Sturminster Newton

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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'Sturminster Newton', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 3, Central, (London, 1970) pp. 269-286. British History Online [accessed 19 April 2024]

In this section


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

Sturminster Newton is a large parish of about 4,550 acres, traversed by the R. Stour and drained by several small tributaries of that river, notably the Divelish in the S.W. and Chivrick's Brook in the N.E. The land undulates between 150 ft. and 250 ft. above sea-level, except in the S.E. where the altitude exceeds 300 ft. A broad band of Corallian Limestone and sand crosses the central part from N.E. to S.W.; to the N.W. is Oxford Clay, to the S.E. is Kimmeridge Clay. The early settlements appear to have been Sturminster, Colber, Bagber and Newton. The open fields of Sturminster lay to the N., N.E. and E. of the town; the settlement appears in Domesday Book (f. 77b) as Newentone. Bagber, in the N.W. of the parish, is not listed in Domesday Book, but it too had open fields. Newton, a pre-conquest settlement, (fn. 1) also had separate open fields. The hamlet of Fiddleford, now principally in Okeford Fitzpaine, was formerly wholly in Sturminster Newton and traces of its open fields are found in the S.E. corner of this parish. Most of the southern part of the parish was common land; some land around Perry's Farm (fn. 2) appears to have been enclosed by the 14th century but even in the middle of the 16th century there were still 2,000 acres of common, (fn. 3) and large parts remained unenclosed until the 19th century. (fn. 4) Today, Sturminster is the principal centre of habitation; it is a small market town with a parish church, a market place and several radiating streets of houses, situated on rising ground a little way from the N. bank of the Stour. Much of the centre of the town was laid waste by fire in 1729 (Hutchins IV, 344) but a few 15th and 16th-century houses appear to have survived the conflagration, at least in part. Newton, to the S. of the river, is still in many respects a separate village albeit with no church. The most important monument in the parish is Fiddleford Mill (4).


(1) The Parish Church of St. Mary stands to the S.W. of Sturminster town, on rising ground overlooking the R. Stour. It has walls of Greensand ashlar and roofs covered with stone-slates and lead. The Nave, North and South Aisles and West Tower are of late 14th or early 15th-century origin. The nave was heightened by the addition of a clearstorey about the end of the 15th century, and the nave roof is of that date. The Chancel, North Vestry, South Chapel and North and South Transepts are of the second quarter of the 19th century. According to Hutchins (IV, 342), the whole church with the exception of the tower was taken down and rebuilt in 1827, but this is clearly an overstatement since rubble wall-faces seen internally in the N. and S. aisles show that these parts were refaced externally, rather than rebuilt, and the nave arcades and clearstorey windows retain much mediaeval masonry in situ. The late 15th or early 16th-century wagon roof of the nave is noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The Chancel (31 ft. by 17 ft.) has a two-centred E. window of five cinquefoil ogee-headed lights with vertical tracery in a casement-moulded surround. At each side are square-set buttresses of three weathered stages; the gable, with a weathered coping, springs from corbelled kneelers and culminates in a large cross-finial. A marble plaque below the E. window records the beginning of the work of rebuilding in 1825; it was carried out at the expense of the Rev. T. H. Lane Fox. The N. and S. walls of the chancel have arcades of two bays opening into the vestry on one side and into the S. chapel on the other; the arches are uniform with those of the nave (see below). Above each arch is a square-headed clearstorey window of three cinquefoil-headed lights. The chancel arch is of one chamfered order with continuous responds. The North Vestry and South Chapel (each 30 ft. by 15½ ft.) have E. windows of three lights with details similar to the E. window of the chancel. The E. walls are gabled and the outer corners have angle buttresses of two weathered stages; the square-set N. and S. buttresses are similar. In each N. and S. wall are two windows, uniform with the E. windows and, to the E., small doorways with two-centred heads; that of the S. chapel was blocked in 1864. The W. archways are chamfered like the chancel arch. The North and South Transepts (each 30 ft. by 16½ ft.) have N. and S. windows and walls uniform with those in the E. of the chancel, but without gable finials. The W. walls have three-light windows with vertical tracery in two-centred heads; over the N. and S. aisles the W. walls of the transepts are carried on segmental half-arches, reinforced with curved cast-iron lattice girders, decorated with cusping.

Sturminster Newton, the Parish Church of St. Mary

The Nave (54 ft. by 16½ ft.) has N. and S. arcades of four bays with two-centred arches of two ovolo-moulded orders above octagonal columns with moulded capitals. The E. half of the easternmost arch on each side of the nave, from the springing to the apex, together with the whole of each E. respond, is of c. 1827, but other parts of the N. and S. arcades are of the late 14th century with some 19th-century restoration. On the W. responds, the ovolo-moulded outer order is continuous and the inner order dies into the respond face. Two capitals in the S. arcade appear to be partly original; the others were restored in the 19th century. Above the nave arcades are ranges of square-headed clearstorey windows, each of two cinquefoil-headed lights; those of the E. bay, opening into the N. and S. transepts, are of c. 1827 but the other windows are mediaeval. Offsets in the wall thickness at the level of the window-sills suggest that the clearstories are later than the nave arcades; they probably are contemporary with the nave roof.

The North Aisle (45 ft. by 11½ ft.) is partly original, but the whole W. end is of 1827. Externally, the N. wall is of ashlar, with details similar to the N. vestry. The two N. windows are of the 15th century, but much restored and probably no longer in the original position; each has three cinquefoil-headed lights under vertical tracery in a two-centred head with a shallow casement-moulded external surround and a hollow-chamfered label with returned stops. Internally, the N. wall is of rubble and it displays evidence of several former openings: a blocked N. doorway occurs between the two existing windows, a blocked window is seen above the blocked doorway, and the jamb of another window is seen to the E. of the present western window. Further W. in the N. wall is a 19th-century N. doorway with a chamfered two-centred head, continuous jambs and a stepped segmental rear-arch of seven orders. The W. wall has a three-light window uniform with those of the N. wall, but of 1827. Traces of the original W. wall are seen on the N. side of the tower, 8½ ft. E. of the present W. wall. The South Aisle (45 ft. by 10 ft.) is almost uniform with the N. aisle. The W. part is of 1827 and contains a small doorway with a two-centred head and a rear-arch of four orders. The main S. doorway has a chamfered two-centred head with continuous jambs and a segmental rear-arch; the two windows, uniform with those of the N. aisle, are of 15th-century origin but much restored.

The West Tower (11 ft. square) is of the early 15th century but restored, heightened and provided with new parapets and pinnacles in the 19th century. Above a weathered and chamfered plinth are three main stages, defined by weathered string-courses. There is no vice turret. The lowest stage has diagonal buttresses of two weathered stages at the N.W. and S.W. corners. The tower arch is segmental-pointed and of three chamfered orders dying into plain responds. The W. doorway has a chamfered two-centred head, continuous jambs with broach stops, and a moulded label springing from the plinth. Over the doorway is an original two-centred W. window of two hollow-chamfered trefoil-headed lights with a central quatrefoil above; the moulded label has square stops. The second stage has, in the E. wall and inside the nave, a window of 1827 with four cinquefoil lights with vertical tracery in a two-centred head; the N. and S. walls have each a small square-headed light with a label, closed by a stone panel with quatrefoil piercing; the W. wall has a two-light window uniform with that of the lower stage, but of the 19th century. The third stage has plain angle pilasters at the corners; in each wall-face is a 15th-century belfry window of two trefoil lights with a central quatrefoil in a two-centred head; the lower part of the window to the E. is masked by the nave roof, which was heightened by the addition of the clear-storey in the late 15th or early 16th century; the heads of the other three belfry windows are masked by clock-faces. The openings are closed with stone panels with quatrefoil piercing. Between the third stage and the parapet is a low stage, added in the 19th century, with lattice-panelled masonry and two quatrefoil loops in each face. Above, is a 19th-century embattled parapet with angle pinnacles with crocketed finials, and slightly lower finials at the middle of each side. The South Porch (7½ ft. by 4¾ ft.) is of 1827; it has small diagonal buttresses of two weathered stages, and an archway with a two-centred chamfered and hollow-chamfered head and continuous jambs.

The Roof of the nave is of the late 15th or early 16th century (Plate 209). At the wall-head are three unevenly spaced wooden tie-beams with beaded edges. Above these, the roof springs from coved and moulded timber wall-plates, of two orders, with foliate bosses at intervals in the lower cove, and embattled cresting above. At the springing point of alternate transverse ribs the upper cove is decorated with flying angels of carved wood; at the same level the intermediate rib springings have large foliate bosses. The transverse ribs are intersected by five longitudinal ribs; all the ribs are of equal size and uniformly enriched with ogee mouldings; their intersections are all masked by foliate bosses of various patterns. Where the highest longitudinal rib intersects alternate transverse ribs the bosses are larger and have radiating leaf sprays; the centre of the roof is emphasised by four small bosses arranged in a cross. The chancel roof is a 19th-century reproduction of the nave roof, slightly modified and executed in moulded plaster. The N. vestry, the S. chapel and the N. and S. aisles have 19th-century flat ceilings with moulded plaster panelling. The N. and S. transepts have plaster wagon vaults similar to that of the chancel, but without bosses.

