Interior of the Parish Church. Percy Robinson collection.
Following his appointment as Head Teacher of the Church School in 1908, Percy Robinson built up an extensive knowledge of Trumpington’s history. One of his individual notes from the 1920s is about Trumpington Parish Church, reproduced below.
The Church is about 2½ miles from the University Church St. Mary’s, and is dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin and St. Michael or, as some are inclined to think, to St. Nicholas, with a Vicarage in the gift of Trinity College. It belongs to the Archdeaconry of Ely and the Deanery of Barton. The Vicarage land in all contains about 80ba. 3r. 9p. The churchyard being 2r. 20p., the house and grounds 2a. 2r. 12p.
The house which stood on the Rectory was secured to the Vicar by the Enclosure Act, 1804. An extension in the form of a Cemetery was made in the year 1893, the area being situated at the corner of the Shelford and London Roads, the old Turnpike.
The Advowson in 1237 appeared to be in the gift of the manor of Caley, or Trumpington de la Pole, and remained until the year 1343 when the Nuns of the Priory of Haliwell, near Shoreditch, London, purchased it of the heirs of John de Caley. Having obtained the Advowson they besieged the Bishop of Ely with petitions in order to become possessed of the Rectory also, and on 18th January, 1343 Bishop Simon de Montacute issued letters from his manor of Downham appropriating the Church of Trumpington to the Sisters of Haliwell.
The Convent appears to have retained possession of the Rectory until the Dissolution of the Monasteries when it was granted by Henry VIII about 1546 to the Master and Fellows of Trinity College, to whom it still belongs and who are also the Patrons of the Vicarage.
BENEFACTIONS . In the eighth year of Edward I John Bernard held one acre of land, for finding a lamp to burn in the Church; and Geoffrey the Clerk held seven acres for three lamps. One Robert Gardener in his will dated June 21st, 1500 left his body to be buried in the Churchyard of Trumpington and five marks to buy land for the repair of the Church. In 1503 J. White bequeathed to the Church forty shillings for the purchase of a Missal, and also all his lands after the death of Alice, his wife, for an Obit, as well as for the ornaments and repairs of the Church. In the same year Robert Bachur, Vicar of Grantchester, died, and left his “Liber de virtutibus et vitiis” for the use of this Church. On tablets in the church are recorded the benefactions of one Thomas Allen, gent., related to Maris Baron, who gave to “ye towne of Trumpington nine acres of land at ye yearly rent of three pounds, for ye putting of poor boys out apprentices” January 22nd, 1681. Another of Mr. William Austin, tailor, of Trumpington, who, by will dated 1679, “gave fourteene acres of arable land, in Bottisham, purchased of one, Chippy of ye said towne, to put out four of ye poorest children to scoole, born in ye town of Trumpington; until they can read a chapter in ye Holy Bible perfectly, and then a Bible given them, & they dismist, & others of ye said towne to proceed as aforesaid”. He also left 20 shillings a year for coals for the poor, and 20 shillings a year to repair ye footway leading from ye house of John Peake, Baker, where his mother lately dwelt, to ye Church of ye said Trunpington”. The School estate now amounts to 21 a. 2r. 16p. situate in Bottisham as settled by the Enclosure Award, and brings in about £22. Mr. Thomas Allen, of Stanning, in Sussex, added to the ring of bells a treble, and bought Emmanuel College pulpit, (this has been altered, having formerly a sounding-board on it) and put it in this Church. He also left £3 a year for putting out poor children to apprenticeship. Stephen Perse, M.D. Fellow of Gonville & Caius College left to this place as connected with Cambridge the privilege of admission of boys to his Free Grammar School in Cambridge.
List of Rectors and Vicars.
