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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90 THORNCOMBE (A.c.)
(O.S. 6 in. (a)XVIII, S.E. (b)XIX, S.W. (c)XXVII, N.E. (d)XXVIII, N.W.)
Thorncombe is a parish at the extreme W. end of the county 8 m. W. of Beaminster. Forde Abbey and Sadborow are the principal monuments.
b(1) Parish Church of St. Mary stands in the village. It was entirely rebuilt in 1866–7 to the N. of the site of the older church. The tower has a reset late 14th-century arch, two-centred and of one moulded order.
Fittings—Bells: five; 1st by Purdue, 1637; 2nd by Wiseman, 1613; 3rd, 4th and 5th by Thomas Bilbie of Cullompton, dated respectively 1800, 1782, 1772, the last recast 1936. Brass: In N. aisle—of Sir Thomas Brook, 1419–20, and Joan his wife, 1437, large figures of man in civil dress and woman, dogs at feet of both and both with SS collar, reset and marginal inscription restored. Chair: In chancel— with turned front legs and shaped arms, carved and inlaid back with cresting, 17th-century. Chest: In tower—small and plain, 17th-century. Communion Table (Plate 35): In vestry—with enriched top rail and enriched bulbous legs with Ionic capitals, early 17th-century, partly restored. Font: square moulded bowl with convex square to circular underside and circular necking, mediæval, perhaps reused capital, stem and base, modern. Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In tower—on N. wall, (1), to Mary, 1707, and Betty, 1727, daughters of Thomas Cook, vicar, marble tablet with scrolls; (2) to Thomas Cook, vicar, 1747, and Mary his wife, 1767, marble wall-monument with scroll-pediment and shield-of-arms; (3) to Lucy Dolphin, 1802, and Lucy Anne Dolphin, 1801, white marble wall-tablet with urn and shield-of-arms, Latin inscriptions. In churchyard —(4) to Andrew Rapson, 1693, and his wife, 1709, headstone. Floor-slab: In N. aisle, to John Walsh, 1795, and Joan Walsh, 1759, of slate. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten of 1571, the former with a band of engraved ornament round the bowl, a paten of 1725 and a flagon (Plate 31) of 1722, with lozenge-of-arms, given by Elizabeth Bragge. Pulpit: of oak, polygonal with moulded base and cornice and two ranges of linen-fold panels, early 16th-century, partly restored. Recess: In N. aisle—in N. wall, with moulded jambs and three-centred arch, perhaps 15th-century, restored. Seating: In chancel—upper part of vicar's pew, with fluted frieze, two enriched panels in front divided and flanked by standing figures, two other figures at ends, early 17th-century. In vestry and N. aisle—three coffinstools with turned legs, 17th-century. Sundial: On N. wall of N. aisle, cut circular dial, reset. Weathercock (Plate 54): of copper with rounded body, 18th or 19th-century. Miscellanea: In vestry—octagonal stone bowl with trefoiled panel in six faces and others blank, date and use uncertain. Incorporated in pews— enriched panels, perhaps 17th-century.
b(2) Bridge (Plate 37) over the river Axe, 310 yards N.E. of Forde Abbey, is probably of 16th-century date much repaired and rebuilt in recent years. It is a rubble and ashlar structure of three spans with segmental arches; the piers have cut-waters on the E. side and the northern pier has a cut-water also on the W.
b(3) Forde Abbey (Plates 186, 187), house and stables, stands on the N. edge of the parish, 1½ m. N.W. of the church. The walls are of local rubble with ashlar and dressings of the same materials; the roofs are covered with slates and lead. The Cistercian abbey of Forde was founded as a daughter-house of Waverley in 1136, by Richard Fitzbaldwin; the original site at Brightley was found unsuitable and the community was settled at the present site in 1141. To this period belong the Chapter House (now the Chapel) and some other walls of the surviving part of the claustral block. The Dorter Range was built c. 1200 and the surviving parts of the Frater and Kitchen are perhaps of the same date. The Abbey-church, which has entirely disappeared, was consecrated in 1239. In the 15th century the Frater was shortened, a floor was inserted and the E. wall was rebuilt; the W. Range was perhaps shortened at the same time; the Gatehouse at the W. end of the house is a 15th-century building. Under the last abbot, Thomas Charde (1521–39), extensive building operations were undertaken which were remarked upon by Leland; a new Abbot's Lodging, with a great hall, was built to the W. of the W. range and the N. alley of the Cloister was rebuilt. The abbey was surrendered in 1539 and the site was granted to Richard Pollard and passed later successively to Sir Amyas Paulet and William Rosewell. At some time during this period the buildings were transformed into a house, the church and S. part of the cloister being demolished and various alterations made to the buildings N. of the cloister. In 1649 the property was bought by Edmund Prideaux, Cromwell's SolicitorGeneral. Under him extensive works were undertaken in the fifties of the 17th century; at this period the W. Range was completely remodelled and many alterations were made in the former Abbot's Lodging including the addition of the staircase and an upper floor to part of the hall; an upper floor was built also over the cloister and kitchen. Repairs were made in the E. part of the building under Francis Gwynne late in the 17th or early in the 18th century. Later in the 18th century the Morning Room and portico at the S. end of the W. range were altered; the portico appears facing W. in one of Buck's drawings of 1734. Modern alterations include additions on the N. of the kitchen and hall.
The house is of outstanding interest from its remains of the 12th and 13th-century building, the additions of Abbot Charde and the works of the middle of the 17th century; these last have been ascribed to Inigo Jones, but they were mostly executed after his death.
