An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Huntingdonshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1926.
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26. ELTON (A.b.).
a(1). Parish Church of All Saints stands S.E. of the village. The walls generally are of rubble, but the W. tower and S. porch are of Ketton ashlar; the dressings are of Barnack and Ketton stone. The roofs are covered with slates and lead. Foundations of an earlier, perhaps pre-Conquest, church, are said to have been found under the chancel in recent years and the two crosses in the churchyard indicate the existence of a church of that period. The earliest part of the existing structure is the chancel-arch of c. 1270. The Chancel, the arcades of the Nave, and the North Aisle were built c. 1300–1310; a N. vestry appears to have been added later in the 14th century. In the 15th century the second and third bays of the S. arcade were re-built. About 1500 the West Tower was added, the South Aisle re-built, both aisles extended to the W. and the South Porch added. The clearstorey of the nave is of the same period. The church was restored in 1886 and the E. wall of the chancel and the North Vestry and Organ Chamber are modern.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (38¾ ft. by 19 ft.) has a re-set mid 14th-century E. window of four cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a four-centred head; the jambs and head are moulded and the two labels have head-stops, one of a bishop's head; the E. buttresses terminate in crocketed pinnacles. In the N. wall is a modern archway and further W. in the thickness of the wall is the late 15th-century rood-loft staircase, now blocked and with three small windows, also blocked and one not in situ; the middle one is of quatre-foiled form. In the S. wall are three windows, the easternmost is of c. 1300–10, re-set and of two trefoiled lights with skeleton-tracery in a two-centred head with moulded label and head-stops; the rear-arch is moulded; the middle window is of the same date and of two plain pointed lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with moulded rear-arch, labels and head-stops; the westernmost window is of mid 14th-century date and of two trefoiled lights with leaf-tracery in a two-centred head with moulded labels and head-stops; below this window is a blocked 'low-side' (Plate 11) of the 14th century, with moulded jambs and round cinque-foiled head; there is an iron grate on the outside; further W. is a re-set 14th-century window (Plate 11), now blocked, of one light with moulded jambs and trefoiled ogee head; above it is a chamfered horizontal label; the doorway in this wall is of early 16th-century date and has chamfered jambs and four-centred head; it is now blocked. The chancel-arch is of c. 1270 and is two-centred and of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on grouped shafts with moulded capitals, enriched with nail-head ornament, and modern bases. N. of the chancel-arch is the upper doorway from the rood-loft staircase; it has a square-shouldered head and is now blocked.
The Nave (55¼ ft. by 19½ ft.) has a N. arcade of c. 1310 and of four bays with two-centred arches of two moulded orders; the columns are of quatre-foiled plan with moulded capitals and bases and square plinths; the responds have attached half-columns and the E. respond has chamfered angles with trefoiled stops. The S. arcade is of four bays, the easternmost and the W. respond of c. 1310; the other bays are of the 15th century, the westernmost bay re-built when the tower was added; the first bay with its respond and column is similar to the bays of the N. arcade; the other bays have two-centred arches of two orders, the outer chamfered and the inner hollow-chamfered; the columns of these bays are of quatre-foiled plan with moulded capitals and bases and square plinths, set diagonally; the W. respond has an attached half-column. The clearstorey has an embattled parapet and on each side four early 16th-century windows, each of two plain square-headed lights; two of the windows on the N. side are blocked or destroyed.
The North Aisle (11½ ft. wide) has in the E. wall a partly restored 14th-century doorway with moulded jambs, two-centred head and modern label. In the N. wall are four windows, all, except the second, which is modern, of late 15th- or early 16th-century date and of three trefoiled lights in a four-centred head with a moulded label; the external reveals are moulded; the 14th-century N. doorway, now blocked, has moulded jambs and two-centred arch with a moulded label and head-stops; a few feet W. of the doorway is a straight joint marking the junction of the extension of c. 1500. In the W. wall is a three-light window similar to those in the N. wall.
