22 MORDEN (9195)
(O.S. 6 ins. aSY 89 NE, bSY 99 SW, cSY 99 NW)
The parish, covering some 3,500 acres, lies across the
N. edge of the S. Dorset heathland, 5 m. N. of Wareham. It occupies a roughly rectangular area of land with
a projection to the N.E., now occupied by Charborough
Park. The whole of the N. third of the parish, including
the Park, lies on Chalk, rising gently southwards from
the river Winterborne and one of its tributaries, around
100 ft. above O.D., to a low N.E.-S.W. ridge at 200 ft.
above O.D. Beyond, the land falls S. across rather
broken country on Reading Beds, London Clay and
Bagshot Beds drained by small tributaries of the Sherford River, which now forms the S. boundary of the
parish. Until the late 19th century the parish included
a further 2,800 acres of heathland to the S., extending to
the river Piddle, now in Wareham St. Martin parish.
The present dispersed settlement pattern in the S. half
of the parish has clearly developed from two nucleated
settlements of Morden and West Morden at the
junction of the Chalk and Reading Beds, both probably
being among the Mordens listed in Domesday Book.
Later settlement developed to the S.; there was a
hamlet at Sherford by 1244 and at East Morden by 1250.
But the process was undoubtedly slow and many of
the outlying farms are probably new settlements of the
18th and 19th centuries.
The N.E. projection of the parish is still a separate
ecclesiastical parish; it was the land associated with the
Domesday settlement of Charborough. Charborough
House with its park, now occupying the site, is the
nucleus of a property which has remained in the
same family for more than 350 years and to which
succeeding generations have devoted their time and
attention. The appearance today remains one of good
husbandry, and the park, some 300 acres in extent, still
carrying deer, surrounded by some 700 acres of agricultural land, adds much to the beauty of this area of
Dorset. Charborough House dates from the Commonwealth though greatly altered and extended in c. 1810,
that is, in a period (1795 to 1814) when agricultural
produce was commanding unnaturally high prices.
In the 18th century it was surrounded by formal
gardens; the building of the look-out tower in 1790
seems to imply the inception of a more Romantic
arrangement, which reached a climax in the increase
in the size of the park and the picturesque planting, now
in maturity, in c. 1840. This 'improvement' and enlargement no doubt also derived from capital accumulated
in the period of the Napoleonic wars; the extra land
came up to the Dorchester-Wimborne turnpike which
was completed in 1841–2 by the exertions of the lifetenant of Charborough himself, who had also been
buying various Dorset properties recently enclosed.
The village of Charborough seems to have been small
but flourishing until at least the mid 14th century; by
1662 it was deserted except for two households, one of
which was Sir Walter Erle's in Charborough House.
Presumably the parish church became redundant and
deteriorated until rebuilt in 1775 by the Drax family,
more or less for private use as a chapel, being so
described when remodelled in 1837. It has since been
used as such but is in fact still the parish church.
Charborough church and Charborough House are
the principal monuments.
c(1) The Parish Church of St. Mary stands in
Morden hamlet in the E. part of the parish. The lower
part of the West Tower is of the late 13th century; the
rest of the church was completely rebuilt in 1873, the
architect and builder being Joseph Siller.
Architectural Description—The Tower, built of carstone,
has a chamfered plinth and short two-stage angle buttresses.
The tower arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders
with continuous jambs. In the S. wall is a blocked doorway of
later date, with segmental head. In the W. wall a small original
window has been enlarged with a modern flat head but retains
the original rear arch.
Fittings—Bells: five; 2nd by James Wells of Aldbourne,
Wilts., 1807; 3rd with black-letter inscription '[A]ve Maria',
15th-century; 4th with inscription 'Saunctus Petre', 15th-century; 5th 1663. Brasses: see Monuments (1). Chair: of oak
with shaped cresting to back and shaped stretchers, c. 1700,
arms renewed. Chest: in vestry, modern, but with panels in
the front and ends carved with antique heads in roundels,
16th-century. Coffin-lids: in churchyard—S.E. of porch, (1) with
raised cross and stepped Calvary, 6 ft. 4 ins. long; S.W. of
porch, (2) as (1) but with cross flanked by six plain shields,
5 ft. long; 13th or 14th-century. Cross: head of processional
cross, of brass, pierced and bordered with fretted crosses,
Abyssinian, 19th-century. Font: in nave, octagonal bowl,
formerly with panelled sides but recut, with moulded under
edge, 12th-century, on modern stem and surrounding shafts.
Hatchment: in N. aisle, of Drax, 19th-century.
Monuments: In nave, (1) to Thomas, son of Walter Earle,
1597/8, figures and brass inscription plates from monument in
former chancel, reset on two 19th-century pedestals flanking
tower arch; to N., kneeling figure of man wearing three-quarter armour and burgonet; to S., half length figures of two
boys and a girl wearing ruffs. In N. aisle—on W. wall, (2) to
Capt. Wanley Elias Sawbridge of the 28th Regiment of Foot,
1842, white marble tablet with urn flanked by banners.
Miscellanea: Loose in N. aisle—small headstone with circular
top, incised with a cross, mediaeval; fragment of plain gable
c(2) Parish Church of St. Mary, Charborough
(Plate 107), stands in Charborough Park 30 yds. S.W.
of the great house. The walls are stucco-faced, with
limestone dressings, and the roofs are slate-covered.
The mediaeval church here, at least as old as the 13th
century and with chancel, nave and vestiges of a S.
aisle, was rebuilt by Thomas Erle Drax in 1775. In
1837 the later building was remodelled by John Sawbridge Erle Drax who put in new glass and installed
fittings made up of a miscellany of older carved woodwork (see Inscription under Fittings below); and so it
remains (Plate 110). The style of the structure is Gothic
with some Classical detail.
Charborough church is a small but interesting expression of the Romantic phase of taste, both architecturally and in its fittings; the latter, in the choice of the
florid older carvings composing them, anticipate the
exuberance of a later Victorian age. It contains a notable
monument by Richard Westmacott, R.A.
Architectural Description—The Chancel and Nave are structurally undivided and form a single compartment (39 ft. by
12¼ ft.) gabled to E. and W. and entered only from the W.
through a small open porch. On the W. gable is a bell-cote
with a small spire. The walls have a plain plinth and an
embattled parapet with quatrefoil panels on the face of the
merlons. Clasping the four corners and in the middle of the
N. and S. sides are pilasters supporting a simplified entablature
returned over them but discontinued across the E. and W.
walls; they are continued up by articulation of the N. and S.
parapet walls to form pedestals for octagonal spirelets on
quatre-foiled dies; a similar spirelet surmounts the E. gable.
Parish Church of St. Mary, plan
The E. window is of three lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head all within a continuous hollow-chamfered
moulding; the rear arch is two-centred. The N. and S. walls
each contain two windows, of two cinque-foiled lights with a
quatrefoil spandrel in a two-centred head. The W. doorway
has a square moulded head and jambs and the W. window
above it is similar to the E. window. Over the W. window,
outside, is a round panel inscribed 'This Chapel wwas (sic)
rebuilt in the year of Our Lord 1775'.
The flat-roofed Porch (5 ft. square) has piers and responds of
clustered shafts with moulded bases and caps supporting four-centred arches under a cornice with an embattled parapet.
The Bell-cote is rectangular, with a simple cornice and two-centred open arches in the sides; the spire is octagonal.
Inside, the church has plastered walls ruled to represent
ashlar. The timber pitched Roof provides the only structural
elaboration; it is divided into twenty-one bays by widelyspaced moulded rafters, the spaces between being boarded and
sub-divided by two plain purlins into three heights of panels
each enriched by a central boss carved with foliage or a fret.
