An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Huntingdonshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1926.
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2. ABBOTSLEY (C.f.).
(O.S. 6 in. XXVIII N.W.)
Abbotsley is a small parish and village 3½ m. S.E. of St. Neots. The Church is the principal monument.
(1). Parish Church of St. Margaret stands in the village. The walls are of pebble-rubble with dressings of Barnack, Ketton, ironstone and clunch; the roofs are covered with tiles and lead. The earliest part of the existing building is the mid 13th-century chancel-arch. About 1300–10 the S. arcade of the Nave was built and the South Aisle added, and c. 1330 the N. arcade was built and the North Aisle added; late in the same century the West Tower was built outside the W. end of the church, the nave was then extended to meet it and the clearstorey added. The church was restored in 1854 and again in 1861 when the Chancel was re-built and the North Vestry and North Porch added. The tower was restored in 1884.
Among the fittings the 14th-century tomb-recess is noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel is modern except for the mid 13th-century chancel-arch which is two-centred and of two chamfered orders interrupted by re-cut moulded imposts; the inner order has moulded bases.
The Nave (50¾ ft. by 18½ ft.) has a N. arcade of clunch, of c. 1330, and of four bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the columns are of quatre-foiled plan, with small rolls in the angles, and have moulded capitals and bases; the responds have attached half-columns. The S. arcade, of c. 1300–10, is also of clunch and of four bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the octagonal columns and semi-octagonal responds have moulded capitals and bases. The late 14th-century clearstorey has on each side five windows, each of two trefoiled lights in a square head, all partly restored; the fourth window on the N. is modern and differs in design from the rest; there is a straight joint on each side of the clearstorey above the western termination of the aisles, showing that the joining up to the tower is of slightly later date than the rest of the work.
The North Aisle (11¾ ft. wide) has a 15th-century E. window of three trefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred head with moulded reveals and label. In the N. wall are two partly restored early 14th-century windows, each of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the N. doorway is modern. In the W. wall is a window similar to those in the N. wall.
The South Aisle (11¾ ft. wide) has a late 15th-century E. window of three cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head with moulded reveals and label. In the S. wall are two modern windows and between them is the 14th-century S. doorway with jambs and two-centred arch of two chamfered orders; the jambs have alternate courses of Barnack and ironstone; the label has been cut back. In the W. wall is a modern window set within a larger 15th-century opening with a four-centred head. In the N. wall, E. of the arcade is an early 16th-century doorway to the rood-loft, with double chamfered jambs and four-centred head.
The West Tower (about 11½ ft. square) is of late 14th-century date (Plate 14) and of three stages with a moulded plinth and embattled parapet with four gargoyles; at the angles are late 16th-century octagonal pedestals supporting carved figures of kings of Renaissance character (Plate 159); the two figures and pedestals on the N. are modern and those on the S. much defaced. The two-centred tower-arch is of three chamfered orders with a moulded label and head-stops; the responds have each one semi-octagonal and two round attached shafts with moulded capitals and defaced bases; above the arch on the E. face of the tower is the weathering for the late 14th-century low-pitched roof of the nave. The W. window is modern, except for the splays and rear-arch, as is the W. doorway, except for two re-used head-stops to the label. The second stage has in the N. wall a window of one cinque-foiled light in a two-centred head with a moulded label; in the S. wall is a quatrefoil-window and in the W. wall is a single square-headed light. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded label and head-stops.
The Roof of the nave is modern but rests on six late 14th-century moulded stone corbels with angels holding shields, and carved heads and faces. The late 15th-century roof of the N. aisle is of four bays and a half bay with moulded and cambered tie-beams, moulded N. wall-plate, chamfered purlins and S. wall-plate.
