24 WITCHAMPTON (9806)
(O.S. 6 ins., ST 90 NE)
The parish, irregular in shape and covering some
2,100 acres, occupies a shallow dry valley on the E. bank
of the R. Allen; it is entirely on Chalk, between 100 ft.
and 225 ft. above sea-level. Land at East Hemsworth
(18) was formerly part of Shapwick. Domesday
mentions Wichemetune and two Hemedeswordes (East and
West Hemsworth), (V.C.H., Dorset, iii, 68, 86, 101).
Today, both Hemsworths are single farms, but East
Hemsworth retains extensive earthwork remains of a
former village. New Town, about ½ mile N.E. of
Witchampton village, was established in the second half
of the 18th century to accommodate the inhabitants of
Moor Crichel (p. 44), displaced in the making of
Crichel Park. An extensive area of common land
survived in the N.W. of the parish until the 19th
(1) The Parish Church of St. Mary, St. Cuthberga and All Saints, near the centre of Witchampton
village, has walls mainly of banded flint and ashlar, and
tile-covered roofs. The West Tower, with walls of
Greensand ashlar and Heathstone rubble, is of the 15th
century. The South Transept bears the date 1832. The
Chancel, Nave and North Transept were rebuilt in 1844
(Dorset Procs., XXXIX (1918), 118). The vestry and the
organ chamber on the S. of the chancel were added in
1898 (Sarum Dioc. Regy.).
Witchampton, the Parish Church of All Saints
Architectural Description—The E. window of the Chancel
has four trefoil-headed lights with vertical tracery under a
moulded two-centred head with inner and outer labels with
head-stops. The two N. windows have trefoil-headed lights in
moulded square-headed surrounds. A former S. window was
blocked up in 1898 and replaced by sedilia. The openings to the
vestry and organ chamber are of 1898. The chancel arch is
two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the outer order
continuous on the responds, the inner order springing from
carved corbels which appear to be of 1898. The North Transept
window has three cinquefoil-headed lights with vertical tracery
in a two-centred head. The South Transept window is in 13th-century style, with three gradated cinquefoil-headed lights and
pierced spandrels in a two-centred head; above is a date-stone
The Nave has a two-centred archway to the N. transept, of
two chamfered orders springing from half-octagonal responds
with moulded capitals. The N. windows are each of two cinque-foil-headed lights with vertical tracery in a casement-moulded
square-headed surround. The S. side of the nave is uniform with
that on the N.
The West Tower is of two stages divided by a weathered
string-course. Near the base is an original moulded and chamfered plinth, and below this is a more boldly moulded 19th-century plinth, inserted when the level of the ground surrounding the tower was lowered. Above, the tower has an embattled
parapet and a moulded parapet string-course with corner
gargoyles. The diagonal N.W. and S.W. buttresses are each of
four weathered stages. The square N.E. stair turret rises, in three
stages, almost to the level of the parapet string-course where it
is capped with weathered stonework. The doorway at the foot
of the vice has a chamfered four-centred head and continuous
jambs; the stairs are lit by several loops, one of them in the form
of a quatrefoil. The 15th-century tower arch is of two chamfered
orders, the inner order springing from carved corbels (Plate 9),
the outer order dying into square responds. The 19th-century
W. doorway has a moulded two-centred head and continuous
jambs; flanking it are two reset date-stones of 1632; above is a
15th-century window of three cinquefoil-leaded lights with
vertical tracery in a two-centred head, with a heavy moulded
label with worn head-stops. Roughly formed loops, set high in
the S. and W. sides of the lower stage, appear to have been made
for the spindles of clock-hands, now gone; the N. side retains a
plain 19th-century clock-face at the same level. Each side of the
upper stage has a 15th-century belfry window of two cinquefoil-headed lights with a quatrefoil spandrel light in a two-centred
head with a moulded label with returned stops.
