Church Knowle

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. All rights reserved.


'Church Knowle', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 2, South east( London, 1970), British History Online [accessed 23 July 2024].

'Church Knowle', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 2, South east( London, 1970), British History Online, accessed July 23, 2024,

"Church Knowle". An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 2, South east. (London, 1970), , British History Online. Web. 23 July 2024.

In this section


(O.S. 6 ins. aSY 97 NW, bSY 98 SW)

The parish of Church Knowle, covering about 2,900 acres, lies within the Isle of Purbeck, some 6 m. W. of Swanage. It is in two distinct parts divided by the narrow E.–W. Chalk ridge of the Purbeck Hills, here just over 400 ft. above O.D. To the S. the parish occupies the broad valley of the West Corfe River on Wealden Beds, between 100 ft. and 200 ft. The S. side of the valley rises steeply across Purbeck and Portland Beds to the summit of Smedmore Hill at over 600 ft. N. of the Purbeck Hills the parish extends for some 2 m. N.N.W. across a gently N.-sloping heath-land on Bagshot Beds.

In the S. part of the parish there was originally a whole series of small settlements, all included in Domesday Book and each associated with a small rectangular block of land the boundaries of which are still preserved today in continuous field banks. The settlements N. of the Corfe River were Whiteway, Barnston, Church Knowle and Bucknowle; those to the S. were West and East Bradle and West and East Orchard. Many of them have earthwork remains as well as later buildings, together with traces of their field systems. Only at Barnston is there a surviving mediaeval house, stone-built, with later alterations; it is a building of visual as well as archaeological note.

To the N. and at the foot of the Purbeck Hills is the rather scattered hamlet of East Creech, probably now combining two of the four Creeches listed in Domesday Book. Two of the houses further N. within the heath (Monuments 12 and 19), together with their associated small fields, indicate settlement in this area in the late 17th and 18th centuries. The building materials of some of the houses N. of the ridge include cob and brick, neither of which is found to the S.

A well preserved Iron Age or Romano-British settlement lies on Smedmore Hill and is surrounded by fragmentary 'Celtic' fields. A mosaic pavement found near East Creech indicates a Roman villa, and several sites have produced evidence of shale working.

The Iron Age 'A' settlement on Knowle Hill with its associated dykes, the parish church, and Barnston and Whiteway Farms are the principal monuments.


b(1) The Parish Church of St. Peter (Plate 1) stands to the N.E. of the village. The walls are of local stone rubble with dressings of the same material and the roofs are covered with stone slates. The Chancel was built about the end of the first quarter of the 13th century and the Nave and North and South Transepts were built shortly afterwards. The 14th-century West Tower was in part at least rebuilt in the 18th century and the North Aisle added between 1833 and 1841, when the entire N. wall of the nave and most of the W. wall of the N. transept were removed. The South Porch was built probably in the 14th century. Certainly the N. transept, and probably the S., contained chantries associated respectively with the lords of the manors of Barnston and East Creech.

The church is of interest, being for the most part of the first half of the 13th century; the Clavell monument, 1572, is a good and undamaged example of its kind.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (19¾ ft. by 15¾ ft.) of c. 1225 has the base of the walls battered and a plain E. gable; the windows, unless otherwise described, are original. The E. window is of two trefoil-headed lights with a round cinque-foiled tracery light under a two-centred moulded label and a moulded two-centred rear arch; the reveals and mullion have continuous three-quarter-round mouldings outside. The two windows in the N. wall are similar to the E. window except that the tracery lights are quatre-foiled, they are without labels and the rear arches are hollow-chamfered; in the W. splay of the W. window is the square-headed E. opening of an early 15th-century squint from the N. transept. In the S. wall the E. window is of the 15th century and of three trefoiled lights in a square head; internally the sill is lowered to form a seat. The doorway, further W., has stop-chamfered jambs, perhaps in part of 13th-century origin, and a depressed two-centred head of later date. The W. window is similar to those in the N. wall and also has in the W. splay a chamfered shouldered opening to a squint from the S. transept. The 13th-century chancel arch was much restored in the 19th century; it is two-centred and of two continuous chamfered orders; flanking it are smaller openings, originally recesses presumably for side altars, pierced and opened down to floor level in the 19th century; they have segmental-pointed heads and jambs all much restored in the lower parts and entirely modern on the E. face.

