A History of the County of Huntingdon: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1936.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
Bercheham (xi cent.); Bercham, Bergham, Berwham, Berewam, Bereuham, Beruham (xiii cent.); Barram, Barrham (xvi cent.). This parish, the area of which is 742 acres, is composed of four large farms and an inn, and has a diminishing population. The land rises from the Woolley Brook, which runs through the south-western side of the parish, where it is about 100 ft. above the Ordnance datum, to a little under 200 ft. towards the north. The soil is clay. About half the parish is permanent grass and the other half arable land, the chief crops being cereals and beans. An Inclosure Award is dated 28 Dec. 1780. (fn. 1) The nearest railway station is at Grafham.
The village is on high ground in the middle of the parish, on the road from Spaldwick to Buckworth. The church is at the north end of the village; near it are two 17th-century timber-framed and thatched cottages, and south of the church is an early 18th-century farmhouse of stone and brick with tiled roof.
BARHAM was given to Ely Abbey with Spaldwick by Brithnoth (d. 991), and it was a 'berewick' of that 'chief manor' at the time of the Domesday Survey (1086). As a member of the soke and manor of Spaldwick (fn. 2) it followed the descent of that manor (q.v.), and has descended to the Duke of Manchester, (fn. 3) lord of the manor of Spaldwick.
The church of ST. GILES consists of a chancel (19 ft. by 12½ ft.), nave (29¾ ft. by 13 ft.), north aisle (4½ ft. wide), and a south porch. The walls are of pebble rubble mixed with stones, and with stone dressings, but the south wall of the nave is of rough ashlar. The roofs are covered with tiles.
The church is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey (1086); it was probably first built late in the 12th century. About the year 1300 the chancel and the chancel arch were rebuilt. Somewhat late in the 14th century new windows were inserted in the walls of the nave and, probably at this time, the eastern arch of the arcade was rebuilt and widened towards the east, the respond being reset. The church was restored c. 1850, when the porch and the north wall of the aisle were rebuilt, and a bell-cot built on the west gable; the west wall was restored and the porch rebuilt in 1903; and the chancel was restored in 1905.
The chancel, c. 1300, has a three-light east window with intersecting tracery in a two-centred head. The north wall has a similar two-light window. The south wall has two similar windows, and a piscina with a trefoiled head. The chancel arch, c. 1300, is twocentred and of two chamfered orders on similar responds with chamfered imposts; it is much distorted, the responds having settled over very considerably to the north and south. The buttresses at the north-east and south-east angles of the chancel seem to have been added and are clumsily finished at the tops.
The late 12th-century nave has an arcade of three bays of semicircular arches of two chamfered orders, resting on circular columns having simple crocketcapitals (one with the water-leaf) with square abaci, and well-moulded bases with griffes; the eastern respond is a half-column similar to the rest, but probably rebuilt and the arch widened; the western respond is a moulded corbel. The south wall has a 14th-century three-light window with a late head; a similar twolight window with a 16th-century head; and a late 12th-century doorway having an outer order with the chevron moulding carried on octagonal shafts with scalloped capitals and moulded bases, and a plain chamfered inner order, the whole reset as a narrower doorway with a roughly pointed arch. The west wall has a 14th-century two-light window with a late 15th-century head; in the centre of the gable is a large modern buttress, and above it is a modern stone bell-cot for one bell. (fn. 4)
The north aisle, largely rebuilt c. 1850, has a modern single-light window in the east wall, and three modern two-light windows with a quatrefoiled circle in their heads in the north wall. (fn. 5) The east and west walls and possibly small parts of the base of the north wall are ancient.
The south porch, rebuilt c. 1850 and reconstructed in 1903, (fn. 6) has a two-centred outer arch of two continuous chamfered orders, and a plain single-light window in each of the side walls.
The 17th-century Communion table has turned legs and a moulded top rail. There are several 17thcentury seats in the nave, having moulded knobs on the ends and shaped arm-rests; and a chest of similar date with inlaid panels. On the outside of the west wall of the nave is an early 14th-century tapered coffin-lid, found in the walling of the north-west corner, in 1903; and, in the wall of the porch, a piece of a volute with dog-tooth ornament found in the same year. There is a War Memorial, 1914–18, in the aisle.
The church plate consists of a silver cup with no hall-marks, but the bowl appears to be c. 1570, while the base is 17th century; a silver paten, inscribed 'Presented to the Parish Church of Barham in memory of R. & M. E. by their sister S. G. 1878,' i.e. Robert and Mary Earl, and their sister Miss Gray; hall-marked for 1878–9.
Barham was a chapelry in the gift of the prebendaries of Stow Longa in the cathedral church of Lincoln, who frequently presented the vicars of Spaldwick to the living. By Order in Council in 1869 the living was united to the vicarage of Spaldwick. Both the lay and the ecclesiastical history of Barham follow those of Spaldwick (q.v.).
The benefice of Spaldwick was endowed in 1861 with nearly 12 acres of land in Barham parish that had been assigned to the prebend of Spaldwick under the Inclosure Award of 1780. (fn. 7)
Town Land.—The endowment of this charity consists of about 5 acres of land in the parish of Barham, now let in allotments. The rent, amounting to £7 10s. annually, is applied by the churchwardens towards church expenses.