Bishop's Caundle

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3, Central. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1970.

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, 'Bishop's Caundle', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3, Central, (London, 1970) pp. 13-16. British History Online [accessed 26 May 2024].

. "Bishop's Caundle", in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3, Central, (London, 1970) 13-16. British History Online, accessed May 26, 2024,

. "Bishop's Caundle", An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3, Central, (London, 1970). 13-16. British History Online. Web. 26 May 2024,

In this section


(O.S. 6 ins. ST 61 SE, ST 71 sw)

The parish, 960 acres in area, rises gently from the Caundle Brook in the S., at an altitude of some 200 ft. above sea-level, to a maximum elevation of over 400 ft. in the N.W. The N.W. third of the parish lies on Forest Marble; the rest is a combination of Oxford Clay, Cornbrash Beds and Forest Marble.

Bishop's Caundle, the Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul

Until 1886 several outlying parts of Bishop's Caundle were wholly surrounded by the parishes of Caundle Marsh and Folke; conversely, detached lands of Caundle Marsh lay inside the bounds of this parish. (fn. 1) While a few of these 'islands' may result from early enclosure of the forest most seem to lie in the area of former open fields. The present parish contains two original settlements, Bishop's and Wake Caundle. It is not known whether each had a separate open field system. Wake Court (5) incorporates a 16th-century farmhouse and stands in an area where early enclosure is to be suspected (15). The most important monument in the parish is the church (1). Part of Cornford Bridge (2) is mediaeval.


(1) The Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul stands near the middle of the parish. The walls are of coursed rubble with ashlar quoins and dressings; the nave roof is tiled, with stone-slate verges; the chancel and S. aisle roofs are wholly stone-slated. The Chancel was largely rebuilt in 1864 but the faculty petition (Salisbury Diocesan Archives) shows that the original foundations and probably the lower courses of the N. and E. walls were reused; the windows are in the 14th-century style but renewed. Original 14th-century work survives in the E. wall of the nave, including the lower courses of the chancel-arch responds, and also in the E. wall of the South Aisle and the eastern part of its S. wall. The rest of the Nave, the West Tower and the western part of the S. aisle are largely of the second half of the 15th century; the N. wall of the nave, part of the S. wall of the S. aisle and the whole North Porch were rebuilt in 1864.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (21 ft. by 13½ ft.) has a pointed E. window of three lights with cinquefoil cusping beneath moulded external and internal labels. Similar windows of two lights open in the N. and S. walls, and the S. wall has a small two-centred doorway. The chancel-arch is two-centred and of two chamfered orders springing from chamfered imposts; the lower parts of the chamfered responds appear to be original. At the N.E. corner of the Nave (40 ft. by 19 ft.) is a square-set 14th-century buttress of one weathered stage. The N. side of the nave has, to the E., a 15th-century three-light window with cinquefoil cusping and vertical tracery in the two-centred head. The rest of the N. wall, the N. doorway and the N. porch are of 1864; the window to the W. of the doorway is a 19th-century replica of that to the E. On the S. side of the nave is a three-bay segmental-pointed arcade of the late 15th century. The arches, of two chamfered orders, rise from moulded capitals on chamfered shafts which repeat the orders of the arches; the bases have polygonal ogee mouldings on recessed octagonal plinths. A narrow opening, with details to match the arcade has been formed in the E. respond. The South Aisle (37 ft. by 10½ ft.) has, in the gabled E. wall, a two-centred 14th-century window of two lights with trefoil cusping below an ogival quatrefoil. Adjacent, to the N., is a projection containing the remains of the 15th-century rood-loft vice; it has a two-centred doorway within which the three lowest steps are preserved. The diagonal buttress at the S.E. corner of the aisle is of the 14th century, and 14th-century masonry with a chamfered plinth occurs below window-sill level in the E. half of the S. wall. The western part of the S. wall and all three S. windows are of 1864. The diagonal S.W. buttress and the W. wall of the S. aisle are of the 15th century but the W. window is a 19th-century insertion.

