Water Newton

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Water Newton', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Huntingdonshire, (London, 1926) pp. 285-288. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/hunts/pp285-288 [accessed 12 April 2024]

In this section

92. WATER NEWTON (B.a.).

(O.S. 6 in. (a)I S.E. (b)II S.W. (c)IV N E.)

Water Newton is a small parish on the S. bank of the Nene 5 m. W. of Peterborough. The principal monuments are the Church and Water Newton House.


a and b(1). Artis excavated and planned part of two houses N.W. of 'the Castles' (see parish of Chesterton), one close to the river and N. of the main road, 280 yards E. of the church, in 1826, the other 460 yards due S. of it and S. of the main road. The ordnance-survey map marks two more, one 130 yards S. of the last, close to Billing Brook, and one further W. The two former were well built and contained tessellated pavements, those of the first being much worn.

Water Newton, Roman Houses Excavated by Artis.

The most important finds in this neighbourhood, however, are the kilns excavated by Artis in Coneygree field, just S.E. of the two houses and separated by Billing Brook from 'The Castles.' He mentions two found before 1828 and two more in 1847, which he describes as meant for firing mixed ware, and as a 'smother-kiln of very large size'; besides these he marks on his map, published in 1828, ten kilns in these fields as well as innumerable small buildings, no doubt workingsheds or dwellings of the potters. Other kilns are also marked on the S. side of the road, and this evidently is one of the centres of pottery making. It is unlikely that all the kilns belonged to the same period; in fact, Artis observed that some of them had been abandoned in Roman times and used as rubbish-pits. He also says that sometimes one was built on top of another, and he thought that one of the earlier kilns, which was built of bricks of poor quality modelled by hand, was pre-Roman.


a(2). Parish Church of St. Remigius stands close to the S. bank of the river Nene. The walls are of stone-rubble with dressings of Barnack stone; the roofs are covered with stone slabs and lead. There was probably a church on the site in the 12th century with a nave of the proportions of two squares and possibly a W. tower. The Chancel was re-built during the 13th century; probably early in the same century a S. aisle of two bays was added to the Nave. About the middle or second half of the 13th century a further scheme of enlargement was begun, the North Aisle of three bays being added, a third bay added to the S. arcade, and the nave presumably lengthened by about 16 ft. Early in the 14th century the West Tower was built, partly within the limits of the earlier nave. About the middle of the same century the South Aisle was re-built and perhaps widened and the South Porch added; to the same period belongs the clearstorey of the nave. Later 14th- and 15th-century alterations include the replacing of the earlier tower-entrance by the existing doorway and the shutting-off of the end of the N. aisle. The church was restored in 1887, when the chancel-arch and the whole of the N. arcade and aisle, except the W. end, were extensively restored or re-built.

Water Newton, the Parish Church of St. Remigius

Architectural Description—The Chancel (27 ft. by 14¾ ft.) has an E. window, probably of the 15th century, and of three cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a four-centred head; flanking it internally are remains of the outer splays of two 13th- or 14th-century windows with segmental-pointed rear-arches; the base of the shaft dividing these windows is said to exist externally, but it is now covered with ivy. In the N. wall are two mid 14th-century windows, partly restored and each of two square-headed lights with moulded labels and mask-stops. In the S. wall are three windows, the two easternmost being of similar character to those in the N. wall; the westernmost window is a 'low-side' of one square-headed light and of similar date and detail, but without a label and with a modern rear-arch; the mid 14th-century door-way has chamfered jambs and segmental head; E. of the easternmost window is the E. splay of an earlier window; the middle window is partly in the blocking of an earlier window, probably of the 13th century, of which the splays and part of the segmental rear-arch are visible; further W. is the segmental rear-arch of an earlier 'low-side' window. The chancel-arch is mainly modern, but there are old stones in the responds.

The Nave (42½ ft. by 16¾ ft.) has a N. arcade of three bays and of the 13th century, restored in 1887, except the W. respond; the round arches are of one chamfered order with plain labels; the octagonal columns have moulded capitals and bases, those of the first column and the base of the second being modern; the E. respond has a similar capital resting on a moulded corbel with mask-terminations, all old; the W. respond has an attached half-column, now partly buried in a wall. The S. arcade is also of three bays, of which the two eastern are of the 13th century and the western a rather later addition; the arches are similar to those of the N. arcade, the eastern column is of quatre-foiled plan with modern capital and base; the western column is octagonal with moulded capital and base; the westernmost arch is of rougher construction than the rest, especially its label; the arcade dies on to the E. and into the W. walls. The mid 14th-century clearstorey has on each side three windows each of two pointed lights in a two-centred head with a moulded label and mask-stops except the S.W. window which has head-stops.

