Witchampton

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1975

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104-110

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'Witchampton', An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 5: East (1975), pp. 104-110. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=128275 Date accessed: 02 October 2014.


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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 century.

Ecclesiastical

(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

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 of 1832.

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 leaf bosses.

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; pedestal, 1898.

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.

Secular

(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 surround.


Witchampton. (2) Remains of former manor house

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 stops.

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

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 screens-passage.

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 blue header-bricks.

(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 century.

(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 club-house.

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.

New Town

(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 beams.

Hemsworth

(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 chamfered beams.

(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

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 those described.

(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.)

Roman

(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 nearby.

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 98640653.

The Roman road from Old Sarum to Badbury Rings crosses the parish.



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