Great Eversden

Pages 121-126

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 35 S.W., cTL 35 S.E.)

Great Eversden

Great Eversden is a village lying E. of a N. spur from the chalk ridge which separates the valleys of the Cam and the Bourn Brook. E. and S. of the village three springs, Bath Spinney (N.G. TL 35775378), Hall Well (36005321) and Eastwell (36595280), provide water for the settlement, and after supplying two moated sites (Monuments (19) and (21)) contribute to streams running N.E. to the Bourn Brook which forms the N. boundary at a height of 60 ft. to 70 ft. above O.D. The S. boundary follows the line of the crest of the chalk ridge at heights of up to 260 ft. above O.D.

The 1400 acres of the parish are underlain by gault clay. To the E. Little Eversden, about half the size, is separated from Great Eversden by an indented boundary based on pre-existing fields. The two parishes, which together form a compact rectangle, were rated as one in Domesday Book; they are already alluded to as distinct parishes in the 13th century, but were enclosed by the same act of 1811 and have always been intimately connected.

Like some other villages in W. Cambridgeshire, Great Eversden is based on a sub-rectangular grid of lanes and paths which the enclosure map of 1811 shows to have been more complete then than it is today. Secular buildings put up between 1715 and 1850 are mostly of framing or local white brick, though clunch was also used (as in Monuments (5) and (15); cf. also 'Quarry Field' in Monument (22)).


Great Eversden, the Parish Church of St. Mary

c(1) Parish Church of St. Mary stands in the N. half of a sub-rectangular churchyard, bounded on the N. and W. by a low wall of clunch ashlar, field stones and brick, and on the E. and S. by a slight bank. The fabric is of field stones and clunch with limestone and clunch dressings. The chancel and nave are tiled; the N. porch is covered with stone slates; the tower has a short leaded spire.

The church was badly damaged by a fire after being struck by lightning on 8 July 1466 (W. Cole, B.M. Add. MS. 5826, 85). It seems to have been entirely rebuilt, with a Chancel, Nave and West Tower, in the late 15th or early 16th century, perhaps with some re-use of the old materials. It was restored in 1864 and 1920.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (28½ ft. by 16¾ ft.) has an E. window of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery. A window at the W. end of the N. wall and two others in the S. wall are more or less uniform, each of three cinque-foiled lights in a depressed four-centred head. The S. door has continuous moulded jambs and four-centred head. The chancel arch is of two orders, moulded to the W. and chamfered to the E., the inner carried on an attached moulded part-octagonal shaft.

The Nave (44 ft. by 20¼ ft.) has three windows resembling those in the side walls of the chancel save that the first on the S. side is of four lights with tracery in the head. The N. and S. doorways are uniform: they have four-centred heads with mouldings cut on a continuous wide chamfer, the mouldings being carried down the upper part of the jambs. The rood stair is in the thickened E. end of the N. wall. The blocked lower doorway has continuous chamfered jambs and four-centred head; the similar upper doorway, N. of the chancel arch, is open. The North Porch is timber-built, the framing incorporating reused material; a plaster panel in the gable end bears the date 1636.

The West Tower (10½ ft. by 9¼ ft.), of three architectural stages, is placed S. of the nave axis to accommodate a vice on the N.E. corner. The belfry windows, each of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in the head between two vertical tracery bars, appear to be late 14th-century. They and some other features may be reused. The tower arch is of two orders to the E., the inner chamfered and carried on attached shafts, the outer moulded and continuous; and of three chamfered orders to the W., the two outer dying against the side walls. The doorway to the vice has continuous chamfered jambs and four-centred head.

The partly ceiled Roofs of the chancel and nave, of two and three bays, are late mediaeval. They are of tie-beam construction with braces to short wall posts. In the chancel these have engaged shafts worked on the face, with moulded and embattled caps and moulded bases, and terminate above stone corbels; the wall plates are embattled; the E. closing truss appears to have had all but the ends of the tie beam cut away, perhaps in the course of erection to clear the window, and arch braces have been fitted to the rafters.

