7 CHALDON HERRING (7983)
(O.S. 6 ins. aSY 78 SE, bSY 78 NE, cSY 88 SW)
The parish of Chaldon Herring covering 3,106 acres
lies 8 m. S.E. of Dorchester. It is divisible into two
distinct parts both geographically and historically. The
S. two-thirds comprises a compact rectangular block
of land stretching N. from the steep cliffs which form
the S. seaward boundary. Most of this area is on Chalk
with a general E.-W. ridge over 500 ft. above O.D.
from which dry valleys drain S. and N. Further N.
the Chalk has been eroded and the underlying Wealden
Beds exposed. These in turn give way to a well-marked
E.-W. ridge of Chalk at 300 ft. to 400 ft. above O.D.
beyond which the land slopes N. to the edge of the
heathland. The N. third of the parish, a narrow triangular area with the apex to the N., is on Reading
Beds and river gravel which give rise to extensive
The S. part of the parish originally had two settlements, Chaldon Herring or East Chaldon and Chaldon
Boys or West Chaldon, the latter once being a separate
parish. The N. part of the parish was the land of the
small settlement of Fossil (now West Fossil Farm)
situated on the edge of the heath.
The deserted village of Holworth, showing some of
the best remains of the kind in the county, is now in
the parish but was formerly part of a detached block
of Milton Abbas parish (see p. 35). These remains, The
Grange and the unusually well preserved and extensive
'Celtic' fields in the S. of the parish are the principal
a(1) The Parish Church of St. Nicholas stands
at the S. end of the village. The walls are of local limestone rubble with dressings of similar stone; the roofs
are covered with tiles and stone slates. The Nave was
built in the second half of the 14th century but only the
N. wall of this date survives. The West Tower was
begun towards the end of the same century but not
completed in the upper stage until the following
century, when too the North Porch was built. The
Chancel was rebuilt in 1877–8 and the South Aisle and
S. arcade were built or rebuilt at the same time. The
Organ Chamber is an addition of c. 1900.
The Church, Plan
Architectural Description—The Chancel (18½ ft. by 16 ft.) is
of 1877–8 but reset in the E. wall is a 14th-century window of
three cinque-foiled lights with tracery in a two-centred head
with moulded reveals and label. The N. and S. walls have each
a reset and partly restored 14th-century window of two
trefoiled lights in a square head with moulded reveals.
The Nave (36 ft. by 17 ft.) has, in the N. wall, two windows;
that to the E. is of three lights with trefoiled openings in a
square head with a label and is extensively renewed; the 14th-century western window is similar to the side windows in the
chancel. The 14th-century N. doorway has moulded jambs
and two-centred head with a chamfered segmental rear arch.
The S. arcade together with the South Aisle (37¼ ft. by 9½ ft.)
is of 1877–8.
The West Tower (8½ ft. by 9½ ft.) is of the end of the 14th
century but appears to have been some time in building; it is
of two stages outside, three storeys inside, with angle and
diagonal buttresses in two weathered stages and an embattled
parapet. The two-centred tower arch is of one continuous
widely chamfered order rising from chamfered bases. The W.
window is of two trefoiled lights with blind tracery in a two-centred head with moulded reveals and label and a chamfered
rear arch. The second storey has a rectangular window in both
the N. and S. walls; that in the S. is now built up. In each wall
of the 15th-century belfry stage is a contemporary window of
two trefoiled lights in a square head filled with late 19th-century stone grilles. The tower vice is entered through a
doorway with a four-centred head and stop-chamfered jambs;
it rises only to the second storey. The floor of this last is
supported on shaped stone corbels.
The North Porch (7 ft. by 8½ ft.), gabled to the N., has a
15th-century two-centred outer archway of one moulded
order. In the E. wall is a quatre-foiled window of the same date.
Fittings—Bells: three; 1st by William Purdue, 1615; 3rd
late mediaeval and inscribed 'Ave Maria' in black-letter.