The South Aisle (13 ft. wide) is entirely of c. 1500 and has in the E. wall a window of three cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head with moulded external reveals and label. In the S. wall are four windows, all, except the third, of three lights and similar to those in the N. aisle; the third window is similar, but of two lights only; the S. doorway has moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label; the S. wall has two carved gargoyles. In the W. wall is a three-light window similar to those in the S. wall.
The West Tower (14½ ft. by 17¾ ft.) is of c. 1500 and of three stages (Plate 48) with clasping buttresses, moulded plinth and plain parapet, raised at the angles; there are gargoyles at the angles and bands of quatrefoils below the parapet-string, between the two upper stages and on the plinth; the whole structure is ashlar-faced. The two-centred tower-arch is of three moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on attached shafts with moulded bases and capitals. The N. and S. walls have each a similar arch, but of less height. The E., N. and S. walls of the tower have each a hollow-chamfered inner arch or order, rising to the full height of the ground-stage. The W. window is of three trefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head, with moulded jambs and label; the W. doorway has moulded jambs and two-centred arch in a square head with traceried spandrels and a moulded label with defaced stops carved with angels holding shields; further S. the doorway to the turret-staircase has moulded jambs and four-centred head. The second stage has in each face of the N., S. and W. walls a window of two trefoiled lights in a two-centred head with moulded reveals and label. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window of three trefoiled lights with transom and tracery in a two-centred head with moulded reveals and label.
The South Porch is of c. 1500, ashlar-faced, with a moulded plinth and parapet and a carved gargoyle in the middle of each side wall. The four-centred outer archway is of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on attached shafts with moulded and embattled capitals and moulded bases; there is a moulded label. In the E. wall is a window of two trefoiled lights in a four-centred head with moulded reveals and label.
The Roof of the N. aisle is of c. 1500, considerably restored; it is low-pitched and of five bays with moulded tie-beams and other main timbers and curved braces; the westernmost bay has been entirely re-built. The roof of the S. aisle is of similar form and date with moulded main timbers. The tie-beam roof of the S. porch is of c. 1500, much restored and of two bays with moulded main timbers and chamfered stone corbels under the middle tie-beam.
Fittings—Bells: five; 1st and 5th by Thomas Norris, 1631. Brackets: In S. aisle—on E. wall, moulded with semi-hexagonal projection and foliated termination; part of similar bracket now incorporated in one of the Proby monuments, both c. 1500. Brass Indent: In S. porch—of civilian and wife, children, Trinity, inscription-plate and shield, 15th-century. Chair: In chancel—with panelled back, top rail carved with guilloche ornament, turned front legs, mid 17th-century, arms and seat modern. Coffins and coffin-lids: In W. tower—(1) coped lid with foliated cross and 'omega' ornament. In churchyard—N. of N. aisle, (2) fragments of coffin and lid, all late 13th- or early 14th-century. Communion Table: modern, but incorporating two moulded brackets from former, roof, each carved with figure of an angel holding a musical instrument, 15th-century, said to have come from Peterborough. Crosses: In churchyard—N.W. of N. aisle, portions of two standing crosses (Plate 50), both with pierced wheel-heads, one with round bosses in middle of each face, sides of both carved with panels of inter-lacing knotwork and similar panels on faces of plinth of one cross, 11th-century, repaired in cement. Font: octagonal bowl with moulded edge, each side with trefoil-headed panel, plain stem and restored plinth, early 14th-century, altered in the 15th century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In S. aisle—On E. wall, (1) to Thomas Proby, 1684, white marble draped tablet (Plate 25), with cherub-head and achievement-of-arms; (2) to John Proby, 1710, and to Frances his daughter, 1711, black and white marble tablet (Plate 25), with Composite side columns, entablatures and broken scrolled pediment, cherub-head and shield-of-arms below; on S. wall, (3) to Sir Thomas Proby, Bart., 1689, white and black marble tablet with Composite side-columns, etc., somewhat similar to (2), shield-of-arms and cherub-head below. On S. side of S. arcade, over first column, (4) to Helen, 