Past and Present

Past and Present

Farcet was previously known as: Fearresheafde (10th Century) – Farresheafde (12th) – Faresheved (14th) – Fasset (16th).

The modern parish of Farcet was originally a chapelry of Stanground. A separate ecclesiastical parish was established in 1851, and a separate civil parish was formed in 1866. It extends to the old county boundary on the east and adjoins Ramsey on the south-east and Holme/Glatton on the south-west. At its southern corner, it includes part of the area which was formerly called Whittlesea Mere. In 1886, a detached portion of Stanground, at Kingsdelph and Eight Roods, was added to the parish. Other civil boundary changes took place in 1935 and again in 1998.

The soil of the parish is fen and loam, and the sub-soil clay and gravel. In the 17th century, Farcet Fen was drained and entirely enclosed. Whittlesea Mere was drained under an Act of Parliament of 1762, and the parish was enclosed in the enclosure of Stanground in 1801. Traces of a fen island site were found in the gravels of Farcet Fen. The altitude varies from 15 ft. to 60 ft. above sea-level.

The Church

st_marys_church_farcet_-_geograph-org-uk_-_81551The church of ST. MARY consists of a chancel (22½ ft. by 15 ft.), south chapel (22¾ ft. by 11½ ft.), nave (37¾ ft. by 19½ ft.), north aisle (38 ft. by 10½ ft.), south aisle (49½ ft. by 8½ ft., widened to 9½ ft. at east end), west tower (9¾ ft. by 9¼ ft.), and south porch. The walls are of ashlar and rubble with stone dressings, and the roofs are covered with stone-slates and lead.

The church is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey (1086), but in the 12th century there was a chancel and an aisleless nave to which a west tower was added in the later years of the century. In the middle of the next century the chancel was rebuilt and a south chapel added. About 1275 the south aisle was added and was continued to the western wall of the tower, possibly with the intention of pulling down the tower and correspondingly lengthening the nave. The south porch was built in the 14th century. The church was restored in 1852, when the chancel and chapel are said to have been rebuilt, the nave roof renewed and the north aisle added. The tower was restored 1894–7.

The 13th-century chancel has a modern three-light east window. The north wall has a 15th-century two-light low-side window; a 15th-century locker; and two stone corbels. The south wall has a mid 13th-century arch to the chapel, having two chamfered orders on chamfered responds with moulded capitals and plain bases; a piscina with trefoiled head, projecting basin and a wooden shelf; a stone chair with shaped arms and a modern seat; and a stone corbel. The late 13th-century chancel arch has a two-centred arch of two chamfered orders resting on chamfered responds with semi-octagonal attached shafts having moulded capitals and bases.

The rebuilt south chapel has a modern two-light window in the east wall, and another and also a plain door in the south wall. The early 14th-century arch to the aisle has a pointed arch of two continuous chamfered orders.

The nave has a modern north arcade of three bays of pointed arches having two chamfered orders on octagonal columns with moulded capitals and bases; the east respond is a moulded corbel. The south arcade, c. 1375, has three semicircular arches and one (the western) two-centred, of two chamfered orders on octagonal columns with moulded capitals and bases; the eastern respond is a moulded corbel, and the western an attached half-column.

The steps leading to the pulpit are part of the rood stairs which occupied a projecting turret, pulled down in 1852. The clearstory has three modern quatrefoiled circular windows on each side. The modern roof incorporates three 15th-century carved figures of angels, and its jack-legs rest on ancient stone corbels carved with grotesques and foliage.

The modern north aisle has a modern two-light window in the east wall. The north wall incorporates two 15th-century two-light windows and a modern doorway with re-used 12th-century rear-arch. The west wall has a similar 15th-century window. These features probably came from the north wall of the nave.

The eastern part of the south aisle has a rebuilt south wall having two square-headed two-light windows practically all modern, and a 13th-century locker. It is wider than the western part, but the quoins at the junction between the two seem to be ancient. The western part has a 13th-century south doorway with a pointed arch and continuous chamfered jambs. In the west wall is a 13th-century single-light window with a modern lintel. An arch spans the aisle from the western column to the south wall, and the springing of another arch remains above the capital of the eastern column.

