(O.S. 6 ins. aTL 35 S.W., bTL 35 S.E., cTL 34 N.W.,
dTL 34 N.E.)
The parish of Wimpole, 2468 acres in extent, lies about
8 m. S.W. of Cambridge. It is bounded on the N. by
the ancient track called Mare Way, on the W. by
Ermine Street, with some adjustments in either case,
and on the S. by the river Rhee. The boundary on the
E. with Orwell reflects the field lay-out at the S. end;
on the higher ground to the N. it is comparatively
straight. The land exhibits the usual variation from
boulder clay in the N., where it rises to a scarp over
250 ft. above O.D., through chalk and gault, to river
gravel at about 50 ft.; but the chalk outcrop is irregular,
the long S.E. tongue on the edge of which the church
stands being, geologically, a striking feature. The
junction with the gault affords the usual plentiful springs
Both Wimpole and Orwell have gained territorially
from the disappearance at an unknown date of the settlement of Wratworth, later Ratford, which was assessed
at 5 hides in Domesday Book. The approximate site is
presumably indicated by a close called Ratford which
in 1638 occupied the S. part of what is now Cobb's
Wood (Map of Wimpole 1638, copy in the B.M.).
Apart from Little End, which may have been a part
of Wratworth, no village remains have been found,
but a moated site (Monument (19)) is possibly that of
the house of the manor of Francis, later Cobb, known
to have been associated with the settlement.
There is now, and has long been, nothing which could
be called a village of Wimpole; the mid 19th-century
hamlet of New Wimpole (Monument (15)) hardly
qualifies as such. Even in 1638 settlement was scattered,
by W. Cambridgeshire standards (see Monument (21)),
and there are indications that enclosure and emparking
had already gone some distance. By the end of the 17th
century the first of these processes had been achieved.
From then on the history of Wimpole is that of Wimpole
Hall (Monument (2)), the great house which was the
home, first of the Chicheleys, and then successively of
the Harleys and the Yorkes. The church was rebuilt
by the Yorkes and contains a fine series of memorials
The park, to the development of which Bridgeman,
Sanderson Miller, Brown and Repton all contributed,
continued to increase in size from 1638 until the middle
of the last century. The former open fields not included
in it in the late 17th and early 18th centuries were
divided up into small farms with tenants living on their
holdings, an arrangement unusual in W. Cambridgeshire. A number of these outlying farm houses (Monuments (6), (7), (9), (12–14), (17) and (18)), all more or
less altered and enlarged, have been listed.
a(1) Parish Church of St. Andrew (Plate 126),
consisting of a structurally undivided Chancel and Nave,
and a North Chapel, stands in a small churchyard which
has been extended to the S. since the 18th century.
The walls are mostly of red brick with freestone and
clunch dressings, but the W. end and the adjoining last
bays of either side wall are in freestone and clunch
ashlar, as is the N. chapel. The roofs are slated.
The N. chapel, probably of 14th-century origin
and restored in 1732 (see Inscriptions below), is all that
remains of a larger church destroyed in April 1748
prior to the erection of the present building. This last
was completed in the following year to the designs of
Henry Flitcroft at a cost of £1,107 17s. 4d. (see Inscriptions below, and B.M. Add. MS. 35679, 13–17). A
drawing by John Kip (Britannia Illustrata (1707), No. 32)
and a sketch by Cole (B.M. Add. MS. 5837, 134) give
some idea of the appearance of the old church. There is
also a ground plan of it by Flitcroft in an album of
drawings at Wimpole Hall. In 1887 the fabric was
restored; the remodelling of the S. door and of all the
windows on that side except that above the door, is
presumably of this time, as may be the gothicising of
the piers supporting the lord's gallery. The N. chapel
has been a pantheon since the mid 18th century and
has been improved in recent years by the removal of
surplus pews and by the remodelling of the entry from
the body of the church.
Architectural Description—The Chancel and Nave (62 ft.
by 24 ft., gallery 25½ ft.) have a symmetrical W. front in stone
towards the Hall, designed in two stages: the W. door with
moulded architrave, pulvinated frieze and pediment supported
by two consoles is flanked by blind window recesses; above
the door is a window between two smaller, semicircular
niches, all with round heads; the elevation is completed by a
pediment enclosing a bull's eye and surmounted by a timber
cupola for the bell. The E. wall rises to a similar pediment;
below it the Venetian E. window, originally blind like that
adjoining in the N. wall, has an internal wooden surround
with carved pilasters, scrolled and pedimented overpiece and
urns, originally a reredos framing inscribed tables, reset and
altered when the window was opened (Flitcroft's 'Section
of the East End' in the Wimpole album). The gallery retains
its three-bay railing of turned balusters and two dividing
Ionic columns. The ceiling of the nave and chancel is flat
and has a moulded entablature with some additional enrichment over the gallery.
Wimpole, the Parish Church of St. Andrew
The North Chapel (32 ft. by 21¼ ft.) has the E. and N. walls
divided into two and three bays respectively by buttresses,
with classical pilasters, probably of 1732, at the N. angles.
Both windows in the E. wall and the first window in the
N. wall, though in Gothic idiom, are modern; the second
window in the N. wall, of three cinque-foiled lights with
flowing tracery in the head, is 14th-century; the third window
is round-headed and of the 18th century. The W. wall is in
plain Georgian style to harmonise with the W. front and has a
square-headed 18th-century doorway at the S. end with a
projecting key. The entry into the chapel from the body of
the church, occupying most of the S. side, probably of 19th-century origin, has recently been remodelled.
The 17th-century Roof of the N. chapel, of very low pitch,
is divided into three bays by moulded tie beams; some wall
posts and braces at the ends of the ties have been removed on
the S.; the timbers are enriched with pendants and the rafters
exposed. The roof over the chancel and nave is masked.
Fittings—Bell: in cupola above W. front; said by Raven
(Church Bells of Cambs., 178) to be by Miles Graye, 1653.
Brasses: in chapel—reset on E. end of S. wall (1) of Thomas
Worsley (Plate 112), 1501/2, figure of priest in vestments
scored for enamel inlay, with mutilated prayer scroll, picture
of Virgin and Child enthroned and inscription panel with six
lines of Latin hexameters;—on W. end of S. wall, reset as a
group (2) small mutilated figure of a merchant, 16th-century;
(3) small square panel with six kneeling female children, late
mediaeval; (4) female figure in costume of c. 1535; (5) mutilated
achievement of arms of Marshall, of 1625; (6) inscription panel
of Rev. Edward Marshall, 1625, with eight lines of verse.
Brass indents: in chapel, (1) for brass of Thomas Worsley above,
hacked back to accommodate recently removed pewing; (2)
for brass of female figure above, companion male figure and
attached inscription plate; the ledger has been crudely adapted
at some time for the remaining four brasses above. Communion
table: in chancel, with carved console legs and modern top;
18th-century. Gallery: see Architectural Description above.
Glass: (1) In N., S. and W. windows of W. gallery, 47
shields of arms of the Yorke family and their connections,
against patterned backgrounds, said to be by William Peckitt
(d. 1795) (G. Harris, The Life of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke
(1847), 1. 469). In the head of W. window, an achievement of
arms of the 1st. Earl of Hardwicke; the other shields are
blazoned with the arms of Yorke of Bewerley, impaled or
quartered to illustrate some of the known connections of that
family. In chapel—reset for the most part, in the middle
window on N. side, (2) quantity of heraldic and other predominantly 14th-century glass, including 14 shields and a
figure of a pilgrim. The arms are of—in the window head,
Tiptoft, Avenell, Bardolf and possibly Talemache; in the 1st
light, England with a label, Lisle, France Ancient quartering
England, and Bassingbourn; in the 2nd light, above the
pilgrim, Bohun and Engaine; in the 3rd light, three shields
of Ufford, two differenced, and one of Bassingbourn. Background fragments include grisaille, architectural motifs and
heraldic quarries possibly from shields of Booth and Clopton,
recorded by Layer when complete, and another (unidentified
16); border quarries are blazoned with lions of England, fleurs-de-lis of France, cups of Galicia and castles of Castile and
fragmentary arms of Wanton (or Grendon), Lisle and Manny.
According to C. Woodforde (MS. The stained glass of
Wimpole Church) the heraldry illustrates Ufford alliances,
particularly with the Plantagenets through the marriage of
Ralph de Ufford (d. 1346) and Maud, daughter of Henry,
3rd Earl of Lancaster. In the third window, (3) fragments
include architectural designs, gold crowns and the head of a
king, crowned and holding a halberd, late 14th- or early
15th-century. Inscriptions: in N. chapel, on S. end of W. wall
(1) marble panel in stone border 'This chapel was repaired
by the direction and at the sole charge of the Earl and Countess
of Oxford and Mortimer anno domini 1732'; (2) stone panel
'This church was rebuilt by The Rt. Honble Philip Lord
Hardwicke Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain Anno
1749 H. Flitcroft Archt.'.
Monuments and Floor Slabs. Monuments: In chancel—on N.
wall (1) of Admiral Sir Joseph Sydney Yorke K.C.B., 1831,
and his two wives Elizabeth (Weake, born Rattray) and
Urania (Pawlet-t) (Plate 139); large grey marble panel with
achievement of arms, descriptive tablet with naval trophies
and emblems, and a female mourner, all in white marble;
(2) of Right Honble. Charles Philip Yorke, 1834, and his wife
Harriet (Manningham), 1854; framed inscription panel with
achievement of arms, supported by consoles and surmounted
by a sarcophagus, in various marbles, according to R. Gunnis
(Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660–1851), 127  by Thomas
Denman; on S. wall (3) of Flora Elizabeth Yorke, 1852, and
two of her children; (4) of Honble. Agneta Yorke, 1820,
second wife of Right Honble. Charles Yorke, Lord Chancellor;
inscription tablet flanked by pilasters with figures of her husband in robes of state and of two sons, and with medallion
portrait at the head, all in white marble, signed 'J. FLAXMAN,
R.A. Sculptor'. In N. chapel—against E. wall (5) of Philip,
first Earl of Hardwicke, 1764, and his wife Margaret (Cocks)
(Plate 127), 1761; framed inscription panel in white marble
surmounted by an enriched sarcophagus in brown veined
marble against a grey obelisk to which is affixed an achievement of arms in oval frame; around the base are putti with
wreaths and emblems of office; on each side, life-size figures,
one of Athene; two medallions on the sarcophagus depict
the Earl and Countess; signed 'J. STUART, INVT P. SCHEEMAKERS, SCULPR.'. On N. wall (6) of Catharine (Freman),
1759, wife of Honble. Charles Yorke; stylised sarcophagus
in white veined marble, bearing a white inscription panel;
above is an urn in brown marble against a grey background
standing on a base of three steps around which are grouped
three putti: two garlanding the urn while the third stands by in
dejection with reversed torch; in front of the steps is a portrait
medallion and at the base of the sarcophagus is an achievement
of arms; signed 'JAMES STUART, INVT. PR. SCHEEMAKERS, SCULP. MDCCLXI' — against N. wall and
apparently partly set in it masking one long side, a position
which may date from 1748–9, (7) of Sir Thomas Chicheley,
1616, his wife Dorothie (Kemp), 1644, their children Thomas,
1617, and Jane, 1632, and grandchild Henry, 1652, son of
Thomas Chicheley Esq.; two-stage altar tomb in alabaster
and black marble with miniature effigies in the lower stage,
inscription panels and shield of arms, supporting a recumbent
effigy in armour. On N. wall, (8) of Honble. Charles Yorke,
1770, and his wives Catherine (Freman) and Agneta (Johnson);
grey marble obelisk on break-front pedestal of white marble
with inscription tablet flanked by festoons and frieze carved
with emblems of the Chancellor's office; at the base of the
obelisk two putti unveil a portrait medallion and at the apex
is an achievement of arms; signed 'P. SCHEEMAKER FAT.'.
