(O.S. 6 ins. aTL 56 N.W., bTL 56 N.E., cTL 56 S.E., dTL 66 N.W.,
eTL 66 S.W.)
(Figs. 24 and 25)
The parish, roughly L-shaped, covers nearly 7000 acres
approximately N.W. of Newmarket. The S.E. part is
entirely on the chalk and slopes N.W. from 160 ft.
above O.D. on Newmarket Heath to 10 ft. above O.D.
at the fen edge; the N.W. part is fenland and ranges
between 10 ft. and 12 ft. above O.D. The fenland was
formerly peat-covered, the greater part of which, on
the S.E., has now disappeared owing to drainage and
cultivation, and the underlying chalk and clay are
Until 1953 the parish included the E. part of Reach
(q.v.) situated at the end of Reach Lode.
The village lies close to the fen edge and is now a large
settlement extending for nearly 2 miles in a N.-S.
direction. It consists of several clearly defined regions.
The original nucleus was at the S. end of the present
village around the church which stands on a low flat-topped circular hill about 50 ft. above O.D. (Fig. 24).
Its name 'Spring by the fort' (Reaney, 'Place-names of
Cambs.', 187–8) perhaps implies a pre-Conquest
fortified site; although no identifiable feature survives,
the roughly oval arrangement, with a N.—S. axis, of
roads and lanes round the hill-top may indicate the outline of early defence works. An early 19th-century map
(P.R.O., Map of the Manor of Burwell Ramseys, 1806)
shows a well-preserved 'green' S. of the original centre
and outside the presumed line of the early defences.
The construction of the railway in 1883–4 destroyed
part of this 'green'.
The development of the village was continued on the
axis of the early settlement along part of High Street,
N. of St. Mary's church; the former church of St.
Andrew was perhaps the ecclesiastical centre of this development. Parallel to the High Street, and on the E., is
a back lane. To the W. of St. Mary's church, and around
and under Burwell Castle, are remains apparently of
houses and gardens, indicating that the building of the
castle in the 12th century terminated the development
of the village in that direction.
The S. part of the present village, comprising the
whole of the foregoing area and still known as High
Town, had until the early 19th century Pound Hill at
the end of High Street as its N. limit. Beyond lay part
of the common fields which were crossed by a track
known as the Causeway (149) at the further end of
which, and parallel with the fen edge, a long winding
road forms the N. part of the village (Fig. 25). Its name,
North Street, is recorded in 1351 (Reaney, ibid., 188).
The street runs almost parallel to the former headlands
in the common fields to the N.E., perhaps indicating its
origin on such fields (P.R.O., Map of Burwell, 1806).
North Street has a number of late 16th- or early 17th-century houses of high quality, probably associated with
the development of the water-borne trade; Burwell
New Lode was constructed in the mid 17th century in
connection with this trade.
Near the S. end of North Street is a district, rectangular
in shape and divided by parallel E.-W. lanes into four
zones, known as Newnham. The name is recorded in
1445–6 (P.R.O., SC 6/765/11). The regular layout of
lanes suggests an element of deliberate planning. On
the E. and W. of the district are two parallel lanes,
Low Road and The Leys, which continue S. as far as
Parsonage Farm (40); on Low Road and its continuation
southward are two medieval moated farms (39 and 41).
The origin of this pattern is uncertain but, as with North
Street, it may have resulted from settlement along
headlands in former common fields.
Until 1817 much of the chalkland was occupied by
the common fields (150) with the exception of an area
of downland on Newmarket Heath and one of old
enclosures around Breach Farm (TL 604683). The name
Breach is recorded in 1232 (Reaney, ibid., 188); the
cultivation of former wasteland in the medieval period
is indicated. Enclosure and drainage of fenland started in
the Middle Ages and continued into the mid 19th
b(1) Parish Church of St. Mary (Fig. 26; Plate 24)
stands in the S. part of an irregularly-shaped churchyard
whose boundary follows the 50 ft. contour. The present
churchyard incorporates on the E. and N. the sites of
houses which were removed in 1859. The church consists of Chancel with Crypt, Nave with Aisles, North and
South Porches, West Tower and South-west Vestry. The
walls are of field stones, flint and rubble, with limestone
dressings some of which, in 'Barnack', is reused; except
for the lower part of the nave piers, the interior is in
clunch. The roofs are covered with lead and the porches
The earliest parts of the fabric are the lower two
stages of the tower which are 12th-century; the scale of
this survival points to a church of considerable size. In
the 14th century a S. aisle was built or partly built; only
the W. section of the present aisle survives of this date.
In the 15th century the tower was heightened by three
additional stages and strengthened by buttresses; the
S.W. vestry, probably a treasury originally, is integral
with these alterations to the tower. The arms in the
chancel of Higham for John Higham, vicar 1439–67,
indicate a general date for the building of the church,
and constructional features suggest that the progress of
building was sporadic; an inscription over the chancel
arch states specifically that the east wall and the roof of
the nave were completed in 1464. A bequest of 40
shillings from John Andrew, chaplain, in June 1465 was
for 'the new building of the church'. The spirelet is
dated 1799. Of the considerable restorations undertaken
in the 19th century a major one in 1862 at the expense of
the University was supervised by Mr. Edlin (Church
Builder (1862), 61), and another by George Street in 1877
concerned the chancel.
Fig. 26 Burwell (I), The Parish Church of St. Mary
The building of the chancel and nave at Burwell
followed the first phase of construction of King's
College chapel, Cambridge, under the direction of
Reginald Ely, the master mason, between 1446 and
1461; affinities between the forms of window tracery in
both buildings is noticeable (Plate 33). A stylistic precursor may be found in the architectural detail of the
gateway at Queens' College (1448) where Ely was
almost certainly employed (A. Oswald, C.A.S. Procs.
XLII (1949), 8–26).
Architectural Description—The Chancel (41½ ft. by 22 ft.)
has a moulded plinth, embattled ashlar parapet with a moulded
string carved with foliated and head bosses, gargoyles carved
as grotesque beasts and foliated gable-cross. The E. window of
five cinque-foiled lights, arranged 2:1:2 with vertical and
mouchette tracery in a four-centred head with external label
and carved lion stops, is much restored. Below, in the plinth,
a square-headed window of two lights serves the crypt.
The two-stage diagonal and side buttresses have moulded
plinths and crocketed pinnacles. The first two windows in the
N. wall have four transomed cinque-foiled lights with vertical
tracery and quatrefoils and external labels; the third repeats
the design but omits the W. light to allow for the semi-octagonal external rood-loft stair in the angle between chancel
and aisle (Plate 32). Below the first window is an external
weathered projection splayed on the E., which encloses a
staircase to the crypt; the doorway to it from the chancel has
chamfered jambs and moulded four-centred head. Canted
across the N.W. angle and with a high threshold is a similar
doorway to the rood-loft stair. The S. windows of four lights
are uniform with those on the N.; below the first, in the
plinth, is a square-headed window lacking its central mullion,
lighting the crypt; the internal embrasure of the main window
is continued down to incorporate sedilia. Below the second is
a doorway with moulded four-centred head and plain jambs.
Inside, flanking the E. window and between the side windows,
are tall much-restored semi-octagonal niches with sidebuttresses and miniature vaulting, crocketed tabernacle heads
terminating with finials and entirely modern demi-angel
corbels; the form of the miniature vaulting varies between
niches. The niche on the N. of the E. window is larger than
that on the S. The finials of the side niches rise to small corbels
which carry the roof wall-posts as part of the same design. The
intermediate tie beams are carried on corbels mostly in the
form of keystones to the side windows; these corbels are carved
as demi-angels holding, on the N.—a heart, a mitre, a small
organ; on the S.—a book, a shield with arms of Higham (a
fesse checky between three nags' heads), a cithern. The chancel
arch is moulded similarly on the E. and W. with a continuous
hollow chamfer between shafts which have miniature octagonal
caps and bases.
Fig. 27 Burwell Church, The Crypt
The Crypt (8½ ft. by 21 ft.) is approached by a flight of steps
on the N. of the chancel (Fig. 27). The lower doorway has
chamfered rebated jambs, four-centred head and hinge-pin.
The crypt has a four-centred barrel vault in clunch with
modern partition and modern passage on the W. The floor has
been lowered. In the E. wall is a recess into which is set an
altar or podium of stone and other material. In the S. wall is a
contemporary fireplace with hood carried on corbels and a
flue in the thickness of the wall (Plate 75). The compartment
may be identified as a vestry or perhaps an anchorage, although
no reference to an anchorite has been traced.
The Nave (69¼ ft. by 21¾ ft.) has similar N. and S. arcades
of five bays with continuous hollow-chamfered mouldings
separated at the cardinal points by single and triple rollmouldings each with miniature octagonal caps and bases. The
E. wall of the clearstorey (Plate 25) is panelled with blind
arcading above the haunches of the chancel arch and below
the arch braces of the roof. The panelling is in three tiers: the
lower has cinquefoil-headed arcading; the middle, flanked by
ogee-headed niches with miniature vaulting, is in five square
bays, the central bay containing an indented cusped quatrefoil
which encloses a shield carved with the Royal Arms of 1816–
1837, the two outer ones being similar but with blank shields,
and the two intermediate ones being filled with radiating
tracery within a circle; the upper tier has a central circular
window with radiating mouchettes flanked by cinque-foiled
arcading below which is an incised black-letter inscription,
'Orate p~ aīabs Johīs Benet Johaāne t~ Alicie ux' ej' parentūq~ suor~
qui fieri fecert~ hunc parietē ac carpentariā navis ecclīē ao dī
moccco lx iiijo'. The N. and S. battlemented clearstoreys have
string-courses decorated with paterae; each contains ten
windows of three cinque-foiled lights, with sex-foiled tracery
in a depressed triangular head; the external label is continuous
but between the sixth and seventh windows on the N. it butts
against large but mutilated carved stop. Internally the clear
storey is unified with the arcades by continuing vertically the
roll-mouldings from the piers and from the apices of the
arches; the shafts terminate with moulded capitals that carry
the wall-posts of the tie beams. The spandrels are filled with
two tiers of blind cinque-foiled panelling.
Fig. 28 Burwell Church
North Elevation of Tower
The N. Aisle (15½ ft. wide) has side and diagonal buttresses
and battlemented parapet, stepped on the E. with a string-course decorated with paterae. The E. window with external
label has four cinque-foiled-headed lights with a transom,
below which the lights have ogee heads and cinque-foiled
cusping; in the four-centred head is curvilinear and ogee
tracery. In the S.E. angle is a second doorway to the rood-stair;
it has chamfered jambs and moulded four-centred head. In the
N. wall are uniform windows each with three transomed
lights and tracery of twin-circle design in a depressed head
with a label. The N. doorway has continuous moulded
jambs, four-centred inner and square outer head, sunkquatrefoiled spandrels and moulded label, and side shafts.
The W. window of four cinque-foiled lights with a transom has
vertical tracery in a four-centred head, and an external label.
The E. and S. windows in the S. Aisle are uniform with those
in the N. aisle. The S. doorway has continuous jambs consisting of two chamfered orders with semicircular hollow
between, and broach-stops, 14th-century. The aisle extends
westward on the S. of the tower at a lower level and has a
two-stage lateral buttress on the S. Across the W. end of the
aisle and springing off the S. wall is a large half-arch of two
chamfered orders, probably of the 14th century; above it is a
mid 15th-century window of four cinque-foiled lights with
tracery in a four-centred head and a label. In the S. wall a
window with three uncusped lights and quatrefoils in the
tracery is 14th-century but the sill has been raised. The 15th-century compartment on the W., now a vestry but originally
a treasury (Plate 19), is separated from the S. aisle by a formerly external cross wall with a chamfered plinth on the W.;
a rough scar in the S. wall is probably due to the removal of an
aisle buttress; the 15th-century doorway, inserted in the cross
wall, has moulded jambs four-centred inner and square outer
head, and spandrels carved with foliage and a rose. On the S.,
is a narrow single-light rebated window whose internal sill
has been raised; below, is a blocked opening of unknown date
or purpose. On the W. is a narrow cinque-foiled-headed rebated window with ogee and cusped head, spandrels with
carved shields, and heavy external iron grille.
The West Tower (18 ft. by 14¼ ft.) is in five external stages.
The embattled parapet, which has gargoyles on the N. and S.
and crocketed pinnacles at each corner and in the centre of
each wall, is surmounted by a lead-covered octagonal spirelet
in three heights the second being open with plain angle-posts
and a central post inscribed in cast-lead, 'By order of R. H.
Turner 1799'. The two lowest stages of the tower are of the
12th century (Fig. 28) and the three upper are 15th-century
additions, as are the buttresses and the S.W. part-octagonal
stair turret. The two upper stages are octagonal, the lower
being irregular; the junction between stages is partly masked
by three-stage diagonal buttresses and the S.W. stair turret.
Fig. 29 Burwell Church Tower
plan at second stage
The 15th-century tower arch has hollow chamfers between
shafts with caps and bases; on the W. a wave-moulded rear-arch dies into the side walls. A blocked opening in the S. wall
may be of post-medieval date and inserted to provide access
to the tower when the tower arch was blocked; the blocking,
which had been added in 1754 and made from wainscot
formerly under the chancel arch (Visitation Book, Fordham
Deanery, West Suffolk Record Office E14/2/200), was removed
in 1861 (C.U. Archives, newspaper cuttings). The much-restored 15th-century W. doorway has chamfered jambs and
label; above, is a blocked quatre-foiled circle. The W. window
of four cinquefoil lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred
head with label is mid 15th-century and largely obliterates
the lowest string-course of the 12th-century tower. Against
the centre of the lowest stage of the N. wall is a 12th-century
pilaster buttress of three stages with gabled head, in limestone ashlar; in the second stage is a narrow blocked light
with semicircular head; to the E. of the pilaster and at a higher
level is a similar blocked light. The 15th-century angle-buttresses supporting the N.W. corner of the tower are in four
heights with moulded plinths. They partly overlap the 12th-century N.W. angle-buttresses which repeat the design of the
pilaster of the N. wall but with shafted arrises having capitals
carved with leaves and man's head respectively, and moulded
bases. At the N.W. angle the lowest string-course, chamfered
above and below, has a head corbel between the gabled tops
of the angle-buttresses. Above the string-course (Fig. 28) are a
number of 12th-century windows: on the E., now internal
over the tower arch, are two narrow round-headed widelyspaced windows, with splayed reveals on the W.; above, is a
length of 12th-century chamfered string at the same level as
the second external string which is 15th-century and marks
the limit of the earlier building. At the same level on the
N. are two blocked round-headed lights sharing an unmoulded
central support with shafted jambs and single rear-arch; also
on the N., and on the S. and W., are blocked reveals of windows with twin lights uniform with the last-mentioned,
making originally an arrangement of two windows in each
external wall (Fig. 29). The third stage has no openings; the
fourth stage has in each wall a 15th-century window of
two ogee-trefoiled lights with a central quatrefoil and external
label which is carried round as a string. Internally, to the N.
of the tower arch, on the nave side, is a slight projection,
perhaps a hacked-back pilaster buttress of the 12th century.
