Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Ordnance survey map of CHURCH OF ST MARY AND ST MICHAEL
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cambridge (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TL 44282 54951


This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 01/07/2011

667/13/230 26-APR-50




DATES/ARCHITECTS: There was a large church here by the late C12 or early C13 as the base of the tower and parts of both aisles are of that date. The chancel, with a now demolished NE sacristy, was rebuilt in the late C13, and the rest of the church, including the nave, clerestory, aisles, chapels, porches and upper part of the tower, was rebuilt c.1330. The NW vestry was apparently added in the C16. There were repeated restorations in the C19, most notably in 1858 and 1876-7 by Butterfield, who renewed the windows and reclad the exterior in new Bath stone. The vestry was rebuilt on old foundations in 1912. MATERIALS: Limestone, mainly Barnack in the lower parts, with some Ketton and Ancaster. The nave, aisles and tower were largely refaced externally in Bath stone in the C19. Chancel roof tiled, all else has lead roofs.

PLAN: Chancel; nave with 5-bay N and S aisles having further 2-bay N and S outer aisle chapels and N and S porches; W tower.

EXTERIOR A large and handsome church of the C14, very smooth externally as a result of renewal in the C19. The nave is significantly larger than the chancel, which has no projections in contrast to the nave with its aisles and chapels.

The chancel is late C13, but was partially remodelled in the early C14 when it was given an exceptionally fine 5-light E window with intersecting cusped tracery. There is a quatrefoil window in a richly moulded roundel like those in the nave S clerestory in the apex of the chancel gable. The N chancel wall has towards the west two late C13 windows with trefoiled lights and trefoils in the heads. Further east in this wall is archaeological evidence (roof corbels, piscina and blocked doorway) for a former sacristy or chapel of the C13. The S chancel wall has three late C13 windows, including two similar to those on the N, and a further C14 low-side window. A C13 door apparently displaced by the low-side window was reset further east under a window in the C14, and there is also a restored recess, possibly a tomb recess, below the central window.

The nave has quatrefoil clerestory windows on the S side and trefoiled ogee-headed lights on the S side. The N and S aisles and outer aisle chapels are buttressed with angle buttresses at the NE and SE corners and 2- and 3-light Decorated windows in a range of intersecting and reticulated patterns, all renewed in the C19. The porches are tucked into the western angles between the chapels and aisles, and have lean-to roofs and two-centred openings with hood moulds over restored C14 doorways. That on the N also has a C14 door into the N chapel.

The lowest part of the W tower is C13, but it was completed or rebuilt above this in the C14 at the same time that the rest of the church was rebuilt. It has a SW stair turret and an embattled parapet with gargoyles. The W door has two moulded orders and a hood mould with head stops. There is a large three-light W window, and trefoiled statue niches in the N and S walls. Above these are trefoiled lancets like those in the N nave clerestory, and the bell stage has two light Y-tracery openings.

INTERIOR The interior is lofty, with rich C14 arcades, small clerestory windows, and a high, C19 roof. The view towards the E is dominated by the enormous early C14 E window with excellent Decorated tracery.

The chancel E window has an elaborate rere-arch with shafts on the splays. A C13 door in the chancel N wall formerly led to the N sacristy. The chancel arch is of two moulded orders that die into the walls, and the E wall of the nave may have been rebuilt slightly further E in the C14 as the NE part of the chancel arch partly covers the head stop on the westernmost window in the chancel N wall. The chancel has a canted, plastered ceiling that was redone in the early C19, but retains C15 ribs and bosses.

The tall, C14 nave arcades are of 5 bays with complex orders of many fine mouldings on equally complex piers with numerous, tiny, attached shafts. There are hood moulds with headstops towards the nave on either side. The W responds of both arcades are C13, and that on the S may be slightly earlier as it has a late C12 waterholding base. The aisle windows have nook shafts, and the string course at sill level rises around the doorways. At the W end of the N aisle is a C16 door to the vestry below a blocked C14 window opening. There is also a blocked window opening at the W end of the S aisle, partly cut by the present S wall, suggesting that the late C12 or C13 aisle was rebuilt narrower in the C14.

The two bay arcades to the chapels are similar to, but slightly less complex than, the nave arcades. The E bays of the N chapel arcade is partially blocked by the Trumpington tomb. The tower arch has three continuously moulded orders to the E and two to the W. The lower part of the tower arch stands on C13 responds similar to the W respond of the N arcade, but above this it is entirely C14. The tower arch is partly filled by a W organ gallery. The door to the tower stair is C14 and has wrought iron strapwork hinges.

