Pages 242-245

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

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76. SPALDWICK (B.d.).

Spaldwick, Parish Church of St James.

(O.S. 6 in. XVII S.W.)

Spaldwick is a parish and village 7 m. W. of Huntingdon. The Church, the bridge and house (8) are the principal monuments.


(1). Parish Church of St. James (Plate 96) stands at the W. end of the village. The walls are of stone and pebble-rubble with dressings of Weldon and Ketton stone; the spire is of ashlar; the roofs are covered with slates and lead. The Nave retains some 12th-century work in the N. and E. walls. About 1250 the S. arcade was built and a S. aisle added. The Chancel was re-built c. 1310 and the chancel-arch widened; about 1340 the two lower stages of the West Tower were built, the bell-chamber and spire being added late in the same century; the South Porch is also a 14th-century addition, and the clearstorey was built c. 1370. Early in the 16th century the South Chapel was added and the South Aisle and S. porch re-built. In the 17th century, the parapets and the N.E. angle of the nave were repaired. The church was restored in 1863 and the spire in 1850, 1873 and 1905.

The detail of the 12th-century N. doorway is interesting.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (28 ft. by 19¾ ft.) has an early 14th-century E. window of three trefoiled lights with geometrical tracery in a two-centred head, with moulded labels, with three head-stops, one head in a mail coif. In the N. wall are two much restored early 14th-century windows, each of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head, with moulded labels and stops carved with the heads of a king, women, men in hoods, &c. In the S. wall is an early 16th-century archway, four-centred and of two chamfered orders; the responds have each a semi-octagonal attached shaft with moulded capital and base, partly cut away for a former screen; further E. is a window, similar to those in the N. wall and with internal head-stops of a man and a woman. The early 14th-century chancel-arch is of distorted two-centred form and of two chamfered orders, the inner springing from moulded corbels, one with a head-stop; the outer order on the N. springs from the re-set capping of a 12th-century respond, carved with cheveron and billet-ornament; below the corbel the earlier square respond is retained, but has 14th-century splays cut on the angles; the S. respond has been roughly cut back. Above the arch, on the E. face, is the weathering of a steep-pitched roof to the chancel.

The South Chapel (17 ft. by 16 ft.) is of early 16th-century date and has an E. window of four cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head, with moulded reveals and label. In the S. wall are two windows, similar to that in the E. wall, but of three lights; the label of the western window has square scrolled stops. In the W. wall is an arch similar to that in the S. wall of the chancel.

The Nave (40 ft. by 20¼ ft.) has a N. wall of two stages, the lower of coursed pebble and stone rubble and of 12th-century date and the upper or clear-storey added late in the 14th century. At the E. end of the lower stage is a window of 13th-century origin, re-built early in the 16th century; it is of two four-centred lights in a square head with moulded external jambs and labels; the splays, pointed rear-arch and part of the external label are of the 13th century; the late 12th-century N. doorway (Plate 139) has jambs and round arch of two roll-moulded orders; the outer order has grooved and conventionalised 'beak-heads' and the moulded label has billet and lozenge-ornament and defaced head-stops; a third head is set over the crown of the arch. The N. clearstorey has three late 14th-century windows, each of two cinque-foiled and transomed lights with simple tracery in a four-centred head with moulded jambs and label, with mask and head-stops. The S. arcade, of c. 1250, is of four bays, with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the cylindrical columns have moulded capitals and bases; two capitals have nail-head ornament; the responds have semi-octagonal attached shafts with moulded capitals and chamfered bases; the W. respond is partly covered by a buttress of the later tower; the arcade has moulded labels on the N. face, with nail-head ornament, one head and two shell-stops. The S. clearstorey has three late 14th-century windows, largely re-built in the 16th century; they are each of two trefoiled lights in a square head with moulded jambs.

The South Aisle (14½ ft. wide) has in the S. wall three early 16th-century windows, uniform with those in the S. wall of the S. chapel; the re-set mid13th-century S. doorway has jambs and two-centred arch of two orders, the outer moulded and the inner chamfered; the moulded label has mask-stops. In the W. wall is a window uniform with those in the S. wall.