The 15th-century vice has a ground-floor four-centred doorway with continuous chamfered jambs, and two similar doorways now blocked, one at the level of the sill of the W. window and another entering the former ringing-chamber, and a
fourth at roof level; the present ringing-chamber, at a higher
level than previously, is entered by a doorway inserted in 1861
C.U.L., Ely Faculty Reg. 1834–63).
The North Porch, coeval with the nave, has been much
restored. It has a moulded plinth, embattled parapet and twostage diagonal buttresses. At the apex of the N. gable is a figure
of St. George and the dragon. The buttresses are surmounted
by finials, the W. of which terminates with a carved figure,
perhaps a woodwose; the W. figure is missing. A string-course below the parapet is enriched with carved heads and
foliated bosses. The moulded and shafted jambs of the archway
are restored but the label is original. Between the archway and
the parapet are five symmetrically-placed niches. The central
and side semi-octagonal niches have side buttresses, crocketed
tabernacle-heads, miniature vaulting and statue-bases; the
intermediate niches are simpler, having plain-chamfered
jambs, cinque-foiled heads and statue-bases. In the side walls are
two-light windows, much restored. In each internal angle is
an attached shaft from which spring moulded diagonal, intermediate and wall ribs forming fan-vaulting with cinquefoil-headed panels which meet at a central curvilinear octofoil
panel embellished with small bosses.
The South Porch, which was almost entirely rebuilt in the
late 19th century, has moulded plinth, diagonal two-stage
buttresses and restored archway with shafted jambs and four-centred head. In the side walls are restored windows of two
cinquefoil-headed lights in a square surround. The steeplypitched roof has plain eaves and gable parapet.
The Roofs of the chancel, nave, aisles and S. porch are coeval;
the inscription over the chancel arch stating that the nave roof
was completed in 1464 may be taken as applicable to the other
roofs, which follow a uniform design. The roofs have been
repeatedly repaired and some carving, particularly on the
plank-cornices (Fig. 30), may have been replaced; the apparently
late form of the crown and lions (67) and shields (70) (71), for
example, may be due to repair. Different standards of craftsmanship may be detected in the cornice-carvings. Broadly,
those which have a religious significance are more competently
executed than those with secular and grotesque subjects, and
are placed in the eastern bays of the nave ((13) (14) (23) (24)).
The remainder allude to heraldic or allegoric morality subjects
(e.g. (29) (39) (48)). The skilful carvings in the chancel seem to
be by the same hand but only two panels are ostensibly religious
in subject matter ((2) (8)). The roof of the chancel is divided into
three main bays by cambered tie beams with curved braces
enriched with foliar carving. In the spandrels are pierced quatrefoils. The tie beams are low-pitched and support roll-moulded
purlins and ridge-pieces. The braces rise off wall-posts, each is
carved with a figure of bearded man holding a book; the wall-posts rest on the finials of the niches or on stone corbels carved
as demi-angels holding, in two instances, a crown, and in a
third, a gabled reliquary. Each bay is sub-divided into two by
intermediate tie beams rising off carved keystones (see Chancel).
At the junctions of the tie beams with the purlins and with the
ridge are bosses carved with foliage, birds, flowers and a man's
head. At the wall-head, between the tie beams are crested
plank-cornices carved from the solid, or applied, in low
relief: N. side—(1) squirrel between crocodile and chained
lion; (2) censing angel and hand of God (Plate 27); (3) hare
between hounds; (4) crown between hound and hyena (?)
(Plate 27); (5) nest of fledglings between birds (Plate 27); (6)
crown between leopard and lion; S. side—(7) crown between
hounds; (8) phoenix between angels; (9) crown between lions;
(10) hare between lion and stag (Plate 27); (11) hare between
hounds; (12) mirror between tigers (Plate 27).
The low-pitched roof of the nave is divided into ten bays by
cambered tie beams with wall-posts and arch braces, the spandrels being filled with cusped window-forms (Plate 25). The
wall-posts rise off stone shafts with moulded capitals already
described. At the junctions of the tie beams with the purlins and
ridge-pieces are bosses, the former carved with conventional
foliage, the latter with an angel holding crown, swan, pot of
lilies, pelican in piety, head with triple crown, crowned heads,
bearded head, conventional foliage and flowers (Plate 26). At
the wall-head between the tie beams are crested cornices carved
or applied in relief: N. side—(13) The Assumption between
censing angels (Plate 28); (14) chalice with Host between
emblems of St. Matthew and St. Mark (Plate 28); (15) vine
between tigers with mirrors (Plate 28); (16) mitre between
chained antelopes; (17) castle between elephants with castles;
(18) hare between hounds; (19) lopped tree between dragons;
(20) lopped tree between chained bears; (21) blank shield
between stag and hind; (22) crowned head between lions; S.
side—(23) pot with lilies between Virgin and Gabriel (Plate 28);
(24) chalice with Host between emblems of St. John and St.
Luke; (25) blank shield between griffins; (26) flower between
cows; (27) crown between camels; (28) flowering bush between
yales; (29) tree between foxes carrying geese (Plate 29);
(30) flower between unicorns; (31) tree between animals;
(32) blank shield between ram and goat.
The lean-to roof of the N. aisle is divided into five main bays
by low-pitched principal rafters with pairs of arch braces, the
spandrels being filled with pierced and cusped window-forms.
On the N. the principals rise off stone corbels carved with demiangels, robed or feathered, and carrying scrolls or a book; on
the S. the principals rest on attached shafts extending from the
pier-capitals. Each bay is sub-divided by intermediate principals
supported on wooden corbels carved as demi-angels holding
books or a shield. At the junction of the purlins and the principals are bosses carved with foliage or a man's head. The crested
plank-cornices are carved, or applied, in relief: N. side—(33)
castle between elephants with castles (Plate 29); (34) patera
between unicorns; (35) tree between griffins; (36) crown
between angels; (37) vine between griffins; (38) patera between
unicorns; (39) monkey with urine flask between mermaid and
fox carrying cock (Plate 29); (40) mitre between dragons; (41)
castle between elephants with castles; (42) crown between
chained antelopes; S. side—(43) and (44) plain; (45) oak sprig
between chained antelopes; (46) crown between angels; (47)
floral sprig between hind and hound; (48) floral sprig between
tigers with mirrors; (49) floral sprig between eagles; (50) sprig
with bird between yales; (51) foliated sprig with squirrel between goats; (52) human head between wyverns. The S. aisle
roof is uniform with that on the N. and except for (53) (54) (55)
(59) (60) (61) and (62) the cornices are carved: N. side—(56)
foliated sprig between leopards (?); (57) tree between eagles;
(58) head of woodwose between unicorns; S. side—(63) mirror
between tigers; (64) mitre between chained antelopes; (65)
crown supported by lion; (66) woodwose or monkey holding
antelope by rope (Plate 29); (67) crown between lions, probably
19th-century; (68) sunflower between griffins; (69) foliated
sprig between yales; (70) blank shield between animals; (71)
unidentified shield (two bars gemel a crescent in chief), probably
19th-century, between eagles; (72) hare between hounds. The
roof of the S. porch is in two bays with cambered and embattled
tie beams against the N. and S. walls, moulded purlins and ridge-piece, and a central truss with short wall-posts and hammer
beams with arch braces; each end-truss has curved braces above
the tie beams and an infilling below the ridge; similar braces
over the hammer beams terminate with wooden demi-angels
holding blank shields. Ashlar-pieces rise behind the plankcornices which are carved: on the E.—(73) a mirror between
two tigers; (74) foliated tree between chained antelope and yale;
on the W.—(75) floral bush between lions; (76) crowned and
bearded head between dogs.
Fig. 30 Burwell Church
Location of cornice-panels
Fittings— Altar: see Crypt. Bells: 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th inscribed
'1703'; 8th, by Thomas Newman, 1725; small bell in spirelet,
by Pack and Chapman, 1776. Bell frame: old and reconstructed.
Benefactors' Tables: in W. tower, 18th-century painted boards
recording gift for repair of church by William Sigers and
Thomas Catlyn in 1716, gift of 'Guildhall' to poor by Sir
Edward Chestor, gift for repair of church by John Wosson, gifts
to poor by Lee Cotton and Thomas Bates. Brass: in chancel,
set in grey marble slab (10 ft. 2 ins. by 4 ft. 6 ins.) with some
areas of the brass sunk for infilling. The existing brass is partly a
palimpsest made from different originals. The obverse (Plate 43)
represents a priest in cassock, surplice and almuce, with head on
cushion, of the mid 16th century; above is a triple canopy of
the early 16th century, partly missing, the outer bays having
indents for standing figures as finials and the centre bay incorporating a representation of the Resurrection (Plate 44). The
marginal inscription with corner-roundels is missing. The
reverse of the figure (Plate 43) which is in two pieces, shows the
lower part of a figure in abbatical or episcopal vestments; the
upper part is plain but a triangular indent above the head may
have been to receive a mitre. The reverse of the centre section
of the canopy shows part of an ecclesiastic with a maniple and
possibly a dalmatic; the figure has been identified as a deacon,
perhaps of the early 14th century. The reverse of the upper part
of the canopy shows the head of a priest with amice, and is
possibly foreign. The figure may represent John Lawrence de
Wardeboys, last Abbot of Ramsey, whose will requested that
'. . . my body be buryed in the church of Sainte Mary at Burwell . . .'. He was abbot from 1508 till his resignation in 1539
and it has been advanced that the slab and the fully-vested figure
had been prepared during his abbacy and altered and partly
reused between 1539 and 1542, the year of his death (A. W.
Franks, C.A.S. 4to. Publ. (1848), 2). Brass Indent: in W. tower,
stone slab with indent for lower part of figure with inscription
plate and plates for children, perhaps 16th-century. Clock:
with brass setting-dial engraved 'Jn° Rowning, Newmarkett',
mid 18th-century (Plate 64). Coffin lid: in churchyard, fragmentary, with omega ornament, early 13th-century. Door: to
S. W. vestry, oak, with four-centred head, keel-shaped planks
and hollow-chamfered stiles, with heavy iron hinge-strap, 15th-century. Dial: scratched on 1st buttress of S. aisle, with hole for
gnomon, medieval. Font: octagonal lead-lined stone bowl with
quatrefoil panels, stem with trefoil-headed panels in each face,
and moulded base; 15th-century.
Monuments and Floor slabs. Monuments: in nave—on W.
wall (1), of Rev. James Johnson Baines, 1854, and Eliza his
wife, 1842, stone tablet with shaped overthrow and apron, by
Swinton, Cambridge; (2), of Rev. Henry Turner, 1808, and
Elizabeth his wife, 1820, stone tablet with reeded pilasters,
fluted overthrow and shaped apron. In N. aisle—on E. wall (3),
of John Isaacson, 1830, simple marble tablet, by Parkinson,
Newmarket; on N. wall (4), of Elizabeth Isaacson, 1825, and
Wootton her husband, 1840, white marble tablet with stone
pediment and shaped apron; (5), of Hannah Sandiver
(Isaacson), 1743, painted stone cartouche with scroll and drapery
border, urn finial and cherub corbel, early 19th-century; (6),
of Diana Isaacson, 1803, similar to (5); (7), of Frances Adlard
(Isaacson), 1769, similar to (4) but with portrait bust on apron;
(8), of Thomas Gerard (Plate 48), n.d. (d. 1613), and Alice
(Elliot) his wife, 'February 1608', formerly in chancel (Palmer,
Inscriptions and Arms from Cambs., 18), painted clunch composition with male and female kneeling figures beneath
double arches supported on Corinthian columns; the entablature is enriched with obelisks and strapwork enclosing achievement of arms for Gerard, quarterly, impaling Elliot; the base
with inscription tablet rests on corbels carved with heads and
acanthus; the man is in Greenwich armour. (9), of Sir William
Russell, 1663, and infant Elizabeth, formerly in chancel, oval
black-marble tablet in scrolled surround of alabaster, with Latin
epitaph and shields of arms for Russell impaling Bendish (twice),
Russell, and lozenge for Russell (Plate 49). In S. aisle—on S.
wall (10), of Lady Russell, 1717, black marble tablet against
white marble composition with cornice and apron, enriched
with six lozenges of arms for Russell impaling Bendish; (11), of
Ann Turner, 1843, white marble sarcophagus-tablet with scroll
entablature against black background, by Denman, 83 Regent
Street, London. In S.W. vestry (12), of Lee Cotton (Plate 48),
, formerly in chancel, canopied tomb chest with effigy in
Greenwich armour; the chest has panelled sides, moulded top
and base, on which stand three columns with enriched entablature, and frieze painted with inscription now much obliterated
but recorded by Cole (Palmer, op. cit., 17). In churchyard,
monuments include twenty-two headstones of the 17th and
early 18th centuries and six later tomb chests; most headstones
are decorated with emblems of mortality and one, recording
the deaths of 73 people in a barn-fire in 1727, is embellished by
a single large heart with flaming wings (Plate 53(a)). Floor
slabs: in nave (1), of Ann Turner, 1843. In N. aisle—(2), of
Wootton Isaacson, 1840; (3), of Rev. J. J. Baines, 1854. In S.
aisle—(4), of Rev. Henry Turner, 1808; (5), of Elizabeth
Turner, 1820. In W. tower—(6), of William Pamplin, ,
recording benefaction; (7), of Stephen Isaacson, 1736.
Niches: see under Chancel, Nave (E. wall) and N. Porch.
