An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 4, North. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1972.
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7 East Orchard (8317)
The parish, of some 950 acres, lies 3½ m. S.W. of Shaftesbury. The land is entirely Kimmeridge Clay and slopes gently down from 380 ft. above sea-level in the N. to 170 ft. in the S.; it is drained by the Orchard Water, a small brook on the E. boundary of the parish. Until the 19th century East Orchard was a parochial chapelry of Iwerne Minister; it included Hartgrove, now part of Fontmell Magna. The houses are dispersed and there is no village nucleus. An early mention of the settlement, Archet, occurs in the 15th-century Register of Shaftesbury Abbey (B.M., Harley MS. 61, f. 51V.), reciting pre-conquest matter.
(1) The Parish Church of St. Thomas, then a chapel-of-ease to Iwerne Minster, was built in 1859, and the former chapel on another site (see (11)) was demolished (Sarum Dioc. Regy., 1859). A font was transferred from the old to the new building.
Fitting—Font: of stone, with circular bowl with slightly tapering sides, chamfered below and with cuttings in rim for locked cover, now gone; probably late 12th or early 13th century, with 19th-century retooling; stem and base, 19th century.
(2) Methodist Chapel (83491823), with walls of ashlar and of rubble and with a slated roof, is probably of late 18th-century origin; it was enlarged on the S. in 1824. The gabled S. front has a segmental-headed doorway and, above, a round-headed window with a cast-iron lattice; two similar windows occur in each of the E. and W. walls; the N. end is masked by a cottage, perhaps contemporary with the original chapel. In the S. part of the E. wall are two tablets, one recording the date of enlargement, the other with 'Ebenezer. Sam. VII, 12'. Inside, the meeting room (33½ ft. by 17 ft.) has a plain gallery at the S. end.
(4) Gulliver's Farm (83371660), house, of two storeys with rubble walls and a thatched roof, is of late 17th or early 18th-century origin with late 18th-century alterations and additions. The original range has a symmetrical S. front of three bays, with casement windows of two and of three lights, some retaining wrought-iron frames. The extension at the W. end of the range is of two bays. A stone at the base of a brick chimney-stack on the E. gable is inscribed L.G. 1785. Inside, one room has a heavily chamfered beam with run-out stops.
(5) Great House (83461649), of two storeys, with walls of ashlar and brickwork and with thatched roofs, is of the 17th century, with an 18th-century service wing on the E. In the original W. range the three-bay W. front and the gabled S. wall are of ashlar, with weathered and hollow-chamfered first-floor string-courses. The W. front has casement windows of four square-headed lights in the upper storey; in the lower storey the windows probably were once uniform with those above, but they now have 19th-century sashes; the central doorway has a plain stone surround. The gabled S. wall has a small blocked oval window on the ground floor and blocked square-headed openings above; the gabled N. wall is of brickwork and has no openings. The E. wing has walls of chequered flint and stonework in the lower storey and of brick above. Inside, the plan of the W. range appears formerly to have been of class F, but the range has been shortened and the presumed N. bay has gone. The main ground-floor room has an open fireplace and a six-panel ceiling with deeply-chamfered intersecting beams. The stairs, in the through-passage on the S. of the chimneybreast, are of the 17th century and have moulded close strings, square newel posts, moulded handrails and turned balusters.
(6) Whitegate Farm (83641660), house, of two storeys with attics, has walls of squared and coursed rubble and thatched roofs. The three-bay S. range is of the late 17th or early 18th century and the N. wing, with brick walls, was added later in the 18th century. Inside, one room has a stop-chamfered beam.
(7) Bowling Green Farm (83101743), house, demolished in 1962, was single-storeyed with dormer-windowed attics and was of late 17th-century origin. In the 18th century the southern two-thirds of the range was heightened to two storeys. The walls were partly of rubble, partly of brick, and partly of cob; the roofs were thatched. The doorways at each end of the through-passage had heavy chamfered timber frames, as also had the southern doorway in the E. wall. A window (d) in the W. wall, nearly opposite the last-named opening probably replaced a former doorway. At the N. end of the range, rounded timber wall-plates projected externally below the eaves. Several casement windows had chamfered wooden mullions of stout cross-section, probably original. Intersecting ceiling beams in the central room retained mortices for former partitions. The open fireplaces against the N. and S. end walls had been blocked up.
(8) Trapdoor Farm (83351775), house, of two storeys with walls of rubble and of brick and with a slated roof, is of the early 19th century. The brick-faced S.W. front is symmetrical and of three bays, with a round-headed central doorway and with uniform sashed windows in both storeys.
(9) Swainscombe Farm (83621780), house, of two storeys with brick walls and tiled roofs, is of the early 19th century. The S.E. front is symmetrical and of five bays, with a central doorway and with uniform sashed windows in both storeys.
Mediaeval and Later Earthworks
(11) Platform and Enclosure (84211822) of the former chapel-of-ease (see (1)), lie near the N. boundary of the parish. On the Tithe Map of 1840 the building appears as a rectangle with a projection, perhaps a porch, at the centre of the S. side. The building now is represented by a sunken platform, some 30 ft. by 40 ft., orientated E.—W.
(12) Cultivation Remains. Nothing is known of the date of enclosure of the open fields. Remains of ridge-and-furrow, 5 yds. to 9 yds. wide and arranged in interlocking furlongs, extend over a wide area in the central and southern parts of the parish (R.A.F., V.A.P., CPE/UK 2018: 3178–3208).