Maiden Newton

Pages 150-153

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 1, West. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1952.

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In this section


(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXX, S.E. (b)XXXIX, N.E.)

Maiden Newton is a parish and village 8 m. N.W. of Dorchester. The church is the principal monument.


b(1), House, on the right bank of the River Frome 2 m. S.E. of the church, was discovered in 1796. It had at least five tessellated pavements, figured by Lysons (Reliquiae R-B i., part 3, pls. iv-vii) under the place-name Frampton, by which this villa is known. The most elaborate pavement had a central medallion of a horseman spearing a lioness, while two surviving square corner panels each contained a scene from the story of Venus and Adonis. The whole is enclosed by minor borders in guilloche and by a main border of dolphins and cormorants emerging from a mask of Neptune with sea-weed beard and hair bedecked with lobster-claws. The two streams of the creatures converge upon a figure of Cupid central in the adjacent side on Neptune's left. Neptune is described in a pair of anapæst couplets, mutilated by the illiterate artist of the floor, who set them in flanking panels: "Neptuni vertex regmen sortiti mobile ventis scultum cui cerulea est [frons] delfinis cincta duobus." Cupid was also flanked by a similar poem of which only the last two lines survive, "[nec] numus perficis ullum [undas] dignare Cupido". The whole poem, of shaky Latinity, is discussed by F. Buecheler (Anthologia Latina ii, part 2, no. 1524, pp. 720–1).

Neptune and his inscription are to be viewed and read from an apse decorated with geometric patterns and a cantharus, the threshold of which is adorned with a panel of floral whorls, or discrete scrolls, three on each side of a roundel containing a Chi-Rho. A large oblong alcove also opens off the main pavement on the side occupied by Cupid and his poem. It contained a central medallion of Bacchus riding a leopard, and two long side-panels of vigorous hunting scenes.

Another room, or corridor, had a central octagonal panel containing a head of Neptune and four similar panels containing each the head of a Nereid, the intervening spaces being filled with dolphin panels, all bordered by a rich guilloche.

A fifth pavement (Plate 127) exhibited four panels of Mars, Neptune, Apollo and Jupiter ranged cruciform about a central medallion of Bacchus, with four corner medallions of the Winds; while on a small side panel dogs hunt a doe and stag in the forest. The main centre-piece of a sixth pavement bordered by sea-creatures was damaged beyond recognition.


a(2) Parish Church of St. Mary stands at the N. end of the village. The walls are of local rubble and flint with ashlar and dressings of Ham Hill and other stone; the roofs are covered with lead, tiles and stone slates. The lower part of the Tower with parts of the Nave belong to a mid 12th-century church with Chancel axial tower, nave and probably a S. aisle. The Chancel and the W. tower-arch were rebuilt c. 1400 and about the middle of the 15th century the S. arcade and S. Aisle were rebuilt and the S. Transept added; at the same time the W. part of the N. wall of the nave and the upper part of the W. wall were rebuilt, as was the E. wall of the chancel, the upper part of the tower was added or rebuilt and the S. tower-arch inserted. About 1500 the South Porch was added or rebuilt and the W. part of the adjoining aisle largely rebuilt. The church has been restored in modern times and the North Vestry (1886) and Organ Chamber are modern.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (31½ ft. by 16¼ ft.) has a modern E. window. In the N. wall is a modern arcade of two bays; further E. is a window, modern except for the 15th-century two-centred head of two cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery and the label. In the S. wall are two partly restored early 15th-century windows, similar to that in the N. wall; the doorway is modern except part of the jambs. Reset in the E. wall of the modern vestry is a window uniform with the N. window of the chancel.

