Sunday 28 August 2011

Barrington - The Village On The Green.

Prospective buyers of the Dream Cottage advertised in Saturday's post will want to know something of the neighbourhood. It's situated in the Cambridgeshire village of Barrington, just a few miles south of the city of Cambridge. Villages in this part of the world are usually thought of as neat rows of houses situated around a village green. The reality is often quite different but in Barrington the ideal has been carried to extremes.

The green in Barrington is enormous. An area of grass over half a mile long and two hundred yards wide, smack in the middle of the village. It easily accommodates a cricket field and a soccer pitch. It was even bigger at one time as parts of it have been built on.

At the western end of the green stands the village pub, The Royal Oak, which dates from the 16th century. It's a grand place to sit outside with a pint on a summer's evening.

It's difficult to understand why the village needed such a huge green. It's thought that it was used to bring the livestock in at night and during the harshest winter months, but other villages seem to have got by with less grassland in their midst. Nowadays it may look idyllic but it takes a lot of mowing and must be very inconvenient for anyone with mobility problems.

The house in the picture above looks as pretty as any, despite not having a thatched roof. In fact, behind its white painted walls lies a house dating from the fourteenth century, probably built by a wealthy farmer of the day.

Village life used to centre around the village pump but now has moved across the road to the local shop.

Brick can look attractive too.

These two cottages, built so close together, always look as though they are conspiring about something, one whispering in the ear of the other. And at the far end of the green stands a very fine church.

Take care.


  1. Thank you fo leaving a comment on my blog. I have become a follower of yours It is interesting to see photos of Cambbridge as my father was a Rhodes Scholar there in the early 1920's, a long way from Oz and a huge adventure for some one from a non academic and relatively poor family, He went on to be Professor of Botany in Adelaide and sadly died far too young in 1959.It is a long time since I was in Cambridge, early '70s I think.
    Lovely to see things via blogs.

  2. An interesting tour. I think my favourite is the white painted house as I'm not a huge fan of thatched cottages!

  3. I wonder if the two houses "whispering" to each other was somebody's idea of a "breeze-way"? Those are very common in the states, a roof over a bridge from the house to the garage. Cute tho, I liked the two houses so close to one another. Great post, John!

  4. Surely tourism must be important in Barrington, and possibly even film making. Beautiful spot, well presented. Jim

  5. I have just noticed your book list down the side of your blog John. Do you know Roger Deakin's Waterlog - and also John Lister-Kaye's Nature'Child - two good ones to add to thatlist.

  6. Penny: It's lovely to have your company! It's amazing how many people have a Cambridge connection.
    Louise: So you won't be buying the Dream Cottage? Shame, I was going to invite myself for tea and scones - I'm sure that's what they eat in such places.
    Lizzie: I can't make out why they built those two cottages so close; there's plenty of space!
    Jim: Nope, hardly on the tourist trail at all. They mostly come to Cambridge, "do" King's College Chapel, then it's off to York or Oxford.
    Weaver: I've read Waterlog and will one day get around to J L-K's other books. Thanks for the recommendations. I enjoy reading your blog.

  7. Barrington looks a very pretty, sleepy village and your dream cottage is perfect in situ there. I love to see a thatched roof or two but I wouldn't like to live in a building with a thatched roof and much prefer the 14th century cottage without one:)

  8. I'm seriously beginning to want to move to Cambridgeshire. It's all so pretty. I don't suppose I could afford it though!

  9. Thanks for the further comments - it's good to know someone reads this stuff.
    Rosie: I agree; I'd worry too much about thatch catching fire! I saw one go up in flames once - very quickly.
    jennyfreckles: Yes, it is expensive to buy any sort of house down here, never mind an attractive period cottage. There's also a lot of new building going on, which is one of my reasons for recording what's left of our heritage. You'd also find that there is a serious lack of hills around here!

  10. Barrington appears to be a dream village. Lovely! (Thanks for your visits.)

  11. It looks like a storybook land!

  12. We visited Barrington in 1997. My ancestors, Allens, were carpenters there for centuries before my line came to Australia in early 1853, where, instead of going off to the goldfish, they used their carpentry skills and market gardening prowess to establish themselves. We loved Barrington and the other nearby villages. We have been back to Europe but didn't have time to get to East Anglia. But we will, within the next couple of years. Lovely blog, by the way.


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