Cambridgeshire Churches

Caldecote, St Michael and All Angels

Caldecote church sits on the southern edge of this village, looking out over the valley of the Bourn Brook. I like names like that. They are a sort of natural linguistic jokes - a transparent description ('That's just the bourn, that is') that became opaque and had to be supplemented by another word with the same meaning. Tolkien was fond of putting such names into Middle-Earth, particularly in the Shire and its surrounding landscape - Chetwood and Bree Hill mean 'Wood Wood' and 'Hill Hill' respectively. Maybe one day people will forget not only what a bourn is, but a brook too, and then they could call it the Bournbrook River.

Caldecote itself is a lovely name, so I was disappointed to see that the church is a boring one. It was originally a chapel to the church at Bourn, a little way upriver, but was beautified in response to the lovely church over the valley at Kingston. Good churches often cluster together, and Kingston is one of my favourites, so I had high hopes for St Michael and All Angels. As it was, we couldn't even get inside - the church is firmly locked, and there's no sign of a keyholder. Rather disgruntled, we wandered round the outside. It's all very bland, though I liked the west window on the tower - there are two lions supporting the arch with one open and one closed mouth respectively. Other than that, though, there was little enough to write about. Pevsner describes a Perpendicular rood screen inside, and some original choirstalls, so if I pass this way again, I'll try to get in.

When we left, we drove north, through the new development of Caldecote Highfields. This is possibly the most ugly place in the county - in my notebook I wrote 'monstrous bungaloid carbuncle', and I think that just about sums it up; it's all churned mud, 'naturally' curving roads, bland association housing and nasty little bungalows with lace curtains and crazy paved front gardens. As we passed through, a little boy stopped and stared at us, like something from the Midwich Cuckoos. Come friendly bombs... [Mark adds: I agree with Ben about the 'village', a superficial judgement perhaps, but that really is how it looks to a passer-by. I'll take some photos next time too. The parish council's site has a short history of the church, and a few pictures.]

St Michael and All Angels was locked, and I could find no information about keyholders.

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