Pages 181-186

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)XXIX, S.E. (b)XXX, S.W (c)XXXVIII, N.E. (d)XXXIX, N.W.)

Powerstock is a large parish 4 m. N.E. of Bridport. The church, the castle earthworks and Mappercombe Manor House are the principal monuments.


c(1) Parish Church of St. Mary stands in the village. The walls are of local rubble and ashlar and the dressings are of the same material; the roofs are slate-covered. The church consisting of Chancel, Nave and West Tower was built about the middle of the 12th century. Aisles were added to the nave in the 14th century and at the same time the tower was altered; the tower was again altered and heightened early in the 15th century. The church was restored in 1859 when the chancel was rebuilt; the North Aisle and arcade are said to have been built at the same time but both retain 14th-century features; the South Aisle and Porch are modern.

The chancel-arch is a good example of the 12th century.

Architectural Description—The Chancel is modern except for the mid 12th-century chancel-arch (Plate 154); this is semi-circular and of four moulded or enriched orders with an enriched label; the outermost order has cheveron-ornament, the third diaper-ornament and the innermost has bold cable-ornament; the responds have each one attached and two free shafts with moulded bases, capitals (Plate 4) elaborately carved with volutes or other enrichments and enriched abaci carried round the plain third order; the free shafts are themselves enriched with cheveron, lozengeinterlacement and foliage; S. of the arch is a squint with a flat trefoiled head towards the E.; further S. is a long squint to the S. aisle, with a rounded head.

Powerstock, the Church of St Mary

The Nave (45½ ft. by 19¼ ft.) has a partly restored 14th-century N. arcade of three bays with two-centred arches of two chamfered orders; the cylindrical columns and half cylindrical responds have moulded capitals and bases. The S. arcade, of three bays, is generally similar in date and detail to the N. arcade; at the E. end of the wall is the 15th-century upper doorway to the rood-loft; it has an ogee head on the N. face and a trefoiled head on the S. face. In the W. respond is a doorway of uncertain date with a two-centred head.

The North Aisle (9¾ ft. wide) is stated to have been rebuilt in 1858. It incorporates four 14th-century windows, one in the E. and three in the N. wall; they are each of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a two-centred head with a modern label.

The South Aisle (10 ft. wide) is modern but incorporates a 15th-century S. doorway; this has moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head; flanking it are panelled standards with trefoiled ogee heads to the panels and crocketed pinnacles; within the standards and flanking the doorway are niches with canopies of tabernacle-work and pedestals with half-angels holding books; in the niches are figures of a king and a crowned figure giving bread to two children; the main cornice over the doorway has carved paterae and half-angels under three niches with crocketed canopies; the middle niche is much larger than the others, has a triple-arched canopy and contains a figure of the Virgin and Child, with restored heads.

The West Tower (11½ ft. square) is of three stages with a moulded plinth and an embattled parapet. The tower-arch is two-centred and of uncertain date and the window in the N. wall is modern; the partly restored late 14th-century W. doorway has moulded jambs and two-centred arch with paterae and a label and side-pinnacles; the rear-arch has three chamfered ribs springing from cornices on the splays and having bosses, two carved with foliage and one with a spiral. The three-light W. window is of 14th-century character but the tracery and label are modern. In the S.W. angle of the ground-stage are remains of what was perhaps the original staircase, replaced by the existing one in the 15th century; a portion of enriched string-course is of the 12th century. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, an early 15th-century window of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head and moulded reveals.

Fittings—Bells: five; 1st, 3rd and 5th by Thomas Bilbie of Cullompton, 1772; 2nd by Thomas Purdue II (?), 1712. Chairs: In chancel—(1) with turned front legs, shaped arms and enriched back with inserted central panel, 17th-century; (2) with turned and twisted legs and posts, carved rail and back, late 17th-century. Font: broken octagonal bowl, moulded and shafted stem, perhaps 13th-century. Monuments: In tower—unfixed, (1) to Thomas Larcombe, 1610, stone with arched panel; on exterior of N. wall, (2) to Rev. Thomas Russell, 1788, painted oval slab, much weathered. In churchyard—E. of chancel, (3) to Thomas Burt, 1747, James Burt, 1774, and Mary his wife, 1784, Thomas Burt, 1749, and Elizabeth his wife, 1751, and Mary Ann Burt, 1767, tapering obelisk with ball finial on pedestal and steps, the W. face of the obelisk is carved with a shield-of-arms in an oval panel; N.E. of chancel, (4) to William Travis, 1646 (?), William Travis, 1682, and Joan Travis, 1717, table-tomb; S. of S. aisle, (5) to Richard Sandars, 1706, headstone; (6) to . . . Gar . . ., 1709, headstone; (7) to Ester Syms (?), 1701, headstone; S. of chancel, (8) to Henry Smith sen., 1706, headstone; (9) to Rebekah, wife of John Mitchell, 1712, headstone; (10) to Henry Be . . re . . ., 1710, headstone; S.E. of chancel, (11) to Anne R . . ., 1704, headstone; N. of chancel, (12) to Mary, wife of Roger Knight, and to Mary, his daughter, 1702, headstone. Miscellanea: Incorporated in internal wall of second stage of tower, stones with remains of round-headed arcading, perhaps 12th-century. In S. aisle—rounded bowl with drain and cable necking, probably from 12th-century pillar-piscina. In vicarage-garden—part of head of a 14th-century window, portions of 12th-century shafting, 15th-century head and gargoyle, etc. Incorporated in school—15th-century window, said to have come from West Milton church.