Painting: in N. aisle, on N. wall, of St. Christopher carrying
Christ child, largely obliterated, 15th-century. Panelling: in
chancel, against side walls, incorporating old material including
stiles with miniature buttresses, end posts, and pierced trefoil
and quatrefoil tracery with foliage or a bird in the spandrels;
in the tracery are unidentified shields of arms (two chevrons, a
bar in chief); the modern stalls incorporate panelled fronts
uniform with the wall panelling, 15th-century. Piscinae: in
chancel, in S. wall (1), against E. jamb of first window,
moulded stone corbel with sex-foiled sinking, mid 15th-century;
above, in splay of window, shallow recess in two stages with
cusped head, much restored but probably a 15th-century
credence. In N. aisle, in E. wall (2), two-stage recess each with
cinque-foiled four-centred heads in square surrounds, the lower
with modern wooden shelf, the upper probably a credence,
15th-century. In S. aisle, in S. wall (3), recess with cinque-foiled
head in square surround with buttressed sides and battlemented
top and plain sill, probably a piscina, 15th-century. Plate:
cup (Plate 62) (ht. 71/8 ins.), silver gilt with engraved design
round lip, later sacred monogram, London 1567; flagon (Plate
63) with later spout, and alms dish, both silver gilt, engraved
with sacred monogram in a glory, London 1739; stand paten,
silver gilt, engraved with sacred monogram, n.d. probably
early 18th-century. Royal Arms: over chancel arch, carved on
15th-century masonry shield, 1816–37. Screen: under chancel
arch, in five bays, the upper part modern, lower part with
15th-century traceried and embattled panels having cusped
roundels; heavily restored by A.W. Blomfield in 1877 (C.U.L.,
Ely Faculty Reg.). The blocked fixings for the rood-beam
survive on the N. and S. arcade responds. Sedilia: in chancel
within embrasure of first window on S., the low sill forming a
long seat. Weathercock: gilded, probably 18th-century.
b(2) Methodist Chapel, with white brick front wall and
clunch side walls, and slated hipped roof, was built in 1835 on a
rectangular plan with a three-bay front having central door and
side windows, now altered to have rounded heads. It was
extended on the E. and S., and heightened, in the present
b(3) Graveyard, of Congregational church, contains a
number of memorials, the earliest dated '1773'. The former
church, built in 1797, was totally rebuilt in 1866.
b(4) Baptist Chapel, with white brick front wall and clunch
side and back walls, and slated hipped roof, is said to have
been built after 1842 but before 1849 when William Pratt who
laid the foundation stone died. In the middle of the century a
school room was added at the rear. The main front is in three
bays with two tiers of identical windows and a central doorway, all with segmental heads. Original box pews remained
Fig. 31 Burwell (5), Elevations of House
Fig. 32 Burwell (5), Elevations and Section of House
b(5) House (Figs. 31, 32, 33), of two storeys, cellar and
attics, clunch walls with some later brick, limestone
plinth-weathering, tiled roof with gable parapets, is
probably early to mid 14th-century in origin. Direct
documentary references to the site or its buildings have
not been found, but the surviving range can be identified
as lodgings probably forming part of a large domestic
group which stood to the N. and E. The range included
three ground-floor and three first-floor apartments,
each provided with a garderobe; the two N. rooms had
fireplaces. The S. ground-floor room, and possibly that
above it, appears to have had a different use from the
others. Accommodation extended to the attics which
had dormer windows.
In the 18th century, buttresses were removed from the
main, or W., elevation, and the building generally
received new windows and dormers; inside, the N.
ground-floor room was panelled. The central and S.
chimney stacks in their present form are 18th-century
as is an extension to the garderobe turret. The modern
conversion of the house into two dwellings resulted
in the addition of new doorways and internal partitions.
During the 18th and 19th centuries the house was known
as 'The Old Manor House', or 'Isaacson's' during its
ownership by the family of that name.
Fig. 33 Burwell (5), Plan of House
The main elevation (Fig. 32) on the W. was originally in
four bays, the three northern being defined by buttresses now
removed; the S. corner was apparently not buttressed. The
lower part of the N. buttress survives; its chamfered plinth
with limestone weathering continues as a wall-plinth except
for breaks at door-openings and patchings in the positions of
the other three former buttresses. The scars of the buttresses
stop short of the wall-head which is finished with a chamfered
clunch cornice. In each of the three N. bays are remains of
upper and lower blocked window openings indicated by
clunch quoins, sills and horizontal heads; later sash windows
have damaged these features in varying degrees but parts of
the upper and lower windows in the third bay remain inside.
In the S. bay, an original window and doorway are traceable
internally, the latter having a depressed two-centred rear-arch.
Against the N. gable, a wide chimney stack rises in weathered
stages; the upper part, in brick, is 18th-century. On the E. of the
stack, and partly overlapping it, is a two-storey garderobe
turret (Plate 73) with a small rectangular window opening
facing E. on each floor. The E. elevation is in four bays with a
projecting two-storey garderobe turret in the centre (Fig. 33).
E. of the turret is a lower extension in clunch of the 18th
century, formerly of one storey, since heightened. The wall,
except for the S. bay, has a chamfered plinth and chamfered
cornice which extend round the garderobe turret. A two-stage
weathered buttress is lateral with the N. gable. In each bay,
except the S. which is without old openings, is a rectangular
blocked window originally of four lights on each floor; the
trefoil heads with sunk spandrels in two upper windows alone
remain. Surviving features suggest the lower windows had
internal hinged shutters; the upper windows had double sliding
shutters on either side of the thicker central mullion (Fig. 34).
Between the N. and second bay are two ground-floor doorways;
the N. now with rectangular head doubtless originally matched
the S. doorway which has a two-centred head. Above, are two
blocked doorways with stop-chamfered jambs, flat ogee heads
and horizontal inner lintels; at threshold-level is a rough projecting block, probably a broken-off corbel for a timber staging
with stairway serving the upper rooms. In the third bay from
the N. is a doorway with a depressed two-centred rear-arch. In
the S. bay at first-floor level is a small clunch corbel, possibly
carved as a head; it is perhaps associated with a former,
and probably earlier, timber structure standing at right angles
to the range. Reddened clunch in the S. bay suggests that
this timber structure was destroyed by fire. The two-storey
garderobe turret originally contained four compartments
each with a small rectangular window, the lower ones facing
N. and S. and the upper facing E.
Fig. 34 Burwell (5), Details of upper window
The S. gable (Plate 73), without buttresses, has ground- and
first-floor rectangular windows of the 14th century; the lower
has two lights with trefoil heads and sunk spandrels; the upper
is wider and blocked, and perhaps originally of four lights.
In the apex is a quatrefoil with sunk spandrels. The chimney
stack of the 18th century is internal and blocks the upper
Inside, the range consists of three rooms in line, but the cross
walls do not correspond with the buttresses. The large two-sided stack between the second and third rooms is not medieval
in its present form. The N. room, which originally included
the adjacent passage, has a large stop-chamfered axial beam
whose S. end rests on a stone corbel set in the S. wall of the
passage; the mid 18th-century panelling of the N. room is in
two heights with moulded cornice and eared fireplace-architrave. A doorway with two-centred head and pointedsegmental rear-arch leading to the garderobe is concealed by
panelling. The second room from the N. has a cased axial
beam; the third room has a largely-hidden cross beam, possibly over a former partition, and axial beams at a higher level.
The E. garderobe turret lacks its dividing wall but the pointedsegmental rear-arch to the lower S. compartment, and a flat
ogee-headed doorway to the upper N. compartment, remain.
The turret now houses a plain 18th-century stair. On the first
floor, the N. room (Plate 74) has an original fireplace with
rectangular opening, projecting jambs and unplastered relieving arch below a shallow hood with moulded string; the
garderobe doorway in the N. room has chamfered clunch
jambs, flat ogee head, door-rebate on the garderobe side and
hinge pins. The room at the S. end has 18th-century moulded
cornices. The three lodgings have attics with floors, apparently
original. The roof, consisting of coupled rafters with collars
placed near the ridge, is probably 14th-century (Plate 74); on
the E. and W. some rafters have original horizontal trimmers
for dormers which rose off the wall-face.
b(6) Manor House, of two storeys, attics and cellar, timber-framed, cased in modern brick, with tiled gabled roof, has a
Class-I origin of the first half of the 17th century. The central
stack has been rebuilt to provide a cross passage between two
fireplaces. Inside, one room has an ovolo-moulded cross beam
with wave-stops, the other a cased axial beam; on the first
floor are intersecting chamfered ceiling beams. High-quality
importations include two pine fireplace surrounds from
Chester Square, London, and softwood panelling in two heights
from Arlington Street, Piccadilly, London, all of the 18th
century, and scenic wallpaper, 'Vues de l' Amérique du Nord'
by Zuber, first issued c. 1834.
Outbuildings include a Pigeon house, of clunch, late 18th- or
early 19th-century; an aisled Barn of four bays, with clunch
walls and thatched gabled roof, has building-date inscribed on
stone panel, '1.1 1751'; a 12-bay Granary, of two storeys
and attics, clunch walls and thatched gabled roof with braced
tie beams, integral with a Malt-kiln which has a tiled roof,
b(7) House, Class I, of two storeys and cellar, timber-framed
cased in brick, tiled roof, was built c. 1700; an addition of one
storey and attics, with clunch walls and tiled roof, producing
a Class-G plan, is 18th-century. Also 18th-century is a twostorey single-room extension at the side. Inside, 18th-century
fittings include moulded wooden cornices, and eared architraves to fireplaces which are flanked by cupboards.
b(8) House, Class T, of one storey, attics and cellar, clunch
walls with brick dentil eaves course, tiled roof with gable
parapets, is mid 18th-century. The central of three hipped
dormers lights the stairwell. Inside, 18th-century fittings
include moulded wooden cornices, round-backed cupboard
with semicircular head, key-block and shaped shelves flanking the fireplace, and fielded-panelled doors; a fireplace of
c. 1800 with reeded half-columns is reset. (Plate 112).
b(9) House, Class G or J, of one storey and attics, timber-framed partly replaced by clunch and brick, and gabled roof,
is 17th-century. The end containing the parlour is canted to
the street but is contemporary with the other two rooms.
Inside, the centre room has two parallel ceiling beams.
17th-century tie beams, over the main room-division and
enclosing the chimney-stack, remain.
b(10) House, of one storey and attics, has a clunch rubble S.
gable wall with a blocked two-light window with chamfered reveals and mullion of the 17th century. The remainder
of the house was probably timber-framed, but is now largely
of brick, and incorporates, in a partition wall parallel to the
gable wall, a cambered tie beam with slots for braces to former
posts. A stop-chamfered axial beam is in an unexplained position in the centre of the range. By the 19th century the building
had become a pair of Class-S dwellings with end chimneys.
b(11) Terrace, of one storey and attics, clunch walls,
thatched roofs, consisted of four Class-S dwellings of the early
19th century; conversion to two tenements necessitated the
blocking of two entrances.
b(12) House, of one storey and attics, clunch walls, gabled
roof with parapets formerly thatched, originated as a Class-G
or J dwelling of the 17th century; in the 19th century the E.
end room, perhaps the parlour, was rebuilt as part of a cross
wing parallel to the street. Inside, the two early rooms each
have two parallel axial beams; the W. end room has a large
stack in the gable, presumably original; the centre room
has 18th-century wooden eared fireplace surround. The
later range, perhaps 1830–40, has sash windows and mouldedstone door surround.
b(13) Vicarage, Class U with later wing, of two storeys,
white brick and slated roof, was built in 1826 at a cost of
£1350 (Cooper, Annals, V, 551); the main part of the house
has a hipped roof, the rest gabled. In 1868–9 part was 'substantially rebuilt' (C.U.L., Registrar's terriers, H/17); this
refers to the refitting of the earlier house and the addition of
the service wing. Inside, an early 19th-century fireplace with
angle-roundels and a ceiling cornice survive. In grounds are
fragments of carved medieval masonry and tracery.
b(14) Pembroke Farm consists of a Class-U house of two
storeys, with clunch walls, white brick dressings, slated hipped
roof, and a group of Outbuildings of similar date and materials.
The farm was rebuilt between 1844 and 1853 (Pembroke
College Archives C/14, C/16), except for the chaff-house. It
represents the medieval manor of Castle St. Martin.
b(15) House, Class G, of one storey and attics, timber-framed partly cased in brick, pantiled gabled roof, is late 18thor early 19th-century. Inside, the rooms flanking the stack have
axial beams; the narrow service end now houses a stair.
b(16) House, of two storeys, clunch walls, tiled roof, is a
17th-century remnant of a larger building which ran E. and W.
The stack on the gable wall, perhaps originally internal, of
red and yellow brick on a clunch base, has grouped diagonal
shafts with facets between. The roof has been raised to two
full storeys. Inside, an axial beam is cyma-moulded.
b(17) House, Class J, of two storeys, timber-framed, tiled
gabled roof, is late 18th-century. (Access refused)
b(18) Houses, three, of clunch with gabled roof formerly
thatched, are contrived within an early 19th-century barn, the
narrow wind-eyes of which survive in the gables.
b(19) House, of one storey and attics, clunch walls, pantiled
roof, has a Class-G or J origin of the 16th century; the end
room, furthest from the stack, has been replaced by a modern
cross wing. The early house has a small hipped-roofed service
room and a central room with stop-chamfered axial beam and
a reset cambered and embattled bressummer, the centre
ornamented with conventional foliage (Plate 87).
b(20) House, of one storey and attics, timber-framed with
pantiled gabled roof, is a fragment of a 17th-century structure.
The W. gable has a first-floor jetty with exposed joists carried
on curved end-brackets; the gable rises off shortened corner
posts supporting a reset wall plate about 6 ins. above the jetty.
A rebuilding of the roof at a lower level is implied.
b(21) House, of two storeys, clunch walls and pantiled roof,
probably originated as a Class-J house of the 17th century.
Inside, the rooms flanking the stack have ovolo-moulded or
chamfered axial beams. (Access refused)
b(22) House (Plate 113), Class U, of two storeys and former
cellar, clunch walls faced with white brick, and slated hipped
roof, was built in 1830 for £200 by Stephen Gardiner,
builder. The four-bay front has sash windows. Inside, the main
room has round-headed alcoves flanking the fireplace. Pigeon
house, with clunch walls, tiled roof and gablets, is early 19th-century. The nesting boxes, originally amounting to about 690,
are constructed of clunch slabs with rubble divisions (Plate 115).
b(23) House, of one storey, attics and cellar, clunch walls
with pantiled gabled roof originated as a three-cell dwelling
in the 17th century; in the late 18th century the room nearest
the road was replaced by a cross wing. Inside, the end fireplace
of the earlier range has a roll-moulded bressummer, shortened
and reused. The later cross wing, originally with a stair and
two rooms, is now undivided on the ground floor.
b(24) House, of two storeys, timber-framed and clunch
walls, with slated gabled roofs, is 17th-century. The T-shaped
plan contains three rooms each apparently of varying dates.
