2. ASHDON. (C.a.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)iii. N.E. (b)iii. S.E. (c)ix. N.E.)
Ashdon is a parish and small village on the
border of Cambridgeshire, about 3½m. N.E.
of Saffron Walden. The principal monuments
are the Bartlow Hills, which lie on the N. edge
of the parish, and the Rose and Crown Inn.
a (1). Tumuli, known as the Bartlow Hills (see
Plate, p. 4), at the extreme N.E. of the parish.
They form (or formed) two parallel rows, running
nearly N. and S. The eastern row consists of
four large steep-sided mounds, in shape truncated
cones, the largest 40 ft. high and 145ft. in diameter;
since 1760 three of the mounds have been planted
with trees. The western row is now less clear:
originally, it consisted of at least three small
mounds, as was proved by digging in 1832; only
two can now be faintly traced. Excavations,
chiefly in 1832–40, have shown that all seven
mounds contained at the centre regularly walled
graves, within which was very costly grave-furniture of glass, decorated bronze, and enamel;
almost all these ornaments were destroyed in a
fire at Easton Lodge in 1847. The graves seem
to belong to the end of the first and beginning
of the second century and were doubtless built
for Romanized British nobles of the district.
The particular method of burial occurs especially
in eastern England and in Belgium, and is native,
not Roman, by origin: (see Sectional Preface
Condition—Of the four larger mounds, fairly
well preserved; of the two smaller ones, faint.
Good care is taken of them by their present owners.
b (2). Dwelling-house, small, in a field called
Great Copt Hill (O.S. 25 in. iii. 11, field 16) on
Great Bowser Farm, about 1 m. N.W. of the
village. It was excavated in 1852; nothing
is now visible except stray tiles, etc. on the
surface. (See Sectional Preface p. xxii).
c (3). Tile-kiln in a field called Oakfield. about
2 m. S. of the village. It was excavated in
1852, and at once removed; the exact site is now
unknown. (See Sectional Preface p. xxii.)
(4). Miscellanea—Other burials have been
noticed near the Hills—one with a flint axe and
knife, presumably prehistoric. A small dwelling-house was found in 1852 about 100 yards E. of the
Hills—mainly, if not wholly, within the Cambridgeshire border—but nothing of it is now visible on
the surface; the parish church of Bartlow
(Cambridgeshire) has in its walls a few Roman
tiles, doubtless from this building. An earthwork (low bank and ditch), is visible in the grounds
of Bartlow House on the S. side of the river
Granta; possibly it may be connected with the
Hills or the dwelling house just mentioned (see
Sectional Preface p. xxii. and below p. 9).
b (5). Parish Church of All Saints stands on
a hill at Church End, S.W. of the village. The
walls are probably of flint rubble, but are covered
with cement and plaster; the dressings are of
limestone and clunch. The roofs are covered
with tiles, lead and slate. The Chancel is of
uncertain date; early in the 14th century the
North-East and South Chapels were added, and
about the same time the South Aisle was rebuilt on
the site of a former aisle. At the end of the 14th
century the West Tower was built, probably outside
the W. wall of the nave, and c. 1400 the arcades of
the Nave and the chancel-arch were rebuilt, the
clearstorey and North Aisle added, and the North-West Chapel was built, joining the N.E. chapel and
the N. aisle. Towards the end of the 15th century
the North and South Porches were built. Three
windows were inserted in the clearstorey by bequest
of Thomas Cornell, who died in 1527. The church
was restored in the 18th century, and early in the
19th century the walls of the whole building were
covered with cement.
The early 14th-century roof of the S. chapel is
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The Chancel (35½ ft.
by 18 ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N.
wall is a small doorway of early 14th-century date,
with chamfered jambs, ogee head, and pierced
spandrels. Further W. is a two-centred arch of
c. 1400, and of two chamfered orders dying on to
responds of one wide chamfered order. In the S.
wall is an early 14th-century arcade of two bays;
the two-centred arches are of two moulded orders;
the circular column and the attached semi-circular
shafts of the responds have moulded capitals and
bases. The two-centred chancel-arch is of c. 1400,
and of two moulded orders; the outer order stops
on the chamfered outer order of the responds, and
the inner order rests on semi-octagonal attached
shafts with moulded capitals and bases.
