12 HORTON (0307)
(O.S. 6 ins., SU 00 NW, SU 00 NE)
Horton, formerly a large, nearly oblong parish, lying
immediately N. of Holt between the R. Allen and the
eastern heathlands, was reduced to 2,760 acres in the
19th century and made L-shaped in plan by the separation of the parish of Woodlands. The western third of
the area is on Chalk, between 130 ft. and 200 ft. above
O.D. ; the central third, comprising the broad valley of
a S.E.-flowing brook, is on Reading Beds between 90
ft. and 180 ft. ; the rest of the parish is on Bagshot Beds,
sloping gently down from 200 ft. above O.D. in the W.
to 100 ft. on the R. Crane near the E. boundary.
The village, the original settlement in the parish and
the site of a 10th-century monastery, stands at the junction of the Chalk and the Reading Beds and at the
source of the brook. Extension of settlement has been
confined almost entirely to the forested and heathy
areas in the E. Earthworks on Horton Common, near
the E. boundary, indicate early settlement; Waeneca's
Farm, recorded in 1033 (Dorset Procs., 58 (1936), 124–9;
K. No. 1318), must have been in the vicinity, probably
near Bridge Cottages. Encroachment on the heath continued until late in the 19th century, especially in the
areas E. of Horton Heath Farm, near Burnt Firs, and
also in the N. of the parish (Tithe Map, 1841; O.S., 6 ins.,
At the end of the 17th century the manor was sold
by the Uvedale family to Sir Anthony Sturt of London,
whose heirs proceeded to embellish the place in various
ways. The church was largely rebuilt, Horton Tower
(7) was erected, two ornamental lakes (16) were formed
and alterations appear to have been made to the manor
house (6). In 1765, on inheriting the Crichel estate (see
p. 41), Humphrey Sturt lost interest in Horton and
these somewhat ambitious projects were abandoned.
(1) The Parish Church of St. Wolfrida stands in
the village. The walls are of stone, flint and brick, with
ashlar dressings; the roofs are tiled. William of Malmesbury (Gesta Pontificum Anglorum, Rolls Ser. lii, 203) says
that a Benedictine abbey at Horton was endowed by
Ordulf, son of Earl Ordgar, the founder of the Benedictine house at Tavistock (961); early in the 12th
century Horton became a cell of Sherborne. Little
remains of the ancient walls mentioned by Hutchins
(III, 156). In c. 1720 the mediaeval Chancel and Nave
were remodelled; the E., W. and part of the S. walls
were rebuilt and the remainder of the S. wall was cased
in brickwork. The North Tower (Plate 3) was built in
1722–3 (churchwardens' account books) to a design
which betrays the influence if not the authorship of
Vanbrugh, then engaged at Eastbury (Tarrant GunVille (2), Dorset IV, 90). The North Transept was added
in 1755. Restorations were undertaken in 1869 and the
tower was repaired in 1900.
The tower is of some architectural interest, and among
the fittings the mediaeval effigies and the 18th-century
reredos are noteworthy.
Horton, the Parish Church of St. Wolfrida
Architectural Description—The E. wall of the Chancel is
of brickwork, except for the N.E. corner which has a wide
buttress of squared rubble, perhaps partly mediaeval, with three
weathered stages. The N. wall retains mediaeval masonry of
flint and rubble, probably of the 12th or 13th century; in it is a
round-headed 18th-century window with an ashlar surround
with plain imposts and keystone; the adjacent segmental-headed
doorway has a rendered surround. The S. wall is faced externally
with brickwork, but the thickness suggests that the core is
mediaeval. The 18th-century chancel arch is semicircular, with
ashlar responds and chamfered plinths.
The N. wall of the Nave has round-headed 18th-century
openings to the tower and N. transept; that of the tower has a
keystone and impost blocks. The S. wall is brick-faced; in the
thick eastern part is a round-headed 18th-century window, as in
the chancel; the W. part has a shallow square-headed recess in
the form of a blocked window. The W. wall is of brick and has
two round-headed 18th-century windows with stone imposts
The North Tower is of ashlar and of two stages, with a platband between the stages, a modillion cornice, and a parapet
from which springs a pyramidal spire. In the N. side is an 18th-century window similar to that of the chancel; a buli's-eye
window now contains a clock. The ashlar spire has four louvered
dormers with pediments.
