An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 2, South east. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1970.
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5 BLOXWORTH (8894)
(O.S. 6 ins. aSY 89 SE, bSY 89 NE)
The long narrow parish of Bloxworth covering 2,826 acres lies some 5 m. N.N.W. of Wareham across the N. edge of the S. Dorset heath. The N. third of the parish is on Chalk and stretches from the valley of the Winterborne across a low ridge at about 200 ft. above O.D. to a lower, generally wooded, area on Reading Beds and London Clay which occupies the centre of the parish. Beyond, to the S., is an extensive area of heathland, all on Bagshot Beds and mostly under 100 ft. except for an isolated knoll of plateau gravel rising to over 200 ft. on which stands the hill fort of Woolsbarrow.
The village, and original settlement, stands at the junction of the Chalk and Reading Beds. There were two outlying settlements: at Marsh Farm in the N. and Stroud Bridge in the S. of the parish, both first recorded in 1333 (Fägersten, 65–6). The latter is certainly a late settlement on the heath, but the former, in the earlysettled Winterborne valley, may be older than documentary evidence and its name suggest.
The church, Bloxworth House and Woolsbarrow hill-fort are the principal monuments.
a(1) The Parish Church of St. Andrew stands in the village. The walls are of coursed flint with carstone and limestone ashlar snecks in the chancel, plastered brickwork and Purbeck ashlar in the N. and S. walls respectively of the nave, and coursed and squared carstone with some Purbeck stone in the tower. The roofs are covered with blue slates. The reset late 12th-century S. doorway to the nave and the early cross-head in the vestry suggest the existence of a church here by the end of the 12th century. The West Tower is of the 14th century and the Nave was partly or wholly rebuilt at the same time, though the S. wall was refaced and the N. wall rebuilt in the late 17th century and mediaeval masonry now remains visible only in the W. wall. The N. annexe, the Savage Pew, is also of the late 17th century, before 1683 (see Paintings below). The South Porch was built or rebuilt in the 17th century and heavily restored in a general restoration in 1870, when also the Chancel, previously probably of the 16th century, was rebuilt to the designs of George Evans (Building News, xix (1870), 67) and the Vestry added. The church was reseated in 1888 and the W. tower repaired in modern times. The nave roof was restored in 1965–6.
St. Andrew's undoubtedly suffered architecturally in the late 19th-century restoration, but it retains visual quality and some interesting features inside.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (22½ ft. by 16 ft.) and chancel arch were rebuilt and the Vestry (12 ft. by 6½ ft.) was added in 1870. But the chancel arch is contrived in a thick wall ending on the S. in a 16th-century buttress of two weathered stages with an elaborately moulded base.
The Nave (42 ft. by 21 ft.) has in the N. wall a rounded arch of one plain order opening to the N. pew; it is plastered but no doubt contemporary with the last, though the hollow-chamfered imposts are later. Further W., where the wall has a moulded ashlar plinth, are two windows of the late 17th century, each of two elliptical-headed lights under a square outer head with chamfered reveals and a moulded label with returned stops. The S. wall has, as described with the chancel, a 16th-century buttress at the E. end and another, contemporary with the ashlar facing, at the W. end. It contains towards the E. a three-light window of the 17th century; this has graduated lights with renewed elliptical heads, chamfered reveals and mullions cut down in width. Westward is a second window reset and altered but of c. 1330; it is of two lights with two-centred heads with a recut pierced spandrel and chamfered reveals. The 12th-century S. doorway has a semicircular arch of one stop-chamfered order springing from moulded imposts with nail-head decoration on chamfered jambs. W. of the foregoing is a third window, of the 15th century but also reset, of two two-centred lights under a square head and with chamfered reveals. These three windows and the doorway all have rebuilt and plastered flat rear arches.
The Savage Pew (14 ft. square), to judge by the style and the painted heraldic decoration within, was built c. 1680 and before 1683. It has a moulded stone plinth and ashlar dressings and quoins. In each of the E. and W. walls and high in the N. wall is a horizontally-set oval window, and below the third a square-headed window of two lights. The foregoing have moulded architraves, the former each with four axial keystones. In the W. wall is a doorway, now blocked, with a moulded architrave.
