7 STOW CUM QUY
(O.S. 6 ins. aTL 55 N.W., bTL 56 S.W.)
The parish, extending to 1900 acres, lies on a low area
of chalk which rises to about 50 ft. above O.D. It is
bounded on the S. by Fulbourn Fen, on the W. by Quy
Water and on the N. by the main fenland. The two
settlements, now united in Stow cum Quy and once
separate parishes, originated in locations with contrasting geographical characteristics. Stow, the early centre
of which is now marked by the church (1) and the
adjacent site of the manor of Engayne, was close to
the end of a gravel-capped ridge from which the land
sloped S. to Fulbourn Fen and N.W. to Quy Fen. Quy
lay along a low ridge of chalk projecting N.W. into the
fen; its limits may have been marked by the church (25),
situated close to the modern crossroads, and by the
site of the manor of Holme at Quy Hall (3) on the N.W.
The names of the two parishes are first associated in 1279
although the appointment of joint incumbents is not
certainly attested until a century later. The church at
Quy, dedicated to St. Nicholas, fell into disuse in the
later Middle Ages.
Both villages appear to have had primary streets
running N.W.—S.E. but the increasing importance of
the road linking the two centres lessened the emphasis
of this orientation. Between 1821 (Baker's Map) and
1840, the year of Enclosure, a small group of cottages
was built at Stow around the junction of the linking
road and the old street which passed E. of St. Mary's
church. After 1840 this street was replaced by a road
running W. of the church and thereafter the linking
road became the main street of the parish.
a(1) Parish Church of St. Mary (Fig. 82) stands at
the extreme S.W. corner of the village. The walls are
of flint and field stones with limestone and clunch
dressings; the roofs are covered with tiles and lead. The
church consists of a Chancel, Nave, North and South
Chapels, North and South Aisles, and West Tower.
There is evidence of a 12th-century church in the
survival of part of a round-headed window (Fig.83) in
the S. wall of the nave but the size of the church to
which it belonged is unknown. This window indicates
an aisleless nave of the 12th century. In the first half of
the 13th century an arch was made in the E. end of the
S. wall of the nave, probably opening into a transeptal
chapel. A similar arrangement can be inferred on the
N. The church was considerably transformed in the
first half of the 14th century when the chancel was
rebuilt, all four bays of nave-arcading inserted on the
N., three bays of the S. arcade continued to the W.,
and N. and S. aisles added; most of the former S.
transeptal chapel and the N. wall of the N. chapel were
allowed to remain. The west tower was built late in the
14th century. The addition or rebuilding of a clearstorey took place in c. 1500. In 1665 two chancel windows, then partly blocked, were ordered to be opened
(Palmer, Episc. Returns, Cambs. and Hunts. Arch. Soc.
(1930) pt. II, 32). Under faculty of 8 September 1739, the
E. wall of the chancel was taken down and rebuilt
18 ft. further W. In 1879 the church was restored by
William White of London (C. U. L., Ely Faculty Reg.,
1879); the upper stage of the tower, which had been
removed in c. 1800 and replaced by a wooden belfry,
was constructed in stone and flint (The Builder, XXXIX
(Dec. 1880), 681).
Fig. 81 Stow cum Quy, Village Map
Fig. 82 Stow cum Quy (1), The Parish Church of St. Mary
Architectural Description—The Chancel (23 ft., previously
44 ft., by average 13½ ft.) is 14th-century except for the E. wall,
rebuilt in 1739. The side walls are not parallel. The E. window
of three trefoiled ogee lights with net tracery is late 19th-century. Inside, the N. and S. walls have 14th-century wallarcading of two bays, one wide and one narrow, with moulded
heads springing from plain rounded responds and a mutilated
central corbel carved as a half-angel. In the E. bay, on both N.
and S., is a 15th-century window of three cinque-foiled lights
with transomed and traceried head; the W. bay is blind. W.
of the arcading, on N. and S., is a 14th-century window of
two cinque-foiled ogee lights with quatrefoil in the head. The
chancel arch of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous
and the inner springing from semi-octagonal shafts with
moulded capitals, is 14th-century. S. of the arch are the
damaged concave remains of a former rood-loft stair.
