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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'Piddlehinton', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3, Central( London, 1970), British History Online [accessed 16 July 2024].

'Piddlehinton', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3, Central( London, 1970), British History Online, accessed July 16, 2024,

"Piddlehinton". An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3, Central. (London, 1970), , British History Online. Web. 16 July 2024.

In this section


(O.S. 6 ins. SY 69 NE, SY 79 NW)

Piddlehinton has an area of nearly 3,000 acres, entirely on Chalk. The R. Piddle flows from N. to S. through the centre of the parish, and on either side of it the land rises gently to Chalk ridges some 400 ft. above sea-level. The parish contains five original settlements: from N. to S., Piddlehinton, Combe Deveral, Little Piddle, Muston and N. Louvard. Of these, Piddlehinton, Muston and Combe Deveral have long been part of the parish, but the territory of Little Piddle was part of Puddletown parish until 1885.


(1) The Parish Church of St. Mary (Plate 184) stands near the middle of the village. The walls are partly of ashlar and partly of banded flint and rubble with ashlar dressings. The roofs are covered partly with slates and partly with stone-slates. An early 14th-century coffin-lid suggests that a church existed at that period, but the present building is considerably later. The South Tower and South Aisle are of the second half of the 15th century, the tower being somewhat earlier than the aisle; the Chancel, the N. colonnade of the Nave and the South Porch are of the early 16th century. In 1867 the nave was lengthened, the North Aisle was enlarged and the North Porch was added.

The tower is handsomely decorated and well-preserved, and the chancel contains sedilia of unusual form.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (20¾ ft. by 13¾ ft.) has a restored E. window of three cinquefoil-headed lights with vertical tracery in a moulded two-centred head, ogee-moulded outside and casement-moulded inside, with continuous jambs; above is a moulded label with head-stops. The N. and S. walls each have two partly restored windows of two cinquefoil-headed lights in square surrounds, with mouldings similar to the E. window; between the two N. windows is a doorway with a heavily moulded two-centred head and continuous jambs under a square label with head-stops and foliate spandrels; the rear arch is three-centred and moulded, with continuous jambs. In the S. wall is a square-headed squint from the S. tower. The two-centred chancel arch is of two moulded orders separated by a hollow-chamfer; the responds have continuous hollow-chamfers flanked by attached shafts with moulded caps and bases. The chancel has a vaulted plaster ceiling of the late 18th or early 19th century, with moulded ribs and shaped bosses.

Piddlehinton, the Parish Church of St. Mary

The Nave (49½ ft. by 13 ft.) has an early 16th-century N. arcade, originally of three bays but with a fourth bay added, on the W., in 1867. The arches are of depressed two-centred form and comprise two moulded orders flanking wide hollow-chamfers; the latter are continuous on the piers and responds, but the moulded orders spring from attached shafts with moulded caps and bases. The original W. respond has been rebuilt on the W. side of the added bay. In the S. wall, W. of the tower arch (see below), is a segmental-pointed archway to the S. aisle. The arch has two ogee mouldings separated by a wave moulding; the inner ogee springs from attached shafts with moulded and crudely carved leaf capitals; the other mouldings are continuous on the responds, but the outer ogee is interrupted by capitals similar to those of the shafts; at the apex, on the S. side, is a crowned angel with wings displayed.

The South Tower (11¼ ft. square) is of three stages, with a moulded plinth, weathered and hollow-chamfered string-courses between the stages, and an embattled parapet with a continuous moulded coping; at each corner of the parapet is a large gargoyle and a pinnacle with panelled sides and a crocketed finial. On the E. side of the tower is a square vice turret, staged in correspondence with the tower stages. Weathered angle buttresses occur in the two lower stages on all four sides of the tower. The tower arch is two-centred and of two ogee-moulded orders separated by a wide hollow-chamfer which is continuous on the responds; the ogee mouldings spring from attached shafts with moulded and enriched capitals, with delicate leaf and acorn carving, and polygonal bases. In the E. wall is the square-headed squint to the chancel, and the vice doorway with a chamfered four-centred head and continuous jambs. In the W. wall is a chamfered two-centred archway to the S. aisle. In the S. wall is a window of three cinquefoil-headed lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head, with a label with head-stops. The second stage has rectangular loops in the E. and W. walls. The top stage has, in each wall, a belfry window of two cinquefoil-headed lights with a quatrefoil in a two-centred head, under a label with head-stops.