Maiden, Parish Church of St Mary Newton

The Central Tower (14½ ft. by 15½ ft.) is of three stages with an embattled parapet. The ground stage is partly of mid 12th-century date and the upper stages were built in the 15th century. The late 12th-century E. arch of the ground-stage has a partly restored arch, two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the chamfer being a later cutting; the responds have each a large half-round and two small shafts with scalloped capitals and chamfered bases; the moulded abaci have billet-ornament. In the N. wall is an early 15th-century window of three trefoiled lights with tracery in a square head with a label; the splay of the turret-staircase across the N.E. angle is carried on a small trefoiled squinch. The S. wall is carried on a 15th-century arch, two-centred and of two chamfered orders dying on to the responds except the outer order on the E. which is continuous. In the W. wall is a 15th-century arch, two-centred and of two chamfered orders continued down the S. respond and springing, on the N., from a reset and restored half-round shaft of the 12th century with a modern capital; both responds stand on wide 12th-century plinths, that on the S. continued round as the plinth of the E. respond of a 12th-century nave-arcade. The second stage has, in the S. wall, a 15th-century window of one trefoiled light. The bell chamber has, in each wall, a 15th-century window of two trefoiled lights in a square head; the lights have stone fillings with pierced quatrefoils and shields.

The South Transept (17 ft. by 15¾ ft.) is faced with courses of flint and stone and has an embattled parapet and gargoyles; it has, in the E. wall, a restored 15th-century window of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a label. In the S. wall is a similar window. In the W. wall is a 15th-century arch, two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the inner springing from a semi-octagonal N. shaft with moulded and carved capital and moulded base; on the S. it springs from a moulded corbel.

The Nave (38¾ ft. by 18¾ ft.) has, in the N. wall, three windows, the easternmost of the 12th century and of one tall round-headed light; the other two are of the 15th century and similar to those in the S. transept; at the E. end of the wall are the blocked 15th-century upper and lower doorways to the rood-loft staircase; the lower has moulded jambs and both have four-centred heads; the blocked 12th-century N. doorway has a plain inner order with moulded imposts, lintel and masonry tympanum; the outer order is moulded, semi-circular and enriched with cheveron-ornament and has a moulded label; this order springs from shafts with scalloped capitals and partly restored moulded bases; the key-stone of the rear arch is carved with a medallion (Plate 7) enclosing a seated figure, blessing and with a book in the left hand. The N. wall has a 12th-century corbel-table. The 15th-century S. arcade is of three bays, with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the piers have each four attached semi-octagonal shafts with moulded capitals carved with paterae and moulded bases; the W. respond has an attached half-pier; at the E. end the inner order and the outer one on the S. are continued down the wall. In the W. wall is a reset early 14th-century window of four trefoiled ogee lights with net-tracery in a two-centred head; the 15th-century W. doorway has moulded jambs, two-centred arch and moulded bases.

The South Aisle (11¾ ft. wide) has, in the S. wall, two windows similar to those in the N. wall of the nave; the 15th-century S. doorway has moulded jambs and two-centred head; farther E. is the internal W. jamb and part of the arch of a doorway of uncertain date but possibly of a staircase to the upper storey of a former porch.

The South Porch was built c. 1500 of earlier materials reused. The outer archway has moulded jambs and two-centred arch with a label which is carried along the wall as a plinth-moulding.

The Roof of the nave is of the 15th century much restored; it is of four bays with king-post trusses, four-way struts to the king-posts and curved braces.

