St Mary Magdalene, Warboys, Huntingdonshire

Feature Sets (2)


St Mary Magdalene is an imposing church with a W tower and broach spire, an aisled four-bay nave with clerestoreys and a square-ended chancel. Construction is of pebble rubble except for the ashlar spire and the brick chancel. The chancel arch and a N arcade respond remain from a 12thc. church with a N aisle. The N aisle was rebuilt and a S aisle added in the course of the 13thc., and in the middle of this century the W tower with its spire was begun. The aisles were later extended W alongside the tower and porches added; the S aisle and porch in the late 14thc/, and the N in the 15thc.. At some time before the 19thc. the chancel was shortened, then in 1832 it was rebuilt to its original length. At the same time galleries were added in the aisles and at the W end of the nave; the floor being lowered to accommodate them. This work in the nave was reversed in 1926. The spire was restored in 1898. Romanesque sculpture described below is confined to the chancel arch. On the N chancel door is a 12thc. knocker in the form of a lion mask with a ring showing two fighting dragons.


Warboys was held by the Abbot of Ramsey in 1086, at which time a priest and a church were noted. In the mid-12thc. the church and its possessions were granted by Abbot Walter to the almonry of the abbey.

Benefice of Warboys with Broughton and Bury with Wistow.


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Chancel arch

Round headed, two orders to W, one to E.

1st order (shared): the responds are paired half-shafts on bases with square neckings - roll bases to the N and roll/hollow to the S. The N capitals are scalloped with angle tucks - two scallops per capital on the main face and single scallops to E and W. The neckings are chamfered and the imposts chamfered with a face groove. The S capitals are paired cushions with grooves outlining the shields and a palmette in relief between them. Imposts and neckings are the same as on the N. In the arch is a double soffit roll.

2nd order (W face): En-delit nook-shafts on roll bases. The N capital is a cushion with an angle tuck; the S a cushion with a keeled angle and outlined shields. In the arch is a fat chevron roll on the angle, lateral to the face.


Chancel arches with paired responds and double soffit rolls are not uncommon in the county, appearing also at Bury (with volute capitals), and Morborne (with cushions but a pointed arch).


  • Victoria County History: Huntingdonshire. II (1932)
  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough, Harmondsworth 1968, 362-63.
  • RCHM(E), An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Huntingdonshire. London 1926, 282-84.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TL 303 799 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Huntingdonshire
now: Cambridgeshire
medieval: Lincoln (Dorchester to 1085)
now: Ely
now: St Mary Magdalene
medieval: St Mary
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter