Cherry Hinton: Churches

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire). Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.

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A F Wareham, A P M Wright, 'Cherry Hinton: Churches', in A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire)( London, 2002), British History Online [accessed 18 July 2024].

A F Wareham, A P M Wright, 'Cherry Hinton: Churches', in A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire)( London, 2002), British History Online, accessed July 18, 2024,

A F Wareham, A P M Wright. "Cherry Hinton: Churches". A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 10, Cheveley, Flendish, Staine and Staploe Hundreds (North-Eastern Cambridgeshire). (London, 2002), , British History Online. Web. 18 July 2024.


There was a parish church by the 12th century, whose advowson was attached to Upperhall manor by 1201, when it was confirmed to Henry FitzHervey. (fn. 1) In 1238 it was disputed between the widow of Ranulf FitzHenry and John FitzHenry. (fn. 2) About 1273 John FitzJohn granted the advowson to the bishop of Ely. (fn. 3) In 1335 Bishop John Hotham, supposedly on account of the poverty of the fellows and scholars of Peterhouse, appropriated the rectory to that college. The grant was confirmed in 1363 by Bishop Simon Langham. (fn. 4) In 1370 Bishop John Barnet presented, but it was not until 1395 that the appropriation was confirmed, the advowson of the vicarage remaining with Peterhouse thereafter. In 1979 Teversham was combined with Cherry Hinton, whose vicar served both parishes thereafter. (fn. 5)

In 1279 the rectorial glebe comprised 100 a. (40 ha.), and from the early 15th century until inclosure was reckoned at c. 110-120 a. (45-50 ha.). (fn. 6) The main portions lay in Fendon and Yenton fields, the rest being divided between the four other fields. When the tithes were commuted at inclosure, Peterhouse was allotted 230 a. for its part of them, besides 114 a. for its glebe, while the vicar, who had previously had only 2 a. of pasture around his house, received another 4½ a. as glebe and 103 a. for the tithe. (fn. 7) Between 1892 and 1909 c. 45 a. of it was sold in new Cherry Hinton, and in 1909 the remaining 75 a. were leased to the Pamplin brothers. (fn. 8) In 1913 the vicar arranged for other portions of his land along Coldhams Lane to be sold. Further sales during the 20th century left him with c. 20 a. (8 ha.) north of the parish church (fn. 9) until 1985, when that land too was sold and an old people's home was built there. (fn. 10)

In 1256, when the rectory was worth £19 10s., the rector was assisted by a vicar paid £2. (fn. 11) In 1291 the rectory was taxed at £17 6s. (fn. 12) In 1535 it was worth £21 13s., and the vicarage £6 18s. (fn. 13) The vicarage was worth £22 in 1767 and £25 in 1807. (fn. 14) Between 1859 and 1881 it yielded £164, and by 1898 its net income was £215. (fn. 15) It declined in value thereafter, and in 1955 its income of £588 was supplemented by £200 from the Church Commissioners. (fn. 16)

There is no evidence for a vicarage house before 1500, but in 1638 such a house was burnt down. (fn. 17) A house with two hearths in 1664 may have housed the vicar. (fn. 18) There was a vicarage house in the late 18th century, with three servants residing there. (fn. 19) In 1818 a new vicarage house was built opposite the parish church by Berwick Bridge, then vicar. (fn. 20) In 1851 the vicar shared it with a tenant. In 1866 it was considerably enlarged by W. S. Parish, then vicar, and it was in good repair in 1875. (fn. 21) It reputedly had three kitchens, and could seat fifty people in the dining room. (fn. 22) In 1885 it was repaired with money from Queen Anne's Bounty, and continued in use during the late 19th century and the early 20th. (fn. 23) By the 1960s, however, it had been sold to make way for flats, but part of its stables were preserved, being used by the boy scouts in the late 20th century. (fn. 24) A new vicarage house on the corner of Dale Close and Fulbourn Old Drift Road was built in 1956-7.