The West Tower (12 ft. square) is of four stages (Plate 96) with a moulded plinth and a cornice at the base of the spire. The two lower stages are of c. 1340 and the upper stages and spire were added late in the same century. The two-centred tower-arch is of three chamfered orders, the inner and outer continued down the responds and the middle order dying on to them; above the arch, on the E. face, is the weathering of a lower and steep-pitched roof of the nave. The W. window is of two trefoiled ogee lights, with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded label and head-stops; there is a head also at the apex of the label; the W. doorway has jambs and two-centred arch of three moulded orders with a moulded label and head-stops. The second stage has, in the E. wall, a pointed opening to the roof; the other three walls have each a lozenge-shaped window, filled with flowing tracery and having a continuous moulded label. The turret-staircase, rising to the second stage, is covered with a stone vault, with chamfered ribs and a central boss carved with a half-figure, one rib springs from a head-corbel. The stair from the second to the third and fourth stages is entered by a doorway in the N. splay of the W. window. The third stage has in the W. wall a window of one trefoiled light with a moulded label. The bell-chamber has in each wall a pair of windows each of two trefoiled and transomed lights with tracery in a two-centred head, with a moulded label and a head-stop between the windows; the lights below the transom have quatre-foiled heads. The broach-spire is octagonal (Plate 133) and has three tiers, each of four spire-lights, facing the cardinal points; the windows of the two lower tiers are each of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a gabled head; the windows of the top tier have each one trefoiled light in a gabled head. At the head of each broach of the spire is a carved figure.

The South Porch was re-built early in the 16th century and has a re-set late 14th-century outer archway, two-centred and of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner springing from attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the arch has a moulded label. The side walls have each a window of two trefoiled lights in a square head.

The Roof of the S. chapel is of early 16th-century date, of two bays and of flat pent-form; it has moulded main timbers and a boss carved with a double rose. The 16th-century roof of the S. porch is flat-pitched and of two bays with moulded main timbers and a modern ridge.

Fittings—Bells: six; 3rd to 6th by Watts of Leicester, 1635. Brackets: In S. chapel—in N.W. angle, flat moulded shelf, early 16th-century; on S. wall supporting modern tablet, square moulded bracket. In nave—over N. doorway, mask-stop used as bracket. In S. aisle—in S.E. angle, rectangular with chamfered under-edge, early 16th-century. In second stage of tower—over W. window, head-stop used as bracket. Brass Indents: In S. chapel—(1) of figures of man and wife and inscription-plate, late 15th-century; (2) of small figure with scroll and inscription-plate. Chest: (Plate 146) In S. aisle—of wood with coped lid, iron clamps and strap-hinges, ornamental lock-plate, 17th-century. Coffin-lids: In churchyard—against N. wall of church, two coped slabs with raised ornamental crosses; against W. wall of tower, fragment of coped slab, all late 13th- or early 14th-century. Font: octagonal bowl, with moulded upper edge, octagonal stem and four modern detached shafts, on square base with rounded angles, 13th-century. Glass: In S. chapel—in E. window, fragments of borders, figure and ornamental work, early 16th-century. Monument: In churchyard—S. of S. porch, to John Clarke, 1663, head-stone. Piscinae: In chancel—recess with moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label with head-stops, quatre-foiled drain and stone shelf, 14th-century. In S. chapel—in S. wall, recess with moulded two-centred head, dished drain, early 16th-century. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten of 1628 given by Lady Magdalin Hide, 1628. Scratchings: In tower—on staircase-walls, etc., various initials and dates, 17th-century. Screen: Under W. arch of S. chapel—of six bays, (Plate 41) including central opening, two bays on the N. and three on the S., moulded posts, rail and head with running vine-ornament and damaged cresting with a crown; side bays each with cinque-foiled and traceried heads to upper panels and cinque-foiled ogee heads with tracery to close lower panels, all with carved spandrels, early 16th-century, restored, upper tracery of N. bays modern. Sedile: In chancel—sill of S.E. window carried down and splays cut back to form seat, 14th-century, sill modern. Sundials: On S. buttresses of S. chapel—two scratched and one incised, with numbers for hours.