The South Aisle (7 ft. wide) has a diagonal buttress of two weathered stages at the S.W. corner and, above it, a large gargoyle; the low-pitched roof is masked by a parapet with a moulded string-course and a weathered coping. The S. doorway has a moulded four-centred head and continuous jambs; further W. is a window of three cinquefoil-headed lights in a square casement-moulded surround. The roof has moulded beams forming six panels; it is probably of 1756, the date on a stone corbel.

The South Porch, now a vestry, has been partly restored; the blocked outer archway has a moulded four-centred head and continuous jambs; at the S.W. corner is a weathered diagonal buttress of one stage.

Fittings—Bells: five; 1st by Thomas Purdue, 1683; 2nd by W. Knight, 1721; 3rd with 'Sit Nomen Domini Benedicictum' (sic) in black-letter; 4th inscribed 'Mayster Thomas Harlow' in Lombardic letters and, below, 'I.S. Nos Thome Meritus Mereamur Gaudia Lucis' in black-letter; 5th by Roger Purdue, 1633. Brasses: In chancel, reset on N. wall, (1) of John Chapman, 1494, black-letter inscription plate (13 ins. by 1¾ ins.); (2) fragment depicting lower part of robed figure with belt and staff; (3) of Wyllyam Goldynge, parson, 1567, inscription in Roman capitals on plate (12 ins. by 6½ ins.); reset on S. wall, (4) of Thomas Browne, parson, 1617, plate (14 ins. by 13 ins.) depicting gowned man in tall hat carrying staff and book, with Latin verses and epitaph (Plate 41). Coffin-lid: In N. porch, tapering slab with moulded edge and remains of cross, early 14th century, broken at end. Coffin-stools: two, with turned legs, late 17th century. Doors: In tower vice, of planks, with strap-hinges and old box-lock, 16th century, moulded outer fillet later; in S. porch, of planks with strap-hinges, 17th century. Glass: In chancel, in E. window, of Good Shepherd, St. Peter and St. Mary, by E. R. Suffling, London, c. 1845.

Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel, on N. wall, (1) of Henry Allen, vicar of Beeding, Sussex, his wife and sister, early 18th-century marble wall-monument with scrolls, broken pediment and urn; (2) of Thomas Meggs, 1819, Susan his wife, 1819, and Harry Meggs, 1821, marble tablet with arms; (3) of John, son of Thomas Clavering, 1644, Martha (South) his mother, died of plague 1664, and her husband Thomas Clavering, rector, 1665, painted wooden tablet with pediment and shield-of-arms of Clavering impaling South of Swallowcliff. In chancel, on S. wall, (4) of Priscilla Hannah Sanger, 1755, marble tablet with broken pediment, urn and cherub; (5) of Philip Montagu, rector, 1782, marble tablet. In tower, on E. wall, (6) of Susan Crewe (Meggs), wife of Andrew Layton, 1797, marble tablet; (7) of Mary Baker, 1760, Martha Montagu, 1769 and Jane Iles, 1828, marble tablet by Gray of Weymouth. In N. aisle, on N. wall, (8) of William Churchill, 1847, marble tablet by Lester of Dorchester. In S. aisle, on S. wall, (9) of John Kellaway, 1725, Elizabeth, 1768, and Nicholas Kellaway, 1783, marble tablet with broken pediment and urn finial; below, (10) of Dorothy Kellaway, 1781, oval tablet; on W. wall, (11) of Mary Kellaway, 1712, Christopher and Samuell her sons, 1715, and her husband Nicholas, 1746, stone and slate tablet with scrolls, pediment and carved apron. In churchyard, on S. wall of S. aisle, (12) of Thomas Rawlins, 1747, and Anna his wife, 1751, carved stone cartouche (Plate 32) with emblems; E. of chancel, (13) large 17th-century table-tomb with pilastered and arcaded sides, heavily moulded cornice and weathered top; inscription defaced. Floor-slabs: In N. porch, (1) of Elizabeth Hooke, 16 ...; (2) of John Hooke, rector, 1700; (3) of . . . Cole, 1708.

