3. ALCONBURY (C.d.).
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XVII N.E., (b)XVII S.E.)
Alconbury is a parish and large village (Plate
15) 4 m. N.W. of Huntingdon. The church
and bridge are the principal monuments.
a(1). Parish Church of SS. Peter and Paul
stands at the N. end of the village. The walls of
the chancel are mainly of pebble-rubble but
incorporate much re-used stone and the remaining
walls are of mixed Weldon and Ketton rubble;
the dressings are of Weldon, Ketton and Barnack
stone; the roofs are covered with lead. The E.
angles of an early and no doubt aisleless Nave
survive, incorporated in the W. buttresses of the
chancel and there is much re-used 12th-century
material in the chancel-walls. The present Chancel
is of c. 1250 and probably about the same time
the nave was re-built with N. and South Aisles.
About 1280–90 the West Tower was built, and the
W. bay of the S. aisle re-built. About 1330 the
arcades of the Nave were re-built with the North
Aisle and the clearstorey, spire and South Porch
added. Late in the 15th century the chancel
and aisles were re-roofed, the walls, particularly
those of the chancel, were heightened. In the
following century the nave was re-roofed. The
building was restored in 1877 when the lower part
of the W. tower was entirely re-built.
The church is of interest, the 13th-century
chancel and its 15th-century roof both being
particularly good examples of work of their
respective periods; among the fittings the early
Renaissance communion-table is noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (41½ ft.
by 16½ ft.) is of c. 1250 (Plate 12). The E. wall
has a low-pitched gable with an ashlar parapet the
string of which is carved with foliated corbels and
carved angels at the apex and the lower ends. A
13th-century moulded string-course decorated with
mask-corbels has been re-used to support the 15th-century parapet to the N. and S. walls. In the
E. wall are three original lancet-windows with a
conjoined moulded label and mask-stops and with
elaborately moulded two-centred rear-arches with
a moulded label with one carved and one mask-stop over the middle light; the rear-arches are
carried on double or triple detached shafts with
attached moulded capitals and bases; from the
wall behind the capital to each of the central
shafts to the middle light is a small corbel carved
with a knot or foliage. The N. wall has a wall-arcade of six complete bays and a half bay at either
end, all with moulded two-centred arches with
moulded labels and mask-stops; the arches are
carried on detached shafts with moulded capitals
and bases of similar detail to the shafts to the
E. window; the easternmost angle-shaft is
carried up to above the springing to carry the
half-arch of the E. bay and the westernmost shaft
has been taken away and replaced by a corbel
carved as a half-angel, probably of 15th-century
date, which supports the 13th-century capital;
within the second, fourth, sixth and seventh bays
are lancet-windows with chamfered jambs and
moulded labels with mask-stops; between the
two westernmost windows and behind the column
of the wall-arcade, is an original blocked doorway
with a square head and roll-moulded jambs carried
up to form a trefoiled tympanum. The S. wall has
an internal wall-arcade uniform with that of the
N. wall; in the second bay is a partly restored
early 14th-century window of two uncusped lights
with a plain spandrel in a two-centred head with
a moulded label and mask-stops; in the fourth bay
is a lancet-window similar to those in the N. wall,
with a moulded label and 14th-century mask-stops and in the sixth bay is a similar window; in
the seventh bay is a late 15th- or early 16th-century
transomed window of two trefoiled lights with
pierced spandrel in a four-centred head with a
re-used label and mask-stops; the splays of the
former 13th-century lancet have been incorporated
in the later window and are visible above the
head, the jambs of the lower lights are rebated
for shutters, of which the hinge-pins still remain;
the window cuts into a blocked doorway of similar
design to that in the corresponding position in the
N. wall; the 14th-century S. doorway in the
fourth bay has moulded jambs and a two-centred
head. The chancel-arch (Plate 12), of c. 1250, is
two-centred and of a single chamfered order with
moulded labels and mask-stops; the arch is carried
by single detached shafts with moulded capitals,
modern bases and a double chamfered band-course
midway up the shaft; the responds have chamfered
angles; externally, a projecting moulded string on
the E. face of the wall marks the line of the former
roof of the chancel and towards the nave this line
is indicated on the inside by a difference in the
The Nave (63 ft. by 22 ft.) has a N. arcade of
c. 1330; it is of four bays with two-centred arches
of two chamfered orders incorporating 13th-century voussoirs; the octagonal piers and semi-octagonal E. respond have moulded capitals and
repaired bases; the outer order of the westernmost
arch on the W. dies against the end wall, and the
inner order is carried on a corbel carved with the
bust of a man and with a moulded capping. E. of
the arcade, high up against the chancel-wall is a
square-headed doorway to the former rood-loft.
