Stoke Abbott

Pages 224-226

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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(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXVIII, N.E. (b)XXIX, N.W.)

Stoke Abbott is a parish and village 2 m. W.S.W. of Beaminster. The church is the principal monument.


b(1) Parish Church of St. Mary stands on the E. side of the village. The walls are of local coursed rubble with dressings of the same material; the roofs are covered with tiles and lead. The Chancel dates from the 12th century, but was altered and probably length-ened in the 13th century, which is perhaps also the date of the Nave and of the tower-arch. The South Porch was added in the 14th century and the chancel-arch was rebuilt late in the same century. The West Tower was added or rebuilt in the 15th century. The North Chapel was added in the same century. The tower was restored and partly rebuilt after being struck by lightning in 1826; the church was restored in 1878, when the N. arcade and North Aisle were built, the latter incorporating the existing N. chapel. The S. porch has been rebuilt.

The 12th-century font is noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (23½ ft. by 12 ft.) has a 15th-century E. window of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with moulded reveals and label with returned stops. In the N. wall are three windows, the first and third of the 13th century and of lancet form, the eastern one with a trefoiled rear-arch; the 12th-century middle window is of one round-headed light. In the S. wall are three windows, the easternmost of the 13th century, partly restored, and of two lancet-lights; the middle windows is similar to the first window in the N. wall; the 15th-century westernmost window is of two cinque-foiled ogee lights in a square head with moulded reveals; the 15th-century doorway has chamfered jambs and two-centred head. The partly restored late 14th-century chancel-arch is two-centred and of two orders, the outer chamfered and continuous and the inner moulded and springing partly from attached shafts with restored moulded capitals and bases.

Stoke Abbott, the Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin

The Nave (47½ ft. by 18 ft.) has a modern N. arcade of four bays. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern of the 15th century and of three cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head with a label; the western window is modern; the 15th-century S. doorway has chamfered jambs and two-centred head.

The North Aisle (12½ ft. wide) is modern except for the lower part and plinth of the E. bay which formed part of the former N. chapel. In the E. wall is a reset 15th-century window, uniform with the E. window but with a modern label. Reset in the N. wall is a partly restored 13th-century window of two lancet-lights.

The West Tower (10½ ft. square) is of three stages, with rough ashlar facing and a plain parapet. It was built or rebuilt in the 15th century but much of the facing of the top stage and the S. side is modern. The tower-arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders springing from chamfered responds with chamfered imposts; it is of early 13th-century date. In the S. wall is an enlarged window of uncertain date. The partly restored W. window is of two trefoiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head; the W. doorway has chamfered jambs and two-centred head with a label and returned stops. The second stage has a modern window in the S. wall. The bell-chamber has in each wall a more or less restored window of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head; the E. window is blocked.

The South Porch has a reset 14th-century outer archway, two-centred and of two hollow-chamfered orders dying on to the responds.

Fittings—Bells: five; 1st by Thomas Bilbie of Cullompton, 1764; 3rd by Robert Wiseman, 1613; 4th, 15th century, Exeter foundry, inscribed "Est michi collatum Ihc. istud nomen amatum"; 5th by William Knight, 1725. Chest: with panelled front, two strap-hinges and three locks, on top rail the date 1675. Font (Plate 15): tapering cylindrical bowl with top and base mouldings, richly diapered surface with acanthus ornament, on upper part an enriched arcade on grotesque heads, under arcade, a series of heads mostly bearded and one restored, late 12th-century. Monuments: In chancel—on N. wall, (1) to Robert Dagge, M.A., rector, 1749, slate wall-tablet; (2) to Awbrey Price, M.A., rector, 1782, white marble wall-tablet with shield-of-arms and Latin inscription; (3) to Maurice Uphill Hopkins M.A., rector, 1819, Anne Prior Hopkins his wife, 1824, and six children, grey and white marble wall-monument with urn and shield-of-arms. In S. porch, (4) to William Crowe, rector, 1829, slate wall-tablet in moulded stone frame. In churchyard—S. of porch, (5) to Robert . . ., 1653, table-tomb; (6) to John Denslow alias Bayly, 1704, table-tomb. Plate: includes a cup dated 1670 and a paten presumably of the same date. Pulpit: of three panelled sides in two tiers, enriched upper and middle rails and styles, early 17th-century, much restored. Seating: In nave—seven old pews with panelled ends, 17th-century. Stoup: In nave—in S. wall, recess with two-centred head and bowl, probably 15th-century.


