5 CHETTLE (9513)
(O.S., 6 ins. ST 91 SE, ST 91 SW)
This parish, roughly quadrilateral on plan and with
an area of 1, 124 acres, lies at the head of the dry valley
which lower down is drained by the Crichel Brook.
The village stands in the bottom of the valley and
formerly was surrounded by its open fields; these were
still in existence in the 16th century, together with
enclosed pasture (Hutchins III, 569), but the dates of
enclosure are unknown. The land in the N. W. of the
parish was open downland until recent years. Chettle
House, an early 18th-century mansion attributed to
Thomas Archer, is the principal monument in the parish.
(1) The Parish Church of St. Mary, near the S.
end of the village, has walls of banded flint and ashlar,
and tiled roofs. The West Tower is of the early 16th
century; the Chancel, Nave, Vestry and Organ Chamber
were built in 1849 to replace mediaeval buildings, then
demolished. (View of former church: Hutchins 2nd
ed. III, 170.)
Architectural Description—The 19th-century parts of the
church have windows and other details generally in the 'Decorated' style. The 16th-century West Tower (Plate 33) is of two
stages, with a moulded plinth, weathered string-courses and an
embattled parapet. The buttresses are of two weathered
stages, the offsets occurring about half-way up each main stage;
there is no vice. The tower arch is two-centred and of two
orders, the outer order chamfered, the inner order with ogee
mouldings; the mouldings of both orders continue on the
responds and end at low chamfered plinths. The W. doorway
has a four-centred head of two chamfered orders continuous on
the jambs, with chamfered stops; above is a partly restored
window of three trefoil-headed lights under plain tracery in an
elliptical head. The belfry has four uniform windows, each of
two elliptical-headed lights with spandrel lights in a four-centred head; below the W. belfry window is a small light with
an elliptical head.
Fittings—Bells: three; 1st and 2nd with 'ave gratia' in
black-letter, 3rd with 'Sanc Te Pe Ter'; all from Salisbury
foundry, c. 1350. Chairs: two, of oak, heavily enriched, each
with panelled back with shell cresting and two turned finials,
richly carved legs and stiles, and stuffed seats; early 17th-century
material reassembled in 19th century. Coffin-stools: two, of
oak, with turned legs, enriched rails and stretchers and beaded
tops, early 17th century. Monuments: In chancel, (1) of Rev.
John West, 1845, and others of his family, sarcophagus-shaped
marble tablet by Hellyer of Weymouth; (2) of Rev. John
Napier, 1819, and Catherine his wife, 1833, marble tablet with
slate surround. In nave, on N. of chancel arch, (3) of George
Chafin, 1766, Elizabeth (Sturt) Chafin, 1762, and others of their
family, oval tablet on variegated marble backing piece, with
gadrooned sill, and finial painted with shield-of-arms of Chafin
impaling Sturt (Plate 38); on S. of chancel arch, (4) of Thomas
Chafin, 1691, and Ann (Penrudock) his wife, 1705, marble
tablet in shaped stone surround with drapery enrichment,
cherub heads, emblems of mortality and achievement-of-arms
of Chafin impaling Penrudock (Plate 18). In tower, (5) of Ann
Brewer, 1803, and others of her family, marble tablet with
fluted grey pilasters. In churchyard, 5 paces S. of organ chamber,
(6) of Henry Newman, 1717, headstone with scroll-work finial.
Pavement: of nave and W. tower, of diagonally jointed stone
flags, said to be from old church and to date from c. 1710
(Illustrated London News, 1849, 285). Plate: includes silver cup,
perhaps late 17th century, with stem and foot renewed in 18th
century; stand-paten, perhaps late 17th century, adapted
to form cover for cup; flagon, with assay-mark of 1681 and
inscription of E. Lowe, rector 1690–1693.
Chettle, the Parish Church of St. Mary
(2) Chettle House (95141318), of two principal
storeys with basements and attics, and with a three-storeyed central pavilion, has walls generally of finely
coursed red brickwork with ashlar dressings, and roofcoverings of lead and of slate (Plate 36). The house
was built c. 1710 for George Chafin, M.P. 1713–1747,
the architect in all probability being Thomas Archer
(Oswald, 153). An 18th-century drawing once belonging to Colen Campbell and now in the R.I.B.A. Library,
here reproduced, shows the original plan of the lower
main floor. (fn. 1) That the rounded N. and S. end bays
originally occurred in the upper storey, as well as at
the level shown, is indicated by the description of the
house in a Bill of Sale dated 1825, where 'four circular-fronted dressing rooms' are listed on the bedroom floor.
After the death in 1818 of George Chafin's son, the Rev.
William Chafin, the house stood empty for many years.