Peter de Rivatt, before 1225
Nicholas, before 1293
Henry de Suret, before 1337
Richard Berde de Ledbury, Sen. 1337
Richard ” ” ” Jun. 1343
John de Herl, 1343
Nicholas de Drayton, 1339
Thomas de Ledbury, 1343
William de Dykelesburgh resigned, 1345
Simon Brond, 1346
Henry Valentine , died
John Punche, 1375
William Stepy de Holtoff , res.
John Bardy, res. 1389
Wm. Forster, res. 1392
John Bradley, died, 1393
John Karlill, 1395
John Stoghton, 1445
John Glandefeld before, 1527
Reginald West, 1538
John Barber, died
Edw. Brough, 1553
Richard Wilkinson, 1536
Wm. Palmer, 1564
Wm. Pollard, 1567
John Holte or Halle, 1573
Jeremy Radcliffe, 1580
Samuel Heron, B.D., res. 1589
Wmi. Barker, B.D. res. 1589-90
Giles Askom or Ascham, M.A.,res. 1590-91
John Averall, B.D., res. 1591-92
Thos. Boton, M.A.,res. 1592-93
Francis Savage, B.D. & Fellow, res. 1594
Thos. Proude, B.D. & Fellow, 1595
J. Palmer, B.D., 1596
Samuel Hill, B.D., 1599-1600
Wm. Barton, M.A.,res. 1602
Wm. Dakin, B.D. res. 1603-4
George Ducket, M.A., 1605-6
Thos. Kitchen , B.D., 1611-12
Wm. Sterne, before 1622
Walter Whitgrave, B.D.,
George Stanhope, B.D., 1616-17
Anthony Topham, B.D., 1616-17
Theodore Crossland, 1636
Thos. Ashton, res.
Francis Halfhead, 1638
Nathaniel Willis, B.D., 1642
Wm. Herbert, M.A., 1641-2
Thos. Copinger, died, 1643-4
Benjamin Southwood, M.A., 1654
Wm. Bayley, B.D. and Fellow, died, 1674
Wm. Linnett, res. 1679
Geo. Modd, M.A. and Fellow, res. 1693
Edward Bathurst, M.A. and Fellow, died, 1695
John Hackett, D.D. and Fellow, res. 1719
*John Barnwell, D.D. and Fellow, 1732
Wm. Morgan, D.D. and Fellow, res. 1746
Henry Davis, B.D. and Fellow, res. 1747
John Powell, B.D. and Fellow, 1763
Samuel Peck, M.A. and Fellow, res. 1765
Thos. Heckford, B.A. and Scholar, died, 1779
John Hailstone, M.A., 1817
*Built part of the Vicarage on to the then Rectory.
In 1643 the fanatic Dowsing visited the Church, and in his journal is written: “We brake 3 superstitious pictures, and ordered Mr. Thompson to level the steps but he refused. (?Windows)”
In 1676 the population was 135, of whom 4 were Dissenters. At the Visitation of 1728, there were 62 families, 379 inhabitants, 9 Independents; a new House, a charity School £6 per ann., Alms Houses for 3 women, 20 shillings to repair footway to Church, £3 for clothing for 8 boys.
In 1841 the population was 750. acres in parish 2200. The oldest Parish register commences with the year 1671 and contains little of interest, list of Vicars from 1638, list of collections made in Church on sundry briefs, oftenest loss by fire, few special cases of damage ; “for loss by an earthquake at Kettlewell, in Yorkshire: 4s. 4½d.,Aug. 5th, 1688; “for firing and pillaging by French Privateers, at Druridge, Northumberland, Sept. 25th, 1692, and for relief of captives at Algiers.
There was a Chapel dedicated to St. Anne, in the street of Trumpington, which in 1399 had a serving Chaplain, and a hermit, who in 1280 held seven acres of land in Madingley at 9d. a year. The Chapel and the Common Road between Cambridge and Trumpington were repaired by Indulgences granted by the Bishop of Ely.
