(O.S. 6 ins. aTL 26 S.E., bTL 36 S.W., cTL 25 N.E., dTL 35 N.W.)
The present village of Caxton lies on Ermine Street,
9 m. W. of Cambridge, approximately in the middle of
the parish which comprises 2242 acres, almost entirely
of boulder clay and varying in altitude from about
140 ft. to 230 ft. The area is wedge-shaped with its tip
pointing to the S. and its butt end against the Cambridge
to St. Neots road. Ermine Street and the Bourn Brook,
which both form parish boundaries over much of their
length, run right through the parish.
The parish is remarkable for its moated sites (Monuments (19), (21), (22) and (23)), identified by W. M.
Palmer (History of Caxton (1928)) respectively with the
castle of the de Scalers family and with the manor houses
of Swansley, Brockholt and Colne). The sites are complementary to the field system, much of the N.W. of
the parish being ancient closes, with the three open
fields to the S. and E. of the village (see Cultivation
Remains, Monument (25)).
Caxton is an instance of migration from an earlier
site on to a near-by long-distance road. Existing boundaries in the built-up part along Ermine Street are in
many cases curved, and no doubt derive from old
open-field strips; these curves are even reflected in the
buildings themselves (e.g. Monument (11)). The position
of the church and the remains of abandoned roads and
closes to its E. (Monument (24)) indicate the earlier
settlement, which is likely to have extended N. along
Peter Street and N.W. towards 'The Moats' (Monument (19)). There are indications that migration was
already taking place in the 13th century: a market
charter was granted to Baldwin de Freville in 1247, and
Palmer may be right in suggesting that the market place
opposite Caxton Manor (Monument (8)), which was in
use when the weekly market was discontinued in the
18th century, was the original location; a generation
later one Bartholomew, a clerk, was in trouble for
putting up a wall, five perches long, on the King's
highway (Rot. Hund. (1818), II, 542).
Caxton, the Parish Church of St Andrew
Caxton became an important posting station and
travel stage at a comparatively early date. John Layer,
(quoted in Palmer, History of Caxton (1928), 39), writing
in the first half of the 17th century, says it is 'a post town
and hath Innes for the receipt of travellers'. After the
Restoration it was selected as the county toll point for
the North Road turnpike, established by act of 1663,
but the gate, which was probably near the manor house
and market place, was found to be too easily evaded via
Peter Street, and the Cambridgeshire gate was transferred to Arrington in 1668 (V.C.H., Cambs. II, 85).
Thereafter the importance of the place gradually declined, although postal matter for Cambridge (the
'Caxton bag') was taken up and set down there during
the 18th century. Several of the more considerable
standing monuments ((6), (8) and (11)) have been inns.
The surviving open fields were enclosed in 1834, and
with them the waste verges, still reflected in the boundaries, either side of the highway N. of the village. A
mid 19th-century workhouse, since demolished, and a
police station, which survives, were accommodated on
sites so provided. Room was found in the same way for
one or two otherwise insignificant houses (N.G. TL
30235870, not listed); but there was very little building
after the 18th century.
c and d(1) Parish Church of St. Andrew is S.W. of
the village and stands in the S. part of a roughly rectangular churchyard bounded on the N. by a ditch and on
the curving S. and W. sides by a low bank. It consists of
a Chancel, Nave with South Aisle, and West Tower. The
walls are of field stones and reused material with clunch
and freestone dressings; the roofs are of tile. Among
fragments preserved in the church (see under Miscellaneous below) are two of 11th-century character, and
a church with some features of this period, in part at
least stone-built, is to be inferred. The church belonged
to the priory of Lewes until 1351 when it passed to the
Dean and Canons of Windsor. The chancel and W. wall
of the nave are 13th-century; the remainder of the nave
with S. aisle and most of the ground stage of the W.
tower are of the late 14th or 15th century; the rest of the
tower followed soon after. Arched recesses in the N.
wall, balancing the S. arcade and doubtless framing
windows, were filled-in in modern times. Restorations
were carried out in 1863–9, when the S. aisle and S.
porch were rebuilt; and again in 1929–30.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (32¾ ft. by 17¾ ft.)
