Bercheham (xi cent.); Bercham, Bergham, Berwham, Berewam, Bereuham, Beruham (xiii cent.);
Barram, Barrham (xvi cent.). This parish, the area of
which is 742 acres, is composed of four large farms and
an inn, and has a diminishing population. The land
rises from the Woolley Brook, which runs through the
south-western side of the parish, where it is about
100 ft. above the Ordnance datum, to a little under
200 ft. towards the north. The soil is clay. About
half the parish is permanent grass and the other half
arable land, the chief crops being cereals and beans.
An Inclosure Award is dated 28 Dec. 1780. (fn. 1) The
nearest railway station is at Grafham.
The village is on high ground in the middle of the
parish, on the road from Spaldwick to Buckworth.
The church is at the north end of the village; near
it are two 17th-century timber-framed and thatched
cottages, and south of the church is an early
18th-century farmhouse of stone and brick with tiled
BARHAM was given to Ely Abbey
with Spaldwick by Brithnoth (d. 991),
and it was a 'berewick' of that 'chief
manor' at the time of the Domesday Survey (1086).
As a member of the soke and manor of Spaldwick (fn. 2) it
followed the descent of that manor (q.v.), and has
descended to the Duke of Manchester, (fn. 3) lord of the
manor of Spaldwick.
The church of ST. GILES consists of a
chancel (19 ft. by 12½ ft.), nave (29¾ ft.
by 13 ft.), north aisle (4½ ft. wide), and a
south porch. The walls are of pebble rubble mixed
with stones, and with stone dressings, but the south
wall of the nave is of rough ashlar. The roofs are
covered with tiles.
Plan of Barham Church
The church is not mentioned in the Domesday
Survey (1086); it was probably first built late in the
12th century. About the year 1300 the chancel and
the chancel arch were rebuilt. Somewhat late in
the 14th century new windows were inserted in
the walls of the nave and, probably at this time, the
eastern arch of the arcade was rebuilt and widened
towards the east, the respond being reset. The church
was restored c. 1850, when the porch and the north
wall of the aisle were rebuilt, and a bell-cot built on
the west gable; the west wall was restored and the
porch rebuilt in 1903; and the chancel was restored
The chancel, c. 1300, has a three-light east window
with intersecting tracery in a two-centred head. The
north wall has a similar two-light window. The south
wall has two similar windows, and a piscina with a
trefoiled head. The chancel arch, c. 1300, is twocentred and of two chamfered orders on similar
responds with chamfered imposts; it is much distorted, the responds having settled over very considerably to the north and south. The buttresses at
the north-east and south-east angles of the chancel
seem to have been added and are clumsily finished at
The late 12th-century nave has an arcade of three
bays of semicircular arches of two chamfered orders,
resting on circular columns having simple crocketcapitals (one with the water-leaf) with square abaci, and
well-moulded bases with griffes; the eastern respond is
a half-column similar to the rest, but probably rebuilt
and the arch widened; the western respond is a
moulded corbel. The south wall has a 14th-century
three-light window with a late head; a similar twolight window with a 16th-century head; and a
late 12th-century doorway having an outer order with
the chevron moulding carried on octagonal shafts
with scalloped capitals and moulded bases, and a plain
chamfered inner order, the whole reset as a narrower
doorway with a roughly pointed arch. The west wall
has a 14th-century two-light window with a late
15th-century head; in the centre of the gable is a
large modern buttress, and above it is a modern stone
bell-cot for one bell. (fn. 4)
The north aisle, largely rebuilt c. 1850, has a
modern single-light window in the east wall, and three
modern two-light windows with a quatrefoiled circle
in their heads in the north wall. (fn. 5) The east and west
walls and possibly small parts of the base of the north
wall are ancient.
The south porch, rebuilt c. 1850 and reconstructed
in 1903, (fn. 6) has a two-centred outer arch of two continuous chamfered orders, and a plain single-light
window in each of the side walls.
The 13th-century font has a plain circular bowl on a
rectangular central shaft having chamfered angles,
and three circular smaller shafts with moulded capitals
There is one bell dated '1841' with an erased
inscription; by Mears of London.
The 17th-century Communion table has turned
legs and a moulded top rail. There are several 17thcentury seats in the nave, having moulded knobs on
the ends and shaped arm-rests; and a chest of similar
date with inlaid panels. On the outside of the west
wall of the nave is an early 14th-century tapered
coffin-lid, found in the walling of the north-west
corner, in 1903; and, in the wall of the porch, a piece
of a volute with dog-tooth ornament found in the
same year. There is a War Memorial, 1914–18,
in the aisle.
The registers are as follows: (i) baptisms — 1695
to 20 September 1812, marriages 20 April 1698 to
14 October 1750, burials 20 May 1696 to 23 May 1812;
(ii) marriages 14 October 1754 to 5 July 1812.
The church plate consists of a silver cup with no
hall-marks, but the bowl appears to be c. 1570, while
the base is 17th century; a silver paten, inscribed
'Presented to the Parish Church of Barham in
memory of R. & M. E. by their sister S. G. 1878,'
i.e. Robert and Mary Earl, and their sister Miss
Gray; hall-marked for 1878–9.
Barham was a chapelry in the gift
of the prebendaries of Stow Longa in
the cathedral church of Lincoln,
who frequently presented the vicars of Spaldwick to
the living. By Order in Council in 1869 the living was
united to the vicarage of Spaldwick. Both the lay
and the ecclesiastical history of Barham follow those
of Spaldwick (q.v.).
The benefice of Spaldwick was endowed in 1861 with
nearly 12 acres of land in Barham parish that had been
assigned to the prebend of Spaldwick under the Inclosure Award of 1780. (fn. 7)
Town Land.—The endowment of
this charity consists of about 5 acres
of land in the parish of Barham, now
let in allotments. The rent, amounting to £7 10s.
annually, is applied by the churchwardens towards
Goodwin's Charity.—An account of this charity is
given under the parish of Spaldwick.