This is a uniform and beautiful specimen of decorated architecture, erected probably in the latter part of the reign of Edward II. Evidently a church existed here previously, as traces can be found at the base of the south-west nave-pier, which is evidently Early English. The original plan consisted of a Chancel, Nave, two Aisles, with North and South Chapels respectively, and the Western Tower, which remains uninjured of any mutilations with the exception of the demolition of a Chantry or Sacristy on the north side of the Chancel, and the destruction of the high pitched roof of the Nave, which is shewn by a weather mould on the Tower to have been higher. Probably the Tower had a wooden spire, but no traces can now be seen. All churches built about this period had spires.
The Chancel is 38ft. 8ins, long by 16ft. wide. The east window consists of five trefoliated lights, (the stained glass in the centre is doubtless what remained after Dowsing’s visit) and has elaborate tracery composed of quatrefoils at the top, a series of trefoils next below, and one of cinquefoiled triangles immediately above the heads of the lights. The inside is furnished with jamb-shafts , and above, externally, is a gable light consisting of a quatrefoil circle. Of the gable cross the saddle stone alone remains. The chancel has a high pitched roof which is modern. The piscina in double. The sill of the south-east window, which is of three plain intersecting lights, is carried down nearly to the ground, and if in its original condition, which is doubtful, served as a Sedilia. The next window on the south side contains nearly the whole of its ancient glass. The ground is a mosaic pattern, with a blue border ornamented with oak leaves; in the centre, under rich canopies, are figures of St. Peter and St. Paul; and in the large trefoil which forms the head of the window are three leopards conjoined. Arms of Edmund Crouchback Earl of Lancaster 1280. Underneath this window is seen externally a low mutilated recess, probably the Founder’s tomb. Considerable fragments of stained glass are still preserved in the east window, which points to the fact that the church was adorned with stained glass. In the western bay is a very small priest’s door, only 2 feet wide by 5½ feet high, and immediately over it is a third window of the same design as the last. A small recess is to the west of it, containing a window called a Lychnoscope. The north wall contains a blocked door to the Sacristy, and two windows corresponding to those on the south. Of the Rood screen only the lower panels remain and these form the side of a pew. The Chancel arch springs out of the wall on each side. The bosses in the roof are different.
Nave. Nothing can be finer than a view from either of the Chapels looking towards the west. The slender but lofty complex pier, graceful equilateral arches with capitals and archivolts exquisitely moulded, the dimly-lighted clerestory of quatrefoiled circles on the north and trefoiled lancets on the south side, the grouping of the piers, and the windows in the distance beyond; of the opposite Chapel in one direction and the lofty and deeply moulded Belfry arch in the other, combine to produce a variety and harmony of effect seldom seen in ancient churches of this size. The strikingly fine proportions and delicate execution and detail of the piers and arches are sufficient to attract the eye and excite admiration. The roof is modern, but without doubt open rafters supported the original one. The length of the Nave is 59ft. 3in. by 17ft. 6 in. wide, affording a space of about 9 feet for the span of the arches, of which there are five on either side.
Aisles. The Aisles are each pierced by three beautiful windows of three lights, all of them original, and little injured. The tracery is good, though rather heavily wrought: those at the east end have disengaged cinquefoiled lights, whilst those in the Chapels alternately consist of intersecting foliated lines continued from the mullions, and of the form that may be designated not tracery, that is, a series of foliated loops not unlike the meshes of a net. The proportions are about 7 feet wide by 14 feet high, and the window arches are nearly equilateral.
Chapels. The Chapels are coeval with the rest of the Church. They open into the ailes by two arches which spring from piers different in design from those of the Nave, and the eastern of which, in the north chapel, is filled with a beautiful decorated ogee arch. This has a double- featherod cinquefoilod cusping, and forms a canopy to a high tomb, on which, infixed in a slab of Purbeck marble, lies a full-mailed effigy in brass, well known as being the second oldest, as also one of the finest and most perfect in the kingdom, of Sir Roger de Trumpington, who died in 1289. The knight is clad in chain mail armour, with sword in front, and a shield on the left arm, with the armorial bearings of the Pemberton family. The hands are raised in an attitude of prayer , and the legs are crossed to denote a Crusader . The earliest brass is at Stoke d’Auberon in Surrey.
