34 PAPWORTH ST. AGNES
(O.S. 6 ins. aTL 26 N.E., bTL 26 S.E.)
Papworth St. Agnes
Papworth St. Agnes, formerly known as Papworth
Agnes, is said to take its name from one Agnes de
Papewurda (Reaney, 'Place-names of Cambs.', 171);
it is also distinguished by the epithets 'Magna' and 'Olde'.
The present extent of 1298 acres excludes 18 acres lost
by modern boundary adjustments with Papworth
Everard. Before 1895 some 586 acres in the N.E.,
including a part of the manor house (Monument (2)),
were in Huntingdonshire. The S. end of the parish,
which is long and narrow, lies fairly high and here Nil
Well, a chalybeate spring, evidently shared with the
neighbouring settlements of Yelling and Graveley, feeds
a small brook draining N. which forms much of the
W. boundary. On the E. Ermine Street separates
Papworth St. Agnes from Hemingford Abbots and
Hilton. The more low lying parts are Oxford clay
with a patch of glacial gravel to the W. of the village
on the E. side of the brook; the higher ground is
boulder clay. The fact that a small estate here was held
in the 13th century under the Bishop of Ely at a rent of
25 wooden trenchers (Lysons, Cambridgeshire, 246)
suggests that the terrain had been sufficiently wellwooded to support an appropriate rural industry.
The village, now decayed, consists almost entirely
of 19th-century estate-built cottages, interspersed with
vacant and derelict closes, along a N. and S. trackway.
This last seems to have been one of several intersecting
in the area immediately to the W. of the church.
Emparking associated with the manor house, and more
recently with the rectory (Monument (5)), may to
some extent have obliterated an earlier lay-out.
b(1) Parish Church of St. John Baptist, which was
being rebuilt in 1530 (will of Anthony Mallory; PCC 32
Byngeley) is now almost entirely modern; the tower
(Plate 24) is stated to have been rebuilt again in 1848
(Ecc. Top. Cambs. (1852), No. 42), and the remainder
in 1854. The walls are now faced with a chequer of
reused ashlar and field stones.
The only certainly ancient part of the fabric is the
early 16th-century W. door, which has moulded jambs,
continuous depressed four-centred inner and square
outer head with a moulded label and spandrels with
blank shields. The tower and chancel arches may be
copies, with additional embellishment, of corresponding old features.
Fittings—Bells: two by Thomas Norris, 1637, the second
bearing the name 'Thomas Catar'; Bell frame: old, for three,
reset. Font: in churchyard on S. side: shallow octagonal bowl
on shaped and moulded quatrefoil stem; 13th-century.
Monuments and Floor slab. Monuments: in tower—on N. wall
(1) of Henry Sperling, rector, 1821, signed 'J. BACON FT
LONDON'; (2) of Eliza Sperling, 1836; of HenriettaFrances Sperling, 1836; of Julia Sperling, 1822; of Mary
Sperling, 1827; children of Henry Piper Sperling, signed
'WILLS NEW ROAD LONDON'; (3) of Elizabeth Vaughan,
1750—on S. wall (4) of Thomas and Elizabeth Rutherforth,
1747, pedimented tablet with flanking pilasters and apron
having cartouche of arms. In the churchyard, a few 18th-century headstones N. of the nave. Floor slab: of William
Hayes, 1673, and Daniel Hayes, his brother, 1704, both rectors.
Plate: includes a paten, London 1669 and two identical cups,
b(2) Manor Farm, house and buildings, is situated
at the N. end of the village. Various earthworks
(Monuments (9), (10) and (11)), adjoin but the relation
of these to the standing remains is not clear, partly
because of the disrupting effect of the road leading N.
out of the village.
The House (Plate 122), that of the manor of Russels,
of two storeys partly with attic, has hipped and gabled
roofs covered with tiles. The plan is now approximately square except for modern additions to the N.
The E. half, mostly of reused stone, is part of a small
mansion of elaborated Class-H design, which was
perhaps never completed. This E. half is said to have
been built in 1585 (W. M. Palmer evidently thought so,
Cambs. and Hunts. A. S. Trans. LX (1930), 416; his
source has not been identified) for William Mallory,
who died in the following year. The fine plaster ceilings
in this part of the house were made either for him or
for his son of the same name (d. 1614–5). Sir Henry
Mallory, the first William's grandson, sold the property
to the Caters at an unknown date before 1637 (C.U.L.
Add. MS. 3905 (9); see inscription on 2nd bell in
Church above). In the mid 17th century a block was
added on the W. side of the hall, its S. elevation being
carried across the end of the old work. There was further
remodelling c. 1700 when the W. end of the 17th-century block was prolonged some 2 ft. and the house
squared off to give a uniform W. front. There has been
some modern restoration.
The E. front, all in stone and of the 16th century, consists of
the projecting gable end of the N. cross wing and adjoining
E. wall of the main range. This last has a window on either
floor, each divided into five lights with hollow-moulded mullions and a transom. The oriel of the cross wing, with similar
fenestration, is a modern replacement. Above a string-course at
eaves level the gable has a parapet with plain kneelers and an
original window of three lights. The N. side of the cross
wing, like the W. front in stone, has two windows, each of
five tall elliptical-headed lights; the upper one is 16th-century,
the lower a modern restoration. Just short of the E. end of the
wall is an original three-stage buttress.
The 17th-century S. elevation, rendered over brick, has five
windows in stone, symmetrically disposed except for the short
length of wall added when the W. front was built; in place
of the middle window on the ground floor is a patch of modern
brickwork. The windows are divided into two lights with
ovolo-moulded mullions and transoms and have moulded
architraves; the two lower windows have moulded cornices.
At the E. end is a 16th-century doorway with chamfered
jambs, four-centred inner and square outer head, leading into
the demolished or uncompleted screens or service wing of
the original house. A chimney on the W. side of the hall issues
at the ridge in a stack of two shaped flues with conjoined
Papworth St. Agnes, Manor Farm
The W. front, of red brick, much of it reused and irregularly
bonded, is of c. 1700, with moulded platband at first-floor
level and moulded wooden cornice at the eaves. These are on
a slightly lower level than on the S. side, due to the enlargement of the house when the W. front was built. Doors and
windows are later than the front, but some of the windows
are set in the old flat-arched openings.
The modern entrance hall incorporates a ground-floor room
in the N.W. corner of the house, and, on the S.E. an original
16th-century square stair turret occupying the angle between
the main range and the cross wing. The lower part of the W.
wall of the turret and the stair itself have been removed, but
the upper brick-built walls and gabled roof rising above the
leads survive intact. There are original stone doorways out
of the turret on either floor to the N. and E., those to the E.
being in both cases at a slightly higher level, indicating that the
stair ascended clockwise in a continuous flight; all four have
stop-chamfered jambs with four-centred inner and square
outer heads; a fifth, similar doorway on the first floor into the
S.W. bedroom is a later intrusion. At the top of the turret, an
original door in the E. gable communicates with the roof over
the old main range; in the W. gable is an original window.
The fireplace in the entrance hall is set under a stop-chamfered
bressummer carried on 18th-century brick piers; the W. end
wall of the cross wing has been thickened to accommodate
the additional flue. The parlour, entered through a small
lobby, has a moulded clunch fireplace surround at the W.
end with four-centred inner and square outer head. In the S.
wall is a mutilated and blocked doorway into the hall. The
E. end of the room has remains of a 16th- or early 17th-century
plaster ceiling of intersecting rectilinear ribs with pendants;
lengths of frieze and cornice (Plate 124) also survive, the former
enriched with palmettes and scroll-work. Both the ceiling and
frieze retain traces of colour and, probably, some gilt.
The hall has a chamfered clunch fireplace surround with
four-centred inner and square outer head, but the outer order
has been cut back. The insides of the three doorways have
wooden lintels, that out of the former turret being moulded.
Some old panelling and cupboarding is adventitious. The
16th- or early 17th-century plaster ceiling, almost complete,
has a pattern of curved and rectilinear ribs with paterae at
intersections and trefoils at other angles; at intervals are
cartouches of arms of Mallory, reversed by the plasterer.
