Towns, Cities, Villages and Hamlets
Samuel Lewis's Topographical Gazeetter 1831
BASSINGBOURNE, a parish in the hundred of ARMINGFORD, county of CAMBRIDGE, 3¼ miles (N. W. by N.) from Royston, containing, with the hamlet of Kneesworth, 1213 inhabitants. The living is a vicarage, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Ely, rated in the king's books at £7.0.10., and in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. The church is dedicated to St. Peter. A room adjoining the north aisle has been appropriated to the reception of a parochial library, founded in 1717, by Edward Nightingale. A fair is held on the festival of St. Peter and St. Paul. There is an endowment of about £13 per annum for the instruction of poor children.
BASSINGBOURN (or Bassingbourne) is a parish and village, the latter being about 3 miles north-west from Royston station a large portion of the township at Royston and the hamlet of Knsesworth is within this parish, which is in the hundred of Armingford, petty sessional division of Arrington and Melbourn, union and county court district of Royston, rural deanery of Shingay and archdeaconry and diocese of Ely.
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.
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.
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.
George Daniel Finch-Hatton esq. is lord of the manors of Bassingbourn Richmond and Castles Seymoure and Rowses. There are several landowners. The soil is clayey and chalky, and the subsoil gault and clay. The chief crops are wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas and rye. The area of the entire civil parish is 3,204 acres; the population in 1921 was 2,052 in the civil and 2,236 in the ecclesiastical parish.
KNEESWORTH, a hamlet on the Great North road, is in the parish of Bassingbourn, 2 miles north from Royston station on the Hitchin and Cambridge branch of the London and North Eastern railway. Kneesworth Hall, together with part of the estate, was purchased in 1900 by Viscount Knutsford, who has entirely rebuilt the old hall, which stands in well-timbered grounds of about 50 acres; the former mansion, supposed to have been erected about 1600, occupied the site of a still older house. The soil is chiefly chalk, red land and heavy land; the subsoil is clay and chalk, The chief crops are wheat and barley. The area is 879 acres; the population in 1922 was 84.
[Extracts from Kelly's Directory - Cambridgeshire - 1929]
Domesday Book Entry
In ARMINGFORD Hundred
In BASSINGBOURN the Bishop also holds 1 hide and 2½ virgates. Land for 3 ploughs. In lordship 1 hide; 1 plough there. 1 villager and 4 smallholders with 1 plough; a second possible. 2 mills at 20s; meadow for 1 plough. Value 60s; when acquired 40s; before 1066, 60s. This land lay and lies in (the lands of) St. Peter's Church, Winchester. 1 Freeman, Archbishop Stigand's man, was there and held ½ virgate; he could grant and sell.
In BASSINGBOURN Count Alan himself holds 7 hides and 1½ virgates. Land for 18 ploughs. In lordship 4 hides; 5 ploughs there; a further 2 possible. 8 villagers, 11 smallholders and 10 cottagers with 11 ploughs. 3 slaves; 2 mills at 20s; meadow for 5 ploughs. Total value £30; when acquired £26; before 1066 as much. Edeva held this manor. 10 Freemen were there. 8 of them, Edeva's men, could sell their land, but the jurisdiction remained with her. The other 2, Earl Algar's men, found 4 escorts for the Sheriff; they could sell their land.
In BASSINGBOURN Leofing holds 1 hide from Hardwin. Land for 1 plough; it is there with 2 smallholders. Meadow for 2 oxen. The value is and was 30s; before 1066, 40s. 2 Freemen of Earl Algar held this land; they could grant and sell to whom they would.
The war memorial and the men on it have been documented on the Roll of Honour Cambridgeshire pages.The graves for Bassignbourn airfield, which stand in the cemetery, are listed for the men who died and another for those men since the second, have also been documented on Roll of Honour Cambridgeshire.
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