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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, 'Mappowder', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3, Central, (London, 1970) pp. 145-148. British History Online [accessed 26 May 2024].

. "Mappowder", in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3, Central, (London, 1970) 145-148. British History Online, accessed May 26, 2024,

. "Mappowder", An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3, Central, (London, 1970). 145-148. British History Online. Web. 26 May 2024,

In this section

30 MAPPOWDER (7305)

(O.S. 6 ins. ST 70 NW)

Mappowder is a triangular parish of some 1,900 acres, falling gradually in altitude from just over 400 ft. above sea-level in the S. to about 250 ft. in the N. Most of the land is on Corallian Beds, but a small area of Kimmeridge Clay is found in the S. and a larger area of Oxford Clay occurs to the W. A tributary of the R. Lydden flows N. and W. in the southern part of the parish and another branch of the same river forms its N.E. boundary. The village lies in the S., at an altitude of 400 ft. Certain parts of the parish were enclosed at an early date, perhaps direct from the waste; notable among these are lands S. of Mappowder Court, and around Thurnwood Farm, which is almost certainly the early 15th-century manor and hamlet of Thurnet; (fn. 1) also lands around Old Boywood Farm, which is the mid 14th-century manor and hamlet of Hull. (fn. 2) As late as 1765 open common lay between Old Boywood Farm and the N. side of the open fields which stretched for about 1 m. N. of the village. (fn. 3) The final enclosure of the open fields took place in 1807. (fn. 4)


(1) The Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Paul stands near the S. end of the village. It has walls of squared and coursed rubble, with ashlar dressings of Greensand and local limestone; the roofs are covered with tiles, stone-slates and lead. The Chancel was rebuilt in 1868. The Nave, South Aisle, West Tower and South Porch are of the late 15th century with 19th-century restorations. An earlier church is indicated by some 12th-century head-corbels, a late 12th-century font and a reset 14th-century window.

Apart from the spacious and well-lit 19th-century chancel, the church is a good specimen of 15th-century architecture. A miniature tomb effigy for a 13th-century heart burial is notable, and there are some interesting 17th-century wall-monuments.

Architectural Description—Although rebuilt in 1868 the Chancel Arch is probably of 15th-century origin. It is two-centred and has a flat soffit and responds decorated with narrow stone panels, themselves two-centred and cusped above and below. To E. and W. the panels of the arch are outlined by ogee ribs and hollow chamfers, in correspondence with which the responds have attached shafts with moulded caps and polygonal bases. Externally the N. abutment of the chancel arch is strengthened by a 19th-century flying buttress. A square-headed squint from the S. aisle opens in the S.W. corner of the chancel.

In the Nave (31 ft. by 16 ft.) the four-centred head of a walledup rood-loft doorway is seen high up in the S. spandrel of the chancel arch. Externally, the N. wall of the nave has three squareset buttresses of two stages with weathered offsets; at the base is a continuous moulded plinth and above the windows is a hollow-chamfered and moulded string-course with three gargoyles. Over the string-course rises a parapet with blind brattishing in the form of ogee-headed quatrefoils between crocketed standards; each quatrefoil encloses a blank shield. Above is a 19th-century moulded, hollow-chamfered and weathered coping, on top of which are set four crocketed pinnacles, two of them mediaeval and two later. The N. wall contains three large segmental-pointed windows, each of three cinquefoil-headed lights with vertical tracery above, in continuous casementmoulded external and internal surrounds; hollow-chamfered external hood-moulds return to stop against the sides of the buttresses. Reset over the W. window is a carved male head, perhaps a former label-stop. On the S. side of the nave is an arcade of three uniform two-centred arches, with inner and outer ogee mouldings separated by wide hollow-chamfers. The inner and outer mouldings spring from moulded capitals, below which are three-quarter shafts with moulded polygonal bases; the hollow-chamfers are continuous. On the N. side of the E. respond, just below the springing, the hollow-chamfer is interrupted by a carved bracket representing a human mask, from the nostrils of which sprout carved leaves (Plate 16). In the W. wall of the nave, the tower vice doorway has a hollow-chamfered four-centred head with continuous jambs and broach stops.

