Pages xix-xxi

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the County of Cambridgeshire, Volume 2, North-East Cambridgeshire. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1972.

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In this section


Report to The Queen's Most Excellent Majesty

May It Please Your Majesty

We, the undersigned Commissioners, appointed to make an Inventory of the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions connected with or illustrative of the contemporary culture, civilisation and conditions of life of the people of England, excluding Monmouthshire, from the earliest times to the year 1714, and such further Monuments and Constructions subsequent to that year as may seem in our discretion to be worthy of mention therein, and to specify those which seem most worthy of preservation, do humbly submit to Your Majesty the following Report, being the twenty-seventh Report on the work of the Commission since its first appointment.

2. We have pleasure in reporting the completion of our recording of the monuments in north-east Cambridgeshire, an area including ten parishes containing 608 monuments.

3. Following our usual practice we have prepared an illustrated Inventory of the monuments in the area which will be issued as a non-Parliamentary publication entitled North-east Cambridgeshire. As in the Inventory of West Cambridgeshire (1968) accompanying the twenty-third Report, the Commissioners have adopted the terminal date 1850 generally for the monuments described in the Inventory though exercising discretion where reference to later monuments seemed desirable.

4. The methods adopted in previous Inventories of describing monuments have been followed; attention paid in West Cambridgeshire to the topography and changes in the landscape has been continued.

5. The descriptions of churches and many other monuments in north-east Cambridgeshire have been referred to the appropriate incumbents and owners, and we are satisfied that no significant standing monument dating from between earliest times and 1850 has been omitted.

6. Our special thanks are due to incumbents and churchwardens and to owners and occupiers who have allowed access by our staff to the monuments in their charge. We are indebted to the custodians of libraries in London and Cambridge for their ready assistance, particularly the Cambridge University Library, the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, the Cambridgeshire County Record Office, and the Royal Institute of British Architects, and to Dr. J. K. S. St Joseph, Director in Aerial Photography in the University of Cambridge. We are most grateful for specialized and local information offered by the Swaffham Internal Drainage Board, and by Mr. J. Clarke, Mr. H. Gingell, Mr. K. S. G. Hinde, Mr. J. T. Norris and Dr. Oliver Rackham.

7. The centres of those villages covered by the Inventory remain on the whole unchanged by modern development since most of the new housing has been kept to the periphery. The medieval churches are generally in good structural condition; however, particular attention has been paid to the study of headstones and memorial sculpture in churchyards because of the chances of their removal or destruction during the current fashion for clearing churchyards. The fenland continues to be subject to artificial drainage and intensive cultivation, but those areas on the chalk which were enclosed in the early 19th century have, as a result of modern agricultural methods and the removal of hedges, reverted to the open appearance which must have existed before their enclosure.

8. We humbly recommend to Your Majesty's notice the following Monuments in north-east Cambridgeshire as 'specially worthy of preservation':



(1) Parish Church: 13th-century west porch; early 14th-century nave of advanced design; 15th-century stone chancel-screen; 16th, 17th, 18th-century monuments.


(1) Parish Church: 12th-century tower; spacious chancel and nave completed by 1464.

Fen Ditton

(1) Parish Church: 14th-century chancel; 15th-century nave.

(5) Biggin (see Secular).


(1) Parish Church: late 12th-century nave, with plan probably influenced by a former pre-Conquest church; 13th-century chancel.


(3) Anglesey Abbey (see Secular).

Stow cum Quy

(1) Parish Church: 14th-century chancel and nave, the latter incorporating 12th-century work.

Swaffham Bulbeck

(1) Parish Church: 14th-century chancel and nave; 15th-century carved bench ends.

(2) Benedictine Priory (see Secular).

(3) Lordship House (see Secular).

Swaffham Prior

(1) Parish Church of St. Mary: 12th-century church with west tower of octagon-on-square form.

(2) Church of St. Cyriac and St. Julitta; late 15th-century west tower; nave and chancel by Charles Humfrey, 1806.


(1) Parish Church: early 13th-century nave with richly-carved capitals; 15th-century piscina and sedilia.



