Pages xix-xxi

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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This Inventory, the second of a series devoted to Dorset and covering the fifty-three south-eastern parishes of the County, is in three parts, separately bound. The first two parts contain the official Report of the Commission including the list of those monuments which the Commissioners deem to be most worthy of preservation; an Introduction in which the topography, morphology and pattern of settlement in the area and the building-stones are considered; a Sectional Preface in which, under subject headings, attention is drawn to the importance or significance of monuments entered in the portion of the Inventory next following, and the illustrated Inventory of the post-Roman buildings and mediaeval and later earthworks etc. arranged by parishes. The third part contains the continuation of the Inventory devoted to prehistoric and Roman remains, undated earthworks and ancient fields, which here are mostly grouped according to kind, each kind having its own Introduction; a Glossary of the archaeological and architectural terms used throughout the Inventory, and an Index. Folders contained in the pockets of the three parts include four large plans and maps of monuments described in the Inventory, a map showing the placing of the Ridgeway barrows, and a map showing the boundaries of the parishes included in the Inventory of S.E. Dorset.

The Inventory of W. Dorset was far advanced editorially in 1946 when a new Commission was issued abolishing the limit of 1714 previously set upon the Commission's enquiries. For practical reasons, the Commissioners set a new limit at 1850, with discretion. Then followed re-investigation of W. Dorset as rapidly as possible and the very intricate process of incorporating all the post-1714 monuments into their relevant positions in the standing text, and Dorset I was published in 1952. Simultaneously investigation of S.E. Dorset and current editing were proceeding. However, after 1952 the resources of the Commission were redirected towards the production of Cambridge City (1959), Roman York (1962) and Cambridgeshire I (1968).

The experience so gained of the operation of the 1946 Warrant indicated that the area proposed for Dorset II was too large; however, the stage the Inventory had reached made division impracticable. Thus this Dorset II Inventory was expected to be large; that it is exceptionally so is due to the fact that the area has been found to be particularly rich in monuments of all kinds. Roman York and Cambridgeshire I, both begun after Dorset II, are more indicative of the future policy of the Commission in terms of size and therefore cost, a policy which will cover Dorset III now in preparation.

The post-Roman buildings and mediaeval and later earthworks etc. will be found in Parts 1 and 2 under the heads of the parishes, as in previous Inventories. Each parish has a short introductory note describing briefly the aspect and the principal contents of the parish. Then follows the Inventory in the following order:

(1) Ecclesiastical Buildings

(2) Secular Buildings

(3) Mediaeval and later Earthworks etc.

(4) Cross-references to Part 3 (see below)

The number following the name in the parish heading is the national grid reference to the village centre, usually the parish church. In a second line the relevant Ordnance Survey map sheets (6 ins. to the mile) are listed; the small letters prefixed to the sheet numbers and to the Inventory entries indicate the sheet on which each monument appears. Within the parish, monuments are numbered consecutively, and the numbers are used to locate those which appear on specially drawn town or village maps printed in the text; the position of those monuments lying beyond the limits of such maps is given by national grid reference or by relation to another monument, usually the parish church.

The prehistoric, Romano-British and undated earthworks, the other Roman remains and the ancient field groups will be found arranged thus in three sections in Part 3. Within each section they are listed by categories as follows:

Earthworks (1) Long and Round Barrows
(2) Mounds
(3) Hill-forts
(4) Enclosures
(5) Settlements
(6) Stones
(7) Dykes
Roman Remains (1) Roads
(2) Dorchester (Durnovaria)
(3) Other monuments
Ancient Fields arranged in groups.

For ease of reference the monuments within each of the categories Earthworks (1–7) and Roman Remains (3) are arranged by parishes in alphabetical sequence; Ancient Fields are arranged in the main from W. to E. Furthermore the position of each monument is defined by the national grid reference. An innovation in Dorset II is the inclusion of settlement sites identified solely by occupation debris.