The Roofs in the chancel, nave and transepts are masked by
vaulted plaster ceilings of c. 1832, with moulded ribs and carved
Fittings—Bells: six; 1st modern, others by R. Wells, Aldbourne, with inscriptions of 1776 and 1777 and churchwardens'
names, I. Topp, W. Topp and D. Kent. Clock: In belfry, of
wrought iron, 1737. Font: comprises plain stone bowl, irregularly octagonal on plan, with circular lead-lined basin, mediaeval;
Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: Reset in N. transept,
on E. wall, (1) of John Cole, 1636, round-headed inscription
tablet in painted stone architectural surround (Plate 15), with
coupled composite columns, obelisk finials and strapwork
cresting enclosing panel with shield-of-arms of Cole impaling
Scobell; of sixteen shields bordering inscription panel, ten are
blank, three show Cole impaling uncharged shields, one has
Paulet impaling Cole and one has an uncharged shield impaling
Cole. In N. transept, reset on W. wall, (2) of Elizabeth Scobell,
1631, remains of wall-monument comprising plain tablet, two
flanking columns and cartouche with shield-of-arms of Scobell
impaling a defaced coat; (3) of John Ridout, 1773, and his wife
Elizabeth, 1791; (4) of Elizabeth Bingham, 1813, oval tablet by
Hiscock of Blandford. Floor-slab: Reset in N. transept, plain
Purbeck marble slab with verse in Roman capitals, 17th century.
Plate: includes silver cup and stand-paten with assay marks
of 1610 (or 1630), cup with donor's inscription of Elizabeth
Scobell, 1630, and shield-of-arms of Scobell impaling Pury;
also silver flagon with Sheffield assay mark of 1810.
Pulpit: of oak, polygonal, with fielded and moulded panelled
sides in two heights, mid 18th century.
Miscellanea: Large yellow-glazed three-handled earthenware
jug inscribed 'Witchampton Bellfrey', early 19th century.
(2) Former Manor House (99080633), ruin, originally of two storeys, has flint and rubble walls with ashlar
dressings (Plate 83), repaired in places with brickwork.
The roofs and floors have gone and the walls survive
only in part. The building, of 13th-century origin, was
modified in the 15th century when fireplaces were
inserted. By the 18th century it had ceased to be a
dwelling and the walls were used in the construction of
farm buildings; they are now wholly disused and thickly
overgrown. In the 13th-century house the lower storey
appears to have comprised store-rooms, stables etc.
Above was a first-floor hall with a solar at right-angles
to it on the N.W. A small wing extended N.E. at the
eastern end of the hall. There is some evidence for a
former building, now gone, which extended S.E. from
the northern end of the solar. Excavations in 1961 by
students of Liverpool College of Building suggest that
the solar range was built before the hall range (Dorset
Procs., 87 (1966), 255–64).
The Monument is of considerable interest because
of its early date and it is regrettable that it has been
allowed to fall into ruin.
Architectural Description—The remains of the S.E. wall,
about 3½ ft. thick, now stand close to the R. Allen although the
watercourse formerly ran some distance to the E. The N.E. end
of the surviving fragment retains the jambs of 15th-century
fireplaces at ground and first-floor levels. Further S.W. the lower
storey is pierced by a stone loop 2 ft. wide and 1 ft. high with a
chamfered ashlar surround morticed for an iron grill; the upper
storey retains the sill and part of one jamb of a window. Masonry
projecting near the S. corner of the building indicates a former
turret, circular or polygonal on plan and probably containing
the stairs to the first-floor hall. Low down, the surviving fragment includes the splayed jamb and part of the arched head of
a small window. The corner of the building has been rebuilt in
thinner masonry than elsewhere, this wall filling the former
opening to the turret.
The S.W. wall of the hall range is pierced in the lower storey
by a barn doorway with a segmental brick arch, probably of the
late 18th century. To the S.E. of the doorway there are traces
of a former loop or ventilator with splayed jambs, now blocked
up; above the loop the flint wall-face contains a neatly formed
Heathstone relieving arch. Higher up and not quite central with
the relieving arch is an original window of the first-floor hall;
it is of one light with chamfered jambs and sill. The opening is
slightly less than 2 ft. wide and there are traces of a transom,
now gone; below the transom the jambs retain iron shutter
hinges; above there are grooves for glazing and sockets for
saddle-bars. The jambs survive to a height of 9 ft. and were
formerly higher, there being no sign of lancet head or lintel.
