Okeford Fitzpaine

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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'Okeford Fitzpaine', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3, Central, (London, 1970) pp. 200-207. British History Online https://www.british-history.ac.uk/rchme/dorset/vol3/pp200-207 [accessed 14 April 2024]

In this section


(O.S. 6 ins.ST 81 SW, 71 SE, 80 NW, 70 NE)

The parish covers 3,742 acres, extending from the Chalk escarpment in the S., at over 800 ft. above sealevel, across Greensand, Gault and Kimmeridge Clays, between 200 ft. and 300 ft., to the Stour river terraces in the N. at an altitude of 150 ft. In the N.W., Banbury Common is an area of Plateau Gravel which rises to 360 ft. The middle part of the parish is drained by the northward-flowing Darknoll Brook, the E. part by the Cookwell Brook, flowing E., and the W. part by numerous streams which drain W. to the Divelish Brook. The parish includes three settlements: Okeford and Belchalwell are springline villages at the foot of the Chalk escarpment; Fiddleford stands by a ford over the Darknoll Brook.

The history of the present parish is unusually complicated. As well as Okeford Fitzpaine with its open fields (36) the parish now includes the nucleus of the old parish of Belchalwell and four of its five separated parts; it also includes Banbury Common, which was formerly in Child Okeford, and the part of Fiddleford which lies E. of the Darknoll Brook.


(1) The Parish Church of St. Andrew stands on a knoll in the S.E. quarter of the village and has walls of Greensand and Marnhull limestone, both materials occurring as rubble, squared rubble and ashlar. The roofs are covered with modern tiles. The Chancel was rebuilt in 1772 and again in 1865; the Nave and Aisles are largely of 1865, but they retain elements of a 15th-century structure. The West Tower is of the mid 15th century, but it incorporates, in the ground stage, a 14th-century tower arch and a W. window of the same date; for some unknown reason the tower was specially designed to accommodate these features.

The church is of interest for the unusual tower arch. The pulpit is an elaborate work of the 15th century, but much restored.

Architectural Description—The chancel, N. vestry and chancel arch are entirely of 1865. In the Nave (50 ft. by 21 ft.), the fourbay N. arcade is 19th-century work in the style of the late 15th or early 16th century. The four-centred arches are of three orders; the inner and outer orders are ogee-moulded and the intermediate order is a wide hollow chamfer; the latter is continuous on the piers and the former rise from attached shafts with moulded capitals and polygonal bases. In the E. and W. responds the shafting ceases 1½ ft. below the springing, and below that level are vertical wave-mouldings with rounded base stops and moulded and chamfered cappings; in the W. respond these mouldings include 15th-century material but the whole of the E. respond is of the 19th century. To the W. of the W. respond the N. wall is of old material, rebuilt, with a 19th-century two-light window. The S. arcade is uniform with that to the N.; the wave-moulded E. respond is partly of mediaeval material and it includes a small moulded bracket on the N. face; in the W. respond the mouldings of the arcade are continuous. The North Aisle (41½ ft. by 11 ft.) has been extensively restored, but with the re-use of old material. In the E. wall is a three-light window of uncertain date, now blocked. The lower part of the N. wall, with one diagonal and two square-set weathered buttresses, is of the 15th century; above are two casement-moulded four-centred windows, each of three ogee-headed lights with cinquefoil cusping and vertical tracery; these windows are of 15th-century origin but heavily restored. The N. doorway is also of the 15th century but restored; it has a two-centred head with two wave-moulded orders and continuous jambs; the moulded label has square stops. The W. wall of the N. aisle is largely of 1865 but the square-set buttress appears to be mediaeval. The South Aisle (41½ ft. by 11 ft.) is largely of 1865 but the original foundations are probably reused and the walls include old material; the lower part of the E. wall, with two chamfered plinths, is of the 15th century. In the S. wall, the two-stage ashlar buttress at the E. end is of the 15th century but partly rebuilt; the other buttresses include much original material, particularly on the S. face. The eastern and central windows of the S. wall are uniform with those of the N. aisle and include some reused mediaeval material. A stone reset over the eastern window head has a lion mask in relief, flanked by initials and possibly a date, now indecipherable. The western bay has an original doorway with a moulded two-centred head, continuous jambs and a moulded label with 19th-century stops; over it is reset a small 15th-century square-headed window of two cinquefoil-headed lights with blind spandrels.