Fittings—Bells: six; tenor by John Wallis, inscribed '1612 IW Serve the Lord'; 2nd, recast in 1862, retaining inscription of 1625; others new or recast in 1827. Benefactors' Tables: In S. transept, on E. wall, two stone tablets with shaped tops recording benefactions of 1621, 1623, 1795, 1801, 1804 and 1838; in S. porch, marble tablet to Thomas Lane Fox, 1827, erected by grateful parishioners. Chairs: two, with square legs, beaded rails, moulded and enriched arm-rests, latticed backs and stuffed seats, late 18th century. Chest: with beaded stiles and rails, and fielded and panelled sides, 17th century. Clock: In belfry, 1828. Coffin-stools: pair, with turned legs, beaded rails and beaded tops, c. 1700. Doors: In W. doorway, with planks and moulded coverstrips, dated 1728 in iron studs. Glass: In window above tower arch, arms of Lane Fox, dated 1827; in S. window of S. transept, geometric design, probably of 1827.

Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In N. vestry, on S. wall, (1) of Hamnet Ward, 1705, tablet with cherub head; on W. wall, (2) of Rebecca Stephens, 1723, painted stone tablet with moulded border. In N. transept, on E. wall, (3) of Elizabeth and Susan Marsh, 1839, white marble tablet with Gothic surround, by S. Rowe, Exeter; (4) of Charles Salkeld, 1776, Selena Salkeld, 1756, Thomas Dashwood, 1817, and Selena Dashwood, 1828, marble tablet with shield-of-arms; (5) of Lucy (Kellaway) Staning, 1811, stone wall-monument with oval inscription tablet. In S. transept, on E. wall, (6) of Joseph Bird, 1804, and others of same family, oval tablet on shaped background; (7) of Rev. James Michel, 1839, marble wall-monument with carved surround, dove bearing wreath, and shield-of-arms, by 'Patent Works, Westminster'. In N. aisle, on N. wall, (8) of Mary Farr, 1731, black slate tablet in moulded stone surround with pediment, side scrolls and acanthus base. In S. aisle, on S. wall, (9) of Thomas Dashwood, 1784, and others, shaped white marble tablet with urn finials; (10) of John Sweet, 1756, and others of same family, marble tablet with arms; (11) of John, 1815, and Ann Young, 1763, marble tablet by P. Rouw, London. In churchyard, reset in W. boundary wall, (12) of Repentance Ward, 17.1, headstone with emblems; adjacent, (13) of Jane Ward, 1709 ?, headstone; E. of S. transept, (14) of James Atchison, 1781, and others of same family, table-tomb with oval panels and fluted decoration. Floor-slabs: In N. aisle, three Purbeck marble slabs, (1) of Theophil[a] Farr, 1692, and others of same family; (2) of children of Henry and Jane Farr, 1700, 1722; (3) of Jane Farr, 1708, and others later. Plate: includes silver cup and cover paten, with hallmarks of 1663; also silver bowl paten with hallmarks of 1638 and churchwardens' names and date 1639; also silver paten of 1690. Royal Arms: In nave, above chancel arch, arms of Victoria. Sundial: On S. face of tower, square stone dial with incised Roman numerals, perhaps 18th century.


(2) Market Cross (78641407), 200 yds. N.W. of the church, comprises four stone steps, octagonal in plan, and an octagonal pedestal above; the shaft and cross have gone. The steps and pedestal are probably of the 15th century.

(3) Town Bridge (78451355), about ¼ m. S.W. of the church, spans the Stour with six arches of ashlar and squared rubble, 18 ft. wide and 120 ft. in total length (Plate 51). It is of late 15th or early 16th-century origin, and it was widened in the 17th century. The original arches, which carried a road about 12 ft. wide, are seen from both sides of the bridge behind the 17th-century additions; they are two-centred, with chamfered ashlar archivolts ending in run-out stops at springing level. The arches are slightly gradated. The added 17th-century arches are segmental-pointed and spring from corbelled string-courses inserted above the cut-waters of the original piers. Between each pair of arches the points of the cut-waters are carried up to road level. The central cutwaters are larger than the others and are corbelled out at the top to support pedestrian refuges on both sides of the road. The level of the roadway is marked on the sides of the bridge by weathered and hollow-chamfered string-courses; above these are squared rubble parapets with weathered coping. To improve the entrances to the bridge, the parapet walls at each end curve outwards and are supported on half-arches; this improvement is probably of the 18th century. Two cut-waters to the N. of the central pier on the W. face are larger than the others and one of them is dated 1827.

To the N. of the bridge, the road crosses the meadows on an 18th-century arched Causeway, with ten segmental arches with ashlar voussoirs, ashlar cut-waters with rounded tops, rubble spandrels and ashlar coping.

(4) Fiddleford Mill (80081359), a little over ¾ m. E. of the parish church, is of two storeys with attics; it has walls of Greensand and Marnhull limestone, in ashlar and coursed rubble, and it is roofed with slates and stone-slates.

Fiddleford Mill, Sturminster Newton

About 1355 the manor of Fiddleford came to William Latimer (probably the fourth son of Sir John Latimer of Duntish) through his marriage with Margaret, daughter and heir of John Maury. (fn. 5) Latimer was a subsidy commissioner for Dorset in 1371 and sheriff of Somerset and Dorset in 1374 and 1380, (fn. 6) and there can be little doubt that the late 14th-century Great Hall and Solar, which still stand, were built for him. In the 16th century the house belonged to the White family (Hutchins IV, 341) and the ornamental initials T, A and W which appear in several places are presumably those of Thomas White (d. 1555) and his wife Ann (Williams); they were married probably c. 1515 since their son Thomas was 39 at the time of his father's death. Their grandson Thomas White married Frances Martyn of Athelhampton (Coker, 100), and in the time of Charles I the manor was held by Martin White. After the Restoration the property was bought by Sir Thomas Freke and it still belongs to his descendants, the PittRivers family. The 14th-century part of the building is in the guardianship of the Ministry of Public Building and Works under the provisions of the Ancient Monuments Acts.

The Hall and Solar have a T-shaped plan, with the Hall on an E.-W. axis and the Solar at right-angles to it on the west. A subsidiary roof truss for the support of a smoke louvre proves that the Hall originally had a central hearth. The Hall was remodelled in the 16th century and was provided with a new N. façade and new W. doorways; the W. end then became the screenspassage, but it is possible that the original entrance had been to the E., with the dais to the W. and thus adjacent to the Solar. Also in the 16th century a new range of buildings was added, prolonging the Solar range northwards. In the 17th century the E. part of the Hall was pulled down and a new E. wall was built, some distance to the W. of the original wall; it stands only 8 ft. E. of the smoke louvre truss, which must originally have been near the centre of the Hall. Also in the 17th century a W. range was added at the S.W. corner of the Solar; this range has recently been demolished.

The 14th-century roofs of the Hall and Solar are of outstanding importance and the 16th-century additions are also noteworthy.

Architectural Description—The N. front of the hall (Plate 206) is mainly of ashlar. To the W. is a 16th-century doorway with a moulded four-centred head and continuous jambs; above, on the first floor, is a later casement window with a length of moulded stone reused for the lintel. To the E. of the doorway are two 16th-century windows, each of three lights with four-centred heads, in roll-moulded and casement-moulded square-headed surrounds. The upper part of the eastern window has been blocked, so that it is only seen internally, and the lower part has been removed and a 19th-century casement window has been put in its place. Flanking the eastern 16th-century window, on the external face of the N. wall, are two attached octagonal stone shafts, with moulded plinths and caps that are continuous with a plinth and string-course on the wall. To the E. of the second shaft the moulded string-course ceases and the moulded plinth gives way to a plain plinth. The gabled E. wall of the hall is of ashlar, probably of the 17th century.

Roofs at Fiddleford Mill

The S. side of the hall has a modern three-light casement window with a segmental brick head and, to the W., part of a 16th-century stone window, probably originally uniform with the windows of the N. front. To the W. of this window is a projecting S. porch with a modern doorway; the lean-to porch roof is continuous with that of the hall. Further W. is the S. end of the solar range; it is pierced by several later openings but it retains some original 14th-century masonry. High in the gable is a chamfered square-headed light. On the first floor, in the eastern part of the wall, is a square-headed hollow-chamfered 16th-century window of two lights with an internal stone sill comprising three courses of carefully worked ornamental weathering. On the first floor the original 14th-century masonry stops at a vertical straight-joint 3 ft. to the W. of this window; the reveal has plaster rendering, carefully decorated with compass-scribed geometrical patterns, indicating that it is one jamb of a former opening to some structure at the S. end of the solar, possibly a garderobe. The S.W. corner of the solar range has now been destroyed, but notes taken while the 17th-century W. wing was still erect suggest that the southward extension of the W. wall of the solar was probably of the 14th century. In the suriving part of the W. side, the solar range has, on the ground floor, a square-headed two-light 17th-century window and a 17th-century doorway with a chamfered four-centred head; these openings replace earlier ones of which the relieving arches, possibly of the 14th century, still survive. On the first floor the solar has a square-headed 16th-century W. window of four lights, outlined with roll-mouldings in a casement-moulded surround. To the N., in the upper storey, heavy quoin stones and a straight-joint indicate the original N.W. corner of the building.

