Pages 126-129

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. TL 35 N.E.)

Hardwick is a parish of 1438 acres, forming with Toft, to the S., a parallelogram bounded on the N. by the highway from Cambridge to St. Neots and on the S. by the Bourn Brook. Most of it is on boulder clay and over 200 ft. above O.D. The Bin Brook, which runs E., and a smaller stream flowing S. to the Bourn Brook, rise in the village. The name Hardwick, like those of Toft, and Caldecote immediately to the W., suggests secondary settlement.


An ancient E. to W. trackway called 'Port Way' crosses the parish S. of the village. The village nucleus is a green about 500 yds. from the trackway. This green covered more than 10 acres when it was enclosed by act of 1836 and may already have been reduced. The church stands at the S. end of the former W. side. Some growth S. towards Port Way is indicated by the existence of old closes (see Monument (7)) either side of the Toft road; on the W. side of this road is a moated site (Monument (6)).

Apart from modern ribbon development along the N. boundary on the highway the village is now small; buildings of 1715–1850 not separately listed are negligible.


Hardwick, the Parish Church of St. Mary

(1) Parish Church of St. Mary (Plate 52) stands on a low rectangular platform, with slight banks enclosing the churchyard. The structure, consisting of Chancel, unaisled Nave and West Tower, is of field stones with freestone and clunch dressings; the chancel roof is tiled; those of the nave and S. porch are slated. Apart from the tower it is an indeterminate structure ostensibly of the late 14th or 15th century, but the last window on the S. side of the chancel, of early 14th-century character, implies an earlier stone church on the site. No information has been forthcoming about restoration or repairs to the fabric; some comparatively noteworthy fittings have disappeared since J. H. arker described the churchEcc. Top. Cambs., § 36).

Architectural Description—The Chancel (23¾ ft. by 16 ft.) has an E. window of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery. Two side windows on the N. and one at the E. end of the S. side are each of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a four-centred head. The second window on the S. side, of two trefoiled lights with net tracery, is early 14th-century reset. The 15th-century chancel arch is of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous, the inner carried on part-octagonal shafts with moulded caps. The orders are merged at the base which is chamfered. N. of it is the restored rood stair with canted upper and lower doorways each with continuous chamfered jambs and four-centred head.

The Nave (45 ft. by 22¼ ft.) has six windows resembling, with comparatively minor variations, the three uniform windows in the chancel; the first two windows on the S. side have the quatrefoil in the head flanked by short vertical tracery bars while the third window has septfoiled lights. The N. doorway, partly blocked, now leads into a modern vestry; but its continuously chamfered outer order and moulded label are visible. The S. doorway has a moulded head, chamfered jambs and no label. The S. porch, 15th-century, has square-headed windows in the side walls: the E. window is of two lights with trefoiled inner heads; the uniform W. window is of a single light only. The much-weathered entrance has a four-centred head and is of two chamfered orders, the inner carried on part-octagonal shafts with moulded caps and bases. The stone benches are old.

The unbuttressed West Tower (8¼ ft. square) is in three architectural stages on a tall base with a string-course and a small offset at each stage, and a similar string-course below the embattled parapet. It is crowned by a restored octagonal ashlar spire with a small gabled window in each cardinal face and an E. doorway at the base with ogee outer and four-centred inner head. The W. window is of two cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in the head. In the second stage are single-light windows with two-centred heads to N. and S. and a small 'high door' E. into the nave roof just below the ridge. The top stage has had a window of two trefoiled lights in each face: on the N. and S. sides smaller brick windows, of the 18th or 19th century, have been built inside the old openings; to the E. and W. the original windows have been restored. A weathercourse on the E. face of the tower for the existing nave roof is visible above the slates and was evidenly designed for thatch. The tower arch is of three chamfered orders to the E. and two to the W. with moulded caps and bases.

The 15th-century queen-post Roofs of the chancel and nave are similar (Plate 102). That to the chancel, which is ceiled at collar level, in two bays sub-divided by secondary trusses with braces forming an arch below the collar, has the centre of the tie beam omitted from the E. truss to allow for the window. The closer otherwise resembles the other two main trusses which have braces from wall posts forming four-centred arches below the ties, and moulded caps and bases to the queen posts. The wall plate is embattled. The nave roof is in four bays open to the ridge piece which may not be original. The intermediate trusses have no collars and the plates are not embattled. There are also some structural disparities: the four-centred arches below the nave tie beams, for example, being partly worked on the underside of the beam. The centre sections of the closing ties have been omitted to allow for the chancel and tower arches and the E. truss is fitted to the rood stair. The nave roof rises off coeval moulded stone corbels. The roof of the S. porch is also old.

