An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Huntingdonshire. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1926.
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33. GIDDING, GREAT (B.c.).
(O.S. 6 in. (a)IX S.W., (b)XII N.E., (c)XIII N.W.)
Great Gidding is a parish and village on the W. border of the county, 10 m. N.W. of Huntingdon. The church is the principal monument.
b(1). Parish Church of St. Michael (Plate 60) stands towards the S. end of the village on the W. side of the main street. The walls are of cornbrash and pebble-rubble and re-used Ketton and Barnack ashlar with dressings of the two latter stones; the roofs are covered with slates and lead. The S. doorway is evidence of the existence of a church in the middle of the 13th century. Later in the same century the Chancel was re-built. The lower parts of the West Tower are of early 14th-century date, the building being slowly completed by the late 14th-century bell-chamber and the 15th-century parapet and spire. About 1400 the chancel-arch and Nave were re-built and late in the 15th century the Aisles were re-built and the clearstorey added; the South Porch is also of 15th-century date, but has been practically reconstructed in modern times. The chancel was restored in 1870, the walls being raised and the building re-roofed.
The church is of some architectural interest, and amongst the fittings the early 17th-century communion rails are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (29½ ft. by 15¾ ft.) is of late 13th-century date, and has a three-light E. window, all modern, except the shafted jambs and splays which have moulded capitals, rear-arch and internal label with modern stops. The N. wall has a wall-arcade of two bays with two-centred arches of one stop-chamfered order springing in the middle from a moulded corbel and continued down the responds on to a bench; the arches have moulded labels with mask-stops. In the eastern bay is a restored late 13th-century window with two 15th-century cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head; in the western bay is an original window of three grouped lancet-lights with moulded labels, mask-stop and rebated jambs; at the W. end of the wall is a 13th-century 'low-side' window of a single light with chamfered jambs and two-centred head; it retains one of the hinge-pins of the former shutter; the late 13th-century N. doorway has moulded jambs and two-centred head of two hollow-chamfered orders with a moulded label. The S. wall has an internal wall-arcade of two bays (Plate 6), similar to that to the N. wall, and three windows, the two easternmost of which are respectively similar to those in the corresponding positions in the N. wall, the westernmost window is of mid 14th-century date and of three trefoiled ogee lights with reticulated tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label and mask-stops. The chancel-arch, of c. 1400, is two-centred and of two chamfered orders with semi-circular responds with restored capitals and moulded bases on square plinths.
The Nave (44½ ft. by 16½ ft.) has N. and S. arcades, of c. 1400, both in four bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders with circular piers and semi-circular responds, all with moulded capitals and bases. The clearstorey, of late 15th-century date, has on each side a range of four windows, each of two cinque-foiled lights with a pierced spandrel in a four-centred head; at the sill-level is an internal moulded string-course and the moulded parapet has carved gargoyles.
The North Aisle (9½ ft. wide) is of late 15th-century date, but restored, and has moulded parapets, with carved gargoyles. In the E. wall is a window of three cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head with moulded reveals and in the N. wall are three similar windows, the westernmost of which is modern; the re-set early 14th-century N. doorway has jambs and two-centred arch of two chamfered orders with a moulded label and mask-stops; towards the W. end of the N. wall, showing externally, and partly covered by a modern buttress, are the head and one jamb of a small window, probably material re-used in the aisle-wall.
The South Aisle (11½ ft. wide) is of late 15th-century date and has a moulded parapet with carved gargoyles. In the E. wall is a three-light window with restored tracery similar to those in the N. aisle, but with the splays carried down below the sill to form a recess. In the S. wall are three windows, the westernmost is of mid 14th-century date and of three trefoiled ogee lights with reticulated tracery in a two-centred head with moulded label and mask-stops; the two easternmost windows are similar to the corresponding windows in the N. aisle, but the eastern of the two has been partly restored; the splays of the middle window are carried down to form a seat. The mid 13th-century S. doorway has a two-centred head of two orders with a moulded label and mask-stops; the inner order is chamfered and the outer moulded and springs from shafted jambs with moulded capitals, the abaci of which are continued round as an impost.
The West Tower (12 ft. by 10 ft.) is of early 14th-century date, except the bell-chamber, and in four stages with a moulded plinth and an embattled parapet; the 15th-century parapet has grotesque faces at intervals, carved gargoyles and a frieze of quatre-foiled panels below the string; the tower is surmounted by an octagonal stone spire. The tower-arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders, with a moulded label, the outer order is continuous and the inner springs from semi-octagonal responds with moulded capitals and chamfered plinths. The W. window is of two trefoiled ogee lights, with tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label; the stops have been cut away, and there is a modern transom. The third stage has in the W. wall a triangular window filled with three quatrefoils and having moulded jambs and continuous label; the rear-arch is a re-used hollow-chamfered string with two mask-corbels. The late 14th-century bell-chamber has in each wall two coupled windows, each of two transomed lights, the lower lights trefoiled, the transom embattled and the upper lights with trefoiled ogee heads and a quatrefoil in a two-centred main head with a moulded label and grotesque head-stops. The 15th-century spire is octagonal and has two tiers of four spire-lights; these windows, which are on the cardinal faces, are each of two trefoiled lights with a pierced quatrefoil in a gabled head.
