Gussage All Saints

Pages 18-22

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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In this section


(O.S. 6 ins., ST 91 SE, SU 01 SW, SU 01 NW, SU 00 NW)

Covering an area of some 2,430 acres, the parish occupies the valley of the Gussage Brook immediately above its junction with the R. Allen, which forms the E. boundary. The outline of the parish is a rough parallelogram with an irregular projection on the N.; the Roman road from Old Sarum to Badbury Rings forms the straight W. boundary. The land is entirely Chalk, rising from 150 ft. above O.D. in the S. to 390 ft. in the N.

A small woodland area in Edmondsham and a larger area in Holt, the latter centred on the Domesday settlement of Manitone (V.C.H., Dorset iii, 86), were detached parts of Gussage All Saints until late in the 19th century.

The northward-projecting part of the parish centres on Wyke Farm, which must be an early settlement although it is undocumented and has no noteworthy buildings. The eastern third of the main parallelogram formerly comprised three land-blocks: Brockington, Bowerswain and Loverley, all in existence by the end of the 12th century. Brockington retains earthwork traces of an extensive village. The central and western parts of the parallelogram were the lands of Gussage All Saints village, the houses being built beside the Gussage Brook.


(1) The Parish Church of All Saints, in the N.W. of the village, has flint and rubble walls with ashlar dressings, and tile-covered roofs (Plate 3). The Chancel, Nave and the lower part of the South Tower are of the early 14th century; the upper stages of the tower are of the 15th century. The church was restored and re-roofed in 1864, and at this time a new chancel arch was built and the N. vestry was added.

Gussage All Saints, the Parish Church of All Saints

Architectural Description— The Chancel has an E. window of three gradated cinquefoil-headed lights with pierced spandrel lights under a two-centred head; the rear-arch is segmental-pointed with septfoil cusping. The buttresses are of two stages with weathered offsets. The N. wall has a window of two trefoil-headed lights with a cusped spandrel light under a two-centred head, with a segmental-pointed rear-arch with cinquefoil cusping. The archway to the N. vestry is said to incorporate stones from the original chancel arch (Dorset Procs., XVII (1896), 84); it is segmental-pointed and of three chamfered orders. The S. wall has two windows uniform with that on the N. and, between them, a doorway with a chamfered two-centred head, continuous jambs and a chamfered segmental-pointed rear-arch.

The Nave has three N. windows similar to those on N. and S. of the chancel, but with cinquefoil-headed lights. The blocked N. doorway has a two-centred head with continuous jambs, rounded in section, and a chamfered segmental-pointed rear-arch. The buttresses are of ashlar and have two weathered stages and heavily chamfered plinths. Inside, a moulded string-course at window-sill level on the N. wall is carried as a label across the rear-arch of the N. doorway; similar string-courses occur on the E., W. and S. sides of the nave. The S. wall has windows uniform with those on the N., and similar buttresses, but with double chamfered plinths. The S. doorway has a two-centred head of two orders, the outer order chamfered, the inner rounded, with continuous jambs; the segmental-pointed rear-arch is chamfered. The W. wall of the nave has a window uniform with that on the E. of the chancel, and buttresses similar to those on the S. of the nave.

The South Tower is of three stages defined by weathered and moulded string-courses; the lower stage is original, the upper stages are of 15th-century date. The lower stage, with angle buttresses of two stages with weathered offsets and double chamfered plinths, is two-storeyed, the lower storey forming a South Porch with an archway with a two-centred head of two chamfered orders, continuous jambs and shaped stops. The upper storey of the lower stage is a ringing chamber with E., W. and S. lancet windows. The three-stage vice turret, added in the 15th century, terminates in the second stage of the tower and has a weathered head. The doorway at the foot of the vice, with a chamfered two-centred head, is of 1864; previously the stair was entered from the porch. The second stage of the tower has ashlar and flint banding; on the N. is a square-headed window. The third stage, of ashlar, has in each face a belfry window of two trefoil-headed lights with a central quatrefoil above, in a two-centred head with a label. The corners of the third stage have pilasters which continue as pinnacles in the restored embattled parapet and end in crocketed finials.