Inside, the N. front room, incorporating the hall and stairway,
has intersecting stop-chamfered ceiling beams and chamfered
joists; in the rear wall is a semicircular-backed fireplace. The
S. room is wider than the N. room, has thicker walls, and is
later; 18th-century fittings include a corner fireplace and
corresponding corner cupboard with shaped shelves. The rear
room has two parallel cyma-moulded beams and is probably
b(25) Five Bells (Plate 112), inn, of two storeys and attics,
red brick with tiled roofs and gable parapets, sash windows,
was built in the mid 18th century as a Class-T structure; early
in the 19th century a single-storey assembly room in white
brick, with slated hipped roof and large sash window, was
added on the N. Later widening has led to the rear wall
of the house being removed. The window sills of the threebay front have been lowered. Inside, a ground-floor room
has, adjacent to the fireplace, an 18th-century cupboard
with round head, curved back and shaped shelves. The original
staircase has closed string and turned balusters; at attic level
the balustrade consists of wave-moulded splat balusters.
b(26) House, Class T with rear wing, of two storeys, attics
and cellars, clunch side and rear walls, dark red brick front
wall with brighter quoins, tiled roof with gable parapets, was
built in the first half of the 18th century. The three-bay front
has a first-floor platband stopping short of the angle, eaves
course laid diagonally, and two hipped-roofed dormers. On
the S. gable are wall-anchors in the form of letters S and G.
The wide rear wing of one storey and attics is flush with the
N. gable and has an original axial partition. Inside, the S. room
has 18th-century semicircular recesses flanking the fireplace,
and a wooden cornice. The staircase, oddly placed in the rear
wing, is approached from the N. room through a fielded-panelled door with semicircular fanlight. The main room in
the rear wing has an axial stop-chamfered beam and a corner
cupboard and a round-headed recess, all of the 18th century.
b(27) White Horse, inn, of two storeys, clunch and white
brick walls, with slated roof, has been much altered. It possibly originated as a Class-T structure of the 18th century
although an ovolo-moulded cross beam of the 17th century
exists in one room. In c. 1830 the building was widened
towards the street by the addition of a three-bay range in
white brick with a parapet; the central double doors are set in
a frame beneath an elliptical head; soon afterwards the inn was
extended at one side in the same style to provide a first-floor
b(28) House, of one storey and attics, clunch walls and
pantiled gabled roofs, has a non-domestic origin; it was converted into a house in the late 19th century. Interior fittings
include an 18th-century corner cupboard with fielded panels,
and two semicircular cupboards with reeded pilasters, semicircular heads with key-blocks and shaped shelves, flanking the
b(29) House, Class T with rear wing, of two storeys, attics
and cellar, white brick and clunch walls, slated gabled roof, is
late 18th-century; on the W. are a number of 19th-century
additions including a widening of the S. room. The three-bay
front has sash windows, those flanking the central door being
wider with side-sashes. Inside, is a plain 19th-century stair.
b(30) House, of one storey and attics, rendered clunch walls,
with pantiled gabled and hipped roof, is a structure of Class-J
plan standing at right angles to the street, perhaps 18th-century;
later in the same century a room was added on the N. Of the
earlier house only the central room has a datable feature: an
axial beam with ovolo- and cyma-moulding having stops at
the S. end. The added room has 18th-century overmantel and
b(31) Ramsey Manor (Plate 112), Class T, of two storeys and
attics, brown brick front wall, clunch gable walls, timber-framed rear wall where external, with tiled roofs and gable
parapets, is mid 18th-century. The rear wall may be a survival
of an earlier building. The modern rear wing is a replacement.
The five-bay front has sash windows with segmental heads,
hipped dormers with leaded-paned casements and central
doorway with fluted pilasters, entablature and pediment. Inside, the contemporary staircase (Plate 96) with cut string,
carved scroll brackets to risers, turned newels, balusters with
square knot, and moulded handrail, rises to the first floor; it
continues to the attics with a closed string. The N. room has
plain ovolo-moulded panelling in two heights with chair-rail
and moulded cornice; the fireplace with eared architrave and
scroll-bracketed shelf is flanked by semicircular recesses with
arched heads and shaped shelves. The S. room has a fireplace
with eared architrave. On the first floor is an 18th-century
fireplace with delft tiles and tall iron surround to the grate.
b(32) House, of one storey and attics, probably clunch
heavily-rendered, pantiled roof with one gable parapet, has
the end room with chimney stack in the gable, possibly of
the 17th century. After alterations in the 19th century it now
approximates to Class J.
b(33) House, Class T, of two storeys, white brick walls,
slated gabled roofs, was built c. 1830 and enlarged c. 1840. It
was probably the manse for the nearby Congregational church.
The heavily-moulded door-case has angle-roundels and the
windows have bold wooden surrounds.
b(34) House, of two storeys and cellar, white brick and
clunch walls with slated hipped roofs, is early 19th-century and
approximates to Class T with a rear wing which is canted at
an angle. The shop front, in the rear wing, has a reeded
architrave and angle-roundels.
b(35) House, of two storeys, clunch walls and pantiled
gabled roof, is early 19th-century. It consists of two ground-floor rooms, arranged in depth and separated by a stair. The
gable end is to the street.
b(36) The Crown, inn, of two storeys, clunch walls with
brick dentil eaves course, pantiled gabled roof and sash windows, was built after 1842; it originally had a three-room plan
but one partition has been removed.
Fig. 35 Burwell (40), Plan of House and West Barn
b(37) House, of one storey and attics, clunch walls, pantiled
gabled roofs, is perhaps late 18th-century. It may have originated as a Class-G house, but was later converted to three
b(38) House, Class T with rear kitchen wing, of two storeys,
white brick walls, slated gabled roof and sash windows, was
built c. 1830.
b(39) Hall Farm, of two storeys, with clunch and timber-framed walls and thatched gabled roofs, includes a medieval
fragment of a large house of which the S. cross-wing is the
N. range of the present building. In the 16th century a large
external chimney stack was added on the S. of the cross wing;
the present S. range was added at right angles, probably in the
17th century; it was reduced in height and the E. wall rebuilt
in clunch in the 19th century, but it is now two-storey. The
frame of the N. range consists of substantial timbers arranged
in large squares; braces are lap-jointed to wall plates which
have splayed scarf joints. The ceiling beams have constructional features suggesting re-use.
The house stands in the E. enclosure of a Moat (Class A2(a)).
The site originally consisted of two rectangular islands, each
surrounded by wet ditches up to 40 ft. wide. The W. enclosure
remains largely intact. The ditch on the E. side of the E.
enclosure has been almost totally destroyed; two later
rectangular fishponds have been constructed in the S. side near
the S.E. corner. Both interiors are flat, and level with the
b(40) Parsonage Farm (Fig. 35; Plate 108), consists of house
of c. 1600, late medieval barn adjoining on the W., and range
of outbuildings of the 16th century. Non-domestic buildings
in the group indicate an industrial activity of some importance particularly during the 16th century. For Basin and Canal
associated with the site, see (137).
The House, of two storeys partly with attics, clunch walls
and tiled gabled roofs, incorporates at the W. end the gable of
a pre-existing barn and some thick walls at the E. end, which
are presumably medieval but are beyond interpretation. The
plan of c. 1600 approximates to Class J but the slight difference
of alignment in the E. room may be due to the presence of an
earlier building at that end; also of c. 1600 is a projecting stair
turret incorporating a porch. In the mid 17th century a compartment, apparently a small 'hall' with an upper storey, was
added on the N. between the stair turret and the thick medieval
walls on the E.; by adding a N.-S. wall between these parallel
early walls, service rooms were provided for the new 'hall'.
Extensive refitting took place in the late 18th and early 19th
centuries, when sash windows were inserted in the main rooms
on the S., and a tunnel was cut through the chimney stack
to give access from a new S. door.
The S. elevation comprises a straight front with, at the E.
end, two tall parapeted gables with kneelers, rising off the wall
face; these gables take two parallel cross-roofs over the E. part
of the range. In each gable is an attic window with clunch
jambs and modern wood mullions; the remaining openings
are 18th- or 19th-century. The E. elevation is largely masked
by single-storey projections with lean-to roofs, the larger, in
the centre, having thick clunch side-walls; in the S. side-wall
is one splay of a pointed-headed window. Above this central
projection the wall is plastered, whereas the area on the S. is
clunch rubble, perhaps indicating that the early side-walls of
the projection reached a higher level when incorporated in
the 17th-century house. Only the unplastered clunch walls
contain early openings; the upper and lower two-light windows have clunch jambs and mullions. The single-storey N.
section has a thick wall, probably medieval, containing a
doorway with four-centred head of uncertain date. The N.
elevation has a number of projections, the largest being the
stair turret of c. 1600, having staggered two-light windows
with clunch jambs and mullions; the gable of the turret is
wider than the stair-well and encroaches on the roof of the
main range. On the first floor of the main range is a 17th-century three-light window with clunch jambs and mullions.
Fig. 36 Burwell (40), Sections of West Barn
Inside, the W. room of the main range has a wide fireplace
with stop-chamfered bressummer built against the gable wall
of the late medieval barn; the middle room has a contemporary
passage along its N. side and an eccentrically-placed axial
beam. The E. doorway to the stair turret, originally external,
has a four-centred plastered head; the stairs have been rearranged around the original framework. The S.E. room has a
doorway with a plastered four-centred head. In the small
17th-century 'hall' the screen to the passage is timber-framed
in two heights, the upper containing turned balusters; at the
S. end the original door is blocked and the area above it filled
in. The cross beam is stop-chamfered. Upstairs, each room has
one cross and two axial beams.
The Barn (Fig. 36), of which much of the upper part and the
W. wall collapsed in 1955, is of two storeys with clunch walls.
The ground-floor walls are 6 ins. thicker than the upper and
are medieval; the upper walls, floor beams and roof are perhaps early 16th-century. The former W. wall was probably a
17th-century replacement. The 16th-century alteration, incorporating high-standard carpentry, was perhaps to provide
a warehouse for merchandise of special quality. One of two
original ground-floor openings with internal splays is obscured
by a later wall post; the remaining ground-floor openings are
later. On the first floor, on the N., are four 16th-century
three-light windows with wooden diamond mullions, and a
blocked doorway; on the S. are two similar windows. An
upper doorway with chamfered clunch jambs and square head
is recorded in the W. wall. Inside, chamfered wall posts carrying chamfered cross beams rest on a projecting clunch plinth;
chamfered arch braces continue as fillets on the soffit of the
beam and on the face of the wall posts which have enlarged
heads. The roof consisted of tie beams, short wall posts and
arch braces, crown posts, collar purlins with arch braces to the
crown posts, and collared rafters.
Fig. 37 Burwell (40)
Elevation of western section of Outbuildings
Range of Outbuildings (Figs. 37, 38; Plate 80), to E. of house,
form a continuous row in three sections, the end sections being
of the early 16th century and the centre of the late 18th century.
The earlier sections originally had jettied first floors on the N.,
but the eastern is now of one storey. The ground-floor S.
wall of the row, in clunch rubble with a straight joint between
middle and E. sections, is perhaps an earlier boundary wall; it
has no original openings. The W. section has a timber-framed
N. front with later brick nogging. It has a low, narrow, two-centred doorway, and two other similar doorways are inferred;
a number of three-light windows with diamond mullions with
shutter-grooves remain or are inferred. The first floor, which
has a moulded jetty bressummer and brackets, has, or had, an
almost continuous row of three-light windows without
shutters. On the S., the first-floor windows, likewise continuous, were of three or four lights, but many are now
blocked. Inside, original partitions divide the ground floor into
three compartments each with an axial beam resting on
chamfered posts with enlarged heads and clunch footings.
Three tie beams with arch braces and enlarged-headed posts,
do not align with the main ground-floor cross beams; the
roof is modern but central mortices in the tie beams imply
crown posts. The W. wall, originally timber-framed, is
brick-faced; the E. wall is clunch and contemporary with the
The central section, of one storey and clunch walls, has a late
18th-century roof with cross beams and arch braces to short
wall posts. The E. section is now of one storey but the jetty,
with brackets, of the former upper floor remains. On the N.
a wide four-centred doorway survives at the E. end and a
similar doorway is implied at the W. end; originally there were
no window openings on the ground floor. The timber-framed
W. wall is original. Inside, three cross beams, morticed for
partitions, indicate two narrow end bays, aligned with the
doorways, and two unequal central compartments; there is an
A high-quality industrial use such as weaving may be conjectured for the well-lit upper floor of the W. section; on the
ground floor were possibly offices; the E. section, with its
wider doorways, may have been for storage. The original
position of the stairs is uncertain.
Fig. 38 Burwell (40), Plan of Outbuildings
b(41) Tunbridge Farm, of two storeys, consists of a clunchbuilt range of the early 17th century and a brick range at right
angles, possibly of the late 17th century; the latter was
heightened in the 19th century. The roofs, much renewed,
have parapeted gables. The clunch range on the N. is probably
the cross wing of a larger house; the brick S. range may be a
replacement of a former building containing the hall. It is the
manor house of the manor of St. Omers (Camb. Chron. 27 Sep.
The N. range has on the E., N., and W., clunch ovolo-moulded mullioned and transomed windows of two, three or
four lights, on both floors; some are blocked, others have later
casements inserted. On the S., and within the S. range, is a
large chimney stack. The long S. range has a first-floor platband on the E. but all openings have later fittings. In the angle
of the two ranges is a timber-framed and plastered stair turret
possibly of the 17th century. Inside, the N. range has intersecting chamfered beams with wave-stops. Originally undivided,
it was probably the parlour. The 16th-century clunch fireplace
has moulded jambs, urn stops, square outer and 'Tudor' inner
head, reset beneath a timber bressummer. The S. range may
have contained a cross passage with butteries beyond.
