Trumpington Village Sign unveiled June 2010, designed by Sheila Betts.
Trumpington Local History Group
The History of Trumpington
Parish Church
Copyright © Trumpington Local History Group, 2015. Updated 13 September 2015.
Email:
admin@trumpingtonlocalhistorygroup.org
This is an edited version of a talk on the
History of Trumpington Parish Church
given to the Local History Group in the
Church on
13 October 2011, when
participants were welcomed to the Church
on behalf of the congregation. Edmund
Brookes is a Churchwarden who has
known the Church for over 50 years.

See also the general
introduction to the
Parish Church. Current information about
the Church is available on the
Parish
Church web site.

Photos: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The south side of Trumpington Church
from the churchyard.
The south side of Trumpington Church from the churchyard. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
Edmund Brookes
October 2011
Introduction

Trumpington Parish Church is now dedicated to St Mary and St Michael but was previously
known as
St Mary and St Nicholas and is referred to by this name on some occasions. We are
not sure when the current dedication was adopted. We are truly blessed to be able to worship in
such a magnificent building, which is in such a good state of repair.

This paper describes the building, its features and the development of the structure. Any paper
about a building so old, beautiful and well documented can only scratch the surface, but my aim
is to whet your appetite to look further, to misquote Sir Christopher Wren's tombstone. There is
further information in the sources listed below.

In
A Cambridgeshire Village, Edith Carr (1973) makes few references to the Church except
that "it played an important part in the lives of mediaeval England" and held vast tracts of land
including 500 acres in Trumpington belonging to the Convent at Ely in 991AD. The Bishops of
Ely seemed to take a close interest in the area. Carr concludes that no records exist of the earlier
church. She quotes Blomefield as saying "rectors presented vicars and in 1389 the nuns of
Haliwell presented rectors". Briefly the difference between a rector and vicar had more real
significance in olden times than now. A rector had responsibilities, such as repairing the
Chancel, whereas a vicar had not. Of course in the past the pay of vicars was proportionately
more than it is now. There was and still is a system of patronage: Trinity College is our patron.

I clearly recall John Tanfield, my celebrated history master at the Perse School and well known
Cambridge thespian, stating in our first year, when we studied local history, that Trumpington
paid a tax of thousands of eels a year to Ely.

Over the years, especially during and after World War I, the village changed. It was a
spectacular example of ribbon development right through to Shelford. The building of Foster
Road and Paget Roads after World War II moved the village centre away from the church, so
that the church now sits at the edge of the built up area, though that may change. As
Christianity as part of the life of this country has changed over the last half century, being on
the edge rather than in the community makes our visibility harder to maintain, though the
Church stands well as you approach from Harston, more so than from Grantchester, but is
scarcely visible from either the Shelford or Cambridge directions. Anyway, we are where we
are and this magnificent building remains solid and in good order. When it is safe to do so, there
is a very good view from the Tower.
Trumpington Church from the
north and south, October 2011.
The north side of Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The south side of Trumpington Church from the churchyard. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The structure

We do not know how long there has been a church on this site but earnestly believe that there
was a wooden Saxon church before the present structure was started. There would have been
locally grown timber but no stone to speak of. The Royal Commission on Historical Monuments
(1959) refers to the walls being chiefly of Barnack stone, with some Ketton and Ancaster stone,
none of it particularly tough, but it has stood the test of time. We can be assured that there has
been a stone building on this site for centuries. At the back of the church adjacent to the Vestry
door is a record of
Rectors and Vicars who have served here, starting with Hendricus (Rector)
and Ioce or Jocius (Vicar) in 1220.
The Nave and pews, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
Looking from the Chancel along the Nave, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
Looking from the Nave towards the east window and
from the Chancel towards the Tower. Trumpington
Church, October 2011.
The building is essentially 14th century with the Chancel and Tower being 13th century. There
was either an earlier stone Nave, or this was the site of the wooden Saxon church with stone
additions to the east and west. It is generally accepted that the earlier Nave was an aisled stone
building dating from the late 12th or earlier 13th century, as there are bases at the west end of
the South Aisle from that period (Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, 1959).
The base of a pillar dated to c. 1200 AD at the west end of the South Aisle, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The base of a pillar dated to c.
1200 AD at the west end of the
South Aisle. Trumpington
Church, October 2011.
There are few parish churches around here as lofty, wide and so well proportioned and with
such slender pillars as St Mary & St Michaels'. In the 1950s, the University's Department of
Architecture used to bring its students here specifically to view them. The pillars are nicely
formed and very thin, giving a high but well lit and airy Nave.

