An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Cambridgeshire, Volume 2, North-East Cambridgeshire. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1972.
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9 SWAFFHAM PRIOR
(O.S. 6 ins. aTL 56 N.W., bTL 56 S.E., cTL 56 S.W., dTL 66 S.W.) (Fig. 105; Plate 5)
The parish, of about 4600 acres, has an elongated shape and lies across the junction of chalk lands and fen. The S.E. half lies on chalk sloping gently N.W. from 100 ft. to 15 ft. above O.D.; the N.E. half is fenland. It is bounded on the N.E. by the Devil's Dyke and Reach Lode. The village consists of a long street running parallel to the fen edge with a former rectangular green at right angles to the street and on its E. side. This green was still open in 1815 (Enclosure Map) but has since been encroached upon; it is now called Cage Hill from a 19th-century lock-up (30) at the head of the former green. Along the W. side of the street, on the edge of the fen, is a line of four Romano-British sites, succeeded by a row of medieval moated sites; all the moats and larger early houses are on this side of the village street. On the E. of the street the land rises more steeply and has been quarried in places; apart from the two churches crowning a hill at the S. end, only later buildings, served by a back lane, are found on this side of the street.
The W. half of the hamlet of Reach, including the hythe and site of the fair, was in Swaffham Prior parish until Reach became an independent civil parish in 1953. This was presumably a subsidiary settlement similar to Commercial End and Lode, each of which was situated at the head of a waterway.
Swaffham Prior was formerly divided into two parishes with two churches sharing a single yard; this probably reflects an early manorial or tenurial division. The two parishes were united in 1667 by Act of Parliament (18 and 19 Chas. II cap. 26), and the churches were used alternately as convenience and fashion dictated. In the mid 15th century a chapel dedicated to St. Etheldreda existed at Reach (C.U.L., Bishop's Registers: G.1/4, 21; G.1/5, 66).
The names of seven manors are known, but the sites of only four manor houses can be identified: Baldwins (5), Swaffham (21), Shadworth (27) and perhaps Knights (18).
Enclosure of the parish followed an Act of 1805 and was completed by 1815.
b(1) Parish Church of St. Mary (Fig. 106; Plate 12) stands with the church of St. Cyriac in a triangular churchyard on high ground. The walls are of field stones, flint with rubble, with dressings of 'Barnack' and clunch. The roofs are covered with tiles and lead. The church consists of a Chancel, Nave with Aisles, West Tower and West Porch. The earliest building on the site is represented by the nave whose W. wall may be dated c. 1100; coeval are the remains of a small window with external rebates, between the present N. aisle and chancel, indicating an aisleless nave. Later in the 12th century, possibly in the second half, the existing chancel was built presumably slightly wider than its predecessor. Still later in the century the lower stages of the W. tower were added; a large arch was cut through the W. wall of the earlier nave-wall to conform with the new tower arch. The size and scale of these additions suggest that the nave was aisled by the end of the 12th century; a piscina in the N. aisle demonstrates that an aisle was certainly in existence by the 14th century. The building of the tower continued into the 13th century when the two upper stages were added. In the second half of the 13th century internal recesses were cut into the N. and S. walls of the tower, probably to accommodate altars flanking the tower arch. The nave, aisles, clearstorey and a W. porch belong to the 15th century. A stone spire (Plate 35), probably of 13th-century date (illustrated by The Itinerant, Cambridgeshire (1801), Gentleman's Magazine (1815) as in 1802, and by Relhan in 1801 (C.A.S. watercolours)), was demolished in 1802–3 at a cost of £25 (C.R.O., P150/5/2, P150/6/2; Churchwardens' Accounts, Easter 1803). The nave roof, reported as in 'great decay' in 1802 (C.R.O., P150/6/2), was removed by 1806 but the chancel remained roofed (illustrated in Lysons, Cambridgeshire (1808) as in 1806). The chancel was repaired and a vestry added in 1878 by Arthur Blomfield whose proposals appear to have been completed in 1902 when the nave was heavily restored and the S. aisle rebuilt except for the E. wall (C.U.L., Ely Faculty Reg. and plan, 1878; Kelly, Directory (1922), 216). The top of the tower was reinstated to a modern design in 1965.
The church is noteworthy for work belonging to the Norman period. In the later 12th century it was a large building of considerable distinction. The W. tower is remarkable for the polygonal forms of its upper stages, and for the unusual recesses contrived later in the side walls.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (33½ ft. by 18¼ ft.) has been refaced externally with field stones, probably by Blomfield in 1878, so obscuring blocked openings visible internally. The unbuttressed E. wall may be 12th-century; the window is modern. In the N. wall is a wide, round-headed rear-arch with partly exposed splayed jambs, of the mid or late 12th century. The vestry doorway and the opening for the organ are probably late 19th-century. Further W. are the externally-rebated jambs and E. splay of a window, possibly of c. 1100; the head is now flat and the W. splay is hidden on the conversion of the opening into a squint in the 14th century. Above this window are some worked stones, possibly the E. jamb of an upper window. The windows in the S. wall are modern but between them is the 12th-century rear-arch of a window similar to that on the N. but slightly narrower; below it is a restored doorway with segmental rear-arch, probably 15th-century. The chancel-arch, without responds, is a restoration.
The Nave (48½ ft. by 19½ ft.) (Plate 13) has four-bay 15th-century N. and S. arcades of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner springing from shafts with moulded bases and embattled capitals. Below the much-restored or rebuilt clearstorey is a moulded and embattled string-course; between each two-light window is a shaft with embattled capital carrying a wall-post of the roof, renewed except for those at the W. In the W. wall is an intruded arch with plain voussoirs producing a stilted and depressed outline; the ashlar jambs have small chamfers and in the reveals is a roll-moulded and chamfered clunch impost moulding. Above the arch is an offset. The N. Aisle (10¾ ft. wide) has a modern rag stone facing. The openings are modern except for a blocked 15th-century N. doorway which has a two-centred head, external label and segmental rear-arch. The S. Aisle (9½ ft. wide) is modern except for the E. wall, which was refaced with the chancel in the 19th century; the side wall in rag stone was built on the old line in 1902; the original W. wall survived until that time (C.A.S., Photographs of c. 1900). The 15th-century rood-loft stair in the N.E. angle has upper and lower doorways with four-centred heads.
The West Tower (16 ft. by 15½ ft.) is of four structural stages, but is now undivided internally. The rectangular lower stage has a chamfered plinth and crowning course carved with billet moulding. The E. wall is built against the earlier nave wall through which a wide arch conforming with the later tower arch, has been cut (see Nave); a straight joint exists between the rubble reveals of the intruded opening in the nave wall and the clunch ashlar of the tower arch. The octagonal second stage is carried on round-headed squinch arches which are finished externally as broaches on the W. and single-pitch weatherings on the E., perhaps reflecting the pitch of the former nave roof; on each N., S. and W. face is a round-headed window externally of two orders, the inner plain and the outer roll-moulded, having shafts with moulded bases, cushion capitals decorated with reeding, and abaci. At the top of the stage is a diapered string-course. The third, sixteen-sided, stage has small external broaches and shallow internal squinches at the junction with the octagonal stage. Alternate sides have tall lancet windows of two external chamfered orders. The much-rebuilt top stage is also sixteensided and the alternate tall lancet windows are placed over the blind faces of the stage below. The string-course below the modern parapet is enriched with grotesque heads, one of which is original but reset. Inside, the round-headed tower arch has unmoulded jambs and a head with two orders on the W., the inner roll-moulded and the outer recessed (Plate 14). The arrises do not align with the W. face of the arch, inferring a detached angle shaft with a base in the surviving re-entrant angle of the podium and a capital beneath the projecting impost moulding; this last is a continuation of the impost moulding cut into the reveal of the intruded arch. Above the tower arch is a 12th-century round-headed recess with rebated jambs; it penetrates as far as the nave wall (Plate 15). In the E. half of the N. and S. walls of the tower are 13th-century internal recesses with chamfered jambs and asymmetrical heads; the E. wall of the tower has been cut back to receive the arches. The arches were probably inserted to provide the additional width necessary for small altars flanking the entrance to the nave. The N. recess has a moulded impost on the W. An upper voussoir of the S. recess has an unexplained projection. Between the S. recess and the tower arch are two 13th-century corbels from which spring vaulting ribs, perhaps for a canopy over an object such as a statue or stoup for which a circular sinking survives in the podium. Against the reveals of the tower arch are remains of stone benches, one with a shaped arm rest, probably of the 13th century; another bench-like projection is in the S. recess. The W. doorway has 12th-century inner splays but the moulded outer jambs, four-centred head and segmental rear-arch are 15th-century; in the jambs are draw-bar recesses. In the N.W. angle of the tower is a 15th-century stair turret which is carried up to the base of the second stage. A doorway in the canted E. face has continuous chamfered jambs, and the stair is lit internally by a group of three primitive and later loops and an original chamfered loop, all with square heads.
