27. EYNESBURY (C.f.)
(O.S. 6 in. XXV S.E.)
Eynesbury is a parish and village adjoining
St. Neots on the S. The Church is the principal
(1). Slight traces on the right bank of the Ouse,
in a place known as Conygeare, ¼ m. S.W. of the
church, are all that is left of an earthwork which
has been ascribed to the Roman period. The only
evidence of date is that afforded by finds of Roman
coins and pottery within the area (Gorham's
History of Eynesbury and St. Neots). In the
absence of excavation, it is impossible to determine
the date or character of the earthworks.
(2). Parish Church of St. Mary stands in
the middle of the town. The walls generally are
of pebble-rubble with some freestone; the tower is
faced with ashlar; the dressings are of clunch,
Barnack and other freestone. The roofs are
covered with tiles and lead. The earliest part of
the building is the base of the S. wall of the Chancel,
which is of the 12th century or earlier. The
N. arcade of the Nave has typical 12th-century
capitals in the western part and, in the E. half,
equally typical early 13th-century carved foliage
capitals, there being no apparent difference in
detail and date in any other parts of the masonry
of the arcade. It may be assumed that this was the
first instalment of a rebuilding of an earlier nave
and that the western part was first built perhaps
outside the W. end of an earlier building; the
rest of the arcade was then proceeded with, the
whole work taking perhaps from c. 1170–80 to
the end of the century to complete. A S. Tower
was added about the middle of the 13th century
and towards the end of the same century the S.
arcade was built; the narrow South Aisle, then
added or re-built, was apparently determined by
the position of the S. tower or by the width of an
earlier aisle. About the same time the chancel
was re-built, and soon afterwards the North Aisle
was re-built and widened. The clearstorey was
added late in the 15th century. The S. Tower is
said to have been struck by lightning in the 17th
century and its fall seriously damaged the chancel;
the Tower was re-built in 1687, but the chancel was
only patched up and re-roofed at about half its
former height. The Chancel was largely re-built
soon after the middle of the 19th century and the
church has been generally restored.
Eynesbury, the Parish Church of St Mary
The carved capitals of the N. arcade are
interesting and there is a remarkable series of early
Architectural Description—The Chancel (34½ ft.
by 15¾ ft.) is largely modern, but incorporates
re-used material, the 13th-century N.E. angle
and some old walling, perhaps of the 12th century,
under the S. windows; near the W. end of this
wall is the base of a 13th-century inserted doorway,
with moulded jambs. The late 13th-century
chancel-arch, is two-centred and of two hollow-chamfered orders, divided on the W. face by a band
of flattened 'dog-tooth' ornament; the responds
appear to be entirely modern.
The Nave (61¾ ft. by 20¾ ft.) has a N. arcade
(Plate 54) of the last quarter of the 12th
century and of five bays; the two-centred
arches are of two orders, the outer square
and the inner chamfered; the columns are
cylindrical and the responds have attached half-columns; all have carved capitals (Plate 55),
square chamfered abaci and moulded bases more
or less defaced or restored; the carving of the
capitals advances in form from W. to E.; the W.
respond and westernmost pier have scalloped
capitals, the next pier has crude foliage; the
remaining piers with the E. respond are carved with
free foliage; the wall above the arcade is distorted
by unequal settlement. The late 13th-century
S. arcade is of five bays with two-centred arches of
two hollow-chamfered orders with a much restored
moulded label on the N. face; the octagonal
columns and semi-octagonal responds have moulded
capitals and bases; the eastern respond-base is
modern. The late 15th-century clearstorey has
on each side five windows, each of two cinque-foiled
lights in a four-centred head with moulded external
reveals and label. Externally, the line of the earlier
gable is visible on the E. face of the E. wall. The
W. window is modern, except for the rear-arch,
which may be of late 13th- or early 14th-century
date; the W. doorway is also modern, but
incorporates some old stones.
The North Aisle (12¼ ft. wide) has in the E.
wall a window, all modern except for the late
13th-century splays. In the N. wall are four
windows, all modern externally, but with the splays
and rear-arches probably of late 13th-century date;
the 13th- or 14th-century N. doorway has jambs
and two-centred arch of two moulded orders with
a label, probably modern; the outer order and
label are covered with Roman cement.
