The Buildings of Great Shelford

In the course of the narrative history of the village we have mentioned many of the buildings there. Here we add a list of these and others with a brief description, notes on their dates and sometimes our own somewhat biased opinions. It is not a complete list but merely those buildings which have caught our interest as we have walked round the village. We have not been in any of the buildings described and our subjective assessment, for what it is worth, has been made entirely on the outward appearance. We have however made use of the unpublished records of the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments (England) which have been kindly made available to us. Those buildings noted below with (RCHM) added in brackets indicate information taken from that source.

Church Street, North side.

Nos. 38 - 40

The original building, fronting the street, is-a timber- framed range of 17th century date and once a single house. It was originally plastered over but the plaster has now been removed to expose the timbers and has revealed the original carpenter's marks. The house was evidently restored in 1738 for there used to be a decorative roundel on the front which read R. K. 1738. This has been removed. All the doors and windows are 19th century but the positionings of some of the original windows can be identified. In the early 19th century a large block was added to the rear probably when the house was divided into three tenements. (RCHM)

Rectory Farm

One of the oldest buildings in the village probably dating from the 15th. century and mainly timber-framed. The main north part of the house is the south end of the original medieval open hall. The north part of this hall and the cross-wing probably containing the parlour were demolished in the 17th century. At the same time the present first floor was put into the remaining part of the hall to provide bedrooms. The pretty porch gives access to the original screens passage between the hall and the kitchen which occupied the existing cross-wing on the south. Various modern additions have been made including most of the windows. All the chimneys are 18th century or later. It is called Rectory Farm because it was the farm belonging to the medieval Rector of the parish. When Jesus College became the Rector the farm passed into the hands of that Col lege. (RCHM)

Old Thatch

Timber-framed house, probably of the late 17th century but so altered and modernised as to make it extremely difficult to work out its history. It was a public house in the 19th century. (RCHM)

The Church

A competent guide already exists for this building and we can add nothing beyond pointing out that it is of particular-interest as being a good and closely dated example of the early 15th century. The brass of Thomas Patisley the builder, the 15th century screen and the pulpit of 1636 are especially fine.

The Old Vicarage

A fine example of a late 19th century vicarage. Of brick, large, rambling and totally unsuitable for modern living conditions. The old coach house with clock over the door is a nice touch.

No. 18

1930s "Rustic" style, though perhaps later, brick and thatched. Pleasant house but would have been much more attractive on a better site.

The Red House

A very pretty house of two periods. The front half is a straight range of early 18th century date, brick and plastered over. It has a neat symmetrical elevation. Behind a second range of identical size has been added in the second half of the 19th century. (RCHM)

The Vicarage

Large house of the early 20th century in a neo-Georgian style. The porch is apparently of mid-19th century date and has been brought here from elsewhere.

Church Street, South side

The Lawns, 33 Church Street

A difficult house to date. It appears to be mainly late 19th century with subsequent additions but is almost certainly considerably older and at least early 19th century. It was probably merely extensively remodelled at a later date.

Rutland House

Pretty house of the early 19th century, probably built around 1825. Of white brick, with a symmetrical elevation.

Nos. 15 - 19

Timber framed and plastered house, with jetted upper storey, built around 1600. Originally a large farmhouse but subsequently divided into three cottages in the 19th century. All the doors and windows are of this latter period. (RCHM)

The Grange

The site of the original Manor House belonging to the Abbey of Ely. The present building is largely the result of extensive reconstruction soon after 1890 and only the east wing is of any antiquity. This is probably the cross-wing of a late 16th or early 17th century house, timber framed and plastered, with a jetted overhang on the east now largely masked by later chimneys and outbuildings. The windows are all 19th century or later. The rest of the house appears to be all of late 19th century date, though there are two late 17th century windows on the south. These, together with some 17th and 18th century fittings in-s-ide, may all have come from elsewhere. N.W. of the house, fronting the street, are two small outbuildings. The east one is a 17th century granary, timber framed and partly plastered, much restored and altered. The west one is an 18th century brew house also timber-framed. A long range of timber-framed buildings running south from the brew house are the remains of stables and barns. They have a date 1736 on them but may be earlier. (RCHM)

King's Mill Lane

Mill House

Very attractive early 19th century house of white brick with a slate roof. The central doorway is protected by a nice open wooden porch supported on fluted columns. The windows on the front elevation are set in round headed recesses. (RCHM)

Mill Cottages

Nice group of cottages, all probably early 19th century but not all the same build. The south range, timber-framed with pantiled roof is earlier than the boarded and thatched west range.

