12 CHARMINSTER (6892)
(O.S. 6 ins. SY 69 SE, SY 69 NE)
The parish of Charminster, covering about 4,500
acres mainly on Chalk, extends N. from the R. Frome
and is divided into two parts by the R. Cerne, the E.
portion being much the larger of the two. The physical
partition is reflected in the pattern of mediaeval
settlements and fields. The land W. of the Cerne
belonged to Charminster village and much of it was
occupied by the open fields of that settlement; presumably the village originated on the W. bank. To the
E. of the Cerne the land was divided between a number
of small settlements all of which seem to be recorded in
Domesday Book as Cernes; each had a length of river
bank and a strip of land running N.E. up to the Chalk.
The most northerly, Forston, is still an independent
hamlet. Adjacent is Pulston and next, to the S., lies a
narrow nameless strip with a settlement at the S.W. end;
in 1839 this strip belonged to Cowden Farm and, like
Cowden, was an isolated part of Frampton parish.
After this came Herrison, Cowden, Charlton, Wolfeton
and, in the S.E. corner of the parish, Burton. The last
named is still an independent hamlet.
Mediaeval Settlements and Associated Lands, Charminster
The village of Charminster stands in the S. part of
the parish, astride the R. Cerne and ½ m. above its confluence with the R. Frome. The most important monuments are the Church (1), Wolfeton House (4) and the
Riding House at Wolfeton (5). Up on the downs to
the E. an extensive and important area of 'Celtic' Fields
and associated settlement extends into Piddlehinton and
Puddletown. A tesselated pavement found in Walls
Field in 1891 almost certainly marks the site of a Roman
(1) The Parish Church of St. Mary is built of
local stone rubble with some flint coursing, coursed
rubble and limestone, and Ham Hill ashlar (Plate 121).
The roofs are lead-covered, except those of the chancel
and the N. aisle which are slate-covered. An 11th-century church is represented by parts of the E. wall of
the present Nave and by the responds at the E. end of
the arcades; the S. respond partly retains its original
thickness but that to the N. has been pared down to
match the thickness of the present arcade, which is
later. The 11th-century building was probably cruciform, with chancel and transepts projecting from a
crossing or nave, wider than themselves. Four small
clearstorey lights in the present nave must be survivals
from the original building since they do not correspond with the spacing of the arcades. The present
N. and S. arcades and part of the South Aisle date
from the late 12th century, and the chancel arch was
inserted at the same time. The E. half of the S. aisle
was widened and extended E. in the second half of
the 15th century to form the South Chapel, and the
S. doorway and an adjacent window are of about the
same date. In the early 16th century, part of the S.
chapel was again extended to provide space for a
canopied table-tomb. The West Tower was built by
Thomas Trenchard, probably during the second quarter
of the 16th century, and the North and South Vestries
are of the same date. The Chancel was demolished in
the 17th century and rebuilt c. 1838, the 17th-century
window which had previously been set in the blocking
of the chancel-arch being reset at the new E. end. The
North Aisle was rebuilt later in the 19th century. There
were general restorations in 1838–9, and in 1895, when
the roofs were renewed.
The church is of considerable interest for its 11th and
12th-century features and for its noble 16th-century
tower. The early monuments are important, and
surviving fragments of 16th-century stencilled wall
decoration are a rarity.
Architectural Description—The Chancel (17½ ft. by 16½ ft.)
has a 17th-century E. window reset inside-out; it is of four
lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred moulded head
with moulded splays and has a chamfered label, now on the
inside. In the N. wall a 19th-century doorway with a three-centred head and keystone has been converted into a window.
The reset window in the S. wall is of the 16th century; it has
two four-centred lights in a square moulded head with moulded
reveals and label. The chancel arch is round-headed and of two
lightly chamfered orders; on the E. side it has a chamfered
label and on the W. a label with nail-head ornament; the shafted
jambs have a three-quarter shaft to each outer order and a
cluster of three segmental shafts to the inner order; the middle
shaft has a pronounced keel. The much restored capitals are
carved with scallops, enriched with simple foliage and fluting,
and the moulded abacus on each side is continued as a string
across the E. and W. wall-faces. The bases are moulded and
those of the three-quarter shafts have spurs, now badly worn.
N. of the arch is a squint, perhaps of the 16th century, with a
square head and a modern sill.
The Nave (51 ft. by 20 ft.) retains on the exterior face of
the E. wall the weathering of the steeper roof of a slightly
narrower chancel; the present parapets, copings and finial are
modern. Internally (Plate 6), the 12th-century N. arcade has four
bays, each with a two-centred arch. On the S. side each arch is
of two plain orders with a continuous label with nail-head
ornament, on the N. side it is of one order with a chamfered
label. The arches spring from columns with scalloped capitals,
with volutes at the corners, and moulded bases on square sub-bases, with carved chevron ornament; the E. and W. responds
are square. The carving of the capitals consists of numerous
shallow scallops; two have angle volutes to bring the round to a
square. At clearstorey level, towards the E. end, is the upper
doorway to the rood-loft; it is of the 15th century with a square
head and plain jambs, the rebated W. jamb being cut into by
the E. splay of the adjacent clearstorey window. This window
dates from the late 15th century and has two trefoil lights in a
square head. A little further W. is a splayed round-headed light
of c. 1100, decorated externally with a continuous band of
chevron ornament. W. of this is another 15th-century window,
taller than the first but otherwise of similar design; it is followed
by a second early 12th-century light and, towards the W. end,
by a third 15th-century window like the first. The westernmost
12th-century light and a similar one opposite to it in the S.
wall are not central with the arcades below. The S. arcade
of the nave and the S. clearstorey are similar to those on the
N. except that the E. respond is notably thicker than its fellow
and than the spandrel above it; the extra breadth shows that
the responds are surviving parts of the antecedent nave. The
column bases have spurs and the head of the easternmost
window is probably a restoration. Supporting the roof ridge-piece and trusses are a number of reset 15th-century corbels:
busts of angels holding shields or with clasped hands, human
busts, grotesques, a king, a jester (?), and one with a head on
the side and, on the front, a representation of a woman in horned
head-dress standing beside a table with a cup. The W. wall
of the nave includes the boldly projecting tower buttresses
flanking the tower-arch; they have small plinths and weathered
off-sets at two levels, one on the E. face at clearstorey sill-level,
the other on the S. and N. faces just below the wall-plate.
The North Aisle (20 ft. wide) was rebuilt in the second half
of the 19th century; the E. and W. ends are gabled and a 12th-century corbel carved with a grotesque head is reset as a kneeler
in the W. gable; a similar kneeler at the E. end is perhaps a
modern copy. The E. window is of 15th-century date, reset; it
has two cinquefoil lights in a square head with a moulded
label and head stops, one a man, the other a woman with
horned head-dress. The rood-stair in the S.E. angle is a 15th-century insertion; the lower doorway has continuous hollow-chamfered jambs and a high four-centred head; the vice is lit
by two chamfered rectangular loops. The four reset windows
in the N. wall are all of the 15th century, with modern repairs,
and similar to the window in the E. wall. In the W. wall is a
modern segmental-headed opening to the N. Vestry, which
abuts the N.E. side of the tower; further N. is a doorway of 1895.
Charminster, the Parish Church of St. Mary
The South Chapel (28½ ft. by 14½ ft.), occupying the widened
E. half of the S. aisle, is also known as the Wolfeton Aisle.
Except for the shallow early 16th-century S.W. extension it
dates from c. 1470, but the parapets and copings are modern,
like those of the rest of the aisle. The E. wall contains a 15th-century window of three cinquefoil lights in a square head
below a moulded label with head-stops. N. of the window is
the opening to a squint with chamfered jambs and a square
head; it is probably of the 15th century and it was blocked
when the original chancel was destroyed. The S. wall has,
toward the E., a much restored three-light window contemporary with and similar to that of the E. wall; further W. a
crudely turned depressed arch spans the recess-like 16th-century
extension. Externally the recess is capped with weathered ashlar;
in its S. wall is a 16th-century window of two elliptical-headed
lights in a square head with chamfered reveals. Inside, supporting
the chapel roof are three reset corbels, perhaps from the later
12th-century structure, one carved with a bull's head. The rest
of the S. wall of the South Aisle (7¼ ft. wide) is probably of
12th-century origin. The late 15th-century S. doorway has a
two-centred moulded head and continuous moulded jambs with
run-out stops and a triangular chamfered rear-arch. W. of the
doorway is a 15th-century three-light window, uniform with
the E. window of the S. chapel. The S.E. buttress of the tower
projects into the N.W. angle of the aisle.