Font: plain tapering cylindrical bowl, probably late 11th-century, with later mortices for staples. Monuments and Floor-slab. Monuments: In tower—on N. wall, (1) to Sarah (Mohun),
widow of John Gould, 1774, white marble cartouche with well
carved undercut foliate frame and small blank cartouche
below; (2) to Henry Worrall, 1770, and Judith (Mohun) his
widow, 1788, black and white marble tablet with side pilasters,
cornice and blank cartouche on apron below; on S. wall, (3)
to Richard Gostelowe, 1762, Ann his widow, 1794, and Ann,
widow of Orlebar Gostelowe, 1786, erected by Ann, niece
of the first, white and grey marble shield-shaped tablet with
urn and, formerly, palm branches below. In churchyard—N.
of porch, (4) to Willim Bridee, 1698, foot-stone. Floor-slab:
In tower, to Edward(?) Cowper, . . . ., Richard Gostelowe,
1806. Niche: In porch—in E. wall, recess (stoup?) with pointed
head and three-sided projecting pedestal with moulded base,
15th-century. Plate: includes an Elizabethan cup and cover-paten, the former with engraved ornament and the latter with
Lawrence Stratford's mark and the inscribed date 1573.
Stoup: see Niche above. Miscellanea: Reset in E. wall of
chancel, stone with plain cross. In W. wall of S. aisle, fragments
of window tracery, mediaeval.
a(2) Cross (300 yds. N. by E.), on the W. edge of the village
green, square stone base only, with central socket, mediaeval.
Unless otherwise described the houses in this parish
are of one storey and attics, the walls are of rubble and
the roofs thatched.
a(3) The Grange (30 yds. E.S.E.) is of two storeys
with attics; the walls are of squared and coursed rubble
and the roofs mostly of stone slates but with tiles above
the level of the dormer windows. It was built in the
late 16th century, drastically altered in the early 18th
century and renovated and enlarged in the 19th century.
Few features of the 16th-century house remain, the
circular stone staircase being the most important.
Chaldon Herring: The Grange
The external doorway to the stone staircase has a square
head and chamfered jambs with simple vase stops, and the
lower S. window has a hollow-chamfered stone surround.
E. of the staircase is a blocked ground-floor window with a
label and above it another window without a label.
The late 16th-century plan by inference comprised a hall,
with probably the parlour to the E. and the kitchen to the W.
The hall, which had the stone staircase S. of the upper end, was
entered from a passage at the W. end, the front doorway
then being in much the same position as the present doorway.
In the early 18th century, perhaps after a fire, the N. front wall
was rebuilt with symmetrical fenestration, the ground-floor
ceilings raised, a large well-staircase added and the whole
building heightened; the present hipped roof and hipped
dormer windows are of this date. It is remarkable that the
16th-century moulded jambs were reused in the 18th-century
windows, of quite different proportions, with the addition of
keystones. The other internal fittings that have survived the
19th-century renovations include the well-staircase with close
strings, turned balusters and newels, some with pendants, and
moulded handrail, and the panelled casings to arched openings
through the cross walls on the first floor, all of the 18th
In the garden wall E. of the house is a reset late 16th-century
stone archway, now blocked, with semicircular moulded
head, moulded imposts and jambs.
a(4) House (350 yds. N.N.E.), on the N. side of the village
green, is of the early 17th century. In the 18th century a Barn
was added at the W. end, and in the early 19th century an
outhouse with a lean-to roof was built at the back.
a(5) House, 35 yds. E.S.E. of (4), at the E. end of the village
green, now comprises two tenements in the early 17th-century part to the E., with a third tenement added on the W.
in the 19th century. In the original building, where the plan
may have comprised two rooms, the W. room contains a
fireplace with a cambered timber lintel. The front has been
largely refaced in brick.
a(6) Cottage (265 yds. N.E.), of cob, and of the early
19th century, may incorporate part of a 17th-century house.
a(7) West Chaldon Farm, house (778829), is of
the early 17th century in origin. It was then a small
house aligned N. and S. with a plan consisting of two
rooms and a through passage, the fireplaces being in the
gable walls. Later in the century a kitchen was added
on the N.E. side to produce an L-shaped plan; the
kitchen wing was subsequently prolonged to the E. by
the addition of a storeroom. In the middle of the 19th
century a large block was added on the original S. end,
producing a half-H plan. Remains of mediaeval settlement lie to N. and S. (Monument 21).
The farmyard, which lies S.W. of the house, has on the S.
side two large Barns forming a continuous range (plan, p. lxvi).
