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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(O.S. 6 ins. aTL 36 S.W., bTL 35 N.W., cTL 35 N.E., dTL 35 S.W.)
The village of Bourn is about 8 m. W.S.W. of Cambridge and about 1 m. to the E. of Ermine Street. The name brunnr is Old Norse for spring or stream in allusion to the Bourn Brook (Reaney, 'Place-names of Cambs.', 155); or perhaps to a mineral spring, no longer traceable on the ground, located some 500 yds. N. of the church. An early 18th-century traveller describes this spring as being 'formerly much frequented now quite forsaken' (Bodleian MS., Gough Camb. 3,135).
The place was a thriving one at the Norman conquest and became the seat of the barony of Picot of Cambridge, sheriff of the county. The remains of his castle (Monument (42)) lie to the S.W. of the church. Bourn suffered, probably severely, in a raid by the former followers of Simon de Montfort in 1266 when the castle and the prior of Barnwell's manor (Monument (8)) were burnt. From the 13th century, at latest, it seems to have declined in importance but there was a modest revival in post-mediaeval times, and perhaps especially in the 17th century, as a result of the growth of traffic on the road between Cambridge and Caxton. Efforts seem to have been made after the Restoration to improve the road surface (see V.C.H., Cambs., II, 83); this may be reflected in the siting of a small house (Monument (12)) of the period on the upper Caxton road.
After Gamlingay, the parish, which is an irregular quadrilateral in shape, is the largest in this Inventory. It is roughly bisected by the Bourn Brook, which flows in a S.E. direction and is 110 ft. above sea level where it leaves the parish, the uplands on either side rising in the N. to some 240 ft. The 4116 acres of the parish are predominately underlain by boulder clay, but there are outcrops of chalk and gault and some river gravel along the brook and its tributaries. The Cambridge to St. Neots road forms the N. boundary of the parish; the edges of former fields separate it from Caxton on the N.W. and the Ermine Street contains it to the W. The N. end of the long E. side follows a stream dividing Bourn from Caldecote, formerly a dependent hamlet. The location of Bourn, its extent and its relatively large and handsome church suggest the status of a 'mother parish'.
The main concentration of houses, none of which is early, is now N. and E. of the church, around the entrance to the park of Bourn Hall (Monument (2)); it is no doubt derived from the prosperity of the Hall during the Sackville-West tenure in the 19th century. Cole remarked: 'The bounds of this Town are very large and extend farr' (B.M. Add. MS. 5823, 186). In his day the area to the N., which looks like the site of the earlier village, may have been somewhat more thickly inhabited. Here, to the N.W., on both sides of the brook for ¾ m. as far as Caxton End, and to the N.E. along Broad Way and Water Lane for a similar distance as far as Town's End Farm, are scattered houses and old closes served by a more or less rectangular network of lanes, some of which are disused, suggesting at times something resembling a formal lay-out. There are also isolated houses of the 16th century and later to the S.W. on the road to Longstowe.
An act for enclosing the parish was obtained in 1809 and the award was made in 1820. Improvements thereafter to the Hall and its surroundings had their counterpart in the rebuilding of tenant cottages and farmhouses all over the parish, brick being the commonest material for the walls, though studwork and clay bat also occur, with thatch or tile for the roofs; there are a number of date panels. Monuments (4) and (15) are listed examples. Monument (20) is a typical outlying farmstead of the generation following enclosure.
An outsize red brick (11½ ins. by 55/8 ins. by 5 ins. with joggled ends), evidently an estate product, came into use towards the middle of the 19th century; it is to be seen in small dwellings, outbuildings and boundary walls in the village and in the grounds of the Hall (see also introduction to Haslingfield).
b(1) Parish Church of St. Helen and St. Mary (Plate 49) is at the S. end of the modern village and stands in a churchyard of irregular shape bounded to the S.E. by an ancient, possibly mediaeval, wall. It consists of a Chancel, clearstoreyed Nave with Aisles, transeptal Chapels and South Porch, with a West Tower flanked by short aisles. The walls are of field stones and ashlar, some at least of the latter reused, with dressings of limestone and clunch; the roofs are covered with tiles and lead. The nave arcades are of the late 12th century, with a coeval S. and a somewhat later N. aisle; both have since been heightened and a clearstorey added. The tower with its aisles is an afterthought of the 13th century. Its exact dating presents difficulties. The N. tower arch and responds are partially discoloured and pulverised by fire, and the inference that this happened in the sack of 1266 is tempting; but the fabric of the tower generally includes reused blocks, some similarly affected and reset with the burnt face embedded. The stylistic criteria likewise are by no means unambiguous. In the 14th century the transepts and S. porch were added. Towards the end of it the chancel was rebuilt. The church was restored in 1875–8, and further work was done to the tower in 1912.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (36 ft. by 19¼ ft.) is substantially of the late 14th century, but the S. wall which is about 3 ft. thick may be of 12th-century origin. Externally the walls have six small irregularly disposed two-stage buttresses. The three-light E. window is of early 14th-century character, modern save for the jambs, splays and rear arch. The six windows in the side walls, of late 14th-century character, are not quite uniform: each is of two lights with short vertical tracery bars flanking a foiled light in the head; they also are modern save for the splays and rear arches. The first window on the S. side has a higher sill to allow for the sedilia. The late 14th-century S. doorway has continuous double-ogee moulding to the jambs and segmental head and a moulded label. The blocked N. doorway is similar to the S. doorway but has been completely restored externally. The chancel arch was widened in 1875 and has plain modern responds. It is of two chamfered orders, the inner incorporating some old voussoirs probably from the former arch. This was apparently 'Transitional' (Parker, Ecc. Top. Cambs. §22) and its width is presumably reflected in the original work incorporated in the screen (q.v.). Above the arch on the nave side is an original semi-octagonal string.