It suffered severely while vacant and in restoring it,
c. 1845, the new owner, Edward Castleman, remodelled
the lower main floor as shown on the plan above, and
removed the N. and S. bays in the upper storey; it
is said that he also removed a cupola which formerly
crowned the central pavilion. J. Pouncy's view of the
house as it was c. 1856 (Dorset Photographically Illustrated,
III, pl. 3) shows the rounded bays rising only one
storey above the basement, the curved walls then being
capped with parapets and urns. In 1912 the rounded
upper storeys were reinstated; they were furnished
with balustraded parapets in imitation of the parapets
of the central part of the building, features which they
cannot have had in the original design since the remains
of the original parapets are still seen above the roofs,
returning on the line of the outside pilasters of the main
Architectural Description—The W. front (Plate 36) is
symmetrical and of nine bays, the three central bays projecting
in a rounded pavilion one storey higher than the lateral bays.
The basement storey forms a podium with a moulded stone
capping and has windows with ashlar architraves; above, the
bays of the façade are defined by brick pilasters which support an
ashlar entablature above the window heads of the upper main
storey. The pilasters bases are of brick; the capitals are of
Chilmark stone and of unusual pattern, having astragals decorated with guttae, and fluted rectilinear bells wider at the bottom
than at the top. The entablature has a plain frieze with modillions. The tall sashed windows have segmental heads of gauged
brickwork and those of the first floor have brick aprons. Above
the entablature the attic storey of the central pavilion is crowned
by a balustraded parapet with finials representing castles, the
rebus of the Castlemans. The lateral bays have solid parapets
interrupted by balustrading in correspondence with the windows; the bill of sale of 1825 implies that these parapets masked
dormer-windowed attics containing servants' bedrooms. The
doorway in the central pavilion has a stone surround with
Roman-Doric enrichments, a round archivolt, and a large
scrolled keystone supporting a cornice.
The E. front (Plate 37) is similar to that on the W.except that
the central pavilion does not project, and in the two principal
storeys it has round-headed instead of segmental-headed openings; the piers between the windows are rusticated, bands of
ashlar alternating with brickwork. The central doorway is
approached by double flights of balustraded stone steps leading
to a terrace. The attic storey is crowned by a balustrade, as
before, with finials in the form of eagles. Pouncy's view shows
these birds on pedestals flanking the W. doorway.
The S. elevation is of five bays (including the rounded corner
bays). The three central bays are set between square pilasters
and have capitals, entablatures and parapets as described above,
but of Ham Hill instead of Chilmark stone. In the basement
and lower main storey the brickwork is original; above first-floor level the brickwork of 1912 is less closely jointed and less
regular in colour than the original work. Carved on the stone
window heads of the lower main storey are the dates 1710, 1845,
1912. The N. elevation is similar to that on the S., with rebuilding of 1912 in the upper storey. The lower main storey appears
to have been partly rebuilt during the 19th-century restorations.
Above roof level, masked by the parapets of 1912, the
original N. and S. parapets are partly preserved. They are
balustraded as on the E. and W. fronts and they return, at
right-angles to those fronts, above the pilasters which divide
the curved end bays from the flat part of the façades. The
returning parapets are only one bay long finishing in brick
piers. The interrupted mouldings of the coping suggest that
the parapets continued straight through from E. to W.; a
turn to bring them out to the plane of the N. and S. fronts
cannot be ruled out, but the wall-thicknesses below argue
against this. In any case the quadrant rooms, if not the whole
of each end bay, must originally have been roofed at a level
below the main entablature; the form of the roofs is unknown.
Inside the house, the basement storey, containing the kitchen
and other service rooms, has brick vaulting throughout. On the
ground floor, the West Hall has bolection-moulded panelling
and architectural details of the Roman-Doric order, probably of
c. 1846; the doorways here and in the E. hall have tympana
with bas-reliefs reputedly by Alfred Stevens. In the two-storeyed East Hall (Plate 40) the original stairs are preserved;
they are of oak and have turned balusters, three to each tread,
and newel posts in the form of small fluted columns. The stairs
rise in two flights to meet at a landing on the W., whence a
single flight leads to a circular billiards room on the first floor
above the W. hall (Plate 37). According to the 18th-century
plan, another flight of stairs originally connected the E. side of
the same landing with the gallery at first-floor level on the E.
side of the hall. The sale-bill of 1825 records that 'the sides are
painted to resemble a rich cornice, frieze and fluted pilasters
dividing the panels', but no trace remains of this decoration.
The first-floor galleries on the N. and S. of the hall are of c. 1846.
The passage between the E. and W. halls is flanked by circular
stone staircases which rise from the basement to the attics. In
the S. staircase the stone stairs and iron handrails are preserved;
those on the N. were removed c. 1846.
The large Drawing Room was formed by removing a main
cross-wall in the original plan and resiting other walls; it has
a mid 19th-century marble fireplace surround with caryatid
pilasters. According to a tradition in the Castleman family the
wall paintings were executed by Alfred Stevens's father. Generally, except for the stairs, the fittings and embellishments
throughout the house are of the mid 19th century.
