Pages 170-176

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.


In this section


(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXIX, S.W. (b)XXIX, S.E. (c)XXXVIII, N.W. (d)XXXVIII, N.E.)

Netherbury is a parish and village 1½ m. S. of Beaminster. The parish church, Christ Church, Melplash, Melplash Court and Slape House are the principal monuments.


a(1) Parish Church of St. Mary stands towards the N. end of the parish. The walls are of local rubble with ashlar and dressings of the same materials; the roofs are covered with slates and lead. The Chancel and Nave were rebuilt about the middle of the 14th century together with the North and South Aisles. The South Aisle was rebuilt early in the 15th century, the West Tower was added and the Chancel rebuilt. The church was restored in the 19th century, the South Porch being rebuilt in 1848 and the Organ Chamber and Vestry in 1894. The mediæval paintings, discovered c. 1850, were again covered.

The church is of some architectural interest, and among the fittings, the pulpit and the More monument are noteworthy.

Netherbury, the Parish Church of St. Mary

Architectural Description—The Chancel (26¾ ft. by 16¾ ft.) has a 15th-century E. window of four trefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with moulded reveals. In the N. wall is a modern arch and doorway; above the latter are traces of a blocked window with a two-centred head. In the S. wall are two 15th-century windows of two cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head with moulded reveals; the doorway, of the same date, has moulded jambs and two-centred head. At the W. end of the wall is a squint with a four-centred arched roof and a half-arch at the E. end. The corresponding squint at the end of the N. wall has a modern opening at the E. end. The 14th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two moulded orders; the responds have each three attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases.

The Nave (53¾ ft. by 17 ft.) has 14th-century N. (Plate 84) and S. arcades of four bays with two-centred arches of two moulded orders, springing from moulded piers each with four attached shafts, having moulded capitals and bases; the responds have attached half-piers.

The North Aisle (11¾ ft. wide) has a 14th-century E. window of three trefoiled ogee lights in a square head. In the N. wall are three 15th-century windows each of three cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head. The N. doorway and the window over it are modern, except for the rear-arch and jambs of the window. In the W. wall is a window all modern except the rear-arch.

The South Aisle (11¾ ft. wide) is ashlar-faced and has an embattled parapet and gargoyles. The 15th-century E. window is of three trefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head with a label. In the S. wall are three three-light windows similar to those in the N. wall of the N. aisle; the S. doorway is modern. In the W. wall is a window all modern except the rear-arch.

The West Tower (11¾ ft. by 13¾ ft.) is of mid 15th-century date and of three stages with an embattled parapet. The tower-arch is two-centred and of three orders, the two inner moulded and the outer chamfered; two orders are continuous but the inner springs from attached shafts with moulded capitals and bases. The W. doorway has moulded jambs and two-centred head with a restored label; the W. window is of three cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head with a label; the splays are shafted and the rear-arch is moulded. The second stage has, in the N. and S. walls, a window of one trefoiled ogee light; the S. window is covered by a clock-face. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head with moulded reveals and label.