The Nave (60 ft. by 19½ ft.; Plate 50) has N. and S. arcades each of five arches of two chamfered orders rising from round or octagonal piers with moulded caps and partly restored chamfered bases. The round and octagonal piers with the halfpier responds alternate save for the last pier on the S. side which is octagonal instead of being round; the capitals on the S. side are scalloped. The clearstorey has circular quatre-foiled lights over the arches, some restored, except in the first bay on the S. side where a renewed 14th-century two-light window, with tracery in a square head and an outside label, has displaced an original light. Between the nave arches and the clearstorey lights is an original semi-octagonal string.
The North Aisle (7¼ ft. wide) is of original dimensions but the fabric is obviously later than the corresponding arcade; it may have been rebuilt in the 13th century; the first bay was demolished when the N. chapel was added. The surviving part of the N. wall was heightened in the first half of the 14th century, the original eaves level being reflected in the walling and confirmed by a weathering on the E. face of the buttress which divides the nave and tower aisles. The first window is 15th-century and is of three cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head. The remaining two are each of two cinque-foiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in the head beneath an external label; both are of the first half of the 14th century, somewhat restored. The N. doorway, of two continuous orders, the inner plain- and the outer hollow-chamfered with a defaced label, is 13th-century.
The South Aisle (7½ ft. wide) has walls of late 12th-century origin. Its 14th-century E. window is of two trefoiled lights with flowing tracery and an external label. In the S. wall, W. of the intruded arch into the S. chapel, are three windows: the first of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred head, late mediaeval restored; the second resembling the E. window but much restored; the third, also restored, resembling the first. The S. doorway (Plate 4) is original and has a half-round head of two chamfered orders, restored shafted jambs with moulded caps, and a semi-octagonal label. It is set in a frame of dressed clunch which projects a little from the main wall face.
The 14th-century North Chapel (13¾ ft. by 13¼ ft.) is structurally undivided from the aisle and is of the same height, with a low-pitched roof which does not encroach on the clearstorey. It is unbuttressed and has a string at sill level on the N. face which is also carried some distance along the W. wall, terminating in a westward return and suggesting a plan which was not proceeded with for widening the N. aisle. The 14th-century E. window of two cinque-foiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in the head has been slightly restored and has a modern external label. Flanking it are four symmetrically disposed niches with wave-moulded reveals and defaced heads, also 14th-century. At the extreme S. end of the wall, is a canted projection in which is a late mediaeval doorway with continuous chamfered jambs and four-centred head, leading to the rood loft. In the N. wall is a partly restored late mediaeval window of three cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head. Towards the N. end of the W. wall is a reset 13th-century lancet.
The South Chapel (11½ ft. by 14 ft.), which is of 14th-century origin, is entered from the aisle by a late 14th- or 15th-century stilted arch of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the inner with a moulded cap. The chamfered bases of the responds are mutilated and in part masked by the floor of the chapel which has been raised for a vault. In the E. wall is a restored late 14th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in the head. In the S. wall is a 15th-century three-light window with vertical tracery built up on a 14th-century sill, the scroll-moulded nosing of which is prolonged on either side as a string and is integrated with the moulded and depressed arch of a contemporary tomb recess below. The W. wall is blind.
The South Porch with its low-pitched gable is 14th-century, largely rebuilt; it has an entrance arch of two continuous moulded orders with a label, and small side windows with square heads.
The 13th-century West Tower (15¼ ft. square) (Plate 49), together with its flanking aisles, was evidently not envisaged when the nave arcades were built. Vestiges of straight joints, visible externally about 1 ft. W. of the buttresses at the junction of the nave and tower aisles, and the conformation of the E. piers of the tower itself suggest that the nave aisles were at first closed to the W. in the usual manner and that any tower which existed or was envisaged was on a more humble scale. The features described unless otherwise stated are original.
Externally the design is dominated by the belfry. The lower stages are relatively insignificant, being occupied on the N. and S. sides by the low walls and steep lean-to roofs of the aisles. On the W. there is a window of two pointed lights with a pierced quatrefoil in the head, and below it the W. doorway (Plate 81). This is of a single continuous chamfered order and is recessed in an elaborate frame of six shafts on either side, three of which are detached, and a richly moulded head with a label; the innermost shaft on the N. side is missing. The belfry has noble three-bay wall arcades in the N., S. and W. faces, the centre bay of which is occupied in each case by a tall window, with a pierced quatrefoil in the head, divided into four lights by a mullion and a transom, the pointed upper lights having continuous roll-moulded surrounds. Shallow arched recesses divided by a transom form the side bays with a corbel immediately below the transom in each recess; these corbels are carved as heads on the W. face, the remainder being of mask form. To the E. the arcading of the top stage is not carried below the transom which is level with the ridge of the nave roof. The tower has angle buttresses of full height at all corners, and a S.W. stair turret. This is now entered from the outside by a door inserted in the S.W. face approached by a short flight of steps; it and a blocked way out of the turret into a former gallery may be of the 17th or 18th century. Higher up, a passage into the bell chamber has a square-headed doorway at either end. The tower is finished with an embattled parapet above a hollow string enriched with paterae, some of mask form; the stair turret rises above this parapet to an octagonal top; both are of the 14th century or later. The leaded wooden spire, of uncertain date, has been reconstructed and reduced in height; lead panels inscribed 'John Ferrar' and 'IF 1620' with three shields of arms were removed from it in the restoration of 1912.