The West Porch, of the 15th century, is partly ruined and the stonework much weathered. Some earlier moulded fragments are included in the walling. The head of the W. archway has fallen but the moulded responds remain. The side walls each have a window opening, originally of two cinque-foiled lights, in a pointed segmental head with label. On N. and S. are remains of benches. The springers of the former ribbed vault rest on angle shafts; the vault originally incorporated the arms of Tothyll (Blomefield, Collectanea Cantabrigiensia (1751), 178).
Fittings—Books: various, in chest (2) including a large book of Common Prayer, 1727. Bracket: inserted in first pier of N. arcade, enriched but mutilated, 15th-century. Brasses and Indents: in N. aisle—(1) of William Water de Rech, 1521, and Alice his wife, figures of man in civil dress and woman, plate showing six sons, and modern blank plate for daughters, plate below figures with black-letter inscription, set in carboniferous limestone slab, also another brass separately mounted with invocation (Plate 44); (2), of Richard Water, February 1515, and Alice his wife, figures of man in civil dress and woman, indents for children and plate below figures with black-letter inscription, set in slab as (1). In S. aisle—(3), of John Tothyll, 1462, and wife, figures of man in armour and woman, and plate below figures with black-letter inscription, set in floor slab (9); (4), in same slab as (3), of Robert Chambers, 1638, shaped brass engraved with semi-profile figure of man in civil costume (Plate 45); (5), (a) figures of man and wife in early 16th-century costume, and blank plate in old indent (Plate 44); (b) small plate with invocatory inscription in black-letter; (c) indent for small figure, fitted with modern blank plate. Loose in tower—(6), slab with indents for two rectangular plates, late medieval. Chests: (1), oak, hutch-type, probably 17th-century but heavily restored; perhaps one of two chests that St. Mary's and St. Cyriac's were obliged to provide in 1665 (Palmer, Episc. Returns, 1662–5, Cambs. and Hunts. Arch. Soc. (1930) Pt. II, 29). (2), deal, with shaped bottom rail forming feet, 18th- or 19th-century. Coffin: in tower, end only, with head-recess, medieval. Coffin lids: in tower—(1), plain tapering slab; (2), loose, tapering slab with double omega ornament, 13th-century. Cross shaft: loose in W. tower, fragment (2¾ ft. long), ornamented with two circular rosettes on one face, circular star-pattern and part of inscription in Lombardic lettering on reverse, probably 12th-century (Fig. 107). Font: square bowl with later splayed corners and chamfered under-edge, modern stem, 13th-century. Glass: in S. window of chancel—(1), scenes from life of Christ, 1842; date recorded on brass tablet below; in S. window of tower—(2), various medieval fragments. Hatchments: (1), on canvas, with arms of Allix impaling Pardoe for John Peter Allix, 1848; (2), on canvas, with arms of Allix impaling Collier for Sarah Allix, 1807. Locker: in S. wall of chancel, rectangular with rebated reveals, medieval.
Monuments and Floor slabs. Monuments: in nave—on W. wall (1), of John Peter Allix, 1848, and Maria his wife, 1854, tablet with shaped black backing. In N. aisle—on N. wall (2), of Catherine (Rowland) wife of Rev. George Jermyn, 1828, stone tablet with arms of Jermyn impaling Rowland; (3), of Alfred Fenner, 1847, marble tablet. Floor slabs: in nave—(1), of Rev. William Collier, 1787, and Sarah his wife, 1791. In N. aisle—(2), of Martin Hill, S.T.P., 1712, with shield of arms (Plate 65); (3), of Roger Rant, 1654, and Roger Rant, 1728; (4), of Elizabeth, wife of Roger Rant, 1726, Purbeck slab with indent for former inscription plate to John Rant, 1603 (B.M. Add. MS. 5807, 18–20); (5), of Roger Rant, 1684; (6), of Charles Chester, 1795; (7), of Catherine Jermyn, 1828, Ann Maria Jermyn, 1830, and her daughter, 1831, with marginal inscription and incised cross. In S. aisle—(8), of Sarah Allix, 1836; (9), of . . . Druery and Alice his wife, late 17th-century; (10), of Sir John Ellys, 1716, Master of Gonville and Caius College, with crest of a mermaid, in a shield. (11), of George Gilbert Allix, 1795, and his brothers Thomas, 1809, Wager, February 1812, and William, 1812; (12), of John Peter Allix, 1807, and Catharine (Green) his wife. Floor slabs (2) to (5) were formerly in St. Cyriac's and all except (1), (7) and (10) are mounted into aisle-walls. In churchyard are about 25 carved headstones of the 18th century. One of the early 18th century is carved with representation of Cupid on the wheel of Fortune blown by the winds of Fate; on base-panel is a verse by Francis Quarles (Plate 53(b)). Paintings: in chancel—(1), on splay of N. window, masonry lines, 12th- or 13th-century; loose in S. aisle—(2), on copper, the Nativity within a mandorla of flowers, Spanish (?), 17th-century. Piscinae: in nave—in S. wall (1), recess with trefoiled head and rectangular drain, 15th-century; in N. aisle—in S. wall (2), recess with trefoiled head and defaced drain, 14th-century. Plate: cup (ht. 7 ins.) inscribed 'Soffame Prire othr wyse called Sant Serres' and cover paten inscribed 'SP', Elizabethan; cup (ht. 8½ ins.) and a pair of patens, given by Rev. G. L. Jenyns, London 1842; flagon (ht. 11¾ ins.), pewter, inscribed 'St marie', 17th-century. Recess: in chancel, in N. wall, rectangular, date unknown. Seating: see W. Tower and W. Porch. Scratching: in reveal of W. archway of nave, elongated head, medieval. Miscellanea: In nave—(1), reset as corbels, two 12th-century voussoirs with chevron ornament, perhaps from the S. doorway of St. Cyriac's (C.A.S., watercolour by Relhan, 1801). In tower—(2), various carved stones including head-corbel, probably early 13th-century.
b(2) Church of St. Cyriac and St. Julitta stands in the same churchyard as St. Mary's church (Fig. 108; Plates 34, 66). The walls of the nave and chancel are of white brick with stone dressings and the tower is of field stones, flint, rag stone, some brick, and stone dressings. The tower, for which a bequest was made 'ad edificationem campanilis' in 1493 by William Larde (C.U.L., Probate, Ely Consistory Court, 1486–96), alone remains of the medieval church which survived in ruins until 1805 when Charles Humfrey was commissioned to design and build a new nave (C.U.L., Ely Faculty Reg. Book, 1791–1829, 15). The medieval church then standing had a S. aisle with a 12th-century doorway, presumably reset (illustrated in The Itinerant, Cambridgeshire (1801) and watercolour by Relhan, 1801); the date of this church is unknown but one dedicated to St. Cyriac is recorded in the mid 13th century (C.A.S., Vetus Liber Archidiaconi Eliensis (1917), 230). The foundation-stone for the present nave was laid in May 1806 (Camb. Chron.) and it was well under construction by July of that year (letter from G. Jenyns to S. Lysons, B.M. Add. MS. 9412, 290), but Humfrey was still unpaid for his work in 1812 (Camb. Chron. 24 April 1812). Its condition has degenerated since the restoration of St. Mary's.
Architectural Description—The 19th-century church, consisting of chancel (10 ft. by 14 ft.), nave (55¼ ft. by 18 ft.) with aisles (11 ft. wide) and transepts (14¼ ft. by 9 ft.), is in the Gothic style with embattled parapets, diagonal buttresses partly of reused limestone including 'Barnack', and pointed windows with wooden jambs and mullions in stone surrounds. The aisles have gabled roofs. The nave of three bays has slender quatre-foiled wooden piers, stone responds, with moulded capitals beneath a low-pitched plastered ceiling of the nave and flat ceilings of the aisles (Plate 67).
The 15th-century West Tower (14 ft. square) is of three internal stages, the two lower being square on plan and unified externally, with diagonal buttresses on the W.; the upper stage is an octagonal bell chamber. The plinth consists of a chequer-pattern band of stone and red brick squares beneath a wave-moulded weathering. The four-centred tower arch is 19th-century. The W. doorway has chamfered jambs and moulded head with label. The three-light W. window, with cinque-foiled-cusped transom and pointed segmental head with label, has a rear-arch of three chamfered orders, the outer being hollow; the lower part of the window is blocked and the upper tracery renewed in wood. The second stage has loops with four-centred heads on the N. and S.; at the outer angles of the triangular weathering of the octagonal stage are the stumps of pinnacles. Pilaster-like buttresses at the corners of the octagon rise from corbels carved with lions' heads, grotesque heads and half-angels holding crowns or shields, and terminate as stumps of pinnacles above the parapet. On the brick-backed embattled parapet, now mutilated, are flush-flint panels with trefoiled heads and other enrichments. In each face of the octagonal bell chamber is a two-light window with transom and pointed segmental head with label. An external stair turret on the N.E. rises the full height of the tower; the turret is entered externally by a 19th-century doorway, the original doorway on the S. being blocked. The Roof of the tower has two intersecting stop-chamfered tie beams, one inscribed 'TL 1738 WE', and straight braces to wall posts.