The West Tower (12½ ft. square) bears in many places the
monogram shown below; presumably it is for Thomas Trenchard. The tower is of three stages, with a moulded plinth and
moulded strings which are carried round the angle buttresses and
the octagonal vice turret at the N.W. corner (Plate 121). The
embattled parapet has a moulded string interrupted by seven
gargoyles. Crocketed pinnacles stand at the corners and in the
middle of each side and are also continued up from the tops of
the buttresses; the vice turret is higher than the main parapet
and has eight smaller pinnacles and a central pedestal for a
weather-vane. The buttresses, of four weathered stages, end at
the level of the belfry window labels; those flanking the turret
merge into it at the second weathering. Trenchard's monogram
is carved on each stage of the W. buttresses, those of the lowest
stage being inlaid in lead. Inside, the tower arch has a two-centred head and continuous jambs with spur-stops; reveals and
arch-soffit are decorated with pairs of cusped ogee-headed stone
panels in two heights, the lowest panels having shields carved
with the double T.; the arch is of Ham Hill stone down to stoplevel; below it is of Purbeck stone. In the N. and S. walls are
arched openings to the N. and S. vestries; they have panelled
reveals like the tower arch and the Trenchard monogram again
appears on shields in the lower tier of panels. The W. doorway
has, externally, a moulded four-centred head and continuous
moulded jambs with pedestal stops, all in a square surround
formed by diagonal side-standards and a moulded string across
the head. Each traceried spandrel includes a quatrefoil containing a shield with the double T.; the segmental rear arch
of the doorway is plain. The W. window has five transomed
lights with four-centred openings below and ogee cinquefoil
openings above the transoms; the high four-centred head contains vertical tracery; head and jambs are casement-moulded
and a moulded string is carried up over the head as a label;
the rear arch is four-centred and chamfered. The W. face of
the second stage of the tower is pierced by a small rectangular
window with moulded head and jambs. The third stage contains
in each face two two-light, double-transomed, square-headed
belfry windows with square labels; the main head and jambs
are casement-moulded and all the lights have elliptical heads
and are filled with pierced stone panels. On the N. side some
panels have the form of grotesque masks with pierced mouths
and eyes. Access to the lead roof from the stair-turret is through
a doorway with rebated triangular head and continuous jambs.
The North and South Vestries (respectively 12½ ft. by 10 ft.
and 13 ft. by 9¾ ft.) flank the W. tower and are contemporary
with it. In general they are uniform; on the free corners are
two-stage angle buttresses, those to the N.W. with the Trenchard
monogram on the lower stages; a similar square-set buttress
marks the E. end of the 16th-century S. wall. The parapet walls
and copings are modern and the walls have modern repairs. In
the N. vestry, the N. wall has a window of three four-centred
lights in a square head with a moulded label and a square rear-arch; at the S. end of the W. wall is a doorway to the tower
vice, with a four-centred moulded head and continuous jambs
above spur stops. In the S. vestry, the S. wall has a three-light
window similar to that of the N. vestry, and in the W. wall
is a similar window of two lights.
The South Porch (9½ ft. by 11½ ft.) is of the 16th century, but
the porch arch was reconstructed in the 17th century; the
parapet wall includes two 16th-century gargoyles and a corbel
with the Trenchard monogram, now supporting a modern
cross. The porch arch has a nearly round head of two chamfered
orders with continuous jambs. The churchyard wall to the S.
is of rubble with weathered copings and may in part be of the
16th or 17th century.
Fittings—Bells: six, in modern steel frame; 2nd, by Thomas
Purdue, 1663; 3rd, probably by William Purdue, late 16th
century; 4th, 1631; 6th, by Thomas Purdue, 1661, recast 1952.
Brackets: In N. aisle, in N.W. angle of rood-stair turret, corbel
carried on carved male head, 15th century. In S. porch, flanking
doorway, two semi-octagonal capitals of Ham Hill stone, 15th
century, reset. Brasses and Indents: see below, Monument (3).
Chair: In chancel, with turned uprights and carved back, 17th
century. Churchyard Cross: Loose against wall of S. aisle, portion
of tapered shaft, 3¼ ft. long with chamfered angles, late mediaeval. Clock: In second stage of tower, wrought-iron frame
with brass cogwheels, possibly of c. 1700, rebuilt 1896. Font:
Circular bowl turning to octagonal below small roll moulding
and tapering to roll necking, on straight octagonal stem with
chamfered circular plinth and square base, traces of red painting
on stem; rim with mortice and dowel-holes for fixings;
probably 12th century, recut and reshaped in 15th century.
Glass: In S. aisle, in cusping of E. window, fragments including
four double roses and pieces of two more, floral patterns,
black-letters reset upside-down and IHS monogram, late 15th
century. Graffito: On S.E. respond of tower arch, carved devil's
Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In S. chapel, on S.
wall, (1) of Grace Pole, 1636, daughter of Thomas Trenchard,
wall monument of marble, slate and plaster with effigy of
woman in voluminous dress with falling lace-edged collar
kneeling at prayer-desk (Plate 34); on each side freestanding
Corinthian columns with side scrolls supporting entablature
with broken pediment surmounted by seated cherubs and cartouche containing lozenge-of-arms of Pole impaling Trenchard;
inscription tablet below with scrolled and jewelled surround
flanked by lion masks; semicircular tympanum over effigy
enclosing modelled cherubs and clouds, and, in spandrels, cartouches with faded painted crests of Pole and Trenchard;
vertical panels behind columns modelled to represent branches
from which hang shields with painted arms, now largely
effaced, representing on E. side Trenchard and on W. side
Pole alliances. Adjacent to the foregoing, (2) of Mary Henning,
1821, and others later, marble tablet; (3) canopied mural table-tomb of Purbeck marble, second quarter of 16th century;
front and W. end of chest with moulded plinth with traces of
red and purple paint, and divided into traceried panels containing cusped and sub-cusped quatrefoils enclosing blocks for
brass shields, now missing; at angles, spirally-turned pedestals
below octagonal columns, the latter standing on tomb-slab
and supporting flat-arched canopy with moulded cornice, enriched with quatrefoils and capped with blind brattishing;
soffit of canopy elaborately traceried and with central pendant;
in back wall, indents of brasses, now gone, of kneeling figure
with scroll issuing from hands, Trinity, shield surrounded by
scrolls, and inscription plate; brass fillet from chamfered edge of
tomb-slab also missing. Built into S.W. corner of S. chapel,
(4) canopied mural table-tomb, not in situ, of Purbeck marble
and of similar form to (3), but dating from rather earlier in
the 16th century and more Gothic in style; fascia below
canopy divided into two bays of flat four-centred arches with
sunk spandrels and cusping; canopy-frieze enriched with square
quatrefoil panels; reset in back wall, frieze of four diagonal
quatrefoil and sub-cusped panels enclosing blank shields, much
decayed. In S. aisle, on S. wall, (5) of Thomas Nicholls, 1822,
and others, black and white marble tablet; (6) of Robert
Devenish, 1839, sarcophagus-shaped marble tablet with arms
and crest of Devenish, by Lester of Dorchester; (7) of John,
1800, and Sara Devenish, 1820, marble tablet by Lancashire
and Tyley of Bath; (8) of Martha Devenish, 1836, tablet similar
to (6) and by same maker. In churchyard, (9) of Robert Gray,
1656, table-tomb; (10) of Lewes Cockrum, 1660, table-tomb.
Floor-slabs: In chancel, (1) of the daughters of Thomas Hawker
of Somerset, 1704, 1720, with incised architectural decoration,
partly hidden; (2) of Henry Trenchard of Fulford in Devon,
1720; (3) of the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Trenchard,
1707, partly hidden. In N. aisle, (4) of Henry Hayward, 1705.
In S. chapel, (5) of Thomas Trenchard, 1727, worn and partly
hidden; (6) of Mary Henning, 1821, and others later.