The standardisation of the spelling of proper names in the Commission's Inventories has always presented difficulties owing to variations over the centuries, which are due partly to their phonetic values and partly to individual caprice. In general therefore we have thought it best in the matter of place names to adhere to the spelling used on the latest series of Ordnance Survey maps, without prejudice as to its accuracy. In the matter of personal names, in treating of individual funerary monuments etc. the spelling on the memorial has been reproduced, while in the rest of the text the normal modern spelling of names has been followed.

The descriptions of the monuments throughout the Inventory are necessarily much compressed. In Parts 1 and 2, the account of each of the more important buildings begins with a brief description of the materials and extent of the fabric and an historical summary. Then follows a detailed architectural description of the exterior, the interior, and, finally, the fittings. The accounts of less important buildings are still further compressed from the full record made in the field. In Cambridgeshire I a classification was applied to small houses, but in Dorset II this has been found less practicable; some analysis of types and correlation with those isolated in Cambridgeshire have however been attempted in the Sectional Preface (p. lxi).

In Part 3 an introduction to each category of earthworks etc. includes short discussions upon distribution, dating and structure and, where appropriate, consideration of cultural affinities and social implications; thereafter come the Inventory entries. Explanations of the cultural and chronological terms used are given in the Glossary. Excepting Roman Roads and Ancient Fields, the monuments are identified by numbers following on from the parish inventories in Parts 1 and 2, thus preserving for the reader the sense of parish content.

To ensure clearness of description, many drawn plans, sections and elevations of monuments are included in the text. Generally the plans of the more important buildings are reproduced at a scale of 24 ft. to the inch and hatched to show the different dates of the fabric; for small houses, a convention of black for primary and dotting for subsequent work is adopted. Plans of buildings without drawn scales are reproduced at a uniform scale of 48 ft. to the inch and have a still simpler convention, black and white, to show early and later work; in a few plans of timber-framed buildings, however, for clarity, the structural timbers alone are shown black. All these uses will be apparent from the relevant texts. Sections and elevations are reproduced generally at a scale of 8 ft., 16 ft. or 24 ft. to the inch as space allows. The more important earthworks are generally to a scale of 1/3750 for hill-forts, settlements and the larger enclosures, 1/2500 for deserted villages and 6 in. to the mile for 'Celtic' fields. Exigencies of size have dictated the ad hoc scales of the various distribution maps.

The half-tone illustrations are derived, with a few exceptions, from photographs taken by the Commission's photographic staff. They make an essential contribution to an understanding of the monuments described. To this end, we have also reproduced a number of informative early maps and surveys or of plans based directly upon such records. Our acknowledgments to the owners or custodians of these important documents will be found in our twenty-fourth Report to Her Majesty.

In accordance with the Commission's practice, no monument has been included in the Inventory which has not been inspected; furthermore, all the proofs of the Inventory have been read by my fellow Commissioners; thanks are particularly due to Professor H. C. Darby, Dr. C. A. R. Radford, Sir John Summerson, Mr. H. M. Colvin and Professor W. F. Grimes in this connection.

Since our investigation of south-east Dorset was begun many monuments have been altered and many destroyed. It would have been a work of supererogation to conduct a comprehensive reinvestigation to discover such incidences; indeed no published list could be up to date. We have, however, recorded such as have been brought to our notice up to mid 1967 by inserting a note, e.g. (Demolished), at the end of the relevant Inventory entry, often indeed in the standing text. This will explain why the entry remains in the present as opposed to the past tense.

In works of such intricacy as our Inventories there must be some mistakes, but I hope these are neither numerous nor serious. My colleagues and I shall welcome corrections that may be sent to the Secretary with a view to their possible inclusion in any future editions.

I would draw attention to the fact that the record cards for S.E. Dorset may be consulted by accredited persons who give notice of their intention to the Secretary to the Commission. Copies of photographs may be bought on application to the National Monuments Record, which is administered by the Commission.