The tower communicates with the nave at ground level by a tall arch of three chamfered orders on responds (Plate 51) composed of attached shafts, some keeled or filleted, with moulded capitals of slightly varying section and moulded bases. Above it, immediately under the ridge of the nave roof is the blocking of a doorway leading out of the belfry where its continuous chamfered jambs and two-centred head are visible. Arches similar to the E. tower arch, but lower, open into the tower aisles. Below the sill of the W. window is a string stopped with a man's head at the N. end and a woman's head with head-dress at the S. end. Immediately S. of the W. doorway a smaller doorway with a square head gives into a lobby contrived under a half arch built in the wall and abutting the stair turret. The entry from this lobby into the stair turret, now blocked, is through a small round arch.
The tower aisles are divided from those of the nave by half arches of two chamfered orders, which rise off gabled buttresses of two stages in the outer walls and in turn support the N. and S. angle buttresses at the E. corners of the tower. There is a single lancet in either side wall, that to the S. aisle being a modern replacement on the site of a late mediaeval window. At the W. ends are further lancets having outside moulded labels with mask stops. These end lancets are set in wall arches of two chamfered orders carried on attached shafts with moulded caps and bases; those of the N. aisle are considerably eroded.
The Roof of the chancel is in five unequal bays and is of the 14th or 15th century, reconstructed and heavily restored; the trusses rise off hammer beams and have king posts above the collars with bracing below the collars forming arches. The roofs of the aisles and chapels are old in part. The ground stage of the tower has a 16th-century ceiling divided by moulded principals into nine square bays with flat joists.
Fittings—Bells: eight; 3rd and 8th by Robert Taylor, St. Neots, 1807, the latter with rhymed couplet; 4th and 5th uninscribed; 6th with rhymed couplet, perhaps also by Taylor; the rest modern or recast. Brass indents: In centre of nave—(1) for male and female figures with attached inscription panel, panels for children at the foot of each and roundels at corners; 15th-century. In N. tower aisle—(2) for priest, with continuous inscription panel; late mediaeval. Chests: In S. chapel—(1) with front of four fielded panels divided by fluted pilasters, and enriched frieze and base; 17th-century. In S. tower aisle—(2) of planks, 7½ ft. long; 18th-century. Coffin lids: In N. tower aisle—(1) lower half with Maltese cross and shaft; 13th-century; (2) in two pieces, with cross having stepped base and omega ornament; 13th-century; (3) lower half with double omega and stepped base; 13th-century. In churchyard, E. of chancel—(4) fractured and incomplete, coped and tapered; mediaeval. Communion table: in N. chapel—with turned and enriched legs and enriched top rail; 17th-century, restored. Font: octagonal bowl, with moulded under-edge; 13th- or 14th-century; rest modern. Glass: in chancel—in heads of first and third windows on N. side, roundels, quarries and other late 14th- or 15th-century fragments. Maze: on floor of tower, of tiles; 19th-century, possibly a replacement.
Monuments and Floor slabs. Monuments: On E. wall of chancel—(1) of Erasmus Ferrarius (Erasmus Ferrar), 1609 (Plate 91); black inscription tablet in alabaster frame with achievement of arms and emblems of mortality. On S. side of S. aisle wall—(2) of Thomas Ridgley, 1829, and Catherine his wife, 1850. In S. chapel—(3) tomb recess only, see Architectural Description; (4) of Henry Leijell, 1803, see Miscellaneous. In the churchyard are a number of late 17th- and 18th-century headstones with inscriptions largely or wholly indecipherable. Floor slabs: In nave—(1) of William Cropley, 1688, and his son William Cropley, 1691; (2) of Elizabeth, widow of John Clark, 1828. In N. chapel—(3) of Elizabeth, wife of William Dawson, 1809. In S. chapel—(4) of Robert Hagar, 1710; (5) of Frances, daughter of John Hagar, 1727; (6) of Frances, wife of John Hagar, 171; (7) of [John] Hagar . Niches: In N. chapel—(1) see Architectural Description. Flanking E. window of S. aisle—(2) pair, with chamfered reveals and ogee heads; 14th-century. In S. chapel, S. of E. window—(3) similar to the foregoing, defaced; 14th-century. Panelling: In N. chapel, against E. wall—two lengths of dado, each of four panels, with guilloche frieze; 17th-century. Piscinae: In chancel—(1) defaced, no drain; date uncertain. In S. chapel—(2) with chamfered reveals and ogee head, no drain; 14th-century. Plate: includes an inscribed cup and a cover paten, both by Thomas Buttell and dated '1569'; a paten, London 1694; cup, paten and flagon, London 1834; and a spoon with foliated handle, late 16th- or 17th-century. Pulpit: an octagonal sounding board with inlaid star serves as the top of a table in the N. tower aisle; 18th-century. Recesses: In N. chapel—rectangular, rebated, perhaps 14th-century. Screen: Under chancel arch— of five bays. The side bays have solid panels with applied tracery below and are sub-divided above into four lights with vertical tracery in ogee heads. The upper part of the central opening is similar but has a depressed cinque-foiled and sub-cusped inner head. The screen rises to a moulded and enriched top rail, the space between it and the ogee heads in each bay being filled with vertical tracery. The two outside bays are modern, no doubt added when the chancel arch was widened; remainder late mediaeval. Seating: In nave and nave aisles—(1) blocks of pews: the fronts with their returns and some backs have moulded top and bottom rails and are divided into panels by principal and secondary buttresses; the panels have applied tracery and brattishing; the ends, each of two panels, are similar; finials at the corners of the blocks have been cut away; late mediaeval, restored. Beneath the first arch of the S. arcade—(2) manorial pew, made up of 17th-century and other woodwork, has panelled and enriched sides framed into uprights with acorn finials. In chancel—modern, but incorporating some old woodwork including pewing similar to that in the nave; two seat and four desk ends and some applied tracery. The desk ends have restored poppy heads, one inscribed 'P OF BA 1537'. Sedilia (Plate 6): in chancel—of three cinque-foiled and sub-cusped arches in a square head, springing from pierced and shafted divisions; late 14th-century. Miscellaneous: In S. chapel—(1) two carved panels, one of the Virgin and Child, the other of an emblematic female figure, Flemish, 16th-century; and (2) carved wooden funerary achievement of arms (Plate 20) of Henry Leijell, d. 1803, probably Swedish.
