Pages 189-199

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)XLV, N.E. (b)XLVI, N.W.)

Puncknowle is a parish on the coast 6 m. S.E. of Bridport. The church is the principal monument.


b(1) Parish Church of St. Mary stands in the village. The walls are of local rubble with dressings of the same material; the roofs are covered with stone slates and tiles. The chancel-arch dates from the 12th century and the West Tower was built about the same period. The South Chapel was added, according to Hutchins, in 1660, and the tower seems to have been, at any rate partly, rebuilt in 1678. The Chancel and Nave were largely or entirely rebuilt at various dates in the 19th century. The North Aisle was added in 1891.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (20½ ft. by 12½ ft.) has a modern E. window and a modern window in the S. wall. The 12th-century chancel-arch is semicircular and of two square orders with a chamfered label and imposts; the outer order of the responds had formerly attached shafts, but of these only the base of the N. shaft and the scalloped capital of the S. shaft remain. S. of the arch is a squint with a triangular head.

The Church, Plan

The Nave (35 ft. by 13¾ ft.) has a modern N. arcade of three bays. In the S. wall is an archway probably of the 17th century; it has chamfered responds and two-centred arch; further W. are two windows, the eastern of the 18th or 19th century and the western of late 14th-century date, and of two trefoiled lights with plain tracery in a square head with moulded reveals; the S. doorway is 18th-century or modern.

The South Chapel (11½ ft. by 8¾ ft.) has a modern window in the S. wall and a modern doorway in the W. wall.

The West Tower (8¾ ft. by 10 ft.) is of three storeys with a pyramidal roof. The 12th-century tower-arch was heightened and reconstructed in 1678; it has square jambs and semi-circular arch with chamfered imposts; the key-stone has the date and initials 1678 R.N.M., for Robert and Mary Napier. In the N. wall is a late 17th-century doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred head. The W. window, with a two-centred head, is of late 17th-century date. On the side walls are corbels for a floor, now removed. The bell-chamber has, in the E. wall, a 16th or 17th-century window of two square-headed lights; above it is a blind trefoiled head, perhaps of the 14th century. In the N. wall is a window of one pointed light. In the S. wall is a small loop.

Fittings—Altar: In churchyard—against tower, large plain slab, possibly altar. Bells: three, 2nd by Robert Austen I, 1629; 3rd by Thomas Purdue, 1682. Brass: See Monument (5). Churchyard Cross (Plate 12): octagonal shaft, with moulded capping, octagonal to square base and two steps, 15th-century, formerly in the village. Coffin-lid: In churchyard—S.E. of chancel, with defaced cross and foliated head, 14th-century. Door: In tower doorway—with nail-studs forming initials of Robert Napier, late 17th-century with contemporary lock. Font (Plate 14): cylindrical bowl with cable edging and bands forming triangles, 12th-century, standing on second font (?) bowl-shaped and carved with conventional foliage ornaments and a man's face, late 12th-century. Cover: of oak, pyramidal with moulded edges and finial, late 17th-century. Glass: In tower—in W. window, five quarries as follows—(a) shield-of-arms of Cornwall; (b) quartered shield of Napper; (c–e) initials R.N.M. for Sir Robert Napper and Margaret his wife, 17th-century. Helmet etc. (Plate 18): In nave—over S. doorway, closehelmet with comb and wooden crest of Napier, also two gauntlets and a rowel-spur, early 17th-century. Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In chancel— on N. wall, (1) to Mary Wharton, daughter of Arebas Estridge, 1847, white marble wall-tablet with shield-of-arms, by W. Fry, Bridport; (2) to Rev. George Clutterbuck Frome, 1844, and Mary Sophia (Pleydell) his wife, 1827, white marble wall-tablet with shield-of-arms. In nave—on S. wall, (3) to [Sir Robert Napier, 1700], stone wall-monument (Plate 110) with moulded frame, achievement-of-arms, broken pediment and urn, initials only of name, monument by John Hamilton. In N. aisle—on W. wall, (4) to Robert Napier, Ann his wife and Katherine his second wife, erected by Sir Robert Napier, Bart., 1691, white stone and black marble wall-monument with Composite side-columns, entablatures, broken pediment, achievement and three shields-of-arms. In S. chapel—on E. wall, (5) to William Napper [1620], stone tablet with arched panel, brass plates with kneeling figure in armour and inscription, brass achievement and one brass shield-of-arms, two missing. In tower—on S. wall, (6) achievement-of-arms and inscribed stones referring to William Napper, 1616, and part of Monument (5). In churchyard—N. of church, (7) to Edward Napper, 160[1], table-tomb. Floor-slab: In chancel—to Sylas Crofts, 17th-century. Paintings: over chancel-arch—three panels with borders of red roses and black lines, one panel with lower part of figure-subject, middle panel with floral design, other panel with traces of a wheel and stencilled roses, paintings much damaged and overlaid with whitewash, date uncertain, perhaps 16th-century. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten, with the date 1573 on the latter, a flagon and stand-paten both of 1700 and given by Sir Robert Naper, Bart. Royal Arms: Stuart arms on wooden panel with frame and date 1673. Seating: In N. aisle—two coffin-stools with turned legs, late 17th-century.