Paintings: In nave, over chancel arch, faint traces now
unidentifiable but when uncovered in 1897 thought to be
scenes from Passion and Resurrection, 15th century. On N.
wall, below doorway to rood-loft, areas of stencilled decoration
depicting strawberries and strawberry-leaves in red on white
ground, early 16th century; over first pier of N. arcade,
traces of black-letter inscription from Matthew V, 16; over
third bay, rectangular panel with black, gold and red surround containing black-letter inscription from Nahum I, 15,
with traces of another painting higher up, all late 16th century;
on S. wall, over E. respond, faded and fragmentary stencilled
decoration corresponding with the one opposite; over second
bay of arcade, fragment of the Apostles' Creed in black-letter,
late 16th century; over third pier, fragment of text in rough
capitals possibly from I Peter III, 7; over fourth arch, fragment
of black-letter inscription possibly from Romans VI, 4 and 5,
late 16th century; on W. wall, N. and S. of tower-arch, sepia
paintings of trees, that on S. nearly obliterated, 16th century;
at wall-plate level, initials in plain capitals. Piscina: In S. chapel,
in S. wall, with hollow-chamfered ogee head, continuous hollow-chamfered jambs, shaped dish with boss carved as a halfrosette, and two drains, mediaeval. Plate: includes a cup and
cover-paten of 1570 (or 1577, date-letter worn), maker's mark
an orb surmounted by a crown; also stand-paten of 1836.
Pulpit: of oak, octagonal, with moulded and jewel-ornamented
plinth, on modern base; sides in two heights of panelling with
enriched framing, rails carved with acanthus and guilloche
ornament, stiles fluted and reeded; upper panels with round-headed arcading; cornice enriched with small console-brackets
at corners and capped by modern book-rest; pulpit dated 1635
on internal panel. Royal Arms: In S. aisle, painted on wood,
in moulded frame, 1757. Sundials: Scratch-dials, one on E.
quoin of S. aisle, much worn and inverted, another on parapetwall of S. porch. Weather-vane: On tower, of wrought iron
with copper vane pierced with initials T.S. and date 1744.
Miscellanea: In S. chapel, moulded stone fragments with nail-head and chevron ornament, 12th century. In vestry, on N.
wall, wood panel recording enlargements and repairs to church
in 1838 and 1839. At foot of tower, outside W. wall, slab
with Lombardic lettering '. . . MEN . . HI . . .'.
(2) Bridge (67649193), over a branch of the R. Frome, ½ m.
S.S.W. of the church, is of two spans and of brick in English
bond with ashlar dressings. The segmental arches spring from
a squat centre pier with rounded and domed cut-waters at each
end. The bridge is probably of the mid 19th century.
(3) Bridge (67959266), over the R. Cerne, 40 yds. S.E. of
the church, is in three spans and has rubble walls and semicircular arches turned in brick. It is probably of late mediaeval
origin but the arches were rebuilt in the 18th or early 19th
(4) Wolfeton House (678921), 650 yds. S. of the
church, is built in two storeys with walls of Purbeck
stone rubble, squared and coursed rubble, and ashlar;
the roofs are covered with stone-slates (Plate 124). On
the death in 1480 of John Mohun, who had married
an heiress of the Jurdains, the former owners of the
property, Wolfeton passed to his grandson John
Trenchard. Before the end of the century it seems
that timber from Frome Whitfield was supplied for
structural work (Hutchins II, 547). The reception here
of the Archduke Philip of Austria and Joanna of
Castile in 1506, though largely fortuitous, points to
the existence of a house of some pretensions. However,
nothing survives that is demonstrably of the 15th
century; the Gatehouse alone may perhaps have been
begun by the turn of the century. Fragments of an
elaborately decorated 16th-century structure incorporated in the present house, which on the evidence of a
date tablet are not later than 1534, show that extensive
rebuilding took place during that period; Sir Thomas
Trenchard was then the owner. From Hutchins's account
(II, 546) it seems clear that the house was arranged
around a courtyard; the present Gatehouse occupied
the E. range and a chapel to the N. formed, or stood
close to, the N. range; the N. part was the oldest. The
chapel was in ruins in c. 1800 and was then demolished,
and the greater parts of the South Range and of the
West Range were demolished between 1822 and 1828.
The appearance of the complete S. range, with a
curious diagonal wing off the S.E. corner, is preserved
in W. Walker's engraving of the house (Hutchins's 1st
edn., 1774, opp. p. 453) and in a drawing of 1811
reproduced in Country Life (17th December 1953). An
early 19th-century sketch of the W. range, in the
owner's possession (Plate 93), shows an elaborate arched
entrance more or less axial with the Gatehouse; the
presumption that this was the entrance to the screenspassage of the Hall seems to be confirmed by Hutchins's
statement (loc. cit.) that 'near it (sc. the hall) to the N. is
a small domestic chapel', since the latter is known to
have been N. of the courtyard. The westward exten
sion of the S. range, containing the 'Gallery' on the
first floor, was built in the last quarter of the 16th
century, possibly c. 1580, during the ownership of
Sir George Trenchard; at the same time a spacious
stone stairway, now in part a 19th-century reconstruction, was built in the re-entrant angle between the S.
range and the hall range. (fn. 1)
Wolfeton House, Charminster
After the demolitions of the first half of the 19th
century the house was practically derelict, as appears
in Buckler's drawings of 1828 (British Museum, Add.
MSS. 36361, ff. 197–9; 36439, f. 287). In 1862 the house
was bought by W. H. P. Weston and his works of
restoration and rebuilding were extensive. They included a reconstruction of the top stage of the octagonal S. tower, building a new octagonal N. tower
and a new N. porch, and rebuilding or refacing the
walls connecting the three. He also formed a passageway between the house and Gatehouse and made
alterations to the offices to the W. The elaborate plaster
ceilings in the drawing-rooms are perhaps of this
period. Many windows have been altered and reset. The
'Gallery' on the first floor has been divided up, and in
recent years the whole house has been divided into three
units. Nothing remains of the important heraldic glass
that was in the hall and other rooms (Hutchins II,
547–52); much of it was moved in 1798 and largely
destroyed in transit to Lytchett Matravers.
Wolfeton when complete must have been a building
of remarkable individuality and interest. The Gatehouse, provided for effect rather than real defence,
and the surviving fragments of an early 16th-century
house of high elaboration suggest considerable architectural ebullience, whereas the extensions of c. 1580
exhibit details, outside and in, suggestive of the classical
sophistication that is associated with Protector Somerset
and Old Somerset House; the stone carving of the
'Gallery' doorway is akin to that at Longleat, attributed
to Allen Maynard, c. 1575.
The Gatehouse consists of a rectangular building with round
towers on the N.E. and S.E. corners and with a gate-passage
(13½ ft. by 10¼ ft.) through it from E. to W. (Plate 125). On
the E. side the wall between the towers has a moulded plinth,
a moulded string at first-floor level and a coved stone eaves-cornice. The entrance archway is set slightly N. of centre; it
has a four-centred and moulded head and continuous jambs
with pedestal-bases to each moulding, graded in height to
create an illusion of greater recession, and a moulded label
with carved stops representing a satyr and a woodhouse, each
holding a stave; reset above is a cartouche of c. 1720 containing
the quarterly arms of Trenchard, Mohun and Jurdain, with an
inescutcheon of Tuckfield quartering two other coats. The
windows on ground and first floors are of one, two and three
lights with hollow-chamfered four-centred heads with foliate
spandrels; they are of the early 16th century and those on the
ground floor have been reset. The N.E. and S.E. towers are
respectively 10¾ ft. and 14½ ft. in internal diameter. The
first tower incorporated a garderobe in the N.E. sector and
the head of the outlet is visible above ground-level. The towers
have moulded plinths, higher than that of the main front, and
they are divided into two stages by moulded strings which are
continuous with the string on the main front; they stand above
the general eaves-level of the building and are covered with
low-pitched conical roofs. In each tower, just below the string-course, an original gun-loop covering the main entrance-archway consists of a chamfered slit with a round widening in
the centre; the wall-string mitres over it. The other openings
below the string-course are modern or reset; the upper windows
are small, of single lights and of the early 16th century with
high four-centred hollow-chamfered heads and jambs and
foliated spandrels; the S.E. tower has a small louvred rectangular
opening below eaves-level, the entrance to a large pigeon-loft.