In the early 14th century Hinton was held by a succession of rectors, some of whom only served for between two and six years. (fn. 25) Stephen Randolph, presented in 1370, was deprived in 1372 and replaced by Robert Braybrooke, who held the living in plurality, exchanging it in 1379 with his brother Reginald, who held it until at least 1388. (fn. 26) In 1401 the first vicar was appointed by the master of Peterhouse. John Holbrooke, former master of Peterhouse and chancellor of Cambridge University, served as vicar from 1430 until 1436. In the 15th and early 16th centuries most incumbents, except for William Skelton, vicar 1486-1533, only served for a few years. (fn. 27)

In 1279 there was a chantry dedicated to All Saints of which Walter of Hinton was chaplain, with 6 a. belonging to it. Two former chantry chapels, named Laynes and Wards, were recorded c. 1592-1712. (fn. 28)

In the late 16th century and the early 17th the living was generally held briefly by former fellows of Peterhouse. (fn. 29) That pattern continued, with the vicarage sometimes being held in plurality by influential churchmen, in the early 18th century. (fn. 30) Walter Serocold, minister 1758-89, was succeeded by his son-in-law George Borlase. (fn. 31) In 1807 the vicar acted as chaplain to the Cambridge county gaol. (fn. 32) During the 19th century notable incumbents included Berwick Bridge (1816-33) and W. S. Parish (1851-80), son-in-law of John Okes of Cherry Hinton Hall, who oversaw the parish church's restoration. (fn. 33) His successor, James Porter, combined the vicarage with the mastership of Peterhouse between 1880 and 1882. (fn. 34) T. A. Walker, a former fellow of Peterhouse, vicar 1908-17, was a historian and an international lawyer. After the First World War the living ceased to be held by fellows of the College. (fn. 35) L. G. Forrest, who served as vicar between 1948 and 1966, was involved in the creation of new parishes of St. Martin's and St. James's on the borders of the ancient parish of Cherry Hinton.

In 1603 there were 40 communicants. (fn. 36) In 1775 there was a service each Sunday. In 1807 the weekly service was held on Sunday afternoons in order to encourage attendance, and c. 1825-85 services held both in the mornings and afternoons were well attended. Between 1807 and 1836 the number of communicants increased slightly from 25 to 30, and to 32 in 1873, rising to 57 in 1885, and to 126 in 1897. Communion was held three times a year in 1807, monthly in 1836 and 1873, weekly in 1885, and fortnightly in 1897 and 2001.

The parish church, named for ST. ANDREW, has stood at the northern end of the ancient village since the Middle Ages. (fn. 37) The church comprises a chancel with north vestry, nave with north and south aisles, south porch, and west tower. The exterior of the chancel and the west tower are made from clunch and Barnack stone rubble, and the aisles from flint rubble. Although heavily restored in the 19th century, Cherry Hinton is one of the finest and most complete Early English parish churches in the county.

The earliest features are the later 12thcentury responds of the tower arch, which have small attached shafts with plain capitals on their eastern angles, and the core of the tower which is at a slightly different angle to the rest of the building. The nave, aisles, and chancel are the result of a single building campaign c. 1215-25. The five-bayed north and south arcades have pointed arches of two complex moulded orders with labels, moulded capitals, quatrefoil piers with small keels between the shafts, and 19thcentury moulded bases, apparently copying 13th-century originals. Before restoration both north and south aisles had 13th-century string courses, buttresses, and doors. The chancel arch, which is linked with the eastern responds of the arcades, has three hollow-chamfered orders on responds comprising shafts separated by fillets. The chancel itself is the same width as the nave, and has eight lancet windows in each side wall: the east window is 16th-century, but it was probably originally a group of stepped lancets. The north and south chancel windows are paired and set into an internal wall arcade with moulded cinquefoiled rere arches with a continuous label, detached stones with moulded capitals, shaft rings and bases extending below the window sills to rest on a string course. A double piscina with a continuous moulded label and square frame, trefoiled openings with dogtooth ornament and detached shafts, and a stepped, triple sedilia with a label with mask stops are integrated into the composition of the south wall. There is also a contemporary south doorway.

The aisles were refenestrated, reroofed, and provided with parapets in the later 14th century. The north aisle windows have two-centred heads and cusped reticulated tracery with super mullions and transoms. The south aisle windows also have reticulated tracery and super mullions, but their four-centred heads are slightly later. Until the late 18th century the east ends of both sides were enclosed by parclose screens. That on the south side had painted figures of a man and a woman, probably the donors, in mid 15thcentury dress, and an inscription seeking prayers for the souls of John Thryplaw and his wife Margaret painted on the wall. The muchrestored rood screen is late 15th- or early 16thcentury, as are the benches surviving in the north aisle.

Considerable work was done to the church in the early 16th century. The north vestry and the south porch were added, and the chancel was remodelled. The eastern lancets were replaced by a window with a depressed four-centred head and five cusped lights, and the chancel was reroofed with a shallow pitched roof of four bays with cambered, moulded tiebeams with small curved braces, moulded principal rafters, purlins, and ridge pieces, an embattled wall plate, and large braces and wall posts against the end walls. The top of the chancel arch was rebuilt and perhaps heightened. The tower was refaced internally and externally, an internal stair turret was added, and a west window of three lights similar to that at the chancel east end was inserted. A clerestory, shown in 1774 as having three-light windows similar to the east and west windows, and a square window over the chancel arch to light the rood were also apparently added in the 16th century.

