(O.S. 6 ins. aTL 46 S.E., BTL 56 N.W., CTL 56 S.W.)
The parish, of 1640 acres, has an elongated shape and is
bounded on the W. by the River Cam. Its irregular
southern boundary interlocks with Fen Ditton parish
(see p. 47) with which it was once unified. A spine road
runs from the S. to the river-crossing at Clayhithe, and
the Hundred Rolls of 1279 suggest that settlements
existed at Horningsea, Eye Hall (33) and Clayhithe.
Habitation around Eye Hall had been considerably
reduced by 1810, the date of the Enclosure Map. The
present straight road running in the vicinity of Eye Hall
may have replaced a winding road but any alteration
had taken place before 1810. The village now stretches
on either side of the spine road but the earlier buildings,
including the church, lie on its western side. Two lesser
roads run at right angles to the river bank and terminate
as wharves (34) and (35).
a(1) Parish Church of St. Peter (Fig. 63; Plates 15,
16) stands W. of the village street on high ground
adjacent to the river. It consists of a Chancel, Nave with
Aisles, South Porch and West Tower. The walls are of
'Barnack' ashlar, flint, clunch and other rubble with
limestone quoins; the tower is largely cement-rendered.
The roof of the chancel and nave is tiled and the aisles
and porch are lead-covered.
A passage from the Liber Eliensis, a product of the
Benedictine house of Ely, indicates that a minster with a
sizeable community of secular canons existed at Horningsea at least as early as the 9th century; it reads: 'Priusquam
paganorum rabies, qui in Orientali Anglia debachati
erant, circa provinciam Grantebrugie efferbuisset terramque vastationi et desolationi tradidisset, apud Horningeseie monasterium regie dignitatis extitit eratque ibi non
parva congregatio clericorum' (Liber Eliensis II, 32
(Camden 3rd series, XCII (1962), 105–6)).
After the restoration of Ely as a Benedictine house in
c. 970 Horningsea became a possession of the abbey. It
was a wealthy property providing two weeks' victuals
to the parent house under the reorganisation by Abbot
Leofsin (1029–44) in the reign of Knut (ibid. II, 84,
Camden, 152–3). Domesday Book records an assessment of seven hides and a valuation of £18. Between
1210 and 1214 Bishop Eustace granted the church to the
Hospital of St. John at Cambridge, and in 1267 Bishop
Hugh Balsham added the Vicarage (W. K. Clay,
History of Horningsea, C.A.S. 8vo. Publ. VII (1865)).
Fig. 62 Horningsea, Village Map
No pre-Conquest work remains in position but a
fragment of a coffin lid of the late 10th or 11th century
survives (Coffin lid (1)). The unusual plan with a broad E.
pier to each arcade, and long E. responds forming
recesses at the ends of the aisles, indicate an earlier
building with small porticus projecting N. and S. some
distance W. of the E. end of the nave.
Fig. 63 Horningsea (1), The Parish Church of St. Peter
Reused 'Barnack' ashlar at the base of the chancel
walls suggests that the E. end was rebuilt in the 12th
century, probably on a larger scale. Late in the century
the nave side-walls were pierced with arcades of three
bays of which that on the S. remains. These aisles seem
to have stopped against the older porticus which was
still entered through narrow arches from the nave.
Early in the 13th century the present lengthy chancel
was built, involving the complete demolition of the
earlier chancel and of the E. end of the nave as far as the
E. walls of the porticus. A return at the E. end of the N.
aisle infers an intention for a general rebuilding with a
view to making continuous aisles and removing the
porticus. The W. tower also dates from the 13th century.
The aisles had to wait a century or more for the
intended reconstruction. The N. arcade in its present
form belongs to the 14th century but diagonally-tooled
ashlar of some piers indicates the re-use of material
probably from piers of the same dimensions. The N.
aisle, rebuilt with the arcade in the 14th century, was
extended eastward and the narrow porticus-opening
widened to the W. Later in the 14th century, the S. aisle
was rebuilt and the porticus-opening made wider in
conformity with that on the N.; the S. porch was added
at the same time. A medieval rood screen with an altar in
the gallery is attested by a piscina 12½ ft. above floor level.
Extensive restorations took place in the 19th century,
the chief being in c. 1850 when the chancel was renovated,
in 1865, and in 1890 when the tower was repaired.
The church is interesting for the complex plan
reflecting its long history.
Architectural Description.—The Chancel (19 ft. wide), of
the 13th century, is built of reused 'Barnack' ashlar, presumably of the 12th century, below the window sills; above, the
walls are of clunch, flint and rubble. The much-restored late
14th-century E. window of three lights with vertical and
quatrefoil tracery, has external label and rear-arch with
recessed panel terminating on bracket-stops at the springing.