The S. arcade is similar to the N. arcade and also
incorporates 13th-century material, but the carved
head to the W. corbel is modern. The clearstorey
is of the same date as the arcades and has in each
wall a range of four windows, each of two uncusped
lights with a plain spandrel in a two-centred head
with a moulded label and stops carved variously
with heads, masks and beasts; externally the walls
have an embattled 16th-century parapet with a
moulded string and five carved gargoyles on each
Alconbury, the Parish Church of S.S. Peter & Paul
The North Aisle (13 ft. wide) is of c. 1330
and has a late 15th-century embattled parapet
with five carved gargoyles on the string; the
buttresses on either side of the N. doorway are of
17th-century date and are inscribed respectively
"TA. IP. C.W. 1684" and "1684"; the upper
part of the W. wall has been re-built. The slightly
repaired E. window is of c. 1330 and of three
trefoiled ogee lights with net-tracery in a two-centred head with a moulded label and mask-stops. In the N. wall are three windows; the
easternmost is of c. 1330 and generally similar
to the E. window but has been much restored;
the second is of the same date and of two ogee
lights with uncusped net-tracery in a segmental-pointed head with a moulded label and restored
stops; the westernmost window is of late 15th-century date and of two cinque-foiled lights with a
pierced spandrel in a four-centred head with a
moulded label and grotesque head-stops; the N.
doorway is of c. 1330 and has moulded jambs and
two-centred head with a moulded label and head-stops. In the S.E. angle of the aisle are the upper
stairs, leading to the rood-loft; they were not
enclosed. The W. wall has a restored two-light
window of late 15th-century date of similar design
to the westernmost window in the N. wall.
The South Aisle (12¾ ft. wide) has a late 15th-century embattled parapet with five carved
gargoyles on the string-course. In the E. wall is a
window of three lancets grouped under a two-centred head, and though of 13th-century origin
it is mostly modern except the splays and rear-arch and parts of the jambs and main head; the
internal sill is partly old and has the moulded
edge continued along the wall as a string-course.
In the S. wall are three windows; the easternmost
is of 14th-century date partly restored and of three
trefoiled lights with net-tracery in a segmental-pointed head with a moulded label and carved
head-stops; the jambs and head are moulded;
the second window is of late 15th-century date,
partly restored, and of three cinque-foiled lights
with vertical tracery in a four-centred head with
moulded reveals and label; the window replaces
two 13th-century windows, now blocked but with
parts of the jambs, splays and rear-arches still
visible; the westernmost window is of c. 1280–90
and has two plain pointed lights with a quatrefoil
above, under a two-centred moulded label with
head-stops; the S. doorway is of c. 1260 and has a
two-centred arch of three moulded orders with a
moulded label and mask-stops; the orders are
carried on circular shafts with moulded capitals
and badly worn bases; the capitals on the E.
side are a 15th-century restoration; one shaft
on the E. side is modern. In the W. wall is a partly
restored 13th-century lancet-window.
The West Tower (12¾ ft. by 12 ft.) is of three
stages surmounted by an octagonal broach-spire
(Plate 16). The first two stages were re-built in 1877 incorporating some old material
which, with the upper part of the tower, is of
c. 1280–90. Part of the moulded plinth is
original and the tower-arch incorporates the
original moulded caps to the responds, some of
the voussoirs and jamb-stones and parts of the
label on the E. side. In the W. wall is a lancet-window with some re-used dressings. In the
second stage the circular quatre-foiled light in the
N. wall is largely original; that in the S. wall
incorporates old material in the label and jambs.