The Nave (53½ ft. by 16½ ft.) has a four-bay N. arcade of the
first half of the 14th century, with arches of two chamfered
orders; the piers have four attached shafts separated by hollow
mouldings, and moulded caps and bases. The capitals of the
second and third piers are modern and of different design.
Immediately E. of the E. respond is part of a chamfered angle,
perhaps a 13th-century respond of an arch leading to a former
transeptal chapel. The S. arcade (Fig. 83) is also of four bays.
The springing and caps of the E. arch, which belong to the first
half of the 13th century, are higher and the voussoirs smaller
than those of the three W. bays. The upper course of the E.
respond and a small part of the W. respond is enriched with
dog-tooth ornament between the shafts, and on the E. capital
are three heads now mutilated; the responds have waterholding bases. In the spandrel between the first and second
arches is the W. jamb and part of the round-headed rear-arch
of a 12th-century window, which is visible to a lesser degree
from the aisle. The diagonal buttresses of the tower appear as
splays across the N.W. and S.W. angles of the nave; high up
on the splays are two plain corbels. The clearstorey of c. 1500
consists of windows of two cinque-foiled lights in four-centred
The North Chapel projects 3¼ ft. N. of the N. aisle; the
thicker N. wall of the former transeptal chapel remains. The
15th-century E. window has three cinque-foiled lights and
vertical tracery in a four-centred head. The N. window is
modern. The North Aisle (7½ ft. wide) corresponds with the
three W. bays of the nave. The first window of two cinque-foiled lights, quatrefoil tracery with mouchettes and moulded
reveals with volute-shaped stops, is 14th-century. The much
restored N. doorway of the 14th-century has continuous
moulded jambs and head, and a segmental-pointed rear-arch. The third window of two lights is 14th-century and has
a large multifoiled segmental-sided triangle in the head,
external label with grotesque head stops and internal moulded
reveal with volute-shaped stops. The weathering of the diagonal
buttress of the tower projects into the S.W. angle of the aisle.
The South Chapel is generally similar to that on the N. The
windows of chapel and S. aisle have been entirely restored;
on the jambs are 19th-century shields of arms for Ventris of
Oakington, Whichcote, Lawrence, and See of Canterbury impaling Herring for Thomas Herring, Archbishop 1747–57, and
others. The South Aisle repeats the arrangement of that on the
N. but the openings have been renewed; Relhan in the early
19th century shows all the S. windows in the chapel and aisle
as blocked, and the W. window as a roundel (C.A.S. watercolours). The windows were renewed piecemeal between 1842
and 1848 but the present stonework appears to be late 19th-century (Accounts at Vicarage).
The West Tower (10¼ ft. square) is in three stages with a
plain parapet. The late 14th-century tower arch has two
chamfered orders springing from responds with attached
shafts having moulded caps and bases. Above is a small
rectangular window with chamfered surround, now blocked.
A doorway with two-centred head leads to a vice; a similar
doorway serves the ringing-chamber. The 14th-century W.
window has two cinque-foiled lights and an external label.
A single-light window in the second stage is perhaps a modern
replacement or insertion. The bell chamber dates from the
restoration of 1879.
The Roof of the nave is in four bays with low pitched king-post trusses and curved braces springing from wall-posts
carried on late 19th-century corbels; the spandrels are filled
with arcade-tracery. Over each clearstorey window is an
intermediate false hammer-beam truss with foliage bosses at
the ridge. The ridge-piece, purlins, and principal rafters are
moulded. The aisle-roofs are low-pitched with moulded
principals, curved braces springing from late 19th-century
corbels, and central purlins. All these roofs are 15th-century,
Fig. 83 Stow cum Quy Church
South arcade: north side of first bay
Fittings—Bells: five by John Darbie, 1670; the fifth inscribed
in black-letter with Roman capitals, 'Laudo Deum verum
Populum voco congrego Clerum'. Benefactor's Table: in N.
aisle, alabaster, Purbeck and black marble wall-tablet with
side columns, broken pediment and cartouche of arms of
Lawrence, recording benefactions in 1675 from estate of Robert
Lawrence (d. 1650) (Plate 49). Brasses and Brass Indents: in nave
—(1), of John Ansty (d. after 1455), figure of man in armour,
part of marginal inscription in black-letter, evangelist symbol
of St. Matthew, groups of twelve sons each wearing tabards
with arms of Ansty, and of four daughters, and indent for
wife and for shields, mid 15th-century (Plate 42). In N.
