(O.S. 6 ins. TL 35 N.E.)
Hardwick is a parish of 1438 acres, forming with Toft,
to the S., a parallelogram bounded on the N. by the
highway from Cambridge to St. Neots and on the S. by
the Bourn Brook. Most of it is on boulder clay and over
200 ft. above O.D. The Bin Brook, which runs E., and
a smaller stream flowing S. to the Bourn Brook, rise
in the village. The name Hardwick, like those of Toft,
and Caldecote immediately to the W., suggests secondary settlement.
An ancient E. to W. trackway called 'Port Way'
crosses the parish S. of the village. The village nucleus
is a green about 500 yds. from the trackway. This green
covered more than 10 acres when it was enclosed by
act of 1836 and may already have been reduced. The
church stands at the S. end of the former W. side. Some
growth S. towards Port Way is indicated by the existence
of old closes (see Monument (7)) either side of the Toft
road; on the W. side of this road is a moated site
Apart from modern ribbon development along the N.
boundary on the highway the village is now small;
buildings of 1715–1850 not separately listed are
Hardwick, the Parish Church of St. Mary
(1) Parish Church of St. Mary (Plate 52) stands on a
low rectangular platform, with slight banks enclosing
the churchyard. The structure, consisting of Chancel,
unaisled Nave and West Tower, is of field stones with
freestone and clunch dressings; the chancel roof is
tiled; those of the nave and S. porch are slated. Apart
from the tower it is an indeterminate structure ostensibly
of the late 14th or 15th century, but the last window on
the S. side of the chancel, of early 14th-century character, implies an earlier stone church on the site. No
information has been forthcoming about restoration or
repairs to the fabric; some comparatively noteworthy
fittings have disappeared since J. H. arker described the
churchEcc. Top. Cambs., § 36).
Architectural Description—The Chancel (23¾ ft. by 16 ft.)
has an E. window of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical
tracery. Two side windows on the N. and one at the E. end of
the S. side are each of two cinque-foiled lights with a quatrefoil
in a four-centred head. The second window on the S. side, of
two trefoiled lights with net tracery, is early 14th-century
reset. The 15th-century chancel arch is of two chamfered
orders, the outer continuous, the inner carried on part-octagonal
shafts with moulded caps. The orders are merged at the base
which is chamfered. N. of it is the restored rood stair with
canted upper and lower doorways each with continuous
chamfered jambs and four-centred head.
The Nave (45 ft. by 22¼ ft.) has six windows resembling,
with comparatively minor variations, the three uniform
windows in the chancel; the first two windows on the S. side
have the quatrefoil in the head flanked by short vertical
tracery bars while the third window has septfoiled lights. The
N. doorway, partly blocked, now leads into a modern vestry;
but its continuously chamfered outer order and moulded label
are visible. The S. doorway has a moulded head, chamfered
jambs and no label. The S. porch, 15th-century, has square-headed windows in the side walls: the E. window is of two
lights with trefoiled inner heads; the uniform W. window is of
a single light only. The much-weathered entrance has a four-centred head and is of two chamfered orders, the inner carried
on part-octagonal shafts with moulded caps and bases. The
stone benches are old.
The unbuttressed West Tower (8¼ ft. square) is in three
architectural stages on a tall base with a string-course and a
small offset at each stage, and a similar string-course below the
embattled parapet. It is crowned by a restored octagonal ashlar
spire with a small gabled window in each cardinal face and an
E. doorway at the base with ogee outer and four-centred inner
head. The W. window is of two cinque-foiled lights with
vertical tracery in the head. In the second stage are single-light windows with two-centred heads to N. and S. and a
small 'high door' E. into the nave roof just below the ridge.
The top stage has had a window of two trefoiled lights in each
face: on the N. and S. sides smaller brick windows, of the 18th
or 19th century, have been built inside the old openings; to the
E. and W. the original windows have been restored. A weathercourse on the E. face of the tower for the existing nave roof is
visible above the slates and was evidenly designed for thatch.
The tower arch is of three chamfered orders to the E. and two
to the W. with moulded caps and bases.
The 15th-century queen-post Roofs of the chancel and nave
are similar (Plate 102). That to the chancel, which is ceiled at
collar level, in two bays sub-divided by secondary trusses with
braces forming an arch below the collar, has the centre of the
tie beam omitted from the E. truss to allow for the window.
The closer otherwise resembles the other two main trusses
which have braces from wall posts forming four-centred
arches below the ties, and moulded caps and bases to the queen
posts. The wall plate is embattled. The nave roof is in four
bays open to the ridge piece which may not be original. The
intermediate trusses have no collars and the plates are not
embattled. There are also some structural disparities: the four-centred arches below the nave tie beams, for example, being
partly worked on the underside of the beam. The centre
sections of the closing ties have been omitted to allow for the
chancel and tower arches and the E. truss is fitted to the rood
stair. The nave roof rises off coeval moulded stone corbels.
The roof of the S. porch is also old.