Parish Church of Saint Peter

The Nave (36½ ft. by 15½ ft.) retains on the N. the butt ends only of the N. wall; two 19th-century timber posts support both the gallery over the N. aisle and N. transept and the main roof trusses. The S. wall was heightened some 4½ ft. in the 19th century and at the same time the two-centred archway of two chamfered orders into the S. transept was heightened, probably with re-use of much of the original 13th-century material, but this is concealed by plastering. The rebuilt S. doorway has a chamfered two-centred head and jambs with run-out stops; over the E. haunch is a reset lancet window with chamfered head and jambs, segmental rear arch and wide inner splays. Further W. are two windows in part original and each of one tall lancet with heightened and restored head.

The North Transept (12½ ft. by 11 ft.) has been heightened to contain a gallery and is now gabled to the E. and with a modern E. window in the heightening. In the original E. wall are traces of a blocked window, and in the S.E. corner is the plain rectangular W. opening to the squint; the outer wall of the squint projects in the angle between chancel and transept and is supported on stone corbelling. The N. wall contains an original window of two lancets with a round quatre-foiled tracery light and sunk spandrels in a two-centred head; the mullion is modern and the cusping in the tracery light is damaged.

The South Transept (12 ft. by 10½ ft.) has a parapeted S. gable with trefoiled apex-stone. The E. and S. walls each contain a two-light window similar to that in the N. transept except that the cusping in the tracery has been removed. The W. opening to the squint in the N.E. corner has a plain square head and splayed jambs.

The North Aisle (8½ ft. wide) has two mid 19th-century windows in the N. wall each consisting of a pair of chamfered lancet lights. The W. end is gabled, and reused on the parapet is an old trefoiled apex-stone. Reset inside, under the stairs to the gallery, is a 13th-century stone doorway with two-centred head of two continuous chamfered orders; in the gable and lighting the gallery is a 19th-century window of two trefoiled lights with a trefoiled spandrel in a two-centred head.

The West Tower (8½ ft. square) was largely rebuilt from a height of some 14 ft. upwards in the 18th century, with re-use of some original material. Outside it is without division and has a low pyramidal roof with plain overhanging eaves; inside it is divided into three storeys. The tower arch is of c. 1300, with a depressed two-centred head of one chamfered order dying out against plain responds. In the N. wall is a modern doorway, and the S. and W. walls each contain a small chamfered rectangular loop-light probably of the 18th century. The second storey has chamfered and rebated rectangular loops of c. 1300 reset in the N. and S. walls; at this level in the S. wall is also a stone tablet inscribed with the initials I.C., E.C. churchwardens' and the date 1741. The louvred openings in the N., S. and W. walls of the bell-chamber are contemporary with the rebuilding.

The South Porch (8½ ft. by 7¾ ft.) has a plain parapeted S. gable with an 18th or 19th-century gable cross. The 14th-century entrance archway has a chamfered two-centred head and chamfered jambs. Inside are wall-benches with plank seats.

The Roof of the nave dates from between 1833 and 1841 and is of three bays; the attenuated tie and collar-beam trusses have queen posts and arched braces arranged to suggest a hammer-beam roof, cinquefoils in the spandrels and purlins slung below the principals. The tie beams in the N. aisle are of the same date as the foregoing and also have cusped infilling above.

Fittings—Altar: In S. transept, Purbeck marble slab 3 ft. 8 ins. by 2 ft. 5 ins., with five incised crosses and a sixth added later, chamfered under edge, mediaeval, on modern supports. Bells: three; 1st, by James Wells of Aldbourne in Wiltshire, 1804; 2nd, by Thomas Purdue, 1677, recast 1926. Bell-frame: of timber, mid 18th-century. Brackets: two, of stone, in E. wall of S. transept and in E. wall of S. porch, perhaps mediaeval. Brasses: see Monument (1). Chairs: In chancel, pair, of oak, with turned legs and stretchers, backs with turned side posts and shaped and pierced cresting, late 17th-century. Coffin-lids: In S. transept—in sill of S. window, (1) upper part only, with relief of cross with trefoiled ends on slender stem, late 13th-century; (2) upper part only, with hollow-chamfered border and wheel cross on elaborated stem, crudely carved in relief, c. 1300. Communion Table: In chancel, modern, but incorporating enriched bulbous legs and end bearers of the early 17th century. See also Tables. Gallery: over N. transept, N. aisle and W. end of nave, with plain panelled front, approached by stone stair with turned wood newel, moulded handrail and fascia framing close panels, 1833–41.