1670, Heneage, 1671, Elizabeth, 1679, and Frances, 1680, children of Sir Thomas Proby, Bart., oval white marble tablet with carved edge and cherub-head; over second column, (5) to Sir Richard Sapcote, shaped slab with name only and shield-of-arms, three dovecotes for Sapcote impaling three weather-vanes, late 15th-century; it may indicate that he re-built the arcade. Loose at W. end of church—(6) to Thomas Lea, 1687–88, stone tablet with sunk panel and scrolled pediment. Floor-slabs: In S. aisle (1) to E.P. (Elizabeth Proby), 1679; (2) to T.P. (Thomas Proby), 1684; (3) to E.P., 1670; (4) to T.P. (Thomas Proby), 1689; (5) to F.P. (Frances Proby), 1680; (6) to H.P. (Heneage Proby), 1671; (7) to Robert Sappcott, 1600–01, alabaster slab (Plate 127) with incised figure in full plate-armour, with plumed helmet, crest and oval shield on left arm, with the Sapcot arms, inlaid in black composition, marginal inscription, much mutilated. Niches: On W. face of tower—above W. window, moulded corbel with carved eagle, recess with moulded jambs and cinque-foiled crocketed head, ribbed soffit, c. 1500. On S. porch—over S. archway, three, middle one with cinque-foiled crocketed head, vaulted soffit, moulded jambs and embattled bracket with carved grotesque head; side niches similar, but brackets simply moulded, c. 1500. Piscina: (Plate 141) in range with sedilia, with moulded cinque-foiled head, shafted E. jamb with moulded capital and base, moulded label, with head-stop and sex-foiled drain, early 14th-century. In S. aisle—re-set in E. wall, recess with four-centred chamfered head, sex-foiled drain, early 16th-century, partly restored. Plate: includes cup of 1571 with band of incised ornament and repaired stem, small Elizabethan cup with similar ornament; cover-paten of 1571 and with the same date engraved; two stand-patens and a flagon of 1669, all given by Thomas Ball, rector, and with achievements-of-arms. Recess: In chancel—in N. wall, with moulded jambs, cinque-foiled head, similar to sedilia and moulded label, early 14th-century, re-set. Scratchings: On responds of tower-arches and on jambs of S. doorway—various scratched names, initials and dates, 17th-century. Seating: In nave—twelve benches with moulded rails, bench-ends with moulded tops and panels with cinque-foiled or trefoiled heads, with foliated spandrels, eight bench-ends have linen-fold ornament in addition (Plate 51), early 16th-century made up with modern work. Sedilia: (Plate 141) In chancel—in range with piscina— three bays with arches, respond, etc., similar to piscina, bays divided by free shafts with moulded capitals and bases, stepped seats, early 14th-century, partly restored. Sundials: On S. porch —on either side of outer archway, round scratched dials. Miscellanea: In N. aisle—re-set in S. wall, five head-stops. Loose under tower—fragments of moulded stones, tracery, shafting, etc., 12th- to 14th-century. In churchyard—N.W. of N. aisle, various fragments of 14th-century window-tracery.
b(3). Elton Hall stands nearly ½ m. S. of the church. The walls are of cornbrash-rubble with ashlar dressings and the roofs are covered with slates and lead. The existing house is of a modified L-shaped plan with the main wings extending to the N.E. and N.W. The earliest portions now remaining are incorporated in the N.E. wing and consist of a gatehouse and a vaulted undercroft to the S.W. Both of these were built late in the 15th century probably by Sir Richard or Sir John Sapcote, and formed part of a large courtyard-house of which the N.E. and N.W. sides have been entirely destroyed. It is known that the house then included a chapel (said to have been built by Lady Elizabeth Dinham, wife of Sir John Sapcote) which was certainly the room above the undercroft, now the drawing-room; this would be connected with the private apartments in the S.W. range. The great hall would occupy the greater part of the N.W. range with the 'screens' at the N.E. end and the offices would adjoin in the N.E. range. The gatehouse apparently stood free in a gap on the S.E. side of the courtyard. The house was largely in ruins at the period of the Restoration, and was to a great extent re-built by Sir Thomas Proby, from 1662 onwards to his death in 1689; the whole of the N.W. and N.E. sides of the courtyard appear to have been destroyed; the S.W. range of the courtyard was re-built further out, and the chapel partly reconstructed above the ground-floor and a large bay added on the S.E. side incorporating a smaller projecting bay of c. 1500. About the same time a range was built extending S.W. from the chapel. The rebuilding was still going on at the beginning of the 18th century under John Proby, who is recorded to have added rooms five or six years before his death in 1710.
