9 CHURCH KNOWLE (9481)
(O.S. 6 ins. aSY 97 NW, bSY 98 SW)
The parish of Church Knowle, covering about 2,900
acres, lies within the Isle of Purbeck, some 6 m. W. of
Swanage. It is in two distinct parts divided by the
narrow E.–W. Chalk ridge of the Purbeck Hills, here
just over 400 ft. above O.D. To the S. the parish
occupies the broad valley of the West Corfe River
on Wealden Beds, between 100 ft. and 200 ft. The S.
side of the valley rises steeply across Purbeck and
Portland Beds to the summit of Smedmore Hill at over
600 ft. N. of the Purbeck Hills the parish extends for
some 2 m. N.N.W. across a gently N.-sloping heath-land on Bagshot Beds.
In the S. part of the parish there was originally a
whole series of small settlements, all included in
Domesday Book and each associated with a small
rectangular block of land the boundaries of which are
still preserved today in continuous field banks. The
settlements N. of the Corfe River were Whiteway,
Barnston, Church Knowle and Bucknowle; those to
the S. were West and East Bradle and West and East
Orchard. Many of them have earthwork remains as
well as later buildings, together with traces of their
field systems. Only at Barnston is there a surviving
mediaeval house, stone-built, with later alterations; it
is a building of visual as well as archaeological note.
To the N. and at the foot of the Purbeck Hills is the
rather scattered hamlet of East Creech, probably now
combining two of the four Creeches listed in Domesday
Book. Two of the houses further N. within the heath
(Monuments 12 and 19), together with their associated
small fields, indicate settlement in this area in the late
17th and 18th centuries. The building materials of some
of the houses N. of the ridge include cob and brick,
neither of which is found to the S.
A well preserved Iron Age or Romano-British settlement lies on Smedmore Hill and is surrounded by
fragmentary 'Celtic' fields. A mosaic pavement found
near East Creech indicates a Roman villa, and several
sites have produced evidence of shale working.
The Iron Age 'A' settlement on Knowle Hill with
its associated dykes, the parish church, and Barnston
and Whiteway Farms are the principal monuments.
b(1) The Parish Church of St. Peter (Plate 1)
stands to the N.E. of the village. The walls are of local
stone rubble with dressings of the same material and the
roofs are covered with stone slates. The Chancel was
built about the end of the first quarter of the 13th
century and the Nave and North and South Transepts
were built shortly afterwards. The 14th-century West
Tower was in part at least rebuilt in the 18th century
and the North Aisle added between 1833 and 1841, when
the entire N. wall of the nave and most of the W. wall
of the N. transept were removed. The South Porch was
built probably in the 14th century. Certainly the N.
transept, and probably the S., contained chantries
associated respectively with the lords of the manors of
Barnston and East Creech.
The church is of interest, being for the most part of
the first half of the 13th century; the Clavell monument, 1572, is a good and undamaged example of its
Architectural Description—The Chancel (19¾ ft. by 15¾ ft.)
of c. 1225 has the base of the walls battered and a plain E.
gable; the windows, unless otherwise described, are original.
The E. window is of two trefoil-headed lights with a round
cinque-foiled tracery light under a two-centred moulded label
and a moulded two-centred rear arch; the reveals and mullion
have continuous three-quarter-round mouldings outside. The
two windows in the N. wall are similar to the E. window
except that the tracery lights are quatre-foiled, they are without
labels and the rear arches are hollow-chamfered; in the W.
splay of the W. window is the square-headed E. opening of
an early 15th-century squint from the N. transept. In the S.
wall the E. window is of the 15th century and of three trefoiled
lights in a square head; internally the sill is lowered to form a
seat. The doorway, further W., has stop-chamfered jambs,
perhaps in part of 13th-century origin, and a depressed two-centred head of later date. The W. window is similar to those
in the N. wall and also has in the W. splay a chamfered
shouldered opening to a squint from the S. transept. The
13th-century chancel arch was much restored in the 19th
century; it is two-centred and of two continuous chamfered
orders; flanking it are smaller openings, originally recesses
presumably for side altars, pierced and opened down to floor
level in the 19th century; they have segmental-pointed heads
and jambs all much restored in the lower parts and entirely
modern on the E. face.
Parish Church of Saint Peter
The Nave (36½ ft. by 15½ ft.) retains on the N. the butt ends
only of the N. wall; two 19th-century timber posts support
both the gallery over the N. aisle and N. transept and the main
roof trusses. The S. wall was heightened some 4½ ft. in the
19th century and at the same time the two-centred archway
of two chamfered orders into the S. transept was heightened,
probably with re-use of much of the original 13th-century
material, but this is concealed by plastering. The rebuilt S.
doorway has a chamfered two-centred head and jambs with
run-out stops; over the E. haunch is a reset lancet window
with chamfered head and jambs, segmental rear arch and wide
inner splays. Further W. are two windows in part original
and each of one tall lancet with heightened and restored head.
