ROYAL COMMISSION ON THE ANCIENT AND HISTORICAL
MONUMENTS AND CONSTRUCTIONS OF ENGLAND
Report to the King's Most Excellent Majesty
May It Please Your Majesty.
We, the undersigned Commissioners, appointed to make an Inventory of the Ancient
and Historical Monuments and Constructions connected with, or illustrative of, the
contemporary culture, civilisation and conditions of life of the people of England, excluding
Monmouthshire, from the earliest times to the year 1714, and such further Monuments and Constructions subsequent to that year as may seem in our discretion to be worthy of mention therein,
and to specify those which seem most worthy of preservation, humbly submit to Your Majesty
the following Report on the Monuments of the West part of the county of Dorset, being the
twentieth Report on the work of the Commission since its first appointment.
2. We have to thank Your Majesty for the appointment of the Right Honourable the Earl
of Ilchester, Professor R. E. M. Wheeler and Mr. O. G. S. Crawford under Your Majesty's
Royal Sign Warrants dated January 2nd 1939 and for the appointment of Sir Cyril Fox, Mr.
W. H. Godfrey, Mr. H. S. London, Professor A. E. Richardson and Dr. I. A. Richmond under
Your Majesty's Royal Sign Warrant dated March 7th 1944 to be members of the Commission,
and for the appointment of the Right Honourable the Earl of Shaftesbury, Your Majesty's
Lieutenant in the County of Dorset, to be a Commissioner during the survey of that county.
We tender to Your Majesty our respectful thanks for Your gracious permission to extend our
investigations to monuments erected since the year 1714 at our discretion. The Commissioners
have adopted the terminal date 1850 for monuments included in the Inventories of the county of
We have to thank Your Majesty for the appointment of all the Commissioners to the new
Commission under Your Majesty's Royal Sign Warrant dated March 29th 1946, for the appointment of Sir James Mann and Sir Alfred Clapham under Your Majesty's Royal Sign Warrants dated
April 2nd 1948 and May 26th 1948 respectively and for the appointment of Professor V. H.
Galbraith and Professor Stuart Piggott under Your Majesty's Royal Sign Warrant dated
February 15th 1949 to be members of the Commission.
3. It is with great regret that we place on record the death on March 8th 1940 of our Chairman
the Right Honourable the Earl of Crawford, Knight of the Thistle, for whose wise direction, since
the death of our former Chairman, Lord Plymouth, the Commission owes a deep debt of gratitude.
We have to thank Your Majesty for the appointment of the Right Honourable the Earl
of Ilchester as Chairman of the Commission in succession to the Earl of Crawford under Your
Majesty's Royal Sign Warrant dated October 19th 1943.
4. We have to record the severe loss suffered to the Commission through the deaths of
Mr. E. V. Lucas ; Sir Arthur Evans, Doctor of Letters, Doctor of Laws, Fellow of the Society of
Antiquaries; the Reverend E. E. Dorling, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries ; Mr. D. H.
Montgomerie, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and Sir George Hill, Knight Commander of
the Bath, Doctor of Letters, Doctor of Laws, Fellow of the British Academy, Fellow of the Society
We have further to record the loss to the Commission of Mr. O. G. S. Crawford, Fellow
of the British Academy, by resignation, for whose advice and assistance over a period of many
years we are deeply grateful.
5. In accordance with the Powers conferred on us by Your Majesty, we have appointed a
Sub-Committee consisting of Professor R. E. M. Wheeler (Chairman), Dr. I. A. Richmond, Sir
Cyril Fox, Professor Stuart Piggott, Professor Hawkes, Colonel C. D. Drew and Mr. G. F.
Webb to assist us in recording the prehistoric monuments of Dorset. Dr. J. K. St. Joseph was
subsequently co-opted to serve on this Sub-Committee.
6. Sir Afred Clapham retired from the Secretaryship in the summer of 1948, after holding
that office with outstanding success since 1933 when he succeeded the late Sir George Duckworth. The Knighthood which was awarded him in 1944 was a tribute worthy of his long and
distinguished services to the Commission.
7. We have pleasure in reporting the completion of our enquiries into the Western part of
the county of Dorset, an area in which we have recorded 1587 monuments in 100 parishes, with
an average of 16 monuments in each parish.
