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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15 DEWLISH (7798)
Dewlish, with an area of a little over 2,100 acres, lies entirely on Chalk astride three parallel valleys which drain S. to the R. Piddle. The W. valley is drained by the Cheselbourne, the centre valley by the Devil's Brook, while the E. valley, Dennett's Bottom, is dry. The village is scattered over the W. slopes of the valley of the Devil's Brook, near the centre of the parish. The principal monuments are the Parish Church and Dewlish House. A triangular extension of the parish westwards beyond the Cheselbourne is presumably associated with Chebbard Farm which, from its location, appears to be an early settlement, but is undocumented. (fn. 1)
(1) The Parish Church of All Saints stands in the S. part of the village. The walls, except in the tower, are of knapped flint with bands of stone; the tower is of coursed rubble. The nave is roofed with Westmorland or Cornish slates and the other parts have stone-slated roofs. The main N. doorway and a doorway at the W. end of the S. Aisle have reused 12th-century chevron mouldings, probably from a single 12th-century doorway; the Nave therefore is probably of 12th-century origin. The Tower was built late in the 14th century. The Chancel is of the late 15th century and the North Aisle was added early in the 16th century. The North Porch is of the 18th century and the Vestry to the W. of the porch is of the 19th century. The South Aisle arcade is evidently a 19th-century insertion, presumably of 1872 when restorations are known to have taken place; however, a S. aisle was already in existence in the 18th century (Hutchins II, 612) and the surviving masonry appears to be mediaeval. The organ chamber was built in 1880.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (20½ ft. by 15 ft.) has a 19th-century E. window of three lights. In the N. wall two arches of 1880 open into the organ chamber; the S. wall has a late 15th-century window of two cinquefoil lights in a square head, below a moulded label with small square stops. A similar two-light window, reset in the E. wall of the organ chamber, presumably came from the N. side of the chancel. There is no chancel arch. The Nave (39½ ft. by 15¼ ft.) has an early 16th-century N. arcade of two bays in which the two-centred arches are outlined by continuous roll mouldings, and the jambs and soffits of the arches are decorated with two tiers of stone panelling with four-centred heads and sunk spandrels. The N. doorway has a segmental-pointed head composed of reset voussoirs with chevron ornament from a 12th-century arch, a label with nail-head enrichment, and head-stops representing a king and a queen, all reset. The wall containing the N. doorway is rendered on both faces and is of uncertain date, but it is likely to be of the 12th century. On the S. side of the nave, to the W. of the 19th-century arcade, is a 15th-century window of two cinquefoil-headed lights with vertical tracery. The S.E. corner of the nave appears to be of the 12th century.
The North Aisle (6¾ ft. wide) has a late 19th-century archway in the E. wall. The mid 19th-century eastern window in the N. wall cuts into the blocking of a 16th-century doorway with a four-centred head and chamfered jambs. The second window is of the 16th century and has three uncusped two-centred lights in a square head with a label. The plain square-headed doorway leading to the N. porch from the W. end of the aisle is of the 18th century. The North Porch (7½ ft. by 6¾ ft.) has a N. wall of banded brick and flint; the entrance has a plain round head. The South Aisle (29 ft. by 8 ft.) has windows of 1872 inserted in earlier walls of flint with occasional courses of roughly squared rubble. The W. doorway is made up with 12th-century voussoirs and jamb stones that are decorated on the fascia and reveal with roll-moulded chevron ornament; the segmental head has specially cut springers (Plate 11).
The West Tower (7¾ ft by 8¾ ft.) is of two stages, with a moulded plinth, a weathered offset and an embattled parapet with a moulded string-course. The tower arch is segmental-pointed and has two wave-moulded orders; the inner order dies into the jambs, the outer order continues on the responds to terminate at rounded stops above a hollow-chamfered plinth. The two-centred 14th-century W. window has two trefoil-headed lights with cusped tracery above. High in the N. wall of the lower stage is a small rectangular window, now blocked with brickwork. Each face of the upper stage has a late 14th-century window of two cinquefoil lights with a central quatrefoil under a two-centred label.
