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

"BOURN, a parish in the hundred of Longstow, in the county of Cambridge, 2 miles to the south-east of Caxton, its post town, and 9 west of Cambridge. It lies at the head of Bourn Brook, one of the sources of the river Cam, and was the site of a castle founded at an early period by the Picots. It was a moated fortress, and was demolished during the Barons' wars in the reign of Henry III. Before the Conquest the lordship had belonged to Earl Morear. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Ely, value £161, in the patronage of the Master and Fellows of Christ's College, Cambridge. The church, a large cruciform building in mixed styles, with a square tower, contains some monuments of the Hagar family*, who long held the manor, and is dedicated to St. Mary. The register dates from 1653. The charitable endowments of the parish consist of the church estate, which produces £35 per annum, and several bequests worth about £7 a year. Bourn House, a picturesque old mansion, built of brick with stone dressings, and restored by Repton, stands on the site of the castle, the moat of which still exists. The mansion formerly belonged to the Leyells, and is now the property of Earl Delawarr.

* These monuments seem to have been removed (6th January 2013)."

"CAXTON END is a hamlet in the parish of Bourn."

"CROW END is a hamlet in the parish of Bourn."

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







Church History

  • "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 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 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." [Kelly's Directory - 1929]
  • There is a description of St. Helena's church on the Cambridgeshire Churches website.

Church Records

  • Church of England
    • Bourn, St. Mary: The records are to be found as follows:
      • Cambridgeshire Archives:
        • The registers for baptisms from 1564, marriages from 1662 and burials from 1615.
        • Microfilm copies of the parish registers for baptisms 1563-70, 1592-1608, 1653-1875, marriages 1662-1875, burials 1615-22, 1640-1875
        • Index transcripts of baptisms 1563-70, 1592-1851, marriages 1599-1641, 1662-1851 and burials 1602-1861
      • Cambridge University Library:
        • The Bishop's Transcripts for the years 1599-1679, 1694-1801 and 1813-79
  • Methodist
    • Wesleyan Methodist Church: Records exist at the Huntingdon Record Office for the St. Neots Wesleyan Circuit of which Bourn is part.

Description & Travel

  • "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." [Kelly's Directory - 1929]
  • Here is a photograph of Bourn Hall which is now an IVF clinic.




You can see maps centred on OS grid reference TL322565 (Lat/Lon: 52.190901, -0.067452), Bourn which are provided by:


Military History

  • The Bourn War Memorial has been transcribed and and the men researched, it stands at the side of the main road through the village on a triangular patch of grass at the junction to Short Street.


  • Millers
    • The first recorded windmill in Cambridgeshire was at Trumpington and is mentioned in a document dated 1260. No windmills survive from that date, but one of the oldest post mills surviving in Britain is said to be Bourn Mill. A seventeenth century deed of sale shows that the mill dates from at least 1636 when Thomas Cook of Longstowe bought it. Interestingly, Bourn Mill continued a long tradition of windmill building because it was constructed in the same style as the earliest windmills shown in thirteenth century drawings.


  • 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 1798 (on microfilm), 1829-32 and 1946-48.