Hemingford Grey

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Huntingdonshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1926.

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'Hemingford Grey', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Huntingdonshire, (London, 1926) pp. 133-136. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/hunts/pp133-136 [accessed 20 April 2024]

In this section


(O.S. 6 in. XXII N.E.)

Hemingford Grey is a parish and village, on the right bank of the Ouse, 1¼ m. W. of St. Ives. The Church, Manor House and the old Rectory are the principal monuments.


(1). Parish Church of St. James (Plate 76) stands on the right bank of the River Ouse at the N. end of the village. The walls are of rubble with Barnack-stone dressings; the roofs are covered with slates and lead. The earliest parts of the building are the two westernmost bays of the N. arcade of the Nave, which are of late 12th-century date; they formed the N. arcade of an early church, which, from the proportions of the existing building, appears to have had a central tower. A S. arcade was built and a S. aisle added early in the 13th century. A little later the Chancel was re-built, the former central tower was pulled down and the nave extended one bay eastwards in its place, the aisles being lengthened to a corresponding extent. In the 14th century the North and South Aisles were probably widened, and late in the same century the West Tower was built and the N.W. arch of the nave re-built. The Clearstorey was added c. 1500. The spire, which formerly surmounted the W. tower, was blown down in 1741, and the stump which remained was subsequently surmounted by ball-finials at the angles. In 1859 the building was completely restored when the South Porch and N. aisle were re-built and the Vestry added. The W. tower was restored in 1914.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (27½ ft. by 16¼ ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall are two early 13th-century lancet-windows with external rebates; the first has a modern head and the second is partly hidden by the modern vestry; the N. doorway is probably of 14th-century date and has chamfered jambs and a two-centred head. The S. wall has two windows, the eastern of early 14th-century date and of two trefoiled lights with intersecting tracery in a segmental head with a moulded label and carved stops; the western window is mostly modern, but retains an old inner sill. The chancel-arch is modern.

The Nave (42¾ ft. by 15 ft.) has a N. arcade (Plate 77) of three bays; the first arch is of early 13th-century date and of clunch; it is two-centred and of two chamfered orders and has a semi-circular E. respond with a moulded capital and chamfered base; the first pier is circular and of two dates, the E. half being early 13th-century work, and the W. half of late 12th-century work; the E. half of the capital is moulded and the W. half scalloped and of semi-cruciform plan with a chamfered abacus; the second arch is of late 12th-century date and is semi-circular and of two orders, the inner chamfered and the outer square; the second pier is circular and has a cruciform scalloped capital and a moulded base; the third arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders with long voussoirs of clunch; on the W. it springs off the E. buttress of the tower and is probably of late 14th-century date. The S. arcade is also of three bays, of which the first arch and E. respond are similar to those of the N. arcade, but the E. respond has a 'hold-water' base; the second and third arches are both semi-circular and of two orders, the inner chamfered and the outer plain; the piers are circular and have moulded capitals of different sections; the first pier has a 'hold-water' base and is a little later than the second pier, the base of which has a double chamfer. E. of the arcades on each side is a tall recess with chamfered jambs and a four-centred arch; each recess is pierced by a small modern opening with a two-centred head; the recesses are plastered over and are perhaps modern. The clearstorey has on each side a range of four early 16th-century windows each of two four-centred lights in a four-centred head.

Hemingford Grey, the Parish Church of St. James

The South Aisle (13¼ ft. wide) has modern windows in the E., S. and W. walls, but the rear-arches to the E. and S.E. windows are old and probably of the 14th century. The re-set S. door-way is of early 13th-century date and has jambs of two chamfered orders with a detached shaft in each with a moulded capital, base, and band round the middle; the segmental-pointed arch is of two chamfered orders with a 14th-century moulding of different stone inserted between them.

