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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21 SILTON (7829)
Silton covers some 1,225 acres near the N.W. extremity of the country and is divided into two parts by the R. Stour, which here flows S.E. in a broad valley. To the N.E. of the river the land is Kimmeridge Clay, about 300 ft. above sea-level; to the S.W. the parish lies on the dip-slope of the Corallian Limestone escarpment, with somewhat broken country at altitudes between 300 ft. and 450 ft. The original settlement, mentioned in Domesday (V.C.H., Dorset, iii, 92), lay near the church on a low ridge between the Stour and a small tributary brook on the S.W. Feltham Farm, some ¾ m. to the N.W., existed in 1327 and was probably a secondary settlement. At present, habitation is principally in the N. and N.W. of the parish, where there are scattered cottages of the late 18th and early 19th century; many of these dwellings were built on waste land which remained unenclosed until 1862 (Enclosure Award and Map; O.S., 1811). This exten sion of settlement was probably associated with the 18th and 19th-century textile industry (see Bourton, p. 3).
(1) The Parish Church of St. Nicholas (Plate 62) stands near the centre of the parish. The walls are of rubble with ashlar dressings, and in places wholly ashlar-faced; the roofs are tiled. The S. arcade of the Nave is of the late 12th century; the Chancel was largely rebuilt in the 15th century; the North Chapel, the West Tower, the South Aisle and the South Porch are of the early 16th century. For a description and sketch of the church in 1820, see T. D. Powell, Topographical Collections (B.M. Add. MS. 17459), f. 121. The church was restored in 1869. The N. chapel and the 17th-century monument of Sir Hugh Wyndham are the most noteworthy features.
Architectural Description—The E. wall of the Chancel has a chamfered plinth and, at the S.E. corner, a buttress of two stages with weathered offsets. The E. window, of 1869, comprises three cinquefoil-headed lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head. The archway to the N. chapel has a four-centred head and continuous responds decorated with stone panelling comprising moulded ribs and trefoil-headed panels set in pairs; the responds have chamfered plinths continuous with the plinth at the foot of a pierced stone screen which closes the opening. The screen was originally of six lights, but the two eastern lights have been blocked; each remaining light has a cinquefoil ogee head under open quatrefoil spandrels; the archway above the screen, no doubt originally open, has been walled up. The doorway to the N. chapel has a moulded four-centred head with continuous jambs and a chamfered four-centred rear-arch. Further W., the N. wall of the chancel has a 19th-century two-light window with vertical tracery. The S. wall of the chancel has, on the E., a restored 15th-century window of two cinquefoil-headed lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred casement-moulded surround. Beneath the window sill is a weathered string-course and below this the S. wall, more than 3 ft. thick, is probably of the 12th century. Further W., the S. wall of the chancel contains a restored archway, uniform and continuous with the nave arcade; the arch, two-centred and of two chamfered orders, springs from a 19th-century moulded corbel inserted in the E. respond. Piercing this respond is a rough squint to the S. aisle, with a chamfered four-centred head and continuous jambs. The chancel arch, of 1869, is two-centred and of two-chamfered orders, the inner order springing from fluted corbels.
The North Chapel has ashlar walls with moulded and hollow-chamfered plinths and embattled parapets with hollow-chamfered string-courses and continuous moulded coping; the stringcourses have grotesque lion gargoyles at the N.W., N.E. and S.E. corners. The buttresses are of two weathered stages. Above the parapet and set back from the E. and W. wall-faces are ashlar gables with weathered copings and cross-weathered apex stones. The E. window is of three cinquefoil-headed lights under a four-centred, casement-moulded head with continuous jambs; the moulded label has square stops. The chapel has a stone fan vault in which the ribs spring from corbels carved to represent angels bearing shields. Each fan has two heights of trefoil-headed stone panelling with ogee-moulded ribbing; at the centre of the vault is a circular panel containing four roundels with quatrefoil cusping; the intervening spandrels are also cusped. To the E. the vaulting continues in the form of a four-centred arch with a ribbed and panelled soffit.
The Nave (Plate 6) has, at the centre of the N. wall, a recess built in 1869 to accommodate monument (1), previously in the chancel. On each side of the recess is a window with two ogee-headed lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head. A diagonal buttress of two weathered stages at the N.E. corner of the nave appears to be of 14th-century origin. The S. side of the nave has a late 12th-century three-bay arcade, continuous with the arch on the S. of the chancel; the piers have moulded bases, cylindrical drums, fluted capitals (Plate 9) and moulded abaci.
The South Aisle has S.E. and S.W. buttresses of two weathered stages. The gabled E. wall contains a three-light window with a casement-moulded two-centred head and continuous jambs; the tracery is of 1869. In the gable is a fragment of mediaeval carving, perhaps a former apex stone. The S. wall has three restored windows, each of two ogee-headed lights with vertical tracery in a casement-moulded two-centred head with continuous jambs. The S. doorway has a roll-moulded and casementmoulded four-centred head with continuous jambs and run-out stops; the roll-moulding ends in miniature bases; the rear-arch is four-centred and chamfered. The W. wall has a 19th-century two-light window with a four-centred head.
