Pages 12-17

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Cambridgeshire, Volume 1, West Cambridgshire. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1968.

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In this section


(O.S. 6 ins. aTL 35 N.E., bTL 45 N.W., cTL 35 S.E., dTL 45 S.W.)

Barton village, 3½ m. S.W. of Cambridge, is at the S. end of the parish near the Roman road from Arrington Bridge to Cambridge which probably ran to the S., although its course over this stretch is uncertain. The nucleus of the village lay on a long and narrow E. and W. strip of river gravel which accommodates a short and wide main street flanked on the S. by several of the older houses. To the E. of this strip the church and University Farm (Monument (2)) are on gault; Town's End Farm at the W. end of the street is first mentioned in 1279. Some movement S. in the middle ages on to the original or altered course of the Roman road can be inferred from the position and antiquity of Bird's Farm (Monument (9)); houses on or near the road now account for about half the village, which makes in consequence a scattered and amorphous lay-out.


The parish, 1834 acres, extends some 3 m. from the Bourn Brook in the S. as far as the Cambridge-Eltisley road in the N. It is dissected by the Bin Brook and another small tributary, giving varied soils derived from boulder clay, lower chalk and gault. The N. part of the parish includes the hamlet of Whitwell, now little more than a single farm (N.G. TL 402596). Whitwell appeared as a distinct vill in Domesday but seems to have decayed by the end of the 13th century, when it was united with Barton. The enclosure map of 1839 shows two separate field systems separated by a stretch of intercommonable pasture.

No house certainly built as such after 1715 has been listed; the later dwellings, a number with cladding of boards replacing or supplementing external plaster, are uniformly poor.


b(1) Parish Church of St. Peter (Plate 53), consisting of Chancel, aisleless Nave with South Porch and West Tower, stands in the village. The walls of the nave are covered with cement; the rest are of field stones and other rubble. The dressings are of clunch and limestone. The roofs are tiled. The western half of the existing chancel incorporates the side walls, including the remains of an apparent S. doorway, of a small chancel perhaps of the 11th century, extended to its present length in the 12th century. The church was remodelled or rebuilt soon after 1300 and the tower and S. porch were added later in the 14th century. There was a general restoration in 1885–6 and the tower was again restored in 1926.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (36½ ft. by 16¼ ft.) has side walls in a variety of materials reflecting their eastward extension in the 12th century. The W. half of the N. wall has a rough plinth of rubble, and the E. half of the S. wall has the remains of a chamfered plinth in dressed stone, diagonally tooled. The 15th-century E. window is of three lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred head; its external label is a reused one of late 13th-century profile and has mask stops. Below and to the S. of it on the inside is a short length of mutilated string-course, possibly 12th-century. The remaining windows, two in either side wall, of clunch more or less restored in Roman cement, vary somewhat in design but are all of c. 1300, with external and internal labels with mask stops: the first on the N. side is of two trefoiled ogee lights with a pierced head and the second is similar but with plain lights; the first on the S. side is of three trefoiled ogee lights with pierced depressed head, and the second is of two trefoiled ogee lights beneath a quatrefoil. Below this last, visible externally, are the jambs of a small blocked doorway or other opening. All the windows have hollow-chamfered rear arches, that of the last window on the S. side being round. Between the windows on the S. side is a contemporary doorway of two continuous chamfered orders heavily restored in cement with hollow-chamfered depressed rear arch. The side walls are finished with an internal cornice mould of c. 1300. The chancel arch springs from square responds and is of two chamfered orders.

Barton, the Parish Church of St. Peter

The Nave (65½ ft. by 19½ ft.) is unusually long for its width and height. The side walls are divided externally by two-stage buttresses into four bays with a window in each bay, the third bay being longer in each case to provide for the N. and S. doorways. The uniform windows are each of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in the head and external and internal moulded labels, but the internal label of the first window on the N. side has been cut away; their jambs have a double hollow chamfer and each window has a hollow-chamfered rear arch. On the S. side the first two windows are modern copies replacing larger late mediaeval ones which had ousted the originals. External and internal string-courses at sill level lift over the N. and S. doorways as labels; the external one returns around the buttresses; the internal one drops on either side at the E. end to accommodate a seat below the windows in the first bay. The N. and S. doorways are uniform, being each of two continuous hollow-chamfered orders. The side walls are finished internally by a contemporary cornice mould. A rood stair intruded into the N.E. corner of the nave, with upper and lower continuously chamfered four-centred doorways, is presumably of c. 1380 (see Screen below).