On W. wall, (9) of Rev. Charles Yorke, 1791, and Miss Mary
Yorke, 1795; small shaped tablet with two urns carved on the
apron; (10) of Elizabeth (Lygon), 1766, wife of Honble. John
Yorke; white marble inscription scroll flanked by putti beneath
a shaped cornice enriched with torches and an urn, and with
apron framing a cartouche of arms; (11) of Right Honble.
Joseph Yorke, Lord Dover, 1792, and his wife Christine
Charlotte Margaret Stocking (=Stocken), 1793; inscription
panel surmounted by a sarcophagus with flanking trophies
and small medallions of arms in the apron; signed 'J. Bacon
Sculptor: London 1798'; (12) of Philip, 2nd Earl of Hardwicke,
1790; white marble stele carved in bold relief with a kneeling
female mourner garlanding an urn; signed 'T. BANKS,
R.A. SCULPT.'; (13) of Honble. John Yorke, 1801; of white
marble in the Greek manner, in bold relief; two parents,
hands clasped, stand in attitudes of grief at a tomb, with a
reclining child at their feet; below is an inscription; signed
'R. WESTMACOTT, A.R.A. LONDON'. In centre of
chapel, (14) of Philip, 3rd Earl of Hardwicke, 1834, and his
wife Elizabeth, daughter of James, 5th Earl of Balcarres;
altar tomb with shaped ends and recumbent effigy in Garter
robes, all in white marble; the ends of the tomb chest are
carved with arms and heraldic emblems; signed 'R. WESTMACOTT, JUNR, A.R.A. 1844'. In churchyard, S. of S.
doorway (15) of John Phillips, 1710, in infancy, small headstone; (16) of Frances Phillips, 1710, headstone; (17) of Elizabeth Phillips, 1714, headstone; (18) headstone, dated 1710,
otherwise illegible. Floor slabs: at E. end of N. chapel, (1) of
Thomas Sheepshanks, 1818, Fellow of St. John's and rector of
the parish; (2) of Richard Beek, 1671.
Plate: includes a cup, alms-dish and flagon by the 'Hound
sejant' goldsmith, and a paten and flagon in similar style, all
c. 1655 and, according to the parish register, presented to the
church by Sir Thomas Chicheley in 1679; a cup, unmarked,
17th-century; a paten, London 1703, inscribed 'The legacy of
Eliz. wife of Henry Yorke to the parish of Riple 1703' and
believed to have been exchanged with that parish for a flagon
c. 1860; and a Britannia metal dish, 19th-century. Reredos: see
Architectural Description above. Miscellaneous: on W. wall
inside N. chapel, circular stone panel with strapwork enclosing
shield of arms of Chicheley; 17th-century.
a(2) Wimpole Hall, house and park, lies to the E. of
Ermine Street about 1 m. beyond Arrington bridge.
The house, the largest and finest in the county, is of
red brick with dressings of clunch and freestone; the
roofs are of Westmorland slate and lead; some of the
latter has recently been replaced by copper. The elevations generally are symmetrical. The fabric may be
divided into a main block, two side blocks the components of which were formerly grouped around small
courts, and two wings projecting to the N. at either
The architectural development, starting from a mid
17th-century nucleus, is a complex one, and the documentation is extensive and scattered. The year 1740, in
which the first Lord Hardwicke acquired the property,
is a convenient focal point for the study of the history
of the fabric. Henry Flitcroft (d. 1769), who carried
out extensive alterations in the ensuing decade which
still largely determine the house's external appearance,
made a number of preliminary drawings and plans,
two of which (Plate 133) are reproduced. They are the
most important source apart from the fabric itself for
our knowledge of the early house. Surveys made in
1790 by or for (Sir) John Soane (d. 1837) are likewise
The early house was begun c. 1640 for Thomas
Chicheley, son of the Sir Thomas Chicheley (d. 1616)
whose monument is in the church (see Parish Church
above, Fittings, Monument (7); the younger Thomas
would seem to have been born in 1613–14, and to have
died in 1699). A map of Wimpole made in 1638 by
Benjamin Hare (copy B.M. Maps 6. c. 55) shows that a
still older house (Plate 121) had then not yet been
demolished; it appears to have been a gabled structure
standing somewhat to the N. of the present Hall within
a rectangular inner moat, the E. side of which was
spanned towards its S. end by a gatehouse leading,
through a second gatehouse, to an existing lane to the
N. of the church and rectory. Hare was presumably
portraying the 'old faire house' described by John Layer
(d. 1641) in his unfinished History of Cambridgeshire, but
a later draft in the History records that 'Thomas
Chicheley Esq. lord of this village is now erecting an
extraordinary curious neat house near the ancient site'
(C.A.S. Publs. LIII (1935), III). The outbreak of civil
war is likely to have delayed the completion of this
operation; Thomas Chicheley was a keen royalist and
was compelled to compound for his Cambridgeshire
estates by payment of a fine (A. Kingston, East Anglia
and the Great Civil War (1897), 302). After the Restoration he became Master of Ordnance to Charles II,
by whom he was knighted in 1670, and spent much
of his time in London. Pepys (Diary, 27 February 1667
and 11 March 1668) considered him a 'high flyer' and
remarks on his 'very fine house' in Queen Street,
Covent Garden, and 'mighty great fashion' of living.
He was intimate with Sir Roger Pratt (John Evelyn,
Diary, 27 August 1666) who speaks of 'Mr Chicheley's
Hall' with qualified approval and in architectural
terms which are quite appropriate to the house
which we know to have existed (The Architecture
of Sir Roger Pratt, ed. R. T. Gunther (1928), 62). After
Charles II's death Chicheley's fortunes declined and he
sold the Wimpole estate in 1686 to Sir John Cutler
(d. 1693). Cutler's daughter and heiress had married
Charles Robartes, second Earl of Radnor, in 1689;
she died in 1697. Radnor sold the property in 1710 to
John Holles, third Duke of Newcastle, and died in
1723. The Duke of Newcastle died in 1711 and Wimpole passed to his daughter Henrietta who in 1713
married Edward Lord Harley, son of the first Earl of
Certain additions apart from the completion of the
initial project were evidently made between 1660 and
1711, but it is difficult to be more precise about them:
a third storey to the Chicheley house; two isolated
single-storey ranges, similar but not identical, that on
the W. being an Orangery; and the whole of the
two-storey W. side block linking the Orangery with
the original nucleus. Some or all of these additions may
have been made by Radnor. Russell Robartes, a kinsman,
writing to the Earl of Oxford in 1713 says that Radnor
spent at least £20,000 on the estate (H.M.C. Portland,
V, 341; some of the money certainly went on gardening
—H.M.C. Egmont, II, 206); Defoe (A Tour through the
Whole Island of Great Britain, ed. Cole and Browning
(1962), I, 87) speaks of Radnor as the rebuilder of the
house 'at vast expence'. A view by John Kip (Britannia
Illustrata (1707) No. 32) can hardly be accurate as far as
the main block is concerned, but he shows the two
wings along with the church and gardens and these are
for the most part demonstrably correct (B.M. Add. MS.
36278 MI; Bodleian, Gough Drawings a4, 69; R.A.F.
vertical air photographs CPE/UK 2024, 3052–3, and
St. Joseph PQ 69).
The Duke of Newcastle had been very rich, but the
extent of his daughter's inheritance remained in doubt
for some years, contentions over the will being finally
resolved by a private act of Parliament which received
the royal assent 18 Feb. 1719 (Journals of the House of
Lords, XXI, 75a). In the event the bulk of the estate
fell to the Duke's nephew Thomas Pelham who had
since assumed the name of Holles and himself been
created Duke of Newcastle. These uncertainties seem
to have precluded building during the initial years of
Harley's marriage. A letter to him from Dr. John Covel
(H.M.C. Portland, V, 562) dated 17 Aug. 1718 makes it
clear that the Library was then contemplated; it was
being built, to the designs of James Gibbs, during 1719,
and was in use at the latest by the end of 1720 (MS.
Life of Gibbs, 91, in Soane's Museum; letter from
Matthew Prior to Harley, H.M.C. Portland, V, 610;
drawing, Bodleian Gough Maps 46, 191, apparently
three suggestions for the Library shelving—the context
suggests Gibbs' authorship). The Chapel followed
shortly, but after a design prepared by Gibbs perhaps
as early as 1711 (Wren Soc. XII (1935), plate XXXV).
Letters from Dr. William Stratford to Harley in April
1721 show that work was in hand (H.M.C. Portland,
VII, 294–295). Music for 'ye Solemnity and Consecration of the . . . Chappell' on 31 Aug. in the same year
was composed by Dr. Thomas Tudway, 'Master of
Music' (B.M. Add. MS. 36268), but a note in it by
the first Lord Hardwicke states 'the Chapel at Wimple
never was consecrated'. Gibbs' work at Wimpole
was almost certainly not confined to the Library and
Chapel, although various designs made by him for
remodelling the 17th-century main front were
never carried out (two published in Wren Soc. XVII
(1940), plate xvi, cf. the 'accompt' partly transcribed
on pp. 10 and 11; two other designs in an album of
drawings in Wimpole Hall may also be by Gibbs).
