7. BLUNTISHAM CUM EARITH (E.d.).
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XIX N.E., (b)XIX S.E.)
Bluntisham is a parish 4½ m. E.N.E. of St. Ives;
it contains the two villages of Bluntisham and
Earith. The principal monuments are the church
and Earith bulwark.
a(1). About ¾ m. N. of the village of Earith, in a
field called The Meadows, some burnt clay and
a small broken arch, which were thought to be the
remains of a kiln, were found in 1879. Near by
was a rubbish-pit containing numerous Romano-British potsherds, a piece of Samian ware marked
CAMPANIO. Around the site much other pottery,
querns, etc., and a burial by inhumation, with a
bowl, probably of post-Claudian date, have been
found. About 700 yards E. of Bluntisham church,
near the River Ouse, a small bronze statuette
inlaid with silver was discovered about 1814.
These discoveries may indicate the site of a
fen-village of the Romano - British period.
[Reliquary XX (1879) 245; Camb. and Hunts
Antiq. Soc. Trans., II, 252 ff; Babbington, Ancient
Camb., p. 76; Camb. Antiq. Soc. Comm., III, 231;
Proc. Soc. Antiq. (2 Ser.) IV, 498.]
b(2). Parish Church of St. Mary (Plate 20)
stands S.E. of the village of Bluntisham. The
walls generally are of stone and pebble-rubble
with Ketton, Barnack and clunch dressings:
the side walls of the chancel are ashlar-faced
and there is some brick in the top stage of the
tower. The roofs are covered with tiles and lead.
The Chancel and North Vestry or Chapel were
built c. 1330 and the West Tower c. 1370–80.
The Nave and Aisles were re-built c. 1450 and
the Porches added, the aisles being extended
westwards to the face of the tower and arches
pierced in the N. and S. walls of the tower; the
chancel-arch was re-built at the same time. The
church was restored in the 19th century when the
chancel was much altered and repaired, the N.
wall being re-built or refaced with ashlar and the
N. Vestry partly re-built. The W. tower has been
restored in recent years.
Bluntisham, the Parish Church of St Mary
The apsidal end of the chancel is an unusual
feature and the nave is a good example of 15th-century work. Among the fittings the paintings on
the screen are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (37 ft.
by 18 ft.) is of c. 1330 and has a three-sided
apse (Plate 20), each face gabled and
finished with a modern cross or finial; between
the gables are carved gargoyles; in each
face is a window of two trefoiled lights with
leaf-tracery in a two-centred head and with
moulded external splays; the internal angles of
the apse have each a modern shaft with a moulded
base which may perhaps be ancient. In the N.
wall of the chancel is a two-centred arch of two
chamfered orders with a modern label; the outer
order is continuous and the inner rests on attached
shafts with moulded capitals and hollow-chamfered
bases; further W. is a window with external splays
and of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil in a
two-centred head. In the S. wall are three windows
all with moulded external splays, the easternmost
is of two pointed lights with a plain spandrel in a
two-centred head; the mullion is modern; the
middle window has a modern mullion and tracery
in an opening similar to that of the easternmost
window; the westernmost window is entirely
modern; below this window is a 'low-side,' set
unusually low in the wall and of two square-headed lights with moulded jambs and mullion;
it retains its iron bars and stancheons but is now
blocked. The 15th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two moulded orders with a moulded
label; the moulded responds have each three
attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases.
The North Vestry or Chapel (9½ ft. by 10½ ft.)
is of c. 1330, much restored and mostly re-built.
