38 CORSCOMBE (C.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XX, N.E. (b)XX, S.E.
(c)XXI, S.W. (d)XXIX, N.E.)
Corscombe is a parish and village 4 m. N.E. of
Beaminster. The church, Benville Manor House,
Corscombe Court and Toller Whelme Manor House
are the principal monuments.
b(1) Parish Church of St. Mary stands on the
S.E. side of the village. The walls are of local rubble
with ashlar and dressings of Ham Hill stone; the roofs
are covered with stone-slates and lead. The church
was largely rebuilt in the 15th century and to this
period belong parts of the arcade and of the N. wall
of the Nave, the West Tower and the North Porch. The
rest of the church was rebuilt either in the middle of
the 18th century or in 1878, when the Chancel and South
Aisle were rebuilt and the South Chapel added.
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The Nave (48 ft. by
18 ft.) retains the W. part of the 15th-century N. wall;
the N. doorway has moulded jambs and four-centred
arch in a square head with quatre-foiled spandrels;
flanking it are standards set diagonally and each face
with two heights of trefoil-headed panels; at the top
are angel-head brackets formerly supporting images;
at the level of the door-head above are two-sided
crocketed and finialled canopies with traceried soffits;
above the doorway are three niches with half-angels as
brackets, side-standards and trefoiled gables with
crockets and finials and traceried soffits; further W. is
a modern window. The S. arcade is of five bays of
which the three westernmost are much restored but
of early to mid 15th-century date; the arches are two-centred and moulded and spring from hollow-chamfered
piers each with four attached shafts having moulded
capitals and hollow-chamfered bases; the W. respond
is in the form of a half-pier.
The West Tower (11 ft. square) is of mid 15th-century
date and of three stages with an embattled parapet,
angle-pinnacles and gargoyles. The partly restored
two-centred tower-arch is moulded and springs from
moulded responds each with an attached shaft with a
moulded capital and chamfered base. The W. window
has moulded reveals and two-centred head; the mullion
and tracery are modern; the W. doorway has partly
restored moulded jambs and old two-centred head.
The second stage has a square-headed window in the
E. and N. walls. The bell-chamber has in the E., N.
and W. walls a window of two trefoiled lights with
blocked tracery in a two-centred head with moulded
reveals; the former S. window has been removed.
The North Porch is of the 15th century and has a low-pitched gable with gargoyles. The outer archway
has moulded jambs and two-centred arch with a label.
In the E. wall are two windows of two trefoiled lights
with vertical tracery in a square head with a label. In
the W. wall is a shallow recess with a four-centred head.
Fittings—Bells: six; the old peal was recast and
a sixth bell added by Thomas Bilbie, 1773. Font:
octagonal bowl with one or two trefoil-headed panels
in each face, moulded lower edge, 15th-century, partly
restored, stem and base modern. Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In W. tower—on N. wall, (1) to
Joseph Bishop, 1823, Sarah his wife, 1800, and others,
wall-tablet by Chislett of Beaminster, sculptor; (2) to
Elizabeth (Bowring), widow of William Weaver, 1837,
white marble wall-tablet with flanking pilaster-strips and
a draped sarcophagus and bay tree on the cornice, by
Wilkins; on S. wall, (3) to John Dobson, S.T.B.,
rector, 1681, stone tablet with shield-of-arms; (4) to
Rev. William Nicholson, rector, 1810, white marble
wall-tablet with crest; (5) to Rev. John Munden,
rector, 1821, and four sons, white marble wall-tablet
with bible, by Wilkins, Beaminster. In churchyard—
E. of chancel, (6) to Joseph Russell, 1673, table-tomb;
(7) to Grace, wife of George Cox, 1694, headstone;
(8) to John Games, 1652, Francis his brother, 1686,
Ellen his grand-daughter, 1702, Ellen Games, 1708
and Mary Games, 1719, table-tomb; (9) to Henry
Gurry, 1695, headstone; (10) to Magdalin, wife of
John Dough, 1700, headstone; N. of nave, (11) to
John Baker, 1690, and others later, table-tomb; N.
of chancel, (12) to Mary, wife of William Burt, c. 1700,
headstone; (13) to Mary, daughter of William Snatdon,
1714, Christian, daughter of the above, 1710, Robert
Snatdon, 1715, Christian his wife, 1688, and Elias,
1700, and Matthew, 1708, their sons, table-tomb;
S. of S. aisle, (14) to Ann, wife of John Wills, 1714,
headstone; (15) to John Hallet, 1690, headstone.
