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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27 LITTLE EVERSDEN
(O.S. 6 ins. TL 35 S.E.)
Little Eversden, containing only 790 acres, lies immediately E. of Great Eversden. The Roman road from Cambridge to Arrington Bridge forms the S.E. boundary of the parish. Great and Little Eversden have had a distinct existence from at least late Saxon times, but the two settlements have always been closely connected and are described as a unit in Domesday Book.
The relief and soil are similar to those of Great Eversden. The village, which can never have been large, now lies on a spur of chalk along a N.E. and S.W. street, part of a minor road linking the Mare Way and Comberton. Cross and back lanes still in part surviving when the parish was enclosed in 1811 (enclosure map in C.R.O.) have since further decayed.
Post-enclosure dwellings not separately listed include one or two which appear to have originated as farm buildings. Some others are of local clunch, a material which has been quarried in the village at least since the mid 18th century (see Monument (7)), and probably, on field-name evidence (see Monument (17)), very much earlier.
(1) Parish Church of St. Helen stands in a slightly raised rectangular churchyard bounded on the W. by a decayed clunch wall. The fabric is of fieldstones and clunch rubble, largely plastered on the outside, with dressings of freestone and clunch; the roofs are slated. It consists of a Chancel, Nave with North Porch, and West Tower, and is predominantly of the 14th century except for the porch and tower, which are of c. 1400 or of the early 15th century. Features described below are original unless otherwise stated. The church was restored in 1891–2.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (27½ ft. by 16 ft.) has an E. window of three trefoiled lights with net tracery and a moulded label; a window of a single trefoiled light at the W. end of the N. wall; and two rectangular windows in the S. wall, the first, 16th-century, of two lights with four-centred heads, the second of two trefoiled ogee lights; all are more or less restored. The chancel arch is modern.
The Nave (39 ft. by 20¼ ft.) has restored windows at the E. end of either side wall, of two trefoiled lights with flowing tracery and a label; a third window at the W. end of the S. wall, is of two cinque-foiled lights with mullions and flowing tracery, completely restored, and an external label, and has moulded jambs and casement-moulded splays with small shafts worked on the arris. The N. doorway, continuously moulded and with a label, is much worn and crudely made up with cement; the S. doorway is blocked and its continuous moulding is completely eroded. A rood stair N. of the chancel arch is entered by a modern doorway.
The North Porch (Plate 9) is framed above a modern dwarf wall. The two-centred entrance arch is flanked by two trefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a square head; the gable has cusped barge-boards. The side walls have each seven similar lights. The roof has a collar to each pair of rafters with a collar purlin supported by crown posts rising from tie beams at the ends.
The West Tower (10¾ ft. by 10 ft.) is of three stages with three-tier diagonal buttresses at the W. angles and rises to an embattled parapet having a gargoyle in the middle of each face. The W. window is of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery and a label with head stops. The second stage has loop lights to the S. and W. The third stage has a two-light window in each face with vertical tracery. Below that to the E. is the weathering of an earlier nave roof. The tower arch is of two moulded orders: the outer is continuous to the E. but dies against the side walls to the W.; the inner is carried on attached shafts with moulded caps and bases. The vice is canted against the N.W. corner and is entered by a doorway with continuous chamfered jambs and four-centred head. Set high beneath a small squinch arch at the junction of the vice with the W. wall is a head, apparently carved and mediaeval; a corresponding head at the junction with the N. wall is partly concealed by plaster. A doorway from the vice into the ringing chamber is similar to that at the foot of the vice.
The Roof of the nave, divided into three bays by tie beams which rise off braced wall posts with carved pendants, has raking struts from the ties and braces to the side purlins; 17th-century.
Fittings—Bells: four; 1st inscribed 'MG'; 2nd by J. Eayre, 1756; 3rd by Miles Graye, 1629; 4th by Christopher Graye, 1666. Bell frame: 17th-century. Benefactor's table: framed panel, 1805, recording gifts by Charles Baron Deer to the church, and to the sick of Great and Little Eversden; a second framed panel is now repainted with a list of successive incumbents; the earlier heading 'Eversden Parva' is legible. Door: to tower vice, of vertical planks with simple furniture; old. Font: octagonal bowl on modern stem, 13th-century, restored. Glass: a few fragments in first window on N. side of nave and in W. window of tower, 14th- to 15th-century. Monuments and Floor slabs. Monuments: On S. wall of chancel, of Rev. Peter Heaton, 1824. In churchyard, on S. side, shaped headstone carved with emblems of mortality, of Denies Baron, date not read, late 17th- or early 18th-century; also remains of some five similar headstones, one of John Baron, date not read. Floor slabs: in chancel (1) of John Cranwell, 1686, (2) of Mary (Baron) Cranwell, 1684, (3) of Mary Baron Cranwell, 1737; in nave (4) of Rebecca Deer, 1770, and Charles Baron Deer, 1771. Plate: includes a cup by Thomas Buttell, inscribed and dated '1569'; and a paten, unmarked, c. 1570. Stoup: rough recess and mutilated base immediately W. of N. door. Table: with slender corkscrew legs and lightly moulded top and bottom rails, late 17th- or 18th-century. Miscellaneous: cross-shaped stone, loose in church, possibly a mediaeval cross or crucifix.
(2) House and Barn. The House approximates to Class J, but has an original short N. wing at the E., chimney, end. It is two-storeyed with attics, framed and plastered, with some brick, and is of the late 17th or early 18th century, much altered. The Barn, aisled and of three bays, partly boarded, with sheet-iron roof, is roughly coeval.
(3) School, clunch-built, now tiled and slated but at one time thatched, may be partly of the first half of the 19th century.