The North Transept is mainly ashlar-faced. The plinths of the
N. and E. walls have reused 15th-century ogee-moulded
weathering; the N.E. and N.W. corners have buttresses of three
weathered stages, probably also reused 15th-century material.
The N. doorway has 15th-century moulded jambs with carved
stops and an 18th-century segmental head in which the jamb
mouldings continue; the surround, with plain pilasters and a
moulded entablature, is of the 18th century. Above the doorway
is a round-headed window similar to that of the tower and in
the gable is a small bull's-eye window; an adjacent stone bears
the date 1755. The W. wall of the transept has a round-headed
18th-century window as before described.
Fittings—Bell: one, probably by John Danton, inscribed
FD. FE. WF. LOVE GOD, 1634. Coffin Stools: pair, with turned legs,
late 17th century. Chest: of cast-iron with engrailed panelling,
for registers, 1813. Communion Table: In vestry, with turned
legs and moulded rails, 17th century, top modern.
Monuments and Floor-slabs. Monuments: In chancel, reset on
N. wall, (1) of Victoria, daughter of William Uvedale, 1680,
marble tablet with lozenge-of-arms of Uvedale quartering
Dowse. Reset in N. transept, (2) ascribed to Sir Giles de Braose,
1305, Purbeck marble effigy (Plate 10) of knight in mail and
surcoat bearing shield carved with arms of Braose, legs crossed,
feet on defaced beast; (3) anonymous, Ham Hill stone effigy
(Plate 10) of lady in cloak and wimple, face mutilated, at feet
two dogs, c. 1300. In tower, on E. wall, (4) of Henry Hastings,
1650, Dorothy (Willobye) his wife, 1638, and Sir George
Hastings their son, 1651, stone, marble and alabaster wall-monument with Corinthian side-columns, entablature and
achievement-of-arms of Hastings; painted on apron, shields-of-arms of Hastings, Hastings impaling Willobye and Willobye.
Floor-slabs: In chancel, (1) of Ann Hopper, 1680. In tower, (2) of
Henry Hastings, 1650, with shield-of-arms of Hastings impaling
Willobye; (3) of . . . Hastings, fragment with shield-of-arms
as in foregoing.
Inscription: Reset externally in N. wall of chancel, fragment
of Purbeck marble with black-letter epitaph (Hutchins III, 158),
now illegible. Plate: includes Elizabethan silver cup (Plate 22)
without assay marks, by 'Gillingham' silversmith (Dorset IV,
xxxiv), and later but undated cover-paten by another maker;
also pewter flagon, probably late 18th century. Reredos: of
carved and painted wood; central panel with dove and cherub-heads irradiated, Ionic side-pilasters, entablature, broken pediment and pelican-in-piety finial, side panels with floral pendants;
mid 18th century. Seating: In nave and transept, box-pews of
panelled oak, 18th century, rearranged. Sundial: On S. wall of
nave, stone tablet inscribed 'Post est occasio calva, G. Young
(2) Bridge (01370885), of ashlar and squared rubble,
crossing the R. Allen on the W. boundary of the parish,
stands on or near the site of a mediaeval bridge and may
itself be partly mediaeval. On Norden's early 17th-century map of Cranborne Chase (C.P.M., sup. 18)
the site is named Pons Petreus, and a stone bridge was
recorded at or near this place in the 13th century (T.
Dayrell-Reed, Dorset Procs., LIII (1931), 215). The
present bridge has four two-centred arches with lightly
chamfered arrises. To widen the roadway, facing
voussoirs carrying a weathered string-course and parapet
walls have been added to the earlier arches on both
sides (Plate 26). A date-stone of 1666 set in the S.
parapet corresponds with Quarter Sessions orders of
1664 for the repair of 'Stanbridge'; the facing voussoirs
and parapet seem, however, to be 18th-century work
and the date-stone has probably been reset.