Mappowder, the Parish Church of St. Peter & St. Paul

The South Aisle (9½ ft. wide) has external plinths and string-courses similar to those of the N. wall, and diagonal two-stage buttresses with moulded and weathered offsets; over each butrress the string-course is interrupted by an elaborate gargoyle. Above the string-course is an embattled parapet with a continuous moulded coping. The E. wall has a three-light window, similar to those in the N. wall of the nave but narrower. To the N., internally, the chamfered four-centred doorway and the steps of a rood vice are seen at the level of the window-sill; the vice is built in the thickness of the E. wall and the squint to the chancel passes beneath it. In the eastern part of the S. wall is a three-light window similar to that of the E. wall; adjacent is the S. doorway, with an ogee and casement-moulded two-centred head with continuous jambs and run-out stops; the rear-arch is segmental. To the W. of the S. doorway is another three-light window, as before. Reset in the W. wall of the aisle is a small 14th-century window of two trefoil, ogee-headed lights below an ogee tracery light in a two-centred head.

The West Tower (10½ ft. by 9½ ft.) has two stages separated by a weathered and hollow-chamfered string-course. At the base is a moulded plinth and at the top is a plain parapet with a moulded coping; the four crocketed corner pinnacles are modern restorations. The parapet rises above a moulded, hollow-chamfered and weathered string-course with a grotesque gargoyle at each corner: two musicians and two monsters. The lower stage has diagonal buttresses of three weathered stages at the N.W. and S.W. corners and a similar square-set buttress at the N.E. corner. The rectangular vice turret at the S.E. corner ends in weathered tabling at the foot of the second stage; the vice is lit by small rectangular loops. The two-centred tower arch is of two orders, the inner order wave-moulded and dying into the responds, the outer order hollow-chamfered; the hollow-chamfer continues on the responds and ends at rounded stops. On the N. side a small 19th-century window lights an upper chamber, below the belfry. The W. doorway has a moulded four-centred head with continuous jambs and large broach stops; above the head are sunk and moulded spandrels and a square label with square stops with leaf centres. Above, the W. window is of three cinquefoil-headed lights with vertical tracery in a hollow-chamfered two-centred head with continuous jambs; there is no hood-mould. In the top stage each face of the tower has a belfry window of two trefoil-headed lights with a central quatrefoil in a chamfered two-centred head; the openings are filled with pierced stone panels, probably of the 19th century.

The South Porch (7½ ft by 6½ ft.) is of one build with the S. aisle and has uniform but lower plinths, string-courses and parapets. Diagonal weathered buttresses of one stage are set more on the E. and W. sides of the porch than on the S. front, perhaps to leave room for a niche beside the entrance. The porch arch is approximately semicircular and has two hollow-chamfered mouldings and one roll-moulding, with continuous jambs and shaped stops.

Fittings—Altar: At E. end of S. aisle, Purbeck marble slab (4½ ft. by 3¼ ft.) with hollow-chamfered under-edge, mediaeval, with reworked surface, on modern support. Bells: five, by W. Knight, all dated 1735. Bracket: In nave, see Architectural Description. In porch, over S. doorway, with hexagonal abacus and foliate underside; 15th century. Font: (Plate 26) In S. aisle, of Purbeck marble, square bowl with vertical sides and hollow-chamfered under-edge, sides enriched with scalloped, arcaded and other patterns, spandrels of top surface ribbed; stem with one stout centre shaft and four smaller corner shafts; base moulded and shaped to form bases for five shafts; late 12th century, plinth modern. Inscription: On W. respond of porch arch, 'I.S. 1735'.

Monuments: In S. aisle, in recess near E. end, (1) limestone recumbent effigy 1½ ft. long, representing knight in mail (Plate 14); shield on left side slung from right shoulder, with sword beneath; right leg crossed over left with feet resting on couched lion; hands on breast clasping rounded object, presumably a heart; 13th century; hollow-chamfered under-slab modern. In tower, reset on N. wall, (2) of Mary Brune [1636], (fn. 5) daughter of Robert Coker, clunch wall-monument with painted inscription panel in architectural surround with Corinthian columns on enriched rounded sill supporting entablature with cartouche-of-arms [Brune quartering Rokesley impaling Coker quartering Molford]; (3) of Elizabeth Jeffery [1644], daughter of Robert Coker, similar but larger monument with coupled Composite columns, and strap-work finial above enclosing cartouche-of-arms of Jeffrey quartering de Bermingham, impaling Coker quartering Molford, blank shields on column pedestals; reset on S. wall, (4) of [Robert Coker, 1624, and Amy Coker, 1648], wall monument similar to foregoing but with twin inscription panels, now largely illegible, and arms of Coker quartering Norris, Wallis and Veale, impaling Molford, on column pedestals shields-of-arms of Hussey impaling Coker, and Jeffery impaling Coker; above, (5) and (6) two uniform inscription panels with scrolled borders, one of William Coker, 1656, with arms [of Coker], the other illegible; between them cartouche-of-arms of Brune quartering Rokesley, impaling Molford quarterly, with ? Coker. In churchyard, 6 paces S.E. of porch, (7) of Robert B . . ., 'clark to Robert Coker', 1713, headstone with cherub and scrolls (Plate 32); 10 paces S. of porch, (8) of Benjamin Coker, 1726, and (9) of Orlando Jeffery, 1703, similar table-tombs with draped panels, cartouches, and moulded tops; 6 paces N.E. of chancel, (10) of Robert Lougher, rector, 1624, stone table-tomb with heavy ogee moulding; 15 paces N. of tower, (11) of Roger Trewe, 1640, similar table-tomb; 12 paces N. of tower, (12) of Robert Davis, 1726, headstone with scrolls and representation of man's head with flowing hair (Plate 32).

Niche: In E. respond of porch arch, rectangular ogee-headed recess, shaped at back into two concavities. Plate: includes silver cup (Plate 42) with hallmark of 1570, bowl engraved with strapwork, maker's mark indecipherable; also silver-plated paten of 1782. Recess: In S. aisle, near E. end of S. wall, containing monument (1), with chamfered four-centred head flanked by reset 12th-century head-corbels; 15th century. Sundials: On S. aisle parapet, near S.E. corner, rectangular stone slab with incised Roman numerals and scrolled iron gnomon; in S. wall, near E. window, small scratch-dial.


(2) School, 80 yds. N.W. of the church, comprises a single room with walls of squared rubble with ashlar dressings, and a slated roof; according to Hutchins it was built in 1846. The doorway, in a porch to the S., has a two-centred chamfered head and continuous jambs. The large windows are of five lights with chamfered wooden mullions and transoms.

(3) Mappowder Court (73880580), ¼ m. S.E. of the church, stands on the site of the ancient seat of the Coker family. Heavily encumbered with debt the estate was sold in 1745 (Hutchins III, 725) and the mansion was taken down and rebuilt on a smaller scale. The present house has an L-shaped plan and is two-storied with attics; the walls are of squared and coursed rubble, partly rendered, with ashlar dressings and quoins; the roofs are stone-slated. No part of the Coker mansion can be positively identified, but the present building evidently incorporates walls, windows, doorways and other features from a 17th-century structure.

The E. front is of three bays and symmetrical; at the base is a weathered and ogee-moulded plinth. The doorway in the middle bay is round-headed and has Tuscan pilasters and an open-pediment hood of the 18th century. On each side is a square-headed stone window of five transomed lights with hollow-chamfered mullions in a casement-moulded surround. On the first floor each bay has a similar window of four lights without transoms. The N. elevation has, at the E. end, a projecting chimneybreast with a three-light window on either side of it in each storey; those to the E. are blocked. The details of these windows are uniform with those of the E. front except that the first-floor openings have hood-moulds while a plain string-course occurs above the heads of the ground-floor openings. The moulded plinth of the E. front returns as far as the side of the chimneybreast. In the S. elevation the gabled S. end of the E. range has only a hollow-chamfered two-light window in the attic. The S. side of the W. range has, to the E. and now enclosed in a modern cloak-room, a doorway with a hollow-chamfered and ogee-moulded four-centred head, continuous jambs and run-out stops. W. of this, beyond a modern doorway, are two square-headed four-light windows with square labels; between them are the remains of a blocked two-light opening. The first floor has two similar windows, each of three lights. A course of ashlar blocks at first-floor level, stepped up towards the E. end, may be a vestige of an old first-floor string-course dressed back to the wall-face (cf. Stinsford (5), S. front). The W. side of the E. range has one four-light window on each floor; on the first floor, to the S. of the window, is a stone panel carved with a quatrefoil enclosing a rose finial. The gabled W. end of the W. range has an 18th-century three-light lunette in the attic.