is of the second half of the 13th century, the restored singlestage buttresses, an eroded external string in clunch and the
internal string being of that time. The E. window of three
lights is modern but is set in an opening with a label and stops
of the 14th or 15th century. In the N. wall are three restored
windows: the first two are each of two uncusped lights with
a trefoil in the head; the third is a lancet rebated internally for a
shutter. In the S. wall are two restored two-light windows
similar to those in the N. wall but with quatrefoils instead of
trefoils in the head. W. of these is a modern doorway with old
splays and beyond it a restored transomed lancet rebated internally in both lights. Save where otherwise indicated these
openings are all original. The late 14th-century chancel arch is
of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner
carried on attached part-circular shafts with moulded octagonal caps and moulded bases. S. of it on the nave side are the
remains of a blocked 15th-century upper doorway to the rood
Caxton, the Parish Church of St Andrew
South Arcade of Nave
The Nave (45¾ ft. by 22½ ft.) has a N. wall with three modern
windows and a 14th-century doorway, between the second
window and the third, of two continuous moulded orders with
a label. Externally the wall exhibits traces of blocked openings
including some jamb stones of a doorway of uncertain date
immediately W. of the existing one. Inside, E. of the doorway,
a number of straight joints and some areas of modern brick
were discernible until recently, probably explicable as blocked
wall arcading; these indications are now plastered over. On
the S. side is a late 14th- or early 15th-century arcade of
four bays with arches of two hollow-chamfered orders, the
outer continuous and the inner carried on semi-circular
attached shafts with moulded octagonal caps and bases. There
is no clearstorey and the weathering on the E. face of the
tower, for a nave roof of low pitch, suggests that the arcade was
designed without one, although the side walls have evidently
been reduced a little in height. The S. aisle and the S. porch
are modern, but the S. doorway of two continuous wavemoulded orders is of the 14th century, reset.
The West Tower (12 ft. by 11½ ft.) is 14th- to 15th-century,
but may well have been built up on the W. wall of an earlier
nave. It is of three stages with moulded plinth and embattled
parapet and has a stair turret at the S.E. corner with doorways
to both ringing and bell chambers as well as at the foot. The
tower arch is of three orders, the outer ones continuous and the
innermost carried on semi-octagonal attached shafts with
moulded caps and bases. The inserted W. doorway, of two
chamfered orders, has a two-centred inner and square outer
head with carved spandrels; its splays are carried into those of
the late mediaeval window above, which is of three cinque-foiled
lights in a four-centred head. There is a small quatrefoil sound
hole in each face of the ringing chamber, and a two-light
window with four-centred head in each face of the belfry.
The restored late mediaeval Roof of the chancel is divided
into three bays by moulded and arch-braced principals; the
remaining roofs are modern. At the W. ends of the nave side
walls are two decayed late-mediaeval stone roof corbels carved
as shield-bearing half angels.
Fittings—Bells: six; 3rd by Joseph Eayre, 1755; 4th and 5th
by Christopher Graye, 1672. Brass indents: in chancel—(1) for
full-length figure with attached inscription plate, late mediaeval; (2) for full-length figure of priest with scroll issuing from
mouth, border fillet and four paterae, c. 1400. Coffin lids: under
last arch of nave arcade (1) (Plate 4) of limestone, coped, with
axial rib terminating in foliated crosses and omega ornament
in the middle, 13th-century; loose in nave (2) fragment of a
similar cross. Communion table: with turned and carved legs,
and top rail enriched with guilloche; 16th- or 17th-century,
restored. Font: octagonal limestone bowl, perhaps 13th-century; clunch stem later. Monuments and Floor slabs : Monuments: in churchyard, N. of tower—of Joseph Torkintine,
1714–15, headstone; there are a number of other 18th-century
headstones in the churchyard, some of which are partly or
wholly illegible. Floor slabs: in chancel—(1) of Christopher
Barnard, 1679; (2) of Rev. Thomas Barnard, 1794; (3) of
Mary Henson, 1719; (4) of Francis Barnard, D.D., 1756, with
achievement of arms; (5) of William [Barnard, 1770]; (6) of
[William] Barnard, 1720; the last two inscriptions are partially
masked and what cannot be read has been supplied, in square
brackets, from Cole's transcript (B.M. Add. MS. 5804, 84).
Piscina (Plate 6): in chancel, of two moulded arches carried on
a central shaft with moulded cap and base, and similar responds; the two arches are contained under a moulded label,
the space between being occupied by a five-pointed star in a
circle framing an incised cross with traces of old paint, perhaps
intended as a consecration cross; single drain only, defaced
octofoil, under the E. arch; second half of 13th century.
