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St Mary Magdalene, Madingley, Cambridgeshire

(52°13′26″N, 0°2′27″E)
TL 395 604
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Cambridgeshire
now Cambridgeshire
medieval not confirmed
now Ely
  • Ron Baxter

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Feature Sets

Extremely tall, five-bay nave with clerestorey, N aisle and N and S porches. Much lower aisleless chancel and W tower with octagonal stone spire. The original (lower) nave and the chancel date from c.1300 and the aisle and tower from the early 14thc. The clerestorey windows are Perpendicular, so the heightening of the nave presumably dates from this time, but the exterior treatment makes it difficult to be sure. The chancel and tower are constructed of pebble rubble, the nave of stone rubble laid disturbingly like crazy paving. The S side of the nave is mortar rendered. Inside, the piers of the N arcade are of Barnack stone and the arches of local clunch. There was a restoration in 1872-74 by J. Morley and J. Christian, and in 1926 the spire, having become unsafe, was taken down along with the topmost storey of the tower. Rebuilding was completed in the following year. The only 12thc. feature is the font.


In 1086 Picot of Cambridge held 11 hides and 2½ virgates in Madingley, as well as 1½ virgates from the Bishop of Lincoln. The first mention of a church at Madingley was in 1092 when Picot gave it to the Canons of St Giles, Cambridge (Barnwell Priory), as a foundation gift. The present building, dating as it does from no earlier than the 13thc., must be a replacement.





Lloyd dated the font to c.1135. Pevsner thought that it "looks as if it might be 17thc. work trying to imitate the Norman style", but although some of the foliage is decidedly quirky the present author is inclined to accept it as a 12thc. piece, the presence of dogtooth implying a date towards 1200.

A. H. Lloyd, "The Parish Church of Madingley", Cambridge Antiquarian Society Proceedings and Communications, 1931.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Cambridgeshire, Harmondsworth 1954 (2nd ed. 1970), 434-35.
R. Searle, St Mary Magdalene Madingley: A Short History. 3rd ed. 2001.
A. E. Shipley, "Madingley Hall Cambridgeshire, the Residence of Colonel T. W. Harding", Country Life XXXII, 1912, 454-65.