The Roof of the chancel is concealed by a segmental plaster ceiling; in the nave a similar ceiling has recently been removed to disclose an arch-braced collar-beam roof in five bays, possibly of the 15th or 16th century.
Fittings—Bells: three; treble by W. K., 1724; 2nd by TP, 1663; tenor inscribed 'IW 1620 In God reioyce'. Coffin-stool: with turned legs, 17th century. Communion-rails: with moulded top and bottom rails and turned columns at ends, late 17th century, balusters replaced by modern uprights. Communion table: modern, standing on carved oak plinth enriched with foliate scroll-work and cherub heads, possibly fascia of an early 18th-century table. Doors: In porch entry, panelled oak gate, upper part with lattice of turned balusters, 18th century; in N. doorway, 18th-century plank door opening in two halves, with wrought-iron hinges and wooden box-lock from earlier door, perhaps 16th century. Font: of Ham Hill stone, with rounded bowl on circular stem with moulded capping, perhaps 13th century. Inscriptions: In base of tower, lead panel embossed ED LONG, SAM ADAMS, 1721, probably from former roof.
Monuments: In chancel, on S. wall, (1) of Elizabeth Moore, 1722, rectangular marble tablet with stone pediment, scrolled cheek-pieces and apron with consoles. In N. aisle, on W. wall, (2) of Emma Ann Churchill, 1842, marble tablet by Lester of Dorchester. In churchyard, N. of N. aisle, (3) of Thomas …, 17th-century table-tomb; (4) of Samuel Ademes, 1673, headstone; (5) of Mary Ademes, 1691, headstone; (6) of Charles Hall, 1791, headstone with inset lunette depicting an urn, signed Coade, London, 1792; S. of tower, (7) of Emma Ann Churchill, 1842, table-tomb by Marshall of Blandford. Painting: In nave, above N. arcade, late 17th-century cartouche containing text, Genesis XXVIII, 16, 17. Panelling: In chancel and N. aisle, 17th-century panelled dado with moulded framing and enriched frieze. Reset in organ chamber, similar dado with strapwork, guilloche ornament and carved panels; similar woodwork is used to make seating in chancel and a partition in N. arcade of nave. Piscina: In S. wall of chancel, chamfered trefoil-headed recess, mediaeval. Plate: includes an Elizabethan cup and cover-paten by Lawrence Stratford, the latter dated 1574 by inscription; a paten inscribed 'MR 1638' with date-letter for that year and maker's mark DW; also a brass alms-dish with embossed representation of Caleb and Joshua carrying grapes, punched decoration on border, S. German, early 16th century. Pulpit: Of oak, hexagonal, with sides in two heights of panelling, upper panels arcaded, with enriched framing, early 17th century. Sundial: On S. wall of tower, below belfry window, rectangular stone slab with Roman numerals and inscription 'AUT UMBRA SIC VITAR, 16.1'. Miscellanea: Against E. wall of chancel, fragment of stone coffin-lid with moulded edge and a foliate cross in low relief, late 13th-century.
(2) Dewlish House (77109745), over ½ m. S.S.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics. According to Hutchins (II, 607) the house was built by Thomas Skinner in 1702. The main front, to the N.E., is of Purbeck stone; the S.E. end wall is of Ham Hill ashlar and the S.W. front is of brick, perhaps originally rendered; the N.W. end wall is modern, having been built since the removal of an 18th and 19th-century service wing which extended to the N.W. The roofs are slate-covered.
The N.E. front is symmetrical and of nine bays arranged as a central pavilion of three bays, single intermediate bays and terminal pavilions of two bays; the pavilions are emphasised by vertical quoins and the intermediate bays are slightly recessed (Plate 54). At the base is a moulded plinth, the first floor has a plat-band with a small moulding below it and the eaves have a modillion cornice. Over the greater part of the façade the eaves cornice has plain modillions and few mouldings and is probably of the early 19th century, but the centre pavilion (Plate 128) retains an original cornice with a high degree of enrichment and foliate modillions; above, the same mouldings are repeated in an elaborate curvilinear pediment. The central doorway is original and has a stone surround with attached Roman Doric side columns on pedestals. These support entablature blocks and a broken curved pediment, within which is a cartouche with the arms and crest of Skinner surrounded by bold mantling (Plate 68).