The North Transept (12½ ft. by 11 ft.) has been heightened
to contain a gallery and is now gabled to the E. and with a
modern E. window in the heightening. In the original E. wall
are traces of a blocked window, and in the S.E. corner is the
plain rectangular W. opening to the squint; the outer wall of
the squint projects in the angle between chancel and transept
and is supported on stone corbelling. The N. wall contains an
original window of two lancets with a round quatre-foiled
tracery light and sunk spandrels in a two-centred head; the
mullion is modern and the cusping in the tracery light is
The South Transept (12 ft. by 10½ ft.) has a parapeted S.
gable with trefoiled apex-stone. The E. and S. walls each
contain a two-light window similar to that in the N. transept
except that the cusping in the tracery has been removed. The
W. opening to the squint in the N.E. corner has a plain square
head and splayed jambs.
The North Aisle (8½ ft. wide) has two mid 19th-century
windows in the N. wall each consisting of a pair of chamfered
lancet lights. The W. end is gabled, and reused on the parapet
is an old trefoiled apex-stone. Reset inside, under the stairs to
the gallery, is a 13th-century stone doorway with two-centred
head of two continuous chamfered orders; in the gable and
lighting the gallery is a 19th-century window of two trefoiled
lights with a trefoiled spandrel in a two-centred head.
The West Tower (8½ ft. square) was largely rebuilt from a
height of some 14 ft. upwards in the 18th century, with re-use
of some original material. Outside it is without division and
has a low pyramidal roof with plain overhanging eaves;
inside it is divided into three storeys. The tower arch is of
c. 1300, with a depressed two-centred head of one chamfered
order dying out against plain responds. In the N. wall is a
modern doorway, and the S. and W. walls each contain a
small chamfered rectangular loop-light probably of the 18th
century. The second storey has chamfered and rebated rectangular loops of c. 1300 reset in the N. and S. walls; at this
level in the S. wall is also a stone tablet inscribed with the
initials I.C., E.C. churchwardens' and the date 1741. The
louvred openings in the N., S. and W. walls of the bell-chamber are contemporary with the rebuilding.
The South Porch (8½ ft. by 7¾ ft.) has a plain parapeted S.
gable with an 18th or 19th-century gable cross. The 14th-century entrance archway has a chamfered two-centred head
and chamfered jambs. Inside are wall-benches with plank seats.
The Roof of the nave dates from between 1833 and 1841 and
is of three bays; the attenuated tie and collar-beam trusses
have queen posts and arched braces arranged to suggest a
hammer-beam roof, cinquefoils in the spandrels and purlins
slung below the principals. The tie beams in the N. aisle are
of the same date as the foregoing and also have cusped infilling
Fittings—Altar: In S. transept, Purbeck marble slab 3 ft.
8 ins. by 2 ft. 5 ins., with five incised crosses and a sixth added
later, chamfered under edge, mediaeval, on modern supports.
Bells: three; 1st, by James Wells of Aldbourne in Wiltshire,
1804; 2nd, by Thomas Purdue, 1677, recast 1926. Bell-frame:
of timber, mid 18th-century. Brackets: two, of stone, in E.
wall of S. transept and in E. wall of S. porch, perhaps mediaeval. Brasses: see Monument (1). Chairs: In chancel, pair, of
oak, with turned legs and stretchers, backs with turned side
posts and shaped and pierced cresting, late 17th-century.
Coffin-lids: In S. transept—in sill of S. window, (1) upper part
only, with relief of cross with trefoiled ends on slender stem,
late 13th-century; (2) upper part only, with hollow-chamfered
border and wheel cross on elaborated stem, crudely carved in
relief, c. 1300. Communion Table: In chancel, modern, but
incorporating enriched bulbous legs and end bearers of the
early 17th century. See also Tables. Gallery: over N. transept,
N. aisle and W. end of nave, with plain panelled front,
approached by stone stair with turned wood newel, moulded
handrail and fascia framing close panels, 1833–41.