High Street, North Side

No. 94

Small early 19th century timber-framed and plastered cottage with low pitched pantiled roof, set end on to the street .

No. 84

Now two semi-detached cottages, timber-framed and plastered. Once a single house of perhaps 18th century date but split up and much altered in the mid 19th century when the front was rebuilt.

Oak Cottage

Small 16th century house with a room on each side of a central chimney stack. It is timber-framed and plastered with a tiled roof, probably once thatched. The upper floor projects and on the projection is a fascia carved with fine folded leaf ornament. All the windows and doors are modern. (RCHM)

White Cottage

An early 18th century timber-framed and plastered house with a thatched roof. The nice front door is probably the original one. (RCHM)

No. 76

An early 19th century house of grey brick with a low -pitched slate roof. Edgeways. Late 19th century, perhaps around 1900, of brick, end on to the street.

No. 74

A late 19th century square house of brick with a slate roof. It has a symmetrical elevation with typical ground floor bay windows on either side of the central door.

No. 68

A timber-framed and plastered cottage with a thatched roof of mid-1 8th century date. The doors and windows are later. (RCHM)


Brick house and shop of two periods both early-mid-19th century. The east, house end, is slightly earlier than the shop.

No. 64

Pretty house of grey brick, dating from around 1830 with a neat asymmetrical elevation.

No. 60

Cottage, timber-framed and plastered, with a thatched roof, end on to the street, It was built as a single house around 1700 and divided into two tenements in the 19th century. It is now back in single occupation. (RCHM)

No. 50

Pair of early 19th century cottages, timber-framed on a white brick foundation, lying end on to the street.

No. 48

Timber framed, plastered and thatched cottage probably of 17th century date.

Square and Compasses Inn

A large 17th century timber-framed house, partly encased in brick around 1800. Much more interesting than it looks.

The rest of this side of High Street is mainly of early 20th century terraced houses and cottages built on plots up to then always empty of dwellings. Those on the edge of the street are within the old High Green. Those set back from the street are on the edge of the former green.

High Street, South Side

The Grove

Early to mid-19th century house of brick, but later extended to east and much altered. The bay windows were probably added in the late 19th century.


Probably built soon after 1900. Large family residence of brick with a touch of "Tudor" timber.

Porch House

The front half is a very pleasant early 19th century house with a symmetrical elevation and a pretty wooden porch. The lintels over the windows look later. Doubled in size by the addition of a rear block around 1900.


This building is entirely covered in late 19th century brick which undoubtedly disguises a much older building whose date is unknown.

Barker Brothers Shop

Built as a detached house and shop soon after 1900.

Woollard's Lane, South side.

Powell's Garage

Built about 1870 as a school. A long straight hall of brick with a tiled roof and iron window frames. The remains of a gallery still exist inside.

House next to Garage

Set back from road and originally built on edge of Ashen Green. Of early 19th century date, probably brick, with a low pitched slate roof. Heavily disguised by modern additions which include all the bay windows.

Nos. 21 and 23

A pair of early or mid-19th century cottages, timber- framed and plastered. Refronted in brick in the late 19th century and the external brick chimney stacks on the gables probably added at the same time. Asbestos tiled roof added in the 1930s.

Robinson's Dairy

Basically a long single farmhouse, timber-framed and plastered, of 17th century date. This agrees with the date 1671 on it. It was owned in 1868 by Mr. Eliab Robinson, a carpenter, and it was perhaps this man who cased the house in brick and added a new wing at the east end in 1876 according to the date stone.

Nos. 9-13

A pretty pair of timber-framed and plastered thatched cottages of late 18th century date. No. 9 is a late 19th century addition at the east end.


Large square brick house of the 1870s or 80s. Rather a heavy weight but typical upper middle class country residence of the period.

Woollard's Lane, North side

Apart from No. 56, a nice house of circa 1850 - 60 in brick with a symmetrical elevation and central door, nothing of note. Most of the land was never built on until the late 19th century. All the existing buildings are late 19th or early 20th century speculative developments.

High Green, West side

Lloyds Bank

Probably built as a house. Dated 1905. Ugly white brick.

C. and H. Tools

Formerly a house of about 1850.

Webb's Shop

Built 1840-50 end on to the road as blacksmith's shop. Unusual in Shelford being built of red brick.

Crocus Cottage

A difficult house to date from the outside. It is at least late 18th century but could be much earlier.

Malyon's Shop

The house, which stands back on the edge of the old High Green, has been completely encased in brick in the 19th century. However it is probably timber-framed and of 17th century date. A wing at the rear is an 18th century addition. It has a splendid 19th century conservatory on the front. (RCHM)

Carlton House

Again on the edge of the old green. Of brick. Late 19th century gentleman's residence.