Monuments (2–13)

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.

b(2) House, 70 yards N.W. of the church, has walls of ashlar and thatched roofs. It was built in traditional style in 1751 and the porch added in 1761; there is a modern addition on the W. The street-front is symmetrically designed; the central porch is gabled, with flat coping and ball-finial and the entrance has a semi-circular head with key-block. It retains the original two-light stone mullioned windows with lightly moulded architraves.

b(3) Cottage, two tenements, on the E. side of the road, 175 yards W.N.W. of the church.

b(4) Lower Farm, house (Plate 40) 250 yards N.N.W. of the church, has walls of squared stone. It was built in traditional style in 1748. The plan is L-shape; the doorway in the re-entrant angle has a wood pedimented hood on shaped brackets of c. 1800. There are two and three-light windows with stone mullions and architraves lightly moulded.

b(5) House, on the S. side of the road, 310 yards N.E. of the church, was built probably early in the 16th century. It seems to have been originally timber-framed and the existing stone walls are an 18th-century addition. Inside the building, the central room has original moulded ceiling-beams; the position of the beams near the N. and S. walls probably indicates that the upper storey formerly projected. The feet of the roof-principals are exposed.

b(6) Horsehill Farm, house 530 yards E. of the church, was built in 1669 and extended to the E. in 1691. There is an 18th-century wing on the N. The house retains most of its 17th-century stone-mullioned windows with labels; the original block has a stone with the initials and date T. and M.G. 1669 and the extension another stone with S. and I.M. 1691.

b(7) Stoke Farm, on the E. side of the road, 80 yards W.S.W. of the church, was built in 1613. It retains many of its original stone-mullioned windows with labels and others with triangular heads to the lights. On the W. front is a panel with the initials and date A.G., E.G. 1613. Inside the building is an original muntin and plank partition. On the first floor is a stone fireplace with a four-centred head.

b(8) Cottage on the E. side of the road, 200 yards S.W. of the church.

b(9) House, 50 yards S.S.W. of (8), is modern but incorporates two 17th-century stone windows with triangular heads.

b(10) Brimley Mill, 630 yards S.W. of the church, is partly of three storeys. On the front is a stone with the initials and date L.C. 1674.

b(11) House, N. of Brimley Farm and 950 yards W.S.W. of the church, retains two original and later stone-mullioned windows and others with solid oak frames. Inside the building are some original muntin and plank partitions.

b(12) Chart Knolle, house ½ mile N.N.E. of the church, has been much altered and added to.

a(13) Wall Farm, house over 1¾ m. W.N.W. of the church, retains most of its original stone-mullioned windows with labels. Inside the building, some of the timber-framing is exposed and there is a muntin and plank partition.


b(14) Earthwork on Waddon Hill, 1,100 yards N.W. of the church, consists only of a low bank with traces of a ditch on the E. side crossing the summit of the ridge where it contracts before continuing E. as Chart Knolle. The bank is about 30 ft. across and 2¾ ft. high. This bank is the only evidence of a settlement on the hill apart from Roman and Romano-British finds made on the S. slope in 1876–8. The hill has been much damaged by quarrying; the top now has an area of about 7 acres, but the quarrying has encroached upon its edges and has destroyed any earthworks which may have existed round them. The finds referred to above are now in the Bridport Museum and consist predominantly of mid 1st-century material of strongly military character.

b(15) Lynchets, on the S. slope of Chart Knolle immediately E. of (14), form three terraces.

b(16) Lynchets, on the S.E. slope of Chart Knolle immediately S.W. of Chart Knolle Farm.