Pages 9-10

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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4 CANN (8521)

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

The parish, with an area of some 2,600 acres, straddles the escarpement immediately S. of Shaftesbury. In the E. the Greensand rises sharply to more than 600 ft. above the sea; near the S. boundary in the eastern part, a deep re-entrant valley exposes the Gault Clay below the Greensand; in the W. part of the parish the land undulates on Kimmeridge Clay at altitudes of 200 ft. to 400 ft. The present boundaries result from recent alterations. Formerly, Cann comprised the eastern third of the present area together with a narrow northern projection on the E. of Shaftesbury, now included in that borough; the western two-thirds of the present parish were formerly part of St. James's, Shaftesbury (Hutchins III, 55). The village stands on the side of the deep valley mentioned above and contains no noteworthy monuments; the parish church of St. Rumbold (Shaftesbury (6)) stands outside the parish. Cann is not mentioned in documents until early in the 12th century (Fägersten, 20), but almost certainly it is older. Of the open fields nothing is known. The Greensand plateau in the E. remained open common until enclosure in 1812 (Award, D.C.R.O.), after which houses and cottages were built on and along the edges of the common. The low-lying western part of the parish contains isolated farmsteads, fields of irregular shape, and much unenclosed common; the farms here probably represent secondary settlement and assarting in an area formerly of waste land.


The Parish Church of St. Rumbold—see Shaftesbury (6), p. 65.


(1) Blyneield Farm (83832188), house, of two storeys with coursed rubble walls and stone-slated roofs, dates in its present form from 1812 although a manor house has existed in this place since the 14th century (Hutchins III, 78). The house has a classU plan, with a symmetrical W. front of three bays, with wood-framed casement windows of two and of three lights; the central doorway, however, is now blocked. A date-stone in the N.W. chimney-stack is inscribed MW 1812. An undated inscription on a panel of slate fixed to the N. wall records that the manor of Blynfield belonged formerly to the Grammar School of Bruton, Somerset.

The Barn, on the N. side of the farmyard to the E. of the house, has brick walls with weathered brick buttresses, and a tiled roof; a date-stone in the gabled W. wall is inscribed MW 1809. The Stables on the E. of the farmyard are of brick with ashlar dressings; they have a symmetrical W. front with a doorway with an ovolo-moulded segmental-pointed head continuous jambs; the flanking windows are each of two lights, with two-centred heads and a central spandrel light. Above the doorway is a loft doorway with a segmental-pointed head. Other farm buildings on the E. and S. of the farmyard have rubble walls.

(2) Cottages (87492097), range of four, now combined to form two dwellings, are two-storeyed, with rubble walls and tiled roofs, and are perhaps of the late 17th century. Two of the original doorways have been partly blocked and made into windows. At the S. end of the W. front two original windows retain moulded stone surrounds.

(3) Cottage (84301991), at Guy's Marsh, is two-storeyed, with rubble walls and a tiled roof; it appears to be of the early 18th century. The W. front is symmetrical and of two bays, with a central doorway. Inside, some roughly chamfered beams are supported on rubble brackets.

Monuments (4–8)

Unless otherwise described, the following late 18th or early 19th-century monuments are two-storeyed, with rubble walls and slate-covered roofs.

(4) White's Farm (87602116), house, has a thatched roof. The symmetrical S. front is of three bays, with square-headed sashed windows and with a central doorway.

(5) Wilkins' Farm (87182124), house, has walls of squared and coursed rubble and a symmetrical three-bay S. front, with sashed windows in the lower story and with casement windows above.

(6) French Mill (86672095), house, of three storeys on the W. front and of two on the E., has rubble walls with ashlar dressings. It was advertised in the Salisbury Journal, 7 July 1828, as 'lately rebuilt'.

(7) Guy's Marsh Farm (84392097), house and outbuildings, have thatched and slated roofs, and some brickwork in later walls. The house is of the 18th century; inside is an open fireplace, now blocked.

(8) Cole's Lane Farm (84652177), house, with a tiled roof, has a date-stone of 1822. The S. front is symmetrical and of three bays, with a central doorway and with casement windows of two and of three lights.

Other late 18th or early 19th-century monuments, mostly with rubble walls and with thatched roofs, are as follows— Mayo Farm (87482222), house, with an adjacent Barn in which is reset a date-stone of 1736; Cottage (88152118); Cottage (88222086), with a date-stone of 1799; Cottages (88232083), range of four; Cottage (88262080); Farmhouse (88432087); Cottage (87682140), with an open fireplace and adjacent bakeoven; Cottage (87642134); Cottage (87172104), with an inscription of 1847; Cottage (87172106); Bozley Farm (87272126), comprising two cottages; Cottage (84231994); Rose Cottage (84352037), two adjacent dwellings, now combined as one; Green's Farm (83922254), house, formerly two cottages, one of the 18th and one of the 19th century, the latter with brick walls.

Mediaeval and Later Earthworks

(9) Anketil's Place (857222), the site of a mediaeval manor house, lies near the N. boundary of the parish, 150 yds. S. of St. James's Church, Shaftesbury, at the crest of a narrow spur with extensive views to E., S., and W. The house was demolished c. 1770, but from the mid 13th century until 1739 it was the seat of the Anketil family. Hutchins (1st ed. II, 35) describes it as a large handsome house, the W. part dating from 1680, the other part more ancient. Part of a wall still remained in 1868 (Hutchins 3rd ed. III, 61). The site has been built over and nothing now remains; a few sherds of mediaeval and later pottery from the area are in Shaftesbury Museum. On the W. of the site and due S. of St. James's Church are fragmentary remains of several small rectangular closes, bounded by banks and scarps up to 2½ ft. high; they probably represent the manor farm.


(10) Inhumation Burial (88362112), of a child in a lead coffin, was found at Cann Common in 1916. The undecorated coffin, set in a cement tray, measured 3½ ft. in length by 10 ins. to 12 ins. in width and was 7 ins. high; the lid was slightly larger. As well as the skeleton the coffin held leaves, apparently of box and perhaps from a funerary wreath, and sherds of pottery; a sherd of New Forest ware was found near by. Coffin and tray are now in Shaftesbury Museum (Dorset Procs. XXXVIII (1917), 68–73).