Clifton Maybank

Pages 98-99

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 1, West. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1952.

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(O.S. 6 in. XI, N.W.)

Clifton Maybank is a small parish 4 m. S.W. of Sherborne. Clifton House is the principal monument. The former church was demolished in 1824.


(1) Clifton House, on the N. side of the parish, is of three storeys with attics; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are tiled. The house was built or rebuilt about the middle of the 16th century probably by Sir John Horsey (1546–64). The greater part of the house was demolished in 1786 when various parts were sold and re-erected at various places in Dorset and Somerset. One main front was re-erected at Montacute; the early 17th-century lodge was removed in 1800 to Hinton St. George. The house was re-conditioned in 1906–7 when additions were made on the N. and E. sides. The present house would seem to have been the E. wing of the original building, of which the main block extended to the W. from the middle of the existing wing. The isolated structure to the S.E. seems not to have formed part of the main block.

The S. Front (Plate 108) is original and was formerly of two storeys with attics, as is the front now re-erected at Montacute. It is of two unequal bays divided and flanked by semi-octagonal shafts or buttresses with concave faces and of which the pinnacles have been removed; between the former storeys is a moulded string-course and in front of the two gables is a panelled parapet of pierced quatrefoils uniform with that at Montacute. The door in the modern porch incorporates some late 16th-century woodwork. On the ground floor are two stone-mullioned windows perhaps of the 17th century and in the gables are original windows of two and three lights respectively. The other windows are 18th-century alterations. The W. Front (Plate 108) seems to have been redesigned after the demolitions of 1786, but the central gable may indicate the position of the former main block of the house. In this gable has been reset an original oriel window of three transomed lights in front and one on each return; below the sill is a band of sub-cusped quatre-foiled panels enclosing horses’ heads (for Horsey) and Tudor roses. At the N. end of the front is a shaft or buttress similar to that at the S. angle. In the N. wall, above the modern additions, is an original three-light window. Inside the building, in the E. wall of the hall are two 16th-century doorways with moulded jambs and four-centred arches with leaves and shields-of-arms of Horsey, Turgis, Horsey and Maubank in the spandrels. In the N. wall, over the staircase, are two original windows of two and three lights, respectively. In the modern Dining Room is a reset 16th-century fireplace with a four-centred arch and carved leaves in the spandrels. The Study and Drawing Room are lined with 18th-century deal panelling, as is also a bedroom on the first floor. A room on the second floor is lined with 18th-century bolection-moulded oak panelling. The late 16th-century staircase (Plate 52) has symmetrically turned balusters, square newels with pendants and grip-handrails.

The detached Building (Plate 38), S.E. of the house, is of two storeys with cellars; the walls are of stone and the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 16th century and formerly extended further to the N. The building retains a number of original windows with four-centred heads to the lights. At the N.W. angle is a projecting stair-turret, entered by a doorway with a four-centred head; there is a similar doorway in the N. wall further E.; the eastern part of this wall is gabled and formed the end of a destroyed wing of which the butt-ends of the walls remain. Inside the building, a room on the ground floor has an original fireplace with moulded jambs and flat four-centred head. The original roof is exposed over the W. part of the building; it is of collar-beam type with curved braces under the collars and curved wind-braces; those between the upper purlins are cusped and form quatrefoils.

(2) Stoford Bridge (Plate 37), over the stream 1,000 yards S.W. of (1), is an ashlar-faced structure of two spans, with semi-circular arches. It was built probably in the 16th or 17th century. The middle pier has a cut-water facing up stream.

(3) Cottage, about 200 yards S.S.W. of (1), is of two storeys; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are thatched. It was built late in the 17th or early in the 18th century.