23 HINTON ST. MARY (7816)
(O.S. 6 ins. ST 71 NE)
The parish covers 1,070 acres, nearly all of it on
Corallian Beds. To the E. the land slopes gently down
to Chiverick's Brook and to the W. it inclines a little
more sharply down to the R. Stour, both streams being
about 180 ft. above sea-level (Plate 2). The most
important monument in the parish is the recently
discovered Roman villa, with a fine quality mosaic
pavement including a head with a Chi-Rho monogram.
The Manor House incorporates a mediaeval hall,
possibly of the 13th century, and there is also a large
(1) The Parish Church of St. Peter stands on the
S. side of the village. The West Tower dates from the
second half of the 15th century but the rest of the
church, consisting of Chancel, Nave, North Vestry and
South Porch, was rebuilt in 1846; it is of ashlar and
squared rubble, with stone-slated roofs. Some features
from the earlier building are incorporated in the new
Architectural Description—The 19th-century Chancel has a
two-centred E. window of three lights with vertical tracery, and
similar two-light windows in the N. and S. walls; there is also a
square-headed S. doorway. The chancel arch is of mediaeval
origin but rebuilt in 1846; it is approximately semicircular and
has two orders, the inner hollow-chamfered, the outer chamfered;
the voussoirs may be of 12th or 13th-century origin but they
were probably recut in the 15th century. The capitals are modern
but the responds are probably refaced 15th-century material;
they comprise a central attached shaft flanked by hollowchamfers which in turn are bordered to E. and W. by ogee
mouldings; the square plinths are modern. The N. and S.
walls of the Nave are uniform, each having a centrally placed
doorway with a chamfered two-centred head and continuous
jambs, and two square-headed windows, each with three two-centred trefoil-headed lights below vertical tracery in casementmoulded surrounds with square labels; the two eastern windows
retain some 15th-century stonework. The N. doorway opens
into the Vestry; the S. doorway is sheltered by the Porch, which
has a chamfered two-centred outer arch with a moulded label
and return stops.
The West Tower (9 ft. square) is of two stages, with a chamfered
plinth and an embattled parapet; the walls are of squared and
coursed rubble with ashlar dressings; the stone is mostly Marnhull
limestone but Greensand also occurs, especially near the base.
The hollow-chamfered string-course between the stages is
decorated at each corner with an angel bearing a blank shield.
Above the angels each corner of the top stage has an angle
pilaster, itself of two stages separated by a weathered offset. At
the base of the parapet is a hollow-chamfered string-course with
a gargoyle at each corner: a devil's mask swallowing a human
body, a winged mask, a monkey, a human head; there is also a
grotesque mask at the centre of the N. side. The parapet has a
moulded coping and four crocketed pinnacles. The tower arch
is segmental-pointed and of two chamfered orders which die
into plain responds. In the upper part of the lower stage, on the
N. side, is a small square-headed loop. The W. doorway has a
two-centred head with a label, and two orders of ovolo mouldings which continue on the jambs to run-out stops. Over the W.
doorway is a small two-centred two-light window, probably of
1846. In the upper stage each side of the tower has a 15th-century
casement-moulded belfry window of two trefoil-headed lights
with blind tracery in a two-centred head, and a hood-mould with
carved head stops.
Fittings—Bells: two; treble 1842, tenor inscribed W P 1614,
in old timber bell-cage. Communion Table: with arcaded
supports, c. 1846. Font: of Purbeck marble, coarsely tooled;
round bowl with tapering sides and lobed twelve-sided moulding
underneath, stem cylindrical, base circular, coarsely moulded
and much worn; bowl and base probably 13th century, bowl
with later mediaeval recutting; stem modern. Monuments and
Floor-slab. Monuments: In nave, on N. wall, (1) of Thomas Freke,
1642, black tablet with painted inscription in moulded stone
surround with skull below, set between Corinthian columns on
foliate brackets and surmounted by broken pediment with arms
of Freke impaling Dodington; monument erected 1655 (Plate
33). In S. porch, on W. wall, (2) of John, 1769, William, 1792 and
Anne Castleman, 1810, oval white marble tablet on shaped black
background; (3) of Rachel Castleman, 1771, and others of same
family, black painted stone tablet in rectangular moulded stone
surround. Floor-slab: In nave, on S. side, of Samuell Rake, 1695,
Purbeck marble slab with incised border of columns and arch.