c(2) Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene, West Milton, stands 1,520 yards W. of the parish church. Only the W. end and tower is now standing, a new chapel having been built on the W. of the hamlet in 1873. The tower is of late 15th or early 16th-century date and is of local rubble with dressings of the same material. It seems to have been built within the side walls of a pre-existing nave. Much material from here was reused in the village hall (5).

Architectural Description—The Tower (6½ ft. by 7 ft.) rises from the middle of a rectangular block 21½ ft. by 10 ft. which has a pent roof on each side at the base of the upper stage of the tower; the N. part of the block seems to be solid but the S. part contains the staircase. The tower-arch is two-centred and of one continuous moulded order; it is now blocked; flanking it are the lines of the side-walls of the former nave and above it the weathering of the nave-roof. The W. doorway has hollow-chamfered jambs and four-centred arch; above it is a window of two lights with rounded heads and higher again is a rectangular light. The bell-chamber has a rectangular light in the N., S. and W. walls; the N. light is blocked. The tower is finished with an embattled parapet.

Fittings—Bell: In new chapel—inaccessible. Chair: In new chapel—with turned front legs, shaped arms, arched panel in back and scrolled cresting, 17th-century. Font: In new chapel—round bowl with chamfered under edge, round stem and moulded base, 13th-century. Monuments: On E. face of old tower—(1) to John Donne, 1658, slab with arched panel and fluted head. In churchyard—(2) to Roger Syms, 1657, table-tomb.


c(3) Powerstock Castle, motte and bailey earthwork, 550 yards S.E. of the church, occupies a roughly triangular promontory, with the motte on the N. side, the kidney-shaped bailey to the S. of it and an outer enclosure occupying the rest of the promontory. The motte and bailey were no doubt formed in the late 11th or the 12th century but it has been suggested that the outer enclosure is of earlier date; there is no particular evidence of this but the question cannot be settled without excavation. The Pipe Roll records expenditure on the king's houses at Powerstock between 1205 and 1227.

Powerstock Castle in the parish of Powerstock

The Motte is an irregular oval, 150 ft. by 140 ft., and now about 19 ft. above the ditch; it has been much damaged by quarrying for stone. On the N. side of the motte the ground rises in a roughly circular form, 68 ft. by 60 ft., but this formation may be due to the removal of surrounding materials. The motte is defended on the N. by the fall of the ground and on the other sides by a semi-circular ditch, partly rock-cut. The Bailey is defended by a rampart to the E., about 15 ft. high above the outer enclosure, and by a rockcutting, 8–12 ft. high, on part of the rest of the circuit. The bailey is sub-divided by a cross-bank with two gaps. The Outer Enclosure (about 9 acres including the motte and bailey) is of roughly triangular form. It is defended by a rampart, with the addition of a ditch and outer rampart on the W. side and a ditch at the E. end cutting across the narrow neck of the promontory. At the S. end of this ditch is an entrance and beyond the ditch to the E. is a small defended platform. An oblique pathway through the defences on the W. side may represent another entrance.

