Fearresheafde (x cent.), Farresheafde (x-xii cent.),
Faresheved (x, xiv cent.), Fasset (xvi cent.).
The modern parish of Farcet was formed in 1885, (fn. 1)
and lies south of Stanground, in which it was previously included. It extends to the county boundary
on the east and adjoins Ramsey on the south-east
and Holme and Glatton on the south-west. At its
southern corner it includes part of the area which was
formerly Whittlesea Mere. In 1886 a detached
portion of Stanground at Kingsdelph and Eight Roods (fn. 2)
was added to the parish. In the time of Edward the
Confessor the rights of the Abbeys of Thorney and
Ramsey in Kingsdelph were subject to an agreement, (fn. 3)
and another agreement was made by fine in 1224 as
to the right of the Abbot of Thorney in the marsh of
Ramsey, by which the abbot was to hold the part
towards Farcet and Yaxley quit of any claims for
common rights by the Abbot of Ramsey, who
similarly was to hold his portion of the marsh
near Ramsey free from claims of common rights on
the part of Thorney Abbey. (fn. 4) In the 17th century
Farcet fen was drained and entirely inclosed. (fn. 5)
Whittlesea Mere was drained under an Act of Parliament of 1762, (fn. 6) and the parish was included in the
inclosure of Stanground in 1801. (fn. 7) Traces of a fen
island site were found in the gravel of Farcet fen. (fn. 8)
The soil is fen and loam and the subsoil clay and
gravel, and the altitude varies from 15 to 60 ft.
above Ordnance datum.
Farcet village lies on the south, on the rising
ground overlooking the old course of the Nene.
There are several brickworks at Farcet along the
London and North Eastern Railway line, and there
is a station called Yaxley and Farcet about a mile
south-west of the village of Farcet, but in Yaxley
Mildmay. Argent three lions azure.
Fiennes, Lord Saye and Sele. Azure three lions or.
The manor of FARCET, though not
mentioned in the Domesday Survey,
was one of the earliest endowments
of the Abbey of Thorney. It may be identified with
the land at Farcet bought by
Ethelwold, Bishop of Winchester (963–984), from Aelfric. (fn. 9)
King Edgar then gave it to
the abbey, (fn. 10) which held it in
demesne in frankalmoin until
the Dissolution of the Monasteries. (fn. 11) Edward VI granted
the manor in 1549 to Sir
Walter Mildmay for his life, (fn. 12)
but in 1553 another grant was
made to him in fee. (fn. 13) In
1588 he obtained the reversion of the manor of Stanground (q.v.), of which he himself had a lease, and
from this time the two manors were in the same
hands (fn. 14) until 1824, when
Farcet was apparently inherited by Maria, eldest
daughter and co-heir of
Sampson, Baron Eardley of
Spalding, and wife of Gregory,
14th Lord Saye and Sele. It
remained in the hands of
that family until the Farcet
estates were sold in 1909,
when the manor was conveyed
to Mr. Samuel Reuben Ginn.
He died in 1934 and the manor
passed to Mr. Dennis Barton
Ginn, who now owns it.
In the early 13th century, the Abbot of Thorney
paid 20s. to the sheriff of the county for the views of
frankpledge in four manors, including Stanground and
Farcet, (fn. 15) but in 1285 he claimed with success that he
paid nothing for the views in his manors. (fn. 16) The right
to hold them was ancient (fn. 17) and presumably based on the
grants of privileges in King Edgar's charter. In the
13th century he had waifs at Farcet. (fn. 18) In 1562, a
court-leet was appurtenant to the manor of Farcet, (fn. 19)
but probably one court was held at Stanground for
both manors, since the records of a view of frankpledge held there in 1540 were produced for evidence
as to customs at Farcet. (fn. 20)
A fishery called Farcet Lode was appurtenant to the
manor of Farcet and was held by Henry le Katur in
1279 at a rent of 2s. a year. (fn. 21) In 1562 John Johnson
held a lease of all the fishery of Farcet, extending from
Conquest Lode to Horsebridge and Whittlesea dyke. (fn. 22)
At this time the tenants of the manor had common
of pasture, fishing and fowling in Farcet Fen, but
might only use two nets at once. (fn. 23) In 1562, the
tenants of Farcet appear to have had common rights
in Kingsdelph. (fn. 24)
The church of ST. MARY consists
of a chancel (22½ ft. by 15 ft.), south
chapel (22¾ ft. by 11½ ft.), nave (37¾ ft.
by 19½ ft.), north aisle (38 ft. by 10½ ft.), south aisle
(49½ ft. by 8½ ft., widened to 9½ ft. at east end),
west tower (9¾ ft. by 9¼ ft.), and south porch. The
walls are of ashlar and rubble with stone dressings,
and the roofs are covered with stone-slates and lead.