Fittings—Bells: three; 1st, 1767; 2nd, uninscribed; 3rd, 1639, by Miles Graie. Bell frame: old. Communion table: with turned legs, plain rails with shaped brackets below upper rail and moulded edges to top; late 17th- or 18th-century. Locker: in E. wall, N. of E. window, with four-centred head and rebate for door; late 15th- or early 16th-century. Monuments and Floor slabs. Monuments: In chancel—on S. wall (1) to John Day, 1751, and Elizabeth his wife, 1782, marble tablet with entablature and pediment, side pilasters and apron painted with shield of arms. In the churchyard are some 18th-century shaped and carved headstones. Floor slabs: In chancel (1) to Richard Rose, 17[4?]2, with shield of arms. In nave (2) to Joshua Scott, 1726. Organ: in two heights of panelling above a moulded plinth, with pipes above framed in a central aperture enriched with scroll-work and arranged in flanking towers; late 18th-century. Panelling: incorporated in modern stalls on S. side of chancel, in two heights; 17th-century. Piscina: in E. wall of chancel with four-centred head and square drain with outlet concealed by a small boss; late 15th- or early 16th-century. Plate: includes an inscribed paten, 17th-century, and an inscribed cup, London 1791. Pulpit: part-octagonal with carved panels in two heights, 17th-century, cut down. Stalls: In chancel, the two westernmost on the S. side, with shaped and moulded tops and shaped divisions, with heads on the haunches and attached shafts below, have misericords carved with (a) large leaf flanked by shields charged with three flowers in a bordure engrailed (Unidentified 10), and (b) shield of the arms of Beauchamp flanked by a rose and a lion mask; first half of 15th century, repaired.

c(2) Congregational Chapel, was built in 1845 and cost about £1200. It is of gault brick with some freestone dressings and has a slated roof with pedimented gable end to the street. The two-storeyed Manse with symmetrical front in three bays, 230 yds. to the N., is in similar materials and may be contemporary with the Chapel.


c(3) House (Plate 99), now known as The Homestead, with detached outbuilding, both of the 16th century.

The House, two-storeyed, framed and rough-cast, with some brick casing, and with tiled roof, forms an E. and W. range with jetty along the S. side, except at the W. end where a later brick wall in the jetty plane seals a gap apparently resulting from the removal of an outshut.

Apart from the ends of the beams and joists supporting the jetty and two ground-floor windows on the N. side no original features are visible externally, though the outside chimney at the W. end appears to replace an original feature. Reset in this chimney are some cusped panels of marble or alabaster.

Great Eversden, The Homestead, Monument No. 3

Internally the house is divided into three rooms on either floor with a chimney built in a special bay between the first and second rooms. The chimney is placed N. of the main axis, thus allowing for a lobby or closet to the S. of it on both floors; the space is now occupied by a stair. The equivalent of a screens passage has been taken out of the second room on the ground floor and divides it from the third room. Immediately W. of the northern half of this passage and forming an enclave in the third room is the stair, which has undergone some reconstruction, but retains a number of its solid treads. The first room on the ground floor has intersecting chamfered ceiling beams with exposed joists, hollow-chamfered and stopped. The fireplace retains its clunch jambs. A former window in the N. wall is indicated by the shutter groove and an associated break in the stud pegging. The second room also has intersecting ceiling beams with stops at the intersection and the hollow-chamfered and stopped joists are likewise exposed. The fireplace has been altered but has kept its bressummer. A window divided into six lights by hollow-chamfered mullions survives on the N. side. A second window immediately E. can be inferred from a shutter groove. The passage retains internally parts or all of three doorways: one, at the S. end on the W. side is now partly blocked; a second opposite it with four-centred head and closed by an old plank door; the third giving access to the stair, the foot of which is lit by a window in the N. wall divided into three lights by diagonal mullions. The third room, which has long been used as a kitchen, has intersecting chamfered beams and plain joists. The S. end of the cross beam rests on a post which probably replaces an original feature. Absence of pegging along the lower inside edge of the middle rail on this, S., side is evidence for the existence of an outshut there.

Upstairs there are traces of at least three windows. The middle room retains its fireplace with stop-chamfered clunch jambs and a stop-chamfered wooden bressummer. This room was open to the roof but the other two may have been ceiled from the first at collar level. The exposed timbers in the third room have traces of old paint. The roof is in seven bays; the trusses have or had cambered tie beams braced to swell-head posts, collars above, and wind braces from the main rafters to the side purlins.