In the N. wall are four lancets with restored trefoiled heads,
original splays, chamfered rear-arches and later flat sills. The
first window in the S. wall has a lancet with trefoiled head and
high sill above the piscina; the second, of two cinquefoil-headed lights, has vertical tracery with quatrefoil in the apex,
external label with mutilated stops, an acutely-pointed head,
panelled recess to rear-arch and is late 14th-century; the third
bay contains a 13th-century doorway with external chamfered
jambs, hood-mould and plain internal jambs, and above is a
lancet with trefoiled head; the fourth window of three
cinquefoil-headed lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred
head, is late 15th-century. Below, and visible externally, is
the sill of a former window, presumably a 'low-side'. A step
39¾ ft. from the E. reflects the position of the rood screen
with an altar in the gallery and another at ground level
(see Piscinae (2 and 3)).
The Nave (19 ft. wide) of four bays has on the N. and S.
broad piers, with double responds, between the first and
second bays. The early 14th-century N. arcade of two unequal
chamfered orders has an E. respond with chamfered and roll-moulded base, semi-octagonal limestone pier and moulded
clunch capital with necking; the corresponding features on the
broad pier are similar. The E. respond sub-base may be a
survival of the older opening to the porticus, the present arch
being a 14th-century widening in a westerly direction; some
diagonally-tooled pier-stones are reused. The remaining two
octagonal piers are of clunch and have capitals uniform with
those in the first bay; the bases are triple roll-moulded except
for the second which is now chamfered but may have been
cut back. The design is repeated in clunch for the W. respond.
The S. arcade of four bays has in the first bay a 14th-century
arch of two chamfered orders carried on semi-octagonal
clunch responds, that on the E. having square, chamfered,
limestone sub-base, double roll-moulded base and hollow-moulded limestone capitals with necking; the E. capital has a
single hollow chamfer and the W. a double hollow chamfer.
The E. respond-base may be a survival of the former opening
into the porticus. The other three bays, in clunch of smaller-sized blocks than are used in the N. arcade, have late 12th-century arches with double chamfers to the nave and deep
rebates to the aisle. The semi-octagonal E. respond on the
broad pier (Fig. 64) and the second octagonal pier have multi-scalloped capitals beneath coves at a higher level than the
capitals in the first bay; details of the chamfered bases vary.
The third pier and the W. respond have octagonal chamfered
sub-bases and hollow-chamfered bases and capitals with
double hollows and necking. The crude hollow-chamfered
capitals may be recut from scalloped capitals. The wall-thickness of the S. arcade extends the full width of the capitals
and is carried on a flat corbel at capital level on the broad pier.
Fig. 64 Horningsea Church, South arcade
south side of first bay
The North Aisle (56¼ ft. by 8¾ ft.), of rubble and fieldstones,
has been largely rebuilt except for the W. wall which retains
the rough junction between the W. wall of the 12th-century
nave in coursed rubble and the early 14th-century aisle.
The 'Barnack' ashlar of the chancel returns as bonding stones
for the full height of the wall at the junction with the E.
wall of the aisle. The aisle has E. and W. diagonal buttresses
and two side buttresses. The windows, which have flowing
tracery of early 14th-century character, are all late 19th-century but the internal sills are mostly original. The N.
doorway has renewed dressings.
The South Aisle (56½ ft. by 9½ ft.), of limestone and other
rubble, has E. and W. diagonal buttresses of two weathered
stages, and two side buttresses. A moulded string-course below
a former parapet survives and is interrupted by a gargoyle in
the form of a grotesque animal. The segmental-pointed E.
window of three pointed lights with trefoiled spandrels,
cinque-foiled sub-arches and cusped quatrefoils, has external
and internal labels and continuously moulded jambs and head;
the pronounced angularity of the springing suggests a date in
the second half of the 14th century. The first window in the S.
wall is similar to that in the E. but of two lights without an
internal label. The second window of five elliptically-headed
lights with sunk spandrels in a square head, moulded externally,
is early 16th-century. The late 14th-century S. doorway has a
two-centred head, continuous casement-moulded jambs and
head enriched with paterae and carving of a pelican in piety,
label with head-stop on the W., segmental-pointed and
chamfered rear-arch and plain jambs. The third window is
entirely 19th-century, as is the eccentrically-placed W. window
except for an internal segmental rear-arch, possibly of the
late 14th century. High up in the W. wall and visible externally
is the rough junction between the 12th- and 14th-century
walling repeating a similar joint in the N. aisle.