Fittings—Bells: five; treble modern, 2nd with 'Feare God, I.W. 1621' in Roman capitals, 3rd with 'Sancta Anna Ora Po (sic) Nobis', 4th with 'Sane Te Petre Ora Pro Nobis', 5th with 'In Ter Sede Pia Pronobis Virgo Maria'; 3rd, 4th and 5th, black-letter, from Salisbury foundry, mid 15th-century. Brasses: In nave floor, on E., plate (19 ins. by 4 ins.) with Latin black-letter inscription of Isabella Whitwod, 1508; adjacent on W., plate (11½ ins. by 4½ ins.) with English black-letter inscription of Richard Pane, 1574. Chair: of oak, with turned and moulded front legs and stretchers, carved and moulded rails, shaped arm rests, panelled back now reversed, and shaped cresting, mid 17th century. Door: at foot of tower stair, plain oak with strap-hinges, perhaps 15th century. Font: Purbeck marble, with octagonal bowl, moulded below, on cylindrical stem and hollow chamfered cylindrical stone base; early 14th century.

Monument and Floor-slab. Monument: In nave, in N. wall (Plate 12), shallow recess with crocketed ogee head with foliate and hollow-chamfered cusping, subcusping and ball-flower enrichment, flanked by pinnacles with gabled and crocketed finials, 14th century (Dorset Procs., XVII (1896), 84). Floor-slab: In nave, of John Brewer, 1805, Sarah his wife, 1816, and others of their family.

Organ: By Walker, in mahogany case with round-headed openings flanked by pilasters with swags, with moulded entablature and central cartouche with shields-of-arms probably of Willis and Calandrine; late 18th century, said to have been used by Sir James Turle.

Piscinae: In chancel in S. wall, restored bowl in recess with cinquefoil two-centred head, continuous jambs and shaped stops; in nave, near E. end of N. wall, bowl in recess with trefoil two-centred head, continuous jambs and shaped stops, sill restored; near E. end of S. wall, similar to the foregoing; all early 14th century.

Plate: includes silver cup, probably late 16th century, with strapwork band on bowl and trellis pattern above knop, inscribed 'The Cope of Alhollone Guysshedge Parrishe'; stand-paten with assay marks of 1784, baluster shaped stem and donor's inscription of 1833; also two pewter alms-dishes, probably early 19th century.

Recess: see Monument.


Bridge over the R. Allen, see Horton (2).

(2) Ton Bridge (00351013), of brick, with two segmental arches, is of early 19th-century date.

(3) Gussage House (99931073), formerly the rectory, is two-storeyed with cellars and attics and has brick walls and tiled roofs. It was built by Colonel Joshua Churchill at the end of the 17th century (Hutchins III, 491). Alterations and additions are of the 18th century and later.

Gussage House

The four-bay W. front (Plate 29) has a brick plat-band, stucco quoins, a moulded wooden cornice and symmetrically arranged sashed windows. The brickwork between the two middle windows is evidently later than the rest of the front, suggesting that originally this was the principal façade, with a central doorway. The side windows, now somewhat narrower than formerly, may originally have had stone surrounds. The N. front, containing the present main doorway, has details similar to the W. front, but is asymmetrical; the brickwork of the N. wall of the kitchen wing appears to be of the 18th century. The E. front is rendered. The two-bay S. front, with quoins as on the W., is hung with mathematical tiles.

Inside, the fittings are largely of the 19th century, but the oak stairs are original, with square newel-posts with restored ball finials and turned pendants, moulded close strings, turned balusters and moulded handrails, all of stout proportions. The first-floor landing retains round-headed archways with panelled pilasters, moulded archivolts and pulvinated entablatures, presumably original.

(4) Manor House (99891087), of two storeys with a cellar and attics, has walls partly of brick and partly of banded brick and flint with stone quoins, and tiled roofs. The W. range of the H-shaped plan is of the early 18th century; the middle range is a later 18th-century addition and the E. range is of the 19th century. Inside, a ground-floor room of the W. range has a stop-chamfered ceiling beam. A small late 18th-century spiral stair has plain balusters and a moulded mahogany handrail.

(5) Manor Farm (99821088), house, of two storeys with walls partly of banded brick and flint and partly of brick, and with slated roofs, is of 17th-century origin with late 18th-century and 19th-century additions. Inside, the 17th-century house has a class-I plan. The 18th-century room added at the S. end of the range has, reset, a 17th-century beam with deep chamfers and run-out stops. In the N. part of the original range is a 17th-century beam with shaped stops.