The North-East Chapel or vestry (14 ft. by 11½ ft.)
has, in the E. wall, an early 14th-century window of
one trefoiled light with a moulded internal reveal
and rear arch; externally the window has been
defaced with cement. In the N. wall a window
and doorway are probably of the 18th century.
In the W. wall is a rough doorway with a flat
head, above it are traces of a former half-arch,
which are more clearly visible in the N.W. chapel.
The North-West Chapel (17 ft. by 10 ft.) is entirely
of c. 1400. In the N. wall is a window of three
cinquefoiled lights with tracery under a square
head; the external stonework has been defaced
The South Chapel (25½ ft. by 21 ft.): the E. and
W. walls have each a gable with a low parapet,
small foiled kneelers, and the carved stumps of
gable-crosses. In the E. wall is a 14th-century
window, now blocked; it is of three lights with
remains of tracery in a two-centred head; the
external and internal jambs, head and labels
are moulded, and the internal label has stops
carved as busts, of a woman, and of a knight in
armour with bascinet, camail, etc., each behind
a shield which has a cross with five fleurs
de lis on it. In the S. wall is a large window
of c. 1400, externally much defaced with cement;
it is of four septfoiled lights with tracery under
a square head. In the W. wall is a segmental
half-arch of early 14th-century date, and of two
continuously moulded orders; further S. is
an early 14th-century window of one cinquefoiled light with flowing tracery in a two-centred
head; the jambs, head, rear arch and labels are
The Nave (42 ft. by 21½ ft.) has N. and S.
arcades of c. 1400, and of three bays; the two-centred arches are of two moulded orders; the
outer order dies on to the chamfered outer order
of the piers and responds, and the inner order rests
on semi-octagonal attached shafts with moulded
capitals and bases. E. of the N.E. respond, at the
level of the former rood-loft, is a doorway with
a segmental head; E. of the S.E. respond is a
doorway with rebated jambs and four-centred
head, and in the thickness of the wall are five steps.
The clearstorey had originally on each side three
quatrefoiled windows set in square reveals over the
crowns of the arches; all were of c. 1400, but have
been either blocked or altered; two are still
visible on the N. and one on the S.; another at
the W. end of the S. wall was altered early in the
16th century; at the W. end of the N. wall is a
mid or late 15th-century window of three cinquefoiled lights under a flat head; the splays, head
and external reveal are moulded; in the S. wall
are two early 16th-century windows, each of three
uncusped lights, but of different sizes.
The North Aisle (9½ ft. wide) has, in the N. wall,
two windows; the eastern is of the same date and
detail as the window in the N.W. chapel, and has
been defaced externally with cement; the western
window is of the 15th century, and of two trefoiled
lights under a square head; externally it has been
much defaced. Between the two windows is the N.
doorway of c. 1400; the jambs and two-centred
arch are of two continuously moulded orders with a
moulded external label and a moulded segmental
The South Aisle (9½ ft. wide) has, on the E. wall,
the weathering of a former low-pitched roof. In
the S. wall are two windows; the eastern is an
early 14th-century window of two cinquefoiled
lights with leaf-tracery in a two-centred head;
the external reveals and labels are moulded; the
western window is similar to the western window in
the N. wall of the N. aisle. Between the windows
is the S. doorway of c. 1400; the jambs and two-centred arch are moulded. The W. wall has been
much rebuilt with 18th-century brick, and in it is a
window of that date.
The West Tower (13 ft. by 12 ft.) is of two stages
with a stepped embattled parapet. It is entirely of
late 14th-century date, except the W. doorway.
The two-centred tower-arch is of three chamfered
orders; the two outer orders die on to a broad
chamfer, and the inner order rests on semi-circular
attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases.