The Cistercian Abbey was laid out on the usual lines with the church on the S. of the cloister, the chapter-house and dorter in the E. range, the frater flanked by the warming-house and kitchen on the N. of the cloister and the cellarer's range on the W. These buildings will be described in their present state and in that order before passing on to the former Abbot's Lodging and the buildings to the W. The Abbey Church has been completely destroyed and there are no traces of it above ground. The Cloister (81½ ft. E. to W.) lay to the N. of the church and only the N. alley remains; it will be described with that range. Of the E. range the southernmost surviving building is the Chapter House (Plate 194) fitted up as a chapel in the 17th century. This building is of two storeys, the lower of the 12th century and the upper partly rebuilt early in the 16th century and much altered late in the 17th and early in the 18th century. The chapter-house (46 ft. by 22½ ft.) is of two bays with a 12th-century quadripartite vault with moulded ribs springing from angle-shafts and grouped shafts recessed in the walls between the bays, all with scalloped capitals and moulded bases. There is a similar arrangement of recessed shafts at Bindon Abbey. The E. wall has original clasping buttresses and an early 16th-century window of five cinque-foiled ogee lights and tracery in a four-centred arch with a square outer head and quatre-foiled spandrels enclosing a shield-of-arms of the abbey and another with a mace, a doctor's cap and a scroll with the name of Tho. Char., the last abbot; the rear-arch has panels with trefoiled or traceried heads. The three lower openings in the W. wall (Plate 202) date from late in the 17th or early in the 18th century but represent an original feature; the doorway has side-pilasters with mouldings carried across the head and a lunette above with an architrave and key-stone; the panelled doors are of two leaves; flanking the doorway are windows with architraves and cornices; they are fitted with solid wooden frames of two lights; above the doorway is a late 17th-century round window with an architrave. The chapter-house is now a chapel and has the following fittings—Chairs: two, largely modern but incorporating 17th-century material. Communion Table: with turned legs and enriched front and end rails, 17th-century, top modern. Hatchments: On N. wall, of Edmund Prideaux, 1702, with achievement-of-arms; on W. wall, of Amy (Fraunceis), widow of the above, 1703–4, with lozenge-of-arms; probably of Edmund Prideaux, 1659, with achievement-of-arms; also two later hatchments of the Gwynne family. Helmet (Plate 18): on N. wall, close-helmet of a Greenwich type, with comb, acutely pointed vizor and ventail, c. 1590, and gorget-plates of c. 1620, with the wooden crest of Prideaux. Monuments: On N. wall—(1) to Edmond Prideaux, 1659, Margaret (Ivory), his wife, 1683, Edmond Prideaux their son, 1702, and Amy (Fraunceys), his wife, 1703–4, erected by Francis Gwyn, 1704, white marble tablet with cornice, pediment, urn and two cartouches-of-arms; on S. wall, (2) to Francis Prideaux, 1677–8, white marble and slate tablet with side-pilasters, cornice and scrolled pediment enclosing upper tablet with figures in relief, urn and pediment, cartouche-of-arms on apron. Painting: triptych with central painting of the Crucifixion and wings with figures of donors, St. Francis and perhaps St. Anthony, German c. 1515. Panelling: On N. and S. walls, about 7½ ft. high, with fielded panels and cornice supported on cherub-heads, early 18th-century. Pulpit (Plate 195): recess in S. wall, lined with panelling, and flanked by pilasters supporting an entablature, pulpit-front panelled and finished with cornice, stairs with square newel, ball-finial and scrolled rail on arch and balusters, early 18th-century with some mid 17th-century material. Screen (Plate 194): of oak and of three bays, including doorway, with enriched entablature, central pediment and cartouche of the quartered arms of Prideaux on the W. face and of Roper (modern) on the E. face; doorway and side-bays flanked by Ionic pilasters, with carved pendants on the pilasters facing W.; carved frieze (Plate 195) of elaborate scrolled foliage etc. above doorway on each face; side-bays each with close lower panel and two open round-headed arches above, springing from Corinthian pilasters; mid 17th-century. Seating: four coffin-stools with turned legs, 17th-century, two of them restored. Miscellanea: part of shaft with cheveron-reeding and capital with simple leaves and plain panels, 12th-century.
The upper storey of the chapter house is finished with an early 18th-century embattled parapet and has on the S. wall two rain-water heads dated 1713 and a central one below inscribed "Fra. Gwyn Esqre. Secretary at War to Queen Anne, 1713". In the E. wall is an early 16th-century window of four cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a four-centred head with a label. In the S. wall are three late 17th-century windows each of three elliptical-headed and transomed lights; these are graduated in the middle window under a segmental main head and cornice; the side windows are square-headed and have cornices. In the W. wall is a window similar to the side S. windows. On the roof is a restored early 18th-century bell-turret of timber; it is hexagonal with Doric columns, cornice and lead-covered cupola; the 15th-century bell has the inscription "Fac Margareta nobis nec munera leta".