Roofs at Fiddleford Mill

To the N. of the solar extends the 16th-century N. range; in both storeys it has rebated and hollow-chamfered windows of one, two and three square-headed lights. On the W. side, a blocked doorway with a chamfered four-centred head near the middle of the range has recently been replaced by a modern window, and the door-head has been reused in the adjacent porch. The N. part of the range is probably of the 18th century; on the ground floor, to the N., is a single-light window composed of reset fragments of older openings. At the N.E. corner of the range is the jamb of a former gateway; it is decorated with two hollow-chamfers and a roll-moulding and is evidently of the 16th century. Presumably this gateway gave access, through a N. wall that has now perished, to a courtyard on the E. of the range.

The E. side of the N. range has windows of two and three square-headed lights with hollow-chamfered surrounds. At the S. extremity, close to the N. wall of the hall and therefore in the solar building, is a 16th-century ground-floor window of one light with an ogee-moulded and hollow-chamfered four-centred head, and moulded jambs that do not match the head; on the first floor is a similar window in which the mouldings of head and jambs are continuous.

Inside, at the E. end of the hall, is a fireplace with a reset 16th-century stone surround with a moulded four-centred head and continuous jambs. The screens at the W. end of the hall have been removed, but the ceiling of the former screenspassage remains and the chamber above is partitioned off from the hall with four bays of reset 17th-century bolection-moulded oak panelling, in four heights, with lozenge decoration on each panel. In the W. side of the screens-passage are two richly decorated stone doorways of the 16th century (Plate 207), with wave-moulded four-centred heads, foliate spandrels and wavemoulded and casement-moulded square-headed surrounds; all these mouldings are continuous on the jambs and end in shaped stops; above the door-heads are roll-moulded and hollow-chamfered labels, with square-return stops embellished with carved stone shields bearing the letters T, W, and A, presumably for Thomas and Ann White. The label moulding continues between the doorways, forming a cornice for the screenspassage ceiling. At the S. end of the screens-passage is a doorway similar to those on the W.; one of its label-shields bears the interlaced monogram of Thomas and Ann White; the other shield has gone.

The hall roof (Plate 208) is now of three bays but it evidently continued formerly to the E., as mortices for the adjoining members occur in the E. side of the easternmost truss; the curtailment probably took place in the 17th century. In the 16th century, three oak tie-beams and a moulded plaster ceiling were inserted beneath the original hall roof; the remaining portion of this ceiling has been taken away and re-erected at Hinton St. Mary Manor House (p. 115), leaving the tie-beams exposed. Of the 14th-century roof there survive three main arch-braced collar-beam trusses, with cambered collars and diagonal upper braces. The arch-braces have ovolo mouldings; above collar-beam level the various members are shaped to form cusped tracery comprising two trefoils and a central quatrefoil, the cusping being integral with the members. The trusses support two purlins on each side, one moulded and one chamfered. Windbraces occur in two heights: between the purlins each bay has two braces, curved, cusped and set against one another to form ogee-headed cinquefoil arches; small trefoils are pierced at the centre of each brace. Above the purlins each bay has four curved and cusped wind-braces arranged in an oval with cusping of eight lobes. Springing from the purlins of the E. bay is a small cusped truss with a trefoil opening above it; it is set only 2 ft. away from the adjacent main truss and is evidently for the support of a smoke louvre above an open hearth.

In the solar range, the undercroft is divided into three compartments by heavy plank-and-muntin partitions; the first floor is supported on heavy chamfered beams, ogee with stops, which run from N. to S. on the axis of the building and are supported on two square timber posts. These features are of the 16th century. The original solar floor is probably represented by two ovolo-moulded stone brackets projecting from the E. wall; they are spaced to suggest that there were originally three cross-beams, but the third E. bracket and all of those that should occur on the W. side have gone. In the E. wall of the undercroft, beside the 16th-century doorways to the screens-passage, is seen the jamb of an earlier opening. The N. wall has, near the centre, an inserted doorway with a chamfered square head with rounded shoulders; it is flanked by two other openings, now blocked. The W. wall contains a 17th-century doorway set in an earlier opening of which there remains one splayed jamb, a chamfered wooden lintel, and a relieving arch above it; these are probably the remains of an original window. Further S. in the W. wall are traces of a similar opening, now blocked up. The splayed jamb of a third such opening is probably recognisable in the S. end wall of the undercroft. The stairs at the S. end of the undercroft have solid timber steps, chamfered on the underside, and are flanked to the N. by plank-and-muntin partitions in both storeys; these stairs were probably inserted in the 16th century. On the first floor, in the E. wall, the solar has a mid 16th-century fireplace with moulded stone jambs corbelled forward at the top to support an overhanging four-centred head with mitred spandrels. Above the head is a moulded plaster overmantel with four foliate standards, two fleurs-de-lis and a central cartouche with the monogram of Thomas and Anne White. At the centre of the N. wall is an original 14th-century stone window of two transomed, trefoil ogee-headed lights, with an ogee quatrefoil above, in a two-centred head; the original mullion and transom have gone. Externally the openings are chamfered; internally they are rebated for shutters; inside the window is a splayed embrasure with a chamfered rear-arch, and window-seats with moulded stone tops (drawing, p. 276).

The roof of the solar (Plate 208) is of the 14th century; it is of three bays and comprises four arch-braced collar-beam trusses, the end trusses standing close to the gable walls. A vertical strut rises to the apex from the centre of each collar. The arch-braces have ovolo mouldings. Above the collar-beams, the principals and the upright struts are shaped to form cusped openings, as in the hall roof. The trusses carry chamfered purlins, above and below which are cusped wind-braces similar to those in the lower part of the hall roof. In addition, the roof has cusped vertical and horizontal bracing. The vertical braces rise to the ridge from the centre of each collar-beam and have large pierced cusps, making a longitudinal trefoil arch in each bay; the horizontal braces are tenoned into the purlins and the collar-beams, each brace having two cusps with sunk spandrels.

Restoration of Window in Solar at Fiddleford Mill

In the 16th-century N. range, the ground-floor room adjacent to the solar undercroft has stop-chamfered beams and, on the N., an open fireplace with a deep timber bressummer. Above this room, on the first floor, is a chamber which formerly communicated with the solar through doorways on either side of the 14th-century window, the window having been blocked when the N. range was built. The blocked doorways have chamfered square heads and continuous jambs with shaped stops. In the N. side of the chamber is a 16th-century stone fireplace with moulded stone jambs and a corbelled four-centred head; a small cupboard to the E. of the fireplace is connected with the flue by a perforated stone slab; the cupboard doorway has a hollow-chamfered stone surround that is integral with the masonry of the fireplace. The chamber has a 16th-century plaster ceiling (Plate 70), coved under the roof to E. and W. and finishing in enriched friezes to N. and S., the N. frieze encasing a beam. The ceiling is decorated with moulded ribs in geometrical patterns with fleur-de-lis terminals. Further N. are rooms with 16th and 17th-century stud partitions; one partition contains a small wooden window of three square-headed lights with chamfered jambs; another has a wooden doorway with a chamfered four-centred head. On the ground floor is a 16th-century stone fireplace surround, with a chamfered four-centred head and corbelled jambs. Stop-chamfered ceiling beams occur in both storeys.

Outbuildings to the N.W. of the N. range include a millhouse, with walls of rubble and ashlar in which are reset two large stone blocks with a recessed panel bearing the following inscription in black-letter (Plate 49):

    Operam dedic 1566 meis sump's alienis

    He thatt wyli have here any thynge don
    Let him com fryndly he shal be welcom
    A frynd to the owner and enemy to no man
    Pass all here frely to com when they can
    For the tale of trothe I do alway professe
    Miller be true disgrace not thy vest
    If falsehod appere the fault shal be thine
    And of sharpe ponishment think me not unkind
    Therefore to be true yt shall the behove
    [to] please god chefly [that liveth] above.

The sluices to the W. of the mill-house have ashlar walls and are perhaps of the 18th century.

(5) Stour View House (78691480), ½ m. N. of the church, originally The Union Workhouse, is of one and of three storeys and has walls of coursed and squared rubble, and slated roofs. The building was designed by Lewis Vulliamy following the Y-shaped plan by Kempthorne which was published with the Poor Law Commissioners' Report of 1835; it was erected in 1838 and the original drawings are preserved (D.C.R.O.). The W. front of the central block is three-storied and of five symmetrical bays with a central doorway, the latter enclosed in a porch. There are four sashed windows on the ground and first floors and four louvred windows on the second floor, the middle bays of the first and second storeys being blind. The other elevations of the main building are three-storied with sashed windows. On the W. front, to the S. of the central block, is a single-storied range of original buildings; a similar range continues along the S. side of the site. Corresponding ranges to the N. have recently been pulled down and are now replaced by modern buildings.

Stour View House

The remaining secular monuments of Sturminster Newton are grouped topographically; those situated in town are described first, street by street (see map on p. 278). Those of the surrounding countryside are then grouped according to districts.

The Market Place

(6) House, 30 yds. S. of (2), is single-storied with attics and has walls of coursed rubble, and thatch-covered roofs. It was partly rebuilt in 1940 but it retains a 16th-century roof; the principals are crucks or jointed-crucks with cambered collars, carrying two purlins between collar and ridge.

(7) House, immediately N. of the foregoing, is two-storied, with walls of rubble, brick and squared rubble, partly rendered; the roofs are tiled, with stone-slate verges. The house was built late in the 15th or early in the 16th century, originally as a single-storied hall with a two-storied cross-wing at the E. end; a W. cross-wing was added in the 18th century. When investigated in 1940 the building was in a ruinous state; it has now been repaired, but much altered. The original hall and E. wing were probably of timber-frame construction.

Externally little survives of the original building. A large chimney-breast of squared rubble stands at the S. end of the E. wing; until 1951 it was considerably higher than at present, having at least two stages with weathered offsets. The gabled N. end of the E. cross-wing has a central chimney-breast that is probably of the 18th century; to the E. of the chimney the timber-framed N. gable is outlined by a large original cruck, now concealed by rendering. All other elevations are rendered and no early features are exposed. Inside, the ground-floor rooms in the central part of the house, which was originally an openroofed hall, retain the deep-chamfered intersecting ceiling beams which were inserted in the 17th century when the hall was chambered over. A fireplace and chimney-stack near the centre of the hall are presumably contemporary with the ceiling, but no early features are exposed. The partition between the hall and the two-storied E. cross-wing includes a shouldered post and other timber-frame elements that are probably original. In the upper storey of the E. cross-wing, presumably the solar, the roof is carried by four elbowed cruck trusses, spanning E.-W., that to the N. being the member already noted above. The N. and S. trusses were originally filled in with framework and nogging to close the gables; the two intermediate trusses have cambered collars and chamfered arch-braces, the chamfering of the archbraces being continued on the crucks. The crucks support a diagonally-set square ridge-pole and two purlins on either side, with curved wind-bracing between them; there is also evidence for a lower tier of wind-bracing between the purlins and the wall heads, but only one brace survives. In the hall, the original roof has trusses similar to those of the solar, spanning from N. to S. As before, the end trusses are framed and are filled in with wattle-and-daub or lath-and-plaster; the two intermediate crucks had chamfered arch-braced collars and supported wind-braced purlins; the western intermediate truss is complete but the other one was altered to make way for the hall chimney-stack, presumably in the 17th century. It is not certain if the crucks continue down to the ground or rest on wall-plates.

Monuments (8–25)

The monuments in this group are situated in or near the Market Place. Unless described otherwise they are two-storied 18th-century houses with rubble walls and tiled roofs; presumably they were built after the fire of 1729 (Hutchins IV, 344). Locations are shown on the town map (p. 278).

(8) House, with a rendered façade with rusticated angle quoins and a moulded plaster cornice, has a symmetrical N.E. front of five bays, with a central doorway and uniform sashed windows. The roof is slated. A ground-floor porch was added to the doorway in the 19th century. Inside, the front ground-floor rooms have panelling of two heights with moulded dado-rails and moulded cornices. The stairs have moulded handrails, turned newel-posts and turned balusters.

(9) House, with brick walls, is rendered on the three-bay E. front and has a 19th-century shop-front on the ground floor. The central first-floor window is blocked.

(10) House, with a brick E. front of four bays, has a plat-band ending short of the sides of the façade, and a moulded plaster eaves-cornice; the ground floor has a modern shop-front; the first floor has sashed windows.

(11) House, ashlar-faced with rusticated dressings, has a modern shop-front on the ground floor and a symmetrical upper storey of five bays with sashed windows and a moulded wooden eaves-cornice.

(12) House, now the Post Office, is three-storied, with brick walls and slated roofs. The E. front is of two bays, with sashed windows on the first and second floors; the lower storey is wholly modern.

(13) House, adjacent to the foregoing, is nearly uniform with it except that the first-floor windows of the two-bay E. front are somewhat smaller. The ground-floor shop-front is of the 19th century and has slender pilasters of Gothic form, with clustered shafts. Between the two second-floor windows is a circular panel of brickwork, possibly for an inscription, now covered in. Inside, a cellar served by a stone vice survives from an earlier building, as also does the deeply-chamfered beam which supports the ground floor.

(14) House, with walls partly of rubble and partly of brick, is rendered on the E. front (Plate 61). The façade is asymmetrical having four (originally five) windows on the first floor and, on the ground floor, a sashed window of three lights in the southern bay, and a late 18th-century shop-front of two small-paned bow windows flanking a doorway in the northern bays. Old photographs show the first-floor windows as casements but they are now sashed; between two of the windows is a date-stone inscribed 'R.B. 1730.'

(15) House, with walls of rubble and brick, and roofs covered with slates and tiles, is partly of the 18th and partly of the 19th century and was formerly divided into tenements although it has now been reconverted to a single house. The S. front is rendered and has two doorways and three three-light casement windows on the ground floor; between two of the corresponding two-light and three-light first-floor openings is a stone inscribed 'E.B. 1739'.

(16) Cottage, of rubble and brick, has a N. front of two bays with a central doorway; the roof is slated.

Sturminster Newton, Key Map Showing The Position of Monuments in the Central Part of the Parish

(17) The White Hart Inn has brick walls and a thatched roof. The E. front, with rusticated quoins at either end, is of five bays and has five first-floor casement windows, each of three lights. On the ground floor is an original doorway with a segmental hood on scrolled brackets, and three secondary bow-windows with sashed lights. Near the centre of the upper storey is a stone inscribed 'P.W.M. 1708', indicating that the façade survived the fire of 1729. To the S., a carriageway to the inn yard is spanned by a first-floor chamber with a casement window of six lights. Inside, some rooms have beams with shallow chamfers.

(18) House, 40 yds. S. of (2), has a rendered N. front of five bays, with sashed first-floor windows and later shop-windows on the ground floor. Some chamfered beams occur internally.

(19) House, immediately N. of (2) and said to be on the site of the market-house (Hutchins IV, 338), has walls that are partly of rubble and partly of rendered brick. A blocked first-floor window in the E. front, of three square-headed lights with rebated and chamfered stone surrounds, implies that the building is partly of the 17th century. All other openings are of the 19th century.

(20) House, 15 yds. E. of (2), has the W. front of brick, with a modern shop-front on the ground floor and four sashed windows above a two-course plat-band on the first floor; the tiled roof has stone-slate verges. The S. front has two gables with a brick parapet masking the valley. To the E. is a 19th-century rear wing of squared rubble; it has a sashed window on each storey, and reset below the ground-floor window-sill is a date-stone 'G.N.A. 1729'. Inside, on the first floor, the S.W. room has a moulded wooden cornice and a fireplace surround with carton-pierre enrichment; the N.W. room has fielded panelling on one wall. Some partitions are made with planks with moulded edges.

(21) House, adjacent to the foregoing on the N., has a five-bay W. front of rendered rubble, with a first-floor string-course and a moulded eaves cornice. Near the centre of the ground floor is a doorway with a segmental hood on shaped brackets; to the N. is one sashed window, to the S. is a modern shop-front. The first floor has an oval window in the centre and two sashed windows on either side. Inside, the S. ground-floor room, now a shop, has a wooden fireplace-surround with carton-pierre enrichment.

(22) House, adjoining the foregoing on the N., is of brick with tiled roofs. The W. front is of two bays with a doorway and a shop-window on the ground floor and, above, two three-light wooden casement windows symmetrically disposed on each side of an obliterated inscription-stone. A later bay, to the N., has a blocked opening on the ground floor. The N. front has two gabled bays with a parapet wall masking the valley; the ground floor has a modern shop-front and the first floor has two sashed windows. Inside, some rooms have stop-chamfered beams.

(23) Cottages, range of three, with thatched roofs, are perhaps of 16th-century origin although much altered. In the W. front, each cottage has a doorway and one casement window on the ground floor, and one casement window on the first floor. Inside, the N. cottage has late 16th-century ceiling beams with double ogee mouldings, and the middle cottage has some 18th-century panelling.

(24) Assembly Rooms and House, on the E. side of the Market Place, have walls of squared rubble and slated roofs; they are probably of the early 19th century. The W. front of the main block is symmetrical and of three bays. On the ground floor, at the centre, is an elliptical headed carriage-way leading through to the yard; the N. bay has an original sashed window of three lights and the S. bay has a modern shop-front. The upper storey has three large three-light sashed windows. Doorways with fanlights open in the side walls of the carriage-way. Inside, a single room with an alcove in the E. wall occupies the entire first floor. Adjacent, to the S., and of one build with the assembly rooms, is a lower two-storied range with a three-bay W. front with a central doorway and sashed windows; this was probably the residence of the proprietor of the rooms.