Below the moulded cornice is a frieze with a trail of clover
ornament suggesting the letters 'WM'. W. of the hall is a
room occupying the ground floor of the added 17th-century
block. It has a ceiling divided into nine panels by intersecting
primary cross and secondary longitudinal beams, all moulded;
the middle panel is the largest; the others are somewhat
irregular in shape and smaller, suggesting that the ceiling has
been reset. On the W. the ceiling has been made out c. 1700
with short unmoulded lengths. The surround to the fireplace
has been removed.
The bedroom over the parlour is entered through a lobby
at the side of the parlour chimney. This last is screened off
from the bedroom by a partition with wooden doorways
at either end having moulded jambs and, originally, four-centred heads; the doorway at the S. end is for the lobby,
that at the N. end opens into a garderobe (Plate 123), having a
segmental-headed alcove in the N. wall in which is the original
seat in the form of a heavy perforated wooden plank. On the
N. face of the wall, originally outside but now giving on to a
modern stair into the roof space, is a blocked segmental-headed
opening in brick just below the level of the seat. The lobby
and the garderobe were lit by windows in the gable end,
respectively of two lights and one light, but these now face
on to a landing. The bedroom has a fireplace in the S. wall
with moulded surround having a four-centred inner and
square outer head. At the wall head is a plaster frieze of
palmettes and sprays with moulded cornice rising to an
elaborate plaster ceiling (Plate 125) of the 16th or early 17th
century. This is divided into square fields by a cruciform
arrangement of volutes framing pendants and linked by
cruciform twenty-sided panels; in the centre of each field is
an achievement of arms, two unidentified coats (unidentified
14 and 15) quartering Mallory, flanked by the initials 'MW',
the whole composition having been reversed by the plasterer.
The bedroom over the hall has a moulded clunch fireplace
surround with four-centred inner and square outer head.
S. of this a small doorway with stop-chamfered jambs, four-centred inner and square outer head, leads into a recess which
may have been a garderobe. The ceiling (Plate 124) is similar
in character to that of the hall, but simpler, and has, repeated
at intervals, an achievement of quartered arms of Mallory
reversed, as in the previous room. The frieze (Plate 124),
which is incomplete, is a comparatively free arabesque.
A third bedroom, W. of the foregoing, has a wooden fireplace surround with elaborate bolection moulding.
The roofs over the 16th-century main range and cross wing
are of queen-post construction, without collars, and with
substantial wind braces to the side purlins. At the N.W.
corner of the hall roof is the original entrance, already described, from the head of the former turret stair. The attic over
the cross wing is boarded and lit from the E. by the three-light
window described with that front. This end of the attic is
enclosed by a studwork partition and ceiled; the enclosure is
of uncertain age, but queen posts flanking the window are
painted with tabernacle work in red, apparently of the 16th
century, suggesting an oratory (Plate 123).
Loose stonework in the garden to the E. of the house
includes a number of limestone fragments, 12th-century to
late mediaeval, many worked to a clean face for re-use and
resembling the walling of the house.
The Buildings comprise, W. of the house, a rectangular redbrick store or granary, probably of 17th-century origin, now
ruinous. S. of the foregoing is a comparatively large red-brick
barn with slits in the side walls and projecting porch to the
E., also in ruins; the barn, which is 17th- or 18th-century,
appears to have connected at the S. end, which is open, with
a now vanished timber structure; the porch and the S. end
are strengthened by angle buttresses.
S.E. of the house about 30 yds. and close to or on the fill of
the moat is a pigeon house of c. 1700 with walls of red brick,
diagonal dentilation at the eaves and pyramidal tiled roof
having horizontal apertures in the N. and S. slopes; the
inside has been gutted. W. of the pigeon house along the
inside of the moat is some 60 ft. of walling in red brick, part
with chamfered plinth, all diapered in black, standing to a
height of about 5 ft., and 2 ft. 4 ins. thick. This may be the
remains of stables or other offices, but could be a pretentious
boundary wall. Garden walls to the E. of the house, less
impressive, appear to be 18th-century.
b(3) School and School House, now a dwelling, combined
in a single rectangular structure which originally included an
outshut the length of the E. side. The walls are of rendered
brick, the roof is tiled; the S. end towards the church is
Tudoresque; c. 1840.
b(4) Bakehouse, communal, but now disused, standing on a
small green in the village, of white brick with slated roof,
c. 1850. The E. end is pedimented; the W. end has a tall
industrial chimney. The interior of the building, which is
said to have also been used for scalding pigs, has been altered.