Monuments: In N. transept—against E. wall, (1) of John
Clavell and [Myllecent (Gyfford)] and Susan (Coker) his
wives, dated 1572, canopied altar-tomb (Plate 14) of Portland
stone with brasses; the tomb-chest has moulded plinth containing band of quatrefoils and front and ends divided into
panels enclosing cusped and sub-cusped quatrefoils containing
blank shields; on the moulded top slab are freestanding columns
and responds, reeded and fluted and with moulded capitals
with egg-and-dart enrichment, supporting a canopy with an
enriched entablature with quatre-foiled frieze and brattishing;
the canopy soffit (Plate 15) has blind tracery decoration of
much elaboration, including bosses, one representing a Tudor
rose, a quatrefoil and diapered panels enclosing star-shaped
sinkings (cf. Bere Regis parish church, Monument 1). The back
wall is divided by buttress-like pilasters into three bays containing the following brasses: centre, figure of man in armour
kneeling at prayer-desk, with inscription below and, above,
achievement-of-arms of Clavell quartering Stokes (?); to N.,
woman wearing gown with puffed sleeves and ruffs at neck
and wrists kneeling at prayer-desk, with four children and,
above, shield-of-arms of Clavell impaling Gyfford; S., kneeling
woman as before, without children, inscription below and,
above, shield-of-arms of Clavell impaling Coker. The whole
stands on a large Purbeck marble slab. In S. transept—on W.
wall, (2) of Thomas Cockram, 1761, Portland stone and
marble wall-tablet with pedimented cornice.
Paintings: In nave—on W. side of chancel arch and flanking
recesses and on soffits of latter, trailing foliage, perhaps in part
16th-century, but very extensively repainted in 19th century.
Panelling: In S. transept, on S. wall, of oak, with moulded
styles and rails forming back to wall-bench, 18th-century.
Piscinae: two; in chancel, in S. wall, (1) with chamfered two-centred head, 13th-century, circular dishing and rounded sill
with underside shaped to stem and knop, 16th-century; in S.
transept, in S. wall, (2) with two-centred head and circular
dishing, 13th-century. Plate: includes Elizabethan cup (Plate
23) with band of strapwork ornament and cover-paten with
engraved date 1574, both by Lawrence Stratford, and paten
of 1810. Pulpit: of oak, hexagonal, with pairs of two-centred
panels in each face, moulded base and cornice, on flared stem,
approached by stairs with slender newel, handrail and plain
balusters, c. 1840. Recess: In tower, in W. wall of ground
storey, small and rectangular, now plastered, perhaps mediaeval. Stoup: In S. porch, in N.E. corner, with deep circular
bowl, mediaeval, reset sideways. Tables: two; in nave, (1) of
oak, small, with drawer, slender turned legs and plain
stretchers, early 18th-century; in tower, (2) of oak and deal,
painted and grained, with enriched bearers, turned legs, plain
stretchers, 17th-century. Miscellaneous: Reset in W. face of
tower, stone with fragment of black-letter inscription, early
16th-century; (see also below, Monument 6).
b(2) Barnston Farm (nearly ¾ m. W.S.W.),
former manor house, is of two storeys and in part with
attics (Plate 73). The walls are of local limestone rubble
and ashlar and the roofs are covered with stone slates.
The house was built towards the end of the 13th century,
probably by a member of the Estoke family, and retains
the hall and solar wing of this date; the kitchen may well
have been detached but nothing of it survives; remains
of a building beside the road, possibly a gatehouse, were
removed about a century ago. Probably in the 15th
century the great chimney-stack on the S. side of the
hall was added. In the mid 16th century the accommodation was increased by the insertion of the floor in the
hall, the upper floor being approached by a staircase
added on the N.W., and probably the building of the
W. wing; at the same time the house was improved by
the addition of the bay window at the S. end of the
solar wing; the walls were in part refaced in ashlar and
the older fireplaces modernised. Since the 16th century
the building has undergone only essential reconstructions, some rearrangement inside involving the loss of
the hall screen and the identity of the screens passage,
general repairs and renewal of some windows. See also
Monument (28). (A. Oswald, Country Houses of Dorset
(1959); M. E. Wood in Arch. Journ. cv Supp. (1950).)
Barnston Farm is of considerable interest for the retention of much of the building of c. 1300 and of 16th-century work of good country quality.