Internally the window is flanked by stone window-seats with
moulded nosing. About 25 ft. further N.W. is a second hall
window, uniform with that described (Plate 83). Below it are
the voussoirs of the relieving arch of a former ground-floor loop,
also as described, but in this case the original opening has been
destroyed in the construction of a square-headed 15th-century
window, about 2 ft. wide and 5¼ ft. high. Excavation in front
of the barn doorway revealed the foundation of an original
buttress which stood midway between the two hall windows.
Also between the two windows, above the barn doorway, is a
15th-century fireplace with a rebated and hollow-chamfered
square-headed stone opening, now blocked with brickwork.
The N.W. end of the hall is marked on the S.W. front by an
ashlar buttress of two stages with a weathered and roll-moulded
plinth and weathered offsets. Further N., the S.W. wall of the
solar range is strengthened by two 18th-century brick buttresses;
in the lower storey they mask a pair of original square-headed
loops with ashlar surrounds and splayed reveals with timber
lintels. The solar on the first floor has a large S.W. window with
a stone seat with chamfered nosing on three sides of the recess;
the window-frame may have been of wood and perhaps slightly
projecting since the splayed jambs retain no trace of a stone
Witchampton. (2) Remains of former manor house
The northern part of the N.W. wall of the solar range has
mostly gone, but the southern half retains, at the W. corner, a
single-stage ashlar buttress with details as noted in the S.W.
elevation. Adjacent, the lower storey has a well-preserved
square-headed loop, as described; the upper storey retains the
splays of a N.W. window. A large roll-moulded stone corbel
projecting from the external wall-face slightly above first-floor
level is of doubtful purpose; it could have supported a statue or
some other ornamental feature. The N.E. end of the surviving
part of the N.W. wall is reinforced with brickwork, probably
the jamb of another barn doorway. From here to the N. corner
the wall is represented by its foundations, revealed in the
excavations of 1961.
The N.E. wall of the solar range has a ground-floor loop
similar to those noted above, and in the upper storey it retains
one jamb of a tall window. The N. and E. corners of the range
were reinforced with square-set buttresses of which only the
foundations remain. At the E. corner of the solar, the S.E. wall
of the range was pierced by ground-floor and first-floor doorways with chamfered ashlar jambs and pointed heads; their
northern jambs and the springers of the heads survive. The
rebates are on the S.E. side, showing that the doors opened
outwards with respect to the solar and its undercroft and indicating the former existence of an adjacent building, now gone; it
may have been of timber and was probably earlier in date
than the stone structures which remain. In line with the doors,
a first-floor door-jamb on the inner face of the S.W. wall
represents a doorway from the hall to the solar.
The surviving block of masonry at the angle between the hall
and the N.E. wing retains the jamb of a ground-floor window
to the wing, and also the jamb of an opening on the N.W.,
possibly a doorway which gave access to the hall undercroft
from a central courtyard.
(3) Manor House (98910640), wrongly called the
Abbey House (Hutchins III, 478), is of two storeys with
attics. The walls are of brick with stone dressings and the
roofs are tile-covered, with stone-slate verges (Plate 82).
The S. range is of the early 16th century and retains
many original features. Heraldic frets worked in the
brickwork and stonework probably relate to the Fitzalans, earls of Arundel, lords of the manor at the
beginning of the 16th century; in Hutchins's time the
fret was also seen in several windows. The N. range,
added after 1860, had details similar to those of the
original building, but in 1938 the windows were
changed and other alterations were made, resulting in
a 'Georgian' N. façade. The service wing on the E. was
built in 1914.
The S. range is remarkably well preserved and
provides an early example, perhaps the earliest in Dorset,
of the use of brickwork in domestic architecture.
Architectural Description—The S. front of the 16th-century
range has windows irregularly spaced in four bays. The plinth
is of flint and Heathstone rubble with a chamfered ashlar capping.
A weathered and hollow-chamfered string-course passes below
the first-floor window-sills. The English-bonded brickwork is
ornamented with a diaper of blue-bricks and devices worked in
brick, including stepped crosses, the letters W and T, and frets.