b(2) Bourn Hall (Plate 58), situated on rising ground some 300 yds. S.W. of the church, is on the site of Bourn Castle (Monument (42)). It consists of a house and stables in a 17th-century and later garden setting.
The House is predominantly brick-built on a U-shaped plan, originally with small projections in the re-entrants, and is of two storeys with attics and cellars. The fabric is substantially of c. 1602, although it is possible that earlier work has survived. This date appears on rainwater heads on the S.E. front together with the initials H/IF for John and Frances Hagar, whose family held the manor about that time. During the 18th century a Swedish family called Leyell were owners. Catherine Leyell married John Richard West, fourth Earl De La Warr, and their son George John, the fifth earl, inherited the property. He assumed the name Sackville-West in 1813 on his marriage with Elizabeth Sackville. Considerable alterations were made to the house and grounds in 1817–19 under the supervision of John Adey Repton, some features from Haslingfield Hall (see Haslingfield (2)), much of which was demolished about that time, being incorporated (Relhan Drawings, C.A.S. Library (Plate 56); and C. L. Eastlake, A History of the Gothic Revival (1872), 76). They include the present main staircase which was re-erected in a new staircase hall on the site of the S.E. projection. Other important changes were the addition of balancing pairs of polygonal window bays on the N.E. and S.W. fronts, the casing of the N.W. wing, originally timber-built, in red brick to match with the other elevations, and the remodelling of the entrance hall on the ground floor of the main range. This work was all in revived Tudor style. The infilling of the court was completed in two stages in the later 19th century; Richard Norman Shaw is said to have been the architect. The house and stables have recently been restored.
The N.E. front is symmetrically designed in five bays with two inner original rectangular and two outer early 19th-century polygonal projections. In the middle bay the main wall face is exposed. It has a plinth and platbands at first floor and eaves levels and rises to a finialled gable. There are similar gables to the outer bays. The ground stage of the N.W. inner projection forms the porch; it has a stone entrance of the early 19th century with moulded four-centred inner and square outer head. Above is an achievement of arms with supporters, badges, motto and the initials 'D' and 'S' for De La Warr and Sackville. The nail-studded plank front door and its wooden frame with double-ovolo moulding are of the early 17th century. The fenestration, mostly 19th-century, is wooden-framed and of mullion-and-transom type. At the wall head is an embattled parapet, which is interrupted by the gables and returns around the original projecting bays. The added bays have a similar parapet at a somewhat lower level. The S.E. side is irregular and is articulated by three semiexternal chimneys which rise some feet above the embattled parapet to uniform stacks, each of three octagonal terracotta shafts with conjoined capping. The shafts bear the letters 'L', 'D' and 'S' and roses, chapes, cheverons and other ornament. There are similar shafts to chimneys on the N.W. side and above the hall fireplace. All are predominantly of the 19th century, although some of the terracotta units may be old and the moulded bases of the shafts generally are, like the chimneys, original. For the rest the S.E. elevation resembles the N.E. with similar mullion-and-transom type windows, some original, mostly of four lights, and a single similar gable between the middle and S.W. chimneys. There are three 18th-century lead down pipes, the N.E. one dated 1753.
The S.W. elevation extends between the gable ends of the original wings, which have added polygonal window bays and finialled gables much as in the N.E. front. The inner angles made by the bays and gable ends have down pipes with heads bearing Sackville-West badges and the date 1817. The N.W. gable end is of 19th-century brickwork and may replace a framed end wall. All between the gable ends is later 19th-century infilling matching with the older work in materials and style. The N.W. side is largely masked on the ground floor by later outbuildings. The brickwork at the N.E. end is original but the rest is of the 19th century and apparently replaces framing.