Fittings—Bells: seven; a ring of six by John Briant, Hertford, 1791; clock bell, 1798, by same founder, formerly in iron frame of 1848, above tower roof. Bell frame: probably c. 1791. Benefactors' table: in tower, board with reeded frame and angleroundels, referring to provision of free seats, early 19th-century. Clock: in tower, late 17th-century, with inscription recording repair by Thomas Safford in 1811 (Plate 64). Gallery: at W. end of nave, with break-front, carried on shafted wooden posts, 1806–12. Monuments: loose in church, three headstones with shaped tops, early 18th-century. Paintings: in chancel, on plastered walls, tables of Creed, Decalogue and Lord's Prayer, 1806–12. Seating: in nave and aisles, deal box-pews, fragmentary, 1806–12. Miscellanea: in nave, fragments of window jambs and heads, 15th-century.
b(3) Zoar Chapel (30 ft. by 20 ft.), with timber-framed and plastered walls, and pantiled gabled roof, contains a modern tablet: 'Zoar Chapel erected 1821'. In the late 19th century the building was enlarged by the addition of a slated brick lean-to on the S., and the E. front was cased in brick. Original interior fittings include thirteen benches with shaped ends and two box-pews.
b(4) Swaffham Prior House (Fig. 109; Plate 92), consisting of house and outbuildings, stands in a park at the S. end of the village. The House of two storeys with attics and cellar, has walls of narrow yellow bricks, and tiled gabled roofs with central valley and cross-roofs.
The estate was bought in 1751 by Dr. John Peter Allix (d. 1758), Dean of Gloucester and Ely (Burke's Landed Gentry), from the Rant family. The present house incorporates an earlier one, probably of the early 17th century with a Class-G plan. Later in the century a kitchen block was added at the rear. In the mid 18th century a drawing room was added on the E. and soon afterwards further additions were made on the N. and the whole building was encased in yellow brick. Late 19th-century work includes additions on the N. and W. and the rebuilding of a tall semicircular bay window at the E. end of the drawing room (C.A.S., watercolour by Relhan).
The main front on the S. is of nine bays, the centre three breaking forward; the earlier house occupied the seven W. bays. There are first-floor and attic platbands and 19th-century parapet with stone balustrade which replaces a plain parapet shown by Relhan (also, painting in house, 1836). The pedimented stone porch is late 19th-century. The sash windows have hidden frames except for two with wide glazing bars at the W. end. The dormers have hipped roofs and sliding sashes. The roof over the area of the first house may be original but early walling is mostly invisible.
Inside, the enlarged stair-hall occupies the end room of the early house; the stop-chamfered ceiling beam is 18th-century. The W. room is lined with 17th-century panelling in five heights, partly augmented with modern work and probably all reused. The fireplace has a panelled overmantel with two round-headed porches, jewel-ornamented responds, foliagecarved spandrels and fluted pilasters; above is a triple arched panel with fluted pilasters. Elsewhere in the house is some reused 17th-century panelling, and in the attics are a number of doors of varying design, all of this date. The main staircase is modern but a back stair has reused 17th-century symmetrically-turned balusters (Fig. 110).
To the S.W. of the house the Outbuildings (Fig. 111) incorporate a former house of the late 16th century. It is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered, with tiled gabled roof, and conforms to a Class-G plan with a contemporary wing, open to the roof, at the rear. The lower storey was under-built in brick in the late 18th century, but in other respects the house preserves original features including a cross passage structurally within the service end, originally divided axially, and a central 'hall' with stop-chamfered cross beam and a chimney stack with single fireplace. Upstairs, the end rooms are divided by braced tie beams; the down-braced corner posts have enlarged heads. A four-light window with diamond mullions survives. The roof has collars which clasp purlins, and convex wind-braces. The rear wing, possibly of the 17th century and always open to the roof, has braced tie beam, corner posts with enlarged heads and middle rail.
The house stands in the centre of a large garden and Park of 140 acres. Until the early 19th century the garden was a rectangle of 10 acres of which an 80-yd. long ha-ha remains, 130 yds. N.W. of the house (Enclosure Map). Between 1814 and 1834 a small park of 45 acres was laid out W. and S.W. of the house, and survives with little alteration (O.S. 1-inch map (1834)). Enlargement of the park took place in the early 1880s when the road S.E. of the house was diverted to its present line; at the same time an elaborate water garden was constructed and an avenue of trees was planted, aligned on the newly-built Swaffham Prior station.
b(5) Baldwin Manor (Fig. 112), of two storeys partly with cellars, is timber-framed with tiled, hipped and gabled roof. The name derives from the family of Baldwin who held land in Swaffham Prior at least as early as the 13th century (Rot. Hund. (1817) l, 52–3).
The house dates from the first half of the 16th century and originally conformed to a Class-G plan with parlour, hall and service rooms, with upper chambers throughout; the parlour had been removed by 1815 (Enclosure Map). Later in the 16th century a cross wing containing a kitchen was added on the W.; this wing was subsequently extended to the N. with a wider range.
Three and a half structural bays survive of the original S. front (Plate 76), to which the end of the added cross wing forms a fourth bay. There is a continuous first-floor jetty, slightly lower in the later cross-wing bay which formerly had a gable on the S. The ground-floor stage has studwork and down-brace to the original S.W. corner post; the upper stage has down-bracing which does not respect the posts marking the structural bays. The continuous jetty is carried by twelve unequally-spaced brackets, a number of which spring from narrow engaged shafts with moulded capitals, mostly mutilated. The jetty bressummer is moulded and carved with folded-leaf decoration; the jetty plate of the later W. wing is enriched with embattling. The inner faces of the brackets flanking the door are carved with conventional rose and a squirrel sejant, the crest of Baldwin (Plate 78); the doorway has four-centred head and spandrels, one carved with a thistle, the other with three fishes entwined (Plate 78). The ground-floor windows make use of original openings but the three eastern have been altered in size and shape; on the first floor early window-sills show that some openings have been widened. The frames and fittings are perhaps late 17th-century. The E. gable-wall incorporates a large chimney stack, built of brick and clunch, into which is inserted a length of medieval corbel-table in clunch, with paterae in a casementmoulding. The stack, originally internal, had one flue serving the hall only. In the rear wall, on the N., are two ground-floor windows: one of seven lights with roll-and-hollow moulded mullions is probably a late 16th-century addition; the other of four tall lights with double hollow-chamfered mullions, ogee heads and pierced tracery is original (Plate 78).
Inside the house, the main room on the E., originally the hall, and the former screens passage at its W. end together occupy two structural bays. The hall has primary cross beams and secondary axial beams, all double ogee-moulded; that on the E. is mitred with the cross beam and that on the W. has leaf stops at the intersection. The S. wall post has an enlarged head and the N. post is a reused moulded beam perhaps from the demolished parlour. The wooden fireplace bressummer has cambered top and the face is carved with leaf ornament and a central rose; the moulding along the edge is mitred and continues on the clunch jamb (Plate 87). The N. jamb is rebuilt in brick. A lobby flanking the stack has a doorway with four-centred head, spandrels with leaf ornament, mutilated, and a lintel with band of folded-leaf decoration.
The central room has intersecting beams: the cross beam and the W. axial beam have mortices for studwork of former partitions, presumably enclosing butteries, on the W. of the former screens passage, over which the axial beam of the hall continues. In the S. wall mortices for diamond mullions survive in the rail soffit. The W. room, in the cross wing, has stop-chamfered beam and wall posts. The first-floor rooms correspond with the structural bays; one room has diamond mullions in the N. wall. The roof of the main range has chamfered tie beams, arch braces to wall posts with enlarged heads, and crown posts. The roof of the W. wing has been roofed in later times in continuation of the main roof, but mortices for curved braces to a former tie beam relate to the original roof which had a S. gable.
To N. of house, Outbuildings include a three-bay granary constructed of timbers from a 16th-century building which had braced tie beams and diamond-mullioned windows.
The house and outbuildings occupy the interior of a small Moat (Class A1 (a)), now almost entirely destroyed. It formerly comprised an enclosure of about ¼ acre, bounded on all sides by a water-filled ditch at least 30 ft. wide. The moat is shown complete on the Enclosure Map of 1815, but only slight traces of a depression round the house remain.
b(6) Old Vicarage, of two storeys, attics and cellar, has red brick walls, some clunch, and tiled hipped roofs. According to Cole, writing in 1744, the house was built by Dr. Peter Allix, vicar 1712–53 (B.M. Add. MS. 5807, 9); it subsequently became the residence for incumbents after Allix had acquired Swaffham Prior House in 1751. The house is in two sections and although the external brickwork of the northern section is the earlier, the southern may incorporate parts of a pre-existing structure; the northern is certainly attributable to Dr. Allix.