In the lower storey the two S. windows of the dining room,
each with two transomed elliptical-headed lights under a label
with shield stops, appear to be largely modern. The study
(formerly hall) window is original and of three lights with
two-centred heads under a label with plain shield stops; the
two-light window further W. is similar, but here the label-stops
are charged respectively with an heraldic fret and a device
showing an oak-leaf with acorns. Immediately beside this two-light window are the remains of a former doorway; the opening
has been bricked up and the plinth has been built across the
opening, but the stone plinth-jambs remain, as also the segmental
brick relieving arch. Over the relieving arch is a square-headed
loop with a chamfered stone surround and iron grating; although
blocked internally its purpose was evidently to illuminate the
former screens-passage. The westernmost opening in the S.
front, the S. window of the parlour, is now a doorway, but a
drawing of 1860 shows a three-light casement window in this
position; of it there survive three roll-moulded and hollow-chamfered two-centred heads in a casement-moulded surround
under a label with shield-stops; these features may have been
raised slightly in the construction of the doorway. Each shield
is charged with a horse rampant before an oak-tree. In the upper
storey, the easternmost window is of two lights with two-centred heads under a label with fret and oak-leaf stops as before.
Symmetrically placed above the former doorway is a two-light
window with restored ogee heads and a label with original
shield-stops bearing the letters W and R, probably for William
Rolle, rector 1505–21, whose name formerly appeared in a
window (Hutchins III, 478). The westernmost window, set
somewhat higher than the others in correspondence with the
higher floor-level of the parlour chamber, is of three lights with
hollow-chamfered, roll-moulded, two-centred heads in a
casement-moulded surround under a label with fret and oak-leaf
Above the two middle bays of the S. elevation is a large
chimney-stack with weathered offsets and three brick shafts, two
set square and one diagonally. The flues serve fireplaces in the
former hall, in the hall chamber and in the kitchen chamber;
that of the kitchen chamber is an 18th-century addition, but the
others are original.
Witchampton. (3) Manor House
The gabled W. wall has two original ground-floor windows
as described; a corresponding two-light window in the parlour
chamber does not appear on the drawing of 1860 and presumably
comes from elsewhere. The gable has two original square-headed attic windows and, between them, an oblong stone panel
with the horse and oak-tree device seen in the label-stops of
the parlour window. Above is a chimney-stack of two flues
serving original fireplaces in the parlour and parlour chamber.
Inside, the blocked doorway to the former screens-passage
now forms a recess with a square head. Chamfers on the beam
which marks the E. side of the former screens-passage indicate
the position of an original doorway to the hall; elsewhere the
beam has mortices for former muntins. Two deeply chamfered
beams which spanned the hall remain in situ, but within the
study they are concealed by a ceiling; a third beam has gone.
The parlour retains heavily moulded oak wall cornices and three
of the corresponding beams of a coffered ceiling, originally of
nine panels. The fireplace has a richly carved early 17th-century
oak overmantel with caryatid figures, arabesques and other
decorations in high relief. The dining room, originally the
kitchen, has chamfered beams with roll-moulded stops; the
fireplace is modern.
On the first floor, the parlour chamber has an original stone
fireplace surround with a moulded four-centred head, the
mouldings interrupted by square blocks. The hall chamber has
a small fireplace with an original stone surround. The chamber
above the former kitchen has an 18th-century fireplace set
diagonally in the S.W. corner. The original staircase has gone,
but a small timber-framed doorway with a chamfered four-centred head, now opening into a wall closet in the N. wall of
the original range, may originally have led to a stair turret,
removed when the N. range was built; alternatively the original
stairs could have occupied a position at the N. end of the
The roof, of six bays, retains original main timbers. The two
bays above the parlour have collared tie-beam trusses. The four
eastern bays, where the chamber ceilings lie at a lower level than
over the parlour, are spanned by three collar-beam trusses raised
on wall-braces, leaving room for a spacious attic below the
cambered callars. The principals support two purlins on each
side, with curved wind-braces.
The brick wall enclosing the garden on S. and W. is largely
of the 16th century and includes frets and crosses worked in
(4) Bridge (99090617), of brick with stone dressings, has three
semicircular arches, the central one larger than the others. It was
designed and built in 1795 by Samuel Kent of Witchampton.
(Contract and drawings, D.C.R.O.)
(5) The Rectory (98910647), of two storeys with brick walls
and slate-covered roofs, is of the early 19th century. The
rendered W. front is approximately symmetrical and of five
bays with large sashed windows in both storeys and with a
central doorway sheltered by a porch with Doric columns.