There have been many alterations internally and the original ground floor plan has been obscured. The N.W. wing has a number of ceiling beams exposed, suggesting a complex symmetrical layout at variance with the existing partitions. On the first floor at the junction with the main range are two flights of an original stair, with a half landing, which presumably once started from ground level. The flights are separated by a studwork partition which is stopped at the landing by an ovolo-moulded post. The bressummer carrying the landing is enriched with a band of guilloche and paterae and is stop-chamfered with lightly incised cheveron ornament on the chamfer. The library has heavily restored 17th-century panelling and a fireplace surround of reused 16th- and 17th-century woodwork including parts of a four-poster bed said to have come from Haslingfield Hall; the surround frames a stuccoed opening which may be original. Above the panelling is a plaster frieze of coupled dragons and human heads, ostensibly of the 17th century. The hall (Plate 58) occupies the middle of the main range and is entirely in the Tudor idiom of c. 1817 with panelled walls, stone fireplace, ceiling divided by light moulded ribs into small panels with paterae at the intersections, and armorial glass. A smaller room known as the 'Oak Room' is reached from the hall through a wide opening at its S.E. end flanked by original oak posts which support the ends of two stop-chamfered ceiling beams. It is lined with panelling of 17th-century character, much of which is modern, and has a fireplace surround of reused 16th- and 17th-century woodwork framing a three-centred stuccoed opening which is probably original. The drawing room, occupying almost the entire S.E. wing, has been formed by demolishing one or more internal partitions. It has two fireplaces; that at the S.W. end, removed here from Haslingfield Hall, has a wooden chimney-piece (Plate 56) with carved flanking consoles bearing the date 1555 and an overmantel in two stages, the lower stage containing an architectural composition based on a pair of trompe l'œil panels. The staircase, though not exactly as shown by Relhan when it was at Haslingfield, is largely of the mid 17th century, reset and incorporating some 19th-century material. It has turned and enriched balusters, square newel posts with richly carved urn finials, moulded rail and close string. The staircase hall of c. 1817 has a frieze of brattishing with small false hammer beams under a flat panelled ceiling. The centre panel is pierced by a modern dome of transparent plastic.
The rooms on the upper floor have been largely remodelled c. 1817, the Tudoresque detail including doors, chimney-pieces and grates, and moulded and enriched cornices.
In the attics some of the main timbers of the roof are exposed. It is fairly uniform and of the 17th century. There are a number of simple 17th- and 18th-century panelled and plank doors. Others survive in the cellars where are there also some stop-chamfered beams.
The Stables (Plate 45), 50 yds. to the N.W. are, like the house, on a U-shaped plan with projections in the re-entrants and of red brick, two storeys high, with attics. They are of the first half of the 17th century, much altered and with a rebuilt clock turret and cupola, and have recently been restored and remodelled inside. The original windows, divided by mullions into four or less lights, were of stuccoed brick; a number survive and some retain original stucco. The walls facing the house are finished with embattled parapets save for the end gables of the wings, which have moulded copings, corbelled kneelers and finials at the apices. A through passage with four-centred entrance doorway leads to the yard beyond. The side elevations are plainer and retain less of their original character.
The landscape setting of Bourn Hall derives from the layout of the Norman castle successively modified by early 17th-century formalism, by the picturesque naturalism of the Reptons (see also Monument (4)) and by later 19th-century and modern fashions.
Some 60 yds. W. of the house a raised walk running N. and S. was formed, apparently in the first quarter of the 17th century, by altering the bank and ditch of the S.W. enclosure of the castle. It is 195 ft. long, 8 ft. high and 35 ft. wide at the base with a flat top 20 ft. across; some of the original brick revetment survives. A straight drive, leading to the front door of the house from the N.E., still shows on the ground but has been supplanted by the present approach road which curves in Reptonian style through the lightly timbered park. Two short lengths of moat flanking the house to the N.W. and S.E. are shown in a sketch by an 18th-century antiquary (B.M. Stowe MS. 1025, 25) but cannot now be traced.
The ditch of the S.W. enclosure is crossed on the N.W., S.W. and E. by 19th-century bridges; the first of these, in brick with stone dressings, dated 1840, was repaired a short time ago.
b(3) Hall Farm consists of a house and buildings. The House, two-storeyed with attics, is mostly framed and rough-cast, with tiled roofs. Parts of it and some of the Buildings are 17th-century or earlier. (Access refused.)
b(4) House, one storey and attic, framed and plastered, with thatched roof, is of 17th-century origin. An early 19th-century ornamental chimney stack at the N.W. end and applied timbering below the gable suggest the authorship or influence of the Reptons.
b(5) House, formerly an inn or public house, two storeys and attic, framed and plastered, with thatched roof gabled at the ends, is a Class-J structure of c. 1700 facing N. to the street. A narrow three-quarter-length outshut at the back houses the rebuilt staircase and is probably original. The lower part of the front elevation is masked by modern additions. In the middle of the wall above them is a blocked wooden window divided into four lights by a mullion and transom, suggesting an approximately symmetrical five-bay design. The attics are lit by small windows in the gables. At the N. end of the outshut is a small loft of uncertain purpose.
b(6) House (Plate 78), now two dwellings respectively of two storeys and one storey with attics, forming a single range along the N. side of Riddy Lane, is framed and thatched. It conforms to Class J on plan, but the lower portion is a kitchen which was at first open to the roof. There are two original fireplaces, back to back, one in the kitchen and one in the adjoining living room, served by a common stack. The stop-chamfered bressummer of the living room fireplace is inscribed 'An x 1616 oct x 1(0?)' and this is probably the date of building. In the 18th century a chimney was added at the E. end, and about the same time a floor was inserted in the kitchen.
The framing of the main range has been exposed on the outside to the S. and E. It is entirely vertical, with some units numbered, and retains two original windows, one of four and one of two lights, with ovolo-moulded mullions. The position of at least one other window can be inferred. The doorway immediately S. of the internal chimney is the original entrance.