The main E. front (Plate 93) is in five bays with an asymmetrically-placed front door and sash windows in narrow openings with darker brick dressings; over the lower windows are short lengths of platbands. The wall has been heightened and a plaster cove added at the eaves. On the N. the wall contains a patch of clunch and a projecting chimney stack. Upper openings in the W. wall are original. The S. section has parallel and parapeted gabled roofs with a chimney stack in each. The S. wall is of clunch with red brick plinth and quoins. Inside, the fittings described are c. 1740; the more elaborate are in the N. section. The N. room is lined with fielded panelling in two heights with moulded dado rail and cornice; the fireplace has moulded eared surround. The staircase, rising to the attics, has square newels, closed string, turned balusters and moulded handrail (Plate 96). A bedroom, originally much longer, has two round-headed doors with fielded panels in a square architrave with key-block, impost and moulded cornice. Other rooms contain fireplaces with stone surrounds with moulded edges; a dressing room is fitted with contemporary shelves and drawers of graduated sizes.
b(7) House, of one storey and attic, yellow brick walls with red dressings, clunch gable wall on the E., tiled roof with gable parapets, is 18th-century. Formerly fronting on to the village street, it once abutted against a slightly wider range on the E. An extension at the rear is built up on a boundary wall. On becoming a lodge to Swaffham Prior House in the 1880s it was converted to a Class-T house.
b(8) House (Figs. 1, 113), of one storey and attics, is timber-framed, partly brick-cased, with thatched gabled roofs perhaps once half-hipped on the S. It originated as an atypical threecell house of the early 17th century, but, with a modern alteration in the position of the main door, is now Class J. The S. room, originally open to the roof, was the service end. Inside, a window with diamond mullions exists in the S. room and there is evidence for another in the N. room but the mullions have been removed. In the N. and centre rooms are chamfered axial beams. The fireplace in the centre room has moulded clunch jambs and chamfered bressummer, but that in the S. room is probably an addition against the earlier stack. The stair has been moved from the W. to the E. side of the stack. Joists of the upper floor are carried on planks applied to the studwork about a foot below the wall plate.
b(9) Anglesey House, of two storeys and cellar, has a framed and plastered front wall on the W. with a brick plinth; all other walls are of clunch. The gabled roofs are tiled. Originally with a Class-J plan, it was increased by the addition of a single room on the N. and a narrow parallel range at the rear which has three gabled roofs at right angles to the main range; these works took place within the 17th-century. In the 19th century a cross passage was cut through the main stack. On the street front the iron-framed casements with leaded lights are of two or three lights with transoms; elsewhere there are similar windows without transoms. Inside, a large room on the S. has intersecting stop-chamfered ceiling beams. Two rooms N. of the main stack, each with fireplaces in the end walls, have axial beams, one being stopped at the partition. The additional N. room is faced in narrow gault bricks. The parallel range has no original divisions but contains a stair which, although reconstructed in the early 18th century, may replace one flanking the internal stack of the main range.
b(10) House, of one storey and attics, is framed and plastered, with hipped and gabled roof covered with pantiles. Now approximating to a Class-I house, it was originally open to the roof throughout and may not have been for domestic use. The inserted floors may be 18th-century. An additional flue has been added to the former one-flue chimney stack. The roof, in three equal bays, has tie beams.
b(11) Terrace of four dwellings, of two storeys with slated gabled roofs, was built in the early 19th century. Each dwelling has two rooms arranged in double depth. The terrace is urban in character with a symmetrical elevation accentuated by a central blind window.
b(12) Priory Cottage (Fig. 114; Plate 108), Class C, of one storey, attics and cellar, is framed and plastered, with pantiled roof, now gabled but formerly half-hipped on the S. The structure originated with a two-bay central hall open to the roof, flanked by single-bay rooms and is probably 16th-century. Originally the S. room may have been the service end. In the 17th century a chimney stack was built in the N. bay of the hall into which an upper floor was inserted, thus forming a Class-J plan; the tie beams were removed at this time but the half-hip survived until the 19th century when an end-gable stack was added on the conversion of the house into three dwellings. The internal chimney stack is rectangular, in two stages with weathered offsets. Inside, the former hall, now amalgamated with the end room, has an inserted stop-chamfered axial beam; in the E. wall is a wall post, dividing the hall into two bays, with enlarged head and mortice for braces to tie beam now removed; in the W. wall, opposite the later stack, is evidence of an original window. In the N. end room is an inserted moulded beam in the position of a former partition, between the hall and the former N. room, possibly the parlour; the mortice for a partition-rail survives in the wall post. The roof, consisting of rearranged timbers, includes a principal rafter morticed for wind-braces.
b(13) House (Plate 108), Class F, of one storey and attics, framed with white brick additions, has tiled roof, gabled on the N. and hipped on the S. with gablet. It is probably late medieval but whether originally conforming to Class C, with a central open hall, or to Class F from the start, is uncertain. In the 17th century a kitchen was added behind the service end; further additions were made on the W. in the 19th century. On the E. a 19th-century shop front with lead-covered hood served a shop in the former service end. Inside, the central room of three structural bays has a chimney stack in the S. bay and, to the N., intersecting and moulded cross and axial beams of the 16th century; moulded joists are not now visible and the axial beam has been curtailed on the N. for a stair. In the former parlour, on the N., an original W. window with diamond mullions is inferred; the ceiling was raised and the N. gable replaced in brick about 18 inches further out, in the late 19th century. The service end, on the S., contains a cross beam above a former partition, and mortices for a diamondmullioned window in the end wall.
Pigeon house, W. of house, has clunch walls, hipped and tiled roof with gablets, and date-panel '1723' over a widened doorway.
b(14) Terrace of three dwellings (Fig. 115), of two storeys with clunch side and rear walls, brick front wall, and slated gabled roofs, was built c. 1830. Each dwelling has a front and back room on each floor, main doors with semicircular heads and blind painted fanlights, and sash windows on the W. The terrace has an urban character.
b(15) Red Lion Inn, of one storey, attics and cellar, has a gabled roof covered with slates and pantiles. It consists of two rooms of an 18th-century timber-framed house to which was added one room in clunch in the 19th century. The centre room has a stop-chamfered axial beam.
b(16) House, of two storeys, attics and cellar, is timber-framed and plastered, with brick plinth and S. gable wall, and tiled gabled roof. It originated as a Class-I house in the early 17th century but was extended on the E. by a room with a roof at right angles to form a Class-J plan later in the century. The chimney stack of the first date has grouped flues; aligned with it on the S. is a blocked doorway and to the W. a blocked window. The S. gable, projecting slightly from the main front, has kneelers, parapet and two square chimney shafts joined at the top. On the E. is a moulded wooden eaves cornice. Inside, the cross beams are chamfered in the centre and W. rooms; that in the E. room, at right angles to the S. gable, has roll-and-hollow mouldings. The roof over the main range has a cambered tie beam and mortices for arch braces. Early 19th-century fittings include a fielded-panelled cupboard and a fireplace with wooden reeded surround. In garden, beside a pump, is an octagonal font bowl, probably 13th-century.
b(17) Goodwin Manor Farm (Plate 109), Class J, of two storeys and cellar, framed and weather-boarded, hipped roof with diaper-patterned tiling, was built in the 17th century; later in the century a kitchen wing with a half-hipped roof was added at the rear, together with a projecting stair turret adjacent to the chimney stack of the main range. A 19th-century outshut now engulfs this stair. The leaded casement windows on the first floor have moulded mullions, plain transoms and some original furniture. The ground-floor windows are replacements, each with two mullions possibly reproducing their predecessors.
Moated Site (Class AI (b)) covers ¾ acre and formerly included the house in its E. corner. The wide wet ditch has been recut for modern drainage on the N.E., and the S.W. and N.W. sides are marked only by a shallow ditch 30–35 ft. wide and up to 2 ft. deep, while little trace remains of the S.E. ditch. The interior has been built up 3 ft. above the natural slope of the land to give a level surface. The N.E. and N.W. sides are shown complete on the Enclosure Map.
b(18) House, of two storeys, is timber-framed and plastered, with brick plinth and pantiled, formerly thatched, gabled roof. At the E. end is a large brick stack of two weathered stages with external plinth. A plaster panel inscribed '1736' over the S. door may be accepted as date of construction. At right angles on the W. is a 19th-century wing which may have replaced some part of the earlier house. On the N., overlapping the two structures, is an external stair turret, perhaps original but partly rebuilt in clunch. Inside, the E. room has intersecting stop-chamfered beams.