Inside the plan is of class U.
(6) Mill Farm (99030622), house, of two storeys with brick
walls and tiled roofs, is of early 19th-century origin with later
19th-century additions. A mill adjacent on the W., with brick
walls and a slate-covered roof, retains an undershot timber
water-wheel dating probably from the middle of the 19th
(7) Abbey Farm (98900633), house, of two storeys with attics,
has brick walls and tiled roofs. The S. range dates from the
first third of the 18th century and has a symmetrical E. front
of three bays with square-headed two-light casement windows
in both storeys. A brick plat-band marks the level of the first
floor. Inside, the plan is of class T. The N.E. wing, added in
1773, is dated by an inscription in brickwork on the N. gable.
A stable adjacent on the N., with brick walls and a tiled roof,
similarly bears the date 1783.
(8) Malt House (98650617), partly two-storeyed and partly
of one storey with an attic, has brick walls and thatched roofs.
The single-storeyed range is of the early 18th century and
probably originated as a cottage with a class-S plan. Later in the
same century a two-storeyed wing was built at right-angles to
the original range; this addition may well have been a malthouse.
(9) Cottage (98870649), of one storey with an attic, with
timber-framed walls and a thatched roof, is of 17th-century
origin. The fireplace at the E. end has a brick chimney-breast
culminating in a diagonally-set flue. The W. fireplace is
modern. Inside, the plan is of class S.
(10) House (98840650), of two storeys with timber-framed
walls and a thatched roof, is of 17th-century origin, but extensively rebuilt. The plan appears originally to have been of class
K, an arrangement uncommon in Dorset (Cambridgeshire I,
xlix). The corner posts, with hollow-chamfered mouldings at
the head, support rounded wall-plates.
(11) Ivy House (98880655), of two storeys with walls of brick
and of timber framework and with a tiled roof, is reputed to
date from 1580. Although the building has been extensively
altered and much of the exterior is cased in 19th-century 'timber
framework', it is indeed of late 16th or early 17th-century origin.
The range appears originally to have comprised two dwellings
set end-to-end, each with a class-I plan. It is now a village
The S. end wall is of original brickwork and the lower part
of the E. wall, enclosed in a modern addition, is of original
timber framework. The square-headed W. doorway, sheltered
by a two-storeyed porch, has a moulded timber surround. The
S. chimney-stack culminates in two diagonally-set flues; the N.
chimney-stack is modern. Inside, a large ground-floor room
formed by the removal of former partitions has stout chamfered
ceiling beams. A room on the first floor has chamfered timber
wall-posts and an original moulded plaster entablature; above
the fireplace the plasterwork is enriched with a vine-scroll frieze.
The stairs have plain oak newel-posts, close strings, and flat
balusters of serpentine profile.
(12) Cottages (99640704), two adjoining, now combined as
one, are two-storeyed and have cob walls and thatched roofs.
The range is of mid 18th-century date and may be the only
original New Town building to survive (see introduction to
Moor Crichel, p. 40). Inside, the range comprises two class-S
dwellings, that on the N. with two ground floor rooms, that
on the S. with one.
(13) Cottage (99530711), of two storeys, with cob and brick
walls and a thatched roof, dates from early in the 19th century.
(14) Step House (99300709), of two storeys with cob walls
and a thatched roof, is of 17th-century origin with modern
additions and alterations. The plan appears originally to have
been of class J. The ground-floor rooms have exposed chamfered
(15) Deans Leaze Farm (97450665), house, of one and two
storeys with brick walls and tiled and slated roofs, dates from
c. 1760. The building originated as a coach-house with adjacent
stables and cottage, ancillary to a house which was pulled down
c. 1835 (Hutchins III, 478); the walls of the former coach-house
etc. were then extended and altered for use as a farm house. In
the S. front the two-storeyed central bay is of c. 1835; the
single-storeyed wings are of c. 1760.
(16) Deans Leaze Cottages (97310662), two adjacent, are
single-storeyed with attics and have brick walls and tiled roofs.
As in (15) they comprise a former outbuilding of 18th-century
date, remodelled to form dwellings c. 1830. Two cottages on
the W. are of mid 19th-century origin.