(6) Bowerswain Farm (00910995), house, of two storeys with brick walls and tiled roofs, is of the late 18th century. The N. front is symmetrical and of three bays, with plain sashed windows in the upper storey and with a central doorway flanked by 19th-century bay windows below. Inside, the plan is of class T.

(7) Brockington Farm (01911072), house, of two storeys with attics, has brick walls and tiled roofs; it is of late 18th-century origin. The original range has uniform N.W. and S.E. fronts, each of three bays, with central doorways and sashed windows symmetrically disposed; in both fronts the doorways have flat hoods supported by freestanding wooden columns; on the S.E. the ground-floor rooms have 19th-century bay windows. The plan is of class T. Additions on the N.E. of the original range are of the 19th century.

(8) Brockington Cottage (01781061), single-storeyed with an attic, has brick and flint walls and a thatched roof; it is of the mid 18th century.

Monuments (9–18)

Unless described otherwise, these are late 18th-century cottages of one storey with attics, with brick walls and thatched roofs.

(9) Cottage (99711076), with a class-T plan, has in the S. room of the original range an open fireplace with an oven adjacent, and a chamfered beam. A two-storeyed extension at the N. end of the range is of c. 1840.

(10) Cottages (99801071), two adjacent, were burned down in 1967; the E. tenement had cob walls above a brick plinth; that on the W. had brick walls.

(11) Cottage (99921077), has rendered walls.

(12) Cottage (99951077), of two storeys with brick walls and tiled roofs, has a symmetrical S. front of three bays with a central doorway; it is perhaps of c. 1770. Inside, the plan is of class T. The stairs have moulded close strings, turned balusters and moulded handrails.

(13) Barn (00201061), with walls of ashlar, brick, flint and cob, has a roof with tie-beam trusses; it is of the late 18th century.

(14) Cottage (00261053), of two storeys, with walls of light timber framework with brick nogging, is of the early 19th century and has a class-T plan.

(15) Cottage (00271050), with walls partly of cob, is of c. 1800.

(16) Cottage (00301054), with walls partly of cob, is of the early 19th century.

(17) Richmond Cottage (00341040) has characteristics similar to the foregoing.

(18) Amen Cottage (00471036), with cob walls, has a class-S plan with 19th-century additions on the N. and S.

Mediaeval and Later Earthworks

(19) Settlement Remains of Brockington (020108) lie on the N.W. bank of the R. Allen in the extreme E. of the parish No separate record occurs in the 14th-century Subsidy Rolls or in the 17th-century Hearth Tax Returns and it is impossible to assess the population or date of desertion. The remains indicate that before desertion the settlement grew at some period into a small hamlet (plan opp. p. 113).

The remains include a well-defined hollow-way which extends N.E. from (7) for some 220 yds. and meets a similar hollow-way approaching from the S.E. Flanking the hollowways, and bounded by low banks and scarps, are nine or possibly ten rectangular closes, most of them with low rectangular scoops or platforms, the sites of former buildings. On the N.E. of the site, and also on the W., the remains have been obliterated by ploughing and by the passage of modern farm machinery.

Roman and Prehistoric

The Dorset Cursus (Gussage St. Michael (9)) crosses the N. of the parish, and the Roman Road from Old Sarum to Badbury Rings (see pp. xxxii–iii) forms much of the W. boundary.

(20) Iron Age Settlement (998101), about 250 ft. above O.D., lies on a gentle N.E. slope near the flat top of the ridge between the Gussage and the Crichel brooks, overlooking the former. The site, which has long been levelled by cultivation, was discovered from the air. During 1972 it was completely excavated (Plate 54) under the direction of Dr. G. J. Wainwright (Antiquity, XLVII (1973), 109–30).

The settlement lies within an enclosure of just under 3. acres, roughly circular in plan except on the N.W. side which is notably irregular. It measures about 400 ft. across overall and is defined by a ditch 6 ft. wide and 4 ft. deep, formerly with an external bank; this earthwork appears to be of two main structural phases. Two pairs of ditches resembling antennae, one pair a replacement of the other, converged on the S.E. entrance and provided a funnelled approach, probably for stock. This entrance had been covered by an elaborate timber gateway which was remodelled at least once. There are faint traces of 'Celtic' fields near the enclosure, particularly along the N.E. side.