The investigation of this area had been almost completed by the outbreak of war in 1939
but the extension of the Commission's terms of reference to monuments erected since 1714 has
entailed a revision of the Inventory since the return of the larger part of the Executive Staff from
War Service. The interest of the monuments which it has been possible to add to the Inventory
will, it is hoped, justify this delay.
8. Following our usual practice we have prepared an illustrated volume containing a full
Inventory of the monuments in the Western part of the county, which, under the advice of
the Lords Commissioners of Your Majesty's Treasury, will be issued as a non-Parliamentary
9. No alteration has been found necessary in the order and method of describing the monuments scheduled from that pursued in the description of the monuments of Middlesex. The
detailed Inventory is introduced by the usual Sectional Preface.
10. As in previous volumes the descriptions of monuments have been referred for revision
to the incumbent of each parish and to the owners of the principal domestic buildings, and we
are satisfied that no important monument coming within our Terms of Reference has been
11. The county of Dorset is peculiarly fortunate in its historian, the Reverend John
Hutchins, whose great work The History and Antiquities of the County of Dorset was first
published in 1774, a year after his death. This and subsequent editions have been of exceptional
value in the compilation of the Inventory and it is proper that our great debt to this authority
should be acknowledged.
12. Our special thanks are due to the Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of Salisbury and
his predecessors, to the incumbents of the various parishes, to members of the Dorset Natural
History and Archaeological Society and to the owners of houses for valuable assistance in our
investigation. Our thanks are due in a particular degree to Lieutenant-Colonel C. D. Drew,
O.B.E., D.S.O., F.S.A., Curator and Secretary of the Dorset Museum, to Dr. J. K. St. Joseph,
M.A., F.S.A., Curator in Aerial Photography in the University of Cambridge, and to Mr. C. E.
Bean, F.S.A., Surveyor to the Sherborne Urban District Council.
13. We humbly recommend to Your Majesty's notice the following Monuments in West
Dorset as "especially worthy of preservation" :—
Earthworks and Roman
(31) Abbotsbury Castle, an Iron-age hill-fort.
(12) Eggardon Camp, a highly important Iron-age camp.
(16) Lynchets, an extensive system E., S. and
W. of Walditch village.
(9) Long Barrow on the W. side of the
(12) Barrows, in Seven Barrow Plantation,
including a bank-barrow and a long-barrow.
(15) Barrows, N. and E. of Forty Acre Plantation, including a long-barrow.
(5) Enclosures on Crow Hill.
(6) Enclosure on Black Down.
(8) Barrows, five, in the N. angle of the parish.
(9) Barrows, eleven, ½ to ¾ m. N. of the church.
(10) Barrows, five, ¼ to ½ m. E.N.E. of the
(14) Barrows, three, ½ to ¾ m. S. of the church.
(15) Ring-works, four, N. of Little Bredy Farm.
(8) Bank Barrow, Long Barrow, etc., on
Long Barrow Hill.
(9) Barrows, four, on Martin's Down.
(12) Barrows, two, on the W. side of the parish.
(15) The Grey Mare and her Colts, megalithic
chambered long cairn.
(16) Barrows, two, near (15).
(18) Dyke, near Bank Barrow (8).
(28) The Cerne Giant, a turf-cut figure 180 ft.
(29) Earthwork called the Trendle, E. of the
(30–35) Banks, Settlements, etc., distributed over
(37) Barrows, on Green Hill.
(6) Earth Ring on High Cank.
(3) Hill Fort on Chilcombe Hill.
(5) Mound on Eggardon Hill, perhaps a long-barrow.
(3) Settlement, 1 m. N.W. of the church, with
a series of small enclosures.
(19) Standing Stones, near Beckham's Coppice,
perhaps part of a burial-chamber.
(12) Barrows, three, on the W. boundary of the
(16) Barrows, four, near the S.E. angle of the
(3) Village Settlement on Tenants Hill.
(4) Stone Circle on Tenants Hill.
(6) Group of Barrows, W. of Black Down,
including two bank-barrows.
(7) Group of Barrows, on the E. part of Black
Down, including ring-works.
(19) Miz Maze, 570 yards S.S.E. of the church,
of hexagonal form.
(18) Earthworks, ring-work, etc., ¾ m. N.N.E.
of the church.