The South Porch is probably of 15th-century origin, but has been largely re-built, incorporating some old material. In the E. and W. walls are square-headed windows and the outer archway is two-centred and of two chamfered orders with a moulded label.
The Roof to the nave is of c. 1500 and is in four bays with moulded and cambered tie-beams supported on curved and cusped braces with trefoiled spandrels of early 14th-century date re-used, short king-posts beneath which are carved foliage and human faces, and moulded ridge purlins and wall-plates; the wall-posts rest on stone corbels carved on the N. side as (a) female head; (b) bearded male head; (c) angel; (d) and (e) mens' heads; on the S. side (a) hooded man; (b) female head; (c) to (e) similar to corresponding corbels on N. side. The pent-roof to the S. aisle is of five bays with braced tie-beams and two purlins; it is mostly modern, but incorporates some 15th- and 17th-century material; one of the principals is inscribed "1629 John Lamb Churchwarden"; some of the stone corbels supporting the wall-posts are old and are carved with foliage, a rose and grotesque male heads and one is semi-octagonal and moulded; the line of an earlier roof is visible on the N. wall at the W. end.
Fittings—Bells: five, 1st by Norris, 1670. Brackets: In N. aisle—on E. wall, semi-octagonal with chamfered lower edge. In S. aisle—on E. wall, square with chamfered edges and corners. Chest: (Plate 146) In W. tower—hutch-shaped, with flat lid, rough boarding on back, plain ends, and front in two carved panels of symmetrical design, inlaid rails and muntins, carved legs and rails, mid 17th-century. Communion Table: of oak with four turned legs, plain lower rails and top rails carved with simple jewel-ornament and supported on small brackets at the angles, modern top superimposed upon old top, c. 1640, one end slightly restored. Communion Rails: (Plate 151) of oak, with moulded lower, middle and top rails and two rows of turned balusters; alternate balusters in upper row omitted and spaces filled with small arches with turned pendants as key-blocks; middle bay hinged as gate and hung on two strap-hinges; early 17th-century. Lockers: In chancel—in E. wall, two rectangular recesses rebated for doors. Paintings: Traces of red paintings on walls of N. aisle. Piscinae: In chancel (Plate 140)—recess with moulded jambs and trefoiled head with a moulded label, circular drain slightly projecting, late 13th-century. In N. aisle—in N. wall, recess with chamfered jambs and two-centred head, rectangular drain, 14th-century. In S. aisle—in S. wall, recess with chamfered jambs, trefoiled ogee head, rectangular drain, 14th-century. Plate: includes a cup and cover-paten of 1638, and a pewter jug, large pewter alms-dish, a pewter plate and a pewter dish, all of late 17th- or early 18th-century date. Poor-box: adapted from 15th-century moulded oak post, hollowed out and covered with plain iron lid, date uncertain. Sedile: In chancel— sill of S.E. window carried down to form seat and stepped up, late 13th-century. Sundial: scratched on middle buttress on S. wall of S. aisle. Miscellanea: In chancel—on S. wall, small octagonal wood panel carved with the old word-square, "Sator, Arepo, Tenet, Opera, Rotas," with the initials E.R. on either side and the date 1614 above. In vicarage-garden, a stone inscribed "1653 Richard Trewe, Thomas Daniel C.W." Another stone, triangular in shape, has a sundial on two of its faces, one with part of gnomon still existing, 17th-century.
a(2). House, on the N.W. side of the road, 700 yards N.W. of the church, was of two storeys; the walls are of cornbrash-rubble with dressings of Ketton and Barnack stone. It was built early in the 17th century, but has been partly pulled down and is now roofless and ruinous. The S.E. front has two re-built buttresses with tabled offsets. The entrance-doorway has stop-moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with a moulded cornice above it; above the doorway, there was formerly a stone with the date and initials 1629 I.H.; further S.W. are remains of a bay-window, and beyond it is an original square-headed window of three lights with moulded jambs, mullion and cornice. The N.W. side has a doorway with the remains of a label and also a single-light window with moulded jambs and head. Inside the building, in the S.W. wall of the ground-floor is an original fireplace with stop-moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head; above it is a relieving-beam built into the wall. The central chimney-stack has two fireplaces with chamfered lintels. There are two original moulded ceiling-beams still in position and a chamfered ceiling-beam added later.
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 original chimney-stacks and exposed ceiling-beams.
c(3). House, 60 yards S.W. of (2), was built c. 1700. The front and back walls are of cornbrash-rubble.
c(4). Cottage, on the S.E. side of the road, 400 yards N.E. of the church, is a portion of a house built c. 1700.
c(5). House, 20 yards S.W. of (4), was built c. 1700, is now mostly roofless and has partly fallen down.
c(6). House, 60 yards S.W. of (5), has a roof of corrugated iron.
c(7). Cottage, in middle of range and 20 yards S.S.W. of (6), was built c. 1700.
c(8). Crown Inn, 120 yards S.S.W. of (7).
c(9). Cottage, 120 yards S. of (8) and 120 yards S.E. of the church.
c(10). Cottage, two tenements, 20 yards E. of (9).