33. GIDDING, GREAT (B.c.).
(O.S. 6 in. (a)IX S.W., (b)XII N.E., (c)XIII N.W.)
Great Gidding is a parish and village on the W.
border of the county, 10 m. N.W. of Huntingdon.
The church is the principal monument.
Great Gidding, Parish Church of St. Michael.
b(1). Parish Church of St. Michael (Plate
60) stands towards the S. end of the village on the
W. side of the main street. The walls are of cornbrash and pebble-rubble and re-used Ketton and
Barnack ashlar with dressings of the two latter
stones; the roofs are covered with slates and lead.
The S. doorway is evidence of the existence of a
church in the middle of the 13th century. Later in
the same century the Chancel was re-built. The
lower parts of the West Tower are of early 14th-century date, the building being slowly completed
by the late 14th-century bell-chamber and the
15th-century parapet and spire. About 1400 the
chancel-arch and Nave were re-built and late in the
15th century the Aisles were re-built and the
clearstorey added; the South Porch is also of 15th-century date, but has been practically reconstructed in modern times. The chancel was
restored in 1870, the walls being raised and the
The church is of some architectural interest,
and amongst the fittings the early 17th-century
communion rails are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (29½ ft.
by 15¾ ft.) is of late 13th-century date, and has
a three-light E. window, all modern, except the
shafted jambs and splays which have moulded
capitals, rear-arch and internal label with modern
stops. The N. wall has a wall-arcade of two bays
with two-centred arches of one stop-chamfered
order springing in the middle from a moulded
corbel and continued down the responds on to a
bench; the arches have moulded labels with mask-stops. In the eastern bay is a restored late 13th-century window with two 15th-century cinque-foiled
lights in a four-centred head; in the western bay
is an original window of three grouped lancet-lights
with moulded labels, mask-stop and rebated
jambs; at the W. end of the wall is a 13th-century
'low-side' window of a single light with chamfered
jambs and two-centred head; it retains one of the
hinge-pins of the former shutter; the late 13th-century N. doorway has moulded jambs and two-centred head of two hollow-chamfered orders with
a moulded label. The S. wall has an internal wall-arcade of two bays (Plate 6), similar to that to
the N. wall, and three windows, the two easternmost
of which are respectively similar to those in the
corresponding positions in the N. wall, the westernmost window is of mid 14th-century date and of
three trefoiled ogee lights with reticulated tracery
in a two-centred head with a moulded label and
mask-stops. The chancel-arch, of c. 1400, is two-centred and of two chamfered orders with semi-circular responds with restored capitals and moulded
bases on square plinths.
The Nave (44½ ft. by 16½ ft.) has N. and S.
arcades, of c. 1400, both in four bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders with
circular piers and semi-circular responds, all with
moulded capitals and bases. The clearstorey, of
late 15th-century date, has on each side a range of
four windows, each of two cinque-foiled lights with
a pierced spandrel in a four-centred head; at the
sill-level is an internal moulded string-course and
the moulded parapet has carved gargoyles.
The North Aisle (9½ ft. wide) is of late 15th-century date, but restored, and has moulded
parapets, with carved gargoyles. In the E. wall
is a window of three cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head with moulded reveals and in the
N. wall are three similar windows, the westernmost
of which is modern; the re-set early 14th-century
N. doorway has jambs and two-centred arch
of two chamfered orders with a moulded label
and mask-stops; towards the W. end of the N. wall,
showing externally, and partly covered by a modern
buttress, are the head and one jamb of a small
window, probably material re-used in the aisle-wall.
The South Aisle (11½ ft. wide) is of late 15th-century date and has a moulded parapet with
carved gargoyles. In the E. wall is a three-light
window with restored tracery similar to those in
the N. aisle, but with the splays carried down below
the sill to form a recess. In the S. wall are three
windows, the westernmost is of mid 14th-century
date and of three trefoiled ogee lights with reticulated tracery in a two-centred head with moulded
label and mask-stops; the two easternmost
windows are similar to the corresponding windows
in the N. aisle, but the eastern of the two has been
partly restored; the splays of the middle window
are carried down to form a seat. The mid 13th-century S. doorway has a two-centred head of two
orders with a moulded label and mask-stops; the
inner order is chamfered and the outer moulded
and springs from shafted jambs with moulded
capitals, the abaci of which are continued round as
The West Tower (12 ft. by 10 ft.) is of early
14th-century date, except the bell-chamber, and
in four stages with a moulded plinth and an
embattled parapet; the 15th-century parapet has
grotesque faces at intervals, carved gargoyles
and a frieze of quatre-foiled panels below the
string; the tower is surmounted by an octagonal
stone spire. The tower-arch is two-centred and
of two chamfered orders, with a moulded label,
the outer order is continuous and the inner springs
from semi-octagonal responds with moulded
capitals and chamfered plinths. The W. window
is of two trefoiled ogee lights, with tracery in a
two-centred head with a moulded label; the stops
have been cut away, and there is a modern
transom. The third stage has in the W. wall a
triangular window filled with three quatrefoils
and having moulded jambs and continuous label;
the rear-arch is a re-used hollow-chamfered string
with two mask-corbels. The late 14th-century
bell-chamber has in each wall two coupled windows,
each of two transomed lights, the lower lights
trefoiled, the transom embattled and the upper
lights with trefoiled ogee heads and a quatrefoil
in a two-centred main head with a moulded label
and grotesque head-stops. The 15th-century
spire is octagonal and has two tiers of four spire-lights; these windows, which are on the cardinal
faces, are each of two trefoiled lights with a pierced
quatrefoil in a gabled head.
