Pages 63-70

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)V, S.E. (b)VI, S.W. (c)XI, N.E. (d)XII, N.W.)

Castleton is a parish surrounding that of Sherborne. Oborne old chapel, the old castle, Sherborne Castle and Wyke are the principal monuments.


b(1) Remains of buildings on either side of Pinford Lane ½ m. E.N.E. of the old castle, at and near the point marked on the O.S. The earlier discoveries were made by the late Mr. E. A. Rawlence, F.S.A., but there is no record of their character. In recent years Mr. C. E. Bean, F.S.A., has found traces of structures, including rough foundations, floors and an oven or drying kiln. These excavations were made in the Long Plantation, S. of the lane, and also near the site marked on the O.S. Among the finds in the Long Plantation were a British coin ascribed to the Durotriges and others of Gallienus, Carausius, Constantine II, etc., also a fragment of early 2nd-century figured Samian. On the other side of the lane were found coins of Nero and Salonina, pottery including an early to mid 2nd-century fragment, large quantities of painted wall-plaster, lias roofing-slabs, beads, and three 1st or early 2nd-century brooches.

a(2) Remains of buildings on the E. side of Sandford Road, about ¼ m. N. of the house called Dymor and nearly 1½ m. N.N.W. of Sherborne Abbey, were found by Mr. C. E. Bean in recent years. They included fragments of stone floors and part of a rough stone wall. The finds include coins of Tetricus and Victorinus and a 2nd-century brooch.


b(3) Old Parish Church of St. Cuthbert, Oborne, stands on the S. side of the road on the N.E. edge of the parish. The walls are of rubble with dressings of the same material, and the roof is slate-covered. The church was formerly a chapel of ease to Sherborne. The Chancel was rebuilt by John Myer, abbot, and John Dunster, sacrist, of Sherborne in 1533. At some uncertain date subsequent to 1802 the nave and N. porch were destroyed; the W. Tower, if there was one, was destroyed earlier. A new church was built in Oborne village in 1862 and in recent years the chancel of the old building has been restored.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (20½ ft. by 14 ft.) was rebuilt early in the 16th century. The E. window is of four four-centred lights in a square head with the following inscription on the lintel "Orate pro bono statu do[m]pni Johis. M. abbatis de Schirborn ano. Domini MCCCCCXXXIII"; flanking the head are shields bearing a crozier between the initials I.M. and the arms of the abbey; above the head of the window is a shield of the royal Tudor arms with a crown. The gable has a cross with a weathered figure of Christ. In the N. wall is a window similar to the E. window but now blocked; on the lintel is the inscription "Orate pro bono statu dompni Johis. Dunster sacriste de Schirborn qui hoc opus fieri fecit ano. Domini"; flanking it are shields bearing a device, perhaps the initials I.D., and the arms of Horsey. In the S. wall is a window similar to the E. window but without inscription or shields; the doorway has chamfered jambs and four-centred head. In the W. wall are the moulded responds of the chancel-arch; in place of the arch is an early 16th-century moulded beam with mortices for the rood-loft and a modern gable-wall above; in the blocking of the opening is a reset 15th-century doorway with chamfered jambs and two-centred head. Reset in the gable are two 15th-century window-heads each of two trefoiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head. The bell-cote is modern.

The Church, Plan

The Nave is represented by portions of foundations extending some 35 ft. to the W. of the chancel. The remains at the W. end seem to indicate some form of W. tower.

The Roof of the chancel is of barrel-form, plastered on the soffit; it retains its original moulded wall-plates and some of the ribs.