Within the enclosure were numerous pits, especially storage pits, gullies, and post-hole structures of a prosperous settlement which appears to have been founded relatively early in the Iron Age and which terminated c. A.D. 80. No major house structures were discovered, but evidence for these may well have been removed by the heavy ploughing which the site has suffered. A circular ditched enclosure, about 100 ft. across and with an entrance on the S.E., lies within and adjoins the main enclosure on the N.E.; it was built in the last few decades before the Roman conquest. Large quantities of domestic rubbish including personal ornaments were found in the pits and ditches, as well as numerous articulated animal skeletons, agricultural implements, grain and seeds. A number of human burials were found, the bodies having been thrown casually into pits and ditches along with domestic rubbish. Industrial debris from a bronze-smith's workshop, where equestrian equipment was made, was found in two pits and an adjacent 'working hollow' just S. of the entrance. Several thousand fragments of clay moulds for decorated terret rings, bridle-bits and linch-pins were recovered, together with crucibles, modelling tools, scrap metal and an ingot.

(21) Linear Dyke, now almost totally levelled by ploughing, is visible on air photographs (58/RAF/3250: 0057–8; C.U.A.P., ANC 47–49) running N.E. from about ST 998119 towards Tenantry Down. It survives as an earthwork for some 65 yards in a belt of scrub around SU 00681224, where it appears to end, but the ditch has almost certainly been enlarged here to accommodate a small building. At this point the ditch is 25 ft. wide and at least 4 ft. deep, with a bank 18 ft. wide and 1½ ft. high along the S.E. side. The dyke cannot be traced through the belt of scrub, but air photographs suggest that it may have continued on to Tenantry Down, as far as SU 01161237. 'Celtic' fields (Group (82), p. 118) appear to run up to the dyke on its N.W. side.

Monuments (22–62), Round Barrows

Forty-one round barrows, the majority disposed in three groups, are detectable within the parish. They nearly all lie in the N., on the S.W. slopes of a low ridge between 200 ft. and 350 ft. above O.D. Most of them have been severely damaged or levelled by ploughing.

(22) Bowl (00131291), immediately W. of Harley Wood, has been damaged by ploughing; diam. 34 ft., ht. 1 ft.

Drive Plantation Group (Plate 55) comprises at least eleven round barrows, of which three and a long barrow lie in Wimborne St. Giles (see p. 101). Those in Gussage All Saints have been levelled and are visible only as ring-ditches on air photographs (C.U.A.P., ANE 34, 35; N.M.R., SU 0015/6). They lie E. of the plantation on a gentle W. slope, between 220 ft. and 260 ft. above O.D. The majority appear to be in the order of 50 ft. in diameter, except (29) which measures over 100 ft. Mapreferences are approximate.

(23) Barrow (01011461).

(24) Barrow (01101460).

(25) Barrow (01081463).

(26) Barrow (01111467).

(27) Barrow (01141464).

(28) Barrow (01191469).

(29) Barrow (01251455).

(30) Bowl (01321463), on the parish boundary with Wimborne St. Giles, has been totally levelled by ploughing.

The Cursus Group consists of some twelve barrows scattered on either side of the junction of the Dorset Cursus and the Roman road, Ackling Dyke (Plate 48); two of the group are in Wimborne St. Giles ((66) and (67)). The barrows of this group lie just N. of Drive Plantation Group and occupy a comparable situation. Most have been damaged by ploughing, and some have been totally levelled and are visible only on air photographs (58/RAF/3250: 0086; N.M.R., SU 0015/1/327; C.U.A.P., ANC 37).

(31) Bowl (00891490), W. of Drive Plantation, adjoins the parish boundary with Gussage St. Michael; diam. 65 ft., ht. 5 ft.

(32) Barrow (00961498), appearing on air photographs as a ringditch, is cut on the S.E. by Ackling Dyke; diam. about 120 ft.

(33) Bowl (01171498), E. of Drive Plantation and now levelled by ploughing; former diam. 100 ft., ht. 1 ft.