The Chancel's east window contained medieval glass until 1990; though now plain, it is still a
magnificent window. The wooden roof is again Medieval; when the Chancel was restored in
1964, specks of the original colours were found under a drab ochre, I think it was limewash. A
rapid decision was taken to recreate the colouring and the blue roof was done darker than you
now see, so that it naturally faded to its current colours. In addition the spars were picked out. It
has fine bosses. It is a false roof and you can see the true line from the Nave and exterior.
The east window in the Chancel, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The Chancel and Nave roofs from the Chancel, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The east window and the Chancel and
Nave roofs from the Chancel.
Trumpington Church, October 2011.
At one time there was a Sacristry off the north side of the Chancel and the internal portico is
still apparent. The marble behind the altar is I believe more modern. For years it was covered
by a curtain, but under Reverend Thistlethwaite the central block behind the altar (which is
actually cement) was given a marbled finish and the curtain removed. It is hard to tell the
marble from the marbled. The sanctuary was reordered with a new communion rail courtesy of
Lord Baker about 45 years ago in memory of his mother and sister. It is paved with beautiful
York stone. Some of the wood panelling is 20th century though the choir stalls are 19th century.
The Chancel, sanctuary and blocked-up door to the former Sacristry, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The sanctuary and communion table, with a double piscina on the south wall, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The Chancel, sanctuary and
blocked-up door to the former
Sacristry. The sanctuary and
communion table, with a double
piscina on the south wall.
Trumpington Church, October
2011.
Pevsner (1954) notes the 19th century refurbishments under the celebrated architect William
Butterfield. The Nave roof was replaced and lifted by Butterfield when he re-ordered the
church in 1876. The basic structure is pitch pine and there was great concern in the 1960s that it
was liable to infestation by death-watch beetle which was then prevalent. The Nave was
scaffolded at the same time as the Chancel and I went up the scaffolding with my father.
Fortunately it was a scare and the timber was treated and the plaster lime-washed. No one has
been up since, though it has been closely inspected with binoculars! From this one can conclude
that the earlier roof (i.e. 14th century) was high and Butterfield put it back to where it was! A
Victorian photograph suggests that the current roof is the third, as it was obviously taken before
the present roof was installed by Butterfield.
The Nave roof from the organ loft. Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
Left: The Nave roof from the organ loft. Right: The
south and east sides of the tower showing the earlier
roof-line. Trumpington Church, October 2011.
Above: Trumpington Church
from the North East
, 1840s.
Included in Cambridge Camden
Society (1845).
Churches of
Cambridgeshire and the Isle of
Ely
. Cambridgeshire Collection.
Below: Trumpington Church
from the north, October 2011.
The south and east sides of the tower showing the earlier roof-line. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
Looking at the Nave stonework you can see where it is the softer Barnack stone, but it will not
need replacing for centuries. Butterfield also fitted new pews to replace the rather ancient high
and disorderly ones which had rather split up the Nave.

The North and South Chapels are also 13th century. There is a vault under the North Chapel
which was inspected about 2001 when the floor was levelled.
The South Aisle from the organ loft, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The North Aisle from the organ loft, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The North Chapel from the North Aisle, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
Left and centre: The South and North Aisle from the organ loft.
Right: The North Chapel from the North Aisle. Trumpington
Church, October 2011.
At the west end, the lofty Tower is 13th century with a little 14th century infill in the west wall
of the south Aisle. It is in very good order. The north and south porches and Vestry are 19th
century.