He is generally credited with the Main Stair.
Gibbs and Tudway were two of a number of virtuosi
who worked as a team for Harley. The interior of the
Chapel was painted by Sir James Thornhill, the architectural elements in the side walls being derived from
Gibbs, who had designed them 'in the round'. According to George Vertue the work was finished 17 Sept.
1724 and the painter was paid £1,350 for it in October
of the same year (Walpole Soc. I (1912), 138 and III
(1914), 80). Thornhill also painted the interior of a
summer house at Wimpole in 1721–4, now no more
(E. Croft-Murray, Decorative Painting in England 1537–
1837 (1962), 1. 273b). John Wootton, the painter, and
Charles Bridgeman, the landscape gardener, were also
concerned in Harley's schemes, and Prior relates how
these two, with Gibbs and Thornhill, set out from
London by coach for Wimpole one Saturday morning
in March 1721 (H.M.C. Bath, III, 498 and 499; Thornhill wrote a 'ballet' about their adventures printed in
Wren Soc. XVII (1940) 12–13). Much can be learned of
Bridgeman's proposals from Prior's correspondence
(H.M.C. Portland, VII, 293–4 and Bath, III, 498–506
et al.; at least five drawings for Wimpole by or after
Bridgeman survive; Bodleian, Gough Drawings a4, 30,
31, 35 and 69 (Plate 121) and another in the Wimpole
album). Most of his final proposals, including the
octagonal 'Bason' in the S. Avenue, seem to have been
executed. Bridgeman's innovations entailed the destruction of earlier plantings, though some of these were
saved in response to protests from Harley's friends; one
of the features reprieved was the old narrow S. approach
avenue, the causeway of which still survives on the
ground (Monument (22) below).
There is little evidence for further building during
Harley's tenure, although he seems to have done something to balance the Library by building or rebuilding
to the E. and N.E. Latterly he ran into debt and about
a year before his death in 1741 he sold Wimpole to
Philip Yorke, Lord Chancellor Hardwicke, who was
created Earl of Hardwicke and Viscount Royston in
1754. Extensive alterations were put in hand almost at
once. A number of drawings, evidently by Flitcroft,
some in the Wimpole album, others in Soane's Museum,
reveal that a good deal of the original house had survived;
they include plans at each floor level from cellar to
attic, with corresponding proposals. These, together
with the accounts preserved in the British Museum
(Add. MS. 36228, 168–171 and 179–196), make it
possible to follow much of the mid 18th-century
alterations in detail. The main building phase began
towards the end of 1742 and lasted until November
1745. Total expenditure up to 1745 shown in an
'Abstract of Bills' was £7,118 5s. 8d., but there seem
to have been additional items and the final figure may
have been considerably higher. During this phase
Flitcroft refronted the main block on the vertical plane
of the old side and centre projections, thus increasing
the size of some of the principal rooms; he also re-roofed it in two parallel E. and W. ranges and eliminated
the cupola; on the N. front a central three-sided oriel
of two stages was added; internally ground-floor
partitions were readjusted to form the Gallery which
now leads to the Book Room, and the Saloon with a
small Dining Room adjoining to the E. Most of Flitcroft's men were 'London Tradesmen', the principal
exception being William Ratford, one of two carpenters, who was evidently local (a John Ratford is
mentioned in Wimpole accounts of 1788—C.R.O., R.
52.12.4, 14; see also Roofs below). Flitcroft's alterations
must have entailed many new ceilings but the cumulative payments to Mr Artari, Italian plasterer, recorded
in the 'Abstract', £76 9s., are modest. By contrast
those to Jefferin Alkin, carver, at £615 8s. 6d., are
high; Alkin was no doubt responsible for most of the
rich mid 18th-century fireplace surrounds, at least one
of which can be dated, on internal evidence, before
1754 (see Dining Room below). Evidence of Flitcroft's
activities at Wimpole between 1745 and 1747 is lacking
but the range N. of the Chapel completing the E. side
block, with N. elevation balancing the corresponding
elevation of the W. side block, seems to have been
added in those years; it was allowed for in Flitcroft's
original proposals and was evidently in existence by
1749 ('A Plan of the Water Pipes and Drains . . . 1749',
evidently from Flitcroft's office, in Soane's Museum).
During the next decade Hardwicke devoted increasing attention to the reorganisation and embellishment
of the grounds. The name of Flitcroft, who was a
contractor at least as much as a designer, continues to
figure in the family papers at least until 1755 (B.M.
Add. MS. 35679, 135), but the initiative passed to the
amateurs. Sanderson Miller was active at Wimpole at
this stage. He was introduced to Hardwicke in 1749 by
George, later Lord, Lyttelton, of Hagley Park, Worcestershire, where Miller had put up a Gothic Castle
a year or two previously, and was soon making drawings for a similar feature at Wimpole (L. Dickins and
M. Stanton, An Eighteenth-century Correspondence (1910)
270–3; drawings in the Wimpole album are probably
those referred to in the letters). It seems clear, however,
that the project was not proceeded with in the 1st
Earl's lifetime. Miller is said by Cole to have been
responsible for moving the fireplace from the N. end
of the Library to the middle of the W. side, the chimney
being replaced by an oriel (B.M. Add. MS. 5823, 135);
this may have been done early in 1754, to judge from
a letter by Hardwicke to his steward (B.M. Add.
MS. 35679, 104).
In 1752–4 a general landscaping N. and W. of the
house was undertaken; the old formal lay-out was
destroyed in favour of a paysage of about 45 acres
contained within a ha-ha, and the present walled
garden was laid out to replace the kitchen gardens
shown in Kip's engraving. The works were in the
hands of Robert Greening of Brentford, but Hardwicke
took an active part in their direction with advice from
Miller and an unidentified 'Mr S.', evidently a gentleman of advanced taste (B.M. Add. MS. 35679, 67 ff;
'Mr S.', f. 73, is conceivably William Shenstone).
Lord Chancellor Hardwicke died in 1764 and was
succeeded by his son Philip, who died in 1790. Much
of the 2nd Earl's energies also were directed to landscape gardening; his principal alterations to the house
were the creation, c. 1778, of an apsidal-ended Eating
Room, with some bedrooms over, in the E. side block
of the N. front and the elaboration of the N.E. wing
balancing the Library. The Eating Room is shown in
an unsigned drawing, with an annotation dated 28 Jan.
1778, which is in the Wimpole album; it may be
by Kenton Couse who was at Wimpole in 1777 (letter
to Thomas Worsley, 31 Aug. 1777, at Hovingham
Hall, Yorkshire). Between 1767 and 1772 Capability
Brown did much at Wimpole. His account book
shows total payments of £3,330 by the Earl for those
years (information from Miss Dorothy Stroud). Drawings, before and after, in the Wimpole album, inscribed
'Alteration Made in 1767', with schedule, show that
Brown destroyed all but a few vestiges of the N. avenue
and terminal circle; serpentized the Fish Ponds, adding
a third on the E.; and emparked the land to the N.
around Johnson's Hill, surrounding the new intake
with a belt and planting many characteristic clumps.
The relevant entries in his account book close with the
note 'Recd. the Balance of all accts. excepting what
has been doing at the Tower and what has been done
there by Brisley'. It would seem, then, that about this
time Miller's plans for the Tower, which had been in
abeyance, were at last put into execution. In or just
before 1777 Hardwicke published an engraving of the
Tower with a poem (C.U.L. aa. 53. 91. 4/102; H.M.C.
Dartmouth, III, 238–9; the poem appeared in Annual
Register 1775, 196); in 1778 a second engraving, a
companion piece of the first, depicting James Stuart's
Palladian Park Building came out, and no doubt this
building, which disappeared during the 19th century,
had also recently been completed.
A fine plan of the park made by William Eames in
1790 (B.M. Add. MS. 36278 G) sheds some light on the
position towards the end of the century, although some
of the features shown are clearly proposals which were
frustrated by the second earl's death.
Philip Yorke, third earl, nephew of his predecessor,
was a life-long patron of (Sir) John Soane, who had
worked for him in London as early as 1784 (Soane's
MS. 'Architectural Precedents', 12–13 and 42, in Soane's
Museum); he was designing gates for the Whaddon
entrance to Wimpole as late as 1819 and remained in
contact with the family during the following decade
(correspondence and Journals in Soane's Museum).
The bulk of Soane's work at Wimpole, however, was
executed during the first four or five years of the third
earl's tenure, with 1793 as the peak. A preliminary
survey (Plate 133; in Soane's Museum) by David Laing,
then only 16, was made within a few weeks of the
second earl's death. Soane's proposals took shape over
the ensuing 18 months, and were in something like
their final form by the end of 1792 (ground plan, dated
22 Dec. 1792, in the Wimpole album; a number of
other drawings in the album and in Soane's Museum).
An account book entitled 'The Earl of Hardwicke,
Bills and Expenditures for the several works done at
Wimpole in 1791, 1792, 1793, 1794' (Soane's Museum;
last year added in, and there is at least one item for 1795
in the book) gives a grand total for work at Wimpole
of £17,997 13s. 11½d.; John Papworth, the elder
presumably, was paid £1,051 9s. 3¼d. for plaster work.
Soane's chef d'œuvre was the Yellow Drawing Room
contrived in the N.W. part of the main block; it
involved the replacement of a secondary staircase by a
new one which, with water closets and offices, was to
fill most of the small court between the main and the
W. side blocks. He also enlarged and remodelled Gibbs'
Ante-Library to form the Book Room, divided up
the axial gallery on the first floor, and created the semicircular Dressing Room over the Drawing Room with
the Upper Stair to the E. Lesser changes included the
adornment of the Inner Hall, the remodelling of the
Ante-chapel to make a State Chamber, the provision
of side galleries and top lighting for the Main Stair, and
further remodelling of the E. range and N.E. wings
with the other service buildings lying between them.
Among less explicitly documented works carried out
in the house during the late 18th and early 19th centuries were the clumping of the two chimneys of the
main block, the Bath House built in the small E. court
N. of the Chapel, the installation of many fireplace
surrounds and grates, and the introduction of gas
lighting. Some, probably most, of these must have been
designed or inspired by Soane. He also carried out
certain works in the gardens and park, among them a
'Castello d'Acqua' or 'Water House' on the site of the
reservoir shown to the N. of the church in Kip's
engraving (illustrated in Sketches in Architecture (1793),
plate xli; references to the 'Bath' in the account book,
51, 52, 83, 97; cf. Journals II, 243–5, may refer to the
present Bath House, but would be appropriate also to
the Castello d'Acqua; Soane's initial plans of 1792 show
that water closets were intended on the site of the
former). Some lodges, put up in 1795 or 1796 at the
Arrington entrance, later proved unsound (correspondence, between Soane and the third earl, in Soane's
Museum). The lodges were replaced in or before c. 1851;
the Castello d'Acqua survived until the present century.