Plate: includes Elizabethan silver cup and cover-paten by the
Gillingham silversmith, flagon of 1664 with maker's mark T L
and arms of Freke impaling Dodington, and second paten with
faint maker's mark TL. Pulpit: polygonal, of oak with mahogany
veneer, each side having fielded and enriched panels in two
heights below ledge supported on foliate brackets, 18th century;
panelled pedestal later. Royal Arms: over chancel arch, of castiron, 19th century. Tables of Creed and Decalogue: incised on
slate in traceried wooden surrounds, 19th century.
(2) The Manor House, immediately N.E. of the
church, is a two-storied building of ashlar and squared
rubble, with dormer-windowed attics under stoneslated roofs (Plate 53). The walls of a mediaeval hall
are identifiable at the centre of the S.E. range but it
has been chambered over, the roof has been renewed,
the windows have been altered and it retains little of its
original character. The remains of an opening with a
chamfered two-centred head suggest that the hall may
be of 13th-century origin. The rest of the house appears
to be mainly of the 17th century, enlarged and altered
in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, but the cross-wings
to N.E. and S.W. of the hall may incorporate mediaeval
The S.E. front has, as the central part, the S. wall of the
original hall; it has a chamfered plinth and is now pierced on the
ground floor by square-headed two-light and three-light
transomed windows with hollow-chamfered surrounds; they
are perhaps of the 17th century but restored and probably
enlarged. Over them the inserted first-floor chambers have
gabled semi-dormer windows of two large lights with square
labels. To the S.W., the two-storied 17th-century porch has a
modern outer doorway with a four-centred head; above is a
three-light mullioned window with a label surmounted by a
rectangular stone panel carved with an achievement-of-arms of
Freke impaling Dodington (c. 1630–1642). To the east of the
hall the S.E. front comprises the projecting gabled end wall of
the N.E. wing, with a transomed three-light window on
the ground floor and a modern three-light window in the
gable. Beside the sill of the upper window is a date-stone
inscribed 'E 1695'. S.W. of the porch is the gabled end wall of
the S.W. wing; it is of two storeys with an attic; on the ground
floor is a large three-light transomed window; the first and
attic storeys have narrower three-light windows.
The S.W. elevation is mainly of the 17th century with a
modern extension at the N.W. end. It is two-storied, with
gabled dormer windows in the attics. The ground-floor rooms
have low four-light windows with labels; the first floor has
similar three-light windows and between two of them is a
date-stone inscribed 'S.G.B. 1664'. A large two-light mullioned
and transomed window lights the main staircase. The N.E. front
has been rebuilt; it is of one storey with transomed three-light
windows on the ground floor and modern dormer windows
Inside, in the passage which runs along the N.W. side of the
former hall is a narrow opening, now a wall-niche, with a
chamfered two-centred head and continuous jambs. The voussoirs of the head of a larger mediaeval opening in the same wall
are visible from the first floor through a trap-door. A fireplace
in the first-floor corridor which follows the inner face of the
N.W. wall of the hall has a chamfered four-centred stone head
and continuous jambs. On either side of the fireplace are shaped
stone corbels, probably for the support of former roof trusses.