(17–25) Lynchets, an extensive system within a
radius of a mile from N.E. to S. of the
(6) Dungeon Hill Fort, in the N.E. end of
(3) Pilsdon Pen Camp, hill-fort.
(5) Hill Fort, on a ridge N.W. of the church.
(29) Barrows, in the S.E. angle of the parish.
(10) Barrows, three, on the Knoll.
(11) Barrows, six, on Tulk's Hill.
Stanton St. Gabriel
(5) Barrows, five, on Golden Cap.
(15) Group of Barrows, on Grimston Down.
Sydling St. Nicholas
(23) Village Settlement on Shearplace Hill.
(27) Barrows, three, on Cross Hill.
(28) Barrows, four, on East Hill.
(27) Barrows, three, near Thorncombe Beacon.
(18) Coney's Castle, hill-fort.
(19) Barrows, nine, on Hardown Hill.
(1) Parish Church, with interesting 17th-century plaster ceiling in the chancel and
(2) Chapel of St. Catherine. A hill-top
chapel of late 14th-century date, with a
(3) Abbotsbury Abbey, remains. Particularly
the great barn of c. 1400.
(1) Parish Church, dating from the 13th
century with a fine W. tower.
(2) Parish Church, dating from the 13th
century, with good 15th-century tower
and vestry and interesting fittings.
(1) Parish Church, dating from the 13th
century, with transepts of that date and
later central tower.
(5) Unitarian Chapel, built in 1794 and retaining the original disposition and many
of the original fittings.
(1) Parish Church, dating from the 14th
century with a central tower.
(1) Parish Church, dating from c. 1300 with
good tower of c. 1500 and interesting
glass and painting.
(1) Parish Church, for the N. chapel containing good 18th and 19th-century
(2) Parish Church, built in 1827–9 in revived
(1) Parish Church, rebuilt in 1628, with contemporary fittings.
(1) Parish Church, for the unusual tower
built in 1695 and good 18th and 19th-century monuments.
(1) Chapel, built in 1616, with contemporary
(1) Parish Church, dating from the 12th
century, with late 14th and 15th-century
(1) Parish Church, dating from the 12th
century, with extensive additions of
(2) Congregational Chapel, built 1750–55,
with unaltered street front and retaining
some original fittings.
(2) Parish Church, dating from the 12th
century, with central tower.
(1) Parish Church, largely rebuilt, with pre-conquest carved stone as font and good
(1) Parish Church, dating from the 15th
century with good monuments.
(2) Melplash Church, built in 1845–6 in 12th-century style.
(1) Parish Church, dating from the 12th
century with chancel-arch of that date and
15th-century S. doorway.
(3) Abbey Church, dating from before the
Conquest with important 12th and 15th-century work and noteworthy monuments.
(1) Parish Church dating from the 13th
century with good fittings.
(1) Parish Church, dating from the 12th
century, with saint's shrine, etc.
(2) Batcombe Cross and Hand, a cross-shaft of
uncertain date with a capital of cushion
(5) Parnham, a house largely rebuilt in the
middle of the 16th century, with 18th
and 19th-century alterations.
(2) Bettiscombe Manor House, built early in
the 18th century and largely unaltered.
(9) Town Hall, built in 1785–6, with early
(24) No. 9 East Street, a 17th-century house
with a late 18th-century shop-front.
(4) Sherborne Old Castle, dating mainly from
the 12th century with a gatehouse, keep
and remains of buildings round a quadrangle.
(5) Sherborne Castle, house built at the end
of the 16th century, with added 17th-century wings forming an unusual plan.
The Greenhouse, close by, built c. 1779.
Pinford Bridge, in the park, built late
in the 18th century.
(6) Wyke, a house of 1650 with a very large
(2) Chantmarle, a house dating from the 15th
century, with much 17th-century work.
(2) Cerne Abbey, porch of the abbot's hall
dating from c. 1500, and earthworks to
the E. of the site.
(5) Range of Houses on the W. side of Abbey
Street dating from c. 1500 and largely
(2) Up Cerne Manor House, mainly of early
(4) Queen's Arms Hotel, a largely complete
building of c. 1500.
(2) Folke Manor House, dating from c. 1500.
(5) West Hall, dating from the 15th century.
(2) Bridge, built late in the 18th century.