Monuments: In N. transept—against E. wall, (1) of John Clavell and [Myllecent (Gyfford)] and Susan (Coker) his wives, dated 1572, canopied altar-tomb (Plate 14) of Portland stone with brasses; the tomb-chest has moulded plinth containing band of quatrefoils and front and ends divided into panels enclosing cusped and sub-cusped quatrefoils containing blank shields; on the moulded top slab are freestanding columns and responds, reeded and fluted and with moulded capitals with egg-and-dart enrichment, supporting a canopy with an enriched entablature with quatre-foiled frieze and brattishing; the canopy soffit (Plate 15) has blind tracery decoration of much elaboration, including bosses, one representing a Tudor rose, a quatrefoil and diapered panels enclosing star-shaped sinkings (cf. Bere Regis parish church, Monument 1). The back wall is divided by buttress-like pilasters into three bays containing the following brasses: centre, figure of man in armour kneeling at prayer-desk, with inscription below and, above, achievement-of-arms of Clavell quartering Stokes (?); to N., woman wearing gown with puffed sleeves and ruffs at neck and wrists kneeling at prayer-desk, with four children and, above, shield-of-arms of Clavell impaling Gyfford; S., kneeling woman as before, without children, inscription below and, above, shield-of-arms of Clavell impaling Coker. The whole stands on a large Purbeck marble slab. In S. transept—on W. wall, (2) of Thomas Cockram, 1761, Portland stone and marble wall-tablet with pedimented cornice.

Paintings: In nave—on W. side of chancel arch and flanking recesses and on soffits of latter, trailing foliage, perhaps in part 16th-century, but very extensively repainted in 19th century. Panelling: In S. transept, on S. wall, of oak, with moulded styles and rails forming back to wall-bench, 18th-century. Piscinae: two; in chancel, in S. wall, (1) with chamfered two-centred head, 13th-century, circular dishing and rounded sill with underside shaped to stem and knop, 16th-century; in S. transept, in S. wall, (2) with two-centred head and circular dishing, 13th-century. Plate: includes Elizabethan cup (Plate 23) with band of strapwork ornament and cover-paten with engraved date 1574, both by Lawrence Stratford, and paten of 1810. Pulpit: of oak, hexagonal, with pairs of two-centred panels in each face, moulded base and cornice, on flared stem, approached by stairs with slender newel, handrail and plain balusters, c. 1840. Recess: In tower, in W. wall of ground storey, small and rectangular, now plastered, perhaps mediaeval. Stoup: In S. porch, in N.E. corner, with deep circular bowl, mediaeval, reset sideways. Tables: two; in nave, (1) of oak, small, with drawer, slender turned legs and plain stretchers, early 18th-century; in tower, (2) of oak and deal, painted and grained, with enriched bearers, turned legs, plain stretchers, 17th-century. Miscellaneous: Reset in W. face of tower, stone with fragment of black-letter inscription, early 16th-century; (see also below, Monument 6).


b(2) Barnston Farm (nearly ¾ m. W.S.W.), former manor house, is of two storeys and in part with attics (Plate 73). The walls are of local limestone rubble and ashlar and the roofs are covered with stone slates. The house was built towards the end of the 13th century, probably by a member of the Estoke family, and retains the hall and solar wing of this date; the kitchen may well have been detached but nothing of it survives; remains of a building beside the road, possibly a gatehouse, were removed about a century ago. Probably in the 15th century the great chimney-stack on the S. side of the hall was added. In the mid 16th century the accommodation was increased by the insertion of the floor in the hall, the upper floor being approached by a staircase added on the N.W., and probably the building of the W. wing; at the same time the house was improved by the addition of the bay window at the S. end of the solar wing; the walls were in part refaced in ashlar and the older fireplaces modernised. Since the 16th century the building has undergone only essential reconstructions, some rearrangement inside involving the loss of the hall screen and the identity of the screens passage, general repairs and renewal of some windows. See also Monument (28). (A. Oswald, Country Houses of Dorset (1959); M. E. Wood in Arch. Journ. cv Supp. (1950).)

Barnston Farm is of considerable interest for the retention of much of the building of c. 1300 and of 16th-century work of good country quality.

