Pages 173-178

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 2, South east. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1970.

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In this section

23 MORETON (8089)

(O.S. 6 ins. aSY 78 NE, bSY 79 SE, cSY 88 NW)

This parish, covering some 2,140 acres, lies 7 m. E. of Dorchester on the S. side of the river Frome. It is entirely on Bagshot Beds, overlaid in the N. half by extensive river terraces. From the highest point in the S.W. corner, at nearly 200 ft. above O.D., the land slopes N.E. to the Frome and S.E. to its tributary which forms the S.E. boundary of the parish. The Bagshot Beds give rise to extensive heathland which in the N.W. extends on the river terraces.

There appear to have been two original settlements, Moreton itself and Hurst, both on the edge of the river Frome. Hurst is not recorded as such until 1318, but must be the smaller of the two Moretons described in Domesday Book. The settlement on the edge of the heath, W.N.W. of the village (Monuments 17–21), was apparently a planned development of the late 18th or early 19th century and was known as New Moreton (O.S. 1 in., 1st ed. 1811).

The Frampton family, the owners of Moreton House, have held the manor since the 14th century. The building of two of the 18th-century houses in the parish (14, 27) is recorded in their yearbooks (see p. 175, n).

The church and Moreton House, the only stone buildings in the parish, are the principal monuments.


c(1) Parish Church of St. Magnus the Martyr and St. Nicholas of Myra (Plate 112) stands at the E. end of the village in Moreton Park. The walls are of brick, faced with fine Portland stone ashlar, and squared rubble, and the roofs are covered with stone, slate and lead. A mediaeval church which stood on this site consisted of nave and chancel, a S. tower and a chapel to the E. of it. It was rebuilt by James Frampton by 1776 with an apsidal Sanctuary and Nave, without structural division between them, and, symmetrically disposed on the S., a South-east Pew for the Framptons, South Tower, and South-west Pew (now Vestry) for the servants. The North Aisle is an addition of 1841 and the West Porch of 1848. In 1842–3 new ribbed ceilings were put in, and in 1847 new stone vaulting shafts replaced earlier timber shafts; new fittings in 1847–8 included a carved reredos and encaustic floor tiles. The church was badly damaged in the Second World War and much of the N. aisle has been rebuilt. (C.W. accounts; Frampton yearbooks s.a.)

The church is of interest as an example of late 18th-century work in the Gothic style, and the symmetrical S. elevation is of some distinction; among the fittings is a wall-monument by Vangelder with carving of remarkable virtuosity.

The Parish Church of Saint Nicholas of Myra, Moreton

Architectural Description—The Sanctuary is apsidal (10 ft. radius). The walls are faced with ashlar and have a parapet panelled with cusped roundels which is continued all round the church. The five windows are of three lights with intersecting cusped tracery in two-centred heads which are linked by a continuous label. Between the windows are shields carved with impaling arms of Frampton. Internally the sanctuary is divided into five sectors by attached wall-shafts with moulded bases and foliate capitals from which spring ribs to the ceiling. There is a stone dado of cinque-foiled ogee-headed arcading with carved spandrels and with a pierced cresting of quatrefoils and paterae.

The Nave (39 ft. by 20 ft.) has a N. arcade of 1840 of three bays with two-centred arches of three moulded orders; the intermediate moulding is carried down the piers, the inner is carried on attached shafts with moulded caps and bases, and the outer springs from moulded imposts. Between the arches attached wall-shafts rise the full height of the wall to carry the ceiling ribs; these wall-shafts are repeated on the S. side of the nave. In the S. wall the archways to the S.E. pew (Plate 113) and the vestry are two-centred and of three orders, the intermediate order being continuous and the other orders springing from engaged shafts. Between them the archway to the S. tower is two-centred with a continuously moulded rear arch. In the W. wall is a four-light window with label and shield stops; the lower part was blocked in 1842 when a W. doorway with a two-centred arch in a square head with traceried spandrels was inserted. The Porch of 1848 has a horizontal parapet and small windows to N. and S.

The North Aisle (38¾ ft. by 8 ft.) has been rebuilt with re-use of some of the original material of 1840–1. The 19th-century shield stops to the labels over the windows are carved with impaling arms of Frampton, initials MF for Mary Frampton and date 1841.