Architectural Description—The house consists of the Hall
block (32 ft. by 18½ ft.) orientated E. and W. with the solar
wing (14½ ft. by 30 ft.) across the W. end, forming a T-shaped
plan; extending at a right-angle from the solar wing is the
mid 16th-century W. wing. The block that contained the
Hall retains at the E. end of the N. and S. walls the doorways
to the former screens passage though much damaged and now
blocked; inserted in the blocking of the first is a modern
window and of the second a reset 16th-century two-light
window; the original jambs surviving are chamfered and,
though both the heads have been destroyed, the relieving
arches remain. Above the S. doorway is a patch of blocking
where a window has been removed. The great projecting
S. chimney-stack has a plain chamfered plinth, some underpinning, which is possibly also the stub of a wall, on the E.,
and symmetrical weather-tabling to a single square shaft
rebuilt, or heightened, in the upper part. Westward from the
stack and continuing as far as the S.W. corner of the solar
wing the wall is ashlar-faced and with a high moulded plinth,
all of the 16th century; in that part fronting the Hall is a four-light stone-mullioned window to the ground floor with
square-headed openings under a moulded label with square
stops and a two-light window to the first floor. The N. wall
has, W. of the screens doorway, a second doorway with
moulded head set in part in the blocking of a two-light window
and above the latter is a modern window in a patch of blocking
that possibly occupies the site of an original window; W.
again is the 16th-century projecting staircase bay, which is
roughly ashlar-faced and contains in the N. wall three small
single-light windows, one on the ground floor with an
elliptical light in a square head, one at half-height with an
ogee light with sunk spandrels cut from a single rectangular
slab, and one under the eaves with a square-headed light; the
first and last light small closets adjoining the stair. The lean-to
roof of the bay continues the slope of the main roof. The E.
end of the Hall block appears to have been mostly rebuilt,
probably in the 17th century, and further strengthened by the
addition of a large buttress in five weathered stages, which
blocks one of the lights of the plainly chamfered four-light
window on the upper floor. On the ground floor is a comparatively modern timber-framed window.
Barnston Farm in the Parish of Church Knowle
The Solar Wing projects N. and S. of the Hall block, though
the N. projection is now masked by the later staircase bay.
Broken through by the S.E. corner is a 16th-century doorway
with a repaired moulded four-centred head and moulded
jambs with moulded stops. The gabled S. wall has a moulded
coping with the stump of a carved finial and contains a two-storey three-sided window-bay with a steeply weathered roof
and with windows occupying the full width of the ground
and first floors; they are transomed and of six square-headed
lights on the face divided into two groups by heavier central
mullions, and one light in each canted side; inside, the wide
relieving-arch over the bay is visible from within the roof. The
W. return wall is plastered and has a large projecting chimney-stack, which is probably a 16th-century rebuilding of an
original and rather larger stack, for rough footings remain
exposed beside it. The plastered N. end wall is gabled and has
three original two-stage ashlar buttresses rising the height of
the ground floor; in the E. bay so formed is a modern window
in the 16th-century style and in the W. bay a renewed 16th-century doorway with a moulded four-centred opening in a
square head and with stop-moulded jambs. Centrally on the
first floor is a window of c. 1300 of two trefoiled lancet lights
with a quatre-foiled spandrel, chamfered reveals, a two-centred rear arch and stone window seats; the reveals are
rebated inside and retain hinge-pins for shutters; the mullion
retains pierced lugs for the shutter-bolts. Above in the gable
end is a small rectangular 16th or 17th-century single-light
window, now blocked. The parapeted gable is apparently
deformed by the adjoining wall of the W. wing but cracks
in the rendering reveal full symmetry.
The West Wing has the walling entirely concealed by plaster
rendering. The W. end is gabled and with a chimney-stack at
the apex. In the N. wall is a ground-floor window in the
16th-century style but entirely renewed and, on the first floor,
a reset window of c. 1300 with two plain lancet lights so
placed that the sill inside is only 1 ft. above the floor. Possibly
an annexe projected N. from this side; a length of wall with
plaster on the E. face continues the W. wall northward and
also the windows just described are placed rather to the E.
In the S. wall are four-light windows on both floors, the
lower of the mid 16th century with compound mouldings,
the upper of the 17th century with ovolo-moulded jambs and
Inside the house, the Hall block is now divided by a modern
wall to provide a kitchen and dairy. The mid 16th-century
open timber ceiling from end to end comprises five cross
beams and two longitudinal beams, all moulded. The second
beam from the E. is morticed for a plank screen, now gone.
The N.W. doorway to the solar wing is a 16th-century
renewal with a four-centred chamfered head mutilated by the
insertion of a modern door-frame. The stone fireplace is of
the 16th century; it has a moulded surround with a flat head
rounded at the angles. In the W. wall is a stone corbel, which
probably supported the upper end of a timber stair leading
from the Hall to a doorway, now blocked, into the solar.
The solar wing is divided by modern partitions on the two
floors; the fireplaces at both levels are of the 16th century,
with moulded stone surrounds, the upper with elaborated
stops. Off the N.E. angle is the stone stair inserted in the 16th
century and since restored. The W. wing retains fireplaces
similar to those already described and the ceiling beams are
The Roofs over Hall and solar are of collar-beam type with
much modern repair. The roof over the W. wing has been
reconstructed, with re-use of some old timbers.