(2). Village Site and rampart, called Danesfield, is an irregular enclosure with the church in the N.E. angle. The surrounding bank is best preserved on the S. and S.E., but has been entirely destroyed on the N.E. There are traces of foundations in the S.W. angle and a series of terraces and scarps outside the enclosure on the N. and N.W.

Condition—Fairly good in parts.

(3). Hamlet Site at Upthorpe, 700 yards S.S.W. of the church, is marked by a number of ponds, banks, etc.

(4). Bridge (Plate 131), over brook, 260 yards N.N.W. of the church, is of stone and of three spans. It was built probably in the 15th century but has been widened on the N. side and has modern brick parapets. The main arch is pointed and of two chamfered orders on the S. face; it has also a chamfered rib in the middle of the original arch. The side arches are each of one chamfered order on the S. face and have no ribs. The piers have pointed cut-waters on the S. side.


(5). Base probably of cross, on the village-green, 120 yards E. of the church, is a square mass of stone. In the garden of a house, immediately to the S. is a much worn stone, probably also part of the cross.

High Street. S. side

(6). George Inn, 160 yards E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 17th century, with cross-wings at the E. end and W. ends. It was remodelled c. 1700 when an addition was made on the N. side and the roof of of the E. cross-wing re-built running E. and W.

The upper storey projects at both ends of the S. front. The central chimney-stack of c. 1700 has two detached shafts, joined at the top by an arch. Inside the building are some original chamfered ceiling-beams and at the first-floor level, the staircase has some 17th-century shaped balusters and a square newel with a ball-top.

Condition—Fairly good.

(7). Manor Farm (Plate 3), house and barn, 40 yards E. of (6). The House is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1600, on a rectangular plan, with the upper storey projecting on the whole of the S. front. On the N. side is some exposed timber-framing. Inside the building one room has a moulded ceiling-beam and others have chamfered beams, all original. There is also a door of c. 1700 and an old cock's-head hinge.

The Barn, E. of the house, is timber-framed and plastered; the roof is thatched. It was built probably late in the 17th century and is of five bays.

Condition—Fairly good.

(8). House, 100 yards E. of (7), is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. It was built late in the 17th century but may incorporate earlier work. The front-block has a brick band between the storeys and a coved eaves-cornice of plaster. In the middle of the S. front is a projecting bay or porch with a plain gable and a pair of brick pilasters on the face of each storey, with moulded capitals; the mouldings of the lower capitals are continued round the sides of the porch; the doorway is modern but is flanked by pilaster-strips or architraves. The windows have flush frames. The back wing has been faced with modern brick. The two chimney-stacks are original and have plastered pilasters and moulded cappings. Inside the building the rooms of the back wing have chamfered ceiling-beams. The staircase has moulded rails and strings, square newels and flat wavy balusters.


S. side

(9). House, 400 yards E. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. It was built c. 1688 but incorporates parts of an earlier building. The N. front has an original doorway with a moulded brick cornice and pediment; in the tympanum are the initials P.D. Above the pediment is a restored plaster panel with the date 1688. Inside the building, the original staircase has heavy turned balusters, square newels with ball-tops and moulded rails and strings. Some of the ceiling-beams are exposed and one of these, in the S.W. room, is moulded. There are also some 17th-century panelled doors.


(10). House, at E. corner of Long Lane, 140 yards W. of (9), is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century but has been so extensively altered that only the outer walls and chimney-stacks remain.


(11). House, 30 yards N.W. of (10), is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century but has been very extensively altered.


(12). Cottage, on the N.E. side of the road, 160 yards N.E. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roof is thatched. It was built in the 17th century and has, inside the house, original ceiling-beams, and some exposed timber-framing.