An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3, Central. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1970.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.
19 HAMMOON (8114)
(O.S. 6 ins. ST 81 SW)
The small parish of Hammoon, covering only 690 acres, lies in a bend of the R. Stour between Sturminster Newton and Shillingstone. It occupies a flat river terrace about 150 ft. above sea-level, except in the S. where it rises to 200 ft. on Kimmeridge Clay. The village stands at the edge of the river terrace. The open fields which formerly extended over most of the parish were enclosed before 1771.
(1) The Parish Church of St. Paul stands in the N. part of the village. It has walls of rubble with ashlar dressings and the roofs are tiled, with stone-slate verges. The N. wall of the Nave, probably of the late 12th or early 13th century, is the only surviving part of the original church; it was aisleless certainly on the N. and it may have been a simple two-compartment building with chancel and nave both about 12 ft. wide. At an uncertain date a N. chapel was added, but this has long been demolished and only foundations survive. About the middle of the 13th century the Chancel was rebuilt on a larger scale than before, and a project to build a correspondingly larger nave was started; the S. wall of the nave was built, but the project was abandoned and the nave was left with its original N. wall, the axis thus falling about 4 ft. S. of that of the chancel. In the 15th century the old N. wall was provided with new windows and the nave was re-roofed. In 1885 the chancel arch was rebuilt and the nave was extended to the W.
The church has a well-proportioned 13th-century E. window with good modern glass, and an interesting 15th-century nave roof. The communion rails, pulpit and reset reredos are noteworthy.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (20 ft. by 15¾ ft.) has single-stage angle-buttresses at the N.E. and S.E. corners. The E. window is of three gradated lancet lights under a chamfered two-centred head and a segmental-pointed rear-arch. Internally the lancet heads rest on shafts attached to the mullions and jambs, with roll-moulded caps but without base mouldings. The only opening in the N. wall is a narrow 13th-century doorway with a chamfered two-centred head; the upper part of the wall is restored. In the S. wall are two 13th-century trefoil-headed windows; that to the E. is of two lights with a quatrefoil above; it has chamfered jambs and a segmental-pointed rear-arch; the other is a single trefoil-headed light. The chancel floor was lowered to its 15th-century level in 1945, making it lower than the present nave floor.
The Nave (35½ ft. by 17 ft.) retains an original N. wall that is probably of the late 12th or early 13th century. At its junction with the chancel is an irregular mass of masonry, perhaps the remains of an inserted vice to a rood-loft; in the upper part it appears to retain the dressed reveal of a small window. Near it a weathered drip-course on the nave wall indicates the former existence of a low adjacent building, doubtless a N. chapel with a lean-to roof; a straight joint may indicate the E. jamb of an opening to it from the nave. Fragmentary footings of the E. and W. walls have recently been excavated. The eastern window of the N. wall of the nave is of the mid 15th century and has two cinquefoil-headed lights in a chamfered square-headed surround; adjacent is an original doorway of c. 1200, now blocked, with a chamfered two-centred head and continuous jambs. Beside the doorway is a 16th-century buttress of two weathered stages; further W. is a 15th-century window of one cinquefoil-headed light in wide splays which show that the opening itself is of the 12th or 13th century. The W. extremity of the N. wall is of the 19th century. The S. wall is of the mid 13th century; the S.E. corner has an original ashlar buttress running E. and traces of a corresponding buttress to the S., now cut back; adjacent is a late 19th-century window of one trefoil-headed light. The S. doorway is of the 12th or 13th century and has wide chamfered jambs; the monolithic segmental-pointed door-head is probably later. Further W. is a two-light window of 1885. The South Porch is of the 16th century and has a chamfered round-headed arch.
The timber Roof of the nave dates from the mid 15th century or perhaps a little later; it is supported on three trusses with moulded principals and cambered tie-beams. Main purlins lie half-way between the wall-plates and the ridge and are intersected at half length by moulded principal rafters. The square compartments so formed are sub-divided by secondary rafters and secondary purlins into four smaller rectangles so that each slope of the roof has thirty-two compartments; four additional compartments at the W. end were made in 1885. The principal intersections are decorated with wooden foliate bosses. Below the inclined members the wall-heads are decorated with embattled timber cornices at two levels.
Fittings—Bells: two; 1st, inscribed 'Maria' in Lombardic capitals, probably c. 1350; 2nd, with arms of Chertsey Abbey and ABCDEFG in black-letter, perhaps 16th century. Brackets: On N. wall of nave, 15th-century angel corbel. In porch, moulded square bracket with foliate terminal. Chair: of oak, with shaped front legs and arm-rests, moulded rails and conventional ornament on back rail; letters TE drilled on back panel, mid 17th century. Chest: of oak, with moulded lid, fluted top rail, and strap-hinges; early 17th century, restored 1913. Communion Rails: with stout oak balusters and beaded top rail, central gateway integral with balustrade, 17th century. Door: In S. doorway, with vertical oak boards outside and horizontal elm boards inside, nailed together and hung on strap-hinges with fleur-de-lis terminals; box lock (2½ ft. by ¾ ft.) out of a single block of oak; probably 15th century. Font: Octagonal bowl brought to square base by rounded stops; 14th century, on modern plinth.
Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In nave, on S. wall, (1) of Henry Jenkins, 1826, plain marble slab with two-centred head, on painted back panel. In churchyard, S. of chancel, (2) of Mary Rideout, 1658, and Margaret Michel, 1659, table-tomb with panelled sides and moulded top; reset against porch, (3) of John Jenkins, 1814, and John Scutt, 1815, headstone with incised enrichment signed Robt. Domoney. Floor-slab: In chancel, to S., of Mary Crowch, 1687, reset 1945. Plate: includes Elizabethan cup by the Gillingham silversmith, undated, and paten of 1830. Pulpit: Reassembly of oak panels with incised ornament of conventional foliage, guilloche and rosettes; panels in two heights separated by rails and styles enriched with cable pattern; cornice with conventional arcaded pattern; inscribed '1635 C.P.'. Reredos: of stone (5 ft. by 1¾ ft.) with seven pointed niches, the middle one cinquefoil-headed, the others trefoiled; central recess with Crucifixion, lateral recesses with figures of saints, spandrels with foliate enrichment; late 14th or early 15th century, purchased 1945, provenance unknown. Stalls: In chancel, incorporate fourteen early 16th-century oak panels carved with stylised fruit and foliage enclosed in ogee-headed borders (Plate 22). Table: In chancel, with roll-moulded rails and legs, early 18th century. Miscellanea: Set in wall close to pulpit, twisted wrought-iron hourglass-bracket, 17th century. Loose, sculptured head of cowled male figure lying in coffin (Plate 14), 14th century, removed from Hammoon Bridge in 1945. Reset in W. wall, fragments of glazed floor-tiles found in chancel in 1945, 13th century.
(2) The Manor House (81741460) is of two storeys with attics. The walls are of ashlar, rubble and timber-framing, the latter partly rendered and partly weather-boarded; the roofs are thatched. The S. range of the L-shaped plan is of the 16th century, the W. part being timber-framed and of the first half of the century while the E. part is of c. 1560; the later part is ashlarfronted and appears to remain incomplete (Plate 134). The N.E. range was added in the 17th century.
The house retains interesting original joinery and the 16th-century ashlar front has good early Renaissance details. The continued use of thatch on so large a house is unusual.
The original S. range is of three bays. The S. front is rendered and may have been partly rebuilt but, to the W., some timber-framework has been discovered behind the rendering; the framework is set on a low plinth of rubble with a chamfered ashlar capping. At the W. end the framework terminates against a gabled end wall of squared rubble. The two-light and three-light mullioned windows of both storeys are of wood and of the 19th century. To the E., the S. wall butts against and is continued by the later 16th-century ashlar. This ashlar rises from a moulded plinth and is interrupted by a hollow-chamfered string-course below the first-floor window-sills. A polygonal angle-shaft defines the S.E. corner of the house and a corresponding shaft, some 20 ft. to the W., is partly concealed by the fabric of the porch. Presumably the intention was to build a gabled and pinnacled E. bay, outlined by ornamental angle-shafts, but it was never completed. A two-storey bay window is set midway between the angle-shafts; the stone mullions are recess-chamfered and the four-centred lights are set in square-headed casementmoulded surrounds. The ground-floor window has a hollow-chamfered label; in the upper storey the window is truncated by the eaves of the thatched roof immediately above the window-head. A sundial with black-letter numerals and a hole for a gnomon is incised on the E. angle-shaft, below the string course.
The two-storied S. porch (Plate 134) appears to have been added as an afterthought as its E. wall is built against and partly hides the W. angle-shaft, with a straight joint, although the mouldings of the plinth and string-course of the E. bay are repeated on it. The porch is crowned on the S. front with an ornamental gable, having curved and counter-curved moulded copings. The horizontal copings of the E. and W. sides are embellished with double scrolls surmounted by small obelisks. The entry to the porch is round-headed, with a plain archivolt culminating in a scrolled keystone enriched with acanthus ornament and half a Tudor rose. The archway is flanked by rusticated Tuscan half-columns standing on pedestals and supporting a horizontal entablature, the frieze of which consists of a series of embossed rectangles. Each spandrel is decorated with a circular wreath of gadroon, bead-and-reel and egg-and-dart ornament; a scratched inscription reads I.R. 1687. The upper storey of the porch has a three-light window with details similar to the windows of the E. bay. The doorway inside the porch has a hollow-chamfered four-centred head in a square ogee-moulded surround with roses carved in the spandrels; the mouldings continue on the jambs and terminate at vaseshaped stops. The door is of oak with vertical planks nailed to horizontal inner planks, the vertical joints being covered with moulded fillets; the strap hinges are of wrought-iron.
