4 BINCOMBE (6884)
(O.S. 6 ins. aSY 68 SE, bSY 68 NE, cSY 78 SW, dSY 78 NW)
The present parish of Bincombe covering about 2,850
acres lies midway between Dorchester and Weymouth
on the S. side of the S. Dorset Ridgeway. The N. part,
on Chalk, slopes S. from the crest of the Ridgeway at
over 500 ft. above O.D. This gentle slope is cut short
by a steep escarpment caused in part by the so-called
Ridgeway Fault. S. of this fault the parish slopes S.
from about 350 ft. to about 75 ft. above O.D. on
Kimmeridge Clay, except where outcrops of the harder
Portland and Purbeck Beds have produced small hills,
as at Chalbury, Tout and the Knoll.
There have been considerable readjustments to the
parish boundaries in the 20th century involving losses
on the S. and W. to Weymouth and gains on the E.
from the former parish of Preston, including part of
Sutton Poyntz, and on the N.W. from the former
parish of Upwey.
Bincombe village, the original and still the only
settlement in the parish, lies in a deep valley draining
S.E., immediately below the Chalk escarpment. The
open fields were enclosed in 1827 and extensive remains
of these, and of those of Sutton Poyntz, still exist.
The parish contains a large number of barrows and a
rare form of 'Celtic' fields. The church and Chalbury
hill-fort are the principal monuments.
a(1) Parish Church of the Holy Trinity stands
at the S. end of the village. The walls are of rubble with
freestone dressings and the roofs are covered with slates
and stone tiles. The Chancel and Nave were built late in
the 12th century, but of the former the S. wall was
rebuilt in the 15th century and the E. end in the late
19th century. The N. wall of the nave was rebuilt and
the S. wall heightened in the 15th century, the heightening being demarcated by a weathered offset, and the
West Tower was added at the same time. The South
Porch was built in the 17th century but incorporates
older materials. The church was extensively restored in
Architectural Description—The Chancel (21 ft. by 13½ ft.)
has a late 19th-century E. wall and window. In the N. wall are
traces of a blocked window probably of the 12th century;
further W. is a small square-headed window, now blocked.
In the S. wall are two partly restored 15th-century windows,
each of two trefoiled lights in a square head with moulded
reveals and label. The reconstructed late 12th-century chancel
arch is two-centred and of two orders chamfered on the W.
and chamfered and square on the E.; the responds have each
an attached half-round shaft with moulded capital and base
The Nave (32 ft. by 17 ft.) has, in the N. wall, two modern
windows and high up at the W. end an opening, now blocked,
which perhaps lit a former gallery. The 17th-century N.
doorway, also blocked, has chamfered jambs and rounded
head; above it are traces of the roof of a former porch. In the
S. wall are two much restored 15th-century two-light windows with square heads and labels; the S. doorway is 17th-century, restored; high up at the E. end of the wall is a square-headed opening to light the former rood loft but now blocked.
The West Tower (about 9 ft. square) is of the 15th century
and of two stages with a parapet. The tower arch is two-centred and of two continuous chamfered orders. The W.
window is of two trefoiled lights with blind spandrels in a
square head. Higher up in the W. wall is a small rectangular
window. The bell chamber has, in each wall, a two-light
window similar to the W. window.
The South Porch (8 ft. by 8½ ft.) is of the 17th century with
older material reused, including the outer archway with jambs
and two-centred arch of two chamfered orders.
The Roofs have been renewed; the chancel is ceiled in
plaster; in the nave are plain king-post trusses.
The Parish Church of the Holy Trinity, Bincombe
Fittings—Bells: two, 1st by Thomas Purdue, 1658, 2nd by
John Wallis of Salisbury, 1594 (Raven, 61). Door: in S. doorway,
ledged, with strap-hinges and inscription, W.L. C.W. 1779
W.M. Font: round bowl of Purbeck stone with chamfered
under edge and remains of fastening for lid, 13th-century,
stem modern. Monument: in churchyard—S. of porch, to
Peter Day, 1708, headstone. Plate: includes a cup of 1662 (?)
with the maker's mark I.G., and a paten of 1843 given by the
rector, Thomas Dade. Stoup: in nave—by S. doorway, recess
with pointed head and rounded bowl, the latter in part broken
away, mediaeval. Sundial: on E. jamb of S.W. window of
chancel, scratch dial, mediaeval.
The houses in the parish unless otherwise described
are of one storey with attics, rubble-built and with
roofs now tiled.
a(2) House (50 yds. S.W.) was built in the late 16th century
on a plan comprising a hall and inner room. The hall fireplace
had chamfered stone jambs and a timber four-centred head;
it had a winding staircase beside it and the two occupied the
full width of the N.E. end of the building. The attics were
originally open to the roof, which had trusses of jointed-cruck
type. At different times in the 18th century a cottage was
added to each end and a wing at the back. In 1956 the 16th-century house had fallen into ruin revealing ancient plasterwork painted with a fleur-de-lys pattern. (Demolished)
a(3) House (170 yds. N.W.), of two storeys, was built in
the 17th century. It has an end fireplace in each of the two
ground-floor rooms and two chamfered ceiling beams, now
plastered. The windows have stop-chamfered timber lintels.
