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Site of St Mary's Church and associated cemetery, 300m north west of Manor Farm

A Scheduled Monument in East Stoke, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.6803 / 50°40'49"N

Longitude: -2.1885 / 2°11'18"W

OS Eastings: 386779.178098

OS Northings: 86752.416294

OS Grid: SY867867

Mapcode National: GBR 21K.CHR

Mapcode Global: FRA 6798.WR9

Entry Name: Site of St Mary's Church and associated cemetery, 300m north west of Manor Farm

Scheduled Date: 3 August 1961

Last Amended: 25 November 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016723

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29087

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: East Stoke

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Wool, East Burton and Combe Keynes

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes the site of St Mary's Church and an associated enclosed
cemetery set upon a raised platform, situated on low lying ground to the south
of the River Frome. The church and gravestones are Listed Grade II.
The church building, which is now a ruin, was first recorded by the Sarum
registers of 1306. It was described by Hutchins, a 19th century local
historian, as `a small building which included a nave, chancel and tower'. The
church was demolished in 1848, following the establishment of a new building
in 1842, situated 600m to the north east.
The surviving structural elements of the church indicate a building aligned
north west by south east and suggest a floor-plan with dimensions of 7m by at
least 10m. The flint wall foundations of the nave are visible along the
northern and southern sides, where each extend for about 5m and survive to
height of between 0.5m to 0.8m. The western end of the southern wall stands to
a height of about 1.3m and includes a 15th century window jamb. Also at the
south western end of the building, an ashlar dressed stone porch flanked the
main entrance. The southern and eastern walls of the porch survive to a height
of about 1.2m and these contain remnants of an arched doorway and a small
window. On the outer side of the southern wall of the porch is an engraved
The church is surrounded by a cemetery containing numerous gravestones of
17th and 18th century date, along with the remains of a table tomb on the
south side of the church. Other unmarked graves from preceding periods will
also be present throughout the area. The graveyard is defined by a raised
rectangular platform, aligned north west by south east with maximum dimensions
of 30m from north to south and 45m from east to west.
The surrounding area lies on the river floodplain and is associated with
other earthworks forming an area of water meadow. This includes a series of
terraces, platforms, drainage channels and gullies, all of uncertain date and
which are not included in the scheduling.
All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A parish church is a building, usually of roughly rectangular outline and
containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate to its use for
Christian worship by a secular community, whose members gather in it on
Sundays and on the occasion of religious festivals. Children are initiated
into the Christian religion at the church's font and the dead are buried in
its churchyard. Parish churches were designed for congregational worship and
are generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provides
accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which is the main domain of the
priest and contains the principal altar. Either or both parts are sometimes
provided with aisles, giving additional accommodation or spaces for additional
altars. Most parish churches also possess towers, generally at the west
end, but central towers at the crossing of nave and chancel are not uncommon
and some churches have a free-standing or irregularly sited tower. Many parish
churches also possess transepts at the crossing of chancel and nave, and south
or north porches are also common. The main periods of parish church foundation
were in the 10th to 11th and 19th centuries. Most medieval churches were
rebuilt and modified on a number of occasions and hence the visible fabric of
the church will be of several different dates, with in some cases little
fabric of the first church being still easily visible.
Parish churches are found throughout England. Their distribution reflects the
density of population at the time they were founded. In regions of dispersed
settlement parishes were often large and churches less numerous. The densest
clusters of parish churches were found in thriving medieval towns. A survey of
1625 reported the existence of nearly 9000 parish churches in England. New
churches built in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries increased numbers to
around 18,000 of which 17,000 remain in ecclesiastical use. Parish churches
have always been major features of the landscape and a major focus of life for
their parishioners. They provide important insights into medieval and later
population levels or economic cycles, religious activity, artistic endeavour
and technical achievement. A significant number of surviving examples are
identified to be nationally important.

The site of St Mary's Church survives as a partial ruin containing medieval
fabric, along with foundation levels and associated buried features. The
church does not appear to have been closely associated with a settlement, but
lies 1.4km to the east of the Cistercian foundation at Bindon Abbey. It is
therefore likely that the church served the non-lay community of the Abbey
estate and/or its adjacent area. St Mary's Church represents an unusual
survival, as it was abandoned in favour of a new foundation but displays no
evidence for reuse or incorporation of its fabric into the new church, the new
building having been completed before its predecessor was demolished. The
associated cemetery has been closed since the abandonment of St Mary's Church
in 1848 and will contain a range of burials and provide information concerning
the health and lifestyle of the associated rural population throughout the
13th to early 19th centuries.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 275
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 275

Source: Historic England

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