Inquisitions post mortem. File 53. No. 10.
1st sheet. Writ issued at Whytsand, 9 August, 1289.
3rd sheet. Inquiry about the lands and tenements which belonged to Master Roger of Trompinton on the day of his death made at Cambridge on the day after the Exaltation of the holy Cross (15 Sept.) in the seventeenth year of King Edward by Thomas Clerk, John le Cauz, Thomas Payn, Henry Martin, John Geffrey, Richard Smith, John E..dound, Evarard de Syteuell, Richard Parsons, William of Eversdon, John Brown, and Nichol.. Wyn, jurors, who say on their oath that the same Roger held nothing of the lord King in chief on the day of his death, and that he died in the week next before the Nativity of St. John Baptist this year as they believe . Also that the same Roger held in the town of Trompeton on the day of his death one capital messuage which is worth, with the grass, (?orchard), fruits (produce) , a small vineyard and with a dove house, 24 shillings a year. Also 14 score acres of land, and an acre is worth 12d. -sum total 14 pounds. Also 26 acres of meadow, and an acre in worth 2 shillings a year, -sum total 52 shillings. Also they say that he held a separate pasture which is worth 5 shillings a year. Also the free holders pay at the feast of St. Michael and at Easter in equal parts 40s. 10½d. The Bondmen pay at the same terms 60s. 5d. They pay 1 lb. of pepper, and it is worth 6d. Also 2½ lbs of cummin (cynini) and a pound is worth 1d. Also the customary works are valued at 31s. & 4d. a year. The bondmen aforesaid pay at the Nativity 32 fowls and they are worth 32d., and at the Nativity ( ?of S. J-B) 21 capons and they are worth 3s. 6d. They say also that he held all the aforesaid tenements of the heir of Mr. William de fferrars, who is now in the wardship of the lord king, for the service of 1 knights fee. Also they say that he held there one water-mill and 24 acres of land of Simon de Cayli paying 40s. a year. Also they say that he held of John Bernard 6 acres of land, paying to the same 4d. a year, and for sheriff’s aid 1d. They say also that one Giles is son of the same Roger and next heir, and he was of the age of 22 years at the feaat of the Purification of the B. V. Mary now last past. In testimony of which thing the foresaid jurors have placed their seals to this inquiry.
Also sum total 24£. 18s. 7d. Thence by deductions to different gentlemen as above 40s. 5d. Whence the sum total of the true value is 22£. 18s. 2d.
The Tomb of Roger of Trumpington.
(Photo & slide by Palmer Clarke)
The tomb is, as far as is known, the actual tomb of Roger who died in 1289, but the aisle and chapel where it now stands were built about 1320. The canopy was evidently built after the arch under which it stands, and apparently after the tomb and brass were in position, as it stands on the inscription space at both ends of the brass. This last fact may be taken also to show that the brass with its marble slab were inserted at a later date on a tomb to which they did not really belong. The north side of the tomb and parts of the canopy have been much restored.
Much later two members of the Pitcher family are said to have been buried in the tomb. Their names can be read on the slide. The inscriptions are:
to the left-
HIC..IACET (THO)M(AS) Here lies Thomas
PYTCHER .G( ENEROSUS) Pytcher Gentleman
QVI.VITAM.F(INIVIT 4to) who ended life the 4th
DIE NOVEM(BRIS ANNO) day of November in the year
DOMINE 15(77) of the Lord 1577.
to the right-
HIC:IACIT:GV Here lies Wil-
LIELMVS:PYTC: liam Pytc-
HER:GENEROSUS: her Gentleman
QVIVITAM:FINIVIT who ended life
NOVO:DIE SEXTILI ninth day of August
ANNO:DOMINI, 1614 in the year of the Lord 1614
There are several mistaken in the letters. The right hand part of the first inscription was I believe destroyed by a visitor not many years ago.
