8 EAST STOUR (7922)
(O.S. 6 ins., ST 82 SW, ST 72 SE, ST 82 NW)
East Stour, with an area of 1,786 acres, lies on the E.
bank of the R. Stour. The western third of the area is
on Corallian Limestone at an altitude of about 300 ft.,
sloping W. to the river; the other two-thirds are on
Kimmeridge Clay, undulating between 300 ft. and
370 ft., except in the S.E. where the land rises steeply
to 655 ft. on Duncliffe Hill, an outlying Greensand
promontory surrounded by Gault Clay.
The history of settlement is ill-documented and
largely unknown, but the pattern of field boundaries
indicates slow expansion eastwards across the area of
Kimmeridge Clay from a nucleus in the W. East
Stour village, one of the Sture holdings of Domesday
(V.C.H., Dorset iii, 82–3), was certainly the original
settlement. Fields of irregular shape immediately E.
of the village represent early encroachment on the
waste. The larger and more rectilinear fields to N.
and N.E. indicate post-mediaeval development; to
judge by the date of the farmhouses at New House (14)
and Cole Street (15) this development is of the late
18th century. The S.E. part of the parish with rigidly
geometrical field boundaries was enclosed from the
waste in 1804 (Enclosure Map, D.C.R.O.), and the
buildings in this area are of the early 19th century.
(1) The Parish Church, Christ Church, stands in
the S. of the village. The walls are of local limestone
ashlar with Greensand dressings and the roofs are slate-covered. The church was built in 1842 to the design
of G. Alexander, in the Romanesque style on a
cruciform plan with a central tower. The former
church was demolished and some fittings from it were
transferred to the new building.
East Stour, Christ Church
Fittings—Bible-box: of oak, with foliate carving on front
panel, 17th century. Chests: two, of oak; one with fielded
panels and ball feet, 18th century; another with moulded and
fielded panels, beaded corners, and three locks, late 18th century,
on modern legs. Font: with square Purbeck marble bowl with
shallow round-headed arcading, on cylindrical stone centre
shaft and four coarsely moulded corner shafts, with plain
rectangular base, 12th century. Lectern: comprising carved and
gilt pelican-in-piety (Plate 21), perhaps reused finial from former
sounding-board or reredos; 18th century (cf. Dorset III, Plates
Cross Shaft, fragment, now in the British Museum (1969/4–1)
was recovered during the demolition of a house in East Stour in
1939. The stone is 10 ins. to 11 ins. square and 2 ft. 4 ins. high
(Plate 3). Each face is richly decorated with vine-scroll, interlace and palmette ornament, probably of the late 10th or early
11th century (Arch. J., CXVII (1960), 82–87).
(2) Church Farm (79832285), house, a few paces W. of the
church, is of two storeys and has walls of rubble and ashlar, and
tiled roofs; it is of the early 19th century. The N.E. front is
symmetrical and of three bays, with a central doorway and with
uniform sashed windows.
(3) Orchard House (80182327), of two storeys with rubble
walls and thatched roofs, is of the early 17th century. A stone
inscribed 1600 appears to be of the 19th century, but doubtless is
a replica of an original date-stone. Inside the house, two large
fireplaces have stone jambs and chamfered timber bressummers;
the W. chimneybreast formerly had a stair beside it. Two stop-chamfered beams are exposed.
(4) Cottage (80232330), of one storey with attics, with
rubble walls and a thatched roof, is of the 17th century. Inside,
one room has an open fireplace with chamfered stone jambs and
a chamfered oak bressummer; a plank-and-muntin partition and
some chamfered beams are preserved.
(5) Cottage (80372347), of two storeys with rubble walls
and a thatched roof, is of the late 17th or early 18th century;
inside, three chamfered beams are exposed.
(6) High Grove Farm (81462397), house, of one storey with
dormer-windowed attics, has rubble walls and tile-covered
roofs. Above the S. doorway is a date-stone with T.S. 1620 in
relief, probably the date of the house. Inside, the through
passageisflanked by original timber partitions. The middleroom
no doubt originally the main living-room of the farmhouse, has
a large open fireplace; the oven now opens to a fireplace in the
W. room, but this is probably a modification; the N. window in
the middle room retains an original moulded timber surround.
The stairs are modern.
(7) Cottages (80902305), range of three, with rubble walls
and thatched roofs, are of the late 17th century.
Unless otherwise described the following houses and
cottages are of the late 18th or of the first half of the
19th century; they are two-storeyed, with rubble walls
and tiled or slate-covered roofs.
(8) Fir Tree Cottage (82242352), with a symmetrical S. front
of three bays, dates from shortly after 1804 when the land on
which it stands was enclosed.
(9) Cottages (82242348), pair, 30 yds. S. of the foregoing,
similarly date from c. 1804.
(10) Manor Farm (80552303), house, is largely modern, but it
incorporates an 18th-century cottage on the S.
(11) Cottages (79962295), range of three, comprise two late
18th-century dwellings; the S. dwelling is of the early 19th
(12) The Crown Inn (80422354), originally a late 18th-century range of three cottages, became an inn in the 19th
(13) Cottage (80502369), of late 18th-century origin, has a
symmetrical S. front of two bays with a central doorway.
Adjacent on the E. a 19th-century range, now ruinous, was used
in the late 19th century as a Methodist Chapel; its original
purpose is uncertain.
(14) New House Farm (80132499), house, dates probably from
c. 1800 and has a symmetrical S. front of three bays with a
(15) Cole Street Farm (81782502), house, is of the late 18th
century. At the centre of the three-bay S. front is a 19th-century
ashlar porch with a round-headed opening.