The roof is of collar-beam type, the common rafters being
pegged to the purlins. Set in the upper front wall are two
carved stones, perhaps corbels, of the 14th or 15th century. One
depicts a standing figure with sword and shield, the other a
a(4) Cottage (just N.), of two storeys with a tiled roof,
was built in the 18th century. It was an addition to a cottage
on the W. built in the 17th or early 18th century and which
was demolished between 1950 and 1956.
a(5) Bincombe Marsh Dairy (683836), of two storeys
and attics, was built in the late 18th century. The plan comprised two rooms and an outhouse at the back with a lean-to
roof. On the W. is a modern addition. One of the two fireplaces has an original bread oven.
The following barns (6–9) were built in the second
quarter of the 19th century; they are of rubble with
slated roofs and of almost identical size and plan (see
plan p. lxvi).
b(6) Barn (675851), at Lower Bincombe Farm, is dated by
a stone in the W. gable inscribed 'C 1827'; C is for Caius
College, Cambridge. The barn is nearly 58 ft. long and 18½ ft.
wide inside, with a porch on the N. side 12½ ft. wide and
projecting 11 ft. (plan p. lxvi). On the S. side, opposite the
porch, are double doors; a stone threshing floor crosses the
barn. The roof is half-hipped and the trusses have bolted tie
and collar beams.
a(7) Barn (600 yds. N.E.) has a stone inscribed 'C 1826'
(see Monument 6). The threshing floor is of wood.
a(8) Barn (130 yds. S.W.) has one rounded corner.
b(9) Bincombe Barn (677858) is probably slightly later
than the dated examples described above; it has a small
subsidiary porch, which is flanked by original outhouses with
b(10) Bayard Barn (670866), standing in an outlying
portion of the parish transferred from Upwey, has walls of
stone and a roof, now of corrugated iron, formerly thatched;
it was built in the early 19th century.
Mediaeval and Later Earthworks
a, b(11) Strip Fields (Figs. pp. 24, 484; Plates 70, 72,
216). Remains of strip cultivation in Bincombe and
Sutton Poyntz are widespread; in outlying places this
cultivation may have altered earlier field patterns (e.g.
on Bincombe Hill, see Ancient Field Group (8)). Much
has been destroyed by quarrying but the present obvious
remains are complemented by slight traces visible on
air photographs or from the ground. The position of
outcropping rock in risers suggests that some of the
strip lynchets were deliberately constructed for at least
part of their length. Treads generally slope downwards
in cross section, with interesting exceptions in Coombe
Bottom furlong, and their ends are ramped, 'drawnout' or quarter-round. The open fields of Bincombe
were finally enclosed in 1827 when South Field lay S.
of the village, Middle Field was immediately S. of
Bincombe Down and North Field lay just N. of
Bincombe Hill. Faint traces of strip-field remains in the
former Middle and North Fields are visible on air
photographs. Almost all the strip fields remaining were
cultivated at least into the 19th century but are now
mostly in pasture. (R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821: 4453,
6445–7; Enclosure Maps of Preston and Sutton Poyntz,
1794, and of Bincombe, 1827, in D.C.R.O., show
furlong names (see plan p. 24).)
(a) Strip lynchets of the former Bincombe parish cover some
60 acres S.W. and S.E. of Lower Bincombe Farm (around
675850) and S.E. of the village (around 688840 and 686835;
Plate 70). In the former South Field two blocks make a butt
junction at right angles and a series curves S.E. to the line of
the former parish boundary with Preston and Sutton Poyntz,
which in 1794 ran in zigzags. At 68848400 an isolated strip
lynchet curves uphill and E. as if to avoid a hollow, probably
an ancient quarry. Widths of treads vary from 4 yds. to 18
yds. and riser heights from 3 ft. to 16 ft. Limestone is seen
outcropping in the faces of some risers (cf. on Green Hill,
below). Many treads are overlaid with narrow rig. A mound
(75) has been trimmed by strip cultivation S.E. of Lower
(b) Strip lynchets formerly in Sutton Poyntz cover some
45 acres E. and S.W. of Green Hill (around 695843) and N.,
W. and S.W. of Chalbury (around 694838) (Plates 72, 216).
Cement-stone outcrops in the faces of risers at the valley head
E. of Green Hill and at the foot of Tout on the S.E. suggest
artificial construction of the strip lynchets (Plate 70). On
Green Hill the treads are also so spaced vertically that slivers
of natural ground can be seen in places between them. In this
area strip lynchets run into each other at the obtuse angle of
the valley head. Strip lynchets with flat treads are curiously
carved at wide intervals into the E.-facing slopes of Coombe
Valley, about 692841. Around 687834 a block runs in a shallow
S curve, probably due to the contours, up to the former parish
boundary and must have been contiguous with those in Bincombe. Widths of treads vary from 5 yds. to 9 yds. and riser
heights from 3 ft. to 18 ft. Immediately N.E. of Chalbury
(about 695840) shallow strip lynchets continue up a slope of
20°. On the upper slope dividing banks 9 ft. across are apparently
original. For fields further E., see Weymouth (395).
Other Earthworks and Allied Monuments
(12) Long Barrow, p. 431.
(13–74) Round Barrows, p. 437.
(75) Mound, p. 481.
(76) Chalbury, hill-fort, p. 486.
Roman Road, p. 528.
(77) Roman Burial, p. 594.
Ancient Field Groups (7, 8), p. 627.
Bincombe (11) and Weymouth (395). Strip fields in Bincombe and Sutton Poyntz.