Beautiful England - photos of England and the UK

Steeple Bumpstead

Steeple Bumpstead is a village with an unusual name, that is derived from 'a place where flax or hemp grows'.

A significant building in the village is Mott or Moot Hall ('the Old Schole') which is half-timbered and was constructed in 1592. In the 1830s, it was a school for farmers' sons. The villagers disputed the appointment of the headmaster and forcibly took possession of it, claiming that they had the right to appoint the headmaster. An Ecclesiastical Court upheld their claim.

Bower Hall was used as a prisoner of war camp during the First World War. It was demolished in 1926 and the materials were sold off. The staircase went to the U.S.A.

Steeple Bumpstead is closely associated with Edith Cavell, the nurse famous for her bravery and sacrifice. She was executed by a German firing squad in Brussels on 12th October 1915 for helping Allied soldiers to escape. In 1886 she was appointed governess to the four children of Rev. Charles Powell, vicar of Steeple Bumpstead. The building, which was the Vicarage, is now a private residence on the corner of Chapel Street and Finchingfield Road. A stone plaque on the wall commemorates her story. A road is also named after her and there is a plaque in the 11th century Church of St. Mary.

Another notable inhabitant was Colonel J.C. Humphrey, who invented corrugated iron and established the company Humphrey Limited. Not surprisingly, he built and lived in a house in North Street called, "The Iron House". This was demolished in the 1960s.