Fittings—Bells: five; 2nd by John Grene, 1575; 3rd possibly by John Kebyll, 15th-century and inscribed "En sum campana Margarete Nominata"; 4th by Miles Graye, 1653. Bell-frame old. Brackets: In N. aisle—on E. wall two moulded brackets, carved with angels holding blank shields, 15th-century. Font: octagonal, tapering bowl on high octagonal base with chamfered top edge, probably 13th-century. Glass: In S. aisle—in tracery of E. window, fragments of tabernacle-work, oak-leaf ornament, etc., mostly 15th-century. Monuments: In S. aisle—in S. wall, (1) tomb-recess (Plate 13) of limestone, with moulded and cinque-foiled ogee head, moulded label with carved crockets, running rose-sprig ornament in the hollow moulding of the arch, carved heads on cusp-points (two only remain) and foliated spandrels to cusps; recess flanked by projecting buttresses, carried up as pinnacles with crocketed heads, face of both pinnacles carved with square paterae and sides with traceried panelling; on wall above arch, two shields each charged with a cross paty between four crescents; c. 1340; crockets and cusping much defaced and broken. In churchyard— S.W. of nave, (2) to William Heylock, 1688, table-tomb, with panelled sides carved with emblems of mortality; S. of tower, (3) to Lucy Pedley, 164; (4) to [Sus]anna Pedley, 1646; (5) to Robert Pedley, 1650; (6) to Nicholas Pedley, 1651; (7) to James Pedley, 1651, all flat stone slabs. Niche: re-set in W. wall of vestry— curved recess with three-sided canopy with trefoiled ogee heads with crockets, finials and pinnacles and surmounted by spire-shaped capping, soffit carved with ribbed vault, shafted jambs to recess and bracket supported by two carved angels, 15th-century. Painting: In chancel—wood panel forming reredos, painted with an 'Adoration of the Magi,' Flemish, early 16th-century. Piscinae: In N. aisle—in S. wall, with trefoiled head, having lobed cusp-points, moulded sill with defaced octofoiled drain, early 14th-century. In S. aisle— in S. wall, with chamfered jambs and trefoiled head, projecting trefoiled front to drain, c. 1300–10. Plate: includes a cup of 1564. Screen: (Plate 33) formerly under chancel-arch, now under tower-arch, of oak and of three bays including doorway, side bays each of two bays with traceried heads, mostly modern, close lower panels with cinque-foiled heads and carved cresting, doorway with ogee crocketed head, enriched with interlacing ornament, two doors each with open upper panel and two close lower panels similar to side bays; moulded posts between bays, with small attached shafts, early 16th-century, head of screen modern. Stoup: In S. aisle—in S wall, E. of doorway, recess with chamfered jambs and three-centred head, broken round basin, early 16th-century.
(2). Homestead Moat at Waterloo Farm, 200 yards S: of the church.
(3). Dovecote and Moat, at Manor Farm, 350 yards S.W. of the church. The Dovecote is of late 17th-century date, timber-framed and with brick nogging. It is square on plan and has brick piers at the angles and a pyramidal tiled roof.
The Moat is fragmentary.
Condition—Of dovecote, poor.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled or thatched. Some of the buildings have original chimney-stacks and exposed ceiling-beams.
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
(4). Cottage, on the N. side of the road, nearly 200 yards W.N.W. of the church.
(5). Cottage, 60 yards E.S.E. of (4).
(6). Cottage, 30 yards E.S.E. of (5).
(7). Cottage, 150 yards E. of the church.
(8). Cottage (Plate 73), two tenements, 100 yards E.N.E. of (7), is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the E. and S.
(9). Cottage, 230 yards E. of (8).
(10). Cottage, two tenements, on the S. side of the road, 60 yards S.E. of (9), is of L-shaped plan, with the wings extending towards the W. and S.
(11). Cottage, 170 yards W. of (10), has modern additions on the N. and S. The original central chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts.
(12). House, 180 yards W.S.W. of (11).
(13). Forge Cottage, 40 yards W. of (12).
(14). Cottage, 70 yards S. of (12), was built probably early in the 18th century.
(15). Cottage, W. of (14), was built probably early in the 18th century.
(16). Cottage, 30 yards W. of (13), was built probably early in the 18th century.
(17). Cottage, 50 yards S. of (16), was built probably early in the 18th century.
(18). Whitehouse Farm, house 60 yards S. of the church, has a modern extension at the N. end.