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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26 TARRANT HINTON
Tarrant Hinton, a parish of some 2,300 acres, occupies the Tarrant valley immediately S. of Gunville (Plate 73). The land, entirely Chalk, falls from about 400 ft. above sea-level in the S.W. to about 220 ft. at the Tarrant, and then rises to a little over 300 ft. before falling once more to the Crichel Brook, which crosses the narrow N.E. extremity of the parish.
The open fields, together with some downland, were finally enclosed in 1827 (Map and Award, D.C.R.O.). Until 1933 the parish included the mediaeval settlement of Hyde, now part of Pimperne (p. 52). Hinton village, the original mediaeval settlement, consists of farmhouses and cottages, mostly grouped between the church and the point where the road from Blandford Forum to Salisbury crosses the Tarrant. The church is the most noteworthy monument. Notable monuments outside the village include Pimperne Long Barrow (24) and two Iron Age settlement sites (18), (19).
(1) The Parish Church of St. Mary stands in the N. of the village. The walls are partly of ashlar and partly of squared Greensand rubble with flint banding and ashlar dressings; the roofs are lead-covered (Plates 4, 75). The font and some carved stone fragments reset in the S. wall of the aisle indicate a 12th-century church; the earliest part of the present building, however, is the 14th-century Nave and its S. arcade, The Chancel Arch and the West Tower are of the 15th century. Later in the 15th century the nave roof was raised and a clearstorey was inserted, the South Aisle was rebuilt, and the South Porch was built. In the first half of the 16th century the North Chapel was added, together with an Easter Sepulchre on the N. of the chancel. At an unknown date, perhaps early in the 19th century, the easternmost bay of the N. chapel was removed and the present E. wall was built. In 1874 the church was re-roofed and the chancel was largely rebuilt under the direction of Benjamin Ferrey.-The S.doorway is of 1892.
The Easter Sepulchre (Plates 76, 77) is one of the most important monuments in North Dorset. The initials of Thomas Weaver, rector 1514–36, are incorporated in the design. Hutchins (1, 316) assigns it to the year 1515, but gives no authority; stylistically it appears to be somewhat later, perhaps of c. 1536.
Architectural Description—The E. and S. walls of the Chancel are of 1874 (Sarum Dioc. Regy.). In the N. wall is the arched recess of the 16th-century Easter Sepulchre (see Fittings). Two small windows with two-centred heads appear to be of the 19th century and to take the place of blind panels in the original design. The recess has a four-centred head with double ogee mouldings and continuous jambs. Adjacent on the W., the archway to the N. chapel has mouldings uniform with those of the recess, ending in pyramidal stops. The 15th-century chancel arch is of two hollow-chamfered orders above responds with attached shafts and hollow chamfers; the pseudo-14th-century moulded capitals are probably of 1874. The S. respond is pierced by a small square-headed squint from the S. aisle.
The N. wall of the Nave has a chamfered and wave-moulded plinth which continues inside the N. chapel; the square-set central buttress, of two stages with moulded weathering, is a 15th-century addition. The archway to the N. chapel is uniform with that on the N. of the chancel, but higher; incorporated with the W. respond is part of the jamb and head of an original N. window. Further W., the existing N. window is of two uncusped pointed lights, with a central tracery light in a two-centred outer head with a moulded label. On the S. the nave arcade has three plain two-centred arches with chamfers which continue on the piers and responds and end in carved stops above chamfered plinths. Above each arch is a late 15th-century clearstorey window of two cinquefoil-headed lights, with blind spandrels externally in a chamfered square-headed surround; the rear-arches are segmental and of two chamfered orders dying into splayed jambs.
The 16th-century North Chapel appears originally to have had an additional bay on the E., removed at an uncertain date when the present E. wall was built. The N. wall has a chamfered and wave-moulded plinth, and two-stage buttresses with weathered and wave-moulded offsets; the eastern buttress is partly of brick. Although now considerably lower, the present E. bay appears formerly to have been of equal height with the W. bay of the chapel. The N. window in the E. bay is of three lights with uncusped four-centred heads below intersecting tracery in a shallow four-centred outer head; internally the mullions and tracery have ogee mouldings; the opening has deep casementmouldings inside and outside, and an external label with square stops; this window may have been taller originally than now. In the W. bay of the chapel the N. wall is two-storeyed, each storey having a low window of three lights with four-centred heads in a square-headed casement-moulded surround; the upper storey evidently corresponded with a gallery, now gone, but attested by blocked holes for the floor beams; the rounded recess on the W. presumably contained a wooden stair. A plan of 1874 (Sarum Dioc. Regy.) shows that the two bays of the chapel were at that time separated by a wall, but this is unlikely to have been an original feature and the former gallery probably overlooked the eastern bay of the chapel as well as the nave.
The South Aisle has a chamfered and moulded plinth, a diagonal S.E. buttress of two weathered stages, and a corresponding square-set buttress on the S.W. The roof is masked by an embattled parapet with a hollow-chamfered string-course and continuous moulded coping. The E. window is of three cinquefoil-headed lights, with vertical tracery in a two-centred head under a moulded label with square stops with leaf centres; mullions, jambs and tracery have hollow-chamfers and ogee mouldings inside and outside; the rear-arch is chamfered. The eastern window of the S. wall is similar to that in the E. wall; the label has head-stops. The two-light western window is square-headed and without tracery; here the label-stops are shield-shaped
The West Tower (Plate 75) has three stages, with a chamfered and moulded plinth, weathered string-courses between the stages, and an embattled parapet similar to that of the S. aisle. In the two lower stages the N.E. and S.E. corners have square-set three-stage buttresses, and the N.W. and S.W. corners have diagonal buttresses of four stages; the top stage has corner pilasters which continue in the parapet and support gargoyles where they intersect the parapet string-course. The vice turret has a small single-stage buttress, and a weathered stone roof below the second stage of the tower. The tower arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the outer order continuous and the inner order dying into the responds. Above the tower arch and below the present nave roof are the remains of the creasing-course of a low-pitched roof, dating from before the construction of the clearstorey. The lower and upper doorways in the stair turret have chamfered two-centred heads and continuous jambs; four plain loops lights the stairs. The W. window is of three cinquefoil-headed lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head under a moulded label with square stops, and with a chamfered two-centred rear-arch. The ringing chamber floor rests on four stop-chamfered beams. In the second stage there is a square-headed N. window. In the top stage each side of the belfry has a window of two trefoil-headed lights with a central quatrefoil in a two-centred head under a moulded label with square stops.
The South Porch has plinth and parapet continuous with those of the S. aisle; the S.E. and S.W. corners have small two-stage buttresses. The porch archway has a rounded head with a moulded arris under a moulded label with square stops with leaf centres.
Fittings—Bells: three; 1st with black-letter inscription 'Sunt mea spes hij tres xpe. maria joh'es', mediaeval; 2nd by Robert Austen (Dorset Procs., 60 (1938), 119), inscribed 'At thy departure I shall sound and ring to bring thee into ground' above band of scroll-work, roses and thistles, and '1640 WI.RH'; 3rd by T. Mears, 1831. Brackets: two, on responds of archway from chancel to N. chapel, octagonal, with mouldings corresponding with those on Easter Sepulchre (see below) and with deeply carved foliate enrichment on under side; W. bracket retains dowel hole of supporting shaft, now gone; c. 1536. Communion Rails: (Plate 21) with moulded and foliated rails shouldered at N. and S. ends, enriched turned and twisted balusters, and end-posts carved with cherub heads and flower pendants; made c. 1665 for Pembroke College Chapel, Cambridge; transferred c. 1880 (see R.C.H.M., Cambridge City, 153).
