Winterborne Came

Pages 382-387

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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(O.S. 6 ins. aSY 68 NE, bSY 78 NW)

The parish of Winterborne Came, covering some 1,560 acres immediately S.S.E. of Dorchester, lies across the valley of the South Winterborne, and slopes up onto the S. Dorset Ridgeway to a height of nearly 500 ft. It is almost entirely on Chalk.

Within the boundary of the modern parish there were three early settlements along the river, all listed as Winterbornes in Domesday Book; these were Winterborne Farringdon, now completely deserted, Winterborne Came, now only represented by Came House, and Cripton, on the site of the present Came Home Farm. Each of these had its associated strip of land stretching S. on to the Ridgeway. Until the 17th century Farringdon was a separate parish which included the modern parish of Herringston and from the 17th century until the 19th century both were part of Winterborne Came parish.

Came House, a mid 18th-century mansion, is the principal monument.


b(1) The Parish Church of St. Peter stands at the N. end of the parish in the middle of Came Park. The walls are of local rubble with freestone dressings; the roofs are slate-covered. The Nave was built in the 14th century. In the early 15th century the Chancel was rebuilt wider, and later in the century the West Tower was added and the nave refenestrated. The North Porch is a 17th-century addition.

The church is of little architectural interest but among the fittings the monuments, chairs and screen are noteworthy.

Parish Church of St. Peter, Winterborne Came

Architectural Description—The Chancel (15½ ft. by 18¾ ft.) is structurally undivided from the nave. The E. window is largely or entirely modern. In the N. wall is an early 15th-century window of two trefoiled lights with sunk spandrels in a square head and a chamfered segmental-pointed rear arch. In the S. wall is a late 15th-century window of three cinque-foiled lights with pierced spandrels in a square head, with moulded reveals. The Nave (31¼ ft. by 18¾ ft.) has, in the N. wall, a much restored window uniform with the S. window of the chancel; the N. doorway, probably of the 14th century, has a two-centred head and continuously moulded jambs; further W. the wall-surface may indicate the site of a window. In the S. wall are two windows, the eastern similar to that opposite and the western, once probably similar to the foregoing, but with the head replaced by a flat lintel; the 14th-century S. doorway, now blocked, has a segmental-pointed head and continuously moulded jambs.

The West Tower (about 7½ ft. square), of late 15th-century date, is of two stages with an embattled parapet. The acute segmental-pointed tower arch is of one continuous chamfered order. On the N. side is a porch for the access of bellringers, added probably in the early 19th century. The partly restored W. window is of three cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with moulded reveals and a label. The bell-chamber has, in each wall, a window of one square-headed light. The North Porch (7½ ft. by 5½ ft.) has a 17th-century outer archway, semicircular and springing from chamfered responds with square imposts. The ceiling has a plaster barrel vault with moulded timber ribs.

Fittings—Bells: two, not inspected but said to be late mediaeval and inscribed respectively 'Sancta Maria' and 'Maria' (Raven, 18). Book: Book of Common Prayer, Oxford 1784, inscribed 'Came Church Damer Pew'. Bracket: to support S. end of rood-beam, of stone roughly shaped. Brasses: in nave, to Charles Notley, 1620, rectangular plate; see also Monument (4). Chairs (Plate 9): in chancel—two, of rosewood, upholstered seats and backs, the latter with cresting enriched with gilt metal mounts, the solid arms and backs with gilded metal angels holding swags, early 19th-century, French. Communion Rail: arcaded with turned and moulded pillars supporting enriched semicircular arches under a moulded capping, early 17th-century. Door: In N. doorway—divided into vertical panels by moulded battens, nail-studded with drop-handle and strap-hinges with fleur-de-lys ends, 17th-century. Font: octagonal Ham Hill stone bowl with chamfered underside, octagonal Portland stem on square base with spurs, probably 14th-century. Hatchments: In nave—on N. wall, with lozenge-of-arms of Damer, 19th-century; on S. wall two, one of Mary, daughter of Lord Hugh Seymour, 1848, with arms of Dawson quartering Damer impaling Conway quartering Seymour, and second of George Lionel DawsonDamer, 1856, husband of the above, with same arms and cross of the Order of the Bath. Helmet: In chancel—on N. wall, combed and with vizor, late 16th or early 17th-century, probably belonging to Meller monument below.