The house stands near the E. side of a small square Moat
(Class AI(a)) with sides 130 ft. long. This has been almost completely destroyed except in the N.W. corner where the ditch
remains, 35 ft. wide and 4 ft. deep. Elsewhere only a shallow
depression indicates the original outline.
b(42) House, of two storeys and attics, timber-framed with
pantiled gabled roof, is 17th-century, extensively refitted in
the 18th century. It has an L-shaped plan with a flush gable on
the long E. side. The internal stack has square base and two
diagonal shafts, probably rebuilt; the rear wing, containing
the kitchen, has a large stack at the gable end. Inside, 18th-century fittings in the two main rooms include ovolo-moulded
panelling in two heights with chair-rail and cornice returned
along the axial beam, eared panel over fireplace with landscape
painting, and a corner cupboard in two heights.
b(43) House, Class T, of two storeys, clunch walls, white
brick front, slated hipped roof, and sash windows, is early
19th-century. The chimneys are on the back wall against which
is a contemporary outshut.
b(44) King William iv, Class T, of two storeys, clunch
walls, white brick front, and slated hipped roof, was built
c. 1830 as an inn. The central entrance has recessed round-headed doorway with fanlight. At the rear is a contemporary
continuous two-storey outshut.
b(45) House, Class I, of two storeys, white brick walls,
partly clunch rear wall, slated roof with gable parapets and
sash windows, is early 19th-century.
b(46) Terrace, of two storeys, clunch walls, white brick
front, slated hipped roof, was built after 1842. It consists of
three dwellings each with two ground-floor rooms arranged in
b(47) House, Class T with outshut, both of two storeys,
clunch walls, white brick front, slated gabled roof, was built
after 1842. The three-bay front has sash windows. The
chimneys are on the end walls and the eaves have shaped
brackets in pairs. Later in the century, the service rooms at
the rear were extended. Inside, two original fireplaces have
Fig. 39 Burwell (48, 49), Plans of Houses
b(48) House, of two storeys, clunch walls with pantiled
gabled roof, was built after 1842. It was extended to the N.
from the former service end later in the century. (Fig. 39;
b(49) House, similar to (48) but slightly later. Inside are
two reused doors with fielded panelling (Fig. 39; Plate 110).
b(50) House, of two storeys, clunch walls, white brick
front, and gabled roof with semi-octagonal slates, was built
after 1842. The plan is L-shaped. The three-bay front has sash
windows and a recess with elliptical head enclosing the central
bay on both floors (see House (65)).
b(51) Panel from former school, reset in boundary wall of
village college, inscribed 'British School 1846'.
b(52) Lock-up, now fire-engine house, of white brick with
dentil eaves course, tiled hipped roof, is early 19th-century. It
originally consisted of two cells entered by separate doors;
over each was a shallow grille of closely-spaced diamond
b(53) House, Class T, of two storeys, rendered clunch walls
on brick plinth, slated gabled roof and sash windows, is early
19th-century. Outbuildings in clunch are associated with a
b(54) House, of one storey and attics, timber-framed with
thatched roof, was built in the early 17th century to a Class-I
plan; in the 18th century an addition with cellar, clunch gable
wall, brick platband and tiled roof was built on the S. Inside,
the early house has ovolo-moulded and stopped axial beams
and chamfered joists with jewel and hollow stops; the N. end
room has a stone fireplace with moulded four-centred head
and chamfered jambs of the early 17th century, and reused
18th-century panelling of plain character, apparently made
from church pews. The 18th-century addition consists of a
room of semi-octagonal shape, possibly a parlour of the
former White Hart Inn which survived until 1827.
b(55) House, Class T, of one storey and attics, walls of
carefully-cut clunch blocks, red brick dressings, thatched
parapeted-gabled roofs with eaves-level platband, is 18th-century.
b(56) House, of one storey and attics, clunch walls, pantiled
gabled roof may be a Class-J house of the early 19th century.
Two wall-anchors are in the form of letters S and P.
b(57) House, Class I, of one storey and attics, timber-framed, brick-cased, with thatched gabled roof, is early 17th-century; an extension containing the kitchen on the W. is
slightly later. The internal stack has square base and two
diagonal shafts. Inside, the room W. of the stack has double
roll-moulded axial beam. The E. room has 18th-century
fielded panelling, chair-rail and eared surround to fireplace.
A loft over the kitchen was reached by a ladder, hooks for
b(58) House, of one storey and attics, clunch walls with
thatched gabled roofs, originated as a pair of Class-S dwellings
in the early 19th century. They are now unified, but inside,
the two stairs against the gable walls survive from the time
of its dual occupation. A single entrance replaces the former
doorways, now blocked.
b(59) House, of one storey and attics, is timber-framed with
clunch gable walls and gabled roof. It probably originated as
a Class-S dwelling of the late 18th century, later to be enlarged
to Class T. In the 19th century it was sub-divided to form two
b(60) Fox, inn, one storey and attics, clunch replacing timber
frame, tiled gabled roof, is early 17th-century but only two
rooms of this date survive; the house was extended on the
W. in the 18th century, but this addition was largely rebuilt
c. 1850. Inside, each room has axial beams with double ovolo
mouldings, one with urn stops. On the first floor are 18th-century fielded-panelled doors and a short length of turned
balusters and a rail. The Fox is recorded as an alehouse in 1764
(C.R.O., QS 4.7).
b(61) Terrace of six two-storeyed dwellings, with white
brick front wall, clunch side and rear walls, slated hipped
roofs, has clunch tablet on gable inscribed 'TpM 1842' for
Thomas Powell (Tithe Map). Each dwelling consists of two
ground-floor rooms arranged in depth. Original casement
b(62) House, originated as a dwelling (Class G or J) of two
storeys, with clunch walls and gabled roofs, of the early 17th
century; in c. 1820 a Class-T building with clunch and brick
walls was added across the E. end, so engulfing the former,
possibly service, compartment. Inside, the formerly central
room of the early range has double ovolo-moulded cross
beam intersecting with similarly moulded axial beams, each
having double bar-and-hollow stops. In the room beyond the
internal stack is a chamfered cross beam, adjacent to the
stack, which swells in the centre to form a shaped housing
to take an axial beam, now replaced by modern timber; the
cross beam has triple-jewel stops.
b(63) House, perhaps Class G, of one storey and attics,
timber-framed, partly replaced in white brick, pantiled gabled
roofs, is 17th-century.
b(64) House, Class J, of one storey and attics, timber-framed
mostly replaced in brick and clunch, with gabled roof, is
probably early 17th-century. Inside, each room has a stop
chamfered axial beam taking a floor about 2 ft. below the
eaves. At the ends of the centre room are closed trusses with
cambered tie beams and arch braces across which cuts the
upper floor; this floor is apparently an original feature. The
former service room, at the E. end, retains oak shelves resting
on wooden pegs in the studs.
b(65) House, with L-shaped plan, has a rear wing of one
storey and attics, and clunch walls, which is a survival of an
earlier house reported to have been damaged by fire in the
early 19th century; a clunch wall, continuing to the E. with
blocked openings, is a further relic of this structure. The
present front wing of Class-T form, of two storeys, clunch
walls with white brick facings on the E., and slated hipped
roof, was built after 1842. The three-bay E. front has sash
windows and central door with semicircular fanlight below a
blind window set in a segmentally-headed recess (see House
(50)). (Access refused)
b(66) House, of one storey and attics, with clunch walls
partly replaced and cased in brick, and thatched gabled roof,
originated as a Class-I building of the 17th century. It was
extended by two rooms on the E., also in clunch, in the 18th
century. Inside, the two axial beams flanking the chimney
stack are ovolo-moulded with jewel-and-hollow stops.
b(67) Farm Buildings, include: a three-bay Stable of one
storey and dormered attics, clunch walls with yellow and red
brick dressings, has a stone panel on the gable inscribed
'JC 1777'; a Barn, of six bays, clunch walls with brick dressings,
thatched gabled roof, has a stone panel on the gable inscribed
'1780'; flanking the E. entrance are groups of rectangular
pigeon-holes with brick alighting-ledge.
b(68) House, Class J, of two storeys with attics and cellar,
timber-framed now largely brick-cased, with metal-covered
thatched gabled roof, is 17th-century. In c. 1800 two symmetrical bay windows and a porch were added on the S. and
an entrance hall and staircase constructed on the site of the
former internal chimney stack. Further rooms were added on
the S. and W. in c. 1830. The bay windows have reeded
pilasters, fret-patterned architraves, corner-roundels and gothic
glazing bars; the porch has semicircular canopy supported on
slender clustered columns. Inside, each room has an axial
ceiling beam, but that in the E. room is at a higher level
owing to late 18th-century alterations. Above the former
service end are the enlarged heads of wall posts and a chamfered tie beam.
b(69) House, Class J, of one storey and attics, clunch walls
with tiled gabled roof, is 17th-century; at the parlour end a
room with an internal chimney was added at right angles
soon afterwards. Inside, the service end has an original axial
partition. Part of the roof, with rafters laid flat and with
collars clasping purlins, survives.
Barn, of five bays, clunch walls and pink brick dressings
and pantiled gabled roof, is early 19th-century. Reset in an
adjacent granary is a clunch block inscribed 'I C 1744 S'.
b(70) House, of two storeys and attics, clunch walls with
red brick front wall, plinths and gable apices, pantiled gabled
roof, now Class-S, was built in the early 18th century. Inside,
an axial beam is encased in boards moulded at the edges,
otherwise the internal features are 19th-century or modern.
The present entrance is an insertion. The house extended
further to the N. in 1842 (Tithe Map).
b(71) Queen's Arms, inn, Class G or J, of one storey and
semi-attics, timber-framed, pantiled gabled roof, was built in
1587 as inscribed on a beam. Although the W. room has a
higher roof and the N. exterior wall breaks forward, the house
is generally of one date; this room has an axial beam with
roll-and-hollow mouldings. The central and E. end rooms
each have two parallel axial beams moulded as that in the W.
room; the cross beam, similarly moulded and enclosing the
chimney bay, is carved 'R R 1587' (Fig. 40). The parallel beams
are encased in the E. room. The roof, and possibly the N. wall,
of the E. room and the central bay have been rebuilt at a
lower level; that over the W. room has collars which clasp
the purlins, wind-braces, and a lower collar with shaped
brackets. A closed truss, adjacent to the stack, has arch braces
and a central post rising from the cambered tie beam.
Barn, W. of house and on bank of cut, of two storeys,
clunch walls and pantiled gabled roof, is in four bays; early
Fig. 40 Burwell (71), Carved and moulded beam
b(72) Houses, a pair, of two storeys, white brick front wall
and dressings, otherwise flint, slated and gabled roof, were
built as two Class-S dwellings in the mid 19th century.
Centrally on the first floor is a blind window recess.
b(73) House, of two storeys, clunch walls and pantiled roofs
with parapeted gables, has a 17th-century origin but a slab in
the N. wall inscribed 'WRR 1831' for William Ridgell, waterman, may indicate much rebuilding at that date. The plan
approximates to Classes G or J. Inside, the room W. of the
stack has an ovolo-moulded axial beam, and fireplace with
clunch jambs with cambered timber bressummer, and above,
a moulded clunch cornice; these features are 17th-century. A
similar fireplace without the cornice survives in the centre
room, but except for a late 18th-century round-headed cupboard in the E. room all other features are c. 1831.
Barn, W. of house, with clunch walls, pantiled gabled roof,
has three bays, opposed entrances and narrow wind-eyes, and
is early 19th-century.
b(74) Burwell House, incorporates a range of two rooms
with gable-end chimneys, of white brick and clunch, dating
from c. 1822. Reset in the E. gable are two date-slabs: 'SD 1787'
and 'EBA 1822' for Edward and Ann Ball. On the S. some clunch
is bastard-tucked to imitate brick jointing.
In c. 1900 alterations included the resetting of a staircase of
c. 1822 elsewhere in the house. In garden are medieval masonry
fragments including a lion gargoyle and cinque-foiled tracery
head of a window.
b(75) House, Class G, of one storey and attics, timber-framed, thatched gabled roof now metal-covered, is 17th-century. The house was extended at the service end in the 19th
century. Inside, the axial beams are cased. In a first-floor room
is an early 18th-century cast-iron fire grate with medallions.
b(76) House, of one storey and attics, clunch walls largely
cased in red brick, tiled roof with gable parapets, is 17th-century and approximates to a Class-J plan; on the W. gable
is a platband at eaves level and wall-anchors in the form of
initials 'I' and 'P'. In the early 18th century a taller two-storey
wing with cellars and attics was added on the S.; the walls
of variegated red and yellow bricks have platbands at first-floor level and, on the S. parapeted gable, a second at eaves
level. The casing of the 17th-century range may be consequent
on the building of this wing, the roof of which extends as
far as the earlier ridge. Openings in both ranges have been
enlarged, probably in the 19th century. A late 18th-century
kitchen in clunch was added on the E. of the first range.
Inside, the early range has axial beams, those in the centre
and W. rooms, flanking the stack, having cyma-mouldings
and stops. The staircase in the early 18th-century wing has
contemporary closed string, square newel and heavy moulded
handrail but the small balusters are 19th-century.
b(77) Inn, of two storeys, clunch walls with gabled roofs
formerly pantiled, is 17th-century with a plan approximating
to Class J. In the early 19th century the room next to the
street was rebuilt as part of a cross wing which is now undivided internally but was probably of Class-T form; its roof,
which returns as a hip on the N.E., has a higher ridge than that
of the earlier range. Inside, the two rooms of the 17th century
are now united but their axial stop-chamfered beams remain.
b(78) House, Class J, of one storey and attics, timber-framed, E. gable cased in brick and parapeted, is early 17th-century. Inside, each room has an axial beam, that in the
centre room having double ovolo mouldings and leaf stops
on the E. and jewelled stops on the W.
Barn, to N. of house, of clunch, originally in five bays, now
re-roofed, with opposed entrances and narrow wind-eyes, is
b(79) House, of two storeys, white brick with slated hipped
roof, is a mid 19th-century variant of Class T in that the
chimneys are on the rear walls.
b(80) House, now Class I, of one storey and attics, red brick
walls and pantiled roof with gable parapets, was built in the
18th century. It was originally associated with water-borne
trade and stands immediately N. of a basin. In 1842 it formed
part of a coal wharf operated by Edward Ball and Richard
Bailey. The central stack and most windows are 19th-century;
earlier openings which include a tall opening in the E. gable
have dark red brick dressings. On each gable is a platband.
b(81) House, Class G or J, of one storey and attics, brick
walls, tiled mansard roof with parapeted gables, was built in
the second half of the 18th century. The S. wall was rebuilt
later in the 18th century when the house was converted for
dual occupation; two staircases flanking the stack date from
this alteration. (Access refused)
b(82) Terrace of four tenements, of two storeys, clunch with
white brick front wall, slated gabled roof, was built after 1842.