Hunting Lodge, on Creech Barrow, see Monument
The following houses unless otherwise described are
of one storey and attics, with walls of local rubble and
Church Knowle Village
b(3) Cottages, two, of two storeys, have a symmetrical
front in which is a stone inscribed J.C. 1829.
b(4) Cottages, two, of two storeys and attics and of the
early 19th century, share a common doorway in the middle
of a symmetrical front.
b(5) Cottages, pair, of two storeys, are symmetrically
designed; in the front is a stone inscribed M. 1843. On the
opposite side of the road, 30 yds. S., is a similar pair of cottages,
undated but of the same period.
b(6) Church Farm is a 17th-century house with a plan
comprising a hall at the E. end and an unheated room. A third
room with a fireplace in the E. gable wall was added in the
18th century. Parts of a black-letter inscription cut in stone
are incorporated in the masonry above the hall fireplace. The
unheated room was used as a cheese room before the modern
staircase was built there, a usage said to be of long standing.
b(7) House is of two storeys and was built probably in the
late 17th or early 18th century, although little work of that
date survives except the ashlar chimney. The plan comprised
a hall with a fireplace at the E. end and an inner room.
Wherever the original staircase stood it was not beside the
chimney-stack, for lack of space; the present staircase was built
at the time other extensive alterations were made in the late
19th century. A third room was added to the W. in the late
b(8) House, of two storeys and with a slate-covered hipped
roof of low pitch, is early Victorian.
b(9) House, 'The Old Cottage', has a thatched roof and is
of the 17th century. The plan comprised three rooms, the
middle one being unheated. The original staircase, now
removed, was on the N. side of the E. chimney-stack lit by a
small window high up; the latter is now blocked. The outside
has been reconstructed at various dates. The partitions on the
W. and E. sides of the present hall are respectively of the late
17th and 18th centuries. The staircase was inserted during the
b(10) Post Office, house, has a thatched roof and was
built in the second half of the 18th century on a plan comprising a living room at the E. end divided from an unheated
room by a plank-and-muntin partition. The doorway and
ground-floor windows have flat-arched heads of rubble. The
living room has exposed joists.
b(11) The New Inn, of two storeys and attics, was built
in the early 17th century on a plan comprising two heated
rooms, probably divided by a through passage, and a staircase
beside the E. chimney-stack. The W. window and the blocked
entrance doorway each retain a rubble relieving arch; that to
the E. window has been destroyed. In the 18th century the
house was re-roofed and a dormer window with a hipped
gable inserted on the N. side. The porch and the present
entrance doorway and the internal partitions are modern. A
contemporary but asymmetrical building adjoining on the E.,
now gutted, has a thatched roof.
b(12) East Creech Farm, house (929825), is of two
storeys. The walls are of rubble and brick, in part faced
with stucco, and the roofs are covered with tiles, blue
slates and stone slates. It is of three periods, comprising
a late 17th-century low block to the W. with a late
18th-century N. wing and a lofty E. block built in the
first half of the 18th century. The latter may have been
the only part completed of a whole rebuilding scheme;
a projecting bay stepped forward from the S. front has
the appearance of having been intended for the centrepiece in a symmetrical composition.
The W. block has on the ground floor two original two-light moulded stone-mullioned windows, one retaining the
original wrought-iron casement with scrolled catches. The
upper storey has been heightened. Inside is an exposed chamfered ceiling beam. The E. block is built of brick in Flemish
bond and gabled to the E. and W. The S. front has a brick
plinth and eaves cornice and stuccoed wall-face; most of the
windows on the two floors have segmental heads and are
fitted with double-hung sashes. The deeply projecting bay is
stepped forward twice symmetrically and is of two storeys
with a hipped roof. The E. end has three pairs of sunk roundels
with flush ashlar dressings; the pair on the ground floor were
originally windows and remains of the glazing-bars are built
up in the blocking; the top pair must always have been
blocked. The interior has been modernised.