The North Aisle (6¼ ft. wide) is modern, except the W. end, but has in the E. wall one window and in the N. wall three windows, each of two square-headed lights and similar in date and detail to those in the chancel; the N. doorway, now blocked, has a chamfered segmental head. The W. end of the aisle is partitioned off by a wall in which is a door-way of the 14th century with a pointed head; the N. and W. walls of this chamber have each a loop and higher up in the W. wall is a small trefoiled opening, now blocked.

The South Aisle (9¾ ft. wide) has in the E. wall one window and in the S. wall three windows, all similar to those in the N. aisle; the late 13th-century S. doorway has jambs and two-centred arch of two moulded orders with a moulded label and mask-stops.

The West Tower (8½ ft. square) is of early 14th-century date and of three storeys, and two stages externally (Plate 4) finished with a corbel-table with mask-corbels and small carved animals at the base of the spire. In the E. wall is a doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred arch; above it, and spaced centrally with the nave, is a rough triangular arch, probably a relieving-arch. The N. and S. walls have each a 13th-century lancet-window, re-set, and with a plain label. On the external face of the W. wall is a niche with moulded jambs, two-centred head and label, containing a figure of a man in a long gown and with a modern head; below the niche is a panel with an inscription reading— "Vous ke par issi passez pur le alme [Th]omas Purdeu priez"; it probably commemorates the builder of the tower. The middle storey has in the E. wall a square-headed opening made up of 12th-century stones; the doorway from the stair-turret is also made up of similar material. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window of two pointed lights largely made up of 12th-century material; the E. and N. windows have a moulded semi-circular outer order with a plain label and mask-stops; the middle shaft of the E. window is modern; the S. and W. windows have detached jamb-shafts; the outer order has zig-zag ornament; the pointed heads of the lights are cut into earlier round heads. The spire, of ashlar, has two ranges of lights, four in each range, those in the lower range are each of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a gabled head; the upper range have each a single trefoiled light in a gabled head. The top 6 ft. of the spire are modern, the old apex being re-set in the churchyard-wall.

The South Porch is of the 14th century and has a two-centred outer archway of two chamfered orders with a moulded label and mask-stops; the responds have each an attached shaft with moulded capital and base; the gable has a trefoiled apex-stone and the stump of a cross rising from a base carved with fleur-de-lis ornament.

The Roof of the nave is modern, but fixed on to it are six small 15th-century carved angels of wood, five holding shields, one of which is charged with a crown of thorns. The modern roof of the S. aisle has 14th-century stone corbels on the N. side; they are carved with grotesques and a 'mask,' similar to the label-stops.

