An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 5, East. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1975.
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11 HOLT (0303)
(O.S. 6 ins., SU 00, all sheets)
Holt has an area of 5,562 acres. In the W., London Clay and Reading Beds undulate at altitudes between 75 ft. and 200 ft. above O.D., draining S.W. to the R. Allen and S.E. to Uddens Water. In the E., Bagshot Beds give rise to extensive heathland which falls N., E. and S. from a central ridge, about 185 ft. above O.D. The civil parish was formed in 1894, mainly of land which had been part of Wimborne Minster. Land around Mannington Farm in the N. belonged formerly to Gussage All Saints; Uddens Park in the S. was once part of Chalbury.
The history of settlement appears to be one of slow exploitation of the forested London Clay and Reading Beds, with subsequent settlement on the heathland. Mannington, Petersham and Thorn Hill are recorded in Domesday (V.C.H., Dorset iii, 86, 102, 110). Honeybrook and Grange farms, existing by 1333, and Bothenwood farm, existing by 1402, may be later settlements; Uddens may have existed by the 14th century. Isolated 17th-century farmhouses at Pig Oak and God's Blessing Green in the S. and at Holt Lodge in the N. indicate further extension by that period at the latest. Encroachment occurred during the 18th century in Holt Forest, in the N.W. of the parish, and also around the N. and W. edges of the eastern heathland and on the heath itself. Clearance of woodland and encroachment on the heath continued throughout the 19th century. (P. J. K. Warren in Dorset Procs., 88 (1966), 188–202.)
(1) The Parish Church of St. James, with brick walls and slate-covered roofs, comprises a Chancel and a Nave with lancet windows and a bell-cote on the W. gable. The Nave, built in 1836 to designs by John Tulloch, was a chapel-of-ease to Wimborne Minster and replaced an earlier chapel of which little is known (Warren, loc. cit.). The Chancel was added in 1889 to designs by T. H. Wyatt (Sarum Dioc. Regy.).
Fittings—Bell: plain, formerly in Wimborne Minster church, mediaeval (Hutchins III, 200, note). Pulpit: (Plate 19), formerly in Wimborne Minster church, of oak, octagonal, with free-standing Corinthian angle columns supporting moulded arcade and entablature with carved brackets; each side with round-headed panel with fluted pilasters and enriched archivolt; podium with lozenge panels; two sides hinged to form door; early 17th century.
(2) Bridge (06920521), of ashlar and brickwork, has a single segmental arch flanked by pilasters; it is of the early 19th century.
(3) Uddens House (04650272), demolished in 1955, was mainly of two storeys, with brick walls and slate-covered roofs. The N.W. range was built c. 1747 (Hutchins III, 114) ; the main S. range was added c. 1800 and the earlier building was then remodelled to fit it as a service wing.
The E. front of the S. range was of five bays, the three middle bays projecting slightly and emphasised by a plain pediment. The lower storey was masked by a porch with round-headed openings flanked by columns and with a balustraded parapet at first-floor level; the porch, not seen in the engraving published by Hutchins (opp. p. 114), was probably added after 1850. The windows not masked by the porch were plain square-headed openings with sashes.
The S. front was symmetrical, with plain sashed windows in both storeys; a continuous stone plat-band coincided with the upper window-sills; the brick parapet had a moulded stone cornice and plain coping.
The E. front of the N.W. wing, presumably one of the main elevations of the house of c. 1747, appears to have been of eight bays; the four middle bays were three-storeyed and the two middle bays had a plain pediment. Many of the square-headed sashed windows were originally of three lights, but in several of them the lateral lights were bricked up.
Inside, the principal rooms of the S. range had moulded cornices, moulded and enriched dados, and marble chimneypieces with classical enrichments; the doorways had moulded and enriched architraves, and panelled mahogany doors. The stone staircase had scroll-shaped iron balusters and mahogany handrails. A circular room on the N. was fitted as a gun-room. The N.W. wing was completely remodelled in c. 1800 and nothing remained of its former fittings.
The surviving Stables are probably of c. 1747 in origin, but with alterations of c. 1800, notably in the pedimented S.E. front. The building is single-storeyed with lofts and has brick walls and slate-covered roofs. A clock in the pediment was made by Arnold of Child Okeford in 1792.
(4) Holt Lodge Farm (05260623), house, of two storeys with timber-framed walls subsequently faced and partly rebuilt in brick, and with tiled roofs, is of early 17th-century origin; the brickwork is of the late 18th century. The S. front is symmetrical and of five bays, with a wide central doorway, segmental-headed casement windows of two and of three lights, and a brick plat-band at first-floor level. The gabled E. wall is plain; that on the W. is masked by a modern addition. The N. elevation is masked by lean-to extensions, but inside these the original N. wall, of heavy timber framework on a stone and brick plinth, is preserved. Inside, some ground-floor rooms have deeply chamfered intersecting beams, now cased in plaster. Several first-floor rooms have 17th-century oak panelling and heavily chamfered beams; an exposed timber post in the N. wall has chamfered arrises and a shouldered head. In the roof, original cambered tie-beam trusses support chamfered purlins with run-out stops. A doorway in a partition which divides the roof-space into two attics has a four-centred head and a plank door hung on strap-hinges with ornamental finials.
A Barn (05260616), with walls of weather-boarded timber framework on brick plinths and with a thatched roof, has recently been demolished and rebuilt; the former structure was of the 18th century. The roof had trusses with cambered and braced tie-beams, queen-struts and collar-beams, supporting two purlins on each side. The tie-beams and collar-beams had upper braces to the principals.
(5) Cottage (06200577), of one storey with an attic, has timber-framed walls with cob and brick nogging, and a thatched roof. It is probably of 17th-century origin.
(6) Holt Farm (02980404), house, now three tenements, is of one storey with an attic and has timber-framed walls and a thatched roof; it is of the 17th century.
(7) Cottage (03020398), of one storey with an attic, has rendered walls and a thatched roof; it is of the 17th century. Inside, the fireplace in an attic room has decoration in modelled plasterwork depicting a lion, a fleur-de-lis and a horse.
(8) Vicarage Farm (03010370), house, of one storey with an attic, has timber-framed walls with brick nogging, and a thatched roof; it is of 17th-century origin. The plan, originally of class J, has been altered by the removal of the former chimney-stack and the insertion of a staircase in its place. Some hollow-chamfered beams with shaped stops are exposed.
(9) God's Blessing Farm (03170319), cottage, of two storeys with brick walls and a thatched roof, appears to be of 17th-century origin. Originally the walls were probably of timber framework.
(10) Farmhouse (03150304) at God's Blessing Green, of one storey with an attic, has timber-framed walls and a thatched roof; it is of 17th-century origin.
(11) Cottage (02190294), of one storey with an attic, has timber-framed walls and a thatched roof; it is of the 17th century. The cottage has an L-shaped plan comprising three rooms, with the fireplace in the centre room and the chimney-stack near the re-entrant angle.
(12) Bothenwood (02090255), farmhouse, of two storeys, with timber-framed walls refaced in part with brickwork, and with a thatched roof, is said to date from 1607. The plan is of class J. The original staircase, set against the back wall of the range, has a close string and turned balusters.
Unless otherwise described, the following farmhouses and cottages are of the 18th century and have brick walls and thatched roofs.
(13) Pig Oak Farm (02340321), cottage, is of one storey with an attic (Plate 31). The original building, a cottage with a class-S plan, has a date-stone of 1723 over the doorway. An addition at the S. end of the range, comprising one heated room and an attic is probably of c. 1750; further additions are of the early 19th century.
An adjacent Granary, square on plan, with brick walls raised on staddle-stones and with a slate-covered roof, is probably of the mid 18th century, a beam dated 1704 notwithstanding.
(14) Cottage (01510263), of one storey with an attic, is of the 18th century. The plan appears originally to have been of class S, but an additional chimney-stack on the W. end wall makes it a class-T building of two rooms. Inside, three chamfered beams with run-out stops are exposed.
(15) Cottage (01430255), of two storeys, is of the early 18th century.
(16) Petersham Farm (02080435), house, of two storeys with a tiled roof, is of the second half of the 18th century. The S. front is symmetrical and of two bays with a central doorway. The plan is of class T. Inside, some lightly chamfered beams are exposed.
(17) Cottages (02320533), pair, of one storey with an attic, have cob walls with brick plinths and quoins.
(18), (19) Cottages (02350538), (02360539), of one storey with attics, have walls as in (17); they are of the late 18th century and have class-S plans.
(20) Cottages (02720630), of one storey with attics, formerly the New Inn, originally had a class-T plan and a symmetrical S. front of two bays with a central doorway. Extensions on the W. and E. are of the late 18th century; the eastern extension was originally a separate dwelling.
(21) Cottage (02780636), of two storeys with walls partly of cob, has a symmetrical S. front of two bays with a central doorway. The plan is of class S.
(22) House (03380516), of two storeys with brick walls and a tiled roof, is of the late 18th century. The S. front is symmetrical and of three bays.
(23) Bower's Farm (03660409), house, of two storeys with brick walls and a tiled roof, is of mid 18th-century origin and has a late 18th-century addition on the E. The original building had a class-T plan, with a symmetrical three-bay N. front; the round-headed central opening in the upper storey has been blocked; the other openings are segmental-headed. The eastern addition is single-storeyed with attics.
(24) House (04270465), of one storey with an attic, has cob walls partly brick-faced, and a thatched roof; it is of early 18th-century date. Inside, some chamfered beams are exposed.
(25) Paradise Farm (04920530), house, of two storeys with brick walls and a tiled roof, is of the late 18th century. The S. front is symmetrical and of five bays, with a central doorway and segmental-headed windows; several windows have been blocked up. Inside, the plan is of class T. A ground-floor room has a fireplace with an elliptical brick arch. The stairs have closed strings, square newel posts and flat upright members profiled to represent balusters.
(26) 'Crooked Withies' (05520528), cottage, of one storey with an attic, has cob walls and a thatched roof; it was built early in the 18th century and has a class-J plan. An earlier dwelling on the site (Dorset Procs., 88 (1966), 201) has disappeared.
(27) Cottage (03580287), of two storeys with brick walls and a tiled roof, is of the late 18th century. The S. front is symmetrical and of three bays.
(28) Clayford Farm (06050293), of two storeys with brick walls and tiled roofs, is partly of the late 18th century, with 19th-century extensions on the S. and E.
(29) Cottage Orné (00590365), formerly a lodge at the gateway to the park of 'Gaunt's House' (Hinton Martell (2)), is of one storey with an attic and has brick walls and thatched roofs (Plate 33); it dates from early in the 19th century. The conical roof has cusped eaves (cf. Dorset I, 149; Lyme Regis (37)).
Mediaeval and Later Earthworks
(30) Dam (034046), called Pond Head, spans the valley of a small stream flowing S.E. It was already disused in 1811 (O.S. 1811) and its origin is unknown. The bank is 230 yds. long, 75 ft. wide and 14 ft. high at the centre. The stream now flows through a channel near the S.W. end of the earthwork.
(31) Enclosures (around 058040), on Holt Heath, extend to about 100 acres. The earthworks lie near the site of a house which existed in 1811 (O.S., 1811), but which had gone by 1845 (Tithe Map, Wimborne Minster); local tradition records its name as White House Holding. The former house is represented by a disturbed rectangular area (05860410), 30 ft. by 15 ft., defined by crumbling cob walls 2 ft. high, set in a paddock of about 3 acres, bounded by a low bank. Adjacent on the S. and W. are traces of at least six rectangular enclosures, from 5 acres to 20 acres bounded by low banks with external ditches; one of them has traces of ridge-and-furrow 5 yds. wide. None of these enclosures is marked on any known map and they must have been abandoned before 1811.
The Bee Garden (Heywood Sumner, Local Papers (1931), 33–6, fig. v), some 350 yds. W. of the house-site, is a rectangular enclosure, some 29 yds. by 25 yds., defined by a bank 3 ft. high with an outer ditch 5 ft. to 6 ft. deep and up to 30 ft. wide. The interior is reached by a causeway in the middle of the S.E. side. The earthwork is not isolated, but lies inside and against the N. flank of one of the largest of the six enclosures described above, one covering some 10 acres. As the bee-garden is not shown on any 19th-century map it presumably was out of use by that time; it may be of the 17th century.
Roman and Prehistoric
Roman pottery, mostly of 4th-century date, was found in a gravel pit (062058) near Mannington (Note by J. B. Calkin, with sherds, in D.C.M.).
(32) Bull Barrow (05550499), bowl, near the N. edge of Holt Heath, overlooks the valley of Mannington Brook at 90 ft. above O.D. It is 48 ft. in diam. and 4½ ft. high; the top of the mound has been disturbed by digging. Either from this barrow or from one of the same name in Woolland (Dorset III, 317) came a sharpened deer bone (Barrow Diggers, 77, pl. 5, No. 16).
(33) Bowl Barrow (06870485), on the summit of Summerlug Hill on the N.E. side of Holt Heath; the centre of the mound has been dug into. Diam. 65 ft.; ht. 4 ft.