In the early 18th century the chancel was restored by William Watson, who installed a classical reredos, but in 1774 William Cole found 'the whole Chancel ... squalid and dirty'. The clerestory fell in 1792, and the nave roof was rebuilt in 1793. The lead from the 16th-century roof was sold to pay for the repairs, and the church also appears to have been reseated at this time, for the benches described in 1774 had largely gone by 1845, as had the parclose screens. Because of the extensive use of clunch both internally and externally, the church was in frequent need of repair: in 1875 G. Gilbert Scott remarked 'the state of the walls is such that no mere repairing will suffice'. (fn. 38) As part of the restoration of the nave between 1875 and 1880, the window above the chancel arch was removed, and the bases of the arcades, the aisle walls, and the porch were rebuilt to G. Gilbert Scott's designs, which sought to follow the medieval originals. (fn. 39) A new lectern was installed, and in 1883 a new pulpit, also designed by Scott, was substituted for one of the late 16th or early 17th century, which was moved to Teversham church. (fn. 40) Much of the work was paid for by the master of Peterhouse, but a litany desk was presented by a local working man in 1887. (fn. 41) In 1891 the chancel was refurbished with new panelling and choir stalls, at the expense of Peterhouse, along with a new organ paid for by subscription. (fn. 42)

The font, which has a circular bowl with plain tapering sides, is late 12th- or early 13th-century, and had a five-shafted base until 1811 when the present pedestal was substituted. A 13th-century altar slab with ovule moulded edge, probably that recorded in 1845 as being set into the floor, has been reset in the south aisle. The north aisle wall bears numerous 18th-and early 19th-century tablets to members of the Serocold and PearceSerocold families, and the chancel contains several black marble floor slabs to them.

The church had one chalice c. 1278 and three with patens, two double gilt, in 1552. (fn. 43) A new cup and paten were probably obtained c. 1569, while Dr. Richard Cooke, vicar 1666-90 (d. 1704), probably bequeathed two stand-patens. (fn. 44) Of the four bells recorded in 1552, (fn. 45) two, of the 14th and 15th centuries with inscriptions in Lombardic and Gothic script, one to the Virgin Mary, have probably survived. The other three were cast in 1727, 1828, and, replacing a 15thcentury one, 1853. (fn. 46)

There were complaints about the state of the churchyard in 1926, (fn. 47) but it was well maintained in the late 20th century through volunteer work. Grants from the Historic Churches Trust kept the church in good repair in the late 20th century. A green hut on the land occupied by Cherry Hinton Infants School served as the parish hall from c. 1902 until 1985, when it was replaced by a purpose-built parish centre attached to the north side of the church. (fn. 48) St. Andrew's parish registers, beginning as early as 1538, are substantially complete. (fn. 49)

In the early 1890s there began a vigorous campaign to establish a second parish and parish church to serve new Cherry Hinton. (fn. 50) The ecclesiastical parish of ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST, established in 1897, lay in the quadrangle bounded by Hills, Cherry Hinton, and Mowbray Roads, and Queen Edith's Way. Its advowson was assigned to the bishop of Ely. (fn. 51) Two sites were purchased on Hills Road, the first for the church, the second for a parish school. (fn. 52) Initially services were conducted in the chapel of Cavendish College, but by 1897 the first two bays of the nave, of red brick faced with stone, were built in the Gothic style. Between 1903 and 1913 there was further fund-raising, and by the outbreak of the First World War the northern transept had been erected. (fn. 53) In 1928 the western extension of the nave was completed, and a chapel on the north side of the earlier chancel was added in 1955.

A. E. Love, vicar 1903-14, made considerable efforts to augment the new living. Its net income was £60 c. 1897-1900, and in 1918 there were annuities worth £125, along with £39 from Queen Anne's Bounty. (fn. 54) Two different sites were acquired for a vicarage house in 1899 and 1912, and in 1956-7 one was built on Luard Road by the architect who designed the new vicarage house for St. Andrew's. (fn. 55)