The bell-chamber has in each wall a late 13th-century window of two pointed lights with a
quatrefoil in a two-centred arch of two moulded
orders; the inner order is continued down the
jambs and the outer is carried on round shafts with
moulded capitals and bases; the moulded labels
have mask-stops; the nave-roof abuts against
the E. window which has one jamb-shaft missing,
the cusping to the spandrel broken away and lower
part on the W. side blocked with modern brick.
The broach-spire rises from a corbel-table with a
series of trefoiled arches springing from alternate
mask and head-corbels and with small quatrefoil panels in the spandrels between the arches;
The early 14th-century spire has three tiers of
gabled spire-lights in the cardinal faces; the
windows in the lowest tier have each two pointed
lights with a blind cusped spandrel, moulded jambs
and 'ball-flower' ornament on the underside of the
coping to the gable and plain crosses at the heads;
the windows of the second tier are each of one
trefoiled light with a sunk spandrel in the gable
and those to the third tier are similar but have
each a single pointed light.
The South Porch (12 ft. by 10¾ ft.) was added
c. 1340 and has a restored outer archway with a
four-centred head of two moulded orders and a
moulded label with one head and one beast-stop;
the responds are semi-octagonal and have moulded
capitals and bases; the whole archway appears
to have been re-set and the wall is largely modern.
The side walls have embattled parapets resting
on corbels carved with grotesque, human and
beasts' heads; the corbelling terminates about
three feet from the S. wall where it is replaced by
a moulded string of later date; in each side wall
is a partly restored window of two trefoiled ogee
lights with tracery in a square head with a moulded
label, and defaced head-stops.
The Roof to the chancel (Plate 46) is of late
15th-century date and in four bays with cambered
and moulded tie-beams supported on curved and
moulded braces forming four-centred arches,
moulded wall-posts, purlins and ridge; each bay is
sub-divided by a moulded principal rafter with
carved bosses at the intersections with the purlins
and ridge, and carved angels with outspread wings at
the junction with the wall-plates; the angels holding
the following instruments: N. side, (a) a shield;
(b) a lute; (c) now missing; (d) a wreath; S. side,
(a) a shield, (b) a cross, (c) a palm-leaf and orb; (d)
is a seraph standing on a pedestal; the wall-posts
rest on semi-circular moulded corbels. The late
15th- or early 16th-century roof of the nave was
repaired in 1635 and is low-pitched and of six
bays with moulded main timbers; the cambered
tie-beams have curved braces forming flat four-centred arches; at the feet of some of the braces
are various carved figures, one holding a shield
with the date and initials 1635 R.W.; the corbels
are of 1635 and are carved with rosettes, face
and swags respectively; the intermediate tie-beams have plain shields at the junctions with the
wall-plate and the main intersections have bosses
of conventional foliage; the wall-plates of the
three eastern bays, except the S.E. bay, have
carved angels with spread wings; on two wall-posts, against the E. wall, are the initials F.D.
The late 15th- or early 16th-century roof of the
N. aisle is of pent type and of twelve bays with
moulded main timbers and foliated decorations
at the intersections; the principals have curved
braces and five of the wall-posts, on the S. side,
have figures holding scrolls, a crown, a wreath
and a shield; the posts on the N. have various
shaped shields, one painted with a fleur-de-lis
and one with a rose-sprig; the N. wall-plate is
embattled and partly restored. The roof of the
S. aisle is of the same date as that of the N. aisle
and of generally similar construction; four of the
wall-posts on the N. have carved angels. The
partly restored late 15th-century roof of the S.
porch is low-pitched and of one bay with moulded
Fittings—Bells: six; 4th by Thomas Norris,
1673. Bracket: In chancel—on N. wall, in the
fourth bay, shaped and morticed at back for
wooden upright; perhaps connected with the
lenten-veil. Brass Indent: In nave—in grey
marble slab, of man and wife and inscription-plate, early 16th-century. Chest: Under W.
tower—with four rectangular panels on front with
moulded styles, three lock-plates, resting on two
bearers with projecting shaped ends, early 17th-century. Coffins: In churchyard—S. of tower,
two, of stone, one broken and the other with
remains of lid showing stem of a cross, late 13th- or
early 14th-century. Communion Table: (Plate
151) with four corner legs in form of Doric columns
each with enriched drum of arabesque-ornament
and resting on cross-bearers with grotesque masks
carved at ends; legs connected at sides by small
moulded arch with pendants in middle and small
arcade under middle of table with similar arches
supported on small Doric columns resting on
moulded cross strainer; top rails ornamented
with carved cherub-heads above legs and in middle
of front; top apparently modern; early 17th-century. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to Elizabeth,
wife of John Howell, 1699–1700; (2) to Mary
(Howell) wife of Charles Chambers, 1703;
(3) to John Howell, 1703–4, with shield-of-arms.
