31 TARRANT RUSHTON (9305)
(O.S. 6 ins., ST 90 NW, ST 90 SW, ST 90 NE,
ST 90 SE)
The parish, covering 2,073 acres, lies on the E. side
of the Tarrant valley, all on Chalk; the land slopes
gently down from a maximum altitude of 310 ft. in
the N., south-westwards to the R. Tarrant and southeastwards to dry tributary valleys of the R. Allen.
The parish contains two mediaeval settlements, Preston Farm in the S., formerly part of Tarrant Crawford,
and the present village of Tarrant Rushton in the N.,
comprising a scatter of cottages along the R. Tarrant.
The scarcity of buildings earlier in date than the 18th
century is explained by a note in the 1664 Hearth-Tax
Returns: 'this thithing the dwelling houses were burnt
down and not yet rebuilt' (Meekings, 104, 122).
(1) The Parish Church of St. Mary, on the N. of
the village, has walls of rubble and flint with ashlar
dressings of Greensand and Heathstone, and tiled roofs.
The Nave and chancel arch preserve the form and part
of the structure of an early 12th-century building, which
appears to have been extended westwards later in the
12th century. In the first half of the 14th century the
Chancel was rebuilt, the North and South Transepts were
added, and a small West Tower was erected over the
western extension of the nave. The South Porch was
added in the 15th century; the N. vestry is modern.
Tarrant Rushton, the Parish Church of St. Mary
Architectural Description—The Chancel has a chamfered
plinth in which is incorporated some reused 12th-century ashlar.
The restored 14th-century E. window is of three trefoil ogee-headed lights with curvilinear tracery in a two-centred head; the
N. and S. walls have similar two-light windows, that on the S.
extensively restored. Further W. in the S. wall is a 14th-century
window of one trefoil-headed light. The restored 12th-century
chancel arch is round-headed and of one plain order with continuous jambs and chamfered plinths; it is flanked by small
openings, probably of the 14th century, that on the N. with
circular tracery with sexfoil cusping (Plate 10), that on the S.
with a stone slab with a sexfoil perforation.
In the Nave, the 14th-century archway to the N. transept has
a two-centred head of two chamfered orders, the inner order
dying into the responds; the E. respond has been cut back. The
archway to the S. transept is similar. The S. doorway, rebuilt
in the 16th century, has its head formed from a 12th-century
sculptured lintel, with the lower edge reshaped to give it a
triangular 'Tudor' form. On the N. side the lintel retains original
carving representing a large Agnus Dei flanked by small seated
figures (Plate 8); that on the E. faces the spectator with hands
raised, one hand holding an open book; that on the W., seen in
profile, has a curule chair and holds a bird in one hand and in the
other a tablet inscribed Gregor. The rear-arch of the doorway
is a reused 13th-century coffin-lid. Externally, the W. part of the
S. wall has a chamfered plinth and a roll-moulded string-course,
probably of the late 12th century. The W. wall has a chamfered
plinth, but no string-course; the W. window, similar to the E.
window of the chancel, is of the 14th century.
The North Transept has a square-headed 15th-century E. window of three trefoil-headed lights under a label with beast-head
stops. Further S. in the E. wall is a square-headed 14th-century
squint with a pierced closure slab (Plate 10) with three ogee-headed lights and curvilinear tracery; the N.E. side of the
embrasure rests on a trefoil squinch. The 14th-century N. window is of two trefoil-headed lights with a quatrefoil spandrel
light in a two-centred head. The W. wall has a reset 13th-century
lancet window, and a 16th-century doorway with a chamfered
segmental-pointed head and rear-arch.
The South Transept has an E. window similar to that of the
N. transept; in the S. wall is a 14th-century window similar to
the E. window in the chancel, but with the upper part cut down
to the middle of the tracery and finished with a square head.
The West Tower has but one stage, and no buttresses. The
tower arch is modern. The belfry has chamfered square-headed
single-light N. and S. windows. The tiled roof is hipped and
there is no parapet.
The South Porch has an archway with a moulded two-centred
head and continuous jambs; the rear-arch, of depressed ogee
form, is reused.
The early 17th-century Roof of the N. transept has three
trusses, each with arched braces to the collar and a shaped pendant at the apex of the braces; the braces spring from moulded
timber brackets. The S. transept roof has a chamfered tie beam.
Fittings—Bell: inscribed 'William Barns, Richard Arner
Chvrchwardens, 1675, R.F.', with vine-scroll border, probably
by Richard Hovey of Salisbury. Bracket: reset in S. transept, in E.
wall, circular stone, 12th century. Chest: of oak, with panelled
sides, early 18th century. Coffin-lids: Reused as rear-arch of S.
doorway, slab with double hollow-chamfered edge, 13th century; reset in S. wall of tower, tapering fragment with crossstem, probably 13th century; loose in chancel, fragment with
foliate cross-head, 13th century; reset in churchyard wall on S.,
tapering slab, mediaeval. Coffin Stools: of oak, pair, with turned
legs, 17th century. Communion Rails: of oak, with turned
balusters, early 18th century. Communion Table: of oak, with
cabriole legs, mid 18th century.
Monument: in chancel, on E. wall, behind communion table;
of Richard Lawrence, 1765, rector, and others of his family,
slate slab with bold Roman lettering.
