing centre of employment has brought about many changes in peripheral villages since the investigations for the Inventory of West Cambridgeshire were begun. On the one hand destruction or ill-advised alteration has overtaken some monuments described in the Inventory, on the other hand many early buildings have benefited by the advent of new owners prepared to carry out sympathetic restoration. Ease of transport has increased rural population. The more affluent residents build suburban-type houses, the less affluent require public authority houses; these make their contribution to the visual evidence of change, but they are of a kind other than rural vernacular building. The traditional materials, timber-framing, plaster and thatch, are economically unacceptable, with the result that many of the older small houses and cottages are falling into disuse, except where their charm is sufficient to tempt enterprising people to buy, restore and maintain them. Generally therefore, 'suburban' houses and council houses are bringing urban architecture into the country and affecting the distinctive rural character of the countryside. Increased population in the villages has to some extent helped in the problem of maintenance of ancient churches, but in underpopulated parishes the lack of financial support for such work is only too evident. Modern agricultural methods too cause threats to both the traditional types of farm buildings and the earthwork survivals of early settlements and cultivations.
(2) Wimpole Hall, house and park, dating from the mid 17th century to the mid 19th century. The architecture and decoration, which are well documented, are of high quality; Gibbs, Thornhill and Soane were among those employed upon them. The Park includes a 'Gothic Tower' of c. 1772 and a double avenue, some 2½ miles long, planted c. 1720.
Villages and Landscapes
12. In compiling the foregoing list our criteria have been architectural or archaeological importance, rarity, not only in the national but in the local field, and the degree of loss to the nation that would result from destruction, always bearing in mind the extent to which the monuments are connected with or illustrative of the contemporary culture, civilisation and conditions of life of the people in England, as required by Your Majesty's Warrant. The list has thus an entirely scholarly basis. We have not taken into account any attendant circumstances, such as the cost of maintenance, usefulness for present-day purposes, or problems of preservation. An innovation in the West Cambridgeshire list is the inclusion of the centres of three villages, which are particularly interesting examples of village morphology and thus illustrate the historical development of rural settlement and the conditions of life of the people. Their inclusion will, it is hoped, draw attention to an important part of the historical landscape which is particularly vulnerable at this period of extensive, and sometimes insensitive, redevelopment.
13. We desire to express our acknowledgement of the good work accomplished by our executive staff in the preparation and production of this Inventory, in particular by Dr. P. M. G. Eden, M.A., F.S.A., who edited the greater part and who in 1965 resigned to take up a University appointment, by the late Mr. E. A. Rahbula, O.B.E., M.C., F.S.A., A.R.I.B.A., a former senior Investigator, who began the survey of the area, by Mr. S. D. T. Spittle, M.A., F.S.A., A.R.I.B.A., who succeeded Dr. Eden as editor, by Mr. A. P. Baggs, M.A., F.S.A., by Dr. R. M. Butler, M.A., F.S.A., by Mr. C. C. Taylor, B.A., by Miss V. E. Whitfield, B.A., by our illustrators, Mr. A. L. Pope and Mr. P. N. Hammond, and by our photographers, Mr. F. T. A. Power, M.C., B.E.M., until his retirement in 1964, Mr. W. C. Light, who succeeded him, and Mr. R. E. W. Parsons. We are also grateful for the help given by Mr. R. W. McDowall, O.B.E., M.A., F.S.A., Dr. E. A. Gee, M.A., F.S.A., Mr. J. M. H. Thompson, A.R.I.B.A., Mr. M. H. Bräude, M.A., and Mr. C. A. Hartridge, M.A., A.R.I.B.A.
14. Since the publication of our 22nd Report, Your Majesty has appointed Mr. N. Drinkwater, Mr. C. H. J. Farthing and Mr. R. W. McDowall, members of the executive staff of the Commission, Officers of Your Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
15. Our senior Photographer, Mr. F. T. A. Power, retired in October 1964 after thirty-six years of service with the Commission, and we wish to place on record our appreciation of the particular skill he displayed in an important branch of our work.
16. Mr. Geoffrey Fairbank Webb, C.B.E., F.B.A., F.S.A., Hon.A.R.I.B.A., retired from the Secretaryship of the Royal Commission in 1962, and Mr. Arthur Richard Dufty, F.S.A., A.R.I.B.A., our Editor, was appointed to succeed him, combining the duties of Secretary and General Editor.
17. Since the issue of the new Commission of 28th September, 1963, the direction therein to us to assume control and management of the National Buildings Record has been implemented by our Secretary. In view of our decision, supported by Your Majesty's Treasury, to enlarge the scope of the record it has been renamed the 'National Monuments Record (including the National Buildings Record)', the old name being retained in this way as a mark of respect towards the Council of the former National Buildings Record, which was responsible for building up the notable collection we now control. Legal requirements have dictated that the physical possession of the collection of the National Buildings Record should pass to Your Majesty's Treasury Solicitor.