(4) Bottisham Hall, house built c. 1797 in local 'Regency' style.


(5) House, 14th-century house with original features indicating use as a lodging.

(40) Range of outbuildings at Parsonage Farm, probably of the 16th-century, associated with some industrial activity.

Fen Ditton

(2) The Hall, remains of 15th-century house incorporated in red-brick mansion of c. 1635; 17th-century staircase and panelling.

(3) Barn, probably 16th-century 'town house'.

(4) Old Rectory, 18th-century house incorporating earlier structures.

(5) Biggin, remains of 14th-century palace of Bishops of Ely.


(3) Anglesey Abbey, remains of prior's lodging and a hall of the 13th-century.

Stow cum Quy

(3) Quy Hall, late 16th-century house with 17th-century alterations; mid 19th-century patterned brickwork and interior decoration.

Swaffham Bulbeck

(2) Benedictine Priory, remains of guest house or prioress' lodging of c. 1300.

(3) Lordship House, orginally a 13th-century chapel.

(4) Burgh Hall, timber-framed manor house of 'Wealden' type, of c. 1500.

(39–63) Commercial End, housing and remains of a mercantile establishment, as a group, mostly of the early 19th century.

Swaffham Prior

(5) Baldwin Manor, timber-framed manor house of c. 1500.

(30) The Cage, brick lock-up with fire-engine house of 1830.

Earthworks and Roman Remains


(47–55) Upper Hare Park, round barrows as a group.

(61–67) Bottisham Park, moats and other earthworks as a group.


(132) Castle, large earthwork of a castle begun by King Stephen in 1144 but not completed.

Devil's Dyke, well preserved post-Roman linear earthwork extending for 7 miles, into Reach and Swaffham Prior (and Stetchworth and Wood Ditton outside the area).


(29) Roman Settlement, site including remains of Roman kilns.


See Burwell.

Swaffham Prior

See Burwell.

We further recommend that all the earthworks included in the Inventory, in particular those listed above, be investigated archaeologically before damage or destruction, should either be unavoidable.

9. In compiling the foregoing list our criteria have been architectural or archaeological importance, rarity, not only in the local but in the national field, and the degree of loss to the nation that would result from destruction, always bearing in mind the extent to which the monuments are connected with or illustrative of the contemporary culture, civilisation and conditions of life of the people in England, as required by your Majesty's Warrant. We have not taken into account any attendant circumstances, such as the cost of maintenance, usefulness for present-day purposes, or problems of preservation.

10. We desire to express our acknowledgement of the good work accomplished by our executive staff in the preparation of this Inventory, in particular by Mr. S. D. T. Spittle, M.A., A.R.I.B.A., F.S.A., the editor; Mr. C. C. Taylor, B.A., F.S.A., who recorded the earthworks; Mr. A. P. Baggs, M.A., F.S.A., Mr. C. A. Hartridge, M.A., F.R.I.B.A., and Mr. R. F. Taylor, B.A., who recorded the buildings; Dr. B. E. A. Jones, who undertook documentary research; Mr. P. N. Hammond, who prepared the drawings, and Mr. R. Braybrook, who took the photographs. We are also grateful for earlier work on recording buildings by Mr. R. W. McDowall, O.B.E., M.A., F.S.A., and Dr. P. M. G. Eden, M.A., F.S.A.

11. We desire to add that our Secretary and General Editor, Mr. A. R. Dufty, A.R.I.B.A., F.S.A., has afforded constant assistance to us, Your Commissioners.

12. The next Inventory to be prepared by our Cambridge staff will be of the town of Stamford in Lincolnshire. Simultaneously a survey of the earthworks and other early archaeological sites in Northamptonshire will be undertaken.


Salisbury (Chairman)

G. T. Hurrell

H. C. Darby

C. A. Ralegh Radford

John Summerson

Francis Wormald

H. M. Colvin

D. B. Harden

W. A. Pantin

A. J. Taylor

W. F. Grimes

M. W. Barley

S. S. Frere

R. J. C. Atkinson

J. N. L. Myres

John Betjeman

A. R. Dufty (Secretary)