The Outbuilding, of two bays but possibly curtailed to the N., framed and boarded, with thatched roof gabled to the N. and half-hipped to the S., has been partly floored. There are traces of a large original window in the hip gable. The relation of the outbuilding to the house recalls that of a detached kitchen but there is no confirmatory evidence and its purpose is uncertain.

Great Eversden, Monument No. 4, Barn at Church Farm

c(4) Church Farm includes a house and barn. Access was restricted. The House, two-storeyed, framed and rough-cast, may have originated as a Class-J dwelling of the 17th century; it has been modernised. The Barn, framed and boarded with corrugated iron roof, is in five bays, aisled on both sides, and with an added transeptal entrance, also aisled, to the E. The trusses have main swell-head posts braced to cambered tie beams with collars above; the main posts rise from ground sills connecting them to the wall posts, the heads of which are tied back to the main posts by a horizontal bar. A long curved brace immediately below the rafters joins the bar to the nape of the main post head. The trusses were further strengthened by two long struts on either side roughly parallel to the rafters, and halved and notched into the primary timbers in a manner sometimes found in comparatively early mediaeval work; one ran from each wall post to the main tie, the other from the wall post to the inside end of the bar, but they have all been removed. There are wind braces from the main rafters to the purlins. The two ends have centre posts and original half hips. The date is uncertain but it may be 15th-century.

c(5) Clunch House (Class U), two-storeyed, of clunch ashlar on a white brick plinth with a hipped slated roof, has an asymmetrical front in three bays with end pilasters, platband and cornice. It was probably built somewhat before the middle of the 19th century and was later extended and altered.

c(6) House, three-cell, approximating on plan to Class J, framed, plastered and thatched, is early 17th-century with later alterations. The W. end is two-storeyed; the E. end, which includes the chimney, has a somewhat lower roof and was originally an open structure, but was floored for an attic at a comparatively early date.

c(7) House, a small three-cell dwelling, framed, plastered and thatched, of one storey and attic, appears to be an 18th-century barn made habitable in the 19th century.

c(8) House, four-cell approximating to Class K, of one storey and attic, framed and plastered, with thatched roof half-hipped to the E. and gabled to the W., with dormers, is 17th-century, altered and extended. The first bay, which is somewhat lower at the eaves, was originally open to the roof but was floored in the 19th century. Inside studwork with down bracing and some stop-chamfered ceiling beams are exposed.

c(9) House, (Class L), associated with a moated site (Monument (19)), framed and plastered, with tiled roofs hipped on the return and gabled at the ends, is 17th-century. The chimney is placed off-centre at the junction of the two ranges; an 18th-century lean-to in the re-entrant, with fireplace served by this chimney, may replace an original feature. The E. room on the ground floor has intersecting stop-moulded beams. The room above it also has intersecting beams with notched stops; in the adjacent bedroom is a 17th-century door of six panels with cock's-head hinges.

c(10) House, formerly 'The Firs', L-shaped, framed and plastered, with tiled roofs, has a two-storeyed main range and single-storeyed back wing, both with attics. There is an internal chimney at the junction and a second at the other end of the main range. The central front door opens into a large hall with stair rising in three flights around a completely enclosed stair well. The house is ostensibly of the second half of the 18th century and has two fireplace surrounds of that period, but may incorporate some earlier work.

c(11) Manor Farm occupies a moated site (Monument (21)); house and moat are intimately related and quite possibly contemporary.

The house, two-storeyed, framed and plastered, with tiled roofs, consists of a Class-H dwelling of c. 1600 facing E. down the village street, and a parallel range of outbuildings of about the same date at the rear. House and outbuildings were linked by infilling during the 18th century when the house itself was remodelled and enlarged by the addition of a stair house on the W. with hipped roof.

The old E. front with its flanking gables is now substantially 18th-century in character with a central front door having eared architrave, fluted side pilasters and mutilated entablature; the windows are hung sashes symmetrically disposed. The main range has balancing but not uniform chimneys at the ends and its front wall has been carried up to a parapet which returns above the short inner side walls of the projecting wings; on the W. side, which is largely masked by the later work, the wings finish flush with the main wall.