Fittings—Altar: Reset under communion table, large slab, probably altar. Bell: inaccessible, uninscribed, probably old. Communion Rails: with turned balusters and moulded rail with enrichment, 17th-century. Communion Table: with turned legs and enriched top-rails, 17th-century. Monument and Floor-slabs. Monument: In churchyard—N.E. of chancel, to Richard Ferkes, 1601, table-tomb. Floor-slabs: In chancel—(1) to John Shuttleworth, 1686. On site of nave—(2) slab with incised cross and calvary, mediæval. Plate: includes a stand-paten of 1723 and a paten of 1724. Pulpit (Plate 27): four-sided with moulded styles and rails, three ranges of panels, two lower with lozenge enrichments, upper with conventional designs with fleurs-de-lis, enriched cornice and scrolled brackets to bookshelf, with date 1639. Recess: In chancel—in S. wall, plain rectangular recess. Tiles: In chancel—ornamental slip-tiles, set in modern panels, with shields-of-arms (a) a griffin, (b) checky, (c) Edward the Confessor, also crossed keys and a sword, birds, etc.; others in nave, late 14th or 15th-century. Miscellanea: In chancel and in churchyard— various architectural fragments.


b(4) Sherborne Old Castle, ruins and moat, stands in the E. part of the parish. The walls are of local rubble with ashlar and dressings of freestone. The castle was built by Roger, Bishop of Salisbury, between 1107 and 1135. To this period belongs the whole of the main lay-out of the castle, including the curtainwall with its towers and gates and the central block. This central block differs from nearly every other contemporary castle in that the keep formed a part only of a block of buildings surrounding a central courtyard which was itself provided with alleys like a cloister; recent excavation has revealed the 12th-century plinth of the alley walls on all four sides. In the light of this it is probable that such an arrangement existed in the castle at Old Sarum, also built by Bishop Roger, where there is a space of considerable size in the centre of the so-called "great tower". At Sherborne the keep occupies the S.W. angle of the block and though it has a forebuilding on the W. this forebuilding never formed a part of the entrance to the keep, which seems always to have been by a staircase in the adjoining range on the N. An addition made on the S. side of the keep is of later date.

After the fall of Roger the castle passed into the hands of the Crown with whom it remained till 1337 and it was returned shortly after to the bishops of Salisbury. The foundations of various buildings have been uncovered recently and date from various periods not always determinable. The 12th-century N. gateway seems originally to have had a long barbican descending the slope on the outer side of the moat. Probably in the 13th century the moat at this point was filled in and the gate and barbican joined up by two buildings with a wing-work on either side. The property passed into the hands of Sir Walter Raleigh in 1592 and he began to restore the castle, inserting windows and adding a staircase and terrace on the W. side of the keep. These works were soon abandoned, and the castle fell into disrepair. It was, however, held for the king in 1642 and was again besieged three years later; on this occasion it held out against Fairfax for sixteen days and surrendered on August 15th, 1645; the castle was then partly demolished and rendered untenable. Extensive excavations have been undertaken in recent years and are being continued.

The ruins are of high interest as one of the most important examples of semi-military and semi-domestic architecture of the 12th century.

The Site of about 3½ acres occupies the flat top of a rise, the ground falling away on each side. The earthworks have been considerably damaged; they consist of a deep ditch with an outer rampart for most of its length. The defences on the E. have been largely destroyed; on the N. the ditch has been turned outwards on each side of the extended entrance; on the N.W. the bank has been widened. An outer defencework on the W., semi-hexagonal on plan and with a triangular extension at a slightly lower level to the N., may date from the Civil War. The S.W. gateway is approached by a causeway. The ditch on the S. side is partly rock-cut and is from 26 ft. to 32 ft. in depth below the base of the curtain-wall, the outer rampart has been made up to carry a later pathway.