In the E. wall is a window of three trefoiled ogee
lights in a segmental-pointed outer order with a
modern internal label having old corbel-stops with
carved heads, re-set. In the N. wall is a modern
window. In the W. wall is a partly restored
doorway with jambs and two-centred head of two
The Nave (51½ ft. by 16½ ft.) has mid 15th-century N. and S. arcades of four bays with two-centred arches of two moulded orders, similar to
the chancel-arch; the moulded columns have each
four attached shafts with moulded capitals and
bases, similar to the chancel-arch responds; the
responds have attached half-columns; E. of the
N.E. arch is an upper doorway to the rood-loft
staircase; it has a rebated W. jamb and square
head; cutting into the label of the E. arch on each
side of the nave is the socket for the front beam of
the former loft; the staircase-turret is now blocked
and the lower doorway is not now visible. The
clearstorey has on each side four 15th-century
windows, each of two cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head and all restored externally. On the
E. face of the tower is the weathering of the earlier
and lower roof of the nave, before the clearstorey
The North Aisle (11¾ ft. wide) is of c. 1450 and
has in the E. wall a window of three pointed lights
in a four-centred head with casement-moulded
jambs and moulded label; the mullions and heads
of the lights have been restored. In the N. wall are
four windows each of three trefoiled lights with
vertical tracery in a four-centred head with a
moulded label; the mullions and tracery of the two
easternmost windows are modern; each window is
set in an internal wall-recess with moulded jambs,
two-centred arch and plinth; the N. doorway has
moulded and shafted jambs, two-centred arch and
moulded label; W. of it is a doorway to a turret-staircase, with chamfered jambs and two-centred
head. In the W. wall is a window and wall-recess
similar to those in the N. wall but the window is
partly restored and has a four-centred head to the
The South Aisle (11¾ ft. wide) is of c. 1450 and
has in the E. wall a window of three tall four-centred lights, formerly cusped, and with a four-centred head, sunk-chamfered jambs and a moulded
label. In the S. wall are four windows and recesses
all uniform to the corresponding windows in
the N. aisle and all partly restored; the S.
doorway is uniform with the N. doorway. In the
W. wall is a window and recess uniform with that in
the W. wall of the N. aisle.
The West Tower (13¼ ft. by 12 ft.) is of c. 1370–80,
and of three stages with a moulded plinth and an
embattled parapet of ashlar; the parapet-string
has carved paterae and faces. The stair-turret,
in the N.E. angle, is finished with a stone vault
supported on chamfered cross-ribs. The E. tower-arch is two-centred and of three chamfered orders,
the two outer continuous and the inner springing
from attached shafts with moulded capitals and
bases all of Barnack stone. The 15th-century N.
and S. arches of the tower are two-centred and of
two wave-moulded orders, the two outer die on
to a large wave-moulded order of the responds
and the inner springs from attached shafts with
moulded capitals and bases, all of clunch repaired
in modern Ketton-stone. The doorway of the
stair-turret has chamfered jambs and two-centred
arch of Barnack stone. The 15th-century W.
doorway has partly restored moulded and shafted
jambs, two-centred arch and moulded label; the
W. window, of the same date, is of three lights,
two cinque-foiled and the middle one trefoiled,
with modern mullions and tracery in a two-centred
head. The second stage has in each face a single
pointed light, that on the S. altered. The bell-chamber has in each wall a window of two restored
trefoiled and transomed lights with a quatrefoil in a
two-centred head with a moulded label, continued
along the wall-face. The octagonal spire is of
ashlar and has three ranges of spire-lights, four in
each range and the ranges set alternately in the
cardinal and intermediate faces of the spire. The
windows of the two lower ranges are each of two
trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred
head set in a gable; the windows of the top range
are each of one trefoiled light in a gabled head.
The North Porch is of c. 1450 and was formerly
of two storeys, but now of one only and reduced
in height. The outer archway has moulded jambs
and two-centred arch in a segmental-pointed
head with a moulded label and foliated spandrels;
the inner order of the arch is cinque-foiled and
sub-cusped with foliated spandrels. The angle-buttresses are finished with gargoyles and the
string-course above is pierced for downpipes.
The side walls have each a window of two cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head with a moulded
label. High up in the W. wall, internally, are
remains of the lower part of the doorway from the
turret-staircase to the room above the porch.
The turret is finished with a pyramidal capping
above the aisle-parapet.
The South Porch is of c. 1450 and has an outer
archway with moulded jambs, two-centred arch
and label. The side walls have each a window of
two cinque-foiled lights in a four-centred head with
a moulded label.