(34) Bowl (00801512), some 70 yds. N. of the Cursus, on the boundary with Gussage St. Michael, has been pared by ploughing on either side; former diam. 75 ft., ht. 5 ft.

(35) Barrow (00961514), appearing as a ring-ditch on air photographs, lies between the banks of the Cursus; diam. about 95 ft.

(36) Bowl (00921519), immediately N. of the Cursus, has been damaged by ploughing; former diam. 95 ft., ht. 8 ft.

(37) Bowl (01021519), between the banks of the Cursus, has been pared by ploughing; former diam. 70 ft., ht. 5 ft.

(38) Bowl (01181518), in Drive Plantation; diam. 75 ft., ht. 4 ft.

(39) Bowl (01241523), in Drive Plantation on the boundary with Wimborne St. Giles; diam. 78 ft., ht. 3½ ft.

(40) Bowl (01251519), just E. of Drive Plantation, is now levelled by ploughing; former diam. 55 ft., ht. under 1 ft.

Wyke Down Group comprises seventeen barrows, including at least one disc barrow and one bell barrow, in a compact cluster on the gentle S. slope of the down, about 250 ft. above O.D. (Plate 48). All have been damaged by ploughing, most of them severely, and some are visible only on air photographs (58/RAF/3250: 0086; C.U.A.P., NK 4, YN 28; N.M.R., 9609/1; SU/0015/1/327).

(41) Bowl (00731529), on the boundary with Gussage St. Michael, has been damaged by ploughing on two sides; former diam. 75 ft., ht. 2½ ft.

(42) Bowl (00781537) appears from air photographs to have a dark, turf core; former diam. 70 ft., ht. 3 ft.

(43) Barrow (00741537), possibly a disc-barrow (Dorset Barrows, 168; Gussage All Saints 25c), now appears on air photographs as a ring-ditch about 100 ft. in diam.

(44) Bell (00731541), now pared away by ploughing; mound formerly 65 ft. in diam. and 5 ft. high, with a berm 12 ft. wide and a broad ditch beyond.

(45) Bowl (00791542); former diam. 70 ft., ht. 3 ft.

(46) Bowl (00711546); former diam. 90 ft.

(47) Bowl (00711550); diam. 65 ft., ht. 7 ft.

(48) Bowl (00751548); diam. about 120 ft.

(49) Disc (00801548); mound, formerly 40 ft. in diam. and 1 ft. high with a berm 45 ft. across, with a surrounding ditch 20 ft. wide and with an outer bank of similar width.

(50) Bowl (00831550), adjacent to (49) on the N.E., has been totally levelled by ploughing; diam. about 60 ft.

(51) Bowl (00861551), N. E. of (50) and in similar condition; diam. about 60 ft.

(52) Bowl (00691554), now quite flat; former diam. 27 ft., ht. 1 ft.

(53) Bowl (00711556), ploughed flat; former diam. about 27 ft.

(54) Bowl (00741555), ploughed flat; former diam. 50 ft., ht. 1 ft.

(55) Bowl (00651554), ploughed flat; former diam. 27 ft., ht. under 1 ft.

(56) Bowl (00661556), ploughed flat; former diam. 27 ft., ht. 1 ft.

(57) Bowl (00681558), ploughed flat; former diam. 27 ft., ht. 1 ft.

Three barrows, now flattened by ploughing, lie in a line 250 yds. N.E. of Wyke Down Group, at a slightly higher level on the same slope.

(58) Bowl (00851574); former diam. 33 ft., ht. under 1 ft.

(59) Bowl (00861576); former diam. 33 ft., ht. under 1 ft.

(60) Bowl (00881577); former diam. 30 ft., ht. under 1 ft.

Two barrows in the extreme N. of the parish form part of the Handley Hill group (Wimborne St. Giles (87–9)).

(61) Bowl (01361623), damaged by ploughing; former diam. 34 ft., ht. 3 ft.

(62) Bowl (01391626), some 30 yds. N.E. of (61), is probably the Berendes beorh of an Anglo-Saxon charter concerned with the boundaries of Handley (Dorset Procs., 58 (1936), 116). Almost certainly it is the barrow opened by Cunnington, c. 1800, wherein at a considerable depth he found an urn covered with large quantities of ashes and charred wood, within a circular cist. It is 95 ft. in diameter and 9 ft. high.