In or about 1801 Humphry Repton was invited to
submit ideas for improvements to Wimpole. His 'Red
Book' of that year has been incorporated in the Wimpole
album together with an explanatory map (Plate 132).
Some of Repton's suggestions were ephemeral and the
execution of others seems to have been frustrated by
the third earl's appointment as Lord Lieutenant of
Ireland, an office which he held till 1807, although the
countess seemingly put some of the works in hand.
In 1809 Repton gave advice for refurbishing the
Orangery, which was accepted; a formal garden and
clairvoyée on the N. front were also carried out to his
specifications. Repton's ideas for improving the park
were mostly directed towards the E. and took the form
of characteristic belts and drives which could be
introduced without serious disturbance to agriculture.
The most important element was a long winding
approach from Cambridge through Cobb's Wood,
which was further elaborated during the ensuing century.
The third earl was succeeded in 1834 by his nephew
Admiral Sir Charles Philip Yorke, who held Wimpole
until his death in 1873. The fourth earl was the last of
his family to make substantial changes at Wimpole.
His son Charles (d. 1897) sold the property in 1893 to
Lord Robartes, a descendant of the heiress of the last
Earl of Radnor, who inherited the Clifden title some
H. E. Kendall, the elder, (d. 1875) submitted in
February 1840 a scheme for new offices on the site of
the E. range together with some further reshaping and
slight curtailment of the Orangery, to produce a
completely symmetrical effect closed by towers at
either end; secondary proposals included changes in
the N.E. wing and offices adjacent to the E., the
provision of balustrades including one for the main
block, and further rebuilding and regrouping of
chimneys (letter from Kendall to Admiral Yorke in
the Wimpole album). Most of these alterations were
carried out c. 1842. The new work was in the Italianate
style then in vogue. Kendall is also credited with the
reorganisation of the Entrance Hall which was enlarged
by removing the wall between it and the Ante-chapel
or State Room. In 1851 Kendall was again working at
Wimpole, when he rebuilt the Stables on a new site,
and also the Arrington Entrance Gates (The Builder
XXXIII (1875), 33 and 60). The Queen's Lodge, with
which he is credited but which no longer exists, may
have been on the Cambridge road at about N.G. TL
359507 (cf. Gardner's Directory, 299).
About the time that Kendall was engaged at Wimpole
some at least of the plaster ceilings now in the principal
rooms must have been put in, but the extent of 19th-century reproduction introduced is difficult to determine
(C. Hussey, Country Life LXI, 28 May 1927, 851, says
'a quantity of pseudo-Georgian decoration was executed').
The wings transformed by Kendall and some other
service buildings have been removed in recent years.
The House today is predominantly of the 18th century.
The main front to the S. and the elevation to the N. are both
symmetrical, with windows, mostly sashes divided by glazing
bars, set in moulded stone architraves and regularly disposed.
The stone balustrades added to the S. front by Kendall in the
1840s and the massive central chimneys, which he also remodelled, rising above the hipped roofs, hardly detract from
the harmonious impression of the whole and make their own
contribution to the total impact.
The South Front (Plate 130) has the three-storey main block
of c. 1742 in seven bays with side blocks (corresponding to the
Chapel of 1720 and the somewhat earlier W. extension), of
two storeys only, each of five bays. The middle three bays
of the main block project slightly and are surmounted by a
pediment in which is an achievement of arms of Baron Hardwicke and his wife Margaret (Cocks). The stone quoins of the
main block and of its projection are rusticated, those at the
extremities of the elevation are plain; there are stone platbands at the upper floor levels, that to the first floor being
carried right across the front.
The rusticated front door with round head beneath a pediment and the approach steps are of c. 1742 but were encumbered until recently by a porch added c. 1842 and have
been slightly restored. The steps, of stone with a brick core, are
U-shaped and rise in two flights on either side flanked by
balustrades to a platform, carried on low round arches, with
a rusticated front. Above the front door on the first floor is a
Venetian window, recalling a corresponding feature of the
17th-century house, and on the second floor a semicircular
window divided by vertical mullions into three lights. Except
for the middle one, the windows on the first floor of the main
block are pedimented.
The lower parts of the upper range of windows in the Chapel
extension are blocked by the Chapel ceiling, and those in its
basement are dummies, as are all the windows in the E. return
wall. Otherwise this and the W. return resemble the front in
The balustraded parapets of the side blocks are 18th-century.
The third urn from the E. end on the 19th-century parapet
of the main block bears the legend 'Blanchard Terra-cotta
Blackfriars Rd'. The acroterion, depicting a standing woman
proferring a cup to a seated man holding a staff, is likewise
The North Elevation (Plate 131) has, like the S. front, a three-storeyed seven-bay façade to the main block and two-storeyed
and balustraded side blocks of five bays each; it looks on to a
forecourt, now grass, enclosed at the sides by the Library and
corresponding N.E. wing.
Symmetry prevails throughout, although the balustrade of
the E. block no longer functions as such owing to the heightening of the block when the Eating Room and bedrooms over
were created in 1778. Moreover the walling and fenestration
of the main block on the N. are not uniform: the central twostage balustraded oriel with round-headed door and round-headed first-floor window in the cardinal face, and the top floor
with dentil cornice and central semicircular window beneath
a small pediment, are additions, all in Flemish bond, of c. 1742;
elsewhere the brickwork, in English bond, appears to be
coeval with the late 17th- or 18th-century first-floor windows
which have pulvinated friezes and pediments; on the ground
floor two windows either side of the oriel have evidently had
mullions and transoms removed and may be of mid 17th-century origin, but the others were enlarged in c. 1793. The
ground- and first-floor windows in the main wall all have
eared architraves. The quoins of the main block are of plain
stone; platbands at the upper floor levels resemble those on
the S. front, the lower one being carried across the side
The basements on the N. have no stone facing; the windows
are divided into two lights by stone mullions, those in the
side blocks being copied from those of the main block. These
last, which are presumably original, are masked by a modern
balcony just above ground-floor level, which incorporates
the 18th-century steps.
The N.W. wing, containing the Library, is externally in
two stages with a basement, and has stone quoins and other
dressings and a stone balustraded parapet. There are five
ground-floor windows to the E. which originally provided
the sole lighting, but the middle and end windows are now
blocked internally by shelving; above each window is a
blind recess and below is a two-light stone-mullioned window
similar to those of the S. front. The N. end wall is occupied by
a five-sided bow window in stone of c. 1754; it is of full height
and has a round-headed light in the middle and rectangular
windows in the secondary faces, with blind recesses and
balustrading above returned from the E. wall. The W.
elevation of the Library was originally of the same architectural
character as to the E. but had blind recesses without dressings,
and differently spaced; the wall has been disrupted by a
chimney inserted when the fireplace was moved from the N.
end in 1754, and by windows inserted c. 1793. A rainwater
head on the W. side bears the date '1730'.
The N. and W. elevations of the much-rebuilt N.E. wing
repeat the N. and E. elevations of the N.W. wing.
Some exterior features in secondary elevations are described
below with the appropriate parts of the interior.
The principal rooms inside the house are elaborately decorated, the enrichment generally being of the 18th century,
but including some reproduction work, not in every case
identifiable as such. Routine embellishments such as simple
ceiling cornices, doorcases or panelled shutters are only described where their occurrence is significant for the architectural
history of the whole.
Access to the interior from the front door is through the
Entrance Hall which has been made continuous with the former
Ante-chapel on the E. and the Inner Hall on the N. by the
removal of internal walls. In the case of the Ante-chapel this
was done c. 1842, the Ionic columns in antis which now mark
the division between the two rooms being of that time.
The 18th-century fireplace in the Ante-chapel is a recent
introduction. Coupled columns in antis also define the transition
from the Entrance Hall to the Inner Hall. The S. column of
each pair is of c. 1842 and similar to those described, but the
N. columns are of c. 1793 and have been refurbished and reset
to match the later work.
The Chapel (52 ft. by 19¾ ft.; Plate 144) has at the W. end
an upper pew with panelled front supported on two Ionic
columns, entered from the Ante-chapel by a round-headed
doorway. A second entrance on to the main floor, which is
paved with diagonal flags and small black diapers, is at the
W. end of the N. wall. This entrance has an outer door with
central panel of wrought-iron scroll-work and panelled inner
door, both original. A stair down from the first floor through
the N.E. corner of the Ante-chapel was removed in the
second half of the 18th century.
The Chapel walls up to the level of the window cills are
lined with fielded panelling, above which they and the ceiling,
which has side coves broken by cross vaults above and opposite the windows, are painted with a continuous trompe l'œil
in the Corinthian order tricked out with amorini and draperies.
The whole E. wall provides the setting for an Adoration of the
Magi, the stable scene being related to a lofty arch rising off
coupled columns with subsidiary figures in narrower trabeated
side bays. The N. and S. walls, rather more subdued in
colouring, have the order returned from the E. end, the five
windows on the S. being balanced on the N. by shell-head
'niches', the first four being occupied by statues of the Doctors
of the Church on inscribed pedestals, and the fifth by an
urn. The framework in the W. wall repeats that at the E. end,
but has a door-case beneath the central arch and two further
urns in the side bays. The three urns, starting from the S.,
are 'carved' with a Baptism of Christ, a Last Supper and a
Resurrection. The door-case entablature is inscribed '1724' and
'IAC: THORNHILL EQs: FACIEBAT'. The enriched
octagonal coffering painted on the ceiling and on the cross
vaults completes the illusion.
Chapel fittings include: altar rails of wrought iron, divided
by pilaster forms into three scroll-work panels in front and
two in either return; communion table, of heavily gilded
wood, carved with lion-legs and cherub-heads, and with top
of white marble (Plate 136); pulpit, hexagonal bulbiform,
with moulded and inlaid panels and other enrichment; all of
c. 1720. The stalls replace earlier box pews in existence in
The Main Stair (Plate 142), E. of the Inner Hall, of c. 1720,
rises in three flights from the ground floor to a first-floor
landing. The balustrade, which is carried across the landing,
has a moulded and swept rail, turned and fluted balusters and
Corinthian newel posts. The string is accentuated by lengthened
and overlapping returns from the nosing of the treads with
carved scrolls beneath the lower return. The stair hall rises
the full height of the block and above the first-floor landing
is a platform or bridge. This is evidently an original feature
but it was remodelled and extended along the N. and S. walls
c. 1793 by Soane and a service staircase was added immediately
to the E. This last entailed blocking all but the round head of
the large E. window by which the stair hall was originally lit.