The E. barn, of cob faced with brick, was built in the early
years of the 18th century, and the W. barn, which is of brick,
towards the end of the century. Each barn has two opposed
porches, those on the N. side being of two storeys. The upper
room of the N.E. porch has a N. window with a wooden
frame, two iron bars, and hinges inside for shutters. The
ceiling, which is below the collar beams, and the walls have
been plastered. This room has a partition and a door towards
the barn. Three wooden corn bins appear to be original
fittings. The main roof trusses of the E. barn have principal
rafters into which collar beams are tenoned, the joints being
strengthened by solid curved braces secured to both members
by pegged through-tenons. The W. barn has collar-beam
trusses with notched joints and trimmed poles for the common
b(8) West Fossil Farm, house (794851), of two storeys
with a slated roof, was built in the early 17th century, when
the plan probably comprised two heated rooms with a dairy
or pantry between. It was altered and extended in the 18th
and 19th centuries. Barn, S.E. of the house, of brick with a
tiled roof, is of the late 18th century; it was heightened in the
b(9) West Fossil Dairy, 300 yds. W. of (8), was built
in the 18th century. The house consists of a range of four
rooms with a central chimney-stack of brick.
The following Monuments (10–13) were built in the
early 19th century.
a(10) Cottages, two (200 yds. N.W.), of two storeys; the
N. cottage has a date stone inscribed TW 1818.
a(11) Cottage (230 yds. N.E.).
a(12) 'The Sailor's Return', public house (430 yds. N.),
is of two storeys and of cob.
a(13) Cottage, 30 yds. N.W. of (12).
b(14) Tadnoll Mill (792869) stands on a stream that
crosses the extreme N. end of the parish. It is of brick, of three
storeys, and of the late 18th century; the wheel survives. An
addition to the N., of chalk rubble, has a keystone inscribed
1841 JB (for James Bascombe?).
The following barns (15–19), which have two
opposed porches, were built in the late 18th or early
19th century. Unless otherwise described they are
thatched, the larger porches having hipped, the smaller
a(15) Down Barn (778817) is of rubble, with a slated roof.
a(16) Chaldon Down Buildings (784818) is of random
chalk blocks on a flint plinth, with a tiled roof.
a(17) Barn (140 yds. N.E.), at Vicarage Farm, has closely
spaced roof trusses with numerous purlins of trimmed poles
and no common rafters. (Demolished)
a(18) Ford's Barn (160 yds. N.N.E.) is of rubble.
b(19) Barn (790867), at Tadnoll Dairy, is of cob.
Mediaeval and Later Earthworks
a(20) Holworth, deserted mediaeval village
(771833), immediately E. of Holworth Farm (Owermoigne 13), is a complex of scarps and banks on either
side of a partly sunk W. to E. road (see plan p. 36). The
site, together with the adjacent areas of Owermoigne,
was formerly a detached part of Milton Abbas parish
due to King Athelstan's grant of six hides at Holworth
to Milton Abbey in 933. Of three Holworths known to
belong to Milton Abbas this might be either 'East' or
'North' Holworth. The last significant reference to
Holworth is apparently that in the Lay Subsidy Roll of
1333 when fourteen persons were mentioned (Hutchins
IV, 398; A. Fägersten, 143; P.R.O., Exch. Q. R. (E.
179/103/5)). Excavations made in 1958 on behalf of the
D.N.H.A.S. produced mediaeval pottery continuing to
the 15th century but no evidence for occupation after
that date (Dorset Procs. LXXXI (1959), 127–47).
The remains lie on the N.-facing slope of a shallow valley
through which runs a small stream. The subsoil includes
clays and grits of the Wealden Beds and the site needed
careful drainage. The area has been disturbed by shallow
quarrying but is now in permanent pasture and cut by a
recent track, running from N.W. to S.E. (not shown on plan).
The modern fields to the E. and S.W. have been heavily
ploughed destroying any evidence for an extension of the
settlement. The road crossing the site from W. to E. is blocked
at both ends by hedgerows but was once continuous with
the present track to Holworth Farm from the W.S.W.; it
is 20 ft. to 30 ft. wide. A narrow terrace-way runs N. from
the road past a later pond. To the E. a series of seven roughly
square, platform-like enclosures ('tofts'), each of about ⅓ acre,
lines the N. side of the road. One of these, (a), was excavated
in 1958. Most seem to have sunken ways in from the N. in
their N.W. angles, and their banks have been much robbed.
To the N. of each lies a long narrow field ('croft') defined by
banks or low scarps and varying in size from some 280 ft.
by 70 ft. to 300 ft. by 100 ft.; there is little evidence of
ploughing in them and they run down to wet meadowland.
Chaldon Herring. (20) Holworth, deserted mediaeval village.
A slight near-rectangular enclosure (b), about 40 ft. by 22 ft.,
in the W. angle of the road and the terrace-way to the N.,
perhaps the site of a building, is at the S.E. angle of a block of
earthworks notably different in character from the tofts.