Fittings—Armour: a burgonet of sheet metal, with crest, peak and hinged ear flaps; c. 1600. Bells: three; not fully accessible but apparently as described by Raven (Church Bells of Cambs., 149) and all by Robert Taylor, 1797. Bell frame: diagonally set N.E. and S.W., old. Chest: Of oak planks, strengthened in front with a rectangular frame and iron-bound; posts at the two ends project above the lid and have fittings to receive a longitudinal bar, now missing, which was secured by a central shaped hasp and lock; in addition there is an internal locking pin; perhaps 16th-century. Communion rail: of cast iron, in Gothic idiom, with oak rail; first half of 19th century. Font: Octagonal bowl with splayed underside, possibly 13th-century, retooled, on modern base. Monuments and Floor slab. Monuments: In churchyard—some 15 ft. S. of S. porch entrance (1) low tomb chest, the sides of which are now below ground level, with a number of small dowel holes in the top and indents for an inlaid inscription of three or more lines; from accounts by Layer and Cole (Palmer, Inscriptions and Arms from Cambs., 72–3 and 228), who agree in describing the inlay as lead, this can be identified as being of 'William Middleton Bachelor in Divinitie Parson of this Church'; date of death not read, but Middleton died in 1613. There are a number of 18th-century headstones and footstones. Floor slab: in tower—of Thomas Barron, 1762. Niche: over porch entrance, decayed; late mediaeval. Piscina: in chancel, with stop-chamfered jambs, four-centred head and square drain; late mediaeval. Plate: includes an inscribed cup and a cover paten, both unmarked and dated '1569'; pewter flagon with inscription and maker's mark, early 17th-century. Scratchings: among a number of various dates—on S. respond of chancel arch (1) 'marmaduke messynden off helynge yn the conty off lyncolne', 16th-century; on E. splay of S. door (2) Latin inscription of six or more lines, decayed and partly, obliterated by a later windmill but the words 'a subita peste' and 'die dicto' can be distinguished; late mediaeval. Sundial: on W. jamb of second window in S. wall of nave, crudely incised; mediaeval. Weather-vane: in form of a cock; 18th-century. Miscellaneous: twenty-three squares of cross-stitch embroidery, at present on step immediately W. of altar; mid 19th-century.

Hardwick, Church

Scratching (I)


(2) Rectory, of red brick, in Tudor idiom; mid 19th-centtury.

(3) Victoria Farm, of 16th- or early 17th-century origin, heightened and extended to the W. c. 1700 with later outshuts, is partly framed and plastered, partly brick built and under-built, with tiled roof. The internal chimney has a stack of three square shafts in line along the ridge joined by the capping. Inside some structural timbers and chamfered ceiling beams are exposed.

(4) House (Class J), of one storey and attic, framed, plastered and thatched; late 17th- or early 18th-century.

(5) The Chequers, former inn, two-storeyed with cellar, framed and plastered, with half-hipped and tiled (at one time thatched) roof, resembles a Class-J house on plan. A low W. wing at the S. end is 19th-century and there are some modern accretions. The main N. and S. range, which is of the 16th or early 17th century, is in four bays, the third being occupied by a large chimney of brick and clunch with square 18th-century brick stack. As seen from the E., where the framing is exposed, the building falls into two distinct parts, the two S. bays being longer than the others with an intermediate plate at the sill level of the modern windows. The N. part has an intermediate plate at floor level and has down bracing from its end posts.

Inside, the middle room on the ground floor has a chamfered axial beam with small carved leaf stops; the main trusses are or have been of braced tie-beam type. There is some 18th-century joinery.


(6) Moated Site (Class A 1 (a); N.G. TL 372583), probably the site of the manor of Hardwick. A rectangular area 106 ft. E. to W. by 156 ft. is surrounded by a ditch 13 ft. to 25 ft. wide, almost completely filled on the N. but up to 5 ft. deep, and wet, on the S. A ditch 12 ft. wide and 3 ft. to 4ft. deep runs E. for 40 ft. from the N. end of the surviving part of the E. side. The interior on the S. is raised 1¼ ft. for a distance of 56 ft. from the S. side. Scarps and ditches S. of the site apparently mark the boundaries of closes shown on the enclosure and tithe maps of 1836.

(7) Cultivation Remains (not on O.S.). Ridge and furrow is preserved in the closes around the village shown as old enclosures in 1836. The remains are 30 yds. to 120 yds. long with ridges 7 yds. to 11 yds. wide and 1 ft. to 1½ ft. high and headlands of 5 yds. to 11 yds. The ridge and furrow E. of the moated site (Monument (6)) runs E. and W. in two blocks 170 yds. long divided by a ditch 10 ft. wide and 9 ins. deep. In 1836 these were called 'Huxleys Close' and 'Great Halls Close'. Five other former closes to the S. have no ridge and furrow, though their boundaries are visible as ditches or scarps. There are also remains in Hardwick Wood with curved ridges 200 yds. to 230 yds. long and 7yds. wide running N. and S., indicating that, although a wood in 1836, the area must once have formed part of the open fields.

In 1836 the open fields were called 'Brook', 'Comberton' and 'Wood' Fields. Furlongs with reversed-S ridges can be seen on air photographs as traces to the S.E. of the village.

(Ref: enclosure map 1836 (C.R.O.); tithe map 1836 (T.R.C.): air photographs: 106G/UK/1490/3188–92, 4177–80, 4230–6.)