Architectural Description—The house consists of the Hall block (32 ft. by 18½ ft.) orientated E. and W. with the solar wing (14½ ft. by 30 ft.) across the W. end, forming a T-shaped plan; extending at a right-angle from the solar wing is the mid 16th-century W. wing. The block that contained the Hall retains at the E. end of the N. and S. walls the doorways to the former screens passage though much damaged and now blocked; inserted in the blocking of the first is a modern window and of the second a reset 16th-century two-light window; the original jambs surviving are chamfered and, though both the heads have been destroyed, the relieving arches remain. Above the S. doorway is a patch of blocking where a window has been removed. The great projecting S. chimney-stack has a plain chamfered plinth, some underpinning, which is possibly also the stub of a wall, on the E., and symmetrical weather-tabling to a single square shaft rebuilt, or heightened, in the upper part. Westward from the stack and continuing as far as the S.W. corner of the solar wing the wall is ashlar-faced and with a high moulded plinth, all of the 16th century; in that part fronting the Hall is a four-light stone-mullioned window to the ground floor with square-headed openings under a moulded label with square stops and a two-light window to the first floor. The N. wall has, W. of the screens doorway, a second doorway with moulded head set in part in the blocking of a two-light window and above the latter is a modern window in a patch of blocking that possibly occupies the site of an original window; W. again is the 16th-century projecting staircase bay, which is roughly ashlar-faced and contains in the N. wall three small single-light windows, one on the ground floor with an elliptical light in a square head, one at half-height with an ogee light with sunk spandrels cut from a single rectangular slab, and one under the eaves with a square-headed light; the first and last light small closets adjoining the stair. The lean-to roof of the bay continues the slope of the main roof. The E. end of the Hall block appears to have been mostly rebuilt, probably in the 17th century, and further strengthened by the addition of a large buttress in five weathered stages, which blocks one of the lights of the plainly chamfered four-light window on the upper floor. On the ground floor is a comparatively modern timber-framed window.

Barnston Farm in the Parish of Church Knowle

The Solar Wing projects N. and S. of the Hall block, though the N. projection is now masked by the later staircase bay. Broken through by the S.E. corner is a 16th-century doorway with a repaired moulded four-centred head and moulded jambs with moulded stops. The gabled S. wall has a moulded coping with the stump of a carved finial and contains a two-storey three-sided window-bay with a steeply weathered roof and with windows occupying the full width of the ground and first floors; they are transomed and of six square-headed lights on the face divided into two groups by heavier central mullions, and one light in each canted side; inside, the wide relieving-arch over the bay is visible from within the roof. The W. return wall is plastered and has a large projecting chimney-stack, which is probably a 16th-century rebuilding of an original and rather larger stack, for rough footings remain exposed beside it. The plastered N. end wall is gabled and has three original two-stage ashlar buttresses rising the height of the ground floor; in the E. bay so formed is a modern window in the 16th-century style and in the W. bay a renewed 16th-century doorway with a moulded four-centred opening in a square head and with stop-moulded jambs. Centrally on the first floor is a window of c. 1300 of two trefoiled lancet lights with a quatre-foiled spandrel, chamfered reveals, a two-centred rear arch and stone window seats; the reveals are rebated inside and retain hinge-pins for shutters; the mullion retains pierced lugs for the shutter-bolts. Above in the gable end is a small rectangular 16th or 17th-century single-light window, now blocked. The parapeted gable is apparently deformed by the adjoining wall of the W. wing but cracks in the rendering reveal full symmetry.

The West Wing has the walling entirely concealed by plaster rendering. The W. end is gabled and with a chimney-stack at the apex. In the N. wall is a ground-floor window in the 16th-century style but entirely renewed and, on the first floor, a reset window of c. 1300 with two plain lancet lights so placed that the sill inside is only 1 ft. above the floor. Possibly an annexe projected N. from this side; a length of wall with plaster on the E. face continues the W. wall northward and also the windows just described are placed rather to the E. In the S. wall are four-light windows on both floors, the lower of the mid 16th century with compound mouldings, the upper of the 17th century with ovolo-moulded jambs and mullions.

Inside the house, the Hall block is now divided by a modern wall to provide a kitchen and dairy. The mid 16th-century open timber ceiling from end to end comprises five cross beams and two longitudinal beams, all moulded. The second beam from the E. is morticed for a plank screen, now gone. The N.W. doorway to the solar wing is a 16th-century renewal with a four-centred chamfered head mutilated by the insertion of a modern door-frame. The stone fireplace is of the 16th century; it has a moulded surround with a flat head rounded at the angles. In the W. wall is a stone corbel, which probably supported the upper end of a timber stair leading from the Hall to a doorway, now blocked, into the solar. The solar wing is divided by modern partitions on the two floors; the fireplaces at both levels are of the 16th century, with moulded stone surrounds, the upper with elaborated stops. Off the N.E. angle is the stone stair inserted in the 16th century and since restored. The W. wing retains fireplaces similar to those already described and the ceiling beams are exposed.