Okeford Fitzpaine, the Parish Church of St. Andrew

The West Tower is of Greensand ashlar. Between the plinth and the embattled parapet are two main stages, separated by a hollow-chamfered string-course. The N.W. and S.W. corners have diagonal buttresses of six stages with weathered offsets; above the nave roof the N.E. and S.E. corners have corresponding buttresses of three stages; that to the S.E. is incorporated in the vice turret, which is square in plan and roofed with weathered ashlar. The modern papapet rises above a hollow-chamfered string-course; until recently a small crocketed pinnacle decorated the central merlon on each side. Projecting from the N. and S. sides of the tower in the eastern part of the lower stage are rectangular bays which continue the line of the nave walls. The heavily moulded tower plinth continues around these bays and they have single-stage square-set and diagonal buttresses in correspondence with the lowest stage of the tower buttresses. The N. bay is roofed with weathered ashlar a little below the level of the nave roof; the vice turret rises above the southern bay. Internally, the tower arch is flanked by narrow side arches, the three arches being carried on two octagonal columns with moulded caps and bases, probably of the 14th century (Plate 180). The three arches are two-centred and of two chamfered orders on the E. face, with a third chamfered member forming a continuous label. Another narrow arch runs W. from each column and terminates on a moulded impost with a capital and a polygonal attached shaft below. The S. column is now joined to the adjacent wall by masonry which underpins the vice turret, and the vice doorway occupies the upper half of the S. arch. Immediately behind the tower arch is the deep splayed recess of the W. window, with a tapering pointed barrel-vault. The W. window, of the 14th century and perhaps reset, has three ogee-headed lights with trefoil cusping, and curvilinear tracery above. It is set some 2 ft. behind the W. face of the tower, and the masonry above it is carried on a two-centred arch, resembling a rear arch, but external (Plate 181). Near the top of the lower stage the N. and S. walls of the tower have rectangular loop lights to the ringing chamber. In the top stage the N., E. and W. sides have each a small square-headed belfry window of two two-centred trefoil-headed lights with a central quatrefoil above, under a two-centred head with blind spandrels.

Fittings—Bells: six; 1st. modern, others by T. Mears, 1820. Benefactors' Table: In vestry, on W. wall, stone tablet of 1844 recording charity of Thomas White, Robert Watts, Richard Raynold and Edith White, 1706, and further transactions of 1844 (set out in Hutchins IV, 335) Chest: In vestry, of oak with scrolled corner feet and moulded lid and base, late 18th century. Communion Table: In N. aisle, at E. end, oak communion table with cabriole legs, foliate enrichment and carved front rail (Plate 45); 18th century. Glass: In N. aisle, in N. window of E. bay, fragments of 15th and 16th-century glass including black-letter inscription' . . . lac plague wi . . .', two initials 'R', monogram 'IH', fleurs-de-lis, part of a shield checky sable and argent, part of a dome.

Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In S. aisle, on S. wall; (1) of Mary Sarah (Avarne) Hunter, 1839, pedimented white marble tablet by Marshall of Blandford; (2) of Rev. Duke Butler, 1779, his wife Mary (Freke), 1786, his brother, and his infant son, wall-monument of grey and white marbles with shaped apron with arms of Butler impaling Freke, elliptical-headed inscription panel, drapery, rosettes, Doric entablature, cherub's head and urn finial; (3) of Rev. Robert Hunter, 1815, and his wife Marion (Anderson), 1848, white marble tablet with scallop finial. In churchyard, ten paces N. of porch, (4) 17th-century table-tomb with moulded plinth and top, moulded side panels, and end panels with skull and crossbones, drapery and defaced shields, with secondary inscription of Joseph Mitchell, 1849. Floor-slab: Centrally at E. end of nave, of Thomas Phillips, 1651, his wife Susanna, 1677, and their son Joseph, 1681, Purbeck marble slab with incised surround of columns, arch and foliage.