The S. W. Gatehouse (Plate 90) is a square structure of the 12th century, ashlar-faced and of four storeys with a battered plinth and clasping buttresses. The N.W. angle stands to its full height but the S. side is more ruined. On the W. face, the facing of the outer archway has gone and only the segmental rear-arch remains; at the springing-level is the socket for a cross-beam above the gates. On the floor above is a round-headed window stripped of its dressings but retaining its moulded label. On the second floor is a late 16th-century window of three square-headed lights; there is a similar window in the top floor. At the N.W. angle is a chimney-stack probably a late 16th-century addition built of 12th-century masonry; at the base of the stack are three vent-holes and at the top is a pyramidal capping and three round-headed openings. On the E. face, the inner archway has a segmental head of one plain order with moulded labels. On the first floor is an original window similar to that in the W. face and much robbed. On the second floor is a three-light late 16th-century window and there are remains of a similar window on the floor above. The side walls have each an original round-headed window, with a label, on the first floor, outside the curtain; on the N. side there is a second window, robbed of its dressings, within the curtain. On the second floor on each face is a round-headed doorway opening on to the wallwalk of the curtain; both have been robbed. Inside the building the gate-hall had a central doorway of which parts of the nibs remain; in the S.E. angle is a staircase now having no entrance on the ground floor owing to modern repair; in the N.E. angle is a small chamber with a barrel-vault springing from moulded string-courses. The upper floors have each the remains of a fireplace, probably all inserted late in the 16th century. The tower was originally roofed with a pent-roof within the walls; the higher end on the W. was at the later roof-level and the lower end on the E. at the level of the second floor; the rake of the roof is preserved on the internal S. wall and two pieces of raking weathering on the returns of the clasping buttresses at the lower level seem to imply that the E. wall above this point was an afterthought; this early roof was subsequently replaced by the two upper storeys. The present approach to the gate is comparatively modern, but recent excavations have revealed part of the inner and outer abutments and part of a central pier: the inner span probably had a drawbridge and the outer span a masonry arch.

The Curtain enclosed an area about 470 ft. by 330 ft. with diagonal walls across the angles forming an octagon. Except for the first 15 yards, the curtain N. of the S.W. gate has been destroyed to the ground-level. Excavation has uncovered the base of a 12th-century rectangular tower astride the curtain where the wall turns N.E.; one stone of the S. jamb of the doorway remains; at the outer end is a garderobe pit; adjoining the S.E. angle is the foundation perhaps of a staircase to the wall-walk. The curtain on the N.W. and on most of the N. faces has been destroyed to the ground-level. Near the middle of the N. face excavation has uncovered the base of a 12th-century gateway; in this period there was probably a drawbridge across the moat connecting this gateway with a long passage or barbican descending the hill; this gap seems to have been replaced, in the 13th century, by an extension of the gateway and by a chamber to the N.; the extension has a battered plinth and a portcullis-groove and had two flights of steps within the passage; the chamber to the N. (30 ft. by 14 ft.) had a sloping floor and a series of external offsets. Under the N.E. angle is the base of the 12th-century buttress of the barbican; flanking the 13th-century buildings are the remains of wing-works, also probably of the 13th century, with circular turrets at the outer angles; the ashlar-faced base of the N.W. turret remains. Beyond the 13th-century work to the N. is a long descending corridor of 12th-century date and formerly roofed with a descending barrel-vault. The E. wall has remains of one and the W. wall of two small windows with round heads. At the N. end the walls have a battered buttress and diagonal wing-walls supporting the thrust of the raking vault; there are no remains of any original gate or doorway at the N. end; between the buttressed ends is an inserted doorway of which the rebated jambs remain. The W. wing-wall has a late continuation in rubble and probably of the 17th century; within the entrance is a well, probably of the same date. The greater part of this unusual entrance has been recovered in the recent excavations. The E. end of the N. curtain and part of the N.E. curtain is standing to a height of about 25 ft. At the junction with the E. curtain excavation has uncovered the base of a gateway and tower, with a chamfered plinth and probably of the 12th century. There are remains of the central passage-way and 8 yards outward in the moat is the base of a 12th-century pier of a former bridge or drawbridge; the rubble core of a second pier survives further to the E. The E. curtain is standing in one fragment to a height of about 20 ft. Against its northern end the foundations of an adjoining building with two doorways have been uncovered; within it is a block of 12th-century masonry perhaps supporting a staircase to the wall-walk. The S.E. curtain has been destroyed above ground; at its N. end there appears to have been a 12th-century tower astride the curtain, and traces of the junction of its N. wall with the curtain have been uncovered. The S. curtain has been largely destroyed, but three fragments of it are still standing. The S.W. curtain is standing for its whole length to the height of the wall-walk.

The main block (Plate 91) of the castle-building stands in the middle of the bailey and consists of the keep to the S.W., with three ranges forming a courtyard to the E. Foundations of various subsidiary buildings have also been found.

