Pages 140-142

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

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(O.S. 6 in. (a)XIX S.W., (b)XXIII N.W.).

Holywell-cum-Needingworth is a parish adjoining that of St. Ives on the E. There are two villages, that of Needingworth having been largely burnt down in 1847. The Church and House (24) are the principal monuments.


b(1). Parish Church of St. John the Baptist stands at the W. end of the village of Holywell. The walls of the chancel are of stone-rubble, those of the nave and aisles are of stone and pebble-rubble and the W. tower is of ashlar; the roofs are covered with tiles and slates. The Nave is possibly the earliest part of the present building; the Chancel is of the second quarter of the 13th century, the North Aisle was added late in the same century and c. 1300 the South Aisle was built. Accounts remain to show that the W. Tower was added in 1547, Thomas Roper being the mason. As mention is made of journeys to Ramsey during the building and the masonry used is of various periods earlier than the date of the erection of the tower it may be assumed that much of the material came from the dissolved Abbey of Ramsey. The clearstorey was probably added at the same time. Modern work includes the rebuilding of the South Porch and the addition of a Vestry in 1862 when the church was restored, a restoration of the tower in 1915, and a general restoration in 1919 when the vestry was re-built.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (32¼ ft. by 15¾ ft.) has a modern E. window with roll-moulded splays which are probably mediæval. In the N. wall are two mid 13th-century windows, each of two small lancet-lights under a semi-circular head with moulded twin-labels and mask-stops; dividing the lights on the inside is a small detached shaft with moulded capital and base and from the cap of which springs a small chamfered half-arch to the middle of the rear-arch; the shaft, mullion and head of the second window are modern. In the S. wall are two similar original windows, and between them is the original S. doorway which now opens into the modern vestry; it has stop-chamfered jambs and a chamfered lintel resting on chamfered imposts. Running round the chancel at the level of the window-sills is an internal moulded string-course. The early 14th-century chancel-arch is of distorted two-centred form and of two chamfered orders with semi-octagonal responds with modern capitals and a moulded label on the W. face.

The Nave (37¾ ft. by 15¼ ft.) has a late 13th-century N. arcade of three bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders with a moulded label on the S. face and stops to the outer order over the piers; the piers are octagonal with moulded capitals of varied section and moulded bases partly covered by pews; the E. respond is semi-octagonal and has a modern capital; on the W. the outer order of the third arch dies on to the wall and the inner is carried on a carved head-corbel with a moulded capital; at the E. end of the wall is the rood-loft doorway with chamfered jambs and segmental head. The early 14th-century S. arcade is of three bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders with a moulded label on the N. face and stops to the outer order over the piers; the piers are octagonal and the E. respond semi-octagonal and all with moulded capitals and bases of varied section; on the W., the outer order of the westernmost arch springs off the wall and the inner order is carried on a carved head-corbel with a moulded capital. The clear-storey has a range of three early 16th-century windows on each side, each of two cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head.

The North Aisle (8½ ft. wide) has an altered two-light E. window with a plain mullion and two-centred head. In the N. wall are two modern windows and between them is the late 13th-century N. doorway with jambs and two-centred arch of two hollow-chamfered orders, with a moulded label.

The South Aisle (9¾ ft. wide) has a 14th-century E. window of three lights with moulded jambs and two-centred head with a moulded label and mask-stops; the original tracery has been replaced by carrying up the old mullions in modern stone. The eastern window in the S. wall is modern; the S. doorway is of early 14th-century date and has jambs and two-centred arch of two hollow-chamfered orders, with a moulded label and defaced head-stops; the western window is of early 14th-century date and of two uncusped lights with a pierced spandrel in a two-centred head with a moulded label and carved head-stops.

The West Tower (11 ft. by 10½ ft.) was built c. 1547, mainly of re-used material, and is in three stages with a moulded plinth and an embattled parapet with crocketed pinnacles at the angles; the angle-buttresses are octagonal for the first stage and diagonal above; they stop at the level of the belfry. The tower-arch is of 14th-century stonework re-used; it is two-centred with the outer orders elaborately moulded with carved foliage bosses and rosettes in the hollows and a chamfered inner order resting on moulded corbels. In the N. wall is a recess with square jambs and a two-centred arch of 14th-century work; the arch springs from the same level as the tower-arch, and has the outer orders elaborately moulded and the inner chamfered and carried on carved foliated corbels; within the head of the recess is a modern window. In the S. wall is a similar recess, but the hollows of the outer order of the arch are filled with carved bosses. The W. doorway is of early 16th-century date and has moulded and shafted jambs and a trefoiled and sub-cusped arch in a square head with quatrefoils in the spandrels and a moulded label with modern stops. The W. window is of three trefoiled lights in a square head. The belfry has in the N., S. and W. walls three re-used 14th-century windows, each of two trefoiled lights in a two-centred head. In the E. wall is a square-headed light with a square-headed door below opening on to the roof of the nave.

The Roofs are modern but under the wall-posts to the tie-beams of the nave-roof are eight re-used carved figures of c. 1500, four on either side; one holds a chalice, two scrolls and two others hold shields.