The W. gable is symmetrically designed in three bays with
central door, unrelated to the planning of the terrace.
b(83) House, originally of one storey and attics, now of two
storeys, timber-framed with modern roof, is 17th-century and
approximates to a Class-J plan. In the 18th century, a wing was
added at right angles and parallel to the street; it incorporates
the end room of the earlier house. This wing has a Class-T
plan, is of brick except for the timber-framed rear wall, and is
now of two storeys. On the S. a brick platband is at the level
of the former eaves. Inside, an 18th-century chamfered beam
survives in the N. room of the E. wing.
b(84) House, of one storey and attics, timber-framed and
clunch, with tiled gabled roof, is 17th-century with a plan
approximating to Class J. On the S. gable is a panel inscribed
'1776'; at this date the end room next to the street was rebuilt
as part of a two-room cross wing consisting of two storeys
and attics, slated gabled roof with walls of brick and clunch;
each gable is parapeted and incorporates a chimney stack.
On the ground floor is a reused 19th-century shop front. Inside,
the early building as a cyma-moulded axial beam with end
stops, and a chamfered cross beam enclosing a chimney bay.
The interior of the later wing is featureless.
b(85) Barn, of clunch with white brick dressings, pantiled
gabled roof, is early 19th-century. It is in three bays with
opposed entrances, and contemporary outshut with continuous lean-to roof. The wind-eyes are either slits or diamond-shaped areas of open brickwork. The roof has straight-braced
tie beams, wall-posts bolted to the wall, and seven collars and
principal rafters unrelated to the tie beams. Reset in a 19th-century granary is a clunch panel inscribed 'WSM 1780', the M
having been altered from an A at an early date.
b(86) House (Fig. 41), Class T, of one storey and attics, with
clunch walls and brick dressings, and dentilled eaves course,
is early 18th-century. Inside, contemporary wave-profile splat
uprights form a grille above a cupboard.
b(87) House (Fig. 41), of one storey and attics, with clunch
walls and pantiled gabled roof, is early 18th-century but
slightly later than (86). It approximates to Class S but has on
the W. a slightly off-centre stair turret with gabled roof; it
is a marginally later addition. Inside, the beams are axial, that
on the N. being chamfered. The stair turret has a moulded
plaster cornice, and houses a contemporary stair with closed
string and turned balusters, in two flights; it is approached
through a round-headed opening with panelled pilasters. In a
first-floor room a miniature stone fireplace surround with
eared architrave and bracket-moulded key-block is early
Fig. 41 Burwell (86, 87), Plans of Houses
b(88) Pigeon house, has clunch walls, brick dentil eaves
course, and is perhaps 18th-century. It was converted to a
two-storey dwelling before 1842, and later extended. One
b(89) House, of two storeys, white brick with hipped roof,
is mid 19th-century. It has a three-bay elevation with sash
windows, central door with circular head and blind window-recess above, and a central stack. The house may have been
built as public rooms of an inn replacing an earlier timber-framed structure of one storey with attic, parts of which
survive to the W.
b(90) House, Class J, of one storey and attics, timber-framed
and later brick gable wall, is 17th-century; on the W. is a
later single-storey addition. Inside, the E. room, next to the
street, has a stop-chamfered axial beam.
b(91) House, Class G, of one storey and attics, timber-framed partly brick-cased, with pantiled gabled roof, is 17th-century. Inside, each room has axial beams, that in the centre
room having double stops. The stair is in an early, if not
original, position in a corner of the centre room opposite the
b(92) House, Class T, of two storeys and attics, clunch side
walls and yellow brick gable walls, slated roof with parapeted
gables, was built in the first half of the 18th century. The
house, which is placed at right angles to the road, has red brick
platbands at first-floor level and eaves level on both the side
and gable walls, stopping short of the corners. The sash
windows have red brick dressings. Inside, the axial beams are
cased; both fireplace positions appear original, including one
in the S.E. corner. The stair retains some 18th-century waveprofile splat balusters. A later, possibly early 19th-century,
extension to the house on the W. has clunch walls with pantiled roof, and has axial beam with run-out stops.
b(93) House, Class I, of two storeys, timber-framed, with
pantiled gabled roof, is 17th-century. External plaster retains
some chevron ornament and was said to be formerly inscribed
'1786'. Inside, the lower rooms have axial ovolo-moulded
and stopped beams.
b(94) House, Class J, of one storey and attics, timber-framed
with gabled roof, is probably early 19th-century. It is a late
example of a traditional arrangement of rooms with the
parlour next to the street, but it has been much altered.
b(95) House, of one storey and attics, timber-framed, with
thatched and gabled roof, has a 17th-century origin, possibly
with a Class-J plan. An extension in clunch was built on the
W. in the 18th century, probably as a separate tenement. Of
the early house only that part E. of the stack survives, and this
may have been originally sub-divided into two rooms. W. of
the stack the house has been mainly rebuilt. In the E. room are
two cross beams, one stop-chamfered, the other cased, perhaps
indicating a partition; the axial beam in the W. room is 19th-century. Later features include external scoring of plaster to
imitate ashlar and inscription 'J C 1817' within a lozenge.
b(96) House, Class T with rear wing, of two storeys, attics
and cellar, brick-faced clunch walls, tiled parapeted-gabled
roofs, is early 19th-century. The main E. front, of yellow brick
in Flemish bond, with red brick dressings, has first-floor platband in yellow stretchers and red headers. The dormers are
hipped. The gable walls have eaves-level platbands and iron
wall-ties forming the letters S and P. Inside, the staircase has
square newels and turned balusters, 18th-century. On the first
floor cupboards flanking the fireplaces have 18th-century doors
b(97) House, of one storey and attics, clunch walls, thatched
and pantiled gabled roof, is mainly early 19th-century. The
plan consists of four rooms in line with two internal chimney
stacks; the E. room, which has a chamfered axial beam, may be
an earlier survival.
b(98) House, Class J, of one storey and attics, timber-framed
with casing of brick and clunch, thatched roof with gabled
parapets, is 17th-century. In the 18th century an extension in
clunch, consisting of a room and a granary, was added on the
W. Inside, the three 17th-century rooms have axial chamfered
beams, that in the parlour having stops.
b(99) House (Fig. 42), Class J, of two storeys, timber-framed,
with gabled and thatched roof, is 17th-century. The stack is in
brick above the roof and clunch below. Inside, the axial beams
in the parlour and central room have ovolo mouldings with
jewelled and run-out stops respectively; the service end has a
chamfered axial beam with run-out stops. The stair is in its
original position in the entrance lobby but the flights have
Fig. 42 Burwell (99), Plan of House
b(100) House (Plate 105), now in dual occupation but a
single unit originally, of two storeys with attics, timber-framed and plastered, partly rebuilt in clunch, with gabled
pantiled roofs, is early 17th-century. It consists of two ranges
at right angles, that parallel to the street probably being the
hall range; a further range may have existed on the S. The
suggested hall range incorporates early 17th-century timber-framing but other features, including the white brick chimney
stack, are 19th-century. The cross wing on the N., originally of
two rooms, was later extended by a single-storey addition on
the W.; in the process the lower part of the former W. gable
wall was removed, so allowing the room to be increased
towards the W., it having been curtailed on the E. by an
inserted chimney stack. The extension included a service room
at the far end. Inside, the axial beams are stop-chamfered.
b(101) House, Class G or J, of one storey and attics, timber-framed partly cased in brick, with gabled roof originally
thatched, is 17th-century. In the first half of the 18th century
a room was added on the W. at the former parlour end.
Inside, the original centre room and the parlour have chamfered axial beams, one with jewelled stop; the additional room
has stop-chamfered axial beam at a lower level than the earlier
Fig. 43 Burwell (102), Balusters on landing
b(102) House, Class J, of two storeys and attics, timber-framed, plastered on the long sides but with brick-cased or
weather-boarded gable walls, has a pantiled roof. It was built
in the 17th century but was considerably altered in the 18th
century when the entrance, originally opposite the stack, was
moved to serve the centre room; internally, the cross partition
dividing the service end was moved to the E. at the expense
of the centre room. Each room has chamfered axial beams,
stopped at the point of the former partition. At first-floor level
is an 18th-century landing-balustrade of wave-profile splat
balusters (Fig. 43).
b(103) Windmill, of clunch, plastered and tarred, is early
19th-century. The domed cap has a finial. The contemporary
wooden and iron machinery (Plate 117) drives three pairs of
stones on the first floor. The second floor contains bins and the
third has no fittings.
c(104) Warbraham Farm (TL 59756387), includes an aisled
Barn of three bays, timber-framed on brick and clunch plinth,
probably 18th-century. The barn is said to have been moved
from the centre of Burwell in the early 19th century.
d(105) Ness Farm (TL 60786954), Class T with outshut, of
two storeys and cellar, white brick walls with slated hipped
roof, is early 19th-century. The three-bay front has sash
windows articulated by four shallow brick pilasters with stone
capitals, the centre two linked by an arched recess springing
from plain imposts; the door has a semicircular fanlight, now
blocked. Inside, the front range and the outshut are served by
b(106), b(107) Houses, Class G, of two storeys, clunch walls
with pantiled gabled roofs, are early 19th-century. (107) was
converted to two dwellings in the 19th century and extended
at one end.
b(108), b(109), b(110) Houses, Class I, of one storey and attics,
timber-framed, have pantiled gabled roofs; (110) is mid
18th-century, (109) is late 18th-century and (108) early 19th-century. Original staircases are against the gable wall in (110)
and opposite the stack in (109).
b(111), b(112), b(113) Houses, Class S, singly or in pairs, of
timber framing or clunch, with gabled roofs, are late 18th-century or early 19th-century.
b(114), b(115), b(116), b(117) Houses, Class T, of one storey
and attics, clunch walls with gabled roofs, are late 18th- or
b(118), b(119), b(120) Houses, Class T, of two storeys, white
brick front walls with slated roofs. (118) and (120) have round-headed doorways and blind window recesses above.
Prehistoric and Roman
b(121) Probable Neolithic and early Bronze Age settlement (centred TL 570675), lies in Hallard's Fen on chalk marl
and gault clay at 5–10 ft. above O.D. Large numbers of flint
and stone implements have been found on the fenland of the
parish (Fox, A.C.R., Map I). Recent finds, whose location is
more accurately recorded, show a concentration in Hallard's
Fen indicating a settlement site. Quantities of flint cores,
waste flakes, flint axes, scrapers, burins and leaf-shaped or
barbed-and-tanged arrow-heads have been found, as well as
a number of polished stone axes. (C.M. and private owners)
(122–125) Round barrows. The sites of four barrows are
known but only one has records of excavation. There were
once a number of others on the part of Newmarket Heath
which lies within the parish, and 'several' were destroyed in
1883 (Fox, A.C.R., 326, note I). Finds are recorded from two
barrows: one (Fox, A.C.R., 326, No. 16), described as being
on 'the Exercise Ground', was destroyed in 1827, and contained a primary cremation; another (Fox, A.C.R., 326, No. 17)
described as being on Newmarket Heath, but perhaps outside
the parish, contained a cremation and a few sherds of unidentifiable type; some sherds of coarse Roman pottery, said
to be from this barrow, are in the C.M.
e(122) Barrow (TL 61226358) lies 730 yds. E. of Great
Portland Farm on chalk at 80 ft. above O.D., on almost flat
ground. Shown as a barrow on the O.S. 1-inch map of 1834,
it is now visible on air photographs as a ploughed-out ring
ditch 70 ft. in diam. (C.U.A.P.)
e(123) Barrow (TL 61166352) lies 40 yds. S.W. of (122) and
in a similar position. It is shown as a barrow on the O.S.
I-inch map of 1834 and is now visible on air photographs as a
ploughed-out ring ditch 75 ft. in diam. (C.U.A.P.)
e(124) Barrow (TL 613633) lay about 300 yds. S.E. of (122).
It is shown as a barrow on the O.S. 1-inch map of 1834 but no
e(125) Barrow (TL 60916304), known as Ninescore Hill
Barrow, lies 700 yds. S.E. of Great Portland Farm on chalk
at 90 ft. above O.D., on a slight N.E.-facing slope. Shown as
a barrow on the O.S. 1-inch map of 1834, it is now traceable
on air photographs as a ring ditch, 65 ft. in diam. It was
almost destroyed in 1885 when two primary inhumations,
perhaps associated with beakers and certainly with flint arrowheads, were discovered. A secondary inhumation, perhaps
Saxon, was also found. (Fox, A.C.R., 326, No. 15)
Since field-investigation was completed, air photography
(photographs in N.M.R.) has revealed the following ring
ditches in the parish:
d(125A) Ring ditch (TL 60116885), 200 yds. N.W. of Lark
Hall, on chalk at 50 ft. above O.D. Diam. 100 ft., ploughed
b(125B) Ring ditch (TL 59606561), 830 yds. S.E. of the
church, on chalk at 60 ft. above O.D. Diam. 80 ft., ploughed
b(125C) Ring ditch (TL 59675655), 100 yds. S.E. of above, in
a similar situation. Diam. 80 ft., ploughed out.
b(125D) Ring ditch (TL 58756539), 700 yds. S.S.W. of the
church on chalk at 50 ft. above O.D. Diam. 100 ft., ploughed
b(125E) Ring ditch (TL 58936535), 230 yds. S.E. of above in a
similar position. Diam. 90 ft., ploughed out.
b(125F) Ring ditch (TL 59376464), 200 yds. S.W. of Lower
Portland Farm, on chalk at 60 ft. above O.D. Diam. 60 ft.,
b(125G) Ring Ditch (TL 58306468), 600 yds. N.W. of Ditch
Farm on the N.E. end of a low chalk ridge at 100 ft. above
O.D. Diam. 40 ft., ploughed out.
Fig. 44 Burwell (132), Plan of Earthworks
b(126) Roman building (TL 58726605), was found under
Burwell Castle (132) during excavations there in 1935. A
building or buildings of considerable size are indicated by the
excavator's report but the remains were not investigated in
detail. A ditch, walling, cobbled floors, roof tiles, painted
wall-plaster, animal bones and much Roman pottery were
noted. (C.A.S. Procs., XXXVI (1939), 121–133)
b(127) Roman Settlement (TL 58546595), lies 250 yds.
W.S.W. of Burwell Castle, on chalk at 20 ft. above O.D.