The Pew (12 ft. by 8 ft.) has windows similar to those of the sanctuary with shield stops to the labels with impaling arms of Frampton; the E. window is blind. Inside at the wall-head is a frieze of sub-cusped panels with shields-of-arms of Frampton impaling various coats. In the W. wall is a doorway to the tower with plain two-centred head. The South Tower (8½ ft. square) is in three stages. The ground stage has a S. doorway with hollow-chamfered two-centred head and continuous jambs under a label rising to a central finial from stops carved with J.F. for James Frampton and the date 1776. Inside on the N. wall is a painted rebus on a shield, a tun and a raspberry plant and the words FRAM TUN. At the head of the ground stage the panelled parapet of the adjoining buildings is carried across the S. wall as a band of enrichment. The second stage has cusped three-light windows in the E. and S. walls. The label stops to the S. window are each carved with a seated hound. The N. and W. windows are set at a higher level and each has two plain lights and intersecting tracery without cusping in a two-centred head. In the top stage the S. side has a circular panel with invected border for a clock face. The parapet is uniform with that round the rest of the church and at each angle is a crocketed finial. The Vestry (13¾ ft. by 8 ft.) has in the E. wall a doorway to the tower with moulded two-centred head and in the S. wall a window with shield stops to the label carved with the arms of Frampton.

The chancel and nave Roofs are ceiled with four-centred plaster vaults with moulded radial and diagonal ribs. At the intersections are foliated bosses with shields of impaling arms of Frampton.

Fittings—Bells: two; 2nd by Pack and Chapman, 1776. Brasses: In S.E. pew, reset in marble slab, (1) of Jamys Framton, 1523, figure in complete armour, except helmet and gauntlets, kneeling at prayer desk, with shield-of-arms of Frampton, scroll with black-letter inscription in Latin, and inscription plate; with a second inscription plate reading 'This Effigy with the Arms inscription and Scroll were taken from a decayed marble monument in this Isle When it was rebuilt in the year 1733'. Loose in vestry, (2) inscription plate recording the burial in a vault of the Rev. Roger Coker, Rector, 1813, and of his mother and three sisters, (probably after 1850). Chest: in S.W. vestry, made up of early 16th-century Flemish panels and modern pieces; front with five panels:—centre, seated figure of a king, fixed to a modern backing; inner flanking panels with arched tops and figures of Virtues, Truth holding a mirror and Piety with a snake emerging from a tower; outer panels with male and female heads. Coffin Stools: pair, with turned legs, perhaps 18th-century. Communion Rails: curved on plan, oak arcading of cinque-foiled two-centred arches with pierced spandrels carrying moulded rail enriched with rosettes, mid 19th-century. Fonts: (1) octagonal bowl with quatrefoil panels between corner standards, octagonal stem with trefoil-headed panels, and chamfered base, mid 19th-century; in churchyard, S. of S. doorway, (2) mediaeval font-stem, octagonal with traces of carving or panelling, now very worn, on moulded octagonal base and surmounted by 18th-century round drum probably intended for a sundial. Glass: the old glass was lost in 1940; the chancel windows have been filled with engraved glass by Laurence Whistler, 1958. Lectern: of oak, cusped panelled hexagonal stem on panelled and enriched base, supporting ball and eagle, 1848.

Monuments: In S.E. pew, on E. wall, (1) to Mary (Houlton) wife of James Frampton, 1762, marble tablet (Plate 113) with frame with eared and scrolled top, decorated with most delicately carved naturalistic flower sprays, and with cartouche of arms of Frampton with an escutcheon framed in foliage above, by Vangelder (Hutchins I, 405); on N. wall, (2) to James Frampton, 1784, white marble tablet with inscription recording that he rebuilt the church; on S. wall, (3) to Phillis (Byam) second wife of James Frampton, 1829, white marble tablet, erected by her children; (4) to James, eldest son of James and Harriot Frampton, 1818, white marble tablet; on W. wall, (5) to William Frampton and Judith (Arnold) his wife and two children, coloured marble tablet flanked by Ionic columns on gadrooned base and with broken pediment enclosing cartouche with arms, erected by James Frampton, 1755. In vestry, on E. wall, (6) to Mary, daughter of James and Phillis Frampton, 1846, white marble tablet; (7) to Phillis Byam, widow of Evelyn Shirley and daughter of Charlton and Phillis (Byam) Wollaston, 1836, and Frances their daughter, 1836, white marble tablet; on S. wall, (8) to Charlton Byam son of Charlton Wollaston and Phillis (Byam) afterwards the wife of James Frampton, 1840, white marble tablet; (9) to Harriot, 3rd daughter of Henry Thomas, Earl of Ilchester, and wife of James Frampton, 1844, white marble tablet.