The Keep consists of a main block, a forebuilding on the S.W. and an extension on the S. The main block (54 ft. by 41 ft. without the buttresses) is a building of c. 1130 and of at least three stages; the walls are of rubble, and the dressings are of freestone. The main block has on the ground floor a dividing wall running N. and S. and supporting two barrel-vaults; the S. end of this building was removed perhaps in Raleigh's restoration and an addition made; the foundations of the earlier S. wall have been uncovered; the barrelvaults are run on into groined vaults supported by a cylindrical column with a scalloped capital brought from elsewhere in the building; much of the vaulting has been rebuilt. There are three rough openings at the N. end of this stage, one, in the W. wall, has been blocked. On the E. wall are the junctions of the side walls of the former S. range and a string-course, formerly internal, with cheveron-ornament. The S. wall of the extension has a central buttress of segmental form, of which the ashlar-faced base remains; it is flanked by gaps probably representing windows, and there is a gap in the W. wall; much of the masonry is modern repair. The S.W. angle of the keep with the adjoining S. wall of the forebuilding is standing to the top of the third stage and adjoining it is the stump of the wall of the later addition; this has the N. jambs of two late 16th-century windows; the upper part of the main buttress retains its ashlar-facing. The forebuilding has clasping buttresses at the W. angles; the N.W. buttress has a door-check on its W. face. The W. wall of the main block is standing at least to the first-floor level; it has an intermediate and a N.W. clasping buttress. Against the N. wall of the forebuilding and returning on the W. wall of the main block is a late 16th-century stone staircase and terrace; the S. flight is complete and the lowest steps of the return flight; stone balusters from the balustrade have been found on the spot. The second stage of the main block has fireplaces of uncertain date in the N. and W. walls; the latter would seem to be later than the passage with steps in the thickness of the wall to the N.; this passage is entered by a round-headed opening and has an original communication with the second stage of the forebuilding. The ground stage of the forebuilding has no apparent means of access. Against the N. wall of the keep are the remains of the original staircase giving access to the first floor; it forms part of the adjoining range and had a barrel-vaulted roof ramped round at the W. end where it still survives.

The 12th-century W. Range running N. from the keep has the W. wall standing to a considerable height except for a large gap in the middle; it has pilasterbuttresses and a moulded string-course. There are remains of windows, that on the first floor with the base of an internal jamb-shaft and an adjoining internal string-course; at the N. end is a small chamber in the thickness of the wall. The E. wall of this range has been largely destroyed except where it adjoins the N. range; at the point of junction are the remains of a doorway and a window. The range had a rubble barrel-vault of which the springing remains on the E. wall against the N. range. The N. Range forms the N. side of a small courtyard. It is a two-storeyed building of the 12th century and possibly contained the chapel on the first floor. It is of four bays with clasping and pilaster buttresses on the N. side. Much of the S. wall stands to nearly its full height and the E. wall and the E. bay of the N. wall stand to about the same level; the rest of the N. wall is much more ruined. The ground-floor had a groined rubble vault over the three E. bays and a barrel-vault over the W. bay, now all fallen in. In the E. wall are remains of a doorway. In the N. wall are remains of former windows and openings; in the S. wall is a large gap representing a former doorway or window and, further W., a round-headed doorway. The apartment on the first floor is approached by a long flight of steps in the N. end of the E. range and ramped round at the top; this had a barrel-vault. In the E. wall are the remains of a round-headed window with cheveron-ornament; below it, internally, are remains of an intersecting wall-arcade of which the scalloped capital of the S.E. angle-shaft remains in situ with a fragment of the billeted string-course above. In the E. bay of the N. wall is a window (Plate 210) of one round-headed light; the head is of two orders with cheveron-ornament and a label with billet-ornament; the inner order is continuous, but the outer order springs from shafts with crocketed or scalloped capitals; the E. shaft is missing. Both this and the S. wall had an internal wall-arcade of intersecting arches of which traces remain in places. In the S. wall are the moulded and fluted jambs and head of one round-headed window and the gaps of two others; these were included under an external wall-arcade of intersecting arches, of which two lengths survive, they spring from scalloped or enriched capitals, but the shafts are missing though some of the bases survive. On the internal face of the wall are remains of a later staircase and the segmental ashlarbacking of a recess. Much of this wall has been repaired and refaced in modern times. The E. Range running S. from the chapel-block has been much ruined. The E. wall has pilaster-buttresses and in each of the three bays is an original window one of which retains its external round head. In the surviving part of the W. wall is one original window with external jambs of two splayed orders, with a square inner and a round outer head. The ground-floor, formerly divided by a cross-wall, had a rubble barrel-vault of which the springing remains on the E. wall. Part of the S. wall has been uncovered by excavation and in it is the W. jamb of a doorway. Adjoining the range on the S.E. the foundations of a later building have been uncovered, including a pit about 10 ft. by 9 ft. and a second pit to the S.