(25) The Swan Inn, immediately N. of the foregoing, has a brick W. front of eight bays in which the two middle bays and the two end bays are emphasised by Doric pilasters enriched with Tudor roses in moulded brickwork; the two middle bays are pedimented. The central pilaster continues up into the tympanum of the pediment in the form of a triglyph and is surmounted by a circular medallion in which is painted a swan with the date 1904. All the windows are sashed. On the ground floor, the S. bay contains a carriage-way to the yard at the back.

Tanyard Lane

(26) School, 60 yds. N.E. of the church, is single-storied and has walls of squared rubble and ashlar, and tiled roofs. It is of the late 18th or early 19th century and has an L-shaped plan. The gabled E. and W. ends of the main block have square-headed stone mullioned windows of three lights with four-centred heads and, above, louvred ventilators with two-centred heads. The N. side has four weathered buttresses and a central chimney-breast supporting a brick flue. The W. side of the S. wing has two weathered buttresses and, at the N. end, a doorway with a chamfered four-centred head; near the middle is a chimney-breast similar to that of the N. wall. The gabled S. wall is similar to the E. and W. walls of the main block.

(26a) School-room, some 50 yds. S. of the foregoing, has rubble walls and a tiled roof. The S. wall contains four sashed windows and a central date-stone of 1817; adjacent, on the W., is a somewhat later school-room with brick walls. To the E. of the first school-room is a two-storied Master's House, with brick walls, stone-slated roofs and a symmetrical S. front of three bays; at the centre is a reset stone doorway with a moulded four-centred head and continuous jambs; the other bays contain casement windows of two elliptical-headed lights with wooden surrounds. One brick to the W. of the doorway has 'R.S. 1825' modelled in relief on its exposed surface.

(27) House, two-storied, with walls of rubble and rendered cob and a thatched roof, dates from the late 15th or early 16th century. The original building was of three bays, with timber-framed walls and four cruck or jointed-cruck roof trusses. Originally the two E. bays were probably an open-roofed hall while the W. bay was of two storeys. In the late 16th century the gabled W. wall was rebuilt in rubble and a W. fireplace was installed. In the 17th century a fireplace and chimney-stack were built in the middle of the hall, the hall was chambered over and the eaves of all three bays were heightened to allow the introduction of first-floor windows. In the 18th century the E. gable was rebuilt in rubble and a third fireplace was provided.

The S. elevation is rendered and has windows on both storeys in each bay, and also a doorway in the E. bay; all these windows have modern casements except the easternmost first-floor window, which is of four lights with moulded wooden jambs and heads. The gabled E. wall is of squared rubble with a small blocked window in the attic. In the W. gable, the carefully coursed 16th-century rubble indicates the elevation of the house in its single-storied state while the heightening necessitated by the addition of the first-floor windows is executed in rendered material, perhaps cob. The N. elevation has a rubble plinth, above which it is rendered; the level of the original eaves is shown by surviving chamfered wall-plates which slightly overhang the lower storey. On the first floor are three casement windows; that to the W. may be partly original; it has its sill on the wall-plate and presumably was originally a dormer window; the other two windows, one of two lights and one of three lights, have ovolo-moulded wooden surrounds of the 17th century.

Inside, the 17th-century floor of the chamber over the former hall rests on two large beams. The late 16th-century fireplace in the W. end wall and the 17th-century hall fireplace have been blocked up, but the 18th-century E. end wall retains a large open fireplace with a reused bressummer. On the first floor, the stairwell has a 17th-century balustrade with square newel-posts with carved finials, moulded handrails and turned balusters. The lower part of several trusses can be seen, and several rooms have moulded and stop-chamfered ceiling beams.

In the roof, the four original trusses are visible although those to E. and W. have been cut down to collar-level, presumably when the inserted chimneystacks made them redundant. Each surviving pair of crucks is morticed and pegged at the ridge and notched to receive a square ridge pole. The crucks carry two purlins on each side and are linked by cambered collar-beams. The collar of the W. truss has mortices and chamfers for the jambs and mullions of a central two-light window; on either side the collar is drilled for the struts of wattle-and-daub nogging. The window proves the existence of an original chamber in the W. bay and it also shows that the present stone gable is secondary. Below its cambered collar, the second truss from the W. retains the framing of the partition which originally separated the W. chamber from the upper part of the hall. The third truss was mutilated when the hall chimney-stack was inserted. The E. truss is embedded in a lath-and-plaster partition against which the 18th-century E. gable has been built; the truss has two collars, the upper one secondary and capping an inserted two-light window with chamfered jambs pegged to the head, a mortice for a missing mullion, and round holes for vertical bars. The 18th-century wall which masks the window was itself pierced by a window that is now blocked.

A separate Cottage, 10 yds. N. of the house, now in ruins, is single-storied with a loft and has timber-framed walls with brick nogging and a thatched roof. It is of the late 15th or early 16th century and retains one original cruck truss in the S. gable, which is closed partly with rubble, partly with weather-boarding and partly with rendered wattle. At the ridge, one cruck is morticed into the other and fastened with a single peg; the apex is notched for the ridge-pole and the truss carries one purlin on each side, just above the collar. The wall-plates rest on shaped brackets which are tenoned to the shoulders of the crucks. In the E. and W. walls of the cottage a certain amount of original timber framework survives; it rests on a rubble plinth and has 19th-century brick nogging. At the centre of the building is a large open fireplace, probably of the 17th century, with stone jambs and a cambered bressummer.

(28) Cottage, single-storied with an attic, has walls of rubble and is roofed with slate. It is probably of the 17th century.

(29) Vine House, of two storeys with attics, has walls of ashlar and coursed rubble; it is roofed with tiles with stone-slate verges. The W. part of the S. range was built in the 17th century; the N. wing was added c. 1700 and the S. range was extended E. in the second half of the 18th century. The 17th-century staircase is noteworthy.

Vine House

The S. front of the original building is of two bays with hollow-chamfered stone windows of four square-headed lights under moulded labels in the ground and first storeys; the windows of the lower storey are taller than those above and the western ground-floor window has been modified by removing one mullion and respacing the others. The attic has two three-light dormer windows with casements and hipped roofs, probably of the 18th century. A chimney-stack marks the E. end of the original range; further E. is the 18th-century extension, of two bays with a central doorway; each window is of three sashed lights and the doorway has a round head and a fanlight protected by a segmental hood on scroll brackets. The E. wall of the S. range is of rubble and contains a sashed window in each storey; the gable is half-hipped. The W. end of the original range is of ashlar and has only one window, of two lights, on the ground floor. The N. wing has a W. front of three bays with square-headed two-light stone windows in each storey, and a doorway with a 19th-century porch to the S. Above the windows are continuous weathered string-courses which return on the N. and E. walls. The E. front of the N. wing is similar to the W. front; it is partly masked by later additions.

Inside, on the ground floor, the original part of the S. range now comprises a single room with two chamfered beams. A ground-floor room of the 18th-century E. extension has deeply-chamfered interesecting ceiling beams, probably reset. The stair hall in the N. wing has 17th-century panelling on the N. wall, with moulded rails and stiles. The stairs are of oak, with beaded risers, moulded close strings, moulded handrails, square newelposts with moulded caps, ball finials and shaped pendants, and shaped splat balusters. Horizontal handrails at half-landings are capped with splatted cresting which repeats the profile of the newel-post caps. The stairs continue from the ground to the attic storey.

(30) Cottages, range of three and one adjacent, are two-storied and have rubble walls and slated roofs; they were probably built in the 18th century.

(31) Cottages, range of three, are single-storied with dormerwindowed attics and have rubble walls and slated roofs; until recently they were thatched. They were probably built in the 17th century and, although much altered, retain a jettied overhang at attic floor-level. The E. cottage has a two-storied extension to the S.

Church Street

(32) House, 85 yds. W. of the church, is two-storied, with walls of timber-framing, rubble and ashlar, and with tiled roofs. It was built in the first half of the 16th century and was originally timber-framed throughout. In the 17th century an ashlar chimney-breast was built at the northern end of the E. side. The W. side, facing the street, was cased in rubble, with ashlar quoins, in the latter part of the 18th century and at the same time the building was extended to the S. in a long range of store-rooms or stables.

The W. doorway has scroll-headed pilasters and a moulded flat hood on scroll brackets; in the bay to the N. of the doorway a single large sashed window opens on each floor; to the S. there are casement windows. In the N. end wall, perhaps originally gabled but now hip-roofed, the timber-frame construction is exposed. Above a rubble plinth the timber-framing is in three heights, the lower height with closely-spaced studs while the two upper heights are studded in square panels. The nogging is rendered, except for one brick-filled panel in the top row, perhaps a blocked window. In the lower storey an 18th-century sashed window takes the place of an original opening which is attested by chamfers on the adjacent studs and rail. Above the top rail, two or three courses of brickwork have been inserted to raise the level of the roof, which appears to be of the 18th century. At the E. extremity of the N. wall is the side of the 17th-century ashlar chimney-breast; in it, at first-floor level, are visible seven steps of a half-ruined stone vice. The chimney-breast has a moulded plinth and, towards the N. end of its E. face, a chamfered loop, lighting the vice. Immediately S. of the chimney-breast the E. wall is of modern brickwork but further S., beyond a modern kitchen, the original timber-framing reappears.