Floor-slab: In N. porch—to Joane (Quick), wife of
Richard Locket, rector, 1655–6. Seating: In tower—
two coffin-stools with turned legs, 17th-century.
Table: In vestry—with cabriole legs and inlaid front
rail, early 18th-century.
c(2) Homestead Moat, in a field called Court Ley
nearly 1½ m. S.E. of the church and 300 yards W. of
(17), is square and is now dry.
b(3) Benville Manor House and moat, 1 m. S.E.
of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics;
the walls are of rubble and ashlar with some brick and
the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 17th century
on an H-shaped plan with the cross-wings at the N. and
S. ends. At some uncertain period the E. part of the
N. cross-wing was pulled down. The rest of this
wing has been much modernised and there are modern
additions in the N. angles of the S. cross-wing. The
S. front has a modern central porch and doorway;
above it is an original three-light window and a
modern gable and chimney-stack; on either side
of the porch are two 17th-century bay-windows of
two storeys with hipped roofs; they have four lights
on the face and one in each canted side. The E. end
of the cross-wing has been refronted, but one of the
two windows in the W. gable is original. The main
block has been refaced on the E. side in 18th-century
brick as has the upper part of the W. side; here there
is a reset original doorway with moulded jambs and
four-centred arch in a square head. Inside the building
the S. cross-wing retains some moulded ceiling-beams
perhaps of the 16th century and reused. The S.W.
room has some reset 17th-century panelling. In the
S.E. room is some 15th or early 16th-century heraldic
glass set in a jumble of fragments inserted about 1880;
the arms are as follows—(a) Churchill (?) quartering
argent a cheveron between three roundels sable and two
damaged coats; (b) Carrant; (c) Penny (?); (d) Arundel; (e) Argent a leopard rampant sable impaling sable a
cheveron gules between three spear-heads argent. Preserved
in the house are a chasuble, stole and maniple of 15th-century English work; the chasuble has fleurs-de-lis,
flowers, seraphim and figures of saints under canopies.
The Moat, N. of the house, is rectangular and has
been partly filled in.
b(4) Corscombe Court, house, barn and moat, 730
yards N.N.E. of the church. The House is of two
storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are
covered with stone slates. It was formerly a grange
of Sherborne Abbey and the N. wing retains the
external walls of a late 13th or early 14th-century
building with a porch on the W. side. This wing
was remodelled internally in the 17th century and
c. 1700 the cross-wing was added at the S. end. There
is a modern addition at the N. end. The S. front of
the cross-wing has three-light stone windows with
labels; set in the wall is a mediæval head-corbel.
The chimney at the W. end of this wing was added in
1775. The N. wing has an original lancet-window,
now blocked, in the N. wall. In the W. wall is an
original doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred head. The porch has an original outer doorway with double chamfered jambs, two-centred arch
and moulded label. The roof of the N. wing is of five
bays and is partly of mediæval construction, with braces
forming four-centred arches under the collar-beams
and curved wind-braces. The roof of the porchwing is of similar character. This wing has some
exposed ceiling-beams and a fireplace with a cambered
The Barn, N.W. of the house, is of the 15th century
with buttressed rubble walls and a S. porch with
diagonal buttresses. The porch has a segmental-headed and much altered outer archway; in the E.
wall is a doorway with a four-centred head.
The Moat formerly surrounded the house, but the
S. side has been largely filled in.
d(5) Toller Whelme Manor House, over 2 m. S.
of the parish church, is mainly of two storeys; the
walls are of rubble and the roofs are covered with thatch
and slates. The N.W. wing of c. 1470 apparently
formed the original house (for plan see preface, p. xxxix).
