(O.S. 6 ins. aTL 25 N.E., bTL 35 N.W., cTL 25 S.E.,
dTL 35 S.W.)
Longstowe, generally presumed, but perhaps incorrectly, to have given its name to the hundred of which
it is a part (Reaney, 'Place-names of Cambs.', 154),
occupies 1544 acres to the W. of the Ermine Street
which divides it from Bourn and Wimpole. The
remaining boundaries, N. to S., are with Caxton, Great
Gransden (Huntingdonshire), Little Gransden, Hatley
(formerly East Hatley), Croydon, and Arrington; the
last three come nearly to a point at N.G. TL 307528 in
the extreme S. of the parish. The land is almost entirely
boulder clay over 200 ft. above O.D. Cole (B.M. Add.
MS. 5823, 160) remarks that the place 'is unhappy for
the want of good water, as most Towns thereabout are,
having neither springs or brookes to supply the defect',
but a few small streams drain N.E. to the Bourn Brook.
The epithet 'Long' was in use in 1268 (Reaney,
'Place-names of Cambs.', 163). This suggests that the
existing street village, which resembles the adjacent
lay-out at Little Gransden, had by then already taken
shape. An earlier nucleated village around the church
and hall (Monument (2)) is a possibility. The sharp bend
at N.G. TL 30895528 and a resumption of the N.N.E.
direction at 31085605 seem to indicate that an old road
through Longstowe to Caxton End, Bourn, has been
displaced. There are suggestions of a diversion to the
W. of the hall on the enclosure map of 1799 (C.R.O.).
Such displacement would have been at an early date,
as there are no traces on the ground, but a small deer
park created by Sir Anthony Cage after 1571 (BM.
Add. MS. 5832, 161) may have influenced its course.
b(1) Parish Church of St. Mary stands in a large
irregular churchyard, bounded generally by a ditch, in
a setting of park and woodland. A sketch by Cole
(reproduced in Palmer, Inscriptions and Arms from
Cambs., Plate XX), shows that by his day the church,
which had been transeptal, retained only the lower
walling of the S. limb; this last, constructed or reconstructed in 1610, became dilapidated in 1719. The
fabric was rebuilt in 1864–5 under the supervision of
W. M. Fawcett except for the late 14th- or 15th-century West Tower.
Architectural Description—The West Tower (9¾ ft. by
9½ ft.) is of fieldstones and carstone rubble with dressings of
carstone and freestone, and has three stages above a moulded
plinth and with an embattled parapet. Small rectangular lights
to the S. and W. in the middle stage are modern or completely
restored; the bell chamber has in each face a restored window
of two cinque-foiled lights with net tracery. The tower arch is
of two orders, moulded except for the outer order on the W.
which is chamfered; the outer order is continuous, the inner
is carried on attached shafts with moulded caps and bases.
The stair is entered by a doorway across the S.W. corner
with continuous moulded jambs and four-centred head.
Fittings—Bell: one only, inscribed in black-letter 'Sancte
Paule Ora Pro Nobis', with initials 'IS', a coin impression,
and various stops (Raven, Church Bells of Cambs., 38–41 and
167–68; two others were then existing), probably 16th-century. Bell frame: with pits for three, old. Communion table:
with turned legs, mutilated, early 17th-century. Glass: in E.
lancet of N. chapel, the three lower of four shields of arms
resemble the 17th-century arms described by Cole (Palmer,
Inscription and Arms from Cambs., 111–2); the first, of Seckford,
is original, the other two with quarterings illustrating the
alliances of Cage and Seckford, are heavily restored. Monuments: reset in N. chapel, on W. side—(1) of Charlotte Eleanora
Luck and Charlotte Ann Thomson, n.d.; wall monument,
c. 1800; (2) of Sir Ralph Bovey, Bart., 1679 (Plate 138), wall
monument in marble consisting of a semi-domed and garlanded recess surmounted by an urn and flanked by foliated
scroll brackets, all on a boldly gadrooned shelf with cherub
heads and cartouche of arms in the apron and central inscription panel; within the recess is the half effigy of the deceased
naked except for a cap or turban, rising from the sea and
reaching up with his right hand towards an anchor extended
by a hand issuing from clouds in the head of the recess. Two
Latin elegiac couplets explaining the imagery are stated to be
the deceased's own composition; (3) ostensibly of Anthony
Cage, 1603, and his wife Dorothy (Rudstone) n.d., but the
figure of the woman is much smaller and more crudely executed than the man and does not accord very well with Cole's
description and sketch (B.M. Add. MS. 5803, 125–6); she
may be Jocosa (Mount), 1627, wife of Anthony Cage's eldest
son John. The existing monument, which is of clunch and
alabaster, seems otherwise to be made up from fragments of
the canopied tomb of Anthony and Dorothy Cage which stood
in the N.E. corner of the chancel, and to which a second
monument in the S. chapel (built 1610 and derelict after 1719)
to John and Jocosa Cage bore a general resemblance. The man
is in Greenwich armour and the woman has a long gown with
ruff and a tight cap. The front of the chest has a moulded
base, dentilled capping enriched with acanthus, and flanking
pilasters panelled with arabesque and supporting a mutilated
entablature; framed in these is an inscription in English, being
an 18th-century repainting of that transcribed by Cole, painted
over the incised Latin elegiacs also mentioned by him, which
are now in part upside down; below are the figures of six
sons and four daughters. At the N. end of the chest is a strapwork cartouche of arms flanked by arabesque pilasters,
Cage quartering Rudstone, unidentified (13) and Dale. Plate:
includes a cup with London marks for 1780 and stand paten
with London marks for 1720 or 1721. Miscellaneous: large
carved wooden cartouche surmounted by a putto in half
figure, painted with a modern memorial inscription; said to
have been brought from Italy; 17th-century.
