Ancient Monuments

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St Mary's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Ashley, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.2257 / 52°13'32"N

Longitude: 0.5041 / 0°30'14"E

OS Eastings: 571132.31826

OS Northings: 261566.036305

OS Grid: TL711615

Mapcode National: GBR PCL.G90

Mapcode Global: VHJGR.PBC3

Entry Name: St Mary's Church

Scheduled Date: 16 March 1982

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006791

English Heritage Legacy ID: CB 252

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Ashley

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Ashley St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Ely


This monument includes the standing, buried and earthwork remains of St Mary's church and the associated, redundant graveyard. The monument is situated approximately 1km to the west of the village of Ashley and 1km east of Dalham in a secluded enclosure north of the Dalham Road. The church survives as low, flint rubble walling mainly obscured by collapsed masonry. The remains of the foundations measure approximately 12m east to west by 8m north to south with a projection of 3m from the north-west angle. The church is thought to be 14th century, but fell out of use in 1845 when a new church was built nearer to the village.
The church sits within a graveyard which is surrounded by the remains of a flint wall set on a bank which stands approximately 1m high. A number of gravestones survive. The church sits higher than the surrounding churchyard.
NMR TL76SW5; Mon No 379784; Cambs HER 7671

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Parish churches were designed for congregational worship and are generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provides accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which is the main domain of the priest and contains the principal altar. Either or both parts are sometimes provided with aisles, giving additional accommodation or spaces for additional altars. Most parish churches also possess towers, generally at the west end, but central towers at the crossing of nave and chancel are not uncommon and some churches have a free-standing or irregularly sited tower. Many parish churches also possess transepts at the crossing of chancel and nave, and south or north porches are also common. In regions of dispersed settlement parishes were often large and churches less numerous. The densest clusters of parish churches were found in thriving medieval towns. A survey of 1625 reported the existence of nearly 9000 parish churches in England. New churches built in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries increased numbers to around 18,000 of which 17,000 remain in ecclesiastical use. Parish churches have always been major features of the landscape and a major focus of life for their parishioners. They provide important insights into medieval and later population levels or economic cycles, religious activity, artistic endeavour and technical achievement. A significant number of surviving examples are identified to be nationally important.
The Church of St Mary's, Ashley survives in a ruinous state but retains significant archaeological deposits relating to the construction and use of the church. The monument will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of medieval society and the religious and secular structure of the community it served.

Source: Historic England

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