The N. end wall is gabled and the plinth and string are similar to
those on the E. front; in the centre is a projecting chimney-breast
with the first-floor flue supported on hollow-chamfered corbelling at string level and weathered back above; in the stack and
reset from the destroyed south range is an inscribed panel in a
moulded stone frame. The inscription reads HOC OPUS FINITU[M]
EST ANNO DNI MDXXXIIII. A restored 16th-century window on the
ground floor has two lights with elliptical heads and foliate
spandrels, and a single-light window on the first floor is similar
to the windows in the towers. Although the S. end has been
much patched and repaired it is evident that a wall originally
projected S. from the W. angle. The arrangement is very
similar to that of the N. end; the projecting chimney is in part
corbelled and in part continued down to the ground; the
plinth mouldings on the tower change to a chamfer and in this
form are continued across the front; all the ground-floor
windows are 19th-century insertions. The W. side has plinth,
string and cornice mouldings similar to those of the E. front;
the archway has a high four-centred double-chamfered head,
continuous chamfered jambs stopping against the returned
plinth-mouldings, and a moulded label rising at the apex to a
finial-like pedestal on which a naked child sits carrying a shield
carved with the initial S (for Strangways) or possibly a double
T (for Thomas Trenchard); the stops have the form of crouching
putti holding shields, one with the same letter in a foliated
wreath, the other T E (for Thomas Trenchard and Elizabeth
(Strangways) his wife) and interlacement; set in the wall-face
flanking the finial are two more shields with the initials T T
and T E respectively, looped together with tasselled cords. The
16th-century windows are of one, two and three lights with
four-centred and round-headed openings; those on the upper
floor have shallow square heads and foliated spandrels and to
some extent have been altered or reset. Under the eaves towards
the N. is a reset head-stop of a man. At each end of this W.
side are indications of pre-existing walls projecting westward.
(For interior of Gatehouse see p. 67.)
The bulk of the surviving House stands some 13 yds. W. of
the Gatehouse, the two now being connected solely by a mid
19th-century covered passage. Originally the S. range of the
quadrangular courtyard house continued E. to join the Gatehouse and had a small wing projecting diagonally from the
free S.E. corner. On it was the date panel that is now reset in
The S. front of the house retains, to the E., the only surviving part of the early 16th-century S. range. This comprises
the S. tower, a projecting garderobe and the main S. wall
linking them. The S. tower, originally probably a stair-tower,
is of three stages, the topmost being a rebuilding of c. 1862
to replace the gabled attic storey, demolished some thirty-five
years earlier, shown in W. Walker's engraving of the house
(Hutchins, loc. cit.). The tower has a moulded plinth and moulded
strings, and in the W. face is an original doorway with a restored
square moulded head and jambs with pedestal stops; to the
S.W. is a rectangular window with hollow-chamfered head
and jambs; to the E. is a 19th-century two-light window
and, in the second stage, two original windows of one and
two lights respectively, with four-centred openings in square
heads with carved spandrels. The N.E. splay and all of the
free northerly wall is refaced. To the W. of the tower the
surviving part of the main S. wall has been much patched
and the moulded upper members of its plinth have been
cut away for the lowered sill of the easternmost window;
this last is of the early 16th century, reset, and has three lights
with segmental openings in the square head, moulded jambs
and mullions with small discrete pedestal bases to each moulding.
The bases are shortened in height in recession, as on the Gatehouse, perhaps to force the perspective. The label is moulded
and embattled and the E. return, for which the W. wall of the
tower has been cut back, has a carved stop of a cross-legged
man wearing a hat; the W. end stops on a carved grotesque
beast and is without a vertical member on account of the
proximity of another window immediately W. The second
window is also of the early 16th century but partly restored;
it was probably originally of five lights and placed axially
below the window above. It now has two transomed lights
with round-headed openings and carved spandrels, below as
well as above the transom. The jambs have pedestal bases.
The ovolo moulding of the head and jambs is carved with a
twisted garland of ribbon and fruit of Renaissance character;
the label has elaborate foliage carving and stops representing
the busts of a man and a woman. The five-light window on the
first floor is similar in detail to the opening just described,
except that it is without a transom and retains the original
moulded mullions with small semi-octagonal moulded pedestalbases with pyramidal stops bringing them out to the square; the
label is carved with grapes and vine tendrils and the carved label-stops are of a man and a winged and feathered grotesque; the
moulded sill is continued across the wall-face as a string. The
garderobe immediately to the W. comprises a small semi-octagonal first-floor projection supported on a rectangular shaft;
the shaft has a moulded plinth and capping, moulded corbelling at
the sides and small broaches at the corners to bring it to the semioctagon above. The garderobe has in the S.E. face a small restored
window with wood frame, two-centred and with foliate
spandrels; it has a moulded stone eaves-cornice and a roof of
weathered ashlar, pyramidal and semi-octagonal, with a carved
finial representing a seated man holding sword and buckler.
Adjoining on the W. is the ashlar front of the late 16th-century
block, which contained the former 'Gallery' on the first floor;
it has a moulded plinth, a classical entablature of shallow projection carried across the front as a string-course immediately
above the ground-floor windows, and an eaves entablature with
dentil-like modillions, breaking forward at extended intervals
over shaped and moulded consoles. Each of the three windows
on ground and first floors was originally of four transomed
lights with square heads and moulded jambs and mullions, with
moulded pedestal-stops above transoms and sills; but a door has
been cut in the E. window, the westernmost light of the W.
window has been built up flush with the wall-face in ashlar,
and a number of other lights have been blocked. Walker's
engraving (Hutchins, loc. cit.) shows a bay-window where the
centre windows are now; it was demolished in 1798 and there
is patching and evidence of resetting in the area.
The lower W. end of the house has been much altered and
rebuilt and is now largely of the late 18th or early 19th century,
except towards the W. extremity, where the front has a
moulded plinth, a four-light stone-mullioned window on
the ground floor, with a square head and a label and, on the
original first floor, traces of another blocked window. All these
features are of the 17th century and perhaps are the remains of
the small twin-gabled annex shown in Walker's engraving,
since heightened and in part rebuilt.
The wall of the E. front, N. of the S. tower, is ostensibly
of the mid 19th century; so also is the return N. wall from the
N. tower as far as the N. porch. The 19th-century drawings
already mentioned, and another sketch in the Dorchester
Museum (Gorland 19), suggest that they are on the lines of
original and early 19th-century internal and exterior walls;
thus this mid 19th-century appearance may be no more than
refacing. The N. tower is entirely mid 19th-century.
The N. front has, to the E., the mid 19th-century screenwall to the passageway that joins the house to the Gatehouse.
Further W., the N. wall of the stair is of the late 16th century,
refaced in the early 19th century but retaining over the porch
a window of three mullioned and transomed lights in a square
head with moulded jambs and pedestal-stops. The gabled upper
part of the W. return wall of the stair appears above the adjoining buildings; it has a parapet-wall, moulded coping and
shaped kneelers and contains a blocked late 16th-century two-light window with square head and moulded label. Further W.
the walls of the office buildings are of squared and coursed
rubble and are, in part, of the late 18th century with some
earlier material reused.
