Pages 272-275

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

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85. TILBROOK (A.e.).

(O.S. 6 in. (a)XX N.W., (b)XX N.E.)

Tilbrook is a parish and village 2 m. N.W. of Kimbolton. The Church is the principal monument.


b(1). Parish Church of All Saints (Plate 60) stands on the E. side of the parish. The walls are of rubble with some pebbles; the dressings are of Ketton and Weldon stone, with some Barnack and iron-stone; the roofs are covered with lead. The earliest work in the church is the western part of the N. arcade of the Nave, which dates from late in the 12th century; at this period the church probably had a central tower. Towards the end of the 13th century the central tower was removed, the arcade extended two bays to the E., and the North Aisle re-built and widened. About 1330 the Chancel was re-built and the North Vestry added; a few years later the N. arcade was continued one bay further E. and the North Chapel added; later in the same century the West Tower and spire were built, encroaching on the nave, and the W. wall of the aisle re-built further E.; about the same time the South Porch was added. Early in the 16th century the chancel-arch was inserted, the clear-storey added and the rood-loft stair-turret built. The church was restored in 1867 and the S. wall of the nave is largely modern.

The church has an interesting architectural history, and among the fittings the rood-screen is noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (27¼ ft. by 15½ ft.) has an embattled parapet and a late 14th-century E. window of three cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head, with a moulded label and head-stops. In the N. wall is a 14th-century arch, two-centred and of two chamfered orders; the E. respond, perhaps altered in the 15th century, has an attached shaft with a moulded capital and a chamfered base; the arch springs on the W. from a 14th-century octagonal column now partly engaged in the masonry of the chancel-arch; it has a moulded capital and base; the capital is cut, on the S. face, for a screen which must have existed before the present chancel-arch; further E. is the 14th-century doorway to the vestry, with chamfered jambs and two-centred arch; the window, adjoining, is of the same date and has a square head; it opens from the vestry into the chancel, and on the N. side has a recess carried down to the ground, but with a breast-wall towards the vestry. In the S. wall are two late 14th-century windows each of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head, with a moulded label; the western window is carried down below a transom to form a 'low-side'; the W. light only is rebated for a shutter; the late 14th-century doorway, between the windows, has chamfered jambs, two-centred arch and a moulded label, continued along the wall as a string-course. The early 16th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two moulded orders on the W. face, the outer continuous and the inner springing from attached shafts with moulded capitals and chamfered bases.

Tilbrook, Parish Church of All Saints.

The North Vestry is of 14th-century date and has in the E. wall a window of two trefoiled ogee lights in a square head with a moulded label and mask-stops. In the N. wall is a blocked doorway of doubtful date, and in the W. wall is a modern doorway. The plinth is carried round the W. wall, showing that this was once external.

The North Chapel (16¼ ft. by 10¼ ft.) has in the N. wall a late 15th-century window of three cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head with moulded external reveals and label. In the S. wall, above the W. respond of the arch, is a break in the walling, showing the eastward extent of the 13th-century work. There is no structural division between the chapel and the N. aisle.

The Nave (45 ft. by 16¼ ft.) has a N. arcade (Plate 143) of three full bays with part-bays at each end. The easternmost full bay and the three-quarter bay to the E. of it are of mid to late 13th-century date, and have two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the pier between them and the next pier to the W. are cylindrical and have moulded capitals, the eastern with nail-head ornament, and moulded bases; the arch of the three-quarter bay springs, on the E., from the column already described in the N. wall of the chancel, but the opening has been partly filled by the masonry of the chancel-arch; the two western bays of the arcade with the half-bay at the W. end are of late 12th-century date, and have two-centred arches of one chamfered order; the two cylindrical columns have square chamfered abaci, chamfered bases and moulded capitals with scalloped decoration, except the E. half of the western capital, which has a series of primitive mask-projections; the E. springing of the middle arch has been altered to accommodate it to the 13th-century capital on which it rests. In the S. wall are two windows, all modern except the 14th-century moulded jambs and the splays; the late 14th-century S. doorway, subsequently widened, has moulded jambs, two-centred head and a moulded label with one head and one scrolled stop; at the E. end of the wall is the early 16th-century doorway to the rood-loft staircase; it has chamfered jambs and four-centred head. The early 16th-century clear-storey is embattled and has three windows on the N. and one on the S. side, each of two cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head with moulded external reveals and label.