The late 12th-century tower has a two-centred tower arch of two chamfered orders on chamfered responds with attached semicircular shafts having moulded capitals and bases. The west window is a tall narrow light with a semicircular head, and there is a similar window in the south wall. The stage above has a somewhat similar light in the west wall, and a blocked opening in the east. The belfry windows are two-lights with pointed heads and octagonal central shafts, under semicircular outer arches resting on detached jambshafts with moulded capitals and bases. The tower has clasping buttresses rising to its full height, and is surmounted by a plain parapet below which is a series of rounded corbels apparently the remains of a nebuly corbel-table. There are late and crude pinnacles at the angles. From behind the parapet rises a low pyramidal roof covered with lead. The modern stair-turret at the north-west corner only goes to the first stage.

The 14th-century south porch has a pointed outer arch of continuous chamfered orders.

The font is octagonal, of Renaissance design, evidently the ancient font reworked, for until recent years the iron bar for holding down the cover remained in situ.

There are three bells, inscribed: (1) T.A. 1673; (2) Praise the Lorde; (3) Omnia fiant ad gloriam Dei A + S 1621. Recast A + S 1854. The treble by Tobias Norris (III), the second by Newcombe, and the old tenor probably by William Haulsey, of St. Ives. The bell frame is inscribed A.F., C.W. 1688.

In the south aisle are three 16th-century seats with fleur-de-lis poppy-heads and a little Elizabethan panelling.

The oak pulpit is made up of linen-fold panels, panels carved with Renaissance figures and foliage, and moulded cornice and rails; a back panel is inscribed ‘A.D. 1614.’

A hutch-shaped chest in the south chapel is inscribed ‘T.B. 1706.’

There are the following monuments: in the chancel, floor slabs to Edward Bellamy, d. 1702; Ann widow of Edward Bellamy, d. 1712; (fn. 26) and the Rev. John Montford, curate, d. 1785; in the nave, floor slabs to John Marshall, d. 1822, and Hannah his wife, d. 1827; and Susannah Marshall, d. 1832, and John Marshall, d. 1837, dau. and son of John and Hannah; in the north aisle, to John Bird, d. 1896; and glass window to William Willis, d. 1916, and Russell Spencer Willis his son, d. 1897; in the south aisle, to David Bowker, d. 1781; and John Albert Rimes, d. 1917; in tower, floor slab to John Crane, jun., late 17th century; in the porch to Mrs. Dorotea Wright, d. 1674.

The registers are as follows: (i) baptisms, 2 Sept. 1641 to 23 March 1812, marriages, 16 April 1677 to 13 Oct. 1753, burials, 2 May 1676 to 22 Nov. 1812; (ii) the official marriage book, 16 April 1754 to 23 Nov. 1812.

The church plate consists of a silver cup inscribed: ‘the town of favset,’ and hall-marked for 1692–3; a cover paten for the same, inscribed ‘* N * S * Churchwarden,’ and hall-marked as the cup; a silver parcel-gilt paten, sunk and sexfoiled and with the sacred monogram in the centre, no hall-mark, but c. 1500.

The Salvation Army

For over 121 years, The Salvation Army in Farcet has brought the Christian message to worshippers weekly. They try to put faith into practice by serving our community through social action.

Anyone and everyone are welcome to attend. There are no barriers of race, education, social position or age. You do not have to wear a uniform, just come as you are and enjoy the fun and fellowship.

The Village Hall

Formerly a Methodist chapel, Farcet Village Hall on Main Street was bought by the council in 1993 for £40,000 using a loan. It was fully paid for in 2008 and now belongs to the village. It is available for the community to use.

The School

Farcet Church of England (controlled) Primary School was built in 1974 replacing two older school buildings in the village.
The building provides teaching areas at present for five classes. These are grouped together in two wings with two additional areas designated as a school library and ICT suite.

The Village Cemetary

The Village Cemetery is the final resting place of many past residents and is owned and managed by the Parish, generating some income for the village.  It provides both burial plots and ashes areas and is maintained regularly through the Parish Council. The chapel also provides a place for quiet reflection.