Toller Fratrum

Page 251

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 1, West. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1952.

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(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXX, S.W. (b)XXX, S.E.)

Toller Fratrum is a small parish 8 m. N.W. of Dorchester. Little Toller Farm and the fittings in the church are the principal monuments.


a(1) Parish Church Of St. Basil appears to have been entirely rebuilt in the 19th century. It contains, from the older building, the following:—

Fittings—Communion Rails: with turned balusters and moulded top and bottom rails, c. 1730. Font (Plate 15): cylindrical bowl with deep band of interlacing ornament at top, cable-moulding immediately below and at base and between them a series of figures, one with cross-staff, crudely carved, also half-figures and heads, many of the figures with arms stretched upwards, on one side three enriched columns supporting a monster with one head and two bodies, mid 12th-century. Table: In chancel, with folding top, turned legs and moulded stretchers, early 18th-century. Miscellanea: Reset on E. wall of chancel, inside, carved stone, 17 in. by 7 in. (Plate 6), with part of figure of St. Mary Magdalene wiping the feet of Christ with her hair, foot and lower part of figure of Christ with drapery, probably first half of 11th century. Flanking W. doorway, two mediæval head-stops.


a(2) Little Toller Farm, house and outbuilding immediately W. of the church. The House is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. The property was acquired in 1540 by John Samways of Winterborne Martin. About this time the main block of the house was built together with the outbuilding flanking the E. side of the forecourt. The W. wing of the house on the other side of the forecourt appears to be a later addition. The S. Front of the main block has a moulded string between the storeys and an octagonal shaft with concave faces at the S.E. angle; the shaft is carried up above the eaves and supports a winged dragon in stone. In the middle of the front is a chimney-stack terminating in a gable; on the apex of this is a carved figure of a monkey holding a mirror. In the upper storey are some original windows with four-centred heads to the lights; the french-windows, on the lower floor, represent original openings. Above the 18th or 19th-century porch is a carved figure of a seated lion holding a shield of the royal Tudor arms. Some old windows remain on the N. face of the house. Inside, the whole length of the main block has a collar-beam roof with arched braces; below it a flat ceiling has been inserted. On the E. gable wall above the ceiling are fragments of a lozenge-shaped plaster panel with foliated border.

The Outbuilding (Plate 55), now stables, on the E. side of the forecourt, is of one storey with a loft; the walls are of rubble and the roof is thatched. The W. Front has a moulded plinth and a string-course above the heads of the windows; the four windows are each of two four-centred lights; flanking the heads are ornamental Renaissance pendants from the string-course; on the string-course are two carvings one of a boy playing bagpipes and one a shield with the crest of a claw holding a hammer between the initials I.S. for John Samways. Towards the S. end of the front is a blocked doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with a small rosette in the middle. The ground floor of the building has chamfered beams making eight bays. Some of the original roof-trusses with collar-beams survive.

a(3) Range of cottages, on the N. side of the road 110 yards S. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are thatched. It was built probably in the 17th century but has been much altered.


b(4) Bowl Barrow, on the N. edge of the parish 1,050 yards N.E. of the church, is 40 ft. in diam. and 1½ ft. high.

b(5) Celtic Field-System, in the field S.E. of (4) and extending towards the road, is marked Intrenchments on the O.S.