Facing the S. front, on the opposite side of the road, is a
length of brick wall contemporary with the E. block containing, opposite the projecting bay, a Gateway with square
brick piers with moulded bases and moulded ashlar caps and
with rebates formed by small projecting pilaster-strips with
moulded brick console-like finials.
b(13) House, 50 yds. W. of (12), of cob with a rubble front
and with a thatched roof, is of the late 17th or early 18th
century. At the W. end is an ashlar chimney-stack; the E. end
is hipped. Inside is an 18th-century plank-and-muntin partition.
b(14) Cottage, immediately N. of (13), is of cob and has
a thatched roof. It was built in the 18th century and extended
to the W. in the early 19th century in cob faced with brick.
b(15) Cottage, 130 yds. W. of (12), is of the late 18th
century and has a central chimney-stack. The first-floor walls,
of brick, and the slated roof are modern.
b(16) House (927825), of cob and with a thatched roof, was
built in the 17th century (Plate 49). The S. and W. walls have
been refaced in the late 17th or early 18th century in brickwork
in English bond with vitrified headers. The plan comprised a
hall with a chimney at the E. end and an unheated room. An
early Victorian cottage, of two storeys and of brick with a
slated roof, was added at the E. end, the flue of the living-room
fireplace being carried up into the existing chimney.
b(17) Cottage, 20 yds. S. of (16), of rubble with carstone
quoins and brick dressings, was built in the 18th century and
heightened in brick in the late 19th century.
b(18) Cottage (925823), of brick, was built towards the
end of the 18th century; the brickwork is in Flemish bond
with glazed headers. The ground-floor windows have segmental brick heads. The house has been heightened and the
roof slated in modern times.
b(19) House (922828), at Cotness, has a thatched roof and
is probably of the late 17th century. A brick addition to the
W. was made in the 18th century. The original house was
refronted and porches were added in the 19th century on
conversion into two cottages.
b(20) Cottage (922832), at Cotness, of two storeys and of
cob with a thatched roof, is early Victorian.
b(21) House (919846), on the N. boundary of the parish, is
of two storeys and has a tiled roof. The date of the building is
given by a stone inscribed GP 1749 in the gable of the porch.
The walls are a mixture of Purbeck and carstone, with
Purbeck stone dressings. The present front windows are mid
Victorian. The ground-floor plan comprises two rooms with a
central chimney and a porch at the N. end.
b(22) Whiteway Farm (924812), house, dairy, granary, barn, etc. (Plate 51), has an architectural history
difficult to determine. The earliest work is of the late
16th or early 17th century.
The Farmhouse, of two storeys, is L-shaped on plan with
the main front to the S. where are three three-light windows
and one two-light window on the ground floor and three
three-light windows on the first floor; they, like the windows described below, have hollow-chamfered surrounds
and mullions. The present central doorway has a four-centred
head; a second doorway, now blocked, further W. is similar
to it. All the ground-floor openings have rubble relieving
arches. The N. wall has, on the ground floor, a three-light
window near the W. end and a small single light nearly
opposite the front doorway and, on the first floor, another
three-light window close to the re-entrant angle. The N.
wing has a doorway with four-centred head and four three-light windows on the E. face, the lower openings again with
relieving arches; it had a doorway opposite that just described
and four windows on the W. face, but the doorway is now a
window and only one original window survives. The roofs
have been reconstructed to a lower pitch than the original.
Whiteway Farm House
The plan of the main block comprised three rooms, the one
in the middle being unheated and lit by the small N. window.
The fireplace at the W. end has moulded jambs and a four-centred head with hollowed spandrels; it is probably of the
late 16th or early 17th century. How much of the building
is to be associated with this fireplace is not clear, since the
greater thickness of the W. wall may imply either a different
building phase or a considerable reconstruction; if the latter,
then either very early and continuing the initial building
tradition or later with the careful re-use of the old items. The
N. wing is an addition but here again the similarity of detail
and the use of relieving arches suggest that it is an early one.
The plan must have included an unheated room, probably a
pantry, at the S. end, and a kitchen; in this last, the opposed
doorways close to the fireplace are unusual. In the N. gable
wall is a blocked opening possibly indicating a window to a
former staircase where the oven now is.
The Dairyhouse (Plate 51) stands 6 yds. S.E. of the foregoing;
it also is L-shaped on plan and very similar to the farmhouse
in detail, except that most of the windows are unusually tall.
The two doorways in the W. wall have four-centred heads
and relieving arches, but not the N. doorway of the W. wing.
The house was built probably in the early 17th century as a
dairy with living accommodation at the S. end.
The Granary (Plate 51), close N.W. of the dairyhouse, is
probably of the late 17th or early 18th century. It is of two
storeys with a pyramidal roof. The S. doorway has a depressed
triangular chamfered head and jambs and a regular relieving
arch turned on the lintel. The Garden Wall, about 35 yds. S.
of the farmhouse, incorporates the moulded jambs of a doorway of c. 1600; they may have come from the house. The
Barn, N.E. of the farmhouse, of rubble with a tiled roof, has a
porch on the S.W. side and two buttresses with weathered
offsets flanking the opposite entrance. It is of the 18th century.