Deep ploughing has produced large quantities of Roman
pottery, including Horningsea wares, box and roof tiles,
within an area some 50 yds. square.
b(128) Roman Settlement (TL 58066540), lies N.W. of
Crownall Farm on chalk at 45 ft. above O.D. Roman pottery
including Samian and Horningsea wares, roof tiles and fragments of a glass bowl have been found. Immediately to the
E., a number of pits containing Roman pottery have been
noted during ditch-cutting.
b(129) Probable Roman Settlement (around TL 59016651),
found during the excavation of the Saxon cemetery (131) in
1927 and 1928, is 500 yds. N. of Burwell church on chalk at
60 ft. above O.D. Below the Saxon graves was found a pit,
12 ft. deep and 22 ft. in diam., which was interpreted as a
quarry. The upper part of the filling contained sherds of
Roman pottery, box and roof tiles, burnt stone, animal bones
and traces of wood and charcoal, suggesting a substantial
Roman building nearby. (C.A.S. Procs., XXX (1929), 97–8)
b(130) Possible Roman Settlement (TL 59896805), lies N.E.
of the village and E. of Ness Road, on level ground on chalk
at about 30 ft. above O.D. Evidence for a settlement comes
from sherds of the 2nd-3rd century said to have been found
(O.S. Record Cards). Roof tiles and sherds of Horningsea type
were noted on the site in 1969.
Medieval and Later
b(131) Saxon Cemetery (TL 59016651), lies 500 yds. N. of the
church, on the crest of a low chalk ridge at 60 ft. above O.D.
Between 1854 and 1929 at least 137 inhumations of both sexes
and varying ages were found on the site. Most were discovered
during excavations by T. C. Lethbridge between 1925 and
1929; the majority were in shallow graves, orientated E.-W.
There were no traces of coffins. Lethbridge excavated 127
burials of which 52 had no grave goods: 12 had knives and
only four were richly furnished. The grave goods mostly
consisted of iron chains, bone or bronze pins, iron buckles
and beads; one scramasax and a single plain pot were found.
Noteworthy objects were a bronze drum-shaped workbox and a gold disc pendant set with garnets. The cemetery,
probably dating from the late 6th and 7th centuries, seems to
have been predominantly Christian. The excavator suggested
that it lay near the site of St. Andrew's church, but the
connection is unlikely as the church lay 400 yds. to the S.
(A. Meaney, Gazetteer of Early Anglo-Saxon Burial Sites (1964),
61–2. C.A.S. Procs. XXVII (1926), 72–79; XXVIII (1927),
116–125; XXIX (1928), 84–104)
b(132) Burwell Castle (TL 58756606; Fig. 44;
Plates 2, 3), lies immediately W. of the church, on
chalk at about 35 ft. above O.D. The castle stands on
ground sloping gently W. to the fen edge; it overlooks
open ground to the N., S., and W. but on the E. the
church, on higher ground, must always have dominated
In 1143 Earl Geoffrey de Mandeville, who had fallen
from power, seized the Isle of Ely and from this base
proceeded to devastate the countryside. In an attempt
to contain him King Stephen fortified a number of posts
on the edges of the fens; Burwell Castle was one. It was
constructed partly on land already occupied by the
village of Burwell. Traces of crofts and of two houses
which were demolished to provide space for it remain N.
and N.E. of the castle. Sherds of Stamford ware, found
under the castle during the excavations in 1935, may
have come from these earlier houses. In August 1144
Earl Geoffrey 'came with his army to attack a certain
castle which had been newly built at Burwell' (Chronicon Abbatiae Ramseiensis (Rolls Series, LXXXIII, 331)).
While reconnoitering the position de Mandeville was
wounded by an arrow fired by one of the garrison and
died a few days later. The siege ended and the castle was
abandoned. The excavations of 1935 showed that the
castle was unfinished with the moat only partly dug out
and large spoil heaps still piled outside the ditch on the
N. and W. The site was later occupied by buildings
which can probably be identified as the manor house of
the Abbots of Ramsey who in 1246 were licensed to
erect an oratory (Cartularium monasterii de Ramseia
(Rolls Series, LXXIX, II, 193)). The excavations in 1935
exposed a stone range running the full length of
the E. side of the enclosure and returning along part of
the S. side. The building projecting slightly E. near the
centre of the range may be identified as the chapel,
and the range on the N., with two latrine chutes in the
thickness of the wall, probably contained the Abbot's
camera on the first floor.
The castle consists of a generally rectangular enclosure,
260 ft. by 160 ft. and between 5 ft. and 15 ft. high above the
bottom of the surrounding ditch. The interior of the enclosure
is uneven; the E. and W. ends slope towards the centre. Field
evidence and excavations indicate that this uneven nature is the
result of spoil-dumping from the moat in order to construct
a raised platform, a process which was never completed. A gap
in the middle of the S. side of the enclosure is apparently
where spoil from the moat was brought onto the platform until
work was abandoned. On the E. side and along the E. part of
the S. side of the enclosure, the excavators found clunch
footings of an outer wall (k on plan) and a diagonal buttress
at the N.E. corner. Slightly N. of the centre of the E. side the
foundations of a small rectangular building (l on plan) were
discovered; it measured 21 ft. by 15 ft. internally and had walls
5–6 ft. thick of clunch with an outer facing of flint nodules.
It projected 3–4 ft. into the moat beyond the E. wall and
terminated with diagonal buttresses. In this wall, partly
screened by the northern buttress were outlets of two
garderobe chutes. Until the early 1930s a length of curtain
wall about 8 ft. high stood near the N.E. corner.
The enclosure is surrounded by a large moat, between 80
and 100 ft. wide across its flat bottom. Low terraces, 6 ins.–1 ft.
high, exist in the ditch on the N. and S. sides of the enclosure
and a larger and more irregular one along part of the W. side.
Two of these were tested by excavation and proved to be of
natural chalk, indicating that the moat was never completed
or filled with water.
The area immediately W. of the moat is occupied by a large
mound, 12 ft. high at its N. end, with an uneven surface
sloping towards the S. This mound is a spoil heap of material
which was dug from the moat and allowed to remain. Its
uneven appearance is the result of dumping small loads which
were brought from the moat by way of two shallow cuts or
hod-runs in the side of the moat (a and b on plan). Further
dumps were intended S. of this mound in order to form a dam
and fill the moat, but this was not completed.
On the N. side of the moat is a larger spoil heap 8–10 ft.
high in the centre and at its N. end, but 2–3 ft. high at its E.
end. The scalloped appearance of its N. edge is the result of
dumping spoil brought out of the moat along hod-runs which
remain as shallow depressions across the sloping surface of the
mound (c, d and e on plan).
Immediately N. of this spoil heap, and bounded on the N.
by a low bank running E.-W. are four, perhaps five, rectangular closes delineated by low banks and shallow ditches. At
their S. ends three of these are overlain by the spoil heaps and
must therefore be earlier than the castle. They appear to be
the outer ends of long closes, familiar in deserted sites of
medieval settlements, and are probably the only visible
remains of the houses removed to make way for the castle.
E. and N.E. of the moat are slight earthworks which may be
the sites of two buildings. N.E. of the moat (f on plan) is a
raised platform, roughly U-shaped; a sunken platform on its E.
side is bounded by low banks and sub-divided into two parts.
E. of the moat (g on plan) are the damaged remains of what is
probably a medieval long-house, 50 ft. by 30 ft. overall, with a
sunken rectangular interior divided into two by a low cross
Further E. (h on plan) are the remains of what may have been
a small embanked enclosure, perhaps half of which has been cut
away by a sloping trackway leading down into an old quarry.
In the N.W. corner of the site are two rectangular dry
ponds (j on plan) linked by a narrow channel, while another
channel links the W. pond to the modern stream. The relation
between these ponds and the adjoining spoil heap to the S.
is uncertain. Beyond the ponds to the N. is a series of
indeterminate ditches, banks and ponds extending for about
100 yds. Their date and purpose are unknown.
The excavators in 1935 also found fragments of medieval
stained glass and part of the leaded framework as well as two
pieces of dressed clunch, one with a graffito ascribed to the
14th century, the other apparently part of a window jamb.
(C.A.S. Procs., XXXVI (1936), 121–133; LI (1958), 37 and 42;
V.C.H. Cambs. I, 19, 186–8; Arch. J., CXXIV (1968), 255;
Antiquity, X (1936), 465.)
For Devil's Dyke see p. 139.
For Moats at Hall Farm see (39) and at Tunbridge Farm see
ab(133) Burwell Lode (Fig. 45; Plate 7), first recorded in
1604 (B. M. Harley MS. 5011, Vol. 1, f. 38 v), is an artificial
watercourse 2½ miles long, extending in a N.W. direction
across Burwell Fen from North Street (TL 58556780) to its
junction with Reach Lode ¾ miles S. E. of Upware (TL
54756930). It is fed by water from a number of small fen-edge
springs, which is now carried into the Lode along catchwater
drains to the N. and S. of its S.E. end. Apart from a slight
eastward deflection at the S.E. end, the Lode runs in a straight
line for about 1½ miles in a N.W. direction. It then turns
sharply almost due W., and after nearly 800 yds. turns W.N.W.
and continues for a further 900 yds. before meeting Reach
Lode. It is 40–45 ft. wide along its entire length. At its S.E. end
the Lode flows at or slightly below the level of the adjacent fen
and there are no retaining banks. About 300 yds. from this
end a bank, on the N.E. side, gradually rises to 3 ft. above the
water level and to 6–8 ft. above the fens. On the S.W. side the
Lode has no retaining bank for the first 1500 yds. Thereafter a bank rises to a maximum of 10 ft. above the adjacent
The character of the Lode is unlike that of other lodes in
the area. Details are not clear, but it appears that until the mid
17th century the name Burwell Lode applied to a different and
earlier watercourse, probably also artificial, which was still
known as Old Lode in the mid 19th century (C.R.O., Map of
Reach, Burwell and Wicken Lodes, 1841). This earlier lode ran
from the fen edge S.W. of Goose Hall (TL 58826842), flowed
W.N.W. along the line of the present sinuous ditch called
Black Lake, and continued to a point 260 yds. S. of Poors'
Fen Farm (TL 574692) where, in 1841, it turned S. towards
the present Lode along Black Lake. An existing watercourse,
also sinuous, continues the original alignment N.W. until it
reaches the edge of Adventurers' Fen N.E. of Priory Farm
(TL 56626945). From this point it probably passed into an
older natural watercourse which flowed S.W. and then N.W.
across Adventurers' Fen to a point approximately where the
present Burwell Lode joins Reach Lode. The existing Burwell
Lode had been cut by 1685 (C.R.O., Moore's Map of Fens);
although there is no direct evidence, the work was probably
carried out by the Bedford Level Commissioners in the 1650s
at the same time as the new Reach Lode was cut (see C.R.O.,
R59/31/10/16 of 1727). The Bedford Level Commissioners
carried out numerous repairs to the Lode during the 18th and
early 19th centuries (e.g. C.R.O., R59/31/10/8), but no major
alterations appear to have been made to it until the second
half of the 19th century, when the N.W. part of the Lode
across the Adventurers' Fen was recut to the existing two
straight alignments, replacing the older, slightly curved, line.
This was probably done by the Burwell Drainage Commission (cf. C.R.O., Map of Reach, Burwell and Wicken
Lodes, 1841, and O.S. 25-inch map (1886)).
ab(134) Wicken Lode (Fig. 45), first recorded in 1636
(Reaney, 'Place-names of Cambs.' 205), is an artificial watercourse nearly 1½ miles long, being the boundary between
Wicken and Burwell parishes for most of its length. It extends
from its junction with Reach Lode (TL 54206963) to a point
700 yds. S.W. of Wicken village on the fen edge (TL 56317048),
where there was formerly a small basin or wharf. Water feeds
it from Wicken Fen on its N. side and via Monk's Lode (see
(135)). The Lode takes a sinuous course, roughly E. and W.,
for 500 yds. from its junction with Reach Lode, turns sharply
E.N.E. and runs almost straight for 1000 yds.; it curves
slightly to its junction with Monk's Lode (TL 56007018), and
thereafter consists of two short straight lengths running E.N.E.
and N.N.E. It is 25–35 ft. wide throughout its length and is
bounded on the S.E. side by a continuous retaining bank now
up to 12 ft. high above the adjacent Burwell Fen. Apart from
a short length of bank near the junction with Reach Lode,
there is no bank on the N.W. side adjoining the undrained
The date of the Lode is unknown but it may have a Roman
origin. In common with other lodes in the area, there are
records of constant work on clearing it out from the late 17th
century onward (e.g. C.R.O., B.L.C., Petitions and Memorials
b(135) Monk's Lode and New River (Fig. 45), a continuous
watercourse nearly 4 miles long, coincides with the N.
boundary of Burwell parish. It extends from its junction with
Wicken Lode (TL 56007018) to a point near Ness House in the
N.E. corner of the parish (TL 61066925). At its W. end,
where it is known as Monk's Lode, its course is within the
fenland, skirting St. Edmund's Fen in Wicken parish; it then
turns N. to reach the fen edge (at TL 57127015). Thereafter it
runs E. and then S., close to, but not at, the fen edge, where it
is called the New River.
Monk's Lode varies from 15 ft. to 25 ft. in width and on its
S. side is bounded by a continuous retaining bank up to 10 ft.
high, separating it from the lower Burwell Fen. At the point
on the fen edge where it becomes the New River are the
remains of a small wharf or basin (in Wicken parish). The New
River is only 10–15 ft. wide and for 1500 yds. is bounded
by a low retaining wall on both sides; thereafter there is a bank
on the S. side only.
The different names, widths and siting of these two watercourses indicate a variety of origins and functions. Monk's
Lode, known as Stake Lode up to the 18th century, may have
originated as a navigable canal serving the E. end of Wicken
parish; it is probably medieval or earlier in date. The New
River carries the water of the Landwade Brook which, until
the 18th century, flowed S.W. across Burwell Fen (Fig. 6);
it is almost certainly an 18th-century cut to divert the brook
from that part of the fens known as the Broads, and to drain
the Adventurers' Lands to the S.W.