chapel—(2), of Thomas Martin, 1847, and Eleanor his wife,
1825, plate with black and red inlay showing standing figures
of man and woman beneath cusped arches. In S. chapel—(3),
of Edward, son of John Stern, February 1641, inscription plate,
oval plate with arms of Stern encircled by Latin maxim
Plate 45), and indent for second plate recorded by Cole
(B.M. Add. MS. 5832, 95–7). Indent: in nave for two
figures, evangelist symbols, shield and two plates, 15th-century. Door: to ringing-chamber, cut-down, medieval. Font:
octagonal bowl with octofoil panels enclosing blank shields,
supported by half-angels and with an octagonal stem enriched
with trefoil-headed panels, standing on a high moulded base;
15th-century (Plate 39). Hatchments: in aisles—(1) on canvas, of
Martin; (2) on canvas, of Whichcote; both 18th- or early
Monuments and Floor slabs. Monuments: in N. chapel—on
N. wall (1), of James Martin, 1744, white marble tablet with
carved apron; (2) of Thomas Martin, 1821, and Ann his wife,
1843, white marble tablet by T. Tomson, Cambridge; (3) of
Susan (Crabb) wife of William Cole Ambrose, 1828, white
marble tablet by Gilbert, Cambridge. In churchyard—headstones include two of the 18th century. Floor slab: in nave—of
Robert Lawrence, 1650, Frances his wife, 1645, Sarah (Childe)
their daughter, 1671, and John Childe, her husband, 1672, and
John Childe, the latter's son, 1683–4, black stone ledger laid
down in 1675. Paintings: in nave—on S. wall, two areas of
painting, one possibly of St. Christopher, medieval; to W.,
remains of inscription, perhaps 17th-century. Piscinae: (1), in
N. chapel—in S. wall, recess with cinque-foiled ogee head and
quatrefoil drain, 14th-century; (2) in S. chapel—in S. wall,
recess with cinque-foiled ogee head and round drain with
raised boss, 14th-century. Recess: N. of chancel arch, rectangular but irregular recess, unknown date. Royal Arms: on
canvas in gilt frame, 1714–1801. Screen: under chancel arch—
of five bays, the centre being wider for a doorway. The side
bays are in three heights, the lowest being filled with blind
panelling sub-divided two to a bay, with cinque-foiled heads
and tracery, carved foliage, eagles and a mask; the middle
height has tracery with cinque-foiled heads with sub-cusping,
and the upper height is composed of window-forms of four
lights. The centre bay is in two heights, the lower has septfoiled
and sub-cusped head, and the upper has two window-forms of
four lights with tracery differing slightly from that in the side
bays. The posts and rails are moulded and the cornice and
cresting are modern; early 15th-century (Plate 57). Stoup: in
N. aisle—E. of N. doorway, recess with mutilated bowl,
medieval. Miscellanea: in N. aisle—two fragments of tabernacle work and a carved male head, 14th- or 15th-century.
b(2) Methodist Chapel, of white brick with slated gabled
roof, originally carried an inscription panel on the S. gable,
'Wesleyan Chapel, A.D. 1840'; the first words are now erased.
The side walls each have two round-headed windows with
stone sills, blocked on the E., and a buttress between them;
there are smaller round-headed windows in the N. gable wall
and an entrance with blocked circular fanlight on the S. On
the ridge is a small slatted louvre. There are no internal
Fig. 84 Stow cum Quy (3), Quy Hall
b(3) Quy Hall, consisting of house, stables and park with
earthworks (see (28) and (29)) stands N. of the village from
which it is separated by Quy Water. The avenue on the S.
was in existence by 1821 (Baker's Map).
The House (Fig. 84), of two storeys, has brick walls with
tiled gabled roofs. It preserves the H-shaped plan of a late
16th-century house. Relhan's watercolour of the S. front shows
squat first-floor windows which suggest that the central range
had an inserted floor in a former open hall; however, the
surviving late medieval roof timbers are apparently reset.
Between the projecting wings on the N. a long entrance hall
with gallery above was added, probably in the early 17th
century (Plate 100). In 1868–70 the external walls were
reconstructed, under W. White, reproducing on the N. the
profile of the earlier house although horizontally-patterned
brickwork has unified the 16th- and 17th-century phases of
construction. The S. elevation (Plate 101) was redesigned
omitting octagonal turrets, possibly for stairs, on the E. and
W. ends (C.A.S., watercolours by Relhan of N. and S. elevations, 1808 (Plates 100 and 101); early 19th-century painting,
and a photograph of S. elevation, now in house). Late 19th-century mural and ceiling decoration in 13th-century idiom,
perhaps by Gambier Parry, survives unaltered in two principal
rooms (Plate 102). On the N. the side wings have plain gables
and the gallery between has three parallel roofs with dutch
gables, the centre with triangular pediment and the side with
segmental pediments. The internal planning of the house is of
uncertain date. The roof (Fig. 84) of the main range includes
four equally-spaced trusses of the late 15th century, probably
placed in their present positions in the 16th century. The first,
second and fourth trusses have cambered collars and hollow
chamfered arch braces; the second is similar but always lacked
the arch braces. They carry roll-and-hollow moulded purlins
with mortices for wind-braces. The principal rafters, which
are variously moulded below the collars, rest on later tie
beams and consequently the bases of the arch braces have been
removed. The three transeptal roofs of the gallery are
separated by wide valleys and some 17th-century collarbraced trusses have been retained in the 19th-century reconstruction. The upper rooms in the wings have barrel-shaped
plaster ceilings, probably of the 17th century. Internal fittings
include three doorcases with moulded architraves, dentilled
cornices, pulvinated friezes and fielded-panelled doors, of c.
1740, and a reeded white marble fireplace surround of the
early 19th century.
Loose in the grounds are some moulded medieval fragments of stonework said to have come from the church of St.
Nicholas, Quy (25); one is a roll-and-hollow moulded
voussoir of the 13th century.
The Stables of white brick are early 19th-century. S. of the
house, and terminating the avenue, is a cast-iron Bridge, in one
segmental span with pierced tracery spandrels, enrichments
of portcullises and roses, and railings of octagonal latticework.
This bridge was bought by Clement Francis from St. John's
College in c. 1853 when the Bin Brook was diverted (St.
John's Coll. Muniments, drawer 104/2) and is presumably a
contemporary duplicate of the existing bridge of 1822 at the
College (R.C.H.M., Cambridge, 202).
The Park, covering about 150 acres, probably originated in
the mid 18th century as a small park of around 20 acres which
extended from the Hall to Quy Water and included an avenue
and the Pond (28). The avenue, almost half a mile in length,
stretched across the open fields from the S. edge of the park to
the main road providing a vista from the house. The park was
increased to its present limits shortly after 1840 when enclosure
of the open fields provided an opportunity to acquire the land.
The work involved the demolition of two farmsteads and a
cottage of which the earthwork remains (29) are traceable.
Also, a formal garden with a rectangular pond now dry, was
formed on the S. and S.E. side of the house; a ha-ha separated
it from the parkland. (Baker's Map, (1821); O.S. 1-inch map
(1834); C.R.O., Enclosure Map, 1840)
b(4) House, Class T, of two storeys, white brick and slated
gabled roof is early 19th-century but the N. half is earlier than
the S. and may be a survival of a larger building.
b(5) House, possibly Class G, of two storeys, plastered clay
bat with white brick dressings, pantiled gabled roof, is early
19th-century and possibly built round an earlier chimney stack
which now has two diagonal flues and tall rectangular base in
narrow yellow brick. The small unlit W. room contains a stair;
on the E. and W. are modern additions.
b(6) House, of one storey and attics, framed and plastered,
partly replaced in brick, with thatched gabled roof, was built
in the early 19th century probably as two Class-S dwellings.
Additions have been made at both ends at various times.
b(7) Range of three Class-S dwellings, of one storey and
attics, pink brick walls, with tiled and pantiled mansard
roof, was built c. 1820–30. The W. gable with parapet is built
in alternate courses of Flemish and stretcher bonds and may
be an earlier gable reduced in height; in it are two small blocked
window openings. A continuous outshut on the S. and a small
room on the E. are additions. The three main rooms have
axial beams and staircases at the opposite end to the chimney.
In the garden is a piece of medieval moulded masonry,
probably the springing of a vault (see (25)).
b(8) Park Farm, of two storeys, cellars and attics, with tiled
gabled roof, was built initially as a Class-I house of frame and
plaster, in the mid 17th century. In the same century a singlestoreyed two-roomed block was added on the E. and a stack
built against the earlier house; later, this block received an
upper floor and the walls were heightened. The main house,
which was encased in white brick in the early 19th century,
has a rectangular projecting stair turret containing a stair with
closed string, shaped splat balusters, rectangular ogival finials
and hollowed pendants, rising to the attics in a number of
short flights round a central well; it appears to have been reset
(Plate 89). Axial beams in the main house are encased but the
inserted axial beam in the E. addition and a cross beam enclosing a chimney bay are stop-chamfered. At first-floor level are
swell-headed posts and tie beams.
Barn, of five bays with central entrance and one aisle with
arch braces to tie beams and arcade plates, 17th-century.
b(9) White Swan, inn, Class J, of two storeys, attics and
cellar, brick plinth, framed and plastered, with tiled gabled
roof, may be late 17th-century. It is described as an alehouse in
1764 (C.R.O., Q. S. 4.7). The red brick chimney stack is
rectangular with oversailing course. Inside, the S. end partition has been removed. All three rooms have chamfered axial
beams, some stopped. The former central room has a fireplace
with stop-chamfered bressummer. On the E. are later additions.
b(10) House, of one storey, attics and cellar, is plastered,
with thatched and tiled roof. It was probably built in the 18th
century to a Class-J plan and later converted to two Class-S
dwellings by the addition of a room on the N.; by c. 1800
another room was added on the S.
b(11) House, now three Class-S dwellings, of two storeys,
framed and plastered, with tiled gabled roof, originated as a
three-room house of the 17th century; the W. room has been
removed and on the S. is an addition of the early 19th century.
The early rooms are of generous proportions and the E. room
has stop-chamfered axial beam, and cross beam denoting a bay
for the chimney.
b(12) The Farm (TL 529603), Class-U house, of two storeys,
white brick, stone window-surrounds and platband, with
slated hipped roof, was built between 1840 and 1850.
b(13) Watermill (TL 50865982), of four storeys, white brick
with slated hipped roof, is early 19th-century. The iron-framed windows and some of the machinery are contemporary.
b(14), b(15), b(16), b(17), b(18) Houses, are pairs of Class-S
dwellings. (14), of two storeys, red brick and tile, is 18th-century. (15), (17), (18), of two storeys or one and attics, are
mostly of clunch with brick dressings, and slated gabled roofs;
(16) is timber-framed with plaster scored to imitate ashlar;
these last four are not shown on Baker's Map of 1821 but are
on the Enclosure Map of 1840.
b(19), b(20), b(21), b(22) Houses, Class T, of two storeys or
one and semi-attics, white brick, with slated gabled roofs, are
early 19th-century; (21) and (22) were built between 1821 and
Prehistoric and Roman
b(23) Probable Barrow (TL 51156230), 170 yds. N. of Lower
Farm, on chalk at 14 ft. above O.D., on the edge of the fens.
Diam. 65 ft., ht. 1 ft. (C.B.A. Group 7, bulletin No. 2 (1955);
commercial air photographs in N.M.R.).
b(24) Site of Roman Building (TL 515611) close to Quy Hall,
on lower chalk, at 20 ft. above O.D. Its exact location is not
known, but quantities of Roman pottery, including Horningsea and Nene Valley wares, box and roof tiles have been found
in the gardens adjacent to the house; a substantial building is
Medieval and Later
For Fen Drainage see Fen Ditton (41).
Anglo-Saxon remains reputed to have been found at Quy
(Ash. Mus.) are almost certainly from the large cemetery in
Little Wilbraham parish. (Fox, A.C.R., 264)
b(25) Quy Church (TL 519607) stood W. of Park Farm and
within the park. Until the Second World War a length of
masonry walling up to 3 ft. high is said to have existed, but
nothing is now visible. Pieces of medieval carved stones
apparently from the site are now in the gardens of Quy Hall
(3) and range (7). The church was dedicated to St. Nicholas.
ab(26) Quy Water (TL 50955945–53156300) is an artificial
watercourse, almost 3 miles long, carrying the outflow from
the former Fulbourn Fen into Bottisham Lode (Lode (32)).
Unlike the other major artificial watercourses in the area,
Quy Water lies mostly away from the fenland. It consists of a
broad channel up to 40 ft. wide which begins at the narrow
entrance to Fulbourn Fen and flows N. on an embankment
4–5 ft. above the surrounding ground. It then turns N.E.,
cutting through a low N.W. promontory of chalk, S. of Quy
Hall, and thereafter crosses almost at right angles the broad
open valley of a stream flowing N.W. where massive embankments, up to 8 ft. high, contain the water until it reaches
higher ground N. of Anglesey Abbey. For the rest of its course
to Bottisham Lode the banks are low. The N.E. section, laid
out in seven straight stretches of varying lengths, has been
made more winding by subsequent clearing and cutting; in
the S.W. it follows a meandering course.
The purpose of Quy Water was, as it still is, to divert water
from Fulbourn Fen which originally flowed N. towards Fen
Head and then N.E. across the centre of Bottisham Fen into
Bottisham Lode (Geol. Survey 1-inch Map, sheet No. 188). The
date of its construction is unknown but it is certainly later than
the medieval drainage channels around Anglesey Abbey, one
of which it blocks (Lode (3)). It was in existence by 1604 (B. M.
Harl. MS. 5011, I, 38), but may be considerably earlier; later
recutting perhaps produced the blocking by the Anglesey
Abbey drainage ditch. This later recutting is possibly that
referred to in a mid 17th-century document which records a
'Waterwork . . . almost finished' passing through the Anglesey
estate (Christ's College, Muniments, Misc. B/45). This work
was intended to improve the outfall from Fulbourn Fen and
so ease the drainage of the Fen Head area which was allotted to
the Adventurers at this time.
b(27) Remains of Brick Works (TL 520622) lies ¾ mile N.E.
of Quy Hall on a thin bed of lower chalk over gault clay, at
16 ft. above O.D. The site, now ploughed, consists of uneven
ground on which wasters of early 19th-century bricks have
been found. The workings had been abandoned by 1840 when
the area was known as Brick Kiln Ground. (C.R.O., Enclosure
Map, 1840; see Lode (37) and (38))
b(28) Ornamental Pond (TL 51656105), called 'Moat' on
O.S. map, 160 yds. S.E. of Quy Hall, consists of an island
200 yds. long and 30 yds. wide, lying within an unusually
wide section of Quy Water (26). Until at least 1840, it comprised two long ponds lying parallel to, but unconnected
with, Quy Water (C.R.O., Enclosure Map, 1840; V.C.H.,
Cambs II, 41); it was altered to its present form after 1840
when the park was enlarged. Both stages of its development
are associated with landscape gardening, but it is possible that
it originated as a headwater pond for a mill which appears to
have existed prior to 1726 (C.R.O., R52/6/1).
b(29) Earthworks (TL 51806080), 460 yds. S.E. of Quy Hall
and within the park, consist of a number of large building
platforms, scarps and banks associated with a wide hollowway. They are the remains of two farms and a cottage, still
in existence in 1840, and apparently removed soon afterwards
when the park was enlarged (C.R.O., Enclosure Map, 1840).
(30) Cultivation Remains. The common fields of the parish
were not enclosed until 1840. Before that date, there were
four large open fields covering some 920 acres lying S., E. and
W. of the village. Low ridges up to 300 yds. long and 30 yds.
wide, sinuous on plan, which are the remains of headlands
between former furlongs, exist in five places: at TL 529607,
formerly in Bradens Field, TL 537600 in Adler Field, TL 526605
and 523602 in Town Field and TL 513598 in Stow Field.
(C.R.O., Enclosure Map and Award, 1840; C.U.L., Tithe Map,
1838; map in Quy Hall, 1827)