Longstowe, the Parish Church of Saint Mary
b(2) Longstowe Hall, house, stables and park, is at
the N. end of the village adjoining the Ermine Street.
The House, drastically restored c. 1880, was again enlarged
and virtually rebuilt between c. 1897 and 1914 in an accomplished Jacobean idiom on the advice of J. W. Simpson for
William Arthur Briscoe (d. 1934); it is of two storeys and
attics with red-brick walls and tiled roofs. The E-shaped
plan of an Elizabethan nucleus erected by Anthony Cage
(d. 1603) can however still be traced, and the N.W. front with
its three gabled projections incorporates original walling,
much patched and with modern openings; there is also some
old brick on the S.E. Inside a quantity of reused woodwork,
some of high quality and mostly continental, includes reset
15th- or 16th-century moulded beams which may be indigenous. The original main range has an old roof with numbered
members, of which the main rafters, flush purlins and cambered
tie beams are chamfered; a second roof, at right angles, also
has stop-chamfered members including the ordinary rafters.
The Stables, S.W. of the house, of red brick, c. 1700, now
form an oblong block but may have been U-shaped. Three of
the four corners have rusticated quoins and the elevation N.E.
to the house is symmetrically designed with a central doorway
and two windows, all with eared architraves of rubbed brick
and now blocked. The N.W. and S.W. sides retain further old
openings but have been much altered.
The attractive Park is comparatively modern. The enclosure
map of 1799 (C.R.O.) shows the area divided up into closes
except for Great Wood to the E. of the house. The ornamental
waters to the W. have been formed by amalgamating a number of rectangular fishponds.
b(3) House (Class D), with cross wing at the S. end in
19th-century white brick. The lower, framed and rough-cast,
main range, of one storey with attic with half-hipped N. end,
is of uncertain date; it may have been in whole or part open
to the roof as a hall, but the evidence is inconclusive. A tall
chimney at the junction has two old diagonal flues, while a
chamfered beam in the N. ground-floor room has notched
stops; these features are 17th-century.
b(4) Rectory, two-storeyed, of white brick with hipped
slated roofs, has a stone panel with the date '1839' over the
N. entrance. The house is of Class-U design but with a lower
service wing to the E. in which are two reused 16th-century
moulded beams, one with carved leaf stops at one end. Inside
are some fireplace surrounds and other details in the Regency
tradition. In the kitchen is a 19th-century cooking range, with
ancillary equipment, by Beales & Co., Cambridge, and Flavel
& Co., Leamington.
d(5) Barn, at Three Horseshoes public house, of three bays
with narrow aisles, gabled and tiled queen-post roof; the
red-brick walls are 17th- or 18th-century casing of a framed
structure, perhaps 16th-century.
d(6) Middle Farm (Class U), two-storeyed with attics, is
probably a 17th-century frame remodelled in the mid 18th
century. The elevations are in uniform white brick of the
later date with a first-floor platband; tiled roofs in two N.
and S. spans are closed by side gables, above a second platband, with kneelers and parapets; three of the gables rise to
chimneys. Inside, the framing of some partitions is exposed;
some ceiling beams are intersecting.
d(7) House (Class J), two-storeyed with attic, framed and
plastered, with tiled gabled roof. The base of the chimney,
which is built within a chimney bay, is of clunch ashlar; one
block, reset, bears the dates '1668'(?), '1696' and '1699'.
d(8) Lower Farm, buildings include a five-bay barn, framed
and boarded, with half-hipped tiled and pantiled roof, of
17th-century origin; and a framed and boarded granary,
raised on short piers, with tiled pyramidal roof, perhaps
d(9) The Red House, public house (formerly Golden Lion),
of two lofty storeys and attic, partly of red brick and partly
framed, with slated roof, in three symmetrical bays E. to the
Ermine Street, and with end chimneys; of c. 1800 with
additions. The central front door is flanked by wooden pilasters and has a flat hood carried on shaped brackets; round- and ogee-headed windows above have intersecting glazing
bars creating a 'gothick' effect.
b and d(10–11) Houses (Class J), respectively two-storeyed
and one-storeyed; framed and plastered, with thatched roofs;
17th- or 18th-century. In the ground floor of (10) is a ceiling
with notched stop.
d(12) Village remains (partly on O.S.). The old plan of a
street over 1 m. in length running S. from the hall and church
has been disturbed at the S. end by the building, in 1867, of
the Cambridge to Bedford railway and, quite recently, of the
road to Little Gransden parallel and to the N. of it. The
original road, 50 ft. wide, can be traced at N.G. TL 306540.