Under the canopy can be seen a stone fixed to the east wall of the chapel.
Four Latin lines, and then
HEARE LYES THE BODY OF GEORGE PITCHARD THE FIRST SONE OF THOMAS PITCHARD ESQVIRE BY MARY HIS WIFE BORNE THE 5 OF OCTOBER AND BVRIED THE 29 OF OCTOBER 1650
On one of the shields are 3 pitchforks or pitchers.
This stone used to stand on a little tomb in the middle of the chapel.
Brass of Roger of Trumpington.
Photo, Oxford Press. Slide by Palmer Clarke.
The brass probably represents Roger, who died about 20 June, 1289. His arms were azure, with cross crosslets and two trumpets . These arms are seen on the shield; but on the ailettes (on the shoulders, ) and on the sheath of the sword there is a “label” of five points added. This “label of 5 argent” was borne by Roger’s grandson Roger who died in 1326, and the fact that it was engraved as part of the original design of the brass makes some people date the brass about 1325- 1330.
The elder Roger went on the Crusade of 1270, and appears in the Hundred Rolls, 1272, as knight or sub-tenant of Trumpington Manor (the second largest manor in the parish). He is said to hold one knight’s fee, that is, his Trumpington property was worth about £20 a year. He held property of about the same value elsewhere. He rented the water mill at Byron’s Pool from the Cayleys, who had been since the Conquest tenants of the chief manor of the parish. He is frequently mentioned in old documents, but nothing is known of his life in detail. It is a probable conjecture that he rebuilt the Church.
The helmet under his head and the dog at his feet may represent the actual way in which a knight on active service slept.
Dogs and other animals on tombs are also said to represent either the heraldic crest of the person or an actual pet animal.
The brass is in three sheets imported from Germany, welded together, and engraved in England.
The stone is Purbeck Marble. The Inscription has been missing for three hundred years .
The Rubbing was made in December, 1922.
Round both the Chapels and the Aisles a truply moulded string is carried underneath the windows, and brought with fantastic inequality over a doorway open¬ing into the north porch of the western wall of the forme. A corresponding square-edged string, or rather weathering, is carried round the outside so as to embrace the buttresses, which are of bold but simple design, consisting of two stages with plain sloping heads and set-offs. A low side window, which is blocked, retains part of the old hinges. There is a blocked recess in the south wall.
The south Chapel was used as a schoolroom, and is somewhat mutilated and disfigured from this and other causes. There is an elegant little Piscina in the south wall , and part of the eastern pier has been cut ¬away, perhaps for a screen or other appurtenance to the Chantry Altar. The Choir now occupies part of the chapel with the Organ. In the south Aisle are several coped coffin lids with floriated crosses. These were placed against the wall at the West end when the new Vestry was built in 1912.
Font. The font is of good perpendicular character, octagonal, having sunken panels with roses and shields. It used to stand under a western gallery, but in 1912 it was removed to its present position under the tower. The whole church is fitted with open seats.
Porches. There are two porches, in the North and South immediately opposite to each other. The southern one has been nearly destroyed. The mouldings of the inner doorways are continuous and finely worked, but being of clunch are a good deal decayed. A large part of the internal masonry is composed of clunch, and it retains the finest touches of the chisel unimpaired by time.
Tower. The Tower is built of finely squared and jointed clunch, and internally at least of Barnack stone. Though the exterior was covered with cement, the original stone can be seen in places.