The W. doorway is modern, and the W. window is of
two cinquefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred
head. In the upper part of the ground stage the
N., S., and W. walls each have a window of one
light with a pointed head, possibly foiled originally,
but now defaced. The E. and W. walls each have
three single-light windows with trefoiled heads, all
much defaced; the N. and S. walls each have one
window of two cinquefoiled ogee lights under a
square head, all much defaced.
The North Porch has a two-centred outer archway
of the 15th century, and of two moulded orders;
the inner order rests on semi-octagonal shafts with
moulded capitals. The E. and W. walls have each
a 15th-century window of two trefoiled lights under
a square head, all much defaced.
The South Porch has an entrance archway of the
same date and detail as that of the N. porch. The
E. and W. walls have each a window of two pointed
The Roof of the chancel is of early 15th-century
date, and of two bays with three trusses, of which
two are intact; the tie-beam of the easternmost
truss has been cut away between the cusped
and sub-cusped braces; the middle truss has
a moulded tie-beam with a band of pierced
ornament below it, and a moulded king-post
with four-way struts; the braces of the tie-beam
have pierced traceried spandrels; the western
truss is similar to the eastern, but has a complete
tie-beam and king-post. The roof of the N.E.
chapel is modern, but has, on the N. side, part
of a moulded wall-plate of early 14th-century
date. The lean-to roof of the N.W. chapel has
moulded wall-plates and wall-posts of c. 1400.
The early 14th-century roof of the S. chapel
has a central truss with a moulded and cambered
tie-beam, a king-post of four clustered shafts
with moulded capitals and curved four-way
struts, moulded purlin and S. wall-plate; the
central purlin has, at the ends, curved braces
resting on grotesque stone corbels; the N. wall-plate is moulded and of the 15th century, and below
the tie-beam is a heavy wooden bracket of the same
date. The roof of the nave is ceiled with plaster,
but two late 15th or early 16th-century tie-beams
and wall-plates are exposed. The roofs of the aisles
are also of late 15th or early 16th-century date, but
have been partly restored; the wall-plates and
principals are moulded. The roofs of the porches
are covered with plaster, but have moulded
wall-plates of late 15th-century date.
Fittings—Bells: six; 5th by Thomas Chirche
(1498 to 1527), inscribed 'Virgo Coronata Duc Nos
Ad Regna Beata'; 6th by Miles Graye, 1662.
Bracket: In N.E. chapel—on N. wall, remains of
moulded bracket. Brasses and Indents. Indents :
(See also Monuments). In S. aisle—near S.
doorway, (1) part of slab with remains of marginal
letters, early 14th-century. In S. porch—(2) slab
with brass rivets, indent obliterated. Chest: In
N.E. chapel—of 'hutch' type, plain, possibly
15th-century. Communion Rails: Now in outbuilding at Rectory—with symmetrically turned
balusters and moulded rail, early 17th-century.
Door: In doorway of N.E. chapel—of lapped
boards, probably early 14th-century. Font: octagonal stem with moulded capital and base, late
13th-century, rough octagonal bowl, possibly of
earlier date. Glass: In N.W. chapel—in N.
window, fragments of figures, canopies, etc. c. 1400.
In S. chapel—in tracery of S. window, fragments of
ornament, c. 1400; in W. window, leaf designs androundel, early 14th-century. In N. aisle—in N.W.
window, two fragments, 15th-century. In S.
aisle—in tracery of eastern window, in situ,
ornamental, early 14th-century, one quarry with
flower, 15th-century. Monuments: In chancel—
in N.E. corner, (1) to [Thomas Tyrrel of Warley and
Ann (Wolley) his wife], altar tomb, S. side and W.
end cusped and panelled, with four shields, (a) the
quartered coat, 1, two cheverons and an engrailed
border, for Tyrrel, 2, paly of six, for Swynford, 3,
an engrailed cheveron charged with three dolphins, for
Flambert, 4, a cross between four scallops, for
Coggeshall; (b) the quartered coat impaling a
fleur de lis between two wool-packs within two
flanches each with a wolf therein, for Wolley; (c)
and (d) as (a); slab of Purbeck marble with indent
of inscription plate, early or mid 16th-century;
on N. wall—(2) to Richard Tyrrel, 1566, achievement of arms set in a deep moulded frame. In
N.E. chapel—in N. wall, (3) moulded E. jamb and
spring of arch of tomb-recess, early 14th-century.