The West Tower (7 ft. by 8½ ft.), of the 14th century, is in two stages and contains three storeys. It has diagonal buttresses in two weathered stages ending below the tower string and a restored embattled parapet with moulded coping and squat weathered pinnacles on the corners. The tower arch is two-centred and of one continuous wide chamfered order; it has been plastered over and the dressings obscured or cut back. The two-light W. window is of 1870 except the splays, rear arch and reused 14th-century label with head-stops. The first storey, reached by ladder, is lit by a small N. window with square head and moulded label. The second storey has a window in each wall, of two trefoiled lights in an angular head; they are fitted with boards pierced with small circular holes.
The South Porch (8½ ft. by 8 ft.) has a steep S. gable with restored coping. In the S. wall, which is faced in ashlar and has a moulded plinth, is a 17th-century archway with moulded semicircular head and responds of the same section with semi-octagonal moulded caps and shaped stops. The side walls are of squared and coursed limestone and have plain eaves.
Two old Roofs remain. The late 17th-century timber and plaster barrel roof of the nave is divided into squares by hollow-chamfered ribs with round bosses at the intersections painted with roses and Royal crowns alternately; the junctions of the transverse ribs with the moulded wall plates are concealed by shields painted with the Stuart royal arms and the separate arms of England, Ireland, Scotland and France. In the Savage Pew the roof is original and elliptical in section, orientated transeptally, and divided into unequal panels by hollow-chamfered ribs; the original square bosses at the intersections that survive are painted with the Savage crest.
Fittings—Bells: two, inaccessible; said to be, 1st with blackletter inscription 'Maria, All[elui]a' repeated, 15th-century, 2nd, 1727, by William Knight (Raven, 114, as amended by Walters). Book: Prayer-book, 1844, presented by the Rev. George Pickard-Cambridge in 1847. Communion Table: in nave, S. of chancel arch, of oak, with turned legs in the form of columns on square bases, plain top, bearers carved with stylised floral ornament, plain stretchers, early 17th-century. Font: in W. tower, with circular limestone bowl carved with fleur-de-lys and with moulded lower edge, on circular stem with moulded base on chamfered sub-base, 13th-century, on modern octagonal platform. Hour-glass (Plate 5): on pulpit, in wrought-iron stand, of blown glass, broken at the waist and repaired with twine, in wood cage with five turned spindles and plain round ends, stand with flat circular baseplate and guard-band, both with cresting of fleurs-de-lys, 18th-century.
Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In Savage Pew—on E. wall, (1) to John, 1819, youngest son of George Trenchard of Lytchett Matravers, white marble tablet with Greek scroll-work cresting on grey marble backing, set up by his nephew Thomas Pickard; (2) to Frances, 1813, widow of William Woodley, Governor of the Leeward Islands, white marble tablet on black marble backing, set up by Harriet Pickard her daughter; on N. wall, (3) to Edward, 1850, eldest son of the Rev. George Pickard, rector of Warmwell, white marble tablet; (4) to Thomas, 1830, eldest son of Jocelyn Pickard, white marble tablet with Greek scroll-work cresting, set up by his widow Harriet (Woodley); on W. wall, (5) to Henrietta (Trenchard), 1787, wife of Jocelyn Pickard, and to the latter, 1789, white marble tablet with fluted columns and frieze, set up by their son Thomas; (6) to Sir John Trenchard, 1695, Chief Justice of Chester, principal Secretary of State, white marble cartouche carved with cherub's head, skull, drapery and shield-of-arms of Trenchard impaling Speke, set up by 'Phillip' his wife. In churchyard—S. of tower, (7) to 'that Reverend orthodox divine grave Mr. Welsteed', 1651, 'painfull pastor of this place', table-tomb. Floor-slab: In nave, to James Dewy, 1675/6, Mary (Strangways of Muston) his wife, 1638, and Mary their daughter-in-law, 1673, of Purbeck stone.