The West Tower (about 12½ ft. square) is of three storeys and four stages externally and was built late in the 14th century. It has a moulded plinth and an embattled parapet and is surmounted by the stump of the former octagonal spire; at the angles are clasping buttresses to the first stage, above which they are diagonal and surmounted by 18th-century ball-finials. The tower-arch is two-centred and of two moulded orders on the E. side and three chamfered orders on the W.; the outermost order on the W. stops against the side walls of the tower, the second order is continuous and the inner order is carried on a semi-circular attached shaft with moulded capital and base. The W. doorway has jambs and two-centred arch of two moulded orders with a moulded label; the W. window is of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label. The second stage has in the S. wall a small square-headed light and in the W. wall a single cinque-foiled light. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded label; all are original, except the S. window, the head of which rises to a slight ogee apex and the cusping of the lights is of an unusual character, and probably an 18th-century restoration after the fall of the spire; the tracery in the N. window is considerably perished. The stump of the spire has on the S. side a gabled doorway, and is surmounted at the angles by 18th-century ball-finials.

The Roof of the nave is of early 16th-century date and of four bays. It has trusses of low pitch with king-posts, stop-chamfered tie-beams, ridge, purlins, rafters and wall-posts and curved braces below the tie-beams. The pent-roof of the S. aisle is of six bays with chamfered purlins and principal-rafters supported by curved braces and wall-posts resting on small semi-octagonal embattled capitals; the purlin to the first two bays is moulded and of c. 1500. The floor to the ringing-chamber in the W. tower is carried on two stop-chamfered beams.

Fittings—Bracket: In S. aisle—on E. wall, broken, with mask-stop corbel below, 13th-century. Chest: In vestry—of deal, plain with three wrought-iron locks and hinges, probably 17th-century. Coffin-lid: In churchyard—loose against S. wall of chancel, top part only, of Barnack stone, carved with head of cross, 14th-century. Communion Table: In vestry—of oak with four turned legs, plain top rail and moulded bottom rail, mid to late 17th-century. Inscription: on N. respond of W. tower-arch—carved ornamental panel with name William Mason, 17th-century. Lockers: In chancel—in N. wall, two, each with rebated jambs, and semi-circular head, early 13th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel—on S. wall, (1) to Gruffin Lloyde, 1682, white marble cartouche on draped panel with leaves, fruit, swords, two shields and one achievement-of-arms. In churchyard—S. of S. aisle, (2) to Thomas Newman, 1687–8, carved head-stone. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to John Lacy, 1676, with shield-of-arms; (2) to Catherine Johnson and Catherine Parnell her daughter, 1709. In nave— under third arch of N. arcade, (3) to Elizabeth, daughter of John West, 1694, Robert, her brother, and Elizabeth West, their mother, 1694. In S. aisle, (4) to Willyam Mason, 1659. Piscinae: In chancel—double with detached shafts to jambs and central shaft with moulded capitals and bases, trefoiled heads with intersecting mouldings above and two circular drains, early 14th-century. In S. aisle—with chamfered jambs and two-centred head with hollow-chamfered inner order carried on moulded corbels and large sex-foiled drain, c. 1300. Plate: includes a cup and stand-paten, both of 1684. Recess: In N. wall of chancel, small rectangular, behind modern seating. Sundial: On S. wall of clearstorey, of wood, painted, 18th-century. Miscellanea: Two carved head-stops built into S. wall of S. aisle, one of hooded male head, one of woman wearing veiled head-dress, early 15th-century.

The Churchyard is enclosed on the N. and W. by an early 18th-century brick wall.



(2). Manor House and moat, 340 yards S.W. of the church. The House (Plate 78) is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of rubble with Barnack-stone dressings and the roofs are tiled. The main block of the house is of mid 12th-century date and the absence of a N. wall of masonry seems to indicate that there was a timber cross-wing at this end. The central chimney-stack was built probably in the 16th century and an attic-floor was perhaps inserted at the same time. Additions, perhaps of mediæval date, existed on the E. side of the building, but these have been much re-built and modernised. The existing N. wall was built in the 18th century, at an angle with the rest of the building. There is a modern wing on the W. side of the main block.