Seating: two benches include mediaeval buttressed and traceried ends and moulded top rails. Sedilia:in chancel, consisting
of solid masonry projecting from the S. wall, the third seat
being at a lower level; perhaps 13th-century. Miscellaneous:
loose stones preserved in the church include (1) half of a baluster shaft with moulded capital or base cut on the same stone;
discoloured, apparently by fire; 11th-century; (2) small flat
stone with interlace ornament on one face; 11th-century or
earlier; (3) capital of an attached shaft, carved in low relief;
11th- or 12th-century.
d(2) Baptist Chapel, of white brick with stucco dressings and
slated roof, has the W. end to the street treated in the Classical
manner of the 1840's; the date of erection is variously given as
1842 and 1845.
c(3) Church Farm consists of a house and buildings. The
House, of two storeys with brick walls and tiled roofs, has been
much enlarged and modernised. It incorporates a T-shaped
dwelling, perhaps of the second half of the 17th century, linked
by later work to a coeval outbuilding on the W. and incorporating at its N. end a remnant of an earlier 16th-century
structure. Original features of this date include two clunch
windows, one blocked, each divided into two lights by ovolo-moulded mullions, and traces of another segmental-headed
opening, probably a door.
The Buildings, S. of the house, include a small granary of the
17th or 18th century, of light framing filled with brick nogging, raised on staddle stones.
d(4) Tate's Farm, house, with brick walls and tiled roof, is of
two storeys; it probably originated as a 16th- or 17th-century
framed building, reconstructed in brick towards the end of the
d(5) House (Class K), two-storeyed, framed and rough-cast,
with thatched roof, has a central chimney with diagonal
shafted stack on an axially placed oblong base; 17th-century.
d(6) Red Lion Farm (Plate 31), former inn, is a 17th-century
framed and plastered structure of two storeys on a high brick
plinth and with some brick reinforcement, especially at the
gable ends. The roof is covered with tiles and slates. There is
now only a four-room range facing W. to the street with a
central chimney, but a short rearward projection at the N.
end containing a second chimney may be the remnant of an E.
limb. Access to the upper floor is by staircases housed in two
symmetrically disposed projections placed against the E. wall.
Alongside these are later outshuts. The original front door, on
the street side of the central chimney, is of nine panels, four of
which are L-shaped, the remainder, including one in the
middle, being rectangular; it retains some old furniture.
Caxton, Monument No. 6
Some structural timbers are visible internally, including a
moulded beam, perhaps reused, in a cellar immediately N. of
the central chimney.
S. of the house is the entry to the yard, around which are
some 18th-century and later outbuildings; others have been
demolished in recent years.
d(7) House (Class J), framed and plastered, with slated roof,
originally of a single storey, was built in the 17th century.
The side walls were heightened and a new roof of flatter pitch
added to make bedrooms in the 19th century.
d(8) Caxton Manor, for a time The George Inn, consists of
a house and buildings. The House, of two storeys with attics,
has walls predominantly of red brick, and slated roofs. It dates
from c. 1600 and consists of a gable-ended main range with a
central carriage entry, facing E. across the street to the former
market place, and a wing at an obtuse angle to the S.W. The
house was converted to an inn apparently in the 18th century
when it was refronted and the interior largely remodelled, but
it reverted later to private use. There are a number of 19th-century and modern modifications: the floor of the carriage
entry has been raised and its ends closed by glazed screens; a
centrally placed clock turret dated 1887 now dominates the
The Georgian E. front (Plate 59) is symmetrically designed
in seven bays with the three middle bays forming a slightly
recessed centrepiece. The front door is set in a modern glazed
screen under an 18th-century elliptical-headed arch at the
street end of the old entry. The hung-sash windows are original
save for the second from the S. on the ground floor which has
recently replaced a door. The wall face rises to a parapet
behind which are two small hipped dormers; it is broken in the
centre by the projecting and gabled clock turret. The W. side
(Plate 59) is almost entirely in original dark red brick of c. 1600,
rather irregular in size and bond. The principal features are
two narrow tower-like gabled projections; between them is
the W. arch of the carriage entry with a depressed triangular
head. Above this arch is a wide original window divided into
twelve equal lights by brick mullions and transoms with a
somewhat defaced entablature over the head. A number of
other original windows, mostly blocked or mutilated, survive;
they are smaller but of similar character. These openings are
all executed in cut brick, originally stuccoed to resemble stone,
but much of the stucco has flaked off and has been partly
replaced by modern plaster. The adjoining N.W. side of
the S.W. wing is similar in character, but the gabled upper
part of its S.W. end is of plastered studwork. The S.E. side is
also similar but has been partially cased in modern brick or
plastered over. These subsidiary elevations have a number of
original mullioned windows of stucco-covered cut brick, more
or less imperfectly preserved.
