13 LONG CRICHEL (9710)
(O.S. 6 ins., ST 90 NE, ST 91 SE)
This parish, extending to 2,017 acres, occupies the
valley of the Crichel Brook and lies entirely on Chalk
between 150 ft. and 350 ft. above O.D. The village
extends along the brook in the E. half of the parish and
is the only settlement. Important prehistoric dykes
occur in the N. of the parish.
(1) The Parish Church of St. Mary, near the E.
end of the village, has ashlar walls with flint banding
and is roofed with tiles and lead. The West Tower is of
the 15th century; the Chancel, the North and South
Transepts and the Nave are of 1852.
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The West Tower is of two stages
with a moulded plinth and an embattled parapet with pinnacles
and gargoyles; the lower stage has N.W. and S.W. buttresses
of two weathered stages, and similar square-set buttresses on the
N.E. and S.E. The tower arch, rendered, is two-centred and of
two chamfered orders, the inner chamfer dying into the responds, the outer chamfer continuous and ending in broach
stops. The stair turret rises to the base of the upper stage and has
a weathered stone head. The S. doorway is of 1852, with a
moulded two-centred head and continuous jambs. The W.
window has three restored cinquefoil-headed lights with tracery
in a two-centred head with a label with beast-head stops. High
in the lower stage the S. wall has a small window of two square-headed lights. The belfry has, in each wall, a window of two
trefoil-headed lights with a quatrefoil under a two-centred head
with a label.
Fittings—Bells: six; 6th by John Wallis, 1621; others modern.
Brass: In chancel, reset in modern Purbeck marble coffin-slab,
plate (13 ins. by 2 ins.) with black-letter inscription 'Iohan
Gouys gist icy dieu de salme eyt mercy', 14th century; adjacent,
modern shield-of-arms of Govis. Chest: bound with iron, with
two locks, chain and staple, inner compartment with three
locks, 16th century. Font: of Purbeck marble, with octagonal
bowl with quatrefoil panels enclosing blank shields, moulded
underside, stem with trefoil-headed panels and hollow-chamfered base, 15th century. Niche: Externally in N. wall of tower
vice turret, with pinnacles, ogee head, finial, and blank shields
at foot, 15th century. Plate: includes silver cup of 1661, two
patens without assay marks, flagon of 1826 and pewter alms-dish.
(2) Long Crichel House (97851022), formerly the
Rectory, is of two storeys with attics and has walls of
ashlar and of banded flint and brick, and a tiled roof;
it was built to replace the old rectory of Moor Crichel,
demolished in 1776, and bears an inscription of 1786
(Hutchins III, 487). The house originally had a class-U
plan, but the interior has been altered in recent years.
The W. front is symmetrical and of three bays with plain
sashed windows in the upper storey. In the lower storey the
lateral bays are masked by late 19th-century bow windows; the
former central doorway has been moved to the N. front and the
aperture blocked, but the inscription of 1786 remains in situ
above the blocking. On the N. front, the reset central doorway
has an open-pediment hood on scrolled brackets, and an elliptical
fanlight with traceried glazing-bars. In the symmetrical three-bay
S. front the sashed windows have been enlarged; the central
bays in each storey have blind recesses. Adjacent on the E. is a
two-storeyed service wing with brick walls and a tiled roof.
Inside the house, the principal rooms have moulded cornices,
doorways with moulded architraves and doors with fielded
panels. The stairs, with moulded strings and slender turned
balusters, have been modified in accordance with the recent
replanning of the house.
Stables, some 30 yds. S.E. of the house, with brick walls and
slate-covered roofs, have symmetrical three-bay N. and S.
fronts and are of c. 1786.
(3) Middle Farm (97021061), house, of two storeys, with
brick walls with moulded and rusticated ashlar dressings and with
a slate-covered roof, is of the early 19th century. The S. front
is symmetrical and of three bays, with a round-headed doorway
flanked by ground-floor sashed windows of three square-headed
lights, and with single-light sashed windows in the upper storey.