At the S.W. end of the hall, on the ground floor, the doorway to
the study is of the 16th century, with a four-centred ogeemoulded and hollow-chamfered head, with continuous jambs
and carved stops. The dining-room, in the former hall, and the
drawing-room to the N.E. are lined with reset 17th-century oak
panelling; the fireplace of the intervening room has an 18th-century surround. The staircase has a 16th-century moulded
plaster ceiling (Plate 71), recently brought from Fiddleford Mill,
Sturminster Newton (4); it is decorated with curvilinear and
straight ribbing interlaced to form geometric panels; these are
enriched at the intersections with foliate bosses and at the angles
with fleurs-de-lis and other ornaments. One lozenge includes
the initials A W, probably for Ann White of Fiddleford (see
p. 272). The drawing-room contains a modern copy of the same
Hinton St. Mary, The Manor House
The Tithe Barn, 100 yds. S. of the house, is of rubble and
ashlar with a modern tiled roof and is probably of the late 15th
or early 16th century. It is now used as an assembly hall. On the
N.W. side are two transeptal entrance bays; the S.E. side has
several two-stage buttresses with weathered offsets; between
them modern entrances probably take the place of original barn
doorways. Inside, the roof has been restored but some old
timbers are preserved. The collar-braced trusses are supported
on vertical wall-posts which rest on stone corbels; rough
curved wind-braces occur between the purlins. A reset stone
fireplace incorporates, as an overmantel, a 15th-century carved
panel of Ham Hill stone which is said to have been originally
the front of an altar in Cerne Abbey; it has three square panels
of sub-cusped quatrefoils. At the centre of each panel is a foliate
boss; two have sacred monograms and the third is carved with
the letters 'I V' mitred, for John Vane, abbot 1458–1470.
Stables, 50 yds. S. of the church, are of coursed and squared
rubble with heavy chamfered eaves cornices and a modern tiled
roof; they are probably of the late 16th century. On the E. side
are five original two-stage buttresses with weathered offsets;
between some of these are reset and restored square-headed
three-light windows with hollow-chamfered mullions and jambs,
and square labels; in the wall above are several chamfered
rectangular loops. The W. side has nine similar buttresses and a
number of similar loops.
(3) Burt's Farm (78691621), 130 yds. N. of the church, is a
two-storied 17th-century farmhouse, built partly of ashlar and
partly of coursed rubble, with a thatched roof. The plan is
L-shaped with the re-entrant angle to the E. and the main doorway in this corner. Adjacent, on the ground floor, the N.E. front
of the S.E. wing has a stone window of four square-headed
lights with a moulded label; at attic level in the gable of the
N.E. wing is a single stone light, now blocked; all other openings
have later wooden surrounds. An open fireplace at the S.E. end
of the S.E. wing has a chamfered oak bressummer, and the
ceiling beam in the S.E. room has cyma mouldings and shaped
stops. In the upper flight of the stairs the handrails are supported
on baluster-profiled slats.
(4) Dalton's Farm (78691628), 190 yds. N. of the church, is
of the 18th century. It is of two storeys with attics and its walls
are mainly of coursed rubble, but the E. front is of ashlar and the
chimneystacks are of brick; the roof is covered with Welsh slates.
The E. front is symmetrical and of five bays. The central doorway
has a moulded stone architrave with a keystone and a segmental
broken pediment on console brackets; the sashed windows,
uniform in each storey, have unmoulded architraves with plain
keystones and moulded window-sills. A plat-band marks the
first floor, and the eaves have a coved stone cornice. Inside, the
staircase balustrade is of the Tuscan-column pattern but each
newel-post is composed of three vase-shaped balusters conjoined.
The N.W. ground-floor room has fielded panelling in two
heights, with bolection mouldings.
(5) Nicholson's Farm (78531617), 160 yds. N.W. of the
church, is of two storeys, with walls of coursed rubble and a
thatched roof. A date-stone in the N.E. front is inscribed C.W.M.
1728 but interior fittings show that the house is of the 16th
century. Apart from a modern extension at the S.E. end, the
house has a simple rectangular plan consisting of two ground-floor rooms separated by a central through-passage. An open
fireplace between the S. room and the through-passage has a
chamfered and cambered oak bressummer supported on inclined
timber jambs with chamfered edges and shaped base stops. A
carved wooden console bracket attached to the bressummer
supports a deeply chamfered ceiling beam. Within the fireplace,
on the N.E. side, is a small recess with a two-centred head; to
the S.W. of the fireplace is a 17th-century plank-and-muntin
(6) House (78581620), 160 yds. N.W. of (1), is of two storeys,
with walls of squared rubble and ashlar, and a thatched roof;
the rear wall has been rebuilt in brick. The house is of 17th-century origin but it has been much altered and is now derelict.