Paintings: In nave—over tower arch, text in decorative framing painted in red and black, carried down N. side of arch in spandrel form, late 16th-century, largely obliterated. In Savage Pew—heraldic paintings including achievements and shields-of-arms in scroll-work cartouches, c. 1680: on E. wall, of (1) Savage impaling Ashley, (2) Savage impaling Page; on N. wall, of (3) Savage quartering Bower with a label over all, (4) achievement of Savage, (5) Savage quartering Hansted, Welsted, Ashley, Page, with a scutcheon of Bower; on S. wall, (6) achievement of Savage impaling Bower (George Savage of Bloxworth, born 1623, died 1683, married Ann Bower of Spettisbury).
Panelling: Between nave and Savage Pew, dado with bolection-moulded panels to S., plain to N., with moulded capping supporting bookrests on shaped brackets, door (now loose in vestry) with projecting hinges, late 17th-century, all now thickly painted. In tower, on W. wall and returned on N. and S. walls, oak panelling, in two heights with plinth, enriched rail and frieze and dentil-cornice, lower panels plain but for central prism ornaments, upper with round heads, key-blocks and enriched spandrels and responds, 17th-century, much damaged, in modern framing; it is part of the pulpit discarded in 1887. Piscina: reset in vestry, in N. wall, with trefoiled two-centred arch in square head, with rectangular dishing to drain now filled, 14th-century. Sundials: two; at E. end of S. wall of nave, wrought-iron gnomon, without numbers on stonework, and over entrance to S. porch, bronze gnomon, late 17th or 18th-century. Miscellanea: In vestry—in N. wall, roll-moulded base of respond-shaft, perhaps 13th-century, reset. Fragment of circular crosshead(?), 6½ ins. diam. by 2½ ins. thick, with cross cut in shallow relief on each side, late 11th or early 12th-century (now lost).
a(2) Bloxworth House (about 300 yds. N.N.W.) is of two storeys with basement and attics; the walls are of brick with some local limestone dressings and the roofs are covered with tiles and stone slates (Plate 72). The house was built early in the 17th century, probably in 1608, on an E-shaped plan, the central porch and the flanking wings projecting equally N., but with the variant of a small rectangular projection in the easternmost angle, containing a staircase; if a balancing projection ever existed symmetrically opposite, all evidence of it has been destroyed. In the mid 18th century both re-entrants were enclosed by walls built almost flush with the fronts of the porch and wings and the space brought into the accommodation on two floors. At much the same time a single-storey wing was added to the N.E. In the first half of the 19th century the W. wing was remodelled, the original E. external wall being removed and a thinner wall built some 3 ft. further W., and a large two-storey bay window added on the N. Later in the century a small outer porch was added to the original porch. Subsequent additions include a western extension the full height of the house and a kitchen wing to the S.E.
Bloxworth House is essentially an early 17th-century building of some note though retaining little original work inside.
Architectural Description—The N. front of the original house, in brickwork of two courses of stretchers to one of headers, is in five bays, the first, third and fifth being the gabled ends of the flanking wings and central porch; at the apices of the gables are tall square chimneystacks. In the second and fourth bays and nearly flush with the others are the mid 18th-century walls in brickwork in English bond built across the re-entries but carried up only to the height of the gable kneelers; rising behind their parapets are visible the hipped roofs of the staircase projection described above and of one of the original three-light stone-mullioned dormer windows in the main longitudinal roof. For the rest only three original mullioned windows visible from outside survive unaltered in this front, of two, three and four lights; the others have been altered to accord more or less with the 18th-century windows with segmental heads and double-hung sashes. The mid 19th-century porch covers the original, though restored, entrance doorway, which has a square moulded head and jambs with shaped stops. The early 19th-century semi-octagonal window bay on the W. wing has on each full face on each floor a large double-hung sash window with a keystone; the parapet is plain.
The S. front of the original house has gables behind the N. wings, flush with the connecting range, and with chimney-stacks at their apices. The ground floor of the gabled E. bay is masked by a modern addition. Again the fenestration has been in part altered; nine original stone-mullioned windows survive, of one, two, three and four lights; these include one blocked window, one, altered, E. of the modern addition, and two hipped three-light dormer windows; of the windows ostensibly of the 18th century, one, next W. of the four-light window shown on the accompanying plan, is set in an original doorway of which some dressings remain, three on the first floor retain original labels and are thus within original openings, and the rest are insertions or renewals. The extension W. of the W. gabled bay is modern.
