An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Huntingdonshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1926.
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86. TOSELAND (C.f.).
(O.S. 6 in. XXVI N.W.)
Toseland is a parish and village 4 m. E.N.E. of St. Neots. The principal monuments are the church and Toseland Hall.
(1). Parish Church of St. Michael stands in the village on the N. side of the Yelling road. The walls are of pebble-rubble and brick; the original dressings are of Barnack stone and the modern dressings are of Bath stone; the roofs are tiled. The church, consisting of a chancel and Nave, was built in the middle of the 12th century. The nave was lengthened westward probably in the 13th century, and at some subsequent period the chancel was destroyed. The N. wall of the nave was re-built, probably late in the 18th century. In 1873 a restoration under Sir A. W. Blomfield amounted practically to a rebuilding of the church. The present Chancel was then added, the N. and W. walls of the nave appear to have been re-built and the W. bell-cote was added. In 1897 the North Vestry was built.
Architectural Description—The Chancel is entirely modern except for parts of the mid 12th-century chancel-arch. The chancel-arch is semi-circular and of two plain square orders, but only a few stones at the springing on either side are original; the responds each have shafted angles and attached half-round column taking the inner order of the arch; the N. respond has been largely re-built, but the attached column retains its original scalloped capital, with scrolls below the abacus; the abacus and impost-moulding are modern, except a small portion on the W. face of the wall adjoining the N. wall of the nave; this has the upper member enriched with lozenge-ornament; the westernmost angle-shaft has an original moulded base; the capitals to the shafts of the S. respond (Plate 111) are carved with angle-volutes and other decorations; the abacus is partly old and partly restored, and the top member is enriched with diapering and lozenge-ornament; the moulded bases to the two western shafts are original.
The Nave (40¾ ft. by 17 ft.) has been largely restored; some of the quoins in the S.E. angle are original. The N. wall has been re-built or refaced externally; in the lower part is some re-used ashlar with some thin bricks; the whole of the upper part is in modern red brickwork; in the wall are five modern round-headed windows; set between the second and third from the E. is the external head of an original window; it is semi-circular and of a single stone with the arch-mouldings all enriched with bead-ornament. In the S. wall are four round-headed windows, all modern except the second from the E, which is original and set high up in the wall with a similar head to the original window in the N. wall and with a modern rear-arch; the mid 12th-century S. doorway (Plate 70) has a semi-circular head of three orders and a label enriched with billet-ornament; the tympanum is largely modern; the innermost order, which is flush with the tympanum, is enriched with a border of circles or roundels carved with concentric rings and bead-ornament; the two outer orders are carved with cheveron-ornament; they are carried on detached shafts with scalloped capitals, moulded abaci and much worn moulded bases; the jambs taking the inner order are roll-moulded and have the outer faces scored with a series of horizontal grooves, similar to the 'beak-heads' at Spaldwick and Little Stukeley. The refaced buttress towards the W. end of the wall probably marks the extent of the original nave. In the W. wall are three modern windows, and on the gable is a modern bell-cote.
Fittings—Plate: includes an Elizabethan cup without date-letter and inscribed "Towsland Hundrethe"; the bowl appears to have been shortened. Table: in vestry, of oak, with 'barley-cane' legs and front rail, late 17th- or early 18th-century. Miscellanea: In churchyard —S. of nave, rough Sarsen stone, said to be the old hundred-stone.
Condition—Good, much restored.
(2). Homestead Moat, in Toseland Wood, nearly ½ m. N.N.W. of the church.
(3). Toseland Hall, house, barn, etc., on the N. side of the road, 550 yards W. of the church. The house is of two storeys, with attics and a cellar; the walls are of brick, with plastered dressings and the roofs are tiled. It was built, c. 1600, on a rectangular plan with symmetrically designed elevations, and although the interior has been altered and had later partitions and fireplaces inserted, externally the house remains much as originally built.
The house is a good example of a manor-house of the period, and the elevations are well proportioned and well preserved.
The elevations have a square plinth, with a projecting base below; at the levels of the first and attic floors are moulded plaster string-courses in the form of small entablatures, which are carried right round the building; above the upper string-course the walls are carried up a few feet, and on the N. and S. fronts rise in three gables with moulded brick copings and each of the side elevations have a gable at either end with a parapet-wall connecting them; flush with the parapet-wall at the bottom of each gable is a small square base which possibly originally supported a finial; in each gable is a three-light mullioned window, but those in the E. front are now blocked. The S. or front elevation (Plate 147) is divided into three bays by small plastered pilasters, which have the string-course returned round them. In the middle of the central bay is a projecting rectangular porch approached by three steps; the entrance-archway has moulded jambs and three-centred arch in a square head with a moulded label; the porch has flanking plastered pilasters round which the main lower string-course is returned; the porch has a hipped roof, and above it rises a rectangular bay-window on the first floor; the window is of four transomed and mullioned lights on the front and one on each side; the top moulding of the upper string-course is carried round the window as a cornice. The front entrance-doorway has stop-chamfered oak jambs and a square head; the door is original and of nail-studded battens, with moulded styles planted on the front, dividing it into six panels. W. of the porch on the ground-floor is a window of two transomed lights. Each of the side bays has a projecting bay-window with sloping sides, carried up to the upper string-course; the window has, on both floors, a transomed and mullioned window of four lights on the front and one on each side; the string-courses are carried round the windows. The N. or back elevation has a central bay-window similar to those to the side bays of the front elevation. In the main wall on either side, on both ground and first floors, is a three-light mullioned window, all blocked except the easternmost one on the ground-floor; between this window and the central bay-window is an original brick doorway with chamfered jambs and square head and a solid oak frame with stop-chamfered jambs and head. The E. elevation has a central doorway on the ground-floor with chamfered brick jambs and a square head with a stop-chamfered oak frame; the original door is of nail-studded planks and battens, and has applied modern ribs and modern openings in the upper part. In the wall on either side is a four-light mullioned window, the northern one of which is blocked; on the first floor are three similar windows. The W. elevation is generally similar to the E. elevation, but none of the windows are blocked. The central doorway is approached by five steps, and has its original frame, but the door itself is modern; the central window on the first floor lights the staircase and is immediately above the lower string-course and at a lower level than the windows on either side.
