Pages 299-303

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by English Heritage. All rights reserved.


In this section

37 TYNEHAM (8880)

(O.S. 6 ins. aSY 88 SE & part of SY 87 NE, bSY 97 NW & part of SY 87 NE)

Tyneham, a parish of some 3,000 acres, lies at the W. end of the Isle of Purbeck, 5 miles S.W. of Wareham. It comprises a broad wooded valley between the high ridges of Gold Down and Tyneham Cap to the S. and the Purbeck Hills to the N. with a wide area of open heathland further N. The valley, cut into Wealden Beds, is drained westwards by a small stream flowing to Worbarrow Bay; the ridge to the S., composed of Purbeck Beds, is partly curtailed by the sea to form Gad Cliff but further E. rises to over 600 ft. at Tyneham Cap, beyond which the land slopes down on Kimmeridge Clay to the sea. The Chalk Purbeck Hills to the N. also rise to over 600 ft. above O.D. and beyond them the heathland stretching northwards is almost all on Bagshot Beds and nearly level with a slight fall to the N. Near Worbarrow Bay, the Kimmeridge shale and perhaps also Purbeck marble were worked in the Roman period.

Domesday Book lists four Tynehams, and these are probably represented today by Tyneham itself, Baltington and N. Egliston Farms, all in the central valley, and S. Egliston Farm to the S. of Tyneham Cap on the Kimmeridge Clay. All are associated with rectangular land blocks, still bounded by continuous field lines; Baltington and N. Egliston also have earthwork remains of the former settlements. By the late 13th century the appearance of West or Church Tyneham, together with East Tyneham, in documents indicates that another settlement, on the site of Tyneham House, was in existence. All these settlements are surrounded by a remarkable series of strip fields. (See plan, in pocket.)

At the foot of the N. slope of the Purbeck Hills is a series of small farms, known collectively as Povington. It has been suggested that four of these were already in existence in 1086 as four villein farms which together with the demesne farm make up the Domesday Book entry for Povington (W. G. Hoskins and L. Dudley Stamp, Common Land in England and Wales (1963), 19 and fig. 3).

Tyneham village consists only of the church, the Rectory and a few late cottages now standing derelict, the whole parish having been taken over as an army battle-range area. Tyneham House, the principal monument, is of considerable interest but also stands derelict and falling into ruin.


a(1) The Parish Church of St. Mary has walls of rubble and roofs covered with stone slates. The Nave and North Transept are of mediaeval origin and the piscina in the latter suggests a date not later than c. 1300; the church was restored in 1744 (Hutchins I, 624) and the W. wall of the nave rebuilt. Early in the 19th century the chancel arch and the archway to the N. transept were rebuilt and enlarged; the South Transept was built probably a little later in the 19th century, by the Rev. William Bond, Rector, who died in 1852; the S. wall of the nave was also rebuilt and the former S. porch, perhaps of the 14th century, was taken down and rebuilt as a West Porch. Benjamin Ferry was the architect for at least a part of this work (The Builder XXXIX (1880), 283). The Chancel is modern.

The Parish Church of Saint Mary, Tyneham

Architectural Description—The Nave (31 ft. by 13½ ft.) has a chancel arch, two-centred and hollow chamfered, springing from square responds with moulded imposts. Above the chancel arch the wall is carried up to a bell-cote with two arched openings under a coped stone capping from which pinnacles or finials have been broken off. The archway to the N. transept is similar to that to the chancel and further W. is a blocked doorway with chamfered lintel of the 17th-century. In the S. wall, the mid 19th-century archway to the S. transept is two-centred and of two chamfered orders, the outer continuous and the inner springing from semi-octagonal responds with moulded caps and chamfered bases. Further W. is a mid 19th-century window of two lights in a square head in the 14th-century style. The mid 19th-century W. doorway has an angled two-centred head of two chamfered orders.