The S. Range which probably contained the Great Hall on the first floor has been almost entirely destroyed, but it certainly existed as foundations of the N. and S. walls have been found and the indications on the E. face of the keep can be most reasonably explained by the former existence of a high building of the same age of which the butt-ends of the side-walls remain; furthermore the string-course with cheveron-ornament is not represented on any other face of the keep. This string-course, formerly internal, and of some decorative importance, is at a considerable height above the ground and in order to be a reasonable height above the dais the hall itself must have been on the first floor; well below the string-course are sockets in the wall.

The recent excavations have uncovered the remains of various other buildings including some of a fragmentary character on the N. side of the site and others, more important, to the S.E. of the site and to the W. of the keep. Those to the S.E. adjoin the S. range of the courtyard and include a kitchen containing three stone bases for timber posts and a large fireplace at the N. end. Those by the keep include a building extending W. from the forebuilding and provided with pilaster and clasping buttresses, presumably of the end of the 12th century. A much later building adjoins it on the S. and there are traces of a N. wing. These and other foundations are indicated on the plan. The roughly circular building to the N.E. of the main block is probably a 17th-century structure and overlies an earlier foundation.

On a knoll to the N.E. of the moat are the foundations of a small building of indeterminate date and character.

b(5) Sherborne Castle, house 400 yards S. of the old castle, is of three storeys with cellars and attics; the walls are of rubble with freestone dressings and the roofs are lead-covered. The property was acquired by Sir Walter Raleigh from the See of Salisbury in 1592, and he began at first the restoration of the mediæval castle. This scheme was shortly abandoned in favour of building a new house to the S. on the site of an earlier building. This house forms the rectangular central block of the existing building with its four angleturrets; an early 17th-century plan of it by Simon Basil is at Hatfield House. The property passed in 1617 to Sir John Digby, later Earl of Bristol, who in 1625 enlarged the house by the addition of the four wings of two storeys with cellars, and hexagonal towers carried up an additional storey. Some alterations seem to have been made to the building late in the 17th century and this no doubt included the remodelling of the wingwindows on the E. front, though these are ascribed by Pope to the first Earl of Bristol. Alterations in the 18th century included the fitting of the Library in Strawberry Hill Gothic. The house was drastically restored in 1859–60 by G. D. Wingfield-Digby who added a range along the whole of the W. side and rebuilt the main staircase.

The House is of considerable interest for its unusual planning and for many of its internal fittings.

