BHO

Steeple Gidding

Pages 256-257

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

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In this section

79. STEEPLE GIDDING (B.c.).

(O.S. 6 in. XIII N.W.)

Steeple Gidding is a parish and hamlet, 9 m. N.W. of Huntingdon. The Church is the principal monument.

Ecclesiastical

(1). Parish Church of St. Andrew stands on the W. side of the parish. The walls are of cornbrash-rubble and Ketton-stone ashlar with dressings of Ketton and Barnack stone; the roofs are covered with modern lead. The 12th-century work incorporated in the S. doorway suggests the former existence of a church of that date. The S. arcade of the Nave and S. aisle were built early in the 14th century. About 1330 the Chancel and rest of the Nave, were re-built. The West Tower was added at the end of the 14th century and stands partly within the nave, the W. end of the N. wall of which was re-built at the same time. The South Porch is modern. The church, with the exception of the W. tower, was restored in 1874 and the W. tower was restored in 1899. The South Aisle, N. wall of the nave and the clearstorey have been refaced or re-built.

The building is of no special interest but among the fittings the altar-linen is noteworthy.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (26½ ft. by 14½ ft.) has a projecting plinth and internal and external moulded strings below the windows. The E. wall has been refaced and has a modern three-light window. In the N. wall are two windows both of c. 1330 and of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded label and mask-stops. In the S. wall are two windows both similar to those in the N. wall but with carved stops to the label while the splays of the easternmost have been cut down to form a seat below the sill; the 14th-century S. doorway has moulded jambs and a segmental-pointed head with a moulded label and mask-stops. The chancel-arch is modern except for the responds which have semi-octagonal shafts, with modern capitals and bases, except part of the S. base, which is old.

The Nave (35½ ft. by 17¾ ft.) has in the N. wall two 14th-century windows, the first of three trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a square head with mask-stops and the second of three trefoiled lights with blind tracery in a square head with moulded reveals and label with beast-head stops. The S. arcade is of four bays and of early 14th-century date, with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders, octagonal piers and semi-octagonal responds all with moulded capitals and bases; the capitals to the responds are of different section to those to the piers. In the W. wall N. of the tower is a small blocked opening with chamfered jambs and square head. The clearstorey has on each side a range of four 14th-century windows, each of two trefoiled ogee lights with blind tracery in a square head. Below those in the N. wall is an external string-course.

The South Aisle (9¼ ft. wide) has in the E. wall an early 14th-century window of three uncusped pointed lights with intersecting tracery in a two-centred head with mask-stops. In the S. wall are two 14th-century windows, each of three trefoiled ogee lights with blind tracery in a square head with a moulded label; the easternmost has mask-stops to the label and the westernmost has head-stops. The S. doorway is built up of re-used 12th- and 13th-century work and has an arch of two orders, the inner two-centred, moulded, and of 13th-century date, and the outer round, and of 12th-century date and enriched with chevron-ornament; the label is moulded and has one mask-stop and one square stop carved with a fleur-de-lis; the outer order springs off 13th-century detached shafts with carved capitals and moulded bases and the inner order is carried on shafted jambs with moulded imposts, continued along from the abacus of the free shafts. In the W. wall is a modern window.

The West Tower (8¼ ft. by 6¼ ft.) is of late 14th-century date and of two stages with a moulded plinth and an embattled parapet with carved gargoyles at the angles of the moulded string below. It is surmounted by an octagonal stone spire (Plate 4). The tower-arch is two-centred and of one chamfered order on the W. and three orders on the E., the two inner being plain chamfered and springing off the side walls and the outer being hollow-chamfered and continuous. In the W. wall is a single cinque-foiled light with trefoiled spandrels in a square head with a moulded label and grotesque head-stops. In the upper part of the N. wall is a small square-headed opening and in the corresponding position of the S. wall is a similar opening. The second stage has in each wall an original window or two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded label. The spire has two ranges of four spire-lights on the cardinal faces; each window of the lower tier is of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a moulded pedimental head. The windows of the upper tier are each of one trefoiled light in a gabled head.