The Cottage and Byre S.E. of the dairyhouse are of the early
18th century and have been greatly altered.
See also Monument (27).
b(23) Puddle Mill Farm, house (936800), of two
storeys with a tiled roof, is of the late 18th century (Plate 46).
The N. front is symmetrical and the doorway and ground-floor windows have segmental heads of rubble above square
timber frames. The plan, comprising a lobby and a staircase
between the kitchen to the W. and the parlour to the E., is
typical of small farmhouses at this period.
b(24) Cottage, 50 yds. W. of (23), of two storeys, is contemporary with the foregoing.
b(25) West Orchard, farmhouse (941807), of two
storeys, comprises a nucleus, probably of the late 16th
century, extended E. and W. in the 18th and 19th
centuries respectively. The two fireplaces mentioned
below are the only evidence for the earliest date; they
have moulded jambs, four-centred heads and sunk
The plan is anomalous, perhaps because of later changes.
Most of the ground floor of the original building is occupied
by a large room with a fireplace at the E. end and divided by
a stone wall from a small lobby on the W., which contains a
19th-century staircase. At the N. end of the W. gable wall is a
timber door-frame with a chamfered four-centred head and
continuous jambs; above in the same wall, on the first floor,
is the second fireplace. The second, E., first-floor room is
The Cottage, 40 yds. W. of the farmhouse, has a tiled roof
and is of the 18th century. The doorway has a flat rubble head.
The Barn, 50 yds. E. of the farmhouse, is of the 18th century.
See also Monument (31).
b(26) Stone (92068184), on Ridgeway Hill, marks the
boundary between Church Knowle and Steeple parishes. It is
of dressed limestone, 2 ft. high by 1½ ft. by 1 ft. The E. face
(Plate 64) is inscribed with 'K' and a Bench Mark; the W.
face bears a crude 'S'.
Mediaeval and Later Earthworks
b(27) Settlement Remains at Whiteway (923813) cover
1 acre W. of Whiteway Farm (Monument 22) on a gentle
slope falling E. and S. They include a rectangular platform
with scarps up to 3 ft. high and a terrace-way 4 yds. wide
entering the site from the N. On the W. is the parish boundary
bank and ditch. (Hutchins I, 589; R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821:
b(28) Settlement Remains at Barnston (932815), some
2 acres in extent, lie S.E. of Barnston Farm (Monument 2),
terraced on an E.-facing slope. (Hutchins I, 507; R.A.F. V.A.P.
CPE/UK 1821: 2414.)
b(29) Pillow Mounds, six (929820), lie in rough
pasture ¾ m. W.N.W. of St. Peter's church and 125 yds.
S.W. of Bare Cross (plan p. 509). The mounds (a–f)
are arranged in a row on a south-facing slope of 16°.
Their purpose is unknown: their slope makes it unlikely
that they ever supported structures. Hutchins recorded
the mounds, with a plan but no comment, in 1773
(1st ed., I, 605).
The arrangement of the mounds in a rough line rising from
S.W. to N.E. suggests that they were built alongside the
terraced track which runs immediately above them and may
have led only to Barnston or continued below the hill towards
Whiteway as air photographs hint. Either objective would be
compatible with a mediaeval date. The analogy with the
similar group near a mediaeval settlement at Eastington (see
Worth Matravers, 32) tends to confirm this. Enough remains
of strip lynchets farmed from Barnston to show that these
mounds lay just beyond the limits of the open fields.
All the mounds have approximately parallel sides, squared
ends, tops of constant height, a firm appearance (except for
recent disturbance) and clear traces of ditches. Three lie
approximately N. to S. and three E. to W. Lengths range from
40 ft. to 60 ft. and breadths from 25 ft. to 30 ft. The greater
width of (d), 33½ ft., may be due to soil slip. Ditches are up
to 10 ft. wide and 1½ ft. deep. Heights from ditch bottoms to
mound tops are about 2¾ ft. The mounds are well-preserved,
but (c) and (d) have been dug into from the top. (R.A.F.
V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821: 2413–5.)
b(30) Settlement Remains at Bradle (931807)
cover some 4 acres immediately N.E. of Bradle Farm
on ground sloping gently N. to a stream. Less regular
remains cover about 3 acres to the E. (932806). The
subsoil is Purbeck Beds and Wealden sand. There are
references to settlement at Bradle in Domesday Book
and throughout the mediaeval period (Hutchins I,
582–3; Fägersten, 132), while a chapel is mentioned in
1326 (E. A. and G. S. Fry, Dorset Records, V (1896),
319). The remains appear to belong to two separate
settlements of West and East Bradle. The Tithe map of
1843 names an East Bradle Farm adjacent and shows a
boundary line along the hedge E. of the main block of
Church Knowle. (29) Pillow mounds on Ridgeway Hill.