c(4) Mappercombe Manor House and outbuildings, nearly ¾ m. S.S.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys, partly with cellars and attics; the walls are of rubble and ashlar and the roofs are tiled. The S.E. part of the front block dates from the 15th century. Early in the 17th century the house was much extended or rebuilt towards the W. The property passed to Basil Dixwell in 1621 and to the family of Browne in 1637. After 1674 a new range was built to the N.W. This wing was shortened in modern times when the former porch of the S. front was removed and large additions were made on the N.E. The S. front (Plate 39) has ashlar-facing to the 17th-century portion and stonemullioned windows of the same period, of three and four lights; the five-light windows occupy the place of the former porch; the ground-floor windows have moulded cornices. The W. side of this block has 17th-century stone-mullioned windows and the doorway has a moulded oak frame. The E. end has a small projecting 15th-century wing with square-headed windows to the ground floor and original windows to the upper floor, one of a single trefoiled light on the S. and another on the E. of two trefoiled lights with pierced spandrels in a square head with a label with head-stops. The S. front of the late 17th-century N.W. wing has a doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head; above it is a sun-dial with rams' heads and a swag over it; the windows are stone-mullioned and of two, three and five lights; the lower windows have moulded cornices. On a parapet gable of this range is the date 169 . . Inside the building are some exposed ceiling-beams. The W. room of the S. block has a 17th-century plaster frieze of running vine-ornament and a stone fireplace with architrave, pulvinated frieze, cornice and a blank shield in the middle of the frieze. The room above has a similar frieze; the fireplace has moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head. The upper room in the small E. wing, called the chapel, has a recess with a trefoiled head in the S. wall; the next room to the W. has a stone fireplace with a segmental head. In the N.W. block, the Dining Room has a reset 17th-century overmantel of four panelled bays with enriched divisions; the panels have four painted shields-of-arms. Elsewhere are some fragments of 17th and 18th-century panelling.

The Outbuilding, S.W. of the house, is probably of the 17th century and is of two storeys with a thatched roof. The lower doorway has a segmental head but an upper doorway has moulded jambs and four-centred head. A stone bears the date 1736, perhaps that of some repair. The weather-vane has the date and initials 1699 N.B. (for Nicholas Browne). To the N. of this building is a Cottage with the date 1698 on the lintel of the doorway. The pigeon-house, E. of the house, is dated 1747. In the garden is a pair of late 17th or early 18th-century gate-piers with entablatures and ballterminals.

c(5) Village Hall, now used as an annex to the school, 100 yards W.S.W. of the parish church, has walls of ashlar and tile-covered roofs. It was built in 1848 largely with material from the chapel of St. Mary Magdalene, West Milton. It is a rectangular building with S. porch. The N. wall contains a 16th-century two-light window in a square head with hollow-chamfered jambs and chamfered segmental rear-arch; further W. are the chamfered jambs of a 13th-century doorway with modern head and two 15th-century windows of one cinque-foiled light in a square head. The S. wall has a late 15th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights in a square head with moulded label with head-stops of a king and a bishop; the 12th-century doorway has a plain round head and moulded imposts. The chapel porch appears to have been rebuilt here in its entirety; the entrance has a moulded two-centred head and three-quarter jamb-shafts with moulded bases and caps carved with male and female heads, and in the E. wall is a window of one square-headed light with segmental-pointed rear-arch.

a(6) Wytherstone Farm (Plate 40), house and barn, nearly 1 m. N.E. of the church. The House is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. It was built in the 17th century with a back wing, and there are 18th-century and modern additions at the back. The front has modern windows and the doorway has an early 18th-century shell-hood, probably brought from elsewhere. Inside the building are some exposed ceiling-beams and original fireplaces; one of these on the first floor has the scratched initials and date W.T. 1615, E.T. The Barn, S. of the house, was built probably in the 16th century with a later extension on the W. It has a thatched roof and is of eight bays; the roof is of collar-beam type, with curved wind-braces.

Monuments (7–28)

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

a(7) Cottage, two tenements, 40 yards W.S.W. of (6), retains a doorway with a flat triangular head.

a(8) Cottage, 50 yards S. of (6).

a(9) Cottage, 50 yards W. of (8), retains an original muntin and plank partition.

c(10) House, on the E. side of the road at Whatley, nearly 1 m. E. of the church.

c(11) Cottage, at the N.E. angle of the cross-roads at Nettlecombe, 650 yards S.S.E. of the church.

c(12) Cottage, on the S. side of the road, 100 yards W. of (11), retains one original window.

c(13) Cottage, two tenements, on the N.W. side of the road, 150 yards S.W. of (12), retains its original stone-mullioned windows; the lower windows have moulded cornices. One doorway has moulded jambs and flat four-centred head; on the lintel are the initials and date I.H. 1698; above the doorway is an oval window.

c(14) Packhorse Cottage, on the N. side of the road, 30 yards N.E. of (13), has been much altered.

c(15) House, 90 yards S. of the parish church, is built of ashlar. It is of 17th-century origin, and the initials and date on the W. front H.E.V. 1781 probably refer to repairs.

c(16) Church Cottage, 20 yards S. of the church, has an 18th-century addition on the S. There is an original window in the N. end.