The Roofs over Hall and solar are of collar-beam type with much modern repair. The roof over the W. wing has been reconstructed, with re-use of some old timbers.

Hunting Lodge, on Creech Barrow, see Monument (33) below.

The following houses unless otherwise described are of one storey and attics, with walls of local rubble and slate-covered roofs.

Church Knowle Village

b(3) Cottages, two, of two storeys, have a symmetrical front in which is a stone inscribed J.C. 1829.

b(4) Cottages, two, of two storeys and attics and of the early 19th century, share a common doorway in the middle of a symmetrical front.

b(5) Cottages, pair, of two storeys, are symmetrically designed; in the front is a stone inscribed M. 1843. On the opposite side of the road, 30 yds. S., is a similar pair of cottages, undated but of the same period.

b(6) Church Farm is a 17th-century house with a plan comprising a hall at the E. end and an unheated room. A third room with a fireplace in the E. gable wall was added in the 18th century. Parts of a black-letter inscription cut in stone are incorporated in the masonry above the hall fireplace. The unheated room was used as a cheese room before the modern staircase was built there, a usage said to be of long standing.

b(7) House is of two storeys and was built probably in the late 17th or early 18th century, although little work of that date survives except the ashlar chimney. The plan comprised a hall with a fireplace at the E. end and an inner room. Wherever the original staircase stood it was not beside the chimney-stack, for lack of space; the present staircase was built at the time other extensive alterations were made in the late 19th century. A third room was added to the W. in the late 18th century.

b(8) House, of two storeys and with a slate-covered hipped roof of low pitch, is early Victorian.

Church Knowle

b(9) House, 'The Old Cottage', has a thatched roof and is of the 17th century. The plan comprised three rooms, the middle one being unheated. The original staircase, now removed, was on the N. side of the E. chimney-stack lit by a small window high up; the latter is now blocked. The outside has been reconstructed at various dates. The partitions on the W. and E. sides of the present hall are respectively of the late 17th and 18th centuries. The staircase was inserted during the 19th century.

b(10) Post Office, house, has a thatched roof and was built in the second half of the 18th century on a plan comprising a living room at the E. end divided from an unheated room by a plank-and-muntin partition. The doorway and ground-floor windows have flat-arched heads of rubble. The living room has exposed joists.

b(11) The New Inn, of two storeys and attics, was built in the early 17th century on a plan comprising two heated rooms, probably divided by a through passage, and a staircase beside the E. chimney-stack. The W. window and the blocked entrance doorway each retain a rubble relieving arch; that to the E. window has been destroyed. In the 18th century the house was re-roofed and a dormer window with a hipped gable inserted on the N. side. The porch and the present entrance doorway and the internal partitions are modern. A contemporary but asymmetrical building adjoining on the E., now gutted, has a thatched roof.

East Creech

b(12) East Creech Farm, house (929825), is of two storeys. The walls are of rubble and brick, in part faced with stucco, and the roofs are covered with tiles, blue slates and stone slates. It is of three periods, comprising a late 17th-century low block to the W. with a late 18th-century N. wing and a lofty E. block built in the first half of the 18th century. The latter may have been the only part completed of a whole rebuilding scheme; a projecting bay stepped forward from the S. front has the appearance of having been intended for the centrepiece in a symmetrical composition.

The W. block has on the ground floor two original two-light moulded stone-mullioned windows, one retaining the original wrought-iron casement with scrolled catches. The upper storey has been heightened. Inside is an exposed chamfered ceiling beam. The E. block is built of brick in Flemish bond and gabled to the E. and W. The S. front has a brick plinth and eaves cornice and stuccoed wall-face; most of the windows on the two floors have segmental heads and are fitted with double-hung sashes. The deeply projecting bay is stepped forward twice symmetrically and is of two storeys with a hipped roof. The E. end has three pairs of sunk roundels with flush ashlar dressings; the pair on the ground floor were originally windows and remains of the glazing-bars are built up in the blocking; the top pair must always have been blocked. The interior has been modernised.