Inside, the original plan consists of a range of three rooms, with a through-passage on the N. side of the middle room; an original fireplace stands between the middle room and the passage. The N. room has a deeply chamfered ceiling beam and, in the E. wall, the chimney-breast that was added in the 17th century; it is concealed by a modern fireplace. The middle room is lined with 17th-century oak panelling with moulded stiles and rails, some panels with linenfold enrichment; the ceiling-beam is chamfered and rests on deeply-chamfered wall-plates. The beams in the S. room and in the kitchen to the E. are stop-chamfered, the latter presumably being reset. The doorway to the S. room is of the 16th century, with shouldered and chamfered jambs and a chamfered head. Several doors are made out of sections of 17th-century panelling.

A small Outbuilding N.E. of the N. room is single-storied and has walls of timber-framework above ashlar plinths, and a tiled roof; it is probably of the 17th century. The windows have ovolo-moulded timber surrounds, integral with the wallframing. A lead pump-head is dated 1734, with the initials T.Y.

(33) Cottages, three adjacent, are two-storied and have rubble walls and thatched roofs. They probably date from the late 16th or early 17th century but are much altered and have recently been thrown together as one house. One room has a chamfered beam.

(34) Cottage, two-storied with rubble walls and a thatched roof, is probably of the late 17th or early 18th century. The E. front has a doorway and a three-light window on the ground floor, and a two-light window above. Inside, the front room has a blocked fireplace with rubble jambs and a timber bressummer; to the W. was formerly a newel stair, but it has recently been removed.

(35) Cottage, in Dover's Entry, is two-storied with squared rubble walls and a tiled roof; it is probably of the early 18th century with 19th-century repairs.

Bridge Street

(36) House, two storied with attics, has rubble walls and tiled roofs and was built early in the 17th century.

The E. front is rendered and has a doorway with a small shop-window to the N. and a two-light sashed window to the S.; on the first floor are two sashed windows and the attic has two dormer windows. The gabled N. wall of the E. range is faced with large blocks of squared rubble; on the ground floor is a small sashed window and the first floor has a casement window of three lights with moulded timber jambs. On the ground floor, the N. wall of the W. wing has a small blocked loop at the point where it joins the E. range and, to the W., a moulded stone window that has been partly cut away to make a doorway. The S. wall of the W. wing has a moulded stone ground-floor window of three square-headed lights, from which the mullions have recently been removed, with a hollow-chamfered label above. Inside, the unheated N.E. room has a stop-chamfered ceiling beam which stops short a little distance from the partition which should support it; the S.E. room has two chamfered beams and chamfered wall-plates; in the S. wall is an open fireplace, now filled in. The W. room, probably a kitchen, has a large chamfered beam and stop-chamfered wall-plates; the large open fireplace on the W. is filled in, with a modern grate. The blocked loop at the N.E. corner of the room is high up and probably lit a former staircase. On the first floor, the N.E. chamber has a fireplace with a moulded four-centred head under sunk spandrels in a square surround. The S. chamber has a moulded stone doorway with a square head.

(37) House, of two storeys, with walls that are partly of brick and partly timber-framed and with a tiled roof, was built late in the 16th or early in the 17th century; it was refronted and considerably altered in the 18th century. The W. front, of late 18th-century brickwork, has a central doorway with shop windows on each side, and two sashed windows on the first floor. The N. and S. elevations of the ground storey are seen in passages which lead through from the street to the rear of the house, but the upper stories are masked. The exposed walls are timber-framed and some of the panels contain wattle-and-daub nogging.

(38) House, of two storeys, has walls that are partly of rubble and partly faced with corrugated iron, and roofs of corrugated iron; it appears to be of 16th-century origin. The N. front has a jettied first floor on projecting timber beams with moulded ends. Inside, one room has a chamfered ceiling beam.

(39) Cottage, 43 Bridge Street, is of one storey with attics and has walls of rubble and brick, and thatched roofs. The cottage dates from the 16th century and was originally single-storied, with timber-framed walls above high rubble plinths; in the 18th or 19th century the timber-framing was replaced with brickwork. Inside, the ground-floor has an open fireplace in the S. wall and the ceiling rests on two plain transverse beams, probably of the 18th century; the rooms are divided by crude 18th-century plank-and-muntin partitions. (Demolished.)

(40) House, immediately S. of the foregoing, is of two storeys with attics and has walls of rendered brickwork and thatched roofs. It is probably of the 18th century. (Demolished.)

(41) House, two-storied, with attics and basements, has walls of rendered brickwork and thatched roofs. It consists of two 18th-century houses, originally separate but linked together, probably in the 19th century, by filling in the intervening space. The W. front has two gabled bays, each with casement windows on the ground and first floors; between them in the linking wall is the principal doorway, with a reset late 18th-century wooden surround under a pedimented hood.

(42) Cottage, single-storied with attics, has walls that are partly of brick and partly of rubble, and a thatched roof. It was built in the 17th century, perhaps as a pair of cottages, but was provided with a new W. front in the 19th century. The W. front is of brick, with wooden casement windows in four bays; between the two northern windows is a blocked doorway. The gabled N. and S. end walls are of rubble. At the centre of the E. elevation is a projecting two-storied wing of squared rubble, with three-light casement windows in each storey. Inside, the W. range contains two main rooms, each of which is spanned by a chamfered beam with moulded stops; the fireplaces and common chimney-stack are at the centre of the range, between the two rooms. The partition which forms a corridor along the E. side of these rooms is partly composed of 17th-century plank-and-muntin work, with moulded muntins.

(43) Beech House, of two storeys with attics and cellar, has rubble walls with ashlar dressings, and slated roofs. The house, originally with a T-shaped plan, is of the 17th century; in the 18th century it was extended to the E., and the S. porch was built; early in the 19th century an additional ground-floor room was built on the N.W.

Beech House

The S. front has four bays; the E. bay is of the 18th century and the central bay of the original range is masked by the 18th-century porch, which is of two storeys with an attic. The doorway in the S. side of the porch is square-headed with a moulded and eared architrave; above, on the first floor and in the gabled attic, are square-headed two-light casement windows. The other bays of the S. front have uniform square-headed casement windows of three lights with chamfered jambs and mullions; those of the ground floor have weathered labels with returned stops. A vertical joint shows the extent of the original three-bay house. The gabled W. wall has three-light casement windows, as before, in the ground and first storeys. The N. wing, gabled to the N., has three-light casement windows on ground, first and attic storeys. The eastern part of the S. range is masked on the N. by outbuildings; the 19th-century N.W. room is of ashlar, with a flat roof behind a parapet. Inside, the house has been much altered and modernised. The E. room of the original range has one ceiling beam, cased and enriched with plaster mouldings; the 18th-century E. room has two beams with narrow chamfers; several first-floor rooms have exposed ceiling beams and one of these, in the N. wing, is chamfered and has splayed stops.

Fiddleford District

Fiddleford Mill, see Monument (4).

(44) Fiddleford Bridge (80441313), carrying the Blandford Road across the Darknoll Brook, is of rubble and ashlar with a single segmental arch; it is dated 1820 by inscription.

(45) Cottage, 60 yds. W. of the foregoing, is two-storied, with walls of rubble and brick, and a thatched roof. It was built about the end of the 18th century and has a symmetrical twobay N. front with a central doorway.

(46) Cottage, 50 yds. W. of the foregoing, is two-storied, with brick walls and a tiled roof. It was built about the end of the 18th century and has a symmetrical N. front of three bays.

Bridge and Broad Oak Districts

Town Bridge, see Monument (3).

(47) Sturminster Newton 'Castle' (784134), 600 yds. S.W. of (1), stands on a steep-sided triangular spur of Corallian Limestone and commands the crossing of the R. Stour.

Within the area of the 'castle' stood the manor house of the manor of Newton, which Glastonbury Abbey acquired in 968 A.D. and retained until the Dissolution (Hutchins IV, 336; The Great Chartulary of Glastonbury (Somerset Record Society, 1952), I, 60). A roofless building of three storeys (Plate 65), with rubble walls with ashlar dressings, probably of the 14th century, appears to be the service range at the S. end of the former manor house hall, perhaps with the solar in the upper storey. Level ground to S.W. of the ruin may well be the site of the manor house garden. On the other hand, the massive crescent-shaped bank and ditch, which separate the triangular spur from the land to the W., are almost certainly prehistoric; they probably represent the defences of an Iron Age promontory fort with an area of about 4 acres.