Mappowder Court

Inside, the Dining Room, at the N. end of the E. range, has an open fireplace with a moulded four-centred head, continuous jambs and run-out stops. The Drawing Room, to the S., has a fireplace with a chamfered four-centred head, recently transferred from an upper storey. The chamber over the dining room has a fireplace with a moulded four-centred head and continuous jambs. The stairs are of the 18th century and have close strings, square balusters, moulded oak hand-rails and turned newel-posts.

To the E., flanking the path which leads up to the front door, is a pair of late 17th or early 18th-century monolithic gate piers (Plate 66), carved to represent rusticated ashlar, with moulded plinths and cornices, and bust-finials representing moors, the Coker crest. The piers have recently been reset further apart than formerly and hung with new wrought-iron gates. Facing them across the road is a semicircular parterre bounded by a curved brick wall with an ashlar coping; the wall is probably of the second half of the 18th century. To the N., a gateway to the farmyard is flanked by massive brick piers with moulded stone cappings and finials; on one side a ball finial and on the other side a cube sundial with a moulded capping. The farm buildings are of rubble with stone-slated roofs and are probably of the late 17th or early 18th century.

(4) Stiles Farm (73450605), 100 yds. N.W. of the church, is two-storied, with walls of squared and coursed rubble and modern slated roofs. The W. part of the house is of the 17th-century and the E. part is of the later 19th century; to the N. is an extension of uncertain date with later heightening. The gabled W. wall has, on the first floor, a square-headed 17th-century window of two lights with recessed and hollow-chamfered stone heads and jambs, and a hollow-chamfered label with returned stops. Over it in the gable is a small blocked light with chamfered jambs and head. Inside, two 17th-century three-light stone windows occur on the first floor in what was originally the exterior N. wall, now covered by the N. extension.

(5) Cottage (73540626), 280 yds. N. of the church, is of one storey with an attic and has rubble walls with ashlar quoins and a thatched roof. The corners have 19th-century brick repairs but the walls are probably of the late 17th or early 18th century.

Buildings of the 19th century include uniform Paired Cottages on both sides of the road at the N. entry to the village; four pairs are on the W. side and two pairs are on the E. side of the road; the post-office, immediately W. of (3), is a similar cottage. The cottages were probably built about the middle of the 19th century and are two-storied, with walls of squared and coursed rubble; windows and doorways have segmental heads of squared rubble. All have tiled roofs except for one which is thatched. Each pair of cottages has a central chimney-stack. Gardens at the back of the western row formerly extended further than at present and their abandoned close walls form a series of parallel furrows in the adjoining field. Other early 19th-century monuments are Povert Bridge (73600816), with rectangular piers, three segmental ashlar-faced arches and rubble parapets with chamfered coping stones; and Old Boywood Farm (73580929), a two-storied brick house with casement windows and a tiled roof.

Mediaeval and Later Earthworks

(6) Cultivation Remains. The open fields of Mappowder were finally enclosed in 1807 (Enclosure Award, D.C.R.O.) but the small area involved, only 365 acres, indicates that much enclosure had taken place earlier. Ridge-and-furrow of these fields is visible on air photographs (R.A.F. CPE/UK 1934: 4180–1); it lies N. of Parsonage Farm (731073) and at least six rectangular butting and end-on furlongs, up to 300 yds. long, can be seen.

Ridge-and-furrow within existing fields, up to 200 yds. long with ridges 7 yds. to 8 yds. wide and headlands 8 yds. wide, remain S. and S.E. of Mappowder Court (738056) and (740056); these are almost certainly some of the 74 acres, divided into 16 closes, which belonged to the Priory of Wilkswood in 1512 (Hutchins III, 729). Similar ridge-and-furrow can be seen on air photographs (R.A.F. CPE/UK 1974: 1184–5) around Old Boywood Farm (731087) and (734092).


  • 1. Hutchins III, 726.
  • 2. Ibid., 725.
  • 3. Isaac Taylor's Map of Dorset, 1765.
  • 4. Enclosure Award, 1807, D.C.R.O.
  • 5. Data in square brackets in this and following entries are derived from Hutchins III, 730 f.; several of the monuments have been moved since his description was written.