The Dorter Range (24½ ft. by 161 ft. internally) is of two storeys (Plate 202) and was of twelve bays and a passage or inner parlour across the S. end. On the E. side there remain, on the first floor, parts of six early 13th-century windows, each of one pointed light and all blocked or in part removed; they lighted the former dorter; towards the N. end at the same level is a doorway to the former rear-dorter, in the blocking of which is a late 16th-century two-light window; there are six similar windows on the first floor and ten on the ground floor. Below the doorway on the first floor is part of the relieving-arch of the great drain or water-course which runs diagonally under the range; further S. is a double doorway of 13th-century origin; the N. part has been blocked and the S. part fitted with a 16th-century window. Further S. again is an arch to a cross-passage; it is two-centred with a chamfered rib on each face. Towards the S. end of the range is a first-floor 17th-century window of three transomed lights and an early 18th-century doorway with a moulded surround and key-block; S. of it are traces of the original doorway to the passage or parlour at this end of the range; above the doorway and on the second floor is a large nine-light window of the 17th century, partly blocked. In the N. end of the range there were formerly two original windows lighting the sub-vault; they were each of two lancet-lights with a trefoil in a two-centred head; one has been destroyed and the other altered by the insertion of a modern frame. In the upper floor is the outline of a large window with a pointed head, formerly lighting the dorter; it has a 16th-century window inserted in one corner of the blocking. On the W. face, thirteen of the original single-light windows of the dorter survive, each of one lancet-light with a relieving-arch above, further N. is a single square-headed light; near the S. end of the wall is one jamb and part of the head of a doorway perhaps that at the head of the day-stairs to the dorter, with a 16th-century window in the blocking. In the lower storey, the arch over the drain or water-course is segmental and of two chamfered orders; the archway to the cross-passage is similar to that on the E. face; the windows at this level are of late 16th-century date and are mostly of two square-headed lights; there is also a 16th-century doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with a moulded label and foliated spandrels. Inside the building the sub-vault was divided into twelve bays by plain octagonal piers supporting quadripartite vaulting with chamfered ribs; this vault survives except in the S. bay; on either side of the fourth bay and between the sixth and seventh bays are late mediæval partition-walls; the northernmost and southernmost of these have doorways with four-centred heads; there are various modern partitions and the S. bay with the adjoining bay, formerly a passage or parlour, were much altered early in the 16th and again in the 17th century. The staircase (Plate 53) at this end is a 17th-century insertion and under it is the angle-shaft of the original 13th-century vault of the parlour-passage; in the W. wall adjoining are the splays of a 13th-century doorway. The staircase has turned balusters, close strings and newels with ball-terminals; it is carried up to the second floor which is a 17th-century insertion in the S. part of the range only.
The N. Range of the cloister is of two storeys, the lower of early 16th-century date and the upper a mid 17th-century addition. The cloister-alley (Plate 185) is of eight bays divided by buttresses of which the end bays are wider than the rest as being the returns to the E. and W. alleys of the cloister; the existing facing of these bays must have been made up from other parts of the cloister when they were pulled down. The E. bay retains the four-centred moulded arch with shafted responds, opening into the former E. alley; it is fitted with a modern door; the W. bay has a similar arch now filled with a window generally similar in date and detail to the windows of the other bays; these windows are each of four cinque-foiled ogee and transomed lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with moulded reveals and label; the spandrels of the arches and windows have cusped panels enclosing shields, initials and devices; above the window-heads runs a frieze of quatrefoils (Plate 46) enclosing shields, initials and devices, except in the fifth bay where the quatrefoils are replaced by lozenge-shaped panels and small shields; the initials and devices are mainly those of Thomas Charde, the last abbot, with his device, the mace and doctor's cap, the arms of the abbey and other initials including S.L., H.B. and R.W., a shield with a pelican and a crozier perhaps for Fox, bishop of Exeter, Basset, Paulet, Courtenay, with a garter and various badges. The interior of the alley (Plate 196) has, in each bay of the N. wall, stone panelling corresponding to the mullions and tracery of the windows opposite; in the E. bay is a doorway with a four-centred head in place of the two lower panels; between the bays are grouped shafts or the panelled responds of cross-arches, which support 19th-century plaster vaulting and arches; the filling of the lower panels of the fourth bay has been removed to show three bays of the early 13th-century wall-arcading of the former lavatory; it has moulded two-centred arches springing from Purbeck marble shafts with moulded bases and simply foliated capitals; the tracery in the fourth to the eighth bay has been restored. The E. and W. walls of the alley are treated similarly to the bays of the N. wall, but in each is a 17th-century doorway with a moulded architrave. At the back of the N. wall of the cloister a passage has been cut through the earlier cross-walls. The upper storey over the cloister-alley was added c. 1660 and has an early 18th-century embattled parapet; the seven windows have each a moulded architrave, pulvinated frieze and cornice. The room at the E. end of the range has a blocked 16th-century doorway leading into the dorter range; the room to the N. has a plaster ceiling of c. 1660 with a central oval enclosing two boys dancing, geometrical panels and cherub-heads in the angles. The next room to the W. has a ceiling of the same period with foliage bands forming geometrical panels and foliage bosses; the central oval has a woman's figure (Plate 199) and the other panels have foliage, flowers, shells, etc. A room in the middle of the range has a ceiling of the same period with a figure of Faith (Plate 199), acanthus, drapery and foliage. The ceiling of the W. room has guilloche-bands forming rectangular panels and one round panel; the latter has a figure of a woman with two faces holding two snakes in a framing of strapwork with four half-figures of women. The Warming House which occupied the E. part of the N. range has been entirely destroyed and replaced by part of the passage above-mentioned and by a small wing of early 17th-century origin. This wing is of three storeys and the original openings have been blocked; on the N. face are two late 17th-century windows with architraves and cornices. The corridor is probably of early or mid 16th-century date with an upper storey added in the 17th century; the lower storey has two buttresses and a window of six four-centred lights; above it are a later 16th-century window and one of the 17th century. A room on the first floor of the small wing has a mid 17th-century plaster ceiling with enriched deeply recessed panels and rosettes at the intersections of the beams. The Frater Range is of 13th-century origin, shortened towards the N. and made into two storeys, probably in the 15th century. The Frater follows the later Cistercian practice of being set at right angles to the cloister. The E. wall is of flint with ashlar-bands; at the N. end is the projection of the former pulpit; it has a 15th-century window of two cinque-foiled ogee lights and tracery in a square head with a label and panelled splays; N. of the window are indications of the former existence of a building extending to the E.; to the S. of the pulpit are three 16th-century windows each of three transomed lights; they incorporate reused materials including