Niches: In chancel gable, above E. window, small recess with two-centred head; in chancel, flanking E. window, two niches formerly with brackets and canopies, now shaved off; in S. wall, recess with chamfered ogee head and sunk circles in spandrels, stone shelf at half-height; all early 16th century. Plate: includes late 16th or early 17th-century silver cup and cover-paten, silver alms-dish of 1674, dated 1685, silver spoon of 1796, and 18th-century pewter flagon and dish. Sedilia: In chancel, on S. side, recess with stone seat, side-standards, overhanging cornice, and stone panelled back with three trefoil ogee heads and tracery to panels; late 15th century, reset. Sundials: On S.E. buttress of tower, with iron gnomon and date 1794. On stone pedestal 5 paces S. of tower, bronze plate with shaped gnomon by Isaacke Symmes, inscription 'W.G.N. 1908–38' added; probably 18th century. On S.E. buttress of tower, two scratch-dials. Miscellanea: On top of E. churchyard wall, moulded stone with square socket, 15th century.


(2) Bridge (71519719), over R. Piddle, 100 yds. N.W. of (1), has a single round arch of ashlar and is dated 1834 on the N. parapet.

(3) Muston Manor (72309600), house, 1,500 yds. S.E. of the church, is two-storied with dormerwindowed attics; the S. front is of brickwork with ashlar dressings, the other walls are of banded rubble and flint; the roof is covered with modern tiles. The house is of 17th-century origin but the interior has been much altered and there are modern additions to E. and N.

The S. front is approximately symmetrical and of five bays, the middle bay being set forward as a gabled two-storied porch. The outer porch arch is of stone with an elliptical ogee-moulded head, continuous jambs and chamfered run-out stops; above the arch is a recessed stone panel. To the W. of the porch the ground floor has two stone windows each of four square-headed lights with chamfered and hollow-chamfered surrounds; above them on the first floor are two similar three-light windows. To the E. of the porch the ground floor has only one four-light window but the first floor has two, of three lights, as before. The window in the gabled upper storey of the porch is similar and of three lights.

The W. front is divided into two parts by a vertical ashlar offset; the S. part is of banded flint and rubble, the N. part is of banded flint and brick; all openings are modern and the upper parts of the walls have been rebuilt. On the N. front the gabled W. bay is of brick, with 17th-century stone-mullioned three-light windows on the ground and first floors; the first-floor opening has a brick label; the rest of the N. front and the entire E. part of the house are modern. Inside, the S.E. room has a 17th-century stone fireplace surround, recently brought from Waterston Manor, Puddletown. It has a moulded square head with rounded shoulders and continuous jambs; the moulded stone cornice is modern. The N.W. room has a large ceiling beam, chamfered for part of its length and unwrought for the rest. In the hall is a painting of the four seasons by Thornhill; it was formerly a ceiling panel at Colliton House, Dorchester. To the E. of the house is an 18th-century Granary on staddlestones; the walls are of brick and the roof is tiled.

(4) The Rectory (71459710), 130 yds. S.W. of (1), is of two storeys with dormer-windowed attics and has walls of banded brick and flint, and banded flint and ashlar; the roofs are tiled, with stone-slate verges. The house was built in 1753.