Fittings—Bells: six; 1st by Thomas Bayley of Bridgwater, 1748; 2nd 1748; 3rd perhaps by Roger Purdue, 1636; 4th by William Warre, 1610; 6th by Bayley and Street of Bridgwater, 1750, with names and date in cartouche (see fig., p. xvii). Font: of Purbeck marble, square bowl with arched panels or shallow cheveron-ornament on sides and simple foliage on spandrels of top, with central and four subsidiary shafts with moulded capping and base, late 12th-century. Glass: In chancel—in E. window, four lights containing figures of the Evangelists under canopies and with angels holding scrolls in the tracery, in memory of William James Brookland, vicar, dated 1844, by Wailes, with his monogram; in S. wall, E. window, figure subjects in memory of Emma Mary Brookland, 1845, probably by Wailes. Helmet (Plate 18): In S. aisle— over monument (6), close-helmet with roped comb, acutely pointed ventail and wooden crest of a bird gorged with a crown, late 16th-century. Monuments: In chancel—on N. wall, (1) to Peter Brice, vicar, 1740, white marble and stone wall-monument with flanking scroll-brackets, pedimented cornice and shaped apron containing a cartouche-of-arms; on S. wall, (2) to Humphrey Saunders, M.A., vicar, 1673, stone and marble tablet with Ionic side-columns, entablature, cresting and achievement-of-arms; (3) to Robert Conway, 1837, and others, marble wall-tablet in stone frame with cornice; (4) to Susan, wife of John Phelps of Highgate, 1810, marble wall-tablet with stone surround. In N. aisle, (5) to Captain John Bowles, 42nd and late of 28th Foot, 1837, white and black marble wall-tablet with cannon and draped flag. In S. aisle— against S. wall, (6) ascribed to a member of the More family, c. 1480, altar-tomb (Plate 24) with effigy and canopy; altar-tomb of alabaster with front of six bays each having an angel with a blank shield standing under an ogee crocketted arch with side-pinnacles; alabaster effigy in plate armour with SS. collar, head on helm, remains of beast at feet, parts of arms and legs broken off; stone canopy with embattled side-shafts, septfoiled and sub-cusped four-centred arch in square head with traceried spandrels enclosing shields repainted with the arms of More of Melplash, band of quatrefoils enclosing blank shields above and moulded cornice with carved paterae; (7) to William Thomas Cooke of Slape House, 1832, white marble wall-tablet with urn. In churchyard—E. of chancel, (8) to John Brodrepp, 1690, erected 1694, table-tomb with rounded ends and achievement-of-arms on E. end; S. of porch, (9) to John, son of Richard Henvill, 1702, Richard, 1776, son of John Henvill and Elizabeth his widow, 1774, and others later, table-tomb with rounded ends, bolection-moulded panels and achievement-of-arms; (10) to Daniel Hearn of Kershay, eldest son of Daniel Hearn of Waygow, 1715, table-tomb erected by his widow Mary, with cherubs' heads, draperies, emblems of mortality and elaborate cartouche containing a shield-of-arms; (11) to John Crode, 1846, table-tomb with shield-of-arms. Niches: On E. wall of N. aisle— two, one with triangular head and crocketed label, the other with cinque-foiled head, 14th-century. On E. wall of S. aisle—two, one with trefoiled ogee head, the other with trefoiled head and remains of small canopy, 14th-century. Paintings: In nave, now covered, reputedly of the Seven Works of Mercy, the Seven Deadly Sins and St. Michael (Ecclesiologist, Feb., 1851, p. 59). Piscina: In S. aisle—in S. wall, recess with moulded jambs, trefoiled head and round drain, 13th-century, reset and restored. Plate: includes a cup of 1576 with band of engraved ornament, a paten of 1637, given by Martha Gollop, 1664, a flagon of 1751 and an alms-dish of 1772. Pulpit (Plate 67): of oak, octagonal with enriched base and entablature, fluted Corinthian columns at angles, sides with two ranges of enriched arched panels with inlaid decoration, tapering fluted stem on short post with moulded capping and base, early 17th-century. Royal Arms: Over S. doorway—Stuart arms on moulded panel, 17th-century, repainted. Seating: In S. aisle—two coffin-stools with turned legs, late 17th-century. Sundial: On W. jamb of S.W. window of S. aisle, scratch-dial. Weathercock (Plate 54): with rounded body, gilded, 18th or 19th-century.

a(2) Christ Church, Melplash (Plate 153), stands 1½ m. S.E. of the parish church. The walls are of local rubble with Ham Hill stone dressings and the roofs are covered with slates and lead. It was built in 1845–6, in 12th-century style, to the designs of Benjamin Ferrey and at the expense of James Bandinel in memory of his father, Dr. Bandinel, vicar of Netherbury and Beaminster. It is a cruciform building, with apsidal Chancel, North Vestry, Central Tower, North and South Transepts, Nave and South Porch.

Christ Church, Melplash, Plan

The church is an interesting example of antiquarianism and the central crossing is impressive.

Architectural Description—All the openings have moulded round heads and most of the jambs have attached shafts with scalloped or cushion-capitals and moulded bases. The Chancel (24 ft. by 21 ft.) has two strip-buttresses the full height of the apse and a stepped corbel-table under the eaves. Round the apse are five small single-light windows with moulded heads and shafted jambs inside as well as out. In the N. wall the doorway to the vestry has dog-tooth ornament round the head and continued down the jambs. The chancel-arch is of two plain orders with a billetmoulded label on the E., and the responds have coupled half-shafts with scalloped capitals and chamfered bases with spurs.

The Vestry has an apsidal E. end and a billet-moulded eaves-cornice; the E. window and the N. door have nail-head enrichment.

In the Central Tower (20 ft. square) the arches of the crossing to the transepts and nave are similar to the chancel-arch. The one stage above the crossing has a plain projecting parapet-wall supported on a corbel-table with carved heads. In each face of the tower is a large round-headed main arch enclosing two tall windows and flanked by recesses with stilted round heads and shafted jambs and filled with dog-tooth diapering; over each recess is a round sinking with moulded stone frame. The tower-stair projects in the angle between S. transept and nave.