Inside, the house was extensively remodelled in the second
half of the 19th century and many of the features and fittings
are of that date, albeit in Elizabethan or Jacobean style. The
Entrance Hall contains a number of reset fragments of c. 1600,
among them a stone achievement-of-arms of Trenchard
quartering Mohun, Bruer or Briwere, and Jurdain (see illustration on p. 64). The cartouche is now over the north doorway but
it was originally over the 'great door at the east front' (Hutchins
II, 547); that is to say it was on the W. range, over the entrance
to the screens (see Plate 93). Two late 16th-century half-length
figures of naked women carved in stone stand in circular
recesses in the W. spandrels of the archway to the stairs. The
doorway to the Dining Room from the S. part of the entrance
hall has an elaborately carved timber surround made up in the
19th century with some early 17th-century pieces, and a frieze
of reused panels, perhaps of the early 16th century, carved
with Zodiac scenes and also part of an Annunciation; the
doorway in the opposite wall is of similar origin, one of the
incorporated pieces being dated 1642. The walls are lined
with restored early 16th and 17th-century panelling, the earlier
with linen-fold decoration, and the cornice includes a number
of reused early 16th-century carved panels of French Renaissance
The East Drawing Room, the former 'Parlour', contains a
door-case and fireplace-surround with overmantel all comprising
highly enriched assemblages of early 17th-century woodwork
from other parts of the house. The doorway has a semicircular
arched head on moulded imposts and reeded and fluted responds;
Corinthian side pilasters on pedestals support an entablature
with lions' masks in the frieze, over which is a much mitred
and gadrooned panel flanked by standing figures of a king in
grotesque armour and a woman; the whole is flanked by a
pair of colossal attached Composite columns on pedestals and
these support an entablature which meets the ceiling and has a
modillion cornice, and strapwork in the frieze flanking a shield-of-arms of Trenchard quartering Mohun and Jurdain. The
door is panelled in three heights, with a gadrooned centre
panel and a semicircular upper panel with radiating jewel and
strapwork ornament; every member of the door-case is elaborately carved (Plate 126). The fireplace-surround is of similar
character, with flanking terminal-figures supporting a frieze
and, above, an overmantel with three standing male figures
flanking two panels which contain figures of Hope and Justice
framed in round-headed arches; on each side, colossal attached
Composite columns on pedestals support an entablature with
a modillion cornice and a frieze with consoles and strapwork
ornament (Plate 126). The fireplace opening is reduced in size
by the insertion of a timber surround comprising two small
Corinthian half-columns with arabesque ornament on the shafts
and twenty-three carved panels of the Labours of the Months,
signs of the Zodiac, etc., mostly of the early 16th century; they
came from the Smoking-room which was demolished in the
In the West Drawing Room the N. door is made up of pieces
of 16th and 17th-century carving. The late 16th-century overmantel is of plaster, now painted dark brown, and comprises
flanking terminal figures on pedestals supporting an entablature
with a deep strapwork frieze; they frame a panel depicting the
Judgement of Paris in an elaborate strapwork surround with
angels, fruit and foliage, all modelled in high relief; the shelf
below, which has been associated, bears the date 1652. The
overmantel is closely similar in general design and workmanship
to one in the garden chamber at Montacute.
The great Staircase is of stone; it appears to have been restored
in the 19th century but it no doubt follows the general form of
the late 16th-century staircase. The whole stair is monumental in
scale. It has a balustrade with a pierced arcade of round-headed
arches supporting a continuous moulded capping, all returned
along the front of the first-floor landing; here, where the
balustrade meets the wall, is a carved stone caryatid, either a
finial or the respond to an upper height of arcading that is now
entirely missing. The doorway from the landing into the former
Gallery has a stone surround of the late 16th century, with
Corinthian side pilasters, a pedimented entablature with small
pedestals on the slopes, and a bust of a man with a knotted
cloak in the tympanum; the frieze has an unusual carved enrichment of honeysuckle, acanthus and roses, a design that
occurs also at Longleat. Although somewhat gauche, the doorway has the classical purity of the pre-Flemish phase of Renaissance work in England (Plate 127).
The Gallery, which occupied the whole length of the late
16th-century W. extension, is known to have had a coved and
enriched plaster ceiling; it may in part survive but the room
has been divided up and flat inserted ceilings prevent any sight
of it. The original stone chimneypiece survives (Plate 127); it
rises the full height of the room and is in two stages; the lower
stage has flanking coupled Composite columns on panelled
pedestals supporting an entablature in which the frieze is carved
with arabesques and, over the columns, reclining female figures
representing Faith and Hope; a decorative apron below the
architrave is carved with strapwork incorporating human
masks. The fireplace opening has been reduced in size by the
insertion of a later surround with half-columns and corniceshelf. The overmantel has superimposed Composite columns
on jewelled pedestals supporting a modillion cornice; they
frame a large panel carved with a central reclining female
figure in an elaborate strapwork frame, incorporating naked
figures and heads of men and women. The whole chimneypiece is closely similar in design and workmanship to one in
the great chamber at Montacute; thus the decorative apron is
not a later association as might at first be supposed. The adjoining bedroom, a sub-division of the Gallery, has some reset
The interior of the Gatehouse (for exterior, see p. 65) retains
some noteworthy features. In the N. wall of the carriageway is
a 16th-century doorway with a cambered chamfered head and
continuous jambs with splayed stops; adjacent is a single-light
window with a four-centred head and foliate spandrels; in the
S. wall is an original doorway with moulded jambs with worn
stops and a moulded two-centred head. The original open
timber ceiling is divided into eight panels by chamfered beams
and plates. Access to the N.E. tower is through a damaged
stone doorway with chamfered jambs and flat head; it is fitted
with a 16th or 17th-century nail-studded plank door. The
ground-floor rooms retain a number of chamfered ceiling
beams. The circular stair with centre newel has the first six
steps of stone; above, the steps are of oak with the newel cut
from the same timber balks as the steps and the soffits cut to
the slope of the rise, as in a stone vice (Plate 81). On the upper
floor are two stone fireplace surrounds of the first half of the
17th century; one has Ionic side pilasters supporting an architrave and, around the opening, a wide moulded frame enriched
with fluting and gadrooning, with acanthus leaves at the corners
(Plate 75); the other has rusticated Tuscan side pilasters supporting an entablature with a rusticated frieze below which the lintel
is embellished with two courses of rustication. Two doorways
have chamfered stone jambs and flat heads with rounded
corners; one retains the original studded oak-plank door with
strap-hinges and a latch with a fretted plate. The 16th-century
doorway of the S.E. tower has a four-centred chamfered head,
continuous jambs and splayed stops; it is hung with the original
plank door. The stair continues up to the roof-space, where
there is studded partitioning.
Walker's engraving of c. 1774 shows two garden walls
extending S., at right angles to the S. front of the house. The
one to the W. survives and is probably Tudor; it is of coursed
rubble with embattled cresting and it contains a damaged doorway with a four-centred head.
The Stables, W. of the house, are of one storey with lofts
and have coursed rubble walls and slate-covered roofs; they
are of the 18th century. The W. front has a carriage entrance
with round head, moulded archivolt and imposts, keystone and
rusticated jambs, and three two-light stone-mullioned windows.
The Lodge and Gates, 270 yds. S.E. of the house, are of
coursed rubble and ashlar. The lodge is of one storey and was
probably rebuilt with older materials in the 19th century; it is
connected to the W. gate-pier by a length of rubble wall
containing an elliptical-headed doorway. The square ashlar
gate-piers, with plain plinths and cappings and ball-finials, are
perhaps of the late 18th or early 19th century. Two pairs of
18th-century gate-piers, 50 yds. E.S.E. and 125 yds. S.E. of the
gatehouse, are rusticated and have ball-finials supported on
shaped and moulded pedestals.
Riding House at Wolfeton, Charminster
(5) Riding House (67869225), 125 yds. N. of
Wolfeton House, was originally two storied, the lower
storey very high, the upper storey little more than an
attic. The walls date probably from the last quarter of
the 16th century and are of ashlar on the E., S. and W.,
and of squared and coursed rubble on the N.; later
alterations are in coursed rubble of poorer quality.
Traces of two subsidiary ranges at right angles to the
building suggest that an open-air manège lay formerly
on the N. of the riding house.
As the earliest surviving riding house known in
England the building is of considerable architectural
importance. Prince Henry's riding house at St. James's
Palace, built c. 1604, was in many respects similar to
the present building although larger; the riding houses
at Welbeck Abbey and Bolsover Castle date from later
in the 17th century. (fn. 2)
The S. elevation has a plinth with a chamfered footing course
and an ogee moulded capping, and is divided into seven bays by
buttresses of two weathered stages (Plate 125). The most easterly
of the seven bays is nearly three times the normal width; the
buttress between the two western bays has been removed to make
way for a secondary external stone stair. At the centre of the
wide E. bay is a round-headed doorway, now blocked, on each
side of which the plinth mouldings are returned downwards. The
opening has a moulded head, continuous jambs and an ogeemoulded label; the arch mouldings are concealed by the rubble
blocking wall. Above the doorway is a small lion mask, in relief,
with the locks of the mane arranged radially; a similar feature
occurs at Lulworth Castle (see Dorset II, 148). The fourth and
sixth bays from the E. have mullioned windows of three square-headed lights, now blocked, with weathered labels which continue laterally and stop against the buttresses. Remains of a similar label flanking a large secondary doorway in the second bay
show that originally there was a third window in this position.