The plan is of class U.
Mediaeval and Later Earthworks
(4) Settlement Remains (969108–979101), consisting of long
closes bounded by low banks and scarps, and well-marked
building platforms, occur throughout the village in the spaces
between the modern houses. The settlement cannot be identified
in Domesday, but 27 taxpayers were noted in 1333, and 32
householders were listed in 1662 (Meekings, 34). In 1801 the
population was 91, indicating some decline during the 18th
century (V.C.H., Dorset ii, 270). The sites were deserted before
c. 1770 (estate maps by I. Taylor, photo-copies in D.C.R.O.).
(5) Cultivation Remains. Nothing survives of the open
fields, but ridge-and-furrow 7 yds. to 9 yds. wide formerly
existed on Crichel Down and Horse Down in the S. of the
parish, beyond the limits of early 19th-century arable land.
Roman and Prehistoric Earthworks
(6) Enclosure and Linear Dyke, on Crichel Down, now
almost completely levelled by ploughing, are probably of pre
historic date (Plate 85). The enclosure (95901007), on a broad
saddle of the Down, 340 ft. above O.D., covers about ⅓ acre
and is roughly rectangular in plan with sides between 105 ft.
and 140 ft. in length; it is defined by a low bank 12ft. across, with
an external ditch of similar width. There is no trace of an
entrance and the interior is flat and featureless, except for a
small depression near the N.E. side.
The linear dyke (95861006–95690973) prolongs the N.W.
side of the enclosure south-westwards across the ridge-top for at
least 400 yds. (air photographs F21 58 RAF 1090: 0136–7). The
dyke has dimensions similar to those of the bank and ditch of
the enclosure, with the bank on the S.E. side. It is possibly, but
by no means certainly, associated with 'Celtic' fields (Group (80).
(7) Linear Dykes, probably all part of a single system, but
of more than one phase, occur on former downland in the N.
of the parish and extend W. into Tarrant Hinton (Dorset IV,
96). The most westerly and possibly the earliest of the dykes has
been flattened by ploughing, but air photographs (RAF CPE/UK
1845: 6056–60; F22 58/1090: 0093–5; 58/3250: 0081) show that
it extended in a generally easterly direction from Tarrant Hinton
Down (94881193), for more than 800 yds. along a spur, to meet
a second dyke on Tarrant Launceston Down (95591177). The
dyke formerly comprised a ditch between two low banks and
measured some 50 ft. across, overall.
The second dyke, also ploughed flat, runs E.N.E. down the
slope towards the Crichel Brook; it comes to an end after some
300 yds. (95851187) and neither ground inspection nor air
photographs reveal any trace of it in the valley bottom. The
dyke consisted of three banks, each about 15 ft. across and up to
3 ft. high, with intervening ditches of similar dimensions. After
a gap of some 500 yds. the dyke continues on the far side of the
valley, on the slope of Thickthorn Down, where it runs N.E.
for 800 yds. until it meets the S.W. end of the Dorset Cursus
(Gussage St. Michael (9), plan opp. p. 25). In this part the dyke
comprises four low banks of notably rounded profile; where
best preserved each bank is about 16 ft. across and 2 ft. high,
with slightly smaller intervening ditches. At the N.E. end the
dyke swings a little to the N. before being cut by the modern
road on the parish boundary. Across the road only the two
N.W. banks reappear; for some 400 yds. they run parallel with
and close to the N.W. side of the Cursus; over most of this
distance they have been levelled by ploughing, but they are
visible on air photographs.
Excavation across this multiple dyke, on Thickthorn Down
just inside the parish, yielded no evidence of structural features
(such as post-holes for a palisade) and no firm evidence of date;
the Roman period, however, seems likely. Such multiple banks
and ditches are a distinctive form of boundary. They certainly
are not defensive works and they may be compared with earth-works forming part of the settlement on Gussage Hill (Gussage
St. Michael (7), p. 24). In this case the Cursus earthwork, or
part of it, appears to have been integrated with a boundary
system (Dorset Procs., 81 (1959), 110–13; H. Sumner, Cranborne
'Celtic' Fields, see p. 117, Group (80).