Facing the S. front, on the opposite side of the road, is a length of brick wall contemporary with the E. block containing, opposite the projecting bay, a Gateway with square brick piers with moulded bases and moulded ashlar caps and with rebates formed by small projecting pilaster-strips with moulded brick console-like finials.

b(13) House, 50 yds. W. of (12), of cob with a rubble front and with a thatched roof, is of the late 17th or early 18th century. At the W. end is an ashlar chimney-stack; the E. end is hipped. Inside is an 18th-century plank-and-muntin partition.

b(14) Cottage, immediately N. of (13), is of cob and has a thatched roof. It was built in the 18th century and extended to the W. in the early 19th century in cob faced with brick.

b(15) Cottage, 130 yds. W. of (12), is of the late 18th century and has a central chimney-stack. The first-floor walls, of brick, and the slated roof are modern.

b(16) House (927825), of cob and with a thatched roof, was built in the 17th century (Plate 49). The S. and W. walls have been refaced in the late 17th or early 18th century in brickwork in English bond with vitrified headers. The plan comprised a hall with a chimney at the E. end and an unheated room. An early Victorian cottage, of two storeys and of brick with a slated roof, was added at the E. end, the flue of the living-room fireplace being carried up into the existing chimney.

b(17) Cottage, 20 yds. S. of (16), of rubble with carstone quoins and brick dressings, was built in the 18th century and heightened in brick in the late 19th century.

b(18) Cottage (925823), of brick, was built towards the end of the 18th century; the brickwork is in Flemish bond with glazed headers. The ground-floor windows have segmental brick heads. The house has been heightened and the roof slated in modern times.

b(19) House (922828), at Cotness, has a thatched roof and is probably of the late 17th century. A brick addition to the W. was made in the 18th century. The original house was refronted and porches were added in the 19th century on conversion into two cottages.

b(20) Cottage (922832), at Cotness, of two storeys and of cob with a thatched roof, is early Victorian.

b(21) House (919846), on the N. boundary of the parish, is of two storeys and has a tiled roof. The date of the building is given by a stone inscribed GP 1749 in the gable of the porch. The walls are a mixture of Purbeck and carstone, with Purbeck stone dressings. The present front windows are mid Victorian. The ground-floor plan comprises two rooms with a central chimney and a porch at the N. end.

b(22) Whiteway Farm (924812), house, dairy, granary, barn, etc. (Plate 51), has an architectural history difficult to determine. The earliest work is of the late 16th or early 17th century.

The Farmhouse, of two storeys, is L-shaped on plan with the main front to the S. where are three three-light windows and one two-light window on the ground floor and three three-light windows on the first floor; they, like the windows described below, have hollow-chamfered surrounds and mullions. The present central doorway has a four-centred head; a second doorway, now blocked, further W. is similar to it. All the ground-floor openings have rubble relieving arches. The N. wall has, on the ground floor, a three-light window near the W. end and a small single light nearly opposite the front doorway and, on the first floor, another three-light window close to the re-entrant angle. The N. wing has a doorway with four-centred head and four three-light windows on the E. face, the lower openings again with relieving arches; it had a doorway opposite that just described and four windows on the W. face, but the doorway is now a window and only one original window survives. The roofs have been reconstructed to a lower pitch than the original.

Whiteway Farm House

The plan of the main block comprised three rooms, the one in the middle being unheated and lit by the small N. window. The fireplace at the W. end has moulded jambs and a four-centred head with hollowed spandrels; it is probably of the late 16th or early 17th century. How much of the building is to be associated with this fireplace is not clear, since the greater thickness of the W. wall may imply either a different building phase or a considerable reconstruction; if the latter, then either very early and continuing the initial building tradition or later with the careful re-use of the old items. The N. wing is an addition but here again the similarity of detail and the use of relieving arches suggest that it is an early one. The plan must have included an unheated room, probably a pantry, at the S. end, and a kitchen; in this last, the opposed doorways close to the fireplace are unusual. In the N. gable wall is a blocked opening possibly indicating a window to a former staircase where the oven now is.

The Dairyhouse (Plate 51) stands 6 yds. S.E. of the foregoing; it also is L-shaped on plan and very similar to the farmhouse in detail, except that most of the windows are unusually tall. The two doorways in the W. wall have four-centred heads and relieving arches, but not the N. doorway of the W. wing. The house was built probably in the early 17th century as a dairy with living accommodation at the S. end.

The Granary (Plate 51), close N.W. of the dairyhouse, is probably of the late 17th or early 18th century. It is of two storeys with a pyramidal roof. The S. doorway has a depressed triangular chamfered head and jambs and a regular relieving arch turned on the lintel. The Garden Wall, about 35 yds. S. of the farmhouse, incorporates the moulded jambs of a doorway of c. 1600; they may have come from the house. The Barn, N.E. of the farmhouse, of rubble with a tiled roof, has a porch on the S.W. side and two buttresses with weathered offsets flanking the opposite entrance. It is of the 18th century. The Cottage and Byre S.E. of the dairyhouse are of the early 18th century and have been greatly altered.