The West Tower (12½ ft. by 11¼ ft.) was built against the earlier W. wall of the nave, which was breached and partially rebuilt to admit the tower arch but still retains its W. buttresses. These have been heightened to provide the tower with lateral buttresses at its E. corners. Externally the tower has a moulded plinth and is divided by string-courses into three stages and crowned by an embattled parapet with gargoyles at the angles. There are diagonal buttresses at the W. corners; that at the S.W. corner is irregular on plan, its S.E. side being some 30° out of parallel to provide for a vice. The W. window is of three lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred head. Above it in the second stage is a lancet. The four belfry windows, each of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in the head, are of clunch and much decayed. The lofty tower arch is of three continuous boldly moulded orders to the E. and of one plain chamfered order to the W. Access to the vice is by a four-centred doorway in the S.W. corner, and there are similar doorways off the vice to the ringing and bell chambers.

The S. Porch is of 14th-century origin and has been extensively restored. Above the entrance, flanked by niches, is a window of two pointed lights which may have lighted a former upper chamber.

Fittings—Bells: five; 1st, 2nd and 3rd inscribed '1608'. Bracket: on the W. side of the N. respond of the chancel arch with moulded shelf and mask stop below, c. 1300. Brass: in the chancel floor, to John and Margaret Martin, 'circiter .. 1593', consisting of an inscription plate and two figures. Chair: with shaped arms and solid carved back, 17th-century. Communion table: with moulded top and longitudinal strainer in the form of five semicircular arches supported by turned legs; the ends, each of two arches, are similar; 17th-century, restored. Doors: S. door of nave (1) 17th- or 18th-century, restored; N. door of nave (2) similar; at the foot of the tower vice (3), and to the ringing chamber (4), both ancient. Font: plain bowl of limestone, an irregular octagon, perhaps reshaped in the 13th century, on a 14th-century panelled and cusped stem of clunch; the base appears to be the inverted lower part of a second bowl, octagonal and panelled, conceivably from the former adjoining parish of Whitwell. Glass: in nave—reset in the quatrefoil head of the second window on the S. side, quarterly shield of arms (unidentified 1); c. 1500. Locker: in N. wall of chancel, straight-sided and rebated for door; possibly c. 1300.

Monuments and Floor slabs. Monuments: In churchyard—to the E. of the S. Porch (1) of Martha Deave, 1708, headstone; (2) of Daniel Deave, 1701, headstone; both broken. Floor slabs: In chancel—(1) of Mathyas Martine, 1613, with shield of arms. In nave—by chancel step (2) of Sanders Holben, 1787, and John Holben, 1815; (3) of Mary, wife of Sanders Holben, 1814, and Mary Holben, 1838; (4) of John Page, 179(?); (5) of Henry Page, 1788; (6) of Ann, wife of Henry Page, 1789; further to the W. (7) of Sanders Holben, date illegible; and (8) as for (3) above. Numbers (2) and (3) appear to be later copies of (7) and (8). Paintings: On the N., S. and W. walls of the nave above the string-course are considerable remains of 14th-century and some later paintings. The more important were restored by E. W. Tristram in 1929 and the following short account is based on his detailed description (English Wall Painting of the Fourteenth Century (1955), 137–8): On the N. wall—between the first two windows (1) figure of a man on a horse looking back at three small figures, with birds and animals, subject uncertain; immediately W. of the foregoing (2) St. John Baptist and kneeling suppliant with a hand bell; to the W. of the second window (3) St. Antony with a pig, flanked by a tall tree-trunk; above the foregoing (4) traces identified by Tristram as a large head of Christ with cruciform nimbus; E. of N. doorway (5) parts of a St. Christopher, repainted, probably in the 15th century; above the N. doorway (6) St. Michael weighing souls, with the Virgin, St. George, demons, etc.; W. of the N. doorway (7) St. Thomas de Cantelupe, in a pavilion, with suppliant figure; W. of the third window (8) Virgin and Child against a background of foliation and birds. On the S. wall—between the first two windoss in two tiers, top (9) Baptism of Christ flanked by parts of two other unidentified subjects; bottom (10) Last Supper; to the E. of and above the S. doorway (11) Annunciation, with some later over-painting; above the foregoing, between the second and third windows (12) traces of an unidentified subject with a background of foliation and birds. The above, unless otherwise stated, are of the 14th century; there are in addition some fragments of similar date below the string-course on the N. side. Towards the W. end of the S. wall and on the E. face of the S. respond of the tower arch are areas of 16th-century arabesque in red and yellow. Piscinae: in chancel—in E. end of S. wall (1) straight-sided recess with attached shaft against the E. side with moulded cap and base, and rectangular drain; reset in the sill of the first window of the S. wall (2) a similar drain, (3) an octofoil drain, and (4) a second octofoil drain. Pulpit (Plate 54): on a modern stem, hexagonal, having panelled and jewelled sides enriched with pendants and finished with an entablature; the sounding board has pendants at the corners braced by arches with a large central pendant braced by radiating brackets and is supported by a standard with a cartouche inscribed 'ANNO DO 1635' and the initials 'IR'.