the 15th-century traceried head of the southernmost window; other windows are of 17th-century and modern date. In the N. wall is a 15th-century window of four trefoiled ogee lights in a square head with a returned label; the window above is modern. In the W. wall is a late 17th-century window. Inside the range, the ground-floor is now the Servants' Hall; it has a ceiling divided into eighteen panels by moulded beams; the wide fireplace in the W. wall has a four-centred head; above are the Royal Arms in wood of Queen Anne after the Union, with her initials; S. of the fireplace is a serving-hatch with moulded jambs and four-centred head on the W. face. In the S. wall of the range is a recess, representing the former doorway from the cloister to the frater. On the first floor, a recess in the E. wall represents the former frater-pulpit; the former staircase with its raking roof is now blocked; the pulpit itself, lit by the window before described, has 15th-century stone panelling, on the S. wall, of two cinque-foiled ogee lights with tracery. At the S. end of the range, the staircase-landing has a plaster ceiling of c. 1660 with a moulded cornice and scrolled masks at intervals. The 15th-century roof (Plate 201) of the range is of six bays, each of two subsidiary bays; the main timbers are moulded and the trusses are of collar-beam type with curved braces below the collars forming elliptical arches. The Kitchen Block is of two storeys, gabled towards the N. It is of 15th-century origin, made into two storeys in the 17th century. In the N. wall are some 16th and 17th-century windows and a 17th-century chimney-stack; E. of the stack is a wide 15th-century arch partly destroyed by the stack. In the W. wall is a 15th-century window of five lights and further S. a blocked single-light window of the same date. Inside the block, the doorway in the S. wall of the kitchen has an elliptical head, continued as the roof of a small passage; this led to a staircase, removed in recent years; the adjoining fireplace has a four-centred head and W. of it is a passage with a four-centred roof and now blocked at each end. In the W. wall is a late 16th-century doorway with a four-centred head and further S. an early 16th-century doorway with moulded jambs and elliptical head; it opened into the passage last described. On the first floor a cross-passage has some 16th-century moulded ceiling-beams forming panels; at the E. end of the passage is an early 16th-century doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head. At the N. end, two bays of the 15th-century roof are visible; the trusses are of collar-beam type with curved braces.
The original West Range of the claustral block has been almost entirely reconstructed at various periods though parts of the thick E. wall may date from the 12th century. The range formerly extended further both to the N. and S. Towards the N. end of the existing range are some remains of the early 16th-century work of Abbot Charde, but the range is substantially of 17th-century or later date. The porch at the N. end was added probably late in the 16th century and has an outer archway with moulded jambs and four-centred head; the early 16th-century inner doorway has moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with the initials and badges of Abbot Charde in the spandrels. Above the porch-doorway is a 16th-century window of five four-centred lights; above this the wall sets forward and is carried on a modern arch. The staircase-wing to the W. of the porch and overlapping the great hall, was built just after the middle of the 17th century. It has three ranges of windows on the N. front, the lower ones with mullions and labels; the upper windows and that lighting the staircase have architraves and cornices. The Great Staircase (Plate 197) is entered from the hall by a doorway with an enriched architrave and an oval panel above; the staircase itself has enriched strings and handrails, panelled newels (Plate 195) with bayleaves and vases of fruit and flowers; in place of balusters are elaborate pierced panels of acanthusscrolls with cartouches; the rail and newels are repeated against the walls but the panels of acanthus and arabesques are painted on the wall-surface; the casing of the stairs is panelled, with pilasters below the newels; the S. wall has panelling with an enriched cornice. The ceiling of the first flight and landing has a rectangular panel (Plate 190) with a wreath, cherub-heads and a cartouche of the arms of Prideaux impaling Ivory; the beam on the E. side has scrolled foliage and the date 1658. The ceiling of the stair-hall has eight grouped panels round a central oval, the panels being separated by bands of scrolled foliage; in the middle panel are cherubs holding a wreath of flowers; the other panels have foliage and winged half-figures. The main W. range has an embattled parapet and below it at the N. end are three blocked late 17th-century windows the middle one of which has a circular light, all three have architraves and cornices; above the side windows are the lines of two earlier windows probably of c. 1660. At the S. end are three large late 17th-century windows, the middle one with a round head and side pilasters; the side windows have cornices and above each is an oval window; the windows on the return E. face have architraves and cornices. Inside the range the back-staircase is modern but the ceiling has moulded beams. To the S. of the staircase is a passage, lined to a height of six feet with reset 17th-century panelling, partly with strapwork ornament; the doorway in the 17th-century N. wall has a four-centred head with a moulded architrave and flanking pilasters; these last are repeated in the angles of the wall. The Dining Room is lined with panelling of c. 1680 with a moulded cornice; the doorways have flanking pilasters and the middle part of the architrave of each is carried up in a round arch; the fireplace (Plate 200) has a moulded marble surround, side-pilasters of painted wood supporting a moulded mantel and an overmantel with a large panel enclosing a painting of a classical subject; flanking it are pilasters supporting an entablature. The ceiling of c. 1650–60 has a geometrical design of enriched bands enclosing five round and four spandrel panels; the former have conventional leaves or rosettes and the latter have half-figures growing out of foliage. At the S. end of the range are a morning-room and porch rearranged and redecorated in the second half of the 18th century; the morning-room has a fireplace with shaped side-pieces and a frieze with carved panels of cherubs, putti and dolphins; the plaster ceiling is lightly modelled with an enriched panel in a fluted roundel in the middle surrounded by trailing vines, rose-wreaths, etc. The first floor is occupied by the Saloon (Plate 193) which is lined partly by tapestries and partly by enriched panelling divided into bays by Corinthian pilasters supporting an entablature, of which the frieze with scrolled and other ornament and the modillioned cornice are in plaster. The N. wall is of three bays with a central doorway; this has side-columns supporting entablatures and a curved pediment; above it is a large round panel; the side bays have each a mirror and an oval panel above. The Mortlake tapestries of scenes in the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul are from the Raphael cartoons bought by Charles I now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and are said to have been given by Queen Anne to Francis Gwynne; the fireplace is modern but the 17th-century overmantel has panelled and carved side-pilasters, entablature with carved frieze and pediment with cartouches and pendants of fruit and flowers; the large central panel has a modern painting and below it is a carved head and swags. The mid 17th-century plaster ceiling (Plate 198) is coved at the sides and divided into panels by deep moulded and enriched bands with pendants at the intersections; the oval central panel has an achievement (Plate 190) of the arms of Prideaux quartering Ivory and Fraunceis; the other panels are filled with elaborate scrolled foliage and small panels with figures of amorini, women etc., and two figure-subjects, the sacrifice of Isaac and perhaps Cain and Abel.