Monuments (8–31), Round Barrows
Some twenty-four barrows are detectable. Nearly all
of them are in the N.W. of the parish and form part
of a concentration extending from Crichel Down to
Tarrant Launceston Down (Dorset IV, 107). Most of
the mounds have been damaged or levelled by ploughing. Ten have been examined by excavation.
Two barrows on the summit of Crichel Down have been
destroyed by ploughing, but are visible as ring-ditches on air
photographs (Plate 85). (C.U.A.P., AMO 6, 7, ANC 72.)
(8) Barrow (95951007); diam. about 40 ft.
(9) Barrow (95971007); diam. about 40 ft.
Four barrows form part of the Launceston Down South Group,
the rest of which is in Tarrant Launceston (Dorset IV, 107).
They were excavated in 1938 by S. and C. M. Piggott (Arch.,
XC (1944), 47–80). They are no longer visible on the ground and
former dimensions etc. are given.
(10) Bowl (95911054), covering a large pit, beside which was
a primary cremation in a barrel urn with incised chevron
decoration of Cornish type; diam. 45 ft., ht. 1 ft., with a shallow
ditch. (Piggott, 8.)
(11) Bowl (96011053), containing a primary cremation in a
central pit, with sherds of a cinerary urn in the surrounding soil;
diam. 18 ft., ht. less than 1 ft. (Piggott, 7.)
(12) Bowl (96031066), covering a large oval grave in which
was a primary crouched inhumation, tightly bound and apparently placed there in a bag. Any grave goods that may have
existed had been removed by earlier diggers. Diam. 22 ft., ht.
under 1 ft. (Piggot, 5.)
(13) Bowl (96051070), covering an irregular empty hole near
the centre; diam. 15 ft., ht. under 1 ft. (Piggott, 4.)
Three barrows lie on the S.E. slope of a spur overlooking the
Crichel valley. Excavated in 1938 by S. and C. M. Piggott (op.
cit.), they have since been levelled by ploughing.
(14) Bowl (96191109), comprising a low mound, 37 ft. across
and about 1 ft. high, within a ditch which was interrupted by a
causeway on the N.E. Under the centre of the mound lay an
unassociated cremation. An earlier structural phase, also under
the mound, was represented by a circular palisade trench
enclosing an area about 7 ft. across, with a causeway on the E.
A further cremation (? primary), also without associated objects,
lay at the centre. A fragment of collared urn was found in the
composition of the mound. (Piggott, 2.)
(15) Bowl (96181111), incorporating a cairn of flints over a
central pit which contained a bucket urn (Arch. J., CXIX (1962),
63) and a smaller accessory vessel; both were covered by a slab
of Purbeck limestone; diam. 30 ft., ht. about 1 ft. (Piggott, 3.)
(16) Bowl (96241109), covering a central pit which contained
the remains of a primary cremation burial associated with
fragments of a bucket urn 'burnt after breaking'. Above the pit
was a second cremation in a bucket urn (see also Arch. J., CXIX
(1962), 63). Diam. 22 ft., ht. under 1 ft. (Piggott, 1.)
Seven barrows are scattered on the W. side of the Crichel
valley, W. of Veiny Cheese Pond; they lie at about 200 ft. above
O.D., mostly on a gentle S.E. slope. All have been damaged or
levelled by ploughing and three of them (18–20) have been completely removed by excavation. Two barrows ((17) and (18)) lie
close to a linear dyke (Tarrant Launceston (16), Dorset IV,
106) and appear to have determined its alignment at the E. end.
(17) Bowl (95961135), now flattened by ploughing; former
diam. 70 ft., ht. 2½ ft.