The Roof of the nave is of the 15th century and
of four bays with moulded tie-beams, wall-posts,
curved braces with traceried spandrels, embattled
wall-plates, partly modern, queen-posts from which
spring four-centred arched braces supporting the
ridge, and chamfered purlins and ridge; the
ridge has carved foliage-bosses in the middle of
each bay, one of which is missing; the wall-posts
stand on well carved stone corbels with figures as
follows—N. side, (a) bearded man with scroll;
(b) angel with shield; (c) angel with pipe or flute;
(d) angel with lute; (e) man in mid 15th-century
civil costume; S. side, (a) modern; (b) angel
with shield; (c) angel with zither; (d and e)
modern. The 15th-century roof of the N. aisle
is of flat pitch with hollow-chamfered principals
and purlin, wall-posts and curved braces; the
stone corbels on the N. wall are carved with an
angel holding a crown, the bust of a bearded man,
Fittings—Bells: eight, 4th by Miles Graye, 1632;
the bell-frame is old. Brackets: In N. porch—
over N. doorway, three, moulded, one broken off,
15th-century. Brass Indents: In nave—(1) of
inscription-plate; (2) of rectangular plate and
inscription-plate; (3) of civilian and wife and
inscription-plate, c. 1460. Communion Table:
At W. end of S. aisle, of oak, with four turned
legs and plain rail, early 17th-century. Doors:
To S. doorway, of oak, with two-centred head
and in five panels on battens with moulded
ribs; hung on two wrought-iron strap-hinges
with foliated ends, early 16th-century, partly
renewed. To doorway to ringing chamber, of
oak, nail-studded, of two vertical planks on
horizontal planks with one moulded rib; hung
on two strap - hinges. Font: (Plate 9)
octagonal bowl of Barnack stone with quatrefoil panel on each face and underside panelled
and carved on each face with grotesque faces,
conventional leaves and flowers; stem of clunch
with shafted angles with moulded bases and each
face panelled with 'window-tracery' of two cinque-foiled 'lights' with a quatrefoil in a two-centred
head with foliated spandrels; moulded base,
stem decayed, c. 1500. Monuments and Floor-slabs: Monuments: In chancel—on N. wall, (1)
to Samuel Saywell, S.T.P., rector of the parish,
1708, and Sara his sister, wife of Andrew Mieres,
1720, slate slab with stone frame, cornice, apron
and shield-of-arms. In churchyard—N. of chancel,
(2) to Adrian Lucas, 1672, brick table-tomb,
with heavy stone slab, inscription re-cut. Floor-slabs: Under tower—(1) with traces of incised
cross; (2) part only, with stem and base of
incised cross, both 14th- or 15th-century. Niches:
In S. aisle—in E. wall, two, flanking window,
rough with rounded and plastered heads; in S.
wall, shallow recess with cinque-foiled ogee head,
moulded, crocketed and finialed label, with head-stops; late 14th- or 15th-century; below last,
small with chamfered jambs and four-centred
head, probably for lamp, 15th-century. On N.
porch—with moulded pedestal and bowed, cinque-foiled and crocketed ogee canopy, with vaulted
soffit, 15th-century. In N. porch—over N. doorway,
rough recess with rounded head. On S. porch—
similar to niche on N. porch but much weathered.
In S. porch—over S. doorway, rough recess with
rounded head. Paintings: In N. aisle—over N.
doorway, traces of paintings. In S. aisle, on S.E.
respond, patch of rough brocade-pattern in red line,
16th-century. See also Screen. Panelling: In
chancel—back of stalls, two lengths of late 16th- or
early 17th-century panelling. Piscina: In S. aisle
—at E. end of S. wall, with moulded jambs and
cinque-foiled ogee head and quatre-foiled drain,
15th-century. Plate: includes a cup and cover-paten of 1569 with incised ornament round rim of
cup and egg and dart pattern round base; a stand-paten of 1693, inscribed; an inscribed plate of
1702 or 1711; an inscribed flagon of 1705 and a
plain unmarked salver. Pulpit: modern but with
old ogee trumpet-stem with moulded ribs at
angles. Recess: In chancel—in N. wall at W.
end, with chamfered jambs and round head, date
and purpose uncertain. Screen: In W. tower,
two bays and return end of lower part of former
rood-screen, with moulded styles and rail and
bays divided on outside by small buttresses;
outer sides with cinque-foiled sub-cusped panels
with foliated spandrels; inside panels originally
with cinque-foiled sub-cusped tracery now all
gone; panels (Plate 19) of two main bays
painted—(a) St. John the Baptist with Lamb,
on top of an earlier painting of which head
of figure remains; background of black,
spotted with flowers. The Baptist wears a
red robe and has a nimbus and holds the
'Agnus Dei' in his left arm; behind the figure,
scroll with 'black-letter' inscription "Ecce Agnus
Dei"; (b) St. George and Dragon on red background spotted with white flowers. The saint is
bearded and wears a plumed head-dress and
armour; he is mounted on a white horse, holds a
lance in his right hand and on his breast is a red
cross; the horse has red harness. The painting
is superimposed upon an earlier painting apparently
of the same subject, and an earlier red lance is
still visible. Screen and earlier paintings, 15th-century, later paintings, early 16th-century.
Seating: In N. aisle—bench with shaped ends,
panelled back and modern seat, 16th-century.
