Offord Darcy

Pages 188-191

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

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59. OFFORD DARCY (C.e.).

(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXI S.E., (b)XXII S.W.)

Offord Darcy is a parish and village, nearly 4 m. S.S.W. of Huntingdon. The Church and Manor House are the principal monuments.


a(1). Parish Church of St. Peter stands W. of the village. The walls are of rubble with some ironstone and pebbles; the dressings are of Barnack stone and clunch and the roofs are covered with tiles and slates. The earliest detail in the church are the two early to mid 12th-century eastern bays of the N. arcade of the Nave; the western bay was added at a rather later date. The Chancel was re-built and enlarged probably c. 1260–70. About 1330 the S. arcade was built and the South Aisle added; the South Porch is of about the same date; late in the same century c. 1370–80, the West Tower and spire were built. Late in the 15th century the North Aisle was re-built and the clearstorey raised. The spire was re-built in 1860.

The church is of some interest from the variety of periods of its erection.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (30 ft. by 13¾ ft.) has a late 15th- or early 16th-century E. window, much restored and of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred head with moulded internal and external reveals. In the N. wall are two windows, the eastern a partly restored 13th-century window of one trefoiled light and the western a partly restored late 15th- or early 16th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatre-foiled spandrel in a four-centred head, with moulded internal and external reveals. In the S. wall are two windows, similar to the corres-ponding windows in the N. wall, but the head of the eastern window is modern; between them is a 13th-century doorway with chamfered jambs, segmental-pointed arch and a moulded label, covered with cement. The late 15th- or early 16th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the inner springing from shafts of the same section, with moulded capitals and bases; above the arch on the E. face of the wall are the lines of the former low-pitched roof of the nave; at the apex is an old gable-cross re-set.

The Nave (52 ft. by 16¼ ft.) has an early to mid 12th-century N. arcade of two bays with round arches of one order, roll-moulded on the S. face; the square piers have attached shafts at the angles with simple cushion-capitals and grooved and chamfered abaci, continued round the piers; the responds are similar to the piers; the third bay of the arcade is of rather later date, the earlier W. respond now forming part of the second pier; the imposts are chamfered and the shafts have no capitals; the E. respond is pierced by a modern arch apparently cut through from a round-headed recess on the N. face. The S. arcade is of c. 1330 and of four bays, with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the columns are composed of four filleted shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the responds have attached half-columns. The clearstorey has three windows on the N. and four on the S. side, all of late 15th-century date and each of two trefoiled lights in a four-centred head.

Offord Darcy, the Parish Church of St Peter

The North Aisle (9½ ft. wide) is of late 15th-century date and has a partly restored E. window of three cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head with moulded internal and external reveals. In the N. wall are three similar windows, but of two lights only; the eastern and westernmost are partly restored; the N. doorway has moulded jambs and two-centred arch. In the W. wall is a window similar to those in the N. wall.

The South Aisle (14¾ ft. wide) has an E. window all modern except the 14th-century splays, jambs, and parts of the mullions. In the S. wall are three partly restored 14th-century windows, each of two cinque-foiled lights with leaf-tracery in a two-centred head, with a moulded label; the middle window has old head-stops; the 14th-century S. doorway has jambs and two-centred arch of two moulded orders, with a moulded label and modern stops. In the W. wall is a partly restored 14th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a plain label. The modern parapet of the aisle has a 14th-century string-course with running ornament of ballflowers.

The West Tower (10 ft. square) is of late 14th-century date and of three stages, with a moulded plinth and an embattled parapet with gargoyles at the angles. The two-centred tower-arch is of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner springing from round attached shafts, with moulded capitals and bases. The partly restored W. window is of three cinque-foiled lights in a two-centred head, with moulded external reveals. The second stage has in the N., S. and W. walls a small quatrefoil-opening. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with moulded reveals and label. The octagonal spire is of ashlar with rolls at the angles; it has two tiers each of four spire-lights; the windows of the lower tier are each of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a gable with remains of crockets; the mullions are missing; the windows are flanked by attached shafts; the windows of the upper tier are each of one trefoiled light in a gabled head, formerly crocketed.

The South Porch is of the 14th century, much restored. The restored outer archway is two-centred and of two chamfered orders, dying on to the chamfered responds. On the gable is an original cross. The side walls have each a window of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the whole of the eastern window is cut from a single stone.

The Roof of the nave is modern but rests on stone corbels, of doubtful antiquity, but some of which may possibly be of late 15th- or early 16th-century date; they are carved with various figures or heads of men and women and one boss of foliage. The roof-corbels in the S. aisle are carved with human and beast-heads.