The N. front, of banded brick and flint with brick quoins, is symmetrical and of three bays. The round-headed central doorway, with a rusticated stone surround, is flanked by segmental-headed sashed windows and there are three corresponding windows on the first floor; each window-head has a stone keystone and the eaves have a moulded stone cornice. The gabled W. wall is rendered. The S. front is of banded flint and ashlar and was originally symmetrical and of five bays, but the two W. bays have been masked by a 19th-century two-storied bow window. The doorway has a moulded stone architrave, keystone and cornice; the keystone is inscribed 'P.M. 1753', presumably for Philip Montagu, rector 1751–82. The original windows on both floors have moulded stone architraves with keystones; that over the doorway has an eared architrave, shaped above the sill. The eaves have a stone cornice similar to that of the N. front. The E. elevation has a large round-headed window lighting the stairs, and a rainwater head with initials and date as before. Inside, the open-string stairs are of pine with turned newel posts and balusters, and moulded handrails. An 18th-century plan in the present rector's possession shows that the former rectory stood to the E. of the present site; some of its walls are perhaps incorporated in outhouses to the E.

A Cottage, 60 yds. W. of the rectory, is of banded flint and rubble with a thatched roof and dates probably from the 17th century.

(5) Little Puddle Farm (71669653), house, 700 yds. S. of (1), is single-storied with dormer-windowed attics and has walls of rendered rubble, and thatched roofs. It is of the late 17th century and comprises a long range, facing S.E., with a projecting gabled porch at the centre of the range. Several casement windows have moulded wood mullions. Inside, there are some plank-and-muntin partitions. A Granary on staddle stones to the S. has rendered walls and a tiled roof; a Barn with brick walls and an iron roof is probably of 18th-century origin.

(6) The New Inn (71389755), 450 yds. N.W. of (1), is of two storeys and has rendered walls and thatched roofs; it is probably of the late 18th or early 19th century.

(7) East Farm (71349768), house, 650 yds. N.W. of (1), is two-storied and has walls of banded flint and squared rubble, and thatched roofs. It is probably of the first half of the 17th century, albeit of two periods. The E. front (Plate 57), with four irregular bays, has masonry of two kinds; in the three bays to the N. the banding shows two courses of flint to one of squared rubble, in the bay to the S. it shows three flint courses to one rather wider band of rubble. A stone let into the N. part, near the eaves, bears the date 1622; the differently coursed S. part appears to be a little later. Reset over the S. ground-floor window is a fragment of mediaeval cusped tracery. All windows are wooden casements; those on the first floor in the N. part of the E. front have stone lintels and, directly over the lintels, attic dormer windows. The N. wall has masonry similar to that of the N. part of the E. front; the gabled S. wall is mainly of flint and rubble with occasional bands of ashlar and with ashlar quoins; it appears to have been rebuilt, probably in the 18th or 19th century. At the rear of the house is a single-storied wing, with cob walls and a thatched roof, that is probably of the 18th century. To the S. is a Barn with brick walls and a thatched roof; it too is probably of the 18th century.

(8) Cottage (71399713), 160 yds. W. of (1), is single-storied with dormer-windowed attics and has walls in part of banded flint and ashlar and in part rendered, and thatched roofs. It is probably of the late 17th century. Inside, one room has an exposed stop-chamfered beam and there is evidence of a former open fireplace, now blocked.

(9) Cottages (71479720), two adjacent, 100 yds. N.W. of (1), are single-storied with dormer-windowed attics and have walls of banded flint and brick, rendered in the upper part, and thatched roofs. They are probably of the 18th century. Inside are chamfered ceiling beams and traces of a former open fire-place, now blocked; one tenement retains a late plank-and-muntin partition.

(10) Cottage, opposite the foregoing, on the S. side of the road, is two-storied with walls of banded flint and squared rubble, and slated roofs. It is of 16th-century origin but was refronted in 1866. At the apex of the gabled central bay on the N. front is a stone window of two small trefoil-headed lights; lower in the same gable are three carved stone panels with quatrefoils enclosing bosses; below each first-floor window of the central bay is a smaller quatrefoil, pierced to make a ventilator, and in the centre, at the same level, is a panel inscribed 'C.M. 1866'. Inside, an original fireplace has a moulded four-centred head with trefoil spandrels.