Fittings—Bells: three, 1st probably by John or William Rufford, 14th-century, and inscribed "Ave gra. plena Dns. tecum"; 3rd, probably late 15th-century and inscribed "Sancta Maria ora pro nobis." Brackets: In chancel—on E. wall, two, that on N. half-octagonal carved with a face and with socket in front, 15th-century; that on S. half-octagonal with embattled top and hollow moulding carved with a face-mask and square flowers, late 15th- or early 16th-century. In S. aisle—in S.E. angle, square chamfered bracket Coffin: In churchyard—S. of tower, stone coffin, probably Roman. Font: octagonal bowl with quatre-foiled and sex-foiled panels on alternate faces, moulded lower edge and base, 15th-century, stem modern. Image: see under Tower in Architectural Description. Locker: In chancel— in N. wall, square with rebated reveals, hooks for hinges on both sides, 14th- or 15th-century. Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In S. aisle— in S. wall, (1) small stone effigy of man in long gown, feet on lion, head on cushion supported by mutilated angel, above head, part of cusped canopy with crockets and dog-tooth ornament, part of carved pinnacle loose, and, at W. end, one moulded stone of former arched recess, c. 1300, effigy cracked, slab and hands broken. In churchyard—(2) to Tobias Nickolls, 1712, head-stone with cartouche, cherubs and scallop-shell; (3) to Jane, wife of Tobias Nickolls, 1701, carved head-stone; (4) to Richard, son of the above, 1699, head-stone; (5) to Anne, daughter of the same parents, 1698, head-stone; (6) to Anne, wife of Richard Houlton, 1681, head-stone. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to Mary, wife of Jeffery Hawkins, 1709; (2) to John Harbottill, 1646–7, with marginal inscription. Niche: see under Tower in Architectural Description. Piscinae: In chancel—with chamfered jambs and segmental arch (Plate 141), trefoiled drain, probably 14th-century. In nave—in E. wall, N. side, recess with mutilated cinque-foiled head, sex-foiled drain and plain label, early 14th-century. In S. aisle—forming part of sill of S.E. window, slab with sex-foiled drain, 14th-century. Plate: includes cup (Plate 136) of 1636 inscribed "Water Newton" and a cover-paten probably of the 17th century, with the same inscription. Screen: Under chancel-arch—of five bays on either side doorway, doorway with cusped and sub-cusped ogee head, partly old, side bays with octofoiled ogee heads and tracery, four buttressed posts, 15th-century, much restored and cornice modern. Seating: In chancel—two bench-ends with popey-heads (Plate 154) each carved with three faces, c. 1500, one partly restored; one pew-end with sloping side, elbow-rest carved with fool's head, smaller head at top, c. 1500. Sedilia: In chancel—of three bays (Plate 141), with moulded two-centred arches and labels with head-stops, free shafts between bays, with moulded capitals and bases, attached shafts to outer jambs, c. 1300. Miscellanea: In wall of N. aisle—several 12th-century worked stones including a broken scalloped capital, piece of cheveron-ornament, etc. In S. aisle—octagonal stone bowl with plain sides, brought from elsewhere. In S. porch—E. of S. doorway, moulded base, probably of shaft of former stoup, 15th-century.



a(3). Rectory (Plate 130), S. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of rubble; the roofs are covered with stone slates. The original house was built probably early in the 18th century, and there are modern additions at both ends and on the E. side. The W. front has a moulded stone eaves-cornice. The original S. chimney-stack has square stone shafts with a moulded string-course and a common head. Inside the building the original staircase has turned balusters, moulded rail and square newels with moulded caps and edges.

Condition—Good, much altered.

a(4). Water Newton House (Plate 130), on the S. side of the road, 150 yards S.S.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics and cellars; the walls are of rubble with ashlar-dressings; the roofs are covered with stone slates. The house was built early in the 17th century on a T-shaped plan with the cross-wings at the N. end. There are later or modern additions at the end of the S. wing and on the S. of the cross-wing. The N. front was re-modelled early in the 18th century and has a modillioned eaves-cornice of wood. The S. wing retains several original windows of stone and of one or four lights with square heads and some with moulded labels; original windows of similar type remain in the E. end and S. side of the cross-wing. In the W. wall of the S. wing are two original doorways. The chimney-stacks generally are original and have ashlar-shafts with common plinths, cornices and necking. Inside the building a room in the S. wing is lined with late 16th- or early 17th-century panelling re-fixed, with a frieze of arabesque-work; the panelling on the N. wall is of late 17th-century date. The late 17th-century staircase (Plate 165) has moulded strings and rails, turned balusters and square newels with ball-tops.


a(5). House, on N. side of road N.E. of (4), is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are covered with stone slates. It was built early in the 17th century on an L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the N. and E. The W. front was remodelled early in the 18th century and has a modillioned eaves-cornice of wood. In the E. wall of the N. wing is an original window of three square-headed lights with moulded jambs, mullions and label; above it is a similar blocked window. Inside the building the 17th-century staircase is of similar character to that in Monument (4).


c(6). Water Newton Lodge, about 1¼ m. S. of the church, is of three storeys with cellars; the walls are of ashlar and the roofs are covered with slates. It was built c. 1600 on a square plan, but the top storey is modern and there is a modern addition on the E. side. All four sides of the house retain original square-headed windows with moulded jambs and mullions; those on the N. side are of four lights each, and on the other sides some of the windows are wholly or partly blocked. In the W. wall is a blocked doorway. Inside the building the original ceiling-beams are exposed, and one room has some late 17th-century panelling.