The S.W. front has neither plinth nor string-course and the modillion cornice is some 6 ins. lower than that of the N.E. and S.E. fronts, except over the pedimented central pavilion where it is rather higher. The centre pavilion has rusticated brick quoins and contains three bays; the flanking parts of the façade have ranges of four windows on each floor but the bays nearest the centre are set apart from the other three. The openings of the centre pavilion are of greater elaboration than the others; the doorway has a moulded architrave and a stepped keystone under a pediment on console brackets; it is linked by a stone panel with the window above, which has a round head and a plain stone architrave, with a keystone and moulded imposts; the windows on each side have stone keys and, on the first floor, stone aprons; there is a small window in the pediment. The other windows have gauged brick heads.
The S.E. end wall has a moulded plinth continuous with that of the N.E. front; also continuous is the 19th-century cornice and the Purbeck stone plat-band, the latter contrasting with the Ham Hill ashlar of the wall-face. The four plain window openings of each storey are arranged in pairs; those of the lower storey have been lowered both as to heads and sills, probably in the 19th century. The demolished kitchen wing to the N.W. was faced on the N.E. front with stone and had the centre part slightly recessed; several windows retained early 18th-century sashes with thick glazing bars. A stone cartouche-of-arms from this wing is now reset over a modern archway at the N. corner of the N.E. front; it is carved with the arms of Michel with a quarterly scutcheon of Bingham, Turberville, Chaldecott and Trenchard.
The interior of the house is so planned that the central doorway of the N.E. front leads into the end bay of the Hall, as in a mediaeval hall. The Hall contains an original fireplace with a square stone surround, a moulded architrave and consolebrackets with shaped side-scrolls supporting a cornice with a broken pediment; the walls are lined with early 17th-century oak panelling, said to have been brought from Kingston Russell (Dorset I, 127). The Oak Room, in the E. corner of the house, has a plaster ceiling with a square centre panel enriched with guilloche, gadroon and egg-and-dart ornament, moulded side panels and, in the corners, baskets of fruit and flowers, and scallop shells. The walls are lined with mid 18th-century oak panelling, in two heights, with a moulded dado-rail, an enriched cornice and fielded panels. The corner fireplace has a carved oak surround and a pedimented overmantel with scrolled cheekpieces and carved festoons; the overmantel contains a portrait by Thomas Beach, dated 1765 and said to be of Grace Michel (Plate 78). In 1756 the house became the property of David Robert Michel, her husband, and the panelling was probably installed by him. The Study is lined with original bolection-moulded fielded pine panelling, with large panels above and small panels below a moulded dado-rail; the fireplace has a marble surround in a moulded and enriched wood frame. The Billiard Room has a panelled dado made partly of reused 17th-century material, and a modern fireplace surround made up with old fragments, including part of a 15th-century traceried window which was recently discovered, presumably reset, in the upper storey of the house.
The principal Staircase is of c. 1760; it is of mahogany and has open strings with richly carved spandrels, spiral and straightfluted Roman Doric colonette balusters arranged alternately, three to each tread, and a moulded hand-rail ending in a large horizontal curtail over a Doric newel-post (Plate 83). The second quarter-landing is carried on two Ionic columns of wood, perhaps insertions. The panelled dado is divided into bays by fluted pilasters.