The E. end has paired gables with chimneystacks with lofty diagonal shafts at their apices. The lower part, which retains one original two-light window, is largely masked by 18th-century and modern additions; of these the earlier has segmental-headed sash-hung windows. The W. end is plain where not modern.
The Interior has been largely modernised but the early 17th-century staircase projection retains two original windows, one partly blocked on the ground floor, the other of two lights at attic level; remains low down of a third, impinging on the W. wall, which probably lit the cellar, are cut by the flooring of the 18th-century ground floor. The staircase itself retains only the original topmost newel with shaped finial. The present main staircase and the stairs to the cellars are modern. Original plasterwork in the attic over the porch includes a scroll-work panel with the date 1608 and a segmental ceiling rising from a cornice; in the E. and W. walls of the same room are blocked windows. Another attic room retains an original panelled door. The part of the early 17th-century roof surviving is of collar-beam construction with chamfered principals of heavy scantling and single purlins.
Standing some 9 yds. E. of the house, linked to it by 18th-century brick screen walls with ramped moulded stone copings to either side of a wide opening with square piers of stone with enriched cappings and ball terminals, is a Stable Range built probably about the middle of the 17th century. It is of brick in random bond with a diaper of dark headers and with local limestone dressings; the roofs are tiled, with stone slates at the verges. The range is nearly 92 ft. long, the southern 24½ ft. being a rather later extension, of one storey with attics and gabled at the ends. The main front, facing W., retains two original doorways with depressed four-centred chamfered heads and jambs and three original three-light stone-mullioned windows with moulded labels with return stops. The two dormers have timber two-light casement windows with early leaded quarries. Over the doorways are two reset stone panels inscribed with the dates 1649 and 1669 respectively. In the E. wall are two 18th-century doorways and a blocked window. Inside are stop-chamfered ceiling beams supporting joists laid flat, stalls retaining 17th-century square posts with shaped finials and, in the attics, a late 17th-century doorway with moulded architrave hung with a door of bolection-moulded panelling. The roof is of collar-beam construction with two side purlins.
The Brewhouse, standing just S. of the house, of one storey with an attic, has walls of brick in random bond with some dark headers and with ponderous rusticated brick dressings; the roofs are tiled. It is a late 17th-century range orientated E. and W., which originally extended further W., with rusticated quoins to the eastern angles, half-hipped gables at the ends and a large nearly central chimney-stack. In the N. wall, towards the W. end, is a semicircular-headed archway with continuous rustication and fitted with a later door-frame; eastward are two windows with rusticated flat arches, one blocked, the other fitted with a timber two-light casement, and a square-headed doorway containing a moulded timber door-frame. In the S. wall is an archway similar and opposite to that in the N. wall and with a window inserted; further E. are three plain 18th-century windows. Inside are stop-chamfered ceiling beams though the floor has been raised. The N.E. stair is modern. The repaired roof is of collar-beam construction with two side purlins.
Also S. of the house is a late 18th or early 19th-century Icehouse of brick built into rising ground. In the front, two oval windows flank a doorway opening to a lobby with segmental vaulting. Within are two compartments with four-centred vaults running N. and S.; in the W. vault is a square hole and in the S. wall are two small square openings with lead pipes leading down.
The rectangular garden N.E. of the house is enclosed by 18th-century thatched cob Walls on brick footings. In the middle of the N. and S. sides are round-headed doorways with gauged brick voussoirs and segmental rear arches.