The site may be that of the manor house of Knights.
b(19) House, Class J, of two storeys and cellar, has clunch and brick walls, and a tiled gabled roof; it is 17th-century and later. The S. gable, rebuilt several times, has the lower part in clunch, the centre section in pink brick, replacing clunch, and the upper part in yellow brick, originally with a crow-stepped gable but now increased in height to form a plain gableparapet; at first-floor level are two parallel platbands and a ground-floor window of two lights with wooden diamond mullion. Inside, the W. and centre rooms each have chamfered axial beams and the E., at the service end, has a similar beam morticed for a stud partition.
b(20) Almshouses, of one storey and attics, brick and clunch walls and tiled gabled roof, was built in two stages, the S.E. section being the earlier and 18th-century. The N.W. section, in pink brick, is perhaps a rebuilding and extension in the early 19th century. The building, now of four tenements but formerly fewer, has an internal stack. The original arrangement of rooms is unknown. Over a doorway in the later section is a rectangular clunch slab, the inscription defaced.
b(21) The Hall (Fig. 116; Plate 92), of two storeys, has walls of clunch and timber framing; the tiled roofs are hipped or gabled. The building, approximating in plan to Class D, incorporates a former open hall and service end, probably of the 15th century, and a rebuilt parlour wing of the early 16th century. The hall and service end are timber-framed but the cross wing containing the parlour is of clunch throughout. Leading off the cross wing, and apparently contemporary with it, is a narrow range with the lower storey in clunch and the upper in timber; no features survive as evidence of its purpose, but in spite of its size and shape, it possibly contained a closet with garderobe, and perhaps a stair. The open hall subsequently received an upper floor and against the screens passage at the W. end a chimney stack was added. In the 18th century, a drawing room was added on the N., and the front wall of the medieval hall was heightened and new windows inserted; the medieval parlour wing, which projects slightly beyond
the side wings, thus became a central entrance hall. Early in the 19th century timber-framed additions were made at the rear including a turret, almost free-standing, designed to house a water-closet which was fed by tanks.
The site is that of the manor house of Swaffham.
The front elevation on the E., has a central front doorway with flanking sash windows grouped together and separated only by pilasters; a common cornice rises as an open pediment to enclose a dummy fanlight over the door. The flanking wings have Palladian windows on the ground floor and three-light sashes on the first floor. The part-octagonal two-storey bay window on the N. has sashes in each face. Elsewhere there are a number of iron-framed windows with leaded lights, in wooden frames.
Inside, the entrance hall occupies the E. part of the former cross wing in which is an internal chimney stack; it has primary axial and secondary intersecting cross beams each with rolland-hollow mouldings and leaf stops (Plate 79); the W. cross beam, against the stack, is moulded on one side suggesting that the stack is an original feature and contemporary with the early 16th-century ceiling. In the service end is an axial beam with stop-chamfers indicating the position of a former partition between butteries and screens passage; at first-floor level the partition survives. The roof of the two-bay medieval hall is visible in part, on the W. The sawn-off ends of two tie beams which have broach-stopped chamfers, and rebates to take plank-infilling in the spandrels, remain, together with the wall plate and some rafters; these timbers and the W. gable of the hall are smoke-blackened. In the 18th-century drawing room is a white marble fireplace with moulded and enriched surround and frieze, but the central panel in relief is missing.
To the S. of the house is a single-storey Outbuilding with clunch walls and brick dressings, timber-framed apices to the gables, and tiled gabled roof, which has a gabled turret now plastered, perhaps a dovecote of the 18th century (Plate 115).
b(22)Kent House, of two storeys, has brick walls of several dates, and a slated gabled roof. It originated in the late 18th century as a Class-T building, to which was added an extension on the S. and wing on the E. in the early 19th century. These alterations included the removal of the stairs to the S. end room of the earlier house and the building of a chimney stack in the new S. gable, so preserving a Class-T plan.
b(23) Home Farm, of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered, clunch and brick, with tiled gabled roofs, has a 16th-century origin although the plan of the house at that date is uncertain. The main range, running approximately E. and W., has at the E. end a brick-faced section, incorporating an 18th-century chimney stack, and an E. gable which may have had a first-floor jetty. This section contains a moulded ceiling beam and a roof consisting of a tie beam with curved braces and an octagonal crown post, possibly indicating the survival of a cross wing to a former 'hall' range. The W. part of the main range is in clunch and has chamfered beams; it is probably early 17th-century. On the N. is a small early 18th-century wing with a chimney stack in the gable; inside, is a stop-chamfered axial beam. The main range was lengthened on the W. in the 19th century. The house has a number of ironframed casements with leaded lights.
Barn, timber-framed and weather-boarded, with half-hipped thatched roof, is perhaps 17th-century. It is aisled and of five bays. The trusses have main posts with enlarged heads, braced to tie beams, with collars and thin wind-braces above; the aisles have two tiers of raking struts, parallel to the pitch, above and below aisle-ties. Arcade plates, with bladed scarf joints, have curved braces to the main posts. The gable-trusses have arcade and central posts.
b(24) Ivy Farm, mostly of two storeys but partly with attics and cellar, has walls of timber-framing, plastered or brickcased, and tiled gabled roofs. The house has four stages of development: first, a 16th-century framed building of which the N. cross wing survives; second, the replacement in the 17th century of the main range on the S., possibly with a cross passage adjacent to the earlier cross wing; third, the brickcasing of the E. and S. sides of the main range and the symmetrical rearrangement of the interior, late in the 17th century; fourth, the reduction in the number of windows on the E., early in the 18th century. The cross wing was brickcased in the 19th century.
The cross wing, with roof at lower level than the main range, has a later, probably 17th-century, large external chimney stack on the N. Between the two ranges is a blocked doorway leading to the cross passage suggested above. On the E. the central doorway is plain and is flanked by single segmental windows with narrow mullions and transoms, replacing the former narrower windows in five bays. The eaves have a moulded wood cornice. The S. end, incorporating a gable chimney stack flanked by four blocked openings and separated by platbands, is late 17th-century. Inside the cross wing are chamfered cross beams, and a roof with cambered tie beam, heavy curved braces, wall posts with enlarged heads, octagonal crown posts, collar purlin and collars; the roof is now concealed. In the N. wall is a blocked first-floor doorway with four-centred head, possibly leading to a former garderobe annexe. Inside the main range, is a central stair hall with stair having closed string, square newels with ball-finials and turned balusters, possibly late 17th-century.
Pigeon house (Plate 115), W. of the house, is clunch-built with brick quoins and has hipped tiled roof with gablets; perhaps 18th-century.
b(25) House, possibly Class G, of one storey and attics, was originally timber-framed but three main walls were later rebuilt in clunch; the gabled roof is tiled. It is probably 17th-century. Inside, the stack with a single flue is placed off-centre, and the partition between the centre and end rooms has been removed.
b(26) Cats Alley, a uniform early 19th-century development, consists of three separate buildings, one of three dwellings, and two of two dwellings. They have two storeys at the front, and one storey with attics at the rear. The walls are of clunch with brick dressings and the gabled roofs are slated. Each dwelling has two rooms arranged in double depth.
b(27) Manor Farm, of two storeys and cellars, has timber-framed walls, partly brick-cased, and some brick walls, with a slated hipped roof. The S. half incorates a 17th-century framed house but the original plan cannot be ascertained; it retains an axial beam on each floor. In the 18th century the house was extended to the N. with timber-framed side walls and brick gable wall which includes a chimney; the W. wall has chevron-patterned pargetting. Early in the 19th century, a kitchen was added on the W., a stair hall made from the end of the N. room, the 17th-century range heightened and the whole re-roofed at a lower pitch; internally, new doorways with reeded architraves were introduced together with a new staircase. Later in the 19th century further additions were made on the W.; bay windows were added to the main E. front which, with the N. gable wall, was refronted in yellow brick around 1860.
Barn, timber-framed and weather-boarded, with gabled roof, formerly thatched, is aisled and of seven bays. A brace between tie beam and post is inscribed 'RB 1767' which may be accepted as the date of construction. The trusses have main posts with enlarged heads braced to tie beam and to arcade plate having tabled scarf joints; the aisles have sills and raking struts parallel to the pitch; the main roof has double purlins, the upper clasped by collars.
Moated Site (Class A1 (b)) consists of a rectangular area of 1¼ acres surrounding the house. The wide ditch, filled from a spring in the S. corner, survives only as a slight hollow on the S.E. where it has been destroyed by the garden, and the other three sides, now 30 ft. wide and 8 ft. deep, have been recut for modern drainage. Owing to the natural slope of the land the interior had to be levelled by raising the N.W. end by 3 ft. The moat is shown complete on the Enclosure Map. It may be identified as the site of the manor house of Shadworth.
b(28) Almshouses, of one storey, yellow and red brick, thatched gabled roof, now metal-covered, comprise three units each of Class-S plan; they were built in the 18th century. The E. gable is parapeted and contains wall-anchors in the form of letters 's' and 'p'.
b(29) Houses, pair of Class-T dwellings, of one storey and attics, has variegated brick front wall and clunch back and gable walls, pantiled gabled roof, and was built c. 1840.
b(30) The Cage (Fig. 117) consisting of a pound, lock-up and fire-engine house, is of white brick with slated gabled roof; on the parapeted gable are three stone crosses. It was built in 1830 in which year payment for iron fittings were made (C.R.O., P150/9/2). The fire-engine inscribed 'Bristow Fecit' and 'The gift of Mrs. Allix . . . 1791' survives. The lock-up has two barrel-vaulted cells each with an oval iron-barred window above an iron-studded door. The pound has clunch and brick walls.
b(31) Windmill, of octagonal smock-mill form in four stages, the lowest of which is of brick and the upper three of stout timbering with vertical tongued-and-grooved boarding. Internally the boarding is coated with lath and plaster. The cap is missing. A mill was on this site after 1821 (Baker's Map) and before 1836 (O.S. map) but the present mill is said to have been built between 1875 and 1880 (Newcomen Soc., Trans. XVII (1949–51),103).
b(32) Windmill (Plate 116), round tower-mill in three storeys with revolving cap, is built of clunch with a facing of brick. It stands on a low mound. The boarded cap is covered with small rectangular sheets of metal. The machinery of wood and iron remains, including two pairs of mill-stones on the first floor. The mill was probably built c. 1860 (C.A.S., Procs. XXXI (1931), 28; Newcomen Soc., Trans. XVII (1949–51), 104, 115).
