Cerne, Up

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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'Cerne, Up', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 1, West, (London, 1952) pp. 86-87. British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

In this section

24 CERNE, UP (E.c.)

(O.S. 6 in. (a)XXII, S.W. (b)XXXI, N.W.)

Up Cerne is a small parish adjoining Cerne Abbas on the N.W. The Manor House is the principal monument.


a(1) Parish Church (dedication unknown) stands in the S.E. part of the parish. The walls are of flint and stone rubble with freestone dressings; the roofs are covered with slates and tiles. The Chancel was rebuilt early in the 16th century. The church was restored in 1870 when the Nave was rebuilt, the chancel largely rebuilt and the West Tower added. The Organ Chamber was built in 1912.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (16¼ ft. by 13¼ ft.) has a reset 15th-century E. window of three trefoiled ogee lights with vertical tracery in a four centred head with moulded reveals and label with returned stops. In the N. wall is a 16th-century window of two four-centred lights in a square head with moulded reveals and label; further W. is a modern arch to the organ-chamber. In the S. wall are two windows uniform with that in the N. wall; the blocked doorway has moulded jambs and four-centred head. The chancel-arch is modern.

Fittings—Brass: In tower—to Elizabeth, daughter of Matthias Barber, 1693, inscription only. Communion Table: modern, but incorporating late 17th-century turned legs. Font: square tapering bowl of Purbeck marble, one face with simple scallop-ornament, others with range of panels with rounded heads, cylindrical stem and moulded base for four subsidiary shafts, late 12th-century, subsidiary shafts modern. Hatchments: In nave—one on N. wall, of White (Plate 25), two on S. wall, of Carey and of Batten impaling White, 19th-century. Monument and Floor-slab. Monument: In N. chapel—on E. wall, to John White, 1830, Harriet his wife, 1862, and others, white marble wall-tablet with shield-of-arms, by G. Wood, Bristol. Floor-slab: In nave—to Edmund Taunton, 1672, Elizabeth his wife, 1669, and Mary, their daughter, 1678–9, with incised architectural decoration. Piscina: In chancel—recess with chamfered two-centred head and drain, mediæval. Plate: includes Elizabethan cup and cover-paten, the former with band of engraved ornament, also pewter flagon and dish, probably 18th-century. Pulpit: of oak, octagonal, each face with one carved and one reeded panel, carved top rail, early 17th-century. Seating: Reading-desk and pew in N. chapel, made up with early 17th-century panelling similar to pulpit. In tower— two coffin-stools with turned legs, 17th-century; a third in ringing-chamber. Sundial: On S.W. angle of nave—scratch-dial, reset. Miscellanea: On N. porch— over outer entrance, small figure of woman, 15th-century.


b(2) Up Cerne Manor House (Plate 99), 40 yards S. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are covered with stone slates. It was built or rebuilt early in the 17th century by Sir Robert Mellor (d. 1624). The N. wing was added late in the 17th century and is largely of brick; it incorporates parts of an earlier building. The house was much altered and despoiled of its plasterwork and woodwork early in the 19th century when the two bay-windows were rebuilt. The house was re-roofed in 1892 and the turret at the N. end of the main block was added in 1909.

The W. Front has gabled cross-wings at the ends, a small gabled wing against the N. cross-wing and a one-storeyed porch, above which there is a small gable on the main wall. The windows have four-centred lights in square heads and mostly have moulded labels. In the end of the N. cross-wing is a five-light window partly blocked and in the end of the S. cross-wing is a three-light window also partly blocked; the other windows are mostly of two lights. The porch has an outer entrance with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with a label; in the N. wall is a blocked four-centred arch; the inner entrance has moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head; it is fitted with a door of nail-studded battens with strap-hinges. The E. Front has been much restored and the windows renewed. The N. wall retains some original windows. The N. Wing has an E. wall of stone with some original stone-mullioned windows. The late 17th-century W. wall is of brick with black headers; the windows are of stone and of two four-centred lights; they are of early 17th-century date reset. Incorporated in the walls of the main block are two beast-heads, a man's head and two respond-capitals, probably from Cerne Abbey.

Up Cerne Manor House

Inside the building, the Hall has an original fireplace with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head; the surround has strapwork-panels and the overmantel is of two bays divided by a terminal female figure; the bays have each an enriched panel enclosing strapwork and a shield. The passage to the N. has an original wooden partition. The S.E. room has an original fireplace with chamfered jambs and four-centred head; the head has joggled joints. The S.W. room has a reset original wooden partition with moulded styles forming panels and a moulded cornice; the fireplace has a surround made up of early 17th-century and modern woodwork; the overmantel has a panel with a carving of Adam and Eve with the serpent flanked by terminal figures supporting the enriched entablature. The room above the S.E. room has a small early 17th-century stone panel with the figure of a man holding a severed head and a broken dagger.

a(3) Higher Farm, house 300 yards W.N.W. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of coursed rubble and flint and the roofs are tiled. It was built late in the 17th century and retains two original three-light windows with moulded labels.

a(4) Cottage, 80 yards N.W. of (3), is of two storeys; the walls are of coursed rubble and flint and the roofs are thatched. It was built probably early in the 18th century.


a(5) Bank and Ditch across the boundary between this parish and that of Hillfield, 1½ m. N.W. of the church, can be traced for about 150 yards. It probably extended across the ridge top and has the ditch on the W. side. In its best preserved part the bank is about 9 ft. wide and 9 in. high, while the ditch is 16ft. wide and 2 ft. to 3 ft. deep.

a(6) Earth Ring, on High Cank ¼ m. N.N.W. of the church, consists of a ditch with an outer bank and a single entrance on the E. (for plan see preface, p. xxxii). The total diam. of the work is about 74 ft. and the bank rises at most some 3 ft. above the bottom of the ditch. There are some traces of a slight mound, much disturbed, in the middle of the ring.

b(7) Mound, probably a bowl barrow, on Wancombe Hill 1,450 yards W.S.W. of the church, is 60 ft. in diam. and 4 ft. high.

b(8) Celtic Field-System, on the N. and E. sides of Seldon Hill and on the E. side of Wancombe Hill, ½ to ¾ m. W. of the church.

a(9) Lynchets, on the N. and S. sides of Sheephouse Bottom ¾ m. W. of the church.

a(10) Lynchets, on the S.E. slope of Seldon Hill 700 yards W.S.W. of the church.