The house is of extreme interest as an example of 12th-century domestic architecture.

Hemingford Grey, the Manor House Plan at Level of the First Floor

The S. end of the main block is gabled and has at the first-floor level an original window (Plate 116) of two round-headed lights, with a common chamfered sill and a common semi-circular label carved with cheveron-ornament and pellets; the head of each light appears to have had three lobed excrescences; the division between the lights is modern. Further E. is a modern window, filling part of the opening of an original doorway with a round head. This doorway was approached by an external staircase, destroyed in comparatively recent times. High up in the gable is a small window and above it the plaster bears the initials W.S. and an almost illegible date. The other elevations have no ancient features.

Interior—The main room or hall of the house was evidently on the first floor, approached by the doorway and staircase, already described, in the S. wall. The side walls have each, at the S. end, a window similar to that in the S. wall, but now blocked and not visible externally. Near the middle of the E. wall is an original fireplace; the jambs have each a detached shaft with moulded base and scalloped capital; the arch has been removed but the springing-stone on the S. remains in place. Both the ground and first floors of the house have old chamfered ceiling-beams and one tie-beam in the attics may be original.

In the garden are the heads of two original windows, with round-headed lights.

The Moat surrounds the house on the three sides away from the river.

Condition—Of house, good.

(3). The Old Rectory, house (Plate 149) N.E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. The walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 18th century on a rectangular plan, with a lower service-range on the S.E. There are modern additions on the S.W. and S.E. The N.E. and N.W. fronts are symmetrically arranged and have a band-course between the storeys, a modillioned eaves-cornice and gabled dormers in the hipped roof. The doorway on the N.E. front has a flat moulded hood and a panelled door; the doorway on the N.W. front has a plain shell-hood on scrolled brackets. Inside the building, several rooms are lined with original panelling and have original panelled doors. There are also several original fireplaces with marble surrounds. The staircase has moulded rails, turned balusters and cut strings with carved brackets.


Monuments (4–9).

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled or thatched. Some of the buildings have original chimney-stacks and exposed ceiling-beams.

Condition—Good, or fairly good.

(4). House (Plate 73), formerly the Anchor Inn, at the N.E. corner of Church Lane, 100 yards S.E. of the church, has a recently inserted staircase, with turned half-balusters of early 18th-century date.

(5). Cottage, on the E. side of Church Lane, 70 yards S. of (4), has modern additions at both ends. Inside the building is an original moulded ceiling-beam.

(6). Cottage, on the river-bank, 230 yards S.W. of the church, has a wide open fireplace with an early 18th-century fascia and cornice.

(7). Glebe Cottage (Plate 163), and barn, on the S. side of the road, 400 yards S.E. of the church. The Cottage was built c. 1583 and has a cross-wing at the W. end. The timber-framing is exposed on the N. front and at the W. end. The upper storey projects at the N. end of the cross-wing, on exposed joists; on the bressummer is a panel with the date 1583. B. In the W. end are two original windows, now blocked. Inside the building, the hall has a cupboard with an original panelled door with arabesque ornament. On the first floor is a battened door with strap-hinges and two panelled doors with arabesque ornament. Over the fireplace in the W. room is a plaster panel with a conventional design, in relief, of heraldic character. At the top of the back staircase is a moulded hand-rail and five flat shaped balusters of early 17th-century date. The W. staircase has a cupboard beneath it, with an original door with arabesque ornament; at the top of the staircase is some original panelling.

The Barn stands S.W. of the house.

(8). Cottage, E. of (7).

(9). Range of four tenements, E. of (8), was built probably as a single house, early in the 16th century. It has been extensively altered in the 17th and 18th centuries. Inside the building two rooms have original moulded ceiling-beams with scrolled foliage-ornament.