Papworth St Agnes
|Papworth St Agnes|
St John the Baptist, Papworth St Agnes
Papworth St Agnes is a village and parish in Cambridgeshire, close by its twin, Papworth Everard, and right against the Huntingdonshire border: the county boundary runs between the chimneys of the Manor. Formerly known as Papworth Agnes, the village is said to have taken its name from one Agnes de Papewurda.
On the east, Ermine Street (A1198) separates Papworth St Agnes from Hemingford Abbots and Hilton.
Both Paperworth villages are within the Papworth Hundred of the county, which also includes the villages of Boxworth, Conington, Elsworth, Fen Drayton, Graveley, Knapwell, Over, Swavesey, and Willingham.
The parish church is St John the Baptist.
The church is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. It was rebuilt in 1530 under the will of Anthony Mallory, and was again rebuilt in 1848, and 1854. In 1976 the Church Commissioners declared the Church to be redundant, and in 1979 proposed to demolish the building. The villagers petitioned against this and proposed to take the upkeep of the building over. With the help of the Friends of Friendless Churches, and a great deal of fund raising the building has been restored and is used for a variety village activities.
The Rectory, now alienated, is a two-storeyed building built of white brick by the Rev. H.J. Sperling in 1847-8 by a builder called John Bland at a price of £497 exclusive of timber, which was supplied by the estate.
The original village can be traced in the settlement remains between existing cottages and the Manor house.
In the reign of King John the manor of Russells, belonged to a family of that name, from whom it passed successively to the families of Papworth and Mallory. Much of the current building, formerly known as Manor Farm, was built for William Mallory in 1585. Sir Thomas Mallory, author of Morte d'Arthur, died in Papworth St Agnes in the 15th century.
Sometime before 1637 William Mallory's grandson sold Manor Farm to the Caters. There was a bell in the church bearing the name of Thomas Cater.
A moat and various earthworks that have been disrupted by the road running through the village surround the Manor (A detailed description of this building and earthworks is to be found in "An Inventory of Historical monuments in the County of Cambridgeshire" Volume one).
About the village
The School House, now a dwelling, has rendered walls and a tiled roof. Its south end is towards the church, and is said to date from 1840.
The communal bakehouse standing on a small village green dates from 1850. It has an industrial chimney and was also used for scalding pigs, is now used for storing sandbags for use in case of flood.
Passhouse Farm – now Passhouse Farmhouse – dates from 17th century and is an L-shaped framed and plastered building with a thatched roof, and has been much altered over the years. It backs onto the Meadows that are an area of special Natural History interest, that are currently maintained under a scheme of Stewardship. Aerial maps of the village show ridge and furrow remains of both open field furlongs and old closes in the Meadows. These are also visible around Dumptilow Farm, Lattenbury Hill and north of the Manor.
Dumptilow Farm dates from mid 19th century. Hill Farm was built around 1800. Both are built of white brick.
Four other thatched cottages remain, one at the north end of the village opposite the bakehouse (Manor Cottage), the other three being at the south end of the village. Between these are a group of modern houses, built during the last 30 years.
The Old Reading Room was knocked down in 2000, and a new two-bedroomed cottage (The Reading Rooms) was built in it place. Next to it stands an old-fashioned red telephone box, still functioning.
The Nill Well near the village is a chalybeate spring, which is to say that the water is impregnated with iron salts.
The meadows between the brook and to the west of the houses are a conservation area which includes a site of Natural History Interest.
One of the most interesting features of the village is the old bread oven which sits on the triangular green where the road splits off to the Church and Rectory in one direction and past the old cart pond and Passhouse Farmhouse in the other direction.
Built of white bricks with a slate roof it occupies a central position in the village. The pump for the village supply of washing water was beside the back wall of the Bakehouse. To this day there is a small post-box in the side wall facing Manor Cottage. According to Dora Tack in her book 'Whispering Elms' about the village:
"ln the past, this Bakehouse had been used to bake bread and pies for the occupants of the cottages in the village.
There was a large cast iron, brick surrounded copper to the left of a large oven. It had a very tall chimney (it had been shortened since) - possibly to lift the smoke and sparks high above the nearby thatched cottages. Ted Webb had provided a notice-board, and there was a seat beside the pump.It was built in 1815 and was used to bake bread for the village. Certain houses or cottages were allocated a day on which the baking of their bread took place. Thus everybody had a tum to use the oven and copper if needed."
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