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Bourn, Cambridgeshire

Historical Description

Bourn, a village and a parish in Cambridgeshire, very pleasantly situated on an affluent of the river Cam, 2 miles SSE of Caxton, and 1½ mile NE from Old North Road station on the L. & N.W.R., with a post, money order, and telegraph office under Cambridge. Acreage of parish, 4175; population, 785. Bourn Hall, formerly the seat of the De-la-Warr family, is an Elizabethan mansion surrounded by a park of about 20 acres. The manor belonged to Morcar the Saxon, and passed to the De-la-Warrs, and a castle on it was destroyed in the Civil Wars of the time of Henry III. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Ely; net value, £163 with residence. Patron, Christ College, Cambridge. The church is a spacious building of stone in the Transition, Early English, and Later styles.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Church Records

The register dates from the year 1564.


Church of England

St. Mary (parish church)

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 styles, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave of six bays, aisles, transepts, south porch and an embattled western tower with turret stair and containing 6 bells: the tower was restored in 1912 at a cost of £960, and again in 1914: the chancel has good sedilia of the 15th 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 modern 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 octagonal: the clerestory is lighted by quatrefoil openings with circles: in the north transept is a Late niche and an 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 conbains several slabs and tombs, with arms to members of the Hagar family, lords of this manor about 1750, and a memorial to the late Henry Lyell esq.: the church plate includes a silver salver, presented by Francis Hagar in 1594, and a silver chalice with the date 1569: Dowsing, the Puritan iconoclast, visited this church and destroyed two angels, 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.


Wesleyan Chapel

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

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Bourn from the following:

Land and Property

Bourn Hall, formerly the property of the Earl De La Warr, stands on the site of the old castle and is an excellent specimen of the Elizabethan style, and was formerly surrounded by a moat, part of which still remains; the park contains about 80 acres with good plantations.

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Cambridgeshire is available to browse.


Online maps of Bourn are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Cambridgeshire papers online:

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitations of Cambridgeshire 1575 and 1619 is available online.

DistrictSouth Cambridgeshire
Postal districtCB23
Post TownCambridge