The North Transept (11½ ft. by 16 ft.) has in the E. wall an original window of two uncusped lancet lights with a segmental rear arch and in the W. wall a window of three square-headed lights of the 17th century. The South Transept (11½ ft. by 16½ ft.) has in the E. wall a three-light window with two-centred trefoiled openings in a square head and a label; on the segmental rear arch is an inscription recording that William Bond, Rector, built the transept. The doorway further S. has a moulded two-centred head and a label and an inscription on the segmental rear arch. Above the doorway is a quartered shield-of-arms of Bond. In the S. wall is a window of the later 19th century. The West Porch (5¾ ft. by 7 ft.) is entered by an archway with chamfered jambs and segmental-pointed head of two chamfered orders.

The Roofs of the nave and N. transept are ceiled with segmental plaster vaults probably of 1744; the S. transept has an elaborate roof of the late 19th century.

Fittings—Bells: two; 1st, inscribed 'in nomine domini', cast in Salisbury, c. 1500; 2nd by R. Wells, Aldborne, 1784, (removed to Steeple (1)). Gallery: at W. end of nave, with oak panelled front with dentilled cornice, 18th-century, widened. Glass: in N. transept—in centre light of W. window, a medallion of the Virgin and Child, 15th-century, within a later border of leaves, flowers, scroll-work and inscription, (removed). Inscription: in nave, on front of gallery, framed wood panel painted with quotation from Psalm XCVI, v. 9, 18th-century. Monuments: In nave—on N. wall, (1) to Elizabeth Tarrant, 1769, black marble tablet within a moulded freestone architrave with side scrolls and pediment. In N. transept—on N. wall, (2) to John Williams, 1627, and his wife Jane, 1636, wall-monument with tablet framed within columns, base and entablature, with achievements and cartouches of arms above and with shields-of-arms of Williams painted on the tablet and the frieze, erected by his grandson John Williams in 1641. In churchyard—N.W. of N. transept, (3) to Jone wife of George Bur(t), 1714, headstone. Piscina: in N. transept, with head cut to the shape of two trefoiled arches, defaced and perhaps reset, of c. 1300. Plate: includes a cup and cover-paten by Lawrence Stratford of Dorchester, 1574, (removed to Kimmeridge). Pulpit: forming three sides of a rectangle, of enriched panelling in three heights, the middle panels arcaded, two sides 17th-century, N. side together with base and capping modern, (removed to Lulworth Camp). Miscellanea: in N. transept—set in E. wall, (1) plain stone cross with chamfered edges with remains of incised black-letter inscription, perhaps 'IHS orate pro nobis', 15th-century; loose, (2) fragment of stone cross, similar to (1) but without inscription.


a(2) Tyneham House (888801) (Plate 153), of two storeys, part with attics and cellars, has walls of local ashlar and rubble and roofs covered with stone slates. The S.W. wing is of 14th-century origin and contains parts of the original hall, with its service rooms, built by the Russel family. In the second half of the 16th century building operations were put in hand by Henry Williams; the hall was divided into two floors and a chimney inserted and a new doorway and windows were formed. Hutchins records a doorway in the S.W. wing inscribed H.W. 1567, which was destroyed in 1820. In 1583 the main range facing E. was built with a staircase projection to the W. and, soon after, a new kitchen wing was added to the N.W. In the 17th century this N.W. wing was nearly doubled in width. In 1820 the E. part of the S.W. wing was rebuilt and the main range was widened to the W. and in 1914 this widening was refronted. The N. porch is mid 19th-century. (Hutchins I, 615.) (Largely demolished)

Tyneham House, Plan

The remains of the 14th-century hall are of much interest. The simple architectural composition of the late 16th-century front is given distinction by a contemporary entrance archway in a finely wrought surround of Classical inspiration in design.

