14 HOLME, EAST (8985)
(O.S. 6 ins. aSY 88 SE, bSY 88 NE, cSY 98 SW, dSY 98 NW)
The roughly rectangular parish of East Holme covers
only just over 1,000 acres of land on the S. side of the
river Frome, nearly 2 m. W.S.W. of Wareham. Apart
from the flood plain of the river, and a narrow river
terrace on which the original mediaeval settlement was
established, the parish is composed of rolling heathland
on Bagshot sands and gravels, rising gradually to a height
of 200 ft. on Holme Heath in the S.E.
There is no distinct village, almost the only buildings
in the parish are those in the vicinity of the house now
called Holme Priory. This stands near the site of a
Cluniac Priory (see Monument 1).
b(1) The Parish Church of St. John the Evangelist
stands in the N.W. part of the parish. It is a building of
1865–6 by J. Hicks. The walls include some worked stone
probably from the church of the Cluniac Priory which
stood 150 yds. to the W. The Priory, a cell of Montacute
Abbey, was founded in the mid 12th century; after the
Dissolution the church continued in parochial use until
1715, and parts of it stood until pulled down in 1746
when the chancel arch was re-erected in the Chapel at
Creech Grange (Steeple, Monument 2). The following
also came from the old church.
Fittings—Brass: In W. wall, to Richard Sideways, 1612,
rectangular plate (found on the site of the priory church, 1812).
Coffin-lids: in churchyard, (1) upper half of tapering Purbeck
marble slab with hollow-chamfered edge, carved with a cross,
broken, probably 13th-century; (2) tapering slab with hollow-chamfered edge and effigy in low relief, probably of an ecclesiastic, 13th-century. Miscellanea: in churchyard, moulded
stone fragments, 13th and 14th-century.
b(2) Holme Priory, house (130 yds. W.), of two
storeys with attics and cellars, has walls rendered in
stucco and roofs mainly of slate. The house stands near
the site of the Cluniac Priory. A small building now
forming part of the kitchen (N.) wing was built of
rubble in the late 16th century, probably re-using material from the former Priory. The main L-shaped block
to the S. was built in brick c. 1770 by Nathaniel Bond
to form the W. and S. sides of a courtyard; at the same
time a separate stable block was put up to the N.
Between 1790 and 1823, under the second Nathaniel
Bond, the kitchen wing was extended eastwards and the
staircase was moved from the entrance hall in the middle
of the S. range to a new stairhall built in the courtyard.
Between c. 1830 and 1844 the third (Rev.) Nathaniel
Bond raised and renewed the roof, replacing the tiles
with slate, built the S. porch, stuccoed the E., S. and
W. façades, formed the library out of two smaller
rooms, moved the staircase to its present position and
gave the house its romantic name. The staircase was
probably rebuilt in c. 1865 by a fourth Nathaniel Bond.
There has been recent modernisation, particularly in
the service range.
The E., S. and W. façades of the main house are stuccorendered with rusticated quoins, a plinth, a plat-band at first-floor level, and a cornice with a high parapet wall containing
plain rectangular recessed panels. The original disposition of
the hung-sash windows survives but the glazing bars have
been removed on the ground floor. The principal (S.) elevation
is of five bays with a central entrance, with a porch of the mid
19th century. The central window on the first floor has a
semicircular head. The slate roof has a steep pitch and the two
symmetrically placed dormers are capped by low pediments.
The small late 16th-century house which forms the central part
of the N. range is built of coursed limestone and greensand
rubble and has a tiled roof with stone slates on the lower
courses. Original stone-mullioned windows survive on both
N. and S. sides, that on the N. having three lights with arched
heads, that on the S. having three square-headed lights. The
interior decoration of the main rooms on both ground and
first floors is largely of the early 19th century although some
fittings have survived from the 18th century.
b(3) Priory Farm (220 yds. W.N.W.) is an 18th-century
house of one storey and attics with walls of stone and thatched
roofs. Some of the stone may be reused from the Priory.
b(4) Cottage (205 yds. N.W.), of two storeys with cob walls
and thatched roof, is of the early 19th century.
b(5) Barn (400 yds. W.), with brick walls above a high stone
plinth and with a tiled roof, is of the 18th century, heightened
and re-roofed in the late 19th century.
(6–11) Round Barrows, p. 444.
(12) Mounds, N. of Battle Plain, p. 481.
(13) Roman Remains, p. 601.