Outside the roofs are lead covered, with some old scratchings which are illustrated in the books,
except the Chancel roof which is tiled. So we conclude that the lead roof is quite old. The
Parochial Church Council is aware that at some time in the foreseeable future it will need
rerolling, as it is prone to small leaks around the nails which hold the sheets in place.
The south roof-line of Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The north Porch, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The south roof-line and the north porch. Trumpington
Church, October 2011.
Stained glass

The ancient glass from the central panel of the east window was a collection of pieces which are
now in a window below the Fawcett window in the Chancel, in a window above the vicar's stall
or being conserved at the University of York. Some consider it some of the oldest glass in
Cambridge. The University of York has recently given the church the result of its studies and we
hope to have the remaining glass back suitably conserved. When re-glazed in 1991, stiffening
bars/rods were inserted in the East Window and you can just see them if you look closely. It
certainly lets the light in, especially at an early morning service with a low sun.
Medieval glass in a window near the screen on the south side of the Chancel, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The window on the north side of Chancel behind the vicar’s stall, including Medieval glass, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
Left: Medieval glass in a window near the screen on the south
side of the Chancel. Right: The window on the north side of
Chancel behind the vicar's stall, including Medieval glass.
Trumpington Church, October 2011.
The majority of the remaining stained glass is 19th century with some particularly fine windows.
These include the Whit Window in the South Aisle (
The Feeding of the 5000) and the Fawcett
Memorial in the south wall of the Chancel. The south windows in the South Chapel are modern,
and refer to someone still living.
The memorial window to Amy Witt and George and Elizabeth Witt, east end of the South Aisle, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The memorial window to Henry Fawcett (1833-84), on the south side of the Chancel, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
Left: The Witt Window, to Amy Witt and George and Elizabeth
Witt, east end of the South Aisle. Right: The Fawcett Window,
to Henry Fawcett (1833-84), on the south side of the Chancel.
Trumpington Church, October 2011.
Muniments

With a couple of exceptions, most of the memorials are Victorian. They commemorate the
Anstey and Foster families at Anstey Hall and vicars especially the Hailstones. At one time,
Trumpington was a home for Trinity Fellows when they married and many then served the
parish with distinction. Reverend Hailstone was a notable example who ministered well to the
parish for many years and is remembered by a tablet on the Chancel wall, as is his wife. He was
in his late 80s when he died and he left some money for charity.
The memorial to Rev. John Hailstone (d. 1847), north wall of the Chancel. Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The memorial to Rev. John
Hailstone (d. 1847), north wall
of the Chancel. Trumpington
Church, October 2011.
Some of the memorials are to the Pemberton family, especially in the North Chapel. When I
first came to Trumpington, this was referred to as the Pemberton Chapel with lateral seats used
by the family at Matins. The memorials and window on the north wall commemorate Sir
Francis Pemberton, died 1697, Lt Col. Pemberton, died in Bangalore in 1876, and Capt.
Pemberton who died early in World War I in Flanders.
Monument to Sir Francis Pemberton (d. 1697) in the North Chapel, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The window commemorating Lieut. Colonel F. Pemberton Campbell (d. 1876) in the North Chapel, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
Tablet to Francis Percy Campbell Pemberton (d. 1914), inscription by Eric Gill, in the North Chapel, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
Left: Monument to Sir Francis Pemberton, d. 1697. Centre:
Window commemorating Lieut. Colonel F. Pemberton
Campbell, d. 1876. Right: Tablet to Francis Percy Campbell
Pemberton, d. 1914, inscription by Eric Gill. North Chapel,
Trumpington Church, October 2011.
There is no memorial that I know of to either John Overall or William Dakins, vicars of
Trumpington in 1592 and 1603 who assisted in the English translation of the bible to produce
the King James Bible in 1611.


Exceptional features

The organ, built in 1851by Walkers, was moved to its current location in the 1920s from
adjacent to the South Chapel. It is a fine 2 manual instrument with manual action, and has been
rebuilt/revoiced several times, lastly in 2003 under the guidance of Harrison & Harrison of
Durham. Its supporting oak framework is dedicated to those who lost their lives in World War I
and their names are carved under the floor on which the organ rests.