The North Transept (20 ft. by 11¼ ft.) has a plain E. wall. The N. wall is divided into three stages; in the lowest are two shallow blind recesses, in the middle three windows with shaped heads to the inner splays and in the top, in the gable, three smaller windows with cable-enrichment. In the W. wall is a window consisting of two lights, each with a round head, coupled under a main round arch and divided by a colonette with cushion-capital.

The South Transept (20 ft. by 12¼ ft.) has in the E. wall a single-light window with cheveron-ornament. The S. wall is in three stages; the lowest has, in the centre, a doorway of two enriched orders with shafted jambs, and flanking it, internally, round-headed recesses; in the middle stage are three windows; in the top, on the face of the gable, is a wall-arcade of five bays with the centre and end bays pierced for windows. The window in the W. wall is similar to that in the W. wall of the N. transept.

The Nave (52½ ft. by 21 ft.) has four windows in the N. wall with heads shaped to a broad trefoil internally. The W. wall is in three stages; inside the lowest is a wall-arcade of three bays, above are two single-light windows with flat cheveron-ornament and in the gable is a round window divided into eight sectors by radiating colonettes and with a small round light in the centre. The S. wall contains three windows similar to those opposite in the N. wall; in the third bay is the S. door.

The South Porch (8½ ft. by 3½ ft.) has a moulded parapet and small engaged shafts at the angles. The entrance archway is of three plain orders with shafted jambs and a moulded label.

The Roofs are of timber and in the chancel the plaster surfaces between the rafters are painted with conventional foliage patterns.

Fittings—Brasses: on the S. wall of the S. transept, outside, two rectangular plates, one giving the date of the building and directing that all seats are to be free, the other containing quotations from Chronicles. Miscellanea: In nave—on W. wall, painting on boards, and, on S. wall, wall-tablet, giving the date of the building and directions for free use of the pews.


a(3) Melplash Court, house and pigeon-house, 1 m. S.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of rubble ashlar-faced and the roofs are covered with stone slates. The property came into the possession of the Paulet family in the 16th century and the house was rebuilt early in the 17th century; two fireplaces now removed to Mapperton bear the arms of James I and Paulet. Late in the 17th century a low wing was added on the N.E. and a porch on the N. of the hall. The former W. wing was largely destroyed at some uncertain period but was replaced in 1922 by the existing W. wing which has, more recently, been extended to the S. The N. Front of the old building is of three gabled bays with a small gabled wing, perhaps the original staircase-wing, projecting from the E. bay. This wing has a doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with trefoiled spandrels and a label; the N. face has three three-light windows with labels and on the E. side is a blocked window of two elliptical headed lights. The windows of the middle bay of the front are modern. The W. bay projects and is partly of late 17th-century date and partly modern. The doorway to the porch has a square head and moulded architrave and the ground-floor window has a moulded label; on the E. return are two single-light square-headed windows. The E. end of the house has restored three-light windows. The S. front has a modern bay-window and further W. is an original window of five lights with a label and two similar windows above of two and three lights respectively. Inside the building, the middle part of the main block formed the Hall on the ground floor with the screens-passage at the W. end. The oak screen (Plate 51) appears to be of the 16th century presumably reset; it is divided into five bays by octagonal posts with moulded heads, bands and bases all continued across the side bays of the screen; the panelling of the bays is of the 17th century and the central doorway is of c. 1700. The restored fireplace in the former Hall retains its original moulded jambs; the partition on the E. side of the room is of c. 1700 and has bolection-moulded panelling. The fireplace in the E. room has chamfered jambs and four-centred head. The staircase, of c. 1700, has turned balusters, and close strings and has been considerably repaired. On the first floor is some 17th-century panelling and in the N.E. wing is some reset 16th-century linen-fold panelling.

The Pigeon-house (Plate 55), W. of the house, is a circular stone structure with a conical roof. It was built probably in the 17th century and has a square-headed doorway.

a(4) Slape House, 1,140 yards S. of the church, is of two storeys with cellars and attics; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. The property formerly belonged to the Strode family and remains of a 17th-century house are incorporated in the E. end of the present building which was erected early in the 18th century. Considerable alterations and additions have been made in recent years. The N. front has a projecting central bay with rusticated angles and a pediment enclosing a round window; the porch is a modern addition and the windows appear to have been all restored in the 19th century. The S. front has projecting side wings and square staircase-wings in the angles of the main block; all the windows seem to have been restored, except two 17th-century two-light windows with moulded labels lighting the cellar. The E. end is largely of the 17th century and retains some three-light windows with labels and a doorway with a four-centred head and label. Inside the building is an early 18th-century staircase with turned balusters and close strings; it has been considerably repaired.

