25 OWERMOIGNE (7685)
(O.S. 6 ins. aSY 78 SE, bSY 78 NE)
This large parish, covering 4,052 acres, occupies a
strip of land stretching for nearly 5 m. N. from the sea
at Ringstead Bay where the cliffs of Kimmeridge Clay
stand up to 200 ft. high. To the N. the land rises mainly
on Chalk to over 400 ft. above O.D. and then falls
into the valley of the W.-flowing Upton Brook, cut
into soft Wealden Beds. Beyond, the land rises on Chalk,
Portland and Purbeck Beds to a height of 400 ft. on
Moigns Down and then slopes down gently N. on
Chalk until the latter is overlaid in the N. half of the
parish by Reading Beds, London Clay and Bagshot
Beds with extensive heathland between 100 and 200 ft.
The parish has a complex history, being made up of a
number of small settlements and their associated land
blocks. The greater part of the parish, N. of Moigns
Down, was originally divided between the two Domesday settlements of Owermoigne and Galton, both
situated on the edge of the heathland. Their open fields
lay immediately to the S. on the Chalk, and those of
Owermoigne remained in existence until the early 19th
century (see Manor Map of Ower-Moign (1774),
D.C.R.O.). Owermoigne itself is a small village
grouped round the church, with Moigne Court, a 13th-century moated house, standing a short distance to the
N.; Galton is now only a small hamlet. The scattered
settlement on the heathland to the N. contains no building earlier than 1850 though it had apparently already
begun in the early 19th century (O.S. 1 in., 1st ed. 1811).
The part of the parish S. of Moigns Down was until
recently also divided. To the E. was a detached part of
Milton Abbas parish with a settlement at Holworth
(Chaldon Herring 20), immediately E. of Holworth
Farm. The land to the W. belonged to 'Suddon', now
South Down Farm, a settlement first recorded as such
b(1) The Parish Church of St. Michael stands in
the middle of the village. The walls are of local rubble
and the roofs are covered with tiles. The West Tower
is of the early 15th century; the rest of the church was
rebuilt in 1883 to the designs of S. Jackson of Weymouth, with some old windows reset in the chancel.
Architectural Description—The Chancel has in the N. wall a
16th-century window of two cinque-foiled lights with hollowmoulded jambs and square head, and in the S. wall a similar
16th-century window with a modern label and further W. a
mid 13th-century window of one trefoiled light with two-centred head and a modern label. The West Tower (9 ft.
square) is of three storeys divided externally into two stages by
a weathered string-course, with a plinth and an embattled
parapet and gargoyles at the corners. On the N. side is a vice
contained in a large rounded projection with loop lights; to
the W. are single-stage diagonal buttresses added before 1883.
The tower arch is of two moulded orders; the inner order is
two-centred and dies into the face of the jambs and the outer
order is segmental-pointed and continuous down to pyramidal
stops. On the N. side is a doorway to the vice with square
chamfered head; on the S. is a small rectangular window. The
W. window is of two cinque-foiled lights with vertical tracery
in a two-centred head with a label. In the upper stage there is a
window in each wall of two arched lights without cusping in a
square head. The tower roof is modern.
The Church, Plan
Fittings—Bells: three; 1st inscribed in black-letter 'Sancta
Anna Ora Pro Nobis', 15th-century; 2nd and 3rd both by John
Wallis, 1594. Bell-frame, perhaps 16th-century. Benefactor's
Table: In tower, on N. wall, 18th-century painted wooden
panel recording bequests to the poor of Owermoigne from
Adam Jones of Holworth, Abbotsmilton, 1653. Brass: in
chancel, on S. wall, to John Sturton, 1506, inscribed plate.
Font: circular moulded bowl on plain cylindrical stem with
moulded foot on square base, 18th-century. Monument: In
churchyard, S.E. of porch, table-tomb to William Wallis
1625/6. Royal Arms: in nave, on W. wall, painted panel,
between 1816 and 1837.
b(2) Moigne Court (¼ m. N.N.E.) consists of a house
on a moated site, with accompanying enclosures and
ponds. The house, of two storeys with walls of rubble
and roofs covered with slates, is of the late 13th century
with modern additions (Plate 115). The main part of
the present house contains the original first-floor hall
and the service rooms; the N.E. wing is modern but
replaces an original solar wing; the smaller staircase
wing to the E. and the S. end of the house are modern
additions (M. E. Wood in Arch. Journal, cv, Supplt.
(1950), 16–18). The moated site, enclosures and ponds
cover about 8 acres. They lie on Reading Beds, some
130 ft. above O.D., in a generally flat area intersected by
many small streams, now largely canalised.
Moigne Court is an interesting example of a late
13th-century moated house with a first-floor hall
retaining its original windows.