See also Monument (27).

b(23) Puddle Mill Farm, house (936800), of two storeys with a tiled roof, is of the late 18th century (Plate 46). The N. front is symmetrical and the doorway and ground-floor windows have segmental heads of rubble above square timber frames. The plan, comprising a lobby and a staircase between the kitchen to the W. and the parlour to the E., is typical of small farmhouses at this period.

b(24) Cottage, 50 yds. W. of (23), of two storeys, is contemporary with the foregoing.

b(25) West Orchard, farmhouse (941807), of two storeys, comprises a nucleus, probably of the late 16th century, extended E. and W. in the 18th and 19th centuries respectively. The two fireplaces mentioned below are the only evidence for the earliest date; they have moulded jambs, four-centred heads and sunk spandrels.

The plan is anomalous, perhaps because of later changes. Most of the ground floor of the original building is occupied by a large room with a fireplace at the E. end and divided by a stone wall from a small lobby on the W., which contains a 19th-century staircase. At the N. end of the W. gable wall is a timber door-frame with a chamfered four-centred head and continuous jambs; above in the same wall, on the first floor, is the second fireplace. The second, E., first-floor room is unheated.

The Cottage, 40 yds. W. of the farmhouse, has a tiled roof and is of the 18th century. The doorway has a flat rubble head. The Barn, 50 yds. E. of the farmhouse, is of the 18th century. See also Monument (31).

b(26) Stone (92068184), on Ridgeway Hill, marks the boundary between Church Knowle and Steeple parishes. It is of dressed limestone, 2 ft. high by 1½ ft. by 1 ft. The E. face (Plate 64) is inscribed with 'K' and a Bench Mark; the W. face bears a crude 'S'.

Earthworks, Etc.

Mediaeval and Later Earthworks

b(27) Settlement Remains at Whiteway (923813) cover 1 acre W. of Whiteway Farm (Monument 22) on a gentle slope falling E. and S. They include a rectangular platform with scarps up to 3 ft. high and a terrace-way 4 yds. wide entering the site from the N. On the W. is the parish boundary bank and ditch. (Hutchins I, 589; R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821: 2414.)

b(28) Settlement Remains at Barnston (932815), some 2 acres in extent, lie S.E. of Barnston Farm (Monument 2), terraced on an E.-facing slope. (Hutchins I, 507; R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821: 2414.)

b(29) Pillow Mounds, six (929820), lie in rough pasture ¾ m. W.N.W. of St. Peter's church and 125 yds. S.W. of Bare Cross (plan p. 509). The mounds (a–f) are arranged in a row on a south-facing slope of 16°. Their purpose is unknown: their slope makes it unlikely that they ever supported structures. Hutchins recorded the mounds, with a plan but no comment, in 1773 (1st ed., I, 605).

The arrangement of the mounds in a rough line rising from S.W. to N.E. suggests that they were built alongside the terraced track which runs immediately above them and may have led only to Barnston or continued below the hill towards Whiteway as air photographs hint. Either objective would be compatible with a mediaeval date. The analogy with the similar group near a mediaeval settlement at Eastington (see Worth Matravers, 32) tends to confirm this. Enough remains of strip lynchets farmed from Barnston to show that these mounds lay just beyond the limits of the open fields.

All the mounds have approximately parallel sides, squared ends, tops of constant height, a firm appearance (except for recent disturbance) and clear traces of ditches. Three lie approximately N. to S. and three E. to W. Lengths range from 40 ft. to 60 ft. and breadths from 25 ft. to 30 ft. The greater width of (d), 33½ ft., may be due to soil slip. Ditches are up to 10 ft. wide and 1½ ft. deep. Heights from ditch bottoms to mound tops are about 2¾ ft. The mounds are well-preserved, but (c) and (d) have been dug into from the top. (R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821: 2413–5.)

b(30) Settlement Remains at Bradle (931807) cover some 4 acres immediately N.E. of Bradle Farm on ground sloping gently N. to a stream. Less regular remains cover about 3 acres to the E. (932806). The subsoil is Purbeck Beds and Wealden sand. There are references to settlement at Bradle in Domesday Book and throughout the mediaeval period (Hutchins I, 582–3; Fägersten, 132), while a chapel is mentioned in 1326 (E. A. and G. S. Fry, Dorset Records, V (1896), 319). The remains appear to belong to two separate settlements of West and East Bradle. The Tithe map of 1843 names an East Bradle Farm adjacent and shows a boundary line along the hedge E. of the main block of closes.