Papworth St. Agnes, Monument No. 4, Bakehouse
b(5) Rectory now alienated, two-storeyed and of white
brick, erected for the Rev. H.J. Sperling in 1847–8 by a builder
called John Bland at a price of £497, exclusive of timber
which was to be supplied from the estate (MS. in house). The
idiom is a free adaptation of Georgian with sash windows
irregularly placed and hipped slated roofs of varying dimensions. The plan allows for two comparatively large ground-floor rooms on the S. or garden front separated by a smaller
one. N. of this smaller room is the stair hall (Plate 109) flanked
by offices and on the W. by the entrance hall.
Interior detail includes marble fireplace surrounds in
rococo revival and a number of original cast-iron grates,
some of Gothic design.
b(6) Passhouse Farm, L-shaped, partly two-storeyed and
partly one-storeyed with attics, framed and plastered, with
thatched roofs, gabled hipped and half-hipped, is of 17th-century origin. A number of structural timbers are exposed
inside, including chamfered and stop-chamfered beams. The
house conforms to no plan type and appears to have been
a(7) Dumptilow Farm consists of a two-storeyed Class-U
house with attached farm building forming a single range;
mid 19th-century. The combined front is to the E., in white
brick broken by pilasters at irregular intervals; the roofs are
b(8) Hill Farm consists of a house and buildings. The House
(Class U) two-storeyed with attics and cellars, of white brick
with two tiled roofs in parallel, is c. 1800. The Buildings,
mostly to the W. of the house and of the early to mid 19th
century include a low N. and S. range grouped around a
two-storey centre block in brick with a pair of bull's eyes in
the upper stage.
b(9) Moated Site (Class A3; N.G. TL 268647), at Manor
Farm (Monument (2)), consisting of a moat, a secondary
enclosure, and a hollow-way with building platform is that
of the manor of Russels which was in the Mallory family from
the 14th to the 17th centuries. The moat is probably defensive;
the enclosure may have been added in the 17th century and
represents gardens. The site is bounded by pasture fields
except on the S.W. where the road separates it from Monument (10) with which it should perhaps be considered as a
single complex. This road cuts ridge and furrow to the W.
and may be relatively new. The moat once surrounded the
house; the N. half, which is comparatively complete, has
a wet ditch 35 ft. to 40 ft. wide, 3 ft. to 6 ft. deep, 15 ft. to
20 ft. wide at the water level and with 1 ft. to 2 ft. of water.
It is trapezoidal and measures 240 ft. N., by 350 ft. E., by
180 ft. S., by 330 ft. W. The N. side, undisturbed except for
extensions of the N. angles to form drinking places for cattle,
has an outer bank 25 ft. wide and 4 ft. high. The S. half of
the moat has been wholly or partly filled, perhaps as late as
the 19th century; 17th- to 19th-century farm buildings, now
ruinous, have encroached on the S.W. angle. Inside, 40 ft.
to the E. of and parallel to the W. side is a pond 140 ft. long,
40 ft. wide, 4 ft. deep and holding 2 ft. to 3 ft. of water.
Within the N. angles are circular mounds 30 ft. to 40 ft.
across and 1½ ft. to 2 ft. high.
Papworth St. Agnes, Monuments 9 & 10
The enclosure, orientated W.N.W. to E.S.E., is attached
to the S. end of the E. side of the moat; it is 320 ft. N., by
180 ft. E., by 260 ft. S., by 180 ft. W., with a ditch 30 ft.
wide, 2 ft. to 3 ft. deep and 10 ft. to 11 ft. across the bottom.
This ditch is boggy and may originally have been wet. There
is an internal bank 12 ft. wide and 2 ft. to 2½ ft. high.
A curving hollow-way diverging to the N.E. from the
road encloses with it a roughly triangular area to the W. of
the moat; it is 36 ft. wide, 3 ft. deep, and 12 ft. wide across
the bottom. Within the triangle are the ruined farm buildings
alluded to above and, to the E., two platforms 1½ ft. high;
that on the N. measuring 50 ft. N. to S., that on the S. 40 ft.