Inside also much of the timber is exposed. It is of fair though variable scantling, but much of it is rough with bark still adhering in places. The floors of the main range, though original, are independent of the frame (cf. Monument (16)), with axial ceiling beams carried on moulded and scalloped brackets nailed on to posts in the party and E. end walls. The ceiling beam in the W. room is ovolo-moulded and supports stop-chamfered joists; that in the E. room is chamfered. The original bedrooms are ceiled at collar level so that much of the roof is visible; it is of tie-beam construction without crown posts and includes a few flimsy wind braces. One of two tie beams in the kitchen roof has been cut away to disencumber the attic leaving stubs at either end above the wall plate.
b(7) Home Farm (Class L), at one time 'The Greyhound' public house, two storeys, framed but with a brick skin and a tiled roof, is of the second half of the 17th century, altered and much enlarged in the 18th and 19th centuries.
b(8) Manor Farm (Plate 47) is the house of the manor given by Payne Peverell to Barnwell Abbey and which passed c. 1552 into the ownership of Christ's College (Lysons, Cambridgeshire, 94; Peile, History of Christ's College (1900)). The destruction by fire of the monks' manorial buildings in the disorders of 1266 is described in the Liber Memorandorum Ecclesie de Bernewelle (ed. J. W. Clark (1907), 121), and the oldest part of the present fabric would appear to originate from a rebuilding, perhaps of the late 13th century. This rebuilding took the form of an aisled hall (Class A).
The existing farmhouse is of two storeys and one storey with attics, and is framed, with tiled roofs, but much of the frame has been cased or rebuilt in brick. The plan is irregular and consists of a main N.W. and S.E. range with wings at either end to the N.E. The main range incorporates the N.W. end of an aisled hall, rather roughly constructed, of the second half of the 13th or first half of the 14th century. The S.E. wing is partly on the site of the S.E. end of this hall; it is a normal cross wing of the late middle ages (as for a Class-B house) modified at its end, perhaps in the 17th century. The N.W. wing is also late mediaeval. It was at one time open to the roof and may have been a kitchen. At its N.E. end is a range at right angles which is ostensibly a post-mediaeval addition. The hall and the mediaeval portion of the N.W. limb have inserted floors; the hall also has an inserted chimney; the date when these were put in is uncertain.
The elevations are of little interest. Apart from the jetty at the S.W. end of the S.E. wing no indications of antiquity survive.
Inside the main range the ground floor is also largely featureless. On the upper floor and in the roof, with the inserted chimney between, are the remains, largely visible, of two original and adjacent main trusses of crown-post type. The S.E. truss was open and had, parallel to the rafters, a pair of single long braces the feet of which have been cut away. These braces were notched into the posts and the tie beam, one on either side of it, and crossed scissor-fashion above the collar. In addition the main posts had arched braces to the tie beam, uniform in scantling with it, and similar braces to the arcade plates. Simple capitals, one of which survives almost entire, were worked on the posts at the springing. The crown post was arch-braced to a collar purlin and had lateral down braces notched into the tie beam, one on either side, with feet apparently framing into the braces of the tie beam. The surviving upper parts of the N.W. truss are similar, but closed; it retains some original infilling, with plaster on the S.E. face blackened by smoke. The upper part of the N.W. end wall is also original. Between these features and immediately S.E. of the S.E. truss some lengths of arcade plate survive together with one arcade brace; at least two others can be inferred. No original timber in situ is to be seen at the S.E. end of the main range, but an original tie beam from a second open truss has been reused at the junction with the cross wing. It is notched at four points for bracing similar to that described above.
On the upper floor of the S.E. cross wing a late mediaeval post is exposed in the N.W. wall. It is part of the first truss from the S.W. end and is morticed for the brace to a tie beam now missing. The truss had a collar and wind braces, but no crown post. Only the S.W. half of the second bay survives, the remainder of the late mediaeval build having been replaced by the existing two-bay structure.
The Kitchen (?) is placed at somewhat less than a right angle to the hall; it involved the destruction of the N.W. end of the N.E. aisle wall. It is in two unequal bays, that next the hall being the longer. The main posts are exposed, together with some relatively light braces from them to the wall plate.
The surviving post-mediaeval detail is of little interest.
b(9) Brook Farm, consisted of a house and pigeon house. The House, of 17th-century origin, has been altered and extended. The Pigeon house recently demolished, 18th-century, of red brick, had an intermediate platband, ornamental eaves cornice and hipped roof with two gablets; inside some brick nests survived.
b(10) House, one storey and attic, framed and plastered, with thatched roof, half-hipped, is of Class-J plan, but appears to have originated as a shorter 17th-century building open to the roof.
b(11) Upper Farm (Plate 33) consists of a house with buildings adjoining to the N. and E. The House (Class I) has the date 1664 incised on the central chimney stack and is of one storey and attics, framed and plastered, with tiled roof gabled at the ends. The front porch and a rear wing are additions. Inside the S. ground-floor room is a 9-ft. length of 17th-century plaster frieze (Plate 124) over the fireplace with fruit and flowers and a central rosette. Upstairs braced tie beams are exposed.
The Buildings include an 18th-century brick-built pigeon house.
b(12) House (Class J), one storey with attic, framed and plastered, with thatched roof, stands on a narrow piece of land some 140 yds. long which was once part of the verge of the upper road to Caxton; it is 17th-century and connotes an early instance of this type of enclosure. The parish is known from documentary evidence to have been in conflict with its highway officers in 1668, at which time efforts were being made to improve roads in the parish in accordance with an act of Parliament of 1662 (V.C.H., Cambs. II, 83). On the structural evidence a date in the 1660's would be appropriate.