The West Tower is of two stages, with a moulded plinth and a weathered and hollow-chamfered string-course; above is an embattled parapet with a moulded string-course with corner gargoyles and small angle pinnacles; the pinnacles are perhaps of the 17th century. The N.E., N.W. and S.W. corners have buttresses of four weathered stages; the S.E. corner has a stair turret with a weathered head just above the base of the upper stage. The tower arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the outer order continuing on the responds, the inner order resting on half-round shafts with moulded bases and capitals; carved on each capital is a shield with the arms of Carent, with a crescent for difference. High up in the N. side of the lower stage is a small square-headed window. In the W. side of the lower stage is a restored three-light window with a casementmoulded two-centred head and continuous jambs. The doorway to the stair has a chamfered four-centred head and continuous jambs; adjacent on the W. is an external doorway of similar form, perhaps of the 17th century. In the top stage each face of the tower has a belfry window of two trefoil-headed lights, with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head under a moulded label; the lights are closed by perforated stone slabs.
The South Porch has a moulded four-centred arch with continuous jambs and a moulded square surround with a label with head stops; the spandrels have carved leaf decoration (Plate 10). Inside, on either side, are stone benches with chamfered tops.
The Roofs of the nave, S. aisle and S. porch are of the early 16th century, with restoration and painted enrichment of 1869. They are of wagon type, but the plaster infilling between the ribs has been removed. The principal transverse and longitudinal members are moulded and each intersection is covered by a heavy leaf boss; the wall-plates are hollow-chamfered and enriched at intervals with leaf bosses and shields. In the porch the wall-plates incorporate small attached capitals. The moulded transverse members divide the nave roof into four bays, the aisle roof into six bays, and the porch roof into two bays. The roof of the chancel is a 19th-century replica of the nave roof.
Fittings—Bells: five; 1st modern; 2nd inscribed 'The gift of Judge Wyndham 1657 I.L.'; 3rd inscribed 'Dominus W. Bidyck I.G. rector duo fecerunt' in Lombardic letters, probably early 15th century (John Gardener, rector 1412–33); 4th inscribed 'Anno Domini 1633 I.L.', with royal arms; 5th inscribed 'John Ellis, John Burputt C.W. Anno Domini 1702, T.K. B.F.'. Brass: In chancel, on screen to N. chapel, plate (9¾ ins. by 8 ins.), with inscription of Sir Hugh Wyndham, 1684, in italic lettering (Plate 14). Chair: of oak, modern assembly of carved 16th-century woodwork brought from elsewhere. Chest: for registers, of cast-iron, dated 1813. Communion Table: In N. chapel, of oak, with turned baluster legs and scrolled side rails, other rails plain; 17th century. Door: In S. doorway, with oak planks in two layers, iron strap-hinges, studs, escutcheon-plate and latch; c. 1600.
Monuments: In nave, reset on N. wall, (1) of Sir Hugh Wyndham, Kt., Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, 1684 (Plate 65); white and grey marble monument, probably earliest known work by Nost (Oxford History of English Art, VIII, 250), erected in 1692, with statue of judge on gadrooned pedestal within round-headed niche, on either side mourning women (Plate 20) bearing skull and hourglass; group of figures flanked by composite columns with spiral shafts supporting segmental marble canopy and, above, three cartouches-of-arms—at centre, Wyndham impaling Woodhouse, on E., Wyndham implaing Fleming, on W., Wyndham implaing Minn; whole composition on panelled plinth with wreath, palms, scales and sword, and centre panel with epitaph. In S. aisle, on N. wall, (2) of Isaac Maggs and others of same family 1774 to 1818, white marble tablet by Osmund of Sarum; on S. wall, (3) of Dorothy (Morin) Kingeswell, 1638, stone tablet (Plate 23) with billet-moulded surround under moulded cornice, with shield-of-arms of Kingeswell implaing Morin; (4) of Samuel Davis, 1833, marble tablet in stone surround with Gothic enrichment, by Chapman of Frome; (5) of Silas Benjafield, 1843, marble tablet by Osmund of Sarum. In tower, on N. wall, (6) of John White, 1809 and others of same family, marble tablet by Osmund of Sarum. In churchyard, immediately E. of S. porch, (7) of Edward Punn, 1639, table-tomb with heavy moulded top; 2 paces from S.E. angle of S. aisle, (8) of William Boulting and others of his family, 1764–89, rectangular stone pedestal with weathered head; adjacent, (9) of Augustine Browne, 1618, table-tomb.