Both watercourses were frequently cleaned out by the
Bedford Level Commissioners (C.R.O., R59/31/5/9/11).
b(136) The Hythe (TL 58456728), a former public wharf, lies
immediately W. of Newnham and extends from the fen
edge at the Weirs to the N. end of Low Road. It stands
on flat land 200 yds. long and up to 20 yds. wide; the present
Hythe Lane runs along it. It was formerly bounded on its
long sides by watercourses (20 ft. wide and 5 ft. or more deep)
the W. ends of which joined the Weirs. At the E. end of the S.
side a subsidiary basin 15 ft. wide projected S. for 30 yds. These
basins have been partly filled in and act only as drains, but
formerly the whole site was navigable for barges. The date of
construction of the Hythe and the period of its use are unknown.
b(137) Basins and Canals (TL 58816836–58126664), lie
along the Weirs from the extreme N. end of North Street, S.
of Goose Hall to a point 330 yds. W. of Parsonage Farm. There
are or were at least 23 basins or canals of various sizes extending
from the Weirs in an E. direction towards the houses on the
W. side of North Street. Most of them have been partly filled
in, and it is difficult to ascertain their original form. Their date
is unknown. Those lying S. of the Hythe (136) (TL 58456728)
were out of use by 1841; by that date there was no access for
boats beyond this point (C.R.O., Map of Reach, Burwell and
Wicken Lodes, 1841).
Basins. A number of basins are situated along the E. side of
the Weirs; they measure not more than 30 yds. long and 10–15
yds. wide. Only five can now be identified owing to modern
destruction. They perhaps represent public and private basins
for barges employed in long-distance trade. The two bestpreserved basins are both near the end of Burwell Lode. One
(at TL 58586778), 25 yds. long and 10 yds. wide, now partly
filled in, is adjacent to (80) with which it may be connected;
known as 'The Slip' and traditionally associated with bargebuilding, it was at one time a wharf for a coalyard (Tithe Map,
1842). The second basin lies 100 yds. to the S. on the N. side
of Anchor Bridge, now partly filled in, but still visible as a
depression 30 yds. long, 12 yds. wide and 6 ft. deep on its S.
Canals. At least 18 canals survive but the original number
was probably much larger. They consist of long narrow
watercourses extending from the Weirs towards, or close up
to, the barns and farm buildings on the W. side of the village.
They vary from 50–200 yds. long and were probably not
more than 4–6 yds. wide. At least two end in small basins 30
yds. long and 12 yds. wide at their W. ends. These canals
were probably not used for long-distance fen trade, but rather
as access ways for punts or small boats bringing sedge, rushes,
turf, peat and arable crops from the fens to the village. (Tithe
The northernmost canal immediately S. of Goose Hall
seems to have had a different function. This canal, 15 yds.
wide and 100 yds. long, is adjacent to a small pit or quarry
covering about an acre. The pit was dug to provide material
for strengthening and rebuilding the banks of the lodes and the
River Cam, and the canal was a loading point for barges. The
land was purchased for this purpose in 1845 by the Burwell
Drainage Commissioners (C.R.O., Burwell I.D.B. Minutes,
ab(138) Fen Drainage (Fig. 45). There is some evidence that
parts of Burwell Fen close to the village were enclosed during
the medieval period. A reference to ditches in Le Brunde Fen
in 1294 (B.M. Add. Roll 39597) may refer to the Broads in the
N.E. of the parish. The Broads are also mentioned in 1398–9
(P.R.O., S.C. 6/765/10) but their condition is not specified. In
addition, the fact that certain fen-edge lands were apparently
always titheable, unlike the rest of the fen in the parish, may
indicate that they were drained and enclosed in the medieval
period (Tithe Map, 1842).
Fig. 45 Burwell (138), Fen Drainage
The next area to be drained appears to have been the
Adventurers' Lands in the mid 17th century. These were 640
acres of fen roughly triangular in shape, bounded by Reach
and Wicken Lodes and the present Drainer's Ditch (centred
TL 556694). This land, in three lots, was originally granted to
the Adventurers in 1637 following the earliest drainage work
in the Fens (C.R.O., R59/31/9/1A), but work was not started
until 1651 and only completed in 1655–6 (C.R.O., R59/31/9/5
and 6). The boundaries and internal divisions of these allotments still survive. At this time these lands were probably
drained by gravity into the adjacent lodes the levels of which
would then have made this possible.
At the same time the present Burwell Lode (133) was cut
and presumably soon afterwards all fenland S.W. of the Lode
and some in the N. of the parish was enclosed and drained.
Enclosure of land S.W. of Burwell Lode took place after the
Lode's construction, as the arrangement of the drains demonstrates; documents show that this enclosure was completed by
the early 18th century (e.g. Hallard Fen by 1693 (C.U.L.
University Register 32/1) and Little Fen by 1719 (Norfolk
R.O., C.C. Norwich Wills, No. 131)). Thus before 1720 the
whole of Burwell Fen was enclosed and drained except for a
large area of nearly 500 acres known as Burwell Poors' Fen,
N.W. of Goose Hall (centred TL 580692). All but a third of this
was subsequently enclosed between 1806 and 1840 (cf. P.R.O.,
Map of Manor of Burwell Ramseys, 1806, and C.R.O., Map
of Burwell Fen, n.d. c. 1840). The remaining part was enclosed
Until 1840 Burwell Fen was drained by gravity-flow into
Reach Lode (at TL 557678) and pumping engines were considered unnecessary. The lowering of the fen surface gradually
made natural drainage impossible and in 1841 the Burwell
Drainage Commission was set up. It constructed a steamengine pump on the edge of the River Cam (in Wicken parish)
and connected it to the fenland by an Engine Drain (139)
which ran parallel to the N.W. part of Burwell Lode. The
scheme was never satisfactory, the Adventurers' Lands being
particularly difficult to drain. From the late 1840s a number of
private windpumps (140–147) were erected but these too failed
to drain the Adventurers' Lands. Much of the area remained
derelict until 1940 when the system was reversed and connected to drains within the Swaffham Drainage District by
means of a culvert under Reach Lode (at TL 548692) (A. Bloom,
The Farm in the Fen (1944), 47–49, 60–69).
a(139) Steam-Engine Pump House and Engine Drain. The
Engine, Boiler and Scoop-wheel Houses of the Burwell Drainage
Commissioners stand at the N.W. end of Reach Lode, close to
the River Cam, in Wicken parish (TL 53756992) (Figs. 46, 120).
The building was erected in 1841 to house a rotative beam
engine and its boilers constructed by William Fairbairn of
Manchester (C.R.O., Burwell I.D.B. Minutes, 1841–2). No
details of this engine have apparently survived but it was
rated at about 35 h.p. some years later (ibid. Minutes, Sept.
1869). The lowering of the surface of the fens caused difficulties
and in 1884 an 'assistant wheel' was added to the scoop wheel
to increase its lift (ibid. Minutes, Feb.—May 1884; Procs. Inst.
Civil Engineers, XCIV (1887–8), 282). The scoop-wheel house
was extended at this time. The steam engine was scrapped in
1895 (ibid. Minutes, Sept.—Dec. 1895) and replaced by an oil
engine. In 1897 the scoop wheel was removed and a centrifugal
pump substituted. Subsequently replacement engines, either
diesel or gas, were installed. The building was abandoned in
The building constructed of white bricks, many stamped
with the word 'Drain', has walls divided into sections by
double pilasters. The round-headed window openings have, or
had, radiating metal glazing bars. The upper part of the
engine house has been removed and the corners of the boiler
house rebuilt. The extension to the scoop-wheel house is in
the same character. Inside, the cast-iron framework for inspection platforms survives with elongated opening for the engine-beam. To the N.W. and under the present road is the brick
barrel-vaulted outfall culvert with parapet and abutments on
the river side.
The Engine Drain was constructed at the same time as the
engine. It extends from the Engine House (TL 53756902) in a
S.E. direction parallel to and 50 ft. from the N.E. side of Reach
and Burwell Lodes, for a distance of nearly 1¾ miles to High
Bridge (TL 56416906) where it met the internal drains of the
fen. It is 30 ft. wide and up to 7 ft. deep along its entire length
and passes under Wicken Lode near its junction with Reach
Lode in an original brick barrel-vaulted culvert 135 ft. long,
4 ft. wide and 5½ ft. high, with end retaining walls rising to low
parapets. The Drain was largely abandoned in 1940.
(140–147) Windpump Sites. The construction of the Steam
Engine and Engine Drain (139) by the Burwell Drainage
Commissioners in 1841–2 proved insufficient for draining the
low-lying Adventurers' Lands in the angle between Reach and
Wicken Lodes, much of this area being lower than the Engine
Drain. As a result, individual farmers erected a series of small
windpumps to drain single fields or groups of fields by lifting
water into the Engine Drain or other main ditches. Many of
the pumps were inadequate and survived only a short time.
Little is known of them, but the sites of eight are listed below.
They were apparently erected after 1841 and some may have
been built in the late 19th century or even later. All were
derelict or destroyed by 1940.
a(140) Site of Windpump (TL 54736935), known as Josiah's
Mill, is ¾ mile S.E. of the Engine House (139) on the edge of
the Engine Drain near the junction of Reach and Burwell
Lodes. The remains consist of a circular mound 20 ft. in
diameter and 1 ft. high. The mill was in existence in 1886
(O.S. 25-inch map, Cambridgeshire XXXV, 6) and was still
working in 1924 (O.S. 6–inch map (1927), Cambridgeshire
XXXV N.W.). It was derelict by the 1930s; a photograph
shows that it was then a small skeleton mill with an internal
scoop wheel (Plate 11).
a(141) Site of Windpump (TL 54926927), known as Ball's
Mill, lies 270 yds. S.E. of (140) at the point where a field ditch
meets the Engine Drain. Only a very slight mound now
remains, but the foundations of this mill were discovered
during the reclamation of Burwell Fen in 1943 (A. Bloom,
The Farm in the Fen (1944), 94). This mill, with (142) and (143),
had apparently been demolished by 1911 (C.R.O., Burwell,
I.D.B. Minutes, Feb. 1911, map).
Fig. 46 Burwell (139), Steam-engine Pump House
b(142) Site of windpump (TL 55186922), lies 250 yds. S.E.
of (141) at a point where three field drains meet the Engine
Drain. Only a slight mound remains.
b(143) Site of Windpump (TL 55406916), lies 230 yds. S.E.
of (142) where a field drain meets the Engine Drain. A low
b(144) Site of Windpump (TL 55536962), lies on the N. side
of Harrison's Drove, 1000 yds. W.N.W. of Priory Farm. Only
a slight mound is now traceable. The mill was in existence in
1911 (C.R.O., Burwell I.D.B. Minutes, Feb. 1911, map) but
had been replaced by a small oil engine by 1924 (O.S. 6–inch
map, Cambridgeshire XXXV N.E. (1927)).
b(145) Site of Windpump (TL 55676955), known as Norman's
Mill, lies 180 yds. S.E. of (144) and in a similar position. A low
mound survives. A mill stood on this site in 1886, but later a
new skeleton mill was built in 1908 by Hunt of Soham. It was
weather-boarded in 1910 (Plate 11). This mill stood derelict
until 1955 when it was taken down and re-erected in Wicken
Sedge Fen where it now stands (at TL 56217059). It is the
property of the National Trust. (Inf. R. Wailes; see also
Newcomen Soc. Trans., XXVII (1949–51), 116–17)
b(146) Site of Windpump (TL 56096853), known as Dyson's
Mill, lies 630 yds. S.W. of High Bridge at the point where the
main drain of the S. part of the Adventurers' Lands meets the
Drainer's Ditch. The pump was already in existence in 1886
and still stood as a skeleton mill in the 1930s (Photograph in
C.A.S. collection). It was apparently rebuilt in the early 20th
century but was removed in 1941 (Newcomen Soc. Trans.,
XXVII (1949–51), 117–18 f.n.). Only a slight rise in the ground
b(147) Site of Windpump (TL 55386895), known as Dawson's Mill, lies just under ½ mile N.W. of (146) in the centre of
the S. part of Adventurers' Fen. It certainly existed by 1886
but was derelict by 1924. Only a low mound now remains
but the brick foundations were revealed in 1943.
b(148) Quarries of various dates exist in and around Burwell
village, all situated on or near the outcrop of Tottenhoe Stone,
a relatively hard stratum of rock within the Lower Chalk. The
stone, known as clunch, was used widely from the Roman
period until the late 19th century for building purposes.
The more important quarries are: immediately W. of Burwell church and E. of the Castle (TL 58856604), probably a
source of stone for the Castle; E. of the church (TL 59156012)
covering some 8 acres, of which the E. third was not opened
until after 1817; N. and S. of Berkeley House (TL 59006670 and
59006650), of one and two acres respectively, probably
medieval, reworked in the 19th century.
b(149) The Causeway (TL 58716709–58896663) lies between
High Town and North Street. It consists of a low ridge or
bank 530 yds. long, 25 ft. to 35 ft. wide and up to 3 ft. high,
parallel to the existing road of the same name. The N.W.
length of 400 yds. is straight, orientated N.W.-S.E., after
which there is a sharp angle and it runs S. for the last 130 yds.
Until 1817, when the common fields of the parish were
enclosed, it appears to have been a road crossing a corner of
these fields. On enclosure the present road was laid out
alongside it. It probably originated as a headland within
the common fields and became a road when North Street
developed, perhaps in late medieval times. (C.R.O., Enclosure
Map, c. 1817)
bcd(150) Cultivation Remains. The common fields of the
parish were enclosed in 1817 by Act of Parliament. Before that
date much of the parish, with the exception of the fens, heathland in the S. and a small area of common and old enclosures
round Breach Farm, was divided into three large common
fields, North Field, Hill Field and Ditch Field, and a smaller
field, South Field (P.R.O., Map of the Manor of Burwell
Ramseys, 1806). Of these fields only long sinuous ridges up to
400 yds. long, 30 yds. wide and up to 2 ft. high are the visible
remains. The map of 1806 shows a headland, orientated
S.W.—N.E., between two adjacent furlongs in North Field,
E. of Klondyke Farm (TL 597688). In Ditch Field were headlands, orientated N.W.—S.E., between two furlongs: two lay
S.E. of Crownall Farm (TL 588653) and five S.E. of Reach
village (TL 575658). A headland, orientated N.E.—S.W., lay
between Mill Field and North Field, S.W. of Slade Farm (TL
597671). (See also (149); air photographs in N.M.R.; C.R.O.,
Enclosure Map, c. 1817)
b(151) Enclosure (TL 59506576) lies 700 yds. S.E. of the
church in the bottom of a small dry valley on chalk at 50 ft.
above O.D. The site is ploughed out but visible on air photographs. It consists of a rectangular area 100 yds. long and 50
yds. wide, orientated E.-W. and bounded by a ditch about
20 ft. wide. No entrances or internal features are traceable. It
may be connected with the large Roman settlement to the
N.E. in Exning parish (C.A.S. Procs., LXII (1969) 32–4; air
photographs in N.M.R.).