(11) Cottage, 50 yds. N.W. of the church, of two storeys with rendered walls and thatched roofs, is of the late 18th or early 19th century.

Other buildings of the first half of the 19th century include a range of Cottages with rubble walls and thatched roofs at 71649729, Bourne Farm (72979730), West Lodge (71329771), and a House at 71679708.

Mediaeval and Later Earthworks

(12) Settlement Remains of Little Piddle (718966) lie on both sides of the valley in the vicinity of (5). Little Piddle is first recorded in Domesday Book, when it was divided into two manors (D.B. Vol. I, f. 75a and 77b). Until 1885 these manors remained separate land units, each with its own open-field system (14) and in different parishes; the N. manor, known as Combe Deveral, was part of Piddlehinton while the S. manor was in Puddletown (Tithe Map 1842). Domesday Book records a population of 19 persons for the settlement, and a late 13th-century I.P.M. lists 4 custumers and 11 cottars for the manor of Little Piddle (S. & D. N. & Q., IX, (1904–5), 147). The 1333 Subsidy Rolls record 7 taxpayers for Little Piddle manor only (Combe Deveral manor presumably being listed under Piddlehinton), perhaps indicating a reduction of population by this period. Desertion had almost certainly taken place by 1539 as only two men are recorded on the Muster Rolls of that year (L. & P., Henry VIII, Vol. 14, Pt. I, 267–9), and by 1662 only two households are listed (Meekings, 12. See also Dorset Procs., LXXXVIII (1966), 211).

The division of the settlement into two manors is not manifest in the earthwork remains. The earthworks cover 32 acres and were probably completely enclosed by a boundary bank and ditch, but these features have been much damaged, on the E. side by a modern road and in the valley bottom by watermeadows. The bank, where preserved, is up to 20 ft. wide and 2½ ft. high, with an external ditch 15 ft. to 20 ft. wide; within it the remains are much disturbed. On the E. side of the river there are a number of long closes, running down the valley side and bounded by low banks; they may be the crofts of houses which formerly lay in the valley bottom. Two rectangular areas that are probably the sites of houses lie 130 yds. E.N.E. of (5); they are bounded by low banks.

On the W. side of the river, the farm house, outbuildings, gardens and water-meadows associated with (5) have largely destroyed the remains, although stubs of banks projecting from the boundary bank suggest that long closes once existed.

(13) Settlement Remains (727958), part of the former hamlet of North Louvard, lie in the S. of the parish, 300 yds. E.S.E. of (3) on the N.E. bank of the R. Piddle. The settlement is one of the unidentified 'Piddles' in Domesday; its subsequent history is difficult to ascertain as it is usually recorded together with South Louvard, another Domesday 'Piddle' which is now Higher Waterston in Puddletown (Hutchins II, 618; see also Tithe Maps of Piddlehinton (1840) and of Puddletown (1842)). In 1327 only seven taxpayers were recorded, and these probably came from both N. and S. Louvard. By 1662 the northern settlement must have been completely deserted, since the only house listed for Louvard (Meekings, 12) is certainly Higher Waterston (see Dorset Procs., loc. cit., 212).

Piddlehinton. (12) Settlement Remains of Little Piddle

The remains cover some 5 acres and comprise three well-preserved closes, 60 yds. long and 30 yds. wide, bounded by scarps and banks up to 3 ft. high, with internal subdivisions. Building platforms, possibly house-sites, 20 ft. by 40 ft., lie at the S.W. or lower ends of the closes. There are traces of at least three more closes to the N.W., all of them very much disturbed; another close has been largely destroyed by the modern road on the S.E.

(14) Cultivation Remains. The open fields of Piddlehinton remained unenclosed until 1835 (Enclosure Map and Award, D.C.R.O.). On either side of Coombe Bottom (710971) are slight traces of contour strip lynchets, mostly ploughed out and now visible only on air photographs (R.A.F. CPE/UK 1974: 1368). In the E., these strip lynchets run into and over 'Celtic' fields (see below, Group (35), p. 322). Until 1835 all the strips lay in West Water Field.