Monuments: In chancel—on E. wall, (1) to Hon. Lionel Damer, son of the first Earl of Dorchester, 1807, also Williamsea (Janssen) his widow, 1825, stone tablet in Gothic style, signed J. Browne, London, 1839; in N.E. angle, (2) to John Meller, no date, and Anne his wife, 1610/11, stone altar-tomb with effigies (Plate 12); altar-tomb with bracketed and dentilled cornice and moulded plinth bearing traces of colour; side divided into three bays and end into two bays by Ionic pilasters, each bay with two shallow niches containing kneeling figures of sons and daughters; effigies of man in civil costume with head on helmet and feet on lion, and of woman in enriched head-dress and with ruff (Plate 20); on wall at back, a tablet with achievement-of-arms of Miller impaling (undentified 4) and inscribed triangular wooden panel above; on E. wall, a shield-of-arms of Miller impaling (unidentified 5) in strapwork frame; remains of small kneeling figure lying loose on tomb; on N. wall, (3) to Louisa Frances Dawson Damer, 1847, and others, tablet with pedimented head and side panels with trefoiled heads, by Lester, Dorchester; in S.E. angle, (4) to Dorathy (Baylie) wife of Robart Miller, 1591, altar-tomb with cornice and plinth and wall-recess with fluted side pilasters and round moulded arch; on wall at back, two brass plates, one with kneeling figures of woman and child with inscription, second with achievement-of-arms of Miller quarterly impaling Baylie quarterly; on S. wall, (5) to Caroline, Countess of Portarlington, 1813, stone tablet similar to (1), signed J. Browne, London, 1839. In nave—on N. wall, (6) to Rev. William England, 1846, and Elizabeth (Dampier) his wife, 1874, stone tablet in Gothic frame by Osmond, Sarum. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten of 1640, and enriched cup of 1846 the gift of the Rev. G. Arden, Rector, 1847. Pulpit: of oak, part-octagonal with dentilled cornice and two heights of enriched arcaded panels, on upper panel on W. the date and initials 1624 I.M., base modern. Screen: between chancel and nave—with central doorway and seven bays on either side, moulded cornice with vine-ornament and restored painted inscription 'Let us hear the Conclusion of all things Fear God & keep his Commandments for that toucheth all men for God Judgeth all things'; side bays with linen-fold lower panels and open upper panels with modern tracery; double doors, similarly treated, 16th-century reframed and largely reconstructed with much modern work. Miscellanea: In nave—painted board with the Commandments, mid 19th-century.

Former PARISH CHURCH of ST. GERMAN, Winterborne Farringdon, see Monument (8).


b(2) Bridge, over South Winterborne brook (½ m. N.E.), of brick with stone piers and a moulded stone coping, is of three segmental-arched spans; it was built in the late 18th century. A brick in the centre of the E. face is inscribed I.C. 177[9?].

b(3) Came House (705882), of two storeys with basement and attic, has ashlar walls and slated roof; joined to the main house by a single-storey passageway is a lower, two-storey kitchen block. The house (Plate 190) was built for John Damer by Francis Cartwright of Blandford, who acted as architect and contractor, in 1754, but the interior decoration of the house was not completed till 1762; Messrs. Vile and Cobb, the London cabinet makers, were employed for some of the decoration as well as for the supply of furniture after Cartwright's death in 1758. For Cartwright's monument, with a sketch of Came House on a scroll, see R.C.H.M., Dorset III, Blandford St. Mary (1). The kitchen wing stands E. of the main house; a block to the W. to complete the symmetry of the design may have been contemplated but was never built. In the 19th century, probably c. 1840, a new Entrance, with porch, vestibule and cloakrooms, and a Conservatory were added on the W. side of the house. At the same time a few minor changes were made and the Library was fitted up, but in general the house has suffered little from alteration.

Came House is an example of the provincial architectbuilder's capabilities in design and craftsmanship at their best. Some of the interior decoration is of very high quality, though much of this may be metropolitan. The Conservatory is notable.