On alternate rafters are applied shields or lozenges painted
with the arms of: on the N., (a) Drax, (b) Grosvenor with an
escutcheon of Drax, (c) on a lozenge, Grosvenor with an
escutcheon of Drax quarterly of twelve, Ernle, Hungerford,
Heytesbury, Hussey, Peverell, Botreaux, Molyns, Erle, Wykes,
Plessey, Dymoke, (d) Drax quartering Ernle and Erle all
impaling Churchill, (e) as the impaling coat of (d), (f) on a
lozenge, Drax impaling Churchill, (g) Drax with an escutcheon
of Ernle quarterly of six, Heytesbury, Hungerford, Tooker,
Erle, (h) on a lozenge, as (g), (i) Ernle with the baronet's badge
quartering Tooker with an escutcheon of Erle over all, (j)
on a lozenge, as (i); on the S., (k) Erle with an escutcheon of
Wykes, (l) on a lozenge, as (k), (m) Erle impaling Pole, (n)
on a lozenge, as (m), (o) Erle with an escutcheon of Dymoke,
(p) on a lozenge, as (o), (q) Erle impaling Fiennes, (r) on a
lozenge, as (q), (s) Erle impaling Wyndham, (t) on a lozenge,
as (s). The roof and the arms are all of 1837 (see Fittings—
Fittings—Brackets: two, in nave, on N. and S. walls, of
wood, carved with cherub heads at life size, late 17th-century,
shelves 19th-century. Candelabrum: hanging centrally in nave,
of wood elaborately carved, with turned and moulded,
gadrooned and fluted stem carrying twelve scrolled branches
carved with acanthus and ending in dragons' heads, six smaller
branches above and scrolled gryphon-headed brackets at the
apex, 19th-century, now fitted for electricity. Chairs: two,
in chancel, backs composed of cartouches with shells and fruit
and flower pendants, square tapered enriched legs and front
rails carved with figures and acanthus, of late 17th-century
material made up and supplemented in the 19th century.
Communion Rails: across chancel, of wood, in two heights, blind
panels carved with cartouches below, and open balustrading
above, the balusters turned, moulded and enriched with
jewel and acanthus ornament, moulded base rail, top rail
carved with acanthus and lions' masks and gate-posts with
human-headed scrolls, mid 17th-century. Communion Table:
with black marble top on a timber framework with 19th-century bulbous legs in the Elizabethan style with added
carvings of beasts' masks, cherubs holding an anchor and a
cross, etc., the front rail with acanthus enrichment and a
central pendant carved with a cherub's head, 17th-century
material made up and supplemented in the 19th century.
Glass: In the E. window, large standing figures on pedestals,
with their symbols above under elaborate crocketed canopies,
in middle light Christ in red robe and blue mantle under IHS
in a yellow triangle, all in a field of brown diapered glass, in
N. light St. Peter in green robe and brown mantle under
crossed keys on an open book, in S. light St. Paul in brown
robe and purple mantle under a sword on a closed book, the
second and third on a blue diapered field, all 1837; in tracery,
stylised foliation in brown, green and yellow with various
formal figures and, in top quatrefoil, achievement-of-arms
quarterly of six of Sawbridge Erle Drax, all 1837. In N. and S.
windows, in main lights white quarries with brown lozenges,
in tracery double roses, all in borders of brown and blue, 1837.
In W. window, in middle light the Ascension, a diaphanous
figure of Christ in mid-air with the Dove above in a yellow
and blue cloudy sky, in side lights quatrefoils enclosing roses
and IHS in the heads all in brown, in tracery the Drax arms
etc. as in E. window, all 1837. Hatchments: see Charborough
Inscription: In nave, on W. wall, 'In the year 1837 this
Chapel was fitted up for Divine Service by John Samuel
Wanley Sawbridge Erle Drax Esqr. who heightened the walls
and put up the present oak panelled roof erected the stone spire
and embellished the interior with oak carvings; comprising
the pulpit altar-piece stalls and that elaborate work of art
representing the life of Christ which was formerly the altar
piece in a church at Antwerp in addition to which the windows
were filled with stained glass the east window representing
Christ with two Apostles and the western window representing the Ascension', on white marble tablet in moulded framing
with trefoiled two-centred head containing the achievement-of-arms of Drax quarterly of six, Erle, Sawbridge, Fisher, Wanley,
Stevenson, with an escutcheon of Drax quartering Erle, Erle,
Grosvenor, the Drax and Sawbridge crests and the Drax
Monuments: On N. wall, (1) of Mary, the widow of Edward
Drax, 1820, white marble tablet on grey marble backing
with panelled side pilasters standing on stylised scallops and
supporting an open pediment containing a painted lozenge-of-arms of Drax impaling Churchill, a butterfly above, by
'Richard Westmacott, London'. On S. wall, (2) of Gen.
Thomas Erle, Commander of the Foot, one of the Lords
Justices in Ireland, Governor of Portsmouth, Lieut.-Gen.
of the Ordnance, P.C., 1720, Elizabeth (Wyndham) his wife,
Frances his daughter and her husband Sir Edward Ernle, Bt.,
Elizabeth their daughter and her husband Henry Drax and
their son Thomas Erle Drax, 1790, the subscription to this
cenotaph reading 'To the memory of these ancestors and in
pursuance of the will of Elizabeth Drax . . ., Edward her
youngest son (who now lies buried with them) did, during the
short time he possessed Charborough, order this monument to
be erected . . . 1791', white marble wall-monument with
coloured marble inlays, with apron and flanking pilaster-strips
carved with trophies and with side scrolls supporting an
entablature with fluted frieze and blocking-course, this last
surmounted by a sarcophagus with an urn and by flanking
urns, all against a pyramidal slate backing with a white marble
swag and lozenge in the head, on the lozenge, the pilasters and
their apron-bases the following arms: of (a) Drax with an
escutcheon quarterly of six, Ernle, Heytesbury, Hungerford,
Tooker, Erle, (b) Erle impaling Wyndham, (c) a lozenge of
Erle and Tooker quarterly with an escutcheon of Erle, (d)
Drax quartering Ernle, Erle, (e) Drax quarterly of six, Ernle,
Heytesbury, Hungerford, Tooker, Erle, all impaling Churchill;
(3) of Richard Drax Grosvenor, 1819, and Sarah Frances Erle
Drax his wife, 1822, large white marble wall-monument
(Plate 18) with relief-carving of a fluted sarcophagus on an
inscribed pedestal-base all on an echinus-moulded shelf which
also supports flanking seated figures, half life size, of Charity
on the E. (Plate 19), a woman suckling an infant and with a
second child at her knee, of Faith on the W., a woman with a
lamp and scroll, both with braided hair and loose robes of
Greek derivation, painted on the sarcophagus the arms of
Grosvenor with an escutcheon of Drax quarterly of twelve,
Ernle, Hungerford, Heytesbury, Hussey, Peverell, Botreaux,
Molyns, Erle, Wykes, Plessey, Dymoke, monument signed
'Richard Westmacott. R.A. 14 South Audley Street. Lo.';
this and Monument (1) were set up by Sarah Frances to her
husband and mother, but 'she did not live to see their completion'; (4) of Richard Edward Erle Drax, only son of Richard
Erle Drax Grosvenor and Sarah Frances his wife, 1828, white
marble wall-tablet on slate backing surmounted by urn, by
M. W. Johnson, New Road, London, set up by Jane Frances
Sawbridge Erle Drax, his sister. On W. wall, (5) of Capt.
Robert Clarke, Commander of H.M.S. Adventure, killed
aboard in an engagement in the W. Indies, 1708/9, white
marble oval inscription-tablet.