The adjacent miller's house, Class U, of two storeys, is built of white brick and has slated roof and sash windows; probably c. 1850.
d(33) Bunbury Farm (TL 602622), consists of house and farm buildings erected between enclosure in c. 1810 and 1836 (O.S. map). The House, Class T, of one storey and attics, has red and yellow brick walls with tiled gabled roof. The Farm Buildings include a barn of clunch with white brick dressings; the three-bay half-hipped roof is slated. The entrance has a lean-to porch.
b(34) Partridge Hall Farm (TL 585623), consists of a pair of dwellings for labourers, and farm buildings established between enclosure in c. 1810 and 1836 (O.S. map). The Houses of one storey and attics with red brick walls and half-hipped tiled roofs, are much altered. The Farm Buildings are placed on two sides of a yard otherwise enclosed by clunch walls. The clunch-built barn with slated half-hipped roof in six bays has opposing entrances, one with a lean-to porch and end compartments with a lean-to roof. In the S.W. gable is a clunch slab inscribed 'MA 1849'. The stables, earlier than the barn, have walls of clunch and brick with slated gabled roofs.
b(35) Vicarage Farm (TL 583629), consists of a pair of dwellings for labourers, and farm buildings. The Houses may belong to a farmstead established by Rev. G. L. Jenyns during enclosure in c. 1810. They are single-storey with attics, brick gable walls and timber-framed side walls but have been much altered. The Farm Buildings, erected in 1844, are grouped round three sides of a yard which is closed on the S.E. by the houses. Two similar confronting barns are clunch-built with slated gabled roofs and end compartments with lean-to roofs (Plate 114). A clunch tablet inscribed 'G. Jenyns 1844' is in one gable. On the N.W. of the yard is a rebuilt range formerly a stable (C.R.O., sale catalogue).
b(36) Cadenham Farm (TL 574629), consisting of a labourer's dwelling and farm buildings, was constructed c. 1840. The House, of one storey with white brick walls, gabled slated roof and sliding sashes, has three rooms and an end chimney stack.
The Farm Buildings, grouped on three sides of a yard, include a centrally-placed barn. It is built of clunch with brick dressings and has a pantiled gabled roof; it has three-bay tie-beam roof with struts; early 19th-century.
a(37) Harrison's Farm (TL 53446941), includes a Class-T house of one storey and attics, with a rear wall of weather-boarded timber-framing and remaining walls of brick, mansard roof covered with pantiles and slates. It was built c. 1810 by Thomas Harrison (Enclosure Map).
b(38), b(39), b(40), b(41) Houses, Class I, of two storeys, or one and attics, with timber-framed or clunch walls, tiled or slated gabled roofs, are early 19th-century. (39), perhaps late 18th-century, has half-hipped roof and formerly two shallow bay windows, one only surviving.
b(42), b(43), b(44), b(45), b(46), b(47) Houses, Class J, of one, one and attics, or two storeys, with timber-framed or clunch walls, tiled or slated gabled roofs, are late 18th- or early 19th-century. (46) has an end room removed and may be 18th-century.
b(48), b(49), b(50), b(51), b(52) Houses, Class S, of two storeys, or one and attics, with timber-framed or clunch walls, tiled gabled roofs, are early 19th-century. (51) is a pair of Class-S dwellings. (52) has a central door and stair between two rooms (Plate III).
b(53), b(54), b(55), b(56), b(57), b(58), b(59) Houses, Class T, of two storeys, or one and attics, with clunch or brick walls, tiled gabled roofs, are early 19th-century. (57) has timber-framed rear wall and coeval brick front and gable walls.
Prehistoric and Roman
ab(60) Prehistoric occupation site (centred TL 561650), on the fen edge, on lower chalk, between 12 ft. and 15 ft. above O.D., I mile N.W. of the church. Quantities of flint imple ments have been found over an area of 50 acres and include evidence of a blade industry, probably of Mesolithic date; finds include blades, cores, blade-scrapers and burins, as well as many waste flakes. A number of flint and stone axes of Neolithic type, flint arrowheads and awls have also been found. Some of the many implements in the C.M., provenanced only as from the parish, probably came from this site. (C.M. and private owners; V.C.H. Cambs. I, 261; C.A.S. Procs. XXXII (1932), 17–23; C.B.A. Group VII, Bulletin No. I (1954) and No. 7 (1962))
b(61) Barrow (TL 57626235), lay immediately N.E. of Middle Hill Plantation, on chalk, at 110 ft. above O.D. The site was discovered and excavated by C. P. Allix in 1902, who found a circular ditch 68 ft. in diameter and 2 ft.–3 ft. deep. The ditch contained a contracted female inhumation, part of a child's skeleton, flint scrapers, hammerstones, one partly perforated, charcoal and many animal bones. Fragments of some biconical urns, one with an applied horseshoe loop and another with finger impressed decoration on the shoulder, were also found. The site, once described as a settlement, is almost certainly a barrow. (C.M.; Fox, A.C.R., 47–8; V.C.H. Cambs. I, 282)
b(62) Ring ditch (TL 58746151), 400 yds. N.E. of New England Farm, on chalk, at 115 ft. above O.D. Diam. 70 ft., ploughed out.(C.U.A.P.)
b(63) Ring Ditch (TL 59906303), immediately S.W. of the Devil's Dyke and N.E. of the racecourse, on chalk at 80 ft. above O.D. Diam. 55 ft., ploughed out. (Commercial air photographs in N.M.R.)
b(64) Ring Ditch (TL 58186455), immediately S.W. of the Devil's Dyke on the crest of a low chalk ridge at 100 ft. above O.D. Well-marked circular ditch 10 ft. wide visible in ploughed land. Diam. 55 ft. with area of chalk rubble 20 ft. in diameter in the centre.
Since investigation was completed, air photographs (in N.M.R.) have revealed the following additional ring ditches in the parish:
b(64A) Ring Ditch (TL 58076362), 300 yds. N.N.E. of Bye's Farm on chalk, in the bottom of a broad shallow valley at 70 ft. above O.D. Diam. 90 ft., ploughed out.
b(64B) Ring Ditch (TL 57906369), 200 yds. N.W. of above, in a similar position. Diam. 60 ft., ploughed out.
b(65) Roman Settlement (TL 56196376), 200 yds. W.S.W. of Swaffham Prior House, close to the fen edge, on chalk, at 20 ft. above O.D. Large quantities of Roman pottery were found here in the early years of this century, much of which appears to have been Horningsea ware. This and the following sites (66–69) probably represent a line of settlement along the fen edge. (O.S. Record Cards)
b(66) Roman Settlement (TL 56376396), 120 yds. N. of Swaffham Prior House in a similar situation to (65). Large quantities of Roman pottery, mainly Horningsea ware, were found early in this century. (O.S. Record Cards)
b(67) Roman Settlement (TL 56546412), N.E. of Manor Farm, in a similar situation to (65). Quantities of Roman pottery found here in 1952. (C.M. Records)
b(68) Roman Settlement (TL 56956448), immediately S.W. of Moat (72) in a similar situation to (65). Large quantities of Roman pottery including Horningsea ware and colourcoated wares of Nene Valley type were found here in 1969. Immediately to the S.W., pottery and other objects including box tiles and a bronze penannular brooch have been found in modern pits.
b(69) Roman Settlement (TL 57106491), lies at the extreme N. of the village on chalk marl at 20 ft. above O.D. Large quantities of Roman pottery, mainly of Horningsea type, roof tiles, plaster, and animal bones have been found after deep ploughing.
For Swaffham Prior Roman Villa, see Reach (30).
