An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Huntingdonshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1926.
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89. WARBOYS (D.c.).
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XIV S.E. (b)XV N.W.)
Warboys is a parish and village 6 m. N. of St. Ives. The church is the principal monument.
a(1). Parish Church of St. Mary Magdalene, formerly St. Mary the Virgin, stands on the W. side of the village; the walls are of flint and stone rubble with dressings of Barnack and other lime-stone. The roofs are covered with lead. The earliest part of the existing building is the chancel-arch and the responds of the N. arcade, which date from the middle of the 12th century. In the first half of the 13th century the N. and S. arcades of the Nave were built, the North Aisle re-built and the South Aisle added; the work on the N. is probably slightly the earlier in date; the West Tower was added about the middle of the century. It was apparently intended to extend the aisles to the W. face of the tower as open arches were left to the N. and S. but this was not actually done until late in the 14th or early in the 15th century. Probably late in the 14th century the South Porch was added. In the 15th century the clearstorey and the North Porch were added. The Chancel was re-built and probably lengthened about 1832 and galleries inserted in the aisles and tower. The spire was restored in 1898 and the tower and part of the S. aisle were underpinned in 1925.
The tower is a handsome example of 13th-century work, and among the fittings the font and coffin-lid are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel is modern except for the mid 12th-century chancel-arch (Plate 132), which is semi-circular and of two orders, the outer enriched with cheveron-ornament and the inner with two large rolls on the soffit; the responds have each three attached shafts, one on the W. face and two on the return face; the shafts have cushion or scalloped capitals, moulded bases and chamfered and grooved abaci; between two capitals on the S. side is a sprig of conventional foliage.
The Nave (50 ft. by 20 ft.) has early 13th-century N. and S. arcades of four bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders, except the outer order on the S. face of the N. arcade, which is moulded; the arches have chamfered labels towards the nave; the piers are cylindrical, with moulded bell-capitals and moulded bases, except the middle pier on the N., which is octagonal; the square 12th-century responds of the N. arcade have moulded imposts and 13th-century moulded corbels taking the inner order; the responds of the S. arcade have each an attached half-column. The clearstorey has on each side four 15th-century windows each of two cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head with moulded reveals; on the E. face of the tower are marks of an earlier and steeper-pitched roof of the nave.
The North Aisle (8½ ft. wide) has an early 15th-century E. window of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred head with a moulded label and grotesque head-stops. In the N. wall are three similar windows with grotesque stops to the labels; the N. doorway is of late 13th-century date, with a two-centred arch of one plain and one moulded order, with a moulded label; the outer order of the jambs is hollow-chamfered and the inner order is continuous; in the W. bay is a modern doorway. In the S. wall, E. of the arcade, is the late 15th-century lower doorway to the rood-loft staircase. Between the W. bay and the rest of the aisle is a 15th-century arch of two moulded orders, the outer continuous and the inner resting on attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. In the W. wall is a window similar to those in the N. wall.
The South Aisle (8 ft. wide) has a late 14th-century E. window of three cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label. In the S. wall are three similar windows; the S. doorway is of late 14th-century date, with moulded jambs, two-centred arch, imposts and label. The W. wall is modern. The western annexe has in the W. wall a window probably of the 17th century and of three square-headed lights with a moulded label; below it is a modern doorway.
The West Tower (12 ft. by 11½ ft.) is of mid 13th-century date and of three stages (Plate 36) with a moulded plinth and a corbel-table at the base of the spire. The E. tower-arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the outer resting on moulded imposts and the inner on attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. In the N. and S. walls are similar but much lower arches, of which the outer order on the internal face is carried up to the same height as the E. arch. In the W. wall are two windows, the lower modern and the upper a tall lancet-light with a chamfered label and a second trefoiled head half way up the window and forming a transom; on the S. side of the window are four quatrefoil-openings, one above the other and one being below the level of the transom; they appear to be more or less modern insertions, the decentralisation of the window being due to the existence of an internal wall-arch, now mostly concealed by modern plaster, corresponding to the outer orders of the N. and S. tower-arches. The second stage has in the N., S. and W. walls a lancet-window with shafted outer order and a trefoiled head to the inner order; the moulded label has mask-stops. The bell-chamber has in each wall a pair of windows each with triple shafted jambs and two pointed lights with a trefoiled or quatre-foiled spandrel in a moulded two-centred head; between the lights is a free shaft with moulded capitals and base, corresponding to the inner order of the jambs. The octagonal spire is of broach-form and of ashlar; it has three tiers of spire-lights facing the cardinal-points. The windows of the lowest tier are each of two pointed lights with a plain spandrel in a two-centred head under a gable with an ornamental cross; the jambs have each a single attached shaft and there is a free shaft between the lights, all with moulded capitals and bases. The windows of the middle tier are each of one trefoiled light in a gabled head. The windows of the topmost tier are each of a single pointed light in a gabled head.