(18) Bowl (96171149), excavated by S. and C. M. Piggott in
1938 (op. cit.), comprised a mound about 60 ft. across and 3 ft.
high, associated with two concentric ditches; the latter suggest
two structural phases. The inner ditch, which was deeper and
more carefully cut than the outer, measured 52 ft. across overall
and lay entirely under the mound; it had cut an earlier pit
containing fragments of several beakers. The outer ditch lay no
more than 5 ft. outside it and measured about 72 ft. across
overall. A grave shaft at the centre of the barrow was cut nearly
9 ft. into the chalk and contained a primary crouched inhumation
associated with pig bones. A quantity of beaker sherds was
found scattered throughout the mound. (Piggott, 11.)
(19) Bell (95881157), comprising a mound 60 ft. across and
5 ft. high, surrounded by a narrow berm, was excavated by C.
Green in 1959–60, prior to levelling. As in (18) the barrow was
found to have two concentric ditches. Initially there had been a
low bowl barrow, about 26 ft. in diam., lying within the inner
ditch and covering a primary inhumation associated with a bell
beaker. This was subsequently covered by the bell barrow and
the outer ditch was dug to encircle it. Associated with the
second phase were a beaker inhumation, four food-vessel
inhumations, and later inhumations and cremations (P.P.S.,
XXVI, n.s. (1960), 343).
(20) Bell (96041159), 68 ft. across and 9 ft. high, surrounded
by a narrow berm, was excavated by C. Green in 1959–60, prior
to levelling. Structurally it resembled (19) and it clearly was
built in two stages. Initially there had been a small barrow containing a primary crouched inhumation, tightly bound with
thongs, above which was an adult female inhumation accompanied by a child. The barrow was enlarged and in it were found
several later cremations associated with various types of cinerary
urn, and three pagan Saxon inhumations (P.P.S., XXVI, n.s.
(21) Bowl (96161171), now reduced by ploughing; former
diam. 90 ft., ht. 3 ft.
(22) Bowl (96231168), now largely flattened by ploughing;
former diam. 85 ft., ht. 1 ft.
(23) Bowl (96261165), now almost levelled by ploughing;
former diam. 85 ft., ht. 1½ ft.
The Veiny Cheese Pond Barrow Group comprises five barrows
(24–28), all largely flattened by ploughing. The mounds, from
25 ft. to 50 ft. in diameter, lie close together in an almost straight
line extending N.W.–S.E. on the N.E. side of the Crichel valley,
some 330 yds. E. of the pond. Grid references are : (24), 96671175 ;
(25), 96691173; (26), 96711171; (27), 96721169; (28), 96741166.
Three barrows lie W. of Thickthorn Wood, almost on the
parish boundary with Tarrant Hinton (Dorset IV, 96).
(29) Bowl (95681221); diam. 20 ft., ht. under 1 ft.
(30) Bowl (95681226), damaged by digging on the N.W.
side; diam. 55 ft., ht. 4 ft.
(31) Bowl (95701229), damaged by a modern track; diam.
40 ft., ht. 1 ft.
(32) Enclosure and Linear Dyke, in the extreme E. corner
of the parish, have been flattened by ploughing, but are visible
on air photographs (R.A.F., CPE/UK 1845: 6050–2; C.U.A.P.,
ANC 57; N.M.R., ST 9810). The enclosure (984109) lies on a
S.E. slope at about 280 ft. above O.D., just off the summit of the
ridge between the Crichel and Gussage valleys. Almost square,
but with rounded corners, the sides are about 300 ft. long and
enclose some 2 acres (Plate 85); the interior is featureless; no
entrance is seen. The linear ditch (98531110–98021065) runs
parallel with and very close to the N.W. side of the enclosure.
It begins on the ridge-top, in Gussage St. Michael, and extends
S.W. for over 700 yds. across the ridge-top and down the slope
towards the Crichel Brook.