Niches: In N. aisle, reset in E. wall; two niche canopies, one with concave rib-vaulted soffit, two cusped arches meeting at bird or seraph pendant, pinnacled centre and side standards, and cusped gables with crocketed finials; the other with convex fan-ribbed soffit, two cusped arches meeting at angel pendant, and gables and standards as before. Plate: includes silver cup and cover-paten by Lawrence Stratford with engraved band of foliate strapwork, cover-paten inscribed '1574'; silver paten with hallmarks of 1704, inscribed 'The gift of Jane ye wife of John Freke Rector of this Parish of Ockford Fitzpain to be used only in ye Sacrament of ye Lords Supper. Decbr 25th Ano. Dom. 1704'; silver flagon 11½ ins. high with hallmarks of 1683, arms of Baker and inscription 'The Gift of Mrs. Joan Baker of Hamwood in the Parish of Trull in the County of Somerset Virgin to the Parishioners of the Parish of Ockford Fitzpain in the County of Dorset, to be by them us'd in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper: in Memory of Her Forever. Ano. Dni. 1684' (according to Hutchins, IV, 332, this is inscribed on a cup 13 ins. high). Pulpit: of stone, with nine sides, each with a trefoil ogee-headed niche flanked by pinnacled standards, all with crocketed finials, 15th century (Plate 46); embattled and moulded cornice, embattled and foliate base with arcaded pedestal, stairs and figures in niches, all 19th century. During the 18th century the original part was used as a font. Seating: In N. aisle, eleven late 17th-century oak pews with panelled backs in two heights, with moulded stiles and rails, and roll-moulded top rails; all pews except two to E. with reeded bench-ends, the others plain; in two pews to W., top rails and stiles with chip-carving. Sundial: On S.W. buttress of tower, rectangular stone dial with arabic numerals and date 1671; iron gnomon with shaped edge. Miscellanea: In S. aisle, (1) five oak panels carved with cusped quatrefoils enclosing foliate centres, fields painted black and red, 15th century, probably from former rood-loft (Hutchins IV, 331). In N. aisle, near doorway, (2) remains of late 15th-century Purbeck marble font, octagonal, with trefoil-headed panels; (3) two corbels, one carved to represent head and shoulders of angel bearing scroll with embossed black-letter inscription; the other a seraph. Reset in churchyard wall, (4) several mediaeval fragments, including chamfered two-centred loop-head; convex stone panel with beaded margins; stone block with cable and chevron carving; cable-moulded shaft with nail-head and plain fillets.

(2) The Church of St. Aldhelm (79250981), formerly the parish church of Belchalwell, stands in the S. part of Okeford Fitzpaine just over 1 m. S.W. of (1). It has walls of flint, rubble and ashlar and is roofed with modern tiles, except for the tower which is roofed with lead. The Nave is of late 12th-century origin; the Chancel, North Aisle, South Tower and South Porch were added in the 15th century; the N. aisle and the E. wall of the chancel were largely rebuilt at the end of the 19th century, as also were the W. wall of the nave and the W. wall of the S. porch.

The south doorway, of c. 1190, is well preserved and richly embellished with chevron and dog-tooth ornament.

St. Aldhelm's Church, Belchalwell

Architectural Description—The Chancel (19⅓ ft. by 13 ft.) has an E. wall of banded flint and ashlar, rebuilt at the end of the 19th century, with a restored 15th-century E. window of three cinquefoil ogee-headed lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head, casement-moulded inside and out. The N. wall is of coursed rubble and has two late 15th-century square-headed windows, each of two cinquefoil lights with blind spandrels under a hollow-chamfered label with square stops. The S. wall has similar windows flanking a doorway with a chamfered segmental-pointed head, continuous jambs and run-out stops. The western window has a broad splay to accommodate a squint from the tower; the E. end of the squint has a rough four-centred head. There is no chancel arch. The Nave (34 ft. by 13¾ ft.) has on the N. side a late 15th-century arcade of three bays with high four-centred heads, each of two orders, the inner order ogeemoulded, the outer order a wide hollow-chamfer. The arches spring from piers and responds with attached three-quarter shafts, moulded capitals and bases of corresponding outline, the latter with broach spurs. The S. wall has, high up at the E. end, an old opening to a former rood-loft with a roughly chamfered segmental head; to the W. is the tower arch. The S. doorway (Plate 11) has two orders: a segmental-pointed tympanum arch with a roll-moulded edge, and a two-centred outer arch with chevron voussoirs; the label has undercut dog-tooth and nail-head enrichment and terminates in head-stops. The orders spring from moulded abaci which surmount chamfered responds for the inner order and three-quarter shafts with leaf capitals for the outer order. The nave wall to the W. of the doorway is probably of the 12th century, with flint and rubble masonry lightly skimmed with plaster; a rough rectangular corbel-stone near the eaves is perhaps in situ. The S.W. quoins and the W. wall of the nave are largely of the 19th century but the central W. buttress incorporates 15th-century material. The North Aisle (31⅓ ft. by 8 ft.) has a late 15th-century E. window of three lights, with four-centred heads and vertical tracery in a casementmoulded segmental-headed surround. The rebuilt N. wall has two restored and reset 15th-century square-headed two-light windows flanking a blocked doorway with a chamfered four-centred head and continuous jambs. The gabled W. wall has been rebuilt.