The South Porch is late 14th-century. It is built of rubble
with red brick patching on the E. and reused limestone quoins;
it has a low-pitched lead-covered roof formerly with a parapet,
the lower string-course of which survives. On the S. the
string-course drops to meet angle-gargoyles in the form of
grotesque lions with tufted manes. The S. archway has plain
jambs and modern head; above is a trefoil-headed niche with
stop-chamfered jambs and sunk spandrels. In the E. and W.
walls quatre-foiled window openings with sunk spandrels,
renewed internally, are late 14th-century. The present roof
replaces one of steep pitch, tile-covered with plain eaves, of
post-medieval date, which is shown on photographs of c. 1885
The West Tower (11 ft. by 11½ ft.), of the 13th century, has
cement-rendered walls with ashlar quoins and dressings. It is
in four stages separated by string-courses which are chamfered
above and below. Two N.W. angle buttresses and a W. side
buttress, which rise to the lowest string-course, are in three
weathered heights. Two late medieval S.W. angle buttresses
are in three weathered heights and rise to the third string-course. On the E. face of the S. buttress is the flat-pitched
weathercourse of a former outshut on the site of the present
one; as there is no indication of a doorway into the church, a
special use for the annex, such as a charnel-house, is inferred. In
view of the eccentric position of the W. aisle-window, a 14th-century date for the former annexe is implied. The tower arch
has two chamfered orders on the E. and one on the W. with
plain, plastered rear-arch; the semicircular responds, with
moulded bases and scalloped capitals, are probably late 19th-century. The W. window is a plain lancet with chamfered external jambs and head, renewed internal jambs and segmental
head. The third stage has on the W. a small round-headed lancet
with chamfered jambs. In the fourth stage each face has a two-light window of c. 1400 with trefoil-headed lights, vertical
tracery and external label. Below the brick battlemented parapet of c. 1825 (Clay, op. cit., C.A.S. VII (1865)) the fourth
string-course terminates with angle-gargoyles in the form of
grotesque demi-animals, now much eroded.
The Roofs of the nave and chancel were rebuilt in the late 19th
century at a higher level to conform with a weathercourse,
now barely visible, on the E. face of the tower. Photographs of
c. 1885 (C.A.S. Library) show a slightly lower-pitched tiled
roof well below the weathercourse which terminated with a
truncated top at the sill of the belfry window.
Fig. 65 Horningsea Church, Fragment of Coffin lid (1)
Fittings—Bells: 4th by Christopher Graye, 1680, recast
1938; 5th inscribed 'Iohanes Draper mefecit 1608'. Books:
Bible, 1827; Book of Common Prayer, 1840; both inscribed
'Horningsey Church, 1841' on fly leaves. Coffin lids: in N.
aisle—(1), in E. wall, fragment with incised cross in U-shaped
terminal and interlace at side of central shaft, late 10th- or early
11th-century (Fig. 65); (2), fragment with omega ornament,
ridged, early 13th-century; (3), fragment with floriated
cross from head-end, ridged with moulded edge, 13th-century. In S. aisle—(4), length 4 ft. 3 ins., with central omega
ornament, wheel cross and stepped base, ridged with moulded
edge, early 13th-century (Plate 40); (5), length 6 ft. 4 ins.,
decoration defaced, ridged, probably early 13th-century;
(6), larger part of lid with moulded edge, defaced decoration
at head-end and ornament of semicircular relief pattern
and stylized bird flanking central raised rib, 13th-century
(Plate 40). (4), (5) and (6) were found in 1847 in the churchyard (Cutts, Sepulchral Slabs and Crosses (1849), 16, Pls. LII,
LIII, LXV). Font: octagonal bowl with deep uncarved sides,
lead-lined, set on one central and four peripheral octagonal
columns each with splayed capitals, necking and tripleroll bases, stands on moulded octagonal base and large
octagonal foot-pace, early 13th-century (Plate 39). Glass: in E.
window of chancel, fragments in tracery include some
roundels, late 14th-century and 15th-century; in E. window of
N. aisle, in tracery, yellow and black fragments include reset
canopy-work, 14th-century; in E. window of S. aisle, in
tracery, in situ, bordered red and blue quarries, and in central
light, shield of the Trinity in black and white against a blue
background, late 14th-century; spandrels contain reset 15th-century fragments with architectural decoration; in S. window
of S. aisle, in tracery, bordered blue quarries and some ochre-coloured glass with floral pattern, late 14th-century, some
in situ; in tracery, red and green with Α and Ω, mid 19th-century.
