About Stow-cum-Quy

Village name

'Stow' means a place, (usually sacred). 'Quy' comes from 'cow island', a piece of land that was around 50 feet above the surrounding fen.


Anglo-Saxon settlements of Quy, (presumed 'Cow-ey'), and Stow were combined as one ecclesiastical parish by the early 13th century. There is also some evidence of Bronze Age and Roman settlements.

The church of ST. MARY

So named by the 1340s, the church of St. Mary dates back to 1178, was rebuilt in 1340 and has been through various states of decay and restoration over the centuries.

Quy Hall

The present hall, built on the site of the old 15th century manor house, was remodelled in 1870 by William White, a pupil of Sir Gilbert Scott.

Quy station

Opened June 2 by the Great Eastern Railway, 1884 and closed Jun 18, 1962.
A glimpse of Quy Station in its heyday can be found at around 4 minutes into this video:

Coprolite mining

In the late 1880s Mrs Francis, as lady of the manor, gave permission for coprolites to be dug in Quy Fen in order to provide work for local people. Work was carried on for about four years but the company was wound up in debt and the last of the 'cuts' were left to fill with water instead of being filled in. The largest cut in Quy Fen has since then always been popular with swimmers, though tragically at least two people have been drowned there. The area round the cut has rare fen plants, is a breeding ground for dragonflies and damselflies and has thus been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It can only be visited by foot as cars are not allowed on the drove ways leading to Quy Fen.


By 1880 almost every landowner along the relevant geological outcrop, roughly on a line drawn from Soham to Royston, must have been involved directly or indirectly with coprolite extraction


The White Swan

The White Swan, (aka The Swan), was built in the 17th century as a timber-framed building on a brick plinth, and has been licensed premises since 1764. The lower bar was previously used as the school mistresses house from 1870 to 1900.

From 1874 until around 1930 the 'Pig Club' met regularly at The Swan, and a shoemakers' business was based at the site in the late 1800s. In 1835 a brick cage was constructed as a temporary lock-up in front of the pub and used to detain drunkards or people found fighting! This facility was pulled down in 1860 after the opening of a police station in Bottisham.

Quy school 1847 - 1978

Quy school originally taught all ages up to around 14 years, although many children left at 10. It was extended in 1870 when education became compulsory, and became Quy Village hall in 1981.

Quy village sign

Quy village sign depicts the church on the island with cows and a jackdaw, many of which roost in the trees around the village centre. Villagers are known as Quy Jackdaws.

The gold chain and silver slipper featured on the sign relate to the ghost of Lady Engayne whose spirit walks beside Quy Waters. The Engayne family lived in Stow Manor some time around the 13th century.