Litton Cheney

Pages 135-137

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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In this section


(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXXIX, N.W. (b)XXXIX, S.W.)

Litton Cheney is a parish and village 6 m. E. of Bridport. The church is the principal monument and the earthworks are numerous.


b(1) Parish Church of St. Mary (Plate 121) stands at the N. end of the village. The walls are of local rubble with dressings of the same materials; the roofs are covered with slates and lead. Part of the Nave, including the S. doorway, and the South Porch were built in the 14th century. The Chancel was rebuilt in the 14th century, the N. and E. walls probably being rebuilt again at a later date, and late in the same or early in the following century the West Tower was added. In the 15th century much of the nave and the chancel-arch were rebuilt. The church was restored in 1878 when the North Chapel was added.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (21 ft. by 18 ft.) has a modern E. window. In the S. wall are two partly restored late 14th-century windows of two trefoiled ogee lights in square heads with labels; the doorway, of the same period, has chamfered jambs and two-centred head. The 15th-century chancel-arch is moulded and two-centred; the moulded responds have each two attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases; the reveals and soffit of the arch have a single row of cinquefoil-headed panels. Flanking the arch on the W. face are 15th-century recesses with cinque-foiled arches in square heads, over the former altars.

The North Chapel is modern but reset in the N. wall is the window removed from the N. wall of the nave when the chapel was built, it is uniform with the S. windows of the nave.

Litton Cheney, the Parish Church of St Mary

The Nave (49¾ ft. by 21¾ ft.) has a modern arch to the N. chapel and a modern window towards the W. end; the 15th-century N. doorway, now blocked, has a four-centred head and is only visible externally. In the S. wall are two 15th-century windows each of four cinque-foiled ogee lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with moulded reveals and label with head-stops including a king and a bishop; the 14th-century S. doorway has chamfered jambs and two-centred head. At the E. end of the wall are two corbels at the level of the former rood-beam and carved with a figure-subject and an angel holding a shield.

The West Tower (13 ft. by 12½ ft.) is of late 14th or early 15th-century date and of three stages with an embattled parapet and gargoyles. The two-centred tower-arch is moulded, the outer mouldings continuous and the innermost springing from attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The doorway to the tower-stair is four-centred with moulded head and jambs. The W. window is of three trefoiled ogee lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with moulded reveals and label; the W. doorway has moulded jambs and four-centred arch. The second stage has, in the N. wall a window of one trefoiled light. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window of two trefoiled ogee lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a label.

The South Porch has an early 14th-century outer archway with square jambs and a two-centred arch of two chamfered orders, the inner springing from semi-octagonal corbels.

Fittings—Bells: six; 4th by Thomas Purdue, 1656; 5th and 6th 15th-century, Exeter foundry, and inscribed respectively "Pite est nomen istud (?) Ihc collatum istud" and "Me melior vere non est campana sub ere". Brasses: In nave—on S. wall, (1) to Anna, daughter of Richard Henvill of Look, 1681, inscription only; (2) to Ralph Henvill, 1644, inscription only. At rectory— (3) to John and Thomas Neupton, c. 1490, inscription only; (4) to Alexander Warnby, 1486, inscription only; palimpsest on the reverse of brasses (3 and 4), inscription to John Chapman, 1471, and Alice his wife. Chair: In chancel—with enriched back and other 17th-century material made up with modern work. Chest: In nave, of iron, dated 1817 and made by R. Sprake, Bridport. Communion Rails: with turned balusters and standards with vase-terminals, 18th-century. Font: cylindrical bowl with enriched cornice and necking, date uncertain, retooled, stem modern. Monuments: In chancel—on N. wall, (1) to George Dawbney, 1612, and Elizabeth (Coker), his wife, freestone panelled tablet with painted achievement-of-arms. In churchyard—E. of chancel, (2) to Grace Dashwood, 1706, and another later, table-tomb; (3) to Sarah, sister of John Hodder, 1698, table-tomb; (4) to Saray, widow of Andrew Hodder, 1690–1, and to . . . Hodder, table-tomb; (5) to George Hodder, c. 1700, also to Andrew and Joane, children of Andrew Hodder, table-tomb; (6) to Damaris, wife of Francis Roberts, c. 1700, headstone; (7) to Elizabeth, wife of Richard Meadway, 1685, headstone; (8) to Elizabeth Deval, 1701, headstone; on S. wall of chancel, (9) to Andrew Churchill, 1691, side of table-tomb; S. of chancel, (10) to Sturmy Sweet, 1694, table-tomb; (11) to Esther, daughter of Thomas Sturmy, 1705, table tomb; (12) to John Bartlet, 1705, headstone; (13) to Hippolyt Bartlet and John Bartlet, early 18th-century, headstone; (14) to Francis Bartlet, 1671, headstone; (15) to Rachell Bartlet, late 17th-century, headstone; S. of nave, (16) to Richard Henvel, slab, late 17th or early 18th-century; (17) to Francis (?) Adams, 1692, headstone. Painting: In nave—on S. wall, on wood, painting of David playing the harp, signed J. Fr. l . . es, 18th-century; on N. wall, on canvas, the Holy Family, a copy of a painting by Murillo in the Seville gallery. Piscina: In nave—in S. wall, recess with cinque-foiled arch in square head, 15th-century, drain modern. Plate: includes an Elizabethan cup and cover-paten, the latter with the date 1574, a paten of 1700 given by Richard Henvell, with an achievement-of-arms, a shallow bowl with handles and embossed ornament, given by Edward Henvill in 1716, and a flagon of 1825. Royal Arms: In nave—over chancel-arch, framed painting, with initials and date G.R. 1719.


