Pages 300-301

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

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99. WOOLLEY (B.d.).

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

Woolley is a parish about 6 m. W.N.W. of Huntingdon. The Church is the principal monument.


Woolley, Parish Church of St Mary

(1). Parish Church of St. Mary stands near the middle of the parish. The walls are of stone and pebble-rubble with dressings of Weldon and Ketton stone; the roofs are covered with tiles and lead. There is some re-used 12th-century material, and the erratic plan indicates the existence of a building on the site before the present church. The existing Chancel, Nave, North and South Transepts and Aisles were built c. 1300. Towards the end of the 14th century the N. transept was mostly re-built and shortened, the N. aisle repaired, the nave lengthened towards the W. and the West Tower added. The chancel was repaired and the roofs renewed in the 17th century. The church was restored in 1857 and again in 1907 and 1914. The S. transept and aisle have been largely re-built.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (22 ft. by 16 ft.) is of c. 1300, and has a slightly restored E. window of three pointed lights in a two-centred head with moulded jambs, mullions, label and mask-stops. The N. wall has a wall-arcade of three bays with two-centred arches of one chamfered order, continued down the responds and springing from free shafts with moulded capitals and bases, between the bays; the two western bays have each a partly restored window of two pointed lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the label of the western window has mask-stops. The S. wall has a wall-arcade similar to that in the N. wall; the wall is pierced by two windows, the eastern of one lancetlight with a moulded label and the western a mid 14th-century window of two trefoiled ogee lights in a square head with a moulded label with mask-stops. The chancel-arch, of c. 1300, is two-centred and of two orders, the outer hollow-chamfered and continuous and the inner springing from moulded corbels, the southern with a foliated termination.

The Nave (41½ ft. by 18 ft.) has N. and S. arcades of c. 1300 and each of two bays, with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders and with a moulded label on the nave-side: the columns are octagonal and the responds have engaged shafts, all with moulded capitals and bases; the capitals of the N.E. respond and of the S. arcade and the respondbases on the same side are modern. The nave extends beyond the arcades and has in the S. wall a 17th-century window of two plain square-headed lights.

The North Transept (6 ft. by 11¼ ft.) has in the N. wall a 14th-century window of three trefoiled lights in a four-centred head with a moulded label. In the W. wall is a two-centred arch of c. 1300, and of two chamfered orders; it springs, on the S., from the column of the arcade.

The South Transept (8¼ ft. by 11¾ ft.) has in the S. wall a window, all modern except the hollow-chamfered jambs of c. 1300; further W. is a small trefoiled window of the 14th-century set in a modern recess. In the W. wall is a slightly restored arch, uniform with the corresponding feature in the N. transept.

The North Aisle (6¼ ft. wide) has in the N. wall a doorway of c. 1300 with jambs and two-centred arch of two hollow-chamfered orders, with a moulded label and mask-stops. In the W. wall is a lancet-window of c. 1300.

The South Aisle (5¾ ft. wide) has in the S. wall a partly restored doorway of c. 1300, with jambs and two-centred arch of two chamfered orders, with a moulded label and one old head-stop; further W. is a lancet-window of the same date.

The West Tower (8½ ft. square) is of late 14th-century date and of three stages with a splayed plinth, embattled parapet with gargoyles at the angles and an ashlar spire. The two-centred tower-arch is of two orders, on the E. face, the outer moulded and continuous and the inner chamfered and springing from moulded corbels. The W. window is of two lights with a modern head and an old label with beast-stops; the W. doorway, now blocked, has moulded jambs, two-centred arch and label with defaced stops. The second stage has in the W. wall a window of one trefoiled light, with a moulded label. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head, with a moulded label and beast-head stops. The parapet-string has a series of beast-head corbels. The octagonal spire rises from within the parapet and has two tiers, each of four spire-lights, facing the cardinal points; the windows of the lower tier are each of two trefoiled lights, with a quatrefoil in a gabled head; the windows of the upper tier are each of one trefoiled light in a gabled head.

The Roof of the nave is largely modern but retains four tie-beams, with curved braces, two moulded and of the 16th century and two chamfered and of the 17th century, also some moulded wall-posts and other timbers.

Fittings—Bell: one, by Thomas Norris, 1634. Brass Indent: In S. aisle—on W. wall, slab with marginal inscription in separate letters to Christiane (?) de C[hartres ?] early 14th-century. Coffins and Coffin-lids: In N. transept—stone coffin and lid with moulded edge and ornamental double cross. In S. transept—in S. wall, part of coped lid, with stem of cross. In S. aisle—at W. end, stone coffin, with shaped head. In churchyard—S. side, two tapering slabs, all 13th- and early 14th-century. Door: In S. doorway—17th-century door, made up with modern work. Font and Cover: octagonal bowl, with quatre-foiled panel in each face, splayed under side, probably 15th-century, re-cut, stem and base modern. Cover of oak and of pyramidal octagonal form, with moulded panel in each face and shaped finial, 17th-century. Monuments: In S. aisle—(1) to Ann, daughter of Thomas Bales, 1712–13, loose head-stone, with cherub-head. In church-yard— near S. aisle, (2) to Philip Bales, 1698, head-stone; (3) to Elizabeth, wife of Thomas Bales, 1700, head-stone; (4) to.... and Katheren Bales, his wife, 1675, head-stone; (5) to Henry Fox, early 18th-century, head-stone; S. of tower, (6) to Elizabeth, wife of Henry Fox, 1703–4, head and foot-stones. Piscinae: In chancel—on wedge-shaped projection with shaft cut on angle, stone mortar with lugs. In S. transept—in S. wall, with hollow-chamfered jambs and re-set segmental head, quatre-foiled drain, probably 14th-century. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten (Plate 136) of 1570, the former with incised ornament and the latter with the words "Woley W.B."; also a pewter alms-dish with the arms of St. John of Bletsoe impaling Crawley, early 18th-century. Recess: In N. transept—in N. wall, square recess. Screen: Under tower-arch—of close bolection-moulded panelling, with a panelled door, late 17th-century. Stool: In chancel—with moulded and fluted legs and shaped top rails, 17th-century. Miscellanea: Incorporated in walls of nave, various worked and moulded stones including 12th-century cheveron-ornament. In E. wall of chancel—grotesque carving of a woman. In S. aisle and in rectory-garden, various worked and moulded stones. In churchyard—S. of chancel, square socket of churchyard-cross with hollow-chamfered edge and shaped stops at angles, 14th-century. In W. tower—chest-of-drawers, with four ranges of drawers, original handles and lock-plates, late 17th- or early 18th-century.

Condition—Bad, the foundations generally seem to be insufficient, and there has been considerable and recent movement.


(2). Almshouse, four tenements, 240 yards S.E. of the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century on a rectangular plan. A wing was added on the E. side, in the 18th century. Inside the building the chamfered ceiling-beams are exposed and there is a re-used moulded beam in the added wing.


(3). Cottage, 100 yards S. of (2), is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered; the roofs are thatched. It was built late in the 17th century and much of the timber-framing is exposed. Inside the building there are chamfered ceiling-beams.