Caxton Manor, Monument No. 8
The house retains few original features inside. Some ceiling
beams are stop-chamfered, and one, in a cellar immediately N.
of the entry, is moulded. The principal rooms on both floors of
the main range are now organised inn-fashion along N.-S.
passageways running the length of the W. side. The 18th-century staircase, housed in the N. projection, ascends to the
first floor in two flights; it has square newels, turned balusters,
moulded rail and cut string with carved spandrels. There are
two simple stone fireplace surrounds and several doors of six
fielded panels, also of the 18th century.
The Buildings include a brick-built barn in prolongation of
the S.W. wing and approximately coeval with it. The S.E.
wall of this barn is almost entirely masked by the N.W. wall
of later out-buildings in an adjoining property. Four buttresses,
disposed at irregular intervals, are partly visible however. They
appear to be early additions designed to arrest settlement. The
entire S.E. wall, both to the house and the outbuilding, has in
fact subsided continuously, perhaps as a result of having been
built over a filled-in boundary ditch.
A free-standing stable block, somewhat altered, parallel to
and behind the main range is also of the 17th century.
d(9) House (Class J), two-storeyed, partly of brick and partly
of timber, with tiled roof, has '168 [8?]' on the chimney
stack. The date may be that of a remodelling, possibly of an
outbuilding of the adjoining manor house.
d(10) Smithy, of red brick with tiled roof; 18th-century,
d(11) The Crown House (Plate 64), former inn, is of two
storeys with cellars and attics. The walls are partly framed and
partly of red brick; the roofs are tiled. The building is Ushaped with a main range along the street and divergent
wings to the W. enclosing a yard which is connected with the
street by a carriage entry in its N.E. corner. The structure is of
16th- or early 17th-century origin but has undergone considerable alteration late in the 17th century and subsequently.
A first-floor gallery on the S. and E. sides of the yard has been
removed along most of the S. side, and has been enclosed and
under-built on the E. side.
Caxton, Monument No. 11
The S. and parts of the E. and N. elevations are in red brick
of the late 17th century which may replace an earlier timber
frame; some original studwork survives N. of the entry and in
the upper parts of the E. and N. walls. The S. side has a stepped
and moulded plinth and a double band at first-floor level. The
brickwork of the E. front is similar and both now have 18th-century hung-sash windows some of which have been set in
earlier openings. The roofs are hipped save for the W. end of
the S. wing which is gabled. Set back a little from the street
front and spanning the E. end of the entry is a wooden lintel
of the first half of the 17th century treated on the street side as
a depressed arch with four-centred inner and square outer head
and carved spandrels. At the W. end of the entry the bressummer carrying the gallery over it is carved with egg and
dart ornament. The external appearance of the building from
the yard has been confused by alterations and additions and by
the partial destruction and enclosing of the gallery. The N.
wing extends to a large brick-built outbuilding of the late 17th
or 18th century, much altered, which has been a stable.
Beyond it is a walled enclosure and a small pond with brick
Inside are several 17th-century brick fireplaces, for the most
part elliptical-headed and placed across the corners of the
rooms; one retains its original plaster, the rest have exposed
brickwork and may have been stripped; the largest has a
wooden lintel in place of an arch. To the N. of the entry there
was until recently a small 18th-century or early 19th-century
postal sorting office, but all that now survives is the wooden
post box built into the N. wall of the entry. Visible features of
the 17th century on the upper floor include three turned
wooden posts of the gallery front; some wall painting in light
red, yellow ochre and black in imitation of inlaid panelling
four panels high with a frieze; and a door of six run-through
panels with cocks-head hinges and carved overthrow. A short
length of stair to an attic has flat pear-shaped balusters and is
17th- or 18th-century.
d(12) Home Farm, house (Class L), of red brick with tiled
roofs gabled at the ends, is of two storeys with attics and cellar.
The main range along the street is of three rooms with an
internal chimney. The building is apparently of the 18th
century, but has been altered.
d(13) House (Class I), framed and plastered, with tiled roof, is
of a single storey with an attic. It is a 17th-century structure,
d(14) House (Class L), framed and plastered, with thatched
roofs, is partly of two storeys, partly of one storey with attics.