House sites are indicated by 18th- to 19th-century debris to
the W. The numerous small closes along the street existing
in 1799 (enclosure map 1799 in C.R.O.) may indicate that
some houses had disappeared, while the ridge and furrow in
the closes at the N. end of the street suggests that at one time
the hall, rectory and church were divided from the rest of
the village by a strip of arable land. The oblong and L-shaped
ponds shown on the O.S. 6 ins. maps may have delimited house
platforms but only a few certain traces remain: (a) The field
N. of Broad Close Spinney and W. of the road (centre at N.G.
TL 30625437) was in 1799 divided into Burnt Yard to the
N. and Old House Close, a strip 150 ft. wide to the S. A scarp
facing S.W. and 2½ ft. to 3 ft. high marks the line of division.
The unploughed S.E. part of the field is very disturbed. (b)
Immediately W. of the junction between the old street and
the new road at N.G. TL 305541 is an arable field, called
Farm Close in 1799, and shown on O.S. 6 ins. maps as containing long wet ditches, now destroyed. In this area pottery
from the 12th to 19th centuries including St. Neots ware and
many 13th-century sherds, cobbles, oyster shells and other
occupation debris indicate a house site.
b(13) Moated site (Class B; N.G. TL 308558), on a flat
terrace of boulder clay above a valley to the N.W. and rising
gently to Ermine Street on the E. A wet ditch 17 ft. to 40 ft.
wide and 6 ins. to 5 ft. deep encloses a rectangular island
measuring 150 ft. N. to S. by 65 ft. The interior, raised 2 ft.
above the surrounding area, is reached by footbridges at the
centre of the N. and S. sides. On the 1799 enclosure map and
an estate map of 1857 this moat is shown as hexagonal with a
long ditch running S.E. from the W. angle. Its present form
seems therefore to be 19th-century. It may originally have
been a garden feature like the lakes to the N.W., also altered
Longstowe, Monument 13
b(14) Moated site (N.G. TL 313551), immediately S. of the
cross roads, probably the site of the Hospital of St. Mary of
Stowe founded c. 1250 for a Master and Sisters (V.C.H.,
Cambs. II, 35 and 310), since in 1799 the field containing the
moat and those adjoining were called 'Nuns' (enclosure map
1799 in C.R.O.); the total area of these, 16 acres, was the
acreage held by the Hospital in 1279. A rectangle measuring
200 ft. E. to W. by 110 ft. was enclosed by a wet ditch, of
which only the S. side, 20 ft. wide and 2½ ft. deep, still remains.
There are traces of the N. and E. sides. A bungalow has been
built over the E. ditch, filled in since 1900, and the site is
occupied by gardens.
d(15) Mound (N.G. TL 30585493), on flat clay land 200 yds.
W.N.W. of Middle Farm, is an irregular mound 70 ft. across
and 8 ft. to 10 ft. high with a flat top, surrounded on all sides
except the W. by a wet ditch 30 ft. to 35 ft. wide and 2 ft.
deep. The ditch has been widened 15 ft. at the N.W. and
extended 40 ft. to the E. to form cattle drinking places. The
mound and ditch are marked on the enclosure map of 1799.
Spoil from the ditch overlies ridge and furrow on the W.
The mound, which may perhaps be part of a landscape
gardening scheme, is connected with Longstowe Hall by an
avenue along the old track which it blocks. There are trees
on it and it is surrounded by pasture.
(16) Cultivation remains (not on O.S.). Ridge and furrow
survives in many of the fields on both sides of the long village
street, with straight and curved ridges 120 yds. to 200 yds.
long, 6 yds. to 9 yds. wide and 9 ins. to 1 ft. high, with headlands of 5 yds. to 10 yds. The ridge and furrow in these fields
was formerly in numerous small closes which have since been
amalgamated, and the former hedge lines can be seen as low
banks, and shallow ditches 3 ft. to 5 ft. wide.
Ridge and furrow also exists in the park made up of curving
furlongs abutting against each other, with ridges 70 yds. to
260 yds. long with headlands 7 yds. to 11 yds. wide and 9 ins.
to 1 ft. high. These have clearly once been part of an openfield system, but in 1799 they were already enclosed, although
the park itself was not made until the 19th century.
Traces on air photographs show straight ridge and furrow in
the old closes round the village and curving ridge and furrow
elsewhere especially in the S.E. of the parish.
Nearly half of the parish had been enclosed before 1799,
and even before 1517 60 acres of arable had been enclosed for
(Ref: enclosure map 1799 (C.R.O.); I.S.Leadam, 'The
Inquisition of 1517' in Royal Hist. Soc. Trans., N.S. VIII
(1894) 298–305; air photographs: 106G/UK/1490/4018–20;