The central chimney which rises above the roof in the middle of the building is original and of six circular shafts, with moulded octagonal bases and modern embattled caps; the shafts themselves are of pressed brick stamped with geometrical patterns. The side stacks appear to be modern, but are of similar design and materials. The windows throughout have metal frames and leaded lights, and some may be original.
Interior—On the ground-floor the original Hall has been divided into two by a modern partition; a modern fireplace has been built against the N. wall of the westernmost of these two rooms, and an arched opening in the N. wall of the present entrance-hall probably marks the position of the original fireplace. The Kitchen occupied the middle part of the N. range of rooms, but an inserted partition now divides it. In the S. wall is an original doorway with stop-chamfered jambs and square head; there are two similar coupled doorways in both the W. and the original E. walls; they are all blocked except the northernmost one in the E. wall. In the inserted wall is a re-used door of moulded battens hung on two strap-hinges. In the S. wall of the larder or N.E. room is an old doorway with stop-chamfered frame and an old battened door hung on two strap-hinges and with a small glass panel cut in the upper part. From the position of the coupled doorways in the W. wall which originally separated the room from the kitchen, and the mortice-holes in the cross ceiling-beam, the room was no doubt two smaller store-chambers, as was probably also the N.W. room. The main staircase (Plate 164) at the W. end of the central passage is original and has a plain string, rounded handrail, square newels with moulded finials, and shaped pendants and symmetrically turned balusters; the staircase rises from the ground-floor to the attics, but the first floor is enclosed and without balusters.
The Barn (Plate 150), to the W. of the house, was built c. 1600, and is of brick with a thatched roof. It is of five bays, with side aisles, and has the middle bay projecting on each side, with entrance doorways and roofed with a hipped roof. The aisles were originally entered from openings in the side walls of the projecting central bays, but these have since been blocked and the aisles are now entered direct from the outside. In recent years a portion of the outer wall at the S. end of the W. aisle has been removed, and some of the door-ways and loops have been blocked. The external walls have a brick plinth and the end walls are gabled. In the S. wall are three tiers of rectangular loops and in the N. wall five similar tiers; there is a range of similar loops to the aisle-walls. Inside the building the roof has trusses with tie-beams supported by braces and carrying sloping struts to the collars and purlins; the main roof is continued down over the aisles; the aisles are divided into chambers by partition walls corresponding to the bays of the main barn, and each chamber is sub-divided by a central roof-truss.
The Stables to the N.W. of the house are of timber-framing and brickwork on a brick base; the roofs are covered with pan-tiles. The stables are of 17th-century date, with a certain amount of modern repair, and are in seven bays with the middle bay projecting on the N. side. The roof has tie-beams supported on braces with sloping struts from the tie-beams to the purlins. A small granary stands to the W. of the house. It is of brick with a tile roof, and was built on a rectangular plan early in the 18th century.
Condition—Of house, good; of outbuildings, fairly good.
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 chamfered ceiling-beams and exposed joists.
Condition—Good or fairly good, unless noted.
(4). Inn, 20 yards S. of the church, has a modern addition at the S. end. Under the staircase is an old battened door.
(5). Cottage, two tenements, on the opposite side of road to (4).
(6). Cottage, two tenements, on S. side of road, 100 yards S.W. of the church. It was built c. 1700, but the S. wall has been refaced with modern brick and the side walls have been largely refaced with weather-boarding.
(7). House, two tenements, 100 yards N.E. of the church, has a lean-to addition at the back, which was probably added early in the 18th century, when the roof was probably altered and raised. The E. wall has been refaced with modern brick; it is surmounted by an original chimney-stack having a rectangular base with a moulded capping and two diagonal shafts. The central chimney-stack has a rectangular base with a moulded capping, now partly within the roof and grouped diagonal shafts.
(8). Green Farm, house 220 yards W.N.W. of the church, was built on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and E., but has had an early 18th-century addition in the angle formed by the two wings. The E. wing has been re-roofed with slates and the E. wall partly refaced with modern brick.
(9). Cottage, 40 yards N. of the road, 370 yards W. of the church, was built c. 1700.