It is probably of 17th-century origin, but has been much
d(15) Caxton Hall (Plate 64), two storeys, brickbuilt, with hipped roofs covered with tiles, is of the
second half of the 17th century with later alterations,
including an annexe of one storey to the N.E. It is
planned in double depth but the usual rectangular layout is broken by a short projecting wing of full height
at the N.E. end of the S.E. side.
The principal elevations have a projecting plinth, platband
at first-floor level, and a wooden modillioned eaves cornice.
The S.W. side retains two of four original wooden windows
(one of the remaining two has been blocked and the other
renewed); each of these has a central light with a semicircular
inner head and side lights sub-divided by transoms, all under a
flat arch. On the ground floor on the N.W. side is a third
original wooden window divided by short mullions into five
lights. Otherwise the fenestration is of the 18th century or
Caxton, 'The Moats', Monument 19
Inside there is an original staircase (Plate 39), from ground
floor to attics, framed around a square well. It is of solid construction, with turned balusters, square newel posts with
turned finials and pendants, and moulded rail and string; it is
flanked by a panelled dado from the ground to the first floor.
There are also a number of 18th-century fittings, including a
stone fireplace surround on the first floor with side consoles
and break-front frieze carved with swags and rococo scroll-work.
a and c(16) Caxton Pastures (N.G. TL 291600) consists of a
house and buildings within a moated site (see Monument (22)).
The House is T-shaped, of two storeys with attics and cellar,
partly brick-built and partly framed; the Buildings include a
pigeon house converted to a dwelling, of brick with tiled roof;
both are 18th-century.
d(17–18) Houses are framed structures with internal chimneys,
of one storey with attics and tiled or thatched roofs; 17th- or
a(19) Moated Site (Class A 2 (a); N.G. TL 294587; Plates 2, 3),
'The Moats', on boulder clay ¾m. N.W. of the church, in a
bend of a stream flowing S.E. to join the Bourn Brook. An
old road from Caxton to Eltisley runs past the W. side of the
earthworks. There are three contiguous roughly rectangular
moated areas (a, b and c) and S.E. of them an unexplained
block of earthworks, (d), now called the 'Asparagus Beds.'
The height of the E. and W. platforms of (a) and the
strength of its ditch suggest a 'motte' rather than a moated
manor house. The principal buildings of the site were probably
here. (b) and (c) were probably added, (c) perhaps to protect a
sluice N.E. of (a). There is no trace of the bridges needed for
Finds of surface pottery from (a) include Roman, St. Neots
and 13th-century wares, but the moats probably originated in
the 12th century as the seat of the de Scalers family (W. M.
Palmer, History of Caxton (1928); Rot. Hund. (1818), II,
540–542). (d) is probably later.
(a), approximately 200 ft. by 100 ft., is surrounded by a
flat-bottomed ditch 60 ft. or more wide, 6 ft. to 8 ft. deep to
water which is 6 ins. to 2 ft. deep, and 15 ft. to 35 ft. across.
The E. and W. platforms are about 5 ft. above the central area,
being respectively 50 ft. by 100 ft. and 45 ft. by 95 ft. A
rectangular depression 25 ft. by 50 ft. and 6 ins. deep runs S.
to the centre. A low scarp lies S.W. of this. There is some
surface disturbance, much of it modern. A counter-scarp bank
outside the ditch on all but the S. side is generally 2 ft. to 3 ft.
high but at the N.E. throw-out from a second ditch to the N.,
30 ft. wide and 4 ft. deep, has increased the height from 5 ft. to
8 ft. The break, W. of this, and the corresponding ditch
blocking are not original.
(b), approximately 220 ft. by 120 ft., is bounded by a dry
V-shaped ditch 30 ft. to 50 ft. wide and 7 ft. to 8 ft. deep. The
W. causeway is probably not original. The interior is flat
except for a rectangular pit 3 ft. deep and a round mound,
1½ ft. high, S. of it. A counter-scarp bank on the E. is 1 ft. high.
(c), 55 ft. square with level interior, is approached by a
causeway 15 ft. wide, on the W., beyond which the counter-scarp bank separates it from (a). The surrounding ditch is 25 ft.
to 50 ft. wide, 4 ft. to 5 ft. deep and 15 ft. to 25 ft. wide at
water level. An external bank to N. and S. is 1 ft. to 2 ft.
