An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3, Central. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1970.
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29 MANSTON (8115)
(O.S. 6 ins. ST 71 NE, ST 81 NW)
The parish covers nearly 1,400 acres, undulating between 150 ft. and 200 ft. above sea-level. Most of the land is on Kimmeridge Clay but an outcrop of Corallian Beds occurs along Chivrick's Brook on the W. border of the parish. The original village lay to the S., around the church and beside the R. Stour; the present rather scattered settlement pattern probably reflects secondary growth following the enclosure of former open fields.
(1) The Parish Church of St. Nicholas stands close to the R. Stour in the S. part of the parish. The walls are of roughly coursed rubble with ashlar dressings; the roofs are tiled. The Chancel dates from the beginning of the 13th century; the Nave and North Aisle are of the first half of the 14th century and two early 13th-century windows in the N. wall of the aisle were probably transferred from elsewhere in the original building. The West Tower is of the mid 15th century (see Graffiti) and the West Doorway, dated 1534, must be an insertion. In the 17th century the N. aisle was shortened by the removal of the W. bay and new windows were made in the nave. The South Porch was rebuilt in the 19th century, probably using old masonry. The church was restored and the North Vestry was built in 1885.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (22¼ ft. by 16¾ ft.) has a restored early 13th-century E. window of three lancet lights with chamfered jambs and wide internal splays; the middle lancet is wider and slightly taller than those on either side. Below the window sill the E. wall is 4 ins. thicker than above. In the N. wall is a single 13th-century lancet with wide splays, chamfered iambs and a segmental-pointed rear-arch; to the W. is a 19th-century doorway and also an archway opening into the vestry. The S. wall has two 13th-century lancet lights and, between them, a 13th-century doorway with a chamfered two-centred head, continuous jambs and a two-centred rear-arch. The chancel arch, restored and perhaps remodelled, is two-centred, with two chamfered orders dying into square responds above hollow-chamfered abaci. The arch is low and the wall over it is pierced by a modern three-light opening; N. of the arch is a 14th-century squint with a chamfered, pointed head and plain jambs. The Nave (39¾ ft. by 17½ ft.) has a three-bay N. arcade of the early 14th century with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders, with continuous piers and responds; the W. bay is blocked. The S. wall has, in the E. part, two 17th-century two-centred windows, each of two pointed lights with a central spandrel light; the surround is ovolo-moulded and the mullions and jambs are hollow-chamfered. The S. doorway is of the 14th century and has a two-centred head with continuous double ogee mouldings and a chamfered semicircular rear-arch. The W. window in the S. wall is a 19th-century copy of those to the E.
The North Aisle (24 ft. by 14¼ ft.) has, in the E. wall and now looking into the vestry, a mid 15th-century window of three cinquefoil ogee-headed lights, with tracery in a casementmoulded surround with a two-centred head. The masonry S. of the opening is 3 ins. thicker than to the N., probably because the northern part of the wall was rebuilt when the window was inserted. The N. wall contains two reset early 13th-century lancet lights. The W. wall, closing off the W. bay of the arcade, is probably of the 17th century but incorporating earlier masonry, reused; in it is a doorway with a two-centred head and continuous chamfered jambs.
The West Tower (10 ft. square) has a chamfered and moulded plinth. Above, three stages are defined by weathered and hollow-chamfered string-courses; at the top is an embattled parapet with moulded copings. The string-course below the parapet is decorated with gargoyles at the corners and in the middle of each side. The N.W. and S.W. corners of the tower have diagonal buttresses in the lower stages. The vice turret projects from the S. side and has stages corresponding with those of the tower, the string-courses being continuous. At parapet level the turret has a hexagonal fourth stage surmounted by a modern embattled parapet, higher than that of the tower. The tower arch is two-centred, with ogee outer mouldings and ribbed stone panelling on the responds and soffit; the ribs have chamfered and hollow-chamfered mouldings and the panels on the responds have trefoil heads at springing level. The vice doorway has a chamfered four-centred head and continuous jambs; the stair is lit by square-headed loops. The W. doorway has a moulded four-centred head, spandrels with plain shields, a square label with shield-stops and the date 1534 carved at the centre of the label. The spandrel shields have been restored and that to the N. has an incised and coloured cross, possibly of the 19th century. The rear-arch is four-centred and shouldered. The two-centred W. window is of the mid 15th century and has three hollow-chamfered cinquefoil-headed lights below vertical tracery; the outer heads and jambs are casement-moulded. In each side of the third stage is a casement-moulded two-centred belfry window, of two cinquefoil-headed lights below vertical tracery; the lights are filled with stone panels pierced with three heights of quatrefoils, with foliate bosses.