(3) Stanbridge Mill (01520902), house and flour-mills, the
latter disused and ruinous, are of two and of four storeys with
brick walls and tiled and slate-covered roofs (Plate 27). The
house is of c. 1800; adjacent on the N.W. is an early 19th-century
two-storeyed mill; further N.W. is a four-storeyed mill of mid
19th-century date. The house has a symmetrical S.W. front of
three bays, with a central doorway, plain sashed windows in
both storeys and dormer windows with casements. The plan is
of class T.
(4) Horton Inn (01700863), of two storeys with attics, has
rendered brick walls and slated and tiled roofs; it is of late
18th-century origin, but has been much altered. Until recently
the E. front was symmetrical and of five bays with a central
doorway and with sashed windows in both storeys; the doorway
had a late 19th-century porch.
(5) Horton House (03050752), of two storeys with brick
walls and tiled roofs, was built in 1777. The S. front is symmetrical and of five bays, with a central doorway and with sashed
windows with keystones. The gabled W. wall, without openings,
has the date of construction and the initials IC worked in blue
headers. Inside, the plan is of class T.
(6) Abbey House (03030739), the Vicarage from 1920
to 1961, is of two storeys and has brick walls and tiled
roofs. The history of the house is uncertain. It is said
that it was formerly a range of stables associated with
the manor house, but if this is true the house has disappeared without trace; it is perhaps more likely that
it was itself the manor house which Sir Anthony Sturt
bought from the Uvedales. Edward Gibbon was there
in 1762 (Journals, ed. Low, 78) and noted the lake (16)
and the tower (7) ; he says nothing of the house. The
symmetrical 18th-century E. front masks a timber-frame structure of c. 1500, probably associated with the
monastic cell mentioned above (1).
The E. front (Plate 50) is approximately symmetrical and of
seven bays with the three middle bays set slightly forward to
form a two-storeyed pavilion in which a central doorway is
flanked by square-headed sashed windows. The brick cornice is
capped by a plain parapet. The lateral bays adjacent to the
pavilion have sashed windows in two storeys; the terminal bays
have single round-headed mezzanine windows. Further S. is an
asymmetrical bay with an archway, now walled up, with jambs
and archivolt of rusticated ashlar. The foundations of a corresponding bay at the N. end of the range have recently been
discovered. The W. elevation of the range is single-storeyed and
makes no pretence at symmetry.
Horton. (6) Abbey House. Ground plan and cross-sections
Inside, the roof of c. 1500 comprises four main bays with a
narrow bay at the centre. In the two N. bays oak tie-beam trusses
with chamfered and cambered collars support two purlins on
each side, with curved windbracing. The two S. bays have
similar trusses with three purlins and curved windbracing. In
the S. bays the tie-beams rest on and formerly were braced to
shouldered wall-posts. The purlins of the S. bays extend across
the central bay. There is no sign of smoke-blackening on the
The mezzanine room on the N. has elegant 18th-century
joinery and plasterwork; the other rooms have no noteworthy
(7) Horton Tower (03040674), a 'folly' of six
storeys with brick walls (Plate 49), dates from about
the middle of the 18th century; it is called 'Horton
Observatory' on Taylor's map of Dorset (1765). Above
the fourth storey the straight sides have classical pediments and the round turrets have ogee domes with ball
finials; all openings have two-centred heads. Inside,
there are beam-holes for six floors, but the woodwork
Banks, scarps, rectangular platforms and mounds (03180705),
some 200 yds. N. of the tower, are the remains of brick kilns.
The mounds were destroyed in 1958.
(8) Cottage (02890692), of one storey with an attic, has
brick walls with some timber framework, and a thatched roof;
it is of the mid 18th century.
(9) Cottages (03400749), pair, of one storey with attics, with
brick walls and thatched roofs, are of the late 18th century.