Alternative lighting was provided by a skylight which
replaced the middle of the original ceiling, the enriched
cornice and cove of which survive. The skylight has a semicircular window in each face, panelled pendentives rising to a
flat ceiling with central gasolier.
The walls of the stair hall above first-floor level are heavily
enriched; some of the stucco-work is original but a part of it
may be 19th-century or later reproduction. Three doors on
the first-floor landing have moulded and enriched doorcases;
that in the middle of the W. wall is larger and more ornate
and has a broken pediment. There are three further doors on to
the upper platform, the middle one of which was not in
existence before c. 1742.
N. of the Chapel a small court, between it and the former
Large Dining Room, is now largely occupied by a late 18th- or early 19th-century Bath House (Plate 109) with segmental
barrel-vaulted ceiling and top lighting. Entry is from a half
landing, a short flight up the secondary staircase to the E. of
the Main Stair, via an arcaded vestibule with a small fireplace
and secondary bath to the N.; the boiler house is beneath.
From the vestibule curving stairs either side of the water
cocks lead down to a platform in which is the bath, some
12½ ft. by 6 ft. and 5 ft. deep, with rounded ends and narrow
steps at either side leading down to the tiled floor.
The former Large Dining Room, on the site of the 18th-century Eating Room and now divided up into offices, seems
to have been formed c. 1842. An elaborate plaster ceiling of
about that time, now masked, has circular panels at either end
enclosing the monogram 'CY' surmounted by a viscount's
coronet (an heir to the fourth earl had been born in 1836).
Beyond these offices, to the E. and N., are further service
rooms, originally of the 18th century but, as they now stand,
the product of 19th-century and modern reconstruction and
demolition. Even the W. façade and the N. oriel of the N.E.
wing seem to have been rebuilt, and internally the wing is
The Saloon (Plate 143) was created c. 1742 out of a smaller
room N. of the Inner Hall which was enlarged to the E. by
about 9 ft.; it also took in the central oriel added on the N.
front. The walls are lined with moulded and enriched panelling
above a dado rail. The six-panelled doors have enriched
architraves and pulvinated friezes carved as garlands; that on
the S. has side pilasters, console brackets and a broken pediment. The chimney-piece consists of a moulded surround,
side brackets facing outwards carved with child-heads, and
foliated frieze with a swag in a projecting central panel, all
in white marble; an eared and pedimented overmantel
frames a picture. The entrance to the oriel has a double lintel
with paired two-piece brackets rising off side pilasters, all
much enriched. The design of the ceiling is based on a large
octagonal panel with smaller triangular and rectangular
panels making up the oblong.
The Dining Room formed at the same time as the Saloon
is similarly but less elaborately adorned, with doors and
chimney-piece resembling those in the previous room. The
carved frieze of the white marble fireplace surround (Plate 142)
has a central motif of a baron's coronet with two eagle heads,
confirming its date prior to 1754. The central oval of the ceiling
is framed by long side panels enclosing portrait medallions.
The T-shaped Yellow Drawing Room (40 ft. by 18¼ ft. N.
to S., 35 ft. by 18¼ ft. E. to W.; Plate 141) was contrived by
Soane in or about 1793 on a site previously occupied by a
small room W. of the Saloon, by a mid 18th-century stair
W. of the Inner Hall and by a second room, E. of the stair;
because of the height of his ceilings, further, first-floor, rooms
had also to be dispensed with. Soane's solution for the problem
of unifying a room of the required shape starts from the idea
of lighting by means of a dome and cylindrical lantern above
the crossing, supplemented by two windows at the N.
The walls, the yellow silk lining of which has recently been
reinstated, are broken by panelled pilasters defining the crossing
and by similar pilasters indicating the recessed double doors
(Plate 135) leading out of the N. end to the Saloon and to the
Red Dining Room. Two further doors of the same design, but
flush with the wall, are set in the segmental apsed and domed
ends of the cross arm. All four have panelled overdoors
painted with classical scenes in grisaille representing music,
poetry and drama. At the wall head is a continuous dentil
cornice enriched with lion-masks.
The ceiling of the long arm is a panelled and lightly enriched
segmental barrel, coved back at the ends to a reduced span
and closed on the N. by a lunette; there is a corresponding
lunette at the S. end of the room. They are painted as companion pieces by R. W. Buss (d. 1875) with, S., 'The Origin
of Music', and, N., 'The Triumph of Music'. Above the
four pilasters of the crossing, pendentives enriched with foliage
sprays and bunches of corn tied with ribbon alternate with
cabled, approximately crescent-shaped, stilting pieces. The
dome itself and the half domes over the apses are fluted.
The effect is heightened by original fittings including large
mirrors at the N. and S. ends in carved and gilt frames. That
at the S. end is set over a fireplace with a carved and gilt
white marble surround and burnished steel grate inscribed
'Bickley & Lardner No. 2 Berners St'. A crystal gasolier hangs
from the lantern.
The Secondary Stair (Plate 134), of stone with a wrought-iron
balustrade and mahogany handrail, rises from the basement
to the first floor in five flights. It was made c. 1793 in lieu of
one further E. which was destroyed to make way for the
Yellow Drawing Room. The balustrade is of plain uprights
in pairs alternating with panels of trellis-work enriched with
paterae. On the W. side of the stair hall at basement level is a
range of three arches, now blocked, which were already in
existence c. 1742. The walls of the top landing of the stair hall
have elliptical-headed panels and equivalent openings, framed
with narrow panelled architraves; at the wall head is an
enriched modillion cornice and flat panelled ceiling with
central skylight which still includes a little heraldic stained
glass of the period.
The Red Dining Room has two doors of six fielded panels
with enriched architraves and pulvinated friezes. The late
18th- or early 19th-century marble fireplace surround is
carved with grape vine.
The Ante-room, immediately W. of the Entrance Hall,
assumed its present shape c. 1742, consequent on the remodelling of the S. front. The walls are lined with plain wooden
panelling in two heights. The six-panelled doors have
moulded architraves and shaped friezes enriched with acanthus.
The fireplace has a plain surround of yellow veined marble
and outer moulded and enriched frame of wood with carved
frieze. The ceiling has a large central oval and small rectangular
and spandrel panels; it may be of c. 1842.
The Drawing Room, W. of the foregoing, is similarly
panelled and the doors and doorcases are of the same design.
The ceiling is a more enriched version of that in the Ante-room and may likewise be of c. 1842. The chimney-piece
has a moulded surround of grey veined marble with outer
frame in wood having carved pilasters and bold scroll brackets
either side of the frieze on which is a female mask between two
richly carved swags; the overmantel, also elaborately carved,
has scrolled side pilasters, a break-front cornice and central
pediment broken for a basket of flowers.
The Gallery (62 ft. by 18½ ft.) occupies the full depth of the
W. side block and was designed c. 1742 in three bays divided
by pairs of columns in antis placed on the line of the partitions
formerly dividing the space into three smaller rooms. Two
supplementary axial columns which are not shown in Flitcroft's drawings but which were in existence when Soane
made his survey in 1790 were apparently removed by him.
A large part of the décor of this room, including the three
ceilings, is probably of c. 1842. The projecting white marble
chimney-piece, the flue of which has been intruded into the
thickness of the wall, is of c. 1742; the richly carved white
marble surround has scrolled pilasters at the front and sides,
and a break-front frieze carved with swags and large paterae
flanking a female mask embellished with grape vine; the
carved and painted wooden overmantel frames a picture, and
has a break-front frieze adorned with festoons, crowned by
a small central broken pediment enclosing an urn. The doors
and door cases, similar to those in the rooms adjoining on the
E. are of the same time. At either end of the room between
the windows is a carved and gilt mirror beneath a plaster
swag with a marble-topped carved console below.
The Book Room (Plate 140), leading from the Gallery to the
Library, is an enlargement, c. 1793, of a smaller Ante-library
formed, presumably by Gibbs, out of the E. end of the Orangery, later the Conservatory. Soane's extension was perhaps
called for to house books moved out of the Library to make
way for the windows. Externally Soane's work was remodelled
by Kendall along with the remainder of the now demolished
Conservatory; inside it is virtually unaltered.
The E. half of the room, corresponding to the old AnteLibrary, is fitted with bookshelves of three-quarter height on
the N. and E. At the wall head is an enriched cornice and above
is a coved plaster ceiling the moulded panels of which are
filled with conventional foliage. The W. half has three pairs
of uniform book stacks of the same height as the shelves in the
E. half, the first two being free-standing, the last, at an increased
interval, set against the W. wall either side of modern doors
now leading down to the garden. The stacks are linked by
segmental arches ornamented with large paterae in plaster
with black urns placed in semicircular recesses at the springings. Between and above the arches is a barrel ceiling of the
same segment, with cross vaults above the windows. The
ceiling is panelled and enriched with further paterae. The
fireplace, at the E. end, has a surround of black and white
marble inlay and a carved and gilt pedimental mirror as
overmantel, with side candelabra.
The Library (50½ ft. by 23¼ ft.; Plate 140) has undergone a
number of alterations. In c. 1742 it was perhaps still as designed
by Gibbs with a range of five windows to the E. and a fireplace at the N. end, the walls otherwise being fitted with
shelves. By 1790 three of the five windows had been blocked
with books. The fireplace had been moved c. 1754 to the
middle of the W. side; the oriel which had replaced it was
also filled with books except for a window in the main face.
The two windows on the W. and the present arrangement of
shelving seem to be Soane's.
The walls between the windows are divided by pilasters
into bookcases in two widths. The wider cases and the windows
to which they are equivalent are accented by moulded wooden
arches, with carved keys, springing from a continuous cornice
above the top shelf. The enriched coved and panelled ceiling
is similar in idiom to that over the E. part of the Book Room.
The grey-veined marble fireplace surround has a moulded
architrave, heavy consoles, plain pulvinated frieze and
central key carved with a female mask in a sunburst. All five
sides of the oriel are now glazed; the entry to it from the
body of the Library is similar to that into the oriel in the
Saloon, described above.