The South Tower (9½ ft. by 9¼ ft.) is of the late 15th century and has walls of Greensand ashlar in two main stages, with a moulded plinth, a hollow-chamfered intermediate string-course and an embattled parapet with a moulded coping and a moulded string-course. Three-stage diagonal buttresses occur at each corner, those on the N. truncated in the lower part by the nave; above them are corner standards with moulded bases and grotesque gargoyles at the intersection of the parapet string-course. The octagonal vice turret is in the N. part of the E. side and originally served the rood-loft as well as the ringing chamber; it terminates, a little above the intermediate string-course, in a weathered stone roof with a gargoyle finial. Internally, the vice doorway has a hollow-chamfered four-centred head, continuous jambs and broach stops; adjacent on the N. is the W. end of the blocked squint to the chancel. To the S. of the vice, the lower stage of the E. wall of the tower has a window of two cinquefoil-headed lights in an ogee-moulded square-headed surround with a label. The tower arch, in the N. wall, is two-centred and has a panelled soffit and responds, with trefoil-headed panels and hollow-chamfered ribs terminating at moulded bases; the soffit and responds are outlined with wave mouldings. In the S. wall of the tower is a large window with a casement-moulded two-centred head under a hollow-chamfered label with carved head-stops; in its present form it is probably of the 18th century but the internal splays and the hollow-chamfered rear arch are of the 15th century. In the upper stage the E., S. and W. faces of the tower have square-headed belfry windows of two cinquefoil lights in casement-moulded surrounds under square labels. The N. face has a similar opening but of one light. The South Porch (7½ ft. by 8½ ft.) has a lean-to roof against the W. side of the tower. At the S.W. corner is a small diagonal buttress of one stage with a weathered head. The S. archway is two-centred, with an ogee roll-moulding flanked inside and out by wide wave-mouldings; the roll-moulding rises from attached shafts, the wave-mouldings are continuous on the responds. The W. wall has a small loop. Inside, the porch has stone wallbenches to E. and W.

The Roofs are largely modern but the chancel retains some lengths of mediaeval ogee-moulded wall-plate; part of one truss may also be old.

Fittings—Bell: inscribed 'James Wells Aldbourn Wilts Fecit 1809'. Communion Table: of oak with turned legs, moulded and enriched top rail and plain bottom rail, 17th century, with modern extensions at each end and modern board. Door: To tower vice, with three beaded vertical oak planks, shaped iron strap-hinges and iron studs, probably 17th century. Graffiti: On lead roof of tower, mid 18th century and later.

Monument and Floor-slab. Monument: In churchyard, two paces from S. porch, table-tomb with moulded top, illegible inscription, 17th or 18th century. Floor-slab: In N. aisle, near centre of arcade, of Merry Bugg . . ., Purbeck marble slab with worn inscription. Niche: In N. aisle, on N. side of E. respond of arcade, with chamfered four-centred head and continuous jambs, 15th century. Painting: On W. arch of arcade, scroll-work in red, mouldings in red and yellow. Plate: includes silver cup with hallmark of 1765 and inscription of 1766. Pulpit: of panelled oak in three heights on four sides of hexagonal plan; top height with arabesques, lower heights of paired plain panels with moulded stiles and rails, 17th-century; base and cornice mouldings modern. Sundial: On S.W. buttress of tower, square stone dial with iron gnomon; dial with sun-face and rays in low relief, perhaps 18th century.

(3) Methodist Church (80391108), ¼ m. N.W. of (1), has a date stone of 1820. The N. façade is of brick and the other walls are rendered; the roof is slated. At the centre of the N. front is a doorway with a hollow-chamfered two-centred stone head, continuous jambs and a weathered hollow-chamfered label. Higher up, on either side of the doorway, are round-headed windows, each of two hollow-chamfered trefoil-headed two-centred lights with a cusped trefoil in the central spandrel; these windows have labels similar to that of the doorway. The date inscription is on a round stone panel in the half-hipped N. gable.


1 Okeford Fitzpaine Village

(4) Cross, remains, 160 yds. N.W. of (1), are of ashlar and comprise a chamfered plinth and two square steps on which rests an octagonal cross-base, chamfered on top and with broach stops occupying the corners of the square. The tenon of the cross-shaft still lodges in a square mortice at the centre of the octagon, but the rest has gone.

(5) The Rectory, 100 yds. N.W. of (1), is two storied and has rendered walls above ashlar and rubble plinths; the roofs are tiled, with stone-slate verges. The main block, with a symmetrical E. front of five bays, was probably built by the Rev. Duke Butler about the middle of the 18th century (Hutchins IV, 334). To the N.W. is an earlier kitchen wing, with brick walls; it contains a large fireplace with a chamfered bressummer.

(6) St. Loe's Farm (80681090), house, 120 yds. N.W. of (1), is of one and two storeys and has walls in part of timber framework with brick infilling, in part of rubble, and in part of banded flint and rubble; the roofs are thatched. The house is of early 16th-century origin, with additions of the later 16th century and of 1638.