Pulpit (Plate 110): double-decker against N. wall, largely of
oak, incorporating a miscellany of 16th and 17th-century
woodwork, principally a set of six late 16th-century Continental panels with accomplished relief carvings of the Annunciation, the Adoration, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection,
the Ascension, and Pentecost, the first three in the pulpit, the
rest in the reading-desk, elsewhere male and female terminal
figures of c. 1600, panels carved with a Calvary cross in a glory
within strapwork with pendants of fruits and flowers, a book,
mitre and crozier, scrolls with cherubs' heads, 17th-century,
and, on wall behind pulpit, a large cartouche carved with
IHS ensigned with a cross and with three nails, late 17th-century, all made up c. 1837 and with stairs of that date to
pulpit from E.
Reading-desk: front made up of large 17th-century panel
sub-divided into geometrical pattern of smaller panels carved
with stylised foliage and a cherub's head, sides composed of
elaborately carved and scrolled brackets of later 17th-century
Reredoses: two; (1) behind altar, pedimental-shaped carved
wood panel representing the Last Judgement, the Almighty
accompanied by trumpeting cherubs on clouds above, the
Dead arising from their graves below, the Blessed on the N.
shepherded by an angel, the Damned on the S. goaded by a
devil with a pitchfork, in half relief, early to mid 17th-century,
N. European, the whole supported on terminal figures similar
to those on the pulpit; (2) fixed high on S. wall over three
easterly stalls, altar-piece (Plate 30), in moulded frame with
curvilinear head, some 8½ ft. long and 6¼ ft. high, of wood
very finely and elaborately carved in the round and in relief,
presenting three principal scenes under Flamboyant pierced
canopies on involved and complex planes and many small
attendant scenes both in the foreground and background and
in stages of niches under miniature pierced Flamboyant traceried
canopies flanking the main scenes. The scenes comprise: on E.,
the Road to Calvary, Christ helped by Simon carrying the
Cross and accompanied by soldiers, two with tools for the
Crucifixion, St. Veronica in foreground, in background small
figures of men and women from Jerusalem and of soldiers
driving the two thieves, and in niches Abraham and Isaac,
Moses and Aaron and the brazen serpent; in centre, at a raised
level, the Crucifixion, Christ flanked by the thieves, with
Longinus and, at the foot of the Cross, soldiers, two casting
lots for Christ's raiment, and below, in lower foreground,
figures of the three Marys and St. John and soldiers, and in
niches, lower stage, the Sacrifices of Cain and Abel, Cain
killing Abel, upper stage, Moses striking the rock, three
Prophets; on W., Christ taken down from the Cross, Christ
on the ground held by Joseph and with attendant women, in
foreground Mary Magdalene with a pot of ointment, a man
holding the Crown of Thorns to one side, a woman standing
to the other, in background the Cross and crucified thieves
and again the three Marys and a disciple, and in niches Jonah
being thrown overboard, Jonah emerging from the whale's
mouth; from a church in Antwerp (see Inscription above) and
doubtless a local product, early to mid 16th-century. The
more obvious representation is the climax of the Passion, but
the iconographic scheme is one of type and anti-type.
Stalls: against S. wall, below the reredos (2) described above,
seven, divided and flanked by shaped and carved arm rests,
the three easterly with backs in two heights of panels rising
to an enriched cornice, dated 1651, and carved in low relief
with arabesques and gadrooning to ovals enclosing male and
female figures with symbols, none being surely identifiable
except perhaps the bull's head for St. Luke, the foregoing
flanked by pilasters with terminal figures, one dated 1626,
supporting Corinthian capitals under brackets carved with
lion-masks; the more westerly with backs incorporating one
height of panels from other series carved with cherubs, a
mermaid, etc., all in much-mitred framing; the arm rests
with well carved figures in high relief on the fronts, of Faith,
Hope, Charity, etc.; miscellany of woodwork, English and
Continental, of 1626, 1651 and later, made up in c. 1837.
Paving: In chancel, square alternating stone and slate squares,
set diagonally, 18th-century. Miscellanea: Outside, on S. wall,
lead rainwater head with initials and date, T.E.D. 1760, reused.
On W. door, pair of small oval bronze medallions with
heads in profile, of St. Peter and St. Paul, 19th-century.
c(3) Charborough House (Plate 107) stands in a
park of some 300 acres in the N. extremity of the parish
1½ m. N.N.E. of Morden parish church. It is of two and
three storeys with cellars and attics. The walls are of
carstone ashlar and of brick faced with stucco with some
Purbeck stone dressings. The roofs are slate-covered.
A house was built here by Sir Walter Erle in the first
half of the 17th century; this was burnt down during
the Civil War. During the Commonwealth Sir Walter
incorporated the very fragmentary standing remains
in a new house for which he used some of the stone
and timber from Corfe castle, then recently destroyed;
restitution of this material was demanded by Sir Ralph
Bankes after the Restoration. (fn. 1) Clear evidence of the
form of the first house is lacking. The Commonwealth
House is shown in three 18th-century oil-paintings at
Charborough, one of c. 1730, (fn. 2) two of c. 1740 (Country
Life, 30 March 1935, 327, shows one of the later pair).
It comprised a tall single block facing N.E., seven and
eight bays by five, of two storeys with basements and
attics, with a heavy eaves cornice, dormer windows,
hipped roofs on all sides and three lofty chimneystacks.
The main entrance doorway was central on the N.E.,
a lesser doorway central on the N.W. The house
depicted is typical of the group of Commonwealth
houses that includes Coleshill, Tyttenhanger, Thorpe
Hall or, smaller than the foregoing and more closely
comparable with Charborough, Thorney Abbey House.
In the older picture, depicted set back on the S.E. was
a low wing with a hipped roof of c. 1700; by c. 1740 this
had been almost completely remodelled and extended
to form a lofty wing of three storeys, for so it appears
in the two later pictures. Evidence for the whole of the
foregoing is traceable in the plan and upright of the
house as it now is. The main block was co-extensive
with the present Drawing Room and Dining Room
one way (seven bays) and the present width the other
way (five bays); the N.E. wall to the full length and
height of the seven bays remains visible though now
whitened and with all the wall-openings remodelled.
Viewed from the back of the house the hipped roofs
define the early block (eight bays). Furthermore, the
three great symmetrical chimneystacks shown in the
paintings survive though remodelled. The front wall
of the wing of c. 1730 stands, though now internal,
masked and mutilated, some 24 ft. back from the N.E.
front of the foregoing while the back wall bounds the
present Armoury etc. The main entrance doorway
was in the position of the northernmost window in the
present Dining Room, the doorway opposite leading,
as now, to the staircase. The lesser entrance doorway
on the N.W. is now the main entrance. Moreover, both
main block and wing incorporate fragments, probably
in situ, of the buildings that preceded them.
Prior to a remodelling in c. 1810 which gave the house
much of its present appearance, a grand Staircase
was inserted; the wall and ceiling paintings of this by
James Thornhill were commissioned by General
Thomas Erle and are dated 1718. (fn. 3) Henry Drax added
'an apartment' for the reception in 1741 of Frederick,
Prince of Wales, and this may have been a building
shown in the 18th-century paintings in the position of
the present Library, but equally it may have applied
to the subdivision of the bedroom now the 'Prince's
Bedroom' and 'Prince's Dressing Room' within the
body of the house. An engraving of Charborough made
between 1755 and 1774 during Thomas Erle Drax's
ownership shows no further changes, (fn. 4) except a remodelling of the Stables E. of the house, which are now entirely gone, having been burned down in the 19th
In c. 1810 four bays were added S.E. of the main
house-block, filling in the re-entrant angle between it
and the S.E. wing, thus creating a rectangular block
eleven bays long, the former width remaining unchanged. The middle five bays to the N.E., that is, four
bays of the old house and one bay of those added,
were made into the central feature of a new composition
by the addition of pilasters and a pediment, thus
perpetuating the architectural orientation of the previous
house; the new walls were faced in stucco and the
old carstone walls heightened, the heightening being
stucco-faced, and all whitened and given cornices and
parapets, and the roofs were slated. Elsewhere the old
walls too were stuccoed. The present Library represents
an extensive remodelling at about the same time of an
early to mid 18th-century structure. Hutchins' editor
speaks of 'the late alteration when the house was
enlarged and much improved and covered with stucco'
and says 'Richard Erle Drax Grosvenor [1790–1819] has
greatly improved the seat of the Drax's, which is now
an elegant mansion' (History of Dorset, 2nd ed. (1796–
1815), quoted in 3rd ed., III, 500, 505). A fourth oilpainting of the house shows it in this state, with a blank
pediment and the main entrance doorway in the middle
of the N.W. end. (fn. 5) J. B. Burke states that the architect
employed was John Nash (Visitation of the Seats . . . of
Great Britain (1853)).
About the middle of the 19th century, John Samuel
Wanley Sawbridge Erle Drax formed the Armoury
in the back of the c. 1730 wing and added a Picture
Gallery beyond it projecting S.E. of the house. In his
time also his shield-of-arms in scroll-work was inserted
in the pediment on the N.E. front. His improvements
and additions of Armoury and Gallery are mentioned
by Hutchins' editors (ibid., 3rd ed. (1861–8) III, 505).
More recent alterations and additions to the house
include the portico on the N.W., the loggia on the
S.E. end, a service wing flanking it, another loggia on
the S.W. and modernisation within.
The 18th-century pictures already mentioned also
show formal gardens, a summer-house, a parterre,
statues and an axial triumphal arch, etc. These are now
replaced by landscaping, an alteration probably of the
late 18th century. In 1775 Thomas Erle Drax rebuilt the
Chapel S.W. of the house, which was remodelled in
1837 by John Sawbridge Erle Drax who introduced
miscellanea of Continental woodwork (see Monument
(2)). Edward, brother of Thomas, built the Tower
on the high ground away to the S.E. in High Wood
in 1790; this was damaged by lightning in 1838 and
largely rebuilt and heightened the next year. John
Sawbridge increased the size of the Park and c. 1840
added the Gateways; (fn. 6) the Peacock Gate was standing in
1837, for an engraving showing it was published that
year. (fn. 7) The great balustraded Walk and stair from the
house to the Tower date from about 1850; they appear
in a lithograph of the house published in 1853. (fn. 8) Standing
N.W. of the house, the Grove Ice-house, also known as
the Grotto, must succeed, upon the evidence of a tablet
upon it, a shelter standing here in 1686; the present
ice-house is of the later 18th century and the entrance
to it may have been the arched opening shown beside
the summer-house in Hutchins' engraving (1st ed. II,
opp. 183). The present entrance-front of Baroque
character is entirely of the mid 19th century.
At Charborough the extensive series of paintings on
the walls and ceiling of the staircase hall by James,
later Sir James, Thornhill are of particular importance.
The mid 19th-century decoration of the Armoury is an
exceptionally elaborate product of the Gothic Revival,
and the Tower is a remarkable expression of the same
phase of taste. The landscape aspect of the Park is
notably preserved. The surviving pictorial representation of the house from c. 1730 onward is unusually
complete and enables the architectural development
to be deduced in detail.
Architectural Description—The N.E. front (Plate 107) is
now superficially entirely of c. 1810. It is of eleven bays, seven
towards the N.W. end fronting the mid 17th-century house,
the remaining four fronting the c. 1810 addition. Embracing
the five middle bays is a central hexastyle feature of slight
projection with colossal plain Ionic pilasters supporting a
pedimented frieze and cornice. The pilasters interrupt a platband otherwise continuous across the building; the timber
dentil-cornice is returned as the crowning cornice to the
flanking walls, and the pediment breaks through a blockingcourse at the wall-head. In the tympanum of the pediment is
heavy stucco acanthus scroll-work and a shield-of-arms added
in or after 1828; the arms quarterly of six are of Drax, Erle,
Sawbridge, Fisher, Wanley, Stevenson, with a quarterly
escutcheon over all of Drax, ii, iii Erle, Grosvenor, and with the
crest and motto of Drax (Jane Frances Grosvenor Erle Drax
married John Wanley Sawbridge, inherited 1828). The
windows throughout, those on the ground floor being lofty
and rising from the plain stone plinth, consist of entirely plain
rectangular openings fitted with double-hung sashes; the
central ground-floor opening continues to the ground and is
fitted with french windows.
The architectural development of this front is evident
from the surviving ashlar of the Commonwealth house,
which is revealed as carstone beneath flaking of the surface
whitening and is so depicted in the 18th-century paintings;
it extends horizontally to the northerly reveals of the windows
in the eighth bay, where the corner of the said house is visible
as a straight joint, and vertically to just above the first-floor
window heads. All the window dressings in the ashlar are
clearly insertions, in Portland or Purbeck stone; furthermore,
the blocking of the Commonwealth windows may be seen
above the ground-floor window heads and rising nearly to the
17th-century plat-band. The stone plinths and the pilaster
bases of c. 1810 are applied against the earlier ashlar, where they
occur in that context; the frieze also is of applied slabs, but the
pilaster capitals are bonded in. All the pilaster shafts and the
contemporary walling of the extension in the eighth to the
eleventh bays and of the heightening in the preceding bays are
stucco-faced (see diagram below).
The N.W. front, a remodelling of c. 1810 and later of the
N.W. end of the Commonwealth house, now contains the
principal entrance in the middle. It is stucco-faced, of five bays
and uniform with the plain expanses of the N.E. front except
that the end windows on the first floor were round-headed;
the windows in the two northerly bays have been blocked and,
in modern times, the head of the more southerly end window
has been made square; small windows have recently been
broken through on the first floor of the third bay. The three
middle bays are continued above the crowning cornice to form
an attic with a secondary timber cornice and a blocking-course;
here in each bay is a squat window. The entrance is now
covered by a flat-roofed stone portico with four freestanding
plain Ionic columns and responds supporting an entablature;
this is an addition of 1931. The tower-like feature adjoining
this front on the S.W., which is square on plan, of three stages,
with balustraded parapets and tall round-headed windows or
blind arcading in the third stage, is of the second half of the
The S.W. side is in three main divisions; the northernmost
fronting the mid 17th-century block but remodelled in the
18th century and subsequently stuccoed; the second, projecting, defined by rusticated quoins and fronting the c. 1730 wing
and of that date though stuccoed in the 19th century; the
southernmost, nearly flush with the second and matching it
but entirely of the mid 19th century. The first division has a
broad plat-band at the wall-head instead of a cornice and this
and the plat-band at the first floor are slightly lower than the
corresponding features on the N.W. and N.E. fronts. It is of
eight bays, the northernmost being masked by an 18th-century annexe adjacent to the tower of which it is now a part,
the southernmost being masked on the ground floor by a mid
19th-century porch and having a round-headed window on the
first floor; this latter eighth bay fronts a shallow projection
from the mid 17th-century block, probably original to it. The
hipped roof embraces the seven more northerly bays. The
windows have small keystones to straight heads, otherwise
they are plain. The second division is in four bays and, though
of nearly the same height as the foregoing, of three storeys.
Only the quoins and the keystones to the windows relieve the
plainness, but here the window heads are slightly cambered.
The same treatment is continued in the six bays of the third
division but most of the windows are blind; the Gallery lies
behind. Fronting the ground floor is a loggia added in 1931.
The quoins between the second and third divisions distinguish
the junction between the builds of c. 1730 and of c. 1850
though, as a result of alterations, the plan no longer indicates
The S.E. end is of c. 1810 in the more northerly half, defined
by the hipped roof; here the lower part is masked by a later
addition. The other half, stuccoed in the 19th century but
essentially of c. 1730, is fronted by a modern loggia; the
windows, as before, have cambered heads and keystones. The
Gallery wing is generally uniform with the S.W. side of it
The single-storey Library wing extending S.W. from the
house is of the late 18th century though remodelled in the
19th century. It is flat-roofed. The long sides are bowed in the
middle to form an oval space within, it is said for a cockpit.
