Cambridgeshire Homelands

Cambridgeshire County
"Cambridgeshire, (Cambs.) inland eastern county of England; bounded North by Lincolnshire, East by Norfolk and Suffolk, South by Essex and Herts, West by Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, and Northamptonshire; greatest length, North and South, 48 miles; greatest breadth, East and West, 28 miles; average breadth 16 miles; area, 524,935 acres; population 185,594. The North section of the county, including the Isle of Ely and part of the Great Bedford Level, is a large flat expanse of country, which, for the most part, formerly consisted of fen and marsh. It is now intersected in all directions by wide trenches or canals. The land, thus drained and reclaimed, is a rich, black soil, and bears excellent crops. From this tract the pleasant vale of the Cam stretches away to the south-west, and contains a great number of excellent dairy farms. Cambridgeshire comprises 17 hundreds, 172 parishes with parts of 7 others, the parliamentary and municipal borough of Cambridge (1 member and Cambridge University 2 members), and the municipal borough of Wisbech (pronounced Wizbeech)."
[Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

The Pilgrim House, Over, Cambridgeshire

Pilgrim Home in Over, Cambridge, England where Nathaniel Dring, son of Johnson Dring and Elizabeth Nunn, resided with his family. Notice that many of the windows are boarded up. The crown ordered a window tax and so many of the windows were boarded up to avoid paying the tax. The house still stands and is lived in today.

View of Over Village, Cambs. about 1900

View of Over Village about 1900 from the collection of William Stokley Alexander Dring

Over Village inc. Village Hall about 1900

Over Village c 1900 A street scene with several people. In the background is the Over village hall

Over Village about 1900 showing the Pilgrim House

The Pilgrim House, Over
Another view of Nathaniel Drings birthplace. The image from the reverse of the picture is reproduced below.

reverse of the Pilgrim house picture

A road in Over, Cambs. 2000

A road in Over in 2000


On entering the village I stopped to photograph the church spire in the distance, I had just happened to stop by this road sign!

The Baptist Church, Over, Cambs

The Over Baptist Church in Over, Cambridgeshire, England. Photographed in October 2000
There is a Baptist chapel, founded in 1757, with sittings for 350 persons, and a Primitive Methodist chapel."
(Kelly's Directory 1929)

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Over


After entering Over from the direction of Cambridge, I stopped because I thought that the church steeple showing in the distance would give a good impression of one of the flattest districts of England, with a street that must have been walked by Johnson, Nathaniel and many other members of the Dring family. It was a very grey afternoon in October 2000 with the drizzle hanging in the air, the sensation of "feeling" history seemed to pervade .......As I went to get back into the car, my eagle eyed wife said "didn't you notice the road sign?" Twilight Zone?

View entering OverTown, Cambridgeshire Dring close road sign in Over, Cambs.

St Mary the Virgin, Over, CambridgeshireThe church of St Mary the Virgin is an edifice of stone, principally in the Decorated Style, and consists of chancel clerestoried nave of six bays, aisles, a fine south porch and a western tower with lofty octagonal spire, rising to a height of 156 feet and containing a clock with chimes and 6 bells, and over the chancel is a sanctus bell of the 14th century : the chancel is Perpendicular, but retains an Early English piscina and chancel arch, the columns of the latter having been cut away in order to insert the rood screen, a good piece of the 14th century work of seven divisions, with groined loft above: both nave and chancel have Perpendicular roofs, and the nave and aisles are embattled: a chantry was founded in the south aisle in 1391, in memory of Robert Muskham (a former rector), but its endowments have been alienated since the reign of Edward VI. : the south aisle still retains a piscina, and exhibits on the exterior some exceedingly fine and bold gargoyles: the south porch is a very beautiful and highly enriched composition of the Decorated period, and the tower is Early in this style: over the west doorway is a weather worn carving of the Virgin Mary in Glory; on the left side are the arms of Ramsey Abbey, which formerly held the patronage of this living from 1004 A.D. : on the south side of the chancel are six stalls of the 13th century, brought here at the dissolution of the abbey, and one of these bears the arms of the abbey: the pulpit of carved oak, with a fine canopy, is Jacobean: the whole of the north aisle has been rebuilt and the church reseated; the tower and spire were repaired in 1864, at a cost of £600, defrayed by the churchwardens out of the thirds received by them from the Over Town Lands charity; the chancel has also been restored: in 1882 a clock and chimes war placed in the tower: the organ was also repaired a cost of £105, the spire restored at a cost of £220 and lamps placed in the church at a cost of £69: there are 325 sittings. The register dates from the year 1577. The living is a vicarage, net yearly value £344, with 25 acres of glebe, with residence, in the gift of Trinity College, Cambridge, and held since 1923 by the Rev. Frederick George Weston M.A. of that college. The list of rectors and vicars dates from 1309. [Kelly's Directory - Cambridgeshire 1929]