The church is not mentioned in the Domesday
Survey (1086), but in the 12th century there was a
chancel and an aisleless nave to which a west tower
was added in the later years of the century. In the
middle of the next century the chancel was rebuilt and
a south chapel added. About 1275 the south aisle was
added and was continued to the western wall of the
tower, possibly with the intention of pulling down
the tower and correspondingly lengthening the nave.
The south porch was built in the 14th century. The
church was restored in 1852, when the chancel and
chapel are said to have been rebuilt, the nave roof
renewed and the north aisle added. The tower was
The 13th-century chancel has a modern three-light
east window. The north wall has a 15th-century
two-light low-side window; a 15th-century locker;
and two stone corbels. The south wall has a mid
13th-century arch to the chapel, having two chamfered
orders on chamfered responds with moulded capitals
and plain bases; a piscina with trefoiled head, projecting basin and a wooden shelf; a stone chair with
shaped arms and a modern seat; and a stone corbel.
The late 13th-century chancel arch has a two-centred
arch of two chamfered orders resting on chamfered
responds with semi-octagonal attached shafts having
moulded capitals and bases.
The rebuilt south chapel has a modern two-light
window in the east wall, and another and also a plain
door in the south wall. The early 14th-century arch
to the aisle has a pointed arch of two continuous
The nave has a modern north arcade of three bays
of pointed arches having two chamfered orders on
octagonal columns with moulded capitals and bases;
the east respond is a moulded corbel. The south
arcade, c. 1375, has three semicircular arches and
one (the western) two-centred, of two chamfered
orders on octagonal columns with moulded capitals
and bases; the eastern respond is a moulded corbel,
and the western an attached half-column.
The steps leading to the pulpit are part of the rood
stairs which occupied a projecting turret, pulled down
in 1852. (fn. 25) The clearstory has three modern quatrefoiled circular windows on each side. The modern
roof incorporates three 15th-century carved figures of
angels, and its jack-legs rest on ancient stone corbels
carved with grotesques and foliage.
The modern north aisle has a modern two-light
window in the east wall. The north wall incorporates
two 15th-century two-light windows and a modern
doorway with re-used 12th-century rear-arch. The
west wall has a similar 15th-century window. These
features probably came from the north wall of the
The eastern part of the south aisle has a rebuilt
south wall having two square-headed two-light
windows practically all modern, and a 13th-century
locker. It is wider than the western part, but the
quoins at the junction between the two seem to be
ancient. The western part has a 13th-century south
doorway with a pointed arch and continuous chamfered
jambs. In the west wall is a 13th-century single-light
window with a modern lintel. An arch spans the
aisle from the western column to the south wall, and
the springing of another arch remains above the capital
of the eastern column.
The late 12th-century tower has a two-centred
tower arch of two chamfered orders on chamfered
responds with attached semicircular shafts having
moulded capitals and bases. The west window
is a tall narrow light with a semicircular head,
and there is a similar window in the south wall.
The stage above has a somewhat similar light in
the west wall, and a blocked opening in the east.
The belfry windows are two-lights with pointed
heads and octagonal central shafts, under semicircular outer arches resting on detached jambshafts with moulded capitals and bases. The tower
has clasping buttresses rising to its full height, and is
surmounted by a plain parapet below which is a
series of rounded corbels apparently the remains
of a nebuly corbel-table. There are late and crude
pinnacles at the angles. From behind the parapet
rises a low pyramidal roof covered with lead. The
modern stair-turret at the north-west corner only goes
to the first stage.
The 14th-century south porch has a pointed outer
arch of continuous chamfered orders.
The font is octagonal, of Renaissance design, evidently the ancient font reworked, for until recent
years the iron bar for holding down the cover remained
There are three bells, inscribed: (1) T.A. 1673;
(2) Praise the Lorde; (3) Omnia fiant ad gloriam
Dei A + S 1621. Recast A + S 1854. The treble
by Tobias Norris (III), the second by Newcombe,
and the old tenor probably by William Haulsey, of
St. Ives. The bell frame is inscribed A.F., C.W.