(3) Chettle Lodge (95021354), of two and three storeys
with attics, has walls partly of ashlar and partly rendered, and
slate-covered roofs. It appears to be of the 18th century, with
19th-century additions, but a thick wall inside suggests that an
earlier building is incorporated. The western part of the N.
range has a symmetrical N. front of three bays, with a central
doorway now enclosed in a 19th-century porch, and with
sashed windows in the two main storeys; a third storey takes
the place of a former attic. Adjacent on the E. is a 19th-century
extension. The S. range is wholly of the 19th century, as are the
domestic offices on the W. Inside, the hall in the original range
has an 18th-century oak staircase with details closely resembling
those of the main staircase at Chettle House (2). Reset as finials
on the newel-posts are three carved wood figures, probably of
the 16th century. The small room on the W. of the hall has
a stop-chamfered beam. The dining-room in the S. range has
17th-century panelling brought from elsewhere, including an
overmantel of three panels with strapwork decoration, caryatid
pilasters and a figure, perhaps of Justice; the panelling is made
up with modern work. The doors and window shutters comprise some 16th-century oak panels with arabesques and
medallions, made up with modern work.
(4) St Mary's Farm (95201330), house, of two storeys with
attics, with brick walls and tiled roofs, is of the 17th century;
a single-storeyed extension on the N.E. is of the 18th century.
Inside, the stairs from the first floor to the attics are of oak, with
closed strings, square newel-posts, moulded handrails, and flat
balusters of serpentine profile.
(5) Cottage (94971357), single-storeyed with attics, with
walls of rubble, flint and brickwork and with a thatched roof,
is of the 17th century.
(6) Cottage (95101353), single-storeyed with attics, with
brick walls and a thatched roof, is of 18th-century origin. A
modern wing has been added on the W.
(7) Cottages (95131355), two adjacent, are single-storeyed
with dormer-windowed attics and have walls of rubble and
brick, and thatched roofs; they are of the late 17th century.
Inside, there are chamfered beams and plank-and-muntin
(8) Cottage (95141358), single-storeyed, with walls of
rubble and of brick and with a thatched roof, is of the 17th
century. Until recently the roof retained a cruck truss.
(9) Cottage (95141351), of two storeys with rendered walls
and a thatched roof, is of the late 17th century.
(10) Cottage (95181350), single-storeyed with an attic, was
originally two tenements. It has rendered walls and a thatched
roof and is of the 17th century. Inside, one room has a chamfered beam with beaded stops.
(11) Cottage (95211338), of one storey with an attic, has
walls of rubble, flint and brickwork, and a thatched roof; it is
of the late 17th or early 18th century. Adjacent on the N. is an
outbuilding of similar materials to the cottage and probably
contemporary. A Barn, further N., has weather-boarded walls
and a thatched roof and may be of the late 18th century.
(12) Cottages (95291343), range of three, are two-storeyed
and have brick walls and thatched roofs; they are of the 18th
century. In one tenement the windows have stone hood-moulds.
(13) Cottages (95371342), two adjacent, are single-storeyed
with attics and have walls of rubble, flint and brickwork, and
thatched roofs. They are perhaps of 16th-century origin.
Roman and Prehistoric
(14) Iron Age and Roman Occupation Debris, the remains
of a settlement which now has been largely flattened by cultivation, occur over an area of 5 acres on Chettle Down (Plate 35).
The site (94501490) occupies a S.-facing Chalk slope, about
330 ft. above sea-level, within an area of 'Celtic' fields. Finds
made at various times, including material from trial trenches cut
across an earthwork thought to be a pond, include a La Tène III
bronze brooch, Durotrigian pottery, samian ware, and New
Forest and other coarse pottery (Dorset Procs., LI (1929), 194–
203; 82 (1960), 83).
(15) Chettle Long Barrow (93741355), on the boundary
with Tarrant Gunville, lies on a gentle E.-facing slope at 375 ft.
above sea-level. The mound is orientated S.E.—N.W. and is
190 ft. long, 65 ft. wide and 9 ft. high. An oval hollow, 165 ft.
by 48 ft. by 2 ft. deep, in an arable field along the N.E. side of
the mound, probably represents a side ditch; a shallower hollow
is just visible along the S.W. side. Numerous human bones were
found when part of the barrow was removed to make a grotto
some time before 1767. (C.T.D., Pt. 3, p. 1; Dorset Procs.,
XXI (1900), 144.)
(16) Long Barrow (95061280), S. of Chettle House, lies at
the top of a gentle S.E.—facing slope on a low spur at 275 ft. above
sea-level. The mound is orientated E.N.E.—W.S.W. and is
320 ft. long, 65 ft. wide and 8 ft. high. The W. end has been
much reduced by ploughing and no side ditches are visible.
When the barrow was opened, c. 1700, 'a great quantity of
human bones were found, and with them heads of spears and
other warlike instruments', possibly indicating pagan Saxon
intrusive burials. A further secondary or intrusive burial was
found in 1776. (C.T.D., Pt. 3, p. 2; Dorset Procs., XXI (1900),
144–5; Hutchins III, 567.)
'Celtic' Fields, see p. 119, Group (75).