The first-floor plan of the 17th-century house was altered
relatively little before 1793. The principal feature, a gallery
on the N. to S. axis, was retained by Flitcroft but was divided
up, apparently by Soane, with the minimum disturbance of
the earlier 18th-century panelling, doorcases and cornice,
and reproducing the earlier work in the partitions introduced.
The middle section of the gallery thus became the Upper Hall,
lit indirectly through an aperture in the ceiling by a lantern
above the second floor; doorcases in the middle of the E. and
W. sides with pulvinated and garlanded friezes, consoles,
and broken pediments are mid 18th-century. That to the W.
is blind, as the space devoted in 1790 to the upper flights of a
secondary staircase, two small rooms, and the W. half of a
third small room on the N. front, is now occupied by the
ceilings of the Yellow Drawing Room.
Rooms Nos. 1, 2 and 3 over the Chapel, with vaulted ceilings
and simple fireplaces are later 18th- or early 19th-century;
in the mid 18th century there were two rooms only, that on
the E. being comparatively large. Nos. 4 and 5, the former
now a bathroom, have been remodelled, but No. 5 has a
moulded and eared marble fireplace surround with carved
wooden overmantel. No. 6, occupying the S. end of the
former gallery, has a three-sided N. end made up c. 1793 to
match the earlier 18th-century side and S. walls. No. 7 has
bolection-moulded dado panelling and a moulded and
dentilled wooden cornice. Beyond it are an elegant Upper
Stair and semicircular Dressing Room No. 8, of c. 1793, both
by Soane. The Upper Stair connects the first and second
floor in four flights and has slender turned balusters, turned
newels with moulded caps and bases, and a continuous
handrail descending to a spiral. The Dressing Room has in
the middle of the curved side opposite the windows a fireplace
with modern surround and 19th-century steel grate with a
Hardwicke monogram and coronet in brass.
The detailing of Nos. 9–13 is comparatively plain 18th-century work; the fireplace in No. 9 has an inner marble
surround and enriched outer frame of wood carved at the
corners with Cereal masks. No. 12 is three-sided at the S. end.
No. 14, a small room, now divided, has a cast-iron pedestal
grate, possibly that designed by Soane for his State Chamber
E. of the Entrance Hall. No. 15 resembles No. 6 but has the
added oriel on the N. and a reset bolection-moulded fireplace
surround. Nos. 16 and 17 retain a little unostentatious 18th-century detail; No. 16 has a bolection-moulded dado and
moulded and eared fireplace surround of white veined marble.
Further E. the first-floor rooms in the N. side of the E. block,
Nos. 18–20, were formed c. 1778 with the Eating Room which
was below. Nos. 18 and 19 have uniform cornices enriched
with alternating acanthus, and No. 18 has an outer wooden
fireplace surround with fluted frieze and central panel carved
with a swag; all of c. 1778. No. 20 is simply decorated in a
later 18th- or early 19th-century idiom.
The second floor, all substantially of c. 1742, has a central
Top Hall the lower walls of which are lined with fielded
panelling in two heights including two segmental arches
which lead into small lobbies at the N. and S. ends. Central
doors in the side walls give on to the platform above the main
stair and on to the leads. The space is lit by an octagonal
lantern, introduced by an enriched plaster frame, which
replaces the cupola and winding stair shown in Flitcroft's
There are five Bedrooms on either side of the Top Hall.
Those to the S. have moulded plaster cornices, panelled doors
and shutters, and one or two fireplace surrounds; that in the
second room bolection-moulded, of grey-veined marble, late
17th- or 18th-century, probably reset. The Bedrooms on the
N. are similar but the centre room is lined with fielded
panelling in two heights and the remainder have dados of
bolection-moulded or fielded panelling.
The Roofs over the main block are in two E. and W. ranges
separated by flats; they are of c. 1742 but include a quantity
of reused material, some at least of which is 17th-century;
the members are pegged and for the most part numbered.
Each range is roofed in nine unequal bays with secondary
roofs against the pediments of the two fronts and their corresponding chimneys. The main trusses have king posts with
enlarged heads, feet strapped to the tie beams, and up braces
notched into the sides of the posts; the staggered purlins are
in two tiers; there is no ridge piece. The fifth and eighth
trusses of the N. roof are inscribed respectively 'WLL' and
'Iohn Rat' perhaps referring to William Ratford who figures
in Flitcroft's 'Abstract' and to another member of his family.
The Basement, extending under most of the house, in addition
to the features already described (see Chapel and Secondary
Stair above), consists of extensive passages and cellars which
have been a good deal altered at various times and are now
mostly plastered internally. At the E. end of the N. range of
the main block two compartments have groined vaults
carried on central piers. Beneath the S. end of the Gallery the
Steward's Room, now divided up, retains 18th-century panelled
shutters and has a stone fireplace surround in Gothic idiom of
the first half of the 19th century the side pilasters of which are
carved with the letter H and a coronet.
The ground next the house is contained by railings on the
N. and S., mostly mid 19th-century, but including on the N. a
Clairvoyée said to be by Repton, either side of a later central
gate. The Clairvoyée consists of eight bays of plain uprights
on a dwarf wall with a panel of wrought-iron scroll-work in
the middle of each bay and low piers, defining the bays,
topped by various leaden vases and urns. On the S. side of
the house piers articulating the railings carry stone vases,
urns and busts, mostly 18th-century, and including at the W.
end a pair of Vases designed by Gibbs and executed by Mr.
Carpenter (Andries Carpentièe, according to R. Gunnis,
Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660–1851 , 82). Carpenter
may also have been responsible for some of the leaden pieces
(John Fleming, Robert Adam and his Circle (1962), 38). The
vases and two alternatives not executed were engraved in J.
Gibbs (A Book of Architecture (1728), Plate CXXXVIII; cf.
drawings by Gibbs, Bodleian, Gough Maps 46, 266–8). They
are octagonal and richly carved with interlace, female masks
E. of the house are a few detached service buildings in part
at least of the 18th and early 19th century, and including a
brick-built Game Larder in form of an aedicule.
The Park, broadly speaking the area enclosed by the late
18th- and early 19th-century belts, artificially landscaped
throughout although much has probably always been under
cultivation, occupies upwards of 600 acres in the centre and
N.W. of the parish. It is distinctly longer N. to S., the shape
otherwise being irregular. The E. and S. avenues or vistas
and the drive from the old Orwell entrance are not confined
within the perimeter of the park but for convenience are
treated with it; garden features in the immediate vicinity of
the house have already been described.
The general slope is to the S., the highest point being in the
N.E. (N.G. TL 341525) near Rosses Farm; the disused drive
winding through the belts on the perimeter affords fine
views from this end across the park to the downs S. of Royston.
There is also a tilt to the E. which is accentuated by the course
of the stream. S.W. of the lakes formed in the valley, on the
W. side of the park, a spur from the high ground beyond
Ermine Street, on which the site of Stuart's Park Building
is still traceable as a depression in the ground (N.G. TL 32965090)
intrudes boldly into the landscape a short distance only from
the house. To the S. the ground is almost flat, but to the S.E.
the gentle declivity of Lamp Hill provides effective background
to the prospect from the front.
There is mention of a park at Wimpole in 1302 (Reaney,
'Place-names of Cambs.', 82). On Hare's map of 1638 the manor
house with its moats is placed in the middle of a triangular
piece of ground, 20 acres or more in extent, the N.W. side
of which is inscribed 'Low Parke' on the map and which had
at one time evidently been bounded by roads, but a further
intake known as 'High Parke' had been made to the N.W.
more than doubling the former area and involving the
diversion of the road on this side. By c. 1720 the rebuilt house
had some 200 acres of park, as refashioned by Bridgeman with
additions mostly to the W. and S. but including the gardens
on the N. shown by Kip. During the mid 18th century the
expansion to the N., carried out successively by Greening
and Brown, took in the stream and Johnson's Hill; at this stage
the N.W. boundary was fixed approximately on its present
line. On the S. documentation is less explicit but there was
evidently some intake to the S.W. towards Arrington.
Improvements made on Repton's advice involved enlargement
to the E. of Johnson's Hill with realignment of the road to the
N. along the bed of the dry valley enclosed by his new N.E.
belt. Repton also inaugurated the approach from Orwell
through Cobb's Wood. A little more ground was taken in
somewhat later in the 19th century to the N. and N.W. of
the Park Building. Some of the old boundaries corresponding
to these successive emparkments can be traced on the ground
or are visible on air photographs.
The park today is well timbered and there are many
venerable elms as well as a few old oaks. It is in general
difficult to ascribe individual trees to a definite plantation
phase, but the oldest elms in the 2½-m. South Avenue (Plate 129)
which was planned as a vista and seems never to have been a
drive, can hardly be other than c. 1720. Others of comparable
growth in the East Avenue and the magnificient West Avenue
may be as old, or slightly older. The Belts are now mixed
plantations which no doubt include many of the original
trees. The Shrubbery between the house and the Walled
Garden outside the ha-ha was probably evolved during the
19th century; it is planted with some fine specimen trees,
many of them evergreens.
Ornamental waters in the park include the Fish Ponds, two
of which were made between 1638 and 1720, originally in
the form of irregular polygons. These two were amalgamated
and serpentized in 1767–1772 when a further pond was added
on the E. across the line of the old N. avenue. The E. and W.
ponds are now dry. Johnson's Pond, on the hill top of the same
name within a small copse, is surrounded by a quite considerable
embankment. S. of the house ponds, or similar depressions
water-filled all or some of the year, are at N.G. TL 337508,
335508, 333505 and 338505 (My Lady's Pond). The second
and third of these seem to be in part on the sites of hollow-ways
indicated on the map of 1638 (see Monument (21) below);
the first and third were perhaps improved by Bridgeman
c. 1721 as 'canals'. The Octagon (N.G. TL 337484, in the parish
of Whaddon), an unrevetted basin of that shape, some 500 ft.
across, was constructed, also in 1721, as a feature of the avenue
(B.M. Add. MS. 39814, 299); it needed to be dug out afresh
in the mid 18th century and is now choked with vegetation.
The water supply was presumably from the adjoining river
which has been canalised for about 750 yds. downstream
from Arrington Bridge. Central to the avenue is a brick-built
Bridge across the river, of one large and two smaller round
arches; the parapet and curved approach walls with brick
piers and stone coping have been partly demolished. This
bridge was built in 1744 (on the presumption that it is that
referred to in B.M. Add. MS. 36228, 191). Ranging with the
sides of the avenue are indications of sluices which were
perhaps coeval with the bridge.