On the first floor, the central N.E. bedroom has a dado-rail heavily enriched with egg-and-dart moulding, and a deep bed recess with a moulded elliptical head. The fireplace surround has a highly enriched foliate frieze, and consoles carved to represent eagles' heads holding pendant foliage; the consoles support an enriched and dentilled cornice-shelf; the overmantel contains a romantic landscape painting in an eared surround with keypattern ornament, flanked by foliate cheek-pieces; the pediment has a pulvinated frieze of banded oak-leaves (Plate 78). Other bedrooms are lined with quadrant-moulded and fielded 18th-century panelling and have original fireplaces of simpler design in veined and coloured marbles; one has a late 18th-century fluted wooden fireplace surround with oval medallions in the frieze. Many of the doors are original, with bolection-moulded or fielded panels, and brass rim-locks.
The Stables, ¼ m. N.E. of the house, are two-storied with walls of brick with stone dressings, and tile-covered roofs. They were built on a U-shaped plan early in the 18th century. The coachhouses in the wings are now converted into cottages, the entrances being walled up and modern stone-mullioned windows of 17th-century pattern substituted. The stable range retains the original round-headed windows and arched central doorway.
(3) Manor Farm House, immediately W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of banded flint and stone, with ashlar dressings; the roofs are slated. The house dates from the beginning of the 17th century and was probably built by Arthur Radford who acquired the manor from Lord Mordaunt (Hutchins II, 606). In the 19th century the roofs were renewed and altered and a new wing was built on the S.
The N. front is symmetrical and of four bays with a central doorway. The windows of each storey are of three lights, with stone mullions and transoms and with moulded labels. At the top are two gables; the inward-facing slopes are steep and connected together by a horizontal parapet while the outer slopes are of shallower pitch and rest on shaped kneelers. The central doorway has a moulded lintel with a slightly raised centre forming a shallow four-centred arch with continuous moulded jambs; the wall above it is blank. Each gable contains a two-light attic window and has a chimney-stack on the apex. In the W. front, which is of two bays, the upper part of the wall shows traces of rebuilding and there may originally have been two gables, as on the N. front.
Inside, several rooms are lined with plain 17th-century oak panelling with moulded beading; some have enriched friezes and one fireplace has a carved wood overmantel of three early 17th-century panels elaborately enriched with strapwork in gadrooned surrounds, with two guilloche-patterned tapering pilasters between them, all reset. A bedroom has a window flanked by Ionic pilasters carved with arabesque ornament and supporting consoles; another retains an original door with six small moulded panels below a larger panel enriched with gadrooning. The staircase has close strings, stout turned balusters, moulded handrails, and newels rising from floor to floor. Although some newels are modern others are of the 17th century and comprise stop-chamfered posts continuous with the turned balusters. The house is separated from the road on the N. by a garden which was formerly entered through a round-headed stone archway, wide enough for a carriage. The archway has been transferred to the opposite side of the road and is now incorporated in the buildings of an extensive model farm of the mid 19th century. Some 17th-century mullioned windows are reset in the same structure.
(4) Dewlish Higher Farm, 300 yds. N.E. of the church, is a farmhouse of two storeys with attics, set out on a half-H plan with the opening to the small courtyard to the N. and the main front facing S. It is of the late 17th or early 18th century. The walls are principally of brick in English bond, with two stretcher courses to one of headers, but Flemish bond occurs at the S.E. corner; the W. and N. walls are of banded brick and flint up to the first floor. Where the walls are of brick they have plinths below, plat-bands at first-floor level, and coved plaster cornices at the eaves. The roofs are tiled, with stone-slates in the lower courses, and are hipped at every corner except at the W. end of the S. range, which is gabled and crowned by a large brick chimney-stack. The S. front now has sashed windows but these are secondary; an original four-light casement with moulded wooden mullions is preserved on the N. side. A shallow round-headed recess occurs in the E. part of the S. front; it is outlined in stretcher bricks and embellished with brick imposts and a brick keystone; within the recess the wall is rendered. Internally no notable features are visible.
(5) Cottage, 100 yds. N.W. of the church, is two-storied with rendered walls and a slated roof; it probably dates from the beginning of the 18th century and has a plan with a crosspassage flanked on one side by a living room and on the other by two small rooms, one of them a pantry. The building was remodelled and the upper storey was rebuilt late in the 19th century.