The middle room has a large fireplace with stop-chamfered bressummer and the S.E. room has a stop-chamfered axial ceiling beam with stop-chamfered joists. Tie beams in the bedrooms are also stop-chamfered.
b(13) Houses, terrace of four, two storeys, studwork and clay bat, with thatched roof, having central through passage and an internal chimney stack to either pair, is of the first half of the 19th century. The range is only some 12 ft. wide internally.
b(14) House, L-shaped with barn attached, one storey and attics, framed and rough-cast, with tiled roofs, is 17th-century or earlier. (Access refused.)
b(15) Gill's Hill Farm (N.G. TL 327562), c. 1835, two-storeyed and of red brick with tiled roofs, is T-shaped, with original lean-to annexes in the re-entrants giving a rectangular plan in double depth. The effect has been spoilt by heightening the annexes. The elevation to the road, in the Georgian tradition, is in three bays and two heights with end chimneys and a central front door.
b(16) Poplar House (N.G. TL 324558) is early 17th-century with frame largely cased in modern brick and tiled roofs; it consists of a N.W.-S.E. main range, with half-hipped roof, having two rooms on either floor, and a single-storey kitchen on the S.W. side. On the N.E. side an outshut, probably original, housing the stair is partly incorporated in a taller wing added in red brick c. 1700. An original chimney at the junction of the main range and the kitchen serves two ground-floor fireplaces, one of which is blocked. The intermediate floor of the main range appears to be structurally independent of the frame (cf. Monument (6)).
b(17) Heading's Farm (N.G. TL 321555), two storeys, framed, with tiled roofs, is an L-shaped house with some modern additions and infillings. It consists of a 16th-century E.-W. range with projecting upper storey at the W. end and a wing added at the E. end of its S. side c. 1700. The framework of the older part is exposed and filled with brick nogging. Inside are some ceiling beams with wide stopped chamfers. For adjacent enclosure from the open fields, see Monument (45).
b(18) The Fox (N.G. TL 314552; Plate 31), public house (Class I), two storeys and attic, framed and plastered, with slate roof gabled at the ends, is of the 18th century with additions of 1841 to the rear.
b(19) Crow End Farm (N.G. TL 330574), house, one storey and attics, framed and plastered, on a bold brick plinth with hipped tiled roofs, is intermediate in type between Class I and Class L. The main range has a central chimney with a panel in the stack, now without inscription, but said to have borne the initials and date 'WO 1656'. The structure has been much altered.
b(20) Bourn Grange (N.G. TL 335585), consisting of barns, implement sheds and other farm buildings of red brick and boarded timber framing, includes a small labourer's dwelling which has been incorporated in a later farmhouse. A panel on the dwelling bears the date 1832.
b(21) Great Common Farm (N.G. TL 334593) consists of a Class-I structure of one storey and attic, framed and plastered, with tiled roof, attached to a two-storey addition of the 19th century. The original house appears to be an 18th-century conversion of a 16th- or 17th-century structure originally open to the roof.
b(22) Bourn Mill (N.G. TL 312580), on rising ground at the E. edge of the parish near the outskirts of Caxton, consists of a windmill and house.
The Windmill (Plate 57) is of post type, framed and boarded, with a pitched roof of overlapping boards, and was built in the first half of the 17th century or earlier. The carcase was later enlarged by enclosing the rear platform. The mill, which had been repaired in 1874, was presented to the Cambridge Preservation Society in 1932 and was again repaired and reinforced by the Society in collaboration with the Office of Works in the succeeding year. Bourn Mill is one of the best preserved early windmills in Britain.
The structure is in two stages with a pair of beams at the base clasping the post and framing into a peripheral sill, and a heavy crown tree at the intermediate floor level. The substructure consists of intersecting sleepers strutted to a central stem and rests on late 19th-century brick piers. The machinery is in general 19th-century; there have been two pairs of stones, but one only survives. An inscription 'E BISMUR 1758' on a first-floor stud probably records a repair.
The House (Class J), immediately S. of the windmill, single storey and attic, with red brick walls and thatched roof gabled at the ends, is of 18th-century origin.
b(23–41) Houses, framed and plastered except for some brick rebuilding or casing; of internal-chimney designs (Class J predominating, but six are in Class I; (32) may have been originally of Class K); of one or two storeys, generally with attics; 17th- and in some cases 18th-century. (30) has a shafted diagonal chimney stack and (31) a reused moulded beam of the 16th or 17th century. (40) Town's End Farm, and (41) are outliers, N.G. TL 330575 and 325559 respectively.
b(42) Bourn Castle (N.G. TL 322561), the castle of Picot of Cambridge, sheriff of the county in 1086, now consists merely of two adjoining banked and ditched enclosures, much damaged by the construction of Bourn Hall and Hall Farm with their outbuildings and gardens. The remains lie on the level top and N.E. slope of a hill of boulder clay 196 ft. above O.D. That part of the monument lying in the grounds of Hall Farm was inaccessible to the Commission and this survey is therefore incomplete.
The S.W. enclosure is the main one and takes in most of the hill top; it is circular, 450 ft. in diameter, but has been almost obliterated on the N.E. The ditch, water-filled on the S.E., where it is widest, is 30 ft. to 45 ft. wide, 6 ft. to 10 ft. deep and 13 ft. to 32 ft. wide across the bottom. The internal bank survives on the W. and S.E. but has been altered on the W. in the 17th century to form a raised walk (see Monument (2) above); on the S.E. there is a stretch of rounded bank 80 ft. long, 30 ft. wide and 2½ ft. high. The original entrance may have been on the N.E. The interior has been much altered; the Hall stands on a rectangular platform 2 ft. high. When a mid 18th-century antiquary, perhaps Dr. C. Mason, visited the site the rampart of the S.W. enclosure was better preserved and there was a berm between it and the ditch. (B.M. Stowe MS. 1025, 25).