Architectural Description—The symmetrical E. front is of ashlar and has a moulded plinth and moulded string-courses above the windows to the main storeys; the wall is carried up into three gables containing attic windows; in the middle is a gabled porch. The entrance (Plate 150) has moulded jambs and moulded semicircular head springing from moulded imposts; the head is flanked by panelled brackets carrying a pediment and in the spandrels so formed cartouches with shields-of-arms of Bond have been added; in the pediment is a cartouche carved with the date 1583. The ground-floor windows were altered to take hung sashes in the early 19th century, but the upper windows are of three lights with stone mullions and, in the dormers, with labels. The N. and S. ends of the main range are gabled; only the N. end has a plinth; the windows are of three lights uniform with those in the E. front but all have labels. There are similar windows in the N.W. wing and in the 17th-century addition and also one, reset, in the E. end of the S.W. wing. Further W. the S.W. wing has a 16th-century N. doorway with four-centred head flanked by plain shields and a two-light window of the same date above.

Tyneham House, South-West Wing

Inside the main range the ground-floor rooms were refitted in the 18th century and retain some panelling, dado rails and cornices of that date. On the first floor one of the rooms is lined with late 16th-century panelling in five heights with frieze, decorated with strapwork, and cornice. The fireplace has an early 18th-century bolection-moulded surround framed by late 16th-century flanking pilasters and overmantel of carved panelling (16th-century panelling and overmantel removed to Dorset County Museum c. 1952). The 16th-century N.W. wing has heavy stop-chamfered ceiling beams and, in the S. wall, a doorway with four-centred head. The staircase is contained in a 16th-century projection from the main range and turns round a timber-framed shaft in short straight flights.

In the S.W. wing the original hall has been divided by a cross wall and chimney-stack, having a rebuilt 16th-century segmental-pointed stone arch over the fireplace, and by an inserted floor reached by a winding stone newel stair. Part of an open truss over the hall remains and also the timber-framed partition between the hall and service rooms, and the closed truss above it. The open truss has an arch-braced collar beam, the arch braces being cusped and supported on hammer beams, and there is cusped infilling above the collar; only part of this truss survives. The closed truss has the remains of two doorways, presumably to service rooms, flanking a central post, and to the N. behind the later stair are the posts for a taller doorway which may have led to a staircase; under tie beam and collar beam are curved braces and two small struts form a V above the collar. Under the purlins are arched wind braces, the lower ones cusped. (Ruinous)

Glass, reset in the D.C.M. Library, includes two roundels enclosing shields-of-arms, (1) Garneys quartering Topsfield and Church of Gislingham, impaling Tyrell (Plate 61), (2) [Garneys] impaling Barney, 16th-century (the Bonds inherited the Garneys estates in the 18th century); also two shields-of-arms of Bond quarterly impaling Biggs and Williams respectively and an achievement-of-arms of Bond quartering Dummer and Garneys, mid 19th-century.

a(3) The Rectory (120 yds. W.), of two storeys, has stuccoed walls with stone dressings and low-pitched roofs covered with slates. It is a substantial house of the second quarter of the 19th century built on a rectangular plan with four bays to each elevation except the N. which has a small re-entrant to give light to the staircase. The doorway has a flat stone hood carried on scrolled brackets and the windows have double-hung sashes. To the N. is a yard with contemporary stable buildings.

a(4) House, at South Egliston (899797), of two storeys with walls of stone rubble and roofs covered with stone slates, was built early in the 18th century on a T-shaped plan with two panelled living rooms in the main S. part and the staircase occupying part of the back wing. The original windows had moulded stone architraves and were mostly of two lights with stone mullions. Early in the 19th century the ground-floor windows to the S. were enlarged to form French windows and a loggia added. The S. part was then extended by the addition of a third room on the W., fitted with original windows taken from the back wing, and additional service rooms were added later to the N.W. (Derelict)

a(5) House, at S. Egliston, W. of (4), consists of an 18th-century cottage of one storey and attic built on a two-room plan and an early 19th-century addition to the W. of two full storeys with a verandah to the S. The verandah roof is carried on moulded timber standards and decorative timber arches with trellis spandrels. There is a further addition of uncertain date to the E. (Ruinous)

Earthworks, Etc.