(6) Lower Farm (77179689), house, dates from the first half of the 19th century and is two-storied with walls of banded brick and flint and a hipped thatched roof. The symmetrical three-bay façade has wooden three-light casement windows with pointed 'Gothic' lights.
Mediaeval and Later Earthworks
(7) Court Close (775980), remains of former settlement, lies E., S. and S.W. of the church (see plan, p. 87 and Plate 130). The earthworks comprise a large embanked enclosure sub-divided by banks and scarps, together with the remains of closes and a small moat; they cover some 17 acres, on Chalk, on the W. side of the valley of the Devil's Brook. The name 'Court Close' appears on the Tithe Map of 1844.
The greater part of the site is occupied by a large rectangular enclosure of 11 acres bounded by banks 25 ft. to 30 ft. wide and up to 5 ft. high, with external ditches on the N.E. and S.W. sides only. The enclosure is divided into two parts by a similar bank, with a ditch 2 ft. deep on the S.W. side, and is further sub-divided by low scarps and banks which are secondary to the enclosure and the main dividing bank. The N. corner of the enclosure is much disturbed and appears to have been occupied by relatively recent buildings. The remainder of the interior of the enclosure is virtually featureless. Its purpose is unknown, but apart from its larger size it has close similarities in form and position with enclosures at Milborne St. Andrew (13) and Charminster (25). To the S.W. of the enclosure is an oval mound (77499796), 2 ft. high with no trace of a ditch. It is probably part of the earthworks to the N.E., rather than a barrow.
Immediately S.E. of the church and adjacent to the N.E. side of the enclosure are four rectangular closes bounded by scarps 2 ft. to 5 ft. high, overlying the ditch of the enclosure on the S.W. and bounded on the N.E. by an ill-defined hollow-way which runs N.W.—S.E. and continues the line of the present village street to N.W. To the N.E. of this hollow-way are further scarps, much disturbed by quarrying.
In the valley bottom immediately E. of the E. corner of the enclosure (77679812) is a small rectangular moat (Class A 1(a)) (fn. 2) with ditches 30 ft. to 40 ft. wide and 3 ft. to 4 ft. deep. The Devil's Brook flows along the S.E. ditch and there is an internal bank 2 ft. to 3 ft. high along the S.W. side of the island. A ditch 25 ft. wide and 2 ft. to 3 ft. deep through the centre is probably associated with the water meadows which cover the valley floor. The moat probably encloses the site of a former manor house.
(8) Embankments (77879940), parts of a former mill-pond dam, lie across the valley of the Devil's Brook, 100 yds. N. of Dewlish Mill. They comprise a massive earthen bank, 60 yds. long, 10 yds. to 15 yds. wide and 6 ft. to 8 ft. high; both ends have been destroyed. At the W. end, a large quarry scoop in the valley side and disturbed ground, through which the brook now flows, may be the site of the original mill; probably it was the one recorded in 1317 (P.R.O., Assize Roll No. 1375, m. 15).
(9) Cultivation Remains. Little is known of the open fields of the parish. There were certainly an East and a West Field (Tithe Map 1844) but most of the parish was already enclosed by 1819, when what little remained of the former West Field was finally enclosed (Award and Map, 1819, D.C.R.O.). Ridge-andfurrow, probably of the old West Field, remains in Dewlish Park (768972).
Roman and Prehistoric
(10) Occupation Debris, Romano-British, occurs near Chebbard Farm on a gentle S.E. slope at about 400 ft. O.D. (75459855). The debris includes samian and coarse pottery of the 1st to 3rd centuries A.D., and tile fragments. Some sherds may be of Iron Age date (Dorset Procs. LXXIV (1952), 88–9).
(11) Roman Building, near Dewlish House. A black and white mosaic pavement was found c. 1740, and reopened c. 1790, on a slope S. of Dewlish House and probably W. of the Devil's Brook (near 770973). The measurement of 65 paces by 15 paces implies that more than one room was discovered. On the lower side the pavement was bordered by a gutter of red tiles. A coin of Faustina was found. (Hutchins II, 607.)