(17) Dean Farm (96970643), house, of two storeys with walls
of flint with brick dressings and with tiled roofs, is of late 17th-century origin, with an 18th-century S. wing. It is probable that
the original plan was of class L (Cambridgeshire I, xlix), a planform not common in Dorset.
(18) Hemsworth (96910572), formerly East or Lower
Hemsworth, a farm house of two storeys with walls of flint and
of brick and with a slate-covered roof, appears to be of 16th-century origin. Early in the 18th century a wing was added on
the S.W., at the S.E. end of the original range. A late 18th-century view of the house appears on Isaac Taylor's estate map
(D.C.R.O., 1930: 23, 38). In the 19th century the S.W. front
was remodelled and further extensions were made to S.W. and
to N.W. of the original range. Inside, some rooms have exposed
(19) West Building (96620558), of two storeys with brick
walls ornamented with a diaper of knapped flint, and with a
tiled roof, originated in the 17th century as a farm house;
reduced in size, it has since been made into a pair of cottages. A
late 18th-century view of the farm house appears under the
name 'Upper Hemsworth' on Isaac Taylor's estate map (see
(18)); it then had a two-storeyed N. wing and a buttressed W.
porch with a round-headed opening.
The following monuments are of the first half of the 19th
century—Cottages (99000668), two adjoining, of two storeys
with cob walls and thatched roofs, date from c. 1800; an adjacent
Cottage (99010671) has similar characteristics. A pair of Houses
(98880659), of two storeys with brick walls and slate-covered
roofs, has a date-stone of 1844. A range of three Cottages
(98840618), with brick walls and tiled roofs, has large diagonally-set chimneystacks, and moulded labels to the windows; it is
probably of c. 1830.
Mediaeval and Later Earthworks
(20) Settlement Remains (970060) of the former
village of East Hemsworth lie in the W. of the parish,
immediately N. of (18); they occupy a gentle N.-facing
slope, 150 ft. above O.D. (Plate 79). The settlement is
one of two Hemedeswordes listed in Domesday (V.C.H.,
Dorset iii, 86, 101), each with a recorded population of
four. The other Domesday Hemsworth is represented
by (19) West Building, formerly called West or Upper
Hemsworth. There is no subsequent record of population, and in c. 1770 when Isaac Taylor drew the estate
map (D.C.R.O., 1930: 23, 38) the site of the former
settlement was called Cow Lease.
Witchampton. (20) Settlement remains of East Hemsworth
The remains, covering about 15 acres, have been disturbed by
quarrying and by a track. Earthworks are seen on both sides of
a broad hollow-way, up to 40 ft. wide and 2½ ft. deep, which
runs from S.E. to N.W.; its northern part has been obliterated
by a track in present use. On the E. of the hollow-way, seven
or eight irregularly shaped closes are bounded by low banks
and scarps. Disturbed areas indicate former buildings. The most
northerly close contains a rectangular sunken area (75 ft. by
40 ft.), orientated N.-S., with a well-preserved internal division;
almost certainly this is the site of a former house. To the E.
of the closes, narrow plots bounded by scarps up to 3 ft. high
appear to have been caused by ploughing; on the E. they are
cut by a hedge. Fragmentary earthworks on the W. of the
hollow-way are perhaps the remains of other closes similar to
(21) Foundations (99060639), probably mediaeval, were
found in 1923–4 some 70 yds. N.W. of Monument (2), during
the excavation of Monument (23). The remains, perhaps part
of the same complex as (2), comprised a rectangular building
(23½ ft. by 12 ft.) with flint walls and a rammed chalk floor.
Upon the floor was a ¼d. of Henry II, mediaeval pottery, and
whale-bone chessmen (Arch. LXXVII (1927), 77.) Other walls
were noted some 30 yds. to N.W. (J.R.S., XV (1925), 238.)
(22) Roman Villa (96320587), near Wall's Cottages
and 2/3 mile W. of East Hemsworth (20), was discovered
in 1831. The site, now heavily ploughed, is on the
gentle N. slope of a low Chalk spur in the angle between
two Roman roads which converge on Badbury Rings.