PRINCIPAL FIXTURES The church was refurnished in the C19, but some medieval fittings survive, including a late C13 double piscina in the chancel, and another on the exterior N wall of the chancel to serve the former sacristy. There are C14 piscinas in the N and S chapels. The lower part of the C15 rood screen stands in the chancel arch and has panels with flowing, blind tracery. It was recoloured in the C19.

There is also a late C15 octagonal font with quatrefoil panels on the bowl, tracery panels on the stem, and carved heads. It may have been recut in the C19.

The pulpit was formerly in Emmanuel College, Cambridge and was given to the church in 1677 by Thomas Allen. The panelled, octagonal top part is early C17, and it was re-set on a new base in the late C19. The E wall of the chancel is lined in alabaster and tiles to a design by Butterfield, with lozenges on the N and S and a more elaborate geometric scheme on the E. The probably mid C19 nave benches, some of which have doors, have simple tracery on the ends. The simple choir stalls are early C20.

There is also some good re-set medieval glass, including a C13 heraldic panel, probably for Edmund Crouchback, Earl of Lancaster (1245-96), a number of C14 panels including figures and heraldry, and a little C15 glass. There is also some C19 glass, including two windows by Gibbs.

There are numerous fine monuments in the church, the most important of which is the Trumpington tomb of c.1330, set into the N arch of the N chapel arcade. A table tomb, it has a Purbeck marble slab and brass under an elaborate ogee arch. The brass, one of the finest in the country, is of a man in chain mail with his helm beneath his head and his feet on a dog, and was long said to have been made c.1300 for the crusader Roger de Trumpington, d.1289. More recently, however, it has been argued that it was made c.1326 for a later member of the same family, and so is contemporary with the tomb. The chest, which has ogee arched panelling, has two post-medieval memorial tables inserted in to it, one for Thomas Pytcher, d.1577, the other for William Pytcher, d.1614. There are also a number of excellent wall tablets of the late C17 to the C19, a hatchment of c.1800, and several C13 or C14 coffin lids. There are two C17 benefaction tables, one of 1681 for Thomas Allen, the other of 1679 for William Austin, and the base of the late C15 village cross now stands inside the church.

There is some medieval graffiti in the tower, and an unusual scratched drawing of Ely Cathedral on the tower leads by Dobson Clarke, 1731.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES (IF APPROPRIATE) Three C14 windows, removed when copies were installed in the C19, survive in the churchyard, but are overgrown. Separately the C17/C18 churchyard S wall is also listed (LBS 47441) at Grade II.

HISTORY Trumpington is mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086, and while the church itself is not mentioned, a substantial estate in Trumpington then belonged to the Abbey of Ely. By the C13 Trumpington was a wealthy rectory often held by absentee rectors, including the royal minister Peter des Rivaux, d. 1258, Alan of Rokeland, an official to the bishop of Ely, and also by Nicholas of Hegham, during the period in the 1280s when he was dean of Lincoln. Their patronage may explain the richness of the late C13 work in the chancel. The Trumpington family commemorated by the C14 tomb in the N chapel was one of several families who held substantial manors in the parish, and it is likely that they were significant patrons of the contemporary rebuilding of the church. The chancel glass was apparently destroyed during the reign of Edward IV, and further destruction was ordered by William Dowsing in 1643, although the churchwardens refused to level the chancel steps at that time. Some work was carried out in the C18, including re-pewing and re-flooring, but little of this now remains. There was some work in the early C19, including repair of the roofs, and the church was extensively repaired and refurnished in the mid to late C19 by the well-known church architect William Butterfield. There were two phases of work by him, the first c.1849-54 included the restoration of the chancel and stripping off plaster, exposing external clunch ashlar facing in poor condition. This was replaced in Bath stone in 1876. There was further work in the early C20, including rebuilding the vestry.

SOURCES John Coales (ed.), The Earliest Monumental Brasses, (1987) RCHME: City of Cambridge II (1959) Buildings of England: Cambridgeshire (1970)

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION The church of St Mary and St Michael, Cambridge is designated at Grade I for the following principal reasons: * An architecturally outstanding example of an ambitious and very high quality early C14 church. Although extensively restored by Butterfield in the C19, the architectural quality of the building has not suffered. * Superb early C14 Trumpington tomb with an outstanding brass, one of the finest in the country. * Excellent medieval fittings including the base of the late medieval rood screen. * Many good wall tablets of the C17, C18 and C19.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Legacy System:


Inventory of the Historical Monuments in the City of Cambridge, (1959)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 26 Aug 2004
Reference: IOE01/12718/03
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr David Black. Source Historic England Archive
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