Niche: in nave in S. wall, with trefoiled ogee head and carved spandrels under an ogee crocketed label and with flared corbel below, 18th-century. Pulpit: of oak, five sides of a hexagon with cinque-foiled ogee panels and carved spandrels, moulded top and base, on flared stem, and approached by oak steps with quatre-foiled pierced risers, 1848. Royal Arms: over W. doorway, in cast iron, of Queen Victoria, 1846. Screen: to S. pew, similar to communion rails but solid and with cast iron brattishing, 19th-century. Seating: with bench ends copied from mediaeval ones similar to those in St. Lawrence's church, Affpuddle (q.v.), 1776, with later alterations. Table: in vestry, of oak with drawer, turned legs and moulded stretchers, c. 1700. Tiles: glazed floor tiles: in sanctuary, red, blue and yellow with roundels of the four Evangelists, and red, blue, yellow and brown, with foliated roundels; in nave and tower, forming large square foliated and geometrical panels of red and yellow with diagonal bands of red and yellow and, at the intersections, doves, crosses, Lamb and flag, IHS etc.; mid 19th-century.

c(2) Lychgate to new Cemetery (100 yds. N.E.) has four timber Ionic columns carrying a timber roof rising from an entablature with end pediments enclosing carved decoration with scrolls, swags and pendants. Under the canopy so formed open timber gates are hung between modern side walls in which are set inscription stones from the Obelisk (6). The structure formerly stood 110 yds. W. of the church, at the entrance to the kitchen garden of Moreton House, where the gates were set in an elliptical arched opening in a brick wall. Originally of c. 1800, it was reconstructed in its present position c. 1950.


b(3) Bridge (795904), over the river Frome at Hurst (Plate 34), was built in 1834 as part of one scheme with Affpuddle (2) q.v.

c(4) Broomhill Bridges, three (810881), over a tributary of the river Frome, are of brick with brick parapets and stone copings and of one, two and three arches. They were built in 1769 by Edward Weld and James Frampton (Kelly's Directory of Dorsetshire, Winfrith Newburgh; Contract in D.C.R.O.).

Railway Station and Gatekeeper's Cottage, see p. 416.

c(5) Moreton House (200 yds. S.E.) replaces a manor house built by Robert Frampton in 1580 (Hutchins I, 400). The Frampton family, who have held the manor since the 14th century, have, since the early 18th century, maintained yearbooks in which major building works have been entered. (fn. 1) In these it is recorded that the offices (N.E. wing) were built in 1742 and that the main part of the house was built in 1744, with work continuing on the inside in 1745; in 1779 the E. front was taken down and the house extended on this side by 13 ft., the alterations being finished in 1781. The main house is of two storeys with cellars and attics, with walls of brick faced with ashlar and roofs covered with stone slates. The N.E. wing is of two storeys only and has the N. wall faced in brick; N.E. again is a single-storey range, built for a laundry and other domestic utilities, contemporary with the N.E. wing except for the N. wall which was rebuilt in brick in the 19th century. For simplicity throughout, the elevations are described as if orientated due N., S., E. and W.

The main house is a good substantial rectangular structure typical of its time.

Architectural Description—The West Elevation (Plate 116), of Portland stone, is in three bays, the centre bay being set forward under a pediment with a modillion cornice which is continued under the eaves of the side bays and of the other three elevations. The central entrance doorway and flanking windows are grouped together to form a Palladian composition set in rusticated masonry above a plain ashlar base; the windows have moulded sills and cornices from which springs the rounded head to the doorway which has a moulded archivolt and stepped keystone. Over the doorway and in the side bays are double-hung sash windows with flat-arched heads and keystones. The attic has a half-round lunette in the tympanum of the pediment and a pedimented dormer to each side. The South Elevation has four windows to each storey; the main windows are set under flat arches with keystones and the dormers are pedimented. The position of the third window from the W. was altered to maintain the symmetry of the elevation when it was extended to the E. The East Elevation of 1779, faced with Purbeck and some Portland stone, has a central polygonal bay with a first-floor plat-band, small cornice and parapet; the bay alone has these features, moreover it is shown semicircular on a contemporary plan in the house, yet it is probably of 1779. Each main floor has three windows in the bay and two openings or matching recesses to each side, all with flat-arched heads and keystones. The attic has three pedimented dormers. The North Elevation is faced with rubble and the ground falls away to expose the basement; there is a large round-headed window above the passageway to the N.E. wing lighting the staircase.