Church Knowle. (29) Pillow mounds on Ridgeway Hill.

Six small, rectangular, contiguous platforms, most of which were apparently once of 1/7 to 1/5 acre, are paired by six long closes each ½ acre in size, varying in length from 240 ft. to 300 ft. The small platforms slope slightly N., are ill-defined to the S., and some have N.-falling scarps up to 4½ ft. high. These remains possibly represent 'tofts and crofts' (cf. Chaldon Herring, 20). The whole area had been much disturbed even before ploughing, after which dark earth could be seen to cover the small platforms; the soil in the long closes was much lighter in colour. These closes were divided by continuous low banks of yellow clay, some apparently ditched and others scarped up to 3 ft. on one side. In places these banks apparently rose up over the N. scarps of the small enclosures, indicating that they had been built after the scarps had been formed. Spreads of flaggy limestone were noted along the banks around the small enclosures.

The boundary dividing the field in which these remains lie from that to the E. apparently overlies a scarped enclosure. Immediately beyond it a hollow-way 12 ft. wide across the bottom runs N. to S. below a scarp 4 ft. high. (R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821: 5415.)

b(31) Settlement Remains at West Orchard (941808) very fragmentary, lie N.E. of the farm (Monument 25). The site appears in Domesday Book as 'Horcerd'. (Hutchins I, 589; Fägersten, 134; R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821: 5413).

a,b(32) Strip Fields occur in four places:

(a) N. of Barnston (around 927818), where fragments remain of two contour strip lynchets with treads 4 yds. and 13 yds. wide divided by a riser 10 ft. high. These were part of the former West Field. (b) S. of Bradle (927802), mainly contour strip lynchets now almost ploughed out. Extensive narrow rig on the N. shoulder of Smedmore Hill shows that there was destruction by ploughing in the 19th century. (c) N.E. and S.E. of Bradle Barn along the sides of a narrow valley, remains of eight up-and-down strips (at 936804) divided by banks up to 1 ft. high. Widths vary from 20 yds. to 25 yds. Strip lynchets (around 935796), mostly of contour type, run into the remains of 'Celtic' fields (see Ancient Field Group (20)) and have been covered by later narrow rig. (d) S. of Woodhill Coppice (from 937804 to 940798) where, in a much disturbed area of about 40 acres, two blocks remain on either side of a sunk bridle road running N.W. to S.E. A riser 3 ft. high forms the S. side of this road where the strips run on to a headland. Strips vary in width from 8 yds. to 15 yds. and are divided by very low banks about 9 ft. wide, deepened on a secondary slope by lynchet action. Narrow rig 2 yds. to 3 yds. wide can still be seen on them. (R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821: 2414, 5412–4.)

b(33) Hunting Lodge, on Creech Barrow (92148240), a conical hill of Tertiary formations, now comprises only the footings of a stone tower and associated banks. It was one of the three hunting lodges in Purbeck Chase and is marked on Treswell's map of 1586 by a round tower. (Hutchins I, opp. 462, also 463, 606.) Damage to a building here was alleged by Sir Christopher Hatton in 1583 (P.R.O., Star Chamber 5/H49/38).

The tower site, on the summit at 637 ft. above O.D., is marked by a limestone wall, mostly grass-covered, 4 ft. thick and 1½ ft. high, forming a rectangle 30 ft. N.–S. by 25 ft. (externally). A geological investigation showed that inside the walls was a layer of black humus 2 ft. thick containing potsherds probably of the 16th or 17th centuries; a mediaeval green-glazed sherd was found hereabouts at another time (Dorset Procs. LXXVII (1955), 153).

The tower remains are at the centre of a symmetrical arrangement of ditched banks, up to 3 ft. high, which together outlined a Greek cross, the arms running downhill, within a square, measuring about 110 yds. each way. The W. bank has almost disappeared. A bank between the N.W. angle of the square and the parish boundary is probably an addition. Dates are unknown.

Other Earthworks and Allied Monuments

(34) Oval Barrow, p. 431.

(35–49) Round Barrows, p. 441.

(50–53) Mounds, p. 481.

(54–55) Settlements, Knowle Hill and Smedmore Hill, p. 509.

(56) Cross-ridge Dykes, Knowle Hill, p. 517.

(57–62) Roman Villa and other Remains, p. 595.

Ancient Field Group (20), p. 629.