St Mary, longstowe
Longstowe is a small village of nearly 200 residents in the Cambridgeshire countryside, in the south of the county, 12 miles west of Cambridge. It stands on the western side of the A1198 road (Ermine Street), running for about a mile along the B1046.
Longstowe is 12 miles west of the county town of Cambridge, and 11 miles from Huntingdon. The eastern boundary is marked by the A1198, formerly the Roman Ermine Street (or Old North Road), along which Arrington lies to the south and Caxton to the north. The parish borders Great Gransden in Huntingdonshire. The B1046 runs through Longstowe from Little Gransden in the west to Bourn in the east.
The parish has an area of 1,537 acres. It was said in the 17th century that the village was 'unhappy for the want of good water... having neither springs nor brooks to supply that defect'.
The parish church is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin and is set back from the road. The current brick building was built in 1863-1864 on the site of the original church which blew down in 1719. The church comprises a chancel, nave, north chapel, south porch and a low embattled western tower containing one bell.
The west window was erected by Mrs Rushton in memory of her three brothers; she presented a peal of six tubular bells in 1898; after her death two others were added in 1903 as a memorial to her. The small chapel on the north side was built by Captain Sidney Stanley; the stained glass east window is a memorial to John Sharp of Manchester and his wife, Dorothea, and was presented by their children in 1864. In 1904 a memorial window was erected to Mrs. Sharp. The oak lych gate was erected in 1896 by the widow of the Rev. James Rushton M.A., who was rector at Longstowe between 1852-1895. A rood was erected in 1920 as a memorial to Longstowe men who were killed in the First World War.
Seventeen people were counted at Longstowe for the 1086 Domesday Book. An area known as 'Town Green' around 1800 may have been the centre of the mediæval village which had spread to the south by the middle of the 13th Century.
Most of Longstowe's woodland had been cleared by the end of the 13th Century, although 40 acres were held by the lord of the manor in the 16th Century, in addition to furze and heath. The manor was purchased by Anthony Cage the elder in 1571, and he established 'a little park for deer and a warren for conies' around the new house. The acreage of the manor's woodland grew by the end of the 18th Century. Until inclosure in 1799, agriculture was carried out in three open fields.
The oxford-Cambridge "Varsity Line" passed through Longstowe parish to the south of the village. The Old North Road railway station was built just over the boundary in Bourn parish and opened in 1862 and encouraged development in the east of the parish.
Longstowe once had three pubs]] although only the Red House now remains. The Three Horseshoes Inn, built in 1865 and closed in 2001, was renamed after Golden Miller, the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National-winning racehorse which was trained by Basil Briscoe at Longstowe Hall.
In 1801, 175 people lived in the parish; the number rose to 296 in 1891 but dropped again to 218 by 1961.
Sights of the village
Longstowe Hall is an ancient mansion purchased in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I by the Cage family, who rebuilt it; it was acquired by W.A. Briscoe Esq. J.P. in 1906. It stands in a park of about 175 acres and is now used as a venue for weddings. A lych gate near the church lists the names of the Longstowe men who served in the First World War; 'RIP' is inscribed next to the names of those who died.
- Cricket: Longstowe Cricket Club
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