(4) Rectory (Class U), built between 1725 and 1730 during the incumbency of the Rev. John Warde (B.M. Add. MS. 5828, 91), two-storeyed with attic, framed and plastered, with some later white brick, hipped tiled roof rising to a central flat. The front door of six fielded panels with moulded architrave, pulvinated frieze and cornice, and some of the sash windows, are original. Inside is some bolection-moulded and fielded panelling, a moulded stone fireplace surround and other 18th-century details.
(5) House, Buildings and Stonework. The House, partly one and partly two storeys with some attics, mostly framed and plastered, with various brick casing and underbuilding, and tiled roofs, has a 15th-century or early 16th-century nucleus, originally an open hall. During the 17th century an addition was made on the W. side of the hall. About the same time, this last was floored and a comparatively large cross wing built some 7 ft. to the S., the intervening space being devoted to chimneys and a stair. There have been infillings and extensions since to the W. and N.W.
Recent stripping of external plaster has revealed much of the framework of the mediaeval hall. The E. and W. side walls each consist of verticals divided into two heights by a middle rail, which forms the transom of a window at the S. end on either side. At the N. end of the E. wall is a blocked door; slots cut in the top inside edges of the middle rails immediately S. of this may be for the screen. The hall space is divided internally into two bays by a central tie-beam and crown-post truss with curved braces from the tie to swell-head posts and from the crown post to the extreme ends of the collar; the ogee moulding of the tie is returned down the posts with a mason's mitre at the junction. The S., closed, truss is similar to the central truss, but the N. truss, also closed, and now fragmentary, had a chamfer in place of the moulding. Principal rafters are, or have been, braced to side purlins, those of the S. truss being morticed for braces on the outside suggesting that the range continued beyond the hall. Towards the S. end of the N. bay of the roof are remains of a louvre, the upper part of one pair of rafters being omitted; holes and slots cut in the trimmers of the louvre and in the flanking rafters are probably for ventilators. The roof timbers and plaster are partly blackened by smoke from the hall fire which would seem to have been placed against the screen.
The later fireplace bressummer in the ground floor of the hall range is stop-chamfered; the inserted axial ceiling beam is moulded with a hollow between two ovolos and stopped.
The S. cross wing has two rooms on the ground floor, each divided into four bays by intersecting ceiling beams, apparently stop-chamfered but now largely cased. A passage hall has been taken out of the larger, E., room. The ground-floor room of the W. addition had a ceiling similarly divided by stopped ovolo-moulded beams with uniform wall plates, but the S. secondary is missing. Further detail of the 17th century includes the large external chimney between the cross wing and the W. extension, and some reset run-through panelling including fragments, fluted and carved with strapwork, intersecting circles and paterae. The kitchen or outhouse annexe at the N.W. corner of the house, of red brick with platbands, is early 18th-century.
The Buildings, N. of the house, include a pigeon house and a granary, both 17th-century, and an 18th-century barn. The pigeon house, framed, part plastered and part boarded, with hipped roof rising to two gablets and tiled, has had the nests removed and a floor inserted. The granary, in two bays, is of framing filled with nogging above a tall brick plinth and has a half-hipped tiled and pantiled roof; the corn bins incorporate some 17th-century run-through panelling. The barn is aisled, of three bays with doors in the middle bay S. to the yard; the roof is of sheet iron.
Stonework, loose in the garden N. of the house, includes the monolithic base of a mediaeval cross in shelly limestone, octagonal to square with carved stops, socket for square shaft; also a T-shaped stone carved with part of a trefoil-headed window form beneath a moulded label, 13th- or 14th-century.
(6) House (Class I), framed and plastered, with thatched roof, of a single storey with attics lit from the gable ends and with continuous original outshut along the rear side, was at one time a shop. The fenestration suggests that it was built as such; probably soon after 1811.
(7) Quarry and Buildings (N.G. TL 367520), at the S. end of the parish. The Quarry consists of about 4 acres of open clunch pits, now abandoned. The Buildings on the E. side, some ruinous, are partly of clunch ashlar; one block bears the date '1750'. On their E. side is a circular shaft with a comparatively modern winding engine at the head.
(8–15) Houses, all probably of internal-chimney design (Class J predominating) and originally framed and plastered, though some have been considerably altered; of two storeys or one storey with attic: roofs mostly gabled and thatched; 17th- or 18th-century. Monument (11) has a rebuilt square chimney stack with four detached diagonal shafts; (14) has a clunch fireplace surround with double ovolo moulding, and the unheated end may originally have been open to the roof.
(16) Moated Site (Class A1 (b); not on O.S.), on a level site of chalk marl. Probably the site of the manor of Little Eversden. The 1811 enclosure map shows the S. part of a rectangular moat, the S. side being 240 ft. internally, the W. side 120 ft., and the E. side 160 ft. Only the E. side now remains, as a pond 30 ft. across at the N. end widening to 60 ft., and 2 ft. to 3 ft. deep, with 2 ft. to 3 ft. of water. Pottery of the 14th century and later has been collected on the ploughed surface of the interior.
(17) Cultivation Remains (not on O.S.). Ridge and furrow with ridges 130 yds. to 140 yds. long where complete, 7 yds. to 11 yds. wide and 9 ins. high, survives in the N. of the parish around N.G. TL 373545, 378545; also around 372534. These remains, with curving ridges, apparently formed part of the open fields, as did the slight traces visible on air photographs to the S. of the village. There were two fields called 'Low' and 'Quarry' Fields.
(Ref: enclosure map 1811 (C.R.O.); air photographs: CPE/UK/2024/3005–6, 3045–7.)