An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 4, North. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1972.

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'Todber', in An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 4, North, (London, 1972) pp. 114-115. British History Online [accessed 24 April 2024]

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32 TODBER (8020)

(O.S. 6 ins., ST 72 SE, ST 71 NE, ST 82 SW, ST 81 NW)

This small parish, of less than 379 acres, slopes gently southwards from 250 ft. down to 150 ft. above sea-level. The land in the S.E. is Kimmeridge Clay; that in the N.W. is Corallian Limestone, extensively quarried for building material. The topographical relationship of Todber with the large adjacent parish of Marnhull (Dorset III, 148), together with the irregularity of the W. boundary, suggest that Todber may have originated as a secondary settlement based on Marnhull; nevertheless separation appears to have occurred at an early date, for Todber is recorded in Domesday Book (V.C.H., Dorset, iii, 92) and the church retains fragments of a pre-conquest cross-shaft. Apart from the church the parish contains only a few scattered houses and cottages.


(1) The Parish Church (dedication unknown) consists of Chancel, Nave and South Tower; the chancel and nave were rebuilt in 1879. A window of two trefoil ogee-headed lights reset in the N. wall of the chancel is of 15th-century origin. The tower was largely rebuilt in 1879, but the walls appear to be partly mediaeval; they are of rubble with ashlar dressings. The archway on the S. has a chamfered two-centred head and continuous jambs. Above, at the level of the belfry floor, two weathered string-courses are reset, one on top of the other.

Fittings—Altar: (4½ ft. by 2½ft., by 2/3 ft. thick) of stone, with chamfered sides; mediaeval, on modern oak support. Bells: two, by William Cockey; 1st inscribed 'W.C. 1736 Mr Thomas Hiscock Ch. Wd.', recast 1879; 2nd inscribed 'W.C. 1737 Mr James Hatcher Ch. Wdn'. Cross: see below, Monument (2). Coffin Stools: of oak, with turned legs, moulded and fretted rails, moulded stretchers and beaded tops, 17th century. Font: octagonal, with plain sides, hollow-chamfered under side and octagonal stem with roll-moulding, 15th century, recut. Glass: in E. window of chancel and N.E. window of nave, reset fragments, 15th century. Piscina: reset in chancel, with octagonal bowl on moulded corbel, in rectangular recess with hollow-chamfered ogee-head with fleur-de-lis finial; 15th century.

Plate: includes Elizabethan silver cup resembling that of Gillingham, but without marks, stand paten with hallmark of 1713, inscribed 'Todber', and secular tray with pie-crust edge and three feet, hall-marked in 1743 and inscribed 'Todbere, Dorsetshire, 1746'. Pulpit: of oak, with five panelled sides, 17th century, restored; former sounding-board, panelled, with moulded edge and strapwork enrichment, now reset as reredos to communion table. Royal Arms: painted on lozenge-shaped wood panel, with monogram C.R. and inscription 'Feare God Honour the King', 17th century.

(2) Cross-shaft (Plate 2). Three fragments of a carved stone block of late 10th or early 11th-century origin were discovered in 1879 during the rebuilding of the church. Reassembled, they compose a rectangular monolithic shaft, 4 ft. 4 ins. high, 1 ft. 7 ins. by 1 ft. 2 ins. at the base and 1 ft. 3 ins. by 9 ins. at the top. The decoration is in two heights: in the lower height each face of the stone retains a complete panel of interlacing leaf and scroll-work in low relief; the upper height is similarly decorated, but more than half of it has gone. The restored shaft has been set up in the churchyard, some 15 yds. S. of (1), with a modern base and finial.


(3) Manor Farm (80202018), house, of two storeys with walls of ashlar and of rubble, and with slate-covered roofs, is of 18th-century origin, with 19th-century additions. The 19th-century S. front is symmetrical and of three bays, with a round-headed central doorway and square-headed sashed windows. Inside, the plan is of class T, the original building constituting a service wing on the N.

(4) Parsonage Farm (80452026), house, of two storeys, with rubble walls and a tiled roof, dates from the middle of the 19th century. Reset in the N. gable is the monolithic two-centred head of a small two-light window, with cusped two-centred heads under a circular tracery light with quatrefoil cusping; it is perhaps of 14th-century origin.

(5) Temple's Cottage (80462062), of two storeys, with rubble walls and a thatched roof, appears to be largely of the 17th century, but the N. wall is part of an earlier, probably 15th-century building, reused. The plan is of class S., with N. and S. doorways into the unheated W. room. In the S. front the doorway is modern; beside it on the E., a casement window of three square-headed lights with hollow-chamfered stone mullions gives light to the heated E. room; in the upper storey are three similar windows of one and of two lights. In the N. front a mediaeval stone doorway, now blocked, has a chamfered two-centred head and continuous jambs; adjacent on the W. is a square-headed loop with a chamfered surround; a large stone in the eastern part of the wall is part of another window. The gabled E. wall has a two-light window, as before, in the upper storey; the masonry is of large rubble blocks, but the chimney-stack is modern. The gabled W. wall is partly masked by an adjacent building, but projecting at first-floor level are two rounded stone corbels, such as might originally have supported the plate of a lean-to roof.

(6) Cottages (80422050), range of three, are two-storeyed and have rubble walls and tiled roofs. The two eastern tenements are of the 18th century; that on the W. is later.