The South Porch (7½ ft. by 5¾ ft.) has been rebuilt, perhaps with mediaeval material. The Roof of the nave is a rounded wagon vault of c. 1600 with moulded timbers and plaster infilling. The junctions of the principals with the moulded wall-plates are masked by plain wooden shields. Until recently the N. aisle roof was similar, but pointed in cross-section and with foliate wooden bosses at the intersections of the timbers; it has now been replaced by a modern roof with a flat ceiling.
Fittings—Bells: five; treble inscribed 'Ave Gracia', recast 1923; 2nd inscribed 'Anno Domini 1639, R.P.'; 3rd modern; 4th inscribed '1598 God be our guyd RB', recast 1923; tenor inscribed 'ID Rejoyse in God 1635'. Coffin-lid: In churchyard, lying on top of monument (2), stone, 62/3 ft. by 2⅓ ft. at head and 1¼ ft. at foot, with double hollow-chamfered edges; early 14th century. Coffin Stools: pair, with moulded tops and beaded uprights; 18th century. Graffiti: On external head of E. window, THES .YEU.TREES.SETT.1690. On S. respond of tower arch, second stone above plinth, 'Ryth wyl belovyd fath . .', cursive, mid 15th century; also several 17th-century initials and dates. In S. porch, several 18th-century initials, names and dates. On head of W. belfry window 'EH 1807'. Hourglass Stand: On splay of E. window in S. wall of nave, of wrought iron, with spirally twisted hinged arms and cylindrical container with three twisted iron uprights with shaped terminals.
Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In chancel, on N. wall, (1) of Grace Morris, Jan. 14, 1688/9 (sic), hemicylindrical wall monument (Plate 33) with flame finial, urn, and flower festoons above, flowered side pilasters, spherical base with acanthus enrichment enclosing cartouche, and cherub-head bracket; Latin inscription incised in italics. In churchyard, close to S. wall of nave, (2) of Alexander Good, 1688, and Frances his wife, 1674, table-tomb with heavy moulded top, inscription panels with baroque surrounds on sides, cartouche with arms of Good on W. end, conventional mortality emblems on E. end. Three paces from S. porch, (3) of George Pope, 1633, table-tomb. Floor-slab: In N. aisle, on N. side, of James Bennett, 1705, and Richard Dibben, 175–. Piscina: In chancel, in E. wall, S. of communion table, with chamfered trefoil head, continuous jambs and shallow basin; 13th century. Plate: includes silver cup with maker's mark TR and hallmark for 1665, and cover-paten inscribed 'Thomas Godwine Richard Cole 1667'. Sundial: On S. face of vice turret, rectangular stone panel with incised Roman numerals and iron gnomon, 17th century. Weather-vane: On vice turret, standard with wrought iron scroll-work, probably 18th century.
(2) Hosey Bridge (79901508), on the W. boundary of the parish, carries the road to Sturminster Newton across Chivrick's Brook. It is of rubble with ashlar dressings and spans the brook with two semicircular arches. The parapet walls have rounded copings and end at small rectangular piers. The date 1821 is carved on the S.E. pier.