The W. wall has two weathered buttresses and moulded plinths,
as before. To the S. is a round-headed doorway similar to that
of the S. elevation; it has continuous ogee and hollow-chamfered
mouldings ending at shaped stops. In the centre of the wall and
at the same level as the windows of the S. elevation is a window
of three square-headed lights with double-chamfered surrounds,
under a label with returned stops; the opening is blocked with
brickwork. Above, in the upper storey, is a similar window,
still open. The gable has moulded kneelers and a finial with
The E. wall has plinth, buttresses, upper window and gable
approximately uniform with those on the W. Below the gable
the wall is pierced by small round windows in two storeys, as
shown on the drawing. Each window has a chamfered and rebated ashlar surround and three of the openings retain original
iron cross-bars. A blocked secondary doorway in the lower
storey may replace a sixth window.
In the N. elevation a weathered buttress uniform with those
of the E. wall, but now without a plinth, stands near the N.E.
corner. Near the middle of the elevation is another buttress,
stouter than those described but otherwise similar. Some 3 ft.
from the E. buttress is a blocked round window, uniform with
and at the same level as the upper row of eastern round windows.
Two blocked rectangular openings occur near the eaves, one
adjacent to the central buttress, the other about 15 ft. from the
N.W. corner; it is uncertain if these openings are original or
secondary. All other openings in the N. elevation are clearly
secondary; the large barn doorway, however, may well replace
a narrower original doorway. Two subsidiary buildings formerly
stood adjacent to the main building; large parts of the creasing
courses of their roofs, undoubtedly original, are neatly bonded
with the original coursed rubble masonry. These were probably
stable ranges, perhaps flanking an open-air manège on the N. side
of the riding house. Part of the W. wall of the western range
may still exist, incorporated in the E. wall of an adjacent cottage.
Inside, the building now has a secondary floor, some two feet
above the sill-level of the original S. windows. The original
first floor has been removed, but most of the beams upon which
it rested remain; they are chamfered and measure 12 ins. by 12
ins. in cross-section; in the upper part, on each side of each beam
are the housings of former floor joists; below, on one side is a
row of small mortices for the ends of smaller ceiling joists and
on the other side is a groove to receive the ends of corresponding
joists. Thus the beams evidently supported both a floor and an
independent ceiling, the groove enabling the ceiling joists to be
inserted after the beams were in position. To the N. the beams
are housed in the wall; to the S. they rest on rounded stone
corbels which project from the wall, directly above the level of
timber lintels spanning the window recesses. The roof retains
many original members, but they have been extensively strutted
(6) Forston House (66589574) is of two storeys
with attics. The walls are of brick in Flemish bond with
ashlar dressings; the roofs are slated. Hutchins (II, 544)
records that it was built by Robert Browne of Frampton
(1670–1734) and in all probability it dates from the
early years of the reign of George I. Some embellishments were added by Robert's son John, who died in
1750; in recent times a new wing has been built to
the N. and alterations have been made internally.
The house is a graceful specimen of early 18th-century
domestic architecture, interesting for an adroit solution
of the problem of masking the gables of parallel roofs
The W. façade is symmetrical and of five bays, with ashlar
plinths, strings, parapet coping and flush quoins; above the
second string the quoins become pilasters. The parapet wall
screens the attics, but to each side it sweeps down in a bold
curve to a little above eaves level; it is surmounted by decorative
vases. The central doorway has been remodelled and provided
with a reset early 18th-century wooden canopy on carved
console brackets, and a modern architrave. The windows are
rectangular, with plain stone architraves and double-hung
sashes. On the E. the lower storey is concealed by later additions
but otherwise it is similar in design to the W. front; many
windows retain their original sashes with heavy glazing-bars.
The S. front has a moulded stone eaves-cornice which returns
for a short distance on the W. and E. fronts, corresponding
with the upper string-course; the plinth and lower string are
continued from the other fronts and the windows too are
uniform. The N. side of the house is concealed by a modern
wing the N. front of which has a curvilinear gable similar in
style to that of the W. front. Reset over the modern doorway
is a stone pediment on console brackets, with a cartouche in
the tympanum carved with the arms of Browne; the pediment
is of the second quarter of the 18th century and was presumably transferred from the central doorway of the W. front.
Inside, many of the rooms are panelled, some with original
bolection-moulded panelling with panelled dados and moulded
dado-rails. Many of the fireplace surrounds have been renewed.
The original oak staircase has been very extensively repaired;
it has turned and moulded newels and balusters, and a moulded
A Cottage 200 yds. N. of the house has a reset 17th-century
stone doorway with moulded jambs and moulded four-centred
head; the spandrels are carved with the date 1660 and the
initials G.B. The Terrace W. of the house has low ashlar walls
with flat copings and pedestal-piers supporting 18th-century
(7) Charminster House, 50 yds. S.E. of (1), is of two
storeys with attics. The brick walls are rendered and the roofs
are slate covered. It was built early in the 18th century but
extensive remodelling in the 19th century and alterations in
more recent times have left little evidence of original work.
The symmetrical S. front appears to date from the first half of
the 19th century. The chimneystacks are of brick with segment-headed panels on each face, and heavy cappings; the E. stack
includes a specially modelled brick with the date 1706. Inside,
the responds of an archway between the entrance-hall and the
stair-hall are cased with early 16th-century wooden panels, of
French or N. Italian origin, carved in low relief with figures
of saints in flat niches with shell-heads and side-standards. The
circular staircase, of the late 18th or early 19th century, has
turned balusters and newels and a moulded handrail. The
Drawing Room on the first floor has a late 18th-century
moulded plaster ceiling.
The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are two-storied, with walls of banded rubble
and flint, of rough ashlar and flint, or occasionally of
plain rubble. Roofs are generally thatched but in some
instances modern materials have been substituted.
(8) Cottage (68059275), now two tenements, of one storey
with attics, is of the late 17th or early 18th century but has been
(9) Mill (68039297), now converted into a house, was built
probably early in the 17th century, of banded flint and ashlar,
but the walls now present a chequer-work of subsequent
patching and rebuilding in clunch and brick. Two original
casement windows in wood frames survive. Inside, the ceiling
of the N. room is divided into four panels by deeply chamfered
(10) Cottage (67859288), now a shop, was perhaps originally
of the late 17th or early 18th century, but it has subsequently
been much altered.
(11) Cottage (67739264) is of mid 18th-century origin and
retains some original ceiling-beams.
(12) Range of three cottages (67849263), on the S. side of
the road 100 yds. S.W. of the church, is of two dates; the
centre and E. cottages have walls of banded flint and ashlar
and are of the late 16th century; the W. cottage has rendered
walls and is of the late 17th or early 18th century. The middle
cottage retains, in the N. front, two original stone-mullioned
four-light windows with labels; the N. front has been heightened
and a stone corbel which supported the original wall-plate is
seen towards the W. In the S. front is a blocked original window
and part of a chamfered stone jamb. The staircase is of c. 1800.
The range was altered and restored in the 19th century and
(13) Cottage, now a storehouse, 20 yds. N. of (12), was built
late in the 16th or early 17th century and retains an original
three-light stone-mullioned window with a label. A modern
cement shield over the doorway, with the date 1674, may
replace an original date stone.
(14) Cottage, 20 yds. E. of (13), is of late 17th or early 18th-century origin but has recently been extensively rebuilt.
(15) Barn, 55yds. S.W. of the church, now largely demolished,
is of brick in Flemish bond and until recently bore the date 1704;
the heavily buttressed N. wall is retained as the boundary of
(16) Cowden Farmhouse (67779400), has walls of banded flint
and rubble with some later brick. It is of the mid 17th century
with a later extension to the W. The 16th-century windows
with three-centred lights which flank the doorway are recent
insertions, but at the E. end of the S. side the house retains
one original stone-mullioned window with three square-headed lights. Plank-and-muntin partitions stand on either side
of the entrance passage; that to the E. has been partly reset to
accommodate a modern staircase. The open fireplace in the E.
room has recently been brought from elsewhere. There are a
number of original stop-chamfered ceiling beams.
(17) Pulston Barn (66719530) has walls of banded flint and
rubble, with ashlar quoins, subsequently repaired and heightened
in brickwork; the roof is tiled. The entrance is in the centre
of the N. side and a projecting exit bay occurs in the middle
of the S. side. The structure appears to be of the late 16th or
early 17th century, but the brick repairs and the roof are of
the 19th century. Hutchins (II, 544) implies that the building
originated as a chapel, but the existing fabric shows nothing
to substantiate this.