The remainder of the old houses unless otherwise described have cob walls and thatched roofs and are of one storey with attics; most of them stand in the middle of the parish near the road that runs eastward from the church. The house (15), Marsh Farm (25) and New Barn (28) are of chief interest.
a(3) House (60 yds. W.) was built probably in the early 17th century on a plan comprising a central chimney flanked by a lobby, with a room to each side. Late in the 18th century the S. elevation was refaced in brick and the entrance moved to the E. gable wall; the plan then comprised a living room and scullery.
a(4) House (130 yds. W.) was built probably in the 17th century on a plan similar to that of Monument (3). It was largely rebuilt and shortened after a fire in the present century. (Demolished)
a(5) House (270 yds. W.N.W.) has a central chimney (Plate 48; plan, p. 29). The original entrance may have been on the S. side, by a lobby flanking the chimney-stack, but in a drastic late 18th-century remodelling a new porch in the Gothic style was added on the E. Reset over the 18th-century doorway is a panel inscribed 1570, probably the date the house was built.
a(6) House (170 yds. S.) is of the 17th century. The original plan comprised two rooms. In recent years a tiled roof has replaced thatch and the whole house has been much altered.
a(7) Cottages, two (220 yds. S.), of brick with slated roofs and of the early 19th century, incorporate the stone plinth of an earlier building, which may have been as early as the 17th century. Storehouse, W. of the cottages, is thatched and has no windows. The brickwork of the plinth is of the early 18th century.
a(8) House (40 yds. E.), once divided into two cottages, was built on a two-room plan in the early 17th century and refaced in brick about a century later. Recently it has been drastically modernised.
a(9) Cottage (60 yds. E.S.E.), of two storeys and of brick with a slated roof, is early Victorian. Its plan comprises a living room and a scullery. (Demolished)
a(10) Post Office (50 yds. S.E.), a house of two storeys and of brick with a modern tiled roof, was built in the mid 18th century on a plan comprising two rooms. A cob and tiled E. annexe was built in the 18th or early 19th century. The S. annexe was added after 1945.
a(11) House (160 yds. E.S.E.) on the W. side of Newport Lane, of two storeys with walls of brick, was built in the early 18th century. From c. 1850 to 1953 it was used as a school and is now a village club. The plan comprises a hall and a smaller unheated room. Two cottages were added successively in the early and mid 19th century, the first of cob on the N. end, and the second of brick on the S.
a(12) Cottages, range of three (200 yds. E.S.E.), probably incorporate a small 17th-century house, which was extended at the W. end and refaced in brick in the 18th century. In the early 19th century a cottage was added on the W. end.
a(13) House (400 yds. E.) was built in the late 17th century on a plan comprising a hall and an inner room, the former with an entrance in the gable wall beside the fireplace. The staircase is opposite the entrance; the hall has a chamfered beam with triangular stops. (Ruinous)
a(14) House (430 yds. E.) was built in the early 17th century with a hall and inner room (plan, below). Ceiling beams of the hall have unusually rich mouldings for a house of this size. The staircase, though rebuilt, has always been on the E. side of the fireplace. The N.E. corner of the house was rebuilt c. 1700, in banded flint and stone, and a projecting oven, carried above a small stream, was added at the N.W. corner in the late 18th century. (Ruinous)
a(15) House (750 yds. E.) was built in the 17th century (Plate 48). The plan (opp.) comprised three ground-floor rooms and a central chimney flanked by an entrance lobby; only one of the rooms is heated. The setting-out is unusually irregular. The S. wall was refaced at both ends in the early 18th century; the brickwork exposed in the plinth is of this date or earlier. The remainder of the S. wall was refaced in the 19th century. No evidence remains to indicate the position of the original staircase.
The following Monuments (16–18) are in or near East Bloxworth.
a(16) East Bloxworth Farm, house (890945), of two storeys with attics, has brick walls and tile and slate-covered roofs. It was built in the early 17th century and nearly doubled in size in the early 19th century, when also the older part was remodelled. The 17th-century house comprised two rooms on the ground floor, probably divided by a passage. The chimney-stack at the junction of the two builds has four diagonal shafts; these may represent the form of those on the original house, but they are wholly of the early 19th century.
a(17) Cottage, 100 yds. S. of (16) at Stephens's Farm, was built as a farmhouse in the late 16th or early 17th century. The plan at that time comprised a hall and an unheated room. The ceiling beams of the hall have a slightly hollowed chamfer. Nothing survives to show where the original staircase was; the present one is modern. Barn, of cob, was added at the E. end early in the 19th century. The principal rafters are tenoned and pegged to the tie beams but the collars are bolted on.
a(18) House (890943), at the S.W. corner of the crossroads, has a central chimney. Little is evident to show when it was built, conversion into two cottages in the 19th century having concealed all old features; it may be of the 17th or early 18th century. (Demolished)
a(19) Cottages, range of four (889940), at Woodlake, are of the early 19th century.
a(20) Cottage (893939), of two storeys and of brick, was built probably in the early 19th century.