Architectural Description—The North Front has the basement mainly above ground level forming a rusticated podium to the smooth ashlar walling above. The basement breaks forward to carry a centrepiece (Plate 133) of four Composite columns, entablature with pulvinated frieze and carved modillions, and pediment enclosing a carved cartouche with arms of Damer impaling Rush, floral festoons and the date 1754. Hutchins, in a plate dated 1794 (II, 289), shows the centrepiece with a doorway approached by two curved flights of steps; these have been removed and the doorway converted to a window. Between the columns the windows to the main floor have plain sills and aprons, moulded eared architraves, pulvinated friezes and cornices with pediments; the upper windows are square with the architrave moulding returned along the sills. To each side of the centrepiece the main cornice is continued but with plain shaped modillions and is surmounted by a balustraded parapet; the windows have moulded architraves interrupted by keystones. The South Front (Plate 190) is built against higher ground and has the basement storey entirely concealed. The centre bay breaks forward slightly and is finished with a modillion cornice and pediment, the cornice continuing to each side under the balustraded parapet. The centrepiece is a tripartite composition in two storeys; on the ground floor a central French window is flanked by attached Ionic columns with entablature and pediment; to each side the entablature is repeated over flanking windows between pilasters. On the first floor a central round-headed window and two square-headed windows make a variant on the normal Palladian window motif; each window is flanked by pilasters with capitals of a Corinthian type used also by the Bastards of Blandford. They do not carry a full entablature and the upper part of the composition is made rather squat to keep the arched window head below the main cornice. The rounded shape of this window head is repeated in a window in the pediment. The windows in the flanking bays are uniform with those on the N. front but the spacing is quite different. The East and West Ends have the cornice and parapet returned from the main fronts but the cornice is without modillions and the mouldings to the window architraves are simpler. The W. end is partly masked by the added porch and conservatory and the lower part of the E. end is interrupted by the passageway to the kitchen block. Each end has two lead down pipes with cisterns embossed with the crest of Damer.

The Passageway has the N. side divided into bays by rusticated piers but these are not repeated on the S. side. The walls are finished with plat-band and parapet. The Kitchen Annexe has a plain plinth, moulded cornice and parapet. The windows have stepped architraves and keystones except to the E. where they have keystones only.

Came House

At the W. end of the house the added Entrance Wing has a rusticated base, cornice and parapet; the entrance, on the N. side, is by an open archway leading to a covered stair up to the doorway. On the S. is a Conservatory (Plate 190) of which the S. and W. sides are glazed; they have panelled stone piers with moulded caps and bases at the angles, carrying an entablature with pulvinated frieze and balustraded parapet. The entablature is uniform with that in the lower stage of the centrepiece of the S. front. The main openings to the S. are sub-divided by narrow stone piers. Over the main part of the conservatory is a glazed octagonal dome carried on eight fluted iron columns with acanthus leaf decoration and square pedestals. Within the octagon (Plate 188) eight more slender fluted timber columns carry a circular trellis.

Inside, the main floor has moulded skirtings and dado rails throughout, with enrichment in the more important rooms. The Saloon, formerly the Hall, has a ceiling divided into panels by heavy moulded and enriched beams with pendants at the intersections. The centre panel is decorated with rococo scrolls and leaf ornament around a shell. The beams are returned along the walls over a frieze of decorated panels separated by scrolled brackets. The doorway to the drawing room has a gadrooned surround flanked by fluted pilasters carrying an entablature; each of the other doorways has a moulded architrave, plain frieze and cornice. The windows to the S. have moulded and eared architraves with moulded and fielded shutters to the reveals. The fireplace has a moulded surround flanked by attached Ionic columns supporting an entablature in which is a panel with a carved cartouche; the overmantel has a framed mirror between Composite pilasters and entablature.

The Drawing Room (Plate 190) has in the centre of the ceiling the eagle of Jove with clouds, thunderbolts and lightning, within inner and outer borders of enriched moulding interwoven with rococo swags and scroll-work, framing shaped panels; the ceiling cornice, with modillions and dentils, is enriched; the whole composition is enriched with gilding. The main doorway with a gadrooned surround is flanked by engaged Corinthian columns with enriched entablature; the smaller doorways have eared architraves with guilloche moulding and enriched entablature without columns. Over the doors, grisaille paintings of Classical subjects after Cipriani have been added. The fireplace (Plate 189) has a white marble surround with a female terminal figure to each side and a central panel carved with a mythological scene between floral swags. The firegrate is carried on cast-iron dogs, one with a woman with an empty cage, the other with a man with a dove. The fireplace has an iron back and cheek plates enriched with trophies and figures in medallions. The windows have eared and gadrooned architraves finished to scrolled pediments at the top; the reveals have enriched panelled shutters. Above the architraves are pelmet boards each enriched with a vase between floral trails under a gadrooned cresting. Between the windows are gilt console tables with black figured marble tops on bearers enriched with scroll-work and turned legs enriched with twisting and leaf ornament. Over the tables are 19th-century framed mirrors surmounted by elaborate decoration of urns between angels with swags and foliage. Above the dado rail the other walls are divided into panels formed by modern mouldings.