(10) Cottage (04300723), of two storeys with timber-framed
walls and a thatched roof, is of 17th-century origin, but has been
considerably altered. Two panels retain original wattle-and-daub
filling; elsewhere the filling has been replaced by brick nogging.
(11) Hart's Farm (05870666), house, of one storey with
attics, with timber-framed walls and a thatched roof, is of 17th-century origin. Much of the building was refaced in brickwork
in the 18th century.
(12) Cottage (05440664), of one storey with an attic, with
brick walls and a thatched roof, is of the late 18th or early 19th
(13) Cottage (05480662), of one storey with an attic, with
cob walls and a thatched roof, is of the late 18th century.
(14) Scarps and Banks (0307, 0406), in the broad valley of
the brook which flows S.E. from the village, are all that survive
of two ornamental lakes created c. 1750 and abandoned c. 1765.
The S. lake alone is shown on O.S., 1811; the Tithe Map of 1841
shows the whole area as pasture. The remains comprise low
sinuous scarps, the edges of the lakes, and two earthen dams up
to 140 yds. long, 80 ft. wide and 12 ft. high (038069 and 044065).
Roman and Prehistoric
(15) Coin Hoard, Pottery etc., possibly a votive deposit,
were found shortly before 1875 in the gravel of a former streambed, in the village, N. of (14). A hoard of 139 bronze coins
ranging from Antoninus Pius to Valens was accompanied by
Iron-Age, samian, and New Forest pottery, including seven
complete pots. An iron spear-head, a bronze wheel-hub, an
amber bead and fragments of a bronze shield or scabbard
binding were also recovered. The finds, together with notes, are
Monuments (16–22), Round Barrows
Seven barrows are known, four of them in a compact
group on Horton Common. A barrow 'on Horton
Heath', possibly one of the group, yielded a barrel urn
of 'South Lodge' type, now in D.C.M. (Dorset Procs.,
XXIX (1908), 138; Ant. J., XIII (1933), 445; Arch. J.,
CXIX (1962), 54–5, fig. 7).
(16) Bowl (01810877), N.E. of Horton Inn, immediately W.
of the Cranborne-Wimborne road, lies on the slope of a low
spur overlooking the Allen valley; diam. 90 ft., ht. 9 ft.; treecovered.
(17) Bowl (06330727), on the parish boundary with Woodlands, lies at 200 ft. above O.D. on the W. side of Horton
Common; diam. 57 ft., ht. 6½ ft., with a well-preserved ditch
9 ft. across and 2 ft. deep.
(18) Bowl (07310753), E. of Redman's Hill, towards the N.
of Horton Common; diam. 42 ft., ht. 3 ft.
Horton Common Group consists of four barrows close together
on a low spur extending S.E. from Redman's Hill. All have been
dug into in the past and the surrounding ground is much
disturbed by hollow-ways.
(19) Bowl (07530724); diam. 30 ft., ht. 3 ft.
(20) Bowl (07510726); diam. 44 ft., ht. 4 ft., with remains of
(21) Bowl (07530727); diam. about 36 ft., ht. 4 ft.
(22) Bowl (07550729); diam. 46 ft., ht. 4½ ft.
(23) Linear Dyke (07470704–07700761), on Horton Common, crosses a low spur extending S.E. from Redman's Hill and
is bisected by a railway cutting. It is some 675 yds. long and
comprises twin banks with a medial ditch. On the S.S.W. it
ends in a marshy area and on the N.N.E. it runs up to the S.
bank of the R. Crane, in Homer's Wood. To the W. of the
railway, although cut by numerous tracks and hollow-ways, the
dyke is generally well-preserved; E. of the cutting it has been
largely obliterated by ploughing, except in Homer's Wood,
where it survives in poor condition. Where best preserved each
bank is some 15 ft. across and 2 ft. high, and the ditch is 14 ft.
across and 3 ft. deep. The siting of the dyke across the spur and
its relation to the obstacles at each end suggest a protective if
not a defensive function. A date in the later prehistoric period
would seem likely, but conclusive evidence is as yet lacking.