(3) Manston House (81601500), 50 yds. S.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. Much of the house was destroyed by fire in 1857 and rebuilt, but part of the earlier building survives; it is of the 17th century and has ashlar walls and stoneslated roofs. The 19th-century block, containing the principal rooms, is at the N. end; it has a three-bay ashlar N. front with a pediment over the middle bay and a pedimented doorway at the centre; the roofs are slated. The 17th-century range is seen at the rear of the 19th-century block, facing E. and W., its southern end being concealed by further 19th-century additions. The 17th-century E. front is two-storied and comprises a central gabled bay, about half of another gabled bay adjacent on the N., and a third bay somewhat set back on the S. The lower storey is hidden by a modern addition but the first floor of the centre bay has a mullioned and transomed window of three square-headed lights; over it is a hollow-chamfered and weathered string-course. In the gable above the string-course is a square-headed two-light window with the remains of a hood-mould. The W. elevation of the 17th-century range has, on the ground floor, a square-headed four-light window with a weathered hood-mould; a similar window on the first floor has no hood-mould. Inside, the 17th-century part of the house contains the kitchen, with a large fireplace with a chamfered segmental head. Outbuildings to the S. are of brick with tiled roofs and date from the late 18th or early 19th century. A private Crematorium dates from the late 19th century and a Mausoleum, 50 yds. N. of the church, was built in 1857.
(4) Manston Farm (82001530), 500 yds. N.E. of the church, is of the 17th century; it is two-storied with attics and has walls of ashlar and coursed rubble; the roof is covered with modern tiles. The symmetrical S.W. front, of three bays, has a central doorway flanked by square-headed four-light windows with chamfered stone jambs and mullions. Immediately over the ground-floor window heads is a hollow-chamfered and weathered string-course. Two and three-light wooden casement windows on the first floor are modern but brick patching indicates the jambs of the original openings. The gabled end walls have stone windows on the ground floor and openings with wood surrounds above. The weathered string-course noted on the S.W. front continues on the end walls. Inside, one room has three chamfered ceiling beams.
(5) Higher Manston Farm (80931546), ½ m. N.W. of the church, is two-storied with attics and has brick walls and tiled roofs. It is of the late 18th century with later extensions to the E. The symmetrical three-bay W. front is rendered and has, on the ground floor, a central doorway flanked by three-light sashed windows. Similar windows occur on the first floor and a single window opens above the doorway. The attic has two small dormer windows. Inside, the close-string staircase has Tuscan-column newel posts and turned balusters. A ground-floor room has a late 18th-century fireplace surround with carton-pierre enrichment.
(6) Lower Manston Farm (81551518), 190 yds. N.W. of the church, is an early 18th-century cottage of one storey with attics, with rubble walls and thatched roofs. One ground-floor room has a deep-chamfered ceiling beam. To the W. is an extension of two storeys with an attic; it is of brick with a thatched roof and is probably of the late 18th century.
(7) Middle House (81501551), 550 yds. N. of the church, is of two storeys with attics and is built mainly of rubble, but with English-bond brickwork in the upper storey of the rear wing. The house dates from the 17th century but the main range to the S.W., with double-chamfered stone window openings, was demolished and rebuilt c. 1952, leaving only the rear wing of the former house.
(8) The Plough Inn (81331610), some ¾ m. N. of the church, is two-storied, with rubble walls and a tiled roof. It probably was a farmhouse and of 18th-century origin but it was refronted in the 19th century and has recently been enlarged. The ground-floor rooms, now thrown into one by the removal of partitions, have stop-chamfered ceiling beams. Moulded plaster ceilings of the 17th century have recently been brought from elsewhere.
Early 19th-century buildings include the following: At Connegar Farm is a two-storied cottage (81851630) with a symmetrical S.E. front of brick, other walls of rubble, and with a tiled roof; a stone tablet in the N.E. gable is dated 1818 and the cottage was advertised as new-built in the Salisbury Journal, Sept. 1st., 1823. A Farmhouse (80881547), dated 1861, has at the rear a two-storied N. wing of brick with a tiled roof; this appears to have originated as two cottages, probably in the late 18th century.
Mediaeval and Later Earthworks
(9) Cultivation Remains. The date of the enclosure of the open fields is unknown, but the positions of Monuments (5) and (8) indicate that part at least had been enclosed by the late 18th century. Traces of ridge-and-furrow arranged in butting furlongs, underlying the present field boundaries, appear on air photographs (R.A.F. CPE/UK 1974: 2159–61, 3159–61); e.g. at 812157, 820162 and 802157.