Monuments and Floor slabs. Monuments: in churchyard, three
early 18th-century headstones with emblematic carving;
tomb chest in cast-iron with panelled sides, one with cast
inscription to Jonathan Fison, 1844, originally painted stonecolour, surrounded by cast-iron railings and plinth. Floor slabs:
in nave, black ledger to Thomas Willys, 'February 1625', with
shield of arms of Willys. Niches: in S.E. angle of S. aisle, with
ogee cusped and sub-cusped head, hacked-back label terminating with a finial, now mutilated, and having an embattled
and covered cornice, moulded jambs with bull-nosed stops; a
shelf, carried on roughly-chamfered corbels, supports a
semi-octagonal image-base enriched with cusped diapering;
second half of 14th century. Piscinae: in chancel, S. wall—
(1), double piscina with central column with pointed heads,
largely 19th-century, and chamfered sill with two drainsinkings, the E. quatrefoil and the W. rectangular, 13th-century; at W. end of S. wall—(2), 12½ ft. above floor level,
rectangular recess with chamfered head and jambs, with
square drain-sinking, medieval; below (2) and W. of it—(3),
with chamfered trefoiled head and quatrefoil sinking, 13th-century. In S. aisle, S. wall—(4), with arched head, chamfered
within and without and having broach-and-bar stops, hackedback shelf and rectangular drain-sinking with diagonal ribbing
and pierced central boss, second half of 14th century. Plate:
includes a cup (ht. 5½ ins.) with locative inscription and
date '1569', by Thomas Buttell (Plate 62); cup (ht. 8 ins.),
silver gilt, beaker-shaped bowl on trumpet foot, inscribed
as gift of St. John's College in 1829 and bearing its arms,
1635 (Plate 62); cover paten belonging to the foregoing,
silver gilt, inscribed as on cup but with sacred monogram in
an aurora, not marked but presumably 1635. Pulpit: oak,
octagonal with modern base, linenfold-panelled sides and door,
scroll-patterned upper panels, five scroll brackets taking shelf,
possibly an addition by a few years, linenfold back panel to
tester which is enriched with pendants between arches,
bracketed cornice and panelled star on soffit; c. 1600 (Plate 61).
Scratchings: on voussoirs of S. door, undeciphered inscription,
medieval (C.A.S. Procs. XIX (1915), 61, Pl. XV). Screen: the
lower part of a painted wooden screen recorded in 1844 does
not survive (F. A. Paley, Churches near Cambridge, 3). Seating:
oak, eight pews in nave and seven in S. aisle, with top rails and
miniature buttresses to the returns and rear benches; late
15th-century. Table: oak, with moulded legs, stretchers and
drawer with brass drop handles, early 18th-century. Miscellaneous: loose in first stage of tower, stone fragments including
broken column from font and seven crockets or finials,
a(2) Conservators' House (TL 50226443; Plate 95), of two
storeys with cellars, white brick with stone dressings and tiled
roofs, has stone date-letters '1842' on the N. gable. The house
is in the Tudor style with dutch gables. The main entrance
has an ornamental architrave and the windows have mullions
and transoms. Inside, a large committee room for the Conservators of River Cam, on the W., has little decoration except
for a plaster cornice with acanthus decoration. On the E. and
over the committee room are living quarters of a mundane
character. The extensive cellars are barrel-vaulted.
Fig. 66 Horningsea (3), Eye Hall
a(3) Eye Hall (TL 49896363; Fig. 66) consists of a house
and farm buildings. The House includes a framed and plastered
N. range of the 16th century and an early 19th-century S.
wing replacing a former cross wing. The two-storey N. range
consists of four rooms and central chimney stack. It is cased
in white brick on N. and E., and has a tiled gabled roof. The
two rooms S. of the added stack are probably earlier than the
stack and the room immediately to the N. The fourth room
was added probably in the 17th century. Inside, the part S. of
the stack is in two and a half bays; a former partition
enclosing an E.-W. screens passage with a door is inferred by
a cross beam with mortices. Each bay has an exposed axial
beam and joists; on the first floor a wall post with enlarged
head is morticed for a large arch brace. The N. room has a
dragon beam indicating former jetties on the N. and E., and
perhaps implying a former cross wing. The 19th-century S.
wing, of two storeys and cellars, white brick and slated hipped
roof, has a symmetrical S. front of three bays. It contains a
stair with scroll brackets on an open string and a first-floor
landing with concave angles.
The Farm Buildings include: an unaisled timber-framed
barn of eight bays with thatched half-hipped roof, early 17th-century; an aisled barn, timber-framed, of three bays with
thatched half-hipped roof, probably 18th-century; a twostorey granary, of red and yellow brick with gabled roof,
originally open on the W. side of the ground floor, with a
stop-chamfered beam, early 18th-century; a stable, of brick
with tiled gabled roof, and harness room with lean-to roof,
a(4) The Lodge, of two storeys and cellar, white brick with
parallel slated and gabled roofs, was built as a Class-T house
early in the 19th century and enlarged to a Class-U plan in
c. 1840 by the addition of two rooms beyond a wide passage.