The Abbot's Lodging, built by Abbot Charde and altered in the 17th century, consists of the great hall with its porch and the rooms at its W. end. The Porch (Plate 186) is of three storeys with an embattled parapet and a diagonal S.W. buttress with carved beasts below the weatherings and an applied subsidiary buttress on the upper part with trefoiled panels. The outer archway has moulded jambs and elliptical arch in a square head with cusped spandrels enclosing blank shields; the side-pilasters rest on half-angels holding blank shields; above the doorway is an added cartouche with the arms of Prideaux impaling Ivory (for Edmund Prideaux died 1659). In the W. wall is a window of four cinque-foiled ogee lights with vertical tracery in a four-centred head with moulded reveals and label. The two upper floors have a two-storeyed oriel window on the S. face; it rests on deep moulded corbelling with a band of vine-ornament and the lower storey has diagonal buttresses standing on half-angels holding shields; above the corbelling on the front of the oriel is a band of panels enclosing shields as follows:—(a) probably Courtenay quartering Redvers with a garter, (b) quarterly, (c) Redvers, various badges of the house of Courtenay, crowned swan, fish, pig, eagle and faggot, and smaller shields of Beaumont, Redvers and a defaced coat impaling two bars; the window is of six cinque-foiled ogee lights with vertical tracery on the face and one on each return; below the transom the lights have been replaced by three 17th-century elliptical-headed lights with imposts; on the returns the original cinque-foiled lights remain below the transom; the internal soffit has trefoiled and quatre-foiled panels; between this window and the one above is a second band of panels with shields bearing the initials and devices of Abbot Charde, the arms of the abbey etc.; the upper window of the oriel is similar to that below but there are no imposts to the lower lights and the splays and rear-arch have panels with trefoiled ogee and traceried heads; below the parapet of the porch and oriel is a third band of panels with the initials and badges of Charde, the arms of the abbey, men with musical instruments, winged cherub-supporters etc.; on the parapet is the inscription "Anno Dni millesimo Quingentesimo vicesimo octavo a domino factum est Thomas Charde Abbate". On the W. face of the parapet is a panel with the arms of the abbey and the initials T.C. The porch itself has a stone fan-vault, with quatre-foiled and trefoil-headed panels, springing from shafts with moulded capitals; in the E. wall is a 17th-century window set in an early 16th-century window or opening with a four-centred head. The room on the first floor has a recess or closet in the N. wall with a two-light traceried window opening into the hall, two loops on the W. and a locker on the S. with a small window looking into the main room. The oriel has a four-centred arch with curvilinear cusped panels carried down the responds; the ceiling has moulded beams carved with running foliage. The second-floor room has a 16th-century fireplace with a four-centred arch in a square head.
The Great Hall (now 54½ ft. by 28 ft.) was built c. 1528 and has a 17th-century embattled parapet. The S. front (Plate 187) is divided into four free bays by weathered buttresses standing on an offset; the easternmost bay is covered by the porch in which is the doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with a label and spandrels enclosing plain shields and foliage; the free bays have each a window of four cinque-foiled and transomed lights in a square head in a flat four-centred outer order and panelled internal reveals; above each window is a band of carved panels (Plate 189) of semi-Renaissance character as follows:—first bay, female figure with scrolled termination, similar male figure, bearded monster with club and shield; second bay, two gryphons, two mermen, two sphinxes; third bay, two male figures, crowned Tudor rose with supporters, all reset; fourth bay, human figure with scrolled arms and legs, two winged monsters, two winged putti with blank shield. On the parapet is a late 17th or early 18th-century sundial with a broken pediment and ball. The windows in the N. wall have been blocked at different periods; they are visible internally and were similar to those opposite except that the window in the first bay was of five lights; blocking the fourth window is a 16th-century chimney-stack, extended to the E. in the 17th century when the fireplace was moved from the fourth to the third bay; reset in the face is a Tudor rose and a gargoyle. Inside the building (Plate 188), the lower part of the E. wall is lined with early 18th-century panelling with a cornice; in the middle is a round-headed niche with a curved pediment above it; on the E. wall is a painted panel of the Royal Stuart arms with the initials C.R.; the panelling is continued along the side walls under the windows with pilasters between the bays; between the windows are grouped stone shafts with moulded bases and angel-corbels; the shafts are cut short below the roofplates. The ceiled lower roof was probably reconstructed, of original materials, in the 17th century; it is of seven bays and of flat pitch coved at the sides; the main beams, subsidiary principals, purlins and plates are moulded and form square panels, with carved bosses at the intersections including foliage, symbols of the Passion, man's face and a shield with argent three cheverons gules; each panel is sub-divided by ribs with carved paterae at the intersections; above the embattled plates is a band of quatre-foiled panels enclosing paterae; the roof has restored colouring. The outer roof is of king-post type and is continued W. of the existing hall to the W. wall of the former hall; in this part is preserved part of the early 16th-century ceiling of the former hall; this includes part of the moulded wall-plates, painted red and green and some of the moulded beams dividing each bay into sixteen panels; this part of the roof is now concealed by the 17th-century ceiling below it. The W. part of the original hall was partly rebuilt in the 17th century, a cross-wall and an upper floor being inserted. The S. front has an embattled parapet continuing that of the hall. The basement has three two-light windows; the ground and first floors have each three square-headed windows, each with an architrave, frieze and cornice. On the N. side the building is largely masked by adjoining buildings. Inside the block, the basement has an early 16th-century doorway, in the W. wall, with moulded jambs and four-centred head; there is another doorway, with a four-centred head, in the N. wall. The West Dining Room, on the ground floor, is lined with enriched late 17th-century panelling divided into bays by fluted Corinthian pilasters supporting