The North Aisle (10 ft. wide) has in the N. wall two windows, the eastern of late 15th-century date and uniform with that in the N. chapel; the western, of two lights, has a 13th-century E. splay; it was subsequently widened and the head is modern; the 13th-century N. doorway has a two-centred arch of two chamfered orders, the outer springing from round shafts with moulded capitals and abaci continued round the inner order; the moulded label has mask-stops. In the W. wall is a re-set 13th-century window of one lancet-light.

The West Tower (8 ft. square) is of late 14th-century date and of three stages internally and five externally (Plate 60), with a splayed plinth and an embattled parapet with a cornice below, carved with heads, faces, grotesque beasts, etc., and with large gargoyles at the angles. The two-centred tower-arch is of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the inner springing from attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the responds have cuttings for a former gallery. The W. window is of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded label and grotesque head-stops; the W. doorway has moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label with defaced head-stops. The second stage has in the W. wall a window of one trefoiled light. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window of two trefoiled and transomed lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded label and head-stops; the heads of the lights, below the transom, are cinque-foiled. The octagonal broach-spire is of ashlar and rises from within the parapet; it has two tiers each of four spire-lights; the windows of the lower tier are each of two trefoiled lights with a trefoiled spandrel in a gabled head; the windows of the upper tier have each one pointed light in a gabled head.

The South Porch is of late 14th-century date, and has a two-centred outer archway of two continuous moulded orders with a moulded label and scrolled stops. The side walls have each a window of two trefoiled lights with differing tracery in a square head with a moulded label.

The Roof of the vestry is modern, but has an old semi-octagonal corbel of stone in the S. side. The late 15th-century pent-roof of the N. chapel and aisle is of five bays with moulded main timbers, curved braces and wall-posts carved with faces, grotesques, etc.; at the feet of the intermediate principals are carved figures of angels holding book, organ (Plate 46), crown of thorns, lute and shield respectively. The roof of the nave is modern, but incorporates some carved figures of angels, of early 16th-century date, two hold shields and one a recorder.

