(O.S. 6 ins. aTL 35 N.W., bTL 35 N.E., cTL 35 S.E.)
The parish of Toft, 1285 acres in extent, forms with
Hardwick a tidy rectangle flanked on the E. by Comberton and on the W. by Caldecote (originally Bourn).
The sub-dividing boundary is irregular, particularly at
its W. end, where it plunges sharply to the S. to exclude
Hardwick Wood. The ground, here more than 200 ft.
above O.D., falls sharply to the winding Bourn Brook,
which flows at about 60 ft. as it leaves the parish. The
Brook forms the S. boundary, save where its more
extravagant meanders have been corrected in comparatively recent times, and at N.G. TL 35985558 where
an ancient crossing at the foot of Pinford Well Lane
leads S. into Armshold Lane; on the E. side of this last
a long oval enclosure of about 3¼ acres forms an
enclave of Toft between Kingston and Great Eversden.
A number of small streams drain S. in moderately
deep valleys to the Brook; the village is placed between
two of these on glacial and river gravels with some
intervening gault, and is served by one or two springs
of water. The remainder of the parish is boulder clay.
The fields of Toft, prior to enclosure by act of 1812,
were arranged in rows parallel with the Brook and
separated by irregular balks sufficiently wide to provide
for local E. and W. traffic (draft enclosure map, n.d.).
One of these, called 'Lot Way', links the three churches
of Comberton, Toft and Caldecote and corresponds
to an ancient road noted by Fox (Arch. Camb. Reg.,
169–170). The village has the appearance of interrupting this field and track system. The sub-rectangular
grid lay-out, already much decayed, has been further
obliterated in recent years by modern building. Church
and manor lie at the S.E. corner.
There are no mediaeval buildings in Toft apart from
the church, and this, prior to a virtual rebuilding in
the 19th century, seems not to have been older than late
14th century or c. 1400. There is some reason to believe
that the whole settlement was in a state of decline by
the end of the 14th century (V. C. H., Cambs. II, 71);
the church had belonged to the alien priory of Swavesey
which was then suppressed c. 1401 in favour of the
Carthusians of Coventry (W. M. Palmer, 'Swavesey
Priory', Cambs. & Hunts. Arch. Soc. Trans. I (1904),
29–48). A few houses of the 17th century, among which
Monument (6) is noteworthy, speak for a modest revival
and this was repeated under a series of improving
'squarsons' in the early to mid 19th century (Monuments (2), (3), (7) and (13)), clay bat and thatch being
b(1) Parish Church of St. Andrew stands at the S.E.
corner of the village. The rectangular churchyard is
enclosed by a low wall; the boundary may have been
altered somewhat in the 19th century, when the roadway which now runs along the N. side was moved from
the S. side. The fabric, of field stones with dressings of
freestone and clunch and tiled roofs, is virtually modern.
The S. arcade and chancel arch of c. 1400 and the late
14th-century tower arch have been rebuilt using some
of the old materials, except for the responds of the S.
arcade and the base of the tower which may be in situ.
At the rebuilding, in 1863, a N. aisle was added. The
W. tower fell in 1890 while being pulled down and
was rebuilt in 1894. The 15th-century nave roof is
divided into five bays by moulded tie beams with
curved braces to moulded wall posts, and has trussed
rafters and moulded and embattled wall plates; reset.