E. to W. by 15 ft.
b(10) Moated Site (Class A1(a), N.G. TL 267646, not on
O.S.), on flat glacial gravel S.W. of and adjoining the road
which separates it from the foregoing site, of which it may
be a part.
The moat encloses a trapezoidal area 63 ft. N.W. by 121 ft.
N.E., by 36 ft. S.E., by 130 ft. S.W. and has a wet ditch
20 ft. to 37 ft. wide and 3½ ft. deep. The E. angle has been
disturbed by the cutting of a rectangular pond, continuing
the line of the N.E. side. Spoil from the pond has been heaped
up on its S. side to form an irregular mound 50 ft. across and
5 ft. high, which has partly slipped into the S.E. side of the
moat and narrowed its width.
b(11) Garden Remains (centre at N.G. TL 267645; ponds
only on O.S.), in an elongated pasture field to the S.W. and
W. of the village street. This field occupies an island of glacial
gravel overlying the surrounding Oxford clay. It contains
many earthworks but all except the moat (Monument (10))
seem to be later than the ridge and furrow running E.
to W. There are five rectangular ponds and one L-shaped
pond, three circular mounds 35 ft. to 50 ft. across and 2½ ft.
to 4½ ft. high and several shallow irregular hollows. Trees,
obviously intentionally planted, line the hedges and occur
in clumps within the field. These suggest that the area was
laid out as an extended garden or small park for the manor
house (Monument (2)) after the ridge and furrow and the
moat had been abandoned. The mounds and rectangular
ponds probably belong to this operation, which perhaps
took place in the 18th or 19th century. The hollows may be
due to later gravel digging.
(12) Cultivation Remains (not on O.S.). Much ridge and
furrow survives in the parish, being remains both of openfield furlongs and of old closes. The former have ridges
60 yds. to 570 yds. long, 6 yds. to 11 yds. wide and 9 ins.
to 1 ft. high. Examples can be seen E. of Dumptilow Farm
around N.G. TL 262661, 16 curving ridges; and around N.G.
TL 262659, 19 curving ridges; S. of Lattenbury Hill around
N.G. TL 269659, 45 straight ridges and N. of Manor Farm
around N.G. TL 268649—three E. to W. furlongs with 20
to 24 straight ridges in each, and two N.E. to S.W. furlongs
respectively with 4 and 15 curved ridges. To the N.E. of
Manor Farm around N.G. TL 270648 is a block 80 yds. wide
of 21 ridges running S.W. to N.E., 570 yds. long. These
unusually long ridges are 9 ins. to 1 ft. high but vary greatly
in width; at the S.W. end they are 5 yds. to 7 yds. wide for
130 yds., but after a slight curve widen to 7 yds. to 9 yds.;
after another 130 yds. and a second curve some widen to
11 yds. to 12 yds. until, after a further 70 yds. to 130 yds. they
narrow to 7 yds. to 9 yds.; there is a headland at the S.W.
end 10 yds. wide. The length of this block and the changes
in direction and width suggest that four furlongs each about
130 yds. long have later been ploughed as one.
S.W. of Manor Farm around N.G. TL 266646 the present
road into the village seems to have cut five former closes
with ridge and furrow running W.N.W. to E.S.E. which
had been combined into one field. From N. to S. they contained respectively 11, 12 and 8 curving ridges, 20 straight
ridges and 11 curving ridges. These were 70 yds. to 230 yds.
long, 7 yds. wide and 9 ins. high with headlands 8 yds. wide at
Traces of curving open-field ridge and furrow can be seen
on air photographs elsewhere in the parish, but nowhere is a
complete set of furlongs visible. The precise date of enclosure
before 1839 is unknown, but the fact that the parish had for
long been in a single ownership would have facilitated its
enclosure. The former division of Papworth St. Agnes between
Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, lasting until 1895,
does not seem to have affected the pattern of the cultivation
(Ref: tithe map 1839; air photographs: 106G/UK/1490/
3356–8, 3376–9, 4345–7, 4368–70; CPE/UK/1952/1280–5.)