Little Shelford shown within Cambridgeshire
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|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
|UK Parliament||South Cambridgeshire|
Little Shelford is a village located to the south of Cambridge, in the county of Cambridgeshire, in eastern England. The River Granta lies between it and the larger village of Great Shelford, and both are served by Shelford railway station, which is on the line from Cambridge to London Liverpool Street. The village has one pub, The Navigator, on the High Street.
The parish is mostly low-lying. It is bounded on the west by the M11 motorway and by field boundaries, and on the east by the River Cam or Granta. The highest point of the parish is Clunch Pit Hill, 31 m (TL447499).
Church and notable families
The village church stands by the crossroads with thirteen fine lime trees and an ancient market cross. It dates from pre-Norman times and is one of the oldest in the region. There are stones carved with Saxon plaitwork below a tiny Norman window, a carved coffin stone which may be Saxon in the porch, and in the chapel are four more stones which are probably Norman, like the queer animal with human arms propping up the 13th century chancel arch. The chancel is 14th century. The small sacristy is entered by an ancient door in a rich arch is 15th century, and has holes of three piscinas in a windowsill. The arcaded oak pulpit is Jacobean. The font, like the tiny church spire, is 600 years old.
The stalls have on them the Arms of the de Freville family, Lords of the Manor here, whose 15th century chapel (up three stairs) has some fine stone ornament on its piscina and on a canopy over the figure of a saint, with fragments of old glass in its windows. Some of the de Frevilles who died before their chapel was built appear in the chancel in stone and brass. Sir John, an alabaster knight with an inscription in Norman French, is here from the beginning of the 14th century, and from the end of it, in brass, are Robert and Claricia, with a greyhound and two dogs at their feet as they clasp hands, their son Thomas holding his wife's hand near them in a brass of 1405.
A 15th-century Rector, John Cate, has another fine brass portrait.
The shadow of a sword falls on three tablets telling of General Sir Charles Wale, who survived many battles to die at Little Shelford in 1848, of his son who fell at Lucknow, and of his eight grandsons and great-grandsons who gave up their lives in World War I. Other notable members of the Wale family associated with Little Shelford include Thomas Wale, Gregory Wale and Henry Charles Wale. A monument to Gregory Wale can be seen on St Margaret's Mount to the west of the village.
The de Freville manor house survives. One of many hidden ways leads past the manor and the farm where the river slips through a wood and kingfishers streak over an ancient mill pool.
The children's writer Philippa Pearce renamed the village "Little Barley", with Great Shelford becoming "Great Barley", the River Cam, which flows through the area, becoming the "River Say", and Cambridge being renamed "Castleford" and deprived of its university. These names are used in a number of her books, most famously Minnow on the Say (1955) and Tom's Midnight Garden (1958)
- Mee, Arthur, (revised by CLS Linnell & ET Long), The King's England - Cambridgeshire, Hodder and Stoughton, London, New revised edition, 1965, P.165-6.
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