The original range, of class F plan, is single-storied with dormer-windowed attics. Above plinths of coursed flint and squared rubble the walls are of timber framework. A timber-framed building with weather-boarded walls, at the S.E. end of the range, has recently been demolished; it was of the 16th century and, although lately a barn, appears originally to have been a dwelling; inside it, a timber-framed partition with wattle-and-daub infilling retained mortices for floor-joists and a doorway with a chamfered four-centred head. Towards the end of the 16th century, an open fireplace was built on the N.W. of the through-passage in the original range and the range was extended to the N.W. by the addition of a two-storied bay with a gabled N.W. wall of coursed rubble. In 1638 this bay was enlarged to N.E. and S.W., making the plan T-shaped; the N.E. enlargement is of rubble; that on the S.W., facing the road, is of banded rubble and flint, with squared rubble quoins; the N.E. and S.W. walls are gabled. Immediately above the five-light S.W. ground-floor window, a weathered and hollow-chamfered string-course traverses the façade of 1638 and is returned as far as the chimney-stack on the N.W. wall. On the first floor, above the five-light window, is one of four lights, with modern woodwork but retaining above it fragments of a weathered ashlar label with returned stops. A date-stone of 1638 in the S.E. wall of the enlargement lies above a square-headed doorway with moulded timber jambs and lintel and with a beaded plank door hung on wrought-iron strap-hinges; this doorway was originally external and probably was the main entrance to the house, although a single-storied addition has now brought it inside the building.

St. Loe's Farm House, Okeford Fitzpaine

Inside, there are plank-and-muntin partitions in both storeys, and several doorways have chamfered surrounds with ornamental stops, shouldered abutments, and heads with raised centres. The ground-floor fireplace in the late 16th-century N.W. extension has a carved surround with moulded timber jambs and a four-centred head with cusped tracery panelling on the bressummer. Above, in the first-floor chamber, the chimney-piece has a panel of 17th-century moulded plaster work with oak-leaf scrolls and large strawberries. The roof of the original range has jointed cruck trusses.

(7) House (80551104), 300 yds. N.W. of (1), has two parts: to the E. is a single-storied range with walls of timber-framing, with brick nogging, above rubble plinths; at right angles, to W. and N., is a two-storied range with walls of banded flint and rubble, with ashlar dressings. The roofs are thatched. While both parts are probably of the 17th century, the E. range is the earlier. The gabled N. front of the W. range has a blocked ground floor window of two square headed lights with chamfered and hollow-chamfered stone jambs and head, and a weathered label. The E. side of the W. range has a similar window of three lights on each floor the upper one without a label. The W. side of the range is of coursed rubble with squared rubble quoins and has one blocked window on each floor. The N. side of the E. range has three modern casement windows on the ground floor and an attic dormer window above; the S. side is masked by a modern outbuilding. Inside, the E. range has heavily chamfered ceiling beams and wall-plates, and a fireplace with a chamfered four-centred timber bressummer. Another beam in the E. range is stop-chamfered and rests on chamfered wall-posts. A plank-and-muntin partition has beaded decoration.

(8) Cottage (80671088), 100 yds. N.W. of (1), is single-storied with dormer-windowed attics and has timber-frame walls above rubble plinths, and a thatched roof. It is probably of the 17th century and may originally have been two tenements. Inside, are heavily chamfered ceiling beams.

(9) Cottage (80791114), at the S. end of a range of buildings 350 yds. N. of the parish church, is two-storied and has walls of rubble on the ground floor and of timber-framing on the first floor; the roof is thatched. The timber members of the W. and S. walls are set vertically and close together, with herring-bone brick nogging; on the E. side the timbers are set more nearly in squares (Plate 60). All windows are modern. The N. part of the range is of the early 19th century; the S. part is probably of the 17th century.

(10) Etheridge's Farm (80061127), house, is in two parts. The W. part of the main range is of one storey with dormerwindowed attics and has rubble walls; the E. part is two-storied and has brick walls; in both parts the roof is thatched. The W. part is of the 17th century, the E. part is of the late 18th century. All windows are modern casements. Near the W. end of the S. front of the 18th-century range is a projecting two-storied brick porch with a segmental brick arch and a tiled roof.

(11) Cottage (79461079), ¾ m. W. of (1), is single-storied with dormer-windowed attics and has walls of rubble and cob and thatched roofs. It is perhaps of the late 17th or early 18th century.

Monuments (12–24)

Unless otherwise described the following are 18th-century cottages with rubble walls and thatched roofs.

(12) Cottages, pair (80481107), are two-storied and were probably built early in the 18th century. The E. cottage has heavily chamfered beams and wall-plates. (Demolished.)

