An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Huntingdonshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1926.
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29. FARCET (C.b.).
(1). At Palmer's Barn in Farcet Fen, the Fletton Crown Brickworks, the Broadway and south-west of the cemetery, potsherds and coins of the Roman period have been found scattered over the land. A burial by inhumation covered by a stone slab and containing a Roman pot at the head was found south of King's Delph Grove in 1906. There was perhaps here another fen-village of the Romano-British period. [Information from Mr. G. Wyman Abbott.]
(2). Parish Church of St. Mary stands at the W. end of the village. The walls, where old, are of rubble with Barnack-stone dressings; the roofs are covered with stone slabs and lead. The Nave was built probably in the 12th century but the only detail of this date is the rear-arch of the N. doorway, now re-set in the N. aisle. The West Tower was added c. 1180–90. About the middle of the 13th century the Chancel was re-built and a S. chapel added; the South Aisle was added c. 1270–80, and it was probably intended to pull down the W. tower but this was not done. At some uncertain date the eastern part of the S. aisle was widened. The South Porch was added in the 14th century. The church was restored in 1852 when the new North Aisle and arcade were built; the tower was restored in 1894–97.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (22½ ft. by 15 ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall is a 15th-century 'low-side' window of two cinque-foiled and transomed lights in a four-centred head with a moulded label; in the wall are two corbels set about half way up the wall, one at the W. end and one near the E. end. In the S. wall is a mid to late 13th-century arch, two-centred and of two chamfered orders; the responds are of similar section and have moulded capitals, chamfered bases and square plinths; E. of the arch is a corbel similar to those in the N. wall. The late 13th-century chancel-arch is of distorted two-centred form and of two chamfered orders; the hollow-chamfered responds have attached semi-octagonal shafts with moulded capitals and bases, the latter much cut away and defaced.
The Nave (37¾ ft. by 19½ ft.) has a modern N. arcade. The late 13th-century S. arcade is of four bays with round arches of two chamfered orders, and octagonal columns with moulded capitals and bases; the base of the E. column has been cut away; the E. respond has a moulded corbel with a free pendant termination, carved with foliage on the tip; the W. respond has an attached half-column with a chamfered base. The E. column has the seating for a former cross-arch over the aisle and there is a modern cross-arch from the third column; the W. bay of the arcade overlaps the tower which was evidently intended to have been removed, thereby lengthening the nave by one bay. The clearstorey has three modern windows on each side.
The North Aisle is modern but has three re-set 15th-century windows, two in the N. and one in the W. wall; they are each of two trefoiled lights in a four-centred head with a moulded label; the N. doorway has a re-set semi-circular arch of the 12th century.
The South Aisle (9½ ft. wide on E. and 8½ ft. wide on W.) has in the S. wall two windows all modern except the splays, segmental-pointed rear-arch and one label with mask-stops. The wider eastern part of the aisle has apparently been re-built with the old buttresses re-set; the narrower western part is ancient as is the set-back where the aisle widens; the late 13th-century S. doorway has chamfered jambs and two-centred head. In the W. wall is a 13th-century single-light window widened probably in the 17th century and now square-headed.
The West Tower (9¼ ft. square) was built c. 1180–90, and is of three stages (Plate 5) with pilaster buttresses, a string-course at the base of the bell-chamber and a corbel-table with plain rounded corbels below the modern parapet; the tower is finished with a low pyramidal roof. The two-centred tower-arch is of two chamfered orders with a chamfered label; the chamfered responds have each an attached semi-circular shaft with a moulded capital, octagonal abacus and chamfered base; the mouldings of capital and abacus are continued some 1½ ft. along the inner face of the tower. The S. and W. walls have each a tall round-headed light, rebated externally and deeply splayed; the stair-turret is modern. The second stage has in the E. wall a blocked opening with an oak lintel. In the W. wall is a round-headed window similar to those below. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window of two pointed lights divided by an octagonal shaft with simply moulded capital and all enclosed in a round-headed outer order with chamfered label and free jamb-shafts with moulded capitals and bases and chamfered abaci continued along the wall as a string-course.
The Roof of the nave is modern but rests on old corbels carved with foliage, grotesque beast, shields and grotesque face with the tongue out; incorporated in the roof are three 15th-century carved wooden figures of angels holding shields at the feet of the intermediate principals, and six carved heads of men and women probably from the ends of the old hammer-beams. The S. aisle has a plain pent-roof to the western part of uncertain date. The porch has an old gabled roof of collar-beam type.
Fittings—Bells: three; 1st by Norris of Stamford, 1673; 2nd by Newcombe, 16th-century. Bell-frame, inscribed A.F., C.W. 1668. Chests: In S. chapel—(1) hutch-type, iron-bound with three staples and padlocks, two drop handles and moulded lid, probably 16th-century; (2) hutchshaped with panelled front, one shaped bracket, moulded top and inscription "T.B. 1706." Lockers: In chancel—in N. wall, with arched head of re-used moulding, probably 15th-century, modern door. In S. aisle—in S. wall, with rebated jambs and trefoiled head, remains of iron fastening, late 13th-century. Monument and Floor-slabs. Monument: In S. porch—over S. doorway, to Dorothea Wright, 1674, panelled stone tablet. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to Edward Bellamy, 1702, with achievement-of-arms; (2) to another of the same family with shield-of-arms, name and date covered. Under tower—(3) to . . . . son of John Crane, Jun., late 17th-century. Piscina: In chancel— with trefoiled head and round projecting drain, wooden shelf, 13th-century. Plate: includes cup of 1692, cover-paten of the same date, and a paten (Plate 137) of c. 1500 without marks but with a double sunk sexfoil with foliated outer spandrels and a circle in the middle inscribed "IHC" in 'black-letter.' Pulpit: (Plate 153) of oak, semi-octagonal with moulded cornice, rails and base, top panels carved with conventional figures and foliage, lower panels with linen-fold except middle panel on W. which has conventional beast-heads and foliage; inside at back, two linenfold and one carved panel with figures and above a panel carved "A.D. 1612," probably the date when the pulpit was made up of early to mid 16th-century panels. Seating: In S. aisle—at W. end, five benches and one front with plain fleur-de-lis shaped popey-heads, early 16th-century; at back of rear seat, some Elizabethan panelling. Sedile: (Plate 141) In chancel—modern seat with stone shaped arms finishing at top with roundel, one modern and one carved with a flower, 13th-century.
The following monuments unless otherwise described are of the 17th century and of two storeys; the walls are of rubble with ashlar dressings and the roofs are tiled or thatched. Some of the houses have original chamfered ceiling-beams.
(3). House and garden wall, 80 yards E. of the church and on the S. side of the road. The House has been much altered and re-built but formed part of a larger building probably erected in the 16th century. The N. front has three restored windows of stone with square heads and moulded labels; the partly restored doorway has double-chamfered jambs, square head and moulded label.
The Garden Wall bounding the road, to the W. of the house, is of mid or late 17th-century date and of red brick in English bond. The W. side has piers at intervals and plain large projecting panels; at the angle is a blocked doorway flanked by long panels.
(5). House (Plate 47), two tenements, on S. side of road 60 yards E. of (4), has an original entrance-doorway (Plate 116) flanked by pilasters and with a segmental pediment; the lintel of the door-frame has carved ornament and the date and initials "April /?/ 1684." Inside the building is an early 18th-century fire-place with moulded architrave and shelf and two old doors each of two raised panels.
(8). Base of Cross, on S. side of road junction N.E. of the church. The square base is of Barnack stone with stop-chamfered angles and a socket for the base of the shaft, run with lead. It is probably of 15th-century date.