Fittings—Bells: three; 1st by Matthew Bagley, 1682; 3rd dated 1625. Brackets: In chancel— on E. wall, (1) head-corbel, used as bracket; (2) semi-octagonal moulded bracket, late 15th- or early 16th-century. Brass and Indent: Brass: In N. chapel—under organ, figures of civilian and wife, c. 1400, man in long gown and undergarment with furred edges, long dagger in front, feet on dog; woman in long gown buttoned at neck, dog with collar, at feet. Indent: In N. chapel—slab with marginal inscription in separate letters, early 14th-century. Chest: In nave— plain top and sides, two strap-hinges, shaped feet at ends, 17th-century. Communion Table: In N. aisle—with turned legs, moulded braces and front top-rail carved with conventional foliage, mid 17th-century. Doors: In chancel—in S. door-way, of nail-studded battens, one old strap-hinge, pierced scutcheon-plate, probably 14th-century. In doorway of turret-staircase to tower—with strap-hinges, 16th-century, framing modern. Glass: In chancel—in E. window, two roundels with the letters I H C and X P C in 'black-letter,' early 16th-century; in S.E. window, fragments including portions of figure of St. Christopher, vine-ornament, ornamental quarries, etc., 14th- and 15th-century. Locker: In N. aisle—in N. wall, with rebated and chamfered jambs and square head, probably 13th-century. Piscinae: In chancel—in E. splay of S.E. window (Plate 140), with two openings S. and W., both with trefoiled heads, chamfered gables and carved finials, common octagonal shaft at angle, moulded capital and base and carved head-stop at junction of gables, 14th-century, rectangular drain, re-used. In N. chapel—in S. wall, recess with chamfered jambs, trefoiled head and moulded label with beast-head stops, six-sided drain with four outlets, back of recess pierced through wall to form squint with trefoiled head on S. face of wall, 14th-century. Plate: includes pewter alms-dish with shield-of-arms and date 1702, also pewter flagon of about the same date. Screens: Under chancel-arch (Plates 144 and 145) —of three bays including central doorway with moulded posts and four-centred head; side bays each of three trefoiled and sub-cusped ogee lights with tracery in a four-centred head, moulded middle rail with band of flowing tracery, close lower panels with trefoiled and sub-cusped ogee heads with tracery and carved spandrels; panels with remains of painted figures of saints as follows— (a) probably a deacon; (b) probably a bishop; (c) queen holding cross, St. Helen; (d) virgin saint; (e) figure with patriarchal cross; (f) traces only; loft with moulded front beam and ribbed vault springing from shafts of which only capitals remain, vault with lierne ribs and traceried cells; loft continued against face of N. respond with canted soffit enriched with quatre-foiled panelling; similar continuation against S. respond with modern canted soffit under top of staircase and triangular gusset-piece on face, with rose and foliage, early 16th-century, with some modern repair, extensive remains of painted decoration on screen and loft in red, blue, white and gold. Between N. chapel and aisle—mostly modern but incorporating parts of three bays of a 15th-century screen (Plate 145) and some plain panelling, heads of bays each of two lights with cinque-foiled ogee heads and tracery; door of 17th-century panelling with incised decoration in lozenges. Incorporated in modern screen under tower-arch, an early 16th-century door-head of four-centred form with foliated spandrels. A screen formerly in this church is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, S. Kensington. Sedile: In chancel—sill of S.E. window carried down to form seat, angle of W. splay with trefoiled stop to moulding, 14th-century. Stalls: Incorporated in modern stall work, some moulded buttresses and two bench-ends with carved popey-heads, 15th- or early 16th-century. Stoups: In chancel—E. of S. doorway, recess with moulded jambs and two-centred head, deep round bowl, 14th-century. In S. porch —block of stone with round sinking, now used as stoup, original purpose uncertain. Sundials: On chancel, etc.—on jamb of E. window of vestry, on buttress by S. doorway of chancel and on buttress between chancel and nave, scratched dials. Miscellanea: In N. aisle—stone with carved figures in relief, probably of St. Christopher and the Child Christ, 15th-century; over outer archway of S. porch—stone sculptured with figure of man with whip driving a beast, date uncertain.

Condition—Fairly good.


a(2). Homestead Moat, at Hardwicks, nearly 1 m. S.S.W. of the church.

b(3). Village Cross, on the S. side of the road, 50 yards N.W. of the church, retains only the lower part of the stone stem. It is stop-chamfered at the angles, and is probably of 15th-century date.

Condition—Fairly good.

b(4). Manor House, house and barn, 200 yards N.N.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 16th century, but was largely re-modelled in the 17th century. Late in the same century the annexe at the N.E. end, probably a brew-house, was divided into two storeys. The N.W. wing is probably an 18th-century addition, and there is a modern addition on the S.W. The three chimney-stacks have original stone bases, but the upper parts are of 17th-century brick. Inside, the building has, in the S.W. room, original moulded ceiling-beams, forming panels; another room has a chamfered ceiling-beam and a chamfered lintel to the fire-place. The original roof of the annexe is partly exposed. The main staircase has plain oak treads, and is plastered between the rail and string.

The Barn, W. of the house, is of the 17th century, timber-framed and plastered. The timber-framing is partly exposed and partly covered with modern brickwork and weather-boarding.

Condition—Of house, fairly good.

b(5). Old Rectory, house, 130 yards E.N.E. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. The house forms two blocks, of which the northern dates from early in the 17th century, and the southern from late in the same century. Inside the building are some chamfered ceiling-beams and exposed joists.

Condition—Fairly good.

b(6). House, on the W. side of the road, 300 yards S.W. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built late in the 17th century, but was largely re-modelled, probably in 1801, the date on the front doorway. The original central chimney-stack has three square detached shafts with a common capping and base. Inside the building are some original chamfered ceiling-beams and chamfered lintels to the fireplaces.