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[Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868]
by Colin Hinson ©2013

"BALSHAM, a parish in the hundred of Radfield, in the county of Cambridge, 4 miles to the north-east of Linton, its post town. It lies not far from the border of Suffolk, and comprises part of the Gogmagog Hills, the loftiest ground in Cambridgeshire. On their summit is an ancient camp surrounded by a triple entrenchment and two ditches, and covering an area of thirteen acres. This camp is on the line of the Roman road called Via Devana. The seat of Lord Godolphin, with its pleasant grounds, is situated within the entrenchment. The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Ely, of the value of £1,104, in the patronage of the Governors of the Charterhouse, London. The church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. It is a very ancient edifice, and was rebuilt at the close of the 14th century by John de Sleford, master of the wardrobe to Edward III. It contains stalls of carved oak, two tombs of priests adorned with fine brasses, and one of a knight. This village was the birthplace of Hugh de Balsham, the founder of Peterhouse College, Cambridge. There are charitable endowments amounting to £49 per annum."

[Transcribed and edited information from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868]





  • Holy Trintiy Church}, Balsham.


Church History

  • The church of the Holy Trinity it a very handsome edifice of flint, rubble and white brick, in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles, consisting of large chancel, clerestoried nave, aisles, south porch and an embattled western tower containing a clock and 5 bells: the chancel retains 24 stalls of the 14th century ; there is a handsome rood screen of the same date, and a fine brass to John Sleford, rector, Master of the Wardrobe to Edward III, and canon of Ripon and Wells, who rebuilt the chancel and part of the church and erected the stalls, and died in 1401 ; the brass includes his effigy in cope, with figures of saints, under a fine canopy and has a marginal inscription; there is a similar brass to Dr. John Blodwell, formerly dean of S. Asaph, ob. 1462, and also a brass effigy of Johannes Lindsell, d. 1612 (inscription lost): in the south aisle is a memorial window, erected in 1866, to the Rev. Edward Wollaston M.A. 33 years rector, his wife Elizabeth and their daughter Agnes Cornthwaite: the church was restored and a new organ-chamber built in the year 1875, under the direction of Mr. William Butterfield, architect, and in 1914 the tower was repaired, a side chapel has been erected on the site of the former old chapel of St. Nicholas; it is a self-contained structure, made partly of the old panelling originally taken from the church or the old rectory and partly of new wood, with carved cresting made by the present rector; the chapel contains the Elizabethan altar formerly used in the church; the carved inlaid work in connection with the altar is the work of the rector and of men instructed by him; the elaborately carved font cover, placed in 1927 near the tower arch, is also the work of the rector ; by the altar is a handsome carved inlaid Litany desk, which is a memorial to Dr. Head, chief warden for 30 years: there is a book containing the names and records of the men parishioners who served in the Great War, 1914-18, and a carved oak tablet with the names of the rectors from 1220 there are 800 sittings. The register dates from the year 1558.
  • There is a Congregational chapel, erected in 1833, with sittings for 300 persons. [Kelly's Directory - 1929]
  • There is further information and photographs of the Church on Ben and Mark's Cambridgeshire Churches website.

Church Records

  • Church of England
    • Balsham, Holy Trinity: Records of baptisms 1558-1996, marriages 1559-1994, burials 1559-1958, banns for 1754-1804 and 1888-1989 reside in the Cambridgeshire Archives.The Bishop's Transcripts for the years 1602-42 and 1657-1875 can be found in the Cambridge University Library. Indexes to transcripts exist in Cambridgeshire Archives for baptisms, marriages, banns and burials 1558-1851.
    • The Balsham Parish Records are available on microfiche from the Cambridgeshire Family History Society Publications list (search)

Description and Travel



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Military History

  • The Balsham War Memorial has been transcribed and and the men researched, it stands in the village centre.


  • Land Tax: records were compiled afresh each year and contain the names of owners and occupiers in each parish, but usually there is no address or place name. These records reside in the Cambridgeshire Archives for the years 1759-63, 1789-1846 and 1865-1948.