In nave—(4) to Elizabeth, daughter of John
Jeffery, 1699. In S. aisle—(5) to Howell, son of
John Jefferey, 1709(?) Font: with plain octagonal
bowl with moulded under-edge, octagonal stem
and moulded base, possibly 15th-century, but
entirely re-cut. Glass: In spandrels of clear-storey windows, fragments consisting of pieces of
borders, tabernacle-work, flowers, parts of figures,
quarries with fleurs-de-lis, and part of 'black-letter'
inscription, 14th- and 15th-century. Lockers: In
chancel—in E. wall, two, square, rebated for doors
with iron fixing on northernmost; in middle, a
third with a double opening, also rebated for
doors, probably all 13th-century. Paintings: In
chancel—on splays of windows, traces of masonry
lines, etc.; on splayed head of blocked doorway
on S. side, conventional foliage pattern, 13th-century. Piscinae: In N. aisle—in S. wall, with
chamfered jambs and trefoiled head, semi-octofoiled drain, 14th-century. In S. aisle—in
S. wall, with chamfered jambs and trefoiled head,
one round and one octofoiled drain, 13th-century.
Plate: includes cup and cover-paten of 1634, the
cup inscribed and dated 1634; pewter alms-dish
given by T. Papworth, late 17th-century, and
pewter flagon given by Edward Daniell, 1638.
Pulpit: of oak, largely modern but incorporating
15th-century buttresses in pairs at the angles, with
gabled and crocketed pinnacles and trumpet-stem
with moulded ribs. Recess: In S. aisle—in S. wall,
with moulded jambs and segmental-pointed head,
probably tomb-recess, 14th-century. Miscellanea:
Built into walls of chancel—various 12th-century
stones, including enriched impost, shafting, etc.;
in third buttress on N. side, fragment with interlacing ornament, probably pre-Conquest. In
vicarage garden—various worked and moulded
stones of various dates including the stone base
of a cross, with socket for shaft and part of a
late 13th- or early 14th-century coffin-lid with a
b(2). Homestead Moat, about 1½ m. S.S.W. of
b(3). Weybridge Farm, house, moat and earth-works, nearly 2 m. S. of the church. The House
is of two storeys, timber-framed and plastered;
the roofs are tiled. It was built probably late in
the 16th century on an L-shaped plan, with the
wings extending towards the E. and S. There is
a small 17th-century addition on the N. side. The
house has a brick plinth carried round at various
levels and finished with a stone capping. The
timber-framing is partly exposed on the W. side
and also in the walls of the N. addition. On the
N. side is an early 18th-century panelled door.
Inside the building some of the rooms have exposed
ceiling-beams. The first-floor room in the E.
wing has a segmental plaster ceiling and an early
17th-century stone fireplace with a joggled lintel
and rounded angles to the opening; the jambs
and lintel are moulded; lying in the same room
are two pieces of clunch with grotesque carving
and tracery perhaps formerly placed above the
fireplace. The roofs are of collar-beam type.
The Moat formerly protected the N. and parts
of the E. and W. sides; owing to the fall of the
ground the rest of the rectangular site is protected
by escarpments forming a fairly level platform.