Moreton House

Inside, the Entrance Hall has a moulded skirting and dado rail above which are plaster panels with enriched borders; the principal panels have eared corners and the one on the N. wall a scrolled top. Over the windows are festoons of foliage and flowers. There is an enriched modillion ceiling cornice and the ceiling has a central circular panel surrounded by other panels with acanthus decoration and masks of the goddesses of the four seasons. The doorways have enriched architraves; the principal ones are eared and surmounted by pulvinated frieze and cornice. The later fireplace has a bolection-moulded surround between engaged Ionic columns. The Library has moulded and enriched skirting, dado rail and ceiling cornice; the doorways have eared architraves with frieze and cornice above, one with a central panel carved with birds and corn sheaves; the fireplace has flanking detached Ionic columns of yellow marble supporting an entablature with pulvinated frieze also of yellow marble, the other members being of white marble; the enriched window architraves finish at the bottom with scrolls and acanthus foliage. The early 19th-century bookcases are of oak with reeded surrounds and a cresting of Greek wave-ornament. The Drawing Room has enriched skirting and dado rail, a frieze with honeysuckle ornament, and cornice. The ceiling is decorated in the Wyatt manner; it has a central panel with figures before an altar, bringing gifts to a god whose figure appears in the background, surrounded by a geometrical pattern with scrolls, foliage, urns and female figures in the corners. The doorways have enriched architraves and overdoors with urns, honeysuckle and roses in the friezes. The fireplace has an early 19th-century marble surround with panels enriched with figures with garlands, vases, foliage, flowers and ribands, very delicately carved, perhaps by Vangelder. The Dining Room has a fireplace surround of white and green marble flanked by female terminal figures in profile supporting an entablature with a moulded architrave and enriched frieze with a mask on a central panel, all the enrichments being the attributes of Bacchus. The doorways have enriched eared architraves and decorated overdoors. The cantilevered stone main Staircase has a wrought iron balustrade, in which scroll-work alternates with plain standards. The ceiling over it has a coved cornice with escallops, acanthus and swags of fruit and flowers, and a central moulded panel with cartouches and central lozenge with foliage.

The first-floor rooms are grouped around a central space of which the E. side is segmental on plan and the S. side is closed by a screen of paired Ionic columns and pilasters of c. 1780. The middle bedroom to the E. has a fireplace surround of white and green marble with reeded sides and fluted frieze. Most of the rooms have dado rails and ceiling cornices; some retain the original fireplace surrounds of 1745. The staircase from first floor to attics has a close string and turned newels and balusters. The basement consists mainly of vaulted wine cellars; one room has an arched fireplace of 16th-century origin.

The North-east Wing is built on low ground and its upper floor is on a level with the ground floor of the main house, the two being linked by a passage carried on columns; the space below the passage is now closed. The W. elevation has a moulded eaves cornice and hung-sash windows under segmental-arched heads with keystones; in contrast the E. elevation has plain eaves, two-light windows with stone mullions (some reused) and a doorway with chamfered jambs and cambered lintel. The N. elevation includes some reused 16th-century brick and reused windows with chamfered and wavemoulded dressings.

Inside, the lower floor has a kitchen fireplace with three-centred arched head with stepped keystone, between two semicircular arches. On the upper floor one room has an original fireplace surround and is lined with bolection-moulded panelling; another room is lined with early 17th-century panelling, reset, in six heights with a fluted frieze.

The Outbuildings to the N.E. are contemporary with the N.E. wing and have on the S. elevation doorways with chamfered jambs and cambered heads with keystones; the windows are of two lights with stone mullions. The N. wall was rebuilt in brick with new stone-mullioned windows in the 19th century.

Bridge, 150 yds. N. of the house, built in 1836, has a level roadway carried on iron joists suspended from low iron arches; iron balustrades over the spandrels meet stone walls with iron copings over the abutments.