The Gothic Tower (Plate 137), a 'ruin' erected c. 1772 on
Johnson's Hill, is of clunch ashlar on the face, cramped back
to brick or to alternating bands of brick and clunch rubble.
It is much as designed by Sanderson Miller in 1749–50 but
during the 19th century the middle tower was rounded out
and its parapet, originally corbelled and battlemented, replaced in brick. At the same time or later suitable parts of the
structure were fitted out as dwellings and estate buildings.
The plan consists of three circular towers connected by two
lengths of curtain wall facing S.E. and S.W. with the middle
tower carried up four stages as an eye-catcher. A short spur
running E. and W. from a point somewhat S.W. of the E.
tower is evidently meant to simulate the remains of a hall.
There are original entrances in both lengths of curtain wall.
The windows are mostly of two lights with Y-tracery and
labels, but there are some lancets and one window over the
S.W. entrance is of three lights with intersecting tracery. The
exterior walling is diversified by string-courses and crosslet
loop lights, now blocked on the inside. Above the N. door
of the middle tower is set the mitred head from a mediaeval
statue, rather less than life size and perhaps of the 14th century;
below it is a 17th- or 18th-century tablet inscribed in Roman
caps '.STIRKEIVS ABBA. CROYLANDIE AD 946 FVNDATOR ACADEMIARVM CANTABRIGIE ET STANDFORDIE'. S. of the Tower, on the open hill side, is a crescent-shaped 'moat'.
Walled Garden, probably enclosed in 1752 (B.M. Add. MS.
35679, 67–73), retains with little alteration its original redbrick walls, about 12 ft. high, but there is a breach on the N.,
the result of aerial action during the last war. The S. wall is a
hot wall; the others are said to be solid. The gardener's
cottage and outer wall in white brick are 19th-century.
Ha-ha, serpentine in course and about half a mile in length, is
of 1752–4. The E. half is revetted in red brick; the W. half has
no revetment. Some further disused lengths of ha-ha S. of
the house are Bridgeman's, of c. 1720.
Stables, rebuilt by H. E. Kendall about 130 yds. E. of the
old site in a restrained baroque idiom are arranged around a
square court. Cut in the plinth immediately N. of the entrance
is the inscription 'Built A.D. 1851'. The E., S. and W. exteriors,
of red brick with stone dressings, are each divided into nine
bays by rusticated piers rising to ball finials; the outside bays
are accentuated by doubled piers and curved pediments. The
three middle bays on the W. are occupied by an entrance block
with round-arched entrance and a pediment flanked by
supporters with shields of arms, surmounted by a two-stage
cupola with clock faces and a vane. The interior of the court
is paved with small granite sets, and is surrounded by a castiron arcade with a floor of herringbone brick.
Entrance Gates in Arrington, set back and flanked by
quadrant railings, put up c. 1851 to the designs of H. E.
Kendall. The main piers carry supporters with shields of arms
in a composition material.
Bridge (N.G. TL 34685125), brick and stone, of one arch,
balustrade blocked; probably by Kendall, mid 19th-century.
a(3) Rectory, now alienated and converted to two
dwellings, framed, with casing and 18th-century N.W.
extension in brick, and roofs, partly original, covered with
tiles and slate, has twin modern date-panels in the S. gables
'HRY 1833' and 'EM 1597' (for Henry Reginald Yorke and
Edward Marshall who were incumbents in those years). The
earlier date is likely to be that of erection. Alterations to the
building have been extensive: the jettying across the S. front
has been entirely under-built and the elevation is now predominantly in the Tudor taste of c. 1833. In the downstairs
of the main range irregularly spaced intersecting ceiling beams
stop-moulded at the E. end but otherwise stop-chamfered,
suggest some sophistication in the original plan. Detail of
various dates includes 18th- and 19th-century panelled doors
and other woodwork, some reused.
a(4) Park Farm. Buildings S.W. of the house, some at least
of which may be by Soane (account book in Soane's Museum,
35 et al.; information, re Barn, from Miss Dorothy Stroud),
include: Loose Boxes, said to be for deer, a dog-leg range of
eight with serving compartment at the E. end, of brick with
slated lean-to roof; the front has a dentilled parapet and a semicircular light with a wooden lattice over the door to each
box; early 19th-century. Barn, framed and boarded on a
red-brick plinth, with thatched, originally slated queen-post
roof; in eight bays, with two symmetrically arranged porches
to the S.; cartographical evidence suggests a date between
1790 and 1801. Stock Sheds, enclosing, with the barn, a large
farmyard to the S., and of similar materials and date. Affixed
to an inside wall in the W. range is a wooden board with
narrow bolection-moulded frame and painted inscription:
'The weight of a Spayd Heifer killed at Wimpole ye 8 February
1719 (20) by (?) Morley Esq Moarn of ye Birthday of ye Rt
Honble The (?Lady) Henrietta Cavendish Holles Harley ....
. . . . to ye stone 140 . . . . . . . . weighing 280 Pound'; lower
left-hand part of the inscription licked away by cattle.
a(5) Brick End, terrace of five houses, fronting S., two
storeyed with attics, brick-built, with half-hipped tiled roof.
There is a first-floor platband and an eaves cornice returned
across the ends as a second platband. The middle house is
19th-century infilling; the remaining four are the surviving
two of four semi-detached pairs built in a row during the
a(6) Coomb Grove Farm, T-shaped, two-storeyed, framed
and plastered, with tiled roofs gabled at the ends, has a main
range equivalent to a Class-J house and rear wing equivalent
to a Class-I; all apparently of one 17th-century build, though
the rear wing may have been heightened. Structural timbers,
some stop-chamfered, are exposed internally.
a(7) Valley Farm, two-storeyed, has a late 17th-century
framed and plastered nucleus, perhaps originally Class-I, with
an 18th-century extension in red brick at the N.W. end. The
roof is tiled. An extension at the S.E. end has disappeared.
a(8) French House (Class I), single-storey cottage with two
barrel vaulted rooms, c. 1800, since enlarged, sometimes
called 'Pisé Lodge', is presumably of cob, and is covered with
c(9) Eight Elms Farm, is a T-shaped house having a main
range of two, and a rear wing of one storey both with attics;
the walls are of brick partly rendered, the roofs tiled; the ends
are gabled and those of the main range have chimneys; 18th-century.
c(10) Wimpole Lodge, a rambling two-storeyed house of
white brick with slate roofs has a nucleus of the first half of
the 19th century; the middle portion of the pilastered W.
front to Ermine Street is of that time.
c(11) House (Class J), two-storeyed, framed and cased in
white brick, with thatched roof, of 17th-century origin with
18th-century addition at rear.
c(12) River Cam Farm, T-shaped, single-storeyed with
attics, framed and plastered, with tiled roofs gabled at the
ends, has a main range equivalent to a Class-J house and rear
wing with modern external chimney at the end. Access
refused. Probably late 17th- or early 18th-century.
c(13) Hoback Farm, consists of a house and buildings.
The House, framed and plastered, with tiled and gabled roofs
is Class-I of two storeys with attic, but with lower range in
line, single-storeyed with attic, and stair house against the
E. side of the house proper, all original, 18th-century. Buildings
S. of the house make the other three sides of a farmyard;
they are mostly framed and boarded, and also of the 18th
century. Loose on the premises, a red brick, 12½ ins. by 5¾ ins.
by 4½ ins., with two vertical oval piercings and a semicircular
vertical groove at either end.
c(14) Cambridge Road Farm, consists of a house and
buildings, 18th-century and later. The House is of double
depth and is composed of a two-storeyed symmetricalfronted main range of three bays in white brick and parallel
lean-to back range in studwork; the roof is hipped and slated.
The Buildings include a granary on staddle stones and a twobayed aisled barn, both framed and boarded; one tiled, the
c(15) Houses, at New Wimpole (Plate 35), twelve in six
pairs, of various designs but all in Tudor idiom; two-storeyed
with detached outbuildings of one storey, of white brick
with slate roofs. Of these one was built after 1852 (tithe map
in C.U.L.); the remainder probably of the previous decade.
a(16) South Lodge, T-shaped, two-storeyed, of white
brick with slated and gabled roofs, in Tudor idiom, c. 1840.
b(17) Thornberry Hill Farm, consists of a house and farm
buildings including a threshing mill.
The House is partly framed and plastered; elsewhere the
wall face is of brick. It is two-storeyed and in two parallel
ranges with tiled roofs; mostly late 18th- or early 19th-century, but a late 17th- or 18th-century origin is probable.
Wimpole, The Threshing Mill, Thornberry Hill Farm
The Threshing Mill forms the S. side of a farmyard E. of
the house. It was built in 1804 to the designs of a Mr Hume of
Midlothian on Meikle's principle, the iron parts being cast
in Cambridge (A. Young, Annals of Agriculture, 42 (1804),
294–6). The mill was later adapted for grinding corn and is
now used as a barn. The structure is in eight bays, framed and
boarded on a brick plinth, with hipped tiled roof of tie beams
and queen struts. The first three and last two bays are compartmented; the remainder is open, with doors either side in
the fifth bay, that on the N. now blocked. The original
undershot wheel, about 15 ft. in diameter, and the machinery
have been replaced. The mill stream runs along the S. side of
the mill and extends in all over some 600 yds., the tail race
having been excavated to a considerable depth to get sufficient
fall. It was constructed by the 'Bankers of Wisbech' at a cost
of £300. A head of water was presumably built up on the
lowest of the Fish Ponds about a mile upstream.
a(18) Cobb's Wood Farm, two-storeyed with attics lit by
dormers, framed and plastered, is in two parallel ranges each
with a hipped tiled roof. The front range (Class J) is 18th-century; the rear perhaps early 19th-century. Some stop-chamfered beams are exposed inside. Fittings, some or all
reused, include a number of doors with fielded panels and a
dog or child gate in the Chinese manner at the head of the
a(19) Moated Site (Class A2(a); N.G. TL 346516), in Cobb's
Wood on gault clay at 125 ft. above O.D., is probably that
of the manor house of Cobb, earlier Francis (Lysons' Cambridgeshire, 243 and 286), possibly associated with the former
village of Wratworth.
The Moat, approximately rectangular but with a gap 50 ft.
wide at the W. angle, is 313 ft. N.E., by 237 ft. S.E., by 200 ft.
