Page 4

An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Dorset, Volume 5, East. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1975.

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3 COLEHILL (0201)

(O.S. 6 ins., SU 00 SW, SZ 09 NW)

The parish of Colehill, covering 2,400 acres, was formed out of Wimborne and Hampreston in 1894. The low-lying N.W. part of the area, on London Clay, is drained by tributaries of the R. Allen, which forms the W. boundary. The larger E. part, where there are many modern houses, is on Bagshot Sands and Gravels and rises to 200 ft. above O.D. on a pronounced E.-W. ridge. The S. part occupies a terrace of the R. Stour.

Wilksworth farm (Wedechesworde) was in existence in 1086 (V.C.H., Dorset iii, 110–11); the present farm-house retains part of a late mediaeval roof.


(1) Wilksworth Farm (00740190), house, in the N.W. of the parish, appears to date from c. 1500, but it was much altered in the 17th and 18th centuries. The building, originally of rubble with squared rubble quoins, has been extensively refaced in brickwork.

Wilksworth Farm

The S. front has four gabled bays, all different in size, with segmental-headed 18th-century windows and a doorway, irregularly disposed. The wall on the W. of the doorway is of rubble; elsewhere it is brick-faced. Incorporated in the E. end of the S. range is a large rubble chimneybreast with heavy quoins. The other elevations display no noteworthy features.

Inside, the ground-floor rooms have deeply chamfered beams of c. 1600, and fireplace-surrounds and panelling of c. 1700. The stairs, with square newel posts, turned balusters and moulded handrails, are of c. 1700. In the attic, 12 ft. from the W. wall, the original S. range, some 17 ft. wide, is spanned by a chamfered arch-braced collar-beam roof truss of c. 1500. Although this truss is the only part to survive, the original roof is likely to have extended from the W. to the E. end of the range. The chamfered arch-brace suggests that the W. part of the range was formerly an open-roofed hall. The large E. chimneybreast presumably served the kitchen, which probably had a chamber above it. In c. 1600 a two-storeyed wing was built at right-angles to the original range and extending 12 ft. N.; the roof of the wing was carried through to terminate at a gable in the S. front, its ridge thus crossing that of the original roof. The central chimney-stack, standing within the former hall and on the W. of the cross-wing, is likely also to be of c. 1600.

(2) Leigh House (03139998), mainly of three storeys, with rendered walls and slate-covered roofs, is of the early 19th century. The S. front is symmetrical and of three bays, with a central doorway and large sashed windows; the central first-floor window is round-headed. A two-storeyed service wing on the N. has brick walls and a tiled roof and probably is of 18th-century origin.

(3) Cottage (00980252), of one storey with attics, with brick walls and tiled roofs, is of the early 19th century and appears to have been built as a lodge at the entrance to the High Hall estate (Pamphill (7)). The windows have triangular heads and the barge-boards are elaborately cusped (Plate 31).


Monuments (4–9), Round Barrows

There are six barrows in the parish; one of them, either (7), (8) or (9), was excavated by J. H. Austen in 1845 with no resulting finds (C.T.D., Pt. 2, No. 32).

(4) Bell (02320110), on the summit of Barrow Firs, a gravel hill about 240 ft. above O.D., comprises a mound 44 ft. in diam. and 5½ ft. high. A berm 10 ft. wide is surrounded by a ditch 10 ft. wide and 1 ft. deep.

(5) Bowl (02330112), 20 yds. N. of (4), is covered by trees; the top of the mound has been disturbed. Diam. 29 ft., ht. 2 ft.; there are traces of a surrounding ditch.

(6) Bowl (02350111), immediately E.N.E. of (4); diam. 35 ft., ht. 2½ ft., with slight traces of a ditch.

(7) Bowl (04030104), over 200 ft. above O.D. near the crest of Canon Hill, on heathland; diam. 30 ft., ht. 2½ ft.

(8) Bowl (04360104), on the ridge top 350 yds. E. of (7); diam. 52 ft., ht. 4 ft., with slight traces of a ditch. The centre of the mound has been dug into.

(9) Bell (04620094), 300 yds. E.S.E. of (8), lies on lower ground and is much overgrown; diam. of mound 75 ft., ht. 9 ft. A berm up to 8 ft. wide is surrounded by a ditch 7 ft. wide and 1 ft. deep.