The western doorway is singularly fine, having very deep and continuous moulding. Inside, the pointed arch is surmounted by a segmental hood, supported on slender shafts. Above is a fine window of three lights, lately restored in cement, and both side lights have a modern transom. The various stages of the Tower are ornamented with single lancet windows with various foliated heads. The Belfry windows are plain of two lights, and the parapet is surmounted by a battlement. There is a singular recess in the lower part of the northern wall of the Tower. It is a small niche, formed in the thickness of the wall and turning westward with an arched head. It is entered by a narrow doorway about six feet high and is large enough to contain one person in it. This recess is popularly and traditionally known as The Confessional; and a narrow slit, now filled by a window to the vestry but formerly opening into the Tower, is thought to have been intended for oral communication between the penitent and the priest within. It is certain however that this recess, which is coeval with the structure of the tower, was designed for the reception of the person employed to ring the Sance-bell , as a small circular hole is still visible in the roof of it, and the side of the slit within the tower is deeply cut and chafed as by a rope being reered through it. The stone-work when the new vestry was built was altered, but still traces of the reering of the ropes can be seen.
The bells bear the following legends:
1 . CELI .DET .MUNUS .QUI .REGNAT .[TRINUS].ET .UNUS Cast at Bury St. Edmunds, c. 1450.
2. CVM CANO BUSTA MORI CVM PULPETA VIVERE DESI: OMNIA FIANT AD GLORIAM DEI: J. EAYRE 1749: JOHN HAILES, THOMAS SPENCER, CHURCHWARDENS.
3. T. NEWMAN MADE ME 1723. RECAST BY H. BOWELL & SON 1900.
[Formerly: Tho. Newman made me 1723. John Hailes, James Brand, C. W.]
4. JOHN DARBIE MADE ME 1677. RECAST BY H. BOWELL & SON 1900.
[Formerly: John Darbie made me 1677. Thomas Allen gave me a treabell for to be]
5. M. G. RECAST BY H. BOWELL & SON IPSWICH 1900.
[Formerly: M. G. (i.e.Miles Gray, c.1660.)]
6. Treble given by Mr Chaplin
The Vestry was built in 1912, during the time of the Rev. R.G. Bury, Litt.D., Vicar; the churchwardens being the Rev. Canon T.P. Pemberton (Vicar’s Warden) and Mr. A.W. Bishop (People’s Warden).
Formerly the space now occupied by the organ was screened by curtains and served the purpose of a vestry, but when the organ was built the base of the tower was curtained off and utilised for the robing of the priest.
The want of a proper vestry had long been felt, and Mr. Bishop set to work to raise the necessary funds. The estimated coat was about £400, which included some necessary alterations in the seating of the Church.
The architect was Mr. Cecil Hare , who submitted designs for the present structure to be built on old foundations that no doubt at one time formed a small room occupied by the priest. The doorway into the Church was formerly filled in with bricks.
Mr. Bishop was so successful in his efforts that after paying all expenses there remained a surplus of about £20, which was placed on deposit at what is now Lloyd’s Bank, as a separate building fund account to provide the necessary wherewithal for any slight repairs in the future.
The chalice and paten, dated 1660, were given to the church in 1672 by Herbert Thorndike, who also gave a silver pewter plate and flagon, but unfortunately the latter has been lost.
A very old iron bound chest is to be seen near the tower. This originally contained the church documents – registers, etc., but these are now preserved in the safe in the vestry.
In the churchyard is the grave of Henry Fawcett, the blind Postmaster General. It is near the chancel door surrounded by an iron railing. On the stone are the words:
“Speak unto the people that they go forward.”
A quaint epitaph appears on one stone as follows :
All you who pass by, just cast an eye:
As you are now, so once was I;
As I am now, so you will be;
So prepare to follow me.
The New Churchyard, at the corner of Hauxton-Shelford Roads , was opened in  and consecrated by the Bishop of Ely in 192_.
On the lead roof of the Church is scratched a rough sketch of Ely Cathedral. It is not in its original state, for the roof has been repaired at different times and the sketch damaged. Above it is scratched, “This is Eley Minster”, and below, “Dobson Clarke Made This, 1731 .”
Scanned from Percy Robinson’s original typescript by Howard Slatter.