Monuments (5–40)

The following monuments, unless otherwise described, are of the 17th century and of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are covered with thatch or modern materials. Many of the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams and original fireplaces.

a(5) The Old Vicarage, 60 yards S.W. of the church, consists of a 16th and 17th-century block with a late 17th-century porch. It has been extensively altered and modernised, but retains a 16th-century window of four four-centred lights with a label and enriched returned stops; near it is a similar window but of three lights with elliptical heads; both windows have 17th-century fittings. The arches of the porch are modern. The early 18th-century S.W. wing has two mullion and transom windows with labels. Inside the building is some 18th-century panelling.

a(6) Higher Yondover Farm, house 260 yards E.N.E. of the church, retains most of its original stone-mullioned windows on the S. front, the lower range having a continuous label; the doorway has a four-centred head.

a(7) Barns of the former Lower Yondover Farm, 400 yards S.E. of the church, have been much altered.

a(8) Hatchlands, house 620 yards S.S.E. of the church, is said to have been built or rebuilt by James Burnard, but was much altered in the 18th century. The porch has a weather-vane with the initials and date R.S. 1723 (Plate 54). Over a doorway in the N. wing is a panel with the initials and date I and M.B. (for James Burt and his wife) 1757; in the same wall is a reset original window of four lights.

a(9) Lavinces Farm, house 500 yards S. of the church, is built partly of cob-walling. It retains some original windows with moulded oak frames and mullions.

b(10) Court Farm, house at Melplash, 280 yards E.S.E. of (3), has a late 17th-century N. wing. It retains some original muntin and plank partitions, in one of which is a doorway with a four-centred head. In one room is a late 18th-century fireplace, said to have come from Strode Manor. On the first floor is a blocked original window of four lights.

b(11) Cottage, immediately S. of (10).

b(12) House, two tenements, to the E. of the road, 350 yards E. of (3), has a later extension on the E. There are a number of stone-mullioned windows, some of them with moulded labels.

b(13) Melplash Farm, house 100 yards E. of (10), retains an original two-light window with a label.

b(14) Hincknoll Farm, house nearly 1¾ m. S.E. of the church, has been much altered and refronted. It retains an original doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred head, now altered into a window.

b(15) House, two tenements, 150 yards S.S.E. of (14), retains two original windows, one with a moulded label.

b(16) Elcombe Farm, house on the E. edge of the parish over 2 m. S.E. of the church, was built probably early in the 18th century. The S.E. front has a porch with ornamental base and apex stones to the gable; the doorway has moulded jambs and square head and above it is a heart-shaped shield and the unfinished inscription "Haec domus aedific". The two and three-light windows have solid oak frames and retain their original iron casements and furniture. The ends of the house have some original stone windows. Inside the building the door in the porch has bolection-moulded panels and the stair-hall has bolection-moulded panelling with cornices over the doors. There is similar panelling in the S. bedroom. The staircase is of later 18th-century date with shaped brackets under the treads.

Immediately to the S. of the house is a 17th-century cottage retaining a doorway with a four-centred head.

a(17) Cottage, S.W. of the Mount and 1,200 yards W. of (16).

a(18) Camesworth Farm, house on the W. side of the road nearly 1½ m. S.S.E. of the church, retains some original three-light windows of stone. Adjoining on the S. is a cider-house of eight bays.

a(19) Lower Woodcombe Farm, house 350 yards N.N.E. of (18), retains four original two-light windows of stone with labels.

a(20) House, formerly the Crown Inn, 470 yards N.W. of (19), was built perhaps early in the 18th century and has later additions at each end.

a(21) Waytown Farm, house on the E. side of the road, over 1 m. S. of the church, retains an original window but with the stone mullions removed.

a(22) Lower Perhay Farm, 280 yards W. of (21), retains an original stone window of four lights with a label and remains of other original windows.

a(23) Cottage, 20 yards E.N.E. of (22), has a muntin and plank partition with a doorway having a four-centred head.

a(24) Way Farm, house 350 yards S. of (21), was formerly two cottages, joined together in the 18th century. In the N. building is some 18th-century panelling and an original fireplace with a four-centred head. The barn, S. of the house, is a single-storey building with cob-walls and retains two of its original roof-trusses.