S. of the road the slope increases and few of the closes are
flat. At the extreme W., a scarp 8 ft. high dropping to the
road may perhaps be a relic of 'Celtic' fields. A terrace-way,
marked on the upper side by a positive lynchet 4 ft. and more
high, lines the S. edge of the main part of the field. Between
it and the road and at right angles to both are fragmentary
banks, lines of scarps and a long wide hollow; this last, S.W.
of (a) and possibly a track, may be relatively late if the cutting
at its S. end through the terrace-way is original. There are
no signs of settlement on the S. of the terrace-way which
runs E. to join a N. to S. track.
Immediately S. of the W.-E. road at its E. end an oblong
feature (c), 30 ft. by 12 ft. to 15 ft., possibly marks footings of
a building though its surface slopes E. at an angle of some 3½°
and the E. end is open.
In 1936 the Rev. D. Dixey and Mr. H. S. L. Dewar carried
out trial excavations (typescript in D.C.M.). Mediaeval
pottery including 13th-century forms was among the finds
from three places, of which one was a triangular platform,
(d), where partly dressed stones were also found. Other
potsherds, including 'scratch-mark' ware, were found in the
toft E. of (a) during the Commission's survey. In 1958 toft (a)
was excavated (i.e. toft (5) in Dorset Procs., op. cit.). The
excavator thought that the scarped platform forming the toft
resulted from a long period of casual build-up. Two periods
of occupation were established.
Period I probably antedated the toft lay-out; no building
was found but pits, ditches and a few post-holes contained
pottery probably of the 12th to 13th century or earlier. Period
II, from the 13th to the 15th century, was represented by stone
footings of a structure, 68 ft. by 17 ft. externally, at the S.W.
angle of the toft, with the long axis parallel to the road. This
may have been a three-roomed house, three separate buildings
with common walls or, most likely, two buildings separated
by a yard bounded by a wall on the S. The wall footings,
mainly of flint, were very slight and probably supported a
timber framework; at least two phases of rebuilding were
noted. There was no archaeological evidence for settlement
after the 15th century. (R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821: 4440.)
a(21) Settlement Remains at West Chaldon Farm
(77778277 and 77838305) cover some 2 acres. S. of the farm
are two much disturbed platforms, and N. of it largely
formless remains include a platform and a rectangular flat
depression. (Hutchins I, 343; R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821:
a(22) Strip Lynchets at West Chaldon are in two
groups: S. of West Chaldon Farm (776824) are 7 acres of much
broken contour strip lynchets; on the S.W. spur of High
Chaldon (779828) are 6 acres of both contour and up-anddown types. (R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821: 4439.)
a(23) Settlement Remains, formerly part of Chaldon
Herring village (78958344 and 79138350), cover 6 acres W.
and E. of the road N. from the village; they are almost
obliterated. The chapel was incorporated by 1801 into a house,
since destroyed. (Hutchins I, 341, 343; Fägersten, 138; R.A.F.
V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821:4436.)
a(24) Strip Fields remain in two blocks E. of the
probable boundary between West and East Chaldon.
Faint traces suggest that the downland between was
largely covered by strip fields. The Tithe Map shows
West Field S. of the church with East Field to the E.
The remains, mostly in pasture, are generally of contour
strip lynchets with treads occasionally over 500 yds.
long, probably incorporating two or more strips end to
end. They are 3 yds. to 15 yds. wide, with risers 9 ins.
to 20 ft. high; ends are quarter round, drawn-out or
ramped. There are apparent traces of abandoned up-and-down strips about 785831.
(a) Around 785830 strips occur in a number of former
furlongs over an area of some 60 acres on both sides of a valley.
Some treads have a reversed-S plan. Narrow rig remains in
places. The present road, shown on the I in. O.S. map of
1811, probably runs over strips but in 1765 was differently
aligned (on I. Taylor's map), suggesting that the area was
enclosed between those dates. In a hollow N. of the Hut Dairy
remains of up-and-down type only 37 yds. long are cut by
contour strip lynchets indicating a radical change in part of
the furlong arrangements of the open field.
(b) From 787820 groups of strip lynchets run S. to S.W.
along the sides of a dry valley. At the S. they clearly overlie
'Celtic' fields (Ancient Field Group (15)) and riser heights are
uneven because of incorporation of pre-existing lynchets.
(R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821: 2438–9, 4434–8.)
Other Earthworks and Allied Monuments
(25–57) Round Barrows, p. 440.
(58) The Round Pound, enclosure, p. 502.
Ancient Field Groups (14, 15), p. 628.