b(2) Puncknowle Manor House, S.W. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. It was built probably in the 16th century when the property belonged to the Napper family. It was altered in the 17th century and the back wing was rebuilt in modern times. The E. front (Plate 160) has original windows of three elliptical-headed lights with labels. In the middle is a two-storeyed porch with flanking staircases in the same building; the outer archway has moulded jambs and round head with a label; above it is a window similar to those in the main front, and at a lower level at the sides are two single-light windows to the staircases. The porch has a barrel-vault and the inner doorway has chamfered jambs and round head. There are other original windows in the N. and S. ends similar to those in front. Inside the building there is an original fireplace in the W. wall with moulded jambs and square head; the fireplace in the N.E. angle is probably similar but is partly masked by panelling. On the first floor the rooms are lined with 18th-century bolection-moulded panelling, with dado-rails and cornices; the overmantels are panelled and one of them has a seascape; in the S. room the panelling is painted with landscapes etc., and in the N. room with cherub-heads. The fireplaces are original and have moulded jambs and square heads. In the wall between the garden and the churchyard is a stone four-centred door-head with a shield bearing the initials R. and A.N. (Napper) and a panel with a defaced date in the 17th century.

Monuments (3–8)

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(3) Puncknowle Mill, 1,060 yards N. of the church, has been much altered. Above the S. doorway is a much-weathered shield.

b(4) Look Farm (Plate 45), house 1,450 yards E. of the church, is of two storeys with cellars and attics. It was built in 1700 on a rectangular plan with chimney-stacks at the angles and a hipped roof. The central doorway on the S. front has the initials and date R. and M.H. 1700 on the lintel; above this is an entablature and curved pediment supporting swags and a vase; in the pediment is stone panelling in imitation of a fan-light. The windows each had originally a mullion and transom but these have been removed; the ground-floor windows have moulded surrounds and pediments similar to that over the doorway; between the first-floor windows is a moulded panel. A blocked window on the W. side retains its mullion and transom. The Outbuilding, S.S.W. of the house, was built probably in the 18th century.

b(5) House, 40 yards E. of (4), was built probably early in the 18th century but has been much altered. Over the doorway is a stone with the initials and date R.H. (perhaps for Ralph Henville) 1711.

b(6) House, 240 yards S.S.W. of (4), retains an original stone window of three lights with a label. One kneeler of the N.E. gable is dated 1652. A small Bridge, N. of the house, is a rubble structure of one span. It may date from the 18th century or earlier.

b(7) Range of cottages immediately E. of (6) was built c. 1700 but has been much altered.

b(8) Green Leaze, cottage ¾ m. S.E. of the church, has been much altered.


b(9) Bowl Barrow, ¼ m. E.N.E. of (4), is 25 ft. in diam. and 2½ ft. high.

a and b (10) Barrows, on the Knoll, ½ m. S. of the church, are three in number. The most westerly (a) is a bowl barrow 64 ft. in diam. and 4 ft. high; (b), 210 yards N.E. of (a), is a bowl barrow 54 ft. in diam. and 3 ft. high; (c) on the summit of the knoll, 230 yards E. of (a), probably a barrow, is 54 ft. in diam. and 4 ft. high; it supports a small building.

b(11) Barrows, on the ridge of Tulk's Hill, 1 to 1½ m. S.E. of the church, are six in number. The most westerly (a), 580 yards S. of (8), is a bowl barrow 33 ft. in diam. and 2½ ft. high; (b), 265 yards S.E. of (a), is a bowl barrow 33 ft. in diam. and 5 ft. high; (c), 175 yards S.E. of (b), is a bowl barrow 54 ft. in diam. and 5 ft. high; (d). 390 yards S.E. of (c), is a bowl barrow about 54 ft. in diam. and 5 ft. high; (e), 40 yards E. of (d), is a bowl barrow 45 ft. in diam. and 5 ft. high with traces possibly of a ditch; (f), 145 yards N.N.E. of (e), probably the remains of a barrow, is approximately 28 ft. in diam. and 3½ ft. high; it is incorporated in an old hedge-bank.