The earlier range, until recently thatched, is shown on the
Enclosure Map of 1810. Interior fittings include a grey marble
fireplace with angle-roundels, and a white marble fireplace of
c. 1820 removed from West Road, Cambridge in 1967.
a(5) Manor Farm, of two storeys and attics, is timber-framed partly cased in white brick, with slated roof and
parapeted gables. It originated as a large Class-I house of the
17th century; possibly in 1843, the date of the nearby stables,
it was enlarged and reorientated to form a Class-U house by
the addition on the N. of service rooms and a study beyond a
stair hall. On the S. are two two-storey bay windows,
essentially of the 17th century, which were until recently
surmounted by gables rising from projecting eaves carried on
shaped brackets. The house was mostly refenestrated with
sashes in the mid 19th century. Inside, the earlier range
has a large lobby and axial stop-chamfered beams. The early
19th-century staircase has spiral terminal with moulded iron
The Stables, N. of the house, are in white brick with slated
gabled roof. The coach house on the W. carries a stone panel
inscribed 'H. Norris Esq. 1843' and the E. range a panel,
'S. Fox Arch. Bu(r)y 1843'.
a(6) House, Class S, of one storey and attics, timber-framing cased in brick, with thatched gabled roof, was built
c. 1800 incorporating a large brick stack, originally internal
and probably 18th-century.
a(7) Parsonage Farm includes a softwood timber-framed
Barn of six bays of uncertain date but perhaps 18th-century.
Each roof truss consists of a straight tie beam braced to wall
posts, queen struts, and collars clasping purlins. The enlarged
heads of the wall posts have shaped profiles.
a(8) Old Rectory (Plate 112), of two storeys, with white
brick and slated gabled roof, was built in 1833 at a cost of £332
(H. F. Howard, An Account of the Finances of St. John's College
1511–1926 (1935), 336–8). Built to a Class-T plan it subsequently received additions under a lean-to at the rear. The
entrance has a fanlight with lozenge-wise glazing bars, and the
main windows are sashes. Inside, the fittings include a fireplace
surround with angle-roundels and two 17th-century cupboard
doors with run-through panelling. N. of the house is a small
white brick stable and coach house of the early 19th century.
a(9) Crown and Punch Bowl, inn, of two storeys, timber-framing partly cased in white brick, with hipped and half-hipped roof, was built in the 18th century and was extended on
the W. in the 19th century. Inside, the main range has two
unequally-sized rooms with axial ceiling beams flanking a
large internal chimney stack.
a(10) King's Acre, of the late 19th century incorporates the
base of an earlier chimney stack. Inside, reused material
includes stop-chamfered ceiling beams and some run-through
panelling of the 17th century and an early 19th-century
moulded fireplace surround with angle-roundels.
a(11) House, of one storey and attics, white brick possibly
casing a framed structure, with thatched gabled roof, was built
in the early 19th century. The plan approximates to Class I but
there are external doors to each room.
a(12) Terrace, consisting of three Class-S dwellings, a
former shop and a carriage entry, of one storey and attics,
white brick with tiled mansard roof, is early 19th-century.
The former shop has a larger sash window than the others; a
continuous outshut at the rear has been heightened.
Fig. 67 Horningsea (14), Former School
a(13) House, Class G, of one storey and attics, framed, partly
plastered and partly weather-boarded, has a thatched roof
which is gabled on the E. and half-hipped on the W.; it is
17th-century. The chimney stack has four shafts arranged
diagonally on a square base. Inside, axial beams in the two
main rooms are chamfered; the E. compartment is divided
axially by an original partition, providing two unequal
a(14) Former School and School house (Fig. 67), with
white brick walls and slated roof with parapeted gables, was
built as a National School for 81 pupils in 1841 at a cost of
£375 6s. 9d. (Parish Records; National Society for Religious
Education archives). The one-storey schoolroom, and the
house with attics, are built in the Tudor style with wooden
mullioned and transomed windows; over the four-centred
porch doorway is a stone panel inscribed 'sinite parvulos
venire ad me'. Shortly afterwards, the schoolroom was
extended by two bays on the S. and later again increased by an
addition on the E. in a similar style.