The South Aisle (6 ft. wide) has an E. window,
all modern externally, but with splays and rear-arch probably of late 13th-century date; above the
window internally is an arched thickening of the
wall, probably of the date of the tower. In the S.
wall are three windows, the easternmost of the
same date and detail as the clearstorey windows;
the two other windows are square-headed, all
modern externally, but with splays and rear-arches
of late 13th- or early 14th-century date; the late
13th-century S. doorway has jambs and two-centred arch of two chamfered orders with a
moulded label and mask-stops.
The Tower (12 ft. by 12½ ft.) is of c. 1687 and
of three stages (Plate 5) with an embattled
parapet and pyramidal pinnacles, with ball-tops,
at the angles. About half-way up the second
stage, at the angles of the tower, are crude
corbel-heads. The mid 13th-century tower-arch,
re-set, is two-centred and of two hollow-chamfered
orders with a chamfered label on the N. face;
the responds have semi-octagonal attached shafts
with moulded bases and capitals carved with
nail-head ornament; the capitals have no
abaci. The E. and S. walls have each a re-set
13th-century window of one pointed light with
a moulded label and head-stops. In the W.
wall is a doorway, with chamfered jambs and
modern head. The second stage has in the
S. wall a single-light window with a segmental-pointed head and a moulded label with decayed
stops; in the same wall is a moulded panel
inscribed "1687 Henrey Ashley, Thomas Rutland,
Churchwardnes"; other parts of the masonry
have numerous initials, the name John Thody
and the same date repeated. The bell-chamber
has in each wall a pair of windows with segmental-pointed heads, moulded labels and crude carved
stops; the division between the windows has an
Fittings—Brass Indents: In S. aisle—(1) of
half or possibly kneeling figure or figures, inscription
and one other plate, marginal inscription with
symbols of evangelists at angles, 15th-century;
(2) of man and two wives and inscription-plate,
late 15th- or early 16th-century; (3) of man, wife,
and inscription-plate, 15th-century. In rectory
garden—(4) fragment with remains of indent of
canopy, two shields and marginal-inscription, late
14th- or early 15th-century. Chests: In nave—
small, of hutch-type, with panelled front, ends and
lid, late 16th-century. In S. aisle—of hutch-type,
panelled front with carved designs in panels, one
lock, early 17th-century. In tower—small, iron-bound, with one lock and four hasps, 17th-century
or earlier. Communion Table: In S. aisle—round
legs with Composite capitals and acanthus enrichment, legs joined by wide shaped and pierced
stretcher, moulded top rails, inlaid top, early 18th-century. Monuments: In tower—on S. wall, (1)
to John Turner S.T.B., 1705, minister of this
church, stone tablet with scrolled sides, cherub-heads, books and shield-of-arms; (2) to Edward
Turner, 1714, rector of the parish, stone tablet with
scrolled sides, festoons of fruit, cherub-heads and
cartouche-of-arms. Painting: On W. capital of
tower-arch—faint traces of small foliated enrichment on bell of capital. Piscina: In chancel—recess
with hollow-chamfered jambs and cinque-foiled
arch in a square head, with foliated spandrels,
quatre-foiled drain, 15th-century. Plate: includes
pewter flagon, probably late 17th-century. Pulpit:
(Plate 153) hexagonal, with inlaid and enriched
panel in each face, moulded base and enriched
capping; at angles, cherub-heads and festoons
of flowers, etc., coved under-side with carved
foliage in relief, c. 1700, base modern. Seating: In
N. aisle—two blocks of pews of four (Plate 52)
and ten pews respectively with front enclosures, all
with moulded rails, fronts and backs panelled with
cusped heads to panels, some foliated spandrels
and flower enrichments to rail-mouldings, moulded
bench-ends (Plate 52) with carved leaves,
paterae and popey-heads (Plate 53) as follows:
—E. block, N. ends, (a) conventional foliage;
(b) two large leaves; (c) three channelled leaves
supporting part of an animal; (d) and (e) foliage;
S. ends, (a) two bearded heads and two women's
heads; (b) two large leaves; (c) large leaf with two
bulls' heads with sockets for horns; (d) and (e)
foliage; W. block, N. ends, (a) foliage; (b) two
leaves and head against cushion; (c) leaves with
crouching animal; (d) foliage; (e) foliage with
camel; (f) foliage and goat; (g) foliage and beast;
(h) foliage and crouching beast; (i) foliage and a
sitting hen; (j) foliage and two heads of monsters;
(k) foliage; S. ends, (a) foliage; (b) foliage and
two beasts' heads; (c) foliage and slender horned
beast; (d) foliage; (e) foliage and stag; (f) foliage
and crouching hound (?); (g) foliage and half bird
and half beast form, without head; (h) foliage and
beast; (i) foliage and stag; (j) foliage and small
beast with nut in mouth; (k) foliage and horse;
all early 16th-century. Weather-vane: In S. aisle
—in case, of brass with fleur-de-lis enrichment
and the pierced initials and date H.A. 1688.