The E. front has, on the ground floor, one square-headed four-light window with hollow-chamfered stone mullions and a
weathered and hollow-chamfered label; on the first floor is a
similar window of three lights. Two other bays to the N. appear
to have been rebuilt in the 18th century and two blocked doorways indicate that the range was at one time divided into three
(7) House (78721633), of two storeys with ashlar walls and a
thatched roof, dates from the end of the 17th century. The S.
front is of three bays; to the W. of the central doorway is a
five-light stone window and to the E. is a similar window of two
lights. On the first floor the W. bay contains a stone-mullioned
four-light window, and similar two-light windows occur above
the doorway and to the E. Another mullioned window occurs
on the N. front.
(8) Castleman's Farm (78531632) is of two storeys with
coursed rubble walls and squared rubble dressings; the walls
have been largely rebuilt in recent years. A date-stone inscribed
C.I.E. 1685 has been reset in the masonry. The roof is thatched.
(9) Cottage (78511622) is of one storey with an attic; the
lower walls are of coursed rubble but the dormer-windowed
attic is of timber-framing and brick; the roof is thatched. It was
probably built early in the 18th century.
(10) House (78651620), 130 yds. N. of (1), was almost entirely
rebuilt in the 19th century but it retains the chamfered plinth of
an earlier building. Reset in the S.E. front is a date-stone
inscribed T.F. 1675.
The following are 18th-century cottages of two
storeys with rubble walls and thatched roofs. The plans
consist of simple ranges divided by cross partitions into
two or three rooms on each floor, with fireplaces in the
end walls and with service rooms in lean-to annexes
at the back. Windows are plain wooden casements.
(11) Cottage (78741633) has a symmetrical N.W. front of
(12) Cottage (78551634) was originally of one storey with
attics but now has an upper storey. One room has a stop-chamfered beam.
(13) Cottages (78601611), two adjacent, 70 yds. N.W. of the
(14) Cottages (78551625), two adjacent.
(15) Cottage (78381618) was originally of one storey but now
has a semi-dormered attic.
(16) Cottage (78431606), 270 yds. W. of (1).
(17) Cottage (78491607), 180 yds. W. of (1).
(18) Cottage (78731625), 170 yds. N. of (1), has two chamfered
beams with run-out stops.
Early 19th-century buildings include the Inn, 100 yds. N.W. of
the church, with coursed rubble walls, a stone-slate roof and
wooden casement windows; Cut Mill (77631655), partly of
coursed rubble and partly of brick, with a slated roof; also eight
cottages, one immediately W. of the church, and others dispersed in the W. part of the village.
Mediaeval and Later Earthworks
(19) Cultivation Remains. There were formerly three open
fields in the parish, but the small acreages recorded in the 16th
century indicate that a great deal of enclosure had already taken
place (H. L. Gray: English Field Systems, 1915, Appx. II, 442;
and Dorset Procs., Vol. LXXIII, 1951, 117). Ridge-and-furrow
can be seen on air photographs (R.A.F. CPE/UK 1974: 2161–4
and 2018, 3213–7, 4190–4) in a number of places in the parish
(e.g. 780169 and 791158–793163); it all appears to have lain
within the existing fields.
Roman and Prehistoric
(20) Roman Villa (78451602), on the edge of the
present village and W. of the road to Marnhull, lies
at 260 ft. above O.D. on a terrace of Corallian limestone
which slopes gently W. to the R. Stour, ½ m. away.
Mosaic pavements were found in 1963 and 1964. The
date of the villa is uncertain, but the mosaics are definitely
of the 4th century; most of the coins and pottery found
are also of the 4th century.
The principal pavement (Plate 146), excavated by H. S. L.