Eight round barrows survive and are widely dispersed, except for the small group on Lord's Down. That this group was formerly more numerous is evident from Warne's excavation of six barrows here, immediately before the Down was brought into cultivation (C.T.D., Pt. 1, Nos. 33 to 38). No. 33, probably (13), was 82 ft. in diameter and 12 ft. high, having been enlarged periodically for the reception of secondary interments. It covered a primary grave 6 ft. in diameter and 2 ft. deep in the natural chalk; this grave contained a Beaker (probably Long-Necked or Type A) but apparently no inhumation. Above this lay the secondary interments; first, on a layer of chalk rubble, the skeleton of a child associated with Beaker fragments; second, in the top of the same layer, a cist with a small plain urn containing a cremation; third, above a layer of mould and in a further layer of chalk rubble, a cremation with ashes beneath an inverted ridged Food-vessel urn (C.T.D., Pl. IV, No. 15; Arch. J. CXIX (1962), 65); fourth, in a cist cut into the same layer, an inverted biconical urn (C.T.D., Pl. IV, No. 14; Arch. J., CXIX (1962), 59); the bottom of the latter was smashed by, fifth, a further inverted biconical urn (C.T.D., Pl. IV, No. 13; Arch. J., CXIX (1962), 60). Just below the surface was an undated skeleton, probably intrusive. Nos. 34, 35 and 36 all adjoined No. 33 but are no longer visible. No. 34 contained a primary cremation with ashes in a small cist cut into the natural chalk; No. 35 had a skeleton 1½ ft. below the surface; No. 36 had a crouched interment, probably primary. No. 37, probably (12), contained a primary cremation within a central cist, 4 ft. long, 2 ft. wide and 2 ft. deep, at the base of the mound; in association were a crutch-headed bone pin, tweezers, a perforated whetstone and a bronze ogival dagger (Wessex grave-group 8, P.P.S.IV (1938), 102; U.L.I.A. 10th Annual Rept. (1954), 58). No. 38, probably (15), covered a primary cremation with a bronze ogival dagger in a cist cut in the natural chalk; within a cairn of flints covering the cist were the fragments of an urn (Wessex grave-group 11, P.P.S. IV (1938), 102; U.L.I.A. 10th Annual Rept. (1954), 58). A further barrow, almost certainly (14), was opened in 1882. At its centre, 10 ft. down and cut into the natural chalk, was a cist, 8 ft. long, 2 ft. wide and 1½ ft. deep, containing a bone pin and another bone object. Above the cist were the lower jaw of a pig and the foot bones of a calf (Dorset Procs. V (1883), 31). An unidentified barrow in Dewlish was opened by J. Brown in 1871. The mound was 4 ft. high and covered a primary cremation in a 'bucket' urn (B.A.P. ii, fig. 447) beneath a central flint cairn; a cremation in a globular urn was found near the margin of the mound (Arch. J. XXIX (1872), 286; CXIX (1962), 57). Another unidentified barrow opened by J. C. Mansel-Pleydell about 1881 lay on the N.W. side of Milborne Wood. It stood 10 ft. high and its lower half was composed of sand and gravel. A crude urn, containing a cremation and standing on a Purbeck slab, was probably secondary (Dorset Procs. V (1883), 30; Ant. J. XIII (1933), 445).
(14) Bowl (78489635), 50 yds. E. of (13) on the parish boundary with Milborne, has an oval appearance, presumably the result of ploughing on either side, which is accentuated by the parish boundary bank running over it; diam. about 65 ft., ht. 7 ft.
(18) Barrow ? (76799859), near the summit of Whitelands Down (S.) on a gentle N. slope, has been heavily ploughed and is now an irregular mound, apparently dug away on the E. side; two mounds are shown at this point on the 1811 O.S. map; diam. about 50 ft., ht. 2 ft.