Sherborne Castle, Plan of Ground Floor

The fronts generally are symmetrically designed. The S. Front (Plate 92) of the main block is of four storeys with restored mullioned and transomed windows of three and four lights; the central bay is carried up higher than the rest of the front and has curvilinear supports and a balustraded parapet; the restored doorway has a round arch and plain imposts and is flanked by Doric columns supporting an entablature and an achievement-of-arms of Digby, Earl of Bristol; in Basil's plan the entrance is shown in the E. face of the S.W. angle-turret. The flanking hexagonal turrets have restored two-light windows with one, two or no transoms and are finished with plain parapets and heraldic beasts or chimney-stacks. The side-wings are of two storeys with a string-course, cornice and balustraded parapet surmounted by restored heraldic beasts; the restored three-light windows have one or two transoms. The hexagonal angle-turrets are carried up to three storeys; they have similar two-light windows and are finished with plain parapets with heraldic beasts and chimney-stacks at the angles. Between the wings is a much restored stone screen with a balustraded parapet and a central entrance; the entrance has a round arch with imposts and is flanked by square piers with shell-headed niches, cartouche-panels and a continuous entablature; over the arch is an open cresting with the Digby arms, a coronet and the crest of an ostrich holding a horse-shoe in its beak; the piers have ogee cappings supporting heraldic beasts. The restored N. Front is generally similar to the S. front, but the restored doorway has an enriched entablature with a four-light window above it in place of the achievement-of-arms. The screen-wall is similar but less elaborate; there are no cartouche-panels and no arms or coronet. The E. Front of the central block is of three storeys with attics and has restored transomed windows similar to those on the S. front; it is finished with a shaped gable with two round-headed windows in it. The flanking turrets have each a square-headed doorway, that in the N. turret being blocked. The added wings are each of three bays with the angle-tower; the wings are finished with a balustraded parapet with heraldic beasts. The windows of the wings are probably late 17th-century insertions; they are square-headed with eared architraves, console-brackets, entablatures, and pediments. The W. Front is largely covered by the added modern range; it was generally similar to the E. front.

Interior—The Entrance Hall has a panelled plaster ceiling of 1780; in the W. wall is a partly original window of three transomed lights converted into a doorway; in the S. wall, W. of the entrance, is the splay of an earlier opening; there are two original doorways with moulded jambs; one has a square head and one has a four-centred arch in a square head. The Room to the N. is entered by a similar doorway and has a fireplace with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head; there is an original window in the W. wall similar to that in the Hall, but unaltered. The Drawing Room has 19th-century fittings. The Red Drawing Room, in the N.E. wing, has a 17th-century plaster ceiling of geometrical design with broad bands enriched with running ornament; the panels have various devices including roses, fleurs-de-lis, griffons, lions, thistles, three fishes, dolphins, a collared bull's head, ostrich and a shield-of-arms of Walcot; the fireplace (Plate 94), presumably of the 17th century, has moulded jambs and square head with a frieze of intersecting circles above; it is flanked by fluted Corinthian columns supporting an entablature; the overmantel has a central gadrooned panel with an achievement of the quartered arms of Digby, Earl of Bristol; it is flanked by Composite columns supporting an entablature. The Lobby in the outer N.E. tower has a plaster ceiling of geometrical form with moulded ribs and devices including a crowned Tudor rose, fleur-de-lis, lion, sprays of hops and pinks, etc. The Library (Plate 95), in the S.E. wing is lined with 18th-century Gothic fittings; the bookcases have ogee trefoil-headed arcading on clustered columns, with circular niches in the spandrels containing busts; the cornice is coved and arcaded; there is 17th-century panelling at the back of the cases. The passage, between the library and the inner tower, is lined with early 17th-century panelling. The office in the outer tower is lined with panelling of the same period. The Oak Room, in the N.W. wing, is lined, for two-thirds of its height, with early 17th-century panelling; covering the two doorways, at the S. end, are panelled enclosures or lobbies (Plate 93); they have fluted Doric pilasters at the angles supporting a high enriched and bracketed frieze or attic with a cornice, elaborate cresting and heraldic beasts at the angles; the panelled doors have enriched mouldings and carved upper panels; in the N. wall is a moulded semi-circular archway, with moulded imposts and enriched key-stone. The room in the outer tower is lined with restored early 17th-century panelling; the fireplace has moulded jambs and four-centred arch and the fire-back bears the initials and date E. and G. H. 1709. In the modern Servants' Hall is an entablature and pediment of late 17th or early 18th-century woodwork, with a cartouche of the Digby crest, over the fireplace; carved scrolls of the same period flank a modern mirror. On the first floor, Lady Bristol's Room in the main block has a plaster geometrical ceiling with moulded ribs, conventional enrichments and crests of a stag; the late 17th-century panelled door in the W. wall has a brass lock with a figure of a man, numerals and the inscription "If I had ye gift of tongue, I would declare and do no wrong, who ye are ye come by stealth, to impare my master's welth. Johannes Wilkes de Birmingham fecit"; the scutcheon-plate is in the form of an achievement of the Digby arms. The two rooms to the N. both have original fireplaces; one of these rooms, the corridor on the N. of this block and the lobby between it and Lady Bristol's Room have geometrical ceilings with moulded ribs, pendants and devices including Tudor roses. The Green Drawing Room, on the E. of the main block, has a geometrical plaster ceiling with moulded ribs and acorn-pendants; in the panels are fleurs-de-lis and cartouches of the arms of Raleigh; the main fireplace has a moulded architrave surrounded by a band of intersecting circles; it is flanked by coupled Corinthian columns supporting an entablature with lions' heads and masks on the frieze; the overmantel has a central achievement of the Digby arms backed by an elaborate strapwork panel; flanking it are coupled Composite columns supporting a bracketed entablature. In each of the hexagonal bays is a smaller fireplace, with Corinthian side-columns supporting an entablature; the overmantel has a gadrooned panel with an achievement of the arms of Digby; flanking it are Composite columns supporting an entablature. The Boudoir in the outer S.E. tower has a geometrical plaster ceiling which may be of the 17th century and has enriched bands and hop-sprigs. On the W. side of this floor are remains of windows blocked by the modern addition. On the second floor, the Essex Room has an original fireplace with moulded jambs and square head. The Oak Turret in the inner N.E. tower is lined with early 17th-century panelling; the 17th-century fireplace is flanked by diminishing Ionic pilasters supporting a high entablature; the geometrical ceiling has small bosses and arabesques. The adjoining passage has also a geometrical ceiling. At the S. end of the S.E. wing is a stone staircase, part of which has a stone balustrade. On the third floor are several original fireplaces and doorways. The original staircase (Plate 52) to the roof has plain strings, moulded rails and simple turned balusters in the form of columns; the lower newel is carried up as a tapering column; the upper newel has been cut down. In the basement the central wall running E. and W. belongs to an early 16th-century building on the site and has a blocked window of three four-centred lights and a doorway with a four-centred head. The N.W. room of the main block has a large fireplace with a flat four-centred head. The old beer-cellar, now the billiard-room, has two 17th-century doorways with four-centred heads. In the S.E. wing is a 17th-century fireplace with a four-centred head.