The Easter Sepulchre (Plate 76, 77) comprises a recess with a moulded four-centred head and continuous jambs flanked by half-columns which carry an entablature. Part of the four-centred head is visible on the N. face of the wall, showing that the recess was originally an opening through the wall and implying that the N. chapel formerly comprised a third bay on the E. The spandrels on the S. face of the four-centred head are embellished with scroll-like ribbons and medallions; the E. medallion contains three figures, probably the three Marys, one bearing a vase, the others defaced; the W. medallion contains an angel bust. The columns have pedestals with cherub heads; the shafts are fluted in the lower half and in the upper part are enriched with arabesques; the capitals are composite, with tall acanthus leaves and reversed volutes, a possible prototype of the reversed volutes of the 18th-century Blandford architects (Dorset III, Blandford Forum (45), (47); Oswald, 32–5). Carved in relief on the frieze of the entablature is the inscription VENITE ET VIDETE LOCV[M] VBI POSIT[US] ER[AT] D[OMI]N[U]S, flanked by cherub-head panels and, at each end, by the monograms TW and TT, for Thomas Weaver, alias Trotteswell (see Pimperne (4)), rector 1514–36. Over the entablature is a recess with a four-centred head with double ogee mouldings, continuous on the jambs and running out in plain chamfers. The splayed sides of the recess contain semicircular niches with four-centred heads with carved spandrels. The rear wall of the recess has three panels, the two lateral panels now with windows, the central panel blind. On the wall flanking the recess are two kneeling angels, in high relief, their knees on small moulded corbels. On the W. of the sepulchre the archway to the N. chapel has mouldings of the same profile as the upper recess; the brackets (q.v.) which project from the responds have details corresponding with those of the entablature above the lower recess.
Font: (Plate 11) of Purbeck marble, with square bowl with five round-headed sunken panels on each side, on cylindrical centre shaft and four small corner shafts, and chamfered square base, 12th century; font-cover of oak, with flat round board and six scroll-shaped supports to centre post, 17th century. Lectern: (Plate 13) of wrought-iron and brass, 1909.
Niches: In S. aisle, reset at E. end of S. wall, with chamfered pointed head and continuous jambs, perhaps originally a window, 13th century; in S. porch, reset above doorway, with chamfered four-centred head, continuous jambs and shaped stops, 15th or 16th century.
Plate: includes silver cup with assay marks of 1820, paten of , alms-bowl of 1804, and flagon of 1840. Piscina: in S. aisle, adjacent to niche, with reused double-chamfered round head, perhaps from a 12th-century window, and rectangular bowl with drain, probably 15th century. Pulpit: of oak, hexagonal, with two heights of fielded panelling, and moulded cornice and base, 18th century. Royal Arms: painted on board in moulded frame, 1802. Seating: in tower, oak bench with plain arm-rests and back, upright members with knob finials, 17th century. Stoup: in S. aisle, beside S. doorway, with projecting bowl cut off, in recess with chamfered two-centred head. Wall: bounding churchyard on S. and W., of rubble and ashlar, with chamfered plinth, weathered and roll-moulded coping, and weathered buttress, 15th century. Miscellanea: In S. aisle, on sill of E. window, part of Purbeck marble slab carved in relief with cross patonce, perhaps from small 13th-century coffin-slab; reset above S. doorway, carved fragments of column shaft and of chevron mouldings, 12th century.
(3) Old Turnpike (94741148), cottage, of one storey, with rendered walls and a slate-covered roof, is of c. 1840; the N.W. front has a three-sided bay with casement windows with traceried cast-iron glazing bars.
(4) The Old Rectory (93621103), of two storeys with attics, has walls of red brick patterned with blue headers, ashlar dressings, and tiled roofs. The house was designed by Benjamin Ferrey in the 'Tudor' style and dates probably from c. 1850. The S. front (Plate 74) is of three bays, with ground-floor windows of four mullioned and transomed square-headed lights with iron casements with geometrical glazing, first-floor windows of three untransomed lights, and gabled dormer windows of two lights. A weathered first-floor string-course is turned up, as a label, above the windows of the lower storey; the first-floor windows have separate labels. The gabled E. and W. walls of the S. range have ashlar coping above shaped kneelers, projecting chimneystacks with weathered offsets and, at the apex, coupled diagonally-set brick flues. The main doorway, in the N.E. wing, has a moulded four-centred head with pierced spandrels in a square-headed surround, and continuous moulded jambs. Inside, the principal rooms have stone fireplace surrounds with moulded four-centred heads.
Reset over an opening in the wall of a courtyard on the N. is a 16th-century four-centred stone door-head, with ogee and hollow-chamfered mouldings, and carved spandrels. One spandrel has a crowned shield-of-arms charged with three coronets, and scroll-work with lettering EST: the other spandrel has similar scroll-work with VIRGO entwined in foliage. The inscription of Thomas Trotteswell/Weaver, recorded by Hutchins (1, 318), has gone.
(5) Cottage (93441080), of one storey with an attic, with cob walls and a thatched roof, dates from about the middle of the 18th century and originally had a class-S plan. Early in the 19th century a two-storeyed bay was added on the N. (Demolished, 1965.)
(6) 'Crossways' (93831091), house, of two storeys, has walls partly of brickwork and flint, partly rendered and perhaps of cob, and a thatched roof. The N. end of the E. range retains two pairs of crucks and is probably of 16th-century origin. In the 17th century a bay was added on the S., with a large open fireplace, now blocked. The range was extended further to the S. in the 18th century; at the same time a fireplace was inserted in the original part of the building, a service wing was built on the W., and the E. front was remodelled and made nearly symmetrical.
(7) South Farm (93811100), house, of two storeys, with walls partly of banded brick and flint, partly of brick and partly of cob, and with tiled roofs, is of the late 18th century. The S.W. front is symmetrical and of three bays, with segmental-headed windows of two and of three lights, and with a central doorway under a hip-roofed porch. The plan is of class T, with a large central vestibule.
(9) Cottage (93731112), single-storeyed with an attic, with walls of flint and rubble in the lower part and of cob above, and with a thatched roof, is of 17th-century origin. Inside, the attic floor rests on a stop-chamfered beam. Extensions on the S.W. and S.E. are of the 19th century.
(10) House (93691112), formerly a School, of one storey with attics, has walls of flint and ashlar, and tiled roofs. It was built in 1849 in the 'Tudor' style, and has recently been extended on the S.
(13) Cottage (93601113), of one storey with an attic, has cob walls and a thatched roof; it probably is of the early 18th century, but has been greatly altered internally. A 17th-century chamfered beam is from elsewhere.
(16) New Barn (93631156), about 400 yds. N. of the church, with walls of weather-boarded studding above high flint and brick plinths, is of the early 18th century. The roof-trusses have tie-beams and braced collar-beams and support two purlins on each side; the roof covering is modern. A Granary adjacent on the N.W. has timber walls on staddle-stones. A Stable range on the S.E. of the farmyard has flint and brick walls and a tiled roof and probably is of the 18th century.
Roman and Prehistoric
(17) Roman Settlement (926119), including a villa, lies N.W. of Barton Hill Dairy on a site overlooking the Tarrant, on the S. and E. slopes of a Chalk spur between 300 ft. and 360 ft. above sea-level. Excavations in 1845 revealed 'extensive remains of foundations, and walls with stucco and coloured facings, extending over an area of nearly twenty acres'. On the N. side of the field, 'at some distance from the spot where the principal remains of foundations were discovered', two rooms about 5½ ft. square flanked a narrow corridor; their floors were variously described as paved with red and white tesserae arranged in parallel rows, or as stuccoed. The walls, of flint and greensand 3 ft. thick, were plastered internally and were painted with 'ribbon-work, arches, foliage etc.' . A well 30 ft. deep contained the base and part of the shaft of a large column 'of a classic character and resembling the Ionic'. Finds included flue and roofing tiles, tesserae, samian and coarse pottery, amphorae, circular pipes (presumably of earthenware), querns, bronze brooches, shale rings, and coins of Constantine and Constantius. Some of these finds, and also fragments of mosaic with guilloche, angular and curved patterns in red, white and two shades of grey, are in D.C.M.; other finds are in the B.M. It has been suggested that the site is Anicetis of the Ravenna Cosmography (J.B.A.A., 3rd ser. XVII (1954), 77–8).
The two primary accounts of the excavations of 1845, both by W. Shipp, differ in detail (Hutchins I, 318–19; Brit. Archaeol. Ass. (Winchester Congress, 1846), 179–82). Two Durotrigian silver coins in the Pitt-Rivers collection, described as from Tarrant Gunville, may come from this site (S. Frere, ed., Problems of the Iron Age in Southern Britain (1960), 240).
Limited test excavations in 1968 and 1969 tended to confirm the 19th-century accounts, yielding evidence of flint walls, generally 2 ft. thick, over a wide area. Two plain tesselated pavements, severely damaged by ploughing, and much decorated wall plaster also came to light. Nearly 50 coins were found, ranging from Lucius Verus to Valentinian, but chiefly of the 3rd and 4th centuries.
(18) Iron Age and Romano-British Settlement (920110), S. of Hinton Bushes, now almost entirely levelled by ploughing, lies between 300 ft. and 380 ft. above sea-level on the gentle S. and E. slopes of a Chalk ridge. It comprises two oval enclosures (Plate 79), linked by a ditch and associated with a series of irregular angular enclosures defined by banks and ditches; it also is associated with 'Celtic' fields (Group 73) immediately on the W., which appear to connect the settlement with the neighbouring enclosure, Pimperne (18).
The northern oval, a fragment of which survives in Hinton Bushes, is 600 ft. by 450 ft. in diameter and some 5 acres in area. Formerly it was defined on the S. and E. by a low bank between ditches, and on the N. and W. by a ditch between banks. Slight hollows have been observed in the interior, but no certain entrance is identifiable. A ditch runs southwards from the oval and then curves to link it with the E. side of the southern oval, some 200 yds. away. The latter, 850 ft. by 500 ft. in diameter, is 8 acres in area and appears to have been entered on the E. It was formerly defined by a bank between ditches on the S. and E., and by a bank with an external ditch on the N. and W. Numerous hollows and irregularities inside the oval indicated occupation.
The site is almost certainly of more than one structural phase; finds, chiefly from the southern oval, indicate a lengthy period of occupation. The finds include Iron Age 'A' and 'C' pottery, samian ware, flanged bowls and New Forest ware, parts of two stone mortars, part of a rotary quern, a roof tile, iron nails, and a point, perhaps from a goad. (Sumner, Cranborne Chase, 41–2 and pl. xx; Dorset Procs., 82 (1960), 84.)
A boundary dyke, now levelled by ploughing, extends S.W. from the southern oval for some 800 yds., curving around the southern end of Pimperne Long Barrow and extending into Pimperne parish. It consists of a ditch, formerly flanked on each side by low banks. (Sumner, Cranborne Chase, 75–6 and pl. xlvi.)
(19) Iron Age and Romano-British Settlement (945126), on Tarrant Hinton Down in the N. of the parish, lies on the S.E. slope of a Chalk ridge, between 260 ft. and 340 ft. above sea-level; it has been levelled by cultivation. Air photographs (Plate 78; N.M.R., ST 9412/5–7), and finds, indicate that the main area of occupation is a strip of land, some 500 ft. by 200 ft., adjoining the parish boundary with Chettle. Immediately S. of this area is an approximately rectangular enclosure, 550 ft. by 250 ft., from the N.E. corner of which a narrow, parallel-sided way leads to a smaller oval enclosure, 320 ft. by 250 ft. It is probable that a third enclosure adjoins these on the S.E., and lengths of boundary dyke extend away from the settlement to the S.W. (apparently linking it with the Roman road), and to the S.E. Pottery from the site is chiefly of late Iron Age or early Romano-British type, and later occupation is represented by 3rd and 4th-century flanged bowls and New Forest ware. (Sumner, Cranborne Chase, 42 and pl. xxi; Dorset Procs., 82 (1960), 84.)
(20) Enclosure (91651175), at Hinton Bushes, probably of Iron Age or Romano-British date, lies at 390 ft. above O.D. near the crest of a spur which slopes E. to the Tarrant valley. Now levelled by cultivation, the ditch surrounding the enclosure is visible on air photographs (C.U.A.P., wx 59–61) as a roughly circular crop-mark, about 400 ft. in diameter and enclosing an area of 3 acres. On the S., a second ditch runs for a short distance outside the main ditch, which it joins on the S.W.
(21) Enclosure (925102), on South Tarrant Hinton Down, probably of Iron Age or Romano-British date, lies at 270 ft. above O.D. on the S. slope of a Chalk spur. Although ploughed flat, the enclosure is seen on air photographs (C.U.A.P., xz 22, 25; 58/RAF/3250: 0135–6) as a pear-shaped crop-mark, about 650 ft. by 400 ft., 5 acres in area.
(22) Dyke (96401328–96071285), in the extreme N.E. of the parish, is now totally flattened by ploughing. It extends from N.E. to S.W. for some 600 yds. and then turns abruptly and runs N.W. for 135 yds. to 95971294. The earthwork appears on air photographs (C.U.A.P., ANC 26, 28) as a soil-mark comprising twin ditches, with a medial and possibly with flanking banks.
(23) Long Barrow (92270935), at Telegraph Clump, lies across the parish boundary with Tarrant Launceston and forms part of the Telegraph Clump barrow group (see below, (27–34)). The barrow is aligned W.N.W.-E.S.E. along the summit of a Chalk ridge, at an altitude of 400 ft. The mound, damaged by a modern brick structure, is 315 ft. long, up to 75 ft. across and 10 ft. high; between it and the irregular and disturbed side ditches are the remains of a berm.
(24) Pimperne Long Barrow (91751050), one of the finest surviving burial mounds in Wessex, lies along the boundary with Pimperne on the summit of a Chalk ridge, at an altitude of 370 ft. above O.D. Aligned from N.N.W. to S.S.E., the mound is parallel-sided, 330 ft. long, 65 ft. wide and up to 9 ft. high. On the E. it is flanked by a berm up to 10 ft. wide and by a ditch 40 ft. across, and up to 4 ft. deep. On the W. side there are traces of a narrow berm at the N. and S. ends, and of a ditch narrower and shallower than that on the E. (Sumner, Cranborne Chase 75–6 and pl. xlvi.)
(25) Long Barrow (96451317), near Thickthorn Farm in the extreme E. of the parish, lies 280 ft. above O.D. on the almost flat summit of a Chalk ridge. The oval mound, which has been heavily ploughed, measures 110 ft. by 70 ft. and is 3 ft. high. It is aligned S.S.E.–N.N.W. There are traces of a ditch, which seems to have encircled the mound (C.U.A.P., ANC 26, 28).
In addition to five undated mounds (54), some twenty-eight round barrows occur in the parish, most of them levelled or damaged by cultivation. A few were dug into in the 19th century, and among these are two which cannot be precisely located. One of them, 'near Pimperne Long Barrow', was small and contained at the centre an extended, probably intrusive inhumation with the head to the W.; in a cist in the Chalk near its feet lay another inhumation, probably primary (C.T.D., Pt. 2, no. 24). The other unlocated barrow, 'about ¼ mile E. of Pimperne Long Barrow', contained an extended inhumation, probably primary, with 'fragments of a rude urn' at its side, covered by a cairn of flints. Above the cairn was a pot containing a hoard of Constantinian coins (C.T.D., Pt. 3, no. 99; Hutchins I, 318–9).
Telegraph Clump Group comprises eight barrows (27–34), together with Long Barrow (23), all over 360 ft. above O.D., on and near the summit of a Chalk ridge. Barrows (29–32) lie close together in a line immediately W. of (23); the others are more scattered. It is possible that some of these barrows, together with neighbouring barrows in Tarrant Launceston, were opened in the 19th century. W. Shipp opened a barrow 'near the Telegraph' which contained a human leg-bone beneath a large cairn (C.T.D., Pt. 2, no. 5). J. H. Austen opened two barrows in the same area; in one he found a primary cremation in a cist, in the other he found nothing (Ibid., nos. 25 and 26). In 1840 Austen opened another barrow 'near Race Course', which contained a primary crouched interment with a long-necked beaker (Ibid., no. 23 and Pl. VII, no. 1).
Four round barrows on Barton Hill (40–43), now totally flattened by cultivation, are visible as soil-marks on air photographs (N.M.R. ST 9113/1; V 58/RAF/3250: 0134); they lie at over 300 ft. above O.D. on the summit of a spur overlooking the Tarrant valley.
(44) Barrow (94341081), now levelled by ploughing, but visible as a soil-mark on an air photograph (N.M.R. ST 9410/1), lies at over 250 ft. above O.D. on a gentle W. slope, E. of Manor Farm; diam. about 140 ft.
Three barrows lie at about 240 ft. above O.D. on the S.E. slope of the Chalk ridge of Thickthorn Down. Now levelled by ploughing, they are visible as soil-marks on air photographs (C.U.A.P., ANC 26, 28).
(54) Mounds (917106). Five very small barrows or mounds, now levelled by ploughing, formerly lay N.N.W. of (24). Their position, almost on the parish boundary with Pimperne, and their small size suggest that these earthworks may be of pagan Saxon origin.