Monuments (2–10)

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are thatched or covered with modern materials. Some of the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams and original fireplaces.

b(2) Cottages, two in number at the E. end of a range of five 75 yards E.S.E. of the church.

b(3) Cottage, on N.E. side of the road 260 yards S.E. of the church, was built early in the 18th century and has the date and initials 1707 T.B. over the front doorway.

b(4) House, at the street corner 50 yards S.S.E. of (3), was built probably early in the 18th century.

b(5) Cottage, two tenements on the S. side of the road 250 yards W.S.W. of the church.

b(6) House, on the W. side of the road 240 yards S.W. of the church.

b(7) Charity Farm, house 110 yards S. of (6), has been much altered in the 18th century. The Barn, to the W. of the house, is now of four bays and has stone buttresses. At the N.E. angle is the jamb of a former gateway at right angles to the main building.

b(8) Barn at Court House, 270 yards S. of the church, is a single-storey building of c. 1600. It is of six bays with a porch on the S. side; the roof is of collar-beam type. The building is now derelict.

b(9) Coombe Farm, house nearly 1 m. N.W. of the church, has been much altered. The Barn, N. of the house, is of the same period.

b(10) Cottage, W. of Stancombe Barn and 1 m. N.N.W. of the church, has a later extension on the S.W.


a(11) Barrow, a saucer barrow in appearance but originally perhaps a disc barrow now much defaced, on the 600 ft. contour nearly 1¾ m. N. of the church, has a ring about 45 ft. in diam., a ditch and a mound rising about 14 in. above the bottom of the ditch; the mound is about 31 ft. in diam.

a(12) Bowl Barrow, in the extreme N.W. angle of the parish and 680 yards N.W. of (11), is about 41 ft. in diam. and 2½ ft. high.

a(13) Bowl Barrow, in the N.E. angle of the parish and nearly 2 m. N.N.E. of the church, is about 50 ft. in diam. and 3 ft. high. It has been disturbed in the middle.

b(14) Bowl Barrow and Mounds, to the N. of the road and 1,180 yards N. of the church. The barrow, (a), 270 yards W. of the cross-roads, is 33 ft. in diam. and 2½ ft. high. The two mounds, (b), 233 yards W. of the barrow, 19 ft. in diam. and 3 ft. high, and (c), immediately N.E. of (b), 25 ft. in diam. and 3½ ft. high, may be barrows but are more probably spoil heaps.

b(15) Megalith, 25 yards W.S.W. of (14 b), is lying flat and partly imbedded in the ground. It is of irregular form, about 8 ft. by 7 ft. by about 1½ ft. thick. (C. Warne, Ancient Dorset, 136.)

b(16) Mound, perhaps a barrow, 290 yards E. of the cross-road and nearly ¾ m. N.N.E. of the church, has been much disturbed and is about 3 ft. high.

b(17) Bowl Barrow, on Hodder's Hill ¾ m. W. of the church, is 53 ft. in diam. and 4 ft. high.

b(18) Earthworks etc., in the N.E. angle of the cross-roads, W. of (16), consist of a ringwork, a round platform and some stones. (a), the ringwork (for plan see preface, p. xxxii), is about 81 ft. in diam. with a bank about 24 ft. wide and 1½ ft. high and traces of a ditch on the N. About 45 yards to the N.E. is (b) a round platform 42 ft. in diam. and a few inches high. There are five stones (c) lying to the N. and E. of the ringwork of which one is about 6 ft. long.

b(19) Dyke, extending across a ridge ¼ m. E. of Higher Combe and 1,000 yards N.W. of the church, faces N.N.E. The bank rises only about 1 ft. above the ground to the S. but about 6¾ ft. above the bottom of the ditch to the N. The work extends for some 250 yards.

b(20) Dyke, crossing the Dorchester-Bridport road 310 yards W. of the cross-roads, consists of a bank running N. and S. with a ditch on the E. side. The bank rises about 2 ft. above the ground to the W. and 3½ ft. above the bottom of the ditch. The work extends for some 340 yards but has several gaps.

a(21) Earthwork, near the N. edge of the parish and to the E. of (11), consists of two ditches with medial and S. banks extending E. and W. between a roadway and a track to the W. of it. W. of the track the ditches diverge and are shortly lost in the hill-slope. At the E. end, the inner ditch dies out but the outer ditch seems to have been returned to the N.W. and perhaps returned again to the W. to form three sides of an enclosure. Where best preserved the outer ditch is about 4½ ft. deep and the inner ditch 2½ ft. It is possible that these banks represent the enclosures of a settlement.

b(22) Lynchets (Plate 70), immediately N. of the village, form five systems. (a), 400 yards N.E. of the church, occupies an E. slope and consists of eight well-preserved terraces varying in width from 8 to 19 yards. The second system (b) is at right angles to (a) and at an angle with the contours; there are six terraces about 20 yards wide. (c), 400 yards to the W. of (a), is on a N.W. slope and consists of four terraces about 370 yards long following the contours. (d), 200 yards S.W. of (c), has two terraces on a N.E. slope. (e), immediately W. of (d), consists of short lengths of six terraces on an E. slope.