Mediaeval and Later Earthworks

Settlement Remains and Fields (plan, in pocket) cover much of the parish S. of the chalk ridge. On Wealden Beds in the valley between this ridge and the limestone heights to the S. are, from W. to E., remains of settlements at Baltington, Tyneham and North Egliston. Surviving boundary lines running almost straight S.S.E. from the Ridgeway (from about 877809 and 888812) suggest a former division of the S. of the parish into at least three blocks each associated with a settlement. The approximate areas of the associated land blocks appear to be: Baltington 325 acres, Tyneham 355 acres, and 567 acres for the two Eglistons combined. In Domesday Book four parcels of land were entered under variations of the name of Tyneham. Since Povington, about 1,754 acres in the N. of the parish, appeared separately, these parcels presumably lay in the S. half and probably relate to Baltington, Tyneham, North Egliston and South Egliston.

Strip fields, of which about 200 acres remain, are described below after the settlements to which they probably belonged. They are mostly strip lynchets of contour or up-and-down type and occur on many varieties of subsoil. There is some broad ridge-andfurrow on the clay. There are what may be lazy-beds at N. Egliston, as well as much narrow rig on the higher ground. The extant strip fields were pasture at the time of the Tithe Map (1841). Iron Age and Romano-British occupation was extensive and some of the strip fields overlie 'Celtic' fields (see Ancient Field Group (19), and Plate 197). A Bronze Age barrow (14), even though near Tyneham church and apparently on the edge of an open field furlong, remained undisturbed until excavated in 1860. (Hutchins 1, 614, 628; Fägersten, 137; R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821 : 5420–5.)

a(6) Settlement Remains at Baltington (877804) cover 5 acres E. and S. of the derelict farm. Tracks, partly hollowed and partly terraced, run around and between enclosures, mostly lying on either side of a broad gully falling S., and there are some flattened plots. A scarp 4 ft. high, presumably due to cultivation, marks the N. limit of the remains. The slopes N. of this were arable in 1773 and 1841 (I. Taylor, Estate Map (c. 1773), in D.C.R.O.; Tithe Map (1841)).

a(7) Strip Fields (873797 to 880798) overlie 'Celtic' fields 600 yds. S. of Baltington. Two blocks basically of contour strip-lynchet type are separated by a small area of steeper natural slope on which 'Celtic' fields are relatively undisturbed. The total area is about 13 acres.

a(8) Settlement Remains, formerly part of Tyneham (879800 to 882803), cover 3 acres or more S. from a point 100 yds. S. of the church. Eight long, narrow closes are bounded to the S. by an almost straight bank about 25 ft. wide and an outer ditch about 15 ft. across and 1½ ft. deep with a flat bottom 3 ft. wide. The closes are separated by banks 12 ft. to 15 ft. broad and 9 ins. to 2 ft. high or by scarps mostly about 2 ft. high, suggesting that some had been extensively ploughed. Widths vary from 27 ft. to 66 ft. and two complete closes are 180 ft. and 255 ft. long, giving areas of 1/5 acre and 2/5 acre. A further close contiguous on the S.E., at 88268022, may have had others, almost destroyed, W. of it. Six plots 330 yds. W.S.W. of this, 42 ft. to 48 ft. wide by up to 150 ft., are divided by low, spread banks about 13 ft. across; these may be the ends of further closes conceivably connected with the above series.

a(9) Strip Fields occur in four main areas around Tyneham village. (a) Strip lynchets (87788079 to 88158057) cover about 30 acres N.W. and N. of the church. The central and least disturbed of three blocks has strips 150 yds. by 13 yds. to 18 yds., risers mostly 1 ft. to 2 ft. high, with the most northerly 6 ft. high, and quarter-round ends at the E. The W. boundary apparently runs in part along a raised area, perhaps the course of the original road into Tyneham from the N. The E. part was known until recently as 'Church Furlong' (L. M. G. Bond, Tyneham (1956), 76).