The West Tower (11 ft. square) has three principal stages defined by hollow-chamfered string-courses (Plate 9); at the base is an ogee-moulded plinth and at the top is an embattled parapet with crocketed finials at each corner and in the middle of each side; the finials are supported by shafts which rise from grotesque gargoyles in the top string-course. Each of the four corners has a diagonal buttress, diminishing in weathered stages in correspondence with the tower stages; a fifth buttress, square-set and of two stages, provides the S. abutment of the tower arch. The vice turret, to the N., is square in the two lower stages and octagonal in the top stage. Plinth and stringcourses are continuous around the turret and the buttresses. The tower arch is two-centred; it is outlined to E. and W. by ogee mouldings, continuous on the responds, and has responds and soffit decorated with hollow-chamfered trefoil-headed panels. In the N. wall the vice has a small two-centred doorway. The W. doorway has a two-centred moulded head and continuous jambs; above is a two-centred W. window of three cinquefoil-headed lights with restored vertical tracery. The head of the W. window rises into the second stage, the string-course forming a hood-mould. A small two-centred two-light window in the N. wall of the second stage has incised cusping on the jambs. The third stage has, in each face, a mullioned and transomed belfry window of two cinquefoil-headed lights under a quatrefoil in a two-centred head. Below the transoms the lights are blocked; above they have perforated stone slabs.

Fittings—Bells: five; 2nd, 1758, 4th, 1627, others modern. Benefactors' Table: In tower, on N. wall, dated 1833. Font: Octagonal Ham Hill stone bowl and pedestal; side of bowl with quatrefoil panels enclosing blank shields and foliate bosses, splayed base of bowl with trefoil-headed arcading, pedestal with similar arcading; 15th century. Monuments: In nave, on N. wall, (1) of the D'Aubeny and Herbert families (Plate 39); oval panel of white marble with drapery, mounted on splayed black slate background between white side-scrolls with inverted cornucopiae; below, gadrooned white marble bracket; above, white marble cornice over which shaped slate panel forms background for white marble draped urn, standing on sarcophagus with shields-of-arms of the two families between sprays of foliage; by King of Bath, 1815. In S. aisle, (2) of William Claver, 1769, marble tablet with moulded cornice and base; (3) of Mary Fry, 1830, similar to (2), by Mitchell of Sherborne. In churchyard, close to N. wall of chancel, (4) burial vault with rusticated quoins, protruding 2 ft. above ground and surmounted by stone table-tomb with fluted corner pilasters and moulded cornice, tomb formerly enclosed in iron railings; 18th-century, inscription obliterated. Plate: includes silver cup and flagon, both marked BB, with hall-marks and inscriptions of 1734; also silver tray on claw feet, with date-letter of 1713, used as paten. Royal Arms: In tower on N. wall, painted wooden panel with arms and cypher of Charles II and date 1661.


(2) Cornford Bridge (69171204), of coursed rubble with ashlar dressings, carries the road to Holwell across the Caundle Brook about ¾ m. S. of the village. The bridge was extensively repaired in the 18th century and later but it incorporates 15th-century features. The three segmental-pointed arches have voussoirs laid in two orders. Between the arches are rubble piers; on the upstream or W. side these have cut-waters with ashlar facing, probably of the 18th century; on the E. side the S. pier has a coursed rubble cut-water while the N. pier retains a mediaeval weathered buttress of three stages above a rough plinth. The upstream cut-waters support refuge niches. The rubble parapets are capped with bevelled coping-stones except at one point where a hollow-chamfered mediaeval coping-stone is used.

(3) White Hart Inn, 100 yds. N.E. of the church, is of two storeys, with rendered walls and a tiled roof with stone-slate verges. It probably dates from the 18th century. Originally the doorway opened into a through-passage flanked by plank-and-muntin partitions but the plan has been changed and the partitions have been reset. The muntins have vertical reeding.

(4) Farm House (69381301), of two storeys with rendered walls and tiled roofs, has a symmetrical 18th-century S. front with a central doorway flanked by sashed windows, and three sashed windows in the upper storey. Low outbuildings to E. and W. have lean-to roofs masked by wing walls with shaped copings. A rusticated wooden porch is modern.

(5) Wake Court (69981237), ½ m. S.E. of the church, is a farmhouse of two storeys with attics, with walls of rubble, partly rendered, and stone-slated roofs with tiling near the ridge. The main house, facing E., is probably of the first half of the 18th century; it contains several stop-chamfered ceiling beams and on the first floor there is at least one beam, evidently reused, with mouldings for a panelled ceiling. Detached and running W. from the N. end of the house is a 16th-century range of one storey with an attic; it is now used as a workshop and storehouse but it must originally have been the farmhouse itself. According to Coker (p. 96) it was in ruins in the 17th century.