Architectural Description—The original part of the house
forms a long rectangle running N.–S. The W. front has at the
N. end weathering where a buttress has been removed and
towards the S. a projection for a chimney which has been cut
down to the level of the roof. A blocked doorway has a rough
arched head. The ground-floor windows are of three lights
with stone mullions: one is of the 16th century and the others
of the 19th century. The upper storey has three original windows each of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil in plate
tracery under a two-centred head; the head and jambs are
moulded and rebated and of Purbeck stone; the tracery is of
Ham Hill stone; on the inside (Plate 115) the windows are
finished with attached shafts with moulded bases and capitals
carrying hollow-chamfered rear arches; the southernmost has
an internal moulded label. The middle window, possibly reset
here in the 19th century, has a shallow buttress-like projection
of the wall below it which may have supported the chimney
breast of a hall fireplace where the window now is. A blocking
in the N. gable wall may indicate the former position of the
Moigne Court in the Parish of Owermoigne
The gabled N. end has a single-stage buttress to the W.;
the doorway is modern. The E. wall, between modern wings,
has a ground-floor doorway, which is not original and has a
modern arched head, and a window further N. set in a doorway of which parts of the jambs are original and the N. splay
finishes in a chamfer with a stop reset and inverted. Above the
latter is a doorway to the upper storey also converted to a
window; nothing now remains of any outside stairway to it;
it has a moulded two-centred arched head, continuous jambs
and a moulded label cut away at the ends; the depressed segmental rear arch is moulded and matches the rear arch of a
doorway further N. which presumably led to the solar in the
original N.E. wing; the main arch to this latter doorway has
Inside, there is a cross wall on the ground floor which is
probably original; the room S. of it has had a large fireplace
and was probably at one time the kitchen. The opposed doorways immediately N. of the cross wall suggest a through
passage under the S. end of the hall. Otherwise the interior
has been entirely rearranged and refitted.
The Moat around (Fig. p. 186) encloses a square area of about
2/3 acre with sides about 170 ft. long. The interior, covered with
buildings and gardens, is highest at the S.E. angle, where the
level seems to be natural, but several feet lower at the S.W.,
apparently due to the construction of sunk lawns. The ditch,
originally wet, is now mostly dry, disturbed, overgrown and
filled-in except for the S. arm. This is about 50 ft. wide across
the top, 25 ft. wide across the apparently flat bottom, 5 ft.
deep below the interior and about 8 ft. deep below the exterior.
On the N. the ditch is only 3 ft. deep. It is uncertain where the
original entrance lay. Bridge foundations were found on the
N. in the 19th century (Hutchins I, 456–8); the causeway on
the E., 30 ft. wide, is apparently recent but the pattern of earthworks E. of it is compatible with an earlier bridge; the present
main entrance S. of the N.W. angle replaced a wooden bridge.
A series of enclosures E. of the moat, in pasture, is surrounded
by a ditch and, for most of the perimeter, by an inner bank 3 ft.
high. 'Extensive remains of foundations' were removed apparently from the area of these enclosures, and foundations
of a supposed chapel, of which there is now no sign, were just
W. of them (Hutchins I, 457–8).
N.W. of the moat are four fish ponds set round a rhomboidal area and probably once joined by a channel with
sluices. Leats from a stream 100 yds. to the W. fed and drained
them. These arrangements probably derive from a formal
garden lay-out. To the S. are two very irregular, roughly
flat-topped mounds (34–5) (see p. 482).
Supposed Site of Chapel Main Water Channels
b(3) Rectory (160 yds. S.E.), of two storeys with
cellar, has walls mainly of stone, with the upper storey
partly of timber framing, and slate-covered roof. It is
of the late 16th century, partly rebuilt in the 19th
century and enlarged towards the W.
The N. front has the lower storey of stone with a single-light window with moulded jambs and four-centred head and
a small blocked window with chamfered stone dressings. The
upper storey is of timber framing, jettied and tile-hung,
with original joists to the W. of the entrance. The porch
is largely modern but the inner doorway has an original timber
frame with segmental head. The E. end has an original window
with four-centred head. The back is rendered with stucco and
has a small projection which was probably a garderobe. Inside,
some of the rooms have deeply-chamfered, intersecting ceiling
beams. The staircase is of c. 1700 with square newels and turned
balusters. In the newer part of the house is reset the head of a
15th-century window of three lights with vertical tracery,
said to have come from the church.
b(4) House (70 yds. E.S.E.), of one storey and attics, has
walls of cob and rubble, partly rebuilt in brick, and a thatched
roof. It is probably of the early 18th century, with an early
19th-century addition to the E.
b(5) House (30 yds. S.), of one storey and attics, has walls of
cob above a stone plinth and a thatched roof. It is of the early
18th century with windows renewed in the 19th century and
the interior drastically modernised.
b(6) Moigne Cottage (40 yds. S.W.), of two storeys with
rubble walls and thatched roof, was built in the 18th century
on a three-room plan and has been heightened.
b(7) West Farm, house (40 yds. W.S.W.), of two storeys,
has rubble walls with some brick dressings and a tiled roof
with stone slates at the eaves. It may be of 17th-century origin,
but was mostly rebuilt in the late 18th century. The date 1819
is scratched on the N. end.