Fittings—Armour: a burgonet of sheet metal, with crest,
peak and hinged ear flaps; c. 1600. Bells: three; not fully accessible but apparently as described by Raven (Church Bells of
Cambs., 149) and all by Robert Taylor, 1797. Bell frame:
diagonally set N.E. and S.W., old. Chest: Of oak planks,
strengthened in front with a rectangular frame and iron-bound; posts at the two ends project above the lid and have
fittings to receive a longitudinal bar, now missing, which
was secured by a central shaped hasp and lock; in addition
there is an internal locking pin; perhaps 16th-century. Communion rail: of cast iron, in Gothic idiom, with oak rail;
first half of 19th century. Font: Octagonal bowl with splayed
underside, possibly 13th-century, retooled, on modern base.
Monuments and Floor slab. Monuments: In churchyard—some
15 ft. S. of S. porch entrance (1) low tomb chest, the sides of
which are now below ground level, with a number of small
dowel holes in the top and indents for an inlaid inscription of
three or more lines; from accounts by Layer and Cole (Palmer,
Inscriptions and Arms from Cambs., 72–3 and 228), who agree
in describing the inlay as lead, this can be identified as being of
'William Middleton Bachelor in Divinitie Parson of this
Church'; date of death not read, but Middleton died in 1613.
There are a number of 18th-century headstones and footstones.
Floor slab: in tower—of Thomas Barron, 1762. Niche: over
porch entrance, decayed; late mediaeval. Piscina: in chancel,
with stop-chamfered jambs, four-centred head and square
drain; late mediaeval. Plate: includes an inscribed cup and
a cover paten, both unmarked and dated '1569'; pewter flagon
with inscription and maker's mark, early 17th-century.
Scratchings: among a number of various dates—on S. respond
of chancel arch (1) 'marmaduke messynden off helynge yn the
conty off lyncolne', 16th-century; on E. splay of S. door (2)
Latin inscription of six or more lines, decayed and partly,
obliterated by a later windmill but the words 'a subita peste'
and 'die dicto' can be distinguished; late mediaeval. Sundial:
on W. jamb of second window in S. wall of nave, crudely
incised; mediaeval. Weather-vane: in form of a cock; 18th-century. Miscellaneous: twenty-three squares of cross-stitch
embroidery, at present on step immediately W. of altar;
(2) Rectory, of red brick, in Tudor idiom; mid 19th-centtury.
(3) Victoria Farm, of 16th- or early 17th-century origin,
heightened and extended to the W. c. 1700 with later outshuts, is partly framed and plastered, partly brick built and
under-built, with tiled roof. The internal chimney has a stack
of three square shafts in line along the ridge joined by the
capping. Inside some structural timbers and chamfered ceiling
beams are exposed.
(4) House (Class J), of one storey and attic, framed, plastered
and thatched; late 17th- or early 18th-century.
(5) The Chequers, former inn, two-storeyed with cellar,
framed and plastered, with half-hipped and tiled (at one time
thatched) roof, resembles a Class-J house on plan. A low W.
wing at the S. end is 19th-century and there are some modern
accretions. The main N. and S. range, which is of the 16th
or early 17th century, is in four bays, the third being occupied
by a large chimney of brick and clunch with square 18th-century brick stack. As seen from the E., where the framing is
exposed, the building falls into two distinct parts, the two
S. bays being longer than the others with an intermediate plate
at the sill level of the modern windows. The N. part has an
intermediate plate at floor level and has down bracing from
its end posts.
Inside, the middle room on the ground floor has a chamfered
axial beam with small carved leaf stops; the main trusses are
or have been of braced tie-beam type. There is some 18th-century joinery.
(6) Moated Site (Class A 1 (a); N.G. TL 372583), probably
the site of the manor of Hardwick. A rectangular area 106 ft.
E. to W. by 156 ft. is surrounded by a ditch 13 ft. to 25 ft.
wide, almost completely filled on the N. but up to 5 ft. deep,
and wet, on the S. A ditch 12 ft. wide and 3 ft. to 4ft. deep runs
E. for 40 ft. from the N. end of the surviving part of the E.
side. The interior on the S. is raised 1¼ ft. for a distance of 56 ft.
from the S. side. Scarps and ditches S. of the site apparently
mark the boundaries of closes shown on the enclosure and
tithe maps of 1836.
(7) Cultivation Remains (not on O.S.). Ridge and furrow
is preserved in the closes around the village shown as old
enclosures in 1836. The remains are 30 yds. to 120 yds. long
with ridges 7 yds. to 11 yds. wide and 1 ft. to 1½ ft. high and
headlands of 5 yds. to 11 yds. The ridge and furrow E. of the
moated site (Monument (6)) runs E. and W. in two blocks 170
yds. long divided by a ditch 10 ft. wide and 9 ins. deep. In
1836 these were called 'Huxleys Close' and 'Great Halls Close'.
Five other former closes to the S. have no ridge and furrow,
though their boundaries are visible as ditches or scarps. There
are also remains in Hardwick Wood with curved ridges 200
yds. to 230 yds. long and 7yds. wide running N. and S., indicating that, although a wood in 1836, the area must once have
formed part of the open fields.
In 1836 the open fields were called 'Brook', 'Comberton'
and 'Wood' Fields. Furlongs with reversed-S ridges can be
seen on air photographs as traces to the S.E. of the village.
(Ref: enclosure map 1836 (C.R.O.); tithe map 1836 (T.R.C.):
air photographs: 106G/UK/1490/3188–92, 4177–80, 4230–6.)