Niche: in chancel, in E. wall, recess with moulded jambs,
trefoil two-centred head, and label with ball-flower stops, base
with three-sided chamfered corbel; early 14th century. Piscina:
in chancel, in S. wall, recess (Plate 12) with moulded jambs,
cinquefoil ogee head, and label with returned stops, projecting
bowl with moulded corbel and sexfoil outlet; early 14th century.
Plate: includes silver cup and paten, each inscribed 'Rushton
Church Plate Dorset 1756'. Royal Arms: of George IV, on painted
panel, with moulded border inscribed with churchwardens'
names and date 1825 (Plate 27). Stoup: in porch, recess with
round bowl, probably 15th century. Sundial: scratched on S.
wall of transept, mediaeval. Tables of Decalogue: on painted
panels, by G. Stevens of Blandford, 1825. Miscellanea: in recesses
above chancel arch, earthenware vases of uncertain date, probably
intended to increase resonance. Loose, volute capital, 12th century, recut to form basin; also Purbeck marble slab with hollow-chamfered under-edge and two square recesses filled in with
marble, mediaeval. Built into S. face of tower, stone cross 2½ ft.
(2) Bridge (93670579), over the Tarrant, of ashlar and brickwork with one segmental arch, is of the late 18th or early 19th
(3) The Old Rectory (93770690), of two storeys with attics,
has walls of banded rubble and flint, with ashlar and brick
quoins; the roofs are tiled. The original range is of the 18th
century, comprising a class-T house with an approximately
symmetrical three-bay S. front, with a central doorway flanked
by windows with horizontally sliding sashes, and with two-light
casement windows in the upper storey. Early in the 19th century
a service bay was added at the E. end of the range. In c. 1820 a
lofty drawing-room was added at the W. end, and a study was
added on the N. Further additions on the N.W. are of c. 1880.
(4) Rushton Mill (93710598), a water-driven corn mill of
two storeys with an attic, has brick walls and a tiled roof; it dates
probably from c. 1800 and was in use until 1920. Much of the
machinery remains in good condition (drawings and photographs in R.C.H.M. files). Adjacent on the E. is a two-storeyed
cottage of c. 1850, with banded brick and flint walls and with a
(5) Cottages (93780594), range of three, of one storey with
attics, have rendered walls and thatched roofs. The middle
dwelling is probably of the early 18th century; those to E. and
W. are somewhat later.
(6) Cottage (94990651), with cob walls and a tiled roof, is of
the early 19th century. The plan is of class S.
(7) Cottage (93750534), of one storey with an attic, has cob
walls and a thatched roof; it is of the early 18th century and has
a class-S plan. The living room has a stop-chamfered beam.
(8) Cottage (93760528), of one storey with attics, has cob
walls and a thatched roof; it is perhaps of the late 17th century
and has a class-T plan. Inside, stop-chamfered beams are exposed.
(9) Preston Farm (93700500), house, of two storeys with
brick walls and slate-covered roofs, has a class-U plan. The back
rooms, now service rooms, are of the late 18th century; the
front rooms were added early in the 19th century.
Mediaeval and Later Earthworks
(10) Moat (937061), about 50 yds. N.W. of (1), is
of class AI (b), (see West Cambridgeshire, lxii). The site,
in the floodplain of the Tarrant, was formerly thought to
represent a mediaeval chapel of St. Leonard and is noted
by this name on the Ordnance Survey, but this has been
disproved; it more probably surrounded Tarrant
Rushton manor house (Dorset Procs, 64 (1942), 34–42).
An approximately rectangular island, 130 ft. by 160 ft.,
is bounded on the W. by the Tarrant and on the other
sides by a ditch, up to 40 ft. wide and 4 ft. deep. On
N. and S. are low external and internal banks; on the
S. the ditch has partly gone. The island has a large
depression 2½ ft. deep near the S.W. corner, and two
platforms at right angles to one another on the internal
bank at the N.E. corner.
Roman and Prehistoric Monuments
The alignment of the Roman Road from Badbury Rings to
Bath crosses the parish (see Dorset V).
Monuments (11–15), Round Barrows
(11) Bowl (94110380), in the S.E. of the parish, lies on an
E.-W. spur about 240 ft. above O.D.; diam. 45 ft., ht. 1 ft.
(12) Bowl (94220385), or possibly Bell, 130 yds. N.E. of (11),
has been damaged by ploughing and by a modern structure
placed on top of it; diam. 70 ft., ht. 5 ft.
(13) Barrow? (94300383), 100 yds. E.S.E. of (12), has been
ploughed almost flat; diam. about 45 ft.
(14) Bowl (94620440), 700 yds. N.E. of (13), lies on a ridge
top at 250 ft. above O.D. It was formerly a small mound with
a pit dug in the centre, but has now been destroyed by cultivation.
(15) Bowl (95240477), over 200 ft. above O.D., occupies an
eastward-facing spur on the edge of Tarrant Rushton Airfield.
Now being reduced by cultivation, it was formerly 60 ft. in
diameter and 5 ft. high, with distinct traces of a ditch and of a
pit dug in the centre.
(16) Enclosure (939046), some 6 acres in extent and roughly
oval in shape, lies 225 ft. above O.D., at the W. end of a spur
overlooking the Tarrant. The site, seen only as a soil-mark on
air photographs (C.U.A.P., AQY 92, 94), is defined by two
ditches, 80 ft. apart or more on the S., but drawing closer together on the E. and W.; the N. side is concealed by a hedge.
There are traces of a ditch which approached the enclosure on
the S., but no entrance is visible.