The following Monuments (21–24) are at Newport.
a(21) Newport Farm, house (350 yds. N.E.), on the E. side of Newport Lane, was built in the late 16th century with walls of flint banded with freestone; in the late 17th century a wing was added with walls of cob on a brick plinth; in the 18th century the earlier part was extended. The original plan comprised two rooms with one end chimney; the addition of the wing gave an L-shaped plan, with the entrance in the re-entrant angle leading to a lobby giving direct access to both the original rooms and the wing. (Demolished)
a(22) House (360 yds. N.E.), of the early 17th century, is of two storeys with two rooms on plan with a chimney at the N. end. It was extended N. in the 18th century. (Demolished)
a(23) Cottages, range of four (350 yds. N.E.), on the N. side of the road leading to Bloxworth House, began with the second and third tenements from the E., which comprised a house built in the early 17th century; this was extended to the E. later in the century, when probably the back wing, consisting of an outbuilding with a bedroom above, was added. At the end of the 18th century a cottage was added on the W., and another W. again a little later. About this time the original house was converted into two cottages.
a(24) House, 30 yds. W. of (23), was built in the early 17th century on a plan comprising a hall and an unheated room. In the early 19th century, windows in the Gothic style were inserted and a second chimney-stack was added.
b(25) Marsh Farm (873972), on the N. edge of the parish and on the S. side of Marsh Lane, is a large farmhouse of two storeys with walls of banded flint and brick and a tiled roof; it was built towards the end of the 17th century (Plate 44). Nearly all the original windows and doorways have been either blocked or reduced in size in the 19th century. The plinth is about 3 ft. high, of carstone with a simple moulded capping. The original plan is not fully ascertainable, and the following account of the arrangement of the N. half is to some extent conjectural. The house was entered by a central E. doorway that opened into a hall, in which probably was the staircase. S. of the hall were two heated rooms; at the N. end of the house was a third room, with an unheated room, probably a pantry, between it and the hall. The W. wing has no fireplace and was probably intended for some farm purpose, possibly a dairy. All the present fittings, fireplaces, doorcases, etc., are early Victorian.
At some uncertain date, probably in the 19th century, the W. wall of the W. wing was rebuilt. The reason why the wall face on the first floor is recessed slightly behind that of the ground floor is obscure, though it may indicate further rebuilding.
b(26) Cottages, two (879973), on the S. side of Marsh Lane, incorporate a small late 17th or early 18th-century house. (Demolished)
b(27) Botany Bay Barn (884965), with brick walls and a thatched roof, was built in the late 18th century (plan, p. lxvi). A later porch on the S. side is built against the buttresses that flanked the original doorway. The roof trusses have tie and collar beams, which incorporate some reused timbers.
b(28) New Barn (874955), on the W. boundary of the parish, has timber-framed and weather-boarded walls above a high brick plinth, and a thatched roof; it is of the mid 18th century, but the S. end has been rebuilt in cob and the building probably lengthened. The roof is in six and a half bays.
The timber-framed walls have in each bay two intermediate studs and a middle rail, except in the bays flanking the opposed doorways where the framing includes two large curved braces rising from the sill of the principal posts. The roof trusses flanking the doorways have straight-braced tie beams; the next N. and S. are both open sling-brace trusses (see p. lxv); the two S. trusses are modern. The sling-brace trusses are fairly late examples of the type; the braces are fastened to the principal rafters by bolts though all the other joints are of the pegged mortice-and-tenon type. (Demolished)
(29–43) Round Barrows, p. 440.
(44) Woolsbarrow, hill-fort, p. 487.
Ancient Field Group (33), p. 633.