Miscellanea: In same case as vane—iron padlock
of barrel-form, 17th-century. In churchyard—
square stone base, possibly of cross, mediæval.
In rectory garden—stone head of sanctus bell-cote,
with ogee head and square socket for gable-cross.
(3). The Rectory, 120 yards N.W. of the
church, is of two storeys, timber-framed and
plastered; the roofs are tiled. It was built, probably, early in the 17th century with a main block
and cross-wings at the N. and S. ends. The house
was much altered in the 18th century, and there
is a modern addition at the S. end. Inside the
building the N. room is lined with early 17th-century panelling, said to have been brought from
elsewhere and made up with modern work; behind
the panelling there is said to be a carved beam with
the date 1617. Refixed in the hall is a late 16th- or early 17th-century carved panel with the arms
of the Poulterers' Company. Some of the original
chamfered ceiling-beams are exposed.
Eynesbury, Plan Showing the Position of Monuments.
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.
St. Mary's Street. W. side
(4). Range of five tenements, 80 yards N. of
the church, with three tenements in a back wing,
has a moulded eaves-cornice in front; the first-floor
windows have solid frames, mullions and transoms.
(5). House and shop, 25 yards N. of (4), is of two
storeys with attics. The front has a moulded
eaves-cornice and is symmetrically arranged. The
central doorway has a plain moulded hood of shellform and a panelled door. The roof has a central
gable flanked by gabled dormers. Inside the
building some of the rooms have late 17th-century
panelling, cornices and doors. At the top of the
staircase is an original moulded rail with square
newel and turned balusters.
(6). House, four tenements, in yard W. of (5), is
of late 17th- or early 18th-century date.
(7). House, 10 yards N. of (5), is of two storeys
with attics and was built late in the 17th or early
in the 18th century. There is an 18th-century
cornice and fascia below the eaves.
(8). Cottage, two tenements, N. of (7), has some
timber-framing exposed at the N. end.
(9). Range of four tenements, 20 yards N. of (8),
was built, probably, early in the 18th century and
has been largely refaced with brick.
(10). Chequers Inn, about 180 yards N. of
the church may be of early 16th-century date, but
has been much altered in the 18th century and later.
The plan is T-shaped with the cross-wing at the W.
(11). Cottage, two tenements, 20 yards S. of (10),
was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th
(12). Cottage, now tenements, 120 yards S.S.W.
of the church.
(13). Nag's Head Inn and tenement, on the
S.W. side of the road, E. of the churchyard, was
built probably in the 15th century with a central
Hall and cross-wings at the N.W. and S.E. ends.
The N.W. wing was extended, probably in the 17th
century, and this part has the timber-framing
exposed. Inside the building, the Hall-block has
a massive original tie-beam and there is an early
17th-century door of moulded battens. There is a
similar door in the attic and elsewhere there are
two panelled doors of later date.
(14). Cottage, 230 yards, S.E. of (13), was built
probably early in the 18th century.
(15). Cottage, at cross-roads, 50 yards S.S.E. of
(14), was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th
(16). Manor House, on the N.E. side of the road,
60 yards E. of the church, was apparently re-built
in the first half of the 18th century. In the attic
is some re-set early 17th-century panelling.
(17). Cottage, on the N.E. side of Howitt's Lane,
380 yards S.E. of the church, was built probably
early in the 18th century.
(18). Cottage, on the S.W. side of the lane, 40
yards S. of (17), was built probably early in the
(19). House, two tenements, on the S. side of
Luke Street, about 300 yards S.S.E. of the church,
is of L-shaped plan with the wings extending
towards the S. and E. The garden-wall is of late
(20). Low Farm, house 750 yards S.S.E. of the
church, has a cross-wing at the N. end, with a
modern extension on the W.