The S.E. front is stucco-faced, has Ionic pilasters on the flanks,
a plat-band and plain lofty window openings. The back wall
is of 18th-century brickwork with a stone plat-band and four
bays of rectangular wall-recesses with rubbed brick heads to
either side of the bowed middle part. The wall seems to show
an early heightening of some 5 ft.
Inside the house, alteration and modernising in the 19th
century and since have obscured much earlier work, but the
S.W. longitudinal wall to the axial passage may well be a
survival from the first house, for it incorporates in situ an early
to mid 17th-century stone doorway, with a flat four-centred
head and stop-chamfered jambs, located behind and below the
first quarter-landing of the 1718 staircase, and a fireplace of
the same date on the upper floor (see Prince's Bedroom). For
the rest, allowing for the different orientation of access and for
rearrangement of the stairs, the disposition of the ground floor
of the Commonwealth house remains much as Celia Fiennes
described it in c. 1685. (fn. 9)
The Entrance Hall has an elaborate mid 19th-century ceiling
in the Gothic style with ribs, pendants, brattishing and blank
shields in foliated panels. The dado of the same period comprises panels carved with heads and 'linenfolds'. Thence an
axial passage extends through the main block; in situ at the far
end of the passage, at a slightly lower level, is a stone entrance
doorway with moulded jambs, shaped stops and a keystone;
this is in, and contemporary with, the wall, originally external,
of the Commonwealth house and now opens to the kitchens
etc. in the 18th-century wing. The Green Drawing Room
(30½ ft. by 20 ft.), in the N. corner of the house, was refurbished
late in the 18th century and retains from this date a plaster
entablature at the wall-head with the frieze enriched with
honeysuckle and urns. The two doorcases of wood with
enriched and gilded architraves etc. and fitted with panelled
doors, the window architraves and shutters similarly enriched
and the reeded fireplace-surround of marble are of the early
19th century, the large enriched wall-panels of the mid 19th
century. The Dining Room (37½ ft. by 19 ft.) next S.E., the
former hall, retains plasterwork similar to, and of the date of,
the foregoing and also a ceiling enriched with acanthus scrolls
in the corners, a monogram S.E.D. (Thomas Erle Drax,
inherited 1755, died 1790, married Mary St. John), and a later
centrepiece of banded reeding, foliation and escallops. The
woodwork again is of the early 19th century but plain. The
Oak Room (19½ ft. by 20 ft.) has a dado of mid 19th-century
panelling with cresting in the 15th-century style and, incorporated in the S. door, six mid 16th-century panels carved with
arabesques and roundels containing 'antique' heads. Panels of
the same kind, with some of the heads almost in the round,
and others of the same period with highly stylised scroll
ornament, sixty-eight in all, form dadoes in the passage
adjoining the Oak Room on the S.E. The doorcases and ceilingcornice here are of the date and style of the fittings of the
Armoury described below.
The Staircase Hall (15½ ft. by 20 ft.), impressive in its loftiness, over-all elaboration and richness of colouring, was an
innovation of c. 1718 in this position, but the matrix of the
stair arrangement described by Celia Fiennes remains apparent;
this comprises passages, formerly and still in part staircasepassages, entered from the W. angle of the Dining Room
which describe a cross, central and axial within the 17th-century block. The two lateral doorways to the 18th-century
stairhall have eared architraves, the heads being shaped to frame
elaborate trophies of arms and masks under shaped and
enriched cornices. The doorways over the first floor have
bolection-moulded architraves. The main staircase returns
in three flights up to the first-floor landing, which crosses the
full width of the hall; additional to the third flight that leads
S.W. from the second quarter-landing is a flight leading N.E.
through the thickness of the back wall. The stairs have cut
strings with fielded panels to the tread-ends on elaborately
carved brackets, turned balusters, three to a tread, and a
moulded and ramped handrail ending in a spatulate scroll
supporting a lion couchant, possibly added, over the lowest
newel. This last is elaborately carved, scrolled and voluted, and
the base curves outward to support a gadrooned urn. The intermediate newels are in the form of Composite columns, the
one at the first quarter-landing supporting the later addition
of a lion sejant holding a modern axe and honestone. The dado
has a moulded ramped top rail and bolection-moulded panels.
The great ceiling painting by Thornhill (Plate 109) depicts
the dispute of Aphrodite, Athene and Hera; the Goddesses
are seated on clouds accompanied by their attributes and with
sporting winged putti, the gods on Olympus in the background, a chariot in the left foreground, and on the right
Hermes holding the golden apple and vaulting over the
trompe l'œil balustrade of the Empyraean. The subsequent
scenes are on the walls, which are divided into three painted
zones: a panelled sub-base, with trophies and two formal
figure-groups in the panels, a pedestal-base, again with trophies
but here presented with far greater vigour and shown bursting
beyond the confines of the panels, and the main, uppermost,
zone next described. Crowning the classical base formed by the
two lower zones is a broad band of guilloche ornament; this
band, which is at first-floor landing level, completes the podium
for painted paired Corinthian columns in antis towards the
ends of each wall; the columns support an entablature with
coffered soffit. Thus the effect of proscenium-openings is
provided for the scenes painted within. The whole of the
foregoing is trompe l'œil, in chiaroscuro and gilding in the base
zones, in colour in the main zone. On the N.E. wall is Paris
seated, accompanied by Cupid and a dog, receiving the apple
from Hermes recumbent on a cloud above. On the N.W.
wall a great curtain is drawn back to reveal the Judgement of
Paris (Plate 108); Paris seated on the left in a woodland setting
is presenting the apple to Aphrodite on the right accompanied
by Cupid; behind her are Athene armed and Hera accompanied by her peacock; behind the group stands Hermes by a
tree. (fn. 10) On the S.E. wall, in the Rape of Helen (Plate 108),
Paris in cloak and helmet leads Helen out from an archway on
the right followed by attendants while a warrior and bondmen
precede them to a ship of much splendour in the left background. The S.W. wall, being divided horizontally by the
landing and broken by fenestration, has standing figures in
niches centrally between the windows, all in chiaroscuro,
of the shepherd Paris on the ground floor and Aphrodite,
naked and holding the apple, on the first floor. One of the
figure-groups in the sub-base panels already mentioned includes Athene and a winged putto holding a cartouche
bearing the mid 19th-century quarterly arms of Drax, as in the
N.E. pediment of the house, but Thornhill's sketch does not
show this group and the whole may be of the later date; in the
other group two putti hold the crest of Erle in a similar setting.
All the overdoors, the landing and flight soffits etc. and the
arched approaches on the ground floor and to the quarterlanding on the N.E. are painted with trophies, swags, drapery,
etc., including the repainted shield-of-arms of Erle impaling
Wyndham (for Thomas Erle, who commissioned the painting,
and Elizabeth Wyndham his wife) and his crest, and crests of
Drax and Sawbridge added in the 19th century; the upper
approach also has painted coffering on the arch-soffit. On one
of the standards in a trophy in the second zone is painted
'I. Thornhull f. 1718', on another 'Restored 1840. T. Fairs';
this last applies to a general restoration and to the repainting
and addition of the heraldry.
