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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25 CHARMOUTH (A.d.)
(O.S. 6 in. XXXVII, N.W.)
Charmouth is a village and parish on the coast 2 m. N.E. of Lyme Regis. The Queen's Arms Hotel is the principal monument.
(1) Parish Church of St. Andrew, in the village, is built of local rubble with ashlar plinth and dressings, the roofs are covered with slates. It was entirely rebuilt in 1836 to the designs of Charles Fowler, architect, at a cost of about £2,400 and now comprises a shallow Chancel, S. Vestry, Nave with N. and S. Aisles, W. Tower and N. Porch. The chancel and nave are without structural division.
Fittings—Font: round bowl on octagonal stem with necking and plain base, probably 16th or 17th-century. Monuments: In chancel—on N. wall, (1) to Anthony Ellesdon, 1737, and later inscriptions to Ann his mother, Ann his wife and Charles his brother, wall-monument of white and veined marbles with flanking three-quarter Ionic columns and pedimented entablature, by M. Sidnell of Bristol, the cartouche above is probably from a late 17th-century monument; on S. wall, (2) to Joseph, son of Rev.T. Hodges and Maria his wife, white marble wall-monument with figure-subjects in relief, c. 1835; (3) to Edward Bragge, rector, 1747, and Martha his wife, 1769, stone wall-monument with inscription within a cartouche and a shield-of-arms, by J. Davey. In N. aisle—on N. wall, (4) to Sydenham F. Vere, 1803, white and coloured marble wall-monument with cornice and urn, by Gibbs, Axminster; (5) to Mary, wife of Stephen Harris, 1812, wall-monument by T. King, Bath; on S. wall, (6) to Simeon Bullen, 1822, and Elizabeth (Fitzherbert) his wife, 1819, white marble wall-monument with achievement-of-arms, by W. Fry, Bridport (see Chideock, Church fittings; Monument 3); (7) to James Collier, 1849, and Maryanne his wife, 1823, white marble walltablet shaped as a cross formy fitchy. In churchyard— (8) to Marget Chickly, late 17th-century, table-tomb. Plate: includes an Elizabethan cup with a band of engraved ornament on the bowl, a pair of cups of 1787–8, a stand-paten of 1716 engraved with the arms of Ellesdon, an alms-dish of 1834 and a Sheffield-plate flagon of 1823. Pulpit (Plate 27): now in the Wesleyan Chapel, Bridport—of oak, octagonal with moulded rails and styles and three ranges of panels, the two lower with enriched arches and the top panels with rosettes etc., early 17th-century. Miscellanea: In nave—on W. wall, shield-of-arms and inscription painted on stone recording improvements made, presumably to the previous church, by Anthony Ellesdon in 1732. Stone gable-cross with carved figure of priest or abbot on front of cross, 14th or 15th-century.
(2) Congregational Chapel, on the S. side of the road 210 yards E. of the church, is a plain rectangular building with stucco front. An inscription tablet in the N. pediment records that it was founded in 1689, rebuilt 1815 and restored 1866. The N. front has angle pilasters, cornice and pediment surmounted by a small wood turret with ogee-shaped lead-covered roof; the N. door has a round head and fluted architrave, and the windows are in two heights of two lights with round heads. The E. and W. walls contain round-headed windows. The interior is plain, with a gallery on slim columns at the N. end.
(3) Bridge, at the E. end of the village 400 yards E.N.E. of the church, of squared and coursed stone with ashlar dressings, was built by J. and W. Short in 1824. It is of one span consisting of a single elliptical-headed arch on chamfered plinths flanked by tapering pilasters containing moulded panels. There is a N. parapet wall of ashlar with plain capping containing an inscription panel; the S. has been replaced by railings.
(4) Queen's Arms Hotel, on the S. side of the main street 200 yards E. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of stone and the roofs are slate-covered. The house was built early in the 16th century with a central hall, solar and offices in the same range; there are later additions on the W. and S.
The building is an unusually complete example of a small late mediæval house.
For plan see preface, p. xxxix.
The N. front retains the original doorway to the screens passage; it has moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head with foliage and shields in the spandrels, bearing the initials T.C. perhaps for Thomas Chard and a rebus perhaps for Dobell. Two original windows on the first floor have lost their mullions. At the back there are two similar windows and an original doorway with double chamfered jambs and four-centred head. The W. chimney-stack retains its original octagonal shaft. Inside the building, the former hall has an open ceiling with moulded beams and plates forming nine panels; the W. part is cut off by a modern partition and the former screen at the E. end has been removed. The room at the W. end is divided from the hall by an original muntin and plank partition, with remains of painted floral decoration on the W. face. The ceiling is divided by moulded and enriched beams into twelve panels. The original fireplace, now blocked, has moulded jambs and four-centred head; N. of it is a blocked original window of two four-centred lights; the jambs of another original window remain in the S. wall and further E. is an original doorway with chamfered jambs and three-centred head. The buttery adjoined the hall on the E., but the partitions forming two rooms and a central corridor have been removed; the E. and W. walls are of muntin and plank type and the latter retains the three original doorways to the screens passage; they have four-centred heads and are now blocked. The kitchen, at the E. end, has exposed beams and a large fireplace with a chamfered arched lintel. On the first floor, the room over the hall retains an original roof truss, of collar-beam type with curved braces forming a two-centred arch. This and the W. room have original fireplaces with moulded jambs and four-centred heads; the W. room has an open timbered ceiling of sixteen panels; in the S. wall is a doorway with a three-centred head probably that of the original staircase from the ground-floor. The E. rooms have original muntin and plank partitions. Preserved in the adjoining building is a lozenge-shaped plaster panel of the 17th century with a central foliage and pomegranate ornament and four cherub-heads.
(5) George Hotel, on the N. side of the road 250 yards E.N.E. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of stone and the roofs are slate-covered. It was built probably early in the 17th century, but has been altered and added to. The front retains two original stone-mullioned windows.
(6) Manor House, opposite the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of stone and the roofs are slate-covered. It was built in the 16th century, but has been much altered. Inside the building is an original fireplace, with moulded jambs and four-centred head.
(7) Houses, three, on the N. side of the road, 50 yards N.W. of the church, are of two storeys; the walls are faced with stucco and the roofs are slate-covered. They were built c. 1840, all to the same pattern. The design of the S. front is symmetrical; the semi-circular headed doorway and fanlight in the middle are flanked by plain square-headed windows opening to the ground, these are set in shallow recesses with three-centred heads. There are treillages over the doorway and round the windows. The first-floor windows have plain rectangular openings. There are widely projecting eaves on shallow brackets and the pyramidal roof is of low pitch.
(8) House, 70 yards W. of (6), is of two storeys; the walls are of stone and the roofs are thatched. It was built in the 17th century, but has been much altered.
(9) Charmouth House, on the S. side of the road, 200 yards W. of the church, is of two storeys; the walls are of stone and the roofs are thatched. The house incorporates two old buildings probably both of the 17th century. Inside the E. building are some original moulded ceiling-beams.
(10) Cottage, two tenements, 80 yards W. of (9), is of two storeys; the walls are of stone and the roofs are thatched. It was built in the 17th century and retains some moulded ceiling beams of that date.