Little of the structural timber of the original house is visible inside, though intersecting ceiling beams upstairs in the main range and parts of the tie-beam roofs are exposed. The front door leads into an entrance hall with fireplace, in a moulded and eared surround, having reveals panelled in stone. Beyond, in the N.W. angle between the original house and the linking range is the added stair house, communicating with the hall by an elliptical arch, panelled in wood, with moulded imposts and key; the two are continuously paved in diagonally placed square slabs with black diapers at the corners. The stair (Plate 108), flanked by a panelled dado, rises to the upper floor in three flights separated by half landings; it has a moulded swept hand rail, three turned balusters to each tread, panelled square newel posts and open string with carved scroll brackets. The ceiling of the stair hall is square on plan and has a moulded cornice enriched with egg-and-dart, a circular main panel with four spandrel panels at the corners, and a rococo centre-piece consisting of five acanthus leaves arranged as a Catherine wheel radiating from a lamp hook in the middle. The Palladian window in the W. wall has panelled shutters, each in two leaves. On a small top landing are two six-panelled doors set in a panelled dado. The S. end room on the ground floor is lined with fielded panelling in two heights; both N. end rooms have moulded and enriched fireplace surrounds, panelled overmantels and cornices. These and some other minor features are all of the 18th century.

The present kitchen is an oblong room of uncertain date divided by tie beams into four bays and forming part of the range of outbuildings though at right angles to it and projecting to the E. This kitchen is linked to the house proper by the 18th-century infilling and is reached through a round panelled arch of the 18th century with moulded architrave and imposts. To the N. the range, now in five bays, has been curtailed and considerably altered; the two bays next to the kitchen are partially smoke-blackened and may be an earlier, possibly original, kitchen, modified by the insertion of a brick chimney in the 18th century. To the S. the two further bays of the outbuildings range have been extensively rebuilt.

c(12) Redhouse Farm (Class L), two-storeyed with attics, is of red brick with a first-floor platband of three courses, except for the S. end which is framed. The roofs are tiled. It is of the mid 18th century, altered and enlarged. One original chimney is internal to the main, N. and S., range, the other is in the heel gable end.

c(13) House, formerly The Fox public house, two-storeyed, of white brick in English bond with hipped tiled roofs, was built c. 1815, probably as an inn. The plan-form exhibits some special-purpose features, including a small cellar slightly sunk below ground-floor level and an original outshut, possibly the brew-house.

c(14) House, L-shaped on plan, single-storeyed with attics, framed, plastered and thatched, with three gabled ends, is 17th-century. The rather long main range is wider and lower than the cross wing and has an internal chimney. Some of the framing is exposed inside including a number of stop-chamfered axial beams.

c(15) House (Class J), one storey and attic, of clunch ashlar with tiled roof, having dormers in front and half-hips at the ends, is 18th-century; all the openings in the front have accurately-cut radiating voussoirs. Inside, rooms on the ground floor either side of the internal chimney have stop-chamfered cross beams. The square stack is of red brick. At the rear are added outshuts, partly of clunch and partly boarded.

c(16) House (Class H), partly two-storeyed and partly single-storeyed with attic, framed and plastered, with hipped and thatched roofs, is probably c. 1600. The frame, where exposed, is down-braced; no roof timbers are visible. Apart from some underbuilding in brick, the replacement of doors and windows, and some minor changes in access, it has not been greatly altered.

The cross wings project to the S.W. only. Between them the main range, which is wider and with lower eaves, has a central dormer rising off the wall; an internal chimney at its S.E. end issues in an oblong pilastered stack.

Great Eversden, Monument No. 16

Internally the main range is in three bays, one of which is occupied by the chimney. The ground-floor room has a quadripartite ceiling with moulded axial and cross beams, with leaf-stops. Two tie beams, one against the chimney, are exposed in the attic. The S.E. cross wing, which is wider than the other, is divided on the ground floor by an original partition. The N.E. room has a stop-chamfered axial ceiling beam and wide fireplace with chamfered bressummer. The axial beam of the S.W. room is plain. The N.E. bedroom has a smaller fireplace with chamfered bressummer. The N.W. cross wing is also divided on the ground floor by an original partition. The ceiling of the S.W. room has axial joists laid flat. Above the partition is a main truss with chamfered tie beam on swell-head posts, and chamfered arch braces. There are indications of two former windows which were perhaps original.

c(17–18) Houses (Class J) are both framed, respectively 17th- and 18th-century.