The Armoury (36 ft. by 10½ ft.) is of high, mid 19th-century
Gothic elaboration (Plate 106). The approach to the lobby
before it, between pedestal-responds supporting statues,
possibly 16th-century, of St. John the Divine and St. Peter,
is by a short flight of stairs with the upper newels crowned
with lions holding shields-of-arms of Drax quarterly of six
with a quarterly escutcheon, as in the N.E. pediment. The
screen between the lobby and the Armoury is in two heights,
the lower with linenfold panels set in arches with cusped
two-centred heads enclosing cartouches with painted arms,
perhaps added, of Drax, Erle, Grosvenor, Sawbridge, etc.,
the upper with reused turned and carved early to mid 16th-century columnar posts holding leaded glazing in blue, purple,
orange and yellow; the lintel is enriched with quatrefoils in
diagonal panels under a dentil cornice. Above is a flat-ogee
tie beam and the tympanum-like space between this and the
cornice is filled with elaborate pierced scroll-work flanking a
central mask. Before the screen stand two detached early 16th-century wood statues of Saints, one of a man wearing armour
beneath a cope and holding a church, the other of a woman
holding a book and trampling an infidel. Tie beams like that
just mentioned, with arcaded spandrels and supported on
carved or modelled corbels, divide the Armoury ceiling into
four bays; each bay is sub-divided by moulded ribs, with a
carved pendant at the intersection, into four cusped panels
all within an elaborately carved or moulded and pierced cornice.
The four windows retain their original enriched and scrolled
architraves of c. 1730 though fitted with elaborate mid 19th-century pelmets. The dado round the room incorporates
carved panels in the 16th-century style. The mid 19th-century
marble fireplace-surround is in the Louis XV style. Dividing
the Armoury from the Picture Gallery is a contemporary
solid screen panelled and traceried towards the former to
include two 'windows' in the Perpendicular style filled with
looking-glass and with finely carved and pierced architraves
continued up to form crocketed ogee heads; one 'window' is
hinged to form the door to the Gallery.
The Picture Gallery (45 ft. by 16¾ ft.), added in the mid 19th
century, is equivalent to two storeys in height inside. It has a
dado incorporating a quantity of 16th-century panels, or
panels in the style of that period, similar to those described
above. The plaster ceiling has wide coves rising to a long
rectangular panel incorporating two rectangular lanterns with
inward-sloping glazed sides and linked by a square panel;
this last and the aprons and soffits of the top lights are enriched
with elaborate acanthus scrolls and foliation. The two mid
19th-century black marble fireplace-surrounds include painted
arms of Drax quarterly of six with an escutcheon as already
described. Loose in the Gallery are two carved panels much
alike, possibly from overdoors, one with the arms of Erle
impaling Wyndham, the other dated 1710.
The Library (14½ ft. by 82¼ ft.), which is plain though with
six small fitted bookcases, contains two hatchments: (i) on a
lozenge of Grosvenor with a crescent for difference an escutcheon of Drax quarterly of twelve, Ernle, Hungerford, Heytesbury, Hussey, Peverell, Botreaux, Molyns, Erle, Wykes,
Plessey, Dymoke, for Sarah Frances Erle Drax, died 1822;
(ii) of Drax quarterly of six with a quarterly escutcheon, as
already described, with the motto but no crest, all against a
background black in the sinister half, for Jane Frances Erle
Drax, died 1853. In the lobby are two plaster shields, perhaps
modern, with the arms of Turberville impaling Maudley, and
Turberville impaling Fitzjames.
The Basement of the Commonwealth house, where remodelled for daily use, is lit by windows opening to sunk areas; the
Housekeeper's Room (below the Oak Room) retains the
double-hung sashes with heavy glazing-bars from the early
to mid 18th-century remodelling of the S.W. front. The
remainder of the basement, used as cellars, retains mid 17th-century two-light chamfered stone-mullioned windows with
almost flat triangular rear arches; but most are blocked or
altered. In the westernmost cellar (below the Morning Room)
is a large reused chamfered ceiling beam with moulded stops:
it appears to have been shortened but measures 32 ft. by 1 ft.
by 1¼ ft. and is reputed to be that from Corfe castle referred
to in Sir Ralph Bankes's correspondence in 1661 with Sir
Walter Erle. (fn. 11) At Corfe, the Old Hall after enlargement in the
13th century measured about 34 ft. across; other spans in the
castle were either greater or less, so far as they are now possible
The stairs leading N.E. to the cellar below the Dining
Room are set against the outside of the old external wall of
the Commonwealth house, which here retains a chamfered
plinth. The Housekeeper's Room has a stone fireplacesurround of unusual character, made up perhaps of 17th-century and later material; over it is an early to mid 18th-century eared and enriched panel of stone and plaster containing a reset but contemporary oval panel of wood (Plate 61)
carved in very high relief with a shield-of-arms of Erle impaling Wyndham with crest and mantling all in a setting of a
trophy of arms, including a Roman standard inscribed SPQR,
a caduceus, an eyed hand, cannon, sword, pistols, etc.
The Cellar of the wing of c. 1730 has groined quadripartite
brick vaulting springing from piers and responds with ashlar
dressings. High in the N.E. wall is a window blocked by the
addition of c. 1810. The mezzanine floor above retains in the
Pantry a bolection-moulded fireplace-surround of c. 1700,
which may well survive in situ from the smaller earlier wing.
On the first floor, the Prince's Bedroom and Dressing Room
are over the Morning Room. The first has in the N.E. wall an
early to mid 17th-century stone fireplace with moulded four-centred head and jambs with fleurs-de-lys stops; it is in situ
though retooled. The N.W. and S.W. walls are lined with
early 18th-century pine panelling with dado and cornice;
the woodwork was originally painted and grained to represent
round-headed Classical niches with elaborated keystones and
cartouches above in the main panels and fielded panels elsewhere, the graining resembling walnut, but only six of the
former paintings and one of the latter survive; the rest of the
room is lined with plain modern panelling to match. The
Dressing Room contains an 18th-century fireplace-surround
with marble slips and an eared and enriched wood architrave
and shelf. The Oak Bedroom and French Dressing Room are over
the Green Drawing Room. The first has a reset early 17th-century oak fireplace-surround with Ionic columns with
enriched shafts and bulbous bases supporting an overmantel
in two bays flanked and divided by pilasters in the form of
male and female terminal figures; in each bay is a round-headed
carved panel enclosing a shield-of-arms, of Tooker, and of
Tooker impaling Eyre; the pilasters support a bracketed entablature with a dentil cornice against the ceiling, all enriched.
The Dressing Room is lined with early 17th-century panelling
in five heights of panels.
In the S.E. wing of c. 1730 the main floor is at a level midway
between the ground and first floors of the mid 17th-century
house; here the Study, formerly the principal room in the
wing, retains the enriched plaster cornice original to it and
also, though now much damaged, the rebated reveals of a
contemporary window opening looking N.E., which may be
seen in a cupboard in the room adjacent on the N.E. added in
The mid 17th-century house retains most of the original
timbers of the pitched Roofs that returned round a central
depression, though this last is now covered in to provide
additional accommodation; they form tie-beam trusses with
collars, two purlins and a ridge-piece housed in the principals.
For Charborough Church close by the house, see Monument (2).