The crescent-shaped bank is 40 ft. wide and 6 ft. to 10 ft. high with a flat top 15 ft. to 20 ft. wide. The external ditch is 50 ft. to 60 ft. wide and 16 ft. to 20 ft. deep, with a flat bottom 10 ft. to 15 ft. wide. The spur to the N.E. of the bank and ditch is divided into two parts, separated by a gully which runs back into the spur from the centre of the S.E. side. The gully, in part natural and much disturbed by modern quarrying on the S.W., was the mediaeval entrance to the site, and is still so used. S.W. of the gully is a level area intersected by slight scarps of no significant pattern. The area N.E. of the gully is divided into two parts; in the S.W. is an approximately rectangular yard, bounded on the S.W. and N.W. by low banks and on the N.E. by a ditch or sunken footpath, 2 ft. deep, with a slight bank inside it; in the S.E. is a circular flat-topped mound, 55 ft. in diameter and 3 ft. high. An entrance to the yard passes through the bank on the S.W. side.

On the N.E. side of the yard, the remains of the 14th-century manor house consist of four massive walls of coursed rubble rising almost to the level of the former roof. The S. wall of the building, 3 ft. thick and rising to a gable, retains near the centre of the ground floor a doorway with a chamfered two-centred head, continuous jambs and a segmental rear-arch. On the first floor, immediately over the doorway, the presumed solar had a fireplace with a segmental head and a rough relieving-arch; to the W. of the fireplace is a doorway with a chamfered two-centred head; to the E. is a blocked opening with a chamfered square head; above these openings are the beam holes for the second floor. The E. wall, 2½ ft. thick, has on the ground floor a small square-headed window with a hollow-chamfered stone surround; on the first floor are traces of another window. At the S.E. corner is the stump of a 2½ ft. wall which formerly continued the line of the S. wall; 15 ft. to the N. is the stump of another wall, parallel with the first and 1½ ft. thick. Further N., the E. wall is slightly less than 2 ft. thick and contains a doorway with a two-centred, chamfered and hollow-chamfered head and continuous jambs; this appears to be the E. doorway of the hall, now gone, presumably opening into a screenspassage. A similar doorway occurs at the W. end of the supposed screens-passage. Further S., the W. wall of the building contains a fireplace with a four-centred head, on the ground floor, and traces of a blocked doorway in the upper storey. The N. wall, which divides the supposed screens-passage from the service range, has four doorways with chamfered two-centred heads and continuous jambs. The easternmost doorway, taller than the others and with a step in the threshold, probably gave access to a stair leading to the upper storey. The other doorways presumably led in the usual way to buttery, pantry and kitchen.

Probable Site of Hall

N.E. of the building, near the N.E. tip of the spur, is an area in which several low banks and scarps indicate former buildings. Quantities of 17th-century and later pottery have been found on the site. A trench cut in 1960 across the interior of the spur and through the bank and ditch was not deep enough to show any walls; only post-mediaeval pottery was found.

(48) Bridge (78551357), carrying the Blandford road across a brook immediately E. of (47), is of ashlar with a single segmental arch. It is of the mid 19th century.

(49) The Bull Inn (78581355), 480 yds. S.W. of (1), is single-storied with attics and has rendered walls and thatched roofs. The stable range to the N. has rubble walls. There are many modern additions in brick, and the stables are of the 19th century, but the nucleus of the building is an L-shaped threeroomed cottage, probably of the 17th century. Inside, one room contains an open fireplace with chamfered jambs and bressummer, and a heavy ceiling beam with deep chamfers. To the N. of the fireplace is a newel staircase with solid timber steps. An attic chamber has exposed wind-braces.

(50) Castle Hill Farm, house, 50 yds. S. of the ruined rectangular building in (47), is two-storied and has walls of squared rubble, and thatched roofs. It was built early in the 18th century, probably with materials taken from the 'castle'. The E. front is of two bays, with rebated and chamfered stone windows of two and three square-headed lights.

(51) Houses, three adjacent, 20 yds. S. of (3), are two-storied, with rendered rubble walls and tiled roofs; they were built about the end of the 18th century. The W. house has a symmetrical three-bay N. front with wooden casement windows of two lights, a square-headed central doorway and brick chimneystacks on the gabled E. and W. walls. The two E. houses were built together, and probably a little later than the W. house. The two doorways are near the middle of the N. front; that on the E. has a segmental hood on scroll brackets, the other has no hood. On the ground floor the E. house has a sashed window of two lights; the W. house has a projecting many-paned 19th-century shop-window; on the first floor are three two-light casement windows.

(52) Cottage (78751264), in Sturminister Common, about ¾ m. S. of (1), is two-storied with rubble walls and a thatched roof; it dates from the end of the 18th century. The N. front is of two bays with a central doorway.

(53) Broad Oak Farm (78721306), house, ¼ m. N. of the foregoing, is two-storied and has walls of brick and rubble, and tiled roofs. The brick-built E. part of the range is of the 19th century while the rubble-built W. part is of the 18th century, but with repairs and alterations in brickwork of the later period. Inside, the kitchen has an open fireplace and several deep-chamfered ceiling beams.

Newton District

(54) Newton House (78151340), 900 yds. S.W. of (1), is two-storied with walls of rubble and ashlar, rendered on the N. front, and with tiled roofs with stone-slate verges; it was built in 1789. To the S. of the original range is a later wing of brick, rubble and weather-boarding, with tiled and thatched roofs.

The N. front is approximately symmetrical and of five bays, with a chamfered rubble plinth, rusticated ashlar quoins and a moulded cornice with consoles. Near the centre is a wide square-headed doorway, with a moulded wooden architrave and double doors with fielded panels in three heights; the doorway is sheltered by a porch of the Italian Doric order with two freestanding columns and two pilasters. Above the porch is a first-floor bow window of three sashed lights, the side lights canted. On either side of the centre bay, each storey has two symmetrically disposed sashed windows. Of two brick chimneystacks with saw-tooth cornices one bears a date stone of 1789. The E. gable has a small stone attic window with a trefoil ogee head and leaded glazing. The interior of the house has been much altered and few original features are seen. The E. ground-floor room has a fireplace with moulded pilasters, a fluted frieze with urns, and an enriched moulded cornice.

(55) Cottage (78171343), 25 yds. N.E. of the foregoing, is single-storied with dormer-windowed attics and has walls of timber-framing, rubble and brick, and thatched roofs. Although much altered it probably dates from about the middle of the 16th century. The S. front was refaced in brickwork in the 19th century and the gabled W. end has also been rebuilt. The E. end is rendered but is probably of timber-frame construction; at the centre is a doorway with stout wooden jambs; to the N. is a two-light wooden casement window and above it is a three-light attic window. The middle part of the N. wall is masked by an early 19th-century N. wing which is partly of timber-frame with brick nogging and partly of lath-and-plaster. Within the added wing and also to the E. of it, the original N. wall is of timber-frame above a rubble plinth; the framing consists of a row of stout studs, morticed at the bottom into a sill-plate and at the top into a chamfered eaves-plate; a stout horizontal rail occurs at half height and all joints are tenoned and pegged. Immediately W. of the N. wing is a N. doorway, now blocked; it stands directly opposite a doorway in the rebuilt S. front and the two former openings are connected by a through-passage. Inside, the plan consists of three rooms and the through-passage. Between the E. room and the middle room is a large chimneybreast. The through-passage is between the middle room and the W. room, and a second chimney-breast, probably later than the first, stands between the through-passage and the W. room. The through-passage is flanked by original partitions in each of which is a chamfered square-headed timber doorway, with shouldered jambs. The stairs, now located in the through-passage, are said to have risen formerly beside the western doorway, where there is now a recess; if so, the entrance to the staircase cannot have been from the passage because the jambs and head of the present opening have mortices for an original partition. The W. room has two chamfered beams and a chamfered wall-plate, all with stops at the E. end only; the middle room is traversed from N. to S. by a very large chamfered beam; the E. kitchen has two chamfered beams. A jointed-cruck roof truss is seen in the attic.

(56) Mill (78201352), 130 yds. N.E. of (54), on the S. bank of the Stour, is two-storied with a basement and attics and has walls of ashlar, coursed rubble and English-bond brickwork; it is roofed with stone-slates and tiles. The mill dates from about the end of the 17th century but it was considerably altered in the 19th century. The plan is L-shaped, with the N. wing projecting out into the river while the E. wing, joining the S. end of the N. wing at right-angles, stands on the river bank. An opening for sluices and presumably for a former water-wheel occurs at the S. end of the N. wing. The basement of the N. wing is of ashlar; above flood-level the walls are of brick. The E. wing is of coursed rubble with ashlar quoins and dressings. The gabled E. wall of the E. wing has a cart entrance with ashlar jambs, a long stone lintel and a hollow-chamfered string-course above it; on the S. jamb, about 5 ft. above ground, is a flood-level mark dated 1756. The N.E. corner is of ashlar and at the base, running down to the river, it has a diagonal two-stage buttress with weathered offsets. The S. wall is of coursed rubble below and of ashlar above; at the eaves is an ogee-moulded and hollow-chamfered cornice. The N. wing has wooden casement windows with segmental heads in both upper storeys.