(13) Cottage, 10 yds. E. of the foregoing, has a symmetrical N. front with a central doorway flanked by square-headed casement windows, and three casement windows in the attic. (Demolished.)

(14) Cottage (80051115) was originally of the 18th century but has recently been rebuilt and only the gabled E. wall survives. Inside, the kitchen has an open fireplace with a chamfered bressummer, from the centre of which protrudes a wooden corbel supporting a heavily chamfered ceiling beam.

(15) Cottage (80501108) is two-storied with a slated roof. The gabled E. wall contains a stone inscribed 'John Pope 1785'. (Demolished.)

(16) Cottage (80661104) appears to be partly of the late 18th century but the S. end is modern.

(17) Cottages, two adjoining (80731090), have now been converted into one house. The S. front has a plinth of coursed rubble with brick refacing above it; the E. end wall is of banded flint and rubble; the N. wall has rubble in the lower storey and timber-framing above.

(18) Cottage (80801098) is of the late 18th century.

(19) Cottage, immediately west of (5), has walls of rubble and cob, partly rendered.

(20) Cottage (80601085) has rendered walls; it probably dates from the 18th century but has been modernised. Inside, the S. room has an open fireplace with a heavy timber bressummer.

(21) Cottages, three adjoining (80531069), have brick walls. The S. tenement is of the 19th and the others are of the 18th century. On the E. front the ground-floor windows have casements and the first-floor windows are sashed.

(22) Cottages, two adjoining (80561080), have walls of rubble and brick, partly rendered.

(23) Cottage, immediately S. of the foregoing, is hung with mathematical tiles on the E. front and has a central doorway flanked by sashed windows, and corresponding windows on the first floor.

(24) Cottage (80551077), 30 yds. S. of the foregoing, dates from the late 18th century. Inside, the N. room has an open fireplace and two stop-chamfered beams.

Monuments (25–27)

The following are of the 18th century:

(25) Barn, 20 yds. S.E. of (24), has walls of brick and squared rubble, and thatched roofs.

(26) Barn, 30 yds. S.W. of the foregoing, has walls of coursed rubble, brick and cob, and a thatched roof.

(27) Barn (80571083) has walls of coursed rubble, cob and brick, and a thatched roof.

Monuments of the first half of the 19th century in Okeford village include the following: House, immediately S. of (4), of two storeys with rendered walls and a slated roof; the symmetrical three-bay W. front has labels over the ground-floor openings and a date stone of 1837 over the central doorway. Early 19th-century Cottages are noted at 80531107, 80561104, 80791133, 80651099; the Post Office and an adjoining House (80661094) and Mill Cottages (81141100) are of the same period. A Cottage 50 yds. S.W. of the church is dated 1823. A cottage immediately W. of (4) has, reset, an old oak Door with a two-centred head that is said to have belonged formerly to the village lock-up.

2 Belchalwell

(28) Lowbrook Farm (78950943), house, 540 yds. S.W. of (2), has timber-frame walls on rubble plinths and is roofed with thatch. To the W. is a modern extension. The original building is of the late 16th or early 17th century and was single-storied; an upper storey was added perhaps in the 18th century. Inside, large fireplaces placed back-to-back under a central chimney-stack have been blocked up. At the W. end of the old part a doorway that now opens into the modern extension has a rough four-centred head.

(29) Belleaze Farm (78700989), house, 600 yds. W. of (2), is single-storied with dormer-windowed attics and has rubble walls and thatched roofs. Inside, there is a crude plank-and-muntin partition and one stop-chamfered beam. (Derelict.)

(30) House (79730918), ½ m. S.E. of (2), is two-storied, with walls of coursed rubble and brick, and thatched roofs. It is of mid 17th-century origin but the S.E. front has been rebuilt in brick, and heightened. Inside, a ground-floor room has deeply-chamfered intersecting beams dividing half of the ceiling into six panels; the other half has chamfered wall-plates but no beams. Another room retains the timber bressummer of a blocked fireplace.

(31) Barn and Outbuildings (79660900), 100 yds. S.W. of the foregoing, have walls of rubble, brick and cob, and thatched roofs. The barn is of the late 17th or early 18th century with some 19th-century brick repairs. The outbuildings are of the 18th century.

(32) Earl's Farm (79800914), house, 100 yds. N.E. of (30), is two-storied and has brick walls and thatched roofs. It dates from c. 1800 and has a symmetrical five-bay N.W. front with a central doorway, sashed windows and a plat-band at the level of the first floor.