The North Porch is of the 15th century and has a two-centred outer archway of two hollow-chamfered orders with a moulded label; the outer order is continued down the responds and the inner order springs from attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The side walls have each a partly-restored window of two trefoiled lights in a square head.
The South Porch is of late 14th-century date much restored. It has a much restored two-centred outer archway of three orders with a moulded label, the outer order is square, the middle hollow-chamfered, and the inner chamfered and all are continued down the responds, and the inner order is finished with a moulded base. In each side-wall is a much restored window of two cinque-foiled lights in a square head with a moulded label.
The Roof of the N. aisle is of low-pitched pentform and of 15th-century date; it has moulded tie-beams with wall-posts and curved braces; the purlins and rafters are modern. The roof of the S. aisle is of similar date and character, but appears to have been partly reconstructed c. 1695, the date on a wall-post in the W. annexe; the tie-beams have mouldings of varying section; the purlins and rafters are modern. The floor of the bell-chamber has a beam inscribed "Henery Angell, William Dan CH, WD(?). 1673."
Fittings—Bracket: In N. aisle—on E. wall, rectangular and carved with a lion's face, 15th-century. Chest: In N.W. annexe—plain, of hutch-type, late 17th-century. Coffin-lid (Plate 142): In churchyard—N. of chancel, coped slab with cross, large rosettes and inscription in Lombardic capitals, early 14th-century. Font (Plate 8): square bowl, sides carved with sprigs of foliage, rosettes, fleur-de-lis, etc., round stem with four angle-shafts, all with moulded capitals and bases, early 13th-century, partly restored. Knocker (Plate 59): On N. door of chancel—lion's face, with heavy ring in mouth, formed of two winged dragons fighting, possibly late 12th-century.
a(2). Manor House, house and barn N.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 17th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S. and W. The E. front (Plate 148) has bands of brick between the storeys and two shaped gables with moulded copings. On the N. side are two original chimney-stacks, with tall detached diagonal shafts; the W. stack has a large panel of plain plaster on the face; in the S. wall of the W. wing are remains of an original window of four lights with a wooden frame; on the adjoining wall is a panel forming a sundial. Inside the building the original staircase (Plate 164) has symmetrically-turned balusters, moulded rails, plain strings and square newels with moulded terminals and pendants.
The Barn, N. of the house, is of two storeys; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled; it was built probably in the 17th century, and has a brick band between the storeys.
a(3). The Rectory, 70 yards E. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 18th century, but has been much altered. The original entrance-doorway (Plate 160) has been refixed at the end of a modern passage at the back of the house; the hood has a panelled soffit, cornice and broken scrolled pediment, terminating in rosettes; the hood rests on scrolled brackets; the door has raised panels and an old brass knocker. Inside the building are some 18th-century panelled doors. In the garden is a section of a large pier, probably of late 12th-century date, and said to have come from Ramsey Abbey; there is also a 13th-century moulded voussoir.
a(4). White Hart Inn (Plate 149), on the N. side of High Street, 510 yards N.E. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of brick and the roofs are thatched. It was built about the middle of the 17th century. The front has a band between the storeys, a pilaster at each end and flat architraves round the windows, all plastered to imitate stone. The original central chimney-stack has projecting brick bands.
a(5). Cottage, on the E. side of lane, 230 yards E. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are covered with slates and iron. It was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century.
a(6). Cottage, S. of (5), has been largely re-built but retains a 16th- or 17th-century chimney-stack of coursed ashlar with the upper part of brick.
a(7). Cottage, on the W. side of the road, at Ramsey End, about ¼ m. N. of the church, is of one storey with attics, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are thatched. It was built probably late in the 17th century and has a weather-boarded E. wing.
b(8). Earthworks about 2½ m. E.N.E. of the church, consist of an irregular-shaped dry moat with a slight ditch and broad bank extending from its E. arm, across the road to the foot of the small hill called Chapel Head. On the top of the hill is a ditch, possibly representing foundations of a building about 30 ft. by 12 ft.