During the 18th century many alterations were made and the house generally remodelled in the 'Gothic' manner. The pinnacles and the gable on the 17th-century range of the S.E. front were added, probably, about 1790; the round turrets at the S.W. end of the same range are probably of similar date. Other alterations included a large addition to the S.W. range of the courtyard and the erection of a building between the gate-house and the chapel. The 17th-century S.W. range of the courtyard was remodelled in the 'Gothic' style. In 1855–6 the whole of this range with its 18th-century addition was altered to its present state, the 'Gothic' features being replaced by Classic window-openings and a main cornice; at the same time a large modern cross-wing was built at the N.W. end. Extensive alterations and additions were made at the back of the chapel-range in 1883 and other modern alterations include the rebuilding of the block between the gatehouse and chapel and the building of the block on the other side of the gatehouse.
The 15th-century Gatehouse is a rectangular building with a projecting bay containing the outer archway on the S.E. side; it is of three storeys divided by string-courses and with ashlar-faced clasping-buttresses to the projecting bay (Plate 49). The embattled parapet resting on heavy machicolations is continued entirely round the building and retains its open 'drops'; the parapet forms turret-like projections above the buttresses. The outer archway, in the projecting bay, has a restored four-centred head, and the jambs are grooved for a portcullis. The return walls of the bay have each a small archway probably of the 17th or 18th century. The first floor has on the S.E. face a window of two four-centred lights in a square head with a moulded label; above it is a sunk and moulded panel with an achievement of the arms of Sapcote—three dovecotes, crest—a goat's head, and motto in 'black-letter'; flanking the window are two loops, now blocked. The return walls of this stage have each a small window, one restored and one now blocked. The front of the second floor has a two-light window similar to that in the stage below. The other elevations of the gatehouse are considerably obscured by modern buildings but retain some original windows of similar character to those on the S.E. front; in the back or N.W. face there is in addition a window of two four-centred lights in a four-centred head with a square moulded label. At the western angle of the building is an octagonal stair-turret, carried up above the roof; the lower part of the newel-staircase has been replaced by a modern staircase. Inside the building, the projecting bay forms a porch, on the ground-floor, with a quadripartite vault of two bays with hollow-chamfered ribs springing from moulded corbels; the inner archway has moulded jambs and four-centred arch. The main 'gate-hall' has two bays of quadripartite vaulting similar to that in the porch. The inner archway has a segmental-pointed rear-arch, but has been blocked and fitted with a modern window. The room on the N.E. has a four-centred barrel-vault divided into four bays by hollow-chamfered ribs. The doorway to the stair-turret, on the second floor, is original and has moulded jambs and two-centred head.
The Chapel Range, S.W. of the gatehouse, is also of late 15th-century date and of two storeys, with a projecting bay on the S.E. side and a low-pitched roof. The building is faced with ashlar and has an embattled parapet and diagonal buttresses at the angles of the S.E. front; these buttresses are finished with panelled and crocketed pinnacles. The projecting bay is rectangular below and semi-octagonal above, the transition being covered by flat tabling. The windows of the lower storey or basement are modern externally; those of the upper storey on the S.E. front have moulded jambs and two-centred heads and appear to be of the 17th century. In the N.E. gable, above the adjoining roofs, is the moulded label of the large E. window of the chapel; the window is now blocked, but the internal reveals are visible in the roof. Inside the building the upper storey has no ancient features. The lower floor or undercroft has a ribbed vault (Plate 13) of four bays with chamfered ridge, diagonal and intermediate ribs carried down the walls as responds. The projecting bay is of late 15th-century date only so far as the western part is concerned, the eastern part having been added in the 17th century when the semi-octagonal bay above was built; the original part has a four-centred barrel-vault with hollow-chamfered ribs.