(18) Forston Barn, 100 yds. S.W. of the foregoing, has walls of
banded flint and rubble with brick quoins and a thatched roof. It
is probably of the late 17th or early 18th century, with later
rebuilding at the S. end and in the transeptal bays.
The following monuments are of the second half of
the 18th and first half of the 19th century.
(19) The Yews (68109276), 200 yds. N.E. of the church, has
walls of brick in Flemish bond with blue headers. It is of the
later 18th century with a 19th-century extension to the E.
The symmetrical three-bay S. front has a rendered plat-band
at first-floor level and a brick dentil eaves cornice; the central
doorway has an open porch of wood with free-standing Roman
Doric columns supporting a flat hood with triglyphs in the
frieze; the sashed windows have flat gauged brick heads.
(20) East Hill House (68099265), 165 yds. E.S.E. of the church,
is of two storeys with rendered walls, slated roofs and sashed
windows; it was probably built c. 1840. A rounded two-storied bow window projects on the W. side and there is an
iron trellis-work verandah.
(21) Toll-House (67559207), on the W. side of the Dorchester
road, 300 yds. W. of (4), has rendered walls and slated roofs
and is of the 19th century. It is hexagonal on plan with rusticated
quoins to the corners which are visible from the road. The lowpitch roof rises to a central ball-finial of copper. The porch on
the E. has rusticated jambs and a segmental head; the sashed
windows have slightly rounded heads.
Other 19th-century monuments include the following—The
Post Office, 100 yds. E.S.E. of the church, is of two storeys with
rendered walls and a tiled roof; it was built early in the century
and has, on the S., an original shop-front with two small-paned
bay-windows flanking a central doorway. Rose Cottage, 20 yds.
S.E. of the foregoing, is in part rendered; the early 19th-century S. front probably conceals an earlier building. Bridge
Cottage, 35 yds. S.E. of the church, was built late in the 18th
or early in the 19th century and has a rendered symmetrical
E. front with a projecting gabled bay in the centre, and sashed
windows. A Cottage (67659260) is built partly of cob and is of
the late 18th or early 19th century. Forston Grange includes a
pair of cottages and a range of three cottages, all built of flint
and brick; they are of the early 19th century.
Mediaeval and Later Earthworks
(22) Settlement Remains (667953 and 671947),
originally two separate settlements but for long known
as Pulston, lie on the E. side of the R. Cerne, S. of
The settlements are one or perhaps two of the Cernes in
Domesday Book but they cannot be identified with certainty.
Eyton (123–4) has suggested that Pulston was the Cerne belonging to the Count of Mortain (D.B. Vol. I, f. 79a), of 2½ hides;
if this is correct the recorded population was only two bordars,
though six thegns had held it in the time of King Edward.
The settlement is not recorded separately in the 1327 or 1333
Subsidy Rolls but it appears to be included under Forston,
where eleven taxpayers are listed. A chapel dedicated to All
Saints existed there, and a chaplain was officiating as late as
1411 (Hutchins II, 546). In 1403 twelve 'messuages' are recorded
(Hutchins, loc. cit.). In 1539 ten men are listed for Pulston and
Forston (L. & P., Henry VIII, Vol. 14, Pt. 1, pp. 267–9). Desertion appears to have been complete by the 17th century for
there is no record of Pulston in the Hearth Tax Assessment
of 1662. However, Forston Grange (formerly Pulston Farm)
and a number of post-1850 cottages around it still remain as
the last part of Pulston to be inhabited (see Map of Pulston
Farm by I. Taylor, 1770, D.C.R.O.).
Around Pulston Barn (17), the alleged site of the Chapel,
are about 5 acres of remains. To the N. of the barn are at least
four rectangular closes, cut back into the valley side, 17 yds.
to 30 yds. wide and 30 yds. long, bounded by low banks of
flint rubble 6 ins. to 1½ ft. high. Irregular scoops 15 yds. across
at the lower W. end of the closes, just above the river, may be
the sites of former houses. S. of Pulston Barn are the fragmentary
remains of at least two more closes and to the N. of Forston
Grange are another three closes.
Another 5 acres of earthworks lie 700 yds. to the S.E. The
remains, which were ploughed in 1964, consist of eight parallel
closes at right angles to the R. Cerne, 50 yds. long and 12 yds.
to 18 yds. wide, bounded by rounded banks of flint rubble 20
ft. wide and 1 ft. to 2 ft. high. Four of the closes have platforms cut into the upper ends. Extensive areas of flint rubble
and fragmentary banks indicate the sites of former houses. Large
quantities of pottery, 12th to 15th-century in date, have been
picked up on the site.
(23) Settlement Remains (673945) formerly existed
¼ m. S.W. of Herrison House on the E. side of the R.
Nothing is known of the history of this settlement, but from
its position and from the fact that it lay at the S.W. end of a
narrow strip of land which was a detached part of Frampton
Parish (Tithe Map of Frampton, 1839), it seems likely to have
been one of the many Cernes recorded in Domesday Book. It
was probably never more than a single farmstead. The remains,
which are now completely destroyed, consisted of a slight
hollow-way running N.W. from a ford across the river and
very fragmentary banks and scarps. Pottery of the 12th to 13th
centuries has been found in the area.
(24) Settlement Remains (675943), formerly part
of the hamlet of Herrison, lie on the E. side of the R.
Cerne at the mouth of a small tributary valley, ¼ m.
S. of Herrison House.
The settlement is one of the Cernes in Domesday Book but
cannot be identified with certainty, though Eyton (123–4)
suggested that it was one of the Cernes belonging to the Count
of Mortain (D.B. Vol. I, f. 97a) of three hides. If this is correct
the recorded population is either six or eight, depending on
which three-hide manor is the correct one. Only four taxpayers are listed in 1333 and the settlement is among a list
of Dorset vills granted a tax reduction in 1435 (P.R.O.,
E.179/103/79). The remains consist of four closes, 30 yds. long
and 20 yds. wide, lying on either side of a slight hollow-way,
30 ft. wide, running N.E. up the tributary valley. There are
no certain building sites. Low scarps and banks all around are
perhaps the remains of other closes. The field is called Rough
Piece on the Tithe Map of 1839.
(25) Settlement Remains (679936) of the former
farmstead of Charlton lie on the E. side of the Cerne
valley ½ m. N. of Charminster.
The site is almost certainly one of the Cernes in Domesday
Book but it cannot be identified more exactly. It is not listed
in any of the 14th-century Subsidy Rolls, and indeed not until
1662 is there any recorded population (Meekings, 8); then
only one household is listed 'atte Charleton Farme'. It seems
likely from the records that the site was never more than a
single farmstead and the remains confirm this. The earthworks,
covering about 2¼ acres, consist of a roughly square enclosure
on a steep slope of 15° surrounded on the N., E. and S. by a
bank 2 ft. to 4 ft. high with an external ditch. The interior is
divided by similar banks and ditches into five roughly rectangular areas, three on the S. side and two on the N., though
there may once have been another in the N.W. Two platforms
(a and b), in the N.W. corner, may be the sites of buildings.
On the flat valley floor immediately below and W. of the
remains recent ploughing has disclosed two areas of flint cobbles
together with pottery of the 13th to 18th centuries.
(25) Settlement Remains of Charlton
(26) Settlement Remains (679923), part of the
former hamlet of Wolfeton, lie on the N. side of the
R. Frome immediately W. of (4).
Eyton (123–4) identified these with the 1½-hide manor of
Cernel held by Hugh de Bosch Herbert in Domesday Book
(Vol. I, f. 83a). If this is correct it had a recorded population of
only four. In 1327 there was a recorded population of two.
The Muster Rolls for 1539 (L. & P., Henry VIII, Vol. 14, Pt. I.,
pp. 267–9) list nineteen men for Wolfeton, but this total almost
certainly represents the household of Wolfeton House, and also
possibly includes Burton, not listed in the Roll, which formerly
had a chapel (Hutchins II, 547 & 544). In the 1662 Hearth Tax
Assessment, only Wolfeton House is recorded (Meekings, 8).
