We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

St John the Baptist, Pampisford, Cambridgeshire

(52°6′45″N, 0°11′10″E)
TL 498 483
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Cambridgeshire
now Cambridgeshire
medieval not confirmed
now Ely
  • Ron Baxter

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=9859.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.

Feature Sets

Nave with N aisle, chancel, W tower with Hertfordshire spike. Construction is of flint and pebble with ashlar facings. The 12thc. S nave doorway, protected by a porch, has a figural tympanum. Access has not yet been possible, but Pevsner reports a Norman font.


In 1086 the largest landholder was the Abbot of Ely with a manor of 2 hides and 3½ virgates. In addtition, 2 knights held 1 hide and 22 acres of Count Alan, Pirot held 5 acres from Eudo fitzHubert, Hardwin de Scales held 1 virgate and 10 acres, Ralph held 3 virgates from Picot of Cambridge, and a priest held half a virgate from Countess Judith.


Exterior Features



Browne's identification of the tympanum figures as episodes from the birth and death of St John the Baptist is worth summarising here. He read the scenes from R to L as follows:

1. The altar at which Zacharias burned incense (Luke 1, 9)

2. Zacharias standing before

3. the Angel

4. Herod's daughter dancing before

5. Herod

6. John the Baptist

7. the headsman's block

8. the severed head

9. figure carrying a charger

10. the head rising heavenwards.

In the absence of anything better, or indeed anything else at all, Browne's interpretation must be accepted.

M. D. Anderson, History and Imagery in British Churches. London 1971, 85.
G. R. Bossier, Notes on the Cambridgeshire Churches. 1827, 46.
G. F. Browne, "Notes on the Tympanum of the South Door of Pampisford Church, and on the Rectory of Pampisford", Cambridge Antiquarian Society Proceedings and Communications, VI, 1887.
The Victoria History of the County of Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely, VI, 1978, 112.
C. H. Evelyn-White, County Churches: Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely. London 1911, 145-46.
The Ecclesiastical and Architectural Topography of England: Cambridgeshire (Architectural Institute of Great Britain and Ireland), Oxford 1852, 160.
F. S. L. Johnson, A Catalogue of Romanesque Sculpture in Cambridgeshire and the Isle of Ely. M.Phil (London, Courtauld Institute), 1984, 282-84.
C. Keyser, A list of Norman Tympana and Lintels. London 1904, 33.
D. and S. Lysons, Magna Britannia. Cambridgeshire II, pt I, London 1808, 51, 245.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Cambridgeshire, Harmondsworth 1954 (2nd ed. 1970), 447-48.