The 17th-century extension to the S.W. of the undercroft-range is of three storeys with an embattled parapet; it terminates in two 18th-century circular turrets rising from the ground to above the roof and lit by small round-headed windows. The N.W. turret has a doorway with chamfered jambs and four-centred head and contains a staircase of oak with an octagonal newel. Between the turrets is a 17th-century window with moulded jambs, mullions and square head. The N.W. face of this wing has three loops lighting the basement, and three two-light windows above, all of the 18th century. The gabled cross-wing, in the middle of this range, is of c. 1790.
The existing N.W. wing of the house consists of a late 17th-century range on the N.E. and an 18th-century extension on the S.W. The main late 17th-century wing has an original basement with plain groined vaulting of brick springing from square piers, also of brick, with hollow-chamfered imposts and chamfered plinths. The building is seven bays long, divided by cross-walls into three rooms. The N.E. face of the building above is largely of late 17th-century ashlar, but all the existing features are modern. The Hall, in this range, is lined with late 16th- or early 17th-century Dutch panelling imported.
The Stables, E. of the house, consist of two adjoining quadrangles, the one to the N.E. modern and the one to the S.W. of c. 1720; the range between the two is probably of late 17th-century date but has been much altered. In it are some re-used 17th-century ceiling-beams.
a(4). The Old Rectory (Plate 47), 700 yards N.N.W. of the church, is of two storeys with cellars and attics; the walls are of coursed cornbrash-rubble with dressings of Barnack and Ketton stone; the roofs are covered with stone slates. The house, consisting of a central Hall-block with cross-wings at the E. and W. ends, was built late in the 16th century. In the 17th century the staircase-wing was added on the S. side of the Hall-block and later in the same century the E. cross-wing was re-built and a wing added at the N.W. corner of the kitchen or W. cross-wing. Minor alterations were carried out c. 1700. About the middle of the 19th century a block was added on the W. side of the kitchen-wing and the same wing extended northwards.
Elevations—The S. Front has gables at the ends of the cross-wings and a gabled staircase-wing. The windows in the E. cross-wing are modern except for the 17th-century moulded label of the upper window. The 17th-century staircase-wing has a doorway with stop-chamfered jambs, moulded imposts and restored four-centred arch; the windows, of one, two, and three lights have moulded stone jambs, mullions and cornices; there are two single-light windows in the return-wall of the staircase-wing. The wall of the Hall-block has two partly restored windows, one above the other and each of two transomed lights. The end of the W. cross-wing has one window of four and one of three lights, similar to those in the staircase-wing; the return-wall has a blocked original doorway with a four-centred head and above it a two-light window. The modern wing incorporates some re-used material. The E. Front of the E. cross-wing has two windows similar to those on the S. front and a blocked doorway; there is a much restored dormer-window to the attic. The N. Front has windows similar to those on the S. front. The E. face of the W. cross-wing has a 16th-century archway said to have been brought from Warmington, Northants; it has moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with a moulded label.
Interior—The Hall has a fireplace with a moulded surround of c. 1700. The E. cross-wing has a wooden screen of c. 1700 and of three bays; the middle bay has an archway with a four-centred head and the side bays have round-headed arches, all with moulded archivolts and key-blocks and springing from pilasters with moulded caps and bases; above the screen is a moulded cornice. The door has a moulded architrave and the fire-place a moulded surround; the room has a panelled dado. The S. room in the W. cross-wing has some early 17th-century panelling. In the kitchen are two original chamfered ceiling-beams. The main staircase has some turned balusters, moulded rail and shaped string, all of c. 1700. The room above the hall has some panelling of the same date, and the house contains several panelled doors.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys. The walls are of rubble with freestone dressings and the roofs are tiled or thatched Some of the buildings have original chimney-stacks and exposed ceiling-beams.
a(8). Cottage (Plate 47), three tenements, formerly Girls' School, 10 yards S. of (7). The middle tenement has on the S. side a tablet with an early 18th-century inscription recording the gift of Jane Proby. The W. end has two five-light windows with stone jambs and mullions and a similar two-light window in the gable. There are two other stone windows in the W. wall of the W. tenement.
a(10). Crown Inn, at the N.E. corner of the Green, 15 yards S. of (9), was built early in the 17th century but has a later 17th-century wing on the W. side and a modern addition on the E. The central chimney-stack has two brick shafts joined at the top. Inside the building the original fire-places have cambered and chamfered lintels.
a(15). The Priory, 150 yards E.S.E. of (14), is modern but incorporates some old material including a 15th-century niche with crocketed and finialed canopy, ribbed soffit and pinnacled standards at the sides.
a(17). Highgate or Rectory Farm, house 15 yards E. of (16), is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the W. end; the roofs are covered with slates. The house has a number of original windows of stone with moulded jambs, mullions and cornices. The chimney-stack of the cross-wing has two shafts with a moulded capping.
a(19). House, two tenements, 40 yards W.N.W. of (18), is of T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the E. end; the roofs are covered with stone slates. On the N. front the cross-wing has an original bay-window to the ground-floor and an original window above it with a square moulded head; the main block has an original window of three lights with moulded jambs and mullions and a moulded cornice continued along over an adjoining doorway; the doorway has chamfered jambs and a four-centred head; the gabled dormer has a stone window of three lights with a moulded cornice. On the S. front are two similar dormer-windows and at the ends of the building are other original windows. Inside the building two fireplaces have moulded stone jambs, four-centred arches and moulded cornices and a third fireplace has two small niches in the recess. There are also some original chamfered door-frames.
a(24). House (Plate 47), W. of (22), was built c. 1703, on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the E. and S. The N. front has some original stone windows with moulded jambs, mullions and cornices; the W. chimney-stack bears the date 1703. Inside the building is an original wooden partition and door, and in the N.W. room are two moulded wooden corbels.
a(25). Cottage, two tenements, 80 yards W.N.W. of (24), has several original stone windows with moulded jambs, mullions and cornices; on the E. side are two gabled dormers of stone, with similar windows. Inside the building, the N. staircase has original shaped balusters.
a(32). Farmhouse, 30 yards S. of (31), is of T-shaped plan with the main or cross-wing at the E. end. The E. front has some original windows with moulded stone jambs and mullions; three have moulded cornices. There are similar windows at the back of the house.
a(37). Cooper's Hospital, 25 yards E. of (35), block of two almshouses, founded by the Rev. John Cooper in 1663, has modern extensions at the ends and in front. The roofs are covered with stone slabs. The windows and doors have been renewed. In the garden wall, adjoining the road, is a stone doorway with stop-chamfered jambs, square-moulded head and moulded cornice; the wall above is finished with a weathered coping.
a(39). Carr's Farm, house (Plate 47) and barn, 30 yards S. of (38). The House is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and E. It retains a number of original windows with moulded jambs and mullions and some having moulded cornices. On the E. side of the N. wing is an original doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head. Inside the building, there is an original fireplace, on the first floor, with moulded jambs, four-centred arch and cornice. In the Barn, N. of the House, is a re-set original window, similar to those in the house.
b(42). Cottage, on the S. side of the Green, 50 yards S. of (41), has an original window at the N. end, with moulded jambs, mullions and cornice. Inside the building one room has a cambered and chamfered beam over the fireplace.
b(44). House, two tenements, 20 yards N.W. of (43), has an original stone window in the E. gable, with moulded jambs, mullion and cornice. There is a small blocked window, also original, on the S. side. Inside the building, one room has a cambered and chamfered beam over the fireplace.