St Mary, Gamlingay, Cambridgeshire

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Feature Sets (2)


Wide, 13thc. aisled nave of five bays with Perpendicular clerestorey, N and S transepts, N and S porches, the former two-storied, aisleless chancel with N vestry, and W tower with a lead spike. The overall effect from outside is of a Perpendicular, battlemented church constructed in russet brown carstone and pebble rubble. The only feature included here is the font of c1200.





At the W end of the nave, an octagonal bowl on one big central column surrounded by eight modern cylindrical Purbeck shafts without capitals or bases. This stands on a thin octagonal chamfered plinth, which might be original, and below this is another octagonal plinth, which is not. The whole ensemble stands on two later steps. The bowl is slightly tapered with two bays of arcade per face in low relief. Arches are pointed and not articulated with capitals or bases. The interior of the bowl is circular and lead lined. Pevsner describes the bowl as limestone, but it may be Purbeck. It is badly eroded and has remains of ochre paint on it.

ext. diam. of bowl (A/F) 0.80 m
h. of bowl 0.31 m
h. of bowl + shafts 0.605 m
h. of bowl + shafts + both plinths 0.93 m
h. of bowl + shafts + upper plinth 0.66 m
int. diam. of bowl 0.58 m


Pevsner (391) comments that this type of font is common in many parts of the country, e.g. in Essex. It is not common in Cambridgeshire, however, and is clearly a variant of the Sussex marble fonts found in that county and exported widely. Thriplow has the only example found in Cambridgeshire so far.


  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Cambridgeshire, Harmondsworth 1954 (2nd ed. 1970), 390–91.
Exterior, general view from SE.
Church Plan


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TL 242 524 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Cambridgeshire
now: Cambridgeshire
medieval: not confirmed
now: Ely
now: St Mary
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter