37 COMPTON VALENCE (D.d.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXXIX, N.W. (b)XXXIX, N.E.
Compton Valence is a parish 7 m. W.N.W. of
b(1) Parish Church of St. Thomas of CanterBury stands near the middle of the parish. The walls
are of local rubble, with bands of flint and some ashlar
in the tower; the dressings are of Ham Hill and local
stone. The roofs are covered with stone-slates, with the
exception of the tower which is lead-covered. The Tower
was built in the 15th century, but the rest of the church
was entirely rebuilt in 1838–9 and comprises Chancel, N.
Vestry, Nave, N. Aisle and S. Porch. Benjamin Ferrey
was the architect.
The church for the most part exemplifies the use of
14th-15th century Gothic style in traditional rather
than in revived form.
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The Chancel (17 ft. by 13
ft.) has a semi-octagonal E. end containing in each face a
three-light window with tracery in a four-centred head
with a label, the buttresses at the angles are in two
stages with the lower weathering gable-shaped; the
moulded cornice at eaves-level is enriched with strapwork and ball-flowers. In the N. wall is a doorway
with two-centred chamfered head into the vestry and
in the S. wall a doorway to the pulpit-stairs. The
chancel-arch is moulded and two-centred; the hollow
chamfered responds have attached shafts with carved
capitals and moulded bases.
The North Vestry (10¾ ft. by 9¼ ft.) has in the E.
wall a window with two trefoiled lights in a square
head and, in the N. wall, a doorway with two-centred
chamfered opening and a label with headstops. The
archway in the W. wall is two-centred and of one
The Nave (45½ ft. by 16 ft.) has a N. arcade of four
bays with moulded two-centred arches, the main
hollow-chamfer moulding is continued down the
piers and responds which have attached shafts with
moulded capitals and bases. In the S.E. corner, set
diagonally between the E. and S. walls, is the stone
doorway to the pulpit, with two-centred opening in a
square head under a moulded cornice with a scroll
containing a painted inscription. The S. wall has
heavy buttresses in two stages with moulded weatherings and contains three windows, each of two ogee
trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head
with a label. The S. doorway has moulded jambs and
a two-centred moulded arch.
The North Aisle (12 ft. wide) has five one-stage
buttresses, and four windows in the N. wall, each of
one ogee trefoiled light.
The West Tower (8 ft. by 9¾ ft.) is of two stages with
an embattled parapet and a modern stair-turret. The
19th-century tower-arch is two-centred and of one
chamfered order. The W. window is of two trefoiled
lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head with a
label and head-stops; the mullion and tracery are
modern. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window
of two trefoiled lights in a square head; the lights are
filled with pierced quatrefoils.
The S. Porch has diagonal-buttresses and a S. gable
with shaped kneelers, coping and foiled apex-stone.
The outer archway has moulded jambs and moulded
two-centred head; in the wall above is a niche with
trefoiled head and hollow-chamfered jambs.
The chancel is covered by a ribbed vault, springing
from carved and moulded corbels; at the E. end, the
wall-ribs form the rear-arches of the windows. The
Roofs of the nave and aisle are of wood and are contemporary with the building. The ground-stage of
the tower has a 19th-century ribbed vault with a central
boss carved with an angel holding a scroll and the
porch has vaulting with hollow-chamfered ribs springing from moulded corbels.
Fittings—Bells: four; 3rd by George Purdue,
1620; 4th by Thomas Purdue, 1676. Brass and
Indents. Brass: In nave—to Thomas Maldon, rector,
c. 1440, who rebuilt the church, half-figure of priest
in mass-vestments with scrolls. Indents: In nave—
of plate in Purbeck marble slab. In S. porch—of square
plate, 16th or 17th century. Font: octagonal bowl
with splayed underside carved with paterae, octagonal
stem and concave plinth with shield-shaped or rectangular decorations, 15th-century. Monuments: In N.
aisle—on N. wall, (1) to Ann (Chappell), wife of Samuel
Best, 1740, stone wall-monument with flanking Ionic
pilasters, architrave, broken pediment and hour-glass;
(2) to Mary (Whithed), wife of Alexander Thistlethwaite,
1720, wall-monument with flanking pilasters and
broken pediment framing a cartouche containing an
achievement-of-arms. Piscina: In chancel—in S. wall,
with ogee trefoiled head, 19th-century. Plate: includes a plain cup of 1730. Pulpit: of stone, fivesided on flared stem, each face with ogee cinque-foiled
panel, with embattled cornice, 19th-century.
b(2) Old Manor House, immediately N. of the
church, is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and
flint and the roofs are covered with slates and stone
slates. It was built early in the 17th century and has a
modern extension on the S. The E. front has a two-storeyed porch with an original outer entrance; it has
moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head
with a label; the windows, flanking the porch are
original and of three lights with labels. The inner
doorway to the porch is similar to the outer but with
no label. Inside the building is an old staircase with
plain balusters and newels. One fireplace has an early
18th-century surround. The Barn, N.E. of the house,
is a 17th-century structure of stone and flint.
a(3) Settlement, about 1 m. N.W. of the church,
appears to consist of a series of small enclosures of
which only one is at all complete (for plan see preface,
p. xxxiv). It is roughly rectangular and about 79 ft. by
64 ft. and surrounded with a bank and ditch; the
entrance is at the E. angle. Within the area are two
sinkings separated by a rough platform and the western
of these has indications of a sub-division. A smaller
enclosure to the S.E. was perhaps also a habitation-site,
but the other remains further to the S.E. are of indeterminate character.
b(4) Mounds, probably the remains of bowl barrows,
between ½ and ¾ m. W. of the church, are two in number
and have been much ploughed. The eastern is about
60 ft. in diam. and 2½ ft. high and the second, 220 yards
to the N.W., is 50 ft. in diam. and 1 ft. high.
b(5) Celtic Field-System on the N. side of the
parish ½ m. N. of the church, covers a considerable
extent of hill-side and round its edges to the S. are some
b(6) Lynchets, immediately S. of Cowleaze Withy
Bed and ¼ m. N.W. of the church, form seven terraces
on a N. slope.
c(7) Lynchets, on a W. slope 1,100 yards S.E. of
the church, form three terraces.