Condition—Of house, bad, partly ruinous.
b(4). Bridge (Plate 131), across the Alconbury
Brook, 400 yards S.S.E. of the church, is of ashlar,
repaired with brick and with brick parapets. The
bridge was built perhaps in the 15th century and is
of four spans with segmental-pointed arches, chamfered on the face, and with cut-water piers. The
easternmost arch has been re-built and is semi-circular and the southern face of the second arch
has been re-built in brick. The cut-waters on the
N. side are also mostly of brick.
a(5). Manor Farm, house and barn, 40 yards
S.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys
with attics; the walls are of brick and the roofs
are tiled. It was built early in the 17th century
with a central block and cross-wings at the E. and
W. ends; probably late in the 17th century a
block was added on the S.W. The N. front has
an original doorway in the main block with a
moulded frame and a door of plain battens; further
E. is an original window of eight lights with chamfered frame and mullions; above the doorway is
a similar window of two lights. The gables of the
two cross-wings have each an original window
with a chamfered brick label. The S. front has
two original gables with moulded copings; the
smaller gable is on the end of a small staircase-wing from which the staircase has been removed.
The late 17th-century block has two hipped gables
and contains a small re-set window with a solid
frame. The chimney-stack at the E. end of the
house, is original and has grouped diagonal shafts
on a rectangular base with a moulded capping.
The central stack is also original and has two
detached shafts, set diagonally.
Inside the building are some original moulded
ceiling-beams, and on the first floor is some original
panelling. The attics have some plain battened
doors and the modern main staircase incorporates
old square newels with moulded terminals.
The Barn, E.N.E. of the house, is of two storeys;
the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. It
was built probably early in the 18th century.
The brick wall of the garden, S. of the house, is
probably of late 17th- or early 18th-century date.
Condition—Of house, good.
a(6). Manor House (Plate 72), 180 E.S.E. of
the church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and
plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built late in
the 16th century with a cross-wing in the middle;
this wing was perhaps extended, at the back, in the
17th century and a kitchen was added on the same
side, probably early in the 18th century. The
N.W. front has some exposed timber-framing
and the upper storey projects along the whole
front, on curved brackets; the cross-wing has a
high gable and N.E. of it are two small projecting
gables; a bay-window to the ground-floor has a
moulded cornice with billet-ornament. The central
chimney-stack has a moulded base and capping
and a small pilaster on each face. Inside the
building the N.E. room has original moulded
ceiling-beams. The house also contains some
early 18th-century doors.
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.
Condition—Good, or fairly good.
a(7). Cottage, 30 yards N. of the church, is of
late 17th- or early 18th-century date.
a(8). Cottage, 40 yards N. of (7), was built
probably early in the 18th century.
a(9). Outbuilding, on the E. side of the road,
20 yards N.E. of (7), is of one storey and has been
re-built round a 17th-century chimney-stack and
incorporates a stone panel, inscribed "Edw.
Haddon Vic. 1685."
a(10). Cottage, 60 yards N.E. of (6), was built
probably early in the 18th century.
a(11). Cottage, on the E. side of the road, 200
yards S.S.E. of the church.
a(12). Cottage, opposite (11), was built probably
early in the 18th century.
a(13). Bell Inn, 40 yards S.S.E. of (12), has an
original central chimney-stack with three detached
a(14). Cottage, on the E. side of the Green, ¼ m.
S.S.E. of the church, was built probably early in
the 18th century.
a(15). Cottage, S.S.E. of (14).
Alconbury, Plan Showing the Position of Monuments.
a(16). Cottage, two tenements, S.S.E. of (15).
a(17). Cottage, 50 yards S.E. of (16), was built,
probably, early in the 18th century.
a(18). Cottage, 40 yards S.E. of (17), is of late
17th- or early 18th-century date.
a(19). House, 50 yards S.E. of (18), is of
T-shaped plan with the cross-wing at the S.E. end
and has been partly refaced with brick. The central chimney-stack of the main block is original
and has square grouped shafts and remains of the
painted date 16 . . . The base of the S.E. chimney-stack is also original. Inside the building one
room has an original moulded ceiling-beam.
a(20). Sluice Farm, house 220 yards S.E. of (19),
is of rectangular plan but consists of two wings
extending N.W. and N.E. The original central
chimney-stack has four grouped shafts on a rectangular base with a moulded capping and pilasters
at the angles. Inside the building some rooms
have original moulded ceiling-beams and the N.E.
room has a shaped wall-bracket.
b(21). Weybridge Lodge, house 1¾ m. S.S.W. of
the church, is of two storeys with attics and has
been almost entirely refaced with brick late in the
18th century. Inside the building are two original
doors with moulded battens and strap-hinges.