Fittings—Bells: six; 15th, early 15th-century, Bristol foundry, inscribed "Sancte Gabeel ora pro nobis"; 6th, by William Warre, 1593. Brackets: In S. transept— on E. wall, two, first roughly shaped, second square and tapering, mediæval. Chair: In Chancel—of walnut, with turned legs, high back with turned uprights and carved cresting, c. 1700. Chest: In vestry—inscribed R.N., I.C., C.W. 1769. Churchyard Cross: S. of transept, lower part of octagonal shaft on square to octagonal base, probably 15th-century. Coffin-lid: In vestry—tapering slab with enriched cross and stepped calvary, broken, late 13th or early 14th-century. Communion Tables: In vestry—(1) with turned legs, moulded stretchers and frieze with the date 1640 and the letters Deus, R.G., I.B., C.W.; (2) with turned legs and fluted frieze, early 17th-century, top modern. Cupboard: In vestry—modern but incorporating door in two leaves with bolection-moulded panels with shaped heads and crude cherub-heads in spandrels, probably early 18th-century. Doors: In N. doorway— of nail-studded battens with strap-hinges, much decayed, probably mediæval. In S. doorway—nail-studded and panelled with moulded ribs planted on, strap-hinges with ornamental ends, c. 1600, old wooden lock. Font: octagonal bowl with hollow-chamfered lower edge, central and eight small shafts, partly restored, late 12th-century. Glass: In tower—in N. window of ground-stage, fragments of three quarries with roses, 15th-century. In S. transept—in S. window, quarries with suns and foliage, fragments with foliage, a hand holding a bird, double rose and initials Ihc, 15th-century. In nave—in N.W. window, quarries with rosette, borders and flowers, 15th-century; in W. window, part of crowned head and fragment, 15th century. In S. aisle—in S. windows, roundels with roses and crowns, rosettes, foliage etc., 15th-century. Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In chancel— on S. wall (1) to [John Whetcom, S.T.P., rector, 1635], bust of man in civil costume in round-headed niche with strapwork and shield-of-arms; columns at sides supporting skull and book. In S. aisle—on S. wall, (2) to James Cames, 1837, and Elizabeth his wife, 1829, marble wall-tablet by Lester of Dorchester. In churchyard—S.E. of transept, (3) to Robarte Good, 1628–9, table-tomb; E. of chancel, (4) to Thomas Warham, 1612, table-tomb; (5) to Joseph .. evet (?), 1637, head-stone. Floor-slab: In chancel—to Priscilla (Fletcher), wife of John Squier, 1624. Niches: In S. porch— flanking and over S. doorway, three, one with pointed, one with ogee and one with square head, 15th-century. Piscinae: In chancel—recess with shafted jambs and moulded trefoiled head, 13th-century reset, drain modern. In S. transept—in S. wall, recess with trefoiled arch in ogee head, octagonal drain, 15th-century. Plate: includes a cup originally a secular beaker, of 1676 with high repoussé ornament and the initials of the churchwardens for 1678, a cover-paten of 1574, two cups, a paten and a plated flagon all 19th-century, and a brass dish with hammered relief of St. George and the dragon in the centre and punched borders, S. German, early 16th-century. Seating: In S. aisle—oak bench with shaped ends and decayed poppy-heads, 15th-century. In vestry—two 17th-century coffinstools with turned legs. Sundial: On S. face of tower —square slab with simple capping, iron gnomon and date 1630. Miscellanea: Loose in vestry—two stones, one with horseman in medallion (Plate 7) and the other a corbel with a carved flower; in tower—over squint, stone from corbel-table with grotesque mask; incorporated in S. porch—stone with part of carved figure (Plate 8), also the lower part of another delicately carved figure and fragments of cheveron, crinkled ribbon ornament (Plate 8) and mouldings, all late 12th-century. In S. transept—in E. wall, two reset stone corbels, mediæval. In S. aisle—waxwork model of the Deposition, the figures dressed in textile materials, against a background of rocks with foliage and numerous small white flowers, an early 19th-century assemblage of miscellaneous, perhaps Italian, figures.


a(3) Market Cross at the road-junction in the middle of the village consists of a square base and the lower part of a roughly square stem, the whole standing about 5 ft. high. The shaft has beaded angles and on the W. face are the much-weathered remains of figures standing on a corbelled projection. It is probably of 15th-century date.

a(4) House, formerly the Rectory, S.E. of the churchyard, has been rebuilt except for the 17th-century N.E. wing. This is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of flint and stone in courses and the roofs are tiled. The wing has been partly reconstructed but retains some windows, each of two pointed lights.