Fittings—Bells: five; second, third and fourth by William Haulsey, 1625. Books: (a) Jewel's Apology; (b) Prayer-book of 1669; (c) Collection of Statutes, 1632; (d) further Collection of Statutes 1667; also four large folio leaves of vellum from a work of Aristotle, late 13th- or 14th-century; (c) and (d) presented by Thomas Tenison, after-wards Archbishop of Canterbury. Chest: In vestry—panelled with moulded styles, etc., late 16th- or early 17th-century. Font: with modern bowl on one octagonal and four round shafts, the latter with moulded capitals and bases, common chamfered plinth with projections to take angle-shafts, late 13th-century, one shaft and capital modern. Locker: In chancel—in N. wall, rectangular with modern door, 13th-century. Piscina: In chancel—unusually large recess with splayed jambs and trefoiled head with lobed points, moulded imposts and label with one mask-stop, large quatre-foiled drain, 13th-century. Miscellanea: fragments of window-tracery, etc., loose in churchyard S. of chancel.



b (2). The Holy Well, on the S. edge of the churchyard, is square and has a modern brick curb and an arch over, erected in 1845; on the top is a re-used 13th or 14th-century stone corbel.


b(3). Moyne's Hall, house and moat, 600 yards E. of the church. The House is of two storeys, faced with modern brick and has a tiled roof. It may be of 17th-century date but has been completely altered. Some original ceiling-beams remain. The garden-wall towards the road is probably of the 17th century.

The Moat lies to the N. of the house.

Condition—Of house, good.

Monuments (4–26).

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, unless noted.

b (4). Goodger's Farm, house 150 yards S.E. of the church, was mostly re-built a few years ago, but retains an original chimney-stack with two diagonal shafts.

b (5). House, 100 yards E.S.E. of (4), is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and W. Inside the building, the room at the angle of the house has two walls lined with original panelling with an enriched cornice; the door is of similar panelling. The middle room of the N. wing has an original ceiling-beam with the date 1667 indicated in nail-heads. The room above the angle-room has one wall lined with original panelling.

b (6). Cottage, 20 yards E.S.E. of (5), was built, probably, early in the 18th century. The walls are of brick.

b (7). Cottage, 60 yards E.S.E. of (6), has an original chimney-stack with grouped diagonal shafts. On the base of the stack is the date 1623.

b (8). Cottage, 50 yards E.S.E. of (7).

b (9). Cottage, 70 yards E.S.E. of (8).

b (10). Cottage, 40 yards E. of (9).

b (11). Cottage, E. of (10).

b (12). Ferry Boat Inn, 120 yards E. of (11), has a late 16th- or early 17th-century cross-wing at the W. end, but the rest of the house was re-built early in the 18th century. The front of the main block has been refaced with modern brick.

b (13). Cottages, two, on the N. side of Back Lane, 500 yards E. of the church, were built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century.

b (14). Cottage, 60 yards W. of (13), has an E. wall of brick with a panel in the gable, bearing the date 1654 and the initials T. and H.I.

b (15). House, 40 yards W. of (14), is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the E. and N. On the E. gable are the initials, in wrought-iron, S.R.

b (16). Cottage, 40 yards W. of (15).


a (17). Range of three cottages, on the W. side of Church Street, 1,200 yards N.N.E. of the church.

Condition—Partly ruinous.

a (18). Cottage, two tenements, on the S.W. side of by-road, 160 yards N. of (17), was built probably early in the 18th century.

a (19). House (Plate 73), at the E. corner of High Street and Church Street, has a cross-wing at the W. end. Inside the building, one room has an early 18th-century moulded cornice over the fireplace.

a (20). House, on the N. side of High Street, 20 yards N.W. of (19), was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century.

a (21). House, 180 yards E.N.E. of (20), is of 18th-century or modern date, but incorporates some walling of ashlar, with a chamfered plinth, perhaps of 16th-century date.

a (22). House, 100 yards N.E. of (21), was built early in the 18th century. The walls are of brick with a band-course between the storeys and a modillioned eaves-cornice of wood.

a (23). Cottage, 60 yards N.E. of (22), has an original chimney-stack with grouped diagonal shafts and pilasters.

a (24). House, called The Chestnuts, on the E. side of the road, 100 yards N.N.E. of (23), is of two storeys with attics and was built c. 1710. The walls are of brick and there is a cross-wing at the N. end. The elevations have a brick band between the storeys and the eaves have a wooden cornice; the cornice to the N. wing has modillions. The front door has a pediment supported on scrolled brackets; the door is panelled and above it is a radiated fan-light. Inside the building, several rooms have dadoes, doors and other original fittings. The staircase has a central lower flight, branching to left and right at the first landing; it has moulded rails, turned balusters and newels in the form of Doric columns. The staircase to the attic has at the top a simple open balustrade. At the top of the main staircase is a cartouche with the initials and date T.A. 1710.

a(25). Cottage, two tenements, 60 yards N. of (24), was built, probably, early in the 18th century.

b(26). Pike and Eel Inn, on the left bank of the Ouse, 1½ m. E.N.E. of the church, has a wide open fireplace and a nail-studded door.