Medieval and later
b(70) Moat (Class A2(a); TL 56656418), lies 300 yds. N.N.W. of St. Mary's Church, on the edge of the fen, on lower chalk at 25 ft. above O.D. It consists of two conjoined square enclosures, with sides 100 ft. long, orientated N.E.-S.W., and bounded by narrow ditches, now dry, 12 ft.–15 ft. wide and 2 ft. deep. There are slight traces of low internal banks, but the rest of the interiors are flat and featureless. The N.E. side and E. corner of the N.E. enclosure have been largely destroyed by tree mounds and a later building. Nothing is known of its history. (V.C.H. Cambs. II, 41, in which the N.E. enclosure is omitted.)
b(71) Moat (Class AI(b); TL 56726432), lies immediately N.W. of The Hall, on lower chalk at 20 ft. above O.D. on the edge of the fens. It originally consisted of an almost square enclosure, covering 4 acres, bounded by a wet ditch. Only the ditch on the S.E. side now remains intact, 500 ft. long, 30 ft. wide and up to 4 ft. deep. A fragment of the N.E. side remains near the E. corner, the S.W. side has been altered by the construction of a later drain and the N.W. side has been obliterated. The interior slopes N.W. and has been ploughed. Nothing is known of its history and the site was already in its present condition by the early 19th century. (C.R.O., Enclosure Map; V.C.H. Cambs. II, 41)
b(72) Moat (Class A4; TL 56966449), lay 200 yds. S.W. of Manor Farm (27) on lower chalk at 20 ft. above O.D., on the fen edge. The site has been completely destroyed. O.S. maps and local information show that it consisted of a ditch, 345 ft. long and 35 ft. wide orientated N.W.—S.E., which turned S.W. at both ends, thus forming a three-sided enclosure. It is clear that there never was a fourth side (cf. R.C.H.M. Cambs. I, Gamlingay (59) and (60)). Nothing is known of its history. A small quantity of medieval pottery, including some 12th-century St. Neots ware, has been found on the site. (V.C.H. Cambs. II, 41)
For Moats at Baldwin Manor, see (5); at Goodwin Manor Farm, see (17); at Manor Farm, see (27).
b(73) Earthworks (TL 56526399) immediately N.E. of Baldwin Manor (5) consist of raised flat rectangular platforms up to 40 ft. long, 20 ft. wide and 3 ft. high. The remains are certainly those of former buildings, of which only one remained by the early 19th century (C.R.O., Enclosure Map).
a(74) Reach Lode (Plate 7) is an artificial navigable watercourse three miles long, between Reach village (TL 565664) and the River Cam at Upware (TL 537699). It is certainly recorded in 1279 (Reaney, 'Place-names of Cambs.', 136) and may perhaps be identified as the fovea de Reche referred to in 1097 (V.C.H. Cambs. II, 384; Lib. Elien., 233). The relationship of the Lode to the adjacent Devil's Dyke indicates that the Lode is earlier than the Dyke and is therefore likely to be Roman in date (see p. 129 and Fox, A.C.R., 180).
The present appearance of the Lode is the result of a long and complex history of alteration and recutting, mainly from the 17th century onwards. Up to the mid 17th century the alignment of the Lode was approximately as it now is except at the N.W. end where it swung N. of the present Lode to follow the parish boundary between Swaffham Prior, Burwell and Wicken. Probably in the early 1650s a straight new Lode was cut by the Bedford Level Commissioners from Reach to Upware, S.W. of the older Lode, on the line of the present Engine Drain and its continuation to the S.W. (TL 5645664553786975; see (79)). This work was carried out to improve both navigation and drainage (C.R.O., Moore's Map of the Fens, 1663; C.A.S. Procs. XXXIII (1933), 113–14).
Routine payments for the scouring of the Lode by the Bedford Level Commissioners are recorded throughout the 18th century (e.g. C.R.O., R59/31/10/4; R59/31/10/19 etc.). In 1766 the responsibility for drainage of the fenland S.W. of the Lode passed to the Swaffham and Bottisham Drainage Commissioners. In 1767 the Commissioners abandoned the Lode then existing and recut the original Lode on its present alignment. A large bank, called the 'Division Bank', then 12 ft. wide and 4 ft. high, was erected along the S.W. side of the Lode to protect the Swaffham fens from flooding from the Lode and the adjacent Burwell fens (C.R.O., R59/31/10/29; Swaffham I.D.B. Minutes, 22 July–11 November, 1767).
Both the Bedford Level Commissioners and the Swaffham and Bottisham Drainage Commissioners continued to spend large sums of money on heightening the banks on either side of the Lode throughout the late 18th and the 19th century as the level of the fen sank owing to drainage.
The present Lode consists of a wide watercourse which starts at the N.W. end of the Hythe at Reach village (see Reach (31)) and runs for about two miles in a N.W. direction until it is joined by Burwell Lode approaching from the E. (at TL 54746930). This section is almost straight except for a series of gentle curves near the S.E. end. At its junction with Burwell Lode, it turns sharply through 25 degrees and runs W.N.W. for ¾ mile on a straight line. The Lode is not fed by a major upland stream, but by two catch-water drains which skirt the fen edge N.E. and S.E. of Reach village. The Lode is 30 ft. wide at its S.E. end, gradually widening to 40 ft. at its junction with Burwell Lode. Thereafter it gradually widens to 50 ft. at Upware. It is bounded on both sides by banks up to 30 ft. wide. These increase in height from 4 ft. at the S.E. end to 12 ft. near the centre, where the Lode is crossing the open fen, and then fall to 6 ft. at Upware. Towards its S.E. end are a series of large rectangular ponds (in Reach parish), three on the N.E. side (TL 56046730–56206705) and one on the S.W. side (TL 56216681); it is said that the Lode banks were strengthened by clay from these ponds.
abc(75) Fen drainage (Fig. 115). The earliest indication of drainage work in the parish is a straight cut which is unrelated to later drains; it is presumably pre-17th century. It appears on air photographs (in N.M.R.) extending from the fen edge, 230 yds. N.W. of Manor Farm (TL 57016480), in a N.W. direction for about a mile to a point 300 yds. N. of Adventurers' Ground Fen (TL 55626512); near its N.W. end (TL 55856608) it cuts across an earlier watercourse, now visible as a rodden, and at its furthest point it appears to join another rodden. The drain survives as an earthwork (12–15 ft. wide, 1½–2 ft. deep) where it crosses Driest Droveway (TL 56146600), and at its S.W. end where it remains in an old pasture field. Air photographs and crop marks show that a number of minor drains, now filled in, fed the main watercourse at right angles.
The first datable remains of drainage belong to the mid 17th century. In 1637 an area of 585 acres (centred TL 546687) in the N. of the parish was granted in three allotments to the Adventurers, following earlier attempts at drainage (C.R.O., R59/31/9/1A). Work was probably started in 1651 and completed in 1665–6 (C.R.O., R59/31/9/5 and 6) by which time Reach Lode had been realigned and new drains cut across the Adventurers' Lands; drainage of the area discharged into the Lode or flowed through an old watercourse known as Head Lake, which was widened and strengthened. Other drainage works of the 17th century included the strengthening of the upper or S.W. part of the Head Lake Stream in order to drain the S. part of the Adventurers' Lands in Swaffham Bulbeck, and the cutting of a new drain, known as White Lake Stream, which affected the N. part of the Lands, in Swaffham Bulbeck, and other areas in Lode; the latter cut, now destroyed, met the Head Lake Stream at TL 54656763. From 1660 to 1800 the remaining fenland was enclosed and drained, notably Driest Fen (centred TL 560650) between 1669 and 1702, and Little Fen (centred TL 550660) by 1680 (Reaney, 'Place-names of Cambs.', 137; C.R.O., R59/31/9/10; C.R.O., Swaffham Prior Court Book 1674–1688). The pattern of the present fields in these areas suggests two separate phases of enclosure although drainage was by way of a single watercourse flowing N.W. to the Head Lake Stream; fenland N.W. of Reach village (centred TL 555670) was probably enclosed and drained by 1710 (Norfolk R.O., Consistory Court Wills, 385), but some of the land near the River Cam (centred TL 533676) had been drained by 1682 (C.U.L., Ely Church Commissioners' records, 1682). Between 1661 and 1735 there is evidence of farmsteads being established along the edge of the River Cam (C.R.O., Swaffham Prior Court Books).
In 1767 responsibility for drainage passed to the Swaffham and Bottisham Drainage Commissioners who carried out a number of alterations, principally the recutting of Reach Lode (74) on its original alignment. The N.W. half of the former course of this Lode, before this recutting, was retained as a drain from the Head Lake Stream to a new windpump at Upware (77–79). Some of the land in the N.W. part of the parish was drained by the natural flow of watercourses which were carried through tunnels in the wash banks of the river. Work on this had started by 1762, and was continued in 1795 (C.R.O., R59/31/10/27 and 37), but owing to shrinkage of peat in the fens, the Swaffham Drainage Commissioners found it necessary in 1800 to construct another windpump (76) adjacent to the river. The two windpumps operated effectively until 1821, when the Steam Engine (77) was built at Upware, and continued thereafter to drain smaller areas in the vicinity; the Upware windpump was removed in 1830 and the second pump in 1850, when the new Steam Engine (78) was erected. The Engine Drain (79) cut for the Steam Engine and utilized by the new Engine (78) traversed the parish and replaced the Head Lake Stream which was then practically abandoned.