In the E. elevation, the mid 16th-century ashlar masonry of the S.E. corner almost immediately gives way to rubble of a later period; a length of the 16th-century plinth moulding near the corner has been reset upside-down to provide a corbel on which the slightly thicker rubble-work rests. The casementmoulded square-headed two-light windows on each floor in the S. bay of the E. front are of the 16th century but reset; the lintel of the first-floor window formerly belonged to an opening with three four-centred lights. Further N. the two-light mullioned windows are square-headed; the ground-floor openings have stone dressings while the first-floor windows have timber surrounds. The doorway near the S. end of the E. front has a moulded four-centred head with continuous jambs. The N. gable of the N.E. range contains a small attic loop-light; lower down, the N. wall is masked by a modern lean-to addition. The W. side of the N.E. range is of ashlar and squared rubble. A doorway near the N. end has a four-centred head; it is blocked with masonry and is probably reset since it appears to occupy the position of a former oven. The ground-floor windows are square-headed with hollow-chamfered stone surrounds; the first-floor windows have timber surrounds.
The N. side of the S. range is partly obscured by a modern lean-to structure but portions of the original fabric can be seen above and inside. The wall is of timber-frame construction on a rubble plinth with a chamfered ashlar capping; the timber-framing is filled in with wattle-and-daub. The upper part of the wall is weather-boarded and has some original timber windows with chamfered mullions in the upper storey. The W. wall of the S. range is of rubble, with a large chimney-breast weathered back below roof-level. A projection to the N. of the chimneybreast is probably part of a former oven.
Inside, the porch doorway leads into a vestibule with, to the E., a stone doorway to the dining-room with a hollow-chamfered four-centred head with sunk spandrels. To the N. is a late 17th-century staircase with square newel-posts, ball-finials, vaseshaped balusters, close strings and moulded handrails; much of the woodwork has been restored. W. of the vestibule, the drawing-room has deeply chamfered intersecting beams dividing the ceiling into four panels. The fireplace, probably inserted in the 17th century, has an ogee-moulded timber head and moulded stone jambs; an iron fire-back is dated 1579. The room W. of the drawing-room has a deeply chamfered ceiling beam. The W. fireplace is original and has moulded stone jambs and a deep moulded timber lintel, but the under side of the lintel has been cut away. The dining-room has deepchamfered ceiling beams cased in plaster; the walls are lined with late 17th or early 18th-century panelling in four heights; the overmantel has linenfold panels. On the first floor the timber-framing of the N. wall of the S. range is exposed. The roof, seen in the attic, has five tie-beam trusses with cambered collars, principals tenoned together at the apex, a diagonally set ridge-piece and two purlins to each side; between the purlins are curved wind-braces. The tie-beams are seen below the first-floor ceilings and have curved angle-braces at each end, but several of the latter have been cut out. The W. chamber has a flat ceiling of four panels with deeply chamfered intersecting beams set level with the lower purlins; in the same room, the inclined bay of the roof to the N. of the flat ceiling is lined with boarding painted dark red and decorated with white stars; this is probably of the late 16th century.
(3) Hammoon Bridge (82031473) has a central pier and end abutments of rough ashlar, of uncertain date but possibly 17th century; they are cut down to provide support for steel girders.
(4) Farm House (81771441), is two-storied and of coursed rubble and ashlar, with much brick repair on the ground floor and entirely of brick on the first floor. The roof is thatched. Three of the ground-floor rooms retain elements of the original late 16th or early 17th-century house, the plan of which was L-shaped. One ground-floor room has moulded intersecting ceiling beams and moulded wall-plates, and a room on the first floor has a partition of 17th-century oak panelling in four heights with moulded rails and styles. One window retains part of a moulded stone frame but all other openings were renewed in the 19th century. (Demolished.)
(5) Cottage (81691448), 150 yds. S.W. of the church, now has two storeys and a tiled roof but was originally single-storied with an attic. The lower walls are of squared rubble, with repairs in brickwork. A fireplace at the N. end has a chamfered oak lintel and stone jambs. The cottage is of 17th-century origin but it has recently been completely modernised.
(6) Cross Base, 50 yds. S. of the church, is a socketed stone base block, 2¾ ft. square and 2 ft. high, chamfered at the top to form an octagon; it is probably of the 15th century. A vertical member with roll-moulded arrises cemented into the square central socket could be part of the original shaft. An inscription on one side records that the base was taken from nearer the church and set here in 1913.
Mediaeval and Later Earthworks
(7) Cultivation Remains. The open fields of the parish were enclosed before 1771 (Map of Hammoon, 1771, D.C.R.O.). Ridge-and-furrow 6 yds. to 10 yds. wide survives in the W. of the parish (807141); elsewhere extensive traces are visible on air photographs (R.A.F. CPE/UK 1974: 1158–61, 3158–60) which show straight and curved furlongs, generally end-to-end and up to 350 yds. long. All the remains are earlier than the field boundaries of 1771.