At W. end of N. aisle—bench with shaped ends,
one broken slightly, panelled back and modern
seat, 16th-century. Pews: in E. end of N. aisle,
with front divided into three bays by fluted
Doric pilasters with rectangular panel in middle
bay and round-headed panels in side bays with
fluted pilasters; also two side-panels, early 17th-century. Stoup: In N. porch—E. of N. doorway,
cemains of round bowl, recessed in wall, 15th-century. Tiles: In S. aisle—at E. end, small
square tiles with remains of glaze, mediæval.
Miscellanea: In chancel—modern kneeling-stool
with front of trefoil-headed sub-cusped panel, of
oak, with foliated spandrels, 15th-century.
Condition—Generally good, but the stonework of
the tower is cracked in places and some of the
window-stonework is much damaged.
a (3). The Bulwark, Earith, stands in low
marshy ground, about 150 yards N. of Earith
Bridge over the New Bedford River. The work,
which covers 4¾ acres, exclusive of the outwork,
consists of a nearly rectangular fort of 80 yards
on each side, with bastions, and has a continuous rampart, a ditch and an outer bank
with glacis and covered way, the latter being
developed in the middle of each face into
a re-entering place-of-arms or platform,
covered by a small salient or flêche. An
outer ditch surrounds the whole work except
on the N.W. where a slight rectangular outwork,
50 yards wide, projects for 110 yards and possibly
covered an entrance (though this work is not
given on a plan in Stowe MSS. 1025, p. 55, where
the enceinte is shown as continuous). The inner
rampart, where best preserved, is 9½ ft. and the
outer 7½ ft. above the inner ditch. There are no
signs of any gun-platforms or cavaliers. The
form of the earthwork indicates a 17th-century
date, and it was probably thrown up during the
Condition—Fairly good, except at S. angle.
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, unless noted.
b(4). Cottage, on the W. side of the road, 600
yards W.N.W. of the church, has an original
central chimney-stack with the date 1690.
b(5). House (Plate 149), three tenements, on
the S. side of the road, at East End, 600 yards
N.W. of the church, was built late in the 17th or
early in the 18th century on an L-shaped plan with
the wings extending towards the N. and E. The
walls are mostly of brick and the front has a brick
band between the storeys and a modillioned eaves-cornice. Some of the windows are original and have
solid frames, mullions and transoms. Inside the
building, the S.W. room has a moulded panel over
the fireplace and a half-round recess with a
plastered half-dome to the W. of the fireplace.
A room on the first floor has an original moulded
architrave to the fireplace, and a moulded panel
and cornice over it.
The Bulwark at Earith Huntingdonshire.
a(6). Cottage, W. of (5).
a(7). Rose and Crown Inn, on the W. side of the
road, 20 yards N.W. of (6), was built early in the
16th century, probably with a central block and
cross-wings at the E. and W. ends. The roofs are
now all ridged from N. to S. and the house has been
much altered. Inside the building, the room in the
central block has an original moulded ceiling-beam.
a(8). House, range of three tenements, on the E.
side of the road, 60 yards N.N.E. of (7), has a later
addition at the S. end. The original central
chimney-stack has four square grouped shafts.
Inside the building, one room on the ground-floor
has a late 17th- or early 18th-century corner-cupboard.
b(9). Cottage, on the S. side of the road, 600
yards W. of Seven Holes Bridge, was built late
in the 17th or early in the 18th century.
b(10). House, now shop and tenements, 100
yards E. of (9), was built probably early in the
18th century on an L-shaped plan, with the wings
extending towards the W. and S. The walls are
partly of brick.
b(11). George Inn, on the N. side of the road,
opposite (10), is of L-shaped plan, with the wings
extending towards the W. and N. The N. wing has
18th-century extensions. The original central
chimney-stack has four detached shafts, set
diagonally on a square base. Inside the building,
three of the ground-floor rooms have original
moulded ceiling-beams; the middle room of the
W. wing is lined with original panelling and retains
parts of a frieze with arabesque-ornament; the
cornice is of early 18th-century date as is the fire-place, with a moulded architrave, cornice and overmantel; the overmantel has a large panel in the
middle, flanked by panelled pilasters with carved
swags. The N. room of the same wing is lined with
early 18th-century panelling, with a moulded
cornice and dado-rail and a moulded architrave to
the fireplace-opening. The room at the angle of the
building has an early 18th-century corner-cupboard
and there are several panelled doors of the same