The stages of enclosure and drainage of the Swaffham Prior Fens are traceable on the ground despite minor changes. The limits of the Adventurers' Lands are visible and the wash-bank tunnels, now redundant, survive (TL 52746807, 53026830 and 53306945).
a(76) Site of Windpump (TL 52986807), 430 yds. N.E. of Commissioners' Farm and below the wash bank of the River Cam, consists of a low mound, 20 ft. diam. and 2 ft. high, within a semicircular outer drainage ditch of 50 ft. radius (Fig. 119). Modern and disused drains approach the site from the N.E., S.W. and S.E.; beyond the wash bank, to the N.W., a ditch running into the river is traceable. The mound is the site of a windpump built in 1800 at a cost of about £1000 by the Swaffham Drainage Commission to improve the drainage of Swaffham Fen (C.R.O., Swaffham I.D.B. Minutes, Nov. 1786, May 1800–May 1801). It was known as Swaffham Upper Mill. Having been frequently repaired it was sold in 1844; the scoop wheel was refitted to Horningsea Mill (Lode (36)) (ibid., July-Sept. 1844).
(77–79) Steam-engine pumps and Engine drain. Drainage in the N. corner of the parish has undergone a complicated development (Fig. 120). Until the early 18th century drainage was by gravity into Reach Lode and thence to the River Cam, but in 1719 a 'new mill', presumably a windpump, was built near the end of the Lode to drain most of the N.E. part of the fen (C.R.O., R59/31/10/13). In 1768 the Swaffham and Bottisham Drainage Commissioners replaced this windpump by another (C.R.O., Swaffham I.D.B. Minutes, July 1767-November 1768; Map of Swaffham Fen, 1800). At the same time Reach Lode was recut along its pre-1650 course and the abandoned channel used as the main drain for the new windpump. In 1821 the Commissioners erected the Steam Engine and pump (77) near the windpump and altered the main drain to connect with it; this drain was extended across the fen as the main Engine or Commissioners' Drain. The windpump remained working until 1830, when it was re-erected in Bottisham Fen (see Lode (36)). The steam-engine pump proved inadequate owing to its small horsepower and the progressive lowering of the fen surface caused by pumping; in 1850 it was replaced by a larger Steam Engine (78), which was built on the site of the windpump, and the old drain was recut to serve as the new Engine Drain. The engine of 1850 successfully drained the fen S.W. of Reach Lode until 1939, when it was superseded by diesel pumps which were supplemented in 1957 by an electric pump.
a(77) Site of Steam-engine pump (TL 53726963), 30 yds. S.W. of present pumping station, below wash bank of River Cam, consists of an area 34 ft. square bounded on the N.E. and S.E. by banks 6 ft. wide and 1 ft. high with ditches on the outside, on the N.W. by a 1½ ft.-high scarp and on the S.W. by the modern road; the banks and scarp mark the walls of the boiler and engine house, and the N.E. ditch is the former scoop-wheel channel. The S.E. ditch is modern. Scattered over the site are fragments of slate and early 19th-century white brick. The outfall ditch is traceable in The Washes (Plate 10).
The engine, designed and built by Boulton and Watt of Birmingham, was installed in 1821 at a total cost of about £6000; the elder John Rennie acted as engineer in charge. The structure containing the engine house and boiler room was of brick with slated roof and measured 34 ft. square (R. L. Hills, Machines, Mills and Uncountable Costly Necessities (1967), 84, 156–7). The scoop wheel was initially left uncovered for the sake of economy (C.R.O., Swaffham I.D.B. Minutes, 1819– 1821). Records of this engine are contradictory: Hills (op. cit. 157) describes it as a rotative beam engine of 24 horsepower with 26½ ins. by 60 ins. cylinders and operating at a speed of 21½ r.p.m.; Joseph Glynn (C.R.O., op. cit. July 1832) gives the horsepower as 30, the cylinder size as 30 ins. by 60 ins. and the speed as 24 r.p.m. The scoop wheel was 26 ft. diam. according to Hills and 27 ft. 10 ins. according to Glynn. Subsequent alterations included covering of the scoop wheel late in 1821, the addition of a second boiler in 1830, lowering the scoop wheel by 1½ ft. in 1832, and increasing the diameter to 29 ft. and lowering it by 1⅓ ft. in 1842 (C.R.O., op. cit., Dec. 1821, Sept. 1830, July 1832, March 1842). It was dismantled in 1850 (Fig. 12a).
a(78) Site of Steam-engine pump (TL 53796975), is incorporated in present pumping station. The building (Plate 9) which contained engine house, boiler room and scoop wheel was of white brick, with slate roof. The boiler room, 38 ft. by 50 ft., formerly had three boilers; the walls had large brick panels, three lunettes on the S.E. and parapets. The tripleridged roof was supported on cast-iron columns. The taller engine house with chimney had similar panelled walls. The structure was built in 1849–50 using local bricks probably from the kilns in Horningsea (see Horningsea (36)). It was partly demolished in 1939 and finally in 1969 (Fig. 12b).
The engine, a rotative beam engine of 70 horsepower, was built in 1850 by Daglish of St. Helens for £8740 including the buildings (Swaffham I.D.B. Minutes, 1848–52; R. L. Hills, op. cit., photographs on p. 85, wrongly described as the Boulton and Watt engine, see (77)). In 1936, after many alterations, it was described as having 42 ins. by 84 ins. cylinders, operating at 15 r.p.m. Its scoop wheel was then 36 ft. diam. with 48 paddles 5 ft. 9 ins. long (R. H. Clarke, English Mechanics, XXI (1936), 148).
ac(79) Engine or commissioners' drain (TL 5161632453776975), runs for a distance of 5 miles across the Bottisham and Swaffham Fens in two straight alignments, widening as water is drawn to it from the fens (Plates 8, 9). Starting near Fen Head on the parish boundary of Lode and Stow cum Quy (TL 51616324), it takes a straight course for 3½ miles to Swaffham Prior Fen (TL 55186802) passing under Bottisham and Swaffham Lodes, and turns N.W. to reach the pumping station at TL 53776975 in an almost straight line 1½ miles long. Although converted to an Engine Drain in 1821, the N.E. section was cut in the mid 17th century as part of the new Reach Lode (see (74)); when the present Lode was cut in 1768, it became the main drain to the windpump erected at its N.W. end at that date. In 1820, on the recommendation of John Rennie, the S.W. section (shown as Engine Drain on Fig. 10) connecting to the old windpump drain, was cut. The windpump drain was widened and its N.E. end altered by the addition of a new cut which joined the steam-engine pump situated 130 yds. to the S.W.; the junction of these drains survives as a bend in the present watercourse. Work was completed in 1821 (C.R.O., Swaffham I.D.B. Minutes, 1819–22). In 1850 the installation of a new steam-engine pump (78) necessitated the cutting of a new drain which ran parallel to the windpump drain; the drain to the engine of 1821 was abandoned but its line is traceable as a depression. The drain has been widened and deepened many times.
b(80) Quarries, in Swaffham Prior village, remain behind many of the existing houses on both sides of the High Street and Cage Hill, cut into the rising ground. They vary in size from 2–3 acres to a few square yards, but all are within existing house plots. They probably represent small-scale clunch quarrying of medieval and later periods for local use. There is no indication of large-scale quarrying.
b(81) Cultivation remains. There were three large common fields, stretching S.E. from the village, before enclosure in 1814. Of these only one large earthen ridge, a former headland, remains: 500 yds. S.W. of Vicarage Farm (TL 57586292–58306229), 860 yds. long, 30 yds. wide and 1 ft. high. It is slightly curved and orientated N.W.-S.E. (C.R.O., Enclosure Map and Award; see also Reach (39)).
For Devil's Dyke see p. 139.
b(82) Burials (TL 57206415), found on Greenshead Hill, E. of village, during pipe laying in 1966. Six skeletons were recovered, apparently without associated finds. (C.M. records)
b(83) Long mound (TL 59036202) lies 380 yds. N.W. of Beacon Farm on a low chalk rise at 110 ft. above O.D. It has been heavily ploughed and almost completely destroyed. The low mound is 150 ft. long and 40 ft. wide but is only 9 ins.-1 ft. high. It is orientated almost E.N.E.-W.S.W. and is surrounded by a shallow ditch now 25 ft. wide and up to 9 ins. deep. (Air photographs in N.M.R.)
b(84) Linear ditches (TL 57686460–58456352), visible only on air photographs, consist of two narrow parallel ditches 25 yds. apart, running in a N.W.-S.E. direction about half-way between the Devil's Dyke and Swaffham Field Road, but parallel to neither. They first become visible S.E. of the Swaffham Prior-Burwell road (TL 57686460) and are traceable fot 600 yds. in a S.E. direction (to TL 58006416). After 500 yds. they reappear (at TL 58236379) and may be traced for a further 400 yds. (to TL 58456352) after which they disappear. Their date and purpose are unknown, but they may be associated with the Devil's Dyke, or be the remains of part of a headland in the common fields. (Air photographs in N.M.R.)
b(85) Soil mark (TL 57856402), 700 yds. N. of Bye's Farm on a slight S.-facing chalk slope at 80 ft. above O.D. Air photographs show an elongated C-shaped feature defined by a narrow ditch, open at the N.E. end. (Air photographs in N.M.R.)