Fig. 68 Horningsea (16), The Square
a(15) Terrace of three Class-S dwellings, of one storey and
attics, timber-framing cased in white brick, tiled roof with
parapeted gables, may have been a late 18th-century stable,
associated with (16), which was extended to the E., cased in
brick, and converted into houses in the 19th century.
a(16) The Square (Fig. 68), of two storeys and
attics, timber-frame partly cased in brick, with tiled roofs, is
in three units running E. and W., but the development is
enigmatic. The E. and centre units are probably early 17th-century and the W. unit slightly later. The narrower E. unit
has a jetty at the gable end. The centre unit has flush gables
on the N. and S. with a high ridge at right angles to the main
axis. The W. unit has a roof with a still higher ridge and a
half-hip on the W. The E. section consists of a single room of
two bays on both floors, with cross beams, and a chimney bay
on the W. containing a large stack with back-to-back fireplaces. The central bay, beneath the flush gables, has a
chamfered beam on the E.-W. axis. The W. range with attics
consisted originally of a single room with intersecting beams,
and a chimney stack within the room at the E. end; the roof
has evidence of shallowly-inclined arch braces.
In the garden of the adjacent modern house to the S. are
several medieval fragments of limestone including one with
weathered top and moulded return, possibly a window sill
and jamb, another with blind cusping, and a third with a
a(17) Vicarage, contains a staircase with reused early 18th-century oak balusters, with alternately fluted and twisted
shafts, and turned caps and bases; said to be communion rails
from St. John's College chapel, Cambridge.
a(18) Workshop, of white brick and slated gabled roof,
consists of a single room with fireplace; mid 19th-century.
a(19) House (Fig. 69), known as The Priory, of two storeys,
timber-framing partly cased in brick, with tiled gabled roof,
hipped on the N., is 16th-century. The house, which is notable
for the quality of its timber-work, has an abnormal T-shaped
plan. Dual occupation by branches of one family is perhaps
implied. The S. range, the E. gable of which has a first-floor
jetty, had originally three ground-floor rooms and a centrallyplaced chimney stack. The E. room, evidently the parlour,
has stop-chamfered ceiling beams and joists; the middle room,
with chamfered beams and plain joists, was separated from the
W. compartment by a former partition; a use as a 'hall' or
kitchen with buttery may be conjectured. The N. range
comprises a central chimney stack with a room on the S.,
perhaps originally a 'hall', having stop-chamfered ceiling beams
and joists similar to those in the S. range. N. of the stack is a
cross passage and evidence of a former plank-and-muntin
partition with three doorways, presumably leading to butteries
and a stair, but only one axial partition remains. On the first
floor, a number of original windows are inferred by shutter
grooves and the arrangement of studwork. The roof has
braced cambered tie beams, and collars clasping purlins.
Internal fittings include 17th-century reused run-through
panelling and a door.
a(20) Plough and Fleece (Plate 110), inn, Class J, of one
storey and attics, white brick with tiled mansard roof, is late
18th- or early 19th-century. Sale particulars of 1842 (C.R.O.,
R51/2/50) describes it as a 'brick and tile house recently put in
b(21) House, at North Hills (TL 51276510), Class T, of two
storeys, timber-framing cased in brick, pantiled gabled roofs,
is early 19th-century.
a(22), a(23), a(24) a(25), a(26), a(27), a(28) Houses, are pairs
of Class-S dwellings. (22), (23), (24) and (26), of one storey and
attics, some retaining their thatch, are c. 1800; except for (22)
the stacks are internal. (25), (27) and (28), of two storeys, white
brick and slated gabled roofs, are early 19th-century.
a(29) Roman Settlement and kilns (centred TL 496634;
Fig. 70), lie S.W. of, and probably under, Eye Hall on river
gravel, gault clay and chalk marl at about 20 ft. above O.D.
Evidence of Roman occupation has been recorded over an
area of about 40 acres. Finds show that in addition to extensive
pottery-making activity there was a domestic settlement of
Fig. 69 Horningsea (19), Plan of House
Fig. 70 Horningsea (29, 33)
Earthworks near Eye Hall
The site was first noted in the late 19th century when part,
S.W. of Eye Hall (TL 496634), was being worked for coprolites.
Large quantities of Roman pottery and a number of 'ovens'
were found over an area of about 15 acres. Further finds were
made there by T. McKenny Hughes at the beginning of this
century; he also carried out excavations S. of Eye Hall (TL
498634). A mound (see (33)) and a 'well' were dug into
but both are unlikely to have been Roman although large
quantities of Roman pottery and lumps of baked clay were
found in the former.
Excavations by F. G. Walker in 1911 S.W. of Eye Hall (TL
49666341–49736344) produced seven kilns, one of which lay
on top of another, and a third had been rebuilt at least twice.