Piscinae: In chancel, on S. wall, with chamfered ogee-headed recess with trefoil cusping, 15th century; in N. chapel on S. wall, with chamfered four-centred recess, shelf at half height, and corbelled polygonal basin, c. 1500; in S. aisle, on S. wall, with hollow-chamfered ogee-headed recess with trefoil cusping, 15th century. Plate: includes silver cup of 1744 or 1746, stand-paten of same date, and stand-paten of 1722; also silver-plated flagon of c. 1800. Sedile: In chancel, below S. window, with hollow-chamfered and ogee-moulded square-headed surround, seat missing, much restored, 15th century. Sundial: on S. side of tower, rectangular stone plate with incised Roman numerals and wrought-iron gnomon, 1790. Tables of Creed, etc.: In chancel, on E. wall, two Purbeck marble panels with Creed and Patercoster in incised and gilded lettering, late 17th or early 18th century (Plate 23).
(4) The Rectory (78132939), 120 yds. W. of (1), is two-storeyed and has walls of ashlar and rubble, and slated roofs. The principal range is of the 18th century and there are 19th-century additions at the rear. At the centre of the S.E. front is a projecting two-storeyed gabled bay with a round-headed doorway on the ground floor, a sashed window above and a small casement window in the attic. In the lateral bays of the S.W. front the fenestration is asymmetrical and in part masked, but it is probable that the façade originally was symmetrical and of three bays. Inside, several rooms have 18th-century ceiling beams of shallow cross-section; one room has an 18th-century fireplace surround, with stone jambs with moulded panelling and a panelled and shouldered lintel shaped at the centre to represent a fluted keystone.
(5) The Rookery (78703038), house, of two storeys with rubble walls and tiled roofs, appears to be of the 18th century. In the three-bay S. front the ground-floor openings are modern; the upper storey has original casement windows of three lights with two-centred heads under square labels with returned stops. Inside, the plan is of class T. The W. room has a cornice with cable and egg-and-dart mouldings; the room has been enlarged westwards in a modern addition. The E. ground-floor room has a late 18th-century chimneypiece with carton-pierre enrichment.
(6) Manor Farm (78252925), house and outbuildings, is two-storeyed and has walls of ashlar and of rubble, and slated and tiled roofs. The present farmhouse is of the 19th century; it has a symmetrical S. front of ashlar, in three bays with a central doorway and with sashed windows. Adjacent on the E. is an 18th-century cottage with a rubble S. front of two bays. Further E. is a 17th-century building, presumably the former farmhouse, now used as a dairy; it has walls of coursed rubble and a centrally placed ashlar chimney-stack with moulded capping.
A Barn with rubble walls and tiled roofs, some 30 yds. S. of the farmhouse, is probably of the 17th century. The plan is a rectangle, with doorway bays projecting N. and S. The roof has tie-beam trusses with braced collar-beams. Adjacent on the E. and S. are 18th-century farm buildings; the stables on the S. contain oak stalls with shaped finials to the partition posts.
(7) Bagmore Farm (78613016), house, is two-storeyed and has rubble walls and tiled roofs; it dates from c. 1700 and is said to have been used for cloth-weaving during the 18th century. Inside, one room contains an open fireplace with a deeply chamfered and cambered oak bressummer; another room has deeply chamfered ceiling beams.
(8) Waterloo Mill (78782948), of two storeys with lofts and substructures, presumably dates from c. 1815; it has walls of rubble with squared rubble quoins, and some brickwork, and is roofed with slates (Plate 31). The gabled W. wall flanks the R. Stour and contains a circular opening for the former mill-wheel shaft. A stable and carthouse adjoins the mill on the E. A contemporary Cottage, some 20 yds. N.E. of the mill, is two-storeyed and has rubble walls and a thatched roof. The S.E. front is of two bays with a central doorway.
(9) Cottage (78283059), with rubble walls and a thatched roof, was formerly two dwellings. The N. tenement is singlestoreyed with an attic and dates from late in the 17th century; that on the S. is two-storeyed and was added in the 18th century. Inside, the N. room has an open fireplace with a deeply chamfered bressummer.
(10) Cottages (78373062), two adjacent and at rightangles to one another, are two-storeyed and have rubble walls; they are roofed partly with thatch and partly with iron. The N. tenement is of the late 17th century and was originally single-storeyed; the W. tenement was added in the 18th century. On the first floor in the S. front is a stone window of two square-headed lights.
Monuments of the late 18th and early 19th century include the following dwellings; unless described otherwise they are two-storeyed and have rubble walls, occasionally rendered, and roofcoverings of thatch, tile or iron: Feltham Farm (77423005), house, with a symmetrical S. front of three bays; Card's Farm (77953063), two adjoining cottages, now combined; Cottages (78533017), two adjacent, now combined; Cottages (78493020), two adjacent, now combined; Cottage (78083053); Cottage (78073057), originally single-storeyed, but heightened with brickwork; Cottage (78103008), with an approximately symmetrical W. front of three bays; Cottages (78023028), two adjacent; Cottages (78023022), two adjacent; Cottages (78043061), pair, now combined; Cottages (78193100), range of four, set in pairs, with a chimney-stack at each end of the range and with a double chimney-stack at the centre; Cottage (78413052), originally singlestoreyed, but now heightened in brickwork.