Bishop's Caundle, Wake Court

The walls of the 16th-century wing are of rubble, and all the window and door openings appear to be secondary. On the ground floor are three rooms. The E. room has an original open fireplace with chamfered ashlar jambs and a heavy timber bressummer with a continuous chamfer and a raised centre. N. of the fireplace is a spiral staircase to the attic. The ceiling has a massive chamfered beam with run-out stops. The unheated middle room is divided from the E. room by an original plank-and-muntin partition with chamfered muntins pegged to chamfered and grooved top and bottom rails; a doorway with a four-centred head at the N. end of the partition is chamfered on the E. face only. The middle room has two chamfered ceiling beams with run-out stops; in the S. wall a straight vertical joint and a timber lintel indicate the position of a former opening, now blocked. The middle room is separated from the W. room by a plank-and-muntin partition similar to the first but probably reset. The W. end of the range is probably of the 19th century; it incorporates an open fireplace with ashlar jambs, a chamfered oak bressummer and an oven in the N. jamb. The spiral stair in the E. room leads to an attic chamber ceiled at the level of the lower purlins but with a central E.-W. beam exposed. The loft over the middle and W. rooms is reached by outside steps of rubble, built against the S. wall. The partition between the E. chamber and the loft is combined with a framed truss in which the principals rise from a tie-beam at wall-plate level and are collared at half height; a king-post between the collar and the tie-beam is morticed to receive the tenon of the ceiling beam in the E. chamber; the panels of the truss are filled with wattle-and-daub to form the W. wall of the chamber. Three purlins are housed into the principals, and at the apex is a ridge piece set diagonally. While this truss and the roof to the E. of it are original, the roof to the W. is probably not older than the 19th century.

(6) Ryall's Farm (70061268) is an 18th-century farmhouse of two storeys with a tiled roof and rendered walls. The symmetrical three-bay E. front has a coved eaves cornice. The central doorway has a moulded stone architrave with a fluted keystone but all other openings are modern.

(7) Farmhouse (69711283), at the S.W. end of Brown's Street, now two cottages, is of rubble in two storeys with a thatched roof. It probably dates from the 17th century and originally had a normal three-room plan, perhaps with a through-passage. A single-storied addition extends the range to the S.

(8) Cottages (69611318), two adjoining, now combined as a single dwelling, stand 20 yds. N. of the church; they have rubble walls and thatched roofs. The S.W. cottage is of the late 16th century; it is now two-storied but originally was single-storied with an attic. The N.E. cottage is of the 18th century and is single-storied. The 16th-century cottage retains an original stone winding staircase beside an open fireplace, now blocked.

Monuments (9–15)

The following late 18th or early 19th-century farmhouses and cottages are built of rubble in two storeys, or in one storey with dormer-windowed attics. Most have thatched roofs. Unless noted otherwise the buildings are simple ranges with approximately symmetrical three-bay fronts, having central doorways, casement windows on either side and three corresponding first-floor windows.

(9) Cottage (69411294), of two bays with a central doorway, stands on a narrow strip of land, perhaps part of a former roadway.

(10) Farmhouse (69641325), 100 yds. N. of the church, has a rendered S. front. The roof is tiled and has two dormer windows. Each gabled end-wall is crowned by a chimney-stack.

(11) Cottages, two adjoining, stand 30 yds. E. of the foregoing. Both have symmetrical S. fronts; that to the E. is of three bays, that to the W. is of two bays with a central doorway.

(12) Manor Farm (69801325), 200 yds. N.E. of the church, repeats the characteristics of (10) but has been extended to the W. in two storeys and to the E. in one storey. Further two-storied extensions occur to the N.

(13) Cottages (70011308), two adjoining, have been converted to a single house and modernised.

(14) Cottages (69161210), pair, 50 yds. N. of Cornford Bridge, have doorways coupled at the centre of the S. front, each with one casement window beside it; the two tenements have now been converted into one dwelling.

Early 19th-century monuments include Cottages near the church (69591317), in Holt Lane (69201317) and (69031353), in Milburn Lane (69261280), in Giles's Lane (69481282), and in Caundle Wake (69971263).

Mediaeval and Later Earthworks

(15) Cultivation Remains. Nothing is known of the open fields of the parish or of the date of their enclosure. Field names on the Tithe Map of 1841 perhaps indicate former North and West Fields. Air Photographs (R.A.F. CPE/UK 1974: 2192–94) reveal faint traces of ridge-and-furrow in the N. and N.W. of the parish (693135 and 686127); it is arranged in curving furlongs and may be the remains of the open fields.

Ridge-and-furrow, 5 yds. to 9 yds. in width, occurs in the existing fields around Wake Court (5) and is clearly of postenclosure date.


  • 1. Tithe Map, 1841.