Wareham St. Martin

Pages 326-327

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


(O.S. 6 ins. aSY 88 NE, bSY 89 SE, cSY 98 NW, dSY 99 SW, eSY 99 SE)

The parish of Wareham St. Martin, covering some 8,300 acres, excluding extensive mud flats, lies immediately N. of Wareham town and extends to the W. shores of Poole Harbour. Apart from the river terraces along the rivers Frome and Piddle which form its S. boundaries the whole parish lies on heathland over Bagshot Beds, nowhere over 140 ft. above sea level.

The parish is the result of modern boundary revision. The whole of the centre extending from the N. boundary of Wareham Lady St. Mary to the S. boundary of Morden was formerly part of Morden parish and divided the old Wareham St. Martin parish into two unequal parts, both separate from the church which lies within the town of Wareham. In addition a small area of land round Northport, lying within Morden, was a detached part of the parish but is now in Wareham Lady St. Mary.

The parish has always been largely empty of occupation. The only documented early settlements in it are Holton, on the edge of Poole Harbour, and Bestwall, immediately E. of Wareham itself. Keysworth Farm, S.W. of Holton, is apparently a later settlement on the heath (first recorded in 1469). Though the settlement of Hungerhill (now Trigon Farm) is not recorded until 1318, its position on the N. side of the river Piddle and its apparent association with the W. detached part of the parish suggest it was another early settlement.

The undeveloped heathland in the N.W. corner of the parish has been the site of two decoy ponds since the 18th century; they are marked on Taylor's map of 1765.

The parish includes a fine linear group of barrows, the Seven Barrows.


a(1) Trigon House (886889) is modern, but it contains stonework from the former Frome Bridge at Wareham brought here in 1926 and reset in the house, in the garage and in a boundary wall. The bridge was of mediaeval origin, described by Leland as having seven ribbed arches, but had been rebuilt in 1778.

The drawing room of the house is square and has in each side an arch, of 17½ ft. span, leading to recesses and a bay window; these arches are semicircular and of two plain orders and are built of voussoirs probably of c. 1200 which were found used as filling in the 18th-century bridge; the arches spring from responds of ashlar from the bridge parapet. At each end of the fireplace recess and of the recess opposite are pointed arches with further voussoirs of c. 1200. In the corners of the drawing room some of the top weatherings of cutwaters have been reset inverted as corbels and other dressed stones have been reused in the staircase to the gallery. The coping to the parapet of the porte-cochère and some of the stonework in the boundary wall to the S.W. are also from the bridge. Over the entrance to the house is a stone dated 1755 and over the rear doorway to the garage a stone inscribed 'This Bridge rebuilt 1778'.

Monuments (2–7)

The following monuments unless otherwise described are of two storeys with brick walls and roofs covered with tile or slate and are of the second quarter of the 19th century.

c(2) South Bestwall House (927873), just E. of Wareham E. Walls, was built at the beginning of the 19th century on an L-shaped plan. The principal front, to the S. (Plate 42), has hung-sash windows and a verandah with wrought-iron trelliswork standards; the central doorway leads into a spacious entrance hall containing the staircase.

c(3) The Silent Woman p.h. (902896), at Cold Harbour, is of the early 19th century.

d(4) Hill View Cottage (945915) is of the late 18th century

c(5) Laurel Cottage (925890) and Digby's Cottage (932899) are very similar, each with a chimney on the back wall. The second has been extended.

c(6) Barn and Stable (938891) at Keysworth Farm.

c(7) Swineham (936879), house and barn.

Earthworks, Etc.

(8–16) Round Barrows, p. 455

(17) Roman Remains, p. 614