  • 1. Rot. Chart. (Rec. Com), 88.
  • 2. Cambs. Fines, 1196-1485 (C.A.S. 8vo. ser. xxvi), 23.
  • 3. Cal. Inq. p.m. ii, p. 219.
  • 4. Peterhouse Mun., Hinton, A.1-8; V.C.H. Cambs. iii. 335.
  • 5. Church Com. file NB 14/231; C.U.L., Maps, bb. 19.Q.38; below for St. John's.
  • 6. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 439; Peterhouse Mun., Hinton, K.3; Serocold's notes [K]; Vet. Reg. of Peterhouse, p. 88.
  • 7. C.R.O., Q/RDz 6, pp. 234-9; C.U.L., E.D.R., H 1/Hinton 1615, 1665, 1837.
  • 8. C.R.O., P 39/3/3-20; Church Com. files 60973, 62552; inf. from the vicar.
  • 9. Inf. from the vicar.
  • 10. Inf. from the vicar.
  • 11. Val. of Norwich, ed. Lunt, 219; cf. Rot. Hund. ii. 440.
  • 12. Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 121.
  • 13. Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), iii. 502.
  • 14. C.U.L., E.D.R., C 1/1.
  • 15. Clergy List (1859-98).
  • 16. Church Com. file 62552.
  • 17. Cambs. Village Doc. 65.
  • 18. P.R.O., E 179/84/437, rott. 62v.-3.
  • 19. Ibid. T 47/8; C.U.L., E.D.R., B 8/1; C 1/1.
  • 20. C.U.L., E.D.R., C 1/4.
  • 21. P.R.O., Ho 107/1759, f. 617; Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1853-75).
  • 22. Forrest, 'Cherry Hinton Then and Now', 1.
  • 23. C.U.L., E.D.R., C 3/25; C 3/30; Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1933).
  • 24. Church Com. file 62552; inf. from the vicar.
  • 25. C.U.L., Add. MS. 6380, p. 155.
  • 26. Emden, Biog. Reg. Univ. Oxon. to 1500, i. 253-4.
  • 27. C.U.L., Add. MS. 6380, p. 155.
  • 28. Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 431; L.M.A., H.1/ST/ E106, no. 2; Peterhouse Mun., Hinton 1712 terrier [K].
  • 29. Alum. Cantab. to 1751, ii. 35; iii. 224, 348-9; 440; iv. 36; C.U.L., E.D.R., B 2/3, p. 96; B 2/4, p. 44; B 2/6, pp. 25, 138, 211, 224; B 2/8, pp. 25, 105; ibid. D 2/10, ff. 67v.-68.
  • 30. Alum. Cantab. to 1751, ii. 76, 271, 278, 336; iii. 285, 338.
  • 31. Ibid. ii. 44; Alum. Cantab. 1752-1900, ii. 324.
  • 32. C.U.L., E.D.R., C 1/4.
  • 33. Alum. Cantab. 1752-1900, i. 34, 374; iii. 503, 158; v. 9, 22, 267; C.U.L., E.D.R., C 3/25.
  • 34. Alum. Cantab. 1752-1900, v. 162; T.A. Walker, Admissions to Peterhouse 1615-1911 (1912), 493, 547.
  • 35. Crockford (1947 and later edns.).
  • 36. C.U.L., E.D.R., C 1/1; C 1/4; C 1/6; C 3/21; C 3/25; C 3/30; C 3/36.
  • 37. Architectural description, based on Pevsner, Cambs. 207; R.C.H.M. City of Camb. ii. 288-9; Cambridge Camden Society (1845), 1-32; C.R.O., P 39/6/21-22; P 39/6/24-8.
  • 38. Camb. Chron. 19 May 1875.
  • 39. Ibid. 9 Nov. 1883.
  • 40. Pevsner, Cambs. 470.
  • 41. Camb. Chron. 11 Nov. 1887.
  • 42. Ibid. 25 Sept. 1891.
  • 43. Vetus Liber Arch. Elien. (C.A.S. 8vo ser. xlviii), 44; Cambs. Ch. Goods, temp. Edw. VI, 66.
  • 44. R.C.H.M. City of Camb. ii. 290; cf. Alum. Cantab. to 1751, i. 386.
  • 45. Cambs. Ch. Goods, temp. Edw. VI, 67.
  • 46. R.C.H.M. City of Camb. ii. 289; MS. notes by H.B. Walters, in possession of V.C.H.
  • 47. C.R.O., P 39/8/34-5.
  • 48. Church Com. file 60973.
  • 49. C.R.O., P 39/1/1-9, 40-6.
  • 50. Ibid. P 39A/28/2.
  • 51. Ibid. P 39A/3/1.
  • 52. Ibid. P 39A/28/2.
  • 53. Ibid. P 39A/6/6; P 39A/3/2-8; Kelly's Dir. Cambs. (1900).
  • 54. Clergy List (1892); Church Com. file 72440.
  • 55. Church Com. file 72440; inf. from the vicar.