On the S. side of the house is a balustraded enclosure to the forecourt, probably of the 17th century.

Adjoining the house on the W. and now forming the vestibule to a modern museum building is a late 18th-century Gothic Dairy with arcaded N. front with clustered columns and embattled and pinnacled parapet. Inside there are counters and shelves of late 18th-century date painted green and white and reset in the floor is part of the Roman pavement (Plate 127) from Lenthay Common (see Monument (2) in Sherborne). Facing the dairy is a Greenhouse (Plate 96) with the S. front built of finely finished ashlar and the others of brick faced with stucco with ashlar quoins. In the museum are designs for this "greenhouse" dated 1779. The classical S. front is symmetrically designed and has five lofty semicircular headed windows rising from ground level and arranged in three bays. The middle bay containing three windows has an entablature with dentil-cornice and ornamental frieze; the end bays are set forward and have each the same arrangement consisting of Roman Doric pilasters flanking the large single window and supporting a full pedimented entablature enriched with triglyphs and finely carved garlanded ox-skulls in the metopes. Apart from a moulded cornice the interior is plain.

The Museum contains a number of pieces of 18th-century wallpaper from the house with a design in black, sepia and yellow of Corinthian columns superimposed one upon another against a background strewn with pineapples and sea-shells (Plate 128); the paper bears an excise stamp. In addition to the designs for buildings in the park referred to, the museum contains a drawing for an elaborate late 18th-century Gothic entrance gateway flanked by lodges. There is too the greater part of the pedestal of a late 15th-century cross (Plate 12) found built into a house at Bishop's Down, Folke; it is octagonal with angular projections carved with the symbols of the Evangelists bringing it out to the square, the surviving free faces of the octagon are carved with the Entombment and Resurrection, there are fragments of a plinth with black-letter inscription and two corbels carved as angels.

