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

"BASSINGBOURN, (or Bassingbourne) a parish in the hundred of Armingford, in the county of Cambridge, 3 miles to the north-west of Royston railway-station, and 48 miles from London. It is situated on the ancient Ermine Street, near its inter section by lknield Street, and includes the hamlet of Kneesworth. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Ely, of the value of £224, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. The church is dedicated to SS. Peter and Paul. It has a monumental brass of the year 1560. The register dates from 1558. There is a chapel belonging to the Independents. The Royston Union workhouse is situated in this parish, with accommodation for 125 inmates. The parochial charities, including an endowment for education, amount to £21. A parochial library was founded by Edward Nightengale in 1717, to which a room next the north aisle of the church is appropriated. An annual fair was formerly held here on the festival of SS. Peter and Paul, for eight days. There was also a market, originally granted by Henry III. to Peter de Savvy, and confirmed by Edward III. to John of Gaunt; but it has long been disused. The Rev. D. H. Hatton is lord of the manor, and holds a considerable portion of the soil, which is a mixture of clay and chalk, producing good crops of wheat, barley, beans, &c.

"KNEESWORTH, a hamlet in the parish of Bassingbourn, hundred of Armingford, county Cambridge, 1 mile east of Bassingbourn, and 3 miles north-east of Royston. It is situated on the great north road. Kneesworth Hall is the principal residence."

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


  • "A Joint Burial Committee of seven members was formed in 1877 : the cemetery, at the east end of the village, is 2½ acres in extent, and has two mortuary chapels, and a lodge for the keeper; the total cost was £1,500." [Kelly's Directory - 1929]
  • The ground of the parish cemetery, all two and half acres divides along its centre North to South with the East side being consecrated in 1879. Two chapels sit midway North to South and are joined to form a walk through arch straddling the divide line. The consecrated Chapel has its foundations on consecrated ground with the not consecrated Chapel on ground not consecrated to the West.
  • The cemetery keepers Lodge sits just inside and slightly West of the main gate that is midway along the South perimeter.
  • Standing out of the eastern boundary on land kindly donated by the adjacent land owner is the Cross of Sacrifice erected in remembrance of war victims.
  • Permission was granted for the land to be used as a Cemetery by the Secretary of State in December 1876. Following the approval of construction plans, authorisation of a loan and subsequent commencement of construction the first burial, a child of 17 months took place on the 5th. October 1878.
  • The Monumental Inscriptions of SS. Peter and Paul churchyard for the years 1690-1947 are recorded in the Cambridge Records Office. The transcriptions of the monumental inscriptions are available, on microfiche, from the Cambridgeshire Family History Society Publications list (search)





Church History

  • "The church of SS. Peter and Paul, erected in the 14th century, is a building of stone and flint, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch of the 15th century and an embattled western tower containing a clock and 5 bells, cast by Miles Graye in 1650: in the church are monuments to the Nightingale and Turpin families, including two to Jeffrey Nightingale, ob. 1664, and to Edw. Nightingale, ob. 1723 : the church was restored in 1865, at a cost of about £3,000, to which sum the Dean and Chapter of Westminster contributed £300: the tower arch has been opened, a vestry formed in the tower and fitted up for the reception of the library of rare theological works partly bequeathed to this parish in 1717 by Sir Edward Nightingale, a former owner of Kneesworth, to which additions have been made by different vicars: the east window is a memorial to the Rev. F. H. Bishop M.A. a former vicar, and his two daughters, and was presented by his widow and three sons: the window at the east end of the lady chapel was erected by Mrs. Nunn in memory of her husband, Dr Thomas Nunn, and his sister Mary and two brothers, John and Edmund Nunn: there are 600 sittings. The register dates from the year 1558, and the churchwardens' accounts from 1498."
  • "There is a Congregational chapel, founded in 1759, with 450 sittings." [Kelly's Directory - 1929]
  • There is further information and photographs of the Church on Ben and Mark's Cambridgeshire Churches website.
  • Here is a list of Bassingbourn with Kneesworth Rectors and Vicars.

Church Records

  • Church of England
    • Bassingbourn with Kneesworth, SS. Peter and Paul: Records of baptisms 1558-1987, marriages 1559-1989, burials 1559-1880, banns for 1754-1981 reside in the Cambridgeshire Archives.The Bishop's Transcripts for the years 1599-1685 and 1712-1859 can be found in the Cambridge University Library. Indexed transcripts exist in Cambridgeshire Archives for the years 1558-1851. The parish records 1558-1851 are available on microfiche from the Cambridgeshire Family History Society Publications list (search)
  • Independent Church
    • Bassingbourn Independent Church: Records exist for baptisms 1826-1837 (original register on microfilm) which have also been indexed, baptisms 1837-1926, marriages 1837-53, 1872-1919 and burials 1850-1919.

Description & Travel







You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TL331440 (Lat/Lon: 52.078369, -0.059182), Bassingbourn which are provided by:


Military History

  • "In the village is a cross of Portland stone, erected as a memorial to the men of the parish who fell in the Great War, 1914-18." [Kelly's Directory - 1929]

  • The Bassingbourn War Memorial has been transcribed and and the men researched, it stands in the village centre, in addition there are Gravestones associated with the Bassingbourn Airfield that have been transcribed.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Royston Union Workhouse, which encompassed Bassingbourn-with-Kneesworth, births 1866-1929 and deaths 1866-1915 can be found at Hertfordshire Record Office.


  • 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 1715-28, 1795, 1798 (on microfilm) and 1810-1948.