The South Porch is probably of 15th-century
origin, but has been largely re-built, incorporating
some old material. In the E. and W. walls are
square-headed windows and the outer archway is
two-centred and of two chamfered orders with a
The Roof to the nave is of c. 1500 and is in four
bays with moulded and cambered tie-beams
supported on curved and cusped braces with
trefoiled spandrels of early 14th-century date
re-used, short king-posts beneath which are carved
foliage and human faces, and moulded ridge
purlins and wall-plates; the wall-posts rest on
stone corbels carved on the N. side as (a) female
head; (b) bearded male head; (c) angel; (d)
and (e) mens' heads; on the S. side (a) hooded
man; (b) female head; (c) to (e) similar to corresponding corbels on N. side. The pent-roof to the
S. aisle is of five bays with braced tie-beams and
two purlins; it is mostly modern, but incorporates
some 15th- and 17th-century material; one of
the principals is inscribed "1629 John Lamb
Churchwarden"; some of the stone corbels
supporting the wall-posts are old and are carved
with foliage, a rose and grotesque male heads and
one is semi-octagonal and moulded; the line of an
earlier roof is visible on the N. wall at the W. end.
Fittings—Bells: five, 1st by Norris, 1670.
Brackets: In N. aisle—on E. wall, semi-octagonal
with chamfered lower edge. In S. aisle—on E. wall,
square with chamfered edges and corners. Chest:
(Plate 146) In W. tower—hutch-shaped, with flat
lid, rough boarding on back, plain ends, and front
in two carved panels of symmetrical design, inlaid
rails and muntins, carved legs and rails, mid
17th-century. Communion Table: of oak with
four turned legs, plain lower rails and top rails
carved with simple jewel-ornament and supported
on small brackets at the angles, modern top superimposed upon old top, c. 1640, one end slightly
restored. Communion Rails: (Plate 151) of oak,
with moulded lower, middle and top rails and two
rows of turned balusters; alternate balusters in
upper row omitted and spaces filled with small
arches with turned pendants as key-blocks; middle
bay hinged as gate and hung on two strap-hinges;
early 17th-century. Lockers: In chancel—in E. wall,
two rectangular recesses rebated for doors. Paintings: Traces of red paintings on walls of N. aisle.
Piscinae: In chancel (Plate 140)—recess with
moulded jambs and trefoiled head with a moulded
label, circular drain slightly projecting, late 13th-century. In N. aisle—in N. wall, recess with chamfered jambs and two-centred head, rectangular
drain, 14th-century. In S. aisle—in S. wall, recess
with chamfered jambs, trefoiled ogee head,
rectangular drain, 14th-century. Plate: includes
a cup and cover-paten of 1638, and a pewter jug,
large pewter alms-dish, a pewter plate and a pewter
dish, all of late 17th- or early 18th-century date.
Poor-box: adapted from 15th-century moulded
oak post, hollowed out and covered with plain
iron lid, date uncertain. Sedile: In chancel—
sill of S.E. window carried down to form seat and
stepped up, late 13th-century. Sundial: scratched
on middle buttress on S. wall of S. aisle.
Miscellanea: In chancel—on S. wall, small octagonal wood panel carved with the old word-square,
"Sator, Arepo, Tenet, Opera, Rotas," with the
initials E.R. on either side and the date 1614
above. In vicarage-garden, a stone inscribed
"1653 Richard Trewe, Thomas Daniel C.W."
Another stone, triangular in shape, has a sundial
on two of its faces, one with part of gnomon
still existing, 17th-century.
a(2). House, on the N.W. side of the road,
700 yards N.W. of the church, was of two storeys;
the walls are of cornbrash-rubble with dressings of
Ketton and Barnack stone. It was built early in
the 17th century, but has been partly pulled down
and is now roofless and ruinous. The S.E. front
has two re-built buttresses with tabled offsets.
The entrance-doorway has stop-moulded jambs
and four-centred arch in a square head with a
moulded cornice above it; above the doorway,
there was formerly a stone with the date and
initials 1629 I.H.; further S.W. are remains
of a bay-window, and beyond it is an original
square-headed window of three lights with moulded
jambs, mullion and cornice. The N.W. side has a
doorway with the remains of a label and also a
single-light window with moulded jambs and head.
Inside the building, in the S.W. wall of the ground-floor is an original fireplace with stop-moulded
jambs and four-centred arch in a square head;
above it is a relieving-beam built into the wall.
The central chimney-stack has two fireplaces
with chamfered lintels. There are two original
moulded ceiling-beams still in position and a chamfered ceiling-beam added later.
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.
c(3). House, 60 yards S.W. of (2), was built
c. 1700. The front and back walls are of cornbrash-rubble.
c(4). Cottage, on the S.E. side of the road, 400
yards N.E. of the church, is a portion of a house
built c. 1700.
c(5). House, 20 yards S.W. of (4), was built
c. 1700, is now mostly roofless and has partly
c(6). House, 60 yards S.W. of (5), has a roof of
c(7). Cottage, in middle of range and 20 yards
S.S.W. of (6), was built c. 1700.
c(8). Crown Inn, 120 yards S.S.W. of (7).
c(9). Cottage, 120 yards S. of (8) and 120 yards
S.E. of the church.
c(10). Cottage, two tenements, 20 yards E. of (9).