b(8) Cottages, four (70 yds. N.W.), of two storeys with
cob walls and thatched roof, are of the second quarter of the
b(9) Ferndale Cottage (175 yds. N.), of one storey and
attics with rubble walls and thatched roof, is of the 17th
century with 18th-century additions. It is much altered but
retains an original dormer window of five lights with a timber
b(10) Cottage, 'Wilwa' (500 yds. N.), of one storey and
attics, has walls of cob, partly rebuilt in rubble and brick, and a
thatched roof. It is of late 17th or early 18th-century date
and is built on a two-room plan with end chimneys of which
the northern is original and the southern probably added later
in the 18th century.
b(11) House (777851), at Galton, of two storeys and attics
with rubble walls, partly rebuilt in brick, and slate-covered
roofs, is of the late 16th century but retains few original
features. The house is built on a three-room plan with a
through passage behind the fireplace of the central hall; a
later lean-to addition is at the back. The passage and third room
at the S. end were rebuilt in the 18th century. The hall has a
ceiling divided into square panels by moulded beams, and the
chimney is placed to one side leaving room for a former staircase between the chimney and the doorway; the thin partition
wall between this space and the passage shows that the 18th-century S. end is a rebuilding and not an addition. At the N.
end is a large parlour with the original fireplace blocked.
Settlement remains (17) lie to the S.
b(12) Cottage (777852), of one storey and attics with cob
walls and thatched roof, is of uncertain date and may be of two
builds. The walls are rendered and the windows are modern.
On plan the cottage comprises two rooms with an entrance
leading to a small lobby at the side of a central chimney for
a fireplace in the N. room. The stack has been rebuilt above the
roof. The S. room has an 18th-century chimney on the gable
end; this part may be an addition to an original single-room
dwelling, or a rebuilding. House, 50 yds. N., of two storeys
with rubble walls and slate-covered roof, is of c. 1830.
a(13) Holworth Farm, house (768832), of two storeys
with attics, with coursed rubble walls partly rendered
and tiled roofs with stone-slate eaves, was built in the
early 17th century and extended in brick in the early
19th century. The deserted mediaeval village of Holworth (Chaldon Herring 20) lies immediately to the E.
The house is symmetrically designed with central entrance
hall and staircase, one room to each side and gable-end
chimneys. The S. elevation has been rendered but retains the
original fenestration of four four-light windows with hollow-chamfered stone mullions and one of two lights over the
porch. Three similar two-light windows, two with labels,
light the staircase. The partitions enclosing the staircase are
good examples of muntin and plank construction. The
staircase has square newels with moulded angles and a moulded
handrail without balusters. The W. room has a wide, open
fireplace with a timber lintel and was formerly the kitchen.
The E. parlour and the chamber over have stone fireplaces
with four-centred heads. The roof trusses have lateral posts
framed to the wall plates.
Osmington and Owermoigne. Mediaeval settlements and fields.
a(14) North Holworth Farm, house (767834), of two
storeys with rubble walls and thatched roof, is of the mid 18th
century and was enlarged by the addition of a W. wing
early in the 19th century; this was later extended in brick.
The original house was built on a three-room plan with a
central entrance in front of an unheated store or service room
and with chimneys in the gable ends.
a(15) South Down Farm, house (757822), of two storeys
and attics, has a brick front and other walls of stone and a
tiled roof with stone slates at the eaves; it is of the early 18th
century, with later additions. The front is symmetrical, of five
bays, and has a central porch, a brick eaves cornice and
double-hung sash windows under segmental arches with
keystones. For adjacent settlement remains etc. (see 18, 19).
a(16) South Holworth Cottage (761819), of two storeys
with walls of squared rubble and thatched roof, is dated 1782
but has been largely rebuilt after a fire; a stone dated 1656
has been preserved from an earlier back wing.
Mediaeval and Later Earthworks
b(17) Settlement Remains (777851), formerly part of Galton,
lie to the S. of Galton Farm. There are many enclosures,
abandoned since 1774 (see J. Upjohn, Map of the Manor of
Ower-Moign (1774), in D.C.R.O.). The settlement was
around crossroads; the road running E. to W. about 778852
is disused and survives as a hollow-way (R.A.F. V.A.P.
CPE/UK 1821: 6429).
a(18) Settlement Remains (757821) cover about 6 acres
around South Down Farm (15) (see Fig. p. 187); only a few
fragmentary closes remain. The settlement is first recorded
as 'Suddon' in 1327 (Fägersten, 143). (R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK
a(19) Strip Lynchets (757822–760822; see Fig. p. 187), of
contour type, very fragmentary, lie N. and N.E. of South
Down Farm (15); they may have formed part of the open
fields of 'Suddon' (R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821: 4441).
a(20) Strip Lynchets (760836), of contour type, are fragmentary (R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821: 4440).
a(21) Strip Lynchet (762845), a riser 12 ft. high with a tread
10 yds. wide, formed a strip of West Field in 1774 (J. Upjohn,
Map of the Manor of Ower-Moign (1774), in D.C.R.O.;
R.A.F. V.A.P. CPE/UK 1821: 6431).
Other Earthworks and Allied Monuments
(22–33) Round Barrows, p. 447.
(34–35) Mounds, p. 482; see also (2) above.
(36) Enclosure, p. 503.
(37) Linear Dyke, p. 518.
Ancient Field Groups (11, 13, 14), pp. 627, 628.