The Stables (Plate 143), 300 yards W.S.W. of the house, are of two storeys; the walls to the courtyard are of ashlar, the others of coursed stone with ashlar quoins, the roofs are slate-covered. The buildings form three sides of a square, the fourth being bounded by wrought-iron railings and a central gateway with wrought-iron piers crowned with ostriches. The N. range and approximately 15 yards return of the side ranges are dated 1759, the latter were extended to the S. probably early in the 19th century. The original building has a central doorway with two stone-mullioned lights over and a pedimented label, flanking doorways, two-light stone-mullioned and transomed windows with strip-labels to the ground floor and two-light stonemullioned windows to the first floor; the original leaded-lights survive. Inside there is an original staircase with continuous string, turned balusters and moulded handrail. The stable fittings have cast-iron columns supporting semicircular arcading with roundels in the soffits containing ostriches. Immediately to the W. is another range of stables of one storey, with two-storey coach-houses at either end with flat roofs and ball finials on the parapets, built probably in 1806.

The Bridge (Plate 113) in the park 7/8 m. E. of the house, at Pinford, is built of ashlar, in three spans divided by broad projecting piers. The segmental arches have moulded archivolts; there is a balustraded parapet and a continuous band of key-pattern ornament at roadlevel. It is said to have been built to the design of Robert Mylne in 1790; in the museum is a design for a bridge in the park by Robert Adam, 1767, and another by the Hon. Capt. Digby "architectus", of the late 18th century and somewhat similar to the existing bridge.

About 330 yards N.W. of the house is a bridge dating from at least as early as the 17th century. It is a rubble structure, the original part of two spans with a later extension on the N.E. and an 18th-century extension of one span on the S.W.

Wyke Barns

c(6) Wyke, house, barns and moat in the S.W. corner of the parish. The House is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are covered with slates. It was built in 1650 by Eliab Harvey and there is a later 17th-century addition on the W. The N. Front has a doorway with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with the date 1650 in the spandrels. The windows are of two and three square-headed lights and above each range is a moulded string-course. The S. Front (Plate 99) is similarly treated and has a doorway of similar character; set between the storeys is a four-light window lighting the staircase. The E. and W. sides retain some original windows and the doorway in the E. wall has moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head; above it is a two-light window. The late 17th-century addition retains two, three, and four-light windows with moulded oak frames and mullions. Inside the addition are some exposed ceiling-beams. The Garden Walls, N. of the house, are of mid 17th-century date and retain two doorways with four-centred heads.

The Barns (Plates 50, 63), N.N.E. of the house, are two in number and are probably both of the 16th century. They form one continuous range (about 230 ft. long) of one storey with rubble walls and slate-covered roofs. The N.W. barn is of seven bays with two porches opposite one another; the S.E. barn is of twelve bays with two part bays and two porches on the N.E. side. The walls have two-stage buttresses. The roofs of both barns are of collar-beam type with curved braces under the collar-beams and curved wind-braces.

The Moat surrounds the house and is partly revetted in stone.

b(7) Pinford, house about 1 m. N.E. of the Castle (5), has been entirely rebuilt but incorporates one 17th-century two-light window from the earlier house. There are indications of former buildings S.W. of the house. There was formerly a chapel of St. James here.

b(8) Castle Farm, house 750 yards N.N.W. of the Castle (5), is of two storeys with cellars and attics; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. It was built probably in the 17th century and has later additions on the S. Some original ceiling-beams are exposed and there is part of a muntin and plank partition.

b(9) Cottage, 80 yards S. of (8), is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are thatched. It was built probably in the 17th century.

d(10) Limekiln Farm, house 1,500 yards S.W. of the Castle, is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are slate-covered. It was built probably early in the 18th century.

The Barn, E. of the house, is of the early 18th century. The walls are of rubble and the roofs tiled; the N.W. and S.E. ends have hipped gables and on the S.W. side are two gabled porches.

a(11) House, nearly 1½ m. N.W. of the Castle was built probably in the 17th century. The walls are of rubble and the roofs are thatched; there is a central chimney. It retains its original windows of three lights with heavy wood frames. The interior has stop-chamfered ceiling beams and exposed timber-framing.


a(12) Lynchets, on a W. and N. slope, to the S. of Ambrose Hill, about 2 m. N.W. of the Castle (5).