The records of excavations carried out in 1905 are difficult to
interpret, but they suggest that a main block, perhaps 250 ft.
long and orientated E.N.E.-W.S.W., had wings projecting S.E.
at each end; apparently it was connected by a N.-S. passage to
another wing, 60 ft. to S.E. At the N.E. end, four mosaic
pavements and a hypocaust indicated five rectangular rooms. The
largest mosaic, 13 ft. square, contained a circular panel (Plate 89)
with the bust of a sea or river god surrounded by concentric
decorative borders. To the W. of this pavement was a plunge
bath, nearly 6 ft. square and 2½ ft. deep, with a pelta pattern in
black and white on its mosaic floor.
About 100 ft. S.W. of these rooms was a group of three
pavements. One, 20 ft. long and rectangular, apparently had a
pattern including three large roundels. The other two were some
15 ft. square, that on the N. having a chequer design formed by
alternate pieces of grey limestone and Kimmeridge shale, that on
the S. being made of 'bluish pebbles'.
To the S.W. of these pavements and aligned obliquely in
relation to the other rooms, were a large apsidal pavement, 16 ft.
deep by 12 ft. wide, and a hexagonal floor some 9 ft. across. The
apsidal pavement (Plate 89) has a central panel with the figure
in white of Venus rising naked from waves, backed by a large
shell of red, grey and white, within concentric decorative
borders. A wide outer border depicts five dolphins, with smaller,
fish and scallop shells. The colours are black, buff, grey, purple,
pale blue, white and yellow. A burnt patch obliterates the upper
part of the Venus.
Another group of rooms exposed some 40 ft. to the S.W.
included a large hypocaust with fallen debris of a mosaic,
including many yellow tesserae, and wall plaster, one piece of
which preserved part of a painted column and capital. Among
other mosaic fragments in this group was a border composed of
pairs of large leaf-shaped ovals. Another 'pebble' pavement lay
The walls of the building were of flint and the roofs were of
lozenge-shaped stone slabs. It was remarked that the floors
appeared fresh and that the quarter-round plaster mouldings at
the junction of walls and floors were still sharp. There were
traces indicating boarded floors. Many signs of burning suggested
destruction by fire. The few finds included coins of Tetricus I,
Constantine I and Gratian. A rubbish pit near the Venus pavement contained pottery and tiles. Inhumation burials were
reported from an adjoining field.
The roundel with the sea god, the floor of the bath, tesserae,
wall plaster and small finds are in D.C.M.; the Venus pavement
is in the British Museum. (Dorset Procs., XXIX (1908), lxxxviiviii; XXX (1909), 1–12; LI (1929), 87, 102, 104. Proceedings of the
Bournemouth Natural Science Society, I (1908–9), 63–4.)
(23) Roman Building (99060641), perhaps a temple,
was excavated in the gardens of the Manor House in
1923–4. The site is 100 yds. N.W. of the R. Allen, on a
slight hillock of clay on river gravel.
Flint and mortar footings 4½ ft. wide formed a circle 17 ft. in
diameter. Upon this were the remains of a flint wall, enclosing
a floor of large Purbeck stone slabs; apparently these had carried
a mosaic floor set in mortar. On a platform of compacted gravel
to the S.W. were the slighter flint footings of an attached
rectangular room (21½ ft. by 50 ft.), divided by a wall 9 ft. from
the N. W. end. A semicircular extension of the gravel platform,
35 ft. wide, projected 14 ft. further S.W. Roofing tiles, painted
wall plaster, glass fragments and a coin of Constantine I lay on
the floor of the building. To the S.W., more debris and an oven
indicated another building. Flue tiles, and coins of Gallienus,
Constantine and Valens were found in this area.
The most probable interpretation of the circular building is as
a temple with an added annexe, as at Pagans Hill, Chew Stoke,
Somerset, or at Frilford, Oxfordshire. The cult of a water deity
would explain the low-lying situation. The finds are in Poole
Museum. (J.R.S., XII (1922), 268; XIV (1924), 235–7; XV
(1925), 238. Notes in D.C.M.)
(24) Romano-British Inhumation, associated with a pot
(now in D.C.M.), was found in 1883 in a gravel pit, perhaps at
The Roman road from Old Sarum to Badbury
Rings crosses the parish.