The remains, covering about 3 acres, consist of at least five long
parallel closes set at right angles to the present road to Wolfeton
House. The closes are 20 yds to 30 yds. wide and of indeterminate length owing to the destruction of their E. ends; the
length was at least 70 yds. They are bounded by low scarps.
At their W. ends are rectangular platforms, 30 ft. by 20 ft. with
5 ft. high scarps falling to the road. The site of the former chapel
is covered by a modern road.
(27) Settlement Remains (686919), part of the
hamlet of Burton, lie N.E. of Lower Burton Farm.
The settlement is probably listed as one of the Cernes in
Domesday Book. There are no known documents giving
population figures and the place was deserted by 1772 (Map
of Charlton and Lower Burton Farms by B. Pryce, 1772,
D.C.R.O). The remains, covering some 15 acres, are now
mostly destroyed and only a few indeterminate scarps and
banks remain; before 1962 they consisted of a complex series
of hollow-ways, 30 ft. to 50 ft. wide and 2 ft. to 4 ft. deep,
associated with closes and platforms. Another hollow-way 200
yds. long and 40 ft. wide runs W. from the settlement towards
(28) Cultivation Remains. The open fields of Charminster
lay N. of the R. Frome and W. of the R. Cerne. Parts of them,
in the area of Haydon Hill, were enclosed by agreement in
1587 (S. & D.N. & Q., XIII, 1912–13, 162–70); the rest,
divided into three large open fields and two smaller ones,
were finally enclosed in 1837 (Map and Award, 1837, D.C.R.O.).
On Haydon Hill (671943) are some 40 acres of fragmentary
contour and cross-contour strip lynchets, up to 250 yds. long
and with massive risers up to 15 ft. high, arranged in end-on and
butting furlongs. The N. part of these lay in Middle Field
until 1837, the rest were enclosed in 1587. A further 10 acres
of fragmentary contour strip lynchets lie 500 yds. to the N.,
W. of Forston House (6). These lay in Higher Field until 1837.
The settlement of Forston had open fields but nothing is
known of their enclosure. Contour strip lynchets of these fields
lie 700 yds. N. of Forston (667964); they are arranged in two
end-on furlong blocks.
The open fields of Pulston were enclosed before 1770 (Map
of Pulston Farm by I. Taylor, 1770, photo-copy in D.C.R.O.).
Five contour strip lynchets of these fields lie on the valley side,
300 yds. S. of Pulston Barn (668950).
The date of the enclosure of the open fields of Wolfeton is
unknown. About 40 acres of fragmentary contour and crosscontour strip lynchets cover Wolfeton Eweleaze (686933), 700
yds. N.E. of Charminster church.
Roman and Prehistoric
(29) Roman Villa in Walls Field (66729492). A
tessellated pavement was found in 1891 on Chalk at
the foot of an E.-facing slope, about 260 ft. above
O.D. and some 100 yds. W. of the R. Cerne.
An area of mosaic 'of very interesting design' covering 12 ft.
by 4 ft. was cleared in 1891 by E. Cunnington and F. A. H.
Vinon. The design, a square of small white tesserae surrounded
by a border of blue and red, had apparently formed a square
of 15 ft. Excavations in 1960 by H. S. L. Dewar revealed a
furnace flue, three flint steps and two fragments of walling.
Two reused voussoirs of Ham Hill stone, slate and tile roofing
materials, hypocaust tiles, tesserae, painted wall plaster, one
piece with a 'convolvulus', and window glass, indicate a major
structure. Samian, green-glazed and New Forest ware, and
coins of Victorinus, Tetricus II and Gratian suggest occupation
in the 2nd to 4th centuries A.D. Near the building lay an inhumation burial with a bronze brooch pin. Iron Age sherds were
also found. Some 19th-century finds are in D.C.M. (Dorset
County Chronicle, 2nd April, 1891, 5; Dorset Procs. XIII (1891),
xxii; XVII (1896), xxv; XXI (1900), 84; LXXXII (1960), 86–7;
S. & D.N. & Q. XXVII (1961), 7–10.).
(30) Settlement, late Iron Age and Romano-British, on
Charlton Higher Down (694956), is associated with trackways
and an extensive area of 'Celtic' fields (Group 36); it occupies
about 4 acres in the corner of a modern field adjoining the
Piddlehinton boundary and has been
much reduced by ploughing. The settlement lies at 475 ft. O.D. on the ridge
of a spur sloping gently E. from the high
ground between the valleys of the Cerne
and the Piddle. The main part consists
of some seven platforms or hollows set
into the slope and surrounded on all but
the S. by banks confining them within
about 1¼ acres. A track running S. from
these platforms is bordered on the E.
by a series of small, irregular, terraced
areas. It joins a major through track
running N.–S. along the E. side of the
settlement, and between it and the
'Celtic' fields; this in turn is joined by
a track from the E. Finds from the
platforms and terraces, and from the
area E. of the main trackway, include
sherds in the Iron Age tradition, samian
and coarse pottery from the 1st to 4th
centuries, tile and worked stone (Dorset
Procs. LXXIV (1952), 89–91).
For a possible Roman Road by-passing Dorchester, see Dorset II, p. 541.
'Celtic' Fields and Possible Settlements, see pp. 322–4, Groups (34–36).
Monuments (31–46), Round
All these monuments except (31)
lie E. of the R. Cerne, on the
higher ground between it and the
R. Piddle; (34–40) form a scattered group on Bushy
Eweleaze and (43–46) lie among the remains of 'Celtic'
fields (Group (36)).
(31) Bowl (66589450), on Charminster Down above 400 ft.
O.D.; diam. about 66 ft., ht. 2 ft.
(32) Bowl (67159665), just N. of Forston Barn at 500 ft.
O.D. on the S. slope of Cowden Hill; ploughed; diam. about
60 ft., ht. 1½ ft.
(33) Bowl (67469556), near the summit of a spur E. of Forston
Field Bottom; heavily ploughed; diam. about 50 ft., ht. 2½ ft.
Bushy Eweleaze Group comprises the following seven barrows.
Nearly all lie above 400 ft. O.D. on the summit and E. slopes
of a broad spur E. of Forston Field Bottom.
(34) Bowl (67599611), in arable; diam. 60 ft., ht. 2 ft.
(35) Bowl (67669609), 85 yds. S.E. of (34); diam. about 20 ft.,
ht. 2½ ft. before ploughing.
(36) Barrow ? (67789610), 140 yds. E. of (35) on a gentle E.
slope; irregular in shape, apparently disturbed in the centre;
thickly overgrown when visited, no diam. measurable, ht.
about 2½ ft.
(37) Barrow ? (67959625), 240 yds. N.E. of (36) on a slight
S.E. slope; mound irregular and much disturbed; diam. 39 ft.
by 24 ft., ht. 1½ ft.
(38) Bowl (67999618), 80 yds. S.E. of (37) in arable; diam.
about 25 ft., ht. 1½ ft. before ploughing.
(39) Barrow ? (68059612), 100 yds. S.E. of (38) in arable;
an irregular mound, diam. 35 ft. by 27 ft., ht. 2 ft. before
(30) Settlement on Charlton Higher Down
(40) Bowl (68049607), 53 yds. S.S.W. of (39) in arable; centre
dug into; diam. 40 ft., ht. 2½ ft. before ploughing.
(41) Barrow ? (68039390), on Wood Hill at about 350 ft.
O.D., now a flinty mound in arable; diam. about 55 ft., ht.
(42) Barrow ? (68059414), on the summit of Wood Hill at
over 400 ft. O.D., overgrown and much disturbed; diam.
about 48 ft., ht. 3½ ft.
(43) Barrow ? (68949570), on Charlton Higher Down on a
gentle N. slope at about 550 ft. O.D.; disturbed by digging
immediately below it on the N. side; diam. 45 ft., ht. 4½ ft.
(44) Bowl (69459518), 200 yds. W. of Wolfeton Clump on
the S. slope of Charlton Higher Down at just over 400 ft.
O.D.; diam. 50 ft., ht. 2 ft.
(45) Bowl (69449497), 225 yds. S. of (44); centre slightly
disturbed; a low 'Celtic' field lynchet runs up to the barrow
on either side but is clearly later; diam. 36 ft., ht. 2½ ft.
(46) Bowl (69659484), 270 yds. S.E. of (45) on the same slope;
bisected by a hedgerow and ploughed away on the E. side,
diam. 46 ft., ht. 4½ ft.