Under the Tower is the stone base of what was probably a wooden Medieval village cross,
found when the foundations were being dug for the current War Memorial.
The Tower arch and organ, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The stone base of the former village cross, known as the Stokton Cross, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The stone base of the former village cross, known as the Stokton Cross, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
Left: The Tower arch and organ. Right:
The stone base of the former village
cross, known as the Stokton Cross, after
Joh[ann]is Stokton. Trumpington Church,
October 2011.
There is a fine peal of 8 bells in the Tower. There were 6 until 1956 when 5 were recast at
Loughborough and 3 new ones added, including a new tenor, courtesy of Miss Kitty Willers in
memory of her parents and I think Miss Lawrence (her aunt). The Medieval tenor bell was
cracked and resided for many years at the base of the Tower. In the early 1990s it was
successfully repaired using a modern cold weld technique by the Whitechapel Foundry and
re-hung in the Bell Chamber and used as a
Sanctus Bell. When the Vicar and Churchwardens
went to Loughborough to see the new bells, they overtook Miss Willers on her Scooter when
nearly there!

The fine c. 15th century font, probably recut in the 19th century, was moved from under the
Tower to adjacent to the main north door in the 1970s.

The pulpit came from the Emmanuel College in the 17th century, possibly out of the Old
Library. It was returned to a single support in the 1960s.
The font, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The pulpit, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The font and pulpit. Trumpington Church, October 2011.
We are fortunate that the base of the Medieval Chancel screen has survived, despite being
hacked by Oliver Cromwell's forces. It could perhaps do with a little refurbishment, but the
colours stand out and at least the Vicar in his stall is not now cut off.
The surviving lower part of the screen, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
Panel on the right side of the surviving lower part of the screen, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The left side of the surviving lower part of the screen, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
The right side of the surviving lower part of the screen, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
Upper left: The surviving lower part of
the screen. Centre left: Left side of the
screen. Lower left: Right side of the
screen. Right: Panel on the right side of
the screen. Trumpington Church,
October 2011.
Sir Roger de Trumpington

I have deliberately left our Pride and Joy until the end, the military brass to Sir Roger de
Trumpington, which lies on a block of Purbeck marble by the North Chapel. Normally
attributed to 1289, Sir Roger was a Crusader and we attribute its survival to it being on a plinth.

It is the second oldest military brass in the country, the oldest being at St Mary's Church, Stoke
d'Abernon, Surrey. When brass rubbing was all the vogue, the income was sufficient to pay the
Parish's quota (the Church tax the Parish paid to the Diocese to cover ministry costs). Not so
today. Look at it closely as it is absolutely priceless. There is a particularly fine rubbing beside it
which was recently given to the Church from its owner in Sussex.
The monument to the Trumpington family, under an ogee arch, and the North Chapel, Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
Brass originally attributed to Sir Roger de Trumpington, illustrated in 1808 for Magna Britannia, Cambridgeshire, facing page 65.
Left: The monument to the
Trumpington family, under
an ogee arch, through to the
North Chapel. Trumpington
Church, October 2011.
Right: Brass originally
attributed to Sir Roger de
Trumpington, illustrated in
1808 for
Magna Britannia,
Cambridgeshire
, facing page
65.
Sources

The Church (2006). St Mary & St Michael Trumpington. Available from the Church, £2 for
Church Funds.
The Church (1989).
A Brief History of Trumpington Church.

Brookes, Arthur (n.d.).
The Parish Church of St Mary & St Michael Trumpington.
Carr, Edith (1968-76).
The Story of Trumpington Church. : The Church.
Carr, Edith (1973). 'Trumpington: A Cambridgeshire Village'.
In People and Places. An East
Anglian Miscellany
. Lavenham: Terence Dalton Ltd.
Cambridge Camden Society (1845).
Churches of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely.
Cambridge: The Society. Includes chapter on Trumpington Church, pages 33-56 and plates.
Pevsner, Nikolaus (1954 and 1970).
Cambridgeshire. The Buildings of England.
Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (1959).
An Inventory of the Historical Monuments
in the City of Cambridge. Part II
. London: HMSO. Pages 294-98.
Trumpington Local History Group (2003).
Trumpington Past & Present. Stroud: Sutton
Publishing.
The Victoria History of the Counties of England (1982).
A History of Cambridgeshire and the
Isle of Ely, Volume VIII. Armingford and Thriplow Hundreds
. Edited by C.R. Elrington.
Oxford: Oxford University Press for the Institute of Historical Research. Pages 262-65.
The north side of Trumpington Church. Photo: Andrew Roberts, October 2011.
Trumpington Church from the North East, 1840s.