an enriched entablature; the fireplace is flanked by Ionic columns supporting an entablature with a scrolled centre-piece; the overmantel has an enriched panel with a painting of a Dutch interior, carved brackets at the sides, cornice, curved pediment and a central panel with a painting of a man's head. The doorway in the N. wall has an eared architrave, an enriched cornice and a broken pediment enclosing a scrolled pedestal and a panel-painting of fruit. The plaster ceiling (Plate 191) of c. 1655–60 has a central oval and eight rectangular panels divided by bands elaborately enriched with fruit, foliage and small modillions; the central panel has a figure, probably of Flora (Plate 199), with a cornucopia of flowers, surrounded by a wreath and scroll-work with figures; the angle-panels have wreaths and rosettes and the side-panels have scroll-work with flowers, putti and half-figures. The room above has a 17th-century fireplace with side-pilasters and entablature with a central panel; the overmantel has an eared central panel with scrolled pilasters between the ears, panelled side-pilasters, entablature, pediment and centre-piece. On the W. wall is a stone panel (Plate 189) with a partly defaced carving of a shield with the arms of the abbey, the initials of Thomas Charde and two angel-supporters. The mid 17th-century plaster ceiling (Plate 192) has a central oval and rectangular side-panels divided by bands with conventional foliage; the oval panel has a rosette and palm-wreath and the other panels have bay-wreaths or cartouche-panels. The room on the second floor has a 16th-century fireplace with moulded jambs and four-centred head; it has presumably been reset. The buildings standing to the N. of the hall are of various dates. The great staircase has already been described; the building to the W. is modern but stands on the site of an earlier building as there is a blocked fireplace with a four-centred head on the N. face of the chimney-stack at the basement-level; further W. again is a lobby, probably of the 17th century, leading to the West Staircase; across the W. end is a low wooden screen of late 17th-century date with double dog-gates in the middle and panelled balustrading flanking the short flight of steps up to the staircase-hall; this balustrading has newels with ball-tops and scrolled rails. The two doorways on the S. side of the staircase-hall have each an enriched eared architrave on a panelled setting and with a cornice carried up over a central panel above the door. The W. staircase (Plate 53) is of c. 1660 and has enriched moulded strings and rails, turned balusters and square newels with panels of fruit and foliage and ball-terminals; some of the newels are double and one (Plate 195) bears a cartouche with the arms of Prideaux impaling Ivory; the soffit of the staircase has plaster panels with enriched mouldings. The ceiling at the W. end of the staircase-hall has a coloured rose with a partly defaced painted inscription "est rosa flos Veneri quius quo fui calater ent . . . amo . . . ab matris dona dicavit amor". At the E. end of the N. wall is a blocked doorway with a four-centred head, only visible on the N. face. The small three-storey wing to the N. of the staircase-hall probably formed part of an early 16th-century two-storeyed N. wing of which the start of the W. wall can be traced 17 ft. further W. The small wing has several late 16th-century windows.
The W. Block beyond the Hall is of three storeys with a basement; it was built early in the 16th century but was much altered and rebuilt in the 17th century. The S. front has an embattled parapet; the lower windows are square-headed and have moulded architraves and cornices; the side-windows of the top floor are similar but the cornice is carried over the round head of the middle window. At the S.W. angle is a semi-hexagonal buttress. In the W. wall (Plate 202), within the gatehouse, is an early 16th-century doorway with a four-centred head; on the first-floor level near the S. end is an early 16th-century window of four cinque-foiled ogee and transomed lights and tracery in a square head with moulded reveals and label and panelled splays and rear-arch; the lower lights are blocked; the window is set in a slight recess in the wall and above it is a carved early Renaissance panel (Plate 189) of two winged mermen blowing trumpets; above the gatehouse is a crow-stepped weathering and a horizontal string-course at the second-floor level above which the walling and embattled parapet are 17th-century additions. Reset in the wall are three early 16th-century carved panels— two seated gryffons, a portcullis and a shield with the monogram T.C. and two herons holding master's caps in their beaks as supporters. The N. front is largely a 17th-century reconstruction; the windows are of that date and of one, two and three lights with labels; four of them are transomed. On the second floor is a reset early 16th-century window of four trefoiled ogee lights in a square head; below it is a reset early 16th-century panel enclosing a shield with the initials T.C. and a crozier and two winged putti holding a hat. The projecting N.W. angle probably contained garderobes; reset in it are early 16th-century carved panels, a bearded and winged half-figure with the initials T.C. and a winged half-figure with a winged hat and an urn. The E. return wall, N. of the hall-block, has two early 16th-century windows, each of two cinque-foiled ogee lights and tracery in a square head. Inside the building, the Drawing Room on the ground floor has a panelled door and panelled pilasters in the angles of the room; the fireplace (Plate 200) has a moulded surround of c. 1700 with brackets and cornice; the mid 17th-century overmantel has carved side-pilasters, cornice and scrolled pediment; the enriched panel has a painting of a classical landscape on canvas. The mid 17th-century plaster ceiling is divided into geometrical panels by broad bands with bay-leaf ornament; the end panels have scrolls with figures and beasts; the central part has a large oval and four small round panels; the oval has scrolled foliage and a wreath enclosing a figure of a woman (Plate 199) with a palmbranch; the spandrel-panels have large scrolls with half-figures and scallop-shells. In this room are hung a number of panels of late 16th-century Flemish tapestry representing the Exploits of Constantine. The room above the drawing room has a fireplace with a moulded surround, side-pilasters, panelled frieze, brackets and cornice; the overmantel has side-pilasters supporting a cornice with a central panel; the main panel of the overmantel is eared and is flanked by rectangular panels. The mid 17th-century plaster ceiling is divided into rectangular panels by broad bands with guilloche-ornament; the central panel has a further circular band enclosing a bay-wreath.