Monuments (5–13)

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th-century and of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs, where old, are thatched. Several of the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams.

a(5) Barn, 100 yards S.S.E. of the church, is built of flint and rubble with modern repairs and modern windows inserted. The gables of the two projecting end wings have flat copings, shaped kneelers and gabled apex-stones.

a(6) Range of five tenements, 100 yards E. of the church, is built of coursed flints and stone. It retains some original two and three-light windows with wood frames. The N. tenement is derelict.

a(7) House, on the E. side of the road 140 yards E.S.E. of the church, is built of coursed flints and ashlar, in the proportion three courses to one. The window heads are of ashlar and the windows have two and three lights with wood frames. Inside there is exposed timber-framing.

a(8) House, two tenements, 170 yards S.E. of the church was built c. 1700.

a(9) House, on the N. side of the road 200 yards S. of the church, has cement-rendered rubble walls. It is initialled and dated L.C. 1816. The chimney-shafts are set diagonally.

a(10) Kingsley, house on the N.E. side of the road 350 yards S.E. of the church, has an 18th-century extension on the N.W. The front has a stone bay-window of five lights on the face. In the back wing is an original window of two lights. Inside the building are two original fireplaces with four-centred heads and a partition with original panelling.

a(11) West Cruxton Farm (Plate 38), house 1,600 yards S.S.E. of the church, was built in the 16th century and is faced with bands of flint and stone. It retains a number of original and later stone-mullioned windows, with four-centred, three-centred or square heads to the lights. The N.W. end of the house has three original buttresses. The N.E. porch has a doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with a label. On the opposite side is a projecting wing with an original doorway, with a four-centred head; adjoining the wing is the square enclosure of a spiral staircase. Inside the building are some doorways with original oak frames and four-centred heads. There is also some 17th-century panelling.

a(12) East Cruxton Farm, house 50 yards S.E. of (11), is of two dates in the 17th century with an 18th-century addition on the N.E. The S.W. front has a series of 17th-century stone-mullioned windows with square heads to the lights and moulded labels; one blocked doorway has a moulded label. On the edge of the lane, 20 yards S.W. of the house, is a slightly tapering square stone slab 5 ft. high and of an unknown purpose.

b(13) Cottage, on the S. side of the road, nearly 1¾ m. S.E. of the church, has a later extension on the S.E. The facing is in bands of flint and stone and inside is an old open fireplace.


a(14) Earthwork, forming an enclosure partly in Sydling and Frampton parishes and about 2 m. S.E. of the church. The enclosure is about 26 acres in extent and was surrounded by a bank and internal ditch which have been destroyed towards the S.E. and N.W. The bank is about 12 to 15 ft. wide and 1½ ft. high and the ditch is about 15 to 18 ft. wide and 2½ ft. deep. The earthwork is of the mediæval park-pale type, but it occupies comparatively high ground (500–600 ft.) and is bisected by a Roman road.

a(15) Celtic Field-System occupies the N. end of the parish. The chief remains, on the E. side of Combe Bottom, include a number of hollowed tracks between the field-banks which may indicate the near neighbour-hood of a settlement. There are further traces of cultivation to the S.E. of Norden Lane.

a(16) Bowl Barrow, on Hog Cliff Hill 1¾ m. S.E. of the church, is 60 ft. in diam. and 2½ ft. high.

b(17) Bowl Barrow, on Notton Down and 1,100 yards E. of Notton Hill Barn, is 27 ft. in diam. and 2 ft. high.

a(18) Lynchets, on a S.E. slope ¼ m. S.W. of (11), form two terraces.

a(19) Lynchets, on a W. slope, on the E. of the railway and to the E. of the village, form four groups, extending for about 700 yards.

a(20) Lynchets, on a W. slope ½ m. N. of the church, form two terraces.

For Earthworks, 2 m. S.E. of the church, see Monument (24) in Frampton parish.