The kilns were of inverted cone shape, and some had a
series of rounded baked clay pilasters projecting from the
furnace walls. Three of the kilns had four single pilasters,
and two had eight arranged in four groups of two. All the
pilasters had flattened tops presumably to support some form
of floor, but no trace of fire bars or central supports were
found. A large quantity of roughly-shaped baked clay plates,
generally circular, 4–5 ins. in diameter, were found in and
around the kilns, and the lower half of one kiln was lined with
The pottery from these kilns, which has been found in large
quantities, consisted mostly of large storage jars up to 2 ft. in
height in grey ware, often with a grooved decoration in the
lower parts of the sides. Other types of local pottery included
pedestal-jars, shallow bowls, and indented beakers in colour-coated ware. Large numbers of very small pots, some under
2 ins. high were found. The kilns were believed in 1911 to
date from the 1st—4th centuries A.D., but are now regarded
as being late 2nd—3rd century.
In addition to locally-made pottery, there was also Samian
ware, some of late 2nd-century date. Other finds from the
vicinity of Eye Hall include coins, bone pins, 'bronze cooking
pans' and fibulae, as well as large quantities of pottery. A large
settlement associated with the kilns is certain. One rectangular
structure, 10 ft. by 7 ft., found in 1911 S. of Eye Hall (?TL
49956347), had walls of mortared flint rubble up to 2 ft. high;
it was said to be of Roman date, but the evidence is dubious.
(C.M.; C.A.S. Reports, LXV(1885), XXXIII, I; C.A.S. Procs.
IV (1903), 186; XI (1913), 14–69; LIII (1960), 27–8; Arch. J.
CXIV (1957), 21, Fig. 12; Fox, A.C.R., 185, 210–1; C.B.A.
Group 7, Bulletin No. 2 (1955))
a(30) Roman settlement (TL 488619; Fig. 58) lies on river
gravel at about 15 ft. above O.D. Air photographs have
revealed as soil and crop marks a complex of many incomplete enclosures covering some 5½ acres. A quantity of
Roman pottery including Samian and Horningsea wares
has been found in a former gravel pit in the area. (C.M.;
C.U.A.P.; commercial air photographs in N.M.R.; Fox,
A.C.R., 203; O.S. Record Cards)
a(31) Roman settlement (TL 491611; Fig. 58) lies on chalk
marl at about 40 ft. above O.D. Air photographs have
revealed as soil and crop marks a complex group of enclosures
covering about 5 acres. Interpretation of the site is difficult
owing to modern ploughing and the existence of a commonfield headland over part of it. Roman pottery including
Horningsea wares have been found in the area. (C.M.; commercial air photographs in N.M.R.; O.S. Record Cards)
a(32) Roman settlement (TL 49656214), on chalk at 30 ft.
above O.D. Air photographs reveal the S.E. two-thirds of an
apparently square, ditched enclosure, with rounded corners
covering about three acres. The N.W. third has been destroyed by coprolite diggings. A few sherds of Roman pottery,
all Horningsea wares, have been recorded on the site. (Air
photographs in N.M.R.)
Medieval and Later
For Fen Drainage see Fen Ditton (41)
a(33) Settlement remains and other earthworks (centred
TL 498636; Fig. 70) lie around Eye Hall (3), on chalk, gault
clay and gravel, at about 20 ft. above O.D. The site comprises
a complex series of earthworks and includes a deserted settlement, a medieval enclosure, 19th-century garden remains, old
field boundaries and quarries of various periods. There has also
been a major alteration in the original road pattern of the area.
Early in this century two small archaeological excavations took
place, but the results were wrongly interpreted.
The site may be divided into the following parts:
Hollow-ways and tracks (Fig. 70(a)). The date of the
present straight road running N.—S., W. of Eye Hall is
unknown; although in existence by 1810 (C.R.O., Enclosure
Map), it was probably laid out only shortly before then. The
earlier road left the present one at the sharp angle in the latter,
700 yds. S. of the Hall (TL 49826304) and ran N.E. along the
line of a modern footpath. Its line is shown on the Enclosure
Map as two long narrow closes, indicating that it had already
fallen out of use by 1810. In the field S. of the Hall the road is
preserved as a hollow-way, 25 ft. to 30 ft. wide and up to
3 ft. deep, which starts on the S. side of the field and runs N.
for 50 yds., where it forks. The left-hand fork turns N.W.,
crosses the drive to the Hall and the present road, and can be
traced N.W. of the Lodge (4) heading towards the River Cam.
The right-hand fork, though partly blocked, continues N. for
70 yds. It then turns W. and rejoins the left fork. However, low
scarps to the N. indicate that it once ran on, curving N.N.W.