Screen (Plates 54, 55): Under chancel arch, of five bays, the middle one open and of double width. The side bays are in two heights with solid panels below, enriched with applied tracery, and open lights above. These have trefoiled and sub-cusped ogee crocketed heads with foliated points to the cusping and carved spandrels; the space between them and the top rail is filled with pierced vertical tracery. The arched head of the centre bay is similar in character to those of the side bays but is depressed and cinque-foiled. The screen has been repaired but retains traces of the old paint, and a little of the gilding, described by Cole (B.M. Add. MS. 5821, 6–8). It is carved with heraldic and other devices. Two of the crockets over the entrance on the nave side are treated as birds and the spandrels of the main cusps of the arches over the open lights are decorated as follows: E. side—(1) shield of arms of the see of Ely; (2) shield of arms of Lisle; (3) and (4) foliated; (5) shield of arms of Arundel; (6) and (7) foliated; (8) quarterly shield of arms (unidentified 2); (9) shield of arms (unidentified 3); (10) shield of arms (unidentified 4); (11) shield of arms (unidentified 5); (12) quarterly shield of arms (unidentified 6); W. side—(13) shield of arms (unidentified 7); (14) a winged heart; (15), (16) and (17) foliated; (18) shield of arms (unidentified 8); (19) shield of arms (unidentified 9); (20) angel with lute; (21) and (22) foliated; (23) and (24) conventional flowers. If the identification of (5), first suggested by Cole, as the arms of Thomas Arundel, Bishop of Ely 1374–1388, is correct, the screen is to be dated accordingly. Stoup: In nave, immediately E. of S. door, consisting of a mutilated bowl in a recess with a two-centred head; probably c. 1300.


b(2) University Farm (Plate 47), house on a moated site (Monument (24)), two storeys framed and plastered, with tiled roofs, is early 17th-century. The main elevation to the S. is without old details except for barge-boards to the cross-wing gable ends with turned pendants at the apices. It gives on to a small rectangular forecourt, enclosed by a red brick wall, which is of 17th-century origin. Inside, the principal ground floor room in the W. cross wing has an original plaster ceiling (Plate 85) composed of moulded ribs arranged in a geometric pattern and enriched with fleurs-de-lis and roses. It is divided into two bays by a cross beam similarly plastered, and enriched with arabesque. In the upper room of the S.E. cross wing is a moulded fireplace surround with square outer and four-centred inner head, the spandrels enriched with cusped tracery; it is painted, but is probably of clunch, and may be 17th-century.

b(3) Clare College Farm, house, two storeys, of brick with tiled roof, probably originated as a Class-J house of c. 1700.

b(4) Dale's Farm, house, of two storeys, framed and plastered, with tiled roofs, is early to mid 17th-century. It consists of a range along and to the S. of the Comberton road, having a short and narrow porch-like projection to the N. at its E. end with a jettied upper storey; and some lower adjuncts, for the most part later. On the S. side two of the modern windows on the upper floor mask older ones: each is of four lights; one with wooden mullions of square section diagonally set was apparently unglazed; the other has ovolo-moulded mullions, also of wood, and intermediate vertical bars. On the N. side, immediately below the eaves, some panels of pargetting, perhaps original, are disposed in geometrical patterns.

b(5) House, converted farm buildings, includes a barn, of four bays aisled on both sides on a brick plinth, framed and boarded and with a thatched roof. Inscriptions 'ET 1766' and 'WA RA 1766', cut respectively on a tie beam and a main post, presumably record the date of erection.

b(6) The Vatches, house, of two storeys with attics and cellar, partly of brick, partly framed and plastered, is of 17th-century origin, but has been much altered subsequently.

b(7) College Farm, house (Class J), two storeys, framed and plastered, with tiled roof, is 17th- or 18th-century, and has a brick front added in the 19th century. The square red brick chimney stack of four conjoined flues may be an original feature rebuilt.

b(8) Houses, a complex of three dwellings, all of a single storey with attics, plastered or boarded over the frames, with thatched roofs, arranged around a small rectangular yard. The oldest is a mutilated Class-J house, perhaps of 17th-century origin; the other two are converted outbuildings, probably 18th-century. The conversions, ostensibly late 18th- or 19th-century, originally provided for more than three families.