The Grove Ice-house, known also as the Grotto, standing
30 yds. N.W. of the house, consists of a stucco-faced brick
front, built or rebuilt in the mid 19th century, to a late 18th-century ice-house in the hillock behind. The front has a large
round-headed archway in the middle with rusticated ashlar
dressings under a curvilinear gable with flanking urns on
pedestals and a crowning orb at the apex surmounted by a
figure of Mercury copied from that at the Villa Medici,
Rome. In the gable-end is a modern marble inscription-tablet
replacing a similar one of earlier date, which is now reset in the
loggia against the Picture Gallery; it reads: 'Under this roof,
in the year MDCLXXXVI, a set of patriotic gentlemen of this
neighbourhood concerted the great plan of the Glorious
Revolution with the immortal King William; to whom we
owe our deliverance from Popery and Slavery, and expulsion
of the tyrant race of Stuarts; the restoration of our Liberty,
the security of our property, and establishment of National
Honour. Englishmen, remember this glorious aera, and consider that your Liberties, procured by the vertues of your
ancestors, must be maintained by yourselves. Thomas Erle
Drax erected this stone, in the year MDCCLXXX'. The archway opens to a porch or lobby with a semicircular vault faced
with stucco; at the inner end is a nail-studded plank door with
strap-hinges that opens on a brick-lined passage with a segmental brick vault leading to a circular ice-house. This last is
some 12 ft. in diameter, brick-lined and with a domical roof
with a central opening. The whole structure, behind the front,
A second Ice-house, reached through a long brick-lined passage entered close S.E. of the house, is of the 18th century. It is
circular, some 12 ft. in diameter, with a flattened domical roof
with a central opening. The doorway to it is down a flight
of thirteen steps; the floor is 9 ft. again below the threshold.
The Conservatory, on the hilltop 120 yds. S.W. of the house,
is of the early to mid 19th century and curvilinear on plan.
The walls are of fine Portland stone ashlar; they have a plinth
tooled in the top course to give a channelled effect of much
refinement and a simplified continuous crowning entablature
with a frieze, corona and blocking-course, the frieze being
carried across the window heads as a lintel. The large, rectangular window openings are quite plain and fitted with
hopper-lights. Inside, all the top-lighting is renewed. Of two
straight splayed wings added not long subsequently, that on the
E. has been demolished in modern times.
Charborough House, Conservatory
The Fountain some 100 yds. S. of the house is modern
but incorporates an 18th-century figure of Mercury poised on
the water spouting from the mouth of a putto-mask horizontal
on the supporting pedestal, all in lead.
The Tower (Plate 111) in High Wood, ¼ m. S.E. of the house,
is of brick faced with stucco and has a flat lead-covered roof.
The history of the building is inscribed on a wall-tablet at
ground-floor level: 'This Tower was built by Edward Drax
Esquire in the year 1790, during the short time he was the
possessor of Charborough. It was struck by lightning on the
29th of November 1838, which so damaged it, that it became
necessary to take down the greater part, it was rebuilt in 1839
by John Samuel Wanley Sawbridge Erle Drax Esquire who
carried it forty feet higher than it was originally built making
the present height upwards of one hundred feet.' The tablet
is in a moulded stone frame, with the crests of Drax and Sawbridge. The Tower is octagonal outside and elliptical inside
(12¼ ft. by 11½ ft.). It has a chamfered plinth and is in five
stages divided by prominent moulded strings; the parapet is
balustraded. On the external angles and rising the height of the
two lowest stages are weathered buttresses ending in pyramidal
crocketed finials on quatre-foiled dies. The doorway is in the
N.W. side; it has a moulded lancet-shaped head from which
rises a window of two trefoiled lights with a quatre-foiled
spandrel in a lancet head. The three middle stages have a blind
window in each face with continuously moulded reveals and
two-centred head under a moulded label with large mask-stops. Windows similar to the foregoing occur in the top stage
but the alternate ones are in part pierced and glazed. Small
round quatre-foiled windows also occur in the S.E. side
in the second, third and fourth stages. Inside, is a spiral staircase (Plate 111) with cantilevered stone steps and a cast-iron
balustrade with a moulded handrail of wood ending in a large
carving of a bearded man's head. The rectangular balusters
are moulded and foliated and elaborated with Gothic panels
on the faces. In the top stage is a flooring with a central round
light in a moulded architrave; access thence to the roof is by a
timber stair with cut strings and turned and moulded balusters.
The Tower stands on a large octagonal podium; thence
flights of stone steps 26 ft. wide alternating with grass slopes
between balustrading pierced with a running pattern of trefoils and quatrefoils lead down north-westward some 150 yds.
towards the house; the balustrading abuts square pedestals of
stucco-faced brick with rusticated dies and moulded cappings.
Three isolated pairs of similar pedestals at intervals in the
parkland further continue the vista. This 'triumphal way' dates
from the mid 19th century.
The Stables, 120 yds. W.S.W. of the house, with brick walls
and slate-covered roofs, were built probably in the second
quarter of the 19th century. Half H-shaped on plan, the building comprises a long rectangular block orientated N.E.-S.W.
with end wings projecting S.E. The centre part, containing the
coach stands, rises in an almost rectangular block to form a
tower-like feature of two storeys with low-pitched roofs
gabled to front and back to suggest pediments. The coach
doorways have cambered heads with keystones, the four lofty
windows on the first floor, arranged arcade-fashion, have
round heads with three rings of voussoirs, stone imposts and
keystones, and in the pediment-feature is a large clock-face
flanked by stucco scrolls. On the ridge stands a large timber
cupola with open arcaded sides, a widely overhanging eaves-cornice on brackets, a low-pitched pyramidal roof and a
wrought-iron weather vane. For the rest, the stables are of a
single storey and have a dentil cornice, round-headed doorways
with fanlights and cambered heads to the window openings.
Entrance to the Stableyard is between a pair of small 18th-century wrought-iron Gate Piers of unusual design (Plate 63).
They may perhaps be reused from the formal gardens depicted
in the paintings of c. 1740 already described. The plain uprights
are linked by scrolls and support, behind scrolled and spiked
cresting, S-scrolls rising to an obelisk finial.
The Kennels, nearly ¾ m. N.W. of the house, have brick
walls and tiled roofs. They consist of a mid 18th-century
group of buildings ranged round three sides of a large rectangular yard with a dwelling-house on one side, buttressed
barn-like sheds on the others. The house is of two storeys with
attics and all the wall-openings have segmental-arched heads.
The roofs of the sheds have collar-beam trusses with braces
rising from sole-pieces set in the walls.
The Lodges and Gates to the park include four of note; these
vary in style and architectural refinement though more or less
contemporary. One, Peacock Lodge, set within the park, is
depicted, as noted above, in an engraving of 1837; the others
and the great brick wall they punctuate are to be associated
with the completion in 1841–42 of the Wimborne-Dorchester
turnpike they adjoin. All the latter stand in the parish of Sturminster Marshall but are described here in their immediate
Peacock Lodge (Plate 59), ½ m. N.W. of the house, is built of
very fine ashlar. The design, Classical in detail, comprises a
large elliptical-headed arched way through a predominating
central block flanked symmetrically by lower rectangular
blocks containing living rooms; on the extremities are wingwalls curving round to end in piers well in advance of the
front of the Lodge. The centre block, which is surmounted
by the figure of a buck, has a simplified crowning entablature
and blocking-course. The lower blocks finish in a similar way,
the cornices here being in continuation of the imposts of the
great archway; they have characterful round windows with
moulded architraves set in concentric sinkings in the ashlar
wall-face. Extra living accommodation has been built behind
one of the wing-walls in modern times.
Lion Gate (Plate 59), in Sturminster Marshall parish, nearly
1 m. N.E. of the house, consists of a single great Classical archway built c. 1840. (fn. 12) It is stucco-faced. The semicircular-headed
arch has solid abutments; against the latter on both faces are
paired freestanding Ionic columns, eight in all, on high bases
and supporting a continuous entablature with an attic surmounted by a platform for the naturalistic sculptured figure of
a lion passant. The pair of cast-iron gates, of great elaboration,
were in the Exhibition of 1862.
Stag Gate (Plate 59), in Sturminster Marshall parish, nearly
1 m. due N. of the house, consists of a great archway, simpler
than the foregoing and of greater refinement though of the
same period. It is of brickwork, in Flemish bond with blue
headers, with stone dressings; the design shows restraint and
elegance. The lofty round-headed arch and responds abut
colossal square piers, the moulded stone arch-imposts returning round the last. The arch key-block is also of stone. At
the wall-head are oversailing courses of brickwork in emulation of a crowning cornice, a blocking-course and a plain
podium for the naturalistic freestanding figure of a stag.