Stable Building, 180 yds. N.W. of the house and just W. of the church, is of 1739. It has brick walls with stone dressings, the main N. front having five round-arched doorways between slightly projecting end bays; the roof is covered with tiles with stone slates at the eaves and has gabled dormer windows. (Demolished)

c(6) Obelisk (806884), of ashlar, designed by James Hamilton of Weymouth, was erected in 1785–6 by Captain John Houlton in memory of James Frampton, who died in 1784. The obelisk stands some 70 ft. high on a base with moulded plinth and cornice and is surmounted by an urn 9¾ ft. high. On two sides of the base were formerly marble tablets with commemorative inscriptions; these are now built into the walls of the Lychgate (2). (Gents'. Mag. 1787, pt. i, 49.)

c(7) Glebe House, formerly the Rectory (200 yds. N.W.), of two storeys and attics, has walls of brick covered with stucco and roofs covered with tiles and stone slates at the eaves. It was built c. 1750 to replace a house destroyed by fire in 1740, and a modern N. wing has been added. It is rectangular on plan with a hipped roof above a moulded timber eaves cornice. The windows have double-hung sashes under segmental arches with keystones. The original entrance doorway in the S. wall has been converted to a window and modern bay windows have been added to the S. and W. The staircase has a cut string and turned newels and balusters; the other internal fittings are modern.

c(8) Garden Buildings (300 yds. W.). A garden is enclosed on three sides by brick walls about 9 ft. high which terminate in octagonal pavilions, two storeys high with pyramidal roofs rising to cupolas. They are of the late 18th century or c. 1800. The eastern pavilion is a store-house, the western was built as a pigeon-house, then converted to a summer-house and subsequently burnt out. A mid 19th-century cottage has been built over the N.E. corner of the garden wall.

Monuments (9–27)

The following monuments unless otherwise described are of one storey and attics or two storeys, with walls of cob and roofs covered with thatch. They are of the late 18th or early 19th century, mostly built on a two-room plan with central entrance doorway and one end chimney, giving a kitchen-living room at one end and a pantry or scullery at the other.

c(9) The Old Schoolhouse (130 yds. W.N.W.) has an original brick front and a slated roof. It was built in the early 19th century and has been heightened.

c(10) House (160 yds. N.N.W.), adjoining the Post Office' has a brick front and is of the late 18th century. The front elevation is symmetrical with widely spaced casement windows flanking the central entrance doorway. The original plan comprised two main rooms with end chimneys and a central entrance hall and service room, with the staircase in a projection behind. The central part of the house has now been rearranged. The staircase projection is an unusual feature at this period.

c(11) Cottage, 20 yds. N.W. of (10), has the front wall refaced in brick. The plan comprises a living room and a scullery. The living room has a fireplace against the gable wall with an original oven at the side of it; the staircase is in the scullery. (Demolished)

c(12) Cottages, 40 yds. N.W. of (10), range of four, probably comprising, from E. to W., a 19th-century cottage with living-room and scullery plan, an 18th-century cottage with two-room plan and a central chimney, a late 17th-century cottage with two-room plan and end chimneys and another 18th-century cottage with two-room plan and a central chimney. The last three were fitted with new windows in the 19th century.

c(13) Cottage, 90 yds. N.W. of (10), has brick walls and tiled roof.

c(14) Manor House (475 yds. W.), with brick walls and tiled roof, was built in 1772 on an L-shaped plan which was later converted to a rectangle and extended to the W. The back kitchen may represent part of an older cottage incorporated. Farm Buildings stand to N. The Barn has brick walls with buttresses between the bays and is of the mid 18th century. The Stable, with walls of rubble and brick, is contemporary with the barn. The Granary, of brick carried on arches, with a tiled roof, is of the early 19th century.

a(15) Hedera Cottage (650 yds. W.) has brick walls.

a(16) Cottage (797894) has been extended in brick in the late 19th century.

a(17–21) Cottages (795893, 793897, 792897, 792896), group of seven cottages including two pairs, were all built as part of a planned development, and all have been enlarged and altered.

b(22) House (793902) has brown brick walls with red dressings and is symmetrically designed, with central entrance and end chimneys.

b(23) House (794901), part of former smithy, has brick walls and slated roof and is of the second quarter of the 18th century. It has a symmetrical front elevation with plat-band and central entrance doorway flanked by segmental-headed casement windows; the chimney-stack is slightly off-centre.

b(24–26) Cottages (795901, 794903, 794904).

c(27) Broom Pound, formerly Moreton Dairy (811883), of two storeys with brick walls, was built in 1738 as a long range running E.-W. with one internal chimney; a small wing projecting to the N. may be an addition. The house was formerly two tenements. Outbuilding, immediately S. of the house, also of brick, is of the same date as the house.

Earthworks, Etc.

(28–30) Round Barrows p. 446.

(31) Roman Remains p. 603.


  • 1. The Frampton yearbooks begun in 1732 and continuing are held by Cdr. R.H.C.F. Frampton at Moreton House.