Fittings—Bells: three, 1st by Christopher Graye, 1666;
2nd with black-letter inscription 'Sancta Caterina Ora Pro
Nobis' and shields of the Bury foundry; 3rd has on waist a
gridiron, two coin imprints and a fleur-de-lis; 2nd and 3rd
are mediaeval. Brass indents: in nave (1) for small figure with
attached inscription plate, late mediaeval; in S. aisle (2) for
inscription plate. Font: octagonal bowl with moulded under-edge, plain stem and chamfered base; 15th-century. Monuments
and Floor Slabs. Monuments: In S. aisle (1) of Mary, wife of
Thomas Wilkins, 1835. In churchyard, on S. side (2) of
Thomas Holder, 1775, table tomb; (3) of John Haggerston,
1813, and his widow, Elizabeth Haggerston, 1829, table tomb;
in the churchyard, a few 18th-century headstones. Floor slabs:
In chancel (1) of Mary, wife of George Chapman, 175(?), slab
cut down; (2) of William Eversden, 1737, with shield of arms;
(3) of Mary, wife of William Eversden, 1726, and Mary their
daughter, 1734, with shield of arms. In nave (4) of William
Eversden, 1734, with shield of arms. Glass: in E. window, reset
fragments of the late 18th or early 19th century include four
small figures in the tracery lights; figures of Moses and Daniel,
and of David and Ezekiel, with tabernacle work and appropriate black-letter inscription scrolls, in the main side lights;
head of Christ, crucifixion label, soldiers and heads of onlookers, in main central light. Piscina: in chancel, incorporates
old octofoil drain. Plate: includes a cup, London 1846. Pulpit:
altered and in part made up, although an 'old pulpit' is
mentioned by Cole (B.M. Add. MS. 5804, 102); each of four
sides has five linenfold panels in moulded frames and a single
panel below carved with foliage; of 16th-century origin. Miscel
laneous: Alabaster fragments (Plate 13; Philip Nelson, 'Some
unpublished Alabaster Carvings', Arch. J. LXXXII (1925),
35–6), with original colour and gilt, reset in a shallow rectangular recess in S. wall of chancel, and all more or less
mutilated, include two figures some 2¼ ft. high, of good
quality: a bishop in vestments, crozier missing, and a headless figure (? of Henry VI; Nelson says St. Hubert), in robe,
mantle, and ermine tippet, bearing, right, a sceptre, and, left,
a book, with a yale and a small lion(?) at his feet. Among the
remaining eight fragments are the feet of a St. Christopher,
portions of soldiers from a Resurrection, etc. All are 15th-century.
b(2) Toft Manor, a rectory now alienated, consists of a
house and buildings.
The House, built c. 1845 to the designs of S. W. Dawkes
(Ecclesiologist IV (1845), 189), is comparatively large, partly
of two and partly of three storeys, faced with knapped
flints and with sandstone dressings, and has tiled roofs. The
idiom is 'Tudor': windows, divided by mullions and some
transoms, the subsidiary lights immediately below the lintels
having four-centred heads; gables with parapets; gablets with
wooden barge boards; and shafted chimney stacks. The chief
features of the interior are intersecting ceiling beams, linenfold
panelling, and a stair with octagonal newel posts the moulded
caps of which terminate in ball finials.
The Buildings include stables, also flint-faced and in corresponding style; and a framed and plastered service cottage
(Class I); both mid 19th-century.
b(3) Range (Plate 33), designed as three dwellings, immediately N. of the church, two-storeyed, of clay bat rough-cast, with thatched roofs. The idiom is cottage Tudor, with
gables, dormers, porches, casement windows with square
labels, and shafted chimney stacks in white brick. A panel
over the middle porch on the S. side is inscribed 'E.P. A.D.
b(4) Farm House and Buildings on the S. side of the road
to Comberton, all mid 19th-century. The House, two-storeyed
and of white brick with slated roofs, has a N. front in three
bays with central front door having an oblong fanlight,
boxed eaves and end chimneys. The Buildings lie to the N. and
occupy three sides of a rectangular yard; they are partly
framed and partly of white brick.
b(5) House, L-shaped, two-storeyed, framed and plastered,
with tiled roofs. The E. and W. main range is parallel to the
Comberton road with the ridge carried over the lower cross
wing and terminating in a gablet. A chimney at the junction
of the range and the wing is original. There are few distinctive
features, inside or out, but the building appears to be 17th-century.
b(6) House and Pigeon House on N. side of Comberton
road. The House (Plate 107), two-storeyed, partly framed and
partly of brick, with tiled roofs, has a Class-J nucleus, running
N. and S., perhaps of the early 17th century. A short distance
N. of this, in line but at right angles, was a detached outhouse.
The house was enlarged and remodelled in the mid 17th
century with balancing cross wings at the N. and S. ends,
that at the N. end being provided, then or subsequently, with
a lean-to on the N. to link the main building and the outhouse.
Externally the complex is mid 17th-century in appearance,
with three shafted chimney stacks set on the ridges of the main
range and the two wings. The S. cross wing, which has been
formed by extending the S. end of the original Class-J house
to the W., is plainly built of plastered framing and red brick;
the N. cross wing has a W. gable end in brick with three
platbands, the middle one, at eaves level, being returned as a
label around the heads of two small symmetrically disposed
Internally the two-phase structural history is clearly reflected.
The lower part of the chimney in the main range is of clunch.
