Towns, Cities, Villages and Hamlets


Samuel Lewis's Topographical Gazeetter 1831

BOURN, a parish in the hundred of LONGSTOW, county of CAMBRIDGE, 1¾ mile (S.E by E.) from Caxton, containing 752 inhabitants. The living is a discharged vicarage, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Ely, rated in the king's books at 9.15.10., endowed with 200 private benefaction, and 200 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Master and Fellows of Christ's College, Cambridge. The church is dedicated to St. Mary. Bourn castle was destroyed in the reign of Henry III., during the war with the barons. A mineral spring here was formerly in high repute, but it is now neglected.

For the Family Historian details of available records can be found on the Bourn page of GENUKI Cambridgeshire.

BOURN, anciently "Brunne" or "Burne," is a village, about 1 miles north-east from the Old North Road station (which is in this parish) on the Bedford and Cambridge line of the London, Midland and Scottish railway, 10 north from Royston and about 9 west from Cambridge, in the hundred of Longstow union and petty sessional division of Caxton and Arrington, county court district of Cambridge, rural deanery of Bourn and archdeaconry and diocese of Ely. The Bourn brook flows through the parish.

The church of St. Mary, picturesquely situated on rising ground, is a spacious cruciform edifice of stone in the Transition Norman, Early English and Later style consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave of six bays, aisles, transepts, south porch and an embattled western tower with turret stair and containing 8 bells, two of which were added and the remainder repaired in 1924 : the tower was restored in 1912 at a cost of 960: the chancel has good sedilia of the i5th century and some carved oak benches with carved figures, one of which bears the inscription, "A. P. of B. 1537:" the roof is Perpendicular and has hammer beams with model figures of angels: the chancel arch is modern, and there remains a Perpendicular rood screen : the nave arcades are lofty and belong to the Transition Norman period, the piers being alternately circular and octagons the clerestory is lighted by quatrefoil openings with circles: in the north transept is a Late niche and aumbry: the south transept has a raised floor: the tower, which is overlapped by both aisles, opens into these and to the nave by very fine and lofty Early English arches, with an ascent of three steps under the western arch: the south porch, also Early English, has a fine cross on the gable: in the nave are some good oak benches with tracery in panels, and the south transept contains several slabs and tombs with arms to members of the Hagar family, lords of this manor about 1750, and a memorial to Henry Lyell seq.: the church plate includes a silver paten, presented by Francis Hagar in 1594, and a silver paten and chalice with the date 1569: Dowsing, the Puritan iconoclast, visited this church and destroyed two angels and some brasses and crosses on the tower and chancel: the nave was restored in 1875-8, at a cost of 1,480 : there are 420 sittings. The register dates from the year 1564.

There is a Wesleyan chapel, restored and enlarged in 1880, with about 150 sittings.

The scenery around this village is pretty and picturesque, affording a pleasing variety of hill and dale, finely interspersed with thick woods and shady groves. The moat and some other vestiges remain of a castle erected here by Picot, or Pigot, a Norman, to whom the Conqueror gave lands here and whose descendant, George Pigot esq. was in 1766 created Baron Pigot of Patshull, a title extinct at his death, 17 April, 1777 : the castle was burnt during the barons' war in the reign of Henry III, by Richard de Irusula or de L'Isle; it was then in possession of the Peverella, from whom it descended to the Peche (now Peachey) and others. Bourn Hall, formerly the property of the family, and subsequently held by the Riggesbys Earl Be La Warr, stands on the site of the old castle and together with the surrounding estate was purchased by Major John Maclean Griffin: the Hall is an excellent specimen of the Elizabethan style, and was formerly surrounded by a moat, part of which still remains; the park contains about 23 acres with good plantations.

The soil is clay; subsoil, gault. The chief crops are wheat, oats, barley and clover, and there is some land in pasture. The area is 4,175 acres the population in 1920 was 623.

CAXTON END and CROW END are places in the parish.

[Extracts from Kelly's Directory - Cambridgeshire - 1929]

Domesday Book Entry


The Abbot of Ramsey holds 1 hide in BOURN; 2 men-at-arms hold from him. Land for 1 plough. 2 smallholders. Meadow for 1 plough. The value is and always was 10s. It lies and always lay in (the lands of) St. Benedict's Church, Ramsey; it is an outlier of Longstowe.

In BOURN Aelmer holds 4 hides and 1 virgate from the Count. Land for 5½ ploughs. In lordship 1 plough; a further ½ possible. 9 villagers with 13 smallholders have 3 ploughs; a fourth possible. 2 slaves; meadow for 5½ ploughs; pasture for their livestock; wood for houses and fences. The value is and was £4; before 1066, 100s. Aelmer held this land and the other 3 which follow; he holds them now. He was Edeva's man and found 1 escort. He could withdraw without permission and grant and sell his land to whom he would.

Picot holds BOURN himself. It answers for 13 hides. Land for 15 ploughs. In lordship 5 hides; 2 ploughs there; 2 others possible. 8 villagers with 4 smallholders and 7 Freemen who hold 4 hides have 4 ploughs; a further 7 possible. 13 cottagers; 6 slaves. Meadow for 15 ploughs; pasture for the village livestock; wood for repairing fences and houses. Total value £13; when acquired £18; before 1066 £22. 2 men-at-arms hold 2 hides of this land under Picot. Land for 2 ploughs; they are there, with 4 cottagers. Meadow for 2 ploughs; wood for fences and houses; pasture for the village livestock. The value always was and is 40s. Before 1066 a thane held 3 hides of the land of this manor under King Edward. 2 priests, this thane's men, had 1 hide; they could not separate (it) outside of the Church. e Freemen of Archbishop Stigand's had 4 hides. A man of Asgar the Constable's had 1 hide. 2 men of the Abbot of Ramsey's had 1½ hides. A man of Earl Algar's had ½ hide, 13 men of King Edward's had 2 hides, and themselves found 6 cartages and 7 escorts for the Sheriff. Accordingly, all 22 could grant and sell their lands. Picot states he acquired this land as two manors.

Peter of Vlognes holds 1 hide and 3 virgates in BOURN. Land for 2 ploughs; but they are not there. 2 smallholders; 3 cottagers. Wood for fences. Value 30s; when acquired ??s; before 1066, 50s. Aelmer, King Edward's thane, held this land and could selll. Now Picot holds from Peter, the Sheriff of Essex.

War Memorial

The war memorial and the men on it have been documented on the Roll of Honour Cambridgeshire pages


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