The Dining Room has a ceiling decorated with a large rectangular panel with curved re-entrant corners, enriched with flowers and foliage; a smaller, oval panel in the middle contains, in low relief, three cherubs releasing a bird from a cage against a background of clouds; foliated scrolls link the inner and outer panels. The doorways have enriched architraves which are eared at the top and finished to volutes at the bottom. The fireplace has an architrave of yellow marble within a surround of white marble with a cornice supported by enriched brackets with masks and pendant swags below them, and a female head and flowers in the frieze. The iron firegrate is enriched with neo-Greek ornament and has firebars fanning out radially to form a semicircular hearth and covering air-vents. The Library was refitted in the early 19th century. The walls are lined with bookcases with glazed doors; there is a small ceiling cornice, fluted and reeded, and the windows have reeded architraves with paterae at the angles. The reset fireplace is of red and white marble; panelled side pilasters are decorated with consoles and pendants and the entablature has a central panel with a floral swag and a bird. The Morning Room has an early 19th-century ceiling cornice with reeding and paterae. The Schoolroom, now converted to a kitchen, has in the ceiling a square inner panel enriched with twining foliage, enclosing a central mask; an outer panel has re-entrant corners and twining rococo ornament.

The Staircase (Plate 57) has stone steps with mahogany handrail carried on scrolled wrought-iron standards and a turned mahogany newel post at the bottom. The ceiling to the first-floor landing is decorated with a rose between pairs of palm fronds. The main window to the staircase (Plate 56) has a moulded and enriched eared architrave within a border of rococo scrolls and foliage and, at the top, a female head wearing a helmet with ostrich plumes. The ceiling over the staircase is decorated with three circular panels enclosing roses all within an outer rectangular panel with re-entrant corners, and with scrolls and swags.

The Basement rooms are all covered with simple plastered vaulting. The First Floor has a central space with three-centred arches to E. and W., springing from pilasters and with decorated spandrels. In the bedrooms some of the fireplaces are original. In the Kitchen Block are two pumps dated 1756 and 1820 respectively.

Stable Building, E. of the house, of brick and stone, is probably of the early 19th century. The S. front has a central rusticated archway, now partly blocked, and round-headed windows which are also repeated on the E. side. The N. front has a plain central archway between lower archways leading to coach-houses or blind. The stabling opens off a passageway through the middle of the building.

b(4) Former Came Rectory (709893), of two storeys, with rendered rubble walls and thatched roofs (Plate 42), was built in the first half of the 19th century but may include some older walling at the back. The main roof is hipped, with chimneys at the ends of the short ridge. In front of the ground floor is a thatched verandah, and the central doorway is flanked by fluted pilasters under a cornice; the tall casement windows are glazed with diamond and hexagonal panes. A projection at the rear is a later addition.

Winterborne Came, Winterborne Farringdon, Deserted Mediaeval Village

b(5) Came Home Farm, house now two cottages (710891), has rubble walls with brick dressings to the later work and thatched roof. It is L-shaped on plan: the back wing to the N., of one storey and attics, is mainly of the 18th century but was lengthened and remodelled in the 19th century; the front part, facing S., is of two storeys with a symmetrical S. elevation and was built in the early 19th century.

a(6) Came Farm, house (695870), of two storeys with attics, has walls of squared stone and roofs covered with tiles with stone slates at the verges; it was built in the mid 18th century as a 'double pile' with chimneys in the central spine wall. The windows and the internal fittings have mostly been renewed.

b(7) Keepers' Cottages, a pair (701876), with walls mainly of rubble and thatched roof, are of the 18th century but considerably altered. In the N. wall is a recess with a traceried and gabled stone panel above it, and higher up a cross.

Earthworks Etc.