East Almer Lodge, in Sturminster Marshall parish, nearly 1 m.
N.N.W. of the house, consists of a tall gatehall with great
round-headed archways in the N. and S. walls and abutted
symmetrically by low blocks containing living accommodation. It was built c. 1840, possibly not before 1842. The walls
are stucco-faced, probably over brickwork, with some stone
dressings; the roofs are lead-covered. The central block is
square on plan and finishes, above the level of the arch heads,
in a deep entablature pedimented to N. and S., the S. pediment
containing the shield-of-arms of Sawbridge Erle Drax with
flanking scroll-work. The exceptional depth of the frieze
allows space for stone inset panels inscribed, on the N., 'This
Road from Wimborne to Dorchester was projected and completed through the instrumentality of J. S. W. Sawbridge
Erle Drax Esq., M.P., in the Years 1841 and 1842', on the S.,
'This road [through the park] was closed by order of the
Magistrates, which was appealed against by James John
Farquharson Esq. at the Epiphany Quarter Sessions held at
Dorchester Janry 4th 1841 and after a trial of three days the
order was confirmed by the order of Twelve Honest Jurymen'.
Inside, the gatehall has a flat plaster ceiling and doorways with
keystones to the lodges. Each of these last has, outside, a cornice
at the wall-head in continuation of the imposts of the great
archways and a blocking-course; the window openings have
These monuments, unless otherwise described, are of
one storey and attics or two storeys with walls of cob,
in most cases patched or refaced with brick, and thatched
roofs; they are of the late 18th or early 19th century.
Buildings for which there is no individual entry are
covered by the description above.
c(4) House (Plate 42), of two storeys with rendered brick
walls and low-pitched slated roof, is of the second quarter of
the 19th century. The front is symmetrical, with central doorway and casement windows glazed with marginal panes. The
roof slopes down on all four sides from a central chimney-stack
with a row of five detached circular shafts with moulded
c(5) Cottage is of early 17th-century origin but has a 19th-century bay window and has been much altered for use as a
c(6) East Morden Farm, house (Plate 47), has walls of
brick and carstone rubble and a slated roof. The original house
was built probably in the late 16th or early 17th century with
stone walls and was of one storey and attics and on a three-room plan, the fireplace of the centre room backing on a
through passage. At the beginning of the 18th century the
house was partly rebuilt in brick; the existing entrance, flanked
by brick pilasters under a moulded brick cornice, and the
central panelled chimney-stack are of this date. A little later in
the 18th century a back wing was added. In the late 19th
century the upper part of the house was rebuilt to give two
full storeys, the level of the apex of the roof remaining unaltered, the main range was extended towards the E. and
further additions were made along the back. Internally the
original plan remains but all the fittings have been renewed.
East Morden Farm
c(7) Cottage is of the early 17th century, partly rebuilt and
heightened in the early 18th century. It has a central entrance
and end chimneys.
c(8) Cottage (922958), at Cockett Hill.
c(9) Cottage (921956), at Cockett Hill, is probably of the
early 18th century and was built on a two-room plan with
staircase and chimney against one gable-end wall. A third
room has been added at the opposite end.
c(10) Cottages, range of three, of 17th-century origin, were
built as one house with two end chimneys. It was later divided
and extended and the middle chimney added. An original
window survives with ovolo-moulded timber frame and
c(11) Cottages, in Giles's Lane, are of the 17th century,
enlarged in the late 18th century and heightened later.
c(12) Cottage, in Giles's Lane, has a tiled roof and was built
in the 17th century on a two-room plan with one end chimney;
a third room was added to the S.W. end in the mid 18th
century and the whole refronted.
b(14) Cottage has brick walls and is of the early 18th century.
Two later 18th-century cottages have been added to the S.W.
b(15) Stickland's Farm, house (Plate 43), of two storeys
and attics, with brick walls and tiled roof with stone slates
at the eaves, was built in the third quarter of the 18th century.
The front elevation is in header bond with a central entrance
between widely spaced casement windows. On plan the house
was built to have a central lobby and staircase with a small
service room behind, a parlour to the N. and a kitchen to the
S.; in the 19th century a new kitchen was added to the S. end.
c(19) Farmhouse (Plate 46) is built on a two-room plan with
end chimneys and has a small contemporary Barn to the N.E.
c(20) Cottage was built in the 17th century on a two-room
plan with one end chimney and later extended by the addition
of a scullery and a small barn.
b(22) Cottage, of the 17th century, was probably built on a
two-room plan with central chimney and extended to the S.
c(27) Cottage was built in the 17th century on a two-room
plan with one end chimney; a second chimney has been added.
c(28) Farm Building has brick walls and a modern roof.
c(29) Barn, with walls of brick and timber framing and with
pantiled roof, is of the mid 18th century. It consists of six bays,
with tie and collar-beam trusses flanking the entrance bay and
other trusses of sling-brace construction (cf. Fig. p. 400).
c(30) House, now two tenements, was built c. 1600 and partly
refaced early in the 18th century. In the S. end wall remain the
segmental arched brick heads and brick labels for four windows. On plan the house is L-shaped and originally comprised
three rooms; there are stop-chamfered ceiling beams, and an
original doorway, with cambered timber lintel, leads into the
c(32) West Morden Farm, house, of two storeys with
walls of rubble and brick and a thatched roof, is of the late
16th or early 17th century, originally built on a three-room
plan with internal chimney-stack between the two northern
rooms. Early in the 18th century it was partly rebuilt in brick
and a wing was added at the back.
b(37) House has brick walls and tiled roofs and is of the first
quarter of the 19th century.
b(38) Cottages, a group of three identical detached
b(39) Cottage, with brick walls and slated roof, is of the
second quarter of the 19th century.
b(40) Whitefield Farm, house, has brick walls and is partly
of the early 18th century; it was enlarged later in the 18th
century and the whole subsequently heightened to two full
b(43) Barn (905940) has walls of timber framing above a
high brick base and trusses of tie and collar-beam construction.
b(44) Morden Mill (906938), with brick walls and slated
roof, was built in the 18th century and extended and much
altered in the 19th. On the first floor are three pairs of mill
stones which were originally driven by an overshot waterwheel inside the mill, but this was replaced by a turbine in the
late 19th century; corn bins and hoppers are contained in the
b(45) Cottage (913933) on plan comprises living room and
b(46) Morden Park Cottage (910931), with rendered brick
walls and tiled pyramidal roof, was built in the late 18th
century on a square plan and enlarged later. The main front
has a Palladian window to each floor.
b(47) New Barn (913932) has walls of timber framing above
a high brick base and a tiled roof; it is of the 18th century and
has some sling-brace trusses (Plate 53) similar to those in (29).
b(48) Sherford Farm, house (918927), with brick walls,
was built in the 18th century on an L-shaped plan.
b(49) Higher Bulbury Farm, house and barn (930943),
with brick and tile-hung walls and slated roof, was built in the
late 18th century; it has a room each side of a central hall and
a barn of five bays forming part of the same building; the date
1778 is scratched on a beam in the barn.
c(50) Miller's Farm, house (911975), was built probably in
the 17th century, on a two-room plan with central chimney,
and was enlarged in the 18th century and again c. 1800.
Barn, to N.W., has brick walls, probably replacing timber
framing, and trusses of sling-brace construction similar to
those in (29) and (47).
Mediaeval and Later Earthworks
c(51) Settlement Remains (906952), of former part of West
Morden village, cover 2 acres 300 yds. S.E. of the present
village but are very fragmentary (R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1934:
Other Earthworks and Allied Monuments
(52–55) Round Barrows, p. 446.
(56) Mound, p. 482.
(57) Roman Remains, p. 602.