Six small, rectangular, contiguous platforms, most of which
were apparently once of 1/7 to 1/5 acre, are paired by six long
closes each ½ acre in size, varying in length from 240 ft.
to 300 ft. The small platforms slope slightly N., are ill-defined
to the S., and some have N.-falling scarps up to 4½ ft. high.
These remains possibly represent 'tofts and crofts' (cf. Chaldon
Herring, 20). The whole area had been much disturbed even
before ploughing, after which dark earth could be seen to
cover the small platforms; the soil in the long closes was much
lighter in colour. These closes were divided by continuous
low banks of yellow clay, some apparently ditched and others
scarped up to 3 ft. on one side. In places these banks apparently
rose up over the N. scarps of the small enclosures, indicating
that they had been built after the scarps had been formed.
Spreads of flaggy limestone were noted along the banks around
the small enclosures.
The boundary dividing the field in which these remains lie
from that to the E. apparently overlies a scarped enclosure.
Immediately beyond it a hollow-way 12 ft. wide across the
bottom runs N. to S. below a scarp 4 ft. high. (R.A.F. V.A.P.
CPE/UK 1821: 5415.)
b(31) Settlement Remains at West Orchard (941808)
very fragmentary, lie N.E. of the farm (Monument 25). The
site appears in Domesday Book as 'Horcerd'. (Hutchins I,
589; Fägersten, 134; R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821: 5413).
a,b(32) Strip Fields occur in four places:
(a) N. of Barnston (around 927818), where fragments remain
of two contour strip lynchets with treads 4 yds. and 13 yds.
wide divided by a riser 10 ft. high. These were part of the
former West Field. (b) S. of Bradle (927802), mainly contour
strip lynchets now almost ploughed out. Extensive narrow rig
on the N. shoulder of Smedmore Hill shows that there was
destruction by ploughing in the 19th century. (c) N.E. and
S.E. of Bradle Barn along the sides of a narrow valley, remains
of eight up-and-down strips (at 936804) divided by banks up
to 1 ft. high. Widths vary from 20 yds. to 25 yds. Strip
lynchets (around 935796), mostly of contour type, run into
the remains of 'Celtic' fields (see Ancient Field Group (20))
and have been covered by later narrow rig. (d) S. of Woodhill
Coppice (from 937804 to 940798) where, in a much disturbed
area of about 40 acres, two blocks remain on either side of a
sunk bridle road running N.W. to S.E. A riser 3 ft. high forms
the S. side of this road where the strips run on to a headland.
Strips vary in width from 8 yds. to 15 yds. and are divided by
very low banks about 9 ft. wide, deepened on a secondary
slope by lynchet action. Narrow rig 2 yds. to 3 yds. wide can
still be seen on them. (R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821: 2414,
b(33) Hunting Lodge, on Creech Barrow
(92148240), a conical hill of Tertiary formations, now
comprises only the footings of a stone tower and
associated banks. It was one of the three hunting lodges
in Purbeck Chase and is marked on Treswell's map of
1586 by a round tower. (Hutchins I, opp. 462, also
463, 606.) Damage to a building here was alleged by
Sir Christopher Hatton in 1583 (P.R.O., Star Chamber
The tower site, on the summit at 637 ft. above O.D., is
marked by a limestone wall, mostly grass-covered, 4 ft. thick
and 1½ ft. high, forming a rectangle 30 ft. N.–S. by 25 ft.
(externally). A geological investigation showed that inside the
walls was a layer of black humus 2 ft. thick containing potsherds probably of the 16th or 17th centuries; a mediaeval
green-glazed sherd was found hereabouts at another time
(Dorset Procs. LXXVII (1955), 153).
The tower remains are at the centre of a symmetrical
arrangement of ditched banks, up to 3 ft. high, which together
outlined a Greek cross, the arms running downhill, within a
square, measuring about 110 yds. each way. The W. bank has
almost disappeared. A bank between the N.W. angle of the
square and the parish boundary is probably an addition.
Dates are unknown.
Other Earthworks and Allied Monuments
(34) Oval Barrow, p. 431.
(35–49) Round Barrows, p. 441.
(50–53) Mounds, p. 481.
(54–55) Settlements, Knowle Hill and Smedmore
Hill, p. 509.
(56) Cross-ridge Dykes, Knowle Hill, p. 517.
(57–62) Roman Villa and other Remains, p. 595.
Ancient Field Group (20), p. 629.