c(25) Lambrook, house about 2 m. S. of the church, was built probably in the 16th century. The E. room has original moulded ceiling-beams and an original moulded muntin and plank partition.

c(26) Wooth Grange, house 2½ m. S. of the church, was built c. 1600. The S.W. end was burnt down and rebuilt in brick in the second half of the 18th century. There is a modern brick tower at the N.E. end and modern additions on the W. The S.E. front has some original five and four-light stone windows with labels. The N.W. front has a projecting staircase-wing and a number of original windows of five, four and three lights, mostly with labels. Inside the building is a fireplace with moulded jambs and elliptical arch in a square head.

a(27) Lower Ford Farm, house 1¾ m. S.S.W. of the church, has been much altered.

a(28) Higher Ford Farm, house 120 yards N.E. of (27), retains its original stone windows in front; they are of four, three and two lights; the lower range have moulded labels.

a(29) Cottage, 540 yards W. of (28), has been much altered.

a(30) Ash Farm, house 550 yards W. of (29), has three stone ornaments on the modern porch, perhaps from an earlier building.

c(31) Limbury Farm, house 2½ m. S.W. of the church, was built early in the 18th century and has a later extension at the back. It retains its original stonemullioned windows with labels. The S. front is of original brick with stone dressings; the doorway has a square head and flanking it, under the label, are small oval windows.

a(32) Fowler's Dairy, house nearly 2¼ m. W.S.W. of the church, has some original stone-mullioned windows and a moulded string between the storeys on the S. front.

a(33) Lower Kingsland Farm, house 1,000 yards N.E. of (32), retains an original muntin and plank partition.

a(34) Higher Kingsland Farm, house 130 yards N.E. of (33), has cob-walls and a later addition on the S.

a(35) South Bowood Farm (Plate 42), house 1,220 yards N. of (32), retains its original stone-mullioned windows; over the lower range is a continuous string-course; over the western window is a sundial with the date 1665. The barn is of the same period as the house and was repaired in 1813.

a(36) Cottage, 150 yards E.N.E. of (35), has some original stone-mullioned windows, the lower ones with labels; the doorway has an original oak frame with a four-centred head and a plank door with strap-hinges.

a(37) Strode Manor Farm, house and outbuildings 1¼ m. W.S.W. of the church. The House has later and modern additions on the W. and N. The S. front has some original stone-mullioned windows and the doorway has an 18th-century surround with an entablature. Inside the building is a lead pump of 1779. The Outbuildings form a quadrangle to the N. of the house. On the E. side is a long cow-byre of one storey with an open front divided into bays by circular stone piers. The Stables, on the N., have been largely rebuilt. The Barn, on the W., is of seven bays and appears to have been extended in the 17th century. The Pigeon-house, N.W. of the house, is rectangular and gabled to the E. and W. The Outbuilding, S.W. of the house, has a stone window of two lights with a label, probably reset.

a(38) Great Strode House, 500 yards E. of (37), is of L-shaped plan with modern additions. The S. front has original stone windows of four and five lights, those of the ground-floor with moulded labels. There are three original stone windows on the E. front.

a(39) Silkhay Farm, house 520 yards S.E. of (38), has been much altered late in the 18th century and has an addition of 1784.

d(40) Manor Farm, house at Mangerton 2½ m. S.S.E. of the church, with walls of ashlar, was built probably in the 18th century. The S. front is symmetrical, and has a central doorway with four-centred head and three and four-light stone-mullioned windows; there is a dentil eaves-cornice. Inside, one room contains contemporary panelling.

a(41) Bridge (Plate 37), over the river Brit, about 400 yards S.E. of the church, is a rubble structure of three spans with cut-waters on the N. side. The two eastern arches are of rough segmental-pointed form and may date from the 17th century; the W. arch is semi-circular and seems to have been rebuilt in the 18th century. A length of wall from the E. cut-water connects the bridge with a small rubble foot-bridge of uncertain date a short distance to the N.


a(42) Lynchets, on the S. slope of South Warren Hill, nearly 1 m. E. of the church, consist of four terraces with an average width of 22 ft.

d(43) Lynchets, on an E. slope, W. of Manor Farm in the S.E. angle of the parish, form three terraces with a cross-bank.

Nether Cerne, see Cerne, Nether.

Nether Compton, see Compton, Nether.

North Poorton, see Poorton, North.

North Wootton, see Wootton, North.