(d) is marked on the N. by a channel 30 ft. across, 2 ft. deep
and 10 ft. wide across its flat bottom. The disturbed bank along
its N. side is 2½ ft. high. The rectangular enclosure on its S.
side is bounded by a ditch 20 ft. across, 1 ft. deep and 5 ft.
across its flat bottom. The rectangle so formed appears to lie
on plough ridges 6 yds. across. Immediately within the ditch
is a bank 1½ ft. high. Inside this is an inner rectangle, 180 ft.
by 50 ft. similarly banked but raised 6 ins. above the general
ground level, in which there are four low mounds, two long
and two circular. The largest of these, at the E., is 30 ft.
across, 2 ft. high and about 7 ft. across its flat top. The long
mounds have rounded ends projecting N. into the channel.
Two further slight mounds, joined by a scarp 6 ins. high, lie
between inner and outer rectangles, at the W.
Outside (a) to (d) there are slighter or less regular features,
some probably recent, as perhaps are the pond and platforms
W. of (b).
c(20) Mound (N.G. TL 29365849, not on O.S.); at the top of
a gentle E. slope some 230 yds. S.W. of the foregoing and
175 ft. above O.D., is a low circular mound, 60 ft. to 70 ft.
across and 9 ins. to 1 ft. high. It is no doubt the site of the windmill which gave the fields on either side the names 'Mill Hill'
and 'Nether Mill Hill' (photostat of map of 1750 in (C.U.L.).
b(21) Moated Site (Class A2 (d); N.G. TL 305602) is that of
the manor house of Swansley, which belonged to St. Neots
Priory from the 11th to the 16th centuries. It is on level ground
in the N.E. of the parish, 210 ft. above O.D. A rectangular
area 94 ft. N. to S. and 72 ft. E. to W. is surrounded by a wet
ditch 30 ft. wide and 5 ft. to 6 ft. deep to the water level,
with an external bank 17 ft. wide and 9 ins. high on the S. A
19th-century brick bridge in the middle of the W. side may be
in the position of the original entrance. The interior is raised
1 ft. to 1½ ft. above the surrounding ground level and is
occupied by a derelict cottage and orchard. Adjacent enclosures
on the N. (V.C.H., Cambs., II, 22) have been destroyed by
ploughing, but 12th- to 13th-century pottery has been found
on the N. and E. in areas of cobbles.
a and c(22) Moated Site (Class Al(b); N.G. TL 291600),
known as 'Caxton Pastures', in the N.W. of the parish at the
head of a valley running S. and just over 200 ft. above O.D.
It may be that of the manor house of Brockholt which was
separated from the main manor of Caxton from 1154 to 1400
(W. M. Palmer, History of Caxton (1928)).
The moat measures 427 ft. N. by 468 ft. E. by 423 ft. S. by
512 ft. W., with a wet ditch 20 ft. to 30 ft. wide and 4 ft. to
5 ft. deep to the water level. There is an external bank 17 ft.
to 20 ft. wide and 1 ft. to 3 ft. high on the S. and S.E. Six causeways cross the ditch, but it is uncertain whether any is
original; the S. one, in the most likely position, is approached
by a track which overrides the inner bank. The interior,
occupied by a farmhouse (Monument (16)) and buildings, has
Caxton, Monument 22
c and d(23) Moated Site (Class A3; N.G. TL 300582),
claimed as that of the manor house of the manor of Colne
(W. M. Palmer, History of Caxton (1928)). The remains lie on
the S. side of the Bourn Brook to the W. of Peter Street
alternatively known as 'Rosemary Green Road', (see photostat
of map of 1750 in C.U.L.) and 50 yds. W. of Caxton Hall
(Monument (15)); they consist of (a) a small moat, (b) two
ponds, and (c) an enclosure ((a) and (c) are not on O.S.). The
moat is probably a defensive one of the middle ages to which a
later house and garden have been added, the whole being then
bounded by banks and a ditch. The entire complex had already
gone out of use by 1750.
Caxton, Monument 23
(a) the moat, at the N. end, is trapezoidal, measuring 112 ft.
N. by 80 ft. to 90 ft. E. by 154 ft. S. by 141 ft. W., with a partly
wet ditch 25 ft. wide, 4 ft. to 5½ ft. deep and 8 ft. to 13 ft.
wide across the bottom. The S. side has been altered, and on
the E. a pond, dug into the E. end of the interior, has destroyed
everything except the suggestion of a return at the end of the
N. side. W. of the moat is an outer bank 12 ft. wide and 2 ft.
high, with a ditch beyond, 18 ft. wide and 1½ ft. deep, which
ranges with the W. side of (c).