S.W., by 159 ft. N.W., with a ditch, wet on the S.W., 17 ft.
to 50 ft. wide and 3 ft. deep to the water level. There is an
internal bank on the N.E. 15 ft. wide and 2 ft. high and an
external bank on the S.W. 20 ft. wide and 2 ft. high. A
causeway 15 ft. wide and 9 ins. high continues 50 ft. into the
interior from an entrance 33 ft. wide in the centre of the S.E.
side. In the interior near the gap in the ditch is a rectangular
pond, 50 ft. by 10 ft. and 3 ft. deep. Near the N. angle is a
mound 50 ft. by 20 ft. and 2 ft. high.
The Enclosure, attached to the moat on the S.E., is 200 ft.
N.E., by 174 ft. S.E., by 178 ft. S.W., by 237 ft. N.W., with
a ditch, wet on the S.E. and S.W., 15 ft. to 25 ft. wide and
3 ft. deep. The internal bank on the N.E. side of the moat, of
uncertain age, continues along the N.E. side of the enclosure,
and on to the S.E. as a copse bank.
a(20) Mound (N.G. TL 33175126), on a site occupied by a
post mill in 1638 (B.M. Maps 6. c. 55); it seems, however,
unusually large to have been constructed as a mill mound
and it is just possible that it may have been a small motte. In
appearance and size it resembles a mound at Knapwell (Monument (11)), and its siting recalls that of a circular moat at
Papworth Everard (Monument (7)). The mound occupies
the level summit of a chalk spur 500 yds. N.W. of Wimpole
Hall and 215 ft. above O.D. and is circular, 100 ft. in diameter
and 3 ft. to 4 ft. high, with a flat top 65 ft. across and a hollow
35 ft. across and 2½ ft. deep in the centre. It is surrounded by a
dry ditch, 22 ft. to 30 ft. wide, 3 ft. deep and 11 ft. to 15 ft.
across the flat bottom, crossed on the N.W. by a causeway
8 ft. to 10 ft. wide which seems to be an original feature,
since the ditch narrows and terminates in cupped ends on
either side. There are very slight traces of an outer bank 15 ft.
to 20 ft. wide and 6 ins. high. Ridge and furrow respects the
mound, which was reached by an access way on the N.W.
Wimpole, Monument 20
a and b(21) Village Remains (not on O.S.). The nucleus of
Wimpole appears to have lain around the church and hall
on a level tongue of chalk marl 700 yds. S. of the stream which
flows E. and S.E. across the parish. The development of the
park in the 18th and 19th centuries has obscured the original
lay-out but the map of 1638 shows that there were five groups
of houses along three principal roads, in addition to the hall,
then surrounded by a rectangular moat, the church and the
rectory: to the S.W. of the hall along the road from Arrington
was Bennall End, having nine houses; just E. of the church
this road crossed another then called Wimple Way running
N. and S.; along it to the S. of the church four houses formed
Thresham End and there was another group of nine houses
along it to the N. between the church and the stream and
beyond the ford; a pound is marked 500 yds. N. of the church;
this area may have been the 'Green End' of earlier documents;
a third road, still in use, to the E. of and roughly parallel to
Wimple Way, left the Cambridge road, then called Cowestread Way, at N.G. TL 35215019, crossed the Arrington road
and led N. over the stream; ten houses stood between the
junction and the stream between what are today Park Farm
and Brick End; finally, beyond the stream where the road
from Arrington continued towards Great Eversden, four more
houses stood between the modern Cobb's Wood Farm and
Little End. In spite of the great alterations in the landscape
some of these roads and houses can still be traced.
Deserted Village and Field Remains, Wimpole
(a) at Bennall End. The old road from Arrington to the
Hall now remains as a slight hollow-way 20 ft. to 30 ft. wide,
6 ins. to 9 ins. deep and traceable for 220 ft. either side of the
present drive to Arrington which it crosses obliquely. Near
its N.E. end and 550 ft. S.W. of the S.W. angle of the hall
another hollow-way 15 ft. to 20 ft. wide and 9 ins. deep
branches off it and runs S.E. for 100 ft., crossing the Arrington
drive. It then turns S.W. and can be traced for 900 ft. Between
the two hollow-ways are three low banks running N.W. and
S.E., 10 ft. to 12 ft. wide and 9 ins. high. They appear to be the
boundaries of some of the closes shown in 1638. No clear trace
of house platforms can be seen, although there are disturbed
areas at the N.W. ends of the apparent closes.
(b) at Thresham End (N.G. TL 33805055). The N. to S. road
remains as a rutted hollow-way 45 ft. to 60 ft. wide and
6 ins. to 1 ft. deep. On the E. of this a platform 60 ft. wide,
backed by a scarp 630 ft. long and 2 ft. to 2½ft. high, is covered
with irregular banks and scarps, probably indicating house
sites, but on the W. the ground is much disturbed and the
boundaries of 1638 cannot be traced.
(c) to the N. of the hall, between N.G. TL 336511 and 339517.
The continuation of the N. to S. road appears as a hollow-way
30 ft. to 50 ft. wide and 6 ins. deep within the curve of the
ha-ha. Two slight E. to W. hollow-ways 20 ft. to 30 ft.
wide and 6 ins. to 9 ins. deep can be traced running W. for
100 ft. to 150 ft. and 180 ft. apart, but they do not correspond
to any feature on the 1638 map. To the N. of these the hollowway forks with a broader E. arm and a narrow, straight W.
arm from which another E. to W. arm, commencing as a
hollow-way 20 ft. wide and 6 ins. deep, can be traced for
350 yds. as an unploughed strip 120 ft. wide between blocks
of ridge and furrow. It curves N. and finally disappears under
the W. lake. To the E. of the W. main arm slight scarps remain
on the site of two of the houses standing in 1638. In the area N.
of the stream and W. of Brick End, where four houses stood,
ploughing has disturbed at least five spreads of cobbles and
building debris with pottery of the 11th to 13th and of the
17th to 19th centuries.
At N.G. TL 339517 a probable moat of Class A1(a), now
ploughed out, is visible on at least one air photograph (St.
Joseph PQ62). In 1720 an area here some 240 ft. square was
enclosed by wide belts of trees with wet ditches on the N. and
E. and a leet running S. to the stream (Bodleian, Gough
Drawings a4, 69; Plate 121). Pottery of the 12th to 14th
centuries occurs on the site. The remains lay in a close called
'Baunes' in 1638 and may be the house site of the manor of
Baunce mentioned in 1390 (Calendar of Fine Rolls X (1929),
(d) between modern Park Farm and Little End (N.G. TL
34105150 to N.G. TL 34585180). The roads of 1638 still exist
and Park Farm, Brick End, Cobb's Wood Farm and Little
End stand on the sites of eight of the houses marked on the
map. To the S. of Brick End close boundaries can be traced
as banks 8 ft. to 10 ft. wide and 1 ft. to 2 ft. high. The field to
the E., where three houses stood, has been ploughed, but a
slight rectangular depression remains 600 ft. N.E. of Park
Farm. In a ploughed field E. of Little End cottages and S. of
the hollow-way, formerly the road to Great Eversden, 25 ft.
wide and 3½ ft. deep, there is an area of cobbles 40 ft. across,
which has yielded 11th- to 17th-century pottery, presumably
marking the site of the house shown furthest E. in 1638.
(22) Cultivation Remains (not on O.S.). Most of the former
open-field ridge and furrow, lying to the N. on boulder clay
and chalk marl and to the S. on gault clay, is preserved in the
grassland of the park. The map of 1638 (photostat in the B.M.)
shows the parish with its open fields, although some 350 acres
had already been enclosed; in many cases the existing ridges
can be correlated with the lands making up strips divided
among 30 holders. The ridge and furrow runs up and down
the slopes with ridges averaging 170 yds. long, 7 yds. wide,
though in places 9 yds. or 11 yds., and 3 ins. to 1 ft. high;
the headlands are normally 8 yds. wide. At seven places the
number of ridges surviving coincides exactly with the number
of lands in the strips of 1638; N.W. of Valley Farm around
N.G. TL 324520–26 reversed-S curving ridges corresponding
to 26 lands in 12 strips; E. of Gothic Tower around N.G.
TL 336520–21 straight ridges with 6 destroyed by the 'ruins',
equalling 27 lands in 13 strips; S. of the hall around N.G.
TL 335506–32 straight ridges making a complete furlong of
32 lands in 18 strips, now crossed by a bank 60 ft. wide and
1 ft. high running from the hall to the avenue; S.E. of the hall
around N.G. TL 339506–12 straight ridges, 12 lands in 4 strips;
at the N. end of the avenue around N.G. TL 336501—18 curving
ridges, 18 lands in 8 strips; S.E. of River Cam Farm around
N.G. TL 342487–26 and 13 straight ridges, 26 lands in 11 strips
and 13 lands in 5 strips; S.W. of Eight Elms Farm around
N.G. TL 332494–23 and 12 curving ridges, 23 and 12 lands
in 10 and 8 strips respectively.
The other remains were either parts of larger blocks or
correspond to blocks already enclosed in 1638. In the S. of the
parish around N.G. TL 337488 and 342487 was the Ree Pasture
of 1638 and the surviving ridge and furrow may therefore
Around N.G. TL 332509 on the slopes W. of the hall, already
enclosed under the name High Park by 1638, there is an 11 yds.
headland at the end of reversed-S ridges 200 yds. long, but
10 yds. further uphill a bank 7 yds. wide seems to be a later
headland used when a shorter length was ploughed. 'Baulkes'
on the map can be traced on the ground in the Avenue around
N.G. TL 33654985 but appear to be no different from the
Traces on air photographs of ridge and furrow outside the
park apparently correspond in alignment to the lands of 1638,
although their number cannot be counted exactly. The only
discrepancy is near the river, pasture in 1638, where traces of
curving strips can be seen.
Although many place-names are given on the map the key
is missing and therefore the names of individual furlongs and
of the open fields are not known. A High Field N. of the stream
and a Low Field S. of the Hall are mentioned in 1616; the
former may be the North Field of the 14th century. Enclosure
seems to have been virtually complete by 1686.
(Ref: photostat map 1638 (B.M. Maps 6. c. 55); articles of
purchase (B.M. Add. Charter 448832b, cf. Add. MS. 36228,
121 and 132 and 36324, 3); plan of park, 1790 (B.M. Add.
MS. 362780); tithe map 1851 (T.R.C.); air photographs:
CPE/UK/1993/3109–14, 4056–61, 4109; CPE/UK/2024/3012–16,
The Parish of Wimpole, 1638
Based on a Map By B. Hare