Frome St. Quintin
(2) Frome House, built in 1782, with finely
wrought stone porch.
(1) Kingston Russell House, mainly of late
17th and early 18th-century date.
(2) Cross, at road-fork E. of the church, of
the 15th century with figures in relief
(5) Belmont, a house built c. 1785 by Eleanor
Coade, with elaborate Coade stone
(39) Bridge, over the Buddle, probably of the
14th century with earlier arch to the E.
(2) Mapperton Manor House, dating from
c. 1550–60 and with a mid 17th-century
(2) Melbury House, dating from the 16th
century, with late 17th and early 18th-century alterations. The Turret, a garden
house, with 18th-century Gothic features.
(3) Powerstock Castle, mount and bailey
earthwork, perhaps in an earlier enclosure.
(2) The Manor House, dating from the 16th
(7) Almshouse, an unusually complete example
of a mediæval hospital with remarkable
triptych and glass.
(9) The Conduit, built as a lavatory in the
abbey cloister early in the 16th century.
(56) Lord Digby's School, mansion built
c. 1720, with painted walls and ceiling to
(3) Forde Abbey, remains of a Cistercian Abbey,
with important 12th, early 16th and mid
(4) Almshouses, built in 1846 in local traditional
style and, externally, unaltered.
(5) Church Farm, a late 14th or early 15th-century building with 16th-century
(6) The Chantry, a late 15th or early 16th-century building perhaps for a chantry
(2) Wraxall Manor House, an early 17th-century house.
(3) Manor Farm, a house of c. 1630.
14. We venture to bring to Your Majesty's notice the service of the Executive staff in Your
Majesty's armed forces during the late war.
Mr. A. T. Phillips served in the Royal Army Service Corps from December 1939 until
invalided out in May 1942; Mr. A. R. Dufty served in the Royal Navy from September 1942
and returned to the Commission in October 1946 ; Mr. R. W. McDowall served with the Royal
Engineers from September 1939 and returned to the Commission in February 1946; Mr. N.
Drinkwater served with the Royal Artillery from September 1939 and returned to the Commission in January 1946; Mr. H. G. Wakefield served with the Royal Artillery from August 1939
and returned to the Commission in February 1946; Mr. C. R. Wrigley served with the Intelligence Corps from January 1940 and returned to the Commission in May 1946; Mr. F. T. A.
Power served with the Royal Signal Corps from October 1939 and returned to the Commission
in October 1945.
In June 1940 the Secretary of the Commission, one Senior Investigator, Mr. Rahbula, and
the assistant editor, Miss Dallas, removed the offices of the Commission from London to Cambridge where they remained until 1946. While at Cambridge these members of the staff of the
Royal Commission began work on an Inventory of the monuments of that town and the adjacent
parts of the county. In February 1945 an unfortunate fire in Trinity College, where the Commission's office was then housed, destroyed a large part of the results of this work together
with other valuable records and property of the Commission. The work of the Cambridge
Inventory was however begun again and has been continued at the same time as the resumed
work in Dorset by the augmented staff allowed to the Commission since 1946.
15. We desire to express our acknowledgment of the good work accomplished by our
Executive Staff in the persons of Mr. E. A. R. Rahbula, O.B.E., M.C., F.S.A., A.R.I.B.A.,
Mr. G. E. Chambers, F.S.A., Mr. A. T. Phillips, M. C., F. S. A., Mr. J. Charlton, M. A., F. S. A.,
Mr. A. R. Dufty, F. S. A., A.R. I.B.A., Mr. R. W. McDowall, M. A., Mr. N. Drinkwater,
A.R.I.B.A., Mr. H. G. Wakefield, Mr. C. R. Wrigley, Miss V. M. Dallas, F.S.A., and Mr. F. T. A.
16. Sir Alfred Clapham having retired from the Secretaryship of the Royal Commission
after a service extending over thirty-six years, Mr. Geoffrey Fairbank Webb, F.S.A., Slade
Professor of Fine Art in the University of Cambridge, has been appointed to the vacant post.
J. G. N. CLIFT
A. HAMILTON THOMPSON
R. E. M. WHEELER
WALTER H. GODFREY
H. STANFORD LONDON
A. E. RICHARDSON
I. A. RICHMOND
V. H. GALBRAITH
GEOFFREY WEBB (Secretary)