The N.E. enclosure, crescentic in plan with the points placed against the S.W. enclosure, measures some 270 ft. N.E. to S.W. by 300 ft. N.W. to S.E. The ditch is traceable on the N. as a hollow 66 ft. wide, 3 ft. deep and 13 ft. across the bottom. There are indications of an internal bank and slight traces of a causeway across the ditch on the N.E.
b(43) Moulton Hills, group of three circular mounds 175 ft. above O.D. on the crest of a hill of boulder clay with gentle slopes to the S. and E. The site is in the village at the junction of the upper road to Caxton and Broad Way. The latter runs between the two southernmost mounds and has cut into them; nearby ridge and furrow avoids them (see Monument (45) below).
From excavations by F. G. Walker (C.A.S. Procs., XV (1911)) it would seem that these mounds were constructed from material containing Roman debris, known to occur in an adjoining garden to the N., and that they overlie early mediaeval hearths. The mounds, the purpose of which is unexplained, are probably later than the Norman Conquest. Some of the finds from the excavations—bronzes, pottery and bones—are preserved in the C.U. Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.
(a) the N.E. mound (N.G. TL 32625710; Walker's barrow II) is 98 ft. in diameter and 8 ft. high with a slightly rounded top, 27 ft. across; the ditch is 26 ft. wide and 3 ft. to 4 ft. deep with a flat bottom 10 ft. wide; the N. third has been destroyed by a sunken track and the ditch on the W. has been cut by the road. Walker's excavations showed that the mound had been built over a concentric lower one 31 ft. across and 5 ft. high surrounded by a ditch 5 ft. wide and 4 ft. deep. A bowl, later identified as St. Neots ware (J. G. Hurst, C.A.S. Procs., XLIX (1956)), was found on the ground surface below this lower mound in a dark deposit; and elsewhere in the mound were miscellaneous Roman finds—pottery, bronze ornaments and a coin of Valens. A deposit of ashes 6 ins. thick and 5½ ft. long in the centre of the upper mound just below the top surface contained Roman material and burnt bones, but a much larger layer of ash on top of the lower mound included mediaeval and Roman sherds, burnt straw and animal bones. The upper mound also yielded mediaeval and Roman pottery and coins of Constantine I, Edward II and Edward III.
(b) the S. mound (N.G. TL 32605707; Walker's barrow I; Plate 2), 27 ft. S. of (a), is the best preserved. It is 123 ft. in diameter, 6½ ft. high and has a flat top 43 ft. across; the ditch is 30 ft. wide, 3 ft. to 4 ft. deep and 9 ft. to 13 ft. wide across the bottom, with traces of an external bank on the S. A hearth with a pot described by Walker as 'early mediaeval' was found on the old ground surface 2 ft. inside the inner lip of the ditch. On the same surface a large burnt patch in the centre of the mound contained Roman pottery, bronze fragments, a coin of Marcus Aurelius, bones, some burnt, perhaps human, and many pieces of what are described as 'Niedermendig lava mill-stones'. In the course of the Commission's survey mediaeval sherds were found in surface disturbances.
(c) the W. mound (N.G. TL 32565708) is 70 ft. W. of (b) in the angle between the upper Caxton road and Broad Way. It is 70 ft. in diameter, 5 ft. high and 10 ft. across the flat top. The ditch is complete only on the N. where it is 15 ft. wide and 3 ft. deep. Some Roman pottery was found when a pit was sunk into it by Walker (Fox, Arch. Camb. Reg., 195).
b(44) Mound (N.G. TL 32315676) at the foot of the slope on the S. side of the Bourn Brook 130 ft. above O.D. and 33 yds. W. of the lower road to Caxton. It is circular, 40 ft. in diameter and 4 ft. to 4½ ft. high with a flat top 17 ft. across. A pond to the E. and a slight hollow to the W. could have provided material for its construction. Date, uncertain.
(45) Cultivation Remains (not on O.S.). Ridge and furrow in this parish survives as earthworks mainly in the old enclosures around the village and in Bourn Hall park, although traces can be seen in air photographs over most of the parish.
With one exception all the earthwork remains have straight ridges conforming to the present field boundaries 70 yds. to 270 yds. long, 5 yds. to 9 yds. wide and 6 ins. high, with headlands 5 yds. to 7 yds. wide; the exception is around N.G. TL 324555, E. of Heading's Farm (Monument (20)), where the ridges have reversed-S curves and are clearly furlongs enclosed from the open fields. Around TL 322574, S.E. of Bourn Lodge, is an access way 30 ft. wide running N.W. and S.E. between blocks of ridge and furrow. In Mount Close (N.G. TL 327571) the ridge and furrow avoids Moulton Hills (Monument (43)).
Traces on air photographs are mainly of curving ridges running under the modern field boundaries and belonging to the strips of the open fields. In 1841 there were many old enclosures apparently taken from the open fields.
(Ref. enclosure map 1841 (C.R.O.); tithe map 1842 (T.R.C.); air photographs: 106G/UK/1490/3020–5, 3195–3200, 4016–21, 4225–32.)