The drive and gardens of the Hall have destroyed all trace of
it for the next 100 yds., though a double fence on the Enclosure
Map shows that it passed immediately in front of the Hall.
The hollow-way reappears N.W. of the Hall and swings N.
to join the present road to Clayhithe.
Settlement remains (Fig. 70(b)), consisting of the sites of
at least five houses with traces of long closes behind them, exist
S.S.E. of the Hall, on the E. side of the hollow-way (TL
49956347). All have now been damaged by ploughing and
only low scarps and banks remain. Bricks, tiles and pottery
from the 13th to the 18th century have been found. A small
rectangular flint structure, 10 ft. by 7 ft., on the side of one
house site was excavated in 1911 when it was said to be a
Roman building (C.A.S. Procs. XVII (1913), 15–16). There
was no evidence for this date, and the structure is probably
medieval or later.
The date of the desertion of this settlement is unknown, for
there are no records of its population except in 1279 when
Eye is recorded as having 12 land holders (Rot. Hund. (1818),
II, 442–3). Desertion was probably late, and one house and
garden was still in existence in 1810 (Enclosure Map).
Enclosure (Fig. 70(c)) and Garden remains (Fig. 70(d)). The
Hall, its garden and farm buildings appear to lie within a
ditched enclosure described as a 'moat' on O.S. maps. This
enclosure is made up of two separate parts, different in form
and probably in date. To the E. of the farm buildings is a ditch,
30 ft. wide and up to 3 ft. deep, which is the E. side of an enclosure of some 2 acres. Part of the S. side and traces of the
W. side still exist. N., N.W. and S.W. of the Hall is another
and smaller ditch, 15 ft. to 20 ft. wide and 2 ft. to 3 ft. deep,
with a steep inner side which partly encloses the gardens of the
Hall. It blocks the hollow-way N.W. of the Hall and encroaches on the hollow-way to the S.W. This feature is a
garden boundary or ha-ha and, together with the small park
beyond, probably dates from the early 19th century when
the S. wing of the Hall was rebuilt.
Mound (Fig. 70(e)), lies 150 yds. S.S.W. of the Hall. It is
pear-shaped, flat topped, 4 ft. high and lies immediately E. of
a large irregular hollow. It is almost certainly a spoil heap from
19th-century or earlier gravel digging. It was excavated in c.
1900 on the assumption that it was an 'island dwelling' or
'subterranean kiln'; not surprisingly, little of importance was
found except large quantities of Roman pottery derived from
the adjacent kilns (C.A.S. Procs. X (1903), 189–93).
Banks (Fig. 70(f)) S.W. of Eye Hall and W. of the modern
road, up to 5 ft. high, are old hedge banks round fields still in
existence in 1810 (Enclosure Map).
a(34) and a(35) Wharves (TL 49226278 and 49196272) lie at
the extreme W. ends of Dock Lane and St. John's Lane, W.
and N.W. of the church. At both, there are flat areas 15 yds.
wide and 30 yds. long with traces of basins now largely filled
in, on either side. The basin on the S. side of the Dock Lane
Wharf is the best preserved and now measures 12 ft. wide and
50 ft. long. The date of these wharves is unknown.
a(36) Remains of Brick Works (TL 491622) 530 yds. S.W.W.
of the church, on chalk marl over gault clay at 20 ft. above
O.D. The site consists of a small brick pit of half an acre
with uneven ground and spoil heaps to the N. and E. The site
was not in existence in 1810 (C.R.O., Enclosure Map) but was
apparently being worked in 1842 when sale particulars of the
adjacent house (20) refer to a right of way through its yard
'to the Brick kilns' (C.R.O., R51/2/50).
ab(37) Cultivation remains. The common fields of the
parish were finally enclosed in 1810 together with areas of
meadow along the River Cam and fenland in the N.W. of the
parish. Before 1810 old enclosures existed within and around
the edges of the common fields.
Fragmentary remains of ridge and furrow of these common
fields, arranged in curving furlongs can be seen on air photographs W. of the village at TL 497623 and 502627. Long sinuous
ridges apparently former headlands between furlongs, up to
700 yds. long, 30 yds. wide and 2 ft. high, exist in the S. of the
parish at TL 491611, 495609 and 501611. Ridge and furrow up
to 12 yds. wide and 9 ins. high, arranged in S-curved furlongs
170 yds. long, formerly existed immediately N. and N.W. of
the village at TL 495628 and 495626 in areas which were old
enclosures in 1810. The area was once part of the common
fields and remained unploughed until recently (C.R.O.,
Enclosure Map and Award, 1810; commercial air photographs in N.M.R.).