c(19) Moated Site (N.G. TL 363535) immediately S. of the point where the village street crosses Full Brook. The remains consist of two adjacent sides of an enclosure and a small moated area on the N.E. Pottery of the 13th century has been collected from the surface of the latter. The enclosure may have been rectangular, although in 1811 (enclosure map, C.R.O.) the site appeared much as at present. The S.E. side of the enclosure is 164 ft. long, the S.W. side 215 ft. long; both are 20 ft. wide and 2½ ft. deep, and partly wet. The moated area, 62 ft. N.E. by 41 ft., with a dry ditch 20 ft. to 40 ft. across, has been degraded by cultivation as an orchard and vegetable garden.

c(20) Enclosure (N.G. TL 359536, not on O.S.), 600 ft. S. of Manor Farm. The site was occupied by a farm in 1811 (enclosure map, C.R.O.). The enclosure is sub-rectangular 220 ft. N. by 120 ft. E. by 200 ft. S. by 100 ft. W., with a limiting bank 3 ft. wide and 6 ins. to 9 ins. high. A trackway 100 ft. wide runs E.S.E. from the N.E. corner. To the W. is an area of slight scarps, mounds and hollows, on which there were buildings.

c(21) Moated Site (Class B; N.G. TL 360537), associated with Manor Farm (Monument (11)). The moat, on an E. slope of gault clay, is fed from a spring 230 yds. to the W. at Bath Spinney and surrounds the house which stands on a crest with a slope to the E. ditch. The ditch seems to be intended more for show than defence.

The area enclosed is trapezoidal, 173ft. N. by 277 ft. E. by 141 ft. S. by 240 ft. W. The ditch is generally 25 ft. wide with a flat bottom 20 ft. across and 3 ft. to 4 ft. deep; but the W. side is 20 ft. to 25 ft. wide, 5 ft. deep, and now dry. At the N.E. angle are traces of a sluice to hold back the stream and fill the ditch; the N. side here widens to 55 ft. and an external bank 40 ft. wide and 2 ft. high, apparently intended as a dam, runs along the N. side of the ditch and the stream feeding it.

An outer moated enclosure, 284 ft. N. to S. by 130 ft., adjoins the main moat on the E.; its S. side has been destroyed by farm buildings and the E. side, 2 ft. deep, has been widened to 30 ft. to make an ornamental pond.

The ditches of both enclosures are crossed in the centres of their E. sides by a causeway which enters the outer enclosure through a gap 48 ft. wide and crosses the inner moat by a brick bridge, 15 ft. wide, of three arches, possibly 17th-century. On the W. side a brick bridge 8 ft. wide, of a single arch, crosses the ditch 160 ft. from the N. W. corner.

An unploughed area adjoining the two enclosures can be traced, limited on the E. and S. by roads, and on the N. and W. by ditches 25 ft. to 30 ft. wide and 1½ ft. to 2 ft. deep; the N. side has a bank between two ditches. There are gardens in the enclosures which are surrounded by pasture, with farm buildings on the S.

(22) Cultivation Remains (not on O.S.). Ridge and furrow with ridges 60 yds. to 170 yds. long, 7 yds. to 13 yds. wide and 9 ins. to 1 ft. high, with headlands of 7 yds. to 13 yds., exists all around the village, e.g. at N.G. TL 362552 and 362532. Most of these remains curve slightly. N. of Manor Farm (Monument (11)), around N.G. TL 360539, are two blocks of ridge and furrow unrelated to the present field boundaries. The W. block runs N. to S. but curves sharply south-eastward to end on a bank 15 yds. wide and the E. block runs E. and W. with headlands of 11 yds. at both ends. Further S., around N.G. TL 359534, are four blocks with from 7 to 11 ridges, around Monument (20). Two of these have notably high and wide ridges, up to 2 ft. and 14 yds. All of these remains were in old enclosures in 1811. Remains of old enclosures are also visible in and around Eversden Wood on the W. boundary of the parish.

Traces of ridge and furrow can be seen on air photographs covering most of the chalk ridge in the W. of the parish and many furlongs can be distinguished. On the gault clay to the N. and N.E. some headlands or access ways only appear as soil or crop marks. The open fields of which these are traces were called 'Brook', 'Church', 'Quarry' and 'Wood' Fields.

(Ref: enclosure map 1811 (C.R.O.); air photographs: CPE/UK/2024/3006–9, 3047–53; St. Joseph, SH52.)