Blenheim Lodge

Probably built sometime in the 19th century, but much altered.

No. 21

Probably an 18th century timber-framed and thatched house, later divided into three tenements In the 19th century.

De Freville Farm

Timber-framed house, again on the edge of the original High Green. The S.E. part contains fragments of a cross wing dating from around 1500 and probably belonging to a medieval hall now gone. The rest of the house is of late 16th century date except for an 18th century extension at the rear. It was altered and restored in 1907 soon after it had been purchased by Caius College. All the windows are 19th century or later. (RCHM)

Four Mile House

Built around 1700 on an L-shaped plan. Timber-framed and plastered. It takes its name from the fact that the fourth milestone on the Turnpike road from Cambridge stood near it. (RCHM)

Bridge House

Though completely cased in modern brick this is an old timber-framed house. The south part is probably 17th century with a later 18th century extension on the north. (RCHM)

High Green, East side

Tunwells House

Of brick with a symmetrical elevation and central door. Built around 1850.

Post Office

Brick with slate roof built around 1840 as a house and subsequently altered. There is a nice contemporary workshop at the rear.

No. 32

House, of brick, built about 1880 with a curious asymmetrical elevation.


A 17th century cottage, timber-framed and plastered with a thatched roof. Extended by one room to the east in the 18th century. (RCHM)

Cottage in lane off High Green

Of 17th century date, timber-framed with modern windows. Fine chimney stack with grouped diagonal shafts. (RCHM)

De Freville Arms

Built about 1850, presumably as an inn. Brick with a slate roof.

Granham's Road, North side

Granham's Avenue contains a group of post-war prefabs, a relatively rare survival these days. In another generation such dwellings will no doubt be collectors' pieces.

Abberley House

Built about 1870 on the edge of the village. White brick, asymmetrical elevation with five gables. More than a touch of "Gothic". The east end is slightly later than the rest but in the same style and indicates that the house has been enlarged.

Level crossing keeper's house

1845. Cruciform brick bungalow with low pitched slate roof. One of the few examples left since British Railways were modernised.

Granham's Road, South side.

Nos. 10-12

Pair of mid-19th century cottages probably built soon after 1835.

The Dene

Large residence of about 1870 of brick with distinct "Gothic" tendencies. Nice house.

Nos. 18-20

Row of three cottages, building material unknown but possibly clay or chalk plastered over. Built about 1840.

Shepherd's Cottage

Timber-framed cottage of two periods. The west end is 18th century, the east is later.

Nos. 32-38

Late 18th or early 19th century range of four cottages, timber-framed and plastered. Much altered.

Granham's Farm

The site of the other medieval Manor House of the village. The remains of the 13th century moat still exist around the farm buildings. The eastern half of the house is of white brick with a slate roof, dating from 1830-40. It was probably rebuilt by St. John's College after enclosure in 1835. It was extended around 1870 when new farm buildings were also erected. In 1890-1 a massive and imposing red brick addition was built on the south side.

Cottage at Granham's Farm

Originally a pigeon house belonging to the farm, probably of 17th or early 18th century date. Timber-framed and tiled. Converted into a dwelling house in the early 18th century when a lean-to was added on the north and a central chimney put in. (RCHM)

Tunwells Lane, East side

Browning House

Huge but pleasant early 20th century residence designed by a competent architect. Now hopelessly irrelevant to modern living conditions and spoilt by modern developments in the former garden. "The Close" to the south in the same style was once the coach house and gardener's cottage.


Bungalow in former garden of Browning House. Best modern house in the village of unusual layout and appearance, though the site does not.do it justice.

Nos. 33-45

Nice group of seven houses, built just after 1900. Brick with cast iron canopies and lots of decorated stonework. The best late 19th century buildings in Shelford.

Tunwell's Lane, North side


Large grand square trick house, typically Edwardian. Built soon after 1905 when Caius College sold the land for development to a Miss Fanny Jukes. Alleged to be on a two foot thick concrete raft because it was erected on an old gravel pit. The gravel pit certainly existed on the site and is shown on various old plans.

Nos. 20-34

Long row of early 19th century cottages of urban rather than rural appearance.

The Elms, (site of)

Only the name in Elms Avenue and one gate pier survive of this apparently imposing country residence.

Station Road.

Shops on corner. Brick, built around 1900.

Railway Tavern

Brick with slate roof, built soon after the railway arrived in 1845.


Standard design of 1845 on this line. Two separate structures. Square station building with station master's house at rear.

Page last updated January 27th 2010

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