3 Fiddleford

(33) Old Farm (80531310), house, nearly 1½ m. N. of (1), is of two storeys, with rubble and timber-framed walls above rubble plinths, and thatched roofs. It dates from the late 16th century, with additions and alterations of the 17th and 18th centuries. A jointed cruck is exposed in the gabled N. wall and there are others in an adjacent barn.

The plan of the farmhouse is T-shaped, with the 16th-century range at the head of the T, facing W.; the E. range, the stem of the T, is mainly of the 17th century. The W. front is an 18th-century addition to the 16th-century range; it is of coursed rubble and has a central doorway, three-light casement windows on both floors to the N., and modern bay-windows to the S. At the S. end of this range is a single-storied 18th-century extension; it has a modern ground-floor window but in the attic under the thatched roof is an old three-light window with a heavy chamfered oak surround. The N. end of the range shows the original 16th-century timber-framing, with horizontal and vertical members above a rubble plinth; the in-filling is rendered. The N.W. corner was rebuilt when the 18th-century W. front was added but the N.E. corner retains the curved corner-post of an original jointed cruck; ground and first-floor casement windows are modern. The original timber framing is exposed on the E. return of the range, where it is capped by a chamfered eaves plate. In this wall are two blocked windows with chamfered timber surrounds; one consists of two very narrow lights, the other is of three lights. The 17th-century E. range is of one storey with dormer-windowed attics and has walls of rubble.

Inside, the house has been much altered and the original plan is lost. The N. ground-floor room of the W. range has deeply chamfered intersecting beams and wall-plates making a six-panel ceiling. The fireplace has a wooden bressummer with a raised centre and double ovolo mouldings; the jambs are of stone. The next room to the S. has a moulded beam with chamfered stops, and a fireplace with an ovolo-moulded head. Further S., in the 18th-century extension, is a plank-and-muntin partition, perhaps of 17th-century origin. The kitchen in the E. range has a chamfered beam and a corner fireplace with a chamfered four-centred head and continuous jambs. On the first floor, the stairs which are largely modern include part of a late 17th-century balustrade with turned balusters and a moulded newel-post with an acorn finial. Some first-floor rooms have chamfered beams and there are three fireplaces with chamfered and moulded surrounds with raised centres. The chamber in the E. range retains fragments of moulded plasterwork.

The Barn S. of the farmhouse is of weather-boarded timber-framed construction; the roof includes two jointed cruck trusses, perhaps reused.

(34) House (80511337), 300 yds. N. of the foregoing, is single-storied with dormer-windowed attics and has timber-framed walls above rubble plinths, and thatched roofs. It appears to be of the late 16th or early 17th century except for the gabled S. wall and the S. part of the E. wall, which are of 19th-century brickwork. A doorway in the older part of the E. wall has a moulded, square-headed oak surround and a plank door with wrought-iron strap-hinges; all other openings are modern. Inside, a ground-floor room has two ovolo-moulded ceiling beams.

(35) Cottages, two adjacent, immediately N. of the foregoing, are two-storied, with walls of coursed rubble and brick, and thatched roofs. The N. cottage is of the first half of the 18th century, with original rubble side walls and a modern N. wall of brick; the S. cottage is of the early 19th century and has all walls of brick.

(36) Cottage, 200 yds. N.W. of the foregoing, is single-storied, with cob walls and thatched roofs and is of the late 18th century.

Buildings of the first half of the 19th century in the part of Fiddleford that lies in Okeford Fitzpaine include a House at 80521324, with a symmetrical W. front and a small brick gazebo in the garden to the E., and Cottages at 80611289, and 70 yds. to the S.E. of that location.

Mediaeval and Later Earthworks

(37) Cultivation Remains. Nothing is known of the open fields of Okeford Fitzpaine. Ridge-and-furrow of these fields exists N. of the village (805113), where there are the remains of ridges 12 yds. wide with reversed-S curves cut by existing hedges. To the W., S. and E. of Garlands Farm (783107, 785105 and 789107), air photographs show traces of butting furlongs (R.A.F. CPE/UK 1974: 2175–77). Contour strip lynchets up to 200 yds. long survive S.W. of Hibbett Bottom (803093).

Ridge-and-furrow of the former open fields of Fiddleford, arranged in end-on and butting furlongs underlying existing field boundaries, can be seen on air photographs N., E. and S.E. of Fiddleford (R.A.F. CPE/UK 1974: 1159–60); they extend into Sturminster Newton parish (see Sturminster Newton (70)).