b(9) Bird's Farm, house and buildings, is so called from a family of that name known from documents of 1440 and 1464 relating to the village. The House, of one storey with attics, framed and plastered, with the N. side under-built in brick, is a straight range of four bays of late mediaeval origin. Initially it would appear to have consisted of a two-bay hall and floored end bays, all under a common roof, and possibly with a jetty on the E. The design does not conform to the typology of late mediaeval small houses in the area. A floor and chimney were inserted in the hall in the 16th and 17th centuries respectively, and there are later additions and repairs. Much of the original frame survives, including two of the tie beams; these are supported on swell-headed posts and chamfered for their full length. Long, rather light, curved braces from the posts to the tie beams have also a chamfer which is returned along the underside of the tie beams from brace to brace on an inner order. The roof over the hall bays is smoke-blackened, and mortices in the rafters in the E. bay indicate a former louvre. Apart from the tie beams already described, the roof consists merely of common rafters placed above the ties and carrying side purlins. The middle room on the ground floor has a beam supporting the inserted floor, with double-ovolo moulding and ogee stops at its E. end.

The Buildings, S. of the house, include small remnants of a framed aisled barn, and a boarded and thatched granary of the 18th century.

Barton, Monument No. 9, Bird's Farm

b(10–22) Houses, all framed and of internal-chimney designs (Class I predominating), mostly single-storeyed with attics and with thatched or tiled roofs having half-hipped or gabled ends. The standard is rather poor; in addition some of the houses have been greatly altered, others are in disrepair or derelict; late 17th- and 18th-century.


b(23) Moated site (Class A2 (a); N.G. TL 410557; not on O.S.) destroyed in February 1962. The moat, in gault clay, was trapezoidal and measured 103 ft. N., 144 ft. E., 136 ft. W. and 132 ft. S., with a ditch 26 ft. to 28 ft. wide and 3 ft. to 4 ft. deep, wet on the E. side; there was no obvious original entrance. Inside was a bank 10 ft. to 12 ft. wide and 2 ft. to 5½ ft. high along the N. side, a scarp 1 ft. high sloping eastwards and running N. and S. down the centre, and a slightly raised platform in the N.W. corner. The W. ditch was prolonged S. for 85 ft., then ran E. as far as the hedge on the E. side of the field.

The unpublished pottery found on the site in 1908, though described as 'Celtic' and 'Roman' by the excavator (F. G. Walker, C.A.S. Procs., XII (1908), 296 ff.), is mostly 12th-century (J. G. Hurst, C.A.S. Procs., XLIX (1956), 43 ff.). Most of the finds then made came from a ditch near the N. end of the main moat 110 ft. long, 12 ft. wide and 4 ft. to 5 ft. deep, filled with ash, bones and occupation debris.

b(24) Moated site (Class A4; N.G. TL 408558). The moat, 300 ft. W.S.W. of the foregoing, on the N. and E. of University Farm, was apparently never more than an L-shaped garden pond formed by deepening and widening the stream flowing through it from the N.W. The E. side is 210 ft. long, the N. side is 104 ft. long and the ditch, 30 ft. to 40 ft. wide, is 4 ft. to 5 ft. deep to the water level.

Barton, Monument 24

(25) Cultivation remains (not on O.S.) consist of ridge and furrow partly in old enclosures and partly of open-field type.

Ridge and furrow in old enclosures, with ridges 100 yds. to 230 yds. long, 7 yds. to 9 yds. wide, 6 ins. to 9 ins. high and with headlands 7 yds. to 9 yds. wide, survives S. of the former hamlet of Whitwell (N.G. TL 403582) and around Barton village (N.G. TL 407559 and 402557).

Traces of ridge and furrow of open-field type are visible on air photographs over much of the parish. The open fields were called 'Brook', 'Hill' and 'Long' Fields and an 'Intercommon Furlong' lay between the last two and the hamlet of Whitwell. Whitwell, which has long formed the northern third of the parish, presumably once had its own open fields.

(Ref: enclosure map, 1839 (C.R.O.); tithe map, 1841 (T.R.C.); air photographs: 106G/UK/1490/3027–32, 4028–34, 4173–7.)

c(26) Barrow, Roman, of uncertain type. The remains, now almost destroyed, lie on river-terrace gravel 300 ft. W.N.W. of Lord's Bridge 130 ft. N.W. of the line of the Roman road from Cambridge to Arrington Bridge on the parish boundary with Harlton (N.G. TL 39435449). Only an irregular mound, 68 ft. long, 30 ft. wide and 5 ft. high, survives as a thickening of the hedge bank. In 1817 a skeleton was found 9 ft. below the surface, and in 1907 F. G. Walker excavated out of the centre of the mound and 2 ft. down a stone coffin containing the disordered skeleton of a young woman, two bone pins, Roman pottery, bird bones and animal teeth. Roman sandal nails and pottery were found close by. (F. G. Walker, C.A.S. Procs., XII (1908), 273 ff.) The site is overgrown with dense scrub.