Mediaeval and Later Earthworks

a,b(8) Winterborne Farringdon, deserted mediaeval village (69498827 to 70158830; Plate 197), lies along the gently rising valley floor S. of the South Winterborne; the remains extend for 750 yds. from a point 350 yds. W. of St. Peter's Church in Came Park. The site, on chalk and valley gravel, is well-drained but there are water meadows N. of the stream. There are two blocks of remains differing in character and separated by 150 yds. of now featureless pasture. A contemporary terrace-way, running S. of both blocks and dividing the E. half from strip fields (9) on the slopes to the S., must have continued E. and W. along the valley. Ponds and grass-grown quarries among the remains, which are all under pasture, are likely to be more recent.

Depopulation of Winterborne Farringdon seems to have been gradual. In 1291 St. German's Church, like St. Peter's, Winterborne Came, was omitted from the Taxatio Ecclesiastica (Rec. Commn., 1802) and in 1397 a commission was set up to enquire into its defects (Episc. Reg., Medford, f. cxxvi b, Diocesan Registry, Salisbury). In 1428 the village was not taxed because there were less than ten domiciled inhabitants (P.R.O., E. 179/103/69). From about 1580 the same incumbent often served both Farringdon and Came (Hutchins II, 291, 529); by 1625 the church was 'lone' and Coker, perhaps misleadingly, attributed this to the covetousness of men wishing to increase their demesnes (ibid., 519). In 1650 advocates of union of the churches of Farringdon (now 'decayed') and Came recorded that 'there are but 3 households belonging to Farringdon and very few people in Came' (ibid., 528). By 1773 Hutchins wrote that Farringdon 'is entirely depopulated and has been so beyond the memory of man' (Hutchins, 1st. ed., I, 437).

The West Block of 10 acres has subsidiary roads running into it. Their flanking scarps up to 5 ft. high are apparently due to build-up and not to hollowing. One road leads to the site of St. German's Church, marked by low banks forming an irregular oblong 70 ft. by 30 ft.; at the E. end is a gabled wall of rubble with some flints and ashlar dressings probably of the 18th or 19th century although possibly on earlier foundations. Incorporated in the wall are a 14th-century window of two ogee trefoiled lights with chamfered jambs, and several moulded stones probably from a 15th-century archway. The churchyard, covering about 1/7 acre, is surrounded on S. and E. by a flat-topped bank 1½ ft. to 2 ft. high and on the N.W. and N. by a 5 ft. scarp in which a ledge 3 ft. across perhaps marks the site of a wall.

Two houses are clearly marked by low banks, at (a), not less than 60 ft. by 20 ft., and at (b), rather shorter and only 15 ft. wide with a compartment 30 ft. long at the W. The S. bank of (b) seems to have been robbed of stone. There are at least six other platforms probably indicating buildings, of which (c) is notably large. At the extreme S.W. of the block is a very disturbed mound, apparently of tightly-packed flints.

The East Block of 4 acres may be incomplete, though there are now no traces of any extension in Home Wood. A platform (d), some 40 ft. by 35 ft., is the only likely house site. The irregular rounded scarp to the N. perhaps bounded an area formerly under water—a withy bed and drainage channels lie immediately to the N. An oval embanked depression 60 yds. W. of (d) has a floor some 9 ins. below ground level and a gap to the N.E., and could have been a retting pond. A short stretch of sunken way S.E. of it is flat-bottomed and from 1½ ft. to 2½ ft. deep below flanking scarps or broad banks. A low bank (e), up to 24 ft. broad, runs southwards uphill. After 350 yds. it meets a modern field boundary beyond which it disappears. It divides two groups of strip lynchets.

The earthworks in the wet area N. of the South Winterborne are probably later than the deserted village. They are now in Winterborne Herringston. On an irregular raised area there are also remains of a structure about 95 ft. by 20 ft. (R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1934: 3084–5.)

a,b(9) Strip Lynchets (699882 to 701880; Plate 197), now under pasture, cover 18 acres immediately S. of Monument (8). Most run along the contours W. of bank (e), and traces of others E. of the bank run up and down a slope of 14° to butt against another furlong running along the contours on the gentler upper slopes. All have been ploughed in narrow rig which has obscured some of the strip divisions. Most run out on to a headland. Those E. of Chapel Hill Coppice are curiously low. (R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1934: 3084–5.)

Other Earthworks and Allied Monuments

(10–48) Round Barrows, p. 464

(49) Ring-work, p. 507