(57) House (78221342), 80 yds. E. of (54), is two storied, with brick and rubble walls and with thatched roofs; it incorporates 17th-century elements but was probably rebuilt in the 18th century; doorways show that it once was two tenements. Part of a moulded eaves cornice survives at the middle of the N. front. Inside, a purlin of heavy cross-section is exposed, and part of a cruck truss is seen at the staircase half-landing.

(58) House (78091340), 75 yds. W. of (54), is single-storied with attics and has walls of rubble and timber-framing, and thatched roofs. Parts of the house are probably of 17th-century origin but it has been enlarged and extensively remodelled in modern times, using old materials.

(59) Cottages, two adjacent, 20 yds. E. of (54), are two-storied, with walls of rubble and brick and with thatched roofs. Part of the building is of the 17th century and one cottage contains a corner fireplace with a moulded stone surround embellished with panels containing Tudor roses and a crown, probably reset. Other parts of the building are of the mid 18th century.

(60) Cottage (78001338), 150 yds. W. of (54), is single-storied with dormer-windowed attics and has walls of rubble, partly rendered and partly rebuilt in brick, and thatched roofs. It was built in the first half of the 18th century and was originally two tenements. The N. front has a doorway, with a 19th-century trellised porch, flanked by modern casement windows; to the E. is the blocked doorway of the second tenement. At the E. end of the N. front is an attic dormer, with a bay window of four lights under a jettied gable with shaped brackets. Inside, a ground-floor room has a beam with ovolo mouldings.

(61) Cottage (78001339), 20 yds. N. of the foregoing, is two-storied, with rubble walls and a tiled roof; it was built at the end of the 18th century. The S. front is of two bays with a central doorway and an ashlar plat-band under the eaves.

(62) House (78031368), 300 yds. N. of (54), is two-storied, with walls of coursed rubble, partly rendered, and of timber-framing with brick nogging; the roofs are tiled, with stone-slate verges. The house dates from the 18th century but has been much altered. The plan is L-shaped, with a main range facing N. and a S. wing adjoining the eastern part of the S. side. The N. front, of rubble, is of three bays with a chamfered square-headed central doorway, and casement windows on either side of it and in the upper storey. The S. wing has a rubble plinth and, above, timber-framing with brick nogging; the gabled S. wall is of brick.

(63) Cottage (78001369), a few paces N. of the foregoing, is single-storied, with rubble walls and a thatched roof; it is of the late 18th century.

Bagber and Rolls Mill Districts

(64) Rolls Mill Bridge (77451334), carrying the Sherborne road across the R. Divelish, is of coursed rubble with ashlar dressings and has three segmental arches; it is of the late 18th century. The piers have semicircular cut-waters with rounded tops and the parapet walls have rounded coping.

(65) Bagber Manor House (76851555) was burned down and rebuilt in 1889, but a carved stone Cartouche-of-arms (Plate 48) from the former house is reset in the new building. On the shield, the arms of Shirley of Staunton Harold impale another coat (unidentified 14), under a helm with elaborate mantling and a Saracen's head crest. Surrounding the cartouche is an architrave with enriched mouldings and eared corners above and below. The cartouche is probably of the first half of the 17th century. Reset below is another stone with the date 1599 boldly carved.

(66) Poplar Farm (75901348), 1 m. W. of (64), is two-storied and has walls of coursed rubble, brick and timber-framing; the roofs are thatched. The house is probably of 16th-century origin and it retains a timber-framed E. gable with later brick nogging. Part of the S. front is of rubble and is probably original but the other walls appear to be of the 19th century.

(67) Cottage (75821354), 100 yds. W. of the foregoing, is two-storied with walls of coursed rubble, partly rendered, and with a thatched roof; it dates probably from about the middle of the 18th century. The S. front is of three bays with a central doorway and symmetrically disposed casement windows. The S.E. and S.W. corners have rusticated plaster quoins and the windows of the S. front have raised plaster keystones. To the W. is a single-storied outbuilding in which is set a date-stone inscribed 'C.T.S. 1755'.

(68) Date-stone, reset at lower Bagber Farm (76681568), is inscribed 'N.I. 1589, T.I.' within an enriched margin.

The following monuments of the first half of the 19th century are noted in the parish—In Sturminster town, a cast iron Footbridge across the Stour (78261430) is dated 1841; numerous late 18th and early 19th-century Houses and Cottages are located as shown on the town map on p. 278. In Fiddleford, Lodge Farm (80231265) and a Cottage (79711311) are early 19th-century buildings with modern additions. In Bridge, four early 19th-century Cottages are sited close together between 78581348 and 78591350; other early 19th-century Cottages are scattered in Broad Oak at 78801251, 78841262, 78801287, and 78801290. In the central part of Newton, The Red Lion Inn (78051340), a Cottage adjacent to the inn on the W. and a Cottage 60 yds. E. of the inn are all of the early 19th century, as also is a pair of Cottages at 78141342; two Houses, (78121341 and 78201340), are of c. 1840. Outlying 19th-century buildings to the S. of Newton include a Cottage (78041319), Cottages at Rivers' Corner (77691278) and Hole House Farm (78331267). In Bagber, early 19th-century Cottages are situated respectively 200 yds and 220 yds. to the W. of monument (64).

Mediaeval and Later Earthworks

'Castle', see monument (47).

Sturminster Newton. (69) Settlement Remains of Colber

(69) Settlement Remains (778144) of Colber, N.W. of Sturminster town, comprise an enclosure with banks and ditches, a house platform and associated hollowways. The settlement is mentioned in Domesday Book (I, f. 75a; Hutchins IV, 340) but it rarely occurs in later documents, probably because it was incorporated in the manor of Newton. The 1333 Subsidy Roll records twenty-two taxpayers but, since the remains appear to represent a single farmstead, this relatively large number must include people from outlying farms and hamlets as well as from Colber itself. The date of desertion is unknown but it had probably taken place by the late 16th or early 17th century (Hutchins IV, 341); the settlement was certainly deserted by 1765, for I. Taylor's Map of Dorset shows nothing of it. The field in which the remains lie is still known as 'Colber's'.

The remains cover about 8 acres and lie on the E. side of a low N.–S. ridge, E. of the Stour. The site is low-lying and has been extensively damaged by modern drainage channels. The main feature is a roughly L-shaped enclosure, bounded by a low bank up to 3 ft. high, with an external ditch on the N., W. and S. and with an internal ditch on the E. The ditches on the N. and E. have been used by traffic and run into an E.–W. hollow-way near the N.E. corner. There are two entrances; that to the N. may be original but the other, near the S.W. corner, is probably not so. Adjacent to the S.E. corner of the enclosure is a roughly rectangular platform, 5 ft. to 6 ft. high on the E. and S., with a smaller platform I ft. high within it; a large pond bounds it on the south. Ashlar blocks have been turned up by ploughing within the area of the large platform. To the E. and N.E. are a number of low scarps, extensively damaged by drainage ditches and by ploughing, and among these scarps a few sherds of 12th and 13th-century pottery have been found. Further E. are the fragmentary remains of two hollow-ways. To the N. of the hollow-ways is a second pond; it drains N.E. and appears to cut into a small, almost square enclosure, of which only the N.W. part remains. The enclosure is bounded on the S.W. and N.W. by a bank 1½ ft. high with an external ditch. On the N.E. side there is only a ditch. (Destroyed, 1964.)

(70) Cultivation Remains. The date of enclosure of the open fields in the parish is unknown. Remains of ridge-andfurrow can be seen on air photographs (R.A.F. CPE/UK 1974: 1162–3 and 3162–3) to the N., N.E. and E. of Sturminster, notably at 792143, 789153 and 798137. The remains lie within existing fields and have ridges 6 yds. to 8 yds. wide and headlands 8 yds. to 9 yds. wide. The shape of the existing fields, however, suggests that they are the result of enclosing the curved end-on furlongs of an open-field system.

Traces of ridge-and-furrow, perhaps representing the open fields of Bagber, can be seen on air photographs (R.A.F. CPE/UK 1974: 1165–6 and 3165–6); they lie N.E. of Oaks Farm (772144) and E. of Manor Farm (771155).

S.E. of Newton (782131), four butting furlongs up to 230 yds. long and with curving ridges 6 yds. to 8 yds. wide are probably the remains of the open fields of that settlement.

Traces of curving ridge-and-furrow can be seen on air photographs S.E. of Fiddleford Mill (802133); they represent the former open fields of Fiddleford (see also Okeford Fitzpaine (37)).


Bank and Ditch, probably of an Iron Age promontory fort, see (47).


  • 1. Fägersten, 47.
  • 2. Fägersten, 49.
  • 3. Hutchins IV, 337.
  • 4. Ibid., 346. Enclosure Award of Bagber Common, 1844, and Enclosure Act for Sturminster Common, 1834 (D.C.R.O.).
  • 5. See Cal. Inquisitions, Ed. III, Vol. IX, 416; ibid., X, 231; Fine Rolls, 1347–56, 259; Cal. Close Rolls, 1354–60, 167.
  • 6. Fine Rolls, 1377–83, 221.