Fittings—Bells: three; 1st and 2nd by Henry Jordan, mid 15th-century, inscribed respectively "Sancta Anna ora pro nobis" and "Vox Augustini sonet in aure Dei." Brass Indent: In nave—in black marble slab, of man and wife, early 16th-century. Coffin-lid: In S. aisle—against W. wall, with moulded edge and coped top carved with cross with foliated ends and omega in middle, late 13th-century. Consecration Cross: On E. face of N.E. buttress to nave, incised within circular border, 14th-century. Font and Cover: octagonal bowl of Ketton stone, with chamfered underside, plain octagonal stem and chamfered base, re-cut, 16th-century; plain oak cover, probably 17th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs: Monuments: In chancel—on N. wall, (1) of Mary, daughter of Sir John Cotton, Bart. and wife of Roger Kinyon, 1714, white marble bust (Plate 25) with shield-of-arms and inscription-tablet below, flanked by scrolls, supported on moulded base of black marble on modern stone shaft. In churchyard—E. of chancel, (2) to William Ruffand, 1684–5, head-stone with shaped scroll top; S. of S. aisle, (3) to W.H., 1696, small stone; (4) to Richard Bright, 1688, head and foot-stones; (5) to Ann, wife of William Richards, 1698, head-stone carved with acanthus-leaves, skull and hour-glass. Floor-slabs: In S. aisle—(1) to Elizabeth, daughter of Michael Shard, 1682; (2) to Thomas Cotton, 1640. In nave (3) with name covered by modern pulpit, 1704. Niche: In W. tower—below parapet in S. wall, with trefoiled ogee head, formed of material from window, re-used, 14th-century. Piscinae: In chancel—recess with chamfered jambs and two-centred head, octagonal drain, wooden shelf at springing level, 14th-century. In S. aisle—with stop-chamfered jambs, ogee-head and octofoiled drain, 14th-century. Plate: includes a cup of 1569, with band of incised ornament round bowl and enriched stem and base, and a stand-paten of 1697 with gadrooned edge, later crest in centre and underside inscribed "Steeple Gidding, Johannes Cotton Deo dedit Maii 4, 1748." Sedile: In chancel—in recess in easternmost window in S. wall and cut out of splays, two recesses with ogee heads, with sill of window carried down and stepped to form three seats, and internal string carried down to form moulded edge to steps, 14th-century. Stoup: In S. aisle—against S. doorway, with square bowl with scalloped front and sides, 12th-century, probably a piscina re-used. Miscellanea: Altar-linen includes a small cloth having inter-woven pattern depicting hunting-scene with two women on horseback with hawks, and a tree between them in middle; two huntsmen with horns and halbards, wearing slashed trunks and sleeves and having around them dogs, stags and hares, in upper part; two men shooting birds with arquebuses and having dogs with them and a building in background, in lower part; the whole enclosed in a border of foliage, probably Flemish, early 17th-century, not in very good condition. Large cloth with interwoven patterns repeated but shown alternatively obverse and reverse with angels at top placed back to back with scroll above them inscribed in 'black-letter' "Ave gracia Plena"; below and beneath a canopy, the Virgin, nimbed and wearing a pedimental head-dress, with, at side a seat, lily-pot and table in background; below scrolls inscribed in 'black-letter' "Lucas I" repeated. Angels repeated in second row but in addition clouds enclosing an inscription in Hebrew, and a sun in splendour and stars, mid 16th-century.

Condition—Good.

Secular

(2). Earthworks, etc. on the site of the Hall, 200 yards S. of the church, consists of a series of fish-ponds, traces of foundation-ditches and a raised terrace on the W. side of the site.

(3). The Old Rectory, cottage 220 yards N.N.E. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are thatched. It was built about the middle of the 17th century and has an original chimney-stack with grouped diagonal shafts. Some of the timber-framing is exposed. Inside the building, the ground-floor rooms have original ceiling-beams and two fire-places have chamfered oak lintels. There is also a piece of original panelling on the staircase.

Condition—Poor.

Stibbington, see Sibson-cum-Stibbington.