c(17) House, two tenements, 50 yards N.N.W. of the church, has an 18th-century wing at the back. Inside the building is an original moulded ceiling-beam.

c(18) Glebe House, on the E. side of the road, 80 yards N. of the church, retains some original stone-mullioned windows with labels; the front doorway has moulded jambs and four-centred head; in the front wall is a sunk panel with the initials and date V.S. 1669. The back doorway has an original moulded frame, with a four-centred arch in a square head. Inside the building are two stone fireplaces probably of the 18th century. To the N.E. of the house is a building, formerly the dairy; it retains some original stone-mullioned windows.

c(19) Cottage, 140 yards N.N.W. of (18), retains its original doorway with a four-centred head and some stone-mullioned windows, the lower ones having labels.

a(20) Cottage, at the S. end of Poorton Hill and 1,400 yards N.N.E. of the church.

a(21) Cottage, on the W. side of the road at S. Poorton, over 1 m. N. of the church.

a(22) Cottage, 30 yards E. of (21).

c(23) Cottage, immediately N. of W. Milton old churchyard, retains a number of original stone-mullioned windows, one of them with four-centred heads to the lights.

a(24) Cottage, on the E. side of the road, 120 yards N. of W. Milton old chapel.

a(25) Lawrence's Farm, house 200 yards E. of the modern church at W. Milton, has been much altered.

c(26) Red Lion Inn, at West Milton, has an 18th-century addition on the E. The S. front contains a stone doorway with four-centred moulded head, and the ground-floor windows retain their original moulded labels.

c(27) Barn, to the S. of the road and 150 yards S. of (25), is of one storey and has been much altered.

c(28) Corfe Farm, house in the S.W. angle of the parish, retains one original two-light window with a label. The modern porch incorporates some old balusters.


d(29) Barrows, in the S.E. angle of the parish and E. of Eggardon Camp. (a) disc barrow, or possibly a henge-monument (plan, p. xxxii), has a central mound about 45 ft. in diam. and disturbed in the middle. It is surrounded by a ditch and outer bank enclosing an area about 140 ft. in diam. On the S.W. side the bank is bent inwards perhaps to avoid (b), an earlier barrow, 27 ft. in diam., with traces of a ditch and outer bank on the W. side. The barrows N. of the disc barrow are three in number—(c) a bowl barrow, 80 yards N. of the centre of (a), is 31 ft. in diam. and 3½ ft. high; (d) a bowl barrow, 5 yards N.E. of (c), is 17 ft. in diam. and 2½ ft. high; (e), 8 yards N.W. of (d), is 20 ft. in diam. and 1½ ft. high. Further N., on the edge of the parish, are two more mounds, probably barrows; (f), 490 yards N. of (a), is oval, 37 by 28 ft. and 4 ft. high; (g), 540 yards N. of (f), is oval, 35 by 28 ft. and 4½ ft. high. To the S. of the disc barrow are three more—(h), 125 yards S.S.W. of (a), is a small ringwork, possibly a barrow, 61 ft. in diam. measured from the centre of the bank, which is 1½ ft. high; (i), 50 yards S.S.W. of (h), has the appearance of a bell barrow, the diam. is 60 ft. overall, the centre has been much disturbed but the mound was approximately 23 ft. in diam. and 2½ ft. high; (j) a bowl barrow, 25 yards S.E. of (i), is 36 ft. in diam. and 4 ft. high with traces apparently of a surrounding ditch; it has been much disturbed.

b(30) Bowl Barrow, on the E. edge of the parish, 1½ m. N.E. of the church, is 49 ft. in diam. and 4½ ft. high.

a(31) Mound, probably a barrow, on Knight's Hill, over 1¼ m. W.N.W. of the church, is 60 ft. in diam. and 5 ft. high. It has been much disturbed.

a(32) Lynchets on the E. and W. slopes of Knight's Hill, 1¼ m. W.N.W. of the church, form two systems. The eastern extends for about 450 yards and has terraces about 12 yards wide. The western system extends for about 300 yards and has terraces 9 to 16 yards wide.

c(33) Lynchets, on the N. slope of Pitcher's Hill, immediately S. of W. Milton village, extend for about 450 yards. The terraces are about 9 to 12 yards wide.

c(34) Lynchets, on a S. slope, ¼ to ½ m. W. of the church, form two systems, one extending for 240 and the other for 270 yards. The terraces vary from 3 to 18 yards in width.

c(35) Lynchets, on a S. slope, 500 yards E. of the church, part of a larger system now much eroded, extend for 300 yards.