(b) the ponds, lie to the S. of (a). The first pond has been
formed by widening the S. ditch of (a); it is roughly rectangular, measuring 220 ft. E. to W. by 150 ft. N. to S. and 2 ft.
to 3 ft. deep, and is still partly wet. An oval island lies in the
N. half. A second, smaller, pond adjoined it on the S. On the
W. side of the first pond is a rectangular platform which
carried a building in 1750 (photostat of map of 1750 in C.U.L.).
(c) a rectangular enclosure measuring 250 ft. N. by 244 ft. E.
by 288 ft. S. by 218 ft. W., bounded on the W. and S. by a
bank 16 ft. wide and 1 ft. high with a dry outer ditch 20 ft.
wide, 3 ft. deep and 7 ft. across the bottom. The E. side of the
enclosure follows the line of Peter Street and the N. side is a
scarp 6 ft. high falling to the ponds. The interior slopes gently
to the N. and features a trapezoidal platform, which is bounded
on the N. by a scarp 1½ ft. high, and on the other sides by a
bank 12 ft. to 15 ft. wide and 6 ins. high with a very slight
ditch outside it.
c and d(24) Village Remains (around N.G. TL 303577;
hollow-way (a) only on O.S.). The area between the church
and Ermine Street, flat on the S. and sloping on the N. gently
N.E. to the Bourn Brook, is crossed by two hollow-ways, (a)
and (b), with closes in between, perhaps marking the site of
the village prior to the migration on to Ermine Street.
(a) runs E. from a road junction (N.G. TL 30135784) N.E. of
the church to Ermine Street and for 500 ft. beyond; it must
have continued to Caxton End in Bourn. W. of the main road
it is 25 ft. to 40 ft. wide and up to 3 ft. deep; the continuation
E. takes the form of a rutted track 20 ft. wide.
(b) runs parallel and to the S. of (a) from a point (N.G. TL
30035773) S. of the church for 440 yds. before turning N.E.
to meet (a). It is 30 ft. to 50 ft. wide and 6 ft. deep, flatbottomed, in parts boggy and overgrown throughout. The
length running N.E. is 534 ft. long, 20 ft. to 25 ft. wide and
3½ ft. deep. At 100 ft. from the beginning of the hollow-way a
ramp 12 ft. wide leads out of its S. side into a field with remains of ridge and furrow.
Between the above hollow-ways are three curving closes,
divided by banks 2 ft. wide and 9 ins. to 1 ft. high; N. of (a)
are seven further closes. These existed in 1750 and are covered
by ridge and furrow, with no trace of house sites. Some
buildings which then stood W. of Peter Street have been destroyed; a disturbed area of hollows and scarps around N.G.
TL 300583 marks their site.
A third road, now disused and in part occupied by the Bourn
Brook, seems to have run N.W. from N.G. TL 30405815 at least
as far as 29905844.
Earthworks and Fields, Caxton
(25) Cultivation Remains (not on O.S.) consist of ridge and
furrow in old enclosures. Ridge and furrow with ridges 60 yds.
to 200 yds. long, 6 yds. to 11 yds. wide, and 6 ins. high, with
headlands of 5 yds. to 11 yds., is preserved on the W. and S.W.
of the village in old enclosures. The N.W. part of the parish,
W. of Ermine Street, also has remains and traces in old enclosures; here ridge and furrow is from 70 yds. to 500 yds.
long, 6 yds. to 9 yds. wide, with headlands 7 yds. to 9 yds.
wide. This outlying area was enclosed before 1750, the existing
field pattern indicating that this was done by furlongs from
former open fields; the great length of some of the ridges
suggests that, in a late phase, some end-on furlongs were
ploughed as one.
Over the remainder of the parish air photographs show
traces of ridge and furrow in 'Mill', 'Stow' and 'Wood' Fields,
enclosed in 1834. Notable exceptions are the former Sheep and
Cow Commons in the extreme N. (See map: 'Earthworks
(Ref: photostat of map, 1750 (C.U.L.); enclosure map 1834
(C.R.O.); W. M. Palmer, History of Caxton (1928); air photographs: 106G/UK/1490/3018, 3233–6, 4186–8.)