Fittings—Bells: three; 1st by Christopher Gray, 1676; 2nd by Tobias Norris, 1618; 3rd by W. Haulsey, 1620. Brackets: Flanking E. window—two head-corbels, used as brackets, possibly 13th-century. Brasses and Indent. Brasses: In nave—(1), of [Dr. William Taylard, 1532], kneeling figure of man in academic robes and doctor's cap, indents of scroll, inscription-plate, shield and another plate. In S. aisle— in recess of S.E. window, (2) of Sir Laurence Pabenham, 1400, and Elizabeth (Engeyne), 1377, and Joan (Dawbeney), his wives, half-figure, engraved c. 1440, of man in plate-armour, and two women in veiled head-dresses, etc. Indent: In churchyard—outside S. porch, of inscription-plate. Chest: In S. aisle—of deal boards, with coped lid, one lock, iron straps and twisted iron ring at each end, 17th-century. Door: In S. door-way—modern, but with two old strap-hinges. Glass: In chancel—in tracery of S.W. window, quatre-foiled filling of foliage pattern, 15th-century. Monuments: In N. aisle—on N. wall, (1) slab (Plate 10) with two panels filled with much-worn figures in low relief of man and woman in civil costume, both with buttoned sleeves, feet of both on monsters, mid to late 14th-century. In S. aisle—on S. wall, (2) of Richard Nailour, 1616, alabaster wall-monument (Plate 25), with kneeling figures of man and his two wives, Elizabeth (Lovell) and Katherine (Herne), two sons and six daughters, round-headed recess flanked by Doric pilasters, supporting entablature, round pediment and three skulls, achievement and shield-of-arms. Piscinae: In chancel—large recess with chamfered jambs and trefoiled head with lobed cusp-points, two drains, one quatre-foiled and one round; second opening above with trefoiled head, 13th-century. In S. aisle—in E. splay of S.E. window, recess with trefoiled arch to S. and W. resting on common octagonal shaft of marble, with moulded capital and round base, vaulted soffit with diagonal chamfered ribs and mask-boss, octofoiled drain, 13th-century, re-set. Plate: includes inscribed cup dated 1569, with engraved ornament, also cover-paten, probably of the same date. Screen: Under chancel-arch—head of screen (Plate 106), of seven bays, each with cinque-foiled, sub-cusped, ogee heads and tracery, mullions all removed, 14th-century. Split turned balusters re-set on end posts. Table: (Plate 151) In N. aisle— with turned legs and shaped brackets to top rail, 17th-century, painted. Miscellanea: In churchyard—S. of chancel, stone trough, 5¾ ft. by 3¼ ft., slightly tapering and with rounded angles, date and purpose uncertain.

Condition—Good, but much ivy on walls.


b(2). Homestead Moat, 400 yards E.S.E. of the church, appears to have consisted of an inner and an outer enclosure.

a(3). Manor House, 40 yards S.S.W. of the church, is of three storeys; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. The house was built, according to the visitation of Huntingdonshire of 1613, by Richard Nailour, who had bought the manor and who died in 1616. The original plan was of H-shape with the cross-wings at the N. and S. ends. The space between the wings on the W. side was filled in by staircases late in the 17th century. In the first half of the 18th century the E. front was entirely re-built, the space between the wings being filled in. The W. front has been refaced in modern times when additions were made at the N. end of the house.

The staircase is a good example of its period.

The E. front is entirely of the 18th century, and is symmetrically arranged with a deep alcove in the middle, this alcove has curiously cemented rustications, a round head and a plastered semidome of shell-form. The W. front has been very largely refaced but retains its original chimney-stack with the base of three octagonal shafts and a later top. Inside the house, the Hall, in the main block, has chamfered ceiling-beams; the original stone fireplace has stop-moulded jambs and a four-centred arch in a square head; above the head are two painted shields-of-arms of Nailour impaling Lovell and Herne respectively for Richard Nailour and his two wives. The door in the S. wall is of two folds with raised panels. The two rooms at the S. end have early 18th-century panelling and doors. Also on the ground-floor is some original panelling and doors and some early 18th-century doors. On the first floor, the room over the hall is lined with original panelling; above the fireplace is an overmantel (Plate 158) of three bays divided by fluted pilasters and having enriched arcaded panels. There are several 18th-century panelled doors. The 17th-century main staircase (Plate 164) has turned balusters, heavy moulded hand-rail and string and square newels with round-headed panels and ball-terminals. The second staircase is of the first half of the 18th century and has turned and fluted balusters, panelled string, moulded hand-rail and square newels, except the lowest newel, which is in the form of a fluted column.


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.

a(4). Manor Farm, house, two tenements, on the W. side of the road, 370 yards S.S.E. of the church, was extended southwards in the 18th century. Inside the building is an original cup board-door.

a(5). Cottage, two tenements, on the E. side of the road, 30 yards S.E. of (4), was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century.

a(6). House, three tenements, 190 yards N. of (5), has some exposed timber-framing with brick filling. Inside the building is an early 18th-century panelled door.

a(7). Range of three tenements on the W. side of the road, 250 yards E.N.E. of the church. The S. tenement was built in the 17th century, but the rest of the range is an early 18th-century structure of brick with a band between the storeys. The main doorway has a shaped head and an early 18th-century panelled door.

a(8). Cottage, on the E. side of the road, 60 yards N.N.E. of (7), was built in the 17th or early in the 18th century and has a roof of corrugated iron.

a(9). Horseshoe Inn, on the W. side of the road, 60 yards N. of (8), has a cross-wing at the N. end. The upper storeys and the gable of the cross-wing project at the E. end on curved brackets; the base-beam of the gable is moulded and has the date 1626; on the soffit of the overhang is the cornice of an oriel-window, now removed. Inside the building, the middle room has some early 18th-century fittings.

Old Hurst, see Hurst, Old.

Old Weston, see Weston, Old.