Some of the framing is exposed. The ground-floor ceiling
beams of the original house have wide chamfers with ogee
stops and are accurately framed into chamfered plates. The
corresponding beam at the added W. end of the S. wing is
ovolo-moulded and stopped. S. of the chimney in this wing,
and probably of the same age as it, is a winding stair. The
bedroom at the N. end of the original house has an original
ceiling beam; the other two have ovolo-moulded beams,
suggesting that they were originally open to the roof.
At the S. end of the middle room on the ground floor of the
original house is a dado of reset mid 17th-century panelling,
with a richly carved frieze of foliated strapwork, framed in
run-through rails enriched with guilloche and stiles enriched
The Pigeon house, some 60 yds. N.E. of the house, now
framed and boarded but originally plastered, with hipped tiled
roof rising to E. and W. gablets, retains some original nesting
boxes of clay bat; 18th-century.
Toft, Pigeon House, Monument No. 6
b(7) School House (Class S), two-storeyed of clunch ashlar
and brick with thatched roof. The central front door is of six
panels with circular bosses in the top panels; above it is a
rectangular panel with the initials SCW in an oval and the date
1824 in the spandrels.
b(8) House (Class I), the middle portion of a complex of
dwellings, of 17th-century origin, framed and plastered, with
tiled roof. The structure was heightened later in the century,
at which stage a floor was inserted. This is carried on a chamfered axial beam with an elaborate stop, supported at one end
by a post and at the other by a strut resting on the fireplace
bressummer; the head of the post and the strut are elaborately
carved as consoles, with acanthus, guilloche, etc.
b(9) Range, designed in the mid 19th century as four dwellings, two-storeyed, of clay bat with brick dressings and low-pitched slated roofs. The main elevation E. to the street has a
gabled cross wing at either end and a shallow central projection,
similarly gabled. Inexplicably, one upstairs room to each
of the middle dwellings is entirely sealed off and unlit.
b(10) House (Class J; Plate 87) two-storeyed, framed and
plastered, with half-hipped thatched roof and shafted chimney
stack; mid or late 17th-century.
b(11) House, partly of two storeys, partly of one storey and
attic, with thatched roofs. The lower part, framed and
plastered except for some recent casing, is of late and poor
construction. The taller block, of the 18th century, is in red
brick with platband W. to the street and rebuilt end chimney.
b(12) House (Class L) two-storeyed, framed and plastered,
with thatched roofs; inside, some of the framing, which is
crude but substantial, is exposed, and includes stop-chamfered
ceiling beams; 17th-century.
b(13) Wood Barn (N.G. TL 35465713), two or three houses,
designed as a long range with short projecting wing to the S.,
two-storeyed, of plastered clay bats, with thatched roofs
having end gables with barge-boards and shafted chimney
stacks in white brick; mid 19th-century.
b(14–18) Houses, of internal-chimney design and of one or
two storeys, framed and plastered, one cased, with thatched,
tiled or slated roofs, 17th- to 18th-century; (16) may have been
heightened; (17) is ruinous except for one inhabited bay.
b(19) Mound (N.G. TL 37105600; not on modern O.S.), the
site of a windmill in 1845 (O.S. 1 in. 1845); on the edge of a
low gault-clay ridge in arable, 100 ft. above O.D.; 40 ft.
across and 9 ins. to 1 ft. high.
b(20) Mound (N.G. TL 35325643), on a ridge covered with
boulder clay 160 ft. above O.D.; circular, 60 ft. across and
2 ft. high. Flints and 13th-century and later pottery occur on
the surface. The site, now under arable, is that of a windmill
reached by 'Mill Way'.
(21) Cultivation Remains (not on O.S.). Ridge and furrow
60 yds. to 200 yds. long, 5 yds. to 11 yds. wide and 6 ins. to
1 ft. high, survives from the open fields in the S. and S.W. of
the parish at N.G. TL 370549 and 350560 (curved and reversed-S
ridges); also S.E. of Toft Manor at N.G. TL 364555. To the
W. and N. W. of the village the remains of old village closes
indicate that they were curved like the open-field furlongs,
and clearly enclosed from them. Traces of ridge and furrow
on air photographs show the curving furlongs of the open
fields to the N.W. of the village and, less completely, to the
E. and S.E.
(Ref: enclosure map 1812 and draft enclosure map,
n.d. (C.R.O.); tithe map 1845 (T.R.C.); air photographs: