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Long Thatch, Church Lane - - 995361.jpg
Thatched cottage, Balsham
Grid reference: TL591507
Location: 52°7’54"N, 0°19’23"E
Population: 1,641  (2001)
Post town: Cambridge
Postcode: CB21
Dialling code: 01223
Local Government
Council: South Cambridgeshire
South East Cambridgeshire

Balsham is a village in the southeast of Cambridgeshire, in the fringe of the county which gives way to hills. Indeed, the Gog Magog Hills were formerly known as the Balsham Hills.

The village has much expanded since the 1960s and is now one of several commuter villages for Cambridge. The village is southeast of Cambridge, beyond the A11 road and also within comfortable driving distance of Newmarket and Haverhill where many residents work and shop.

The village is sited on a ridge which runs from east to west, reaching 380 feet at its eastern edge. From the village, the ground falls away to open countryside.


In 1015, Balsham was totally destroyed by Viking raiders. A sign on the village green commemorates the sole survivor of the attack who escaped by hiding in the parish church.[1]

In 1568 Richard Killingworth, Esq., was granted an estate at Balsham, which in 1590 belonged to his son and heir John Killingworth and was called Place Manor, much later becoming Place Farm. In 1617, the year of John's death, he still held the manor on the site of what in 1975 was called Balsham Place, together with freehold and copyhold lands, an enclosure in Balsham Wood, and heathland in the west part of the parish. His eldest son Giles (born 1571) thereafter held the manor of the Charterhouse Foundation, the feudal superior. A Mr. Killingworth still held the estate in 1715 when it appeared to extend to 261 acres, but in 1756 it was for sale.[2]

Holy Trinity Church

The current church has a mix of dates, with the bell tower being the oldest part, dating from the 13th century. The chancel dates from the early 14th century, whilst the nave with its clerestory dates from the late 14th - the 26 stalls with their misericords were added during this building phase and probably date from 1400. A rood loft was added in the latter half of the 15th century, and the chancel roof was raised with its clerestory being added at the same time.

At some (unrecorded) time during the Reformation, 17 of the misericords were removed, leaving nine. In the 19th century one misericord, which may have been the work of Canon H J S Burrell, a former rector who was a noted woodcarver, was added.

The 19th century saw some extensive renovation, with the roofs being renewed, and the clerestories being repaired. A vestry was added on the north side in 1867, and further restoration was carried out in 1875.

Further works have been carried out in the 20th century, with the addition of a chapel in the north aisle, containing an Elizabethan communion table. In 1973 the bell tower was strengthened.

There are some pictures and a description of the church at the Cambridgeshire Churches website.[3]

The village was at one time noted for its large community of Familists.


Balsham has a butcher's shop and a post office/general store.[4] The village also has two public houses - The Black Bull[5] and The Bell.[6]

Sights of the village

The Prince's Memorial bandstand.

Prince's Memorial is a full-sized bandstand opposite the village green.

Culture and sports

The Church Institute used to host a number of groups and societies. However, in recent years, the Women's Institute and local pantomime groups are more likely to meet at the school.

Holy Trinity Church holds two services every Sunday and communion every Wednesday. The church also plays host to two yearly concerts by the village choir, the Balsham Singers

The village has a large recreation ground and bowling green used by football, cricket, and bowls teams.[7]


  • Newspapers:
    • The Cambridge Evening News
    • The Haverhill Echo
    • The Saffron Walden Reporter
  • Balsham Review, a monthly parish magazine
  • Radio:
    • BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
    • Heart Cambridge
The Balsham village sign

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Balsham)