(b) Strip lynchets (88258045 to 88408085), poorly-developed, cover at least 10 acres N.E. of the church.

(c) Strip lynchets and broad ridge-and-furrow (88398000 to 88428052) cover at least 27 acres E. and S.E. of the church. The Tyneham to Egliston road seems to cut them. The broad rig W. of Tyneham House crosses scarps up to 5 ft. high, probably the remains of 'Celtic' fields.

(d) Strip lynchets (88037981 to 88907988) occur over 'Celtic' fields of Ancient Field Group (19) in an area of about 20 acres S. of (c). They have been carefully arranged to fit into the 'Celtic' pattern, crossing smoothly over some of the old lynchets (Plate 197). S. of Tyneham Great Wood a lynchet falling N. is up to 12 ft. high. To the W. the remains occur in an area with sharp natural folds, producing an unusually confused effect.

a(10) Settlement Remains at North Egliston (895806) consist of about 7 acres of small scarped platforms E. and S. of the derelict farm. 'Chapel Close' is traditionally the site of a chapel dedicated to St. Margaret. Only the farm and two cottages existed in Shipp's time (c. 1860) (Hutchins I, 619–20). A platform (x), 108 ft. to 126 ft. by some 108 ft., bears nine parallel E. to W. ridges, apparently built up by digging, with 'furrows' 3 ft. to 4 ft. wide; they are probably lazy-beds of a late phase.

a(11) Strip Fields (896809, 89458053–89998022) cover some 10 acres N.E. of North Egliston and 16 acres to the S.E. Some are bounded by low narrow banks but all are disturbed.

a,b(12) Strip Fields, probably belonging to South Egliston, occur in two groups.

(a) Strip lynchets (891797 to 897793) cover about 35 acres on the slopes of Tyneham Cap and S. of it. Three are 7 yds. to 30 yds. wide with risers 4 ft. to 18 ft. high; the lowest, curving N.W., is about 440 yds. long and probably originally consisted of two strips placed end to end. A bank some 18 ft. wide and 4 ft. high with a possible ditch on the W., 21 ft. across, runs N.W. to S.E., returning E. at both ends though very disturbed. Its relationship to the strip lynchets is uncertain but they are probably contemporary.

(b) Strip fields (898791 to 901800) cover about 50 acres N.E. and S. of South Egliston. To the N. are strip lynchets up to 330 yds. long, gently curved in plan and running up a slope of 15° with treads 6 yds. to 15 yds. wide and risers 4 ft. high. To the S. are furlongs of broad ridge-and-furrow up to 17 yds. wide. There is also extensive narrow rig on ground shown as still being arable on the Tithe Map of 1841.

a(13) Earthworks, on Worbarrow Tout (870796), of unknown origin, were recorded in the 18th and 19th centuries but are now partly destroyed. (a) A 'rampart', on the seaward side of the low isthmus joining the small peninsula to the mainland, survives near the foot of a 14° slope as a ditch or berm about 16 ft. across behind a low downhill bank of similar width. (b) A ditch across the slope midway between (a) and (c) is just detectable as a slight terrace. (c) A 'circular embankment' on the summit of the peninsula, about 100 ft. above the sea, was apparently slight and was 're-formed and made into a kind of battery' in the 18th or early 19th century; it was destroyed in the war of 1939–45. (W. Miles, Deverel Barrow (1826), 35; Hutchins I, 619.)

Other Earthworks and Allied Monuments

(14–37) Round Barrows, p. 454.

(38) Mound, p. 482.

(39–45) Roman Burials and Industrial Sites, p. 612.

Ancient Field Groups (17, 19), p. 629.