A house was built immediately to the S.E. of it in the
17th century and this was extended to the N. in the 18th
century. A modern addition now connects the two
buildings and quite recently the greater part of the
upper storey of the original wing has been removed and
the remains roofed with corrugated iron. The original
range has diagonal buttresses at the S. end with moulded
weatherings; between them is the projection of a
chimney-stack. At the N. end is an original fireplace
with moulded jambs and square head; above it was a
similar but smaller fireplace. In the E. wall is a
blocked doorway with a two-centred head and further
N. is a reset doorway now used as a window; it has
moulded jambs and two-centred head and adjoining
it is the reveal of an original doorway. There are some
remains of original windows and the head of one of these
has been reset in an outbuilding. A doorway with a
four-centred head has been reset in the modern vestibule
at the S. end of the range and the pointed head of a
window is incorporated in a kitchen-addition. The
17th-century building (Plate 40) retains some stonemullioned windows with labels.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys; the
walls are of rubble and the roofs are thatched or covered
with modern materials. Some of the buildings have
exposed ceiling-beams and original fireplaces.
b(6) High Orchards, house on the N.E. side of the
road 220 yards N.N.E. of the church, retains two
original stone windows, one of four lights with a label.
Inside the building is an original oak screen or partition
having a doorway with a four-centred head.
b(7) Church Farm, house 300 yards N. of the church,
has a N.E. wing added probably in 1785.
b(8) Pope's Cottage, 220 yards N.W. of (7), has a
front block added presumably in 1795, the date with
the initials T.J.P. appearing on a tablet. The old
block retains an original three-light stone window.
b(9) Milton Farm, house on the S. side of the road
650 yards N.W. of the church, has been much altered.
b(10) Cottage, on the N. side of the road opposite (9),
retains two original three-light windows with labels.
b(11) Yew Tree Farm, house 150 yards W. of (10),
has an 18th or early 19th-century wing on the S.W.
b(12) Cottage, on the S. side of the road 1,080 yards
N.W. of the church, retains an original two-light
window with a label.
b(13) Council Farm, house 40 yards W. of (12), was
built probably early in the 18th century.
b(14) Cottage, at Knapp Farm 180 yards N.W. of
(13), retains two original stone-mullioned windows
a(15) Wayland Farm, house 2 m. N.W. of the church,
was built early in the 18th century.
b(16) Corscombe Mill Farm, house ¾ m. N.N.E. of
the church, retains several original three-light windows
with labels. Inside the building is an original muntin
and plank partition.
c(17) Benville Knap Farm, house over 1½ m. S.E. of
the church, has an 18th-century addition on the E.
The S. front has two original four-light windows with
a continuous label; there are two three-light windows
above. Inside the building is an original muntin and
c(18) House, on S. side of lane 1 m. 520 yards S.E. of
the church, has rubble walls with ashlar quoins; the
S. wing is an 18th-century addition. It retains some
original three-light stone-mullioned windows.
b(19) Standing Stones, 900 yards W. of the church
and 70 yards S.S.W. of Beckham's Coppice, are three
in number, set upright as though to form the end of a
chamber; the largest is 5¾ ft. high by 4½ ft. wide;
the second 3½ ft. high and 5 ft. wide and the third 4 ft.
high and 2½ ft. wide. About 8 yards to the W. are
two prone stones about 5 ft. long, and 50 yards to the
S.S.W. is a solitary stone also prone and about 8 ft.
by 4 ft. The intervening space appears to have been
b(20) Stones, nearly 1 m. S.S.W. of the church.
The O.S. 6″ map shows four stones; now two, one on
either side of the road, are visible. They may have
formed part of a structure. The N. stone is 7¾ ft. by
7 ft. and about 3 ft. thick, the other is 11¼ ft. by 8½ ft.
and about 3½ ft. thick; both are prone.
b(21) Lynchets, on an E. slope 1,100 yards W. of the
church, form two series together extending for about
b(22) Lynchets, on a N. slope extending for ½ m.
to the W. of (21), form four series, roughly following
East Chelborough, see Chelborough, East.