The Gatehouse, at the W. end of the range (Plate 202), is a two-storeyed building of the 15th century. The N. or outer archway has chamfered jambs and four-centred head; above it is a 17th-century window of one four-centred light. The inner archway is rebated for doors of which the iron pins remain. On the W. wall are the marks of a destroyed building formerly extending to the W. In the wall is a 17th-century two-light transomed window and in the gable is a reset beast corbel.
The Stables, N.E. of the house, form an H-shaped plan and are probably of early 17th-century date; they are of two storeys or one storey with attics and the roofs are slate-covered. Some of the elevations have been much altered, but the windows, where original, are nearly all of three transomed lights. The interior has been modernised but the central range has a reset early 16th-century roof with six trusses of collar-beam type with curved braces forming an ogee point at the apex.
d(4) Sadborow (Plate 75), house 7/8 m. S.S.W. of the parish church, is of three storeys. The walls consist of ashlar facing of Ham Hill stone with Portland stone filling; the roofs are covered with slates and asphalt. It was built between 1773 and 1775 for John Bragge and cost £2,589 2s. 4½d.; a book of day-to-day expenses is preserved in the Dorset County Museum, Dorchester, which includes payments for demolition of the pre-existing house and levelling the site. Jonathan Willis appears to have been clerk-of-works, and masons employed from the Ham Hill quarries were John Johnson, Robert Scriven and John Templeman. A number of drawings in the Museum and at the house show alternative plans and elevations, the variations are small and there is no departure from the general character of the existing building. In 1843 a twostorey wing was added on the W. and about the same time minor additions and alterations to the house were made in neo-Grecian style. The roofs have been altered recently.
The house is a good example of its period, with well-contrived entrance-hall and stair-hall.
The E., N. and S. fronts of the original house are symmetrically designed; all the windows are rectangular with flat arches and are quite plain. The E. Front has a plinth, plain flat string-course at first-floor sill-level and a cornice with mutule-like blocks; the entrance in the centre is flanked by blind arcading of two bays on either side with semi-circular arches without imposts; there are tall windows in the blocking. The stone porch with panelled sides was added in the first half of the 19th century when the stone surround of the original entrance-doorway was moved to the N. front. The arcaded and pedimented feature containing chimneys placed centrally above the cornice is an addition contemporary with the porch. The N. Front contains ranges of windows on all floors; the E. four bays of the ground floor are concealed by a singlestorey addition of the first half of the 19th century, the doorway into it has the reset stone surround of the original main entrance-door with side-pilasters, fluted frieze with discs over the pilasters and cornice. The lower wing adjoining the front on the W. has a stone panel containing a relief-carving of the arms of Bragge impaling Sparrow, the Bragge crest and the date 1843. The S. Front (Plate 75) has a wide semi-circular bay in the middle, and plinth, string-course and cornice carried round from the E. front; the only other decorative feature relieving the plainness of the front is the honeysuckle pattern of the 19th-century iron window-guards in the top windows of the bay. To the W., a pedimented stone centrepiece is the only surviving part of a greenhouse which connected the house and the range of outbuildings further W., it contains open arcading of three bays with semi-circular arches on plain imposts. The W. Front is partly concealed by the later wing.
Inside, the entrance-hall opens into a domed stair-hall in the centre of the house (Plate 120); the opening between them has a wide elliptical arch springing from entablatures with fluted frieze carried on columns and pilasters with fluted caps; the main entrance-door is in a blind screen of similar detail. The doorways into the N.E. and S.E. rooms have added scroll-cresting of neo-Grecian design and above are plaster panels with reliefs of urns and gryphons. The W. wall of the stair-hall and the stone staircase against it are semi-circular in plan; the stair has a mahogany handrail and wrought-iron scroll balusters alternating with pairs of plain uprights. Two openings and a recess in the stair-wall at first-floor level have three-centred heads; in one of the openings is a wrought-iron balustrade. The landing is divided into two by an open screen of columns. The stair-dome (Plate 184) has a circular sky-light and the plasterwork of the sides is decorated with panels containing urns and trophies of musical instruments, swags and rosettes. The N.E. room on the ground floor contains an open screen towards the N. end of two Ionic columns and antae with a frieze enriched with urns and wreaths and a cornice; frieze and cornice are continued round the room. The plaster ceiling in the S.E. room with festoons and small roundels containing figure subjects has been altered in the 19th century. On the first floor, a S. room contains an original 18th-century fireplace-surround of white marble with side-pilasters and urns and a frieze containing discs and coloured marble inlays. Another room has a fireplace with a late 18th-century wood surround with decorative frieze and frieze-panel and a grate with round opening.
The Outbuildings have in the E. front a panel with reliefcarving of the shield-of-arms of Bragge quartering on a bend engrailed three fleur-de-lis with a crescent for difference.
d(5) Holditch Court, house, tower, fish-ponds etc., about 2 m. S.W. of the church. The House is of two storeys; the walls are of flint and stone rubble and the roofs are tiled. It was built as a gatehouse early in the 16th century and extended in the 17th century. The W. front has two weathered buttresses and two original windows of three and four lights with labels; until c. 1900 there was a large archway with a small arch beside it in situ towards the S. end. Inside the building is an original doorway with a four-centred head and the door has large strap-hinges. The Tower, S.E. of the house, formed part of a semi-fortified manor-house of the Brook family. The tower is a nearly square structure (12¾ ft. by 11¾ ft. internally) with a projecting circular stair-turret at the S.W. angle, which has lost its steps. The building is presumably of late mediæval date but is heavily ivy-grown. There are traces of a rectangular stone building, 16 yards S.E. of the tower. Immediately to the S. are traces of a bank and scarp and of another bank which may represent some defensive enclosure. About 40 yards N.E. of the house is an oblong sinking with a cross-bank towards its W. end. This was no doubt a Fish-pond and the W. part is still wet.