Dewar and R. N. R. Peers and now relaid in the British Museum,
forms a rectangle 28⅓ ft. E. to W., by 19½ ft.; it was divided by
wall footings into an E. portion 17½ ft. long and a W. portion
10½ ft. long, with an opening 10½ ft. wide and 2¾ ft. deep between
them. The design of the larger portion is a square, flanked on N.
and S. by a strip of double plait pattern; it contains a central
roundel surrounded by four semicircular panels, each with its
chord along a side of the square, and four quarter-round panels
in the angles of the square. All panels are edged by guilloche
borders; the semicircles have in addition fret borders and the
roundel has three concentric circular borders of wave, single
plait and fret patterns. Between the main panels are four pairs
of boat-shaped panels, each containing a floral scroll.
In the central roundel is the bust of a yellow-haired, cleanshaven man with dark eyes and a slightly cleft chin (Plate 147).
He is heavily draped in a pinkish under-tunic and a white outer
garment with a thick purple fold on the left shoulder; the ChiRho monogram in yellow appears behind his head and a pomegranate lies on either side. The roundel is meant to be viewed
from the E. and on this side the semicircle contains a spreading
blue-green tree. In each of the other semicircles a dog with a
collar chases or confronts a stag or doe in a setting of trees. Each
quarter-circle contains a male bust facing outwards. Each bust
has red hair with three or four upstanding wind-blown locks
on the crown of the head, and each wears a red cloak fastened by
a round brooch on the right shoulder, leaving the right arm
exposed. The two E. busts have rosette-like flowers on either
side of the head and the other two have pomegranates in the
same position. The bust in the N.W. quadrant is smaller than the
others and inferior in quality.
The panel linking the two portions of the pavement has a
running pelta pattern in red on white. The W. portion is
rectangular with a central square flanked by two rectangles, all
with guilloche borders (Plate 145). In the square, a roundel,
meant to be viewed from the W., with a wide border of floral
scroll, contains the scene of Bellerophon mounted on Pegasus
spearing the Chimaera, both facing to the S. The upper part of
the figure has been obliterated by damage extending E. and
roughly patched with roofing slabs. Bellerophon wears a red
cloak and his spear has a blue-grey point. Pegasus has a flowing
mane and a feathery tail; there is no sign of wings, but they may
have been in the damaged area. The mane of the Chimaera is
patterned in alternate lozenges of red and yellow. In each corner
of the square is a two-handled chalice flanked by tendrils. In the
N. rectangular side panel a collared hound chases a stag among
trees and in the S. panel a similar hound pursues a stag and a doe.
The double room containing these pavements resembles a
triclinium. Excavations by K. S. Painter in 1964–5 provided
evidence of the way the mosaics were laid, and suggested that
other rooms lay to the W. in a range at least 150 ft. long and
32 ft. wide, but none to the S. To the W. was a room containing
a damaged mosaic with guilloche patterns and a border of
widely-spaced triangles. Finds of roof and flue tiles, roofing
slabs, painted wall plaster, a complete iron window grille 21½ ins.
by 24 ins., coarse pottery and decorated bone fragments,
probably from a casket, show that this was a substantial building.
There is also a fragment of a curved stone table carved with
rosettes, as at Rockbourne (J.R.S., LII (1962), p. 185 and Pl.
The bust with the Chi-Rho has been tentatively interpreted by
J. M. C. Toynbee as a representation of Christ, and the four
corner figures as Evangelists in the guise of wind-gods. The
tree could be a tree of life, the Bellerophon and Chimaera
could represent the triumph of good over evil, and the hunting
scenes could represent the life of paradise, or Christians threatened by evil. The beardless figure with the Chi-Rho behind the
head is best paralleled in a mosaic at San Lorenzo, Milan.
Parallels in detail between these mosaics and those at Frampton
(Dorset I, 150), Fifehead Neville (above p. 93) and Hemsworth
(Dorset V) suggest that a single school of craftsmen was
responsible. (Dorset Procs., LXXXV (1963), 116–21; LXXXVI
(1964), 150–4; J.R.S., LIV (1964), 7–14; S. & D. N. & Q.,
XXVIII (1964), 161–4.)