Roman and Prehistoric

Okeford Fitzpaine. (38) Banbury Hill-fort

(38) Banbury (790120), an Iron Age univallate hill-fort of 3 acres on the summit of a low, flat-topped hill (Plate 182), rises to 361 ft. above O.D.; it lies on an isolated patch of Plateau Gravel, within a broad belt of Kimmeridge Clay. Though never very massive, its defences have been reduced in the past by cultivation. Where best preserved they consist of a bank 50 ft. across rising 2 ft. above the interior and 6 ft. above the ditch bottom, the ditch being 25 ft. across and 1 ft. deep. In places, particularly along the S. side, the bank is no more than a scarp, 3 ft. high, and for much of the circumference the external ditch is no longer visible. The entrance gap, on the W. side, is protected by a flanking arm linked to the main rampart and consisting of a scarp up to 5 ft. high, with traces of an external ditch; the arm curves oddly, in an opposite arc to that of the main rampart, so that the access-way from the S. is at one point only 7 ft. wide. There has been slight quarrying into the outwork. No traces of internal remains exist.

(39) Inhumation Burials, probably Romano-British, were found in a chalk pit S. of the village (808102); several were found with the feet to the E. and covered with tabular flints. Hoards of 70 to 80 Durotrigian silver coins were found near this site in 1753 and 1788 (Dorset Procs. IV (1880), 91–4; Hutchins IV, 335).

'Celtic' Fields, see p. 339, Group (57).

Monuments (40–42), Cross-dykes

Three cross-dykes lie on spurs which extend N. from the Chalk escarpment in the S. of the parish.

(40) Cross-dyke (80240909–80310911), 70 yds. in length, runs W.S.W.–E.N.E. across the spine of a spur sloping N.N.W. It lies, with its ditch uphill, at over 700 ft. above O.D. but well down the slope of the spur, which steepens about 50 yds. behind it. In the centre, the bank is 24 ft. wide and 3 ft. high, the ditch is 18 ft. wide and 2 ft. deep. Westwards the dyke curves slightly S.W. and runs out well short of the shoulder of the spur. To the E., the end is similarly sited and just cut by the ditch of a modern hedge. Possibly 'Celtic' fields existed to the N. There is no evidence of an original break, though it is cut by a track and a path towards the centre.

(41) Cross-dyke (81060965–81280979), runs from W.S.W. to E.N.E. across a spur, at just over 600 ft. above O.D., at the foot of a steep slope which drops northwards from the Chalk escarpment. It has been ploughed almost completely flat except for a short length at the E. end, where a bank 2 ft. high lies on the N. or downhill side of a slight depression. Its original length was about 300 yds. It was perhaps a trackway, formerly linking with Pound Lane.

(42) Cross-dyke (81580969–81809958), curving N.W.–E. at over 600 ft. above O.D. across the base of a spur sloping N.N.E., faces up the rounded spur top towards higher ground and is some 285 yds. long. The bank is 30 ft. wide and 6 ft. high; the ditch is 27 ft. wide and 4 ft. deep. An entrance, possibly original and slightly staggered, crossed by the parish boundary with Shillingstone, occurs E. of centre; it has a causeway across the ditch, though a way past the W. end and possibly also the E. end is conceivable. At either end the dyke runs out just short of the shoulder of the spur. 'Celtic' fields (Group 57) lie on either side of the dyke and one long lynchet is crossed by the bank and cut by the ditch.

Monuments (43–47), Round Barrows

In addition to two mounds (see (48)), five barrows lie on the Chalk escarpment in the S. of the parish.

(43) Bowl (79940825) on Bell Hill, on the summit of the chalk escarpment at over 800 ft. above O.D. Diam. 36 ft., ht. 2½ ft.

(44) Bowl (80040841), 205 yds. N.E. of (43), is thickly overgrown and the whole top of the mound has been removed. Diam. 72 ft., ht. 3 ft.

(45) Bowl (80320872), 450 yds. N.E. of (44), lies on the almost flat summit of Bell Hill; its centre has been dug into and it has been heavily ploughed. Diam. 30 ft., ht. 1 ft.

(46) Bowl (80380875), 70 yds. N.E. of (45), has been much ploughed. Diam. 33 ft., ht. 1 ft.

(47) Barrow? (81140996) on Okeford Hill, at just over 500 ft. above O.D., lies on the spine of a spur sloping northward from the Chalk escarpment. Diam. 60 ft., ht. 3 ft.


(48) Two low Mounds, (a) 81111014, (b) 81081023, lie just below 500 ft. above O.D. near the level tip of a narrow spur running northwards from Okeford Hill. Both mounds are aligned E.–W. and are oval in plan, measuring 29 ft. by 21 ft.; they stand up to 2 ft. high and have rounded cross-profiles. There are traces of a ditch on the S. side of (a) and on the N. side of (b). Suggested as pillow-mounds by Grinsell (Dorset Barrows, 121), their purpose is unknown.