Winterborne Monkton

Pages 390-391

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 68 NE, bSY 69 SE)

The modern parish of Winterborne Monkton, covering just over 1,200 acres immediately S.S.W. of Dorchester, lies across the valley of the South Winterborne, entirely on Chalk. To the S. it rises on the N. slopes of the S. Dorset Ridgeway and to the N. on to a level area bounded by the Dorchester-Bridport road.

Until this century the parish was little more than half its present size and was almost confined to the area S. of the river. The N. part of the parish was formerly in Fordington, and was transferred to Monkton when the rest of Fordington was incorporated into the Borough of Dorchester c. 1900.

Monkton, lying along the Winterborne, has always been the only settlement in the parish and has remained very small.


a(1) The Parish Church of St. Simon and St. Jude stands at the S.W. end of the village. The walls are of local rubble with freestone dressings; the roofs are covered with lead and slates. The body of the church consisting of Chancel and Nave was built in the early 13th century as a simple rectangular structure. The North Porch was added in the 15th century and subsequently rebuilt, the West Tower was added c. 1500, and early in the 16th century the S. arcade was built and the South Aisle added. A restoration which was begun in 1870 included the rebuilding of the N. wall of the chancel and nave E. of the porch and the addition c. 1875 of an organ chamber S. of the chancel.

The Church, Plan

Architectural Description—The Chancel (17 ft. by 15 ft.) is structurally undivided from the nave. At the corners of the E. wall and in the centre are restored pilaster buttresses of c. 1200; the greater part of the wall was rebuilt in the 15th century with a heavy moulded plinth. The restored 15th-century E. window is of three cinque-foiled ogee lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a label and head-stops. In the N. wall is a restored 16th-century window of three round-headed lights in a square head. In the S. wall is a late 19th-century archway to the organ chamber and W. of it a 15th-century doorway, with a four-centred head, to the former rood-loft staircase. The S. window of the Organ Chamber is of the early 16th century, reset.

The Nave (28½ ft. by 15 ft.) has in the N. wall two windows similar to the N. window of the chancel; the early 13th-century N. doorway has rounded jambs, a segmental arch and hollow-chamfered imposts. The early 16th-century S. arcade is of three bays with four-centred and moulded arches springing from piers and half-piers as responds, all with attached shafts having moulded bases and capitals carved with foliage and roses. The South Aisle (7 ft. wide) has, in the E. wall, a late 19th-century archway to the organ chamber. In the S. wall are two restored 16th-century windows each of three four-centred lights in a square head; the S. doorway, now blocked, has chamfered jambs and lintel. In the W. wall is a window uniform with those in the S. wall.

The West Tower (9½ ft. by 9 ft.), of the early 16th century, is of two stages, formerly divided into three storeys, with a moulded plinth, weathered string between the stages, a moulded parapet string below an embattled parapet and two-stage diagonal buttresses at the N.W., S.W. and S.E. angles; at the N.E. corner is a polygonal stair turret. The tower arch has plain jambs and a chamfered two-centred head. The W. window is of two trefoiled ogee lights with tracery in a two-centred head with moulded reveals and a label with headstops. The former second storey has a square-headed window in the E. wall over which the string-course rises to form a label. The bell-chamber has in each wall a pair of square-headed lights; those on the S. and W. have been restored with horizontal ties of stone.

The North Porch (6½ ft. square) has a 15th-century outer archway with moulded jambs and a two-centred head.

Fittings—Bells: one, inscribed 'Ave Maria', mid 15th-century. Communion Table: with turned legs, moulded upper rails and shaped brackets, late 17th-century. Font: octagonal with moulded and splayed bowl, plain stem and modern base, perhaps 14th-century. Monument and Floor-slabs. Monument: in tower on W. wall, to Julia Harriet, daughter of the Rev. Joseph Foster, rector, 1849, white marble shield-shaped tablet with cross above on black marble lozenge-shaped backing. Floor-slabs: in N. porch, (1) to John Medultun, 161.; (2) to John Reade, 1614; (3) to William Parsons, 1672, and Mary (Reade) his wife, 1672, and another.

Piscina: in chancel, recess with chamfered jambs, moulded and crocketed ogee head and projecting base cut back, early 16th-century. Plate: includes cup and cover-paten of 1571, the former with engraved ornament. Royal Arms: in nave, on N. wall, of George III after 1816, painting in moulded frame. Screen: between chancel and nave, modern but incorporating two lengths of late 14th-century fretted tracery.


a(2) Toll-house (681881), on Dorchester-Weymouth road, is of two storeys with rendered brick walls and low pyramidal slate roof. It is of the second quarter of the 19th century; the windows have two-centred arched heads. (Demolished)

Earthworks, Etc.

(3–4) Long Barrows, p. 432

(5–10) Round Barrows, p. 465

(11) Enclosure, p. 507; (12) Dyke, p. 519

Roman Finds, p. 619

Ancient Field Group (2), p. 624