Painting: In N. aisle—on W. wall, remains,
apparently nimbus of a saint. Piscinæ: In
chancel—with cinquefoiled head and moulded
label, 14th-century. Plate: includes cup and
small stand-paten of 1621. Pulpit: Now in barn at
Rectory—octagonal, with panelled sides, resting on
central post with shaped brackets, early 17th-century. Screen; In N. aisle—at E. end, moulded
front beam of former loft. with mortised soffit for
former screen, 15th-century. Sedilia: In chancel
—two recesses, forming three seats with moulded
jambs and segmental-pointed heads, 14th-century.
Miscellanea: In tower—on N. wall, stone block,
slightly hollowed at the top and with metal socket,
probably for candle.
c (6). Homestead Moat, about 1 m. S. of the
b (7). The Guildhall, now three tenements,
40 yards S. of the church, is of two storeys; the
walls are timber-framed and plastered; the roof is
tiled. It was built late in the 15th or early in the
16th century, probably as a Church House, and had
originally a Hall with Screens at the E. end. On
the N. side the upper storey projects, and has small
ornamental brackets with defaced shafts; on the
ground floor are traces of an original window; in
the upper storey are traces of three original windows
with projecting sills which have remains of defaced
carving. At the W. end is an original chimney-stack of rubble.
Interior—The screen in the room formerly the
Hall has a small doorway with a four-centred head,
now blocked. The roof-trusses each have a
crudely moulded king-post, central purlin, struts
and curved brackets. In the S. wall of the upper
storey is a four-centred head, probably of an
original window, now blocked.
Condition—Fairly good, much altered.
b (7a). The Rectory, 780 yards N.N.E. of the
church, is of two storeys; the walls are of brick,
and the roofs are covered with slate and tiles.
It was built c. 1600, on an L-shaped plan with the
wings extending towards the S. and W. There are
extensive modern additions on the S. side and at
both ends. Some of the brickwork of the S. wing is
probably original, as is the greater part of the
projecting chimney-stack at the E. end. Inside the
building, a room at the S. end of the former S. wing
is lined with original panelling, and has a panelled
door and two cupboard doors; the overmantel,
formerly in that room, now on the first floor, has
terminal figures and a richly carved frieze and
middle panel. Two other rooms on the ground
floor have some panelling of c. 1600, and at the
head of the original staircase is a moulded rail
with symmetrically turned balusters.
Condition—Good, much altered.
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. Many of the buildings have
original chimney-stacks, wide fireplaces and exposed
Condition—Good, or fairly good, unless noted.
b (8). House, W. of (7) was built probably
c. 1600, but almost entirely rebuilt in the 19th
b (9). Cottage, two tenements, 200 yards N.W.
of the church, is of L-shaped plan with the wings
extending towards the N. and E.
b (10). Cottage, three tenements, in a lane on
the E. side of the main road, 650 yards N.E. of
the church. The original E. chimney-stack has
a square shaft set diagonally.
b (11). Cottage, now three tenements, on the
W. side of the main road, about ½ mile N.E. of the
church, is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending towards the S.E. and S.W. The original
central chimney-stack has the stumps of three
grouped diagonal shafts.
b (12). The Rose and Crown Inn, 50 yards
N.N.E. of (11), was built early in the 17th century
on a rectangular plan, but late in the same century
a wing was added at the back, making the plan
L-shaped, with the wings extending towards the
N. and W. The original central chimney-stack has
The painted room (see Plate, p. 8) is a good
example of early 17th-century decoration.