In the south aisle are three 16th-century seats with
fleur-de-lis poppy-heads and a little Elizabethan
The oak pulpit is made up of linen-fold panels,
panels carved with Renaissance figures and foliage,
and moulded cornice and rails; a back panel is
inscribed 'A.D. 1614.'
A hutch-shaped chest in the south chapel is
inscribed 'T.B. 1706.'
There are the following monuments: in the chancel,
floor slabs to Edward Bellamy, d. 1702; Ann widow
of Edward Bellamy, d. 1712; (fn. 26) and the Rev. John
Montford, curate, d. 1785; in the nave, floor slabs
to John Marshall, d. 1822, and Hannah his wife,
d. 1827; and Susannah Marshall, d. 1832, and John
Marshall, d. 1837, dau. and son of John and Hannah;
in the north aisle, to John Bird, d. 1896; and glass
window to William Willis, d. 1916, and Russell
Spencer Willis his son, d. 1897; in the south aisle,
to David Bowker, d. 1781; and John Albert Rimes,
d. 1917; in tower, floor slab to John Crane, jun., late
17th century; in the porch to Mrs. Dorotea Wright,
The registers are as follows: (i) baptisms, 2 Sept.
1641 to 23 March 1812, marriages, 16 April 1677
to 13 Oct. 1753, burials, 2 May 1676 to 22 Nov.
1812; (ii) the official marriage book, 16 April 1754
to 23 Nov. 1812.
The church plate consists of a silver cup inscribed: 'the town of favset,' and hall-marked
for 1692–3; a cover paten for the same, inscribed
'* N * S * Churchwarden,' and hall-marked as
the cup; a silver parcel-gilt paten, sunk and sexfoiled and with the sacred monogram in the centre,
no hall-mark, but c. 1500.
The chapel of Farcet was dependent
on the church of Stanground, and a
chaplain was provided by the rector. (fn. 27)
In 1402, when the vicarage of Stanground was
ordained, the duty of providing the chaplain at Farcet
was imposed on the vicar. (fn. 28) In 1562 the Queen, as
lady of the manor of Farcet, paid £4 13s. 4d. a year
to the support of the chapel. (fn. 29) This grant had
apparently been made by the abbey in September
1538 to the then vicar, Christopher Barton, for his
life, but the payment was voluntarily continued by
subsequent patrons until Henry Salmon (vicar 1634–
1654) demanded it as a right, when it was stopped. (fn. 30)
In 1885 Farcet was separated from Stanground by
Order in Council dated 1882 and was formed into
a separate ecclesiastical parish and vicarage, of
which Emmanuel College, Cambridge, is the patron. (fn. 31)
The order apparently came into force on the death
of the Rev. Robert Cory in 1885.
At the Dissolution of the Chantries, the sum of 30s.
remained of certain sums of money given for providing
lights. It was in the hands of Leonard Porlarde of
Peterhouse, Cambridge. (fn. 32)
There were guilds of the Blessed Trinity and of
Our Lady at Farcet, in 1535. (fn. 33)
The parish participates in the
charity of Edward Bellamy, which is
described under Stanground.
The Rev. Robert Cory, by will proved 10 April
1885, gave £100 to the incumbent for the benefit of
the poor of Farcet. This sum was invested in
£100 2s. 6d. Consols in the name of the Official
Trustees, and the dividends are distributed to the poor
The Marshall Charity.—Anthony Marshall, by a
declaration of trust dated 7 August 1906, gave to
the vicar and churchwardens of Farcet the sum of
£1,142 Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Co. 3 per
cent. consolidated preference stock, the interest to be
expended in the purchase of coals, etc., and distributed
to the poor of Farcet, preference being given to
members of the Church of England. The endowment
of the charity now consists of £857 London Midland
and Scottish Railway 4 per cent. preference stock,
with the Official Trustees, and the dividends are
distributed in accordance with the directions contained in the said declaration of trust.
Farcet Parish Lands.—By the award of the Inclosure Commissioners land containing 1 a. 2 r. 11 p.
was allotted to the minister and churchwardens of
Farcet, and land containing 2 a. 1 r. 38 p. was also
allotted to the minister and overseers of Farcet.
These allotments were let as one close and the rents
applied for the purpose of apprenticing poor boys of
Farcet. The land was sold in 1899 and the endowment now consists of £857 2s. 10d. Consols with the