Contour strip lynchets (714965) of the open fields of Combe Deveral manor lie on the N. side of Little Piddle Bottom, 400 yds. W. of (5). The remains are all ploughed out and are only visible on air photographs (R.A.F. CPE/UK 1974: 1367).

A two-field system was in existence at Little Piddle (formerly in Puddletown parish) in the 13th century (S. & D. N. & Q., IX, (1904–5), 147). Contour strip lynchets remain in two places, S.W. and S. of (5), (716964 and 718962); they are damaged by ploughing but have low risers 1 ft. to 3 ft. high.

Roman and Prehistoric

'Celtic' Fields, see p. 322f., Groups (35), (36), (45).

Monuments (15–23), Round Barrows

Of the nine round barrows in the parish, five (15–19) are in the S.W. and the others are scattered along the E. boundary. In 1881 Edward Cunnington opened three barrows at Little Piddle (Cunnington MS. Nos. 43–45). No. 43, either (16) or (17), contained a primary cremation under a central cairn and seven secondary cremations, five with urns (four 'bucket' and one globular) and two without urns (Ant.J. XIII (1933), 446; Arch.J. CXIX (1962), 58). No. 44, either (15) or (16), covered a primary cremation under a cairn. No. 45, probably (18), yielded from a central flint cairn five urns (four 'bucket' and one globular) containing cremations; two of the urns were upright and were covered with stone slabs, the others were inverted (Arch.J. CXIX (1962), 57). An unidentified barrow opened by C. Hall on Piddlehinton Down contained an urn beneath a flint cairn (C.T.D., Pt. 3, No. 96; Barrow Diggers, 92 and Pl. 9, fig. 4). Two urns 'of an almost globular shape' were recovered from a barrow disturbed by the construction of a road on Piddlehinton Down (Hutchins II, 807). The nine barrows are as follows:

(15) Bowl (69509571), on Little Piddle Down near the top of a ridge. Much ploughed. Diam. 54 ft., ht. 1 ft.

(16) Bowl (69549567), 70 yds. S.E. of (15). Ploughed. Diam. 70 ft., ht. 4 ft. Traces of ditch.

(17) Bowl (69819550), 340 yds. S.E. of (16). Heavily ploughed. Diam. 45 ft., ht. 3½ ft.

(18) Bowl (70389582), on Little Puddle Hill on the summit of a ridge; base of mound damaged by ploughing. A 'Celtic' field lynchet runs up to the barrow, on either side, and clearly has respected it. Diam. 37 ft., ht. 5½ ft.

(19) Bowl (70419580), 40 yds. E.S.E. of (18), is planted with fir trees and its base has been damaged by ploughing. Diam. 55 ft., ht. 9 ft.

(20) Bowl (73569663), 200 yds. E. of Muston Copse, lies below the crest of a hill on a gentle E. slope at just over 300 ft. above O.D.; it is traversed by a hedge and the northern third of the mound has been ploughed away. Diam. about 45 ft., ht. 3 ft.

(21) Bowl (72789719), 300 yds. W.S.W. of Bourne Farm, at about 325 ft. above O.D. Almost completely ploughed out.

(22) Bowl (73679832), on top of the hill at over 300 ft. above O.D. within Dole's Hill Plantation. Diam. 65 ft., ht. 4 ft.

(23) Bowl (73639863), 320 yds. N. of (22), on the summit of the same hill. Scrub-covered. Diam. 40 ft., ht. 3 ft.


(24) Enclosure (69709664), now destroyed by ploughing, formerly lay immediately W. of New Buildings, on the crest of an E.–W. spur at 420 ft. above O.D.; it consisted of a rectangular area of approximately ½ acre, bounded by a bank and an external ditch on the W., S. and E. sides, and by a ditch only on the N. There was no entrance. Faint traces of 'Celtic' fields (see Group (35)) occur in the vicinity (R.A.F. CPE/UK 1974: 1369).