Inside the building, on the ground floor, the N.
room has late 16th-century moulded beams, re-used
in the ceiling. The walls are divided into panels of
arabesque work painted in red, black and white,
with a frieze of ogee-headed panels, and four
black-letter texts, partly defaced; the paintings
have been restored. Another room has a late
16th-century moulded beam, re-used.
b (13). The Club Room, on the E. side of the
main road, about ½ m. N.E. of the church. On
the W. front is a late 17th-century plaster panel
with foliage and fruit. Inside the building one
old tie-beam is exposed.
b (14). Cottage, 100 yards S.E. of (13).
b (15). Little Sandon Farm, house, 130 yards
S. of (14), was built probably early in the 16th
century, on a T-shaped plan with the cross-wing
at the N. end. Inside the building the cross-wing
has original moulded ceiling-beams with leaf-stops.
b (16). Cottage, in a lane on the W. side of the
main road, 1,100 yards N.E. of the church. The
original central chimney-stack has grouped diagonal shafts.
b (17). Cottage, three tenements, at Roger's
End, about ¾ m. N.E. of the church, was built
probably c. 1700. The windows and doorways
are plain and probably original, and some original
lead glazing remains.
b (18, 19, 20). Cottages, at Holden End, nearly
1 m. N.E. of the church.
b (21). Little Bowsers, house, about 1½ m.
N.W. of the church, with weather-boarded walls,
and a modern addition on the N. side. The
original central chimney-stack has diagonal shafts
b (22). Ricketts, house, nearly ¾ m. N.N.W.
of the church, was built probably c. 1600, but
large additions were made in the 17th century on
the S.E. side, and the plan is now irregular. Near
the N.W. angle is an original chimney-stack with
two octagonal shafts. Another chimney-stack has
b (23). Farmhouse, at Ashdon Street, ¾ m.
W.N.W. of the church, was originally of L-shaped
plan with the wings extending towards the N. and
W. There is an 18th-century addition on the E.
side. The upper storey projects and is gabled
at the S. end of the E. side. The original S.
chimney-stack has diagonal shafts, and pilasters
with moulded broaches at the angles of the base.
b (24). Puddlewart Farm, house, about ¾ m.
N.W. of the church, with modern additions on the
b (25). Ivytodd Farm, house, about ¾ m. S. of
the church, has a chimney-stack probably original,
but dated 1750.
c (26). Sprigg's Farm, house and barn, 450
yards S.E. of (25). The House has an original
chimney-stack with grouped shafts.
The Barn, N. of the house, has weather-boarded
c (27). Great Mortimers, house, 1 m. S. of the
church, has an 18th-century addition on the S.W.
side, making the plan L-shaped.
c (28). Rylands, house, 1 m. S.E. of the church,
is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending
towards the E. and S.
c (29). Hoy's Farm, house, at Ridduck's Hill
about 1½ m. S.E. of the church.
b (30, 31, 32). Cottages, at Water End, 1,100
yards S.E. of the church.
b (33). Midsummer Hill, house, about ¾ m.
S.E. of the church, is of L-shaped plan with the
wings extending towards the S. and E.
b (34). Goldstones, house, 250 yards N.N.E, of
(33), is of three storeys, and was built probably
c. 1600. There are modern additions on the E.
side. On the W. front the upper storey projects,
and has an original carved bressumer; the ground
storey has been re-faced with modern brick; at the
S. end is a gable with original carved barge-boards.
At the S. end of the house is an original projecting
chimney-stack with two diagonal shafts. The
back elevation has a small gable in the middle, and
an old casement window with original fastenings.
Inside the building the walls have shaped posts,
and there are two old panelled doors. On the first
floor, is an original fireplace, now blocked, with
chamfered jambs and rounded head; another room
has some original panelling and moulded ceilingbeams.
a (35). Earthwork, 300 yards N. of the
Bartlow Hills, and 2 m. N. of Ashdon church,
consists of a low bank and ditch running about
380 yards E. and W., and about 70 yards N. and S.,
in the grounds of Bartlow House (Cambridgeshire), S. of the river Granta, and roughly parallel
with it. The rampart is about 4 feet above the
bottom of the ditch, which is about 22 feet wide.
The whole may form the N.E. corner of some
enclosure, connected possibly with the Bartlow
Hills and the Roman dwelling-house E. of the Hills
(see pp. 4, 5), but, without excavation, the earthwork cannot be dated.