b(6) Forde Grange, house and barn 1 m. N.W. 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 16th century and has a 17th-century addition at the E. end. The building has been much altered but inside it is an original moulded ceiling-beam and a roof of seven bays and of collar-beam type with curved braces. A reused key-stone in the house bears the initials and date F.G. 1749. The Barn, S. of the house, is of early 16th-century date and of eight bays with two porches on the N. The porches have weathered buttresses and there are eight weathered buttresses on the S. wall; this side has loops and two openings opposite the porches. The roof is of eight and a half bays and of braced collar-beam type with tie-beams. The outer face of the E. wall is provided with pigeon-holes.
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. Some of the buildings have exposed ceiling-beams and original fireplaces.
b(7) Cottage, 100 yards S.W. of (6), was built probably early in the 18th century.
b(8) Higher Shedrick, cottage, 1 m. N. of the church.
b(9) Chaffeigh Farm, house ¾ m. N.E. of the church, has a later 17th-century wing at the back. The building retains many of its original stone-mullioned windows, some of them with labels. The Granary, N.E. of the house, is a circular building of rubble with a conical roof.
b(10) Lower Synderford Farm, house 330 yards S.S.W. of (9), retains one original window with a pointed head.
b(11) House, 110 yards S.S.W. of (10), has been much altered.
b(12) Cottage on the S.E. side of the road 700 yards E.N.E. of the church.
b(13) Cottage 100 yards S.W. of (12).
b(14) Cottage 80 yards S.W. of (13).
b(15) Cottage on the E. side of the road at Saddle Street, 600 yards E. of the church.
b(16) Saddle Street Farm, house opposite (15), has been much altered in the 18th century and on the S.E. front is a stone with the initials and date W. and D.H. 1762.
b(17) Yew Tree Farm, house 250 yards S.E. of (16), has a later extension at the N. end.
b(18) Gough's Barton, house 380 yards E. of the church, has been much altered.
b(19) Crown Inn, on the S.E. side of the road 120 yards E. of the church, has been much altered.
b(20) The Vicarage, S.E. of the church, was built in the 16th century on an L-shaped plan but has been much altered. The house retains some original stonemullioned windows and a reset fireplace with a four-centred arch in a square head. In the garden are the traceried heads of six windows from the old church and of early to late 14th-century date; there are also the bowl of a piscina and a head-corbel.
b(21) Royal Oak Inn, on the S. side of the churchyard, retains two original windows in the E. wall of two lights with labels.
b(22) Thorncombe Farm, house opposite (21), was built probably late in the 16th century and retains some original moulded ceiling-beams; there is also one original window with a label. A pump in the house is dated 1798.
b(23) Golden Lion Inn, 120 yards S.W. of (22), has later and modern additions on the S. and W.
b(24) Workhouse Farm, house 30 yards S.W. of (23), has been much altered.
b(25) Cottage 40 yards S.W. of (24).
d(26) Schoolhouse Farm, house nearly ¾ m. S.W. of the church, has an extension of c. 1700 on the N.W. There are some original stone windows and the doorway to the later part has an eared architrave and pediment; above it is an oval window.
d(27) Grighay Farm, house on the S. edge of the parish over 1 m. S. of the church, has various later additions. The porch has an outer archway with moulded jambs and segmental head. Inside the building is an original muntin and plank partition.
d(28) Pigeon House, at the Warren ¼ m. W. of (27), is a single-storey circular building with a modern conical roof.
d(29) Elmore Farm, house nearly 1¼ m. S.W. of the church, was built c. 1600 and has an 18th-century addition on the N. There are some original stonemullioned windows and the roof is of collar-beam type with curved braces.
d(30) Beerhall Farm, house over 1¾ m. S.W. of the church, has been much altered.
d(31) Lower Hewood Farm, house nearly 1¼ m. W.S.W. of the church, retains some windows with solid oak frames and two small stone windows. One staircase is set in a semi-circular projection.
b(32) Cottage 120 yards N.N.W. of (31).
b(33) Hewood Farm, house 70 yards W. of (32), has an 18th-century extension on the N. and retains an internal doorway with a four-centred head.
b(34) Higher Hewood Farm, house 180 yards W. of (33), retains some original stone-mullioned windows.
b(35) New House, nearly 1½ m. W. of the church, retains one original stone window of four lights with a label.
b(36) Higher Holditch, house 560 yards W.S.W. of (35), was built probably in the 16th century and retains an original four-light window with a label.
d(37) Cottage adjoining the school 320 yards S.W. of (36).
d(38) Golden Fleece Inn, Holditch, 250 yards W. of (37), was built c. 1700 but has been much altered.
d(39) Manor Farm, house 40 yards N. of (38), retains some original stone-mullioned windows with labels.
b(40) James Lears, house, 1¼ m. N. of (39).
c(41) Lower Holditch Farm, house nearly 2¾ m. W.S.W. of the church, was built in the 16th century but has been much restored. The S. front retains its original stone-mullioned windows with labels. Inside the house is a fireplace with a moulded four-centred head.
a(42) Westford Park, house 1,430 yards N.N.E. of (41), has a later extension on the N.W. It retains some original windows and fireplaces with moulded four-centred arches in square heads.
a(43) Westford Farm, house 820 yards N. of (42) and 2½ m. W.N.W. of the church, was built in the 16th century and has a 17th-century extension on the N.E. The roof is of collar-beam type with curved wall-posts continuing the principals.
a(44) Bateham's Cottage, ¼ m. N.E. of (43), was built in the 16th century and retains some original stonemullioned windows, plank-partitions and two internal doorways with triangular heads.